Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:09 am

Impeachment of Warren Hastings
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/11/21

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Warren Hastings in 1768

The impeachment of Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal, was attempted between 1787 and 1795 in the Parliament of Great Britain. Hastings was accused of misconduct during his time in Calcutta, particularly relating to mismanagement and personal corruption. The impeachment prosecution was led by Edmund Burke and became a wider debate about the role of the East India Company and the expanding empire in India. The trial became a debate between two radically opposed visions of empire—one represented by Hastings, based on ideas of absolute power and conquest in pursuit of the exclusive national interests of the colonizer, versus one represented by Burke, of sovereignty based on a recognition of the rights of the colonized.[1]

The trial did not sit continuously and the case dragged on for seven years. When the eventual verdict was given Hastings was overwhelmingly acquitted. It has been described as "probably the British Isles' most famous, certainly the longest, political trial".[2]

Background

Appointment


Born in 1732, Warren Hastings spent much of his adult life in India after first travelling out as a clerk of the East India Company in 1750. Hastings developed a reputation as an "Indian" who sought to use traditional Indian methods of governance to run British India rather than the policy of importing European-style law, government and culture favoured by many of his colleagues and representatives of other colonial powers in India. After working his way through the ranks of the Company he was appointed in 1773 as Governor General, a new position that had been created by the North government in order to improve the running of British India. The old structure of rule had come under strain as the Company's holdings had expanded in recent decades from isolated trading posts to large swathes of territory and population.[3]

The powers of the Governor General were balanced out by the establishment of a Calcutta Council which had the authority to veto his decisions. Hastings spent much of his time in office marshalling his own supporters on the Council in an effort to avoid being outvoted.

Disputes and war

Main article: Second Mysore War

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Hastings' initial accuser Sir Philip Francis

Hastings soon ran into opposition on the Council. His principal enemy was the Irish-born politician Philip Francis. Francis developed a strong dislike of Hastings and was convinced that the Governor General's policies were self-serving and destructive. This was a belief shared with some other members of the Council whom he was able to influence. Francis and Hastings' personal rivalry continued for many years and led to a duel between them in 1780 in which Francis was wounded, but not killed.[4] Francis returned to Britain in 1781 and began raising questions about Hastings' conduct. He found support from many leading opposition Whigs.

In 1780 Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore, went to war with the company after British forces captured the French-controlled port of Mahé. Taking advantage of Britain's involvement in the American War of Independence and the support of French forces Hyder went on the offensive and enjoyed success during the opening stages of the war, inflicting a serious defeat at the Battle of Pollilur and at one point threatening Madras itself with capture. The Commander in Chief Eyre Coote went south with reinforcements and defeated Hyder's army in a series of battles which helped to steady the position in the Carnatic. Hyder was unable to secure victory and the war ended in a stalemate. It was halted by the Treaty of Mangalore in 1784 which largely restored the status quo ante bellum. Even so, the British position in India had been severely threatened.

The war shook public confidence and raised questions about the supposed mismanagement by the Company's agents in India. It proved to be a catalyst for the growing campaign in London against Hastings which gathered strength during the ensuing years.

First attacks

The Company had already gone through scandals in the 1760s and 1770s and the wealthy nabobs who returned to Britain from India were widely unpopular. Against this backdrop the criticisms circulated by Francis and others provoked a general consensus that the 1773 India Act hadn't been sufficient to rein in the alleged excesses. The Indian question again became a contentious political issue. The Fox–North Coalition fell from power after it attempted to bring in a radical East India Bill in 1783.[5] The following year the new government of William Pitt passed an India Act of 1784 which established a Board of Control and which finally stabilised the governance of India.

Hastings was personally attacked by Charles James Fox during the presentation of his India Bill.[6] When Pitt introduced his Bill he failed to mention Hastings at all, seen as expressing a lack of confidence, and made wide-ranging criticisms of the Company.[7] He suggested that recent wars in India had been ruinous and unnecessary. Hastings was particularly upset by this, as he was an admirer of Pitt.[8] By now, Hastings wished to resign and return home unless the role of Governor General was given greater freedom to exercise power—which was unlikely to be granted him. He handed over to an Acting Governor General, John MacPherson until a permanent replacement was appointed.

Return to Britain

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The MP Edmund Burke led the prosecution of Hastings.

Hastings sailed for home on 6 February and reached Britain in June 1785.[9] During the voyage he wrote a defence of his conduct The State of Bengal and presented it to Henry Dundas.[10] Hastings anticipated he would face attacks in Parliament and the press but expected them to be short-lived and to fall away once he was there in person to defend himself.[11] Initially this proved to be the case as he enjoyed an audience with King George III and a unanimous vote of thanks by the directors of the East India Company.[12] Hastings even hoped to be awarded an Irish peerage.[13] However, in Parliament Edmund Burke announced he "would at a future date make a motion respecting the conduct of a gentleman just returned from India".[11]

In early 1786 Burke began his first move by raising questions over Hastings' role in the Maratha War. The attacks on Hastings were largely made by opposition Whigs hoping to embarrass the government of William Pitt. Pitt and other government ministers such as Dundas defended Hastings and suggested that he had saved the British Empire in Asia.[14] Philip Francis made eleven specific charges against Hastings, and others later followed. They covered various subjects such as the Rohilla War, execution of Nanda-Kumar and Hastings' treatment of the Rajas of Benares Chait Singh. Pitt broadly defended Hastings, but declared his punishment of the Rajah had been excessive. In the wake of this an anti-Hastings motion was passed in the Commons 119–79.[15]

Encouraged by Pitt's failure to adequately support Hastings, his opponents pressed on with their campaign. The situation quickly deteriorated for Hastings. It soon became clear that he was heading towards an impeachment. Hastings recruited Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenborough to act in his defence.[16] On 21 May 1787 Hastings was arrested by the Serjeant-at-Arms and taken to the House of Lords to hear the charges against him.[17]

Hastings was to be prosecuted in the House of Lords by an Impeachment Committee. Impeachment was a relatively rare process of prosecuting those in high public office. Previous figures who had faced such trials included the Duke of Buckingham, a favourite of James I, and the Earl of Strafford, whose impeachment failed (but was followed up by a legislative bill of attainder that resulted in Strafford's execution).

Impeachment

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The trial of Warren Hastings, 1788

Opening

Hastings' trial began on 13 February 1788 and took place in Westminster Hall with members of the House of Commons seated to his right and the Lords to his left and a large audience of spectators, including royalty, in the boxes and public galleries.[18] The proceedings began with a lengthy address by Edmund Burke, who took four days to cover all the charges against Hastings.[19] Burke took the proceedings very seriously but, we have it from Macaulay, for many spectators the trial resembled a social event.[19] Hastings himself remarked that “for the first half hour, I looked up to the orator in a reverie of wonder, and during that time I felt myself the most culpable man on earth.”[19]

Hastings was granted bail in spite of Burke's suggestion that he might flee the country with the wealth he had allegedly stolen from India.[16] Further speeches were made over the coming weeks by other leading Whigs such as Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Charles James Fox. In total there were nineteen members of the Impeachment Committee.[2]

Public opinion changes

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The testimony of Lord Cornwallis, Hastings' successor as Governor General, was a major boost to his defence.

In spite of the early excitement about the trial public interest in it began to wane as it dragged on over months and years. Other major events dominated the news particularly once the French Revolution began in 1789. Sheridan now complained he was "heartily tired of the Hastings trial" despite being one of its instigators.[20] As the trial progressed, public attitudes about Hastings also began to shift. Hastings had initially been overwhelmingly portrayed as guilty in the popular press, but doubts were increasingly raised. Increased support for Hastings may have been a result of declining perceptions of his accusers. In a cartoon James Gillray portrayed Hastings as the "Saviour of India" being assaulted by bandits resembling Burke and Fox.[21]

A major lift for the defence came with the testimony on 9 April 1794 of Lord Cornwallis who had recently returned from India, where he succeeded Hastings as Governor General. Cornwallis rejected the accusations that Hastings' actions had damaged Britain's reputation and observed that Hastings was universally popular with the inhabitants.[22] When asked if he had "found any just cause to impeach the character of Mr Hastings?" he replied "never".[23]

A further blow for the prosecution came with the evidence of William Larkins the former Accountant General of Bengal. They had rested their hopes on his revealing widespread corruption but he denied that Hastings had amassed any illicit money and made a defence of his conduct. Various other figures came forwards as character witnesses to support Hastings.[24] Burke's reply to the defence lasted nine days from late May to mid-June 1794.[25]

Verdict

On 23 April 1795 the Lord Chancellor Lord Loughborough oversaw the delivery of the verdict. A third of the Lords who had attended the trial's opening had since died[20] and only twenty-nine of the others had sat through enough of the evidence to be permitted to pronounce judgement.[26] Loughborough asked each of the peers sixteen questions relating to individual charges. On most charges he was unanimously found not guilty. On three questions five or six peers gave guilty verdicts, but Hastings was still comfortably cleared by majority vote.[27] This overwhelming verdict had been expected for some time and caused little surprise.

Burke, who had invested a large amount of time and energy into the prosecution, was frustrated by the ultimate failure of the impeachment. He had warned the Lords that it would be "to the perpetual infamy" of the House if they voted to acquit and remained convinced of Hastings' guilt until his death in 1797.[28]

Aftermath

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Westminster Hall where the trial took place

Hastings was financially ruined by the impeachment and was left with debts of £70,000.[26] Unlike many other Indian officials he had not amassed a large fortune while in India and he had to fund his legal defence, which had cost an estimated £71,000, out of his own funds.[20] His defence lawyer was Richard Shaw(e) who built his mansion Casino House in Herne Hill at least in part from the proceeds, employing John Nash and Humphry Repton as landscape designer (responsible for the water garden the remnants of which survive as Sunray Gardens in 2012). [29] Meanwhile, Hastings appealed to the British government for financial assistance and was eventually compensated by the East India Company with a loan of £50,000 and a pension of £4,000 a year.

Although this did not solve all his financial worries, Hastings was ultimately able to fulfill his lifelong ambition of purchasing the family's traditional estate of Daylesford in Gloucestershire which had been lost in a previous generation. Hastings held no further public office, but was regarded as an expert on Indian matters and was asked to give evidence to parliament on the subject in 1812. After he had finished giving his testimony, the members all stood up in an almost unprecedented act for anyone other than the royal family.[20]

Hastings' successors as Governor General, beginning with Lord Cornwallis, were granted the much wider powers that Hastings had sought while in Calcutta. Pitt's India Act served to move much of the supervisory role for India away from the East India Company directors and officials in Leadenhall Street to a new political Board of Control based in London.

The overwhelming failure to secure a conviction, and the stream of testimony that came out of India praising him, have led commentators to ask why Hastings, who appeared to many observers to have given dedicated service to the company and to have curbed its worst excesses, ended up being prosecuted in the first place.[30] A number of factors may have played a part, including partisan politics, although Pitt joined the opposition in supporting the Impeachment.

There has been particular focus on the role played by Pitt—particularly his sudden withdrawal of outright support for Hastings in 1786 which galvanised the opposition into pursuing the case. It is possible that Pitt believed "he ran the very genuine risk of being accused by the opposition of shielding a notorious criminal from justice, for political reasons".[31] Henry Dundas was himself later impeached in 1806 and acquitted in the final ever impeachment in Britain.

Footnotes

1. Mukherjee, Mithi (2005). "Justice, War, and the Imperium: India and Britain in Edmund Burke's Prosecutorial Speeches in the Impeachment Trial of Warren Hastings" (PDF). Law and History Review. 23 (3): 589–630.
2. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 207)
3. (Peter Whiteley 1996, pp. 103–114)
4. (Robert Harvey 1998, p. 380)
5. (Peter Whiteley 1996, pp. 217–218)
6. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 193)
7. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 194–195)
8. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 196–198)
9. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 198–199)
10. (Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall 1889, p. 180)
11. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 201)
12. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 201–202)
13. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 202–203)
14. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 204)
15. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 204–205)
16. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 210)
17. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 205)
18. (James L. Newell 2006, p. 137)
19. The World’s Famous Orations. Ireland (1775–1902). "III. At the Trial of Warren Hastings" Edmund Burke (1729–97)
20. Garrard & Newell p. 138
21. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 214)
22. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 212)
23. (Mary Wickwire 1980, p. 183)
24. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 212–214)
25. archive.org: "The speeches of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke on the impeachment of Warren Hastings : to which is added a selection of Burke's epistolary correspondence" (1890 ed. G. Bell, London)
26. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 215)
27. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, pp. 214–215)
28. (Patrick Turnbull 1975)
29. "Casino House". The Dulwich Society. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
30. (James L. Newell 2006, p. 138)
31. (Patrick Turnbull 1975, p. 206)

Bibliography

• John Garrard; James L. Newell (2006). Scandals in Past and Contemporary Politics. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6551-4.
• Robert Harvey (1998). Clive: The Life and Death of a British Emperor. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-26569-4.
• Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1889). Warren Hastings. Macmillan and Company.
• Mukherjee, Mithi. "Justice, War, and the Imperium: India and Britain in Edmund Burke's Prosecutorial Speeches in the Impeachment Trial of Warren Hastings." Law and History Review 23.3 (2005): 589-630 online.
• Brian Smith. "Edmund Burke, the Warren Hastings trial, and the moral dimension of corruption." Polity 40.1 (2008): 70-94 online.
• Patrick Turnbull (September 1975). Warren Hastings. New English Library.
• Peter Whiteley (1996). Lord North: The Prime Minister Who Lost America. Continuum. ISBN 978-1-85285-145-3.
• Franklin B. Wickwire; Mary Wickwire (April 1980). Cornwallis, the imperial years. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1387-4.

Impeachment Documents

• Warren Hastings; Edmund Burke (1786). Articles of Charge of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Against Warren Hastings, Esq., Late Governor General of Bengal: Presented to the House of Commons, in the Months of April and May 1786. London: J. Debrett.
• Warren Hastings (1796). The History of the Trial of Warren Hastings, Esq. Late Governor-General of Bengal, Before the High Court of Parliament in Westminster-Hall: On an Impeachment by the Commons of Great-Britain, for High Crimes and Misdemeanors : Containing the Whole of the Proceedings and Debates in Both Houses of Parliament, Relating to that Celebrated Prosecution, from Feb. 7, 1786, Until His Acquittal, April 23, 1795. London: J. Debrett.
• John Logan (1788). A Review of the Principal Charges Against Warren Hastings Esquire, Late Governor General of Bengal. London: John Stockdale.
• Warren Hastings (1788). The answer of Warren Hastings to the Articles: Delivered at the bar of the house of Peers, on Nov. 28, 1787. London: John Murray.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1859). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. I. London: Longman.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1860). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. II. London: Longman.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1860). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. III. London: Longman.
• Joseph Gurney; Warren Hastings (1861). E. A. Bond (ed.). Speeches of the managers and counsel in the trial of Warren Hastings. IV. London: Longman.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:04 am

Sarmad Kashani
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21


In 1953, shortly after arriving in Delhi, Nehru sent Freda to Burma as the Indian representative of a UNESCO mission. For the first time in her life Freda found herself in a rich and exclusively Buddhist country. The impact was immediate and galvanic. Surrounded by hundreds of pagodas and thousands of monks roaming the streets in saffron robes, she instantly felt she had come home.

“When I set foot on that soil, the Golden Temple, the monks with their begging bowls, suddenly it was déjà vu. Without understanding anything much about Buddhism, I knew. This is The Way, this is what I have been looking for. I saw the whole thing,” she said. Freda was forty-two years old. Her long, diligent quest to find her true spiritual path was finally over. It had taken thirty-eight years, since her first days of sitting in her local church in Derby before school trying to meditate. Curiously, in spite of her remarkable effort and conscientiousness in searching and trying out the world’s great religious traditions, she had never come across Buddhism before, even though the Buddha had been born, taught, and attained enlightenment in India. His message had thrived there for over seven hundred years, until the Mughals invaded in the thirteenth century. They had swept in from the Middle East, destroying the renowned Nalanda University, hailed as the greatest center of learning in Asia, and setting fire to the largest Buddhist library in the ancient world, which allegedly burned for three months. Thousands of Buddhist monks and scholars fled into obscurity in the Himalayan kingdoms, from where Buddhism spread to the Far East and Southeast Asia. From then on, the Buddha was incorporated into the pantheon of Hindu gods and was regarded as a mythological figure.

Burma now boasted some of the most accomplished Buddhist meditation masters on the planet. Freda wasted no time seeking them out. As usual she went straight to the top.

Sayadaw U Thittila Aggamahapandita was vice president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and spoke excellent English. He agreed to teach Freda personally for eight weeks. The regime was tough and exceptionally rigorous, demanding she be aware of each detail involved in every activity – walking, eating, brushing teeth, putting on shoes, blinking. Every breath was accompanied by awareness. And then awareness itself was watched by awareness….

“I remember Sayadaw U Pandita telling me, ‘If you get a realization, or a flash, it may not be sitting on your meditation cushion in front of an image of the Buddha. It will probably be somewhere you least expect it.”

That’s precisely what happened. Freda had what she called her enlightenment experience “while I was walking with the Commission through the streets of Kyaukme, in northern Burma. Suddenly I saw the flow of things, the meaning and the connection. It was the first real flash of understanding. I can’t explain exactly what it was because it was beyond words. But it opened so many gates and showed me things I’d been trying to find for a very long time,” she explained. She revealed to a few close friends that her Damascene experience had lasted for hours and was accompanied by great bliss.

A window had been opened, a transcendental window giving a glimpse into another reality. The afterschock was dramatic. “We got a phone call back in Delhi that Mummy had collapsed and we had to bring her home from Burma immediately,” says Ranga. “Of course we had no money, so we went around to Nehru and Indira’s house and they provided the plane fare to fetch her home and an ambulance to meet her at the airport.” Continuing her tour was now out of the question.

“When she arrived, it was shocking. Mummy didn’t recognize anyone. For weeks she stayed in her bed, getting up just to go to the bathroom. That’s as far as she would go. She wouldn’t talk or register anything in the outside world. She’d eat the food put in front of her like an automaton. If you looked at her, it was like looking into a stone wall. She never saw you. It was as though she were catatonic. It was terrifying for all of us – except Papa. He didn’t seem concerned at all. He said it was all happening as it should and that it would work out all right. He was correct. After about six weeks she began to show signs of improvement. Her face became more expressive and she began to interact with us. But it took about three months before she was back to normal.”

Gradually she resumed her work and tried to get back to her old life, but she had irrevocably changed. After Burma she was going in a different direction, and nothing was going to be the same. The first to feel the impact was BPL. Their marriage of twenty years had been founded on love, intellectual compatibility, and their shared vision of an independent India. That last job had been completed. Freda knew with certainty that that phase of her life was over. Her heart and her path now belonged to the Buddha.

She calmly sat her husband down and announced, “I’ve been searching all my life, but it’s the Buddhist monks who have been able to show me what it is that I have been looking for. I am a Buddhist from now on – and I have taken a personal vow of a brahmacharya,” she said, referring to the vow of celibacy said to induce spiritual purity and enhance one’s capacity for divine happiness.

BPL took the news remarkably well....

Another reason that BPL took Freda’s news with such equanimity was that his inner life was running along parallel lines. For some time he had been following his own spiritual quest and was undergoing his own enlightenment experience. It bore all the hallmarks of his originality. “He would sit still for hours without moving. He would babble in voices we didn’t understand. He’d go up onto the roof and stand for hours with his arms outstretched toward a shrine of a Sufi saint,” said Kabir. “We called the doctor, but Papa just smiled at him. ‘What I’m going through is beyond you,’ he told him. The doctor nevertheless insisted on examining him. ‘You won’t find a pulse,’ said Papa. He was right. The astonished doctor left.

“Father started going on walks, discovering the graves of Sufi saints in the area, telling us where they were, both marked and unmarked. He started to do automatic writing. Word got out and people started coming to the house with their problems. Papa would listen, then begin writing, and eventually hand them sheets of paper with answers to their troubles on them. In time he became quite a healer and was known as Baba Bedi, the name given to a holy man.”


Having lost touch with its glorious heritage of classical scholarship, the Muslim world today is divided in squabbles between two opposing camps, who despite their respective deviations, are both attempting to usurp the right to represent orthodox Islam. The Wahhabis and Salafis are the product of a British strategy to undermine Islamic tradition and create fundamentalism. While the Sufis are their most vocal and articulate critics, rightly pointing out their corruptions, they themselves are part of a similar conspiracy, again with close ties to Western intelligence and the occult.

The New Age movement, following the teachings of a leading disciple of H. P. Blavatsky, believes that the coming of the Age of Aquarius will herald the beginning of world peace and one-world government, headed by the Maitreya, who is said to be awaited also by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, though he is known by these believers respectively as Christ, Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna or Imam Mahdi. The New Age’s expectation of the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims has been nurtured through its relationship with Sufism.

Essentially, the pretext of the occult is that in the future the world will be united in peace by eliminating all sectarianism, when the world will be brought together under a single belief system. The basis of that belief will be the occult tradition, which it is claimed has been the underlying source of all exoteric religions. As such, since at least the middle of the eighteenth century, occultists have marketed Sufism as being the origin of Freemasonry.


According to Idries Shah, the twelfth century Qadiriyya Sufi order was the origin of the Rosicrucians, the most important occult movement after the Renaissance, who later evolved into the Freemasons. As detailed in Black Terror White Soldiers, the Rosicrucians were responsible for orchestrating the advent of Sabbatai Zevi, who took the Jewish world by storm in 1666 when he declared himself their expected messiah. However, Zevi disappointed the vast majority of his followers when he subsequently converted to Islam. Nevertheless, an important segment followed him into Islam as well, and to this day consist of a powerful community of secret Jews known as Dönmeh.

The Dönmeh of Turkey maintained associations with a number of Sufi orders, like Whirling Dervishes founded by Jalal ad-Din Rumi, and the Bektashis. Strongly heretical, the Bektashi venerated Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, repudiated many of the legal rulings of Islam, and combined Kabbalistic ideas with elements of ancient Central Asian shamanism.

Through the influence of Bektashi Sufism, the Dönmeh developed the belief of Pan-Turkism, later adopted by the Young Turks, a Dönmeh and Masonic organization responsible for overthrowing the Ottoman Caliphate in 1908. Pan-Turkism begins with Alexander Csoma de Körös (1784 – 1842), the first in the West to mention mysterious Buddhist realm known as Shambhala, which he regarded as the origin of the Turkish people, and which he situated in the Altai mountains and Xinjiang.

Csoma de Körös’s mention of Shambhala became the basis of the mystical speculations offered by H. P. Blavatsky, which she regarded as the homeland of the Aryan race. Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, and came to be regarded as an oracle of Freemasonry and the godmother of the occult. Blavatsky became largely responsible for initiating the popularity of Buddhism as a font of the Ancient Wisdom. However, contrary to popular perceptions, Tibetan Buddhism is a strange amalgam of Buddhist ideas, along with Hindu Tantra and Central Asian shamanism, it was for this reason that Blavatsky regarded it as the true preservation of the traditions of magic.

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone


By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the first of the hippies and the Beat Generation were arriving in India, and many found their way to BPL’s door. “Then the house got full of really strange people. Papa always made it quite clear to all of them, however, that he was not a saint, nor was he going to behave like one. ‘I’ll smoke my cigarettes and drink my whiskey as normal – and not be bound by anyone,’ Papa said. Gradually he stopped writing automatic messages and started speaking words that he begun coming through him. At first his voice and way of talking were strange, but then the style evolved and he talked like himself,” said Kabir.....

The next event to send shock waves through the family was when Freda, for reasons of her own, sent Guli to boarding school miles away in North India. Her daughter was just five years old. It seemed not only cruel but a terrible dereliction of maternal duty, and out of character with her essentially kind, caring nature. In addition, she performed the deed in what appeared a particularly brutal way.

Guli, now a tall, sociable woman who has dedicated her life to teaching children with special needs, lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, outside Boston, Massachusetts. She recalls every detail of the traumatic event. "When Mummy told me her idea, I told her outright, 'I am not going to boarding school!' We children were all strong characters, who had been taught to speak up. She arranged everything extremely well. We often went touring, and this year Mummy took me to visit an old family friend, Auntie Mera (who had adopted thirteen children) in Naina Tal, in the foothills of Uttar Pradesh. When we got there, she asked if I wanted to see All Saints School, which was nearby and run by Christian nuns. I said yes. I remember the oak tree in the garden, which was huge, and I got very animated and chatty with the nuns. I turned around to tell Mummy something and she was gone. I was absolutely devastated. I cried for three days. The nuns, British Anglican missionaries, were so kind. They really cared for me."

Guli grew to love her school. "It turned out to be the best experience. I studied the scriptures and I know everything about the bible. I loved the hymns and the feeling of the chapel, not that I ever felt the need to become a Christian. There was never any talk about conversion!"....

Whenever she could, she traveled to Burma to continue her meditation training under his strict, watchful eye. Sometimes she took Kabir, her "special child" with her, encouraging him to shave his head and don Buddhist robes as a child monk. Secretly she hoped that one day he would be ordained. That destiny was not to be his, however.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie

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Sarmad Kashani
Single Leaf of Shah Sarmad (centre) seated with Shahzada Dara Shikoh
Born: c. 1590, Armenia, Safavid Armenia
Died: 1661, Mughal Empire
School: Sufi
Main interests: Mysticism atheism syncretism poetry Sufi metaphysics
Influences: Mulla Sadra, Mir Findiriski
Influenced: Dara Shukoh, Abul Kalam Azad

Sarmad Kashani or simply as Sarmad (ca 1590–1661) was a Persian speaking Armenian mystic and poet who travelled to and made the Indian subcontinent his permanent home during the 17th century. Originally Jewish, he may have renounced his religion to adopt Islam.[1] Sarmad, in his poetry, states that he is neither Jewish, nor Muslim, nor Hindu.[2]

Early life

Sarmad was born in Armenia around 1590, to a family of Jewish Persian-speaking Armenian merchants.[3] Sarmad had an excellent command of Persian, essential for his work as a merchant, and composed most of his works in this language.[2] He produced a translation of the Torah in Persian.[4] He studied under Mulla Sadra ...
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Mulla Sadra

Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī, also called Mullā Ṣadrā (Persian: ملا صدرا‎; Arabic: صدر المتألهین‎) (c. 1571/2 – c. 1635/40 CE / 980 - 1050 AH), was a Persian Twelver Shi'i Islamic mystic, philosopher, theologian, and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. According to Oliver Leaman, Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years.

Though not its founder, he is considered the master of the Illuminationist (or, Ishraghi or Ishraqi) school of Philosophy, a seminal figure who synthesized the many tracts of the Islamic Golden Age philosophies into what he called the Transcendent Theosophy or al-hikmah al-muta’āliyah.

Transcendent theosophy or al-hikmat al-muta’āliyah (حكمت متعاليه), the doctrine and philosophy developed by Persian philosopher Mulla Sadra (d.1635 CE), is one of two main disciplines of Islamic philosophy that are currently live and active.

The expression al-hikmat al-muta’āliyah comprises two terms: al-hikmat (meaning literally, wisdom; and technically, philosophy, and by contextual extension theosophy) and muta’āliyah (meaning exalted or transcendent). This school of Mulla Sadra in Islamic philosophy is usually called al-hikmat al-muta’āliyah. It is a most appropriate name for his school, not only for historical reasons, but also because the doctrines of Mulla Sadra are both hikmah or theosophy in its original sense and an intellectual vision of the transcendent which leads to the Transcendent Itself. So Mulla Sadra’s school is transcendent for both historical and metaphysical reasons.

When Mulla Sadra talked about hikmah or theosophy in his words, he usually meant the transcendent philosophy. He gave many definitions to the term hikmah, the most famous one defining hikmah as a vehicle through which “man becomes an intelligible world resembling the objective world and similar to the order of universal existence”.

Mulla Sadra's philosophy and ontology is considered to be just as important to Islamic philosophy as Martin Heidegger's philosophylater was to Western philosophy in the 20th century. Mulla Sadra brought "a new philosophical insight in dealing with the nature of reality" and created "a major transition from essentialism to existentialism" in Islamic philosophy.

A concept that lies at the heart of Mulla Sadra's philosophy is the idea of "existence precedes essence", a key foundational concept of existentialism. This was the opposite of the idea of "essence precedes existence" previously supported by Avicenna and his school of Avicennism as well as Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi and his school of Illuminationism.
Sayyid Jalal Ashtiyani later summarized Mulla Sadra's concept as follows: "The existent being that has an essence must then be caused and existence that is pure existence ... is therefore a Necessary Being."

For Mulla Sadra, "existence precedes the essence and is thus principle since something has to exist first and then have an essence." This is primarily the argument that lies at the heart of Mulla Sadra's philosophy. Mulla Sadra substituted a metaphysics of existence for the traditional metaphysics of essences, and giving priority Ab initio to existence over quiddity.

Mulla Sadra effected a revolution in the metaphysics of being by his thesis that there are no immutable essences, but that each essence is determined and variable according to the degree of intensity of its act of existence.

In his view reality is existence, in a variety of ways, and these different ways look to us like essences. What first affects us are things that exist and we form ideas of essences afterward, so existence precedes essence. This position referred to as primacy of existence (Arabic: Isalat al-Wujud‎).

Mulla Sadra's existentialism is therefore fundamentally different from Western, i.e. existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre said that human beings have no essence before their existence because, there is no Creator, no God. This is the meaning of "existence precedes essence" in Sartre's existentialism.

Another central concept of Mulla Sadra's philosophy is the theory of "substantial motion" (al-harakat al-jawhariyyah), which is "based on the premise that everything in the order of nature, including celestial spheres, undergoes substantial change and transformation as a result of the self-flow (fayd) and penetration of being (sarayan al-wujud) which gives every concrete individual entity its share of being. In contrast to Aristotle and Ibn Sina who had accepted change only in four categories, i.e., quantity (kamm), quality (kayf), position (wad’) and place (‘ayn), Sadra defines change as an all-pervasive reality running through the entire cosmos including the category of substance (jawhar)." Heraclitus described a similar concept centuries earlier (Πάντα ῥεῖ - panta rhei - "everything is in a state of flux"), while Gottfried Leibniz described a similar concept a century after Mulla Sadra's work.


-- Transcendent theosophy, by Wikipedia

Mulla Sadra brought "a new philosophical insight in dealing with the nature of reality" and created "a major transition from essentialism to existentialism" in Islamic philosophy, although his existentialism should not be too readily compared to Western existentialism. His was a question of existentialist cosmology as it pertained to God, and thus differs considerably from the individual, moral, and/or social, questions at the heart of Russian, French, German, or American Existentialism.

Mulla Sadra's philosophy ambitiously synthesized Avicennism, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi's Illuminationist philosophy, Ibn Arabi's Sufi metaphysics, and the theology of the Sunni Ash'ari school and Shi'a Twelvers.

His main work is The Transcendent Philosophy of the Four Journeys of the Intellect, or simply Four Journeys.

Mulla Sadra was born in Shiraz, in what is now Iran, to a notable family of court officials in 1571 or 1572, In Mulla Sadra's time, the Safavid dynasty governed over Iran. Safavid kings granted independence to Fars Province, which was ruled by the king's brother, Mulla Sadra's father, Khwajah Ibrahim Qavami, who was a knowledgeable and extremely faithful politician. As the ruler of the vast region of Fars Province, Khwajah was rich and held a high position....Sadra was Khwajah's only child. In that time it was customary that the children of aristocrats were educated by private teachers in their own palace. Sadra was a very intelligent, strict, energetic, studious, and curious boy and mastered all the lessons related to Persian and Arabic literature, as well as the art of calligraphy, during a very short time. Following old traditions of his time, and before the age of puberty, he also learned horse riding, hunting and fighting techniques, mathematics, astronomy, some medicine, jurisprudence, and Islamic law. However, he was mainly attracted to philosophy and particularly to mystical philosophy and gnosis.

In 1591, Mulla Sadra moved to Qazvin and then, in 1597, to Isfahan to pursue a traditional and institutional education in philosophy, theology, Hadith, and hermeneutics. At that time, each city was a successive capital of the Safavid dynasty and center of Twelver Shi'ite seminaries. Sadra's teachers included Mir Damad and Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili.

Mulla Sadra became a master of the science of his time. In his own view, the most important of these was philosophy. In Qazvin, Sadra acquired most of his scholarly knowledge from two prominent teachers, namely Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili ...
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Shaykh bahaey (right) and Mirfendereski

Bahāʾ al‐Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al‐ʿĀmilī (also known as Sheikh Baha'i, Persian: شیخ بهایی‎) (18 February 1547 – 1 September 1621) was an Arab Iranian Shia Islamic scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer and poet who lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in Safavid Iran. He was born in Baalbek, Ottoman Syria (present-day Lebanon) but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with the rest of his family. He was one of the earliest astronomers in the Islamic world to suggest the possibility of the Earth's movement prior to the spread of the Copernican theory. He is considered one of the main co-founders of Isfahan School of Islamic Philosophy. In later years he became one of the teachers of Mulla Sadra.

He wrote over 100 treatises and books in different topics, in Arabic and Persian. A number of architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him, but none can be substantiated with sources. These may have included the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and Charbagh Avenue in Isfahan. He is buried in Imam Reza's shrine in Mashad in Iran....

