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Part 3 of 3

The Arts

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The Bhagavata Purana was a significant text in the bhakti movement and the culture of India.[149] Dance and theatre arts such as Kathakali (left), Kuchipudi (middle) and Odissi (right) portray legends from the Purana.[150][151]

The Bhagavata Purana played a key role in the history of Indian theatre, music, and dance, particularly through the tradition of Ras and Leela. These are dramatic enactments about Krishna's pastimes. Some of the text's legends have inspired secondary theatre literature such as the eroticism in Gita Govinda.[152] While Indian dance and music theatre traces its origins to the ancient Sama Veda and Natyasastra texts,[153][154] the Bhagavata Purana and other Krishna-related texts such as Harivamsa and Vishnu Purana have inspired numerous choreographic themes.[155]

Many 'Ras' plays dramatise episodes related in the Rasa Panchadhyayi ("Five chapters of the Celestial Dance"; Canto 10, Chapters 29–33) of the Bhagavatam.[156] The Bhagavatam also encourages theatrical performance as a means to propagate the faith (BP 11.11.23 and 36, 11.27.35 and 44, etc.), and this has led to the emergence of several theatrical forms centred on Krishna all across India.[157] Canto 10 of Bhagavatam is regarded as the inspiration for many classical dance styles such as Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri and Bharatnatyam.[158] Bryant summarizes the influence as follows,

The Bhagavata ranks as an outstanding product of Sanskrit literature. Perhaps more significantly, the Bhagavata has inspired more derivative literature, poetry, drama, dance, theatre and art than any other text in the history of Sanskrit literature, with the possible exception of the Ramayana.

— Edwin Bryant, Krishna: A Sourcebook[159]


Manuscripts, commentaries, and translations

Commentaries


The Bhagavata Purana is one of the most commented texts in Indian literature. There is a saying in Sanskrit - vidyā bhāgavatāvadhi - Bhāgavatam is the limit of one's learning. Hence through out the centuries it attracted a host of commentators from all schools of Krishna worshippers. Over eighty medieval era Bhāṣya (scholarly reviews and commentaries) in Sanskrit alone are known, and many more commentaries exist in various Indian languages.[3] The oldest exegetical commentary presently known is Tantra-Bhagavata from the Pancaratra school. Other commentaries include:

Dvaita commentaries

• Bhāgavata Tātparya Nirṇaya by Madhvacharya (13th century CE)
• Pada-ratnavali by Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha (15th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Bhagvata Tatparya Nirnaya Tippani by Yadupati Acharya (16th century)
• Duraghatabhavadipa by Satyabhinava Tirtha (17th century CE)
• Bhaghavata-Sarodhara by Adavi Jayatirthacharya (18th century CE)
• Srimadbhagavata Tippani by Satyadharma Tirtha (18th century CE)

Acintya-bhedābheda Commentaries

• Caitanya-mata-mañjuṣā - Śrīnātha Cakravartī
• Bṛhad-vaiṣṇava-toṣiṇī - Sanātana Gosvāmī
• Laghu-Vaiṣṇava-toṣiṇī - Jīva Gosvāmī
• Krama-sandarbha - Jīva Gosvāmī
• Bṛhat-krama-sandarbha - Jīva Gosvāmī
• Ṣaṭ-sandarbhas by Jīva Gosvāmī (16th century CE)[160]
• Vaiṣṇavānandinī - Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa
• Sārārtha Darśinī - Vishvanatha Chakravarti (17th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Dīpika-dīpanī - Rādharamaṇa Gosvāmī
• Gauḍīya-bhāṣya - Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati (20th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Bhaktivedānta Purports - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (20th century CE) - elaborate commentary

Viśiṣṭādvaita Commentaries

• Śuka pakṣīyā - Sudarśana sūri
• Bhāgavat chandrikā - Vīrarāghava (14th century CE) - elaborate commentary
• Bhakta rañjanī - Bhagavat prasāda

Suddhādvaita Commentaries

• Subodhini by Vallabha
• Ṭippaṇī - Gosvāmī Viṭṭhalanātha
• Subodhinī prakāsha - Gosvāmī Puruṣhottama
• Bāla prabodhinī - Gosvāmī Giridharlāl
• Viśuddha rasadīpikā - Kishorī prasāda

Dvaitādvaita Commentaries

• Siddhānta pradīpikā - Śuka-sudhī
• Bhāvārtha dīpikā prakāsha - Vamshīdhara
• Anitārtha prakāśikā - Gaṅgāsahāya

Others

• Bhāvārtha-dīpikā by Sridhara Swami (15th century CE)[161]
• Amrtatarangini by Laksmidhara (15th century CE)[162]
• Hanumad-Bhasya
• Vasana-bhasya
• Sambandhoki
• Vidvat-kamadhenu
• Paramahamsa-priya
• Suka-hridaya
• Mukta-phala and Hari-lilamrita by Vopadeva
• Bhakti-ratnavali by Visnupuri
• Ekanathi Bhagavata by Saint Eknath of Paithan (16th century CE, on the 11th Canto in the vernacular language of the Indian state of Maharashtra)
• Narayaneeyam by Melpathur Bhattathiri of Kerala (1586, a condensed Srimad Bhagavatam)
• Bhagavata-Purana by S.S. Shulba (2017, original Sanskrit);[163] other Sanskrit manuscripts are available
• A study of the Bhagavata Purana or Esoteric Hinduism by P.N. Sinha (1901)[164]

Translations

The Bhagavata has been rendered into various Indian and non-Indian languages. A version of it is available in almost every Indian language, with forty translations alone in the Bengali language.[3] From the eighteenth century onwards, the text became the subject of scholarly interest and Victorian disapproval,[159] with the publication of a French translation followed by an English one. The following is a partial list of translations:

Assamese

• Bhagavata of Sankara (1449-1568 CE, primary theological source for Mahapurushiya Dharma in the Indian state of Assam) [165][166][167]

Bengali

• Krishna prema tarangini by Shri Raghunatha Bhagavatacharya (15th Century CE)

Hindi

• Bhagavata Mahapurana published by Gita Press (2017)

Kannada

• Bhagavata Mahapurana by Vidwan Motaganahalli Ramashesha Sastri (foreword by historian S. Srikanta Sastri)[168]

Odia

• Odia Bhagabata by Jagannatha Dasa (15th Century CE)

Telugu

• Andhra Maha Bhagavatam by the poet Pothana (15th century CE). It is considered as "the crown jewel of Telugu literature".

English

• The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1970–77, includes transliterations, synonyms, and purports). Unabridged and translated into 40 languages, there are two versions:
o Pre-1978: Original and incomplete 30-volume translation of cantos 1-10 (Swami Prabhupada disappeared (died) before completing the translation)
o Post-1978: Revised and expanded 18-volume translation, completed by the Bhaktivedenta Book Trust (BBT) and disciples of HDGACBVSŚP after the death of Swami Prabhupada[169]
• A prose English translation of Shrimadbhagabatam by M.N. Dutt (1895, unabridged)[170]
• Bhagavata Purana by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (1950, unabridged)[171]
• The Srimad Bhagavatam by J.M. Sanyal (1970, abridged)
• The Bhagavata Purana by Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare (1976, unabridged)
• Srimad Bhagavata by Swami Tapasyananda (1980, unabridged)
• A Translation by B.P. Yati Maharaj of Mayapur Sri Chaitanya Math
• Reading from Bhagabata by Gananath Das which has been translated from Odia Bhagabata
• Bhagavata Mahapurana by C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri (2006, unabridged, Gita Press)[172]
• Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Sārārtha darśini commentary of Viśvanātha Cakravartī by Swami Bhānu (2010)
• Srimad Bhagavata Purana by Anand Aadhar (2012)[173]
• The Bhagavata Purana by Bibek Debroy (2019, unabridged)
• Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Krama sandarbha commentary of Jīva Gosvāmī by Swami Bhānu (2019)

English (partial translations and paraphrases)

• Kṛṣṇa: The Supreme Personality of Godhead by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (part translation, condensed version: summary study and paraphrase of Canto 10)
• Vallabhacarya on the Love Games of Krishna by James D. Redington (English translation of Vallabha's commentary on the Rāsa-Panchyādhyāyi)
• The Bhagavata Purana; Book X by Nandini Nopani and P. Lal (1997)
• Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X by Edwin F. Bryant (2004)[174]
• The Wisdom of God: Srimat Bhagavatam by Swami Prabhavananda (part translation, part summary and paraphrase)
• The Uddhava Gita by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati (2000, prose translation of Canto 11)
• Bhagavata Purana by Ramesh Menon (2007, a 'retelling' based on other translations)
• Bhakti Yoga: Tales and Teachings from the Bhagavata Purana by Edwin F. Bryant (2017, selections of verses and commentary)
• Brihad Vaishnava Toshani by Bhanu Swami
• Laghu Vaishnava Toshani by Bhanu Swami

French

Bagavadam ou Bhagavata Purana by Maridas Poullé (1769)
• Le Bhagavata Purana by Eugene Burnouf (1840)


See also

• Bhagavan
• Vishnu
• Bhakti
• Narayana
• Krishna
• Nava rasas
• Puranas
• Vedanta

Notes

1. Debroy states unabridged translations are by Manmatha Nath Dutt (1896); Swami Prabhupada (1977); Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare (1976); Swami Tapasyananda (1980); and C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri (2006)
2. Chapters cited from vedabase.io are used with permission of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

References

Citations


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3. Bryant 2007, pp. 112
4. (Sheridan 1986, p. 53)
5. Kumar Das 2006, pp. 172–173
6. Bryant 2007, pp. 111–113
7. Brown 1983, pp. 553–557
8. Sheridan 1986, pp. 1–2, 17–25
9. Katz 2000, pp. 184-185.
10. Rocher 1986, pp. 138–151
11. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990, pages 3-19
12. Constance Jones and James Ryan (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Infobase, ISBN 978-0816054589, page 474
13. Kumar Das 2006, p. 174
14. Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415670708, page 114
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वदन्ति तत्तत्त्वविदस्तत्त्वं यज्ज्ञानमद्वयम् | ब्रह्मेति परमात्मेति भगवानिति शब्द्यते || Source: Bhagavata Purana Archive
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120. Bryant 2007, pp. 117–118
121. Bryant 2007, pp. 114
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138. SN Sarma (1966), The Neo-Vaisnavite Movement and the Satra Institution of Assam, Gauhati University, ISBN 978-8173310263, page 27, Quote: "the Chapters of the Bhagavata Purana, where the Pancharatra theology is discussed, have been omitted by Assamese translators"
139. "...the influence of the Bhagavata Purana in forming the theological backbone of Assam Vaishnavism in quite clear and the monistic commentary of Sridhara Swami is highly popular amongst all sections of Vaishnavas" SN Sarma (1966), The Neo-Vaisnavite Movement and the Satra Institution of Assam, Gauhati University, ISBN 978-8173310263, page 26
140. Edwin Francis Bryant and Maria Ekstrand (2004), The Hare Krishna Movement, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231122566, pages 48-51
141. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990, pages 149-150
142. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990, pages 151-155
143. Doniger 1993, p. 243.
144. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990, pages 157-159
145. John Holt (2004), The Buddhist Visnu, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231133227, pages 13-31
146. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pages 110-111
147. Gail Adalbert (1968), Buddha als Avatara Visnus im Spiegel der Puranas, Deutscher Orientalistentag, Vol. 17, pages 917-923
148. T. S. Rukmani (1993), Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy (Editor: RK Sharma), Motilal Barnarsidass, ISBN 978-8120809949, pages 217-224, Quote (page 218): "The Bhagavata emphasizes yoga as bhakti and it is in the method of realization of its spiritual goal that yoga becomes important".
149. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990, pages 185-200
150. ML Varadpande (1987), History of Indian Theatre, Vol 1, Abhinav, ISBN 978-8170172215, pages 98-99
151. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990, pages 162-180
152. Graham Schweig ( 2007), Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions (Editor: Yudit Kornberg Greenberg), Volume 1, ISBN 978-1851099801, pages 247-249
153. Beck 1993, pp. 107-108.
154. PV Kane, History of Sanskrit Poetics, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802742 (2015 Reprint), pages 10-41
155. Varadpande 1987, pp. 92–94
156. Datta 2006, p. 33
157. Varadpande 1987, pp. 95–97
158. Varadpande 1987, p. 98
159. Bryant 2007, pp. 118
160. Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415670708, pages 149-150
161. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
162. Anand Venkatkrishnan, “The River of Ambrosia: An Alternative Commentarial Tradition of the Bhagavata Purana,” The Journal of Hindu Studies 11 (2018):53–66.
163. SHASHANK SHEKHAR SHULBA (20 February 2017). Bhagavata-Purana.
164. A study of the Bhagavata Purana; or, Esoteric Hinduism. University of California Libraries. Benares : Printed by Freeman & co., ltd. 1901.
165. "The Holy Kirttana". atributetosankaradeva. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
166. "The Bhagavata of Sankaradeva; Assamese rendering of the Bhagavata Purana". atributetosankaradeva. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
167. "Gunamala" (PDF). atributetosankaradeva. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
168. Sastri Kannada Translation 1932
169. "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa)". vedabase.io. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
170. Dutt, Manmatha Nath (1895). A prose English translation of Shrimadbhagabatam. Robarts - University of Toronto. Calcutta.
171. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. Bhagavata Purana Motilal English Full.
172. Gita Press. Bhagavata Purana Gita Press.
173. Veda Vyasa, Translated by Anand Aadhar (1 January 2012). Srimad Bhagavata Purana Translator A. Aadhar.
174. Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, ISBN 978-0140447996
Sources[edit]
• Beach, Milo Cleveland (1965). "A Bhāgavata Purāṇa from the Punjab Hills and related paintings". Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts. 63 (333): 168–177. JSTOR 4171436.
• Beck, Guy (1993). Sonic theology: Hinduism and sacred sound. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-0-253-35334-4.
• Brown, Cheever Mackenzie (1998). The Devī Gītā: the song of the Goddess; a translation, annotation, and commentary. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-3940-1.
• Brown, C. Mackenzie (1983). "The Origin and Transmission of the Two "Bhāgavata Purāṇas": A Canonical and Theological Dilemma". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 51 (4): 551–567. doi:10.1093/jaarel/li.4.551. JSTOR 1462581.
• Bryant, Edwin Francis (2007). Krishna: A Sourcebook. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-514891-6.
• Cutler, Norman (1987). Songs of Experience. Indiana University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-253-35334-4.
• Dasgupta, Surendranath (1949). A history of Indian philosophy. IV: Indian pluralism. Cambridge University Press.
• Datta, Amaresh (2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature. vol. 1. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-1803-1.
• Doniger, Wendy, ed. (1993), Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-1381-0
• Haberman, David L.; Rūpagōsvāmī (2003). Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (ed.). The Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu of Rūpa Gosvāmīn. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1861-3.
• Jarow, Rick (2003). Tales for the dying: the death narrative of the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-5609-5.
• Kumar Das, Sisir (2006). A history of Indian literature, 500–1399. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-2171-0.
• Matchett, Freda (1993). "The Pervasiveness of Bhakti in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa". In Werner, Karel (ed.). Love Divine: Studies in Bhakti and Devotional Mysticism. Routledge. pp. 95–116. ISBN 978-0-7007-0235-0.
• Matchett, Freda (2001). Kṛṣṇa, Lord or Avatāra?. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7007-1281-6.
• Matchett, Freda (2003). "The Purāṇas". In Flood, Gavin D. (ed.). The Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 129–144. ISBN 978-0-631-21535-6.
• Rocher, Ludo (1986). The Puranas. Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz. pp. 138–151. ISBN 978-3-447-02522-5.
• Rukmani, T. S. (1993). "Siddhis in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and in the Yogasutras of Patanjali – a Comparison". In Wayman, Alex (ed.). Researches in Indian and Buddhist philosophy: essays in honour of Professor Alex Wayman. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 217–226. ISBN 978-81-208-0994-9.
• Sheridan, Daniel (1986). The Advaitic Theism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Columbia, Mo: South Asia Books. ISBN 978-81-208-0179-0.
• van Buitenen, J. A. B (1996). "The Archaism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa". In S.S Shashi (ed.). Encyclopedia Indica. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. pp. 28–45. ISBN 978-81-7041-859-7.
• Varadpande, Manohar Laxman (1987). History of Indian theatre. vol. 3. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 978-81-7017-221-5.
• Katz, Steven T. (2000). Mysticism and Sacred Scripture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195357097.
Further reading[edit]
• Mani, Vettam. Puranic Encyclopedia. 1st English ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975.
• C Mackenzie Brown (1983), The Origin and Transmission of the Two "Bhāgavata Purāṇas": A Canonical and Theological Dilemma, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 51, No. 4, pages 551-567
• Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, ISBN 978-0140447996
• Sanjukta Gupta (2006), Advaita Vedanta and Vaisnavism: The Philosophy of Madhusudana Sarasvati, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415395359
• Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149990
• Ithamar Theodor (2015), Exploring the Bhagavata Purana, IB Tauris, ISBN 978-1784531997

