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Part 1 of 2

Prostitution in Ancient India
by Sukumari Bhattacharji
Formerly Professor or Sanskrit, Jadavpur University, Calcutta.
Social Scientist
Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 32-61 (30 pages)
Feb., 1987

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Many States, even among the Moderns, have found the Necessity as well as Utility of tolerated Prostitution; they have discovered it to be one of the most effectual Methods for preserving the Peace of Families and the Health of Individuals; and Publick Stews have accordingly been licensed under every Regulation that could be devised to obviate their probable ill Effects, and to secure all their Advantages; so, in Asia, the Profession of Singing and Dancing by distinct Sets or Companies naturally formed these Women into a Kind of Community. And as the Policy of a good Government will always look with an Eye of Regard upon every Branch of Society, it was but just and proper to enact Laws for the Security and Protection of this Publick Body, as well as of the rest of the State, particularly as the Sex and Employment of those who composed it rendered them more than usually liable to Insult and ill Usage.

-- A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed


The culture of the performing art of nautch, an alluring style of popular dance, rose to prominence during the later period of Mughal Empire and the British East India Company Rule. During the period of Company rule in India by the British East India Company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and during the subsequent British Raj, the British military established and maintained brothels for its troops across India. Women and girls were recruited from poor rural Indian families and paid directly by the military. The red-light districts of cities such as Mumbai developed at this time. The governments of many Indian princely states had regulated prostitution in India prior to the 1860s. The British Raj enacted the Cantonment Act of 1864 to regulate Prostitution in colonial India as a matter of accepting a necessary evil. The Cantonment Acts regulated and structured prostitution in the British military bases which provided for about twelve to fifteen Indian women kept in brothels called chaklas for each regiment of thousand British soldiers. They were licensed by military officials and were allowed to consort with soldiers only. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of women and girls from continental Europe and Japan were trafficked into British India, where they worked as prostitutes servicing British soldiers and local Indian men.

-- Prostitution in India, by Wikipedia


Highlights:

The rupajiva was not accomplished in the arts like the ganika; her only stock in trade as the name signifies was her beauty and charm. She owed the state two days' income for a month. If a man forcibly enjoyed her he was fined 12 panas, but in times of crisis half her monthly income could be forfeited to the state...A vandhaki too had to pay part of her income to the state coffers in times of national crisis...

We have seen that the ganika, rupajiva, vesya and vandhaki had to pay taxes to the state but a careful study leads to the conclusion that almost all categories had an actual or potential obligation for paying taxes; the collection, however, depended on the degree and nature of the organization. Organized red light areas paid taxes regularly, at a fixed rate, while it was much more difficult to ascertain the income of the women 'kept' in seclusion by a man or of the unorganized individual women plying the trade in isolated pockets or even, like the vandhaki, at home. Similarly, organized brothels enjoyed greater security from the state in lieu of the taxes they paid while individuals who paid 'hush-money' to extortionist officers could hardly demand any protection from injustice, manhandling, coercion and cheating. The Nammayasundarikatha, a twelfth century text says that the state received 25% to 30% of the prostitute's income...

The ganika, says Kautilya, was also paid a monthly salary from the royal treasury and the pratiganika, her short-time substitute, received half the amount. The ganika, however, did not enjoy property rights. "There is every likelihood that their palatial establishments and gardens were state property with life interest." On her death, her daughter inherited her property but only for use; she could not sell, mortgage, exchange or donate them. This, of course, is true of the ordinary prostitute living in an organized brothel; many outstanding ganikas were mistresses of their own property...A ganika could be bought out by a sympathetic customer; her redemption money (niskraya) was 24,000 panas, a very high sum in view of the fact that her annual salary paid by the state was between 1000 and 3000 panas...

Foreign customers had to pay 5 panas extra tariff duty to the state apart from the courtesan's regular fees. The pumscali (a common whore) did not have any fixed fees; she could only demand fees on marks of cohabitation, if she tried to extort money from her customers her fees were liable to be forfeited to the state -- also if she threw temper tantrums or refused to oblige the customer in any way. The Kuttanimmata says that the temple prostitute (tridasalayajivika) got paid by the temple authorities and that her income was fixed by tradition. Ksemendra's Samayamatrka says that they were paid in grain as remuneration and that they were employed in rotation.

If after receiving her fees a prostitute refused to oblige her customer she paid a fine of double her fees; if she refused him before accepting the fees she paid her fees as fine...

Courtesans sometimes did perform several other functions. In the Mahabharata they participated in the victory celebrations.65 They even played a political role as spies whose duty it was to seduce important men who were potential sources of vital political information, to collect such information and supply it to the relevant officers through the superintendent (ganikadhyaksa)...

The retired temple prostitute was employed by the state for spinning cotton, wool and flax...The keepers of brothels...were adept in bringing about and resolving quarrels between rival suitors as and when needed by them or by political agents of the state...

Institutionalized prostitution, however, offered somewhat better prospects for old and retired courtesans. Kautilya lays down the rule that ganikas, pratiganikas, (short term substitutes for the ganikas), rupajivas, vesyas, dasis, devadasis, pumscalis, silpakarikas, kausikastri (woman artisan) are to be given pension by the state in old age. Since Kautilya was written for a prince it is to be assumed that these women were employed by the state and had earlier paid taxes to the state which the state regarded partially as provident fund contribution against old age, disability, retirement and penury. We are not told what the pension was in terms of money, whether it was adequate for sustenance. But a steady income, however small, must have meant some measure of security to elderly women who would otherwise be wholly destitute. But since women and their labour was exploited in most spheres of life, we may assume that this rule was not strictly observed, because such women were totally powerless to sue the state for non-payment. Yet the few who actually received some pension were lucky to have it. Retired prostitutes were employed as cooks, store-keepers, cotton-wool and flax spinners, and in various other manual jobs, so the state did not have to pay the pension until they were too old and weak to work any more. In old age some prostitutes became matrkas, i.e., matrons-in-charge of a brothel...

We have just seen that their clients also maltreated and manhandled them and these were not isolated incidents or exceptions or there would be no need to frame laws against crimes and stipulate the exact amount of fines for the several kinds of assault. She was often used and then cheated, robbed, thrashed, mutilated and murdered. If the institution was for society a necessary evil and the state had a vested interest in extracting revenue and espionage service from this 'evil', then it could not afford to ignore a situation when the source of such revenue was harmed so that she could not multiply the revenue. Hence the laws. But the attitude of society was clearly against the prostitute and not against her client...

What was the prostitute's social status? Strangely enough, prostitution is recognized as a profession with laws to regulate it because it served its specific purpose by catering to men's needs of extramarital sexual gratification and also the state's needs by bringing in considerable revenues and secret political information through espionage. As townships sprang up along trade routes and as rich men long away from home frequented these brothels these became a regular feature with the chief courtesans, beauty queens, being regarded as ornaments of the town or city, magarasobhani or nagaramandana. Because she was in high demand and because she would fetch a rich revenue if she was accomplished and attractive, the state undertook to supervise her education (with quite a heavy and rigorous syllabus) at its own expense, provided she remitted part of her income to the state...

Kautilya says that the superintendent of prostitutes conferred the title of ganika to the pretty, young and cultured hetaira;101 she drew 1000 panas from the state presumably for her establishment, and her teachers in the various arts were also paid by the state. She had a measure of social security in the sense that those who harmed her physically, financially and socially were liable to be punished heavily by the state. Needless to say that such a coveted position was not accorded to many; only a handful of the prostitutes were made ganikas whose favours were enjoyed by kings, princes and the richest of the merchants...The devadasis were a class by themselves who, because they were attached to institutions (i.e., temples) governed directly or indirectly by the state, enjoyed some degree of protection.

It is common knowledge that in most centres of ancient urban civilization temple prostitution was a common feature. Whether in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Babylon in temples of Badl and Astarte, or in Chaldea, Phoenicia or India and in the Far East it flourished under the dual patronage of the state and the church. Temple priests frequently got paid from the royal treasury, the temple prostitute was an extra allowance to them...

Once inside the temple and under the thumb of the priests they became like slaves with no clear definition of their rights and duties...

What happened to the devadasi when she grew old? Presumably not all of them enjoyed royal patronage. Those who did were employed in the state textile factory as we find in the solitary mention of the devadasi in Kautilya.105 Dancing was the only art she had learned and she could not practice it in old age, so that if she was one of those who did not enjoy royal care she would be reduced to destitution. Her profession prevented her from having a family and her long stay in the temple isolated her from society; therefore, even if she worked in a textile factory for a time she would face penury in real old age when both the temple and the community cut her off as wholly redundant. Thus at the end of a long career of double exploitation -- as a temple dancer and as the priests' concubine -- she faced complete destitution, for neither the state nor the temple had any obligation to look after her.

-- Prostitution in Ancient India, by Sukumari Bhattacharji


THE EARLIEST mention of prostitution occurs in the Rgveda, the most ancient literary work of India. At first however we hear of the illicit lover, jara and jatini - male and female lover of a married spouse. What distinguished such an illicit lover from the professional prostitute or her client is the regular payment for favours received. When we merely hear of an illicit lover there may or may not have been an exchange of gift; in a case of mutual consent gifts must have been optional. In the remote days of barter economy when money or currency was yet unknown, such gifts were equivalent to payment in cash. We have oblique references to women being given gifts for their favours, but the contexts leave us guessing whether the woman was a willing partner or whether she agreed to oblige in return for the gifts she received. But clearly, even in the earliest Vedic age, love outside wedlock was a familiar phenomenon and unions promoted by mere lust are mentioned in quite an uninhibited manner.

Prostitution as a profession appears in the literature of a few centuries after the Vedas although it must have been common in society much earlier. After the earliest Vedic literature between the twelfth and the ninth centuries B.C. (i.e., Rgveda, Books II-VII). we have a vast literature which covers the period between the eighth and the fifth centuries B.C. In this literature, too, we hear of the woman of easy virtue, of the wife's illicit love affairs.1

Extra-marital love may have been voluntary and unpaid but there is the possibility of it being regarded by the male partner as a form of service for which he was obliged to pay in some form. But as long as it was confined to a particular person, it was a temporary contract and was not regarded as a profession. The later Pali term muhuttia (lasting for an instant), or its Sanskrit equivalent muhurtika signified such purely temporary unions with no lasting relationship or obligation. Such affairs may have been voluntary or professional, depending on the attitude of the partners.

Gradually, there arose a section of women who, either because they could not find suitable husbands, or because of early widowhood, unsatisfactory married life or other social pressures especially if they had been violated, abducted or forcibly enjoyed and so denied an honourable status in society, or had been given away as gifts in religious or secular events -- such women were frequently forced to take up prostitution as a profession. And when they did so, they found themselves in a unique position: they constituted the only section of women who had to be their own bread winners and guardians. All the others -- maiden daughters, sisters, wives, widows and maidservants -- were wards of men: fathers, brothers, husbands, masters or sons.2 So women who took up prostitution had to be reasonably sure of an independent livelihood; their customers had to make it a viable proposition for them.

Economic Status

It is easy to see that all avenues to prostitution did not offer the same kind of economic security. A raped woman had little chance of an honourable marriage and social rehabilitation; so, reduced to prostitution, she had to accept whatever came her way. This also held true for the old maid turned prostitute. But a young widow or a pretty wanton maid or an unhappily married attractive woman could perhaps choose her partner and name her price, at least in the beginning of her career while she still enjoyed the protection of her father's, husband's or in-laws' home. We have absolutely no way of knowing when prostitution in India arose as a recognizable profession or how much the prostitute received by way of payment. Its emergence and recognition as a profession was presumably concomitant with the institution of strict marriage rules, especially monoandry, and the wife being regarded as the private property of her husband. The terms sadharani or samanya (common), synonyms for prostitute, distinguish her as a woman not possessed by one man; this is the desideratum. When a woman docs not belong to one man but obliges many, as the terms varangana, varastri, varavadhu and varamukhya3 signify, since she is not the responsibility of any one man, she looks after herself. She does by accepting payment from each of the men she obliges; she then This becomes panyastri, one whose favours can be bought with money.

The process of the emergence of prostitution must have been slow, varying from region to region and from age to age. By the later Vedic age, i.e., around the eighth or seventh century B.C., we have references to a more regularized form of prostitution recognized as a social institution. Early Buddhist literature, especially the Jatakas, hear testimony to the existence of different categories of prostitutes, and incidentally provides some information about their fees as also of their financial position.

Professional prostitution presupposes an economic condition in which surplus was produced, a surplus which also earned prosperity from abroad through trade and commerce. It also presupposes the rise of petty principalities, the breakdown of tribal society, the rise of the joint or extended family and the social subjugation of women in general. In a settled agricultural community, the woman gradually lost social mobility and a measure of freedom that she had been enjoying before. She became man's ward, possession, object of enjoyment. Also, with the accumulation of private property, the wife was more zealously guarded and jealously watched over. Society was now polygamous: polyandry disappeared except in some small pockets.

Whether as an unmarried girl, a wife or a widow, she belonged to some man; so otter men could not approach her without trespassing on the owner's property rights. Pleasure outside the home, therefore, had to be paid for, hence prostitution had to he institutionalized so that there was an assurance of a steady supply for ready payment. It must have been a long and tortuous process for women of this profession to congregate in a 'red light area', away from the village -- and later also from towns -- where men could go and seek their company. Social ostracism on the one hand and professional solidarity of the guild type of association on the other, ensured their security and prosperity.

Although the later Vedic literature tacitly assumes and sometimes even overtly mentions prostitutes, it is in the Buddhist texts that we see them first as professionals. In Vedic literature, especially in the Aitareya and Sankhayana Aranyakas, the prostitute is mentioned in an apparently obscene altercation with the neophyte (brahmacarin). In the Vratyasukta of the Atharvaveda, she follows the Magadha. These are clearly part of a fertility ritual. It is in this role that she has persisted in ritual and literature down the ages.

There are various myths and legends regarding the origin of prostitution. The Mahabharata account of the destruction of the Yadavas and Vrsnis4 ends with the women of these tribes being abducted by barbarian brigands. In the Kuru and Pancala regions5 inhabited by the Madras and the Sindhu-Sauviras, the Brahmin sages Dalbhya Caikitayana and Svetaketu's nephew Astavakra were said to be associated with the teaching of erotics in which prostitution constitutes a section. In the Mahabhatata6 and the Matsya purana7 we are given fictitious accounts of the origin of prostitution. Ksemendra says that wicked mothers give their daughters, enjoyed and abandoned by men, to others.8 Vatsyayana in his Kamasutra gives detailed instructions on how a chaste girl should be seduced cleverly until she yields to a man's lust.9 Presumably, when such a man abandoned her she was forced to adopt prostitution as a profession. We also hear of the jayopojivins or jayajivins, husbands who lived on the wife's income which she earned by selling herself. This itself was regarded as a minor sin on the husband's part, an upapataka which could be expiated by taking the comparatively mild candrayana vow.'10 All these texts reveal to us some of the channels by which women came to prostitution. Another old channel of the supply of prostitutes was young virgins given away as gifts on special religious and secular occasions. The number of such girls given away to brahmins, guests, priests, sons-in-law is staggering. In later Vedic times we hear of daksinas, sacrificial fees to officiating priests. Such fees included horses, cattle, gold and also women of various categories -- umarried, married without children and married with children. One wonders what a priest did with hundreds of such women. Some he could marry, others he would enjoy and abandon, still others he would employ as maidservants. Many of these would later find their way to brothels or to slave markets. Yet another source of supply was the royal palace. A king could summon pretty maids to his palace, enjoy them for some days and then send them away. In the Vatsagulma region, ministers' wives had to oblige the king by paying visits (on being summoned) to the palace. In Vidarbha, pretty maids were enjoyed by the king for a month and then sent away. When such women came out of the palace, one obvious solution for their future life was prostitution. Of course, courtiers would sometimes marry some of them but the rest had few alternative courses open to them. Kautilya says that prostitutes were recruited from four sources: either they were born as prostitutes' daughters, or they were purchased,11 or captured in war,12 or they were women who had been punished for adultery.13

Finally, a totally abhorrent manner of procuring women for temple prostitution was buying women and giving them to the temples. Such donors were said to grow rich in this life and live in heaven for a long time. We hear that he who gave a host of prostitutes to the Sun god went to the region of the sun after death.14

Temple dancers do not appear before the last few centuries B.C. and arc mentioned frequently in the early centuries A.D. in some regions. The Jatakas do not know them, Greek visitors after Alexander do not mention them. Even Kautilya does not associate professional dancers with temple prostitution. Evidently, the institution arose in the troubled period of foreign invasion before and after the early centuries A.D. Kalidasa, in the fifth century A.D., assumes their existence and function as an established tradition.15 From the sixth century A.D. onwards, literature and epigraphy hear many evidences of its existence. As townships and cities arose along the trade routes in northern India around the sixth century B.C., internal and maritime trade flourished in these, and towns and cities became centres where courtesans plied their trade and attracted money from travellers, merchants, soldiers and men of various trades. These courtesans were trained in many arts and if they were young and pretty they could amass a fortune, but evidently only the exceptionally beautiful, young and accomplished among them were so fortunate. Since entertainment was their primary function, they had to provide song, dance, music and various other kinds of pleasure; they had to keep a troupe of artistes in the different fields in readiness for the cultivated customer. To the upper class of courtesans sometimes came men of refined aesthetic sensibilities and intellectual ability; hence they were obliged to provide entertainment like the hostesses of the French salons of the last century or the Japanese geisha girls. They themselves were trained in the various arts including literature, for their training was quite lengthy and elaborate. We hear of texts composed for such training; these are called Vaisikatantra. But every courtesan could not herself provide all kinds of aesthetic pleasure, so they had to make an initial and also recurring investment for training and maintaining a troupe of artistes. Occasionally, the royal treasury came to her aid.

Chief courtesans of prosperous cites and towns maintained their own train of singers and dancing girls. Royal courts also patronized such singers and dancers who could be enjoyed by the king and his favourites and who could also be employed as spies.

From the earliest times we have many different names for courtesans. The Rgveda knows the hasra, a frivolous woman and the agru,16 and the sadharani.17 The Atharvavetda knows the pumscali, she who walks among men,18 the mahanagni, she of great nakedness (i.e., who bares herself to many) is mentioned in the atharvaveda,19 Atiskadvari and apaskadvari, women with fancy dress and bare bosoms are mentioned in the Taittiriya Brahmana.20 Rajayitri, she who entertains and is given to sensuality, also figures in some texts.21 Samanya and sadharani are generic terms for the common woman.22 In the Mahavrata rite the pumscali, a prostitute pairs ritually with a brahmacarin.23 The Kamosutra in the second or first century B.C. mentions the kumbhadasi and paricarika maidservants who could also be enjoyed at will. Kulata and svairini, wanton women, nati, the actress, silpakarika, she who is engaged in arts and crafts, prakasavinasta, the openly defiled one, rupajiva and ganika, are courtesans with different social ranks.

The Jatakas mentionvannadasi, vesi, nariyo, gamaniyo, and nagarasobhani itthi; 24 muhuttia25 and janapadakalyani are mentioned in several Buddhist texts in the sense of the most beautiful women who can be enjoyed by an entire janapoda. The ganika must initially have connoted a woman at the disposal of all the members of a gana, a tribe, and later of the political unit, or constituent of a confederacy. Some later names includes salabhanjika, who is no other than a prostitute in Jatadhara's dictionary.

Variations in Status and Functions

This profusion of synonyms cannot be explained by regional or temporal variations only, it also signifies the social and financial status of the various categories of courtesans.26 The numerous synonyms also testify to the widespread presence of the institution through the ages.

The rupajiva was not accomplished in the arts like the ganika; her only stock in trade as the name signifies was her beauty and charm. She owed the state two days' income for a month. If a man forcibly enjoyed her he was fined 12 panas, but in times of crisis half her monthly income could be forfeited to the state.27
She could also belong to the royal harem28 and could also be exclusively kept by one man; in which case another enjoying her was fined 48 panas.29 Disguised as a wife she could help a man escape and could also be employed by the state as a spy.30 Vatsyayana also mentions the rupajiva.31 Another name of the mistress of one individual man is avaruddha. The rupadasi was unaccomplished and was employed in the personal attendance of a wealthy man. Like the vannadasi mentioned in the Jatakas she could entertain customers on her own or serve under some other person.32 The ganikadasi was a female slave of the ganika who could also become independent and set up her own establishment. The Samajataka mentions Sama, a courtesan of Kasi who had a retinue of 500 ganikadasis.33 Other common and late names are varangana, varabadhu, varamukhya, all of which stand for a prostitute while vrsli, which originally meant a Sudra woman later came to mean a harlot; pumsula and lanjika are later synonyms of harlots. Kulata was a married woman who left home to become a public woman and vandhaki was a housewife turned whore; her husband was known as vandhakiposa, maintaining or being maintained by a vandhaki. A vandhaki too had to pay part of her income to the state coffers in times of national crisis. The randa was a low common woman, a mistress to vita, usually an old hag who pretended to he engaged in penance but was actually out to catch customers.

The ganika and sometimes the rupajiva too, received free training in the various arts and

those who teach prostitutes, female slaves and actresses arts such as singing, playing on musical instruments, reading, dancing, acting, writing, painting, playing on instruments such as vina (lyre), pipe and drum, reading the thoughts of others, manufacture of scents and garlands, shampooing and the art of attracting and captivating the mind of others shall be endowed with maintenance from the state. They, the teachers shall train the sons of prostitutes to be chief actors (rangopajivan) on the stage. The wives of actors and others of similar profession who have been taught various languages and the use of signals (samjna) shall, along with their relatives be made use of in detecting the wicked and murdering and deluding foreign spies.34


In a sixth century Jain work we have an exhaustive list of the prostitute's attainments -- writing, arithmetic, the arts, singing, playing on musical instruments, drums, chess, dice, eightboard chess, instant verse-making, Prakrite and Apabhramsa poetry, proficiency in the science of perfume making, jewellery, dressing up, knowledge of the signs of good or bad men and women, horses, elephants, cooks, rams, umbrellas, rods, swords, jewels, gems which antidote poison, architecture, camps and canopies, phalanx arrangement, fighting, fencing, shooting arrows, ability to interpret omens, etc. Altogether seventy-two arts and sciences were to be mastered by her.35

It is clear (hat the prostitute especially the ganika, the most accomplished among them, offered men something which by the early centuries A.D. had become absolutely rare among the women of the gentry, viz, accomplishment. We read in the Manusamhita: "The sacrament of marriage is to a female what initiation with the sacred thread is to a male. Serving the husband is for the wife what residence in the preceptor's house is to the man and household duty is to the woman, what offering sacrifices is to the man."36 This series of neat equations deprive the woman of education, dooming her to household chores only, especially service of her husband and in-laws, but also thereby indirectly doom her to the loss of her husband's attention. With an unaccomplished wife at home, the man who cared for cultured female company went to the brothel for it. Manu belongs to the early centuries A.D.;37 a steady deterioration in the status of the woman and the Sudra followed his codification of the social norm and the brothel flourished because it catered to the cultured man-about-the-town's (nagaraka) tastes in women.

The ganika because of her youth, beauty, training and accomplishment belonged to a superior social status. With an extensive, elaborate, and apparently expensive education she could frequently name her price, which, as Buddhist texts testify was often prohibitive. She was patronized by the king who visited her sometimes, as also by wealthy merchants. Because of her high fees none but the most wealthy could approach her. She alone enjoyed a position where as long as her youth and beauty lasted she could not be exploited.

Taxes to the State

We have seen that the ganika, rupajiva, vesya and vandhaki had to pay taxes to the state but a careful study leads to the conclusion that almost all categories had an actual or potential obligation for paying taxes; the collection, however, depended on the degree and nature of the organization. Organized red light areas paid taxes regularly, at a fixed rate, while it was much more difficult to ascertain the income of the women 'kept' in seclusion by a man or of the unorganized individual women plying the trade in isolated pockets or even, like the vandhaki, at home. Similarly, organized brothels enjoyed greater security from the state in lieu of the taxes they paid while individuals who paid 'hush-money' to extortionist officers could hardly demand any protection from injustice, manhandling, coercion and cheating. The Nammayasundarikatha, a twelfth century text says that the state received 25% to 30% of the prostitute's income.

We hear of the extremely high fees of some famous ganikas in the Buddhist texts. Bhatti38 and parivvayam39 denote two different types of fees. Vasadavatta of Mathura charged very high rates per night.40 Salavati of Rajagraha charged a hundred karsapanas per night while Ambapali's fees led to a dispute between the cities Rajagrha and Vaisali. A Jain text41 says that a courtesan who had a faultless body and whose attainments were complete may charge 1000 karsapanas per night. Evidently, only the richest merchants could pay such fees. The play Mrcchakatika mentions a thousand gold coins and ornaments being sent in advance to lure a ganika to a paramour's house. The ganika, says Kautilya, was also paid a monthly salary from the royal treasury and the pratiganika, her short-time substitute, received half the amount. The ganika, however, did not enjoy property rights. "There is every likelihood that their palatial establishments and gardens were state property with life interest."42 On her death, her daughter inherited her property but only for use; she could not sell, mortgage, exchange or donate them. This, of course, is true of the ordinary prostitute living in an organized brothel; many outstanding ganikas were mistresses of their own property. Hence in Buddhist literature we have many instances where she gave away her property. A ganika could be bought out by a sympathetic customer; her redemption money (niskraya) was 24,000 panas, a very high sum in view of the fact that her annual salary paid by the state was between 1000 and 3000 panas. A rupajiva's fees were 48 panas, she usually lived with actors, wine-sellers, meat-sellers, people who sold cooked rice and Vaisyas generally. It is obvious that she kept company with people who controlled ready cash.

A man who forcibly attacked a ganika's daughter paid a fine of 54 panas plus a fine (sulka) of sixteen times her mother's fees, presumably to the mother herself.42 The second fine may also be a hush-money paid to the bridegroom at the daughter's wedding. Foreign customers had to pay 5 panas extra tariff duty to the state apart from the courtesan's regular fees. The pumscali (a common whore) did not have any fixed fees; she could only demand fees on marks of cohabitation, if she tried to extort money from her customers her fees were liable to be forfeited to the state -- also if she threw temper tantrums or refused to oblige the customer in any way. The Kuttanimmata says that the temple prostitute (tridasalayajivika) got paid by the temple authorities and that her income was fixed by tradition. Ksemendra's Samayamatrka says that they were paid in grain as remuneration and that they were employed in rotation.

If after receiving her fees a prostitute refused to oblige her customer she paid a fine of double her fees; if she refused him before accepting the fees she paid her fees as fine.44 Apparently it is a fair business deal where the defaulter pays a fine but if we pause and think that a sensible person would not ruin the prospects of gain or income unless she had some serious reason for disobliging her customer, it becomes clear that she did not have the option of refusing to sell herself. In other words, society refused to look upon her as a human being; she was just a commodity, nothing more. If a price had been accepted the commodity was the customer for use.

Regarding her customers Vatsyayana is very clear. The ideal one is young, rich, without having to earn his wealth (i.e., born to wealth), proud, a minister to the king, one who can afford to disregard his elders' commands, preferably an only son of a rich father. Born in an aristocratic family, be should be learned, a poet, proficient in tales, an orator, accomplished in the various arts, not malicious, lively, given to drinks, friendly, a ladies' man but not under their power, independent, not cruel, not jealous, not apprehensive.45 The courtesan is advised not to stick to one visitor when she has offers from many. She should go to the person who can offer the gifts she covets.46 Since money can buy everything she should oblige him who can afford the highest sum -- this, says the text, is what the teachers' instruct. When she wants to bring her paramour back from a rival she should be extra nice to him and be satisfied with less payment temporarily. This is to ensure her future ... she should leave the impoverished lover and never invest in one from whom there is no hope of return.47 She should be able to read the signs of his disaffection; a long list of such signs are given.48 Above all, a courtesan should never encourage or entertain a suitor of reduced means. When she has squeezed her customer dry she should remorselessly leave him and search for a rich one. Normally, a ganika chose her own customer except when the king forced one on her. Then, if she refused she was whipped with 1000 lashes or was fined 5000 panas. She did not have any right over her own body where the royal wish was concerned.49 The punishment for forcing an unwilling ganika was 1000 panas or more. Once she admits a client into her own house to share it with her she could not throw him out. If she did, the fine was eight times her fees. She could only refuse if he was diseased. When the client cheated her of her fees he had to pay eight times the fees.