Shaykh Bahāʾī completed his studies in Isfahan. Having intended to travel to Mecca in 1570, he visited many Islamic countries including Iraq, Syria and Egypt and after spending four years there, he returned to Iran...

According to Baháʼí Faith scholar ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Ishráq-Khávari, Shaykh Baha' al-Din adopted the pen name (takhallus) 'Baha' after being inspired by words of Shi'a Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (the fifth Imam) and Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (the sixth Imam), who had stated that the Greatest Name of God was included in either Du'ay-i-Sahar or Du'ay-i-Umm-i-Davud. In the first verse of the Du'ay-i-Sahar, a dawn prayer for the Ramadan, the name "Bahá" appears four times: "Allahumma inni as 'aluka min Bahá' ika bi Abháh va kulla Bahá' ika Bahí"...

The following are some his works in astronomy: (1) Risālah dar ḥall‐i ishkāl‐i ʿuṭārid wa qamar (Treatise on the problems of the Moon and Mercury), on attempting to solve inconsistencies of the Ptolemaic system within the context of Islamic astronomy. (2) Tashrīḥ al‐aflāk (Anatomy of the celestial spheres), a summary of theoretical astronomy where he affirms the view that supports the positional rotation of the Earth. He was one of Islamic astronomers to advocate the feasibility of the Earth's rotation in the 16th century, independent of Western influences. (3) Kholasat al-Hesab (The summa of arithmetic) was translated into German by G. H. F. Nesselmann and was published as early as 1843.

Shaykh Baha' al-Din's fame was due to his excellent command of mathematics, architecture and geometry. A number or architectural and engineering designs are attributed to him, but none can be substantiated with sources.

Shaykh Baha' al-Din is also attributed with architectural planning of the city of Isfahan during the Safavid era. He was the architect of Isfahan's Imam Square...
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Imam Square

Imam Mosque...
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Royal Mosque (Imam Mosque), general view from Naqsh-i Jahan Square — Isfahan.

and Hessar Najaf. He also made a sun clock to the west of the Imam Mosque. There is also no doubt about his mastery of topography. The best instance of this is the directing of the water of the Zayandeh River to different areas of Isfahan. He designed a canal called Zarrin Kamar in Isfahan which is one of Iran's greatest canals. He also determined the direction of Qiblah (prayer direction) from the Naghsh-e-Jahan Square...

Shaykh Baha' al-Din was also an adept of mysticism. He had a distinct Sufi leaning for which he was criticized by Mohammad Baqer Majlesi. During his travels he dressed like a Dervish and frequented Sufi circles. He also appears in the chain of both the Nurbakhshi and Ni'matullāhī Sufi orders. In the work called "Resāla fi’l-waḥda al-wojūdīya" (Exposition of the concept of Wahdat al-Wujud (Unity of Existences), he states that the Sufis are the true believers, calls for an unbiased assessment of their utterances, and refers to his own mystical experiences. His Persian poetry is also replete with mystical allusions and symbols. At the same time, Shaykh Baha' al-Din calls for strict adherence to the Sharia as a prerequisite for embarking on the Tariqah and did not hold a high view of antinomian mysticism.

-- Baha' al-din al-'Amili, by Wikipedia

and Mir Damad, whom he accompanied when the Safavid capital was transferred from Qazvin to Isfahan in 1006 A.H./1596 C.E.
Mir Damad (Persian: ميرداماد‎) (d. 1631 or 1632), known also as Mir Mohammad Baqer Esterabadi, or Asterabadi, was a Twelver Shia Iranian philosopher in the Neoplatonizing Islamic Peripatetic traditions of Avicenna. He also was a Suhrawardi, a scholar of the traditional Islamic sciences, and foremost figure (together with his student Mulla Sadra) of the cultural renaissance of Iran undertaken under the Safavid dynasty. He was also the central founder of the School of Isfahan, noted by his students and admirers as the Third Teacher (mu'alim al-thalith) after Aristotle and al-Farabi.

His major contribution to Islamic philosophy was his novel formulation regarding gradations of time and the emanations of the separate categories of time as descending divine hypostases. He resolved the controversy of the createdness or uncreatedness of the world in time by proposing the notion of huduth-e-dahri (atemporal origination) as an explanation grounded in Avicennan and Suhrawardian categories, whilst transcending them. In brief, excepting God, he argued all things, including the earth and all heavenly bodies, share in both eternal and temporal origination. He influenced the revival of al-falsafa al-yamani (Philosophy of Yemen), a philosophy based on revelation and sayings of prophets rather than the rationalism of the Greeks, and he is widely recognized as the founder of the School of Isfahan, which embraced a theosophical outlook known as hikmat-i ilahi (divine wisdom).


Mir Damad’s many treatises on Islamic philosophy include Taqwim al-Iman (Calendars of Faith, a treasure on creation and divine knowledge), the Kitab Qabasat al-Ilahiyah (Book of the Divine Embers of Fiery Kindling), wherein he lays out his concept of atemporal origination, Kitab al-Jadhawat and Sirat al-Mustaqim. He also wrote poetry under the pseudonym of Ishraq (Illumination). He also wrote a couple of books on mathematics, but with secondary importance.

Among his many other students besides Mulla Sadra were Seyyed Ahmad-ibn-Reyn-al-A’bedin Alavi, Mohammad ibn Alireza ibn Agajanii, Qutb-al-Din Mohammad Ashkevari and Mulla Shams Gilani.

Mir Damad's philosophical prose is often accounted as being among the most dense and obstrusely difficult of styles to understand, deliberately employing as well as coining convoluted philosophical terminology and neologisms that require systematic unpacking and detailed commentary. He was called Mir Damad (Groom of the King) because he married Shah Abbas's daughter and hence his fame was based on that event.

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Abbas the Great. Portrait by an unknown Italian painter.

Abbas the Great or Abbas I of Persia (Persian: شاه عباس بزرگ‎; 27 January 1571 – 19 January 1629) was the 5th Safavid Shah (king) of Iran, and is generally considered as one of the greatest rulers of Persian history and the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad Khodabanda.

Although Abbas would preside over the apex of Iran's military, political and economic power, he came to the throne during a troubled time for the Safavid Empire. Under his weak-willed father, the country was riven with discord between the different factions of the Qizilbash army, who killed Abbas' mother and elder brother. Meanwhile, Iran's enemies, the Ottoman Empire (its archrival) and the Uzbeks, exploited this political chaos to seize territory for themselves. In 1588, one of the Qizilbash leaders, Murshid Qoli Khan, overthrew Shah Mohammed in a coup and placed the 16-year-old Abbas on the throne. However, Abbas soon seized power for himself.

Under his leadership, Iran developed the ghilman system where thousands of Circassian, Georgian, and Armenian slave-soldiers joined the civil administration and the military. With the help of these newly created layers in Iranian society (initiated by his predecessors but significantly expanded during his rule), Abbas managed to eclipse the power of the Qizilbash in the civil administration, the royal house, and the military. These actions, as well as his reforms of the Iranian army, enabled him to fight the Ottomans and Uzbeks and reconquer Iran's lost provinces, including Kakheti whose people he subjected to widescale massacres and deportations. By the end of the 1603–1618 Ottoman War, Abbas had regained possession over Transcaucasia and Dagestan, as well as swaths of Eastern Anatolia and Mesopotamia. He also took back land from the Portuguese and the Mughals and expanded Iranian rule and influence in the North Caucasus, beyond the traditional territories of Dagestan.

Abbas was a great builder and moved his kingdom's capital from Qazvin to Isfahan, making the city the pinnacle of Safavid architecture. In his later years, following a court intrigue involving several leading Circassians, Abbas became suspicious of his own sons and had them killed or blinded.


-- Abbas the Great, by Wikipedia

Mir Damad was also the architect of the Masjide Shah (Shah Mosque) in Isfahan which employed highly advance mathematical calculations which required the knowledge of the speed of sound at that time. The geometry of the dome is as such that all sound dissipated from the base will echo in hundreds of carefully calculated and masterly executed interior corners of the dome which will ultimately collide in the center of the dome. The geometrical analysis of the dome is of absolute sophistication and the design of the dome is a magnificent piece of art and furthermore the construction of such dome in the 17th century to a precision where all sound waves must travel and collide in an imaginary point above.

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Royal Mosque (Imam Mosque), general view from Naqsh-i Jahan Square — Isfahan.

-- Mir Damad, by Wikipedia

Shaykh Baha was an expert in Islamic sciences but also a master of astronomy, theoretical mathematics, engineering, architecture, medicine, and some fields of secret knowledge. Mir Damad also knew the science of his time but limited his domain to jurisprudence, hadith, and mainly philosophy. Mir Damad was a master of both the Peripatetic (Aristotelian) and Illuminationist schools of Islamic philosophy. Mulla Sadra obtained most of his knowledge of philosophy and gnosis from Damad and always introduced Damad as his true teacher and spiritual guide.

After he had finished his studies, Sadra began to explore unorthodox doctrines and as a result was both condemned and excommunicated by some Shi'i ʿulamāʾ. He then retired for a lengthy period of time to a village named Kahak, near Qom, where he engaged in contemplative exercises. While in Kahak, he wrote a number of minor works, including the Risāla fi 'l-ḥashr and the Risāla fī ḥudūth al-ʿālam .

In 1612, Ali Quli Khan, son of Allāhwirdī Ḵhān and the powerful governor of Fārs, asked Mulla Sadra to abandon his exile and to come back to Shiraz to teach and run a new madrasa devoted to the intellectual sciences. He died in Basra after the Hajj and was buried in the present-day city of Najaf, Iraq...

Although Existentialism as defined nowadays is not identical to Mulla Sadra's definition, he was the first to introduce the concept. According to Mulla Sadra, "existence precedes the essence and is thus principal since something has to exist first and then have an essence." It is notable that for Mulla Sadra this was an issue that applied specifically to God and God's position in the universe, especially in the context of reconciling God's position in the Qur'an with the Greek-influenced cosmological philosophies of Islam's Golden Era.

Mulla Sadra's metaphysics gives priority to existence over essence (i.e., quiddity). That is to say, essences are variable and are determined according to existential "intensity" (to use Henry Corbin's definition). Thus, essences are not immutable. The advantage to this schema is that it is acceptable to the fundamental statements of the Qur'an, even as it does not necessarily undermine any previous Islamic philosopher's Aristotelian or Platonic foundations.

Indeed, Mulla Sadra provides immutability only to God, while intrinsically linking essence and existence to each other, and to God's power over existence. In so doing, he provided for God's authority over all things while also solving the problem of God's knowledge of particulars, including those that are evil, without being inherently responsible for them — even as God's authority over the existence of things that provide the framework for evil to exist. This clever solution provides for freedom of will, God's supremacy, the infiniteness of God's knowledge, the existence of evil, and definitions of existence and essence that leave the two inextricably linked insofar as humans are concerned, but fundamentally separate insofar as God is concerned.

Perhaps most importantly, the primacy of existence provides the capacity for God's judgement without God being directly, or indirectly, affected by the evil being judged. God does not need to possess sin to know sin: God is able to judge the intensity of sin as God perceives existence.


One result of Sadra's existentialism is "The unity of the intellect and the intelligible" (Arabic: Ittihad al-Aaqil wa l-Maqul. As Henry Corbin describes: "All the levels of the modes of being and perception are governed by the same law of unity, which at the level of the intelligible world is the unity of intellection, of the intelligizing subject, and of the Form intelligized — the same unity as that of love, lover and beloved. Within this perspective we can perceive what Sadra meant by the unitive union of the human soul, in the supreme awareness of its acts of knowledge, with the active Intelligence which is the Holy Spirit. It is never a question of an arithmetical unity, but of an intelligible unity permitting the reciprocity which allows us to understand that, in the soul which it metamorphoses, the Form—or Idea—intelligized by the active Intelligence is a Form which intelligizes itself, and that as a result the active Intelligence or Holy Spirit intelligizes itself in the soul's act of intellection. Reciprocally, the soul, as a Form intelligizing itself, intelligizes itself as a Form intelligized by the active Intelligence...

Mulla Sadra held the view that Reality is Existence. He believed that an essence was by itself a general notion, and therefore and does not, in reality, exist.

To paraphrase Fazlur Rahman on Mulla Sadra's Existential Cosmology: Existence is the one and only reality. Existence and reality are therefore identical. Existence is the all-comprehensive reality and there is nothing outside of it. Essences which are negative require some sort of reality and therefore exist. Existence therefore cannot be denied. Therefore, existence cannot be negated. As Existence cannot be negated, it is self-evident that it Existence is God. God should not be searched for in the realm of existence but is the basis of all existence. Reality in Arabic is "Al-Haq", and is stated in the Qur'an as one of the Names of God.

To paraphrase Mulla Sadra's Logical Proof for God:

1. There is a being
2. This being is a perfection beyond all perfection
3. God is Perfect and Perfection in existence
4. Existence is a singular and simple reality
5. That singular reality is graded in intensity in a scale of perfection
6. That scale must have a limit point, a point of greatest intensity and of greatest existence
7. Therefore, God exists

Sadra argued that all contingent beings require a cause which puts their balance between existence and non-existence in favor of the former; nothing can come into existence without a cause. Since the world is therefore contingent upon this First Act, not only must God exist, but God must also be responsible for this First Act of creation.

Sadra also believed that a causal regress was impossible because the causal chain could only work in the matter that had a beginning, middle, and end:

1) a pure cause at the beginning 2) a pure effect at the end 3) a nexus of cause and effect

The Causal Nexus of Mulla Sadra was a form of Existential Ontology within a Cosmological Framework that Islam supported. For Mulla Sadra the Causal "End" is as pure as its corresponding "Beginning", which instructively places God at both the beginning and the end of the creative act. God's capacity to measure the intensity of Existential Reality by measuring Causal Dynamics' and their Relationship to their Origin, as opposed to knowing their effects, provided the Islamically-acceptable framework for God's Judgement of Reality without being tainted by its Particulars. This was an ingenious solution to a question that had haunted Islamic philosophy for almost one thousand years: How is God able to judge sin without knowing sin?

-- Mulla Sadra, by Wikipedia

and Mir Findiriski before migrating to the Mughal Empire as a merchant.[5]
Mir Fendereski or Mir Findiriski (Persian: میرفِنْدِرِسْکی)‎ (1562–1640) was a Persian philosopher, poet and mystic of the Safavid era. His full name is given as Sayyed Mir Abulqasim Astarabadi (Persian: سید ابولقاسم استرآبادی), and he is famously known as Fendereski. He lived for a while in Isfahan at the same time as Mir Damad, spent a great part of his life in India among yogis and Zoroastrians, and learnt from them. He was patronized by both the Safavid and Mughal courts. The famous Persian philosopher Mulla Sadra also studied under him.

Mir Fendereski remains a mysterious and enigmatic figure about whom we know very little. He was probably born around 1562-1563 and died age of eighty.

Mir Fendereski was trained in the works of Avicenna as he taught the Avicennian medical and philosophical compendiums of al-Qanun (The Canon) and Al-Shifa (The Cure) in Isfahan.

A number of works are attributed to him, although these have not been studied in detail. In his extensive commentary on the Persian translation of the Mahabharata (Razm-Nama in Persian) ...
The Mahābhārata (Sanskrit: महाभारतम्, Mahābhāratam, pronounced [mɐɦaːˈbʱaːrɐtɐm]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their successors.

It also contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha (12.161). Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, the story of Savitri and Satyavan, the story of Kacha and Devyani, the story of Ṛṣyasringa and an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, often considered as works in their own right.

Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The bulk of the Mahābhārata was probably compiled between the 3rd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, with the oldest preserved parts not much older than around 400 BCE. The original events related by the epic probably fall between the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century CE).

The Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem ever written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the Quran, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the works of William Shakespeare. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the fifth Veda.

-- Mahabharata, by Wikipedia

and the philosophical text of the Yoga Vasistha ...
Yoga Vasistha (Sanskrit: योग-वासिष्ठ, IAST: Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha) is a philosophical text attributed to Valmiki, although the real author is Vasistha. The complete text contains over 29,000 verses. The short version of the text is called Laghu Yogavasistha and contains 6,000 verses. The text is structured as a discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama. The text consists of six books. The first book presents Rama's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world. The second describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation. The third and fourth books assert that liberation comes through a spiritual life, one that requires self-effort, and present cosmology and metaphysical theories of existence embedded in stories.[3] These two books are known for emphasizing free will and human creative power. The fifth book discusses meditation and its powers in liberating the individual, while the last book describes the state of an enlightened and blissful Rama.

Yoga Vasistha teachings are structured as stories and fables, with a philosophical foundation similar to those found in Advaita Vedanta, is particularly associated with drsti-srsti subschool of Advaita which holds that the "whole world of things is the object of mind".
The text is notable for expounding the principles of Maya and Brahman, as well as the principles of non-duality, and its discussion of Yoga. The short form of the text was translated into Persian by the 15th-century.

Yoga Vasistha is famous as one of the historically popular and influential texts of Hinduism. Other names of this text are Maha-Ramayana, Arsha Ramayana, Vasiṣṭha Ramayana, Yogavasistha-Ramayana and Jnanavasistha.

-- Yoga Vasistha, by Wikipedia

he complains about the quality of the translation, which implies that he was familiar with Sanskrit. He was among a group of Persians at the Mughal court to engage with Indian thought.

Some of his most famous works are "Resâle Sanaie", "Resâleh dar kimiyâ" and "Šahre ketabe mahârat", in Persian language. He was also a poet and composed a long philosophical ode (qaṣida ḥekmiya) in imitation of and response to the Persian Ismaʿili thinker Nasir Khusraw. His best-known work is titled al-Resāla al-ṣenāʿiya, an examination of the arts and professions within an ideal society. The importance of this treatise is that it combines a number of genres and subject areas: political and ethical thought, mirrors for princes, metaphysics, and the critical subject of the classifications of the sciences.

-- Mir Fendereski, by Wikipedia

Travels in the Mughal Empire

Hearing that precious items and works of art were being purchased in India at high prices, Sarmad gathered together his wares and traveled to the Mughal Empire where he intended to sell them. In Thatta, in present day Sindh, Pakistan, one of his close disciples was a Hindu called Abhay Chand. Although there is debate on the nature of their relationship[6][7] very little is known about the life of Abhay Chand and no historical records to confirm the details of their encounter, except Sarmad's own poetry. Some scholars have argued that, while Sarmad employed Abhay Chand to translate the Torah as well as Old Testament and New Testament, it is possible that Abhay Chand converted to Islam or Judaism.[8] It is important to note that, in later years, Sarmad grew critical of all religions and took a more spiritual position, which is closer to the Sufi tradition.[9]

At some stage, he abandoned his wealth, let his hair grow, stopped clipping his nails and began to wander the city streets.[10] Although it is widely speculated that Sarmad and Abhay Chand moved to Lahore, then to Hyderabad, settling finally in Delhi, however there are no credible sources to confirm the events.

Life in Delhi

The reputation as a poet and mystic he had acquired during the time the two travelled together, caused the Mughal crown prince Dara Shikoh to invite Sarmad at his father's court. On this occasion, Sarmad so deeply impressed the royal heir that he vowed to become his disciple.

Sarmad has been witnessed by the French physician and traveler, François Bernier, who reported Sarmad as a naked faqir.[11]


Death

After the War of Succession with his brother Dara Shikoh, Aurangzeb (1658-1707) emerged victorious, killed his former adversary and ascended the imperial throne. He had Sarmad arrested and tried for heresy. Sarmad was put to death by beheading in 1661.[12][13] His grave is located near the Jama Masjid in Delhi, India.

Sarmad was accused and convicted of atheism and unorthodox religious practice.[14]

Aurangzeb ordered his Ulema to ask Sarmad why he repeated only "There is no God", and ordered him to recite the second part,"but God".[15] To that he replied that "I am still absorbed with the negative part. Why should I tell a lie?" Thus he sealed his death sentence. Ali Khan-Razi, Aurangzeb's court chronicler, was present at the execution. He relates some of the mystic's verses uttered at the execution stand: "The Mullahs say Ahmed went to heaven, Sarmad says that heaven came down to Ahmed." ... "There was an uproar and we opened our eyes from the eternal sleep. Saw that the night of wickedness endured, so we slept again."

Abul Kalam Azad on Sarmad

Abul Kalam Azad, one of the leading political personalities involved in the Indian independence movement, compared himself to Sarmad, for his freedom of thought and expression.[16]

See also

• Dabestan-e Mazaheb

References

1. Prigarina, Natalia. "SARMAD: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SUFI" (PDF). Institute of Oriental Studies, Russia. Retrieved 24 May2016.
2. For some examples of his poetry, see: Poetry Chaikhana Sarmad: Poems and Biography.
3. See mainly: Katz (2000) 148-151. But also: Sarmad the Armenian and Dara Shikoh; Khaleej Times Online - The Armenian Diaspora: History as horror and survival.
4. Fishel, Walter. "Jews and Judaism at the Court of the Mugal Emperors in Medieval India," Islamic Culture, 25:105-31.
5. Puri, Rakshat; Akhtar, Kuldip (1993). "Sarmad, The Naked Faqir". India International Centre Quarterly. 20: 65–78 – via JSTOR.
6. Sikand, Yoginder (2003). Sacred Spaces: Exploring Traditions of Shared Faith in India. Penguin Books India. ISBN 9780143029311.
7. V. N. Datta (27 November 2012), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarman, ISBN 9788129126627, Walderman Hansen doubts whether sensual passions played any part in their love [sic]; puri doubts about their homosexual relationship
8. Goshen-Gottstein, Alon (1 August 2017). The Jewish Encounter with Hinduism: History, Spirituality, Identity. Springer. ISBN 9781137455291.
9. Ridgeon, Lloyd V. J. (2008). Sufism: Hermeneutics and doctrines. Routledge. ISBN 9780415426244.
10. See the account here Archived 2009-04-18 at the Wayback Machine.
11. Bernier, Francois (1996). Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656-1668. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120611696.
12. For the motivations behind his trial as well as a detailed explanation of proceedings, see: Katz (2000) 151-153.
13. Cook 2007.
14. "Votary of freedom: Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarmad". Tribune India. 7 October 2007.
15. Najmuddin, Shahzad Z. (2005). Armenia: a Resumé: with Notes on Seth's Armenians in India. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4120-4039-6.
16. Votary of freedom - Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sarmad by V. N. Datta, Tribune India, 7 October 2007

Bibliography

• Cook, D. (2007) Martyrdom in Islam (Cambridge) ISBN 9780521850407.
• Tr. by Syeda Sayidain Hameed (1991). "The Rubaiyat of Sarmad" (PDF). Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
• Ezekial, I.A. (1966) Sarmad: Jewish Saint of India (Beas) ASIN B0006EXYM6.
• Gupta, M.G. (2000) Sarmad the Saint: Life and Works (Agra) ISBN 81-85532-32-X.
• Katz, N. (2000) The Identity of a Mystic: The Case of Sa'id Sarmad, a Jewish-Yogi-Sufi Courtier of the Mughals in: Numen 47: 142-160.
• Schimmel, A. And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration Of the Prophet In Islamic Piety (Chapel Hill & London).

External resources

• Sarmad, Mohammed Sa'id
• Majid Sheikh, Sarmad the Armenian and Dara Shikoh
• Sarmad, a mystic poet beheaded in 1661
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:07 am

Kabir
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21



In 1953, shortly after arriving in Delhi, Nehru sent Freda to Burma as the Indian representative of a UNESCO mission. For the first time in her life Freda found herself in a rich and exclusively Buddhist country. The impact was immediate and galvanic. Surrounded by hundreds of pagodas and thousands of monks roaming the streets in saffron robes, she instantly felt she had come home.

“When I set foot on that soil, the Golden Temple, the monks with their begging bowls, suddenly it was déjà vu. Without understanding anything much about Buddhism, I knew. This is The Way, this is what I have been looking for. I saw the whole thing,” she said. Freda was forty-two years old. Her long, diligent quest to find her true spiritual path was finally over. It had taken thirty-eight years, since her first days of sitting in her local church in Derby before school trying to meditate. Curiously, in spite of her remarkable effort and conscientiousness in searching and trying out the world’s great religious traditions, she had never come across Buddhism before, even though the Buddha had been born, taught, and attained enlightenment in India. His message had thrived there for over seven hundred years, until the Mughals invaded in the thirteenth century. They had swept in from the Middle East, destroying the renowned Nalanda University, hailed as the greatest center of learning in Asia, and setting fire to the largest Buddhist library in the ancient world, which allegedly burned for three months. Thousands of Buddhist monks and scholars fled into obscurity in the Himalayan kingdoms, from where Buddhism spread to the Far East and Southeast Asia. From then on, the Buddha was incorporated into the pantheon of Hindu gods and was regarded as a mythological figure.

Burma now boasted some of the most accomplished Buddhist meditation masters on the planet. Freda wasted no time seeking them out. As usual she went straight to the top.

Sayadaw U Thittila Aggamahapandita was vice president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and spoke excellent English. He agreed to teach Freda personally for eight weeks. The regime was tough and exceptionally rigorous, demanding she be aware of each detail involved in every activity – walking, eating, brushing teeth, putting on shoes, blinking. Every breath was accompanied by awareness. And then awareness itself was watched by awareness….

“I remember Sayadaw U Pandita telling me, ‘If you get a realization, or a flash, it may not be sitting on your meditation cushion in front of an image of the Buddha. It will probably be somewhere you least expect it.”

That’s precisely what happened. Freda had what she called her enlightenment experience “while I was walking with the Commission through the streets of Kyaukme, in northern Burma. Suddenly I saw the flow of things, the meaning and the connection. It was the first real flash of understanding. I can’t explain exactly what it was because it was beyond words. But it opened so many gates and showed me things I’d been trying to find for a very long time,” she explained. She revealed to a few close friends that her Damascene experience had lasted for hours and was accompanied by great bliss.

A window had been opened, a transcendental window giving a glimpse into another reality. The afterschock was dramatic. “We got a phone call back in Delhi that Mummy had collapsed and we had to bring her home from Burma immediately,” says Ranga. “Of course we had no money, so we went around to Nehru and Indira’s house and they provided the plane fare to fetch her home and an ambulance to meet her at the airport.” Continuing her tour was now out of the question.

“When she arrived, it was shocking. Mummy didn’t recognize anyone. For weeks she stayed in her bed, getting up just to go to the bathroom. That’s as far as she would go. She wouldn’t talk or register anything in the outside world. She’d eat the food put in front of her like an automaton. If you looked at her, it was like looking into a stone wall. She never saw you. It was as though she were catatonic. It was terrifying for all of us – except Papa. He didn’t seem concerned at all. He said it was all happening as it should and that it would work out all right. He was correct. After about six weeks she began to show signs of improvement. Her face became more expressive and she began to interact with us. But it took about three months before she was back to normal.”

Gradually she resumed her work and tried to get back to her old life, but she had irrevocably changed. After Burma she was going in a different direction, and nothing was going to be the same. The first to feel the impact was BPL. Their marriage of twenty years had been founded on love, intellectual compatibility, and their shared vision of an independent India. That last job had been completed. Freda knew with certainty that that phase of her life was over. Her heart and her path now belonged to the Buddha.

She calmly sat her husband down and announced, “I’ve been searching all my life, but it’s the Buddhist monks who have been able to show me what it is that I have been looking for. I am a Buddhist from now on – and I have taken a personal vow of a brahmacharya,” she said, referring to the vow of celibacy said to induce spiritual purity and enhance one’s capacity for divine happiness.

BPL took the news remarkably well....

Another reason that BPL took Freda’s news with such equanimity was that his inner life was running along parallel lines. For some time he had been following his own spiritual quest and was undergoing his own enlightenment experience. It bore all the hallmarks of his originality. “He would sit still for hours without moving. He would babble in voices we didn’t understand. He’d go up onto the roof and stand for hours with his arms outstretched toward a shrine of a Sufi saint,” said Kabir. “We called the doctor, but Papa just smiled at him. ‘What I’m going through is beyond you,’ he told him. The doctor nevertheless insisted on examining him. ‘You won’t find a pulse,’ said Papa. He was right. The astonished doctor left.

“Father started going on walks, discovering the graves of Sufi saints in the area, telling us where they were, both marked and unmarked. He started to do automatic writing. Word got out and people started coming to the house with their problems. Papa would listen, then begin writing, and eventually hand them sheets of paper with answers to their troubles on them. In time he became quite a healer and was known as Baba Bedi, the name given to a holy man.”


Having lost touch with its glorious heritage of classical scholarship, the Muslim world today is divided in squabbles between two opposing camps, who despite their respective deviations, are both attempting to usurp the right to represent orthodox Islam. The Wahhabis and Salafis are the product of a British strategy to undermine Islamic tradition and create fundamentalism. While the Sufis are their most vocal and articulate critics, rightly pointing out their corruptions, they themselves are part of a similar conspiracy, again with close ties to Western intelligence and the occult.

The New Age movement, following the teachings of a leading disciple of H. P. Blavatsky, believes that the coming of the Age of Aquarius will herald the beginning of world peace and one-world government, headed by the Maitreya, who is said to be awaited also by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, though he is known by these believers respectively as Christ, Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna or Imam Mahdi. The New Age’s expectation of the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims has been nurtured through its relationship with Sufism.

Essentially, the pretext of the occult is that in the future the world will be united in peace by eliminating all sectarianism, when the world will be brought together under a single belief system. The basis of that belief will be the occult tradition, which it is claimed has been the underlying source of all exoteric religions. As such, since at least the middle of the eighteenth century, occultists have marketed Sufism as being the origin of Freemasonry.


According to Idries Shah, the twelfth century Qadiriyya Sufi order was the origin of the Rosicrucians, the most important occult movement after the Renaissance, who later evolved into the Freemasons. As detailed in Black Terror White Soldiers, the Rosicrucians were responsible for orchestrating the advent of Sabbatai Zevi, who took the Jewish world by storm in 1666 when he declared himself their expected messiah. However, Zevi disappointed the vast majority of his followers when he subsequently converted to Islam. Nevertheless, an important segment followed him into Islam as well, and to this day consist of a powerful community of secret Jews known as Dönmeh.

The Dönmeh of Turkey maintained associations with a number of Sufi orders, like Whirling Dervishes founded by Jalal ad-Din Rumi, and the Bektashis. Strongly heretical, the Bektashi venerated Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, repudiated many of the legal rulings of Islam, and combined Kabbalistic ideas with elements of ancient Central Asian shamanism.

Through the influence of Bektashi Sufism, the Dönmeh developed the belief of Pan-Turkism, later adopted by the Young Turks, a Dönmeh and Masonic organization responsible for overthrowing the Ottoman Caliphate in 1908. Pan-Turkism begins with Alexander Csoma de Körös (1784 – 1842), the first in the West to mention mysterious Buddhist realm known as Shambhala, which he regarded as the origin of the Turkish people, and which he situated in the Altai mountains and Xinjiang.

Csoma de Körös’s mention of Shambhala became the basis of the mystical speculations offered by H. P. Blavatsky, which she regarded as the homeland of the Aryan race. Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, and came to be regarded as an oracle of Freemasonry and the godmother of the occult. Blavatsky became largely responsible for initiating the popularity of Buddhism as a font of the Ancient Wisdom. However, contrary to popular perceptions, Tibetan Buddhism is a strange amalgam of Buddhist ideas, along with Hindu Tantra and Central Asian shamanism, it was for this reason that Blavatsky regarded it as the true preservation of the traditions of magic.

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone


By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the first of the hippies and the Beat Generation were arriving in India, and many found their way to BPL’s door. “Then the house got full of really strange people. Papa always made it quite clear to all of them, however, that he was not a saint, nor was he going to behave like one. ‘I’ll smoke my cigarettes and drink my whiskey as normal – and not be bound by anyone,’ Papa said. Gradually he stopped writing automatic messages and started speaking words that he begun coming through him. At first his voice and way of talking were strange, but then the style evolved and he talked like himself,” said Kabir.....

The next event to send shock waves through the family was when Freda, for reasons of her own, sent Guli to boarding school miles away in North India. Her daughter was just five years old. It seemed not only cruel but a terrible dereliction of maternal duty, and out of character with her essentially kind, caring nature. In addition, she performed the deed in what appeared a particularly brutal way.

Guli, now a tall, sociable woman who has dedicated her life to teaching children with special needs, lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, outside Boston, Massachusetts. She recalls every detail of the traumatic event. "When Mummy told me her idea, I told her outright, 'I am not going to boarding school!' We children were all strong characters, who had been taught to speak up. She arranged everything extremely well. We often went touring, and this year Mummy took me to visit an old family friend, Auntie Mera (who had adopted thirteen children) in Naina Tal, in the foothills of Uttar Pradesh. When we got there, she asked if I wanted to see All Saints School, which was nearby and run by Christian nuns. I said yes. I remember the oak tree in the garden, which was huge, and I got very animated and chatty with the nuns. I turned around to tell Mummy something and she was gone. I was absolutely devastated. I cried for three days. The nuns, British Anglican missionaries, were so kind. They really cared for me."

Guli grew to love her school. "It turned out to be the best experience. I studied the scriptures and I know everything about the bible. I loved the hymns and the feeling of the chapel, not that I ever felt the need to become a Christian. There was never any talk about conversion!"....