External links

English


• Swami Prabhupāda's version Bhaktivedanta Vedabase
• Gita Press version
• The Translation of Sankaradeva's Gunamala - the 'pocket-Bhagavata' (Assam version)
• Translation of Sankaradeva's Veda-Stuti (The Prayer of the Vedas), Bhagavata, Book X, from Sankaradeva's Kirttana Ghosa, the 'Bhagavata in miniature'
• Bhagavata Purana Research Project, Oxford University
• A prose English translation of Srimad Bhagavatam, MN Dutt (Open access limited to the US and parts of Europe)
• Bhagavata Purana Research Project, (Srimad Bhagavatam English Version)
Sanskrit original
• GRETIL etext: The transliterated Sanskrit text for the entire work
• Bhagavata Purana (Sanskrit)
• Searchable transliterated PDF file of the entire Bhagavata-Purana from sanskritweb.net
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Dara Shikoh [Shukoh] [Shucoh]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21

In the early progress of researches into Indian literature, it was doubted whether the Vedas were extant; or, if portions of them were still preserved, whether any person, however learned in other respects, might be capable of understanding their obsolete dialect. It was believed too, that, if a Brahmana really possessed the Indian scriptures, his religious prejudices would nevertheless prevent his imparting the holy knowledge to any but a regenerate Hindu. These notions, supported by popular tales, were cherished long after the Vedas had been communicated to Dara Shucoh [Shikoh], and parts of them translated into the Persian language by him, or for his use. [Extracts have also been translated into the Hindi language; but it does not appear upon what occasion this version into the vulgar dialect was made.] The doubts were not finally abandoned, until Colonel Polier obtained from Jeyepur a transcript of what purported to be a complete copy of the Vedas, and which he deposited in the British Museum. About the same time Sir Robert Chambers collected at Benares numerous fragments of the Indian scripture: General Martine: at a later period, obtained copies of some parts of it; and Sir William Jones was successful in procuring valuable portions of the Vedas, and in translating several curious passages from one of them. [See Preface to Menu, page vi. and the Works of Sir William Jones, vol. vi.] I have been still more fortunate in collecting at Benares the text and commentary of a large portion of these celebrated books; and, without waiting to examine them more completely than has been yet practicable, I shall here attempt to give a brief explanation of what they chiefly contain.

-- Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus, by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq.

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Dara Shikoh
دارا شُکوہ
Shahzada of the Mughal Empire
Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba
Miniature portrait of Dara Shikoh c.1640
Born: 20 March 1615[1], Ajmer, Rajputana, Mughal Empire
Died: 30 August 1659 (aged 44)[2], Delhi, Mughal Empire
Burial: Humayun’s Tomb
Spouse: Nadira Banu Begum
Issue: Sulaiman Shikoh; Mumtaz Shikoh; Sipihr Shikoh; Jahanzeb Banu Begum
Full name: Muhammad Dara Shikoh
House: Timurid
Father: Shah Jahan
Mother: Mumtaz Mahal
Religion: Islam

Dara Shikoh (Persian: دارا شِکوہ‎), also known as Dara Shukoh, (20 March 1615 – 30 August 1659)[1][3] was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.[4]

Image

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram (Persian: شهاب‌الدین محمد خرم‎; 5 January 1592 – 22 January 1666), better known by his regnal name, Shah Jahan (Persian: شاه جهان‎, lit. 'King of the World'), was the fifth Mughal emperor, and reigned from 1628 to 1658. Under his reign, the Mughal Empire reached the peak of its cultural glory. Although an able military commander, Shah Jahan is best remembered for his architectural achievements. His reign ushered in the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan commissioned many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal in Agra, in which is entombed his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Image

The Taj Mahal (/ˌtɑːdʒ məˈhɑːl, ˌtɑːʒ-/; lit. 'Crown of the Palace', [taːdʒ ˈmɛːɦ(ə)l]) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643, but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2020 would be approximately 70 billion rupees (about U.S. $956 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.

-- Taj Mahal. by Wikipedia

His relationship with Mumtaz Mahal has been heavily adapted into Indian art, literature and cinema. He owned the royal treasury and several precious stones such as the Kohinoor, worth around 23% of the world GDP during his time, and has thus often been regarded as the wealthiest Indian in history.

Shah Jahan is considered the most competent of Emperor Jahangir's four sons. Jahangir's death in late 1627 spurred a war of succession, from which Shah Jahan emerged victorious after much intrigue. He put to death all of his rivals for the throne and crowned himself emperor in January 1628 in Agra, under the regnal title "Shah Jahan" (which was originally given to him as a princely title). His rule saw many grand building projects, including the Red Fort and the Shah Jahan Mosque. Foreign affairs saw war with the Safavids and conflict with the Portuguese, and positive relations with the Ottoman Empire. Domestic concerns included putting down numerous rebellions, and the devastating famine from 1630-32.

In September 1657, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill. This set off a war of succession among his four sons in which his third son, Aurangzeb, emerged victorious and usurped his father's throne. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness, but Emperor Aurangzeb put his father under house arrest in Agra Fort from July 1658 until his death in January 1666. He was laid to rest next to his wife in the Taj Mahal.

-- Shah Jahan, by Wikipedia

Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba ("Prince of High Rank")[5] and was favoured as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum. In the war of succession which ensued after Shah Jahan's illness in 1657, Dara was defeated by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (later, the Emperor Aurangzeb). He was executed in 1659 on Aurangzeb's orders in a bitter struggle for the imperial throne.[6]

Dara was a liberal-minded unorthodox Muslim as opposed to the orthodox Aurangzeb; he authored the work The Confluence of the Two Seas, which argues for the harmony of Sufi philosophy in Islam and Vedanta philosophy in Hinduism. A great patron of the arts, he was also more inclined towards philosophy and mysticism rather than military pursuits.
The course of the history of the Indian subcontinent, had Dara Shikoh prevailed over Aurangzeb, has been a matter of some conjecture among historians.[7][8][9]

Early life

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Dara's brothers (left to right) Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad Baksh in their younger years, ca 1637

Muhammad Dara Shikoh was born on 11 March 1615[1] in Ajmer, Rajasthan.[10] He was the first son and third child of Prince Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram and his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal.[11] The prince was named by his father.[12] 'Dara' means owner of wealth or star in Persian while the second part of the prince's name is commonly spelled in two ways: Shikoh (terror) or Shukoh (majesty or grandeur).[13] Thus, Dara's full name can be translated as "Of the Terror of Darius" or "Of the Grandeur of Darius", respectively.[13] Historian Ebba Koch favours 'Shukoh'.[13]

Dara Shikoh had thirteen siblings of whom six survived to adulthood: Jahanara Begum, Shah Shuja, Roshanara Begum, Aurangzeb, Murad Bakhsh, and Gauhara Begum.[14] He shared a close relationship with his older sister, Jahanara. As part of his formal education, Dara studied the Quran, history, Persian poetry and calligraphy.[15] He was a liberal-minded unorthodox Muslim unlike his father and his younger brother Aurangzeb.[15]

In October 1627,[16] Dara's grandfather Emperor Jahangir died, and his father ascended the throne in January 1628 taking the regnal name 'Shah Jahan'.[17]
Image

Nur-ud-din Muhammad Salim[4] (Persian: نورالدین محمد سلیم), known by his imperial name Jahangir (Persian: جهانگیر) (31 August 1569 – 28 October 1627), was the fourth Mughal Emperor, who ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627. His imperial name (in Persian) means 'conqueror of the world', 'world-conqueror' or 'world-seizer' (Jahan: world; gir: the root of the Persian verb gereftan: to seize, to grab).

-- Jahangir, by Wikipedia

In 1633, Dara was appointed as the Vali-ahad (heir-apparent) to his father.[18] He, along with his older sister Jahanara, were Shah Jahan's favourite children.[19]

Marriage

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The marriage of Dara Shikoh and Nadira Begum, 1875-90[??]

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Wedding procession of Dara Shikoh, with Shah Shuja and Aurangzeb behind him. Royal Collection Trust, London.

During the life time of his mother Mumtaz Mahal, Dara Shikoh was betrothed to his half-cousin, Princess Nadira Banu Begum, the daughter of his paternal uncle Sultan Parvez Mirza.[20] He married her on 1 February 1633 at Agra; midst great celebrations, pomp and grandeur.[21][20] By all accounts, Dara and Nadira were devoted to each other and Dara's love for Nadira was so profound that unlike the usual practice of polygyny prevalent at the time, he never contracted any other marriage.[21] The imperial couple had seven children together, with two sons, Sulaiman Shikoh and Sipihr Shikoh and a daughter Jahanzeb Banu Begum, surviving to play important roles in future events.[21]

A great patron of the arts, Dara ordered for the compilation of some refined artwork into an album which is now famous by the name of 'Dara Shikhoh Album.'[22] This album was presented by Dara to his 'dearest intimate friend' Nadira in 1641.[23]

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A Prince in Iranian Costume by Muhammad Khan
British Library Add. Or. MS 3129, f.21v
Copyright © The British Library Board

A high-quality version of this image can be purchased from British Library Images Online. For more information email imagesonline@bl.uk

This manuscript is a fine example of Moghul mastery of painting and calligraphy and dates from the 17th century.

The Dara Shikoh album is a collection of paintings and calligraphy assembled during the 1630s by Dara Shikoh (1615-59), the eldest son of the Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-58, the builder of the Taj Mahal), and presented to his wife Nadira Banu Begum in 1641-42.

The album follows the typical Moghul album format and has alternate openings of pairs of calligraphic specimens and paintings, all mounted within gold-painted borders, and is bound in tooled and gilt covers. It is one of the few Moghul albums to have survived almost complete.

Dara Shikoh himself was executed in 1659 by his younger brother Aurangzib, who had emerged victorious in the wars waged between Shah Jahan's four sons. After Nadira Banu's death, the album was taken into the royal library and the inscriptions connecting it with Dara Shikoh were deliberately, but fortunately not completely, erased. One painting in the album is signed and dated by the artist Muhammad Khan AH 1043 (or AD 1633-1634).

The young man wearing the elaborate turban favoured in the Iranian court of Isfahan is pouring wine from a Moghul jewelled gold flask into a similarly ornamented cup.

-- Dara Shikoh album, by British Library

Dara had at least two concubines, Gul Safeh (also known as Rana Dil) and Udaipuri Mahal (a Georgian or Armenian slave girl).[24] Udaipuri later became a part of Aurangzeb's harem after her master's defeat.[25]

Military service

As was common for all Mughal sons, Dara Shikoh was appointed as a military commander at an early age, receiving an appointment as commander of 12,000-foot and 6,000 horse in October 1633. He received successive promotions, being promoted to commander of 12,000-foot and 7,000 horse on 20 March 1636, to 15,000-foot and 9,000 horse on 24 August 1637, to 10,000 horse on 19 March 1638, to 20,000-foot and 10,000 horse on 24 January 1639, and to 15,000 horse on 21 January 1642.

On 10 September 1642, Shah Jahan formally confirmed Dara Shikoh as his heir, granting him the title of Shahzada-e-Buland Iqbal ("Prince of High Fortune") and promoting him to command of 20,000-foot and 20,000 horse. In 1645, he was appointed as subahdar (governor) of Allahabad. He was promoted to a command of 30,000-foot and 20,000 horse on 18 April 1648, and was appointed Governor of the province of Gujarat on 3 July.[26]

As his father's health began to decline, Dara Shikoh received a series of increasingly prominent commands. He was appointed Governor of Multan and Kabul on 16 August 1652, and was raised to the title of Shah-e-Buland Iqbal ("King of High Fortune") on 15 February 1655. He was promoted to command of 40,000-foot and 20,000 horse on 21 January 1656, and to command of 50,000-foot and 40,000 horse on 16 September 1657.

The struggle for succession

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Dara Shikoh with his army[27]

On 6 September 1657, the illness of emperor Shah Jahan triggered a desperate struggle for power among the four Mughal princes, though realistically only Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb had a chance of emerging victorious.[28] Shah Shuja was the first to make his move, declaring himself Mughal Emperor in Bengal and marched towards Agra from the east. Murad Baksh allied himself with Aurangzeb.

At the end of 1657, Dara Shikoh was appointed Governor of the province of Bihar and promoted to command of 60,000 infantry and 40,000 cavalry.(roughly equivalent to general)

Despite strong support from Shah Jahan, who had recovered enough from his illness to remain a strong factor in the struggle for supremacy, and the victory of his army led by his eldest son Sulaiman Shikoh over Shah Shuja in the battle of Bahadurpur on 14 February 1658, Dara Shikoh was defeated by Aurangzeb and Murad during the Battle of Samugarh, 13 km from Agra on 30 May 1658. Subsequently, Aurangzeb took over Agra fort and deposed emperor Shah Jahan on 8 June 1658.