The prostitute could own ornaments, money, her fees, servants, maidservants who could be concubines. But other texts indicate that this ownership was not real or ultimate; but merely a right of use. The concubine, however, was obliged to pay the mistress for her own upkeep, plus one pana per month.


Prostitution in ancient India existed both overtly and covertly. In other words, besides brothels or open establishments run by and for one or more prostitutes, ancient texts give a list or many professions for girls where she could potentially be enjoyed by her employer with impunity. She could act as a substitute for the wife. In the Jain text Vasudeva Hindi we read of Bharata, a leader of his clan having another woman besides the wife. All the feudatories under him sent their daughters who arrived at the same time. The queen threatened to leave, so it was decided that they would serve him in the outer court and that later they would be handed over to the gana, the tribe, to become ganikas, the text thus explains the origin of the term ganika. The Mahabharata tells us that the Pandava, army was followed by a host of prostitutes who went in the rear of the army on baggage carts.50 Yudbisthira on the eve of the war sent his greetings to the prostitutes.51 In the train of the Pandavas when they left for the forest there were "chariots, traders' goods and brothels", presumably to entertain the army.52 King Virata after his victory ordered young girls to dress well, come out53 and entertain the assembled men. Such a command could only be given to public women. When Krsna went on a peace mission to the Kauravas, Duryodbana's entertaiment of the former included a rest house with women; Dhrtarastra ordered fair harlots to go with his sons to meet Krsna. The later didactic interpolations of the Mahabharata, however, are full of imprecations and stigma against prostitutes.54 The Ramayana mentions ganikas and vesyas in the list of comforts, luxuries and status symbols. It is quite clear that prostitutes became a symbol of the prosperity concomitant with urban civilization. Like gold and jewellery, like corn and cattle, a rich man desired prosperity and plenty in the number of women he could enjoy freely.

Women as Commodity

The concept of women as chattel or commodity for man's enjoyment is borne out by the inclusion of women -- pretty and young -- in large numbers in any list of gifts given to a man in return for a favour or as a mark of respect. Thus she is a part of daksina, fees to a sacrificial priest. At Yudhisthira's horse-sacrifice women were sent by other kings as a donation to make up a necessary part of the entertainment.55 Yudhisthira himself gives away pretty maids to guest kings;56 he is even laid to have given away hundreds of thousands of pretty girls as did King Sasabindu of old at his horse sacrifice.57 Pretty maids as part of daksina are also mentioned when King Bbagiratha gave hundreds of thousands of lovely maids, well decked out with gold ornaments.58 Even at a sradha ceremony Brahmins received thousands of pretty maidens as gifts.59 These girls could sometimes find husbands but presumably, since prostitution was being looked down upon more and more and maidenhood became an essential prerequisite for marriage in the Smrti texts, most of them were forced to become prostitutes.

In heaven heroes are rewarded with a large number of beautiful girls.60 The same idea is also seen in classical Sanskrit literature. In the Kumarasambhava, 61, Raghuvamsa,62 Kiratarjuniya,63 and in Sisupalavadha,64 in Subandbu and Bana we have references to courtesans as a prestigious decoration of a royal palace and an indispensable part of city life. Bhaguri calls her puramandana, an ornament of the city. Thus her status was that of an inanimate object of enjoyment, it was sub-human and subject.

Courtesans sometimes did perform several other functions. In the Mahabharata they participated in the victory celebrations.65 They even played a political role as spies whose duty it was to seduce important men who were potential sources of vital political information, to collect such information and supply it to the relevant officers through the superintendent (ganikadhyaksa). Their role as temptress is emphasized in the Vattaka Jataka. The names of various types of courtesans gives us an inkling of their roles. Thus the devavesya was the temple dancer, something like the Greek hierodoules; the vajavesya served the king; while the brahmavesya or tirthaga visited holy places or pilgrimages. In the Brahmapurana we have the description of Ekamratirtha, where lived many prostitutes66 presumably to cater to the pilgrims and visitors. In the samaja public functions there used to be a separate gallery where sat the courtesans who gave musical performance for the samaja. Kautilya assigns them the duties of common maidservants at the palace. We hear of a prostitute serving Dhrtarastra when Gandhari was pregnant.67 Uddyotana Suri in his Kuvalayamala describes nymphs in Indra's heaven who carried water vessels, fans, fly-whisks, parasols, mirrors, kettledrums, harps, ordinary drums, clothes and ornaments, In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata such women followed the king in the palace and served him in his train. The Latitavistara mentions women who carried full pitchers, garlands, jewellery and ornaments, the throne, the fan, jars full of perfumed water, etc, Evidently in all these instances, as also in many references in the Puranas and later literature the pretty damsels giving light personal service to the king are projected to heaven where the earthly prostitutes figure as celestial nymphs serving the gods. Whether on earth or in heaven monarchs or wealthy potentates used such women to enhance their glory and pleasure.

The retired temple prostitute was employed by the state for spinning cotton, wool and flax. The nagaraka, man-about-the-town, in his love-intrigues could have assistance from widows, Buddhist nuns, and old courtesans who acted as go-betweens. In the palace the courtesan held positions as the royal umbrella-bearer, masseuse in charge of the king's (also of the royal family) toilet, dress and ornaments, and as the king's bathroom attendant. They also had a place in the royal entourage in hunting and military expeditions, and on occasion entertained royal guests. What is true of her function with regard to the king is also true of the rich courtier merchant and nobles described as nagaraka in the Kamasutra. In the non-monarchical gana states the chiefs gambled and indulged themselves in the company of prostitutes. The keepers of brothels procured pretty women from their establishment for these chiefs' entertainment. These aged women, the brothel-keepers, were adept in bringing about and resolving quarrels between rival suitors as and when needed by them or by political agents of the state. Courtesans belonged to kings or wealthy citizens' trains in their amusements and festivals, their garden parties, boat trips, musical soirees, and bathing and drinking sprees. The Kamasutra describes the different sports and festivals of rich barons to each of which courtesans were invited.


At-homes could be held in a courtesan's salon where assembled men of the same age, intellect, wealth who would hold discussions with courtesans. This was called gosthi; there they talked about the problems of poetry and art. They shifted the venue to the different members' houses where they indulged in food and various drinks. Courtesans were to be served first, then the men should eat and drink. These men-about-the-town rode out to an appointed place together with the courtesans in the forenoon, and having spent the day in various kinds of sports and entertainments such as cockfights, ramfights, theatrical performances, etc., they should return in the evening. In summer they should indulge in water-sports68.


The text goes on to name twenty different sports and festivals which depended on the seasons, the moon and auspicious days of the year. "Villagers should learn of these sports of the townsmen, describe and imitate them."70

No doubt the prostitutes occasionally enjoyed themselves at such times, but whether they spied, massaged, bathed, dressed or carried the umbrella we do not hear of any extra payment for these additional duties to which they were certainly entitled because their main task as prostitutes only earned them a place in the king's or rich man's establishment. In a sense in the organized brothel prostitutes were better off, because normally they were not expected to do other chores although when with their customers, they sometimes entertained them with minor services. It all depended on the social and economic status of the prostitute. The city's chief courtesan was a wealthy person of a high rank who had a host of servants and maidservants for the menial chores; she herself was too accomplished, rich and respectable to do the chores herself; whereas a poor and common strumpet had to cater to many customers, also indigent and therefore, each able to pay very little. Hence she had to do all the menial chores for herself and her customer for bare subsistence.71 The avaruddha, a woman 'kept' by a man, enjoyed freedom from manual labour only if her patron was rich; otherwise she had to work for herself and for him. Hers was like a 'contract marriage' and, as in marriage, the status of the woman depended on the man's income.

Social Status

At this distance of time it is difficult to form an adequate idea of the social status of prostitutes. We have seen that not all prostitutes belong to the same category. The accomplished young beauty could name her price, sometimes at an apparently exorbitant rate, because she was in great demand. Speaking of the ranks of royal attendants the Kurudhamma Jataka says that the lowest of the courtiers was the door-keeper, the dvarlka; he occupies the lowest place but one, for he is above the public woman, the ganika. Every city had a chief courtesan who was 'an ornament  to the city'.72 The janapadakalyani or the sadharani of the non-monarchichal state of the Licehavis were in great demand and were often looked up to because of their beauty and culture and so could ask any price for their favours. And they got it as many Buddhist texts testify. The word janapadakalyanl literally meant the most beautiful woman In a country. The Digha Nlkaya,73 the Majjhima Nikaya,74 and the Samyutta Nlkaya75 refer to her, Buddhist texts mention many affluent and powerful courtesans who fed the Buddha and his train and gave gifts to the order. We thus hear of Ambapali giving such a feast to the Lord and his hundred thousand followers. She also gave away her big mango grove to the order.76 Salavati's daughter Sirima received 1000 kahapanas per night.77 We hear of a banker's daughter who chose to become a prostitute. Her father set too high a price; few customers came; she reduced it to half and was called ardhakasi.78

As looks, age and accomplishments came down the price and social prestige also came down so that middle aged, unaccomplished or plain-looking women had to agree to mere subsistence rates or even less. Even that they did not always get, as many texts on erotics tell us. The Kuttanimata, a major text on prostitution, describes the plight of such discarded prostitutes who were reduced to begging, stealing, and various other tricks. They had no guarantee of the next meal or shelter, no provision against old age, disease and penury. The heart-rending description of an abandoned, unattractive prostitute who takes recourse to becoming a confidence trickster and is pursued by society is occasionally rendered ludicrous by the very comicality of her various moves and the invariable failure of each move. But beyond this comic portrait is the tragic situation of a woman who, after having provided pleasure to many men's lust all through her life, has to fend for herself at a time when she is worst equipped for such a lone battle. In many texts we hear of such retired harlots begging.79 The classic example is Kankali, an inn-keeper's daughter, sold at seven as a slave in the market place, who started as an ordinary prostitute and in time lost her youth and whatever charm she had earlier had. So she tried her hand at different professions but since she had no training in any she could not earn a livelihood through them. Then she tried to seduce people at pilgrimages, dressing up and disguising her age and loss of looks, but was eventually caught and summarily dropped. She changed roles frequently, was even imprisoned; in a bid to escape she murdered the warder. She then fled to a monastery where she could not stick it for very long. Later she begged openly until there was a famine and she could not get alms. So she became a nurse to a child whose gold chain she stole one night and escaped. When that money was exhausted she took to selling loaded dice. Then she returned to begging as a profession. But the strain and poor returns prompted her to steal food offered to idols. She next became a wine-seller, a fortune-teller and an actress in turn and finally she went about pretending to be insane. For a time she enjoyed royal hospitality because she gave out that she could paralyse a hostile army. But quite naturally she had to take to her heels before the actual encounter took place. Finally she returned to her native place and became a procuress for a pretty young prostitute, Kalavati.80 This tale, evidently a concatenation of many disparate episodes, epitomizes the fate of old prostitutes. Their tragedy was not only the lack of social security but also their lack of proficiency in any alternative profession through which they could earn a livelihood. Besides, having known better days they could not stick to any mean profession which did not provide comfort. Hence they flitted from one profession to another with cunning and the ability to cheat through play-acting -- arts they had mastered as prostitutes- -- s the only stock-in-trade. In the Desopadesa we hear of a sixty-year old woman making herself up as a young girl in the hope of catching a customer.81


Institutionalized prostitution, however, offered somewhat better prospects for old and retired courtesans. Kautilya lays down the rule that ganikas, pratiganikas, (short term substitutes for the ganikas), rupajivas, vesyas, dasis, devadasis, pumscalis, silpakarikas, kausikastri (woman artisan) are to be given pension by the state in old age. Since Kautilya was written for a prince it is to be assumed that these women were employed by the state and had earlier paid taxes to the state which the state regarded partially as provident fund contribution against old age, disability, retirement and penury. We are not told what the pension was in terms of money, whether it was adequate for sustenance. But a steady income, however small, must have meant some measure of security to elderly women who would otherwise be wholly destitute. But since women and their labour was exploited in most spheres of life, we may assume that this rule was not strictly observed, because such women were totally powerless to sue the state for non-payment. Yet the few who actually received some pension were lucky to have it. Retired prostitutes were employed as cooks, store-keepers, cotton-wool and flax spinners, and in various other manual jobs, so the state did not have to pay the pension until they were too old and weak to work any more. In old age some prostitutes became matrkas, i.e., matrons-in-charge of a brothel.

We hear of prostitutes' anvaya, family: their mothers, sisters, daughters and sons. The mother looked after her personal possessions, like dress and ornaments; she could not deposit her ornaments anywhere else; the daughter inherited them on her mother's retirement or death. But only for use. The sister could act as her substitute in a commission and the son was trained as a musical artist or an actor, He became a property of the state, almost a slave, and was obliged to hold musical performances for the stage for eight years. The manumission fees for him was higher than that for the prostitute. But in the play Mrcchakatika we hear of bandhulas "who are begotten by unknown clients of the prostitutes." Without any social identity these boys lived in a brothel until they could eke out a livelihood for themselves. The pathetic tone of the verse tells us how these boys were looked upon as waste products, like slag in a factory.

A prostitute was obliged to keep the brothel superintendent posted about her income and expenses and he could stop her from being extravagant. She could not sell or mortgage her property al will; for doing so she paid a fine, fifty and a quarter panas.

Occasionally a prostitute was married. Vatsyayana lays down a provision whereby a vesya could be given in marriage to one who could provide special musical assistance to the establishment; such a marriage leads to greater prosperity.82 Otherwise we hear of a notional sort of marriage which was more in the nature of initiation. The man did not have any exclusive claim on her person or services. The avaruddha belonged to her patron exclusively and the law-givers say that his exclusive right to her should be respected.83 Narada has no objection to a man having sexual relations with a non-Brahmin svairini, vesya, dasi and nikasini (one who did not live a secluded life) of a lower caste if she was not another's wife.

That even a prostitute can fall in love is admitted theoretically by Vatsyayana even though he says that they are and should always be after money.84 A prostitute, according to the Skandapurana, belongs to a separate caste: if a man of the same or a superior caste enjoys her he is not to be punished, provided she is not another's concubine. If she is, then he simply performs the prajapatya (a light) penance85 and gets away with it. In literature we have a few instances of the prostitute falling in love."
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Part 2 of 2

Vilification in Literature

Both institutionally and individually prostitutes depended upon certain categories of middlemen and procurers. Chief among these was the kuttani or samhhali. Now, in a brothel the mother of the chief prostitute was the person-in-charge who watched over her daughter's and the other girl's interests. Her duties included checking the payments, protecting the girl's health and wealth, driving away undesirable customers (i.e., those with depleted coffers), using deceit and delay tactics to spare the girls as much as possible, bargaining for greater emoluments by pretending that other, richer customers are making bigger offers, varying custom i.e., to deprive an eager one for a lime in order to extort better fees from him.87 No wonder she was vilified in literature. "She is like a blood-thirsty tigress, only where she is absent does the client appear as a fox". "The kuttani with her ear glued to the door in greedy expectation of money becomes eager even when a blade of grass drops".88 The Kamasutra mentions these procuresses together with beggar women, cultivated women, female mendicants with shaven heads, candala women and old prostitutes.89 Apparently she is an old hag with the nature of a vampire. But if one pauses to think she was the prostitute's only guarantee of safety and fair payment. Without her, if the prostitute had to deal with the customer directly she could be cheated, robbed, insulted, maimed, even killed with impunity. The basis of this surmise is offered by Kautilya in his Arthasastra where we read that the fine for defamation of a courtesan was 24 panas; for assault 48 panas and for lopping off her ears 51-3/4 panas and forced confinement. The Yajnavalkya Smrti says that the fine for molesting a prostitute is 50 panas; and if she is gang-raped each assailant had to pay 24 panas to her.90 For the safety of her person some laws had to be framed and for graver crimes the penalty varied between 1000 and 48000 panas according to the degree of the heinousness of the crime and the status of the injured courtesan. On the other hand, later religious and law books have nothing but contempt for courtesans, and hold them solely responsible for the institution. They go to the length of saying that the murder of a prostitute is no crime.91 Manu believes that all prostitutes were thieves and swindlers.92 It is true that the erotic text Kalavilasa lists sixty-four specified modes in which a courtesan could deceive her customer. It also tells us the story of King Vikramaditya, who when he fell on hard days became the prostitute Vilasavati's guest. She showered her own wealth on him and when he gave himself out to be dead, threw herself on his pyre. With her help he regained his kingdom and made her the chief queen. Then she confessed to him her love for a young man who was arrested as a thief. With the king's help he was freed and the lovers were united. Then the king remembered his minister's warning: they are not to be trusted. This innate deceitfulness of prostitutes is a recurring note in all literature. But in this instance the text ignores her contribution: the re-instatement of the king as sovereign, and betrays only a sneer, shared no doubt by the entire community, for, the possibility of a prostitute being in love so deeply that she treads a dangerous and tortuous path to gain her lover appeared totally absurd to them. The text condemns the woman for everything, and more so the prostitute, wholly ignoring her client's role, and her own contribution to his career.

We have just seen that their clients also maltreated and manhandled them and these were not isolated incidents or exceptions or there would be no need to frame laws against crimes and stipulate the exact amount of fines for the several kinds of assault. She was often used and then cheated, robbed, thrashed, mutilated and murdered. If the institution was for society a necessary evil and the state had a vested interest in extracting revenue and espionage service from this 'evil', then it could not afford to ignore a situation when the source of such revenue was harmed so that she could not multiply the revenue. Hence the laws. But the attitude of society was clearly against the prostitute and not against her client.

The procuress, the matron of the brothel or the mother of the chief courtesan sought to safeguard her physical, social and financial well-being.

The vita was the middleman and/or companion of the courtesan. Because the vita was a man he could procure custom for her. Technically, a vita was a worthy spendthrift who, reduced to penury, takes shelter (sometimes with his wife) in a brothel or in similar pleasure resorts.93 The vitas are counsellors of both the courtesans and their clients and could bring about misunderstandings between them and also reconcile them with each other. The pithamarda, on the other hand, was a teacher of the prostitute as also an associate of the nagaraka, the man-about-the-town, who helped his friend achieve his ends.94 Both, but especially, the vita, looked after the courtesan's interests where she needed a man to help her. In the Mrcchakatia he escorts her in a dark night, instructs her when she goes to seek pleasure, has no illusion about the profession but has respect for her as a person. In the four famous Bhanas of the late classical period the vitas are helpers, peace-makers, go-betweens, procurers and counsellors of the partners. Evidently, the courtesan was also helpless against certain situations so that she shared her income with a male go-between for protecting her own interests. This and the services of the kuttani already signify that the courtesan was liable to be exploited, cheated, insulted and physically injured. The vita, apparently a parasite, gave valuable service to her where her sex and social position rendered her vulnerable.

What was the prostitute's social status? Strangely enough, prostitution is recognized as a profession with laws to regulate it because it served its specific purpose by catering to men's needs of extramarital sexual gratification and also the state's needs by bringing in considerable revenues and secret political information through espionage. As townships sprang up along trade routes and as rich men long away from home frequented these brothels these became a regular feature with the chief courtesans, beauty queens, being regarded as ornaments of the town or city, magarasobhani or nagaramandana. Because she was in high demand and because she would fetch a rich revenue if she was accomplished and attractive, the state undertook to supervise her education (with quite a heavy and rigorous syllabus) at its own expense, provided she remitted part of her income to the state. Not only was she obliged to pay revenue to the state she often undertook some works for public welfare. Thus we read in the Brhatkalpabha, a Jain text, of a picture gallery set up by a courtesan. The Buddhist texts record Amrapali as also giving similar services. Other courtesans fed the hungry during a famine, gave away money, land, and property for the Buddhist cause. Many treated the Buddha and monks to sumptuous feasts. Frequently, when the courtesans amassed wealth they set up works of public utility: they sank wells, constructed bridges, temple gardens, caityas (sacred mounds), donated money to the needy, gave gifts, and generally served the community through such works for public utility. Yet we read in the Mahabharata that the prostitutes' quarters should be situated in the south because that is the direction of Yama, the god of death. In the Manasollasa, a medieval text, we read that houses of ill-fame should be situated on the outskirts of the town. But in Greece the courtesans had a different status; one of the most beautiful sections of any Grecian city was where the richest of the courtesans built their houses. The lyric poem Pavanaduta of Dhoyi describing the temple prostitutes says that it seemed that Laksmi, the goddess of beauty has herself descended there. Kalhana in his Rajatarangin mentions an extremely qualified devadasi by the name of Kamala. In some Puranas we read of the anangavrata, a rite which signified temple prostitution.95 The Kamasutra lays down that she should always be decked out with jewellery and without being fully visible should streetwalk discreetly "because she is a commodity".96 The same text defines her conduct: "without really getting attached to her client she should act as if she were; she should submit to her cruel and mendacious mother and if the mother is not there she should submit to the matron of the house. She has the right of use of her ornaments, food and drinks, garlands, perfumes, etc."97 "She should pretend the loss of her own and her client's ornaments, should engage in a mock quarrel with her mother on the subject of excessive expenses and having to incur debts, should make the client pay her bills, should pretend to be obliged to sell her ornaments in order to both ends meet, should report about her rivals' greater income, etc. etc.".98 If this long list of deceptions is any index of how society expected her to conduct herself in her profession, one fails to understand the bitter censure society meted out to her when she complied. The Rajatarangini, a poetical chronicle of Kashmir, records that King Lalitapida gave out that anyone proficient in courtesan love and clever at jokes would become his friend. Later literature has no inhibition in mentioning or describing courtesans attached to the palace, to the manor houses of the nobility, especially of merchants, and to temples as well as those who lived in brothels. Such descriptions in Kalidasa, Bharavi, Dandin, Bhatti, Subandhu, Banabhatta, Sriharsa (Naisadhacarita) are totally uninhibited and done with great gusto and skill. Yet other didactic texts are full of imprecations against prostitutes. The Visnu Samhita lays down that he who associates with a courtesan should perform the prajapatya penance.99 The vituperation against prostitutes begins in the didactic sections of the Mahabharata, the Dharmasutras (many of which belong to the age of the Brahmanical interpolation of the Mahabharata), and continue through the Puranas and Smrti texts. Such texts choose to ignore the fact that courtesans are not born but made; they can only exist as long as society has a demand for them. Therefore, since a section of society calls courtesans into being to cater to their need, the condemnation should be shared by that section as well. But apart from mild half-hearted penalties -- more in the nature of not-too-obvious strictures and threats of notional ostracism -- the male clients go morally scot-free.

This double standard is not an isolated phenomenon, it is the product of a rooted ambivalence in the society's consciousness. Since the designation of ganika was the highest and had to be earned through beauty, charm and accomplishments,100 it signified the highest social class among prostitutes. Kautilya says that the superintendent of prostitutes conferred the title of ganika to the pretty, young and cultured hetaira;101 she drew 1000 panas from the state presumably for her establishment, and her teachers in the various arts were also paid by the state. She had a measure of social security in the sense that those who harmed her physically, financially and socially were liable to be punished heavily by the state. Needless to say that such a coveted position was not accorded to many; only a handful of the prostitutes were made ganikas whose favours were enjoyed by kings, princes and the richest of the merchants. It can be guessed that pretty young women with real cultivated taste and accomplishments flocked to well-governed towns and cities where they could not be molested by rakes and ruffians with impunity and where trade and commerce thrived. Even in such townships as well as in prosperous villages women with less beauty and culture and presumably older in age plied their trade as rupajivas and vesyas depending on their age, accomplishments and charm. The very name of the rupajiva clearly distinguishes her from the ganika, for, while the latter was an educated person the rupajiva had only her beauty as her stock-in-trade. The vesya may have lacked even that and relied on her clothes and jewellery (vesa) for attracting customers. The avaruddha as we have seen was the mistress of an individual in the role of a concubine; the relationship was temporary but while it lasted society respected its rights. The pumscali, varavilasini, svairini, kulata, etc. were free agents who were out to turn whatever charm they had to the best financial capital. Sometimes they employed middlemen to attract customers and sometimes they hawked themselves. From all accounts they had less to offer and, therefore, earned much less. The devadasis were a class by themselves who, because they were attached to institutions (i.e., temples) governed directly or indirectly by the state, enjoyed some degree of protection.

It is common knowledge that in most centres of ancient urban civilization temple prostitution was a common feature. Whether in ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Babylon in temples of Badl and Astarte, or in Chaldea, Phoenicia or India and in the Far East it flourished under the dual patronage of the state and the church. Temple priests frequently got paid from the royal treasury, the temple prostitute was an extra allowance to them. Of course, the financial and social status of the temple varied from place to place. City temples enjoying royal patronage were entirely different from poor village temples subsisting on local contributions. Hence the status and prosperity of the temple prostitutes too differed according to the kind of patronage the temple received.

Just what the social background of these unfortunate girls was is far from clear. Apart from the parents making a devotional gift of their daughters to the temple,102 there must have been the daughters of devadasis, or distress sales of girls to the temple, recruitment of local beauties under moral pressure, or girls abducted from helpless parents, girls won as war booty or recruited through superstitious practices. However they came in, it is quite clear that it was an all-India and age-long phenomenon. Even though the Madras Legislative Assembly banned it by a law in 1929 it persisted there and in the rest of India and still persists in many pockets after it was banned all over India by a legislation in 1947. The overt duty of the devadasis was to dance at the time of the evening worship in the temple, but they were also treated as concubines by the temple priests. Kalidas refers to them as vesyas and describes them as enjoying the first drops of monsoon rain as a welcome relief to their tired limbs.

Once inside the temple and under the thumb of the priests they became like slaves with no clear definition of their rights and duties. The Kuttanimata does mention payment from temple authorities but this evidently did not mean anything more than subsistence and clothes and ornaments for them as temple dancers. In the Samayamatrka102 we hear of grains being given to devadasis who danced in rotation. In the third century B.C. Jagimara inscription we hear of Devadatta's love for the devadasi Sutanuka. Many other cave inscriptions104 mention of the music and dance provided by courtesans and devadasis. Since major treatises are nearly all silent on the duties and rights of the devadasis, it appears that they were completely at the mercy of the temple priest, a specially privileged section in Indian society who enjoyed immunity from the penal code and were thus free to exploit these girls as they pleased. Evidently, here, too, the more talented beauties coming from the upper rung of society enjoyed somewhat fairer treatment than those born to temple prostitutes or recruited from destitute parents or as rich men's gifts or war booty. But because the masters of these prostitutes, the priests, enjoyed privilege both through their sacerdotal office and through royal patronage the devadasis' position was more abject than presumably of those organized in the brothels regarding whose rights and privileges some rules had been clearly enunciated. The very helplessness of the devadasis must have led to the widespread distribution of the institution and its prolonged continuation in the name of religion. The violent resistance and opposition of the hieratic section, esp. in South India when its abolition was proposed, testifies to the nature and measure of the priests' vested interest in the institution.