Whenever she could, she traveled to Burma to continue her meditation training under his strict, watchful eye. Sometimes she took Kabir, her "special child" with her, encouraging him to shave his head and don Buddhist robes as a child monk. Secretly she hoped that one day he would be ordained. That destiny was not to be his, however.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie


Image
Kabir
Painting of Kabir weaving, c. 1825.
Born: 1398 or 1440, Varanasi, India
Died: 1448 or 1518, Maghar, India
School: Kabir panth
Main interests: Mysticism Theism Syncretism Poetry
Influences: Ramananda, Sufism, Bhakti
Influenced: Sikhism, Rabindranath Tagore

Kabir Das (IAST: Kabīr[1]) was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement and his verses are found in Sikhism's scripture Guru Granth Sahib.[2][3][4] His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda.[2] Kabir was born in the Indian city of Varanasi.

Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating followers of both were misguided by the Vedas and Quran, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively.[2][5] During his lifetime, he was threatened by both Hindus and Muslims for his views.[6]:4 When he died, both Hindus and Muslims he had inspired claimed him as theirs.[3]

Kabir suggested that Truth is with the person who is on the path of righteousness, considered all creatures on earth as his own self, and who is passively detached from the affairs of the world.[3] To know the Truth, suggested Kabir, drop the "I" or the ego.[6]:4 Kabir's legacy survives and continues through the Kabir panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognises him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. Its members are known as Kabir panthis.[7]

Early life and background

The years of Kabir's birth and death are unclear.[8][9] Some historians favour 1398–1448 as the period Kabir lived,[10][11] while others favour 1440–1518.[12][2][13]

Many legends, inconsistent in their details, exist about his birth family and early life. According to one version, Kabir was born to a Brahmin unwed mother in Varanasi, by a seedless conception and delivered through the palm of her hand,[6]:5 who then abandoned him in a basket floating in a pond, and baby Kabir was picked up and then raised by a Muslim family.[6]:4–5[2] However, modern scholarship has abandoned these legends for lack of historical evidence, and Kabir is widely accepted to have been born and brought up in a family of Muslim weavers.[6]:3–5 According to the Indologist Wendy Doniger, Kabir was born into a Muslim family and various birth legends attempt to "drag Kabir back over the line from Muslim to Hindu".[14]

Some scholars state that Kabir's parents may have been recent converts to Islam, they and Kabir were likely unaware of Islamic orthodox tradition, and are likely to have been following the Nath (Shiva Yogi) school of Hinduism. This view, while contested by other scholars, has been summarized by Charlotte Vaudeville as follows:

Circumcised or not, Kabir was officially a musalman, though it appears likely that some form of Nathism was his ancestral tradition. This alone would explain his relative ignorance of Islamic tenets, his remarkable acquaintance with Tantric-yoga practices and his lavish use of its esoteric jargon [in his poems]. He appears far more conversant with Nath-panthi basic attitudes and philosophy than with the Islamic orthodox tradition.

— Charlotte Vaudeville on Kabir (1974), [15]


Kabir is widely believed to have become one of the many disciples of the Bhakti poet-sant Swami Ramananda in Varanasi, known for devotional Vaishnavism with a strong bent to monist Advaita philosophy teaching that God was inside every person, everything.[3][16][17] Early texts about his life place him with Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism as well as the Sufi tradition of Islam.[18] According to Irfan Habib, the two manuscript versions of the Persian text Dabistan-i-Mazahib are the earliest known texts with biographical information about Kabir.[19] The Dabistan-i-Mazahib states Kabir is a "Bairagi" (Vaishnava yogi) and states he is a disciple of Ramanand (the text refers to him repeatedly as "Gang"). In addition, it states that Kabir is a monotheist and his God is "Rama".[19]

Some legends assert that Kabir never married and led a celibate's life. Most scholars conclude from historical literature that this legend is also untrue, that Kabir was likely married, his wife probably was named Loi, they had at least one son named Kamal and a daughter named Kamali.[20]

Kabir's family is believed to have lived in the locality of Kabir Chaura in Varanasi. Kabīr maṭha (कबीरमठ), a maṭha located in the back alleys of Kabir Chaura, celebrates his life and times.[21] Accompanying the property is a house named Nīrūṭīlā (नीरू टीला) which houses Niru and Nima graves.[22]

Poetry

Image
Indian postage stamp portraying Kabir, 1952

Kabir's poems were in vernacular Hindi, borrowing from various dialects including Braj and Awadhi.[23] They cover various aspects of life and call for a loving devotion for God.[24] Kabir composed his verses with simple Hindi words. Most of his work were concerned with devotion, mysticism and discipline.[25]

Where spring, the lord of seasons reigneth, there the unstruck music sounds of itself,
There the streams of light flow in all directions, few are the men who can cross to that shore!
There, where millions of Krishnas stand with hands folded,
Where millions of Vishnus bow their heads, where millions of Brahmas are reading the Vedas,
Where millions of Shivas are lost in contemplation, where millions of Indras dwell in the sky,
Where the demi-gods and the munis are unnumbered, where millions of Saraswatis, goddess of music play the vina,
There is my Lord self-revealed, and the scent of sandal and flowers dwells in those deeps.

— Kabir, II.57, Translated by Rabindranath Tagore[26]


Kabir and his followers named his verbally composed poems of wisdom as "bāņīs" (utterances). These include songs and couplets, called variously dohe, śalokā (Sanskrit: ślokā), or sākhī (Sanskrit: sākşī). The latter term means "witness", implying the poems to be evidence of the Truth.[27]

Literary works with compositions attributed to Kabir include Kabir Bijak, Kabir Parachai, Sakhi Granth, Adi Granth (Sikh), and Kabir Granthawali (Rajasthan).[28] However, except for Adi Granth, significantly different versions of these texts exist and it is unclear which one is more original; for example, Kabir Bijak exists in two major recensions.[29] The most in depth scholarly analysis of various versions and translations are credited to Charlotte Vaudeville, the 20th century French scholar on Kabir.[29]

Kabir's poems were verbally composed in the 15th century and transmitted viva voce through the 17th century. Kabir Bijak was compiled and written down for the first time in the 17th century.[30] Scholars state that this form of transmission, over geography and across generations bred change, interpolation and corruption of the poems.[30] Furthermore, whole songs were creatively fabricated and new couplets inserted by unknown authors and attributed to Kabir, not because of dishonesty but out of respect for him and the creative exuberance of anonymous oral tradition found in Indian literary works.[30] Scholars have sought to establish poetry that truly came from Kabir and its historicity value.[31]

Authenticity

Numerous poems are attributed to Kabir, but scholars now doubt the authenticity of many songs credited to him.[32]

Rabindranath Tagore's English translation and compilation One Hundred Poems of Kabir was first published in 1915, and has been a classic reprinted and widely circulated particularly in the West.[33][34] Scholars believe only six[35] of its hundred poems are authentic,[36] and they have questioned whether Tagore introduced then prevalent theological perspectives onto Kabir, as he translated poems in early 20th century that he presumed to be of Kabir's.[37] The unauthentic poems nevertheless belong to the Bhakti movement in medieval India, and may have been composed by admirers of Kabir who lived later.[33]

Philosophy

According to Linda Hess, "Some modern commentators have tried to present Kabir as a synthesizer of Hinduism and Islam; but the picture is a false one. While drawing on various traditions as he saw fit, Kabir emphatically declared his independence from both the major religions of his countrymen, vigorously attacked the follies of both, and tried to kindle the fire of a similar autonomy and courage in those who claimed to be his disciples.[38] He adopted their terminology and concepts, but vigorously criticized them both.[39][40] He questioned the need for any holy book, as stated in Kabir Granthavali as follows:

Reading book after book the whole world died,
and none ever became learned!
But understanding the root matter is what made them gain the knowledge!

— Kabir Granthavali, XXXIII.3, Translated by Charlotte Vaudeville[41]


Many scholars interpret Kabir's philosophy to be questioning the need for religion, rather than attempting to propose either Hindu-Muslim unity or an independent synthesis of a new religious tradition.[42] Kabir rejected the hypocrisy and misguided rituals evident in various religious practices of his day, including those in Islam and Hinduism.[42]

Saints I've seen both ways.
Hindus and Muslims don't want discipline, they want tasty food.
The Hindu keeps the eleventh-day fast, eating chestnuts and milk.
He curbs his grain but not his brain, and breaks his fast with meat.
The Turk [Muslim] prays daily, fasts once a year, and crows "God!, God!" like a cock.
What heaven is reserved for people who kill chickens in the dark?
Instead of kindness and compassion, they've cast out all desire.
One kills with a chop, one lets the blood drop, in both houses burns the same fire.
Turks and Hindus have one way, the guru's made it clear.
Don't say Ram, don't say Khuda [Allah], so says Kabir.

— Kabir, Śabda 10, Translated by Linda Hess and Shukdeo Singh[43]


In Bijak, Kabir mocks the practice of praying to avatars such as Buddha of Buddhism, by asserting "don't call the master Buddha, he didn't put down devils".[44][45] Kabir urged people to look within and consider all human beings as manifestation of God's living forms:

If God be within the mosque, then to whom does this world belong?
If Ram be within the image which you find upon your pilgrimage,
then who is there to know what happens without?
Hari is in the East, Allah is in the West.
Look within your heart, for there you will find both Karim and Ram;
All the men and women of the world are His living forms.
Kabir is the child of Allah and of Ram: He is my Guru, He is my Pir.

— Kabir, III.2, Translated by Rabindranath Tagore[46]


Charlotte Vaudeville states that the philosophy of Kabir and other sants of the Bhakti movement is the seeking of the Absolute. The notion of this Absolute is nirguna which, writes Vaudeville, is same as "the Upanishadic concept of the Brahman-Atman and the monistic Advaita interpretation of the Vedantic tradition, which denies any distinction between the soul [within a human being] and God, and urges man to recognize within himself his true divine nature".[47] Vaudeville notes that this philosophy of Kabir and other Bhakti sants is self-contradictory, because if God is within, then that would be a call to abolish all external bhakti. This inconsistency in Kabir's teaching may have been differentiating "union with God" from the concept of "merging into God, or Oneness in all beings". Alternatively, states Vaudeville, the saguna prema-bhakti (tender devotion) may have been prepositioned as the journey towards self-realization of the nirguna Brahman, a universality beyond monotheism.[48]

David N. Lorenzen and Adrián Muñoz trace these ideas of God in Kabir's philosophy as nirguna Brahman to those in Adi Shankara's theories on Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism, albeit with some differences.[49]

Influence of Islam

Lorenzen in his review of Kabir's philosophy and poetry writes, "the extent to which Kabir borrowed elements from Islam is controversial. Many recent scholars have argued that he simply rejected Islam and took almost all his ideas and beliefs from the Hindu tradition. Contemporary Kabir Panth sadhus make roughly the same argument. Most of the vocabulary used in his songs and verses are borrowed directly from the Hindu tradition. Nonetheless, it is hard not to see the influence of Islam in his insistence on devotion to a single God, a god Kabir most often calls Ram".[49]

Some scholars state that the sexual imagery in some of Kabir's poems reflect a mystic Sufi Islam influence, wherein Kabir inverts the traditional Sufi representation of a God-woman and devotee-man longing for a union, and instead uses the imagery of Lord-husband and devotee-bride.[50] Other scholars, in contrast, state that it is unclear if Sufi ideas influenced Bhakti sants like Kabir or it was vice versa, suggesting that they probably co-developed through mutual interaction.[51]

Kabir left Islam, states Ronald McGregor, but that does not mean Kabir adopted Hindu beliefs.[4] Kabir, nevertheless, criticized practices such as killing and eating a cow by Muslims, in a manner Hindus criticized those practices:

We have searched the turaki Dharam (Turk's religion, Islam), these teachers throw many thunderbolts,
Recklessly they display boundless pride while explaining their own aims, they kill cows.
How can they kill the mother, whose milk they drink like that of a wet nurse?
The young and the old drink milk pudding, but these fools eat the cow's body.
These morons know nothing, they wander about in ignorance,
Without looking into one's heart, how can one reach paradise?

— Kabir, Ramaini 1, Translated by David Lorenzen[52]


Persecution and social impact

Kabir's couplets suggest he was persecuted for his views, while he was alive. He stated, for example,

Saints I see the world is mad.
If I tell the truth they rush to beat me,
if I lie they trust me.

— Kabir, Shabad - 4, [53]


Kabir response to persecution and slander was to welcome it. He called the slanderer a friend, expressed gratefulness for the slander, for it brought him closer to his god.[54] Winand Callewaert translates a poem attributed to Kabir in the warrior-ascetic Dadupanthi tradition within Hinduism, as follows:[55]

Keep the slanderer near you, build him a hut in your courtyard —
For, without soap or water, he will scrub your character clean.

— Kabir, Sākhī 23.4, [55]


The legends about Kabir describe him as the underdog who nevertheless is victorious in trials by a Sultan, a Brahmin, a Qazi, a merchant, a god or a goddess. The ideological messages in the legends appealed to the poor and oppressed. According to David Lorenzen, legends about Kabir reflect a "protest against social discrimination and economic exploitation", they present the perspective of the poor and powerless, not the rich and powerful.[56] However, many scholars doubt that these legends of persecution are authentic, point to the lack of any corroborating evidence, consider it unlikely that a Muslim Sultan would take orders from Hindu Brahmins or Kabir's own mother demanded that the Sultan punish Kabir, and question the historicity of the legends on Kabir.[57]

Legacy

Kabir literature legacy was championed by two of his disciples, Bhāgodās and Dharmadās. Songs of Kabir were collected by Kshitimohan Sen from mendicants across India, these were then translated to English by Rabindranath Tagore.[58]

New English translations of Songs of Kabir is done by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. August Kleinzahler writes about this: "It is Mehrotra who has succeeded in capturing the ferocity and improvisational energy of Kabir’s poetry".[59]

Kabir's legacy continues to be carried forward by the Kabir panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognises him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. This community was founded centuries after Kabir died, in various parts of India, over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.[60] Its members, known as Kabir panthis, are estimated to be around 9.6 million.[61] They are spread over north and central India, as well as dispersed with the Indian diaspora across the world, up from 843,171 in the 1901 census.[62]

There are two temples dedicated to Kabir located in Benares. One of them is maintained by Hindus, while the other by Muslims. Both the temples practise similar forms of worship where his songs are sung daily. Other rituals of aarti and distributing prasad are similar to other Hindu temples. The followers of Kabir are vegetarians and abstain from alcohol.[63]

Kabir, Guru Nanak and the Guru Granth Sahib

Further information: Writers of Guru Granth Sahib

Kabir's verses were incorporated into Adi Granth, the scripture of Sikhism, with verses attributed to Kabir constituting the largest non-Sikh contribution.[4]

Some scholars state Kabir's ideas were one of the many influences[64][65] on Guru Nanak, who went on to found Sikhism in the fifteenth century. Other Sikh scholars disagree, stating there are differences between the views and practices of Kabir and Nanak.[60][66][67]

Harpreet Singh, quoting Hew McLeod, states, "In its earliest stage Sikhism was clearly a movement within the Hindu tradition; Nanak was raised a Hindu and eventually belonged to the Sant tradition of northern India, a movement associated with the great poet and mystic Kabir."[68] Surjit Singh Gandhi disagrees, and writes "Guru Nanak in his thought pattern as well as in action model was fundamentally different from Kabir and for that matter other radical Bhaktas or saints (saint has been erroneously used for such Bhaktas by Mcleod). Hence to consider Kabir as an influence on Guru Nanak is wrong, both historically and theologically".[66]

McLeod places Nanak in the Sant tradition that included Kabir, and states that their fundamental doctrines were reproduced by Nanak. JS Grewal contests this view and states that McLeod's approach is limiting in its scope because, "McLeod takes into account only concepts, ignores practices altogether, he concentrates on similarities and ignores all differences".[69]

Kabir's poetry today

There are several allusions to Kabir's poetry in mainstream Indian film music. The title song of the Sufi fusion band Indian Ocean's album Jhini is an energetic rendering of Kabir's famous poem "The intricately woven blanket", with influences from Indian folk, Sufi traditions and progressive rock.

Neeraj Arya's Kabir Cafe marries Kabir's couplets with contemporary music adding elements of rock, carnatic and folk. Popular renderings include Halke Gaadi Haanko, Chadariya Jhini and Chor Awega. Kabir Cafe claims that living their lives just as Kabir suggests has led to them experiencing some of these truths and it reflects in their performances.[70]

Noted classical singer, late Kumar Gandharva, is widely recognized for his wonderful rendering of Kabir's poetry.

Documentary filmmaker Shabnam Virmani, from the Kabir Project, has produced a series of documentaries and books tracing Kabir's philosophy, music and poetry in present-day India and Pakistan. The documentaries feature Indian folk singers such as Prahlad Tipanya, Mukhtiyar Ali and the Pakistani Qawwal Fareed Ayaz. Kabir festival was organized in Mumbai, India in 2017.[71][72]

The album No Stranger Here by Shubha Mudgal, Ursula Rucker draws heavily from Kabir's poetry. Kabir's poetry has appeared prominently in filmmaker Anand Gandhi's films Right Here Right Now (2003) and Continuum. Pakistani Sufi singer Abida Parveen has sung Kabir in a full album.

Criticism

Kabir has been criticised for his depiction of women. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh states, "Kabir's opinion of women is contemptuous and derogatory".[67] Wendy Doniger concludes Kabir had a misogynist bias.[67] Schomer states that for Kabir, woman is "kali nagini (a black cobra), kunda naraka ka (the pit of hell), juthani jagata ki (the refuse of the world)". According to Kabir, a woman prevents man's spiritual progress.[67]

Woman ruins everything when she comes near man;
Devotion, liberation, and divine knowledge no longer enter his soul.

— Kabir, Translated by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh[67]


In contrast to Singh's interpretation of Kabir's gender views, Dass interprets Rag Asa section of Adi Granth as Kabir asking a young married woman to stop veiling her face, and not to adopt such social habits.[73] Dass adds that Kabir's poetry can be interpreted in two ways, one literally where the woman refers to human female, another allegorically where woman is symbolism for his own soul and Rama is the Lord-husband.[74]

See also

• Films about Kabir:
o Bhakta Kabir, a 1942 Indian film
o Mahatma Kabir (film), a 1947 Indian Kannada-language film
o Mahathma Kabir, a 1962 Indian Kannada film
• Surdas
• Kālidāsa
• Tulsidas
• Poets of India

References

1. Jaroslav Strnad (2013). Morphology and Syntax of Old Hindī: Edition and Analysis of One Hundred Kabīr vānī Poems from Rājasthān. BRILL Academic. p. 10. ISBN 978-90-04-25489-3.
2. Kabir Encyclopædia Britannica (2015)Accessed: July 27, 2015
3. Hugh Tinker (1990). South Asia: A Short History. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-0-8248-1287-4. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
4. Ronald McGregor (1984), Hindi literature from its beginnings to the nineteenth century, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447024136, page 47
5. Carol Henderson Garcia; Carol E. Henderson (2002). Culture and Customs of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-313-30513-9. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
6. Hess, Linda; Shukdev Singh (2002). The Bijak of Kabir. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-8120802162.
7. David Lorenzen (Editors: Karine Schomer and W. H. McLeod, 1987), The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 978-81-208-0277-3, pages 281–302
8. Lorenzen 1991, pp. 12-18.
9. Dass 1991, p. 14.
10. Hess & Singh 2002.
11. Dass 1991, p. 5.
12. Lorenzen, David N. (2006). Who invented Hinduism?: essays on religion in history. New Dehli: Yoda Press. ISBN 8190227262.
13. Dass 1991, p. 106.
14. Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History, Oxford University Press (2010), p. 462
15. Lorenzen & Muñoz 2012, p. 31.
16. Pande, Rekha (2010). Divine Sounds from the Heart-Singing Unfettered in their Own Voices. Cambridge Scholars. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-4438-2525-2. OCLC 827209160.
17. McGregor, Ronald (1984). Hindi literature from its beginnings to the nineteenth century. Harrassowitz. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-3-447-02413-6. OCLC 11445402.
18. Rizvi, Saiyid Athar Abbas (1983). A history of Sufism in India. 2. Manoharlal. p. 412. OCLC 174667236. The author of the Dabistan-i Mazahib placed Kabir against the background of the legends of the Vaishnavite vairagis (mendicants) with whom he was identified, but a contemporary of his, Shaikh 'Abdu'r-Rahman Chisti, combined both the Bairagi and the muwwahidtraditions about Kabir in his Mir'atu'l-asrar and also made him a Firdaussiya Sufi.
19. Irfan Habib (2001). "A Fragmentary Exploration of an Indian Text on Religions and Sects: Notes on the Earlier Version of the Dabistan-i-Mazahib". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 61: 479–480. JSTOR 44148125.
20. Lorenzen, David (1991). Kabir Legends and Ananta-Das's Kabir Parachai. SUNY Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-4384-1127-9.
21. Schomer & McLeod 1987, p. 291.
22. "Jab Mein Tha Tab Hari Nahin‚ Ab". Kabirchaura.com. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
23. Scudiere, Todd. "Rare Literary Gems: The Works of Kabir and Premchand at hiCRL". South Asian Studies, Spring 2005 Vol. 24, Num. 3. Center for Research Libraries.
24. Hess & Singh 2002, pp. 4-6.
25. Sastri 2002, p. 24.
26. Tagore & Underhill 1915, p. 15, XV.
27. Kumar, Sehdev (1984). The Vision of Kabir: Love Poems of a 15th Century Weaver-sage. Alpha & Omega. p. 48.
28. Lorenzen 1991, pp. 18-19.
29. Classe, Olive (2000). Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English. A–L. Routledge. p. 746. doi:10.4324/9780203825501. ISBN 978-0-203-82550-1.
30. Classe, Olive (2000). Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English. A–L. Routledge. pp. 745–747. doi:10.4324/9780203825501. ISBN 978-0-203-82550-1.
31. Schomer & McLeod 1987, pp. 167-179.
32. Hess & Singh 2002, p. 6.
33. Schomer & McLeod 1987, pp. 167–169.
34. Tagore & Underhill 1915.
35. Schomer & McLeod 1987, p. 173: The authentic poems are poem 15, 32, 34, 35, 69 and 94.
36. Schomer & McLeod 1987, p. 172.
37. Schomer & McLeod 1987, pp. 168, 178–179.
38. Hess & Singh 2002, p. 5.
39. Hess & Singh 2002, pp. 5-6.
40. Lorenzen & Muñoz 2012, pp. 27-28.
41. Schomer & McLeod 1987, p. 23.
42. Lorenzen & Muñoz 2012, p. 35.
43. Hess & Singh 2002, p. 46.
44. Hess & Singh 2002, p. 45.
45. Doniger, Wendy (2010). The Hindus: an alternative history. Oxford University Press. p. 484. ISBN 978-0-19-959334-7. OCLC 698575971.
46. Tagore & Underhill 1915, p. 72, LXIX.
47. Schomer & McLeod 1987, pp. 26.
48. Schomer & McLeod 1987, pp. 27-33with footnotes
49. Lorenzen & Muñoz 2012, p. 48.
50. Schomer & McLeod 1987, pp. 177–178with footnote 26
51. Larson, Gerald James (1995). India's Agony Over Religion. SUNY Press. p. 116. ISBN 0791424111. OCLC 30544951.
52. Lorenzen & Muñoz 2012, p. 27.
53. Hess & Singh 2002, p. 4.
54. Das, G. N. (1996). Mystic songs of Kabir. Songs.English & Hindi.Selections. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications. p. 8. ISBN 9788170173380. OCLC 36291947.
55. Callewaert, Winand M. (1978). The Sarvāṅgī of the Dādūpanthī Rajab. Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta. 4. Oriëntalistiek Kathol. Univ. pp. 274–274. ISBN 978-90-70192-01-3. OCLC 1067271731.
56. Lorenzen 1991, pp. 5-6.
57. Lorenzen 1991, pp. 16-35.
58. "Songs of Kabir in Persian : Gutenberg: Songs of Kabir by Rabindranath Tagore".
59. "Rebirth of a Poet". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
60. Grewal, J S (2010). "WH McLeod and Sikh Studies" (PDF). Journal of Punjab Studies. 17: 119.
61. Friedlander, Peter (5 July 2010). "Ritual and reform in the Kabir Panth". Crises and Opportunities: Past, Present and Future. Proceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference of the ASAA. Asian Studies Association of Australia. ISBN 9780725811365.
62. Westcott, G. H. (2006). Kabir and the Kabir Panth. Read Books. p. 2. ISBN 1-4067-1271-X.
63. Sastri 2002, p. 33.
64. WH McLeod (2003), Exploring Sikhism: Aspects of Sikh Identity, Culture, and Thought, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195658569, pages 19–31
65. David Lorenzen (1981), Religious change and cultural domination, Colegio Mexico, ISBN 978-9681201081, pages 173–191
66. Gandhi, Surjit Singh (2008). History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1469-1606 C.E. English: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors Pvt Ltd. pp. 174 to 176. ISBN 8126908572.
67. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh (24 September 1993). The Feminine Principle in the Sikh Vision of the Transcendent. English: Cambridge University Press. pp. 114–116. ISBN 978-0521432870.
68. Pashaura Singh and Louis E. Fenech (2014), The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199699308, page 205
69. J. S. Grewal (2010), WH McLeod and Sikh Studies, Journal of Punjab Studies, Volume 17, Issue 1–2, page 119
70. [1]
71. "Kabir Festival 2017". Festivals of India.
72. "Kabir Festival Mumbai 2017". Sahapedia.org.
73. Nirmal Dass (1991), Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791405611, pages 147-148
74. Nirmal Dass (1991), Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791405611, pages 322-323

Further reading

• Bhagat Kabir Hymns in Guru Granth Sahib
• Bly, Robert (2007, Original: 1977), tr. Kabir: Ecstatic Poems. Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0807063804 (Bly writes, "my version is Rabindranath Tagore's translation rephrased into more contemporary language", see page xix)
• Das, G. N., ed. (1992). Love songs of Kabir. Foreword by K.S. Duggal. Sittingbourne: Asia. ISBN 978-0-948724-33-6.
• Dass, Nirmal (1991). Songs of Kabir from the Adi Granth. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. ISBN 0791405605.
• Dharwadker, Vinay (2003), Kabir: Weaver's Songs, Penguin Classics, ISBN 978-0143029687
• Hess, Linda; Singh, Shukdev (2002). The Bijak of Kabir. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-8120802162.
• Lorenzen, David (1991). Kabir Legends and Ananta-Das's Kabir Parachai. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-1127-9.
• Lorenzen, David N; Muñoz, Adrián (2012). Yogi Heroes and Poets: Histories and Legends of the Naths. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-3890-0. OCLC 806495567.
• Sastri, Hari Prasad (2002). "Kalidasa". The great authors and poets of India. New Delhi: Crest Publishing House. ISBN 978-8-124-20241-8.
• Schomer, Karine; McLeod, William Hewat (1987). The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India. Berkeley Religious Studies Series. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0277-3. OCLC 925707272.
• Tagore, Rabindranath; Underhill, Evelyn (1915). One hundred poems of Kabir. University of Toronto. OCLC 667616699., (see authenticity discussion above)
• Vaudeville, Charlotte (1957), Kabîr Granthâvalî : (Doha), OCLC 459472759 (French); English: Kabir, Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198265269, OCLC 32447240
• Vaudeville, Charlotte (1993), A Weaver Named Kabir: Selected Verses with a Biographical and Historical Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195630787

External links

• Works by Kabir at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Kabir at Internet Archive
• Works by Kabir at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• The Bijak of Kabir, Ahmad Shah Translation of the Entire Text (1917)
• The Ocean of Love Anurag Sagar of Kabir
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Upanishads
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Upanishads
Vyasa, the sage who, according to tradition, composed the Upanishads.
Religion: Hinduism
Language: Sanskrit

The Upanishads (/uːˈpænɪˌʃædz, uːˈpɑːnɪˌʃɑːdz/;[1] Sanskrit: उपनिषद् Upaniṣad [ˈʊpɐnɪʂɐd]) are late Vedic Sanskrit texts of religious teaching and ideas still revered in Hinduism.[2][3][note 1][note 2] They are the most recent part of the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, the Vedas, that deal with meditation, philosophy, and ontological knowledge; other parts of the Vedas deal with mantras, benedictions, rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices.[6][7][8] Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions.[9] Of all Vedic literature, the Upanishads alone are widely known, and their central ideas are at the spiritual core of Hinduism.[2][10]

The Upanishads are commonly referred to as Vedānta. Vedanta has been interpreted as the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" and alternatively as "object, the highest purpose of the Veda". [11] The concepts of Brahman (ultimate reality) and Ātman (soul, self) are central ideas in all of the Upanishads,[12][13] and "know that you are the Ātman" is their thematic focus.[13][14] Along with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra, the mukhya Upanishads (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi)[15] provide a foundation for the several later schools of Vedanta, among them, two influential monistic schools of Hinduism.[note 3][note 4][note 5]

Around 108 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads.[18][19] The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas[20] and were, for centuries, memorized by each generation and passed down orally. The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, five[note 6] of them are in all likelihood pre-Buddhist (6th century BCE),[21] stretching down to the Maurya period, which lasted from 322 to 185 BCE.[22] Of the remainder, 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE.[23][24] New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to be composed through the early modern and modern era,[25] though often dealing with subjects that are unconnected to the Vedas.[26]

With the translation of the Upanishads in the early 19th century they also started to attract attention from a Western audience. Arthur Schopenhauer was deeply impressed by the Upanishads and called it "the most profitable and elevating reading which... is possible in the world".[27] Modern era Indologists have discussed the similarities between the fundamental concepts in the Upanishads and major Western philosophers.[28][29][30]

Etymology

The Sanskrit term Upaniṣad (from upa "by" and ni-ṣad "sit down")[31] translates to "sitting down near", referring to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving spiritual knowledge.(Gurumukh)[32] Other dictionary meanings include "esoteric doctrine" and "secret doctrine". Monier-Williams' Sanskrit Dictionary notes – "According to native authorities, Upanishad means setting to rest ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the supreme spirit."[33]

Adi Shankaracharya explains in his commentary on the Kaṭha and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that the word means Ātmavidyā, that is, "knowledge of the self", or Brahmavidyā "knowledge of Brahma". The word appears in the verses of many Upanishads, such as the fourth verse of the 13th volume in first chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad. Max Müller as well as Paul Deussen translate the word Upanishad in these verses as "secret doctrine",[34][35] Robert Hume translates it as "mystic meaning",[36] while Patrick Olivelle translates it as "hidden connections".[37][38]

Development

Authorship


The authorship of most Upanishads is uncertain and unknown. Radhakrishnan states, "almost all the early literature of India was anonymous, we do not know the names of the authors of the Upanishads".[39] The ancient Upanishads are embedded in the Vedas, the oldest of Hinduism's religious scriptures, which some traditionally consider to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman"[40] and "impersonal, authorless".[41][42][43] The Vedic texts assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.[44]

The various philosophical theories in the early Upanishads have been attributed to famous sages such as Yajnavalkya, Uddalaka Aruni, Shvetaketu, Shandilya, Aitareya, Balaki, Pippalada, and Sanatkumara.[39][45] Women, such as Maitreyi and Gargi participate in the dialogues and are also credited in the early Upanishads.[46] There are some exceptions to the anonymous tradition of the Upanishads. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, for example, includes closing credits to sage Shvetashvatara, and he is considered the author of the Upanishad.[47]

Many scholars believe that early Upanishads were interpolated[48] and expanded over time. There are differences within manuscripts of the same Upanishad discovered in different parts of South Asia, differences in non-Sanskrit version of the texts that have survived, and differences within each text in terms of meter,[49] style, grammar and structure.[50][51] The existing texts are believed to be the work of many authors.[52]

Chronology

Scholars are uncertain about when the Upanishads were composed.[53] The chronology of the early Upanishads is difficult to resolve, states philosopher and Sanskritist Stephen Phillips,[18] because all opinions rest on scanty evidence and analysis of archaism, style and repetitions across texts, and are driven by assumptions about likely evolution of ideas, and presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies. Indologist Patrick Olivelle says that "in spite of claims made by some, in reality, any dating of these documents [early Upanishads] that attempts a precision closer than a few centuries is as stable as a house of cards".[21] Some scholars have tried to analyse similarities between Hindu Upanishads and Buddhist literature to establish chronology for the Upanishads.[22]

Patrick Olivelle gives the following chronology for the early Upanishads, also called the Principal Upanishads:[53][21]

• The Brhadaranyaka and the Chandogya are the two earliest Upanishads. They are edited texts, some of whose sources are much older than others. The two texts are pre-Buddhist; they may be placed in the 7th to 6th centuries BCE, give or take a century or so.[54][22]
• The three other early prose Upanisads—Taittiriya, Aitareya, and Kausitaki come next; all are probably pre-Buddhist and can be assigned to the 6th to 5th centuries BCE.[citation needed]
• The Kena is the oldest of the verse Upanisads followed by probably the Katha, Isa, Svetasvatara, and Mundaka. All these Upanisads were composed probably in the last few centuries BCE.[55]
• The two late prose Upanisads, the Prasna and the Mandukya, cannot be much older than the beginning of the common era.[53][21]

Stephen Phillips places the early Upanishads in the 800 to 300 BCE range. He summarizes the current Indological opinion to be that the Brhadaranyaka, Chandogya, Isha, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Kena, Katha, Mundaka, and Prasna Upanishads are all pre-Buddhist and pre-Jain, while Svetasvatara and Mandukya overlap with the earliest Buddhist and Jain literature.[18]

The later Upanishads, numbering about 95, also called minor Upanishads, are dated from the late 1st-millennium BCE to mid 2nd-millennium CE.[23] Gavin Flood dates many of the twenty Yoga Upanishads to be probably from the 100 BCE to 300 CE period.[24] Patrick Olivelle and other scholars date seven of the twenty Sannyasa Upanishads to likely have been complete sometime between the last centuries of the 1st-millennium BCE to 300 CE.[23] About half of the Sannyasa Upanishads were likely composed in 14th- to 15th-century CE.[23]

Geography

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Geography of the Late Vedic Period

The general area of the composition of the early Upanishads is considered as northern India. The region is bounded on the west by the upper Indus valley, on the east by lower Ganges region, on the north by the Himalayan foothills, and on the south by the Vindhya mountain range.[21] Scholars are reasonably sure that the early Upanishads were produced at the geographical center of ancient Brahmanism, comprising the regions of Kuru-Panchala and Kosala-Videha together with the areas immediately to the south and west of these.[56] This region covers modern Bihar, Nepal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, eastern Rajasthan, and northern Madhya Pradesh.[21]

While significant attempts have been made recently to identify the exact locations of the individual Upanishads, the results are tentative. Witzel identifies the center of activity in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as the area of Videha, whose king, Janaka, features prominently in the Upanishad.[57] The Chandogya Upanishad was probably composed in a more western than eastern location in the Indian subcontinent, possibly somewhere in the western region of the Kuru-Panchala country.[58]

Compared to the Principal Upanishads, the new Upanishads recorded in the Muktikā belong to an entirely different region, probably southern India, and are considerably relatively recent.[59] In the fourth chapter of the Kaushitaki Upanishad, a location named Kashi (modern Varanasi) is mentioned.[21]

Classification

Muktika canon: major and minor Upanishads

There are more than 200 known Upanishads, one of which, the Muktikā Upanishad, predates 1656 CE[60] and contains a list of 108 canonical Upanishads,[61] including itself as the last. These are further divided into Upanishads associated with Shaktism (goddess Shakti), Sannyasa (renunciation, monastic life), Shaivism (god Shiva), Vaishnavism (god Vishnu), Yoga, and Sāmānya (general, sometimes referred to as Samanya-Vedanta).[62][63]

Some of the Upanishads are categorized as "sectarian" since they present their ideas through a particular god or goddess of a specific Hindu tradition such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, or a combination of these such as the Skanda Upanishad. These traditions sought to link their texts as Vedic, by asserting their texts to be an Upanishad, thereby a Śruti.[64] Most of these sectarian Upanishads, for example the Rudrahridaya Upanishad and the Mahanarayana Upanishad, assert that all the Hindu gods and goddesses are the same, all an aspect and manifestation of Brahman, the Vedic concept for metaphysical ultimate reality before and after the creation of the Universe.[65][66]

Mukhya Upanishads

Main article: Mukhya Upanishads

The Mukhya Upanishads can be grouped into periods. Of the early periods are the Brihadaranyaka and the Chandogya, the oldest.[67][note 7]

Image
A page of Isha Upanishad manuscript

The Aitareya, Kauṣītaki and Taittirīya Upanishads may date to as early as the mid 1st millennium BCE, while the remnant date from between roughly the 4th to 1st centuries BCE, roughly contemporary with the earliest portions of the Sanskrit epics. One chronology assumes that the Aitareya, Taittiriya, Kausitaki, Mundaka, Prasna, and Katha Upanishads has Buddha's influence, and is consequently placed after the 5th century BCE, while another proposal questions this assumption and dates it independent of Buddha's date of birth. After these Principal Upanishads are typically placed the Kena, Mandukya and Isa Upanishads, but other scholars date these differently.[22] Not much is known about the authors except for those, like Yajnavalkayva and Uddalaka, mentioned in the texts.[20] A few women discussants, such as Gargi and Maitreyi, the wife of Yajnavalkayva,[69] also feature occasionally.