Death and aftermath

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Humayun's Tomb, where the remains of Dara Shikoh were interred in an unidentified grave.

After the defeat, Dara Shikoh retreated from Agra to Delhi and thence to Lahore. His next destination was Multan and then to Thatta (Sindh). From Sindh, he crossed the Rann of Kachchh and reached Kathiawar, where he met Shah Nawaz Khan, the governor of the province of Gujarat who opened the treasury to Dara Shikoh and helped him to recruit a new army.[29] He occupied Surat and advanced towards Ajmer. Foiled in his hopes of persuading the fickle but powerful Rajput feudatory, Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Marwar, to support his cause, Dara Shikoh decided to make a stand and fight Aurangzeb's relentless pursuers but was once again comprehensively routed in the battle of Deorai (near Ajmer) on 11 March 1659. After this defeat he fled to Sindh and sought refuge under Malik Jiwan (Junaid Khan Barozai), an Afghan chieftain, whose life had on more than one occasion been saved by the Mughal prince from the wrath of Shah Jahan.[30][31] However, Junaid betrayed Dara Shikoh and turned him (and his second son Sipihr Shikoh) over to Aurangzeb's army on 10 June 1659.[32]

Dara Shikoh was brought to Delhi, placed on a filthy elephant and paraded through the streets of the capital in chains.[33][34] Dara Shikoh's fate was decided by the political threat he posed as a prince popular with the common people – a convocation of nobles and clergy, called by Aurangzeb in response to the perceived danger of insurrection in Delhi, declared him a threat to the public peace and an apostate from Islam. He was assassinated by four of Aurangzeb's henchmen in front of his terrified son on the night of 30 August 1659 (9 September Gregorian). After death the remains of Dara Shikoh were buried in an unidentified grave in Humayan's tomb in Delhi.[35][36] On 26 February 2020 the government of India through Archaeological Survey of India decided to find the burial spot of Dara Shikoh from the 140 graves in 120 chambers inside Humayun's Tomb. It is considered a difficult task as none of the graves are identified or have inscriptions. [37]

Niccolao Manucci, the Venetian traveler who worked in the Mughal court, has written down the details of Dara Shikoh's death. According to him, upon Dara's capture, Aurangzeb ordered his men to have his head brought up to him and he inspected it thoroughly to ensure that it was Dara indeed. He then further mutilated the head with his sword three times. After which, he ordered the head to be put in a box and presented to his ailing father, Shah Jahan, with clear instructions to be delivered only when the old King sat for his dinner in his prison. The guards were also instructed to inform Shah Jahan that, “King Aurangzeb, your son, sends this plate to let him (Shah Jahan) see that he does not forget him”. Shah Jahan instantly became happy (not knowing what was in store in the box) and uttered, “Blessed be God that my son still remembers me”. Upon opening the box, Shah Jahan became horrified and fell unconscious.[38]


Intellectual pursuits

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A page from the Majma-ul-Bahrain, Victoria Memorial, Calcutta.

Dara Shikoh is widely renowned[39] as an enlightened paragon of the harmonious coexistence of heterodox traditions on the Indian subcontinent. He was an erudite champion of mystical religious speculation and a poetic diviner of syncretic cultural interaction among people of all faiths. This made him a heretic in the eyes of his orthodox younger brother and a suspect eccentric in the view of many of the worldly power brokers swarming around the Mughal throne. Dara Shikoh was a follower of the Armenian Sufi-perennialist mystic Sarmad Kashani,[40]

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Single Leaf of Shah Sarmad (centre) seated with Shahzada Dara Shikoh

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

-- Sarmad Kashani, by Wikipedia

as well as Lahore's famous Qadiri Sufi saint Mian Mir,[41] whom he was introduced to by Mullah Shah Badakhshi (Mian Mir's spiritual disciple and successor). Mian Mir was so widely respected among all communities that he was invited to lay the foundation stone of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the Sikhs.

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Dara Shikoh (with Mian Mir and Mullah Shah Badakhshi), ca. 1635

Baba Sain Mir Mohammed Sahib (c. 1550 – 22 August 1635), popularly known as Mian Mir or Miyan Mir, was a famous Sufi Muslim saint who resided in Lahore, specifically in the town of Dharampura (in present-day Pakistan). He was a direct descendant of Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab.
Omar (/ˈoʊmɑːr/), also spelled Umar /ˈuːmɑːr/; Arabic: عمر بن الخطاب‎ ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb [ˈʕomɑr-, ˈʕʊmɑr ɪbn alxɑtˤˈtˤɑːb], "Umar, Son of Al-Khattab"; c. 584 CE – 3 November 644 CE), was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. He was a senior companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634. He was an expert Muslim jurist known for his pious and just nature, which earned him the epithet Al-Farooq ("the one who distinguishes (between right and wrong)"). He is sometimes referred to as Omar I by historians of early Islam, since a later Umayyad caliph, Umar II, also bore that name.

Under Omar, the caliphate expanded at an unprecedented rate, ruling the Sasanian Empire and more than two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire. His attacks against the Sasanian Empire resulted in the conquest of Persia in less than two years (642–644). According to Jewish tradition, Omar set aside the Christian ban on Jews and allowed them into Jerusalem and to worship. Omar was eventually killed by the Persian Piruz Nahavandi (known as ’Abū Lu’lu’ah in Arabic) in 644 CE.

Omar is revered in the Sunni tradition as a great ruler and paragon of Islamic virtues, and some hadiths identify him as the second greatest of the Sahabah after Abu Bakr. He is viewed negatively in the Shia tradition.

-- Omar, by Wikipedia

He belonged to the Qadiri order of Sufism. He is famous for being a spiritual instructor of Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He is identified as the founder of the Mian Khel branch of the Qadiri order. His younger sister Bibi Jamal Khatun was a disciple of his and a notable Sufi saint in her own right.

Mian Mir was a friend of God-loving people and he would shun worldly, selfish men, greedy Emirs and ambitious Nawabs who ran after faqirs to get their blessings. To stop such people from coming to see him, Mian Mir posted his mureeds (disciples) at the gate of his house.

Once, Jahangir, the Mughal emperor, with all his retinue came to pay homage to the great faqir. He came with all the pomp and show that befitted an emperor. Mian Mir's sentinels however, stopped the emperor at the gate and requested him to wait until their master had given permission to enter. Jahangir felt slighted. No one had ever dared delay or question his entry to any place in his kingdom. Yet he controlled his temper and composed himself. He waited for permission. After a while, he was ushered into Mian Mir's presence. Unable to hide his wounded vanity, Jahangir, as soon as he entered, told Mian Mir in Persian: Ba dar-e-darvis darbane naa-bayd ("On the doorstep of a faqir, there should be no sentry"). The reply from Mian Mir was, "Babayd keh sage dunia na ayad" (So that selfish men may not enter).

The emperor was embarrassed and asked for forgiveness. Then, with folded hands, Jahangir requested Mian Mir to pray for the success of the campaign which he intended to launch for the conquest of the Deccan. Meanwhile, a poor man entered and, bowing his head to Mian Mir, made an offering of a rupee before him. The Sufi asked the devotee to pick up the rupee and give it to the poorest, neediest person in the audience. The devotee went from one dervish to another but none accepted the rupee. The devotee returned to Mian Mir with the rupee saying: "Master, none of the dervishes will accept the rupee. None is in need, it seems."

"Go and give this rupee to him," said the faqir, pointing to Jahangir. "He is the poorest and most needy of the lot. Not content with a big kingdom, he covets the kingdom of the Deccan. For that, he has come all the way from Delhi to beg. His hunger is like a fire that burns all the more furiously with more wood. It has made him needy, greedy and grim. Go and give the rupee to him."...

According to Tawarikh-i-Punjab (1848), written by Ghulam Muhayy-ud-Din alias Bute Shah, Mian Mir laid the foundation of the Sikh shrine Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), at the request of Guru Arjan Dev. This is also mentioned in several European sources, beginning with The Punjab Notes and Queries. Even the Report Sri Darbar Sahib (1929), published by the Harmandir Sahib temple authorities, have endorsed this account.

However, this legend is unsubstantiated by historical evidence. Sakinat al-aulia, a 17th-century biography of Mian Mir compiled by Dara Shikoh, does not mention this account. It appears only in the later accounts, and may have been invented to strengthen the Sikh-Muslim relationship.


After having lived a long life of piety and virtuosity, Mian Mir died on 22 August 1635 (7 Rabi' al-awwal, 1045 according to the Islamic Calendar). He was eighty-eight years old.

His funeral oration was read by Mughal prince Dara Shikoh, who was a highly devoted disciple of the Saint.

-- Mian Mir, by Wikipedia

Dara Shikoh subsequently developed a friendship with the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai.
Image
Guru Har Rai, the Seventh Guru (Early-18th-century Pahari painting)

Guru Har Rai (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰੂ ਹਰਿ ਰਾਇ, pronunciation: [gʊɾuː ɦəɾ ɾaːɪ]; 16 January 1630 – 6 October 1661) revered as the seventh Nanak, was the seventh of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He became the Sikh leader at age 14, on 3 March 1644, after the death of his grandfather and the sixth Sikh leader Guru Hargobind. He guided the Sikhs for about seventeen years, till his death at age 31.

Guru Har Rai is notable for maintaining the large army of Sikh soldiers that the sixth Sikh Guru had amassed, yet avoiding military conflict. He supported the moderate Sufi influenced Dara Shikoh instead of conservative Sunni influenced Aurangzeb as the two brothers entered into a war of succession to the Mughal Empire throne.

After Aurangzeb won the succession war in 1658, he summoned Guru Har Rai in 1660 to explain his support for the executed Dara Shikoh. Guru Har Rai sent his elder son Ram Rai to represent him. Aurangzeb kept Ram Rai as hostage, questioned Ram Rai about a verse in the Adi Granth – the holy text of Sikhs at that time. Aurangzeb claimed that it disparaged the Muslims. Ram Rai changed the verse to appease Aurangzeb instead of standing by the Sikh scripture, an act for which Guru Har Rai is remembered for excommunicating his elder son, and nominating his younger son Har Krishan to succeed him. Har Krishan became the eighth Guru at age 5 after Guru Har Rai's death in 1661. Some Sikh literature spell his name as Hari Rai...


Guru Har Rai had brothers. His elder brother Dhir Mal had gained encouragement and support from Shah Jahan, with free land grants and Mughal sponsorship. Dhir Mal attempted to form a parallel Sikh tradition and criticized his grand father and sixth Guru Hargobind. The sixth Guru disagreed with Dhir Mal, and designated the younger Har Rai as the successor.

Authentic literature about Guru Har Rai life and times are scarce, he left no texts of his own and some Sikh texts composed later spell his name as "Hari Rai". Some of the biographies of Guru Har Rai written in the 18th century such as by Kesar Singh Chhibber, and the 19th-century Sikh literature are highly inconsistent.

Guru Har Rai provided medical care to Dara Shikoh, possibly when he had been poisoned by Mughal operatives. According to Mughal records, Guru Har Rai provided other forms of support to Dara Shikoh as he and his brother Aurangzeb battled for rights to succession. Ultimately, Aurangzeb won, arrested Dara Shikoh and executed him on charges of apostasy from Islam. In 1660, Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Rai to appear before him to explain his relationship with Dara Shikoh.

In the Sikh tradition, Guru Har Rai was asked why he was helping the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh whose forefathers had persecuted Sikhs and Sikh Gurus. Guru Har Rai is believed to have replied that if a man plucks flowers with one hand and gives it away using his other hand, both hands get the same fragrance...

He started several public singing and scripture recital traditions in Sikhism. The katha or discourse style recitals were added by Guru Har Rai, to the sabad kirtan singing tradition of Sikhs. He also added the akhand kirtan or continuous scripture singing tradition of Sikhism, as well as the tradition of jotian da kirtan or collective folk choral singing of scriptures.

-- Guru Har Rai, by Wikipedia

Dara Shikoh devoted much effort towards finding a common mystical language between Islam and Hinduism. Towards this goal he completed the translation of fifty Upanishads from their original Sanskrit into Persian in 1657 so that they could be studied by Muslim scholars.[42][43] His translation is often called Sirr-e-Akbar ("The Greatest Mystery"), where he states boldly, in the introduction, his speculative hypothesis that the work referred to in the Qur'an as the "Kitab al-maknun" or the hidden book, is none other than the Upanishads.[44] His most famous work, Majma-ul-Bahrain ("The Confluence of the Two Seas"), was also devoted to a revelation of the mystical and pluralistic affinities between Sufic and Vedantic speculation.[45] The book was authored as a short treatise in Persian in 1654–55.[46]

The library established by Dara Shikoh still exists on the grounds of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi, and is now run as a museum by Archaeological Survey of India after being renovated.[47][48]


Patron of arts

Image
A Prince in Iranian Costume by Muhammad Khan. Dara Shikoh Album, Agra, 1633–34.

He was also a patron of fine arts, music and dancing, a trait frowned upon by his younger sibling Muhiuddin, later the Emperor Aurangzeb. The 'Dara Shikoh' is a collection of paintings and calligraphy assembled from the 1630s until his death. It was presented to his wife Nadira Banu in 1641–42[49] and remained with her until her death after which the album was taken into the royal library and the inscriptions connecting it with Dara Shikoh were deliberately erased; however not everything was vandalised and many calligraphy scripts and paintings still bear his mark. Among the existing paintings from the Dara Shikoh Album, are two facing pages, compiled in the early 1630s just before his marriage, showing two ascetics in yogic postures, probably meant to be a pair of yogis, Vaishnava and Shaiva. these paintings are attributed to the artist Govardhan. The album also contains numerous pictures of Muslim ascetics and divines and the pictures obviously reflects Dara Shikoh's interest in religion and philosophy.[50]

Dara Shikoh is also credited with the commissioning of several exquisite, still extant, examples of Mughal architecture – among them the tomb of his wife Nadira Begum in Lahore,[51]

Image
Tomb of Nadira Begum

-- Tomb of Nadira Begum, by Wikipedia


the Shrine of Mian Mir also in Lahore,[52]

Image
Mian Mir's shrine is one of the most important Sufi shrines in Lahore

-- Shrine of Mian Mir, by Wikipedia


the Dara Shikoh Library in Delhi,[53]

Image
Dara Shikoh Library

Dara Shikoh was the most-liked son of the Mughal Emperor of Shah Jahan. He was be convinced to be the successor to the Mughal throne. Like father Shah Jahan, Dara Shikoh also reveal a keen interest in architecture. He made a abode of his own near the Kashmiri gate, which housed the greta Dara Shikoh Library. Once a private library of Mughal Prince, today recline on the verge of decay, with in the campus of Ambedkar University Delhi. The library has been transformed into a makeshift museum under the protection and care of the Archeological Survey of India. The library was trusted to be of multiple purposes during the Mughal era. Dara Shikoh who was supposed to replace the throne was killed by his stepbrother, Aurangzeb, during the time of battle for the throne. Since then the library has become of least importance. This very day, it doesn’t exhibit books but it steadily does narrate the chronicles of Mughal Era.