What happened to the devadasi when she grew old? Presumably not all of them enjoyed royal patronage. Those who did were employed in the state textile factory as we find in the solitary mention of the devadasi in Kautilya.105 Dancing was the only art she had learned and she could not practice it in old age, so that if she was one of those who did not enjoy royal care she would be reduced to destitution. Her profession prevented her from having a family and her long stay in the temple isolated her from society; therefore, even if she worked in a textile factory for a time she would face penury in real old age when both the temple and the community cut her off as wholly redundant. Thus at the end of a long career of double exploitation -- as a temple dancer and as the priests' concubine -- she faced complete destitution, for neither the state nor the temple had any obligation to look after her.


It is both rewarding and revealing to turn the pages of dictionaries on the subject of prostitution. Apart from older, i.e., Vedic and later Vedic terms like agru, hastra, atiskadvari, and vrsali, each of which emphasized one aspect of the public women, we have a host of later synonyms which varied with time and place. The standard Sanskrit lexicon Amarakosa says that vesya, varastri, ganika and rupajiva are synonyms. Jatadhara adds ksudra and salahhanjika; the Sabdaratnabali has a few more entries: jharjhara, sula, varavilasini, varavani, bhandahasini, while the Sabdamala adds lanjika, vandhura, kunta, karamrekha and varvati. The standard dictionary of Hemacandra has sadharanastri, panyangana, bhunjika and varavadhu to which the Rajanirghanta (lexicon) adds bhogya and smaravithika. Even a cursory glance at these names tell us that while some signify the profession itself others (like ksudra, sula, kunta, bhandahasini, bhunjika, bhogya or smaravithika) express society's sneer and contempt.

In the Brahmavaivaria Purana we read that a woman loyal to her husband is ekopatni (wife to one), if she goes to another she is a kulata.106 If she goes to three she is vrsali, a pumscali with a fourth, a vesya with a fifth and sixth, a yungi with a seventh and eighth. Above that she becomes a mahavesya whom no one of any caste may touch.107 Although it appears that all except the mahavesya may be touched that is not true. The Dharmasastras generally lay down that visiting a prostitute is a crime but since they also prescribe mild expiatory rites, it appears that society did not look upon it as either a heinous crime, or an irremediable sin.

As we have seen there is an evident ambivalence regarding the profession. The Samayapradipa, a late ritual text mentions the sight of a prostitute as an auspicious sign; a man gains his desire if he sees her on setting out on a journey. Other such items are obviously auspicious -- like a cow with its calf, a bull, horse or a chariot, fire with its flame turning to the right, a goddess, a full pitcher, garlands, banners, white rice, etc. The only apparently inauspicious item in the catalogue is the prostitute; yet a sight of her is regarded as a good omen. Similarly, soil from near a prostitute's house is an essential item for fashioning the image of Durga, the goddess of cardinal importance in Bengal. The mystery is solved when we remember the role of the prostitute in the earlier rituals where she had to copulate with a man or engage in a mock altercation with a neophyte, the brahmacarin, in all exchange of obscenities. In all of these instance. the same incentive is noticeable, viz, fertility. Her very profession involved repeated sexual relations with many men and so potentially symbolized fertility and the power of reproduction. For a community whose prosperity and wealth depended on ensuring fertility of the field and of cattle she symbolised the fertility principle. Hence her place in rituals. This association of fertility of field and cattle with the sexual act, especially, magnified in the prostitute's profession, is not unique to India. In all primitive societies this ritual association can be noticed. And since this has come down from a much older age, society did not dare to ignore it. Such beliefs die hard and in a primarily agricultural country like India the need to ensure fertility was too urgent to disregard. Besides, the unacknowledged awareness that the prostitute offered services indispensable to the society led to this ambivalence.

But apart from this aspect society unambiguously looked down upon the profession. All its efforts at segregation of the rest of the community from contagion through the prostitute's proximity, the rule of allocating an area in the south, Yama's direction, outside the common habitat, for the brothel, the prohibition against eating food offered by her, the rule against touching or associating with her signify this contempt. But this is obviously a later development, for the Kamasutra describes kings, courtiers, and the mercantile nobility of the cities and towns (and also of villages) as indulging in the company of courtesans. The attitude there is totally uninhibited. The Arthasastra, too, presupposes the existence of prostitution as an institution and has no value judgment regarding them. Underlying both of these texts is the assumption that this institution has been brought in to existence not by the perversity of certain women or by an aberration in any section but by a social need. A society which virtually forbade female education and relegated the woman to virtual subordination under the husband and in-laws reduced her to a chattel who could serve and for a time cater to the man's sexual need, but after children started coming and she became sorely taxed in her strenuous household obligations, nursing and bringing up the children, she was no "fun" any more. Altekar says: "courtesans had a peculiar position in ancient India. As persons who had sacrificed what was regarded as specially honourable in a woman, they were held in low estimation. But society treated them with a certain amount of consideration as the custodians of fine arts which had ceased to be cultivated elsewhere in society. Men who had a liking or love for music and dancing could not delight in the company of their own wives who ceased to possess these accomplishments from c 400 B.C. Though despised in one sense, courtesans began to be respected for their achievements in fine arts"108 Apart from this man must have desired companionship in his intellectual and aesthetic pursuits from men friends as well from women. This entirely normal and healthy desire could in no way be satisfied by the wife who, encumbered with household duties and children, soon lost youth and charm and whose husbands were therefore driven to prostitutes. But evidently not all men did so, and those who did, did it in a surreptitious manner. All that charmed a man in a prostitute was forbidden for the wife, who should be uneducated, demure and plainly dressed except on ritual occasions. She was primarily a house wife, busy with her chores, children and in-laws which left her little leisure for the cultivation of either her looks, dress or mental faculties. Society expected her to be good, hard working, devoted and obedient. This was bound to make her less attractive to her husband who craved for charm and companionship in a woman. This very need of combining sexual pleasure with intellectual-aesthetic companionship or simply with the charm of a good-looking, youthful person tastefully decked out in clothes, and jewellery attracted men to prostitutes. And repelled them, precisely because she could not be exclusively possessed, for she was enjoyed by many. In a society where women became a personal possession, a woman who could not be possessed individually provoked this ambivalence.

Women as Chattel

Woman has been a chattel in India ever since the later Vedic times when she was included in the list of daksina along with items like cattle, horses, chariots, etc. Such gifts were given to priests. Evidently they were enjoyed and then sold as slaves or prostitutes. Later in the epics we have references to women as gifts.109 Heroes are said to be rewarded with hosts of beautiful women in heaven; undoubtedly this is a reflection of earthly prizes given to heroes and eminent men. In classical literature too, we meet prostitutes as a decoration to courts, in military and hunting expeditions.110 Women also came with victories as booty and after serving the victorious generals and eminent military personages they would find their way to brothels. Thus Arjuna brought over the women of the enemy as booty;111 King Virata also expressed his pleasure of Arjuna's prowess by giving him pretty maidens.112 In the battlefield Karna declared that who ever pointed out Arjuna to him would receive a hundred well-dressed maidens from him.113 A king who does not give such girls is branded with the epithet rajakali (a koli, i.e., evil spirit of a king).114 At Draupadi's wedding a hundred slave girls in the early bloom of their youth were given away.115 Krsna entertained guests with pretty maidens.116 Also at Subbadra's wedding no less than a thousand girls were offered to guests for enjoyment in the drinking and bathing sports.117 Yudhisthira received ten thousand slave girls.118 King Sasabindu at his horse sacrifice gave away to priest hundreds of thousands of pretty girls;119 so did Bhagiratha.120 We also hear of thousands of beautiful girls as gifts in sraddhas.121 Instances can be multiplied.122 We are told that pretty young girls are natural gifts to Brahmans123 and that whoever gives this gift lavishly on this earth receives plentiful fruits in heaven, i.e., is rewarded with many nymphs there for his enjoyment.124 In the Mahabharata and in the Puranas we have numerous instances where the host entertains his guest by sending his own wife to him at night and/or other pretty women. In the Sanastujatiya section of the Mahabharata five marks of true friendship are enumerated; one of these is to share one's wife with a friend. Pretty girls alto formed part of the dowry. Two things are clear from these references. First, there must have been an easily available source of pretty young girls, a steady supply for instant enjoyment, or for giving away. One wondered where such girls could be found. Prostitutes' daughters is a ready answer. The Mahabharata has an episode: King Yayati's daughter Madhavi was given to Galava; the father lent her in lieu of money so that she could be hired out to four kings in turn for a year each. The king gave Galava handsome rewards with which he paid his school-leaving fees to his preceptor. Clearly here Madhavi is a money-earner to her father and the latter satisfies Galava by prostituting her to four different kings. Apart from this kind of distress sale in times of crisis, women as war-booty was another big source of supply. Wives caught in certain cases of adultery were also driven out; such unwanted women congregated in the brothel, as also women who could be bought and kept in palaces as occasional gifts. In the royal courts and rich households where many abducted women were kept for service and as status symbol, these proliferated and became yet another source of supply.

The second point that strikes us is that these women were regarded as inanimate objects of enjoyment. They figure in lists of material gifts, sacrificial fees, donations, entertainment, prizes, rewards, and dowry. And after the temporary enjoyment the recipient or donee could not but turn them loose; at least in most cases they did so. Thus there were hosts of women who eventually ended up in the brothel where they catered commercially to men. All along this dismal history we notice that women had very little initiative or choice about their destiny. They were pawned, lost or gained in battles, given as gifts at sacrifices and weddings, were relegated to the position of slaves and chattel in palaces and rich households, sexually enjoyed whenever their owners so desired and discarded when the desire abated.

They got paid only in brothels; in other instances they were only fed, clothed and decked out with jewellery so that their masters would find them attractive. Even in brothels their labour could, and frequently was, exploited, as many rules in the scriptures testify. Vatsyayana has a long section on how the harlots could play-act, feign, seduce, cheat and deceive their customers with or without the help of middlemen and procuresses. So does Damodaragupta teach novices how to make the best use of youth and charm and extort money from customers by hook or by crook. Other texts also teach similar lessons. None of these texts is authored by women. When after being trained in the art of deception, the prostitutes practised these arts, they are given foul names by the entire community. The very nature of the profession entailed a degree of deceit and the entire social set-up and its attitude encouraged it. Instead of accepting responsibility for it and admitting that prostitutes act as men force them to act and that they exist because they render a service that society needs, the entire blame is loaded on the prostitutes themselves. The situation was very different in Greece and Rome as Aristophanes, Menander or Terence's plays testify. Here in India the exploitation is redoubled because male customers frequently sought to cheat prostitutes of their rightful wages as the law books bring out clearly. And on top of this they tried to rob them of their rightful place in society. But when literature does not seek to be respectable but truthful as Kautilya and Vatsyayana's works or the Bhana (which decidedly belongs to a lower, less respectable genre). prostitutes come into their own. The customer looks upon them if not with positive respect yet not with contempt and society, betrays his awareness of the necessity and significance of their role and profession. But the major, respectable literary tradition is that which reflects the upper class reaction to the institution, a class which is not a bit averse to use their services but is yet too respectable to regard them as human beings. Once this attitude is fostered and becomes prevalent, depriving prostitutes of their fees, manhandling or insulting them is condoned. But this was only true of the common harlot with little charm and no accomplishment. The well-trained and well-preserved beauty, the ganika, who belonged to the upper class enjoyed the patronage of royalty or nobility and was comparatively secure and comfortable.

Since the prostitute's labour was regarded as a necessary evil -- the evil being much more magnified than the necessity -- male society seemed to bear her a grudge born of its fundamental ambivalence and this seems to have given it the right to exploit the victim, the common prostitute.

Another proof of the double standard is that although associating with prostitutes or accepting their food was punishable there is no rule against accepting benefits from them. Thus Ardhakasi gave away her vast wealth to various charitable institutions, and laid a vast sum at the Buddha's feet. In the Jain text Brhatkalpasutrabha125 we hear of many good and generous courtesans. One ran a picture gallery (as did Amrapali in Buddhist literature), others gave vast sums to the poor and the order. "When the courtesans grew rich they often set up works of public utility such as wells, temples, tanks, gardens, groves, bridges, chaityas and provided perfumes and rice."126 Records in the Tiruvarriyur temple show that the devadasis there made rich endowments. Evidently such works of public utility were enjoyed by all, i.e., by the community for whom it was a sin to touch a prostitute or to eat her food. Thus society had no hesitation in using the fruits of her labour while looking down upon her. Presumably, by enjoying such charitable institutions set up by her society was kindly deigning to offer her an opportunity to expiate for the sins of her profession, a profession which could not flourish without the patronage of a section of the male population. This section was punished only notionally.127

Society thus created situations in which many women were deprived of the right to remain respectable and be regarded so, so that such women were pushed to this profession. And they could live as prostitutes because a steady supply of male customers was ensured. These men found their wives dull as companions and so flocked to the prostitutes. In return society ostracized the prostitutes, but not their customers. Whether in the palace, or in the temples or in brothels they served men with an uncertainty regarding payment and the fear of molestation, mutilation, torture and death. They had scant provision for old age and infirmity. Their bodies, accomplishments, and gifts and charity were enjoyed by the community which otherwise treated them as untouchables and showered curses and imprecation on the profession itself, as if prostitutes alone could mike prostitution viable as a profession. Penalty for maltreatment or deceit is mentioned but one wonders how few wronged prostitutes could actually sue the state for their flouted rights and dues. Such was the precarious existence of prostitutes who could, with a few exceptions of really upper class or outstanding individuals, be exploited by men at will and with impunity.

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Notes:

1. Cf. the sacrificer's wife being publicly questioned by the officiating priest regarding her secret lovers at the Varunapraghasa sacrifice: "with whom (plural) hast thou had secret affairs?" But though she confessed we hear of no penalty for her transgression.

2. Cf. the terms svatantra, independent, or svadhinayauvana, she who can freely enjoy her youth, as synonyms for the prostitute. Scriptures lay down that women are wards of their fathers in childhood, of their husbands in youth and of sons at old age.

3. A woman with whom men take turns (vara) i.e., one who can be possessed or enjoyed by different men in turns.

4. Described in the Mausalaparvan.

5. Eastern Punjab and western U.P.

6. VIII: 27, 30, 57-59.

7. ch. 70.

8. Samayamatrka III: 18.

9. III: 5: 14-26.

10. Visnupurana, ch. 37; Yajnavalk ya Smrti 240.

11. Megasthenes also bears this out in his account.

12. Women of the vanquished side.

13. Arthasastra II: 27, X: 1-3.

14. Padina-Purana, Srstikhanda 52: 97.

15. Cf. the Meghaduta, verse 35.

16. IV: 19, 9; 16, 19, 30.

17. I: 167, 4; II: 13, 12, 15, 17.

18. XV: e; Also the Pancavimsa Brahmana VIII: 1: 10; Kausitaki Br. XXVII: 1; Latyayana Srautasutra IV: 3: 11; Vajasaneyi Samhita XXX: 22.

19. XIV: 1: 36; XX: 136: 5. Also Aitareya Brahmana I: 27: 2.

29. III: 4: 11: 1

21. Vaja. Sam XXX: 12, Tait. Br. III: 4: 7: 1.

22. Vaja. Sam. XXX: 12; Tait Br. III: 4: 7.

23. Jalm. Br II: 404 ff, Kat. Gr. S. XII: 3: 6.

24. I: 43.

25. Vinaya Pitaka III: 138.

26. Cf. the English synonyms: courtesan, prostitute, harlot, strumpet, hetaira, whore trollop, slut etc. bearing different connotations and also signifying the social strata to which they belong.

27. Artha V: 2.

28. Ibid I: 20.

29. Ibid III: 20.

30. Ibid VIII: 17.

31. Kamasutra VI: 6: 54.

32. Arthasastra II: 27; Jatakas mention the vannadasi in II: 380; III: 59-63, 69-72; 475: 8.

33. Jataka III: 59-63.

34. R. Shamasastry (ed.): Kautilya's Arthasastra, Mysore, 1st edn., 1915, 6th edn. 1960, section on the ganikadhyaksa, superintendent of prostitutes.

35. Brhatkalpabha, (ed.) by Punyavijayaji, Bhavnayar, 1933-38. Kautilya includes reading and writing, Vatsyayana mentions reading and composing poems, and deciphering code words in her syllabus.

36. Manusamhita II: 67.

37. Probably to the first century A.D.

38. From Sanskrit word bhrti, fees.

39. Sanskrit parivyayam, expenses.

40. Cf. Diyavadana ed. by P.L. Vaidya, p. 218.

41. Jnatadharmakatha I.

42. Moti Chandra: The World of Courtesans, Vikash, 1973, p. 48.

43. Arthasastra IV: 12.

44. Yajnavalkyasamhita II: 295.

45. Kamasutra VI: I: 10, 12.

46. Ibid VI: 5: 1-6.

47. Ibid VI: 6: 31.

48. Ibid VI: 3: 28-31.

49. Arthasastra IV: 13.

50. V: 195: 18-19.

51. V: 15: 51-58.

52. III: 238 ff.

53. IV: 64: 24-29.

54. XII: 88: 14, 15; XIII: 125: 9 et al.

55. Mahabharata XIV: 85: 18.

56. Ibid XIV: 80: 32.

57. Ibid VII: 65: 6.

58. Ibid VII: 60: 1, 2, XII: 29: 65.

59. Ibid XV: 14: 4; 39: 20; XVII: 1: 4, XVIII; 6: 12, 13.

60 Mahabharata III: 186-7, VIII: 49: 76-78, XII: 64: 17; 30; XII: 96: 18, 19, 83, 85-6, 88; 106; 6ff. Also in the Ramayana II: 71; 22, 25, 26; VV: 20: 13.

61. XVI: 36, 48.

62. XII: 50.

63. IX: 51.

64. XVIII: 60, 61.

65. IV: 34: 17, 18.

66. XI: 30-35.

67. Mahabharata I; 115: 39.

68. I: 4: 34-41.

69. I: 4: 42.

70. I: 4: 49.

71. The synonyms varangana, varavilasini, varastri, varamukhya, etc., for the prostitute: the word vara, means 'turn.' This was true of the socially lower class of prostitutes.

72. Cf. the important drama Mrcchakatika where the heroine is a beautiful courtesan, accomplished in the various arts; she is described as 'an ornament to the city.'

73. Rahula Sankrityayana's Hindi tr., Benares 1936, pp. 73-88.

74. By the same translator, Benares 1964, pp. 321-325.

75. 47: 20: 23.

76. Sacred Books of the East, vol. XVII, pp. 106-7, 171-72.

77. Dhammapada commentary, Pali Text Socy., London, 1906-14, pp. 308-9.

78. Vinayapitaka; Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XX, pp. 360-61.

79. Cf. Samayamatrka VIII: 102, 103, 112, Kuttanimata 532. Sarngadharapaddhati, 4052.

80. Samayamatrka II: 28-80.

81. III: 33.

82. Kamasutra VII: 23, 24.

83. Yajnavalkya Smrti II: 290, Narada, 78, 79.

84. Kamasutra I: 62-65.

85. II: 290.

86. Esp. in Asvaghosa and Sudraka's dramas.

87. All this and much more are taught in the Kuttanimata of Damodaragupta and also in the Desopadesa IV: 12, 19, 30, 36.

88. Samayamatrka I: 40, 45. Kamasutra VII: 1: 13-17; See also Dasarupaka II: 34.

89. I: 4: 48.

90. II: 293.

91. Gautama, Dharmasutra XXII: 2.

92. IX: 259-60.

93. Kamasutra I: 4: 45.

94. Dasarupaka II: 8.

95. Cf. Visnupurana, ch. 70.

96. VI: 1: 4.

97. A woman in any case, like a child or a slave, was not allowed to own property. Mahabharata I: 82: 22, II: 71: 1; V: 33: 64.

98. VI: 2: 3-23.

99. 103: 4; also in Atri Samhita 267, Sanivarta S, 161; Parasara S. 10: 15, et al.

100. Kamasutra I: 3: 20.

101. Arthasastra II: 27.

102. As a mark of gratitude for divine favours received or as a gift given in faith for favours expected from the temple deity.

103. Ch. VIII.

104. Like those at Nasik, Kuda, Mahada, Junagad, Sitabenga Ratnagiri.

105. Arthasastra II: 23.

106. The term may have a secondary reference to tarnishing the family's (kula) prestige. However, the etymology is not clear.

107. Prakrtikhanda, chs. XXVII & XXVII.

108. The Position of Women in Hindu Civilization, Motilal Banarasidas, 1st edn. 1938, pp. 181-82.

109. Cf. Ramayana II: 11, 22, 25, 26; IV: 20: 13; 24: 34, Mahabharata III: 186: 7, VIII; 49: 76-78, XII: 98; 46, XIII; 96: 18, 19, 82.

110. Cf. Kumarasambhava XVI: 36, 48; Raghuvamsa VII; 50.

111. Mahabharata II: 8: 27.

112. Ibid., IV: 34: 5.

113. Ibid, VIII: 38: 4ff.

114. Ibid, XII: 12: 366.

115. Ibid, I: 198: 16.

116. Ibid, IV: 72: 16.

117. Ibid, I: 221: 49, 50.

118. Ibid, II: 51: 8, 9; 52: 11, 29.

119. Ibid, VII: 65-6.

120. Ibid, VII: 60: 1, 2, XII: 29: 65.

121. Ibid, XV: 11: 4; 39: 20; XVII: 1: 4; XVIII: 6; 12, 13.

122. Cf. Sagara's gifts to Brahmins; Vainya's to the sage Atri, etc.

123. Op. cit., III: 315: 2, 6; 233: 4; IV: 18-21; XII: 68: 33, 171: 5; 173: 16 ff.

124. Op. cit., XIII: 145: 2.

125. Ed. Punyavijayaji, Bhavnagar, 1933-38.

126. Moti Chandra: The World of Courtesans, Vikash, 1973, p. 72.

127. The prajapatya expiatory rite was seldom honoured by actual performance as is borne out by a vast amount of literature.

Some Primary Sources

1. Bhoja: Srngaramanjarikatha, (ed.) Kalpana Munshi, Bombay, 1969.

2. Damodaragupta: Kuttanimata, (ed.) M. Kaul, Bibliotheke Indica, Calcutta, 1944.

3. Kautilya: Arthasastra, (ed.) R.P. Kangle, University of Bombay, Bombay, 1963 & 1965.

4. Ksemendra: Desopadesa & Narmamala, (ed.) M. Kaul, Poona, 1923.

Kalavilasa in Ksemendra: Laghu-kavya-samgraha, (ed.) Dr. Aryendra Sarman & others, Osmania University, 1961, pp. 219-271.

Samayamatrka in Ksemendra: Laghu-kavya-samgraha.

5. Manusamhita: Manavadharmasastra or the Institutes of Manu, (ed.) Graves Chamney Haughton, New Delhi, 1982 (Vols. I-IV).

6. Vatsyayana: Kamasutra, (ed.) Pancanana Tarkaratpa, Calcutta, 1334 B.S.

7. Somesvara: Manasollasa, (ed.) G.K. Shringondeker, Baroda, 1939.

8. Uddyotansasuri: Kuvalayamala, (ed.) A.N. Upadhye, Bombay, 1959.

9. Mahendra Suri: Nammayasundarikatha, (ed.) Pratibha Trivedi, Bombay, 1960.

Bibliography

A.S. Altekar: The Position of Woman in Hindu Civilization. Motilal Banarasidas, 1st. edn. 1938.

S.C. Banerji: Prantavasini. Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, 1985.

R. Burton & F.F. Arbuthnot (ed.): The Kamasutra of Vatsyayana, London, 1965.

Moti Chandra: The World of Courtesans. Delhi, 1973.

H.C. Chakladar: Social life in Ancient India. Calcutta, 1929.

S. Chatterji: Devadasi. Calcutta, 1945.

P.C. Chunder: Kautilya on Love and Morals, Calcutta, 1970.

R. Fick: Social Organization in North-East India in Buddha's Time (tr. by S.K. Mitra). Calcutta, 1920.

H.V. Gunther: Yuganaddha. Benares, 1952.

J.B. Horner: Women Under Primitive Buddhism. Delhi, 1945.

E.O. James: Marriage and Society. London, 1959.

R.C. Majumdar: Corporate Life in Ancient India, (Vols, I & II). Bombay.

J.W. McGrindle: Ancient India as Described in Classical Literature, Westminster, 1901.

R.L. Mehta: Pre-Buddhist India. Bombay, 1939.

J.I. Meyer: Sexual life in Ancient India. London, 1930.

A. Mitra Shastri: India as seen in the Kuttanimata of Damodargupta. Delhi, 1975.

C. Sachau (ed.) Alberuni's India. London, 1910.

(ed.) Dandin's Dasakumaracarita, Leipzig. Vol. II, 1902.

S.C. Sarkar: Some Aspects of Earliest History of India. London, 1928.

R. Sewell: A Forgotten Empire. London, 1924.

R. Shamasastry (ed.): Kautilya's Arthasastra.

J.B. Singh: Social life in Ancient India. New Delhi, 1981.

L. Sternbach: "Legal position of prostitutes according to Kautilya's Arthasastra", Journal of American Oriental Society (JAOS), Vol. 71, 1955, pp. 25-60.

R.N. Sharma: Ancient India According to Manu. Nag Publishers, 1980.

A.M. Shastri: India as Seen in Kuttanimata of Damodaragupta. Delhi, 1960.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 06, 2021 1:18 am

Mirra Alfassa
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/5/21

Hurrychund Chintamon had played an important part in the early Theosophical Society and in the move of Blavatsky and Olcott from New York to India. He had been their chief Indian correspondent during 1877-1878, when he was President of the Bombay Arya Samaj (a Vedic revival movement with which the early Theosophical Society was allied). After Blavatsky and Olcott arrived in Bombay in 1879 and met Chintamon in person, they discovered that he was a scoundrel and an embezzler, and expelled him from the Society. Chintamon came to England in 1879 or 1880, and stayed until 1883, when he returned to make further trouble for the Theosophists in India. Perhaps the fact that Chintamon was in England when Burgoyne first met Theon led some to conclude that they were the same person. But this cannot be the whole story. Ayton claimed very clearly and repeatedly that he had proof of Burgoyne’s being in company with Chintamon. In a letter in the private collection, [The Rev W. A.] Ayton writes:

I have since discovered that Hurrychund Chintaman the notorious Black Magician was in company with Dalton at Bradford. By means of a Photograph I have traced him to Glasgow & even to Banchory, under the alias of Darushah Chichgur. Friends in London saw him there just before his return to India. This time coincides with that when I noticed a great change in the management. Chintaman had supplied the Oriental knowledge as he was a Sanskrit scholar & knew much. Theon was Chintaman! Friends have lately seen him in India where he is still at his tricks.


Before her disillusion[ment] with Chintamon, Blavatsky had touted him to the London Theosophists as a “great adept.” After the break that followed on her meeting with him in person, Chintamon allied himself to the rising Western opposition to esoteric Buddhism exemplified by Stainton Moses, C.C. Massey, William Oxley, Emma Hardinge Britten, Thomas Lake Harris, and others. From this formidable group, Burgoyne first contracted the hostility towards Blavatsky’s enterprise that would mark all his writings.

Chintamon also appears in connection with “H.B. Corinni,” the otherwise unidentifiable (and variously spelled) “Private Secretary” of Theon, who was thought by the police to be just another of Burgoyne’s aliases. Ayton, however, believed Corinni to be Chintamon’s son, who he said offered Blavatsky’s old letters for sale to the President of the London Branch of the Theosophical Society, Charles Carleton Massey. [Ayton to unnamed American neophyte, 11 June 1886, based on what he had been told by Massey.] The flaw in Ayton’s thesis is of course the existence of a real and independent Max Theon, of whom we, unlike Ayton, have documentary evidence. Nonetheless, after more than a hundred years, the whole tangle of misidentifications involving Chintamon, “Christamon,” and “Metamon” [see B.9.c-3] with the Order cannot be entirely resolved.