Each of the principal Upanishads can be associated with one of the schools of exegesis of the four Vedas (shakhas).[70] Many Shakhas are said to have existed, of which only a few remain. The new Upanishads often have little relation to the Vedic corpus and have not been cited or commented upon by any great Vedanta philosopher: their language differs from that of the classic Upanishads, being less subtle and more formalized. As a result, they are not difficult to comprehend for the modern reader.[71]

Veda-Shakha-Upanishad association

Veda / Recension / Shakha / Principal Upanishad


Rig Veda / Only one recension / Shakala / Aitareya
Sama Veda / Only one recension / Kauthuma; Jaiminiya; Ranayaniya / Chāndogya; Kena
Yajur Veda / Krishna Yajur Veda / Katha; Taittiriya; Maitrayani; Hiranyakeshi (Kapishthala); Kathaka / Kaṭha; Taittirīya
Yajur Veda / Shukla Yajur Veda / Vajasaneyi Madhyandina; Kanva Shakha; Isha and Bṛhadāraṇyaka
Atharva Veda / Two recensions / Shaunaka; Paippalada / Māṇḍūkya and Muṇḍaka; Prashna Upanishad


New Upanishads

There is no fixed list of the Upanishads as newer ones, beyond the Muktika anthology of 108 Upanishads, have continued to be discovered and composed.[72] In 1908, for example, four previously unknown Upanishads were discovered in newly found manuscripts, and these were named Bashkala, Chhagaleya, Arsheya, and Saunaka, by Friedrich Schrader,[73] who attributed them to the first prose period of the Upanishads.[74] The text of three of them, namely the Chhagaleya, Arsheya, and Saunaka, were incomplete and inconsistent, likely poorly maintained or corrupted.[74]

Ancient Upanishads have long enjoyed a revered position in Hindu traditions, and authors of numerous sectarian texts have tried to benefit from this reputation by naming their texts as Upanishads.[75] These "new Upanishads" number in the hundreds, cover diverse range of topics from physiology[76] to renunciation[77] to sectarian theories.[75] They were composed between the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE through the early modern era (~1600 CE).[75][77] While over two dozen of the minor Upanishads are dated to pre-3rd century CE,[23][24] many of these new texts under the title of "Upanishads" originated in the first half of the 2nd millennium CE,[75] they are not Vedic texts, and some do not deal with themes found in the Vedic Upanishads.[26]

The main Shakta Upanishads, for example, mostly discuss doctrinal and interpretative differences between the two principal sects of a major Tantric form of Shaktism called Shri Vidya upasana. The many extant lists of authentic Shakta Upaniṣads vary, reflecting the sect of their compilers, so that they yield no evidence of their "location" in Tantric tradition, impeding correct interpretation. The Tantra content of these texts also weaken its identity as an Upaniṣad for non-Tantrikas. Sectarian texts such as these do not enjoy status as shruti and thus the authority of the new Upanishads as scripture is not accepted in Hinduism.[78]

Association with Vedas

All Upanishads are associated with one of the four Vedas—Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda (there are two primary versions or Samhitas of the Yajurveda: Shukla Yajurveda, Krishna Yajurveda), and Atharvaveda.[79] During the modern era, the ancient Upanishads that were embedded texts in the Vedas, were detached from the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of Vedic text, compiled into separate texts and these were then gathered into anthologies of the Upanishads.[75] These lists associated each Upanishad with one of the four Vedas, many such lists exist, and these lists are inconsistent across India in terms of which Upanishads are included and how the newer Upanishads are assigned to the ancient Vedas. In south India, the collected list based on Muktika Upanishad,[note 8] and published in Telugu language, became the most common by the 19th-century and this is a list of 108 Upanishads.[75][80] In north India, a list of 52 Upanishads has been most common.[75]

The Muktikā Upanishad's list of 108 Upanishads groups the first 13 as mukhya,[81][note 9] 21 as Sāmānya Vedānta, 20 as Sannyāsa,[85] 14 as Vaishnava, 12 as Shaiva, 8 as Shakta, and 20 as Yoga.[86] The 108 Upanishads as recorded in the Muktikā are shown in the table below.[79] The mukhya Upanishads are the most important and highlighted.[83]

Image

Veda-Upanishad association

Veda / Number[79] / Mukhya[81] / Sāmānya / Sannyāsa[85] / Śākta[87] / Vaiṣṇava[88] / Śaiva[89] / Yoga[86]


Ṛigveda 10 Aitareya, Kauśītāki Ātmabodha, Mudgala Nirvāṇa Tripura, Saubhāgya-lakshmi, Bahvṛca - Akṣamālika Nādabindu
Samaveda 16 Chāndogya, Kena Vajrasūchi, Maha, Sāvitrī Āruṇi, Maitreya, Brhat-Sannyāsa, Kuṇḍika (Laghu-Sannyāsa) - Vāsudeva, Avyakta Rudrākṣa, Jābāli Yogachūḍāmaṇi, Darśana
Krishna Yajurveda 32 Taittiriya, Katha, Śvetāśvatara, Maitrāyaṇi[note 10] Sarvasāra, Śukarahasya, Skanda, Garbha, Śārīraka, Ekākṣara, Akṣi Brahma, (Laghu, Brhad) Avadhūta, Kaṭhasruti Sarasvatī-rahasya Nārāyaṇa, Kali-Saṇṭāraṇa Kaivalya, Kālāgnirudra, Dakṣiṇāmūrti, Rudrahṛdaya, Pañcabrahma Amṛtabindu, Tejobindu, Amṛtanāda, Kṣurika, Dhyānabindu, Brahmavidyā, Yogatattva, Yogaśikhā, Yogakuṇḍalini, Varāha
Shukla Yajurveda 19 Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Īśa Subala, Mantrika, Niralamba, Paingala, Adhyatma, Muktika Jābāla, Bhikṣuka, Turīyātītavadhuta, Yājñavalkya, Śāṭyāyaniya - Tārasāra - Advayatāraka, Haṃsa, Triśikhi, Maṇḍalabrāhmaṇa
Atharvaveda 31 Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍūkya, Praśna Ātmā, Sūrya, Prāṇāgnihotra[91] Āśrama, Nārada-parivrājaka, Paramahamsa, Paramahaṃsa parivrājaka, Parabrahma Sītā, Devī, Tripurātapini, Bhāvana Nṛsiṃhatāpanī, Mahānārāyaṇa (Tripād vibhuti), Rāmarahasya, Rāmatāpaṇi, Gopālatāpani, Kṛṣṇa, Hayagrīva, Dattātreya, Gāruḍa Atharvasiras,[92] Atharvaśikha, Bṛhajjābāla, Śarabha, Bhasma, Gaṇapati Śāṇḍilya, Pāśupata, Mahāvākya
Total Upanishads 108 13[note 9] 21 19 8 14 13 20


Philosophy

Main article: Vedanta

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Impact of a drop of water, a common analogy for Brahman and the Ātman

The Upanishadic age was characterized by a pluralism of worldviews. While some Upanishads have been deemed 'monistic', others, including the Katha Upanishad, are dualistic.[93] The Maitri is one of the Upanishads that inclines more toward dualism, thus grounding classical Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hinduism, in contrast to the non-dualistic Upanishads at the foundation of its Vedanta school.[94] They contain a plurality of ideas.[95][note 11]

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan states that the Upanishads have dominated Indian philosophy, religion and life ever since their appearance.[96] The Upanishads are respected not because they are considered revealed (Shruti), but because they present spiritual ideas that are inspiring.[97] The Upanishads are treatises on Brahman-knowledge, that is knowledge of Ultimate Hidden Reality, and their presentation of philosophy presumes, "it is by a strictly personal effort that one can reach the truth".[98] In the Upanishads, states Radhakrishnan, knowledge is a means to freedom, and philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom by a way of life.[99]

The Upanishads include sections on philosophical theories that have been at the foundation of Indian traditions. For example, the Chandogya Upanishad includes one of the earliest known declarations of Ahimsa (non-violence) as an ethical precept.[100][101] Discussion of other ethical premises such as Damah (temperance, self-restraint), Satya (truthfulness), Dāna (charity), Ārjava (non-hypocrisy), Daya (compassion) and others are found in the oldest Upanishads and many later Upanishads.[102][103] Similarly, the Karma doctrine is presented in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, which is the oldest Upanishad.[104]

Development of thought

While the hymns of the Vedas emphasize rituals and the Brahmanas serve as a liturgical manual for those Vedic rituals, the spirit of the Upanishads is inherently opposed to ritual.[105] The older Upanishads launch attacks of increasing intensity on the ritual. Anyone who worships a divinity other than the self is called a domestic animal of the gods in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The Chāndogya Upanishad parodies those who indulge in the acts of sacrifice by comparing them with a procession of dogs chanting Om! Let's eat. Om! Let's drink.[105]

The Kaushitaki Upanishad asserts that "external rituals such as Agnihotram offered in the morning and in the evening, must be replaced with inner Agnihotram, the ritual of introspection", and that "not rituals, but knowledge should be one's pursuit".[106] The Mundaka Upanishad declares how man has been called upon, promised benefits for, scared unto and misled into performing sacrifices, oblations and pious works.[107] Mundaka thereafter asserts this is foolish and frail, by those who encourage it and those who follow it, because it makes no difference to man's current life and after-life, it is like blind men leading the blind, it is a mark of conceit and vain knowledge, ignorant inertia like that of children, a futile useless practice.[107][108] The Maitri Upanishad states,[109]

The performance of all the sacrifices, described in the Maitrayana-Brahmana, is to lead up in the end to a knowledge of Brahman, to prepare a man for meditation. Therefore, let such man, after he has laid those fires,[110] meditate on the Self, to become complete and perfect.

— Maitri Upanishad[111][112]


The opposition to the ritual is not explicit in the oldest Upanishads. On occasions, the Upanishads extend the task of the Aranyakas by making the ritual allegorical and giving it a philosophical meaning. For example, the Brihadaranyaka interprets the practice of horse-sacrifice or ashvamedha allegorically. It states that the over-lordship of the earth may be acquired by sacrificing a horse. It then goes on to say that spiritual autonomy can only be achieved by renouncing the universe which is conceived in the image of a horse.[105]

In similar fashion, Vedic gods such as the Agni, Aditya, Indra, Rudra, Visnu, Brahma, and others become equated in the Upanishads to the supreme, immortal, and incorporeal Brahman-Atman of the Upanishads, god becomes synonymous with self, and is declared to be everywhere, inmost being of each human being and within every living creature.[113][114][115] The one reality or ekam sat of the Vedas becomes the ekam eva advitiyam or "the one and only and sans a second" in the Upanishads.[105] Brahman-Atman and self-realization develops, in the Upanishad, as the means to moksha (liberation; freedom in this life or after-life).[115][116][117]

According to Jayatilleke, the thinkers of Upanishadic texts can be grouped into two categories.[118] One group, which includes early Upanishads along with some middle and late Upanishads, were composed by metaphysicians who used rational arguments and empirical experience to formulate their speculations and philosophical premises. The second group includes many middle and later Upanishads, where their authors professed theories based on yoga and personal experiences.[118] Yoga philosophy and practice, adds Jayatilleke, is "not entirely absent in the Early Upanishads".[118]

The development of thought in these Upanishadic theories contrasted with Buddhism, since the Upanishadic inquiry fails to find an empirical correlate of the assumed Atman, but nevertheless assumes its existence,[119] "[reifying] consciousness as an eternal self."[120] The Buddhist inquiry "is satisfied with the empirical investigation which shows that no such Atman exists because there is no evidence," states Jayatilleke.[119]

Brahman and Atman

Main articles: Ātman (Hinduism) and Brahman

Two concepts that are of paramount importance in the Upanishads are Brahman and Atman.[12] The Brahman is the ultimate reality and the Atman is individual self (soul).[121][122] Brahman is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists.[123][124][125] It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes.[121][126] Brahman is "the infinite source, fabric, core and destiny of all existence, both manifested and unmanifested, the formless infinite substratum and from which the universe has grown". Brahman in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen, as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world".[127]

The word Atman means the inner self, the soul, the immortal spirit in an individual, and all living beings including animals and trees.[128][122] Ātman is a central idea in all the Upanishads, and "Know your Ātman" their thematic focus.[13] These texts state that the inmost core of every person is not the body, nor the mind, nor the ego, but Atman – "soul" or "self".[129] Atman is the spiritual essence in all creatures, their real innermost essential being.[130][131] It is eternal, it is ageless. Atman is that which one is at the deepest level of one's existence.

Atman is the predominantly discussed topic in the Upanishads, but they express two distinct, somewhat divergent themes. Younger Upanishads state that Brahman (Highest Reality, Universal Principle, Being-Consciousness-Bliss) is identical with Atman, while older upanishads state Atman is part of Brahman but not identical.[132][133] The Brahmasutra by Badarayana (~ 100 BCE) synthesized and unified these somewhat conflicting theories. According to Nakamura, the Brahman sutras see Atman and Brahman as both different and not-different, a point of view which came to be called bhedabheda in later times.[134] According to Koller, the Brahman sutras state that Atman and Brahman are different in some respects particularly during the state of ignorance, but at the deepest level and in the state of self-realization, Atman and Brahman are identical, non-different.[132] This ancient debate flowered into various dual, non-dual theories in Hinduism.

Reality and Maya

Main article: Maya (illusion)

Two different types of the non-dual Brahman-Atman are presented in the Upanishads, according to Mahadevan. The one in which the non-dual Brahman-Atman is the all-inclusive ground of the universe and another in which empirical, changing reality is an appearance (Maya).[135]

The Upanishads describe the universe, and the human experience, as an interplay of Purusha (the eternal, unchanging principles, consciousness) and Prakṛti (the temporary, changing material world, nature).[136] The former manifests itself as Ātman (soul, self), and the latter as Māyā. The Upanishads refer to the knowledge of Atman as "true knowledge" (Vidya), and the knowledge of Maya as "not true knowledge" (Avidya, Nescience, lack of awareness, lack of true knowledge).[137]

Hendrick Vroom explains, "the term Maya [in the Upanishads] has been translated as 'illusion,' but then it does not concern normal illusion. Here 'illusion' does not mean that the world is not real and simply a figment of the human imagination. Maya means that the world is not as it seems; the world that one experiences is misleading as far as its true nature is concerned."[138] According to Wendy Doniger, "to say that the universe is an illusion (māyā) is not to say that it is unreal; it is to say, instead, that it is not what it seems to be, that it is something constantly being made. Māyā not only deceives people about the things they think they know; more basically, it limits their knowledge."[139]

In the Upanishads, Māyā is the perceived changing reality and it co-exists with Brahman which is the hidden true reality.[140][141] Maya, or "illusion", is an important idea in the Upanishads, because the texts assert that in the human pursuit of blissful and liberating self-knowledge, it is Maya which obscures, confuses and distracts an individual.[142][143]

Schools of Vedanta

Main article: Vedanta

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Adi Shankara, expounder of Advaita Vedanta and commentator (bhashya) on the Upanishads

The Upanishads form one of the three main sources for all schools of Vedanta, together with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras.[144] Due to the wide variety of philosophical teachings contained in the Upanishads, various interpretations could be grounded on the Upanishads. The schools of Vedānta seek to answer questions about the relation between atman and Brahman, and the relation between Brahman and the world.[145] The schools of Vedanta are named after the relation they see between atman and Brahman:[146]

• According to Advaita Vedanta, there is no difference.[146]
• According to Vishishtadvaita the jīvātman is a part of Brahman, and hence is similar, but not identical.
• According to Dvaita, all individual souls (jīvātmans) and matter as eternal and mutually separate entities.

Other schools of Vedanta include Nimbarka's Dvaitadvaita, Vallabha's Suddhadvaita and Chaitanya's Acintya Bhedabheda.[147] The philosopher Adi Sankara has provided commentaries on 11 mukhya Upanishads.[148]

Advaita Vedanta

Advaita literally means non-duality, and it is a monistic system of thought.[149] It deals with the non-dual nature of Brahman and Atman. Advaita is considered the most influential sub-school of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy.[149] Gaudapada was the first person to expound the basic principles of the Advaita philosophy in a commentary on the conflicting statements of the Upanishads.[150] Gaudapada's Advaita ideas were further developed by Shankara (8th century CE).[151][152] King states that Gaudapada's main work, Māṇḍukya Kārikā, is infused with philosophical terminology of Buddhism, and uses Buddhist arguments and analogies.[153] King also suggests that there are clear differences between Shankara's writings and the Brahmasutra,[151][152] and many ideas of Shankara are at odds with those in the Upanishads.[154] Radhakrishnan, on the other hand, suggests that Shankara's views of Advaita were straightforward developments of the Upanishads and the Brahmasutra,[155] and many ideas of Shankara derive from the Upanishads.[156]

Shankara in his discussions of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy referred to the early Upanishads to explain the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts that Atman (soul, self) exists, whereas Buddhism asserts that there is no soul, no self.[157][158][159]

The Upanishads contain four sentences, the Mahāvākyas (Great Sayings), which were used by Shankara to establish the identity of Atman and Brahman as scriptural truth:

• "Prajñānam brahma" - "Consciousness is Brahman" (Aitareya Upanishad)[160]
• "Aham brahmāsmi" - "I am Brahman" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)[161]
• "Tat tvam asi" - "That Thou art" (Chandogya Upanishad)[162]
• "Ayamātmā brahma" - "This Atman is Brahman" (Mandukya Upanishad)[163]

Although there are a wide variety of philosophical positions propounded in the Upanishads, commentators since Adi Shankara have usually followed him in seeing idealist monism as the dominant force.[164][note 12]

Vishishtadvaita

The second school of Vedanta is the Vishishtadvaita, which was founded by Sri Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE). Sri Ramanuja disagreed with Adi Shankara and the Advaita school.[165] Visistadvaita is a synthetic philosophy bridging the monistic Advaita and theistic Dvaita systems of Vedanta.[166] Sri Ramanuja frequently cited the Upanishads, and stated that Vishishtadvaita is grounded in the Upanishads.[167][168]

Sri Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita interpretation of the Upanishad is a qualified monism.[169][170] Sri Ramanuja interprets the Upanishadic literature to be teaching a body-soul theory, states Jeaneane Fowler – a professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, where the Brahman is the dweller in all things, yet also distinct and beyond all things, as the soul, the inner controller, the immortal.[168] The Upanishads, according to the Vishishtadvaita school, teach individual souls to be of the same quality as the Brahman, but quantitatively they are distinct.[171][172][173]

In the Vishishtadvaita school, the Upanishads are interpreted to be teaching an Ishwar (Vishnu), which is the seat of all auspicious qualities, with all of the empirically perceived world as the body of God who dwells in everything.[168] The school recommends a devotion to godliness and constant remembrance of the beauty and love of personal god. This ultimately leads one to the oneness with abstract Brahman.[174][175][176] The Brahman in the Upanishads is a living reality, states Fowler, and "the Atman of all things and all beings" in Sri Ramanuja's interpretation.[168]

Dvaita

The third school of Vedanta called the Dvaita school was founded by Madhvacharya (1199–1278 CE).[177] It is regarded as a strongly theistic philosophic exposition of the Upanishads.[166] Madhvacharya, much like Adi Shankara claims for Advaita, and Sri Ramanuja claims for Vishishtadvaita, states that his theistic Dvaita Vedanta is grounded in the Upanishads.[167]

According to the Dvaita school, states Fowler, the "Upanishads that speak of the soul as Brahman, speak of resemblance and not identity".[178] Madhvacharya interprets the Upanishadic teachings of the self becoming one with Brahman, as "entering into Brahman", just like a drop enters an ocean. This to the Dvaita school implies duality and dependence, where Brahman and Atman are different realities. Brahman is a separate, independent and supreme reality in the Upanishads, Atman only resembles the Brahman in limited, inferior, dependent manner according to Madhvacharya.[178][179][180]

Sri Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita school and Shankara's Advaita school are both nondualism Vedanta schools,[174] both are premised on the assumption that all souls can hope for and achieve the state of blissful liberation; in contrast, Madhvacharya believed that some souls are eternally doomed and damned.[181][182]

Similarities with Platonic thought

See also: Proto-Indo-European religion and Ṛta

Several scholars have recognised parallels between the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato and that of the Upanishads, including their ideas on sources of knowledge, concept of justice and path to salvation, and Plato's allegory of the cave. Platonic psychology with its divisions of reason, spirit and appetite, also bears resemblance to the three gunas in the Indian philosophy of Samkhya.[183][184][note 13]

Various mechanisms for such a transmission of knowledge have been conjectured including Pythagoras traveling as far as India; Indian philosophers visiting Athens and meeting Socrates; Plato encountering the ideas when in exile in Syracuse; or, intermediated through Persia.[183][186]

However, other scholars, such as Arthur Berriedale Keith, J. Burnet and A. R. Wadia, believe that the two systems developed independently. They note that there is no historical evidence of the philosophers of the two schools meeting, and point out significant differences in the stage of development, orientation and goals of the two philosophical systems. Wadia writes that Plato's metaphysics were rooted in this life and his primary aim was to develop an ideal state.[184] In contrast, Upanishadic focus was the individual, the self (atman, soul), self-knowledge, and the means of an individual's moksha (freedom, liberation in this life or after-life).[187][14][188]

Translations

The Upanishads have been translated into various languages including Persian, Italian, Urdu, French, Latin, German, English, Dutch, Polish, Japanese, Spanish and Russian.[189] The Mughal Emperor Akbar's reign (1556–1586) saw the first translations of the Upanishads into Persian.[190][191] His great-grandson, Dara Shukoh, produced a collection called Sirr-i-Akbar in 1656, wherein 50 Upanishads were translated from Sanskrit into Persian.[192]

Anquetil Duperron, a French Orientalist received a manuscript of the Oupanekhat and translated the Persian version into French and Latin, publishing the Latin translation in two volumes in 1801–1802 as Oupneck'hat.[192][190] The French translation was never published.[193] The Latin version was the initial introduction of the Upanishadic thought to Western scholars.[194] However, according to Deussen, the Persian translators took great liberties in translating the text and at times changed the meaning.[195]

The first Sanskrit to English translation of the Aitareya Upanishad was made by Colebrooke,[196] in 1805 and the first English translation of the Kena Upanishad was made by Rammohun Roy in 1816.[197][198]

The first German translation appeared in 1832 and Roer's English version appeared in 1853. However, Max Mueller's 1879 and 1884 editions were the first systematic English treatment to include the 12 Principal Upanishads.[189] Other major translations of the Upanishads have been by Robert Ernest Hume (13 Principal Upanishads),[199] Paul Deussen (60 Upanishads),[200] Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (18 Upanishads),[201] Patrick Olivelle (32 Upanishads in two books)[202][164] and Bhānu Swami (13 Upanishads with commentaries of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas). Olivelle's translation won the 1998 A.K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation.[203]

Throughout the 1930's, Irish-poet W. B. Yeats worked with the Indian-born mendicant-teacher Shri Purohit Swami on their own translation of the Upanishads, eventually titled The Ten Principal Upanishads and published in 1938. This translation was the final piece of work published by Yeats before his death less than a year later.[204]
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Reception in the West

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German 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, impressed by the Upanishads, called the texts "the production of the highest human wisdom".

The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer read the Latin translation and praised the Upanishads in his main work, The World as Will and Representation (1819), as well as in his Parerga and Paralipomena (1851).[205] He found his own philosophy was in accord with the Upanishads, which taught that the individual is a manifestation of the one basis of reality. For Schopenhauer, that fundamentally real underlying unity is what we know in ourselves as "will". Schopenhauer used to keep a copy of the Latin Oupnekhet by his side and commented,

It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death.[206]


Another German philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, praised the ideas in the Upanishads,[207] as did others.[208] In the United States, the group known as the Transcendentalists were influenced by the German idealists. Americans, such as Emerson and Thoreau embraced Schelling's interpretation of Kant's Transcendental idealism, as well as his celebration of the romantic, exotic, mystical aspect of the Upanishads. As a result of the influence of these writers, the Upanishads gained renown in Western countries.[209]

The poet T. S. Eliot, inspired by his reading of the Upanishads, based the final portion of his famous poem The Waste Land (1922) upon one of its verses.[210] According to Eknath Easwaran, the Upanishads are snapshots of towering peaks of consciousness.[211]

Juan Mascaró, a professor at the University of Barcelona and a translator of the Upanishads, states that the Upanishads represents for the Hindu approximately what the New Testament represents for the Christian, and that the message of the Upanishads can be summarized in the words, "the kingdom of God is within you".[212]

Paul Deussen in his review of the Upanishads, states that the texts emphasize Brahman-Atman as something that can be experienced, but not defined.[213] This view of the soul and self are similar, states Deussen, to those found in the dialogues of Plato and elsewhere. The Upanishads insisted on oneness of soul, excluded all plurality, and therefore, all proximity in space, all succession in time, all interdependence as cause and effect, and all opposition as subject and object.[213] Max Müller, in his review of the Upanishads, summarizes the lack of systematic philosophy and the central theme in the Upanishads as follows,

There is not what could be called a philosophical system in these Upanishads. They are, in the true sense of the word, guesses at truth, frequently contradicting each other, yet all tending in one direction. The key-note of the old Upanishads is "know thyself," but with a much deeper meaning than that of the γνῶθι σεαυτόν of the Delphic Oracle. The "know thyself" of the Upanishads means, know thy true self, that which underlines thine Ego, and find it and know it in the highest, the eternal Self, the One without a second, which underlies the whole world.