The library is believed to be constructed during the year 1643 during the rule of Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh on his own overlooked the construction of the library. After Shah Jahan’s illness and inability to rule it, a war broken out between all the sons of Shah Jahan. This was a usual practice to decide the inheritor of the throne. Shah Jahan’s favourite son who was Dara Shikoh was believed to be the next king. Although, he got defeated by Aurangzeb, who went to rule the Mughal empire. After Dara Shikoh’s death, the library was ignored. Historians believe that after prince’s death the library was hand over to Portuguese governess of the Mughal children, Donna Juliana. It was later bought by Nawab Safdarjung in the 18th century. After that the complex was later turned into a British residency captured by Sir David Ochterlony. After this the complex has been turned into a municipal school. Although, the surrounding Mughal complex was later situated to the Ambedkar University Delhi, within which Library lies. In the year 2011, the Delhi Government which was led by Sheila Dixit merged with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to renovate the library into a state museum. The museum reflects 2,200 artefacts and remains from the Mughal era including coins and statues.

-- Dara Shikoh Library, by Sushant Travels


the Akhun Mullah Shah Mosque in Srinagar in Kashmir[54]

Image

Akhund Mullah Shah Masjid or Akhoon Mullah Masjid or Dara Shikoh Masjid, known as Mala Shah Mashid in Kashmiri, is a mosque built by Dara Shikoh in 1649 for his spiritual mentor. Located in Srinagar, it is a mosque inside a mosque. The prime sanctuary is entirely separated from the main building through a courtyard that surrounds it. There is a stone lotus that crowns the podium of the mosque.

-- Akhund Mullah Shah Masjid, by Wikipedia


and the Pari Mahal garden palace (also in Srinagar in Kashmir).[55]

Image

Pari Mahal, also known as The Palace of Fairies, is a seven-terraced garden located at the top of Zabarwan mountain range, overlooking the city of Srinagar and the south-west of Dal Lake in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is an example of Islamic architecture and patronage of art during the reign of the then Mughal Emperor khan Shah Jahan.

The Pari Mahal, or Palace of Fairies, was built as a library and residence for the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh in the mid-1600s. Dara Shikoh was said to have lived in this area in the years 1640, 1645, and 1654. It was further used as an observatory, used for teaching astrology and astronomy. The gardens have since become the property of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pari Mahal has also been used as a top-secret interrogation centre and as a base for high-level bureaucrats.


-- Pari Mahal, by Wikipedia


In popular culture

• The issues surrounding Dara Shikoh's impeachment and execution are used to explore contradictory interpretations of Islam in a 2008 play, The Trial of Dara Shikoh,[56] written by Akbar S. Ahmed.[57]
• He is also the subject of a 2010 play called Dara Shikoh, written and directed by Shahid Nadeem of the Ajoka Theatre Group in Pakistan.[58]
• Dara Shikoh is the subject of the 2007 play Dara Shikoh, written by Danish Iqbal and staged by, among others, the director M S Sathyu in 2008.[59]
• He is also a character played by Vaquar Sheikh in the 2005 Bollywood film Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story, directed by Akbar Khan.
• Dara Shikoh is the name of the protagonist of Mohsin Hamid's 2000 novel Moth Smoke, which reimagines the story of his trial unfolding in contemporary Pakistan.[60]
• The television series Upanishad Ganga had two episodes titled "Veda – The Source of Dharma 1" and "Veda – The Source of Dharma 2", featuring Dara Shikoh played by actor Zakir Hussain.[61]
• Gopalkrishna Gandhi wrote a play in verse titled Dara Shukoh on his life.[62]
• Bengali Writer Shyamal Gangapadhyay wrote a novel on his life Shahjada Dara Shikoh which received Sahitya Academy Award in 1993.[63]
• Assamese writer and politician, Omeo Kumar Das wrote a book called Dara Shikoh: Jeevan O Sadhana.
• Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov wrote a novel called A Poet and Bin-Laden the second part of which devoted to the life of Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb.
• An Assamese novel, Kalantarat Shahzada Dara Shikoh, was written by author Nagen Goswami.
• "Dara Shikoh" – a poem by poet Abhay K published in 2014 lamented the fact that there were no streets named after Dara.[64]
• New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) changed Dalhousie Road's name to Dara Shikoh Road on February 6, 2017.[65]
• In 2016 Bharatvarsh TV series, Rohit Purohit played the role of Dara Shikoh.
• In The 2017 novel 1636: Mission to the Mughals he is one of the central characters.
• Ranveer Singh has been cast as Dara Shikoh in the upcoming Karan Johar directorial Takht, stated for a 2020 release.
• Dara Shikoh award awarded by Indo-Iranian society. The award includes a sum of Rs. 1 lakh, a shawl and citation. Sheila Dixit former Delhi CM (1998–2013) was a recipient in 2010.

Full title

Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba, Jalal ul-Kadir, Sultan Muhammad Dara Shikoh, Shah-i-Buland Iqbal

Governorship

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Shah Jahan Receiving Dara Shikoh

• Lahore 1635–1636
• Allahabad 1645–1647
• Malwa 1642–1658
• Gujrat 1648
• Multan Kabul 1652–1656
• Bihar 1657–1659

Ancestry

Ancestors of Dara Shikoh


Image

Works

• Writings on Sufism and the lives of awliya (Muslim saints):
o Safinat ul- Awliya
o Sakinat ul-Awliya
o Risaala-i Haq Numa
o Tariqat ul-Haqiqat
o Hasanaat ul-'Aarifin
o Iksir-i 'Azam (Diwan-e-Dara Shikoh)
• Writings of a philosophical and metaphysical nature:
o Majma-ul-Bahrain (The Mingling of Two Oceans)[78]
o So’aal o Jawaab bain-e-Laal Daas wa Dara Shikoh (also called Mukaalama-i Baba Laal Daas wa Dara Shikoh)
o Sirr-e-Akbar (The Great Secret, his translation of the Upanishads in Persian)[79]
o Persian translations of the Yoga Vasishta and Bhagavad Gita.

See also

• Majma-ul-Bahrain
• Mughal–Safavid War (1649–1653)
• Akbar
• Nur Jahan

References

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3. Awrangābādī, Shāhnavāz Khān; Shāhnavāz, ʻAbd al-Ḥayy ibn; Prashad, Baini (1952). The Maāthir-ul-umarā: being biographies of the Muhammādan and Hindu officers of the Timurid sovereigns of India from 1500 to about 1780 A.D. Asiatic Society. p. 684.
4. Thackeray, Frank W.; editors, John E. Findling (2012). Events that formed the modern world : from the African Renaissance through the War on Terror. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-59884-901-1.
5. Khan, 'Inayat; Begley, Wayne Edison (1990). The Shah Jahan nama of 'Inayat Khan: an abridged history of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, compiled by his royal librarian : the nineteenth-century manuscript translation of A.R. Fuller (British Library, add. 30,777). Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780195624892.
6. Mukhoty, Ira. "Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh's fight for the throne was entwined with the rivalry of their two sisters". Scroll.in.
7. "India was at a crossroads in the mid-seventeenth century; it had the potential of moving forward with Dara Shikoh, or of turning back to medievalism with Aurangzeb".Eraly, Abraham (2004). The Mughal Throne : The Saga of India's Great Emperors. London: Phoenix. p. 336. ISBN 0-7538-1758-6.
"Poor Dara Shikoh!....thy generous heart and enlightened mind had reigned over this vast empire, and made it, perchance, the garden it deserves to be made". William Sleeman (1844), E-text of Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official p.272
8. Dara Shikoh Britannica.com.
9. Dara Shikoh Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia, by Josef W. Meri, Jere L Bacharach. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-96690-6. Page 195-196.
10. Mehta, Jl (1986). Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 426. ISBN 9788120710153.
11. Nath, Renuka (1990). Notable Mughal and Hindu women in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D. Inter-India Publications. p. 113. ISBN 9788121002417.
12. Khan, 'Inayat; Begley, Wayne Edison (1990). The Shah Jahan nama of 'Inayat Khan: an abridged history of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, compiled by his royal librarian : the nineteenth-century manuscript translation of A.R. Fuller (British Library, add. 30,777). Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780195624892.
13. Koch, Ebba (1998). Dara-Shikoh shooting nilgais: hunt and landscape in Mughal painting. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. p. 43. ISBN 9789998272521.
14. Sarker, Kobita (2007). Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals. K.P. Bagchi & Co. p. 187. ISBN 9788170743002.
15. Magill, Frank N. (2013). The 17th and 18th Centuries: Dictionary of World Biography. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-135-92414-0.
16. Schimmel, Annemarie; Schimmel (2004). The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture. Reaktion Books. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-86189-185-3. jahangir october 1627.
17. Edgar, Thorpe; Showick, Thorpe. The Pearson General Knowledge Manual 2018 (With Current Affairs & Previous Years' Questions Booklet). p. C.37. ISBN 9789352863525.
18. Sarkar, Sir Jadunath (1972). Sir Jadunath Sarkar birth centenary commemoration volume: English translation of Tarikh-i-dilkasha (Memoirs of Bhimsen relating to Aurangzib's Deccan campaigns). Dept. of Archives, Maharashtra. p. 12.
19. Koch, Ebba (1998). Dara-Shikoh shooting nilgais: hunt and landscape in Mughal painting. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. p. 7. ISBN 9789998272521.
20. Sarker, Kobita (2007). Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals. K.P. Bagchi & Co. p. 80. ISBN 9788170743002.
21. Hansen, Waldemar (September 1986). The peacock throne : the drama of Mogul India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 121. ISBN 9788120802254.
22. Koch, Ebba (1998). Dara-Shikoh shooting nilgais: hunt and landscape in Mughal painting. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. p. 29. ISBN 9789998272521.
23. Mukhia, Harbans (2009). The Mughals of India. Wiley India Pvt. Limited. p. 124. ISBN 9788126518777.
24. Krieger-Krynicki, Annie (2005). Captive Princess: Zebunissa, Daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. ISBN 978-0-19-579837-1.
25. Kishori Saran Lal (January 1988). The Mughal harem. Aditya Prakashan. p. 30. ISBN 9788185179032.
26. Sakaki, Kazuyo (1998). Dara Shukoh's Contribution to Philosophy of Religion with Special Reference to his Majma Al-Bahrayn (PDF). OCLC 1012384466.
27. "Dara Shikuh with his army". 17th Century Mughals & Marathas. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
28. Sarkar, Jadunath (1984). A History of Jaipur. New Delhi: Orient Longman. pp. 113–122. ISBN 81-250-0333-9.
29. Eraly, The Mighal Throne : The Saga of India's Great Emperors, cited above, page 364.
30. Hansen, Waldemar (9 September 1986). The Peacock Throne: The Drama of Mogul India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 9788120802254 – via Google Books.
31. Francois Bernier Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656–1668.
32. Bernier, Francois (9 September 1996). Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656–1668. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120611696 – via Google Books.
33. Chakravarty, Ipsita. "Bad Muslim, good Muslim: Out with Aurangzeb, in with Dara Shikoh". Scroll.in.
34. "The captive heir to the richest throne in the world, the favourite and pampered son of the most magnificent of the Great Mughals, was now clad in a travel-tainted dress of the coarsest cloth, with a dark dingy-coloured turban, such as only the poorest wear, on his head, and no necklace or jewel adorning his person." Sarkar, Jadunath (1962). A Short History of Aurangzib, 1618–1707. Calcutta: M. C. Sarkar and Sons. p. 78.
35. Hansen, Waldemar (1986). The Peacock Throne : The Drama of Mogul India. New Delhi: Orient Book Distributors. pp. 375–377. ISBN 978-81-208-0225-4.
36. Sarkar, Jadunath (9 September 1947). "Maasir-i- Alamgiri (1947)" – via Internet Archive.
37. "Believed to be Inside Humayun's Tomb, Dara Shikoh's Burial Site Set to Make Experts' Panel 'Walk in Dark'".
38. Manucci, Niccolao (1989). Mogul India Or Storia Do Mogor 4 Vols (Vol 1). Set. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors (P) Limited. pp. 356–57. ISBN 817156058X.
39. The Hindu see for example this article in The Hindu.
40. Katz, N. (2000) 'The Identity of a Mystic: The Case of Sa'id Sarmad, a Jewish-Yogi-Sufi Courtier of the Mughals in: Numen 47: 142–160.
41. Dara Shikoh The empire of the great Mughals: history, art and culture, by Annemarie Schimmel, Corinne Attwood, Burzine K. Waghmar. Translated by Corinne Attwood. Published by Reaktion Books, 2004. ISBN 1-86189-185-7. Page 135.
42. Khalid, Haroon. "Lahore's iconic mosque stood witness to two historic moments where tolerance gave way to brutality". Scroll.in.
43. Dr. Amartya Sen notes in his book The Argumentative Indian that it was Dara Shikoh's translation of the Upanishads that attracted William Jones, a Western scholar of Indian literature, to the Upanishads, having read them for the first time in a Persian translation by Dara Shikoh.Sen, Amartya (5 October 2005). The Argumentative Indian.
44. Gyani Brahma Singh 'Brahma', Dara Shikoh – The Prince who turned Sufi in The Sikh Review[permanent dead link]"the reference in Al Qur’an to the hidden books – ummaukund-Kitab – was to the Upanishads, because they contain the essence of unity and they are the secrets which had to be kept hidden, the most ancient books."
45. Arora, Nadeem Naqvisanjeev (20 March 2015). "Prince of peace" – via http://www.thehindu.com.
46. "Emperor's old clothes". Hindustan Times. 12 April 2007.
47. Dara Shikoh's Library, Delhi Archived 11 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Govt. of Delhi.
48. Nath, Damini (8 February 2017). "Battling time, Dara Shikoh's Library cries out for help" – via http://www.thehindu.com.
49. Dara Shikoh album British Library.
50. Losty, J P (July 2016). "Ascetics and Yogis in Indian Painting: The Mughal and Deccani Tradition": 14.
51. Nadira Banu's tomb A view of Nadira Banu's tomb
52. Mazar Hazrat Mian Mir Archived 2 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine entertaining description of the monument and its history
53. Dara Shikoh Library Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine description of Dara Shikoh library
54. "Ancient Monuments of Kashmir: Plate XII". Kashmiri Overseas Association, Inc. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
55. "Google Image Result for lh4.ggpht.com/_w4GEiBHJ-rc/R_oNe0nuZNI/AAAAAAAAQWI/P08iBhPrYts/Pari+Mahal.jpg". google.co.uk.[permanent dead link]
56. ‘The Trial of Dara Shikoh’ – A Play in Three Acts Text of the play with an Introduction by the author.
57. Published as Akbar Ahmed: Two Plays. London: Saqi Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-86356-435-2, ‘The Trial of Dara Shikoh’ – A Thought-Provoking Play Archived 15 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine A review of the play.
58. Ajoka’s Dara – an ancient story of modern day proportions Archived 14 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Daily Times (Pakistan), 19 April 2010
59. "For king and country". The Hindu.
60. Hamid, Mohsin. (2000). Moth Smoke. p. 247.
61. "Episode-guide". upanishadganga.com. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
62. "Dara Shukoh". Goodreads. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
63. "Movie Mogul, Maybe". outlookindia.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
64. Dara Shikoh and other poems The Caravan, May 1, 2014
65. "Dalhousie Road renamed after Dara Shikoh: Why Hindutva right wingers favour a Mughal prince". 7 February 2017.
66. Kobita Sarker, Shah Jahan and his paradise on earth: the story of Shah Jahan's creations in Agra and Shahjahanabad in the golden days of the Mughals (2007), p. 187
67. Sarker (2007, p. 187)
68. Jl Mehta, Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India (1986), p. 418
69. Mehta (1986, p. 418)
70. Frank W. Thackeray, John E. Findling, Events That Formed the Modern World (2012), p. 254
71. Thackeray, Findling (2012, p. 254)
72. Mehta (1986, p. 374)
73. Soma Mukherjee, Royal Mughal Ladies and Their Contributions (2001), p. 128
74. Mukherjee (2001, p. 128)
75. Subhash Parihar, Some Aspects of Indo-Islamic Architecture (1999), p. 149
76. Shujauddin, Mohammad; Shujauddin, Razia (1967). The Life and Times of Noor Jahan. Caravan Book House. p. 1.
77. Ahmad, Moin-ud-din (1924). The Taj and Its Environments: With 8 Illus. from Photos., 1 Map, and 4 Plans. R. G. Bansal. p. 101.
78. MAJMA' UL BAHARAIN or The Mingling Of Two Oceans, by Prince Muhammad Dara Shikoh, Edited in the Original Persian with English Translation, notes & variants by M.Mahfuz-ul-Haq, published by The Asiatic Society, Kolkata, Bibliotheca Indica Series no. 246, 1st. published 1929. See also this Archived 9 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine book review by Yoginder Sikand, indianmuslims.in.
79. See the section on his Intellectual Pursuits.