-- Excerpt from The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, by Joscelyn Godwin


Max Théon (17 November 1848 – 4 March 1927) perhaps born Louis-Maximilian Bimstein, was a Polish Jewish Kabbalist and Occultist. In London while still a young man, he inspired The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor in 1884...

There is some dispute over whether Théon taught Blavatsky at some stage; the Mother in The Agenda says he did...

Théon gathered a number of students, including Louis Themanlys and Charles Barlet, and they established the "Cosmic Movement". This was based on material, called the Cosmic Tradition, received or perhaps channelled by Théon's wife. They established the journal Cosmic Review, for the "study and re-establishment of the original Tradition"...

Louis Themanlys was a friend of Matteo Alfassa, the brother of Mirra Alfassa (who would later associate with Sri Aurobindo and become The Mother), and in 1905 or 1906 Mirra travelled to Tlemcen to study occultism under Théon (Sujata Nahar, Mirra the Occultist). The Mother mentions that Sri Aurobindo and Théon had independently and at the same time arrived at some similar conclusions about evolution of human consciousness without having met each other. The Mother's design of Sri Aurobindo's symbol is very similar to that of Théon's, with only small changes in the proportions of the central square (Mother's Agenda, vol 3, p. 454, dated December 15, 1962).

-- Max Théon, by Wikipedia


Image
Mirra Alfassa
Personal
Born: Blanche Rachel Mirra Alfassa, 21 February 1878, Paris, France
Died: 17 November 1973 (aged 95), Pondicherry, India
Resting place: Pondicherry, India
Religion: Hinduism
Nationality: French, Indian
Notable work(s): Prayers And Meditations, Words of Long Ago, On Thoughts and Aphorisms, Words of the Mother
Pen name: The Mother
Institute: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville
Religious career
Students: Satprem, Nolini Kanta Gupta, Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran, Pavitra

Mirra Alfassa (21 February 1878 – 17 November 1973), known to her followers as The Mother, was a French spiritual guru, an occultist and a collaborator of Sri Aurobindo, who considered her to be of equal yogic stature to him and called her by the name "The Mother". She founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and established Auroville as a universal town; she was an influence and inspiration to many writers and spiritual personalities on the subject of Integral Yoga.

Mirra Alfassa was born in Paris in 1878 to a Sephardic Jewish bourgeois family. In her youth, she traveled to Algeria to practice occultism along with Max Théon. After returning, while living in Paris, she guided a group of spiritual seekers. In 1914, she traveled to Pondicherry, India and met Sri Aurobindo and found in him "the dark Asiatic figure" of whom she had had visions and called him Krishna. During this first visit, she helped publish a French version of a periodical Arya which serialized most of Sri Aurobindo's post-political prose writings. During First World war she was oblised to leave Pondicherry. Thereafter a 4-year stay in Japan, in 1920, she returned to Pondicherry for good. Gradually, as more and more people joined her and Sri Aurobindo, she organised and developed Sri Aurobindo Ashram. In 1943, she started a school in the ashram and in 1968 established Auroville, an experimental township dedicated to human unity and evolution. She left her body on 17 November 1973 in Pondicherry.

The experiences of the last thirty years of Mirra Alfassa's life were captured in the 13-volume work Mother's Agenda by Satprem who was one of her followers.

Early life

Childhood


Image
Mirra Alfassa as a child c. 1885

Image
Mirra Alfassa

Mirra Alfassa was born in 1878 in Paris to Moïse Maurice Alfassa a Turkish Jewish father, and Mathilde Ismalun an Egyptian Jewish mother. They were a bourgeois family, and Mirra's full name at birth was Blanche Rachel Mirra Alfassa. She had an elder brother, Mattéo Mathieu Maurice Alfassa, who later held numerous French governmental posts in Africa. The family had just migrated to France a year before Mirra was born. Mirra was close to her grandmother Mira Ismalum (née Pinto), who was a neighbour and who was one of the first women to travel alone outside Egypt.[1][2]

Mirra learnt to read at the age of seven and joined school very late at the age of nine. She was interested in various fields of art, tennis, music and singing, but was a concern to her mother owing to an apparent lack of permanent interest in any particular field.[3][4] By the age of 14 she had read most of the books in her father's collection, which is believed to have helped her achieve mastery of French.[5] Her biographer Vrekhem notes that Mirra had various occult experiences in her childhood but knew nothing of their significance or relevance. She kept these experiences to herself as her mother would have regarded occult experiences as a mental problem to be treated.[6] Mirra especially recalls at the age of thirteen or fourteen having a dream or a vision of a luminous figure whom she used to call Krishna but had never seen before in real life.[7][8][9]

As an artist and traveller

Image
Mirra Alfassa at the age of 24 with son Andre, circa 1902

In Paris

In 1893 after graduating from school, Mirra joined Académie Julian[10][11] to study art. Her grandmother Mira introduced her to Henri Morisset, an ex-student of the Académie; they were married on 13 October 1897.[12] Both were well off and worked as artists for the next ten years, during an era known for having many impressionist artists. Her son André was born on 23 August 1898. Some of Alfassa's paintings were accepted by the jury of Salon d'Automne and were exhibited in 1903, 1904 and 1905.[13] She recalls herself being a complete atheist at this time, yet was experiencing various memories which she found were not mental formations but spontaneous experiences. She kept those experiences to herself and developed an urge to understand their significance. She came across the book Raja yoga by Swami Vivekananda, which provided some of the explanations she was looking for. She also received a copy of the Bhagavad Gita in French which helped her considerably in learning more about these experiences.[14]

Max Théon and Alma Théon

Image
Mirra Alfassa in Theon's house at Tlemcen, Algeria (1906–1907)

During this time Mirra made the acquaintance of Louis Thémanlys who was the head of the Cosmic Movement, a group started by Max Théon. Through reading a copy of Cosmic Review, she attended Thémanlys's speeches and became active in the group. For the first time, on 14 July 1906, she journeyed alone to the Algerian city of Tlemcen to meet with Max Théon and his wife Alma Théon. She consequently travelled twice more, in 1906 and 1907, to their estate at Tlemcen and there practised and experimented with the teachings of Max Théon & Alma Théon.[15]

Mirra Alfassa and Henri separated in 1908; she then moved to 49 Rue des Lévis, Paris, living alone in a small apartment and involving herself in discussions with Buddhists and Cosmic movement circles. During this time she also made the acquaintance of Madame David Néel.[16] Mirra married Paul Richard in 1911 who after serving four years in the army had involved himself in philosophy & theology. He had come to know Mirra when he was in discussions with Max Théon. Vrekhem, a biographer of Mirra, informs that Richard was undergoing a legal problem in inheriting children from his first marriage to a Dutch woman, and had asked Mirra for help which she had accepted by marrying him.[17]

First meetings with Aurobindo and Japan

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Dorothy Hodgson (Dutta), Mirra Alfassa, Paul Richard & Japanese friends in Tokyo c.a 1918

Richard was also an aspiring politician and had attempted to win election to the French senate from Pondicherry, which was then under French control. Despite his initial failure he wanted to make a second attempt, and on 7 March 1914 Mirra along with Richard set sail to India and reached Pondicherry by 29 March.[18][19] After reaching Pondicherry, they fixed an appointment with Sri Aurobindo who was then settled in Pondicherry and had suspended all his activity for Indian independence from British rule. When she first met Sri Aurobindo, Mirra recognized in him the person whom she used to see in her dreams. During a later meeting, she experienced a complete silence of the mind, free from any thought.[20]

Richard lost the elections to Paul Bluysen whom he had supported in previous elections. Richard decided to publish a review of the yoga of Aurobindo, and to be called Arya and be bilingual in both English and French. The Journal was first published on 15 August 1914 and ran for the next six and half years. Consequent journals published were later made into complete books.[21] By this time World War I had erupted and Indian revolutionaries were being prosecuted by the British for being spies of the German army. Although Aurobindo had totally dispensed his activities against British rule he was considered unsafe and all the revolutionaries were asked to move to Algeria. Aurobindo had refused this offer, so the British had written to the French government in Paris asking to hand over revolutionaries staying at French Pondicherry. This request came to Mirra's brother, Mattéo Alfassa, who by then was foreign minister and who filed the request under other working files never to be looked upon again.[22][23]

On the insistence of the British in 1915, Richard was ordered to move out of Pondicherry. After an unsuccessful attempt to stay, both Mirra and Richard left for Paris on 22 February 1915. After a few years Richard was ordered to promote French trade in Japan (which was then an ally of France and Britain) and China. Mirra left for Japan along with Richard, never to return to Paris again.[24]

Mirra and Richard stayed in Japan and made acquaintances among the Indian community. Their time in Japan was relatively peaceful, and they spent the following four years there. On 24 April 1920 Mirra returned with Richard to Pondicherry[25][26] accompanied by Dorothy Hodgson. Mirra moved to live near Aurobindo in the guest house at Rue François Martin. Richard did not stay long in India; he spent a year traveling around North India returning to France and remarried in England after divorcing Mirra. After working a few years as a professor in the United States he died in 1968.[27] On 24 November 1920 due to a storm and heavy rain, Aurobindo asked Mirra and Dorothy Hodgson (later known as Dutta) to move into Aurobindo's house and she started living in the house along with other residents. [28][29]

Foundation of the ashram

Integral yoga


With time many influenced by the Arya Magazine and others who had heard about Aurobindo started to come to his residence either permanently to reside or to practise Aurobindo's yoga. Mirra was initially not totally accepted by the other household members and was considered an outsider. Aurobindo considered her to be of equal yogic stature and started calling her "the mother", and she was known to the whole community as such from then on. Around 1924 onwards Mirra was starting to organise the day-to-day functioning of the household and slowly the house was turning into an ashram with many followers flowing in every day.[30] After 1926 Aurobindo started to retire from regular activities and put his complete focus towards yogic practises. The community had grown to 85 members by then and the group had slowly turned into a spiritual ashram.

Integral yoga and the Siddhi Day

On 24 November 1926, later declared as Siddhi Day (Victory Day) and still celebrated by Sri Aurobindo Ashram,[31] Mirra and Aurobindo declared that overmind consciousness had manifested directly in physical consciousness, allowing the possibility for human consciousness to be directly aware and be in the overmind consciousness[note 1].

Aurobindo had received a few complaints against Mirra on the daily running of the ashram. To settle this matter in finality Aurobindo declared 'The Mother' to be in sole charge of further activities of the ashram through a letter in April 1930.[32] By August 1930, the ashram members had grown to a number of 80 to 100 residents, a self-sustaining community with all basic amenities fulfilled. [33]

Aurobindo and Mirra's work and principles of yoga was named by them: integral yoga, an all-embracing yoga. This yoga was in variance with older ways of yoga because the follower would not give up the outer life to live in a monastery, but would be present in regular life and practise spirituality in all parts of life. [34]

By 1937 the ashram residents had grown to more than 150, so there was a need for an expansion of buildings and facilities, helped by Diwan Hyder Ali, the Nizam of Hyderabad who had made a grant to the ashram for further expansion. Under the guidance of Mirra, Antonin Raymond, the chief architect, assisted by Franticek Sammer and George Nakashima, constructed a dormitory building. By this time the second world war erupted delaying the construction but was finally completed after ten years and was named Golconde.[35] In 1938 Margaret Woodrow Wilson, the daughter of US President Woodrow Wilson, came to the ashram and chose to remain there for the rest of her life.[36]

By 1939 World War Two had broken out. Although some of the members of the ashram may have supported Hitler indirectly because Britain was attacked, both Mirra and Aurobindo publicly declared their support for the Allied forces, mainly by donating to the Viceroy's war fund, much to the surprise of many Indians.[37]

School in ashram and death of Sri Aurobindo

On 2 December 1943 Mirra started a school for about twenty children inside the ashram. She considered this was a considerable movement away from usual life in the ashram, which was until then about practising total renunciation of the outside world. However she found that the school would gradually align to the principles of Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga.[38] The school later became known as the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. From 21 February 1949 she started a quarterly magazine called "The Bulletin" in which Aurobindo published a series of eight articles under the title "The supramental manifestation upon earth" wherein for the first time he wrote about transitional being between man and superman.[39]

Image
Mirra's painting: ‘Divine Consciousness Emerging from the Inconscient’, 1920–1925

Aurobindo's health had deteriorated and he died on 5 December 1950. This was a very difficult experience for Mirra.[39] All the activities in the ashram were suspended for twelve days, after which Mirra had to decide the future course of the ashram. Mirra decided to take up the entire work of the ashram and also to continue the integral yoga internally. The years from 1950 to 1958 were the years where she was mostly seen by her disciples.[40]

Pondicherry, India

On 15 August 1954 French Pondicherry became a union territory of India. Mirra declared dual citizenship for India and France.[41] Jawaharlal Nehru visited the ashram on 16 January 1955 and met with Mirra for a few minutes. This meeting cleared many doubts he had about the ashram. During his second visit to the ashram on 29 September 1955, his daughter Indira Gandhi accompanied him. Mirra had a profound effect on her, which developed into a close relationship in later years.[42] Mirra continued to teach French after the death of Aurobindo. She started with just simple conversations and recitations, which later expanded into deeper discussions about integral yoga where she would read a passage from Aurobindo's or her own writings and comment on them. These sessions grew into a seven-volume book called Questions and Answers. [43]

After 1958, Mirra slowly started to withdraw from outer activities. The year 1958 was also marked by greater progress in yoga.[44] She stopped all her activities from 1959 onwards to devote herself completely towards yoga. On 21 February 1963, on her 85th birthday, she gave her first darshan from the terrace that had been built for her. From then on she would be present there, on darshan days where visitors below would gather around to catch a glimpse of her.[45] Mirra Alfassa regularly met with one of her disciples Satprem. He had recorded all their conversations, which later he gathered in a volume of 13 books called Mother's Agenda.

Image
Mirra Alfassa playing tennis

Establishing Auroville

Main article: Auroville

Image
Matrimandir, in Auroville, near Pondicherry

Mirra had published an article titled "The Dream" in which she suggested a place on earth that no nation could claim as its sole property, for all humanity with no distinction.[46] In 1964 it was finally decided to build this city. On 28 February 1968 they drew up a charter for the city, Auroville, meaning City of the Dawn (derived from the French word aurore), a model universal township where one of the aims would be to bring about human unity. The city still exists and continues to grow. [47] Today Auroville is managed by a foundation set up by the Indian government.

Later years

Many politicians visited Mirra on a regular basis for her guidance. She had visits from V.V. Giri, Nandini Satpathy, Dalai Lama, and especially Indira Gandhi who was in close contact with her and often visited her for guidance. [48] By the end of March 1973 she became critically ill. After 20 May 1973 all meetings were cancelled. She gave her final darshan on 15 August of the same year, visiting the outside balcony where thousands of followers were waiting to catch a glimpse of her. Mirra died at 7:25 p.m on 17 November 1973. On 20 November she was buried next to Aurobindo in the courtyard of the main ashram building.[49]

Image
Mirra Alfassa on a 1978 stamp of India

References

Notes


1. A detailed description of the Overmind is provided in Book I ch.28, and Book II ch.26, of Aurobindo's philosophical opus The Life Divine

Citations

1. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 4–7.
2. Mother's Chronicles Bk I; Mother on Herself – Chronology p.83.
3. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 8.
4. Iyengar 1978, pp. 6–7.
5. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 10.
6. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 11–13.
7. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 14.
8. Bulletin of the Sri Aurobindo Centre of Education, 1976 p.14, Mother on Herselfpp.17–18.
9. Bulletin 1974 p.63.
10. "The Mother". sriaurobindoashram.org. 2013. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
11. Mirra Alfassa, paintings and drawings, P. 157-158
12. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 15–20.
13. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 24.
14. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 29.
15. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 37–67.
16. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 73–75.
17. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 84.
18. Interview with Prithwindra Mukherjee, The Sunday Standard, 15 June 1969; The Mother by Prema Nandakumar, National Book Trust, 1977, p9.
19. Karmayogi no date, Van Vrekhem 2001.
20. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 140–155.
21. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 160–172.
22. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 175–177.
23. Purani 1982, pp. 9–12[full citation needed]
24. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 178–180.
25. Iyengar 1978, p. 182.
26. Collected Works 1978, volume 8, pp. 106–107.
27. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 215–216.
28. Vrekhem 2004, p. 225.
29. Mother's Agenda 1979, volume 2, pp. 371–372.
30. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 228–248.
31. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 250–251.
32. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 258–259.
33. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 286–287.
34. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 270–271.
35. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 303–305.
36. Nirodbaran 1972, Karmayogi[full citation needed]
37. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 310–326.
38. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 334–335.
39. Jump up to:a b Vrekhem 2004, pp. 353–354.
40. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 385.
41. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 408–409.
42. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 412–413.
43. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 414.
44. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 479–486.
45. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 541.
46. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 547–549.
47. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 559–562.
48. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 573.
49. Vrekhem 2004, pp. 593–598.

Bibliography

• Heehs, Peter (2008), The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-14098-0
• Vrekhem, Georges Van (2004), the Mother the story of her life, Rupa & Co, ISBN 8129105934
• Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D., eds. (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, New York: Facts on File Inc, ISBN 978-0-8160-5458-9

Further reading

• Anon., The Mother – Some dates
• Aurobindo, Sri (1972). Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo (Birth Centenary ed.). Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
• (1972b) The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
• Iyengar, K. R. S. (1978). On the Mother: The Chronicle of a Manifestation and Ministry (2nd ed.). Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education / Pondicherry. (2 vols, continuously paginated)
• Alfassa, Mirra (1977) The Mother on Herself, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
• Collected Works of the Mother (Centenary ed.). Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. 1978(17 vol set)
• Mother's Agenda. New York, NY: Institute for Evolutionary Research. 1979(13 vol set)
o (date?) Flowers and Their Messages, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
o (date?) Flowers and Their Spiritual Significance, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
• Das, Nolima ed., (1978) Glimpses of the Mother's Life vol.1, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
• Mukherjee, Prithwindra (2000), Sri Aurobindo: Biographie, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris
• Nahar, Sujata (1986) Mother's chronicles Bk. 2. Mirra the Artist, Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives, Paris & Mira Aditi, Mysore.
o (1989) Mother's chronicles Bk. 3. Mirra the Occultist. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives, Paris & Mira Aditi, Mysore.
• K.D. Sethna, The Mother, Past-Present-Future, 1977
• Satprem (1982) The Mind of the Cells (transl by Francine Mahak & Luc Venet) Institute for Evolutionary Research, New York, NY
• Van Vrekhem, Georges: The Mother – The Story of Her Life, Harper Collins Publishers India, New Delhi 2000, ISBN 81-7223-416-3 (see also Mother meets Sri Aurobindo – An excerpt from this book)
• Van Vrekhem, Georges: Beyond Man – The Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, HarperCollins Publishers India, New Delhi 1999, ISBN 81-7223-327-2

Partial bibliography

• Commentaries on the Dhammapada, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, WI 2004, ISBN 0-940985-25-X
• Flowers and Their Messages, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, WI ISBN 0-941524-68-X
• Search for the Soul in Everyday Living, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, WI ISBN 0-941524-57-4
• Soul and Its Powers, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, WI ISBN 0-941524-67-1

External links

• Writings by The Mother
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 06, 2021 1:38 am

Thomas H. Burgoyne (1855-1894)
by Encyclopedia.com
Updated Mar 4 2021

Thomas H. Burgoyne, an astrologer and founder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, was born April 14, 1855, and grew up in his native Scotland. Spontaneously psychic, he claimed that as a child he came into contact with the Brotherhood of Light, a group of discarnate, advanced beings who attempt to guide the destiny of humankind. Today that group continues as the Church of Light. At a later date he met a M. Theon, purported to be an earthly representative of the brotherhood who taught Burgoyne about the Brotherhood.

Burgoyne moved to the United States around 1880 and soon afterward his writings began to appear in various periodicals. He was brought into contact with Norman Astley of Carmel, California, who also claimed to be in contact with the Brotherhood of Light. Astley suggested that Burgoyne write a set of lessons to introduce the brotherhood's teachings to the public, and Burgoyne accepted Astley's hospitality at Carmel while he worked on the lessons. They were published in 1889 as The Light of Egypt. The writing of the lessons occasioned the establishment of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor as an esoteric occult order and outer expression of the Brotherhood of Light. The Hermetic Brotherhood was structured with three leaders, a seer, a scribe/secretary, and an astrologer. Burgoyne became the scribe.

As Burgoyne understood it, the Brotherhood of Light was an occult order formed to oppose the dominant religious powers of the day in ancient Egypt. As the members died, they continued the brotherhood from their new plane of being.

Burgoyne wrote several more books, including The Language of the Stars (1892), Celestial Dynamics (1896), and a second volume of The Light of Egypt (1900). He died in March 1894, in Humboldt County, California, still a relatively young man, before the last two were published. Henry and Belle Wagner continued his work. Henry Wagner owned the Astro-Philosophical Publishing House in Denver, Colorado, which published Burgoyne's books. Belle M. Wagner succeeded Burgoyne as scribe of the Hermetic Brotherhood.

Occult historian Arthur Edward Waite claimed that Burgoyne was, in fact, a name assumed by Thomas Henry Dalton, who had been imprisoned in Leeds, England, in 1883, on charges of fraud. Waite asserts that it was only after his release that he met a Peter Davidson (also known as M. Theon and Norman Astley), the real founder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. Waite asserts that Dalton fled to the United States to escape the scandal of his arrest and continued the work of the order in California.

Sources:

Burgoyne, Thomas H. Celestial Dynamics. Denver: Astro-Philosophical Publishing, 1896.

——. The Language of the Stars. Denver: Astro-Philosophical Publishing, 1892.

——. The Light of Egypt. 2 vols. Denver: Astro-Philosophical Publishing, 1889, 1900.

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Biography of Thomas Burgoyne
by Blackcatcaboodle.com
Accessed: 3/5/21

Thomas Henry Burgoyne (born Thomas Dalton) 1855 – 1894 was a Scottish occultist, who founded the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor in Britain and was an editor of the The Occult Magazine. Burgoyne moved to America, wrote The Light of Egypt, and founded the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light in America. Burgoyne was a staunch advocate of homeopathy, and he was a colleague of William Alexander Ayton, Emma Hardinge Britten, Peter Davidson, Gerard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, Hargrave Jennings, Kenneth Robert Henderson MacKenzie, Paulos Metamon, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Max Theon, John Yarker and many others.

Thomas H Burgoyne, an astrologer and founder of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, was born April 14, 1855, and grew up in his native Scotland. Spontaneously psychic, he claimed that as a child he came into contact with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, a group of discarnate, advanced beings who attempt to guide the destiny of humankind. Today that group continues as the Church of Light. At a later date he met a Max Theon, purported to be an earthly representative of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light who taught Burgoyne about the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. Burgoyne write a set of lessons to introduce the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light‘s teachings to the public. They were published in 1889 as The Light of Egypt. The writing of the lessons occasioned the establishment of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light as an esoteric occult order and outer expression of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light was structured with three leaders, a seer, a scribe/secretary, and an astrologer. Burgoyne became the scribe. As Burgoyne understood it, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light was an occult order formed to oppose the dominant religious powers of the day in ancient Egypt. As the members died, they continued the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light from their new plane of being.

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Thomas H. Burgoyne [Thomas Dalton]

Unlike the case of Peter Davidson, there are no descendants or local historians anxious to bear witness to the virtues and achievements of Thomas Henry Dalton (1855?-1895? [Date of birth deduced from prison records; death record searched for, without success, by Mr. Deveney.]), better known as T.H. Burgoyne, whose misdemeanors are amply chronicled in the Theosophical literature [B.6]. The “Church of Light,” a still active Californian group which descended from Burgoyne’s teachings, disposes of his life up to 1886 as follows:

T.H. Burgoyne was the son of a physician in Scotland. He roamed the moors during his boyhood and became conversant with the birds and flowers. He was an amateur naturalist. He also was a natural seer. Through his seership he contacted The Brotherhood of Light on the inner plane, and later contacted M. Theon in person. Still later he came to America, where he taught and wrote on occult subjects. [“The Founders of the Church of Light.”]


While this romanticized view cannot entirely be trusted, there is no doubt that Burgoyne was a medium and that he was developed as such by Max Theon. Burgoyne told Gorham Blake that he “visited [Theon’s] house as a student every day for a long time” [B.8.k], and gave this clue to their relationship in The Light of Egypt:

… those who are psychic, may not know WHEN the birth of an event will occur, but they Feel that it will, hence prophecy.

The primal foundation of all thought is right here, for instance, M. Theon may wish a certain result; if I am receptive, the idea may become incarnated in me, and under an extra spiritual stimulus it may grow and mature and become a material fact.


Burgoyne was making enquiries in occult circles by 1881, when he wrote to [The Rev W. A.] Ayton asking to visit him for a discussion of occultism. The clergyman was shocked when he met this “Dalton,” who (Ayton says) boasted of doing Black Magic [B.6.f], and forthwith sent him packing [B.6.k]. Later Ayton would be appalled to learn that it was this same young man with whom, as “Burgoyne,” he had been corresponding on H.B. of L. business. Having decided that the mysterious Grand Master “Theon” was really Hurrychund Chintamon, Ayton deduced that the young Scotsman must have learned his black magic from this Indian adventurer.

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This lovely picture raises as many questions as it answers. Adam McLean tells me in a private e-mail (3-18-08) that the book Philalethes Illustratus is about alchemy. He adds:

The ouroboros is a well know symbol in alchemy, as is the interwoven triangles. These were often brought together in alchemical emblems. There was a particular focus on this image in the early 18th century, through its use as an illustration in the influential 'Golden Chain of Homer', written or edited by Anton Josef Kirchweger, first issued at Frankfurt and Leipzig in four German editions in 1723, 1728, 1738 and 1757. A Latin version was issued at Frankfurt in 1762, and further German editions followed. In the late eighteenth century Sigismund Bacstrom made a rather poor translation of the work into English. Blavatsky was very interested in this work and apparently wanted to write a commentary on it. Part of this was published in the Theosophical Society Journal 'Lucifer' in 1891. The Rev W. A. Ayton, the alchemical enthusiast, and contact of Blavatsky, used a variation of this image as a letterhead on his papers.


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This is a copy of the letterhead of Rev W. A. Ayton which Adam McLean sent me. Ayton is mentioned in Blavatsky's diary in 1878 and 1879 (BCW I, p 410, 421 and II, p. 42). Note that where Blavatsky's seal has astrological connotations with for instance the sign of the Leo in the right-bottom corner, Ayton has an actual lion in exactly the same spot as well as a sun and moon. Adam McLean notes (3-18-08) that Ayton was a member of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and his seal is similar to theirs.

It's clear at this point that the Theosophical Seal has a western esoteric background. Seen through the Eliphas Levi seal the cross was turned into an Egyptian cross, which makes sense as an Egyptian source for the early theosophical adepts was hinted at in their name: the Brotherhood of Luxor (whether a connection with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor should be assumed is an open question of theosophical history).

The circle on top with the swastika inside is present in Blavatsky’s seal. I have not been able to find any precursors to that. In this respect Blavatsky’s seal was clearly the example for the Theosophical Seal.