— Max Müller[14]


See also

• Hinduism portal
• 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written
• Bhagavad Gita
• Hinduism
• Prasthanatrayi
• Mukhya Upanishads

Notes

1. The shared concepts include rebirth, samsara, karma, meditation, renunciation and moksha.[4]
2. The Upanishadic, Buddhist and Jain renunciation traditions form parallel traditions, which share some common concepts and interests. While Kuru-Panchala, at the central Ganges Plain, formed the center of the early Upanishadic tradition, Kosala-Magadha at the central Ganges Plain formed the center of the other shramanic traditions.[5]
3. Advaita Vedanta, summarized by Shankara (788–820), advances a non-dualistic (a-dvaita) interpretation of the Upanishads."[16]
4. "These Upanishadic ideas are developed into Advaita monism. Brahman's unity comes to be taken to mean that appearances of individualities.[17]
5. "The doctrine of advaita (non dualism) has its origin in the Upanishads."
6. The pre-Buddhist Upanishads are: Brihadaranyaka, Chandogya, Kaushitaki, Aitareya, and Taittiriya Upanishads.[21]
7. These are believed to pre-date Gautam Buddha (c. 500 BCE)[68]
8. The Muktika manuscript found in colonial era Calcutta is the usual default, but other recensions exist.
9. Some scholars list ten as principal, while most consider twelve or thirteen as principal mukhya Upanishads.[82][83][84]
10. Parmeshwaranand classifies Maitrayani with Samaveda, most scholars with Krishna Yajurveda[79][90]
11. Oliville: "In this Introduction I have avoided speaking of 'the philosophy of the upanishads', a common feature of most introductions to their translations. These documents were composed over several centuries and in various regions, and it is futile to try to discover a single doctrine or philosophy in them."[95]
12. According to Collins, the breakdown of the Vedic cults is more obscured by retrospective ideology than any other period in Indian history. It is commonly assumed that the dominant philosophy now became an idealist monism, the identification of atman (self) and Brahman (Spirit), and that this mysticism was believed to provide a way to transcend rebirths on the wheel of karma. This is far from an accurate picture of what we read in the Upanishads. It has become traditional to view the Upanishads through the lens of Shankara's Advaita interpretation. This imposes the philosophical revolution of about 700 C.E. upon a very different situation 1,000 to 1,500 years earlier. Shankara picked out monist and idealist themes from a much wider philosophical lineup.[154]
13. For instances of Platonic pluralism in the early Upanishads see Randall.[185]

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82. Robert C Neville (2000), Ultimate Realities, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0791447765, page 319
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90. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 217-219
91. Prāṇāgnihotra is missing in some anthologies, included by Paul Deussen (2010 Reprint), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691, page 567
92. Atharvasiras is missing in some anthologies, included by Paul Deussen (2010 Reprint), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691, page 568
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102. PV Kane, Samanya Dharma, History of Dharmasastra, Vol. 2, Part 1, page 5
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109. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 331-333
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113. Hume, Robert Ernest (1921), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pp. 428–429
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[ b] Chad Meister (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195340136, page 63; Quote: "Even though Buddhism explicitly rejected the Hindu ideas of Atman ("soul") and Brahman, Hinduism treats Sakyamuni Buddha as one of the ten avatars of Vishnu."
[c] David Lorenzen (2004), The Hindu World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415215277, pages 208-209, Quote: "Advaita and nirguni movements, on the other hand, stress an interior mysticism in which the devotee seeks to discover the identity of individual soul (atman) with the universal ground of being (brahman) or to find god within himself".
123. PT Raju (2006), Idealistic Thought of India, Routledge, ISBN 978-1406732627, page 426 and Conclusion chapter part XII
124. Mariasusai Dhavamony (2002), Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives, Rodopi Press, ISBN 978-9042015104, pages 43-44
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Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction, p. 2, at Google Books, pages 2-4
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John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120801585, page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism".
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• Deussen, Paul; Bedekar, V.M. (tr.); Palsule (tr.), G.B. (1997). Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1467-7.
• Deussen, P. (2010), The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Cosimo, ISBN 978-1-61640-239-6
• Chari, P. N. Srinivasa (1956), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (ed.), History of Philosophy Eastern and Western
• Chousalkar, Ashok (1986), Social and Political Implications of Concepts Of Justice And Dharma, Mittal Publications
• Collins, Randall (2000), The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-00187-7
• Cornille, Catherine (1992), The Guru in Indian Catholicism: Ambiguity Or Opportunity of Inculturation, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8028-0566-9
• Deussen, Paul (1908), The philosophy of the Upanishads, Alfred Shenington Geden, T. & T. Clark, ISBN 0-7661-5470-X
• Easwaran, Eknath (2007), The Upanishads, Nilgiri Press, ISBN 978-1-58638-021-2
• Eliot, T. S. (1963), Collected Poems, 1909-1962, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, ISBN 0-15-118978-1
• Encyclopædia Britannica, Advaita, retrieved 10 August 2010
• Farquhar, John Nicol (1920). An outline of the religious literature of India. H. Milford, Oxford university press. ISBN 81-208-2086-X.
• Fields, Gregory P (2001), Religious Therapeutics: Body and Health in Yoga, Āyurveda, and Tantra, SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-4916-5
• Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521438780
• Glucklich, Ariel (2008), The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-531405-2
• Heehs, Peter (2002), Indian religions: a historical reader of spiritual expression and experience, NYU Press, ISBN 978-0-8147-3650-0
• Holdrege, Barbara A. (1995), Veda and Torah, Albany: SUNY Press, ISBN 0-7914-1639-9
• Jayatilleke, K.N. (1963), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (PDF) (1st ed.), London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
• Joshi, Kireet (1994), The Veda and Indian culture: an introductory essay, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-0889-8
• Keith, Arthur Berriedale (2007). The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-81-208-0644-3.
• King, Richard (1999), Indian philosophy: an introduction to Hindu and Buddhist thought, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-87840-756-1
• King, Richard (1995), Early Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism: the Mahāyāna context of the Gauḍapādīya-kārikā, Gauḍapāda, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2513-8
• Klostermaier, Klaus K. (2007), A survey of Hinduism, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-585-04507-8
• Lanman, Charles R (1897), The Outlook, 56, Outlook Co.
• Lal, Mohan (1992), Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: sasay to zorgot, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3
• Mackenzie, Matthew (2012), "Luminosity, Subjectivity, and Temporality: An Examination of Buddhist and Advaita views of Consciousness", in Kuznetsova, Irina; Ganeri, Jonardon; Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi (eds.), Hindu and Buddhist Ideas in Dialogue: Self and No-Self, Routledge
• Mahadevan, T. M. P (1956), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (ed.), History of Philosophy Eastern and Western, George Allen & Unwin Ltd
• Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, ISBN 0-8426-0286-0, retrieved 10 August 2010
• Müller, F. Max (1899), The science of language founded on lectures delivered at the royal institution in 1861 AND 1863, ISBN 0-404-11441-5
• Müller, Friedrich Max (1900), The Upanishads Sacred books of the East The Upanishads, Friedrich Max Müller, Oxford University Press
• Nakamura, Hajime (2004), A history of early Vedānta philosophy, 2, Trevor Leggett, Motilal Banarsidass
• Patrick Olivelle (1998). The Early Upanisads. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195124354.
• Olivelle, Patrick (1992). The Samnyasa Upanisads. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195070453.
• Olivelle, Patrick (1998), Upaniṣads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0192835765
• Panikkar, Raimundo (2001), The Vedic experience: Mantramañjarī : an anthology of the Vedas for modern man and contemporary celebration, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-1280-2
• Parmeshwaranand, Swami (2000), Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Upanisads, Sarup & Sons, ISBN 978-81-7625-148-8
• Phillips, Stephen H. (1995), Classical Indian metaphysics: refutations of realism and the emergence of "new logic", Open Court Publishing, ISBN 978-81-208-1489-9, retrieved 24 October 2010
• Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press
• Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (1956), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (ed.), History of Philosophy Eastern and Western, George Allen & Unwin Ltd
• Raghavendrachar, Vidvan H. N (1956), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (ed.), History of Philosophy Eastern and Western
• Ranade, R. D. (1926), A constructive survey of Upanishadic philosophy, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
• Rinehart, Robin (2004), Robin Rinehart (ed.), Contemporary Hinduism: ritual, culture, and practice, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-57607-905-8
• Schopenhauer, Arthur; Payne, E. F.J (2000), E. F. J. Payne (ed.), Parerga and paralipomena: short philosophical essays, Volume 2 of Parerga and Paralipomena, E. F. J. Payne, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-924221-4
• Schrödinger, Erwin (1992). What is life?. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-42708-1.
• Schrader, Friedrich Otto; Adyar Library (1908), A descriptive catalogue of the Sanskrit manuscripts in the Adyar Library, Oriental Pub. Co
• Sen, Sris Chandra (1937), "Vedic literature and Upanishads", The Mystic Philosophy of the Upanishads, General Printers & Publishers
• Sharma, B. N. Krishnamurti (2000). A history of the Dvaita school of Vedānta and its literature: from the earliest beginnings to our own times. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-81-208-1575-9.
• Sharma, Shubhra (1985), Life in the Upanishads, Abhinav Publications, ISBN 978-81-7017-202-4
• Singh, N.K (2002), Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Anmol Publications PVT. LTD, ISBN 978-81-7488-168-7
• Slater, Thomas Ebenezer (1897), Studies in the Upanishads ATLA monograph preservation program, Christian Literature Society for India
• Smith, Huston (1995). The Illustrated World's Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions. New York: Labyrinth Publishing. ISBN 0-06-067453-9.
• Tripathy, Preeti (2010), Indian religions: tradition, history and culture, Axis Publications, ISBN 978-93-80376-17-2
• Urwick, Edward Johns (1920), The message of Plato: a re-interpretation of the "Republic", Methuen & co. ltd, ISBN 9781136231162
• Varghese, Alexander P (2008), India : History, Religion, Vision And Contribution To The World, Volume 1, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, ISBN 978-81-269-0903-2
• Versluis, Arthur (1993), American transcendentalism and Asian religions, Oxford University Press US, ISBN 978-0-19-507658-5
• Wadia, A.R. (1956), "Socrates, Plato and Aristotle", in Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (ed.), History of Philosophy Eastern and Western, vol. II, George Allen & Unwin Ltd
• Raju, P. T. (1992), The Philosophical Traditions of India, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited

Further reading

• Edgerton, Franklin (1965). The Beginnings of Indian Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
• Embree, Ainslie T. (1966). The Hindu Tradition. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-71702-3.
• Hume, Robert Ernest. The Thirteen Principal Upanishads. Oxford University Press.
• Johnston, Charles (1898). From the Upanishads. Kshetra Books (Reprinted in 2014). ISBN 9781495946530.
• Müller, Max, translator, The Upaniṣads, Part I, New York: Dover Publications (Reprinted in 1962), ISBN 0-486-20992-X
• Müller, Max, translator, The Upaniṣads, Part II, New York: Dover Publications (Reprinted in 1962), ISBN 0-486-20993-8
• Radhakrishnan, Sarvapalli (1953). The Principal Upanishads. New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers India (Reprinted in 1994). ISBN 81-7223-124-5.

External links

• Complete set of 108 Upanishads, Manuscripts with the commentary of Brahma-Yogin, Adyar Library
• Upanishads, Sanskrit documents in various formats
• The Upaniṣads article in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
• The Theory of 'Soul' in the Upanishads, T. W. Rhys Davids (1899)
• Spinozistic Substance and Upanishadic Self: A Comparative Study, M. S. Modak (1931)
• W. B. Yeats and the Upanishads, A. Davenport (1952)
• The Concept of Self in the Upanishads: An Alternative Interpretation, D. C. Mathur (1972)
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Krista Purana
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/24/21

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Krista Purana
The third edition of the Krista Purana (1654)
Author: Fr. Thomas Stephans (1549-1619)
Country: India
Language: in a mix of Marathi-Konkani
Subject: Christianity
Publisher: College of Rachol, Goa
Publication date: 1616
Media type: manuscript
Preceded by: Krista Purana (first edition) in 1616
Followed by: Doutrina Christam em Lingoa Bramana Canarim

Krista Purana (/ˈkɾist̪ə puˈɾaːɳə/; Devanagari: क्रिस्त पुराण, "The Christian Puranas") is an epic poem on the life of Jesus Christ written in a mix of Marathi and Konkani by Fr.Thomas Stephens, S.J. (1549–1619). Adopting the literary form of the Hindu puranas, it retells the entire story of mankind from the creation days to the time of Jesus, in lyrical verse form. The Christian Puranas – 11,000 stanzas of 4 verses – were very popular in the churches of the area where they were sung on special occasions up to the 1930s. Although no copy of the original edition has yet been discovered, it is believed to have been published at Rachol (Raitur) in 1616 (while the author was still living), 1649, and 1654.

Editions

1. Discurso sobre a vinda do Jesu-Christo Nosso Salvador ao mundo, dividido em dous Tratados, pelo Padre Thomaz Estevão, Inglez, da Companhia de Jesu. Impresso em Rachol com licencia da Santa Inquisicão, e Ordinario no Collegio de Todos os Santos da Companhia de Jesu Anno 1616.[1] First edition, Rachol [Raitur], Goa, 1616. [Roman script.] The title with all its details is taken from the ‘Licence,’ which itself is found not in the MS collated by J.L. Saldanha, but in J.H. da Cunha Rivara’s Introduction to his edition of Stephens, Grammatica da Lingua Concani, 1857,[2] Imprimatur 22 June 1615. "From the Censures and Licences annexed it seems to have originally been written in Portuguese and then translated into the vernacular in which we now find it. The translation appears to have been completed in 1614,[3] and printed for the first time, in 1616, as declared in the descriptive title in Portuguese first given to the book."[4] No copy has been traced to date.
2. Puranna. Second edition, 1649. [Roman script.] "A second edition, taken in hand in 1646 under the auspices of the aforementioned Fr[ei] Gaspar de S. Miguel, who, with some other ecclesiastics, completed a revision of the work on 20 February 1649, appears to have been published in the latter year under the title of the Puránna, in place of the original Portuguese designation borne by the first edition…. It is not known where the second edition was printed."[5] The Drago edition, however, indicates (see front matter) that it was printed at Raitur, Goa, 1649. No copy has been traced to date.
3. Puránna. Em Goa com licenca da Santa Inquisicao e Ordinario no Collegio de S. Paolo novo de Companhia de Jesu. Anno de 1654. Third edition, Old Goa [according to Drago], 1654. [Roman script.] Licences by Rev. Fr Lucas da Cruz and another, dt. 2 January 1653 and 22 June 1654. No copy has been traced to date. See, however, the MS preserved in the Central Library, Panjim, listed below, which claims to be a copy of this third, 1654, edition. (The photo alongside is of this MS.)
4. The Christian Puránna of Father Thomas Stephens of the Society of Jesus: A Work of the 17th Century: Reproduced from manuscript copies and edited with a biographical note, an introduction, an English synopsis of contents and vocabulary. [Roman script.] 4th edition, by Joseph L. Saldanha. Bolar, Mangalore: Simon Alvares, 1907. Pp. xci+597. [Copies available at XB; St Pius X Seminary, Goregaon, Mumbai.]
5. Phādara Stīphanskṛta Khristapurāṇa: Paile va Dusare. 5th edition, by Shantaram P. Bandelu. First [printed edition in] Devanagari script. Poona: Prasad Prakashan, 1956. Pp. iv+(15)+(96)+1076. [Copies available at De Nobili College, Pune; United Theological College, Bangalore.]
6. Kristapurāṇa. 6th edition, by Caridade Drago, SJ. Second [printed edition in] Devanagari script. Pp. li+907. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, 1996. [Copies available at Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr, Alto Porvorim, Goa; Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik.]
7. Phādara Thomas Stīphanskṛta Khristapurāṇa: Purāṇa 1 va 2: Sudhārita ani vistārita sampurṇa avṛtti hastalikhita Mārsden Marāṭhi padya pratitīla śloka, Marāṭhi bhāṣāntara; vistṛta sandarbha, parisiste va granthasuchi. Ed. and tr. Nelson Falcao, SDB. Bangalore: Kristu Jyoti Publications, 2009.
8. "Christa Purana" (Konkani Translation). Edited and Translated by Suresh G. Amonkar. Goa: Directorate of Art and Culture, 2017.

Manuscripts

In Goa


At least five MS of the Khristapurana have been located to date in Goa:

1. The Goa Central Library MS: Discurso sobre a vinda de Jesu Christo Nosso Salvador ao Mundo dividido em dous tratados feito pelo Padre Thomas Estevão Ingrez da Companhia de Jesus. Impresso em Goa com licenca das Inquisicão, e Ordinario no Collegio de S. Paulo novo de Companhia de Jesu. Anno de 1654, Escripto por Manoel Salvador Rebello, Natural de Margão no Anno 1767. (CL)
2. The Pilar MS, at the Museum of the Pilar Monastery, Pilar, Goa. (P)
3. The M.C. Saldanha MS at the Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr, Alto Porvorim, Goa (TSKK-1). Whether this M.C. Saldanha is the same as the well-known professor Mariano Saldanha of Ucassaim, Goa, is yet to be established. But from the fact that the MS has been bound in Kodailbail, Mangalore, it is highly probable that this is one of the 5 MS used by J.L. Saldanha in the preparation of his 1907 edition of the Khristapurana.[6]
4. Another MS at the Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK-2).
5. The Bhaugun Kamat Vagh MS in the Pissurlencar Collection at the Goa University Library (BKV).

Apart from CL, the MS are not dated. The chronology will therefore have to be established from internal evidence, taking into account the terminology (Romanized or Sanskritized), the number of cantos and strophes, the interpolations, the Praise of Marathi (missing in the Marsden MS), the chapter on the Miracle at Cana (missing in the Marsden MS), etc. This will also help us move closer to establishing whether or not the Sanskritized M was the ‘original’ text of the Khristapurana.

In the United Kingdom

1. The Adi or First Puran + The Deva Puran. [Devanagari manuscripts.] Marsden Collection Manuscripts. London: School of Oriental and African Studies. N.d.[7]

The manuscripts had belonged to the library of William Marsden who, Abbot says, ‘a century ago’ had made a large collection of coins and Oriental books when in India, many of the latter having been obtained from the Archives in Goa (which Archives, Abbot does not say). The library was given by Marsden to the Kings College, London, in 1853, but in 1916 came into the possession of the School of Oriental Studies. The catalogue contained only a few Marathi items. Abbot reports two, with entries made by Mr Marsden as follows: "The Adi or First Puran, a Christian work in the Mahratta language and Nagari character appearing to contain an exposition of the Old Testament." "The Deva Puran, or Divine History, a Christian work in the Mahratta language and Nagari character appearing to contain an exposition of the New Testament or History of Christ." The manuscript is in two volumes differing in handwriting. The Deva Puran is a copy of an older copy. The MS end in the usual form of an Indian Puran, Iti Mahapurane, or Iti Deva-Purane, which the Mangalore text does not do.[8]

Abbott claims that this is a copy of Thomas Stephens’ original text. Bandelu feels that there is not enough evidence for Abbott’s claim. Falcao follows Abbott without really arguing his case. Strangely, while admitting that the Marsden MS is a MS and not an ‘edition,’ he still lists it as the 7th edition, coming after Drago, without giving any supporting reasons.[9]

Fr H. Staffner obtained a microfilm of M and made 2 copies. One is in the Jaykar Library of the Pune University. The other is in Snehasadan, Pune.[10] It would seem, however, that there is another microfilm of the same in the Mumbai Marathi Sansodhan Mandala, Mumbai, though D does not specify that this is M.[11] Falcao (2003) follows Drago, but specifies that this microfilm is indeed of the Marsden MS.[12]

In Mangalore

1. Manuscript, Kannada script. Carmelite Monastery, Kulshekara, Mangalore. See Fr Santhamayor.
2. St Aloysius College, Mangalore.

Doctoral theses

• Quadra, Benedetta. "Il P. Tommaso Stephens, S.I. e il suo Purana Cristiano". Rome: Università degli Studi di Roma, 1943. [Falcao 2003 215. Untraceable.]
• Malshe, S.G. "Stīphansacyā Kristapurāṇācā Bhāśika āṇi Vāṅmayīna Abhyāsa". Doctoral dissertation. Unpublished. Mumbai: University of Bombay, 1961. [Falcao 2003 215.]
• Falcao, Nelson. "Kristapurana: A Christian-Hindu Encounter: A Study of Inculturation in the Kristapurana of Thomas Stephens, SJ (1549-1619)". Published under the same title at Pune: Snehasadan / Anand: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2003
• Royson, Annie Rachel. "Texts and Traditions in Seventeenth Century Goa: Reading Cultural Translation, Sacredness, and Transformation in the Kristapurāṇa of Thomas Stephens S.J.". Doctoral Thesis. Gandhinagar: Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, 2018.

See also

• Puranas
• Translations of the Bible in Indian languages

Bibliography

• Falcao, Nelson. Kristapurāṇa, a Christian-Hindu encounter: a study of inculturation in the Kristapurāṇa of Thomas Stephens, S.J. (1549-1619). Anand: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2003. ISBN 81-87886-72-2.
• Coelho, Ivo. "Thomas Stephens’ Khristapurāṇa: A New Edition and Translation by Nelson Falcao, SDB." Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education 20/3 (2009) 473-482.
• Coelho, Ivo. "Review Article: A Significant Publication." [Review of Phādara Thomasa Stīphanskṛta Khristapurāṇa, ed. and tr. Nelson Falcao (Bangalore: Kristu Jyoti Publications, 2009.] Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection 74/4 (April 2010) 307-314.
• See also Indian Christian Writings: A Bibliography

References

1. J.L. Saldanha, The Christian Puránna of Father Thomas Stephens of the Society of Jesus: A Work of the 17th Century: Reproduced from manuscript copies and edited with a biographical note, an introduction, an English synopsis of contents and vocabulary, ed. Joseph L. Saldanha (Bolar, Mangalore: Simon Alvares, 1907) xxxix.
2. [J.L. Saldanha xli, note 2. Cunha Rivara’s "Ensaio" does contain the censures and licences, in Portuguese; however, he states clearly that he was working from MS, and that he had not found any copy of the first three printed editions: see "Ensaio" 1957 cxix.
3. J.L. Saldanha xxxix, note 1: see stanzas 119-120, Canto 59, Dussarem Puránna.
4. J.L. Saldanha xxxix.
5. J.L. Saldanha xxxix.
6. J.L. Saldanha, "Editor's Preface" iii.
7. Falcao 2003, 213.
8. See "Mr. Justin E. Abbot’s Letter to ‘The Times of India’." Parisista 3: B 946-949. See also J.E. Abbott, "The Discovery of the Original Devanagari Text of the Christian Purana of Thomas Stevens," BSOS 2 (1921-23) 679-683.
9. Falcao 2003 20.
10. Drago, "Abhara," ix.
11. See Drago 905.
12. Falcao 2003 213.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 2

Puranas
by Wikipedia
Accessed 2/24/21

[N]either the Vedas, the Upanishads, nor the Purans, profess to be historical compositions; and the ascribing this character to the latter, in particular, is a most erroneous opinion, for, with the exception of the genealogies of the princes of the solar and lunar races, the Purans contain nothing which has the slightest semblance of history ... It is true that each Puran contains a description of the division of time according to the Hindu system; but the chronology of no event is fixed more precisely than by referring it generally to such a Kalpa, or Manvantara, or Yug, as the particular year is never mentioned. The attempting, therefore, to extract either chronology or history from such data, must be an operation attended with equal success as the extraction of sunbeams from cucumbers by the sages of Laputa" -- Vans Kennedy 1831: 130.

-- Frederick Eden Pargiter: Excerpt from The Puranas, by Ludo Rocher


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Purana Manuscripts from 15th- to 18th-century

The word Purana (/pʊˈrɑːnə/; Sanskrit: पुराण, purāṇa) literally means "ancient, old",[1] and it is a vast genre of Indian literature about a wide range of topics, particularly legends and other traditional lore.[2] The Puranas are known for the intricate layers of symbolism depicted within their stories. Composed primarily in Sanskrit, but also in Tamil and other Indian languages,[3][4] several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and Shakti.[5][6] The Puranic genre of literature is found in both Hinduism and Jainism.[3]

The Puranic literature is encyclopedic,[1] and it includes diverse topics such as cosmogony, cosmology, genealogies of gods, goddesses, kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, folk tales, pilgrimages, temples, medicine, astronomy, grammar, mineralogy, humor, love stories, as well as theology and philosophy.[2][4][5] The content is highly inconsistent across the Puranas, and each Purana has survived in numerous manuscripts which are themselves inconsistent.[3] The Hindu Puranas are anonymous texts and likely the work of many authors over the centuries; in contrast, most Jaina Puranas can be dated and their authors assigned.[3]

There are 1 Maha Purana, 17 Mukhya Puranas (Major Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas),[7] with over 400,000 verses.[2] The first version of various Puranas were likely to be composed between 3rd- and 10th-century CE.[8] The Puranas do not enjoy the authority of a scripture in Hinduism,[7] but are considered as Smritis.[9]

They have been influential in the Hindu culture, inspiring major national and regional annual festivals of Hinduism.[10] Their role and value as sectarian religious texts and historical texts has been controversial because all Puranas praise many gods and goddesses and "their sectarianism is far less clear cut" than assumed, states Ludo Rocher.[11] The religious practices included in them are considered Vaidika (congruent with Vedic literature), because they do not preach initiation into Tantra.[12] The Bhagavata Purana has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre, and is, in the opinion of some, of non-dualistic tenor.[13][14] But, the dualistic school of Shriman Madhvacharya has a rich and strong tradition of dualistic interpretation of the Bhagavata, starting from the Bhagavata Taatparya Nirnaya of the Acharya himself and later, commentaries on the commentary. The Chaitanya school also rejects outright any monistic interpretation of the purana. The Puranic literature wove with the Bhakti movement in India, and both Dvaita and Advaita scholars have commented on the underlying Vedantic themes in the Maha Puranas.[15]

Etymology

Douglas Harper states that the etymological origins of Puranas are from Sanskrit Puranah, literally "ancient, former," from pura "formerly, before," cognate with Greek paros "before," pro "before," Avestan paro "before," Old English fore, from Proto-Indo-European *pre-, from *per-."[16]

Origin

Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata, is hagiographically credited as the compiler of the Puranas. The ancient tradition suggests that originally there was but one Purana. Vishnu Purana (3.6.15) mentions that Vyasa entrusted his Puranasamhita to his disciple Lomaharshana, who in turn imparted it to his disciples,[note 1] three of whom compiled their own samhitas. These three, together with Lomaharshana's, comprise the Mulasamhita, from which the later eighteen Puranas were derived.[17][18]

The term Purana appears in the Vedic texts. For example, Atharva Veda mentions Purana (in the singular) in XI.7.24 and XV.6.10-11:[19]

"The rk and saman verses, the chandas, the Purana along with the Yajus formulae, all sprang from the remainder of the sacrificial food, (as also) the gods that resort to heaven. He changed his place and went over to great direction, and Itihasa and Purana, gathas, verses in praise of heroes followed in going over."

— Atharva Veda XV.6.10-11, [20]


Similarly, the Shatapatha Brahmana (XI.5.6.8) mentions Itihasapuranam (as one compound word) and recommends that on the 9th day of Pariplava, the hotr priest should narrate some Purana because "the Purana is the Veda, this it is" (XIII.4.3.13). However, states P.V. Kane, it is not certain whether these texts suggested several works or single work with the term Purana.[21] The late Vedic text Taittiriya Aranyaka (II.10) uses the term in the plural. Therefore, states Kane, that in the later Vedic period at least, the Puranas referred to three or more texts, and that they were studied and recited[21] In numerous passages the Mahabharata mentions 'Purana' in both singular and plural forms. Moreover, it is not unlikely that, where the singular 'Puranam' was employed in the texts, a class of works was meant.[21] Further, despite the mention of the term Purana or Puranas in the Vedic texts, there is uncertainty about the contents of them until the composition of the oldest Dharmashastra Apastamba Dharmasutra and Gautama Dharmasutra, that mention Puranas resembling with the extant Puranas.[21]

Another early mention of the term 'Itihas-purana' is found in the Chandogya Upanishad (7.1.2), translated by Patrick Olivelle as "the corpus of histories and ancient tales as the fifth Veda".[22][23][note 2] The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad also refers to purana as the "fifth Veda".[25]

According to Thomas Coburn, Puranas and early extra-puranic texts attest to two traditions regarding their origin, one proclaiming a divine origin as the breath of the Great Being, the other as a human named Vyasa as the arranger of already existing material into eighteen Puranas. In the early references, states Coburn, the term Purana occurs in singular unlike the later era which refers to a plural form presumably because they had assumed their "multifarious form". While both these traditions disagree on the origins of the Puranas, they affirm that extant Puranas are not identical with the original Purana.[18]

According to the Indologists J. A. B. van Buitenen and Cornelia Dimmitt, the Puranas that have survived into the modern era are ancient but represent "an amalgam of two somewhat different but never entirely different separate oral literatures: the Brahmin tradition stemming from the reciters of the Vedas, and the bardic poetry recited by Sutas that was handed down in Kshatriya circles".[26] The original Puranas comes from the priestly roots while the later genealogies have the warrior and epic roots. These texts were collected for the "second time between the fourth and sixth centuries CE under the rule of the Gupta kings", a period of Hindu renaissance.[27] However, the editing and expansion of the Puranas did not stop after the Gupta era, and the texts continued to "grow for another five hundred or a thousand years" and these were preserved by priests who maintained Hindu pilgrimage sites and temples.[27] The core of Itihasa-Puranas, states Klaus Klostermaier, may possibly go back to the seventh century BCE or even earlier.[28]

It is not possible to set a specific date for any Purana as a whole, states Ludo Rocher. He points out that even for the better established and more coherent puranas such as Bhagavata and Vishnu, the dates proposed by scholars continue to vary widely and endlessly.[17] The date of the production of the written texts does not define the date of origin of the Puranas.[29] They existed in an oral form before being written down.[29] In the 19th century, F. E. Pargiter believed the "original Purana" may date to the time of the final redaction of the Vedas.[30] Wendy Doniger, based on her study of indologists, assigns approximate dates to the various Puranas. She dates Markandeya Purana to c. 250 CE (with one portion dated to c. 550 CE), Matsya Purana to c. 250–500 CE, Vayu Purana to c. 350 CE, Harivamsa and Vishnu Purana to c. 450 CE, Brahmanda Purana to c. 350–950 CE, Vamana Purana to c. 450–900 CE, Kurma Purana to c. 550–850 CE, and Linga Purana to c. 600–1000 CE.[8]

Texts

Mahapuranas


Of the many texts designated 'Puranas' the most important are the Mahāpurāṇas or the major Puranas.[7] These are said to be eighteen in number, divided into three groups of six, though they are not always counted in the same way.In the Vishnu Puran Part 3 Section 6(21-24) the list of Mahapuranas is mentioned .The Bhagavat Puran mentions the number of verses in each puran in 12.13(4-9)

S.No. / Purana Name / Verses number / Comments

1 Brahma 10,000 verses Sometimes also called Adi Purana, because many Mahapuranas lists put it first of 18.[31] The text has 245 chapters, shares many passages with Vishnu, Vayu, Markendeya Puranas, and with the Mahabharata. Includes mythology, theory of war, art work in temples, and other cultural topics. Describes holy places in Odisha, and weaves themes of Vishnu and Shiva, but hardly any mention of deity Brahma despite the title.[31]
2 Padma 55,000 verses A large compilation of diverse topics, it escribes cosmology, the world and nature of life from the perspective of Vishnu. It also discusses festivals, numerous legends, geography of rivers and regions from northwest India to Bengal to the kingdom of Tripura, major sages of India, various Avatars of Vishnu and his cooperation with Shiva, a story of Rama-Sita that is different from the Hindu epic Ramayana.[32] The north Indian manuscripts of Padma Purana are very different from south Indian versions, and the various recensions in both groups in different languages (Devanagari and Bengali, for example) show major inconsistencies.[33] Like the Skanda Purana, it is a detailed treatise on travel and pilgrimage centers in India.[32][34]
3 Vishnu 23,000 verses One of the most studied and circulated Puranas, it also contains genealogical details of various dynasties.[35] Better preserved after the 17th century, but exists in inconsistent versions, more ancient pre-15th century versions are very different from modern versions, with some versions discussing Buddhism and Jainism. Some chapters likely composed in Kashmir and Punjab region of South Asia. A Vaishnavism text, focused on Vishnu.[36]
4 Shiva 24,000 verses Discusses Shiva, and stories about him.
5 Bhagavata 18,000 verses The most studied and popular of the Puranas,[13][37] telling of Vishnu's Avatars, and of Vaishnavism. It contains genealogical details of various dynasties.[35] Numerous inconsistent versions of this text and historical manuscripts exist, in many Indian languages.[38] Influential and elaborated during Bhakti movement.[39]
6 Narada 25,000 verses Also called Naradiya Purana. Discusses the four Vedas and the six Vedangas. Dedicates one chapter each, from Chapters 92 to 109, to summarize the other 17 Maha Puranas and itself. Lists major rivers of India and places of pilgrimage, and a short tour guide for each. Includes discussion of various philosophies, soteriology, planets, astronomy, myths and characteristics of major deities including Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi and others.[40]
7 Markandeya 9,000 verses Describes Vindhya Range and western India. Probably composed in the valleys of Narmada and Tapti rivers, in Maharashtra and Gujarat.[41] Named after sage Markandeya, a student of Brahma. Contains chapters on dharma and on Hindu epic Mahabharata.[42] The Purana includes Devi Mahatmyam of Shaktism.
8 Agni 15,400 verses Contains encyclopedic information. Includes geography of Mithila (Bihar and neighboring states), cultural history, politics, education system, iconography, taxation theories, organization of army, theories on proper causes for war, diplomacy, local laws, building public projects, water distribution methods, trees and plants, medicine, Vastu Shastra (architecture), gemology, grammar, metrics, poetry, food, rituals and numerous other topics.[43]
9 Bhavishya 14,500 verses The Bhavishya Purana (Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, lit. "Future Purana") is one of the eighteen major works in the Purana genre of Hinduism, written in Sanskrit.The title Bhavishya means "future" and implies it is a work that contains prophecies regarding the future, however, the "prophecy" parts of the extant manuscripts are a modern era addition and hence not an integral part of the Bhavishya Purana.Those sections of the surviving manuscripts that are dated to be older, are partly borrowed from other Indian texts such as Brihat Samhita and Shamba Purana.
10 Brahmavaivarta 18,000 verses It is related by Savarni to Narada, and centres around the greatness of Krishna and Radha. In this, the story of Brahma-varaha is repeatedly told.[44] Notable for asserting that Krishna is the supreme reality and the gods Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma are incarnations of him.[45] Mentions geography and rivers such as Ganga to Kaveri.
11 Linga 11,000 verses Discusses Lingam, symbol of Shiva, and origin of the universe as per Shaivism. It also contains many stories of Lingam, one of which entails how Agni Lingam solved a dispute between Vishnu and Brahma.
12 Varaha 24,000 verses Primarily Vishnu-related worship manual, with large Mahatmya sections or travel guide to Mathura and Nepal.[46] Presentation focuses on Varaha as incarnation of Narayana, but rarely uses the terms Krishna or Vasudeva.[46] Many illustrations also involve Shiva and Durga.[47]
13 Skanda 81,100 verses Describes the birth of Skanda (or Karthikeya), son of Shiva. The longest Purana, it is an extraordinarily meticulous pilgrimage guide, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India, with related legends, parables, hymns and stories. Many untraced quotes are attributed to this text.[48]
14 Vamana 10,000 verses Describes North India, particularly Himalayan foothills region.
15 Kurma 17,000 verses Contains a combination of Vishnu and Shiva related legends, mythology, Tirtha (pilgrimage) and theology
16 Matsya 14,000 verses An encyclopedia of diverse topics.[49] Narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of Vishnu. Likely composed in west India, by people aware of geographical details of the Narmada river. Includes legends about Brahma and Saraswati.[50] It also contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.[35]
17 Garuda 19,000 verses An encyclopedia of diverse topics.[49] Primarily about Vishnu, but praises all gods. Describes how Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma collaborate. Many chapters are a dialogue between Vishnu and the bird-vehicle Garuda. Cosmology, Describes cosmology, relationship between gods. Discusses ethics, what are crimes, good versus evil, various schools of Hindu philosophies, the theory of Yoga, the theory of "heaven and hell" with "karma and rebirth", includes Upanishadic discussion of self-knowledge as a means of moksha.[51] Includes chapters on rivers, geography of Bharat (India) and other nations on earth, types of minerals and stones, testing methods for stones for their quality, various diseases and their symptoms, various medicines, aphrodisiacs, prophylactics, Hindu calendar and its basis, astronomy, moon, planets, astrology, architecture, building home, essential features of a temple, rites of passage, virtues such as compassion, charity and gift making, economy, thrift, duties of a king, politics, state officials and their roles and how to appointment them, genre of literature, rules of grammar, and other topics.[51] The final chapters discuss how to practice Yoga (Samkhya and Advaita types), personal development and the benefits of self-knowledge.[51]
18 Brahmanda 12,000 verses One of the earliest composed Puranas, it contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.[35] Includes Lalita Sahasranamam, law codes, system of governance, administration, diplomacy, trade, ethics. Old manuscripts of Brahmanda Purana have been found in the Hindu literature collections of Bali, Indonesia.[52][49]


The Mahapuranas have also been classified based on a specific deity, although the texts are mixed and revere all gods and goddesses:

Brāhma:[33] Brahma Purana, Padma Purana
Surya:[33] Brahma Vaivarta Purana[note 3]
Agni:[33] Agni Purana[note 4]
Śaiva:[33] Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Varaha Purana,[note 5][note 6] Vāmana Purana,[note 5] Kūrma Purana,[note 5] Mārkandeya Purana,[note 7] , Brahmānda Purana
Vaiṣṇava:[33] Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Nāradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Vayu Purana, Varaha Purana[note 6]Matsya Purana, Bhavishya Purana[note 5]
Śakta: Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Markandeya Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Purana


All major Puranas contain sections on Devi (goddesses) and Tantra; the six most significant of these are: Markandeya Purana, Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Agni Purana and Padma Purana.[57]

Upapurana

Image
The Goddess Durga Leading the Eight Matrikas in Battle Against the Demon Raktabija, Folio from Devi Mahatmyam, Markandeya Purana.