Bibliography

• Eraly, Abraham (2004). The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India's Great Emperors. Phoenix, London. ISBN 0753817586.
• Hansen, Waldemar [1986]. The Peacock Throne: The Drama of Mogul India. Orient Book Distributors, New Delhi.
• Mahajan, V.D. (1978). History of Medieval India. S. Chand.
• Sarkar, Jadunath (1984). A History of Jaipur. Orient Longman, New Delhi.
• Sarkar, Jadunath (1962). A Short History of Aurangzib, 1618–1707. M. C. Sarkar and Sons, Calcutta.

External links

• Bernier, Francois Travels in the Mogul Empire, AD 1656–1668
• Gyani Brahma Singh, Dara Shikoh – The Prince who turned Sufi[permanent dead link] in The Sikh Review
• Manucci, Niccolo Storia de Mogor or Mogul Stories''
• Sleeman, William (1844), E-text of Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official
• Srikand, Yoginder Dara Shikoh's Quest for Spiritual Unity
• Dara Shikoh Library
• The Dara Shikoh Album British Museum Online Gallery
• Majmaul Bahrain by Dara Shikoh English translation with original Persian text [1]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Vedanta
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/7/21

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon


Highlights:

Literally meaning "end of the Vedas", Vedanta reflects ideas that emerged from, or were aligned with, the speculations and philosophies contained in the Upanishads...

The main traditions of Vedanta...except Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Vedanta, are related to Vaishavism [Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.] and emphasize devotion, regarding Vishnu or Krishna or a related manifestation, to be the highest Reality. While Advaita Vedanta attracted considerable attention in the West due to the influence of Hindu modernists like Swami Vivekananda, most of the other Vedanta traditions are seen as discourses articulating a form of Vaishnav theology....

The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas and originally referred to the Upanishads. Vedanta is concerned with the jñānakāṇḍa or knowledge section of the vedas which is called the Upanishads...

The Upanishads may be regarded as the end of Vedas in different senses:

1. These were the last literary products of the Vedic period.
2. These mark the culmination of Vedic thought.
3. These were taught and debated last, in the Brahmacharya (student) stage...

Despite their differences, all schools of Vedanta share some common features...

• The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta...
• Rejection of Buddhism and Jainism and conclusions of the other Vedic schools (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, and, to some extent, the Purva Mimamsa.)...

The Brahma Sutras attempted to synthesize the teachings of the Upanishads...

Shankara, in formulating Advaita, talks of two conceptions of Brahman: The higher Brahman as undifferentiated Being, and a lower Brahman endowed with qualities as the creator of the universe...

The Upanishads present an associative philosophical inquiry in the form of identifying various doctrines and then presenting arguments for or against them...

The notion of "inconceivability" (acintyatva) is used to reconcile apparently contradictory notions in Upanishadic teachings...He is all-pervading and thus in all parts of the universe (non-difference), yet he is inconceivably more (difference)...

Little is known of schools of Vedanta existing before the composition of the Brahma Sutras (400–450 CE)...

Though attributed to Badarayana, the Brahma Sutras were likely composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years. The estimates on when the Brahma Sutras were complete vary...

[T]he cryptic nature of aphorisms of the Brahma Sutras have required exegetical commentaries.[109] These commentaries have resulted in the formation of numerous Vedanta schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own commentary...

Little with specificity is known of the period between the Brahma Sutras (5th century CE) and Adi Shankara (8th century CE). Only two writings of this period have survived...

Early Vaishnava Vedanta retains the tradition of bhedabheda, equating Brahman with Vishnu or Krishna...

Dvaita Vedanta was propounded by Madhvacharya (1238–1317 CE). He presented the opposite interpretation of Shankara in his Dvaita, or dualistic system. In contrast to Shankara's non-dualism and Ramanuja's qualified non-dualism, he championed unqualified dualism...

Neo-Vedanta, variously called as "Hindu modernism", "neo-Hinduism", and "neo-Advaita", is a term that denotes some novel interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century, presumably as a reaction to the colonial British rule. King (2002, pp. 129–135) writes that these notions accorded the Hindu nationalists an opportunity to attempt the construction of a nationalist ideology to help unite the Hindus to fight colonial oppression. Western orientalists, in their search for its "essence", attempted to formulate a notion of "Hinduism" based on a single interpretation of Vedanta as a unified body of religious praxis. This was contra-factual as, historically, Hinduism and Vedanta had always accepted a diversity of traditions...

The neo-Vedantins argued that the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy were perspectives on a single truth, all valid and complementary to each other. Halbfass (2007, p. 307) sees these interpretations as incorporating western ideas into traditional systems, especially Advaita Vedanta. It is the modern form of Advaita Vedanta, states King (1999, p. 135), the neo-Vedantists subsumed the Buddhist philosophies as part of the Vedanta tradition and then argued that all the world religions are same "non-dualistic position as the philosophia perennis", ignoring the differences within and outside of Hinduism...

Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Aurobindo have been labeled neo-Vedantists (the latter called it realistic Advaita), a view of Vedanta that rejects the Advaitins' idea that the world is illusory. As Aurobindo phrased it, philosophers need to move from 'universal illusionism' to 'universal realism', in the strict philosophical sense of assuming the world to be fully real.

A major proponent in the popularization of this Universalist and Perennialist interpretation of Advaita Vedanta was Vivekananda, who played a major role in the revival of Hinduism. He was also instrumental in the spread of Advaita Vedanta to the West ...

Matilal criticizes Neo-Hinduism as an oddity developed by West-inspired Western Indologists and attributes it to the flawed Western perception of Hinduism in modern India. In his scathing criticism of this school of reasoning, Matilal (2002, pp. 403–404) says:

The so-called 'traditional' outlook is in fact a construction...

The influence of Vedanta is prominent in the sacred literatures of Hinduism, such as the various Puranas, Samhitas, Agamas and Tantras...

Gavin Flood states, "... the most influential school of theology in India has been Vedanta, exerting enormous influence on all religious traditions and becoming the central ideology of the Hindu renaissance in the nineteenth century. It has become the philosophical paradigm of Hinduism 'par excellence'."...

While the Bhairava Shastras are monistic, Shiva Shastras are dualistic...

Arthur Schopenhauer, who called them the consolation of his life. He drew explicit parallels between his philosophy, as set out in The World as Will and Representation, and that of the Vedanta philosophy as described in the work of Sir William Jones...

German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstücker was among the early scholars to notice similarities between the religious conceptions of the Vedanta and those of the Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, writing that Spinoza's thought was "... so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus, did his biography not satisfy us that he was wholly unacquainted with their doctrines"...

Max Müller noted the striking similarities between Vedanta and the system of Spinoza, saying, "The Brahman, as conceived in the Upanishads and defined by Sankara, is clearly the same as Spinoza's 'Substantia'."

Helena Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society, also compared Spinoza's religious thought to Vedanta, writing in an unfinished essay, "As to Spinoza's Deity...it is the Vedantic Deity pure and simple."


-- Vedanta, by Wikipedia


Vedanta (/vɪˈdɑːntə/; Sanskrit: वेदान्त, IAST: Vedānta; also Uttara Mīmāṃsā) is one of the six (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Literally meaning "end of the Vedas", Vedanta reflects ideas that emerged from, or were aligned with, the speculations and philosophies contained in the Upanishads, specifically, knowledge and liberation. Vedanta contains many sub-traditions on basis of a common textual connection called the Prasthanatrayi: the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

All Vedanta schools, in their deliberations, concern themselves with, but differ in their views regarding, ontology, soteriology and epistemology.[1][2] The main traditions of Vedanta are:[3]

1. Bhedabheda (difference and non-difference), as early as the 7th century CE,[4] or even the 4th century CE.[5] Some scholars are inclined to consider it as a "tradition" rather than a school of Vedanta.[4]
o Dvaitādvaita or Svabhavikabhedabheda (dualistic non-dualism), founded by Nimbarka[6] in the 7th century CE[7][8]
o Achintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable one-ness and difference), founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534 CE),[9] propagated by Gaudiya Vaishnava
2. Advaita (monistic), most prominent Gaudapada (~500 CE)[10] and Adi Shankaracharya (8th century CE)[11]
3. Vishishtadvaita (qualified monism), prominent scholars are Nathamuni, Yāmuna and Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE)
4. Dvaita (dualism), founded by Madhvacharya (1199–1278 CE)
5. Suddhadvaita (purely non-dual), founded by Vallabha[6] (1479–1531 CE)

Modern developments in Vedanta include Neo-Vedanta,[12][13][14] and the growth of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.[15] All of these schools, except Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Vedanta, are related to Vaishavism [Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.] and emphasize devotion, regarding Vishnu or Krishna or a related manifestation, to be the highest Reality.[16][17] While Advaita Vedanta attracted considerable attention in the West due to the influence of Hindu modernists like Swami Vivekananda, most of the other Vedanta traditions are seen as discourses articulating a form of Vaishnav theology.[18]

Etymology and nomenclature

The word Vedanta is made of two words :

• Veda (वेद) - refers to the four sacred vedic texts.
• Anta (अंत) - this word means "End".

The word Vedanta literally means the end of the Vedas and originally referred to the Upanishads.[19][20] Vedanta is concerned with the jñānakāṇḍa or knowledge section of the vedas which is called the Upanishads.[21][22] The denotation of Vedanta subsequently widened to include the various philosophical traditions based on to the Prasthanatrayi.[19][23]

The Upanishads may be regarded as the end of Vedas in different senses:[24]

1. These were the last literary products of the Vedic period.
2. These mark the culmination of Vedic thought.
3. These were taught and debated last, in the Brahmacharya (student) stage.[19][25]


Vedanta is one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Indian philosophy.[20] It is also called Uttara Mīmāṃsā, which means the 'latter enquiry' or 'higher enquiry'; and is often contrasted with Pūrva Mīmāṃsā, the 'former enquiry' or 'primary enquiry'. Pūrva Mīmāṃsā deals with the karmakāṇḍa or ritualistic section (the Samhita and Brahmanas) in the Vedas.[26][27][a]

Vedanta philosophy

Common features


Despite their differences, all schools of Vedanta share some common features:

• Vedanta is the pursuit of knowledge into the Brahman and the Ātman.[29]
The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta, providing reliable sources of knowledge (Sruti Śabda in Pramana);[30]
• Brahman, c.q. Ishvara (God, Vishnu), exists as the unchanging material cause and instrumental cause of the world. The only exception here is that Dvaita Vedanta does not hold Brahman to be the material cause, but only the efficient cause.[31]
• The self (Ātman/Jiva) is the agent of its own acts (karma) and the recipient of the consequences of these actions.[32]
• Belief in rebirth and the desirability of release from the cycle of rebirths, (mokṣa).[32]
Rejection of Buddhism and Jainism and conclusions of the other Vedic schools (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, and, to some extent, the Purva Mimamsa.)[32]

Prasthanatrayi (the Three Sources)

The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras constitute the basis of Vedanta. All schools of Vedanta propound their philosophy by interpreting these texts, collectively called the Prasthanatrayi, literally, three sources.[21][33]

1. The Upanishads,[ b] or Śruti prasthāna; considered the Sruti, the "heard" (and repeated) foundation of Vedanta.
2. The Brahma Sutras, or Nyaya prasthana / Yukti prasthana; considered the reason-based foundation of Vedanta.
3. The Bhagavad Gita, or Smriti prasthāna; considered the Smriti (remembered tradition) foundation of Vedanta.

The Brahma Sutras attempted to synthesize the teachings of the Upanishads. The diversity in the teaching of the Upanishads necessitated the systematization of these teachings. This was likely done in many ways in ancient India, but the only surviving version of this synthesis is the Brahma Sutras of Badarayana.[21]

All major Vedantic teachers, including Shankara, Bhaskara, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Vallabha, and Madhva have composed commentaries not only on the Upanishads and Brahma Sutras, but also on the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita, due to its syncretism of Samkhya, Yoga, and Upanishadic thought, has played a major role in Vedantic thought.[35]

Metaphysics

Vedanta philosophies discuss three fundamental metaphysical categories and the relations between the three.[21][36]

1. Brahman or Ishvara: the ultimate reality[37]
2. Ātman or Jivātman: the individual soul, self[38]
3. Prakriti/Jagat:[6] the empirical world, ever-changing physical universe, body and matter[39]

Brahman / Ishvara – Conceptions of the Supreme Reality

Shankara, in formulating Advaita, talks of two conceptions of Brahman: The higher Brahman as undifferentiated Being, and a lower Brahman endowed with qualities as the creator of the universe.[40]

• Parā or Higher Brahman: The undifferentiated, absolute, infinite, transcendental, supra-relational Brahman beyond all thought and speech is defined as parā Brahman, nirviśeṣa Brahman or nirguṇa Brahman and is the Absolute of metaphysics.
• Aparā or Lower Brahman: The Brahman with qualities defined as aparā Brahman or saguṇa Brahman. The saguṇa Brahman is endowed with attributes and represents the personal God of religion.