-- Early history of the Theosophical Seal, by Katinka Hesselink 2006, 2008


Hurrychund Chintamon had played an important part in the early Theosophical Society and in the move of Blavatsky and Olcott from New York to India. He had been their chief Indian correspondent during 1877-1878, when he was President of the Bombay Arya Samaj (a Vedic revival movement with which the early Theosophical Society was allied). After Blavatsky and Olcott arrived in Bombay in 1879 and met Chintamon in person, they discovered that he was a scoundrel and an embezzler, and expelled him from the Society. Chintamon came to England in 1879 or 1880, and stayed until 1883, when he returned to make further trouble for the Theosophists in India. Perhaps the fact that Chintamon was in England when Burgoyne first met Theon led some to conclude that they were the same person. But this cannot be the whole story. Ayton claimed very clearly and repeatedly that he had proof of Burgoyne’s being in company with Chintamon. In a letter in the private collection, Ayton writes:

I have since discovered that Hurrychund Chintaman the notorious Black Magician was in company with Dalton at Bradford. By means of a Photograph I have traced him to Glasgow & even to Banchory, under the alias of Darushah Chichgur. Friends in London saw him there just before his return to India. This time coincides with that when I noticed a great change in the management. Chintaman had supplied the Oriental knowledge as he was a Sanskrit scholar & knew much. Theon was Chintaman! Friends have lately seen him in India where he is still at his tricks.


Before her disillusion[ment] with Chintamon, Blavatsky had touted him to the London Theosophists as a “great adept.” After the break that followed on her meeting with him in person, Chintamon allied himself to the rising Western opposition to esoteric Buddhism exemplified by Stainton Moses, C.C. Massey, William Oxley, Emma Hardinge Britten, Thomas Lake Harris, and others. From this formidable group, Burgoyne first contracted the hostility towards Blavatsky’s enterprise that would mark all his writings.

Chintamon also appears in connection with “H.B. Corinni,” the otherwise unidentifiable (and variously spelled) “Private Secretary” of Theon, who was thought by the police to be just another of Burgoyne’s aliases. Ayton, however, believed Corinni to be Chintamon’s son, who he said offered Blavatsky’s old letters for sale to the President of the London Branch of the Theosophical Society, Charles Carleton Massey. [Ayton to unnamed American neophyte, 11 June 1886, based on what he had been told by Massey.] The flaw in Ayton’s thesis is of course the existence of a real and independent Max Theon, of whom we, unlike Ayton, have documentary evidence. Nonetheless, after more than a hundred years, the whole tangle of misidentifications involving Chintamon, “Christamon,” and “Metamon” [see B.9.c-3] with the Order cannot be entirely resolved.

By October 1882, Burgoyne was in Leeds, working in the menial trade of a grocer. [This is the trade ascribed to him in the court records. The records of the Leeds Constabulary call him “medium and astrologer.”] Here he tried to bring off an advertising fraud [B.6.d] so timid as to cast serious doubt on his abilities as a black magician! As a consequence, he spent the first seven months of 1883 in jail. He had probably met Theon before his incarceration, and, as we have seen, worked for a time in daily sessions as Theon’s medium. On his release he struck up or resumed relations with Peter Davidson, and became the Private Secretary to the Council of the H.B. of L. when it went public the following year.

Burgoyne contributed many letters and articles to The Occult Magazine, usually writing under the pseudonym “Zanoni.” He also contributed to Thomas Johnson’s Platonist [see B.7.c], showing considerably more literacy than in the letter that so amused the Theosophists [B.7.b]. But he never claimed to be an original writer. In the introduction to the “Mysteries of Eros” [A.3.b] he states his role as that of amanuensis and compiler. The former term reveals what the H.B. of L. regarded as the true source of its teachings – the initiates of the Interior Circle of the Order. The goal of the magical practice taught by the H.B. of L. was the development of the potentialities of the individual so that he or she could communicate directly with the Interior Circle and with the other entities, disembodied and never embodied, that the H.B. of L. believed to populate the universes. If Gorham Blake is to be credited [B.6.k], Davidson and Burgoyne “confessed” to him that Burgoyne was an “inspirational medium” and that the teachings of the Order came through his mediumship. Stripped of the bias inherent in the terms “medium,” and “confess,” there is no reason to doubt the statement of Burgoyne’s role. In the Order’s own terminology, however, his connection with the spiritual hierarchies of the universe was through “Blending” – the taking over of the conscious subject’s mind by the Initiates of the Interior Circle and the Potencies, Powers, and Intelligences of the celestial hierarchies – and through the “Sacred Sleep of Sialam” (see Section 15, below).

Shortly after arriving in Georgia, for all the Theosophists’ efforts to intercept him [B.6.1], Burgoyne parted with Davidson. From then on, the two communicated mainly through their mutual disciples, squabbling over fees for reading the neophytes’ horoscopes and over Burgoyne’s distribution of the Order’s manuscripts, with each man essentially running a separate organization. This split may be reflected in the French version of “Laws of Magic Mirrors” [A.3.a], which was prepared in 1888 and which bears the reference “Peter Davidson, Provincial Grand Mater of the Eastern Section.”

Burgoyne made his way from Georgia first to Kansas, then to Denver, and finally to Monterey, California, staying with H.B. of L. members as he went. According to the Church of Light, Burgoyne now met Normal Astley, a professional surveyor and retired Captain in the British Army. After 1887 Astley and a small group of students engaged Burgoyne to write the basic H.B. of L. teachings as a series of lessons, giving him hospitality and a small stipend. Astley is actually said to have visited England to meet Theon – something which is hardly credible in the light of what is known of Theon’s methods. We do know, however, that Burgoyne advertised widely and took subscriptions for the lessons, and that they were published in book form in 1889 as The Light of Egypt; or The Science of the Soul and the Stars, attributed to Burgoyne’s H.B. of L. sobriquet “Zanoni.”

With The Light of Egypt, the secrecy of the H.B. of L.’s documents was largely broken, and they were revealed – to those who could tell – to be fairly unoriginal compilations from earlier occultists, presented with a strongly anti-Theosophical tone. Only the practical teachings were omitted. The book was translated into French by Rene Philipon, a friend of Rene Guenon’s, and into Russian and Spanish, and a paraphrase of it was published in German. We present [B.8] the most important reactions to this work, which has been reprinted frequently up to the present day.


After the political upheavals in Tibet in the 1950s, Pallis became active in the affairs of the Tibetan [Tibet] Society, the first Western support group created for the Tibetan people. Pallis also was able to house members of the Tibetan diaspora in his London flat. Pallis also formed a relationship with the young Chögyam Trungpa, who had just arrived in England. Trungpa asked Pallis to write the foreword to Trungpa’s first, autobiographical book, Born in Tibet. In his acknowledgment, Trungpa offers Pallis his “grateful thanks” for the “great help” that Pallis provided in bringing the book to completion. He goes on to say that “Mr. Pallis when consenting to write the foreword, devoted many weeks to the work of finally putting the book in order”.

Pallis studied music under Arnold Dolmetsch, the distinguished reviver of early English music, composer, and performer, and was considered “one of Dolmetsch's most devoted protégés”. Pallis soon discovered a love of early music—in particular chamber music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—and for the viola da gamba. Even while climbing in the region of the Satlej-Ganges watershed, he and his musically-minded friends did not fail to bring their instruments.


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Viola da gamba

Pallis taught viol at the Royal Academy of Music, and reconstituted The English Consort of Viols, an ensemble he had first formed in the 1930s. It was one of the first professional performing groups dedicated to the preservation of early English music. They released three records and made several concert tours in England and two tours to the United States.

According to the New York Times review, their Town Hall concert of April 1962 “was a solid musical delight”, the players having possessed “a rhythmic fluidity that endowed the music with elegance and dignity”. Pallis also published several compositions, primarily for the viol, and wrote on the viol’s history and its place in early English music.

The Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of a lifetime of contribution to the field of early music, awarded Pallis an Honorary Fellowship. At age eighty-nine his Nocturne de l’Ephemere was performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; his niece writes that “he was able to go on stage to accept the applause which he did with his customary modesty.” When he died he left unfinished an opera based on the life of Milarepa...

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Pallis described "tradition" as being the leitmotif of his writing. He wrote from the perspective of what has come to be called the traditionalist or perennialist school of comparative religion founded by René Guénon, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon, each of whom he knew personally.

Frithjof Schuon (/ˈʃuːɒn/; German: [ˈfʀiːtˌjoːf ˈʃuː.ɔn]) (18 June, 1907 – 5 May, 1998), also known as ʿĪsā Nūr ad-Dīn ʾAḥmad (عيسیٰ نور الـدّين أحمد),[1] was an author of German ancestry born in Basel, Switzerland. He was a spiritual master, philosopher, and metaphysician inspired by the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Sufism and the author of numerous books on religion and spirituality. He was also a poet and a painter...

Schuon's father was a concert violinist and the household was one in which not only music but literary and spiritual culture were present.

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Violin

-- Frithjof Schuon, by Wikipedia


As a traditionalist, Pallis assumed the "transcendent unity of religions" (the title of Schuon's landmark 1948 book) and it was in part this understanding that gave Pallis insight into the innermost nature of the spiritual tradition of Tibet, his chosen love. He was a frequent contributor to the journal Studies in Comparative Religion (along with Schuon, Guénon, and Coomaraswamy), writings on both the topics of Tibetan culture and religious practice as well as the Perennialist philosophy.


-- Marco Pallis, by Wikipedia


Burgoyne’s last years were spent in unwonted comfort if, as the Church of Light says, Dr. Henry and Belle M. Wagner – who had been members of the H.B. of L. since 1885 – gave $100,000 to found an organization for the propagation of the Light of Egypt teachings. Out of this grew the Astro-Philosophical Publishing Company of Denver, and the Church of Light itself, reformed in 1932 by Elbert Benjamine (=C.C. Zain, 1882-1951). Beside Burgoyne’s other books The Language of the Stars and Celestial Dynamics, the new company issued in 1900 a second volume of The Light of Egypt. This differs markedly from the first volume, for it is ascribed to Burgoyne’s spirit, speaking through a medium who was his “spiritual successor,” Mrs. Wagner. As the spirit said, with characteristically poor grammar: “Dictated by the author from the subjective plane of life (to which he ascended several years ago) through the law of mental transfer, well known to all Occultists, he is enabled again to speak with those who are still upon the objective plane of life.”

Max Theon wrote to the Wagners in 1909 (the year after his wife’s death), telling them to close their branch of the H.B. of L. [Information given to Mr. Deveney by Henry O. Wagner.] By that time, the Order had virtually ceased to exist as such, while the Wagners continued on their own, channeling doctrinal and fictional works. Their son, Henry O. Wagner, told Mr. Deveney that he, in turn, received books from his parents by the “blending” process, to be described below. In 1963 he issued an enlarged edition of The Light of Egypt, which included several further items from his parents’ records. Some of these are known to have circulated separately to neophytes during the heyday of the H.B. of L. (see Section 10, below), while others were circulated by Burgoyne individually on a subscription basis to his own private students (all of whom were in theory members of the H.B. of L.) from 1887 until his death. These include a large body of astrological materials and also treatises on “Pentralia,” “Soul Knowledge (Atma Bodha)” and other topics. They are perfectly consistent with the H.B. of L. teachings, but appear to have been Burgoyne’s individual production, done after his separation from Peter Davidson, and they are not reproduced here.

-- The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, by Joscelyn Godwin
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Church of Light
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/5/21

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Official Emblem of the Church of Light

The Church of Light was incorporated November 2, 1932 in Los Angeles, California. Its mission is “to teach, practice, and disseminate The Religion of The Stars, a way of life for the Aquarian Age, as set forth in writings of C.C. Zain.” The Church is the continuation of an initiatic organization, the Brotherhood of Light, established in the same city in 1915. The 1932 reorganization as The Church of Light was a response to ordinances passed that year by Los Angeles County “prohibiting both the teaching and practice of astrology.”[1]

Brotherhood of Light

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Elbert Benjamine AKA C. C. Zain

The Church is the continuation of an initiatic organization, the Brotherhood of Light, established also in Los Angeles in 1915. The Brotherhood of Light lessons, on the three branches of occult science, were written between the spring of 1910 and 1950 by Elbert Benjamine (also known as C.C. Zain, born Benjamin Parker Williams).[2] Benjamine had been invited in 1909 by the leaders of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor (HBofL) in Denver to join them as successor to Minnie Higgin, who had been the order’s astrologer until her death that year.[3] The surviving Council members proposed to Benjamine that he rewrite the order’s teachings in a systematic form as the basis for a new organization that would “bring occultism to the life of ordinary people.”[4] This change was inspired by orders from Max Theon to close the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor following the death of his wife the previous year.[5] After five years of preparation and study, Elbert Benjamine came to Los Angeles in 1915 and began to hold meetings. “At that point it still operated as a secret society. On November 11, 1918, the Brotherhood of Light opened its doors to the public, offering classes and a home-study course.”[6]

Influences

Astro-Philosophical Publications, founded in Denver in 1892, was a publishing arm of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor created by Henry and Belle Wagner. The authors it published included Thomas H. Burgoyne and Sarah Stanley Grimke, both cited by Benjamine as sources of Brotherhood teachings. He accorded the same status to Ghost Land and Art Magic by Emma Hardinge Britten.[7] Another early HBofL member, Genevieve Stebbins, relocated to California from England in 1917 with her husband Norman Astley, and provided assistance to the Benjamines in establishing the Brotherhood of Light.[8]

Founders

The 1932 reorganization as The Church of Light was a response to ordinances passed that year by Los Angeles County “prohibiting both the teaching and practice of astrology.” The three founding officers were

• C.C. Zain, pen name of Elbert Benjamine (1882-1951) - President
• Fred Skinner (1872-1940) - Vice President
• Elizabeth D. Benjamine (1875-1942) - Secretary-Treasurer

Schisms

Following the 1943 remarriage of Elbert Benjamine, his son and heir apparent Will Benjamine departed in acrimony and established the Stellar Ministry, “a short-lived religious group that taught a mixture of Hermeticism and Christianity.” [9] Another more recent schism in the Church of Light, is the Light of Egypt, headed up by a past president, Linden Liesge.

Activities

The 21 volume Brotherhood of Light lessons are publicly accessible to nonmembers of the church, but only members participate in a system of written examinations covering each volume. Each examination passed advances the member one degree. Seven volumes each are devoted to astrology, alchemy, and magic. Students who complete all 21 degrees (including examinations) are awarded a “Hermetician’s Certificate.”[9]

Church headquarters were located through 1999 at 117 (later 2341) Coral Street in Los Angeles, which had been the home of the Benjamines. After several years based in Brea, California, in 2005 it relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Regular classes and services are held at its headquarters, 2119 Gold Avenue, many of which are viewable as live streams and archived on the church website. The current president is Christopher Gibson.[10]

See also

• Genevieve Stebbins
• Emma Hardinge Britten
• Max Theon
• Hermetic Brotherhood of Light
• Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
• Esotericism
• Theosophy
• Occult
• Mysticism
• Spiritualism

References

Citations


1. Gibson, Christopher, "The Religion of the Stars: The Hermetic Philosophy of C.C. Zain",Gnosis Magazine, Winter 1996, 63.
2. Volume XVI titled 'Stellar Anatomy' Copyright, 1947, Serial No. 197 Reprinted December, 1966 The Church of Light, Los Angeles, California
3. "Elbert Benjamine", Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, 5th ed. (Detroit: Gale, 2000.)
4. Horowitz, Mitch, Occult America (New York: Bantam, 2009), 217
5. Godwin, Chanel, and Deveney, eds., The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1995), 39.
6. Gibson, Christopher, "The Religion of the Stars: The Hermetic Philosophy of C.C. Zain,Gnosis Magazine, Winter 1996,61.
7. Zain, C.C., Laws of Occultism, (Los Angeles: The Church of Light, 1994), 152,156.
8. "C.C. Zain", Greer, John Michael, The New Encyclopedia of the Occult.(St. Paul, MN: LLewellyn, 2003, 527.
9. Gibson, Christopher, "The Religion of the Stars: The Hermetic Philosophy of C.C. Zain", Gnosis Magazine, Winter 1996, 62.
10. Meet the Staff

Bibliography

Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, 5th ed. (Detroit: Gale, 2000.) "Elbert Benjamine."
Gibson, Christopher, "The Religion of the Stars: The Hermetic Philosophy of C.C. Zain," Gnosis Magazine, Winter 1996
Greer, John Michael, The New Encyclopedia of the Occult.(St. Paul, MN: LLewellyn, 2003)
The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism.Joscelyn Godwin, Christian Chanel, and John Patrick Deveney, eds. (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1995)
Horowitz, Mitch, Occult America. (New York: Bantam, 2009)
Zain, C.C. (Elbert Benjamine), Laws of Occultism. (Los Angeles: The Church of Light, 1994)

Sources

• The Church of Light, "Vision for the 21st Century"[1]
• The Church of Light, "Where We Are Located."[2]

External links

• Church of Light
Authority control
• VIAF: 143417692
• WorldCat Identities: lccn-no2004045954

1. Vision for the 21st Century
2. Where We Are Located
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Hurrychund Chintamon
by Theosophy Wiki
Accessed: 3/5/21

Hurrichund Chintamon was a disciple of Dayanand and President of the Arya Samaj of Bombay in 1878, when the Theosophical Society formed an alliance with the organization. Soon after the Founders arrived in Bombay, they found out Chintamon had mishandled the funds sent by them from the USA and was expelled. He later was an important figure in the formation of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor.

Work in photography

Hurrichund Chintamon was a pioneer of photography in India. Martin W. Sandler wrote:

The early popularity of photography in India, particularly in Bombay, was also due in great measure to the contribution of one pioneer photographer, Hurrychind Chintamon. . . . Chintamon was the most masterful and most successful of the early Indian photographers who captured carte-de-visite images of literary, political, and business figures.[1]


Theosophical involvement

According to the Membership Register of the Theosophical Society, Chintamon was admitted as a member in 1877[2] The Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett states:

Chintamon, Hurrychund, a chela of Dayanand of the Arya Samaj movement... While HPB and HSO were still in the USA they had correspondence with him and sent fees to the Arya Samaj through him. It was discovered that he had diverted these funds, amounting to about Rs. 600, to his own pocket. Later he attempted to arouse suspicion of HPB as a "Russian spy." He was expelled from both the TS and the Arya Samaj and decamped to England with Rs. 4,000 belonging to the latter body.


He was expelled from the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj on May 13, 1879.

Towards the end of 1882 Chintamon went to London and met with Mr. Massey. He produced some letters supposed to come from Mme. Blavatsky, incriminating her in the creation of a hoax in relation to the Mahatmas. In October 1882, Master K.H. wrote to A. P. Sinnett:

Hurrychund Chintamon of Bombay, now of Manchester and elsewhere; the man who robbed the Founders and Dayanand of Rs. 4,000, deceived and imposed upon them from the first (so far back as New York), and then, exposed and expelled from the Society ran away to England and is ever since seeking and thirsting for his revenge.[3]

Hurrychund Chintamon never failed once during the last three years to take into his confidence every theosophist he met, pouring into his ears pretended news from Bombay about the duplicity of the Founders; and to spread reports among the spiritualists about Mad. B’s pretended phenomena, showing them all as simply “impudent tricks” — since she has no real idea of the Yoga powers; or again showing letters from her, received by him while she was in America; and in which she is made to advise him to pretend — he is a “Brother” and thus deceive the British theosophists the better . . . H.C. is doing all this and much more[4]


Later years

Hurrychund Chintamon was an important figure in the origination of the "Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor". Eventually, he was forced to leave England (again for mismanagement of money) and seems to have disappeared in the USA.[5]

Online resources

• Hurrichund Chintamon at HistoryoftheAdepts.com

Notes

1. Martin W. Sandler, (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2002), 32
2. Membership Register. Theosophical Society Adyar Archives.
3. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 92 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 291.
4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 92 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 291.
5. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 223.

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Hurrychund Chintamon
by The Church of Light
November 24, 2010

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One of the many mysterious elements in the origins of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor is the role of Hurrychund Chintamon as an advisor to its founders Burgoyne and Davidson. In Photography: an Illustrated History, Martin W. Sander writes “The early popularity of photography in India, particularly in Bombay, was also due in great measure to the contribution of one pioneer photographer, Hurrychind Chintamon…the most masterful and most successful of the early Indian photographers who captured carte-de-visite images of literary, political, and business figures, Chintamon’s most famous carte was a portrait of the Maharaja of Baroda. Thousands of these images were distributed throughout India.”(p.32) An online history of photography in the Indian subcontinent explains that Elphinstone College in Bombay began to offer instruction in 1855, “where classes consisting predominantly of Indian students were introduced to a wide range of photographic processes. Among the graduates of these classes was Hurrichund Chintamon, who thereafter established a successful studio in Bombay which survived until the 1880s.” Chintamon left a tremendous photographic legacy of which traces are found on the Web.

Hurrichund Chintamon was the President of the Bombay Arya Samaj in 1878 when the Theosophical Society formed an alliance with Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, the Arya Samaj founder. Soon after the arrival in Bombay of Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky, Chintamon was expelled by the Arya Samaj and the TS for mishandling of funds sent from the latter to the former. The reason he could successfully link the TS and Arya Samaj with an assortment of rajas and maharajas is that he knew them by virtue of having photographed many of them. This helps explain a letter from HPB to Chintamon, which he shared with Richard Hodgson who quoted it in his Report on the Theosophical Society:

As for the future Fellows of our Indian branch, have your eyes upon the chance of fishing out of the great ocean of Hindu hated for Christian missionaries some of those big fish you can Rajahs, and whales known as Maharajahs. Could you not hook out for your Bombay branch either Gwalior (Scindia) or the Holkar of Indore—those most faithful and loyal subjects of the British (?). (SPR Report on the TS, p. 316)


Both of these maharajas did in fact support the TS, presumably through Chintamon’s influence. Mahatma Letter #54, allegedly from Koot Hoomi, refers to “the man who robbed the Founders and Dayanand of Rs. 4,000, deceived and imposed upon them from the first (so far back as New York), and then exposed and expelled from the Society ran away to England and is ever since seeking and thirsting for his revenge.” (Mahatma Letters, p. 306.) But in 1878, before meeting him, in an article “A Society Without a Dogma” HPB referred to “the famous commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita of our brother Hurrychund Chintamon”, and quotes him to the effect that “In Hindustan, as in England, there are doctrines for the learned, and dogmas for the unlearned; strong meat for men and milk for babes; facts for the few, and fictions for the many, realities for the wise, and romances for the simple; esoteric truth for the philosopher, and exoteric fable for the fool.”(Blavatsky Collected Writings, I:306) Within a few years Chintamon would accuse Blavatsky of adding to the stock of Indian fictions and fables, and produce documentary evidence that supported his accusation.

Even after Chintamon’s departure from India, Swami Dayananda and the TS continued in amicable relations for another three years, but in 1882 the Swami publicly denounced the Theosophists and called Blavatsky a fraud and juggler. The 1884 confessions of Emma and Alexis Coulomb to fraudulent delivery of Mahatma letters led to the investigation of the TS by Richard Hodgson, sponsored by the Society for Psychical Research. His 1885 Report relied in important details on the testimony of a correspondent of Blavatsky whose initials are H.C., and context makes it clear that Chintamon was his informant. A letter dated May 22, 1878 from Blavatsky to Chintamon was transcribed by Eleanor Sidgwick and is now the archives of the Society for Psychical Research. This date is highly significant as the official date of the amalgamation of the Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj. The transcription was published in the first volume of the Letters of H.P. Blavatsky. Sidgwick paraphrases at times but mostly the letter seems to be directly transcribed. HPB acknowledges Chintamon’s last letter and discusses the amalgamation of the TS and the Arya Samaj. She writes that C.C. Massey, perhaps the most devoted member in England, is son of an MP and a congenital mystic, adding “I feel perfectly sure, that if Pundit Dayanand will write to him any request he will joyfully comply.” She then appeals to Chintamon to induce Dayananda to sign what might later be called two Mahatma letters, one to Massey and one to Emily Kislingbury, composed by HPB. She suggests that he is free to edit to his satisfaction:

C.C. Massey has for three years bravely defended theosophy, our Society and selves. But what can we do? He hungers after truth, and the sight of a fakir’s phenomenon (however fanatical and idolatrous) would make him do anything in the world. Another brave loyal heart is Miss Emily Kislingbury, secretary, guiding spirit and in fact soul of the B.N.A. of Spts (British National Association of Spiritualists.) She has courage enough to make herself a heroine, and her motives and character are as pure as gold. But, like most women her emotional nature calls for a proof to lean upon; and for lack of that (since we all repudiate mediumship) she feels as though she would turn to the Xn church for support… Here is a prize—or rather two—worth the having. This little woman gathers about her some of the first writers in England, and is a power for good under wise direction. We want you to secure her from her weaker self. Write to her in the name of the Arya Samaj and to C.C. Massey (I send you both addresses) and in the name of TRUTH save them both! A direct letter from India would fire the zeal of both, for it is what they have been waiting and hoping for for three years. They regard India as the land of mystery, wisdom and *Spiritual Power*. My devotion, love and enthusiasm for India has fired them both (for last year they have come both—C.C. Massey and Emily Kislingbury—across the ocean to see me and lived with me) but unfortunately I am but a white-faced IDIOT not a Hindu, what can I do more! In the name of truth then and the great Unseen, Power, help me to rescue both these enthusiasts either from Christianity—worse than that- Catholicism, in which both are diving rapidly and give them work to do— *real hard* work, for both are of the stuff that helps making MARTYRS. Show this letter to our revered pundit—perhaps, he will consent to help and advise me. The more mystery you can throw about the communication the better and deeper impression it will make. If it would not be deemed impertinent of me to suggest a form of a letter I would propose the following:

Charles Carleton Massey Esq
Atheneaum Club—London
Dear Brother
The `Brothers’ in India look to you to take the Presidency of the British Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj. Great consequences may follow. After three years of expectation the WORD comes. Are you ready? If so—act.’ (Here let the Pundit write his name in *Sanskrit characters* and date
it from wherever he likes.)

The letter to Miss Kislingbury should be worded:–
Emily Kislingbury, 38 Great Russell Street London
Dear Sister
Only the weak need a crutch. There is no primal truth in Earthly writings outside the Vedas: all else is derivation. If you seek consolation seek it there; if support it is there to be found (or something to that effect—you know better what to say.) The reality of the Word made Flesh is to be found in humanity—The highest avatar of the Son. Have patience & work for your fellow creatures and you will see Light in the East. A true Theosophist of the Arya Samaj will not wait in vain.
(Follow again the pundits or any other signature in Sanskrit)


We know the mind to be worked upon and will guarantee results if the Pundit kindly permits the letters to be written. Deeply as C C Massey and Emily Kislingbury love us, good theosophists as they are, nothing that we could do will have such an effect as these letters from India. For the present, it will be far better that these two should not know who addresses them. Later when the London branch is actively working, we will put you in full communion. Do not think we are resorting to childish method. Believe me, we know what is best for these EX-Spiritualists—these half-born theosophists. There are others, in different parts of Europe to whom after a little we will ask you to address ourselves. (Letters, Vol. 1, pp. 435-437)


Massey and Kislingbury were the President and Secretary of the British TS. Blavatsky had found Olcott easily persuaded by letters from adept authority figures, and clearly hoped that Massey and Kislingbury would become equally devoted to Theosophy on the same basis. Dayananda had no interest in Mahatma letters and ended up denouncing Blavatsky and Olcott for their involvement in such phenomena. But instead of alerting Dayananda to the nature of the dubious requests made by HPB, Chintamon seems to have kept him in the dark. In November 1880 when Mahatma correspondence between Koot Hoomi and A.P. Sinnett was inaugurated, Dayananda was apparently taken by surprise and felt betrayed by this development. He wrote to her “Madame Blavatsky…whatever you had written to me from America, or discussed with me at Saharanpur, Meerut, Kashi, etc….does not seem to conform with your present activities.” (Autobiography of Dayanand Saraswati, p. 68) Chintamon himself lent a hand with HPB’s schemes to impress Massey, however. Olcott and HPB stopped in London in early 1879 en route to Bombay from New York, and during this visit they saw Massey at the home of a mutual friend, the medium Mary Hollis-Billing. As told by Marion Meade in Madame Blavatsky, “after dinner, at Mary’s instigation, Helena fished around under the table and `materialized’ a Japanese teapot and later, as Massey was preparing to depart, she told him to reach into his overcoat pocket. To his amazed delight, he withdrew an inlaid Indian cardcase containing a slip of paper that bore Hurrychund Chintamon’s autograph.”(p. 194) In 1884, after meeting Chintamon and hearing his account of his dealings with the TS, Massey announced his resignation as British TS President in the journal Light, writing “The evidence for the existence of Adepts — or “Mahatmas,” since that term is now preferred — and even of their connection with individual members of the Theosophical Society, need not here concern us. We may, and I do, accept it; and yet see in their methods, or rather in the things that are said and done in their names, such deviations from our Philistine sense of truth and honour as to assure us that something is very wrong somewhere.”