Main article: Upapurana

The difference between Upapuranas and Mahapuranas has been explained by Rajendra Hazra as, "a Mahapurana is well known, and that what is less well known becomes an Upapurana".[58] Rocher states that the distinction between Mahapurana and Upapurana is ahistorical, there is little corroborating evidence that either were more or less known, and that "the term Mahapurana occurs rarely in Purana literature, and is probably of late origin."[59]

The Upapuranas are eighteen in number, with disagreement as to which canonical titles belong in that list of eighteen. They include among many: Sanat-kumara, Narasimha, Brihan-naradiya, Siva-rahasya, Durvasa, Kapila, Vamana, Bhargava, Varuna, Kalika, Samba, Nandi, Surya, Parasara, Vasishtha, Ganesha, Mudgala, and Hamsa, with only a few having been critically edited.[60][61]

The Ganesha and Mudgala Puranas are devoted to Ganesha.[62][63]

Sthala Puranas

This corpus of texts tells of the origins and traditions of particular Tamil Shiva temples or shrines. There are numerous Sthala Puranas, most written in vernaculars, some with Sanskrit versions as well. The 275 Shiva Sthalams of the continent have puranas for each, famously glorified in the Tamil literature Tevaram. Some appear in Sanskrit versions in the Mahapuranas or Upapuranas. Some Tamil Sthala Puranas have been researched by David Dean Shulman.[64]

Skanda Purana

The Skanda Purana is the largest Purana with 81,000 verses,[65] named after deity Skanda, the son of Shiva and Uma, and brother of deity Ganesha.[66] The mythological part of the text weaves the stories of Shiva and Vishnu, along with Parvati, Rama, Krishna and other major gods in the Hindu pantheon.[65] In Chapter 1.8, it declares,

Vishnu is nobody but Shiva, and he who is called Shiva is but identical with Vishnu.

— Skanda Purana, 1.8.20-21[67][68]


The Skanda Purana has received renewed scholarly interest ever since the late 20th-century discovery of a Nepalese Skanda Purana manuscript dated to be from the early 9th century. This discovery established that Skanda Purana existed by the 9th century. However, a comparison shows that the 9th-century document is entirely different from versions of Skanda Purana that have been circulating in South Asia since the colonial era.[69]

Content

Image
The Puranas include cosmos creation myths such as the Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean). It is represented in the Angkor Wat temple complex of Cambodia, and at Bangkok airport, Thailand (above).

Several Puranas, such as the Matsya Purana,[70] list "five characteristics" or "five signs" of a Purana.[2] These are called the Pancha Lakshana ( pañcalakṣaṇa), and are topics covered by a Purana:[2][71][72]

1. Sarga: cosmogony
2. Pratisarga: cosmogony and cosmology[73]
3. Vamśa: genealogy of the gods, sages and kings[74]
4. Manvañtara: cosmic cycles,[75] history of the world during the time of one patriarch
5. Vamśānucaritam: legends during the times of various kings.

A few Puranas, such as the most popular Bhagavata Purana, add five more characteristics to expand this list to ten:[76]

6. Utaya: karmic links between the deities, sages, kings and the various living beings
7. Ishanukatha: tales about a god
8. Nirodha: finale, cessation
9. Mukti: moksha, spiritual liberation
10. Ashraya: refuge

These five or ten sections weave in biographies, myths, geography, medicine, astronomy, Hindu temples, pilgrimage to distant real places, rites of passage, charity, ethics,[77] duties, rights, dharma, divine intervention in cosmic and human affairs, love stories,[78] festivals, theosophy and philosophy.[2][4][5] The Puranas link gods to men, both generally and in religious bhakti context.[76] Here the Puranic literature follows a general pattern. It starts with introduction, a future devotee is described as ignorant about the god yet curious, the devotee learns about the god and this begins the spiritual realization, the text then describes instances of God's grace which begins to persuade and convert the devotee, the devotee then shows devotion which is rewarded by the god, the reward is appreciated by the devotee and in return performs actions to express further devotion.[76]

The Puranas, states Flood, document the rise of the theistic traditions such as those based on Vishnu, Shiva and the goddess Devi and include respective mythology, pilgrimage to holy places, rituals and genealogies.[79] The bulk of these texts in Flood's view were established by 500 CE, in the Gupta era though amendments were made later. Along with inconsistencies, common ideas are found throughout the corpus but it is not possible to trace the lines of influence of one Purana upon another so the corpus is best viewed as a synchronous whole.[80] An example of similar stories woven across the Puranas, but in different versions, include the lingabhava – the "apparition of the linga". The story features Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the three major deities of Hinduism, who get together, debate, and after various versions of the story, in the end the glory of Shiva is established by the apparition of linga. This story, state Bonnefoy, and Doniger, appears in Vayu Purana 1.55, Brahmanda Purana 1.26, Shiva Purana's Rudra Samhita Sristi Khanda 15, Skanda Purana's chapters 1.3, 1.16 and 3.1, and other Puranas.[81]

The texts are in Sanskrit as well as regional languages,[3][4] and almost entirely in narrative metric couplets.[1]

Symbolism and layers of meaning

The texts use ideas, concepts and even names that are symbolic.[81] The words can interpreted literally, and at an axiological level.[82] The Vishnu Purana, for example, recites a myth where the names of the characters are loaded with symbolism and axiological significance. The myth is as follows,

The progeny of Dharma by the daughters of Daksha were as follows: by Sraddhá (devotion) he had Kama (desire); by Lakshmí (wealth, prosperity), was born Darpa (pride); by Dhriti (courage), the progeny was Niyama (precept); by Tusht́i (inner comfort), Santosha (contentment); by Pusht́i (opulence), the progeny was Lobha (cupidity, greed); by Medhá (wisdom, experience), Sruta (sacred tradition); by Kriyá (hard work, labour), the progeny were Dańd́a, Naya, and Vinaya (justice, politics, and education); by Buddhi (intellect), Bodha (understanding); by Lajjá (shame, humility), Vinaya (good behaviour); by Vapu (body, strength), Vyavasaya (perseverance). Shanti (peace) gave birth to Kshama (forgiveness); Siddhi (excellence) to Sukha (enjoyment); and Kírtti (glorious speech) gave birth to Yasha (reputation). These were the sons of Dharma; one of whom, Kama (love, emotional fulfillment) had baby Hersha (joy) by his wife Nandi (delight).

The wife of Adharma (vice, wrong, evil) was Hinsá (violence), on whom he begot a son Anrita (falsehood), and a daughter Nikriti (immorality): they intermarried, and had two sons, Bhaya (fear) and Naraka (hell); and twins to them, two daughters, Máyá (deceit) and Vedaná (torture), who became their wives. The son of Bhaya (fear) and Máyá (deceit) was the destroyer of living creatures, or Mrityu (death); and Dukha (pain) was the offspring of Naraka (hell) and Vedaná (torture). The children of Mrityu were Vyádhi (disease), Jará (decay), Soka (sorrow), Trishńa (greediness), and Krodha (wrath). These are all called the inflictors of misery, and are characterised as the progeny of Vice (Adharma). They are all without wives, without posterity, without the faculty to procreate; they perpetually operate as causes of the destruction of this world. On the contrary, Daksha and the other Rishis, the elders of mankind, tend perpetually to influence its renovation: whilst the Manus and their sons, the heroes endowed with mighty power, and treading in the path of truth, as constantly contribute to its preservation.

— Vishnu Purana, Chapter 7, Translated by Horace Hayman Wilson[83]


Puranas as a complement to the Vedas

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The mythology in the Puranas has inspired many reliefs and sculptures found in Hindu temples.[84] The legend behind the Krishna and Gopis relief above is described in the Bhagavata Purana.[85]

The relation of the Puranas with Vedas has been debated by scholars, some holding that there's no relationship, others contending that they are identical.[86] The Puranic literature, stated Max Muller, is independent, has changed often over its history, and has little relation to the Vedic age or the Vedic literature.[87] In contrast, Purana literature is evidently intended to serve as a complement to the Vedas, states Vans Kennedy.[5]

Some scholars such as Govinda Das suggest that the Puranas claim a link to the Vedas but in name only, not in substance. The link is purely a mechanical one.[87] Scholars such as Viman Chandra Bhattacharya and PV Kane state that the Puranas are a continuation and development of the Vedas.[88] Sudhakar Malaviya and VG Rahurkar state the connection is closer in that the Puranas are companion texts to help understand and interpret the Vedas.[88][89] K.S. Ramaswami Sastri and Manilal N. Dvivedi reflect the third view which states that Puranas enable us to know the "true import of the ethos, philosophy, and religion of the Vedas".[90]

Barbara Holdrege questions the fifth Veda status of Itihasas (the Hindu epics) and Puranas.[91][note 8] The Puranas, states V.S. Agrawala, intend to "explicate, interpret, adapt" the metaphysical truths in the Vedas.[18] In the general opinion, states Rocher, "the Puranas cannot be divorced from the Vedas" though scholars provide different interpretations of the link between the two.[88] Scholars have given the Bhagavata Purana as an example of the links and continuity of the Vedic content such as providing an interpretation of the Gayatri mantra.[88]

Puranas as encyclopedias

The Puranas, states Kees Bolle, are best seen as "vast, often encyclopedic" works from ancient and medieval India.[93] Some of them, such as the Agni Purana and Matsya Purana, cover all sorts of subjects, dealing with – states Rocher – "anything and everything", from fiction to facts, from practical recipes to abstract philosophy, from geographic Mahatmyas (travel guides)[94] to cosmetics, from festivals to astronomy.[4][95] Like encyclopedias, they were updated to remain current with their times, by a process called Upabrimhana.[96] However, some of the 36 major and minor Puranas are more focused handbooks, such as the Skanda Purana, Padma Purana and Bhavishya Purana which deal primarily with Tirtha Mahatmyas (pilgrimage travel guides),[94] while Vayu Purana and Brahmanda Purana focus more on history, mythology and legends.[97]

Puranas as religious texts

The colonial era scholars of Puranas studied them primarily as religious texts, with Vans Kennedy declaring in 1837, that any other use of these documents would be disappointing.[98] John Zephaniah Holwell, who from 1732 onwards spent 30 years in India and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1767, described the Puranas as "18 books of divine words".[99] British officials and researchers such as Holwell, states Urs App, were orientalist scholars who introduced a distorted picture of Indian literature and Puranas as "sacred scriptures of India" in 1767. Holwell, states Urs App, "presented it as the opinion of knowledgeable Indians; But it is abundantly clear that no knowledgeable Indian would ever have said anything remotely similar".[99]

Modern scholarship doubts this 19th-century premise.[100] Ludo Rocher, for example, states,

I want to stress the fact that it would be irresponsible and highly misleading to speak of or pretend to describe the religion of the Puranas.

— Ludo Rocher, The Puranas[98]


The study of Puranas as a religious text remains a controversial subject.[101] Some Indologists, in colonial tradition of scholarship, treat the Puranic texts as scriptures or useful source of religious contents.[102] Other scholars, such as Ronald Inden, consider this approach "essentialist and antihistorical" because the Purana texts changed often over time and over distance, and the underlying presumption of they being religious texts is that those changes are "Hinduism expressed by a religious leader or philosopher", or "expressiveness of Hindu mind", or "society at large", when the texts and passages are literary works and "individual geniuses of their authors".[103]
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Jainism

The Jaina Puranas are like Hindu Puranas encyclopedic epics in style, and are considered as anuyogas (expositions), but they are not considered Jain Agamas and do not have scripture or quasi-canonical status in Jainism tradition.[3] They are best described, states John Cort, as post-scripture literary corpus based upon themes found in Jain scriptures.[3]

Sectarian, pluralistic or monotheistic theme

Scholars have debated whether the Puranas should be categorized as sectarian, or non-partisan, or monotheistic religious texts.[11][104] Different Puranas describe a number of stories where Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva compete for supremacy.[104] In some Puranas, such as Devi Bhagavata, the Goddess Devi joins the competition and ascends for the position of being Supreme. Further, most Puranas emphasize legends around one who is either Shiva, or Vishnu, or Devi.[11] The texts thus appear to be sectarian. However, states Edwin Bryant, while these legends sometimes appear to be partisan, they are merely acknowledging the obvious question of whether one or the other is more important, more powerful. In the final analysis, all Puranas weave their legends to celebrate pluralism, and accept the other two and all gods in Hindu pantheon as personalized form but equivalent essence of the Ultimate Reality called Brahman.[105][106] The Puranas are not spiritually partisan, states Bryant, but "accept and indeed extol the transcendent and absolute nature of the other, and of the Goddess Devi too".[104]

[The Puranic text] merely affirm that the other deity is to be considered a derivative manifestation of their respective deity, or in the case of Devi, the Shakti, or power of the male divinity. The term monotheism, if applied to the Puranic tradition, needs to be understood in the context of a supreme being, whether understood as Vishnu, Shiva or Devi, who can manifest himself or herself as other supreme beings.

— Edwin Bryant, Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana[104]


Ludo Rocher, in his review of Puranas as sectarian texts, states, "even though the Puranas contain sectarian materials, their sectarianism should not be interpreted as exclusivism in favor of one god to the detriment of all others".[107]

Puranas as historical texts

Despite the diversity and wealth of manuscripts from ancient and medieval India that have survived into the modern times, there is a paucity of historical data in them.[35] Neither the author name nor the year of their composition were recorded or preserved, over the centuries, as the documents were copied from one generation to another. This paucity tempted 19th-century scholars to use the Puranas as a source of chronological and historical information about India or Hinduism.[35] This effort was, after some effort, either summarily rejected by some scholars, or become controversial, because the Puranas include fables and fiction, and the information within and across the Puranas was found to be inconsistent.[35]

In early 20th-century, some regional records were found to be more consistent, such as for the Hindu dynasties in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh. Basham, as well as Kosambi, have questioned whether lack of inconsistency is sufficient proof of reliability and historicity.[35] More recent scholarship has attempted to, with limited success, states Ludo Rocher, use the Puranas for historical information in combination with independent corroborating evidence, such as "epigraphy, archaeology, Buddhist literature, Jaina literature, non-Puranic literature, Islamic records, and records preserved outside India by travelers to or from India in medieval times such as in China, Myanmar and Indonesia".[108][109]

Manuscripts

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An 11th-century Nepalese palm-leaf manuscript in Sanskrit of Devimahatmya (Markandeya Purana).

The study of Puranas manuscripts has been challenging because they are highly inconsistent.[110][111] This is true for all Mahapuranas and Upapuranas.[110] Most editions of Puranas, in use particularly by Western scholars, are "based on one manuscript or on a few manuscripts selected at random", even though divergent manuscripts with the same title exist. Scholars have long acknowledged the existence of Purana manuscripts that "seem to differ much from printed edition", and it is unclear which one is accurate, and whether conclusions drawn from the randomly or cherrypicked printed version were universal over geography or time.[110] This problem is most severe with Purana manuscripts of the same title, but in regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and others which have largely been ignored.[110]

Modern scholarship noticed all these facts. It recognized that the extent of the genuine Agni Purana was not the same at all times and in all places, and that it varied with the difference in time and locality. (...) This shows that the text of the Devi Purana was not the same everywhere but differed considerably in different provinces. Yet, one failed to draw the logical conclusion: besides the version or versions of Puranas that appear in our [surviving] manuscripts, and fewer still in our [printed] editions, there have been numerous other versions, under the same titles, but which either have remained unnoticed or have been irreparably lost.

— Ludo Rocher, The Puranas[58][112]


Chronology

Newly discovered Puranas manuscripts from the medieval centuries has attracted scholarly attention and the conclusion that the Puranic literature has gone through slow redaction and text corruption over time, as well as sudden deletion of numerous chapters and its replacement with new content to an extent that the currently circulating Puranas are entirely different from those that existed before 11th century, or 16th century.[113]

For example, a newly discovered palm-leaf manuscript of Skanda Purana in Nepal has been dated to be from 810 CE, but is entirely different from versions of Skanda Purana that have been circulating in South Asia since the colonial era.[69][113] Further discoveries of four more manuscripts, each different, suggest that document has gone through major redactions twice, first likely before the 12th century, and the second very large change sometime in the 15th-16th century for unknown reasons.[114] The different versions of manuscripts of Skanda Purana suggest that "minor" redactions, interpolations and corruption of the ideas in the text over time.[114]

Rocher states that the date of the composition of each Purana remains a contested issue.[115][116] Dimmitt and van Buitenen state that each of the Puranas manuscripts is encyclopedic in style, and it is difficult to ascertain when, where, why and by whom these were written:[117]


As they exist today, the Puranas are a stratified literature. Each titled work consists of material that has grown by numerous accretions in successive historical eras. Thus no Purana has a single date of composition. (...) It is as if they were libraries to which new volumes have been continuously added, not necessarily at the end of the shelf, but randomly.

— Cornelia Dimmitt and J.A.B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas[117]


Forgeries

Many of the extant manuscripts were written on palm leaf or copied during the British India colonial era, some in the 19th century.[118][119] The scholarship on various Puranas, has suffered from frequent forgeries, states Ludo Rocher, where liberties in the transmission of Puranas were normal and those who copied older manuscripts replaced words or added new content to fit the theory that the colonial scholars were keen on publishing.[118][119]

Translations

Horace Hayman Wilson published one of the earliest English translations of one version of the Vishnu Purana in 1840.[120] The same manuscript, and Wilson's translation, was reinterpreted by Manmatha Nath Dutt, and published in 1896.[121] The All India Kashiraj Trust has published editions of the Puranas.[122]

Maridas Poullé (Mariyadas Pillai) published a French translation from a Tamil version of the Bhagavata Purana in 1788, and this was widely distributed in Europe becoming an introduction to the 18th-century Hindu culture and Hinduism to many Europeans during the colonial era. Poullé republished a different translation of the same text as Le Bhagavata in 1795, from Pondicherry.[123] A copy of Poullé translation is preserved in Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Influence

Image
The Puranas have had a large cultural impact on Hindus, from festivals to diverse arts. Bharata natyam (above) is inspired in part by Bhagavata Purana.[124]

The most significant influence of the Puranas genre of Indian literature have been state scholars and particularly Indian scholars,[125] in "culture synthesis", in weaving and integrating the diverse beliefs from ritualistic rites of passage to Vedantic philosophy, from fictional legends to factual history, from individual introspective yoga to social celebratory festivals, from temples to pilgrimage, from one god to another, from goddesses to tantra, from the old to the new.[126] These have been dynamic open texts, composed socially, over time. This, states Greg Bailey, may have allowed the Hindu culture to "preserve the old while constantly coming to terms with the new", and "if they are anything, they are records of cultural adaptation and transformation" over the last 2,000 years.[125]

The Puranic literature, suggests Khanna, influenced "acculturation and accommodation" of a diversity of people, with different languages and from different economic classes, across different kingdoms and traditions, catalyzing the syncretic "cultural mosaic of Hinduism".[127] They helped influence cultural pluralism in India, and are a literary record thereof.[127]

Om Prakash states the Puranas served as efficient medium for cultural exchange and popular education in ancient and medieval India.[128] These texts adopted, explained and integrated regional deities such as Pashupata in Vayu Purana, Sattva in Vishnu Purana, Dattatreya in Markendeya Purana, Bhojakas in Bhavishya Purana.[128] Further, states Prakash, they dedicated chapters to "secular subjects such as poetics, dramaturgy, grammar, lexicography, astronomy, war, politics, architecture, geography and medicine as in Agni Purana, perfumery and lapidary arts in Garuda Purana, painting, sculpture and other arts in Vishnudharmottara Purana".[128]

Indian Arts

The cultural influence of the Puranas extended to Indian classical arts, such as songs, dance culture such as Bharata Natyam in south India[124] and Rasa Lila in northeast India,[129] plays and recitations.[130]

Festivals

The myths, lunar calendar schedule, rituals and celebrations of major Hindu cultural festivities such as Holi, Diwali and Durga Puja are in the Puranic literature.[131][132]

Notes

1. Six disciples: Sumati, Agnivarchaha, Mitrayu, Shamshapyana, Akritaverna and Savarni
2. The early Buddhist text (Sutta Nipata 3.7 describes the meeting between the Buddha and Sela. It has been translated by Mills and Sujato as, "(...) the brahmin Sela was visiting Āpaṇa. He was an expert in the three Vedas, with the etymologies, the rituals, the phonology and word analysis, and fifthly the legendary histories".[24]
3. This text underwent a near complete rewrite in or after 15th/16th century CE, and almost all extant manuscripts are Vaishnava (Krishna) bhakti oriented.[53]
4. Like all Puranas, this text underwent extensive revisions and rewrite in its history; the extant manuscripts are predominantly an encyclopedia, and so secular in its discussions of gods and goddesses that scholars have classified as Smartism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Shaivism Purana.[54]
5. This text is named after a Vishnu avatar, but extant manuscripts praise all gods and goddesses equally with some versions focusing more on Shiva.[55]
6. Hazra includes this in Vaishnava category.[46]
7. This text includes the famous Devi-Mahatmya, one of the most important Goddess-related text of the Shaktism tradition in Hinduism.[56]
8. There are only four Vedas in Hinduism. Several texts have been claimed to have the status of the Fifth Veda in the Hindu tradition. For example, the Natya Shastra, a Sanskrit text on the performing arts, is also so claimed.[92]

References

Citations


1. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature (1995 Edition), Article on Puranas, ISBN 0-877790426, page 915
2. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, pages 437-439
3. John Cort (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts (Editor: Wendy Doniger), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791413821, pages 185-204
4. Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-1570034497, page 139
5. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, p.16, 12-21
6. 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.
7. Cornelia Dimmitt (2015), Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas, Temple University Press, ISBN 978-8120839724, page xii, 4
8. Collins, Charles Dillard (1988). The Iconography and Ritual of Śiva at Elephanta. SUNY Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-88706-773-0.
9. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, page 503
10. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 12-13, 134-156, 203-210
11. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 21-24, 104-113, 115-126
12. Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, page xxxix
13. 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.
14. Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, page xli
15. BN Krishnamurti Sharma (2008), A History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta and Its Literature, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815759, pages 128-131
16. Douglas Harper (2015), Purana, Etymology Dictionary
17. Ludo Rocher (1986). The Purāṇas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-3-447-02522-5.
18. Thomas B. Coburn (1988). Devī-Māhātmya: The Crystallization of the Goddess Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 23–27. ISBN 978-81-208-0557-6.
19. P. V. Kane. History of Dharmasastra (Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India), Vol.5.2, 1st edition, 1962. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. pp. 816–821.
20. Kane, P. V. "History of Dharmasastra (Ancient and mediaeval Religious and Civil Law), v.5.2, 1st edition, 1962 : P. V. Kane". p. 816.
21. P. V. Kane. History of Dharmasastra (Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India), Vol.5.2, 1st edition, 1962. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. pp. 816–817.
22. Patrick Olivelle (1998). The Early Upanishads: Annotated Text and Translation. Oxford University Press. p. 259. ISBN 978-0-19-535242-9.
23. Thomas Colburn (2002), Devī-māhātmya: The Crystallization of the Goddess Tradition, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120805576, page 24-25
24. Sutta Nipata 3.7, To Sela and his Praise of the Buddha, Laurence Mills and Bhikkhu Sujato
25. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad 2.4.10, 4.1.2, 4.5.11. Satapatha Brahmana (SBE, Vol. 44, pp. 98, 369). Moghe 1997, pp. 160,249
26. Dimmitt & van Buitenen 2012, p. 7.
27. Dimmitt & van Buitenen 2012, pp. 7-8, context: 4-13.
28. Klaus K. Klostermaier (5 July 2007). A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition. SUNY Press. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-7914-7082-4.
29. Johnson 2009, p. 247
30. Pargiter 1962, pp. 30–54.
31. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 154-156
32. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 209-215
33. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 59-61
34. Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470824, pages 281-283 with footnotes on page 553
35. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 115-121 with footnotes
36. Lochtefeld, James G. (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z, The Rosen Publishing Group, p. 760, ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4
37. Monier-Williams 1899, p. 752, column 3, under the entry Bhagavata.
38. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 139-149
39. Hardy 2001
40. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 202-203
41. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 70-71
42. RC Hazra (1987), Studies in the Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120804227, pages 8-11
43. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 134-137
44. John Dowson (2000). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature. Psychology Press. pp. 62–. ISBN 978-0-415-24521-0.
45. Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-02522-5.
46. RC Hazra (1940), Studies in the Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs, Motilal Banarsidass (1987 Reprint), ISBN 978-8120804227, pages 96-97
47. Wilson, Horace H. (1864), The Vishṅu Purāṅa: a system of Hindu mythology and tradition Volume 1 of 4, Trübner, p. LXXI
48. Doniger 1993, pp. 59–83
49. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, page 78-79
50. Catherine Ludvik (2007), Sarasvatī, Riverine Goddess of Knowledge, BRILL, ISBN 978-9004158146, pages 139-141
51. MN Dutt, The Garuda Purana Calcutta (1908)
52. H Hinzler (1993), Balinese palm-leaf manuscripts Archived 1 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine, In: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Landen Volkenkunde, Manuscripts of Indonesia 149 (1993), No 3, Leiden: BRILL, page 442
53. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 161-164
54. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 20-22, 134-137
55. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 35, 185, 199, 239-242
56. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 191-192
57. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 113-114, 153-154, 161, 167-169, 171-174, 182-187, 190-194, 210, 225-227, 242
58. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, page 63
59. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, page 68
60. R. C. Hazra, Studies in the Upapuranas, vol. I, Calcutta, Sanskrit College, 1958. Studies in the Upapuranas, vol. II, Calcutta, Sanskrit College, 1979. Studies in Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs, Delhi, Banarsidass, 1975. Ludo Rocher, The Puranas – A History of Indian Literature Vol. II, fasc. 3, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1986.
61. Verbal Narratives: Performance and Gender of the Padma Purana, by T.N. Sankaranarayana in Kaushal 2001, pp. 225–234
62. Thapan 1997, p. 304
63. "Purana at Gurjari". Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
64. Shulman 1980
65. Stephen Knapp (2005), The Heart of Hinduism, ISBN 978-0595350759, pages 44-45
66. Yves Bonnefoy and Wendy Doniger (1993), Asian Mythologies, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226064567, pages 92-95
67. Gregor Maehle (2009), Ashtanga Yoga, New World, ISBN 978-1577316695, page 17
68. Skanda Purana Shankara Samhita Part 1, Verses 1.8.20-21 (Sanskrit)
69. R Andriaensen et al (1994), Towards a critical edition of the Skandapurana, Indo-Iranian Journal, Vol. 37, pages 325-331
70. Matsya Purana 53.65
71. Rao 1993, pp. 85–100
72. Johnson 2009, p. 248
73. Jonathan Edelmann (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Editors: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey), Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 48-62
74. Vayu Purana 1. 31-2.
75. RC Hazra (1987), Studies in the Puranic Records on Hindu Rites and Customs, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120804227, page 4
76. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, pages 440-443
77. Gopal Gupta (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Editors: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey), Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 63-75
78. Graham Schweig (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Editors: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey), Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 117-132
79. Flood 1996, pp. 104-110.
80. Flood 1996, pp. 109–112
81. Yves Bonnefoy and Wendy Doniger (1993), Asian Mythologies, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226064567, pages 38-39
82. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 130-132
83. Vishnu Purana Chapter 7
84. Sara Schastok (1997), The Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India, BRILL, ISBN 978-9004069411, pages 77-79, 88
85. Edwin Bryant (2007), Krishna : A Sourcebook: A Sourcebook, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195148923, pages 111-119
86. Patton, Laurie L.(1994), Authority, Anxiety, and Canon: Essays in Vedic Interpretation SUNY Series in Hindu Studies, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0585044675, p. 98
87. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 13-16
88. Rocher 1986, pp. 14-15 with footnotes.
89. Barbara Holdrege (1995), Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791416402, pages 95-97
90. Rocher 1986, pp. 15 with footnotes.
91. Barbara Holdrege (2012). Hananya Goodman (ed.). Between Jerusalem and Benares: Comparative Studies in Judaism and Hinduism. State University of New York Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4384-0437-0.
92. D. Lawrence Kincaid (2013). Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives. Elsevier. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4832-8875-8.
93. Kee Bolle (1963), Reflections on a Puranic Passage, History of Religions, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Winter, 1963), pages 286-291
94. Ariel Glucklich 2008, p. 146, Quote: The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called mahatmyas.
95. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 1-5, 12-21, 79-80, 96-98; Quote: These are the true encyclopedic Puranas. in which detached chapters or sections, dealing with any imaginable subject, follow one another, without connection or transition. Three Puranas especially belong to this category: Matsya, Garuda and above all Agni.
96. Ronald Inden (2000), Querying the Medieval : Texts and the History of Practices in South Asia, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124309, pages 94-95
97. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 78-79
98. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 104-106 with footnotes
99. Urs App (2010), The Birth of Orientalism, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 978-0812242614, pages 331, 323-334
100. Jan Gonda (1975), Selected Studies: Indo-European linguistics, BRILL, ISBN 978-9004042285, pages 51-86
101. Ronald Inden (2000), Querying the Medieval : Texts and the History of Practices in South Asia, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124309, pages 87-98
102. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 19-20
103. Ronald Inden (2000), Querying the Medieval : Texts and the History of Practices in South Asia, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124309, pages 95-96
104. Edwin Bryant (2003), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana, Penguin, ISBN 978-0141913377, pages 10-12
105. EO James (1997), The Tree of Life, BRILL Academic, ISBN 978-9004016125, pages 150-153
106. Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415670708, pages 113-114
107. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, page 23 with footnote 35
108. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 121-127 with footnotes
109. L Srinivasan (2000), Historicity of the Indian mythology : Some observations, Man in India, Vol. 80, No. 1-2, pages 89-106
110. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 59-67
111. Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-1570034497, pages 141-142
112. Rajendra Hazra (1956), Discovery of the genuine Agneya-purana, Journal of the Oriental Institute Baroda, Vol. 4-5, pages 411-416
113. Dominic Goodall (2009), Parākhyatantram, Vol 98, Publications de l'Institut Français d'Indologie, ISBN 978-2855396422, pages xvi-xvii
114. Kengo Harimoto (2004), in Origin and Growth of the Purāṇic Text Corpus (Editor: Hans Bakker), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120820494, pages 41-64
115. Rocher 1986, p. 249.
116. Gregory Bailey 2003, pp. 139-141, 154-156.
117. Dimmitt & van Buitenen 2012, p. 5.
118. Rocher 1986, pp. 49-53.
119. Avril Ann Powell (2010). Scottish Orientalists and India: The Muir Brothers, Religion, Education and Empire. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 130, 128–134, 87–90. ISBN 978-1-84383-579-0.
120. HH Wilson (1840), Vishnu Purana Trubner and Co., Reprinted in 1864
121. MN Dutt (1896), Vishnupurana Eylsium Press, Calcutta
122. Mittal 2004, p. 657
123. Jean Filliozat (1968), Tamil Studies in French Indology, in Tamil Studies Abroad, Xavier S Thani Nayagam, pages 1-14
124. Katherine Zubko (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Editors: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey), Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 181-201
125. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, pages 442-443
126. Gregory Bailey (2003), The Study of Hinduism (Editor: Arvind Sharma), The University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-1570034497, pages 162-167
127. R Champakalakshmi (2012), Cultural History of Medieval India (Editor: M Khanna), Berghahn, ISBN 978-8187358305, pages 48-50
128. Om Prakash (2004), Cultural History of India, New Age, ISBN 978-8122415872, pages 33-34
129. Guy Beck (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Editors: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey), Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 181-201
130. Ilona Wilczewska (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Editors: Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey), Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149983, pages 202-220
131. A Whitney Sanford (2006), Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity (Editor: Guy Beck), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791464168, pages 91-94
132. Tracy Pintchman (2005), Guests at God's Wedding: Celebrating Kartik among the Women of Benares, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791465950, pages 60-63, with notes on 210-211

Cited sources

• Bailey, Gregory (2003). "The Puranas". In Sharma, Arvind (ed.). The Study of Hinduism. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-449-7.
• Dimmitt, Cornelia; van Buitenen, J. A. B. (2012) [1977]. Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas. Temple University Press. ISBN 978-1-4399-0464-0.
• Doniger, Wendy, ed. (1993). Purāṇa Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts. Albany, NY: State University of New York. ISBN 0-7914-1382-9.
• Hardy, Friedhelm (2001). Viraha-Bhakti – The Early History of Krsna Devotion in South India. ISBN 0-19-564916-8.
• Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43304-5.
• Johnson, W.J. (2009). A Dictionary of Hinduism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-861025-0.
• Kaushal, Molly, ed. (2001). Chanted Narratives – The Katha Vachana Tradition. ISBN 81-246-0182-8.
• Glucklich, Ariel (2008). The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2.
• Mackenzie, C Brown (1990). The Triumph of the Goddess – The Canonical Models and Theological Visions of the DevI-BhAgavata PuraNa. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-0363-7.
• Mittal, Sushil (2004). The Hindu World. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-21527-5.
• Moghe, S. G., ed. (1997). Professor Kane's contribution to Dharmasastra literature. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd. ISBN 81-246-0075-9.
• Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press.
• Pargiter, F. E. (1962) [1922]. Ancient Indian historical tradition. Original publisher Oxford University Press, London. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass. OCLC 1068416.
• Rao, Velcheru Narayana (1993). "Purana as Brahminic Ideology". In Doniger Wendy (ed.). Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-1381-0.
• Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-02522-5.
• Shulman, David Dean (1980). Tamil Temple Myths: Sacrifice and Divine Marriage in the South Indian Saiva Tradition. ISBN 0-691-06415-6.
• Singh, Nagendra Kumar (1997). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism. ISBN 81-7488-168-9.
• Thapan, Anita Raina (1997). Understanding Gaṇapati: Insights into the Dynamics of a Cult. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers. ISBN 81-7304-195-4.