Ramanuja, in formulating Vishishtadvaita Vedanta, rejects nirguṇa – that the undifferentiated Absolute is inconceivable – and adopts a theistic interpretation of the Upanishads, accepts Brahman as Ishvara, the personal God who is the seat of all auspicious attributes, as the One reality. The God of Vishishtadvaita is accessible to the devotee, yet remains the Absolute, with differentiated attributes.[41]

Madhva, in expounding Dvaita philosophy, maintains that Vishnu is the supreme God, thus identifying the Brahman, or absolute reality, of the Upanishads with a personal god, as Ramanuja had done before him.[42][43] Nimbarka, in his dvaitadvata philosophy, accepted the Brahman both as nirguṇa and as saguṇa. Vallabha, in his shuddhadvaita philosophy, not only accepts the triple ontological essence of the Brahman, but also His manifestation as personal God (Ishvara), as matter and as individual souls.[44]

Relation between Brahman and Jiva / Atman

The schools of Vedanta differ in their conception of the relation they see between Ātman / Jivātman and Brahman / Ishvara:[45]

• According to Advaita Vedanta, Ātman is identical with Brahman and there is no difference.[46]
• According to Vishishtadvaita, Jīvātman is different from Ishvara, though eternally connected with Him as His mode.[47] The oneness of the Supreme Reality is understood in the sense of an organic unity (vishistaikya). Brahman / Ishvara alone, as organically related to all Jīvātman and the material universe is the one Ultimate Reality.[48]
• According to Dvaita, the Jīvātman is totally and always different from Brahman / Ishvara.[49]
• According to Shuddhadvaita (pure monism), the Jīvātman and Brahman are identical; both, along with the changing empirically-observed universe being Krishna.[50]

Image
Epistemology in Dvaita and Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. Advaita and some other Vedanta schools recognize six epistemic means.

Epistemology

Main article: Pramana

Pramana

Pramāṇa (Sanskrit: प्रमाण) literally means "proof", "that which is the means of valid knowledge".[51] It refers to epistemology in Indian philosophies, and encompasses the study of reliable and valid means by which human beings gain accurate, true knowledge.[52] The focus of Pramana is the manner in which correct knowledge can be acquired, how one knows or does not know, and to what extent knowledge pertinent about someone or something can be acquired.[53] Ancient and medieval Indian texts identify six[c] pramanas as correct means of accurate knowledge and truths:[54]

1. Pratyakṣa (perception)
2. Anumāṇa (inference)
3. Upamāṇa (comparison and analogy)
4. Arthāpatti (postulation, derivation from circumstances)
5. Anupalabdi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof)
6. Śabda (scriptural testimony/ verbal testimony of past or present reliable experts).

The different schools of Vedanta have historically disagreed as to which of the six are epistemologically valid. For example, while Advaita Vedanta accepts all six pramanas,[55] Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita accept only three pramanas (perception, inference and testimony).[56]

Advaita considers Pratyakṣa (perception) as the most reliable source of knowledge, and Śabda, the scriptural evidence, is considered secondary except for matters related to Brahman, where it is the only evidence.[57][d] In Vishistadvaita and Dvaita, Śabda, the scriptural testimony, is considered the most authentic means of knowledge instead.[58]

Theories of cause and effect

All schools of Vedanta subscribe to the theory of Satkāryavāda,[4] which means that the effect is pre-existent in the cause. But there are two different views on the status of the "effect", that is, the world. Most schools of Vedanta, as well as Samkhya, support Parinamavada, the idea that the world is a real transformation (parinama) of Brahman.[59] According to Nicholson (2010, p. 27), "the Brahma Sutras espouse the realist Parinamavada position, which appears to have been the view most common among early Vedantins". In contrast to Badarayana, Adi Shankara and Advaita Vedantists hold a different view, Vivartavada, which says that the effect, the world, is merely an unreal (vivarta) transformation of its cause, Brahman.[e]

Overview of the main schools of Vedanta

Image
Shankaracharya

The Upanishads present an associative philosophical inquiry in the form of identifying various doctrines and then presenting arguments for or against them. They form the basic texts and Vedanta interprets them through rigorous philosophical exegesis to defend the point of view of their specific sampradaya.[60][61] Varying interpretations of the Upanishads and their synthesis, the Brahma Sutras, led to the development of different schools of Vedanta over time.

According to Gavin Flood, while Advaita Vedanta is the "most famous" school of Vedanta, and "often, mistakenly, taken to be the only representative of Vedantic thought,"[1] and Shankara a Saivite,[62] "Vedanta is essentially a Vaisnava theological articulation,"[63] a discourse broadly within the parameters of Vaisnavism."[62] Within the Vaishnava traditions four sampradays have special status,[2] while different scholars have classified the Vedanta schools ranging from three to six[19][45][6][64][3][f] as prominent ones.[g]

1. Bhedabheda, as early as the 7th century CE,[4] or even the 4th century CE.[5] Some scholars are inclined to consider it as a "tradition" rather than a school of Vedanta.[4]
o Dvaitādvaita or Svabhavikabhedabheda (Vaishnava), founded by Nimbarka[6] in the 7th century CE[7][8]
o Achintya Bheda Abheda (Vaishnava), founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534 CE),[9] propagated by Gaudiya Vaishnava
2. Advaita (monistic), many scholars of which most prominent are Gaudapada (~500 CE)[10] and Adi Shankaracharya (8th century CE)[11]
3. Vishishtadvaita (Vaishnava), prominent scholars are Nathamuni, Yāmuna and Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE)
4. Dvaita (Vaishnava), founded by Madhvacharya (1199–1278 CE)
5. Suddhadvaita (Vaishnava), founded by Vallabha[6] (1479–1531 CE)
6. Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, based on the teachings of Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE) and propagated most nottably by BAPS[66][67][68][69]

Bhedabheda (difference and non-difference)

Main article: Bhedabheda

Bhedābheda means "difference and non-difference" and is more a tradition than a school of Vedanta. The schools of this tradition emphasize that the individual self (Jīvatman) is both different and not different from Brahman.[4] Notable figures in this school are Bhartriprapancha, Nimbārka (7th century)[7][8] who founded the Dvaitadvaita school, Bhāskara (8th–9th century), Ramanuja's teacher Yādavaprakāśa, Caitanya (1486–1534) who founded the Achintya Bheda Abheda school, and Vijñānabhikṣu (16th century).[70][h]

Dvaitādvaita

Image
Nimbarkacharya's icon at Ukhra, West Bengal

Main article: Dvaitadvaita

Nimbārka (7th century)[7][8] sometimes identified with Bhāskara,[71] propounded Dvaitādvaita.[72] Brahman (God), souls (chit) and matter or the universe (achit) are considered as three equally real and co-eternal realities. Brahman is the controller (niyanta), the soul is the enjoyer (bhokta), and the material universe is the object enjoyed (bhogya). The Brahman is Krishna, the ultimate cause who is omniscient, omnipotent, all-pervading Being. He is the efficient cause of the universe because, as Lord of Karma and internal ruler of souls, He brings about creation so that the souls can reap the consequences of their karma. God is considered to be the material cause of the universe because creation was a manifestation of His powers of soul (chit) and matter (achit); creation is a transformation (parinama) of God's powers. He can be realized only through a constant effort to merge oneself with His nature through meditation and devotion. [72]

Achintya-Bheda-Abheda

Image
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Main article: Achintya Bhedabheda

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1533) was the prime exponent of Achintya-Bheda-Abheda.[73] In Sanskrit achintya means 'inconceivable'.[74] Achintya-Bheda-Abheda represents the philosophy of "inconceivable difference in non-difference",[75] in relation to the non-dual reality of Brahman-Atman which it calls (Krishna), svayam bhagavan.[76] The notion of "inconceivability" (acintyatva) is used to reconcile apparently contradictory notions in Upanishadic teachings. This school asserts that Krishna is Bhagavan of the bhakti yogins, the Brahman of the jnana yogins, and has a divine potency that is inconceivable. He is all-pervading and thus in all parts of the universe (non-difference), yet he is inconceivably more (difference). This school is at the foundation of the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition.[75]

Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism)

Main article: Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta (IAST Advaita Vedānta; Sanskrit: अद्वैत वेदान्त), propounded by Gaudapada (7th century) and Adi Shankara (8th century), espouses non-dualism and monism. Brahman is held to be the sole unchanging metaphysical reality and identical to the individual Atman.[43] The physical world, on the other hand, is always-changing empirical Maya.[77][ i] The absolute and infinite Atman-Brahman is realized by a process of negating everything relative, finite, empirical and changing.[78]

The school accepts no duality, no limited individual souls (Atman / Jivatman), and no separate unlimited cosmic soul. All souls and their existence across space and time are considered to be the same oneness. [79] Spiritual liberation in Advaita is the full comprehension and realization of oneness, that one's unchanging Atman (soul) is the same as the Atman in everyone else, as well as being identical to Brahman.[80]

Vishishtadvaita (qualified non-dualism)

Image
Ramanujacharya depicted with Vaishnava Tilaka and Vishnu statue.

Main article: Vishishtadvaita

Vishishtadvaita, propounded by Ramanuja (11–12th century), asserts that Jivatman (human souls) and Brahman (as Vishnu) are different, a difference that is never transcended.[81][82] With this qualification, Ramanuja also affirmed monism by saying that there is unity of all souls and that the individual soul has the potential to realize identity with the Brahman.[83] Vishishtadvaita, like Advaita, is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta in a qualified way, and both begin by assuming that all souls can hope for and achieve the state of blissful liberation.[84] On the relation between the Brahman and the world of matter (Prakriti), Vishishtadvaita states both are two different absolutes, both metaphysically true and real, neither is false or illusive, and that saguna Brahman with attributes is also real.[85] Ramanuja states that God, like man, has both soul and body, and the world of matter is the glory of God's body.[86] The path to Brahman (Vishnu), according to Ramanuja, is devotion to godliness and constant remembrance of the beauty and love of the personal god (bhakti of saguna Brahman).[87]

Dvaita (dualism)

Image
Madhvacharya

Main article: Dvaita

Dvaita, propounded by Madhvacharya (13th century), is based on the premise of dualism. Atman (soul) and Brahman (as Vishnu) are understood as two completely different entities.[88] Brahman is the creator of the universe, perfect in knowledge, perfect in knowing, perfect in its power, and distinct from souls, distinct from matter.[89] [j] In Dvaita Vedanta, an individual soul must feel attraction, love, attachment and complete devotional surrender to Vishnu for salvation, and it is only His grace that leads to redemption and salvation.[92] Madhva believed that some souls are eternally doomed and damned, a view not found in Advaita and Vishishtadvaita Vedanta.[93] While the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta asserted "qualitative monism and quantitative pluralism of souls", Madhva asserted both "qualitative and quantitative pluralism of souls".[94]

Shuddhādvaita (pure nondualism)

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Vallabhacharya

Main articles: Shuddhadvaita and Pushtimarg

Shuddhadvaita (pure non-dualism), propounded by Vallabhacharya (1479–1531 CE), states that the entire universe is real and is subtly Brahman only in the form of Krishna.[50] Vallabhacharya agreed with Advaita Vedanta's ontology, but emphasized that prakriti (empirical world, body) is not separate from the Brahman, but just another manifestation of the latter.[50] Everything, everyone, everywhere – soul and body, living and non-living, jiva and matter – is the eternal Krishna.[95] The way to Krishna, in this school, is bhakti. Vallabha opposed renunciation of monistic sannyasa as ineffective and advocates the path of devotion (bhakti) rather than knowledge (jnana). The goal of bhakti is to turn away from ego, self-centered-ness and deception, and to turn towards the eternal Krishna in everything continually offering freedom from samsara.[50]

History

The history of Vedanta can be divided into two periods: one prior to the composition of the Brahma Sutras and the other encompassing the schools that developed after the Brahma Sutras were written.

Before the Brahma Sutras (before the 5th century)

Little is known[96] of schools of Vedanta existing before the composition of the Brahma Sutras (400–450 CE).[97][5][k] It is clear that Badarayana, the writer of Brahma Sutras, was not the first person to systematize the teachings of the Upanishads, as he quotes six Vedantic teachers before him – Ashmarathya, Badari, Audulomi, Kashakrtsna, Karsnajini and Atreya.[99][100] References to other early Vedanta teachers – Brahmadatta, Sundara, Pandaya, Tanka and Dravidacharya – are found in secondary literature of later periods.[101] The works of these ancient teachers have not survived, but based on the quotes attributed to them in later literature, Sharma postulates that Ashmarathya and Audulomi were Bhedabheda scholars, Kashakrtsna and Brahmadatta were Advaita scholars, while Tanka and Dravidacharya were either Advaita or Vishistadvaita scholars.[100]

Brahma Sutras (completed in the 5th century)

Main article: Brahma Sutras

Badarayana summarized and interpreted teachings of the Upanishads in the Brahma Sutras, also called the Vedanta Sutra,[102][l] possibly "written from a Bhedābheda Vedāntic viewpoint."[4] Badarayana summarized the teachings of the classical Upanishads[103][104][m] and refuted the rival philosophical schools in ancient India. Nicholson 2010, p. 26 The Brahma Sutras laid the basis for the development of Vedanta philosophy.[105]

Though attributed to Badarayana, the Brahma Sutras were likely composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years.[5] The estimates on when the Brahma Sutras were complete vary,[106][107] with Nakamura in 1989 and Nicholson in his 2013 review stating, that they were most likely compiled in the present form around 400–450 CE.[97][n] Isaeva suggests they were complete and in current form by 200 CE,[108] while Nakamura states that "the great part of the Sutra must have been in existence much earlier than that."[107]

The book is composed of four chapters, each divided into four-quarters or sections.[21] These sutras attempt to synthesize the diverse teachings of the Upanishads. However, the cryptic nature of aphorisms of the Brahma Sutras have required exegetical commentaries.[109] These commentaries have resulted in the formation of numerous Vedanta schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own commentary.[110]

Between the Brahma Sutras and Adi Shankara (5th–8th centuries)

See also: Vedas, Upanishads, and Darsanas

Little with specificity is known of the period between the Brahma Sutras (5th century CE) and Adi Shankara (8th century CE).[96][11] Only two writings of this period have survived: the Vākyapadīya, written by Bhartṛhari (second half 5th century,[111]) and the Kārikā written by Gaudapada (early 6th[11] or 7th century[96] CE).