Explanation of the "Kiddle Incident" in the Fourth Edition of The "Occult World"
by C.C. Massey
Light (London), pp. 307-9
July 26, 1884

I have very recently procured a copy of the fourth edition of "The Occult World." As noted by "M. A. (Oxon."), two or three weeks ago, the Appendix contains an explanation by Koot Hoomi of the above perplexing incident. Although Mr. Sinnett tells us that the subject had lost its interest for all persons in England whose opinion he valued, and that in the London Theosophical Society it was looked upon as little more than a joke, I venture to think that the explanation deserves a more careful examination than it seems yet to have received. I should certainly not offer to discuss the subject before a society where it is treated as a joke, but as the readers of your paper are interested in psychological problems, and this question has been already before them, some of them may like to look a little more closely into the explanation now given to the public in Mr. Sinnett’s book.

At first sight, nothing can be more intelligible, and at the same time instructive, than the account given us. The adept has to impress the chela, and the chela has to transmit the impression to paper. Upon the distinctness and vivacity of the former’s impelling thought, on the one hand, and on the attentive apprehension by the latter, on the other hand, depend the fidelity and clearness of the final representation on the paper. Given a defect in the first condition, the chela will get only a confused and blurred impression, and can pass nothing more on to the material vehicle. Given a defect in the second condition -- imperfect attention to, or apprehension of, what is conveyed -- and again the same result. In this case, taking the words and lines now printed in italics, and which are those which had to be "restored" from the original document, by reason of the chela’s inability to decipher and transcribe them, I find that they amount to about thirty-one lines out of fifty-three. And they are, as the Adept says, "precisely those phrases which would have shewn the passages were simply reminiscences, if not quotations," and thus have precluded the suggestion that passages taken without acknowledgment from the Banner of Light could not belong to a letter dictated by a veritable "Mahatma" in India or Thibet. How came it, then, that it was just these explanatory portions and none other that the Adept failed to transmit, or his chela to receive, distinctly?

At first, and till I came to examine and compare the sentences in detail, I was disposed to accept Koot Hoomi’s reply to this question as clear and satisfactory, since the simpler solution (on occult principles, which had occurred to some of us, was not the right one. The explanation is this: Koot Hoomi having, for reasons stated, made himself acquainted with certain typical utterances of American Spiritualists at Lake Pleasant, retained them in his memory for the purpose of comparison or contrast with the true ideas of which they shewed a dawning but imperfect apprehension. His own comments and interpolations, on the other hand, were excogitated at the moment, and when he was in a state of physical exhaustion. The result was that though he could still compose the well-framed sentences now "restored," and could even project a tracing of them to the chela’s mind, they were in the back-ground, as it were, of his consciousness, and were not propelled with the requisite energy. Whereas Mr. Kiddle’s sentences, being clear in memory, stood out at the surface, and were more easily, and therefore more distinctly, detached.

"While dictating the sentences quoted -- a small portion of the many I had been pondering over for some days -- it was those ideas that were thrown out en relief the most, leaving out my own parenthetical remarks to disappear in the precipitation."

And again: --

"So I, in this instance, having, at the moment, more vividly in my mind the psychic diagnosis of current spiritualistic thought, of which the Lake Pleasant speech was one marked symptom, unwittingly transferred that reminiscence more vividly than my own remarks upon it and deductions therefrom. So to say, the ‘despoiled victims’ -- Mr. Kiddle’s -- utterances came out as a high light, and were more sharply photographed (first in the chela’s brain, and thence on the paper before him, a double process and one far more difficult than Thought-reading simply), while the rest, my remarks thereupon and arguments, are hardly visible, and quite blurred on the original scraps before me."

Now all this is quite intelligible on the face of it; and it is only when we look into the matter more closely and compare the several texts that it becomes less easy to accept the statement. Referring to the letter as originally printed, I find that what we have of it (Mr. Sinnett giving only extracts from the correspondence) occupies fifty-six lines of pp. 101-2 of the new edition of "The Occult World." No exception is taken to the first thirty lines on the score of incompleteness, and we have to suppose that the Adept’s inability to project his own composition accurately and clearly began just when it got mixed up with Mr. Kiddle’s sentences -- the latter half (twenty-six lines) of the letter. The tangle begins with "Plato was right" at line thirty. Then suddenly there are nine lines (of Appendix print) clean dropped out, the sentence continuing with Mr. Kiddle’s "Ideas rule the world;" and so it goes on for a bit with Mr. Kiddle’s language, the Adept being just awake enough to substitute the future for the present tense, and to insert "creeds and even powers" among the things that are to crumble before the march of ideas. Again four or five lines dropped (relating to the foolishness of the Spiritualists), and then by a revival of energy we get three or four more lines of Koot Hoomi’s own upon the congenial topic of sweeping away the dross left us by our pious forefathers. Next, bearing in mind the explanation that it was all intended as a running commentary upon, and correction of, the Spiritualistic utterances, partially reproduced, let us see how further comparison bears that out. The key-note of the whole is, of course, Spiritualism and its ideas, and Mr. Kiddle had said, "the agency called Spiritualism is bringing a new set of ideas into the world," &c. Yet not in a single instance does the Adept succeed in effectually projecting the word spiritualism or Spiritualists (though he tried four times, as appears by the restored version), or anything whereby the chela would understand what was meant. And, curiously enough, the omissions include not only Koot Hoomi’s own new and less vividly represented words, whenever these words would have thrown light on the subject-matter of the discourse, but also phrases of Mr. Kiddle’s, which Koot Hoomi had so well pondered, and which stood out so sharply in his memory, whenever these conflicted with the ideas of Occultism. Thus we have the above passage of Mr. Kiddle’s about Spiritualism suppressed, and his expressions relating to the "Divine Will," both of which we find, more or less complete -- with a commentary -- in the restored version. Not less curiously, on the other hand, the chela, while failing to catch such phases of Mr. Kiddle’s, is now and then exceptionally impressed by the feebly transmitted words of the commentary, when these come in well to impart a dash of Occultism or Adept philosophy to what is retained of Mr. Kiddle’s. In addition to the instances of this already quoted, we have the reference to "previous and future births") which should have been "future not previous births"), the word "immutable" before "law," and the word "uninitiated" before "mortals."

Similarly, a good deal of criticism might be expended on the sentence tacked on to "Plato was right." From the sceptical point of view, one can see what a difficulty there was here. "Plato was right" had to be retained, because the chela would not have invented the words; but then it had to be separated from Mr. Kiddle’s "Ideas rule the world," and some connection must be inserted between the two, leading up to the Spiritualists, and so accounting for the quotation. This could not be done in a few words, and so we have this monstrous lacuna of nine lines, this sudden and long failure of power, where all before had gone smoothly.

Without a full reprint of all the three texts the improbability of the third having ever been included or designed cannot be adequately appreciated. Seeing that your space is limited, those who wish to master the question must be referred to the book itself, now published at a very cheap rate.

Koot Hoomi thinks that Mr. Sinnett ought to have perceived a discrepancy in the original version with the earlier part of the letter -- an indication that something was wrong in the transcript he had received. But with submission, this is not at all apparent. All seems fairly relevant, at least as relevant in the original as in the reformed version. Indeed I think the transition is much more strange and violent in the latter than in the former. The reference to the supremacy of ideas in the historical development of the world seems to me more natural in regard to the great results just before predicted for Occultism than is a comparison of the methods of Plato and Socrates, and a criticism of the views and expressions of Spiritualists.

Literary criticism is by no means exhausted by the foregoing observations. Take, for instance, the phrase "noumena, not phenomena," in the restored version. We have all heard a great deal of "noumena," as distinguished from phenomena, lately, and the word has become familiar. With Western metaphysicians, of course, it has been long in use. And a Thibetan Adept might, no doubt, know all the words that ever were coined, and their meaning. But recondite terms are only thrown out incidentally when they are "in the air," and I confess I doubt whether nearly four years ago, when this letter was written, such familiarity with metaphysical terminology would have been assumed in a correspondence of this character. That, however, is only one of several minor points to which little weight would be attached if they stood alone. Yet it would be interesting to learn from Mr. Sinnett whether this word turns up here for the first time in his correspondence with Koot Hoomi, or whether it occurs in the strictly philosophical letters (wherein it would often be relevant) upon which "Esoteric Buddhism" is founded.

I must now advert to another point invalidating, I think, the whole supposition which struck me at first so plausibly. Would the relative mental prominence of the ideas and phrases to be conveyed, and therefore their relative facility of transference, be such as is alleged in this case?

Certainly, a passage with which I am very familiar -- a favourite one from Shakespeare, for instance -- will stand out in my mind more easily and distinctly than the context of my own words in quoting it. But is that the case when I am dealing controversially with the language of another, however clearly I may have committed it to memory? I think then that my consciousness, my thought, gives as much prominence to my own characterisation of the passage I quote as to the passage itself. Were I a thought-transferer, I doubt if I could pass on the words quoted to the recipient without verbal colour of my own -- unless that was my intention. Or rather, I do not think that could happen when, as in this case, the quotation and the commentary are not kept apart, but the one interlaces the other, so that the quoted words are not allowed to run on continuously, the comment being postponed, but the latter, with its nay, nay, is intruded into the fabric of the sentence. In that case, I submit, there is almost necessarily a mental vehemence or emphasis which must present my own words at least as vividly as mere memory presents the quoted ones. To suppose that in such a mixed composition nearly all that to which I myself attach importance, which is the motive of the whole composition, can be neatly and exactly eliminated as here described, passes my understanding, and therefore, I frankly avow -- having regard to all the facts that seem to me relevant in this case -- my present belief.

I do not presume to follow the question into the mystery of "precipitation," that final process as to which the analogy of our "Thought-transference" experiments will not help us. All these omitted thirty-one lines, consisting of whole long passages, short sentences, fragments of sentences, and single words, though not intelligibly impressed on the chela’s consciousness, nevertheless so far reached it that some trace of them, recognisable by their author, got transferred to the paper. The restoration is not from memory alone of what was dictated, but from memory aided and suggested by a faint and blurred record. That sufficiently appears from Koot Hoomi’s statement of the facts. It further appears that the rapport between Adept and chela is such that the latter can telegraph back to the former, since Koot Hoomi was actually asked "at the time," by his chela, to "look over and correct" the imprint. Being very tired, he declined. But one would have thought that when the chela found the word-pictures or sounds, as the case may be, of whole sentences coming blurred and unintelligible, he would have at once, and before or at the time of precipitation, intimated that fact to his chief, so as to arrest a communication which must prove so defective as a whole. But as to this, we are not qualified by knowledge of all the conditions and circumstances to judge with confidence.

We have finally to consider the value of the evidence of Mr. T. Subba Row and of General Morgan. Both these gentlemen say they have seen the original "precipitation proof" -- "scraps," according to the latter of them -- "in which whole sentences, parenthetical and quotation marks are defaced and obliterated and consequently omitted in the chela’s clumsy transcription." That is to say, they were shewn something -- by whom we do not learn -- which they were told was the original "precipitation proof." How they could possibly know it to be so, except on the assumption of somebody’s good faith -- the chela’s, I suppose -- on an assumption which begs the whole question, I cannot see; and this evidence, therefore, seems to leave the case just where it was.

And what, then, should be our judgment on the whole matter? Most minds will follow a mere bent of inclination in accepting or putting aside the considerations which seem so weighty to me. I am used to adopt a method with myself which I find to be a sort of chemical test, as it were, of prejudice, and to be very effectual in checking hasty conclusions. I imagine that I have to state my opinion before some invisible but infallible tribunal, under a heavy and immediate penalty, something that I should most fear, for being wrong. How sudden a silence would thus fall upon those who "deliver brawling judgments, unashamed, on all things all day long!" But had I to encounter this risk in judging of the case before us, I should commit my fate to the opinion that these passages were copied out of the Banner of Light, everything being excluded which would indicate a Spiritualist origin, and a word or sentence being inserted here and there to adapt them to other ideas; that they were appropriated without any view to general publication (as, indeed, we learn that the letters were not written with such intention, which disposes of the improbability arising from the "stupidity" of the act), and that the defective precipitation and the subsequent "restoration" are alike mythical. It will thus be seen that I do not accept the Thibetan origin of the act or of the letter itself, and that, therefore although I have throughout written of the letter and explanation as "Koot Hoomi’s," that was only for convenience, and to avoid circumlocution. I do not know, and am not prepared to offer any definite theory as to who is responsible for one and the other. Mr. Sinnett’s sense of the absurdity of a "Mahatma," and a Mahatma "who inspired the teachings of ‘Esoteric Buddhism,’" plagiarising, if he will pardon me for saying so, begs the question. It even reminds me of the reasoning of those Christians who are accustomed to meet Biblical criticism with an appeal to "the Word of God." "Esoteric Buddhism" is certainly a remarkable, in some respects, I think, a great book; but sincerely as I respect Mr. Sinnett’s own profound conviction of its origin, I would rather not found any intellectual estoppels on it for the present. I doubt if Mr. Sinnett has fathomed the mystery of his real correspondent.

And as to the "intellectual temptation" of the latter to borrow from Mr. Kiddle -- which Mr. Sinnett thinks so preposterous -- we need not doubt his ability; but every one knows that the best writers quote aptly from others. Nor would there have been anything amiss in that in this case, were it not that the incongruity of a Thibetan Adept making approving extracts from the Banner of Light prevented it being done with due acknowledgment. For no one could suppose that Koot Hoomi "took in" that newspaper, regularly as it is received at the office of the Theosophist. And is it not somewhat curious that whereas Koot Hoomi was intellectually present at Lake Pleasant when the lecture was delivered, and had for some time been in correspondence with Mr. Sinnett, he should have waited to impart his reflections upon these Spiritualistic utterances until after the published report of them had reached India? We learn that "some two months" intervened between the delivery of the lecture and Koot Hoomi’s letter; a period not unimportant in estimating the probability of a very vivid recollection of the exact phrases used. And if, on the one hand, the delay is significant, so, on the other, is the fact that the references occurred so soon after the arrival of the American newspaper containing the report. The lecture was delivered on August 15th, 1880; and Mr. Kiddle tells us that it was reported in the Banner of Light "the same month." Allowing for this slight interval, the date of Koot Hoomi’s letter would probably be found to tally pretty closely with the arrival of the newspaper at Bombay or Madras. The exact dates ought to be ascertained.

There will still be such a thing as common-sense, even when the facts of Occultism are admitted and understood; and that does not point to a Thibetan origin of the celebrated "Kiddle letter."

The evidence for the existence of Adepts -- or "Mahatmas," since that terms is now preferred -- and even of their connection with individual members of the Theosophical Society, need not here concern us. We may, and I do, accept it; and yet see in their methods, or rather in the things that are said and done in their names, such deviations from our Philistine sense of truth and honour as to assure us that something is very wrong somewhere. For this is by no means a singular case. The repeated necessity for explanations -- which are always more formidable than the things to be explained -- must at length tire out the most patient faith, except the faith superseding all intelligence, the credo quia impossibile.

I have only to add that while preserving all the interests, and much of the belief which attracted me to the Theosophical Society, and which have kept me in it up to now, notwithstanding many and growing embarrassments, I do not think that the publication of the conclusions above expressed is consistent with loyal Fellowship. The constitution, no doubt, of the Society is broad enough to include minds more sceptical than my own in regard to the alleged sources of its vitality and influence. But let any one try to realise this nominal freedom, and he will find himself, not only in an uncongenial element, but in an attitude of controversy with his ostensible leaders, with the motive forces of the Society. That is not consistent with the sympathetic subordination or co-operation which is essential to union. If anything could keep me in a position embarrassing or insincere, it would be the noble life and character of the president, my friend, Colonel Olcott. But personal considerations must give way at length; and accordingly, with unabated regard and respect for many from whom it is painful to separate, I am forwarding my resignation of Fellowship to the proper quarters.

July 22nd, 1884.

C. C. MASSEY.


By contrast, Kislingbury was one of the dozen members of Blavatsky’s Inner Group formed in 1890 and continued to be a Theosophist after the death of HPB.

According to the compilers of The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, Chintamon was in England from 1879 or 1880 through 1883. The Reverend William Alexander Ayton, an early member of the HBofL “claimed very clearly and repeatedly that he had proof of Burgoyne’s being in company with Chintamon.”(HBofL, p. 35) This has led to confusion, because T.H. Burgoyne worked for a time as Max Theon’s medium or seer and it was mistakenly thought that Theon was Chintamon. As their photographs and historical documentation indicate, they were quite distinct individuals, but both had some association with the leaders of the HBofL. Theon and Chintamon were both former associates of Blavatsky who became mentors of Burgoyne, which is part of the complicated relationship between the HBofL and the TS. Next month’s blog post will feature another man who served as the first intermediarybetween the TS and the Arya Samaj, American Spiritualist leader James M. Peebles.

What can we conclude from the brief involvement of Chintamon successively in the Arya Samaj, the TS, and the HBofL? Any simple classification of 19th century occultists as heroes and villains is confounded by this episode. Olcott and Dayananda both entered into the TS/Arya Samaj affiliation in good faith, believing what they were told by HPB and Chintamon respectively. But HPB and Chintamon both acted in bad faith for different reasons and in different ways. Since Dayananda could not read English and the TS founders could not read Hindi, by acting as an intermediary Chintamon had the power to shape each group’s perception of the other. In his enthusiasm to promote the alliance he portrayed each group as being more compatible with the other in goals and beliefs than they actually were; it took several years for the resulting confusion to work itself out in a series of conflicts as Dayananda got better acquainted with Olcott and HPB. HPB approached the situation in bad faith in that her words indicated vast respect for the Swami as a spiritual teacher, yet at the same time she was concocting Mahatma letters to manipulate and deceive her closest supporters in England and intending that the Swami legitimize this fraud by signing the letters.

Chintamon was a whistle-blower in his role as informant to Richard Hodgson, as well as in his involvement with the HBofL founders. One of the greatest influences of his exposure of the 1878 correspondence with Blavatsky is that it drove a wedge between her and Olcott. When Hodgson repeated to him some of the disparaging statements that she had made to Chintamon about Olcott’s credulity, the Colonel was so despondent that he contemplated suicide by drowning. He steered a more independent course thereafter. Whether motivated by revenge or a guilty conscience, Chintamon provided evidence that persuaded the SPR of the fraudulent nature of the Mahatma phenomena. But his attitude was not simply destructive towards the TS; apparently he also wanted to help bring about an alternative that would not be based on Blavatsky. Burgoyne’s writings evince a strong anti-Theosophical bias, and this antagonism was likely encouraged by Chintamon’s revelations. The compilers of the HBofL conclude that in England “Chintamon allied himself with the rising Western opposition to esoteric Buddhism exemplified by Stainton Moses, C.C. Massey, William Oxley, Emma Hardinge Britten, Thomas Lake Harris, and others. From this formidable group, Burgoyne first contracted his hostility to Blavatsky’s enterprise that would mark all his writings.”(HBofL, p. 36) But Chintamon was also the source of genuine Sanskrit learning, and thus was able to serve as an instructor to Burgoyne on Hindu occultism.

When Elbert Benjamine took on the task of reformulating the HBofL teachings as the Brotherhood of Light lessons, he was faced with a legacy of extremely discordant 19th century occultist sources many of whom considered one another enemies. To a remarkable degree he succeeded in creating an integrated harmonious teaching free of sectarian antagonisms. Blavatsky was always treated with friendly respect in his writings and no one is ever vilified in 20th century CofL sources in the manner found in TS and HBofL literature of the 19th century. Now, a century since Benjamine accepted the task of systematizing and restating the Hermetic teachings, we can look back at the 19th century origins of the Church of Light with sympathetic respect for all the conflicting players in the drama. Heroes, villains, mistakes, quarrels, revenge—all standard elements in any melodrama—make the story intriguing, if not always inspiring. But there were genuine spiritual inspirations and aspirations mixed up with all the international intrigue, and the closer we examine any of the major characters in the story the more apparent this becomes.

Additional comment: this post was recently doubly misconstrued as “Church of Light bashes Blavatsky” which requires two emphatic disclaimers on my part. The content of blog posts here is entirely my own and no one in the Church of Light reviews them in advance or necessarily agrees with them. The Church of Light is not the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, 1884-1909. It is not the Earlier Theosophical Society, 1875-1878. It is not a Hermetic lodge in Alexandria, circa 150. Yet it is in various ways the heir of all three of these extinct organizations, as well as now-extinct nineteenth century groups labeled Rosicrucian, Spiritualist, and Masonic. No one is ever bashed in any Church of Light publication, as in the twentieth century this group did not engage in the kind of polemics that its nineteenth century predecessors enjoyed. In the twenty first century, I hope we can look back at the various feuding players of those predecessor organizations without special pleading on behalf of any of them, or the attitude that they can be sorted into mutually exclusive columns of heroes and villains.

********************************

Hurrichund Chintamon
by Maddifycation
September, 2020

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Hurrichund Chintamon / Harishchandra Chintaman, was a pioneer of photography in India and who setup an early studio in Bombay (Mumbai) as early as 1860. Hurrichund Chintamon was a disciple of Dayanand and President of the Arya Samaj of Bombay in 1878.He attended the photography class at the Elphinstone Institution under the tuition of W.H.S. Crawford, in 1855, and was awarded the first prize of Rs.50 in the government-sponsored competition held at the end of that year. He showed his photographs to the Bombay Photographic Society in 1856 and also contributed photographs to the Archaeological Survey of India. His Photographs on castes and tribes were exhibited in Paris in 1867.

Dr. Narayan Daji and Hurrichund Chintamon were among the first few from Bombay to master the art of photography. He had established a large studio in the Bombay fort and in due course he also published Marathi books on science of Photography. By the late 1860s, his was the oldest photographic studio in Mumbai.

Carte-de-visite was introduced into India in 1950s, and it became extremely popular, particularly among the wealthy people of Bombay. Chintamon was among the first few who mastered the art successfully and captured carte-de-visite images of literary, political and business figures.

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In 1860s photography was a popular means of representation in the princely states. Many princes relied on British photographers such as Bourne and Shepherd or Johnston and Hoffman to take their portraits whenever they visited Calcutta, but a few chose Indian as their official photographer.

Around 1869 Maharaja Malhar Rao of Baroda selected Hurrichund Chintamon;as his official photographer and Chintamon became famous because of his carte-de-visite portrait of the Maharaja of Baroda.

Large body of photography work created by Hurrichund Chintamon, were found thought out British India in 19th century.

Hurrichund Chintamon‘s carte–de-visite albumen prints were a novel way of sharing a photographic studio portrait. Countless prints were sent to places as far away as China, where they may well have been the first photograph many encountered by people.

A carte-de-visite is a piece of thick board measuring 4 ¼” x 2 ½” with a photograph mounted on it. Usually the subject is a single person photographed in studio setting, either standing or sitting; often it’s only a view of the head and shoulders. These prints were immensely popular in the nineteenth century, surpassed only by tintypes (an image mounted on metal) in popularity. The photograph mounted as a carte-de-visite is almost always an albumen print, a photographic process that resulted in a slightly glossy, warm-toned and clear.

Albumen prints are also always mounted on thick cards, because without support they roll up into cylinders. Albumens almost universally fade and yellow with age, and also develop minute cracks. Some experts say that up to 80% of prints, in nineteenth-century historical collections are albumens.

The popularity of cartes-de-visite peaked between 1860 and 1866, when the “cabinet card,” and other forms of card-mounted albumen photographs became more popular. These types of photographs are easily identified by their size. A card-mounted photograph that is 4 ½” x 6 ¼” is called a “cabinet card.” The “Victoria” was 3 ¼” x 5″, the “promenade” was 4″ x 7″; the “boudoir” was 5 ¼” x 8 ½”, the “imperial” was 6 7/8″ x 9 7/8″ and the “panel” was 8 ¼” x 4.”

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Full-length standing portrait of Manickjee Antarya, the celebrated Parsee traveler, Bombay.

Reference

Govind Narayan’s Mumbai: An Urban Biography from 1863, By Govinda Nārāyaṇa Māḍagã̄vakara

Photography an Illustrated history, By Martin W. Sandler, 2002, Published by Oxford University Press, USA.

The Indian Princes and their States

By Barbara N. Ramusack, Published by Cambridge University press 2004

https://www.college-optometrists.org/th ... isite.html

History of the Adepts, Spiritual Ancestors of the Brotherhood of Light Lessons (https://adepts.light.org/)

Cartes-de-Visite – the first pocket photographs By Georgen Charnes (https://nha.org/)

https://www.bl.uk/
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 06, 2021 3:45 am

The Baroda Crisis
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/5/21

In the year 1870 I made the voyage from New York to Liverpool, and met on board two Hindu gentlemen of Bombay, the late Mr. Mulji Thackersey and his friend, Mr. Tulsidass. I heard no more of them until late in 1877, when from an American gentleman I learned that Mr. Mulji was still alive. The Theosophical Society had then been in existence just two years, and the design to come to India to live and die there had already been formed in my mind. I wrote to Mr. Mulji an account of our Society and its plans, and asked his co-operation and that of other friends of Aryan religious philosophies. He responded, and introduced to me Hurrychund Chintaman, President of the Arya Samaj, "a man of learning, for a long time Political Agent [SPY] at London of the ex-Gaekwar," and author of a commentary on the Bhagwat Gita, "a book full of Aryan philosophy and Aryan thought"; a man who "will be a capital helpmate to our Society," and would give me any information I might need "about Oriental publications."

-- Swami Dayanand's Charges, by Colonel Henry S. Olcott


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Illustrations of Malhar Rao Gaekwad and Robert Phayre in The Graphic (1875).

The Baroda Crisis was a political crisis took place in British India between 1872 and 1876 in Baroda, a 21-gun-salute Gujarati princely state.

History

The crisis began when Colonel Robert Phayre was appointed as the British Resident of Baroda. He had an increasingly negative relationship with Malhar Rao Gaekwad, the Gaekwar of Baroda.

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Baroda state in 1909

History

• Established: 1721
• Accession to India: 1947

The Gaekwads of Baroda (also spelled as Gaikwads, Guicowars, Gaekwars) (IAST: Gāyǎkǎvāḍǎ) are Hindu Marathas who trace their origins to Dawadi village near Poona (modern Pune) to a Maratha clan by the name of Matre, which means Mantri meaning Minister.[1] Gaekwad dynasty of the Maratha Empire are originally of Kunbi origin. [2] A dynasty belonging to this clan ruled the princely state of Baroda in western India from the early 18th century until 1947.[3] The ruling prince was known as the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda. With the city of Baroda (Vadodara) as its capital, during the British Raj its relations with the British were managed by the Baroda Residency. It was one of the largest and wealthiest princely states existing alongside British India, with wealth coming from the lucrative cotton business as well as rice, wheat and sugar production.[4]

Early History

The Gaekwad rule of Baroda began when the Maratha general Pilaji Rao Gaekwad conquered the city from the Mughal Empire in 1721. The Gaekwads were granted the city as a fief by Chhatrapati Shahu I, the Chhatrapati of the Maratha empire.