External links

• GRETIL (uni-goettingen.de)
Translations[edit]
• Agni Purana (in English), Volume 2, MN Dutt (Translator), Hathi Trust Archives
• Vishnu Purana H.H. Wilson
• Vishnu Purana, MN Dutt
• Brahmanda Purana, GV Tagare
Narsingh Purana
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Marquis de Sade
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/28/21


The first Director General for the Company was François de la Faye...

-- French East India Company, by Wikipedia

Image
Donatien Alphonse François
Marquis de Sade
Portrait of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade by Charles Amédée Philippe van Loo.[1] The drawing dates to 1760, when de Sade was 19 years old, and is the only known authentic portrait of him.[2]
Born: 2 June 1740, Paris, Kingdom of France
Died: 2 December 1814 (aged 74), Charenton, Val-de-Marne, France
Philosophy career
Notable work: The 120 Days of Sodom (1785); Justine (1791); Philosophy in the Bedroom (1795); Juliette (1799)
Era: Late 18th century
Region: France
School: Libertine
Main interests: Pornography, eroticism, politics
Notable ideas: Sadism
Influences: Voltaire, Rousseau, Spinoza, Radcliffe, Hobbes,[3] Diderot, Machiavelli,[3] Bernard Mandeville[3]
Family
Spouse(s): Renée-Pélagie Cordier de Launay, ​(m. 1763; died 1810)​
Partner(s): Anne-Prospère de Launay (1772)[2]; Madeleine LeClerc (1810–1814; his death)
Children: Louis Marie de Sade (1767–1809); Donatien Claude Armand de Sade (1769–1847); Madeleine Laure de Sade (1771–1844)
Parents: Jean Baptiste François Joseph, Comte de Sade (father); Marie Eléonore de Maillé de Carman (mother)

Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (French: [dɔnasjɛ̃ alfɔ̃z fʁɑ̃swa, maʁki də sad]; 2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814), was a French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer famous for his libertine sexuality. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts. In his lifetime some of these were published under his own name while others, which de Sade denied having written, appeared anonymously. De Sade is best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, suffering, anal sex (which he calls sodomy), crime, and blasphemy against Christianity. He was a proponent of absolute freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion, or law. The words sadism and sadist are derived in reference to the works of fiction he wrote which portrayed numerous acts of sexual cruelty.[5] While de Sade mentally explored a wide range of sexual deviations, his known behavior includes "only the beating of a housemaid and an orgy with several prostitutes—behavior significantly departing from the clinical definition of sadism".[6][7] De Sade was a proponent of free public brothels provided by the state: In order both to prevent crimes in society that are motivated by lust and to reduce the desire to oppress others using one’s own power, de Sade recommended public brothels where people can satisfy their wishes to command and be obeyed.[8]

With no legal charge brought against him,[6] De Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life (or, after 1778, solely due to lettre de cachet and involuntary commitment): 11 years in Paris (10 of which were spent in the Bastille), a month in the Conciergerie, two years in a fortress, a year in Madelonnettes Convent, three years in Bicêtre Asylum, a year in Sainte-Pélagie Prison, and 12 years in the Charenton Asylum. During the French Revolution, he was an elected delegate to the National Convention. Many of his works were written in prison.

There continues to be a fascination with de Sade among scholars and in popular culture. Prolific French intellectuals such as Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault published studies of him.[9] On the other hand, the French hedonist philosopher Michel Onfray has attacked this interest in de Sade, writing that "It is intellectually bizarre to make Sade a hero."[10] There have also been numerous film adaptions of his work, the most notable being Pasolini's Salò, an adaptation of de Sade's controversial book, The 120 Days of Sodom.

Life

Early life and education


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The Château de Lacoste above Lacoste, a residence of Sade; currently the site of theatre festivals

De Sade was born on 2 June 1740, in the Hôtel de Condé, Paris, to Jean Baptiste François Joseph, Count de Sade and Marie Eléonore de Maillé de Carman, distant cousin and lady-in-waiting to the Princess of Condé. He was his parents' only surviving child.[11] He was educated by an uncle, the Abbé de Sade. In Sade's youth, his father abandoned the family; his mother joined a convent.[12] He was raised by servants who indulged "his every whim," which led to his becoming "known as a rebellious and spoiled child with an ever-growing temper."[12]

Later in his childhood, Sade was sent to the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris,[12] a Jesuit college, for four years.[11] While at the school, he was tutored by Abbé Jacques-François Amblet, a priest.[13] Later in life, at one of Sade's trials the Abbé testified, saying that Sade had a "passionate temperament which made him eager in the pursuit of pleasure" but had a "good heart."[13] At the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, he was subjected to "severe corporal punishment," including "flagellation," and he "spent the rest of his adult life obsessed with the violent act."[12]

At age 14, Sade began attending an elite military academy.[11] After twenty months of training, on 14 December 1755, at age 15, Sade was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant, becoming a soldier.[13] After thirteen months as a sub-lieutenant, he was commissioned to the rank of cornet in the Brigade de S. André of the Comte de Provence's Carbine Regiment.[13] He eventually became Colonel of a Dragoon regiment and fought in the Seven Years' War. In 1763, on returning from war, he courted a rich magistrate's daughter, but her father rejected his suitorship and instead arranged a marriage with his elder daughter, Renée-Pélagie de Montreuil; that marriage produced two sons and a daughter.[14] In 1766, he had a private theatre built in his castle, the Château de Lacoste, in Provence. In January 1767, his father died.

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Sade's father, Jean-Baptiste François Joseph de Sade

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Sade's mother, Marie Eléonore de Maillé de Carman

Title and heirs

The men of the Sade family alternated between using the marquis and comte (count) titles. His grandfather, Gaspard François de Sade, was the first to use marquis;[15] occasionally, he was the Marquis de Sade, but is identified in documents as the Marquis de Mazan. The Sade family were noblesse d'épée, claiming at the time the oldest, Frank-descended nobility, so assuming a noble title without a King's grant, was customarily de rigueur. Alternating title usage indicates that titular hierarchy (below duc et pair) was notional; theoretically, the marquis title was granted to noblemen owning several countships, but its use by men of dubious lineage caused its disrepute. At Court, precedence was by seniority and royal favor, not title. There is father-and-son correspondence, wherein father addresses son as marquis.[citation needed]

For many years, Sade's descendants regarded his life and work as a scandal to be suppressed. This did not change until the mid-twentieth century, when the Comte Xavier de Sade reclaimed the marquis title, long fallen into disuse, on his visiting cards,[16] and took an interest in his ancestor's writings. At that time, the "divine marquis" of legend was so unmentionable in his own family that Xavier de Sade only learned of him in the late 1940s when approached by a journalist.[16] He subsequently discovered a store of Sade's papers in the family château at Condé-en-Brie, and worked with scholars for decades to enable their publication.[2] His youngest son, the Marquis Thibault de Sade, has continued the collaboration. The family have also claimed a trademark on the name.[17] The family sold the Château de Condé in 1983.[18] As well as the manuscripts they retain, others are held in universities and libraries. Many, however, were lost in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A substantial number were destroyed after Sade's death at the instigation of his son, Donatien-Claude-Armand.[19]

Scandals and imprisonment

Sade lived a scandalous libertine existence and repeatedly procured young prostitutes as well as employees of both sexes in his castle in Lacoste. He was also accused of blasphemy, which was considered a serious offense. His behavior also included an affair with his wife's sister, Anne-Prospère, who had come to live at the castle.[2]

Beginning in 1763, Sade lived mainly in or near Paris. Because of his sexual infamy, he was put under surveillance by the police, who made detailed reports of his activities. After several short imprisonments, which included a brief incarceration in the Château de Saumur (then a prison), he was exiled to his château at Lacoste in 1768.[19]

Nine years later, in 1772, Sade committed sexual acts that included sodomy with four prostitutes and his manservant, Latour.[20] The two men were sentenced to death in absentia for sodomy. They fled to Italy, Sade taking his wife's sister with him. Sade and Latour were caught and imprisoned at the Fortress of Miolans in French Savoy in late 1772, but escaped four months later.

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Detail of Les 120 Journées de Sodome manuscript

Sade later hid at Lacoste where he rejoined his wife, who became an accomplice in his subsequent endeavors.[2] In 1774, Sade partook in orgies at his home.[2] Authorities learned of his sexual debauchery and Sade was forced to flee to Italy once again. It was during this time he wrote Voyage d'Italie. In 1776, he returned to Lacoste, again hired several women, most of whom soon fled. In 1777, the father of one of those employees went to Lacoste to claim his daughter, and attempted to shoot the Marquis at point-blank range, but the gun misfired.

Later that year, Sade was tricked into going to Paris to visit his supposedly ill mother, who in fact had recently died. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Château de Vincennes. He successfully appealed his death sentence in 1778 but remained imprisoned under the lettre de cachet. He escaped but was soon recaptured. He resumed writing and met fellow prisoner Comte de Mirabeau, who also wrote erotic works. Despite this common interest, the two came to dislike each other intensely.[21]

In 1784, Vincennes was closed, and Sade was transferred to the Bastille. The following year, he wrote the manuscript for his magnum opus Les 120 Journées de Sodome (The 120 Days of Sodom), which he wrote in minuscule handwriting on a continuous roll of paper he rolled tightly and placed in his cell wall to hide. He was unable to finish the work; on 4 July 1789, he was transferred "naked as a worm" to the insane asylum at Charenton near Paris, two days after he reportedly incited unrest outside the prison by shouting to the crowds gathered there, "They are killing the prisoners here!" Sade was unable to retrieve the manuscript before being removed from the prison. The storming of the Bastille, a major event of the French Revolution, occurred ten days after Sade left, on 14 July. To his despair, he believed that the manuscript was destroyed in the storming of the Bastille, though it was actually saved by a man named Arnoux de Saint-Maximin two days before the Bastille was attacked. It is not known why Saint-Maximin chose to bring the manuscript to safety, nor indeed is anything else about him known.[2] In 1790, Sade was released from Charenton after the new National Constituent Assembly abolished the instrument of lettre de cachet. His wife obtained a divorce soon afterwards.

Return to freedom, delegate to the National Convention, and imprisonment

During Sade's time of freedom, beginning in 1790, he published several of his books anonymously. He met Marie-Constance Quesnet, a former actress with a six-year-old son, who had been abandoned by her husband. Constance and Sade stayed together for the rest of his life.

He initially adapted the new political order after the revolution, supported the Republic,[22] called himself "Citizen Sade", and managed to obtain several official positions despite his aristocratic background.

Because of the damage done to his estate in Lacoste, which was sacked in 1789 by an angry mob, he moved to Paris. In 1790, he was elected to the National Convention, where he represented the far left. He was a member of the Piques section, notorious for its radical views. He wrote several political pamphlets, in which he called for the implementation of direct vote. However, there is much evidence suggesting that he suffered abuse from his fellow revolutionaries due to his aristocratic background. Matters were not helped by his son's May 1792 desertion from the military, where he had been serving as a second lieutenant and the aide-de-camp to an important colonel, the Marquis de Toulengeon. Sade was forced to disavow his son's desertion in order to save himself. Later that year, his name was added—whether by error or wilful malice—to the list of émigrés of the Bouches-du-Rhône department.[23]

While claiming he was opposed to the Reign of Terror in 1793, he wrote an admiring eulogy for Jean-Paul Marat.[16] At this stage, he was becoming publicly critical of Maximilien Robespierre and, on 5 December, he was removed from his posts, accused of moderatism, and imprisoned for almost a year. He was released in 1794 after the end of the Reign of Terror.

In 1796, now completely destitute, he had to sell his ruined castle in Lacoste.

Imprisonment for his writings and death

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The first page of Sade's Justine, one of the works for which he was imprisoned

In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the anonymous author of Justine and Juliette.[2] Sade was arrested at his publisher's office and imprisoned without trial; first in the Sainte-Pélagie Prison and, following allegations that he had tried to seduce young fellow prisoners there, in the harsh Bicêtre Asylum.

After intervention by his family, he was declared insane in 1803 and transferred once more to the Charenton Asylum. His ex-wife and children had agreed to pay his pension there. Constance, pretending to be his relative, was allowed to live with him at Charenton. The director of the institution, Abbé de Coulmier, allowed and encouraged him to stage several of his plays, with the inmates as actors, to be viewed by the Parisian public.[2] Coulmier's novel approaches to psychotherapy attracted much opposition. In 1809, new police orders put Sade into solitary confinement and deprived him of pens and paper. In 1813, the government ordered Coulmier to suspend all theatrical performances.

Sade began a sexual relationship with 14-year-old Madeleine LeClerc, daughter of an employee at Charenton. This lasted some four years, until his death in 1814.

He had left instructions in his will forbidding that his body be opened for any reason whatsoever, and that it remain untouched for 48 hours in the chamber in which he died, and then placed in a coffin and buried on his property located in Malmaison near Épernon. These instructions were not followed; he was buried at Charenton. His skull was later removed from the grave for phrenological examination.[2] His son had all his remaining unpublished manuscripts burned, including the immense multi-volume work Les Journées de Florbelle.

Appraisal and criticism

Numerous writers and artists, especially those concerned with sexuality, have been both repelled and fascinated by Sade. An article in The Independent, a British online newspaper, gives contrasting views: the French novelist Pierre Guyotat said, "Sade is, in a way, our Shakespeare. He has the same sense of tragedy, the same sweeping grandeur" while public intellectual Michel Onfray said, "it is intellectually bizarre to make Sade a hero... Even according to his most hero-worshipping biographers, this man was a sexual delinquent".[10]

The contemporary rival pornographer Rétif de la Bretonne published an Anti-Justine in 1798.

Geoffrey Gorer, an English anthropologist and author (1905–1985), wrote one of the earliest books on Sade, entitled The Revolutionary Ideas of the Marquis de Sade in 1935. He pointed out that Sade was in complete opposition to contemporary philosophers for both his "complete and continual denial of the right to property" and for viewing the struggle in late 18th century French society as being not between "the Crown, the bourgeoisie, the aristocracy or the clergy, or sectional interests of any of these against one another", but rather all of these "more or less united against the proletariat." By holding these views, he cut himself off entirely from the revolutionary thinkers of his time to join those of the mid-nineteenth century. Thus, Gorer argued, "he can with some justice be called the first reasoned socialist."[24]

Simone de Beauvoir (in her essay Must we burn Sade?, published in Les Temps modernes, December 1951 and January 1952) and other writers have attempted to locate traces of a radical philosophy of freedom in Sade's writings, preceding modern existentialism by some 150 years. He has also been seen as a precursor of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis in his focus on sexuality as a motive force. The surrealists admired him as one of their forerunners, and Guillaume Apollinaire famously called him "the freest spirit that has yet existed".[25]

Pierre Klossowski, in his 1947 book Sade Mon Prochain ("Sade My Neighbour"), analyzes Sade's philosophy as a precursor of nihilism, negating Christian values and the materialism of the Enlightenment.

One of the essays in Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) is titled "Juliette, or Enlightenment and Morality" and interprets the ruthless and calculating behavior of Juliette as the embodiment of the philosophy of Enlightenment. Similarly, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan posited in his 1963 essay Kant avec Sade that Sade's ethics was the complementary completion of the categorical imperative originally formulated by Immanuel Kant.

In his 1988 Political Theory and Modernity, William E. Connolly analyzes Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom as an argument against earlier political philosophers, notably Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes, and their attempts to reconcile nature, reason, and virtue as bases of ordered society. Similarly, Camille Paglia[26] argued that Sade can be best understood as a satirist, responding "point by point" to Rousseau's claims that society inhibits and corrupts mankind's innate goodness: Paglia notes that Sade wrote in the aftermath of the French Revolution, when Rousseauist Jacobins instituted the bloody Reign of Terror and Rousseau's predictions were brutally disproved. "Simply follow nature, Rousseau declares. Sade, laughing grimly, agrees."[27]

In The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography (1979), Angela Carter provides a feminist reading of Sade, seeing him as a "moral pornographer" who creates spaces for women. Similarly, Susan Sontag defended both Sade and Georges Bataille's Histoire de l'œil (Story of the Eye) in her essay "The Pornographic Imagination" (1967) on the basis their works were transgressive texts, and argued that neither should be censored. By contrast, Andrea Dworkin saw Sade as the exemplary woman-hating pornographer, supporting her theory that pornography inevitably leads to violence against women. One chapter of her book Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1979) is devoted to an analysis of Sade. Susie Bright claims that Dworkin's first novel Ice and Fire, which is rife with violence and abuse, can be seen as a modern retelling of Sade's Juliette.[28]

Influence

Sexual sadism disorder, a mental condition named after Sade, has been defined as experiencing sexual arousal in response to extreme pain, suffering or humiliation done non-consensually to others (as committed by Sade in his crimes and described in his novels).[29] Other terms have been used to describe the condition, which may overlap with other sexual preferences that also involve inflicting pain. It is distinct from situations where consenting individuals use mild or simulated pain or humiliation for sexual excitement.[30]

Various influential cultural figures have expressed a great interest in Sade's work, including the French philosopher Michel Foucault,[31] the American film maker John Waters[32] and the Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco. The poet Algernon Charles Swinburne is also said to have been highly influenced by Sade.[33] Nikos Nikolaidis' 1979 film The Wretches Are Still Singing was shot in a surreal way with a predilection for the aesthetics of the Marquis de Sade; Sade is said to have influenced Romantic and Decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, and Rachilde; and to have influenced a growing popularity of nihilism in Western thought.[34] Sade's notions on strength and weakness and good and evil, such as the "equilibrium" of good and evil in the world required by Nature which the monk Clément mentions in Justine,[35] may have also been a considerable influence on Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly concerning the views on good and evil in Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality (1887). The philosopher of egoist anarchism, Max Stirner, is also speculated to have been influenced by Sade's work.[36]

Serial killer Ian Brady, who with Myra Hindley carried out torture and murder of children known as the Moors murders in England during the 1960s, was fascinated by Sade, and the suggestion was made at their trial and appeals[37] that the tortures of the children (the screams and pleadings of whom they tape-recorded) were influenced by Sade's ideas and fantasies. According to Donald Thomas, who has written a biography on Sade, Brady and Hindley had read very little of Sade's actual work; the only book of his they possessed was an anthology of excerpts that included none of his most extreme writings.[38] In the two suitcases found by the police that contained books that belonged to Brady was The Life and Ideas of the Marquis de Sade.[39] Hindley herself claimed that Brady would send her to obtain books by Sade, and that after reading them he became sexually aroused and beat her.[40]

In Philosophy in the Bedroom Sade proposed the use of induced abortion for social reasons and population control, marking the first time the subject had been discussed in public. It has been suggested that Sade's writing influenced the subsequent medical and social acceptance of abortion in Western society.[41]

Cultural depictions

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Depiction of the Marquis de Sade by H. Biberstein in L'Œuvre du marquis de Sade, Guillaume Apollinaire (Edit.), Bibliothèque des Curieux, Paris, 1912

Main article: Marquis de Sade in popular culture

There have been many and varied references to the Marquis de Sade in popular culture, including fictional works and biographies. The eponym of the psychological and subcultural term sadism, his name is used variously to evoke sexual violence, licentiousness, and freedom of speech.[9] In modern culture his works are simultaneously viewed as masterful analyses of how power and economics work, and as erotica.[42] It could be argued that Sade's sexually explicit works were a medium for the articulation but also for the exposure of the corrupt and hypocritical values of the elite in his society, and that it was primarily this inconvenient and embarrassing satire that led to his long-term detention. With this view, he becomes a symbol of the artist's struggle with the censor and that of the moral philosopher with the constraints of conventional morality. Sade's use of pornographic devices to create provocative works that subvert the prevailing moral values of his time inspired many other artists in a variety of media. The cruelties depicted in his works gave rise to the concept of sadism. Sade's works have to this day been kept alive by certain artists and intellectuals because they themselves espouse a philosophy of extreme individualism.[43] But Sade's life was lived in flat contradiction and breach of Kant's injunction to treat others as ends in themselves and never merely as means to an agent's own ends.

In the late 20th century, there was a resurgence of interest in Sade; leading French intellectuals like Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault[44] published studies of the philosopher, and interest in Sade among scholars and artists continued.[9] In the realm of visual arts, many surrealist artists had interest in the "Divine Marquis." Sade was celebrated in surrealist periodicals, and feted by figures such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Éluard, and Maurice Heine; Man Ray admired Sade because he and other surrealists viewed him as an ideal of freedom.[43] The first Manifesto of Surrealism (1924) announced that "Sade is surrealist in sadism", and extracts of the original draft of Justine were published in Le Surréalisme au service de la révolution.[45] In literature, Sade is referenced in several stories by horror and science fiction writer (and author of Psycho) Robert Bloch, while Polish science fiction author Stanisław Lem wrote an essay analyzing the game theory arguments appearing in Sade's Justine.[46] The writer Georges Bataille applied Sade's methods of writing about sexual transgression to shock and provoke readers.[43]

Sade's life and works have been the subject of numerous fictional plays, films, pornographic or erotic drawings, etchings, and more. These include Peter Weiss's play Marat/Sade, a fantasia extrapolating from the fact that Sade directed plays performed by his fellow inmates at the Charenton asylum.[47] Yukio Mishima, Barry Yzereef, and Doug Wright also wrote plays about Sade; Weiss's and Wright's plays have been made into films. His work is referenced on film at least as early as Luis Buñuel's L'Âge d'Or (1930), the final segment of which provides a coda to 120 Days of Sodom, with the four debauched noblemen emerging from their mountain retreat. In 1969, American International Films released a German-made production called de Sade, with Keir Dullea in the title role. Pier Paolo Pasolini filmed Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), updating Sade's novel to the brief Salò Republic; in 1989, Henri Xhonneux and Roland Topor made Marquis, which was partially based on the memoirs of de Sade;[48] Benoît Jacquot's Sade and Philip Kaufman's Quills (from the play of the same name by Doug Wright) both hit cinemas in 2000. Quills, inspired by Sade's imprisonment and battles with the censorship in his society,[43] portrays him (Geoffrey Rush) as a literary freedom fighter who is a martyr to the cause of free expression.[49] Sade is a 2000 French film directed by Benoît Jacquot starring Daniel Auteuil as the Marquis de Sade, which was adapted by Jacques Fieschi and Bernard Minoret from the novel La terreur dans le boudoir by Serge Bramly.

Often Sade himself has been depicted in American popular culture less as a revolutionary or even as a libertine and more akin to a sadistic, tyrannical villain. For example, in the final episode of the television series Friday the 13th: The Series, Micki, the female protagonist, travels back in time and ends up being imprisoned and tortured by Sade. Similarly, in the horror film Waxwork, Sade is among the film's wax villains to come alive.

While not personally depicted, Sade's writings feature prominently in the novel Too Like the Lightning, first book in the Terra Ignota sequence written by Ada Palmer. Palmer's depiction of 25th century Earth relies heavily on the philosophies and prominent figureheads of the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire and Denis Diderot in addition to Sade, and in the book the narrator Mycroft, after showing his fictional "reader" a sex scene formulated off of Sade's own, takes this imaginary reader's indignation as an opportunity to delve into Sade's ideas. Additionally, one of the central locations in the novel, a brothel advertising itself as a "bubble of the 18th century", features an inscription over the proprietor's door dedicating the establishment as a temple to Sade, an homage to Voltaire's "Le Temple du goût, par M. de Voltaire."

As Voltaire is said to have replied when the Marquis de Sade invited him to a second orgy, since he'd enjoyed the first one so much: "No thanks. Once is philosophy, twice is perversion.'"


Writing

Literary criticism


The Marquis de Sade viewed Gothic fiction as a genre that relied heavily on magic and phantasmagoria. In his literary criticism Sade sought to prevent his fiction from being labeled "Gothic" by emphasizing Gothic's supernatural aspects as the fundamental difference from themes in his own work. But while he sought this separation he believed the Gothic played a necessary role in society and discussed its roots and its uses. He wrote that the Gothic novel was a perfectly natural, predictable consequence of the revolutionary sentiments in Europe. He theorized that the adversity of the period had rightfully caused Gothic writers to "look to hell for help in composing their alluring novels." Sade held the work of writers Matthew Lewis and Ann Radcliffe high above other Gothic authors, praising the brilliant imagination of Radcliffe and pointing to Lewis' The Monk as without question the genre's best achievement. Sade nevertheless believed that the genre was at odds with itself, arguing that the supernatural elements within Gothic fiction created an inescapable dilemma for both its author and its readers. He argued that an author in this genre was forced to choose between elaborate explanations of the supernatural or no explanation at all and that in either case the reader was unavoidably rendered incredulous. Despite his celebration of The Monk, Sade believed that there was not a single Gothic novel that had been able to overcome these problems, and that a Gothic novel that did would be universally regarded for its excellence in fiction.[50]

Many assume that Sade's criticism of the Gothic novel is a reflection of his frustration with sweeping interpretations of works like Justine. Within his objections to the lack of verisimilitude in the Gothic may have been an attempt to present his own work as the better representation of the whole nature of man. Since Sade professed that the ultimate goal of an author should be to deliver an accurate portrayal of man, it is believed that Sade's attempts to separate himself from the Gothic novel highlights this conviction. For Sade, his work was best suited for the accomplishment of this goal in part because he was not chained down by the supernatural silliness that dominated late 18th-century fiction.[51] Moreover, it is believed that Sade praised The Monk (which displays Ambrosio's sacrifice of his humanity to his unrelenting sexual appetite) as the best Gothic novel chiefly because its themes were the closest to those within his own work.[52]

Libertine novels

Sade's fiction has been classified under different genres, including pornography, Gothic, and baroque. Sade's most famous books are often classified not as Gothic but as libertine novels, and include the novels Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue; Juliette; The 120 Days of Sodom; and Philosophy in the Bedroom. These works challenge traditional perceptions of sexuality, religion, law, age, and gender. His fictional portrayals of sexual violence and sadism stunned even those contemporaries of Sade who were quite familiar with the dark themes of the Gothic novel during its popularity in the late 18th century. Suffering is the primary rule, as in these novels one must often decide between sympathizing with the torturer or the victim. While these works focus on the dark side of human nature, the magic and phantasmagoria that dominates the Gothic is noticeably absent and is the primary reason these works are not considered to fit the genre.[53]

Through the unreleased passions of his libertines, Sade wished to shake the world at its core. With 120 Days, for example, Sade wished to present "the most impure tale that has ever been written since the world exists."[54] Despite his literary attempts at evil, his characters and stories often fell into repetition of sexual acts and philosophical justifications. Simone de Beauvoir and Georges Bataille have argued that the repetitive form of his libertine novels, though hindering the artfulness of his prose, ultimately strengthened his individualist arguments.[55][56] The repetitive and obsessive nature of the account of Justine's abuse and frustration in her strivings to be a good Christian living a virtuous and pure life may on a superficial reading seem tediously excessive. Paradoxically, however, Sade checks the reader's instinct to treat them as laughable cheap pornography and obscenity by knowingly and artfully interweaving the tale of her trials with extended reflections on individual and social morality.

Short fiction

In The Crimes of Love, subtitled "Heroic and Tragic Tales", Sade combines romance and horror, employing several Gothic tropes for dramatic purposes. There is blood, banditti, corpses, and of course insatiable lust. Compared to works like Justine, here Sade is relatively tame, as overt eroticism and torture is subtracted for a more psychological approach. It is the impact of sadism instead of acts of sadism itself that emerge in this work, unlike the aggressive and rapacious approach in his libertine works.[52] The modern volume entitled Gothic Tales collects a variety of other short works of fiction intended to be included in Sade's Contes et Fabliaux d'un Troubadour Provencal du XVIII Siecle.

An example is "Eugénie de Franval", a tale of incest and retribution. In its portrayal of conventional moralities it is something of a departure from the erotic cruelties and moral ironies that dominate his libertine works. It opens with a domesticated approach:

To enlighten mankind and improve its morals is the only lesson which we offer in this story. In reading it, may the world discover how great is the peril which follows the footsteps of those who will stop at nothing to satisfy their desires.


Descriptions in Justine seem to anticipate Radcliffe's scenery in The Mysteries of Udolpho and the vaults in The Italian, but, unlike these stories, there is no escape for Sade's virtuous heroine, Justine. Unlike the milder Gothic fiction of Radcliffe, Sade's protagonist is brutalized throughout and dies tragically. To have a character like Justine, who is stripped without ceremony and bound to a wheel for fondling and thrashing, would be unthinkable in the domestic Gothic fiction written for the bourgeoisie. Sade even contrives a kind of affection between Justine and her tormentors, suggesting shades of masochism in his heroine.[57]

Bibliography

Further information: Marquis de Sade bibliography

See also

• France portal
• Biography portal
• BDSM
• Fetish fashion
• La société
• Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
• Sexual fetishism
• Jesus Franco directed films based on the Marquis de Sade's works

References

1. Sade, Marquis de (1999). Seaver, Richard (ed.). Letters from Prison. New York: Arcade Publishing. ISBN 978-1559704113.
2. Perrottet, Tony (February 2015). "Who Was the Marquis de Sade?". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
3. Airaksinen, Timo (2001). The philosophy of the Marquis de Sade. Taylor & Francis e-Library. p. 20–21. ISBN 0-203-17439-9. Two of Sade’s own intellectual heroes were Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes, both of whom he interpreted in the traditional manner to recommend wickedness as an ingredient of virtue. ... Robert (sic) Mandeville is another model mentioned by Sade, and he would have appreciated Malthus as well.
4. "Power Lunch with social critic Lydia Lunch". democratandchronicle.com.
5. Marquis de Sade at the Encyclopædia Britannica
6. Marshall, Peter H., 1946- (2010). Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism. Oakland, CA: PM Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-60486-064-1. OCLC 319501361.
7. Gorer, Geoffrey, 1905-1985. (2011). The life and ideas of the Marquis de Sade. [Breinigsville, Pa.]: [CreateSpace]. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-4455-2563-1. OCLC 793131351.
8. Marshall, Peter H., 1946- (2010). Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism. Oakland, CA: PM Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-1-60486-064-1. OCLC 319501361.
9. Phillips, John, 2005, The Marquis De Sade: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280469-3.
10. "Marquis de Sade: rebel, pervert, rapist...hero?". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Ltd. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
11. "The Eponymous Sadist". http://www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
12. "Marquis de Sade". biography.com. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
13. Hayman, Ronald (2003). Marquis de Sade: The Genius of Passion. New York City: Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 978-1860648946.
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17. de Lucovich, Jean-Pierre (30 July 2001). "Quand le marquis de Sade entre dans l'ère du marketing". marianne.net (in French). Retrieved 10 November 2018.
18. "Condé Castle – History". http://www.chateaudeconde.com. Archived from the original on 9 August 2007.
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21. Mirabeau, Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti; Apollinaire, Guillaume; Pierrugues, P. (1921). L'Œuvre du comte de Mirabeau. Paris, France: Bibliothèque des curieux. p. 9.
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Part 1 of 2

Dayananda Saraswati
by New World Encyclopedia
Accessed: 3/1/21



1879, Excerpt from Masters and Men: The Human Story in the Mahatma Letters (a fictionalized account)
by Virginia Hanson
The Theosophical Publishing House
Madras, India
c 1980 The Theosophical Publishing House

Most of the Letters are over the signature of the Mahatma Koot Hoomi, usually signed simply "K.H." A Kashmiri Brahmin by birth, at the time of the correspondence he was a Buddhist. Koot Hoomi is a mystical name which he instructed H.P.B. to use in connection with his correspondence with Mr. Sinnett. It is possible that his real name was Nisi Kanta Chattopadhyaya, as that seems to have been the name by which he was known when he was attending at least one European University. He was fluent in both English and French and was sometimes affectionally spoken of by the Mahatma Morya as "my Frenchified K.H."