Shankara mentions 99 different predecessors of his school in his commentaries.[112] A number of important early Vedanta thinkers have been listed in the Siddhitraya by Yamunācārya (c. 1050), the Vedārthasamgraha by Rāmānuja (c. 1050–1157), and the Yatīndramatadīpikā by Śrīnivāsa Dāsa.[96] At least fourteen thinkers are known to have existed between the composition of the Brahma Sutras and Shankara's lifetime.[o]

A noted scholar of this period was Bhartriprapancha. Bhartriprapancha maintained that the Brahman is one and there is unity, but that this unity has varieties. Scholars see Bhartriprapancha as an early philosopher in the line who teach the tenet of Bhedabheda.[21]

Gaudapada, Adi Shankara (Advaita Vedanta) (6th–9th centuries)

Main articles: Advaita Vedanta and Gaudapada

Influenced by Buddhism, Advaita vedanta departs from the bhedabheda-philosophy, instead postulating the identity of Atman with the Whole (Brahman),

Gaudapada

Gaudapada (c. 6th century CE),[113] was the teacher or a more distant predecessor of Govindapada,[114] the teacher of Adi Shankara. Shankara is widely considered as the apostle of Advaita Vedanta.[45] Gaudapada's treatise, the Kārikā – also known as the Māṇḍukya Kārikā or the Āgama Śāstra[115] – is the earliest surviving complete text on Advaita Vedanta.[p]

Gaudapada's Kārikā relied on the Mandukya, Brihadaranyaka and Chhandogya Upanishads.[119] In the Kārikā, Advaita (non-dualism) is established on rational grounds (upapatti) independent of scriptural revelation; its arguments are devoid of all religious, mystical or scholastic elements. Scholars are divided on a possible influence of Buddhism on Gaudapada's philosophy.[q] The fact that Shankara, in addition to the Brahma Sutras, the principal Upanishads and the Bhagvad Gita, wrote an independent commentary on the Kārikā proves its importance in Vedāntic literature.[120]

Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara (788–820), elaborated on Gaudapada's work and more ancient scholarship to write detailed commentaries on the Prasthanatrayi and the Kārikā. The Mandukya Upanishad and the Kārikā have been described by Shankara as containing "the epitome of the substance of the import of Vedanta".[120] It was Shankara who integrated Gaudapada work with the ancient Brahma Sutras, "and give it a locus classicus" alongside the realistic strain of the Brahma Sutras.[121][r] His interpretation, including works ascribed to him, has become the normative interpretation of Advaita Vedanta.[122][s]

A noted contemporary of Shankara was Maṇḍana Miśra, who regarded Mimamsa and Vedanta as forming a single system and advocated their combination known as Karma-jnana-samuchchaya-vada.[125][t] The treatise on the differences between the Vedanta school and the Mimamsa school was a contribution of Adi Shankara. Advaita Vedanta rejects rituals in favor of renunciation, for example.[126]

Early Vaishnavism Vedanta (7th–9th centuries)

Early Vaishnava Vedanta retains the tradition of bhedabheda, equating Brahman with Vishnu or Krishna.

Nimbārka and Dvaitādvaita

Main article: Dvaitadvaita

Nimbārka (7th century)[7][8] sometimes identified with Bhāskara,[71] propounded Dvaitādvaita Bhedābheda.[72]

Bhāskara and Upadhika

Bhāskara (8th–9th century) also taught Bhedabheda. In postulating Upadhika, he considers both identity and difference to be equally real. As the causal principle, Brahman is considered non-dual and formless pure being and intelligence.[127] The same Brahman, manifest as events, becomes the world of plurality. Jīva is Brahman limited by the mind. Matter and its limitations are considered real, not a manifestation of ignorance. Bhaskara advocated bhakti as dhyana (meditation) directed toward the transcendental Brahman. He refuted the idea of Maya and denied the possibility of liberation in bodily existence.[128]

Vaishnavism Bhakti Vedanta (12th–16th centuries)

Main articles: Vaishnavism and Bhakti

See also: Bhakti movement

The Bhakti movement of late medieval Hinduism started in the 7th-century, but rapidly expanded after the 12th-century.[129] It was supported by the Puranic literature such as the Bhagavata Purana, poetic works, as well as many scholarly bhasyas and samhitas.[130][131][132]

This period saw the growth of Vashnavism Sampradayas (denominations or communities) under the influence of scholars such as Ramanujacharya, Vedanta Desika, Madhvacharya and Vallabhacharya.[133] Bhakti poets or teachers such as Manavala Mamunigal, Namdev, Ramananda, Surdas, Tulsidas, Eknath, Tyagaraja, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and many others influenced the expansion of Vaishnavism.[134] These Vaishnavism sampradaya founders challenged the then dominant Shankara's doctrines of Advaita Vedanta, particularly Ramanuja in the 12th century, Vedanta Desika and Madhva in the 13th, building their theology on the devotional tradition of the Alvars (Shri Vaishnavas),[135] and Vallabhacharya in the 16th century.

In North and Eastern India, Vaishnavism gave rise to various late Medieval movements: Ramananda in the 14th century, Sankaradeva in the 15th and Vallabha and Chaitanya in the 16th century.

Ramanuja (Vishishtadvaita Vedanta) (11th–12th centuries)

Rāmānuja (1017–1137 CE) was the most influential philosopher in the Vishishtadvaita tradition. As the philosophical architect of Vishishtadvaita, he taught qualified non-dualism.[136] Ramanuja's teacher, Yadava Prakasha, followed the Advaita monastic tradition. Tradition has it that Ramanuja disagreed with Yadava and Advaita Vedanta, and instead followed Nathamuni and Yāmuna. Ramanuja reconciled the Prasthanatrayi with the theism and philosophy of the Vaishnava Alvars poet-saints.[137] Ramanuja wrote a number of influential texts, such as a bhasya on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, all in Sanskrit.[138]

Ramanuja presented the epistemological and soteriological importance of bhakti, or the devotion to a personal God (Vishnu in Ramanuja's case) as a means to spiritual liberation. His theories assert that there exists a plurality and distinction between Atman (souls) and Brahman (metaphysical, ultimate reality), while he also affirmed that there is unity of all souls and that the individual soul has the potential to realize identity with the Brahman.[83] Vishishtadvaiata provides the philosophical basis of Sri Vaishnavism.[139]

Ramanuja was influential in integrating Bhakti, the devotional worship, into Vedanta premises.[140]

Madhva (Dvaita Vedanta)(13th–14th centuries)

Dvaita Vedanta was propounded by Madhvacharya (1238–1317 CE).[u] He presented the opposite interpretation of Shankara in his Dvaita, or dualistic system.[143] In contrast to Shankara's non-dualism and Ramanuja's qualified non-dualism, he championed unqualified dualism. Madhva wrote commentaries on the chief Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutra.[144]

Madhva started his Vedic studies at age seven, joined an Advaita Vedanta monastery in Dwarka (Gujarat),[145] studied under guru Achyutrapreksha,[146] frequently disagreed with him, left the Advaita monastery, and founded Dvaita.[147] Madhva and his followers Jayatirtha and Vyasatirtha, were critical of all competing Hindu philosophies, Jainism and Buddhism,[148] but particularly intense in their criticism of Advaita Vedanta and Adi Shankara.[149]

Dvaita Vedanta is theistic and it identifies Brahman with Narayana, or more specifically Vishnu, in a manner similar to Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. But it is more explicitly pluralistic.[150] Madhva's emphasis for difference between soul and Brahman was so pronounced that he taught there were differences (1) between material things; (2) between material things and souls; (3) between material things and God; (4) between souls; and (5) between souls and God.[151] He also advocated for a difference in degrees in the possession of knowledge. He also advocated for differences in the enjoyment of bliss even in the case of liberated souls, a doctrine found in no other system of Indian philosophy.[150]

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Achintya Bheda Abheda) (16th century)

Achintya Bheda Abheda (Vaishnava), founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534 CE),[9] was propagated by Gaudiya Vaishnava. Historically, it was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who founded congregational chanting of holy names of Krishna in the early 16th century after becoming a sannyasi.[152]

Modern times (19th century – present)

Swaminarayan and Akshar-Purushottam Darshan (19th century)


The Akshar-Purushottam Darshan, which is philosophically related to Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita,[153][69][154][v] was founded in 1801 by Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE), and is contemporarily most notably propagated by BAPS.[155] Due to the commentarial work of Bhadreshdas Swami, the Akshar-Purushottam teachings were recognized as a distinct school of Vedanta by the Shri Kashi Vidvat Parishad in 2017[66][67] and by members of the 17th World Sanskrit Conference in 2018.[66][w][68] Swami Paramtattvadas describes the Akshar-Purushottam teachings as "a distinct school of thought within the larger expanse of classical Vedanta,"[156] presenting the Akshar-Purushottam teachings as a seventh school of Vedanta.[157]

Neo-Vedanta (19th century)

Main articles: Neo-Vedanta, Hindu nationalism, and Hindu reform movements

Neo-Vedanta, variously called as "Hindu modernism", "neo-Hinduism", and "neo-Advaita", is a term that denotes some novel interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century,[158] presumably as a reaction to the colonial British rule.[159] King (2002, pp. 129–135) writes that these notions accorded the Hindu nationalists an opportunity to attempt the construction of a nationalist ideology to help unite the Hindus to fight colonial oppression. Western orientalists, in their search for its "essence", attempted to formulate a notion of "Hinduism" based on a single interpretation of Vedanta as a unified body of religious praxis.[160] This was contra-factual as, historically, Hinduism and Vedanta had always accepted a diversity of traditions. King (1999, pp. 133–136) asserts that the neo-Vedantic theory of "overarching tolerance and acceptance" was used by the Hindu reformers, together with the ideas of Universalism and Perennialism, to challenge the polemic dogmatism of Judaeo-Christian-Islamic missionaries against the Hindus.

The neo-Vedantins argued that the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy were perspectives on a single truth, all valid and complementary to each other.[161] Halbfass (2007, p. 307) sees these interpretations as incorporating western ideas[162] into traditional systems, especially Advaita Vedanta.[163] It is the modern form of Advaita Vedanta, states King (1999, p. 135), the neo-Vedantists subsumed the Buddhist philosophies as part of the Vedanta tradition[x] and then argued that all the world religions are same "non-dualistic position as the philosophia perennis", ignoring the differences within and outside of Hinduism.[165] According to Gier (2000, p. 140), neo-Vedanta is Advaita Vedanta which accepts universal realism:

Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Aurobindo have been labeled neo-Vedantists (the latter called it realistic Advaita), a view of Vedanta that rejects the Advaitins' idea that the world is illusory. As Aurobindo phrased it, philosophers need to move from 'universal illusionism' to 'universal realism', in the strict philosophical sense of assuming the world to be fully real.


A major proponent in the popularization of this Universalist and Perennialist interpretation of Advaita Vedanta was Vivekananda,[166] who played a major role in the revival of Hinduism.[167] He was also instrumental in the spread of Advaita Vedanta to the West via the Vedanta Society, the international arm of the Ramakrishna Order.[168]

Criticism of Neo-Vedanta label

Nicholson (2010, p. 2) writes that the attempts at integration which came to be known as neo-Vedanta were evident as early as between the 12th and the 16th century−

... certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (saddarsana) of mainstream Hindu philosophy.[y]


Matilal criticizes Neo-Hinduism as an oddity developed by West-inspired Western Indologists and attributes it to the flawed Western perception of Hinduism in modern India. In his scathing criticism of this school of reasoning, Matilal (2002, pp. 403–404) says:

The so-called 'traditional' outlook is in fact a construction. Indian history shows that the tradition itself was self-conscious and critical of itself, sometimes overtly and sometimes covertly. It was never free from internal tensions due to the inequalities that persisted in a hierarchical society, nor was it without confrontation and challenge throughout its history. Hence Gandhi, Vivekananda and Tagore were not simply 'transplants from Western culture, products arising solely from confrontation with the west. ...It is rather odd that, although the early Indologists' romantic dream of discovering a pure (and probably primitive, according to some) form of Hinduism (or Buddhism as the case may be) now stands discredited in many quarters; concepts like neo-Hinduism are still bandied about as substantial ideas or faultless explanation tools by the Western 'analytic' historians as well as the West-inspired historians of India.


Influence

According to Nakamura (2004, p. 3), the Vedanta school has had a historic and central influence on Hinduism:

The prevalence of Vedanta thought is found not only in philosophical writings but also in various forms of (Hindu) literature, such as the epics, lyric poetry, drama and so forth. ... the Hindu religious sects, the common faith of the Indian populace, looked to Vedanta philosophy for the theoretical foundations for their theology. The influence of Vedanta is prominent in the sacred literatures of Hinduism, such as the various Puranas, Samhitas, Agamas and Tantras ... [96]


Frithjof Schuon summarizes the influence of Vedanta on Hinduism as follows:

The Vedanta contained in the Upanishads, then formulated in the Brahma Sutra, and finally commented and explained by Shankara, is an invaluable key for discovering the deepest meaning of all the religious doctrines and for realizing that the Sanatana Dharma secretly penetrates all the forms of traditional spirituality.[173]


Gavin Flood states,

... the most influential school of theology in India has been Vedanta, exerting enormous influence on all religious traditions and becoming the central ideology of the Hindu renaissance in the nineteenth century. It has become the philosophical paradigm of Hinduism "par excellence".[20]


Hindu traditions

Vedanta, adopting ideas from other orthodox (āstika) schools, became the most prominent school of Hinduism.[21][174] Vedanta traditions led to the development of many traditions in Hinduism.[20][175] Sri Vaishnavism of south and southeastern India is based on Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta.[176] Ramananda led to the Vaishnav Bhakti Movement in north, east, central and west India. This movement draws its philosophical and theistic basis from Vishishtadvaita. A large number of devotional Vaishnavism traditions of east India, north India (particularly the Braj region), west and central India are based on various sub-schools of Bhedabheda Vedanta.[4] Advaita Vedanta influenced Krishna Vaishnavism in the northeastern state of Assam.[177] The Madhva school of Vaishnavism found in coastal Karnataka is based on Dvaita Vedanta.[149]

Āgamas, the classical literature of Shaivism, though independent in origin, show Vedanta association and premises.[178] Of the 92 Āgamas, ten are (dvaita) texts, eighteen (bhedabheda), and sixty-four (advaita) texts.[179] While the Bhairava Shastras are monistic, Shiva Shastras are dualistic.[180] Isaeva (1995, pp. 134–135) finds the link between Gaudapada's Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism evident and natural. Tirumular, the Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta scholar, credited with creating "Vedanta–Siddhanta" (Advaita Vedanta and Shaiva Siddhanta synthesis), stated, "becoming Shiva is the goal of Vedanta and Siddhanta; all other goals are secondary to it and are vain."[181]

Shaktism, or traditions where a goddess is considered identical to Brahman, has similarly flowered from a syncretism of the monist premises of Advaita Vedanta and dualism premises of Samkhya–Yoga school of Hindu philosophy, sometimes referred to as Shaktadavaitavada (literally, the path of nondualistic Shakti).[182]
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Influence on Western thinkers