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A print of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad

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Laxmi Vilas Palace of the Gaekwad dynasty.

In their early years, the Gaekwads served as subordinates of the Dabhade family, who were the Maratha chiefs of Gujarat and holders of the senapati (commander-in-chief) title. When Umabai Dabhade joined Tarabai's side against Balaji Baji Rao, Pilaji's son Damaji Rao Gaekwad commanded the Dabhade force. He was defeated, and remained under Peshwa's arrest from May 1751 to March 1752. In 1752, he was released after agreeing to abandon the Dabhades and accept the Peshwa's suzerainty. In return, Damaji was made the Maratha chief of Gujarat, and the Peshwa helped him expel the Mughals from Gujarat.[5]

Damaji subsequently fought alongside Sadashiv Rao, Vishwas Rao, Malhar Rao Holkar, Janakoji and Mahadji Shinde in the Third Battle of Panipat (1761). After the Maratha defeat at Panipat, the central rule of the Peshwas was weakened. As a result, the Gaekwads, along with several other powerful Maratha clans, established themselves as virtually independent rulers, while recognizing the nominal authority of the Peshwas and suzerainty of the Bhonsle Maharaja of Satara.

British suzerainty

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Sayajirao with Richard Temple, the Governor of Bombay and other members of the court. Circa 1880

The Gaekwads, together with several Maratha chieftains, fought the British in the First Anglo-Maratha War.

On 15 March 1802, the British intervened to defend a Gaekwad Maharaja, Anand Rao Gaekwad, who had recently inherited the throne against rival claimants, and the Gaekwads concluded the Treaty of Cambey with the British that recognized their independence from the Maratha empire and guaranteed the Maharajas of Baroda local autonomy in return for recognizing British suzerainty.

Maharaja Sayaji Rao III, who took the throne in 1875, did much to modernize Baroda, establishing compulsory primary education, a library system and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. He also encouraged the setting up of textile factories, which helped create Baroda's textile industry. He is well known for offering B. R. Ambedkar a scholarship to study at Columbia University.


Upon India attaining its independence in 1947, the last ruling Maharaja of Baroda, Pratapsinhrao, acceded to India. Baroda was eventually merged with Bombay State, which was later divided, based on linguistic principle, into the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960.

Gaekwad, or Gayakwad, also survives as a fairly common Maratha surname, found mainly in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Gaikwad Maharajas of Baroda

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Maharaja Sayajirao I

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Nandaji Rao Gaikwad, died May 1721
Kerojirao
Jhingojirao
Pilaji Rao Gaikwad, reigned from 1721, died 14 May 1732
I. Damajirao, Maharaja of Baroda, reigned from 1732, died 18 August 1768
II. Sayajirao I, Maharaja of Baroda, reigned 1768–1778, died 1792
III. Fatehsinhrao I, Maharaja of Baroda, born before April 1751, reigned from 1778, died 26 December 1789
IV. Manajirao, Maharaja of Baroda, born before April 1751, reigned from 1789, died 27 July 1793
Simple silver crown.svg V. Govindrao, Maharaja of Baroda, born 175?, reigned from 1793, died 19 September 1800
VI. Anandrao, Maharaja of Baroda, born 179?, reigned from 1800, died 2 October 1819
Simple silver crown.svg VI. Sayajirao II, Maharaja of Baroda, born 3 May 1800, reigned from 1819, died 28 December 1847
VII. Ganpatrao, Maharaja of Baroda, born 1816, reigned from 1847, died 1856
VIII. Khanderao II Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda GCSI, born 1828, reigned from 1856, died 14 June 1870
IX. Malhar Rao Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda, born 1831, reigned 1870 – 19 April 1875, died in obscurity in 1882
Prataprao (d. 1737 Kavlana branch)
Kalojirao
Gabajirao
Bhikajirao
Kashirao (1832-1877)
X. Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda GCSI, GCIE, born 10 March 1863, reigned from 1875, died 6 February 1939
Yuvraja Fatehsinhrao (1883-1908)
XI. Pratap Singh Rao Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda GCIE, born 29 June 1908, reigned from 1939, titular Maharaja from 1949, deposed 1951, died 19 July 1968
XII. Fatehsinhrao II, Maharaja of Baroda, born 2 April 1930, titular Maharaja 1951–1971, family head: 1971–1988, died 1 September 1988
XIII. Ranjitsinh Pratapsinh Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda, born 8 May 1938, family head from 1988, died 9 May 2012
XIV. Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda, born 25 April 1967, family head since 2012

-- Gaekwad dynasty, by Wikipedia


This antagonism culminated in the Baroda Enquiry which found 'serious misgovernment' in the state. However, instead of taking into account the findings of the report, Thomas Baring, the Viceroy of India, instead only gave the Gaekwar a warning. This allowed the increasingly hostile relationship between Phayre and Gaekwad to develop, with Phayre increasingly unwilling to work with Rao.

The situation came to a head in November 1874. Phayre sent the Viceroy a damning report detailing the failings of the governance of the state. On the same day, the Gaekwar sent an urgent request to the Viceroy that Phayre be removed. Northbrook was sympathetic to Gaekwad and, on 12 November sent word to Bombay that Phayre should be replaced.

However, this action was taken too late as, on 9 March, an attempt was made to poison Phayre with a compound of arsenic. This led to the Gaekwar being convicted of high treason. By order of the Secretary of State for India, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Malhar Rao was deposed on 10 April 1875 and exiled to Madras, where he died in obscurity in 1882.[1]

Traditional perspective

Traditionally, most notably put forward by Ian Copland,[2] the Baroda Crisis can be viewed as a demonstration of governmental rivalries of British India. 'Official warfare' had long been occurring between the existing presidencies of Bombay and Calcutta, however, the Baroda crisis intensified the conflicts. [Charles Umpherston Aitchison] Aitchinson, the Foreign Secretary, believed that India should be more centralised, which lead to Calcutta increasingly attempting to break into Bombay's sphere of influence. This was worsened by a series of reforms which meant that Bombay no longer had the power to appoint the Resident of Baroda. Bombay's poor handling of the Baroda crisis allowed Calcutta a convenient excuse to assume all of Bombay's powers.[3]

Bombay's key failing was its indecision, which ultimately allowed the crisis to develop far more that it otherwise would have done. Phayre had been established as unfit for residency long before the crisis began, but due to the volatile political situation, he was allowed to remain. This is because, if Bombay removed Phayre, it would appear that they could not control their staff, and therefore strengthen Calcutta's case for centralisation. When Bombay finally took the decision to remove Phayre, it was made far too late.

Modern perspective

British historian Judith Rowbowman has put forward the view that, when looked at from a postcolonial perspective, the Baroda Crisis should primarily be viewed as a miscarriage of justice. Rowbowman posits that rather being tried by a jury, the Gaekwar of Baroda was convicted via an enquiry, meaning that the Raj was ultimately allowed to decide if he should be convicted. Furthermore, the Gaekwar could be found guilty under reasonable suspicion, rather than the more stringent requirements of a criminal trial. If the Gaekwar had been tried fairly, there is no doubt that the verdict would have been 'innocent'. Rowbotham argues that this verdict could then be used as a warning to princes of other states.[4]

References

1. Cahoon, Ben. "Indian Princely States A-J". http://www.worldstatesmen.org. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
2. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/di ... id=3862496
3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
4. Rowbotham, Judith (2007). "Miscarriage of Justice? Postcolonial Reflections on the 'Trial' of the Maharajah of Baroda, 1875". Liverpool Law Review. 28 (3): 377–403. doi:10.1007/s10991-007-9025-2.

Further reading

• Moulton, E.C. "British India and the Baroda Crisis 1874-75: A Problem in Princely Stat Relations." 1968, University of Saskatchewan.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Mar 14, 2021 6:38 am

Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/13/21

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Devanampiya Tissa, King of Anuradhapura
Mihintale Stone Statue of King Tissa
Reign: 247 BC – 207 BC
Predecessor: Mutasiva
Successor: Uttiya
Consort: Anula
House: House of Vijaya
Father: Mutasiva
Religion: Theravāda Buddhism

Tissa, later Devanampiya Tissa was one of the earliest kings of Sri Lanka based at the ancient capital of Anuradhapura from 247 BC to 207 BC. His reign was notable for the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka under the aegis of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The primary source for his reign is the Mahavamsa, which in turn is based on the more ancient Dipavamsa.

Reign

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The Sinhalese Royal Family of King Devanampiya Tissa and Prince Uththiya

Tissa was the second son of Mutasiva of Anuradhapura - a Saivaite Tamil name Muta Siva. The Mahavamsa describes him as being "foremost among all his brothers in virtue and intelligence".[1]

The Mahavamsa mentions an early friendship with Ashoka. Chapter IX of the chronicle mentions that "the two monarchs, Devanampiyatissa and Dhammasoka, already had been friends a long time, though they had never seen each other", Dhammasoka being an alternate name for Ashoka. The chronicle also mentions Tissa sending gifts to the mighty emperor of the Maurya; in reply Ashoka sent not only gifts but also the news that he had converted to Buddhism, and a plea to Tissa to adopt the faith as well. The king does not appear to have done this at the time, instead adopting the name Devānaṃpiya "Beloved of the Gods"[2] and having himself consecrated King of Lanka in a lavish celebration.

Devanampiyatissa is traditionally said to have been succeeded by his younger brothers Uttiya and Mahasiva. His other brother Mahanaga, Prince of Ruhuna was the founder of the Principality of Ruhuna.

Conversion to Buddhism

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Mihintale, the traditional location of Devanampiya Tissa's conversion

Emperor Ashoka took a keen interest in the propagation of Buddhism across the known world, and it was decided that his son, Mahinda, would travel to Sri Lanka and attempt to convert the people there. The events surrounding Mahinda's arrival and meeting with the king form one of the most important legends of Sri Lankan history.

According to the Mahavamsa king Devanampiyatissa was out enjoying a hunt with some 40,000 of his soldiers near a mountain called Mihintale. The date for this is traditionally associated with the full moon day of the month of Poson.

Having come to the foot of Missaka, Devanampiyatissa chased a stag into the thicket, and came across Mahinda (referred to with the honorific title Thera); the Mahavamsa has the great king 'terrified' and convinced that the Thera was in fact a 'yakka', or demon. However, Thera Mahinda declared that 'Recluses we are, O great King, disciples of the King of Dhamma (Buddha) Out of compassion for you alone have we come here from Jambudipa'. Devanampiyatissa recalled the news from his friend Ashoka and realised that these are missionaries sent from India. Thera Mahinda went on to preach to the king's company and preside over the king's conversion to Buddhism.

Important religious events

1. Establishment of Buddhism in Sri Lanka due to the arrival of Thera Mahinda and his group.

2. Planting of the Sacred Maha Bodhi (under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment) and the establishment of the Bhikkuni Sasana (order of the Buddhist nuns) due to the arrival of Theri Sangamitta and her group.

3. Offering of the Mahamegavana to the Buddhist monks where the Maha Vihara monastery was built, which became the centre of Theravada Buddhism.[3]

4. Construction of Thuparama, the first historical dagaba which enshrined the right collar bone of the Buddha.[4]

Notable locations

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Thuparama in Anuradhapura, believed to have been constructed in Devanampiya Tissa's reign

Given the extremely early date of Devanampiyatissa's reign, the dearth of sources, and the impossibility of archeological inquiry due to current political instability, it is difficult to discern what impact this conversion had, in practical terms, on Devanampiyatissa's reign. For example, whilst there are references to a Tissamahavihara and various other temples constructed by the king, none can be reliably located.

What is fairly certain however is that the site of his initial meeting with Thera Mahinda is one of Sri Lanka's most sacred sites today, going by the name Mihintale. The sacred precinct features the Ambasthala, or 'Mango tree stupa', where the Thera Mahinda asked the king a series of riddles to check his capacity for learning,[5][6] the cave in which Thera Mahinda lived for over forty years, and the Maha Seya, wherein is contained a relic of the Buddha.

The other major site associated with Devanampiyatissa's reign is the planting of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. The tree was yet another of Emperor Ashoka's gifts to the island and was planted within the precincts of Anuradhapura, and is regarded as the oldest human planted tree in the world.

Devanampiyatissa built Tissa Wewa, which covers 550 acres. The embankment alone is 2 miles long and 25 feet high. It is a major irrigation tank even today and is an essential resource for farmers in Anuradhapura.

Significance

Devanampiyatissa remains one of early Sri Lanka's most significant monarchs, given that his conversion to Buddhism set the kingdoms of the island down a religious and cultural route quite distinct from that of the subcontinent to the north. Later monarchs were to refer back to Devanampiyatissa's conversion as one of the cornerstones of the Anuradhapura polity. The city itself remained capital of a powerful kingdom until the early Middle Ages, when it was eventually subsumed under the Chola invasion and then superseded by Polonnaruwa.

See also

• Mahavamsa
• List of Sri Lankan monarchs
• History of Sri Lanka
• Buddhism in Sri Lanka
• Mahinda Thera
• Ashoka
• Mihintale

Notes

1. [1]
2. See, e.g., Keown, Hodge & Tinti (2003), p. 72, entry for 'Devānampiya Tissa,' where it is translated as 'dear to the gods'.
3. "Further Details". Archived from the original on 2015-04-14. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
4. "Thuparama".
5. Mahanama Thera. "XIV - The Entry into the Capital". The Mahavamsa. Translated by Geiger, Wilhelm Ludwig. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
6. "King Devanampiya Tissa (306 BC – 266 BC)". The Mahavamsa. Retrieved 25 July 2020.

References

• Keown, Damien, Stephen Hodge & Paola Tinti (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860560-9.

External links

• Mihintale
• The Maha Bodhi
• The Mahavamsa History of Sri Lanka The Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka
• Kings & Rulers of Sri Lanka
• Codrington's Short History of Ceylon
• King Devanampiyatissa
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sun Mar 14, 2021 6:58 am

Bodhi Tree
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/13/21

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The Mahabodhi Tree at the Sri Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya

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Sculpture of the Buddha meditating under the Mahabodhi tree

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The Diamond throne or Vajrashila, where the Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya

The Bodhi Tree or Bodhi Fig Tree ("tree of awakening"[1]), also called the Bo Tree,[2] was a large and ancient sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa[1][3]) located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Bodhi circa 500 BCE under it.[4] In religious iconography, the Bodhi Tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed.

The proper term "Bodhi Tree" is also applied to existing sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) trees, also known as bodhi trees.[5] The foremost example of an existing tree is the Mahabodhi Tree growing at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, which is often cited as a direct descendant of the original tree. This tree, planted around 250 BCE, is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.[6]

Other holy bodhi trees with great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi Tree at Jetavana in Sravasti in North India and the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are also believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi Tree.

Celebrations

Bodhi Day


On December 8, Bodhi Day celebrates Buddha's enlightenment underneath the Bodhi Tree. Those who follow the Dharma greet each other by saying, “Budu saranai!” which translates to "may the peace of the Buddha be yours.”[7] It is also generally seen as a religious holiday, much like Christmas in the Christian west, in which special meals are served, especially cookies shaped like hearts (referencing the heart-shaped leaves of the Bodhi) and a meal of kheer, the Buddha's first meal ending his six-year asceticism.[8]

Origin and descendants

Bodh Gaya


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1810 picture of a small temple beneath the Bodhi tree, Bodh Gaya.[9]

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The Mahabodhi tree in Bodhgaya today

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Illustration of the temple built by Asoka at Bodh-Gaya around the Bodhi tree. Sculpture of the Satavahana period at Sanchi, 1st century CE.

Main article: Mahabodhi Temple

The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri Maha Bodhi. Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment (bodhi) while meditating underneath a Ficus religiosa. According to Buddhist texts, the Buddha meditated without moving from his seat for seven weeks (49 days) under this tree. A shrine called Animisalocana cetiya, was later erected on the spot where he sat.[10]

The spot was used as a shrine even in the lifetime of the Buddha. Emperor Ashoka the Great was most diligent in paying homage to the Bodhi tree, and held a festival every year in its honour in the month of Kattika.[11] His queen, Tissarakkhā, was jealous of the Tree, and three years after she became queen (i.e., in the nineteenth year of Asoka's reign), she caused the tree to be killed by means of mandu thorns.[12] The tree, however, grew again, and a great monastery was attached to the Bodhimanda called the Bodhimanda Vihara. Among those present at the foundation of the Mahā Thūpa are mentioned thirty thousand monks from the Bodhimanda Vihara, led by Cittagutta.[13]

The tree was again cut down by King Pushyamitra Shunga in the 2nd century BC, and by King Shashanka in 600 AD. In the 7th century AD, Chinese traveler Xuanzang wrote of the tree in detail.

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Bodhi Tree sign, 2013

Every time the tree was destroyed, a new tree was planted in the same place.[14]

In 1862 British archaeologist Alexander Cunningham wrote of the site as the first entry in the first volume of the Archaeological Survey of India:

The celebrated Bodhi tree still exists, but is very much decayed; one large stem, with three branches to the westward, is still green, but the other branches are barkless and rotten. The green branch perhaps belongs to some younger tree, as there are numerous stems of apparently different trees clustered together. The tree must have been renewed frequently, as the present Pipal is standing on a terrace at least 30 feet above the level of the surrounding country. It was in full vigour in 1811, when seen by Dr. Buchanan (Hamilton), who describes it as in all probability not exceeding 100 years of age.[15]


However, the tree decayed further and in 1876 the remaining tree was destroyed in a storm. In 1881, Cunningham planted a new Bodhi tree on the same site.[16][17]

To Jetavana, Sravasti

Image
Ashoka's Mahabodhi Temple and Diamond throne in Bodh Gaya, built circa 250 BCE. The inscription between the Chaitya arches reads: "Bhagavato Sakamunino/ bodho" i.e. "The building round the Bodhi tree of the Holy Sakamuni (Shakyamuni)".[18] Bharhut frieze (circa 100 BCE).

Buddhism recounts that while the Buddha was still alive, in order that people might make their offerings in the name of the Buddha when he was away on pilgrimage, he sanctioned the planting of a seed from the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya in front of the gateway of Jetavana Monastery near Sravasti. For this purpose Moggallana took a fruit from the tree as it dropped from its stalk before it reached the ground. It was planted in a golden jar by Anathapindika with great pomp and ceremony. A sapling immediately sprouted forth, fifty cubits high, and in order to consecrate it, the Buddha spent one night under it, rapt in meditation. This tree, because it was planted under the direction of Ananda, came to be known as the Ananda Bodhi.

To Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

King Asoka's daughter, Sanghamittra, brought a piece of the tree with her to Sri Lanka where it is continuously growing to this day in the island's ancient capital, Anuradhapura.[16] This Bodhi tree was originally named Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, and was a piece of another Bodhi tree planted in the year 245 B.C.[19] Although the original Bodhi tree deteriorated and died of old age, the descendants of the branch that was brought by Emperor Ashoka's son, Mahindra, and his daughter, Sanghmittra, can still be found on the island.[20]

According to the Mahavamsa, the Sri Maha Bodhi in Sri Lanka was planted in 288 BC, making it the oldest verified specimen of any angiosperm. In this year (the twelfth year of King Asoka's reign) the right branch of the Bodhi tree was brought by Sanghamittā to Anurādhapura and placed by Devānāmpiyatissa [Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura] his left foot in the Mahāmeghavana. The Buddha, on his death bed, had resolved five things, one being that the branch which should be taken to Ceylon should detach itself.[11] From Gayā, the branch was taken to Pātaliputta, thence to Tāmalittī, where it was placed in a ship and taken to Jambukola, across the sea; finally it arrived at Anuradhapura, staying on the way at Tivakka. Those who assisted the king at the ceremony of the planting of the Tree were the nobles of Kājaragāma and of Candanagāma and of Tivakka.


The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is also known to be the most sacred Bodhi tree. This came upon the Buddhists who performed rites and rituals near the Bodhi tree. The Bodhi tree was known to cause rain and heal the ill. When an individual became ill, one of his or her relatives would visit the Bodhi tree to water it seven times for seven days and to vow on behalf of the sick for a speedy recovery.[21]

To Honolulu, Hawaii

In 1913, Anagarika Dharmapala took a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi to Hawaii, where he presented it to his benefactor, Mary Foster, who had funded much Buddhist missionary work. She planted it in the grounds of her house in Honolulu, by the Nuʻuanu stream. On her death, she left her house and its grounds to the people of Honolulu, and it became the Foster Botanical Garden.

To Chennai, India

Image
Sapling of the Maha bodhi tree planted in the year 1950 at Theosophical society

In 1950, Jinarajadasa took three saplings of the Sri Maha Bodhi to plant two saplings in Chennai, one was planted near the Buddha temple at the Theosophical Society another at the riverside of Adyar Estuary. The third was planted near a meditation center in Sri Lanka.[22]

To Thousand Oaks, California, USA

In 2012, Brahmanda Pratap Barua, Ripon, Dhaka, Bangladesh, took a sapling of Bodhi tree from Buddha Gaya, Maha Bodhi to Thousand Oaks, California, where he presented it to his benefactor, Anagarika Glenn Hughes, who had funded much Buddhist work and teaches Buddhism in the USA. He and his students received the sapling with a great thanks, later they planted the sapling in the ground in a nearby park.

To Nihon-ji, Japan

In 1989, the government of India presented Nihon-ji with a sapling from the Bodhi Tree as a gesture of world peace.

The trees of the previous Buddhas

According to the Mahavamsa,[23] branches from the Bodhi trees of all the Buddhas born during this kalpa were planted in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on the spot where the sacred Bodhi tree stands today in Anurādhapura. The branch of Kakusandha's tree was brought by Rucānandā, Konagamana's by Kantakānandā (or Kanakadattā), and Kassapa's by Sudhammā.

See also

Image
Terracotta Bodhi leaf with dragon decoration, 13th-14th century, Vietnam

• Bodhi
• Atamasthana

References

1. Gethin, Rupert (1998). The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780192892232.
2. Library, C. N. N. "Buddhism Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
3. Simon Gardner, Pindar Sidisunthorn and Lai Ee May, 2011. Heritage Trees of Penang. Penang: Areca Books. ISBN 978-967-57190-6-6
4. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 176.
5. "Ficus religiosa - Plant Finder". http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
6. "Botanic Notables: The Bodhi Tree - Garden Design". GardenDesign.com. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
7. "University of Hawaii".[dead link]
8. Prasoon, Shrikant (2007). Knowing Buddha : [life and teachings]. [Delhi]: Hindoology Books. ISBN 9788122309638.
9. Bodhi Tree British Library.
10. Animisalocana cetiya
11. "CHAPTER XVII_The Arrival Of The Relics". Mahavamsa, chap. 17, 17.
12. "CHAPTER XX_The Nibbana Of The Thera". Mahavamsa, chap. 20, 4f.
13. "CHAPTER XXIX_The Beginning Of The Great Thupa". Mahavamsa, chap. 29, 41.
14. J. Gordon, Melton; Martin, Baumann (2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, Second edition. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara. p. 358. ISBN 978-1598842043.
15. Archaeological Survey of India, Volume 1, Four Reports Made During the Years 1862-63-64-66
16. "Buddhist Studies: Bodhi Tree". Buddhanet.net. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
17. Mahâbodhi, or the great Buddhist temple under the Bodhi tree at Buddha-Gaya, Alexander Cunningham, 1892: "I next saw the tree in 1871 and again in 1875, when it had become completely decayed, and shortly afterwards in 1876 the only remaining portion of the tree fell over the west wall during a storm, and the old pipal tree was gone. Many seeds, however, had been collected and the young scion of the parent tree were already in existence to take its place."
18. Luders, Heinrich (1963). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Vol.2 Pt.2 Bharhut Inscriptions. p. 95.
19. K.H.J. Wijayadasa. "Śrī Maha Bodhi". Srimahabodhi.org. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
20. George Boeree. "History of Buddhism". Webspace.ship.edu. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
21. "Rain-makers: The Sacred Bodhi Tree Part 2". Srimahabodhi.org. 2003-04-24. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
22. Madhavan, Chitra. "Buddhist shrine in Adyar". Madras Musings. Madras Musings. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
23. "CHAPTER XV_The Acceptance Of The Mahavihara". For example, chap 15.

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A Review on Ficus Religiosa -- An Important Medicinal Plant
by Shailendra Singh *, S. K. Jain, Shashi Alok, Dilip Chanchal and Surabhi Rashi
Published: January 31, 2016
© 2015 by International Journal of Life Sciences and Review

*Department of Pharmacognosy, Institute of Pharmacy, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi- 284128, Uttar Pradesh, India.

ABSTRACT: Ficus religiosa Linn. is a large evergreen tree found throughout India, wild as well as cultivated, it is widely branched tree with leathery, heart-shaped, long tipped leaves. It is a sacred plant in India. It is one of the most versatile plants having a wide variety of medicinal activities, therefore, used in the treatment of several types of diseases, e.g., diarrhea, diabetes, urinary disorders, burns, hemorrhoids, gastrohelcosis, skin diseases, convulsions, tuberculosis, fever, paralysis, oxidative stress, bacterial infections, etc. This is a unique source of various types of compounds having diverse chemical structure (phenolics, sterols etc.). In this article, we will review the knowledge regarding peepal.

Keywords: Ficus religiosa, Different Species of Ficus, Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Pharmacological activities, Medicinal uses


INTRODUCTION: Medicinal plants are naturally gifted with invaluable bioactive compounds which form the backbone of traditional medicines 1. To increase the wide range of medicinal usages, the present day entails new drugs with more potent and desired activity with less or no side effects against particular disease 2. The use of plants as medicines antedates history 1. Medicinal plants have served through ages, as a constant source of medicaments for the exposure of a variety of diseases, as they have curative properties due to the presence of various complex chemical substances of different composition, which are found as secondary plant metabolites in one or more parts of these plants 3.

The history of herbal medicine is almost as old as human civilization 4, 5, and traditional medicines from plants have attracted major attention worldwide because of their potential pharmaceutical importance 6. The material medica provides a great deal of information on the folklore practices and traditional aspects of therapeutically important natural products. Indian traditional medicine is based on various systems including Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, and Homoeopathy 8. Any part of the plant may contain active components like bark, leaves, flowers, roots, fruits, seeds, etc. 9 The beneficial medicinal effects of plant materials typically result from the combinations of secondary products present in the plant.

Ficus: It is a genus of about 800 species and 2000 varieties, which are woody trees, shrubs and vines in the family Moraceae occurring in most tropical and subtropical forests worldwide 10. It is collectively known as fig trees, and the most well-known species in the genus is the common fig which produces commercial fruit called fig 11. Ficus is one of the most loved bonsai. It is an excellent tree for beginners, as most species of Ficus are fast growers, tolerant of most any soil and light conditions. About half of the species of Ficus are monoecious, and the rest are functionally dioecious 12. Many Ficus species are commonly used in traditional medicine to cure various diseases. They have long been used in folk medicine as astringents carminatives, stomachics, vermicides, hypotensives, antihelmintics and anti-dysentery drugs 13. Many species are cultivated for shade and ornament in gardens. Several species produce edible figs of varying palatability. All species possess latex-like material within their vasculatures that provide protection and self-healing from physical assaults 14. The fig is a very nourishing food and used in industrial products.

Figs contained water, fats, high amounts of amino acids, such as leucine, lysine, valine, and arginine, and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and Vitamins 15.