At one time, under special circumstances, the Mahatma Morya took over the correspondence temporarily. He too used only his initial as a signature. "He was a Rajput by birth," said H.P.B., "One of the warrior race of the Indian desert, the finest and handsomest nation in the world." He was "a giant, six feet eight, and splendidly built; a superb type of manly beauty." The Mahatma K.H. referred to him humorously as "my bulky brother." He was not proficient in English and spoke of himself as using words and phrases "lying idle in my friend's brain" -- meaning, of course, the brain of the Mahatma K.H.

In 1870, the same year that Keshub visited England, two other Indians took ship from England to America. They were a Bombay textile magnate called Moolji Thackersey (Seth Damodar Thackersey Mulji, died 1880) and Mr. Tulsidas. Josephine Ransom, an early historian of the Theosophical Society, writes that they were “on a mission to the West to see what could be done to introduce Eastern spiritual and philosophic ideas.” Traveling on the same boat was Henry Olcott, fresh from his experiences in London’s spiritualist circles. Olcott was sufficiently impressed by this shipboard meeting to keep a framed photograph of the two Indians on the wall of the apartment he was sharing with Blavatsky in 1877. It was one evening in that year that a visitor who had traveled in India (sometimes identified as James Peebles) remarked on the photograph. Olcott writes in his memoirs of the consequences of this extraordinary series of coincidences:

I took it down, showed it to him, and asked if he knew either of the two. He did know Moolji Thackersey and had quite recently met him in Bombay. I got the address, and by the next mail wrote to Moolji about our Society, our love for India and what caused it. In due course he replied in quite enthusiastic terms, accepted the offered diploma of membership, and told me about a great Hindu pandit and reformer, who had begun a powerful movement for the resuscitation of pure Vedic religion.


This reformer was Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1882). In 1870 he was still an eccentric traveling preacher with no aspirations to international influence: something that grew on him precisely after meeting the Brahmo Samajists. He met Devandranath [Debendranath] Tagore in 1870; in 1873 Keshub Chunder Sen gave him the advice (which he took) to stop wearing only a loincloth and speaking only Sanskrit. Indefatigably stumping round the subcontinent, Dayananda founded his “powerful movement,” the Arya Samaj, in 1875. This chronology suggests that in 1870 Thackersey was probably coming to America as a representative of the Brahmo Samaj, but that by the time Olcott got in touch with him again, he had transferred his allegiance to the Arya Samaj.

The Arya Samaj was more radical than any wing of the Brahmo Samaj, on which it was partially modeled. Dayananda was a monotheist who believed in the Vedas as the sole revealed scripture and the basis for a universal religion. The various gods addressed in the Vedic hymns (Agni, Indra, etc.), he explained as aspects of the One, and he was prepared to demonstrate how these ancient texts contained all possible knowledge of man, nature, and the means of salvation and happiness. Of the quarrels between the various religions, he wrote: “My purpose and aim is to help in putting an end to this mutual wrangling, to preach universal truth, to bring all men under one religion so that they may, by ceasing to hate each other and firmly loving each other, life in peace and work for their common welfare.” He had no respect whatever for Brahmanism: for their scriptures, rituals, polytheism, caste system, and discrimination against women. Unfortunately for his opponents, he was immensely learned and articulate, could out-argue most pundits, and had, in the last resort (which often seems to have occurred) the advantage of being 6’9” tall and broad to match.

From Dayananda’s point of view, the Brahmo Samajists had erred both in their failure to recognize the supremacy of the Vedas, and in their too-ready embrace of the errors of other religions. They were moreover too addicted to Brahmanic customs and privileges. Here is a contemporary summary of his social principles:

He says that no inhabitant of India should be called a Hindu, that an ignorant Brahmin should be made a Shudra, and a Shudra, who is learned, well-behaved and religious should be made a Brahmin. Both men and women should be taught Language, Grammar, Dharmashastras, Vedas, Science and Philosophy. Women should receive special education in Chemistry, Music and Medical Science; they should know what foods promote health, strength and vigour. He condemns child marriage as the root of the most of the evils. A girl should be educated and married at the age of twenty. If a widow wants to remarry, she should be allowed to do so. According to his opinion, there is no particular difference between the householder and the sannyasi.


It is not surprising that the Theosophists in New York took kindly to the Arya Samaj, at first through correspondence with Thackersey, then through the Bombay branch head, Hurrychund Chintamon, and lastly through Dayananda himself. The two societies were united for a time, though the Theosophists were disillusioned as soon as they discovered the strength of Dayananda's Vedic fundamentalism and his hostility to all other religions. On Dayananda's unexpected death, Blavatsky wrote a generous obituary in The Theosophist for December 1883. She appreciated him for defending what he saw as the best of his native heritage against the priestcraft of Brahmins and Christians alike, and for his leadership in an enlightened social policy of which she could only have approved.

As the Arya Samaj continued to flourish after Dayananda's death, it became a rallying point for that movement of Hindu nationalism that wanted neither to turn back the clock to Brahmanic theocracy, nor to embrace Western materialism along with the benefits of science and technology. What Rammohun Roy had set in motion, the Arya Samaj carried forward into the era of the Indian National Congressand the independence movement of the twentieth century. Dayananda himself died -- some said poisoned -- at the time when his mission was beginning to have real success among the North Indian rulers, but he had done enough to be celebrated as a father-figure by leaders of Indian independence such as [url]Jawaharlal Nehru[/url], Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, and Aurobindo Ghose.

-- The Theosophical Enlightenment, by Joscelyn Godwin


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A representation of Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayananda Saraswati (स्‍वामी दयानन्‍द सरस्‍वती) (1824 - 1883) was an important Hindu religious scholar born in Gujarat, India. He is best known as the founder of the Arya Samaj "Society of Nobles," a great Hindu reform movement, founded in 1875. He was a sanyasi (one who has renounced all worldly possessions and relations) from his boyhood. He was an original scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma, skepticism in dogma, and emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya (celibacy and devotion to God). The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united for a certain time under the name Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj.

Dayananda was an important Hindu reformist whose views did much to promote gender-equality, democracy, education, as well as a new confidence in India's cultural past and future capabilities. In some respects, he qualifies as an architect of modern India as am emerging scientific and technological power. Aspects of his views impacted negatively on inter-religious relations, however, and contributed to extreme forms of Hindu nationalism which denies non-Hindus their complete civil rights. Yet, in his own day, when he spoke of the superiority of Hindu culture and religion, he was doing so in defense of what Europeans in India had insulted and denigrated. A consequence of assuming racial, cultural, or religious superiority over others is that they retaliate, and reverse what is said about them. The Arya Samaj is now a worldwide movement.

Upbringing

Born in Kathiawi, Gujerat, Dayananda's parents were wealthy members of the priestly class, the Brahmins (or Brahmans). Although raised as an observant Hindu, in his late teens Dayananda turned to a detailed study of the Vedas, convinced that some contemporary practices, such as the veneration of images (murtis) was a corruption of pure, original Hinduism. His inquiries were prompted by a family visit to a temple for overnight worship, when he stayed up waiting for God to appear to accept the offerings made to image of the God Shiva. While everyone else slept, Dayananda saw mice eating the offerings kept for the God. Utterly surprised, he wondered how a God, who cannot even protect his own "offerings," would protect humanity. He later argued with his father that they should not worship such a helpless God. He then started pondering the meaning of life and death, and asking questions that worried his parents.

Quest for liberation

In 1845, he declared that he was starting a quest for enlightenment, or for liberation (moksha), left home and started to denounce image-veneration. His parents had decided to marry him off in his early teens (common in nineteenth century India), so instead Dayananda chose to become a wandering monk. He learned Panini's Grammar to understand Sanskrit texts. After wandering in search of guidance for over two decades, he found Swami Virjananda (1779-1868) near Mathura who became his guru. The guru told him to throw away all his books in the river and focus only on the Vedas. Dayananda stayed under Swami Virjananda's tutelage for two and a half years. After finishing his education, Virjananda asked him to spread the concepts of the Vedas in society as his gurudakshina ("tuition-dues"), predicting that he would revive Hinduism.

Reforming Hinduism

Dayananda set about this difficult task with dedication, despite attempts on his life. He traveled the country challenging religious scholars and priests of the day to discussions and won repeatedly on the strength of his arguments. He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and misled by the priesthood for the priests' self-aggrandizement. Hindu priests discouraged common folk from reading Vedic scriptures and encouraged rituals (such as bathing in the Ganges and feeding of priests on anniversaries) which Dayananda pronounced as superstitions or self-serving.

He also considered certain aspects of European civilization to be positive, such as democracy and its emphasis on commerce, although he did not find Christianity at all attractive, or European cultural arrogance, which he disliked intensely. In some respects, his ideas were a reaction to Western criticism of Hinduism as superstitious idolatry. He may also have been influenced by Ram Mohan Roy, whose version of Hinduism also repudiated image-veneration. He knew Roy's leading disciple, Debendranath Tagore and for a while had contemplated joining the Brahmo Samaj but for him the Vedas were too central

In 1869, Dayananda set up his first Vedic School, dedicated to teaching Vedic values to the fifty students who registered during the first year. Two other schools followed by 1873. In 1875, he founded the Arya Samaj in 1875, which spearheaded what later became known as a nationalist movement within Hinduism. The term "fundamentalist" has also been used with reference to this strand of the Hindu religion.

The Arya Samaj

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ओ३म् O3m (Aum), considered by the Arya Samaj to be the highest and most proper name of God.

The Arya Samaj unequivocally condemns idol-veneration, animal sacrifices, ancestor worship, pilgrimages, priestcraft, offerings made in temples, the caste system, untouchability, child marriages, and discrimination against women on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction. The Arya Samaj discourages dogma and symbolism and encourages skepticism in beliefs that run contrary to common sense and logic. To many people, the Arya Samaj aims to be a "universal church" based on the authority of the Vedas. Dayananda taught that the Vedas are rational and contain universal principles. Fellow reformer Vivekananda also stressed the universal nature of the principles contained in Hindu thought, but for him the Ultimate was trans-personal, while Dayananda believed in a personal deity.

Among Swami Dayananda's immense contributions is his championing of the equal rights of women—such as their right to education and reading of Indian scriptures—and his translation of the Vedas from Sanskrit to Hindi so that the common person may be able to read the Vedas. The Arya Samaj is rare in Hinduism in its acceptance of women as leaders in prayer meetings and preaching. Dayananda promoted the idea of marriage by choice, strongly supported education, pride in India's past, in her culture as well as in her future capabilities. Indeed, he taught that Hinduism is the most rational religion and that the ancient Vedas are the source not only of spiritual truth but also of scientific knowledge. This stimulated a new interest in India's history and ancient disciples of medicine and science. Dayananda saw Indian civilization as superior, which some later developed into a type of nationalism that looked on non-Hindus as disloyal.

For several years (1879-1881), Dayananda was courted by the Theosophist, Helena Blavatsky, and Henry Steel Olcott, who were interested in a merger which was temporarily in place. However, their idea of the Ultimate Reality as impersonal did not find favor with Dayananda, for whom God is a person, and the organizations parted.

Dayananda's views on other religions

Far from borrowing concepts from other religions, as Raja Ram Mohan Roy had done, Swami Dayananda was quite critical of Islam and Christianity as may be seen in his book, Satyartha Prakash. He was against what he considered to be the corruption of the pure faith in his own country. Unlike many other reform movements within Hinduism, the Arya Samaj's appeal was addressed not only to the educated few in India, but to the world as a whole, as evidenced in the sixth of ten principle of the Arya Samaj.[1]

Arya Samaj, like a number of other modern Hindu movements, allows and encourages converts to Hinduism, since Dayananda held Hinduism to be based on "universal and all-embracing principles" and therefore to be "true." "I hold that the four Vedas," he wrote, "the repository of Knowledge and Religious Truths- are the Word of God …They are absolutely free from error and are an authority unto themselves."[2] In contrast, the Gospels are silly, and "no educated man" could believe in their content, which contradicted nature and reason.

Christians go about saying "Come, embrace my religion, get your sins forgiven and be saved" but "All this is untrue, since had Christ possessed the power of having sins remitted, instilling faith in others and purifying them, why would he not have freed his disciples from sin, made them faithful and pure," citing Matthew 17:17.[3] The claim that Jesus is the only way to God is fraudulent, since "God does not stand in need of any mediator," citing John 14: 6-7. In fact, one of the aims of the Arya Samaj was to re-convert Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. Sikhs were regarded as Hindus with a distinct way of worship. Some Gurdwaras actually fell under the control of the Arya Samaj, which led to the creation of a new Sikh organization to regain control of Sikh institutions. As the political influence of the movement grew, this attitude towards non-Hindu Indian's had a negative impact on their treatment, inciting such an event as the 1992 destruction of the Mosque at Ayodhia. There and elsewhere, Muslims were accused of violating sacred Hindu sites by bulding Mosques where Temples had previously stood. The Samaj has been criticized for aggressive intolerance against other religions.<see>Encyclopædia Britannica Online, Arya Samaj. Retrieved September 13, 2007.

However, given the hostility expressed by many Christian missionaries and colonial officials in India towards the Hindu religion, which they often held in open contempt, what Dayananda did was to reverse their attitude and give such people a taste of their own medicine.

Support for democracy

He was the among the first great Indian stalwarts who popularized the concept of Swaraj—right to self-determination vested in an individual, when India was ruled by the British. His philosophy inspired nationalists in the mutiny of 1857 (a fact that is less known), as well as champions such as Lala Lajpat Rai and Bhagat Singh. Dayananda's Vedic message was to emphasize respect and reverence for other human beings, supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual—divine because the body was the temple where the human essence(soul or "Atma") could possibly interface with the creator ("ParamAtma"). In the 10 principles of the Arya Samaj, he enshrined the idea that "All actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefiting mankind" as opposed to following dogmatic rituals or revering idols and symbols. In his own life, he interpreted Moksha to be a lower calling (due to its benefit to one individual) than the calling to emancipate others. The Arya Samaj is itself democratically organized. Local societies send delegates to regional societies, which in turn send them to the all India Samaj.

Death

Dayananda's ideas cost him his life. He was poisoned in 1883, while a guest of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. On his deathbed, he forgave his poisoner, the Maharaja's cook, and actually gave him money to flee the king's anger.

Dayananda Sarasvati, original name Mula Sankara, (born 1824, Tankara, Gujarat, India—died October 30, 1883, Ajmer, Rajputana), Hindu ascetic and social reformer who was the founder (1875) of the Arya Samaj (Society of Aryans [Nobles]), a Hindu reform movement advocating a return to the temporal and spiritual authority of the Vedas, the earliest scriptures of India.

-- Dayananda Sarasvati, by Britannica.com


Legacy

The Arya Samaj remains a vigorous movement in India, where it has links with several other organizations including some political parties. Dayananda and the Arya Samaj provide the ideological underpinnings of the Hindutva movement of the twentieth century. Ruthven regards his "elevation of the Vedas to the sum of human knowledge, along with his myth of the Aryavartic kings" as religious fundamentalism, but considers its consequences as nationalistic, since "Hindutva secularizes Hinduism by sacralizing the nation." Dayananda's back-to-the-Vedas message influenced many thinkers.[4] The Hindutva concept considers that only Hindus can properly be considered India. Organizatuions such as the RSS (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party]] were influenced by the Arya Samaj.

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Sri Aurobindo

Dayananda also influenced Sri Aurobindo, who decided to look for hidden psychological meanings in the Vedas.[5] Dayananda's legacy may have had a negative influence in encouraging Hindu nationalism that denies the full rights of non-Hindus. On the other hand, he was a strong democrat and an advocate of women's rights. His championship of Indian culture, and his confidence in India's future ability to contribute to science, did much to stimulate India's post-colonial development as a leading nation in the area of technology especially.

Works

Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works in all, including a 14 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, an incomplete commentary on the Ashtadhyayi (Panini's grammar), several small tracts on ethics and morality, Vedic rituals and sacraments and on criticism of rival doctrines (such as Advaita Vedanta). The Paropakarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish his works and Vedic texts.
• Satyartha Prakash/Light of Truth. Translated to English, published in 1908; New Delhi: Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, 1975.
• An Introduction to the Commentary on the Vedas. Ed. B. Ghasi Ram, Meerut, 1925; New Delhi : Meharchand lachhmandas Publications, 1981.
• Glorious Thoughts of Swami Dayananda. Ed. Sen, N.B. New Delhi: New Book Society of India.
• Autobiography. Ed. Kripal Chandra Yadav, New Delhi: Manohar, 1978.
• The philosophy of religion in India. Delhi: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 2005. ISBN 8180900797

Notes

1. New Zealand Arya Samaj, Ten Principles of the Arya Samaj. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
2. Griffiths, p. 202-3.
3. Griffiths, p. 200.
4. Ruthven, 108.
5. Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda (Volume 10). Retrieved September 13, 2007

References

• Griffiths, Paul J. Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1990. ISBN 0883446618
• Lata, Prem. Swami Dayananda Sarasvati. New Delhi: Sumit Publications, 1990. ISBN 978-8170001140
• Ruthven, Malise. Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0199212705
• Salmond, N.A. Hindu Iconoclasts: Rammohun Roy, Dayananda Sarasvati and Nineteenth Century Polemics Against Idolatry. Waterloo, Ont: Published for the Canadian Corp. for Studies in Religion by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0889204195
• Sarasvati, Dayananda. Autobiography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. New Delhi: Manohar Book Service, 1976.

External links

All links retrieved November 9, 2017.
• Satyarth Prakash - THE "LIGHT OF TRUTH" by Swami Dayanand Online book.

Credits

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Dayananda Sarasvati
Hindu leader
by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Accessed: 3/21/21

Dayananda Sarasvati, original name Mula Sankara, (born 1824, Tankara, Gujarat, India—died October 30, 1883, Ajmer, Rajputana), Hindu ascetic and social reformer who was the founder (1875) of the Arya Samaj (Society of Aryans [Nobles]), a Hindu reform movement advocating a return to the temporal and spiritual authority of the Vedas, the earliest scriptures of India.

Dayananda received the early education appropriate to a young Brahman of a well-to-do family. At the age of 14 he accompanied his father on an all-night vigil at a Shiva temple. While his father and some others fell asleep, mice, attracted by the offerings placed before the image of the deity, ran over the image, polluting it. The experience set off a profound revulsion in the young boy against what he considered to be senseless idol worship. His religious doubts were further intensified five years later by the death of a beloved uncle. In a search for a way to overcome the limits of mortality, he was directed first toward Yoga (a system of mental and physical disciplines). Faced with the prospect of a marriage being arranged for him, he left home and joined the Sarasvati order of ascetics.

For the next 15 years (1845–60) he traveled throughout India in search of a religious truth and finally became a disciple of Swami Virajananda. His guru, in lieu of the usual teacher’s fees, extracted a promise from Dayananda (the name taken by him at the time of his initiation as an ascetic) to spend his life working toward a reinstatement of the Vedic Hinduism that had existed in pre-Buddhist India.

Dayananda first attracted wide public attention for his views when he engaged in a public debate with orthodox Hindu scholars in Benares (Varanasi) presided over by the maharaja of Benares. The first meeting establishing the Arya Samaj was held in Bombay (now Mumbai) on April 10, 1875. Although some of Dayananda’s claims to the unassailable authority of the Vedas seem extravagant (for example, modern technological achievements such as the use of electricity he claimed to have found described in the Vedas), he furthered many important social reforms. He opposed child marriage, advocated the remarriage of widows, opened Vedic study to members of all castes, and founded many educational and charitable institutions. The Arya Samaj also contributed greatly to the reawakening of a spirit of Indian nationalism in pre-Independence days.

Dayananda died after vigorous public criticism of a princely ruler, under circumstances suggesting that he might have been poisoned by one of the maharaja’s supporters, but the accusation was never proved in court.

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The Saint who Declared Swaraj
by Rajendra Chaddha
Voice of the Nation Organiser
November 27, 2019

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Swami Dayanand Saraswati,(Feb 12, 1824–Oct 30, 1883

The personality and teachings of Swami Dayanand Saraswati influenced most of the revolutionaries during the freedom movement. He was the pioneer of neo-nationalism in politics


Today, it will surprise many to know that under British rule, a saint had demanded Swaraj in the year 1876, much before Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was Swami Dayanand. He was the father of India’s Independence movement. If we study the history of India’s independence movement, we could know that most of the leaders, patriots and revolutionaries of that period who sacrificed their lives for freedom, were influenced by the personality and teachings of Swami Dayanand. Among the Indian revolutionaries, Shyamji Krishna Verma, Swami Shraddhanand and Lala Lajpat Rai were his disciples and ardent devotees. Even revolutionary patriots like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Gendalal Dixit, Swami Bhavani Dayal, Bhai Parmanand, Bhagat Singh, Ramprasad Bismil, Yashpal and Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi had imbibed patriotism from the Arya Samaj. Not only this, even Mahatma Gandhi was substantially influenced by Dayanand’s teachings and vision. The remarkable thing is that Mahatma Gandhi’s Guru Gopalakrishna Gokhale and Gokhale’s Guru Justice Govind Ranade were not only the ultimate disciples of Dayanand but also the distinguished office bearers of the Paropakarini Sabha founded by Dayanand.

According to Indravidya Vachaspati, after the revolution of 1857, the first name in the list of great men whom we can call the mental, social and cultural successors of that revolution is of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. It would not be an exaggeration to call Swami Dayanand the pioneer of neo-nationalism in politics. Even Anne Besant said that Dayanand was the first person who wrote that ‘India is for Indians’.

According to Lala Lajpat Rai, “Swami Dayanand donated my soul to me. I am indebted to him for being his ‘manasputra’. On reading the touching and heartfelt description of the plight of the country in Maharishi’s ‘Satyarth Prakash’ and experiencing Dayanand’s patriotic spirit, patriot and ardent follower of the Sanatan Dharma Madanmohan Malaviya’s eyes used to get filled with tears”. In light of all the above statements, it can be said that Dayanand has given inspiration and strength to the Indian freedom movement and revolutionaries through his nationalist ideology. His emergence as a champion of the Hindu’s and Indian Nation was at a time when Indian culture was beset by foreign influences. The educated class was forgetting its self-respect and ancient dignity due to the glare of Western civilisation. He dissolved this folly of Indians and taught them a beautiful lesson in nationalism.

Swami Dayanand was born on February 12, 1824 in Tankara in Morvi state of Kathiawar, Gujarat. Born in the Moola constellation Sagittarius, he was named Mool Shankar. Moolshankar left the normal household life in search of truth in the year 1846. Then, under Guru Virjanand, Mool Shankar studied Panini’s grammar, Patanjali-Yogasutra and Veda-Vedang. The Guru asked him to eradicate the ignorance of dissent and spread the light of Vedic religion with the light of Vedic Dharma as Dakshina to him. The result was that he made it his goal to rejuvenate the Hindu society of Aryavarta, regardless of the opposition and condemnation of anyone. Swami Dayanand’s biggest contribution was to empower and activate the Hindu people. He sent a message of regenerative power to the people who had remained weak from centuries of invasion. “Our existence is going to be erased from the land in the absence of strength,” he said. No one else had done empowerment of the society in India as that of Dayanand and Vivekananda.

Swami Dayanand was a strong supporter of education and wanted to spread it widely. He favoured proper education to women in the country. He considered women to be revered. Presenting the description of Atharvaveda, he said the girls should also follow the Brahmacharya and achieve education. He wanted the boys and girls to observe unbroken Brahmacharya in thought, words and action while performing a restrained life during their period of education. He wanted to impress English educated youth with the dignity of Indian languages. The use of Hindi language in his book ‘Satyarth Prakash’ suggests that he was the leader of public awakening and it was his programme to make the ancient ideals the wall of public life. He believed that one would automatically achieve social and political prosperity by having moral ideals. Thus, he was a strong supporter of temporal, moral and social emergence.

According to Maharishi Dayanand, the best goal of education is character-building. To achieve this objective, Gurukul Kangadi was established in the year 1902 on the banks of the Ganga near Haridwar. The character of the man is the sum of his various actions and desires, the sum of all the inclinations of his values. The way happiness and sorrow flow on his soul leave their imprint and their culture on him. The character of man is the fruit of the collection of these various impressions. We are the same as our thoughts are. Therefore, the character of the students is developed mainly in childhood and adolescence. The parents, guardians and teachers need to be fully alert in this regard. Swamiji asked to adopt the principle of simplicity in food, ethics, costumes and everywhere. He was of the opinion that there should be uniform food, clothes and accommodation for every student. This will be possible only when our standard of living is simple and pure. He has addressed the teachers and asked them to hold the above and said the Guru has to keep in his mind that knowledge of real religion is not possible without being alienated from wealth and worldly pleasures.

Paropakarini Sabha, formed in Meerut in 1880, was mainly tasked to print and publish the Vedas and Vedangas with proper interpretation. Aryma Samaj focussed on the protection of orphans, carrying out welfare activities and Vedic research


It is worth mentioning that famous German philosopher and educationist Herbert also considered the main goal of education as ‘ideal character building’. He has written in clear words that ‘the aim of education is to endow human beings with moral qualities. Morality is different from religiousness. Morality is the richness of human qualities. According to him, the essence of the sole and whole of education lies in morality. Herbert considers education as the basis for the development and refinement of qualities. His morality consists of the realisation of Satya, Shiva, Sundaram and Dharma.

Deputy Collector of Kashi, Raja Jayakrishnadas, met Swamiji (when Swamiji came to Kashi) in May 1874. In June 1874, Swami Dayanand started writing ‘Satyarth-Prakash’ to the Pandits. Shri Harvilas Sharda wrote life sketch of Rishi Dayanand in English, which he did in Allahabad. Swami Dayanand, who founded the Arya Samaj on April 7, 1875 in Mumbai, gave the slogan to return to the Vedas. He formed the basis of his philosophy of karma theory, rebirth, celibacy and renunciation while writing commentary on the Vedas. He considered untouchability against the Vedas and he has a major contribution in freeing the Hindu caste from the curse of untouchability. The first edition of ‘Satyarth-Prakash’ was printed in Kashi in the year 1875. By the time of Swamiji's lifetime till Deepavali 1883 October 30 (Samvat 1940), only 11 Samullas of it were printed in the Vedic Press at Prayag. For this reason, the second edition came to light in December 1884. Among all his writings ‘Satyarth Prakash’ is the principal one. Reference of a total of 377 texts can be seen in this, in which evidence of 210 books are given. Examples of 1542 Veda Mantras or Shlokas are given in this book.

If a research scholar of today wants to write a text with such references from an up-to-date library of Sanskrit of a university where all the texts are available, it would take years, which was written by Rishi Dayanand in three months. This book gave birth to a new social outlook. Inspiration to study foreign languages as much as possible is there in the ‘Satyarth Prakash’, but it urges to give first place to his own language Sanskrit and Hindi.

Maharishi Dayananda accepted the Vedas and Upanishads, adopting only the ancient and his interpretation of the Upanishads. He followed his own method of interpretation. He formed the Arya Samaj and his primary purpose behind it was to define and organise the entire Indian society as a cultural unit. The Arya Samaj contributed much in increasing the nationalist thought stream as seen today. It mainly affected the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Paropakarini Sabha was primarily founded in Meerut in 1880. Its original purpose was printing and publication of the Vedas and Vedangas by interpreting them. Propagation of religion, protection of orphans, and doing other public welfare activities have been taken as activities of Arya Samaj, along with the publication of books, doing of Vedic research and studies. Maharishi Dayanand started purification movement by inspiring people who had converted to other religions to return back to Hinduism. Under this movement, by purifying millions of Muslims and Christians, they made a comeback to the true Sanatan Vedic religion. It was started by Swami Shraddhanand on February 11, 1923 by establishing the Bharatiya Shuddhi Sabha.

(The writer is a member of the central team, Prajna Pravah)

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Krishna Varma admired Swami Dayananda Saraswati's cultural nationalism and believed in Herbert Spencer's dictum that "Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative". A graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he returned to India in the 1880s and served as divan (administrator) of a number of princely states, including Ratlam and Junagadh. He preferred this position to working under what he considered the alien rule of Britain. However, a supposed conspiracy of local British officials at Junagadh, compounded by differences between Crown authority and British Political Residents regarding the states, led to Varma's dismissal. He returned to England, where he found freedom of expression more favourable. Varma's views were staunchly anti-colonial, extending even to support for the Boers during the Second Boer War in 1899.

Krishna Varma co-founded the IHRS [Indian Home Rule Society] in February 1905, with Bhikaji Cama, S.R. Rana, Lala Lajpat Rai and others, as a rival organisation to the British Committee of the Congress. Subsequently, Krishna Varma used his considerable financial resources to offer scholarships to Indian students in memory of leaders of the 1857 uprising, on the condition that the recipients would not accept any paid post or honorary office from the British Raj upon their return home. These scholarships were complemented by three endowments of 2000 Rupees courtesy S.R. Rana, in memory of Rana Pratap Singh. Open to "Indians only", the IHRS garnered significant support from Indians – especially students – living in Britain. Funds received by Indian students as scholarships and bursaries from universities also found their way to the organisation. Following the model of Victorian public institutions, the IHRS adopted a constitution. The aim of the IHRS, clearly articulated in this constitution, was to "secure Home Rule for India, and to carry on a genuine Indian propaganda in this country by all practicable means". It recruited young Indian activists, raised funds, and possibly collected arms and maintained contact with revolutionary movements in India. The group professed support for causes in sympathy with its own, such as Turkish, Egyptian and Irish republican nationalism.

The Paris Indian Society, a branch of the IHRS, was launched in 1905 under the patronage of Bhikaji Cama, Sardar Singh Rana and B.H. Godrej. A number of India House members who later rose to prominence – including V.N. Chatterjee, Har Dayal and Acharya and others – first encountered the IHRS through this Paris Indian Society. Cama herself was at this time deeply involved with the Indian revolutionary cause, and she nurtured close links with both French and exiled Russian socialists. Lenin's views are thought to have influenced Cama's works at this time, and Lenin is believed to have visited India House during one of his stays in London. In 1907, Cama, along with V.N. Chatterjee and S.R. Rana, attended the Socialist Congress of the Second International in Stuttgart. There, supported by Henry Hyndman, she demanded recognition of self-rule for India and in a famous gesture unfurled one of the first Flags of India.


-- India House, by Wikipedia


Shyamji Krishna Varma (4 October 1857 – 30 March 1930) was an Indian revolutionary fighter, an Indian patriot, lawyer and journalist who founded the Indian Home Rule Society, India House and The Indian Sociologist in London. A graduate of Balliol College, Krishna Varma was a noted scholar in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. He pursued a brief legal career in India and served as the Divan of a number of Indian princely states in India. He had, however, differences with Crown authority, was dismissed following a supposed conspiracy of local British officials at Junagadh and chose to return to England. An admirer of Dayanand Saraswati's approach of cultural nationalism, and of Herbert Spencer, Krishna Varma believed in Spencer's dictum: "Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative".

In 1905 he founded the India House and The Indian Sociologist, which rapidly developed as an organised meeting point for radical nationalists among Indian students in Britain at the time and one of the most prominent centres for revolutionary Indian nationalism outside India. Krishna Varma moved to Paris in 1907, avoiding prosecution...


In 1875, Shyamji married Bhanumati, a daughter of a wealthy businessman of the Bhatia community and sister of his school friend Ramdas. Then he got in touch with the nationalist Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a radical reformer and an exponent of the Vedas, who had founded the Arya Samaj. He became his disciple and was soon conducting lectures on Vedic philosophy and religion. In 1877, a public speaking tour secured him a great public recognition. He became the first non-Brahmin to receive the prestigious title of Pandit by the Pandits of Kashi in 1877. He came to the attention of Monier Williams, an Oxford professor of Sanskrit who offered Shyamji a job as his assistant.

Oxford

Shyamji arrived in England and joined Balliol College, Oxford on 25 April 1879 with the recommendation of Professor Monier Williams. Passing his B.A. in 1883, he presented a lecture on "the origin of writing in India" to the Royal Asiatic Society. The speech was very well received and he was elected a non-resident member of the society. In 1881 he represented India at the Berlin Congress of Orientalists.

Legal career

He returned to India in 1885 and started practice as a lawyer. Then he was appointed as Diwan (chief minister) by the King of Ratlam State; but ill health forced him to retire from this post with a lump sum gratuity of RS 32052 for his service. After a short stay in Mumbai, he settled in Ajmer, headquarters of his Guru Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and continued his practice at the British Court in Ajmer. He invested his income in three cotton presses and secured sufficient permanent income to be independent for the rest of his life. He served for the Maharaja of Udaipur as a council member from 1893 to 1895, followed by the position of Diwan of Junagadh State. He resigned in 1897 after a bitter experience with a British agent that shook his faith in British Rule.

-- Shyamji Krishna Varma, by Wikipedia
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