Taxonomy of Ficus:

Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Euphyllophytina
Infraphylum: Radiatopses
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Superorder: Urticanae
Order: Urticales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Ficus


Various Species of Ficus are: 16

Ficus altissima (council tree)
Ficus aspera (clown fig)
Ficus auriculata, [Leaves, fruits, bark] syn. Ficus roxburghii
Ficus asperifolia [Young stems]
Ficus benghalensis (Indian banyan) [Wood, leaves, bark, roots]
Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) [Fruits]
Ficus benjamina ‘Exotica
Ficus benjamina ‘Comosa
Ficus binnendykii (narrow-leaf ficus)
Ficus carica (common edible fig) [Fruit latex, leaves]
Ficus celebinsis (willow ficus)
Ficus capensis [Leaves, stem bark]
Ficus deltoidea (mistletoe fig) syn. Ficus diversifolia [Leaves]
Ficus elastica (Indian rubber tree) [Young stems]
Ficus elastica ‘Abidjan’
Ficus elastica ‘Asahi’
Ficus elastica ‘Decora’
Ficus elastica ‘Gold’
Ficus elastica ‘Schrijveriana’
Ficus exasperate [Leaves]
Ficus glomerata [Bark]
Ficus lacor (pakur tree)
Ficus lingua (box-leaved fig) syn. Ficus buxifolia
Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig) [Leaves, fruit latex]
Ficus macrophylla (Moreton Bay fig)
Ficus microcarpa (Chinese banyan)
Ficus microcarpa var. crassifolia (wax ficus)
Ficus microcarpa ‘Variegata.’
Ficus nitida [Wood, bark, leaves, young stems]
Ficus palmata [Leaves, fruits, bark, root]
Ficus pseudopalma (Philippine fig)
Ficus pumila (creeping fig) syn. Ficus repens
Ficus polita [Roots]
Ficus racemosa [Roots, bark]
Ficus religiosa (bo tree or sacred fig) [Bark, fruits, leaves]
Ficus retusa [Aerial parts]
Ficus rubiginosa (Port Jackson fig or rusty fig)
Ficus rubiginosa ‘Variegata.’
Ficus sagittata ‘Variegata’, syn. Ficus radicans ‘Variegata’
Ficus saussureana, syn. Ficus dawei
Ficus stricta
Ficus subulata, syn. Ficus salicifolia
Ficus sycomorus [Fruits]
Ficus tikoua (Waipahu fig)
Ficus tsiela [Leaves]


Ficus religiosa: Ficus religiosa Linn. (Moraceae) commonly known as ‘Peepal tree’ is a large widely branched tree with leathery, heart-shaped, long tipped leaves on long slender petioles and purple fruits growing in pairs 17, 18, 19.

It is a large perennial tree, glabrous when young, found throughout the plains of India up to 170 m altitudes in the Himalayas 20 and is one of the most revered trees in Asia.

Image
FIG. 1: PLANT OF FICUS RELIGIOSA

It is also known as, the sacred fig tree or Bo tree and is the most planted tree species near religious or spiritual places in Indian cities and villages. It grows up to elevations of 5,000 feet 21.

History: Ficus religiosa has got mythological, religious and medicinal importance in Indian culture. References to Ficus religiosa are found in several ancient holy texts like Arthasastra, Puranas, Upanisads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavadgita and Buddhistic literature, etc. 22 The Brahma Purana and the Padma Purana, relate how once, when the demons defeated the Gods, Vishnu hide in the peepal. The Skanda Purana also considers the peepal, a symbol of Vishnu. He is believed to have been born under this tree. Some believe that the tree houses the Trimurti, the roots being Brahma, the trunk Vishnu and the leaves Shiva. The Gods are said to hold their councils under this tree and so it is associated with spiritual understanding. The peepal is also closely linked to Krishna.

In the Bhagavad Gita, he says: "Among trees, I am the ashvattha." Krishna is believed to have died under this tree, after which the present Kali Yuga is said to have begun. According to the Skanda Purana, if one does not have a son, the peepal should be regarded as one. As long as the tree lives, the family name will continue. To cut down a peepal is considered a sin equivalent to killing a Brahmin, one of the five deadly sins or Panchapataka. According to the Skanda Purana, a person goes to hell for doing so. Some people are particular to touch the peepal only on a Saturday. The Brahma Purana explains why saying that Ashvattha and peepala were two demons who harassed people.

Ashvattha would take the form of a peepal and peepala the form of a Brahmin. The fake Brahmin would advise people to touch the tree, and as soon as they did, Ashvattha would kill them. Later they were both killed by Shani. Because of his influence, it is considered safe to touch the tree on Saturdays. Lakshmi is also believed to inhabit the tree on Saturdays. Therefore it is considered auspicious to worship it. Women ask the tree to bless them with a son tying a red thread or red cloth around its trunk or on its branches 23.


Nomenclature: 'Ficus' is the Latin word for 'Fig,' the fruit of the tree. 'Religiosa' refers to 'religion' because the tree is sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism and is very frequently planted in temples and shrines of both faiths. 'Bodhi' or its short form 'Bo' means 'supreme knowledge' or 'awakening' in the old Indian languages, (Bo-Tree) is a well-known symbol for happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. The name ‘Sacred Fig’ was given to it because it is considered sacred by the followers of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism 24.

'Pipal' relates (I believe) to the same ancient roots which give rise to English words like 'Pip' and 'Apple' and therefore mean something like 'fruit-bearing tree.' 'Ashwattha' and 'Ashvattha' come from an ancient Indian root word "Shwa" means 'morning' or 'tomorrow.' This refers to the fact that Ashwattha is the mythical Hindu world tree, both indestructible and yet ever-changing: the same tree will not be there tomorrow 25.

Taxonomy/Botanical Classification: 26

Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Infraphylum: Angiospermae
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Dilleniidae.
Super order: Urticanae
Order: Urticales
Family: Moraceae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Tribe: Ficeae
Genus: Ficus (FY-kus) L.
Specific epithet: religiosa L.


Common Names: 24

Assamese: Ahant
Bengali: Asvattha, Ashud, Ashvattha.
English: Pipal tree.
Gujrati: Jari, Piparo, Pipalo, Piplo.
Hindi: Pipal, Pipali.
Kannada: Arlo, Ranji, Basri, Ashvatthanara, Ashwatha, Aralimara, Aralegida, Ashvathamara, Basari, Ashvattha.
Kanarese: Arani, Ashwatha mara, Pippala, Ragi.
Kashmiri: Bad.
Malayalam: Arayal
Marathi: Pimpal, Pipal, Pippal.
Oriya: Aswatha.
Punjabi: Pipal, Pippal
Sanskrit: Ashvattha, Bodhidruma, Pippala, Shuchidruma, Vrikshraj, yajnika.
Tamil: Ashwarthan, Arasamaram, Arasan, Arasu, Arara.
Telgu: Ravichettu.


Habitat: Ficus religiosa is known to be a native Indian tree and thought to be originating mainly in Northern and Eastern India, where it widely found in uplands and plane areas and grows up to about 1650 meters or 5000 ft in the mountainous areas. It is also found growing elsewhere in India and throughout the subcontinent and Southern Asia, especially in Buddhist countries, wild or cultivated.

It is a familiar sight in Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries and shrines, villages and at roadsides. People also like to grow this sacred tree in their gardens. Ficus religiosa has also been widely planted in many hot countries all over the world from South Africa to Hawai and Florida, but it is not able to naturalize away from its Indian home, because of its dependence on its pollinator wasp, Blastophaga quadraticeps. An exception to this rule is Israel where the wasp has been successfully introduced 27.

Microscopy: An external feature of bark shows that bark differentiated into thick outer periderm and inner secondary phloem. The periderm is differentiated into phellem and phelloderm. Phellem zone is 360 mm thick, wavy, uneven in transection. Phellem cells are organized into thin tangential membranous layers, and older layers exfoliate in the form of thin membranes, whereas phelloderm zone is broad and distinct and are turned into lignified sclereids. Secondary phloem differentiated into inner narrow non collapsed zone which consists of radial files of sieve tube membranes, axial parenchyma, gelatinous fibers, and outer collapsed phloem consists of dilated rays, crushed, obliterated sieve tube membranes, thick walled and lignified fibers, abundant tannin filled parenchyma cells 28.

Transverse section of bark shows rectangular to cubical, thick-walled cork cells and dead elements of the secondary cortex, consist of masses of stone cells; cork cambium distinct with rows of the newly formed secondary cortex, mostly composed of stone cells towards the periphery. Stone cells found scattered in large groups, rarely isolated; most of the parenchymatous cells of secondary cortex contain numerous starch grains and few prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate; secondary phloem a wide zone, consisting of sieve elements, phloem fibers in singles or groups of two and non lignified; numerous crystal fibers also present; in outer region sieve elements mostly collapsed while in inner region intact; phloem parenchyma mostly thick-walled; stone cells present in single or in small groups similar to those in secondary cortex; a number of ray-cells and phloem parenchyma filled with brown pigments; prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate and starch grains present in a number of parenchymatous cells; medullary rays uni to multiseriate, wider towards outer periphery composed of thick-walled cells with simple pits; in tangential section ray cells circular to oval in shape; cambium when present, consists of 2-4 layers of thin-walled rectangular cells 29.

Phytochemistry: Phytochemistry is the chemistry of plants or chemical constituents of plants. Phytochemistry understood in pharmacy as the chemistry of natural products used as drugs or of drugs plants with the emphasis on biochemistry. The constituents are therapeutically active or inactive. The inactive constituents are structural constituents of the plants like starch, sugars, or proteins. The inactive constituents have however pharmaceutical uses. The active constituents are secondary metabolites, like alkaloids glycosides, volatile oils, tannins etc. They are single substances or usually mixtures of several substances. The secondary products of metabolism are formed from primary products and the plant is not able to reutilize them, and they are deposited in the cells and so are called secondary metabolites 30.

TABLE 1: CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS CONTAINED BY DIFFERENT PARTS OF F. RELIGIOSA

S. no Plant part Compound present
1 Roots Tannins, wax, saponin, leucoanthocyanins, delphinindin-3-O-α-Lrhamnoside (II), Pelargonidin-3-O-α-Lrhamnoside, Leucocyanidine-3-O-β-D-galactosyl-cellobioside (III), Leucoanthocyanidin-20-tetratriaconten-2-one, pentatriacontan-5-one, 6 heptatria content-10-one, mesoanisosital 31
2 Bark Phenols, tannins, steroids, alkaloids, flavonoids, β-sitosteryl-d-glucoside, vitamin K, noctacosanol, methyl oleanolate, lanosterol, stigmasterol, lupen-3-one 31
3 Fruits Proteins (4.9 %), essential amino acids (isoleucine and phenylalanine), flavonols (kaempeferol, quercetine, myricetin), also contain good amount of total phenolic contents, total flavonoids, percent inhibition of linoleic acid 32, asgaragine, tyrosine, undecane, tridecane, tetradecane, (e)-β-ocimene, α-thujene, α-pinene, β-pinene, α-terpinene, limonene, dendrolasine, α-ylangene, α-copaene, β-bourbonene, β-caryophyllene, α-trans bergamotene, aromadendrene, α-humulene, alloaromadendrene, germacrene, δ-cadinene, γ-cadinene
4 Seeds Phytosteroline, β-sitosterol and its glycoside, albuminoids, carbohydrates, fatty matter, colouring matter, caoutchoue 0.7-1.5% 33
5 Leaves Campestrol, stigmasterol, isofucosterol, α-amyrin, lupeol, tannic acid, arginine, serine, aspartic acid, glycine, threonine, alanine, proline, tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine, , valine, isoleucine, leucine, n-nonacosane, n-hentricontanen, hexa-cosanol 34-36

F. religiosa releases oxygen all the time, which makes it different from other plants. Most of the plants largely uptake Carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen during the day (photosynthesis) and uptake oxygen and release CO2 during the night (respiration). Some plants such as F. religiosa (peepal) can uptake CO2 during the night also like a day because of their ability to perform a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). Peepal is a hemiepiphyte in its native habitat, i.e. the seeds germinate and grow as an epiphyte on other trees and then when the host tree dies, they establish on the soil. It has been suggested that when they live as an epiphyte, they use CAM pathway to produce carbohydrates and when they live on soil, they switch to C3 type photosynthesis 37.


Ethnopharmacology:

TABLE 2: ETHNOMEDICINAL USES OF DIFFERENT PARTS

Plant parts Traditional uses (as/in)
Bark Astringent, cooling, aphrodisiac, antibacterial against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, gonorrhea, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, gastrohelcosis, anti-inflammatory, burns 38
Leaves and tender shoots Purgative, wounds, skin diseases 38
Fruits Asthma, laxative, digestive 38
Seeds Refrigerants, laxative 38
Latex Neuralgia, inflammation, haemorrhages 38
Leaf juice Asthma, cough, sexual disorders, diarrhea, haematuria, toothache, migraine, eye troubles, gastric problems, scabies 38-40
Dry fruit Tuberculosis, fever, paralysis, hemorrhoids 41


Pharmacological Activities:

Image
FIG. 2: PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES OF FICUS RELIGIOSA

Anti-diabetic Activity: Aqueous extract in a dose of 50 and 100 mg/kg shows pronounced reduction in blood glucose levels in normal, glucose-loaded hyperglycemic and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and effect was compared with glibenclamide (a well known hypoglycaemic drug). Aqueous extract of F. religiosa showed a significant increase in serum, insulin, body weight, glycogen content in liver and skeletal muscle of STZ induced diabetic rats. The results suggested potential traditional use of F. religiosa 42.

Anti-inflammatory Activity: A study was investigated for the effect of methanol extract of F. religiosa leaf on lipopolysaccharide-induced production of NO and pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin beta (IL) and IL-6 in BV-2 microglial cells, a microglial mouse line. The methanol extract of leaf inhibited LPS-induced production of NO and proinflammatory cytokines in a dose-dependent manner 43. The methanolic extract of stem bark has shown significant anti-inflammatory activities orally. A significant anti-inflammatory effect has been observed in acute and chronic models of inflammation, the extract also protected mast cells from degradation induced by various degranulators 44, a paste of powdered bark is a good absorbent for inflammatory swellings and can be used to treat burns 45, 46.

Analgesic Activity: This activity of stem bark methanolic extract using the acetic acid-induced writhing (extension of the hind paw) model in mice. Aspirin was used as standard drugs. It exhibited a reduction in the number of writhing. This suggested that extract showed the analgesic effect probably by inhibiting synthesis or action of prostaglandins 47.

Antioxidant Activity: The ethanolic extract of leaves of Ficus religiosa was evaluated for antioxidant (DPPH) activity. The tested extract of different dilutions in the range 200 µg/ml to 1000 µg/ml shows antioxidant activity in a range of 6.34% to 13.35% 48. Root extracts showed significant antioxidant activity against carbon tetrachloride induced liver injury in rats 49. A recent study has also revealed that the methanol extract contains high total phenolic and total flavonoids contents, exhibits high antioxidant activity 50.

The antioxidant activity of the aqueous extract of F. religiosa was investigated in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Since the oxidative stress is the major cause and consequence of Type 2 diabetes. Free radicals generated during oxidative stress damage the insulin receptors and thereby decrease the number of sites available for insulin function. The aqueous extract drug reported to contain tannins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. At doses 100 and 200 mg/kg of aqueous extracts of F. religiosa shows significant decrease in fasting blood glucose and an increase in body weight of diabetic rats as compared to untreated rats. The results are suggesting that the F. religiosa, a Rasayana group of plant drug having antidiabetic along with antioxidant potential, was beneficial in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes 51.

Anticonvulsant Activity: The methanol extract of figs (fruits) exhibits dose-dependent anticonvulsant activity against maximum electroshock and picrotoxin-induced convulsions through serotonergic pathways modulation. The anticonvulsant activity of the extract is studied in strychnine-, pentylenetetrazole, picrotoxin- and isoniazid-induced seizures in mice 52. Acute toxicity, neurotoxicity, and potentiation of phenobarbitone induced sleep by extract were also studied 53.

Antimicrobial Activity: The antimicrobial activity of ethanolic extracts of F. religiosa (leaves) was examined using the agar well diffusion method. The test was performed against four bacteria: Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and against two fungi: Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger. The results showed that 25mg/ml of the extract was active against all bacterial strains and effect against the two fungi was comparatively much less 54. F. religiosa (leaves) demonstrated the more antibacterial activity with less antifungal activity 55. F. religiosa bark methanolic extract was 100% lethal for Haemonchus. contortus worms during in vitro testing 56. The chloroform extracts of F. religiosa showed a strong inhibitory activity against growth infectious Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium and Proteus vulgaris at a MIC of 39, 5 and 20 µg/ml respectively 57.

Wound Healing: The wound healing activity was investigated by excision and incision wound models using F. religiosa leaf extracts, prepared as an ointment (5 and 10%) were applied on Wistar albino strain rats. Povidine iodine 5% was used as a Standard drug. The high rate of wound contraction, decrease in the period for epithelialization, high skin breaking strength were observed in animals treated with 10% leaf extract ointment when compared to the control group of animals. It has been reported that tannins possess the ability to increase the collagen content, which is one of the factors for the promotion of wound healing 48, 2. The ethanol bark extract was reported to possess wound healing 58.

Anti-amnesia Activity: The anti-amnesic activity was investigated using methanol extract of figs on scopolamine-induced anterograde and retrograde amnesia in mice. Figs were known to contain a high serotonergic content, and modulation of serotonergic neurotransmission plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of amnesia 59.

Anti-acetylcholinesterase Activity: Methanolic extract of the stem bark of F. religiosa found to inhibit the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, thereby prolonging the half-life of acetylcholine. It was reported that most accepted strategies in Alzheimer's diseases treatment are the use of cholinesterase inhibitors. The calculated 50% inhibitory dose (ID50) value was 73.69 µg/ml, respectively. The results confirm and justify the popular traditional use of this plant for the treatment of Alzheimer's diseases 60.

Proteolytic Activity: A comparison of the proteolytic activity of the latex of 46 species of Ficus has been done by electrophoretic and chromatographic properties of the protein components, and F. religiosa has shown a significant proteolytic activity 61.

Bronchospasm Activity: The in-vivo studies of histamine-induced bronchospasm in guinea pigs and in vitro isolated guinea pig tracheal chain and ileum preparation were performed. Pre-treatment of guinea pigs with ketotifen (1 mg/kg, p.o.), has significantly delayed the onset of histamine aerosol-induced pre convulsive dyspnea, compared with vehicle control (281.8 ± 11.7 vs112.2 ± 9.8). The administration of the methanolic extract (125, 250, and 500 mg/kg, p.o.) did not produce any significant effect on latency to develop histamine-induced pre-convulsive dyspnea. Methanolic extract of fruits at doses (0.5, 1 and 2 mg/ml) has significantly potentiated the EC50 doses of both histamine and acetylcholine in isolated guinea pig tracheal chain and ileum preparation. HPLC analysis of methanolic extract showed the presence of high amounts of serotonin (2.89% w/w) 62.

Immunomodulatory Activity: The immuno-modulatory effect of alcoholic extract of the bark of F. religiosa (Moraceae) in mice was investigated. The study was carried out by various hematological and serological tests. Administration of extract remarkably ameliorated both cellular and tic rats while there was humoral antibody response. It is concluded that the test extract possessed promising immunostimulant properties 63.

Antibacterial and Antitumor Activity: The aqueous, methanol and chloroform extracts of the leaves of Ficus religiosa were evaluated for their antibacterial and antitumor activities. These extracts showed an elevated level of antibacterial activity and reduced antifungal activity. The most sensitive organisms S. typhi, P. vulgaris, S. typhimurium, and E. coli were inhibited even at lowest concentrations of the chloroform extracts. Aqueous and methanolic extracts were found to be less active. The antitumor activity conducted by crown gall potato disc assay proved that all the three extracts are efficient in reducing the tumors formed 64.

Antiulcer Activity: The antiulcer potential of the ethanol extract of stem bark of Ficus religiosa against in vivo indomethacin, cold restrained stress-induced gastric ulcer, and pylorus ligation assays were validated. The extract (100, 200, and 400 mg/kg) significantly (P<0.05) reduced the ulcer index in all assays used. The extract also significantly increased the pH of gastric acid while at the same time reduced the volume of gastric juice, free and total acidities. The study provides preliminary data on the antiulcer potential of Ficus religiosa stem bark and supports the traditional uses of the plant for the treatment of gastric ulcer 65.

Antifungal Activity: The benzene extract of both the plants, i.e. Ficus infectoria Roxb. and Ficus religiosa Linn. afforded furanocoumarins, bergapten, and bergaptol. The isolated compounds of both the plants were assayed against its microorganisms Staphylococcus aureus, E scherichia coli, Penicillium gluacum, and Paramecium at a concentration of 0.2% for aqueous bark extracts and 1x10-2 M for the isolated compounds. The results indicate bacterial activity of both the compounds bergapten and bergaptol against S. aureus and E. coli. Antifungal activity of the compounds against P. gluacum was also observed 66.

Anthelmintic Activity: Ficus religiosa has been used to treat parasitic infections in man and animals. The anthelmintic effect of methanolic bark extract of F. religiosa on the adult Haemonchus contortus Worm. Adult motile H. Contortus was collected from the gastrointestinal tract of sheep slaughtered at Faisalabad slaughterhouse. It was found that ficin is responsible for the anthelmintic effect in the methanolic extract of F. religiosa 67. Further, studies show that the aqueous extract of the fruit of F. religiosa has shown potent Anthelmintic activity as compared to other species of Ficus against Pheretima posthuma (earthworms).

CONCLUSION: India is the largest producer of medicinal herbs and is rightly called the botanical garden of the world. The study of herbal medicine spans the knowledge of pharmacology, history, source, physical and chemical nature, mechanism of action, traditional medicinal, and therapeutic use of the drug.

F. religiosa is a widely branched deciduous tree with leathery, heart-shaped, long tipped leaves used in the Indian system of medicine since very ancient times. It is one of the versatile plant having a wide variety of medicinal activities therefore used in the treatment of several types of diseases, for example, Diarrhoea, diabetes, urinary disorders, burns, hemorrhoids, gastrohelcosis, skin diseases, convulsion, tuberculosis, fever, paralysis, oxidative stress, bacterial infection, etc.

Presently, there is an increasing interest worldwide in herbal medicines accompanied by increased laboratory investigation into the pharmacological properties of the bioactive ingredients and their ability to treat various diseases. With the availability of primary information, further studies can be carried out like phyto pharmacology of different extracts, standardization of the extracts, identification and isolation of active principles and pharmacological studies of isolated compound. These may be followed by development of lead molecules as well as it may serve for the purpose of use of specific extract in specific herbal formulation.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The authors would like to thank Bundelkhand Central Library and Department of Pharmacognosy, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Nil

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How to cite this article:

Singh S, Jain SK, Alok S, Chanchal D and Rashi S: A review on Ficus religiosa - An important medicinal plant. Int J Life Sci & Rev 2016; 2(1): 1-11. doi: 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.IJLSR.2(1).1-11.

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Cyril de Zoysa
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Accessed: 3/13/21

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Sir Cyril de Zoysa
ශ්‍රිමත් සිරිල් ද සොයිසා
President of the Senate of Ceylon
In office: 1960 - 1965
Personal details
Born: 26 October 1896, Galle, British Ceylon
Died: 2 January 1978 (aged 81), Nationality Ceylonese
Alma mater: Royal College, Colombo, Richmond College, St. Thomas' College, Matara
Profession Proctor

Sir Cyril de Zoysa (Sinhala: ශ්‍රිමත් සිරිල් ද සොයිසා) (26 October 1896 – 2 January 1978) was a Sri Lankan industrialist, Senator and a philanthropist. The President of the Senate of Ceylon from 1960 to 1965, he was a leader in the Buddhist revival movement in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 20th century. He was distantly related to Sri Lankan tycoon Sir Ernest de Silva.[1]

Early life and education

He was born on 26 October 1896 to Solomon and Harriet de Zoysa in Galle, and was their second son. His brother V. T. De Zoysa, who became an advocate, established Air Ceylon.[2] He was educated at St. Thomas' College, Matara [3] for his primary studies and then moved on to Richmond College in Galle.[3] His father was a notary public and for this reason de Zoysa moved many times during childhood. He completed his secondary education at Royal College, Colombo, where his contemporaries included Sir Nicholas Attygalle and Sir John Kotelawala. At the young age of twenty, he began pursuing his legal studies at Ceylon Law College.[4] In 1921, he qualified as a proctor and started his legal practice at the police magistrates courts of Balapitiya. In 1926 he moved to Kalutara after five successful years of practice in Balapitiya. He was the President of the Law Society of Ceylon.[5][6]

Activism in Kalutara

The town of Kalutara was a centre of Buddhist learning and a pilgrimage site where people came to view the Kalutara Bodhi. He was the founder of Kalutara Vidyalaya and the Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya. In violation of colonial law, he began lighting lamps at the Kalutara Bodhi. The Bodhi tree was one of 32 allegedly brought to Sri Lanka by King Devanampiyatissa,[7] as a scion of the Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura.[8] When the colonial authorities came, they attempted to corral devotees away from the tree. They accosted De Zoysa, and De Zoysa challenged them to arrest him. He invested much of his own money into the project, and created pilgrimage facilities for worshippers.[4]

Business ventures

De Zoysa was a successful businessman having a diverse array of ventures. During law school he earned money by tutoring, and used his first earnings to buy a buggy cart. He later reminisced that "I gifted this to my father, who blessed me for this act of love and generosity. I perceived that this gift I gave my father brought him immense joy. Likewise this brought me too unforgettable joy.”[2] In 1942, he established the South Western Bus Company, which was reconstituted as the South Western Omnibus Company Limited in 1952. It was nationalized in 1958, when the Ceylon Transport Board was formed. He established Associated Motorways Limited in 1949, which is one of the largest conglomerates of Ceylon. It used to manufacture Sisil refrigerators and motor vehicle tyres. He also established Associated Rubber Industries, Associated Batteries, Associated Vacu-lat and Associated Cables.[9][6]

Political career

De Zoysa was the Chairman of the Kalutara Urban Council and was elected to the Senate of Ceylon in 1947. He was elected Deputy President and Chairman of Committees in 1951 and served till 1955. He was elected President of the Senate of Ceylon in 1955 succeeding Sir Nicholas Attygalle and served till his retirement in 1961. He was made a Knights Bachelor in the 1955 Birthday Honours.[4][6]

References

1. He owned much but gave away even more Sunday Times - 20 May 2007
2. A tireless servant of the Dhamma Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Colombo Daily News - 27 October 2007
3. Sir Cyril de Zoysa’s contribution to uplifting Buddha Sasana
4. Sir Cyril De Zoysa - Buddhist devotee and philanthropist Archived 5 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Sunday Observer - 20 October 2002
5. Sir Cyril de Zoysa - a noble personality Archived 28 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine Colombo Daily News - 7 January 2003
6. Wijenayake, Walter. "Sir Cyril de Zoysa – a personality of courage". Island. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
7. Sir Cyril - great Buddhist and exemplary philanthropist Rootsweb - 23 October 2003
8. Gateway to the South Archived 17 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Colombo Daily News - 2 January 2006
9. Al-Futtaim acquires majority stake in leading Sri Lankan public company Archived 14 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Manufacturing Business Technology - 27 July 2008

External links

• 105th Commemoration of Sir Cyril de Zoysa
• Sir Cyril de Zoysa by Ven. Kosgoda Siri Sudhamma Thera
• Sir Cyril - great Buddhist and exemplary philanthropist, by Ven. Weligama Gnanaratana Maha Nayake Thera
• Gateway to the South, BY PRASAD Abu Bakr
• Amara Samara in Sinhala
• Sir Cyril de Zoysa in Sinhala 1
• Sir Cyril de Zoysa in Sinhala 2
• Sir Cyril de Zoysa, the great Buddhist devotee
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