An exchange of ideas has been taking place between the western world and Asia since the late 18th century as a result of colonization of parts of Asia by Western powers. This also influenced western religiosity. The first translation of Upanishads, published in two parts in 1801 and 1802, significantly influenced Arthur Schopenhauer, who called them the consolation of his life.[183] He drew explicit parallels between his philosophy, as set out in The World as Will and Representation,[184] and that of the Vedanta philosophy as described in the work of Sir William Jones.[185] Early translations also appeared in other European languages.[186] Influenced by Śaṅkara's concepts of Brahman (God) and māyā (illusion), Lucian Blaga often used the concepts marele anonim (the Great Anonymous) and cenzura transcendentă (the transcendental censorship) in his philosophy.[187]

Similarities with Spinoza's philosophy

German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstücker was among the early scholars to notice similarities between the religious conceptions of the Vedanta and those of the Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, writing that Spinoza's thought was

... so exact a representation of the ideas of the Vedanta, that we might have suspected its founder to have borrowed the fundamental principles of his system from the Hindus, did his biography not satisfy us that he was wholly unacquainted with their doctrines [...] comparing the fundamental ideas of both we should have no difficulty in proving that, had Spinoza been a Hindu, his system would in all probability mark a last phase of the Vedanta philosophy.[188]


Max Müller noted the striking similarities between Vedanta and the system of Spinoza, saying,

The Brahman, as conceived in the Upanishads and defined by Sankara, is clearly the same as Spinoza's 'Substantia'."[189]


Helena Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society, also compared Spinoza's religious thought to Vedanta, writing in an unfinished essay,

As to Spinoza's Deity – natura naturans – conceived in his attributes simply and alone; and the same Deity – as natura naturata or as conceived in the endless series of modifications or correlations, the direct outflowing results from the properties of these attributes, it is the Vedantic Deity pure and simple.[190]


See also

• Badarayana
• Monistic idealism
• List of teachers of Vedanta
• Self-consciousness (Vedanta)
• Śāstra pramāṇam in Hinduism

Notes

1. Historically, Vedanta has been called by various names. The early names were the Upanishadic ones (Aupanisada), the doctrine of the end of the Vedas (Vedanta-vada), the doctrine of Brahman(Brahma-vada), and the doctrine that Brahma is the cause (Brahma-karana-vada).[28]
2. The Upanishads were many in number and developed in the different schools at different times and places, some in the Vedic period and others in the medieval or modern era (the names of up to 112 Upanishads have been recorded).[34] All major commentators have considered twelve to thirteen oldest of these texts as the Principal Upanishads and as the foundation of Vedanta.
3. A few Indian scholars such as Vedvyasa discuss ten; Krtakoti discusses eight; six is most widely accepted: see Nicholson (2010, pp. 149–150)
4. Anantanand Rambachan (1991, pp. xii–xiii) states, "According to these [widely represented contemporary] studies, Shankara only accorded a provisional validity to the knowledge gained by inquiry into the words of the Śruti (Vedas) and did not see the latter as the unique source (pramana) of Brahmajnana. The affirmations of the Śruti, it is argued, need to be verified and confirmed by the knowledge gained through direct experience (anubhava) and the authority of the Śruti, therefore, is only secondary." Sengaku Mayeda (2006, pp. 46–47) concurs, adding Shankara maintained the need for objectivity in the process of gaining knowledge (vastutantra), and considered subjective opinions (purushatantra) and injunctions in Śruti (codanatantra) as secondary. Mayeda cites Shankara's explicit statements emphasizing epistemology (pramana–janya) in section 1.18.133 of Upadesasahasri and section 1.1.4 of Brahmasutra–bhasya.
5. Nicholson (2010, p. 27) writes of Advaita Vedantin position of cause and effect - Although Brahman seems to undergo a transformation, in fact no real change takes place. The myriad of beings are essentially unreal, as the only real being is Brahman, that ultimate reality which is unborn, unchanging, and entirely without parts.
6. Sivananda also mentions Meykandar and the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy.[65]
7. Proponents of other Vedantic schools continue to write and develop their ideas as well, although their works are not widely known outside of smaller circles of followers in India.
8. According to Nakamura and Dasgupta, the Brahmasutras reflect a Bhedabheda point of view,[5]the most influential tradition of Vedanta before Shankara. Numerous Indologists, including Surendranath Dasgupta, Paul hacker, Hajime Nakamura, and Mysore Hiriyanna, have described Bhedabheda as the most influential school of Vedanta before Shankara.[5]
9. Doniger (1986, p. 119) says "that to say that the universe is an illusion (māyā) is not to say that it is unreal; it is to say, instead, that it is not what it seems to be, that it is something constantly being made. Maya not only deceives people about the things they think they know; more basically, it limits their knowledge."
10. The concept of Brahman in Dvaita Vedanta is so similar to the monotheistic eternal God, that some early colonial–era Indologists such as George Abraham Grierson suggested Madhva was influenced by early Christians who migrated to India, [90] but later scholarship has rejected this theory.[91]
11. Nicholson (2010, p. 26) considers the Brahma Sutras as a group of sutras composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years. The precise date is disputed.[98] Nicholson (2010, p. 26) estimates that the book was composed in its current form between 400 and 450 CE. The reference shows BCE, but it´s a typo in Nicholson´s book
12. The Vedanta–sūtra are known by a variety of names, including (1) Brahma–sūtra, (2) Śārīraka–sutra, (3) Bādarāyaṇa–sūtra and (4) Uttara–mīmāṁsā.
13. Estimates of the date of Bādarāyana's lifetime differ. Pandey 2000, p. 4
14. Nicholson 2013, p. 26 Quote: "From a historical perspective, the Brahmasutras are best understood as a group of sutras composed by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years, most likely composed in its current form between 400 and 450 BCE." This dating has a typo in Nicholson's book, it should be read "between 400 and 450 CE"
15. Bhartŗhari (c. 450–500), Upavarsa (c. 450–500), Bodhāyana (c. 500), Tanka (Brahmānandin) (c. 500–550), Dravida (c. 550), Bhartŗprapañca (c. 550), Śabarasvāmin (c. 550), Bhartŗmitra (c. 550–600), Śrivatsānka (c. 600), Sundarapāndya (c. 600), Brahmadatta (c. 600–700), Gaudapada (c. 640–690), Govinda (c. 670–720), Mandanamiśra (c. 670–750)[96]
16. There is ample evidence, however, to suggest that Advaita was a thriving tradition by the start of the common era or even before that. Shankara mentions 99 different predecessors of his Sampradaya.[112] Scholarship since 1950 suggests that almost all Sannyasa Upanishads have a strong Advaita Vedanta outlook.[116] Six Sannyasa Upanishads – Aruni, Kundika, Kathashruti, Paramahamsa, Jabala and Brahma – were composed before the 3rd Century CE, likely in the centuries before or after the start of the common era; the Asrama Upanishad is dated to the 3rd Century.[117] The strong Advaita Vedanta views in these ancient Sannyasa Upanishads may be, states Patrick Olivelle, because major Hindu monasteries of this period belonged to the Advaita Vedanta tradition.[118]
17. Scholars like Raju (1992, p. 177), following the lead of earlier scholars like Sengupta,[120] believe that Gaudapada co-opted the Buddhist doctrine that ultimate reality is pure consciousness (vijñapti-mātra). Raju (1992, pp. 177–178) states, "Gaudapada wove [both doctrines] into a philosophy of the Mandukaya Upanisad, which was further developed by Shankara." Nikhilananda (2008, pp. 203–206) states that the whole purpose of Gaudapada was to present and demonstrate the ultimate reality of Atman, an idea denied by Buddhism. According to Murti (1955, pp. 114–115), Gaudapada's doctrines are unlike Buddhism. Gaudapada's influential text consists of four chapters: Chapters One, Two, and Three are entirely Vedantin and founded on the Upanishads, with little Buddhist flavor. Chapter Four uses Buddhist terminology and incorporates Buddhist doctrines but Vedanta scholars who followed Gaudapada through the 17th century, state that both Murti and Richard King never referenced nor used Chapter Four, they only quote from the first three.[10] While there is shared terminology, the doctrines of Gaudapada and Buddhism are fundamentally different, states Murti (1955, pp. 114–115)
18. Nicholson (2010, p. 27) writes: "The Brahmasutras themselves espouse the realist Parinamavada position, which appears to have been the view most common among early Vedantins."
19. Shankara synthesized the Advaita–vāda which had previously existed before him,[123] and, in this synthesis, became the restorer & defender of an ancient learning.[124] He was an unequaled commentator,[124] due to whose efforts and contributions,[123] Advaita Vedanta assumed a dominant position within Indian philosophy.[124]
20. According to Mishra, the sutras, beginning with the first sutra of Jaimini and ending with the last sutra of Badarayana, form one compact shastra.[125]
21. Many sources date him to 1238–1317 period,[141] but some place him over 1199–1278 CE.[142]
22. Vishishtadvaita roots:
* Supreme Court of India, 1966 AIR 1119, 1966 SCR (3) 242: "Philosophically, Swaminarayan was a follower of Ramanuja"[154]
* Hanna H. Kim: "The philosophical foundation for Swaminarayan devotionalism is the viśiṣṭādvaita, or qualified non-dualism, of Rāmānuja (1017–1137 ce)."[153]
23. "Professor Ashok Aklujkar said [...] Just as the Kashi Vidvat Parishad acknowledged Swaminarayan Bhagwan’s Akshar-Purushottam Darshan as a distinct darshan in the Vedanta tradition, we are honored to do the same from the platform of the World Sanskrit Conference [...] Professor George Cardona [said] "This is a very important classical Sanskrit commentary that very clearly and effectively explains that Akshar is distinct from Purushottam."[66]
24. Vivekananda, clarifies Richard King, stated, "I am not a Buddhist, as you have heard, and yet I am"; but thereafter Vivekananda explained that "he cannot accept the Buddhist rejection of a self, but nevertheless honors the Buddha's compassion and attitude towards others".[164]
25. The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also been noted by Burley.[169]Lorenzen locates the origins of a distinct Hindu identity in the interaction between Muslims and Hindus,[170] and a process of "mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim other",[171] which started well before 1800.[172]

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o Sharma, Chandradhar (1996). The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy: A Study of Advaita in Buddhism, Vedānta and Kāshmīra Shaivism. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-8120813120. OCLC 1041414621.
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Web sources

• Mohanty, Jitendra N.; Wharton, Michael (2011). "Indian philosophy - Historical development of Indian philosophy". Britannica. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
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• Doniger, Wendy; Stefon, Matt (2015). "Vedanta, Hindu Philosophy". Britannica. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
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• Stoker, Valerie (2011). "Madhva (1238-1317)". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
• Ranganathan, Shyam. "Hindu Philosophy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
• Nicholson, Andrew J. "Bhedabheda Vedanta". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2016-08-26.

Further reading

• Parthasarathy, Swami. "The Eternities". Vedanta Treatise.
• Deussen, Paul (2007) [1912]. The System of Vedanta (Reprint ed.).
• Smith, Huston (1993). Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition.
• Potter, Karl; Bhattachārya, Sibajiban. "Vedanta Sutras of Nārāyana Guru". Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies.
• Comparative analysis of commentaries on Vedanta Sutras. https://archive.org/download/in.ernet.d ... edanta.pdf
• Aurobindo, Sri (1972). "The Upanishads". Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Archived from the original on 2007-01-04.
• Parthasarathy, Swami. Choice Upanishads.
• Vrajaprana, Pravrajika. "A Simple Introduction". Vedanta.
• "VedantaHub.org". - Resources to help with the Study and Practice of Vedanta.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:03 am

Gentoo Code
by Wikipedia
February 7, 2021


The first Specimen here inserted is from the Book of Munnoo, which the Reader will observe stands foremost in the List of those which furnished the subsequent Code.

-- 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 Gentoo Code (also known as A Code of Gentoo Laws or Ordinations of the Pundits) is a legal code translated from Sanskrit (in which it was known as vivādārṇavasetu) into Persian by Brahmin scholars; and then from Persian into English by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, a British grammarian working for the East India Company.[1][2] Vivādārṇavasetu is a digest of Hindu law in 21 sections (taraṅga) compiled for Warren Hastings by the pandits.[3] The translation was funded and encouraged by Warren Hastings as a method of consolidating company control on the Indian subcontinent. It was translated into English with a view to know about the culture and local laws of various parts of Indian subcontinent. It was printed privately by the East India Company in London in 1776 under the title A Code of Gentoo Laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits. Copies were not put on sale, but the Company did distribute them. In 1777 a pirate (and less luxurious) edition was printed; and in 1781 a second edition appeared. Translations into French and German were published in 1778. It is basically about the Hindu law of inheritance (Manusmriti).[4]

The Manusmṛiti ... was one of the first Sanskrit texts to have been translated into English in 1776, by Sir William Jones, and was used to formulate the Hindu law by the British colonial government...

Over fifty manuscripts of the Manusmriti are now known, but the earliest discovered, most translated and presumed authentic version since the 18th century has been the "Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) manuscript with Kulluka Bhatta commentary". Modern scholarship states this presumed authenticity is false, and the various manuscripts of Manusmriti discovered in India are inconsistent with each other, and within themselves, raising concerns of its authenticity, insertions and interpolations made into the text in later times...

The title Manusmriti is a relatively modern term and a late innovation, probably coined because the text is in a verse form...

[T]he text version in modern use, according to Olivelle, is likely the work of a single author or a chairman with research assistants.

Manusmriti, Olivelle states, was not a new document, it drew on other texts, and it reflects "a crystallization of an accumulated knowledge" in ancient India....

The text is composed in metric Shlokas (verses), in the form of a dialogue between an exalted teacher and disciples who are eager to learn about the various aspects of dharma....

The verses 12.1, 12.2 and 12.82 are transitional verses. This section is in a different style than the rest of the text, raising questions whether this entire chapter was added later. While there is evidence that this chapter was extensively redacted over time, however it is unclear whether the entire chapter is of a later era....

The structure and contents of the Manusmriti suggest it to be a document predominantly targeted at the Brahmins (priestly class) and the Kshatriyas (king, administration and warrior class).[34] The text dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, and 971 verses for Kshatriyas...

Chapter 7 of the Manusmriti discusses the duties of a king, what virtues he must have, what vices he must avoid. In verses 7.54 - 7.76, the text identifies precepts to be followed in selecting ministers, ambassadors and officials, as well as the characteristics of well fortified capital. Manusmriti then lays out the laws of just war, stating that first and foremost, war should be avoided by negotiations and reconciliations. If war becomes necessary, states Manusmriti, a soldier must never harm civilians, non-combatants or someone who has surrendered, that use of force should be proportionate, and other rules. Fair taxation guidelines are described in verses 7.127 to 7.137...

Sinha, for example, states that less than half, or only 1,214 of the 2,685 verses in Manusmriti, may be authentic. Further, the verses are internally inconsistent. Verses such as 3.55-3.62 of Manusmriti, for example, glorify the position of women, while verse such as 9.3 and 9.17 do the opposite. Other passages found in Manusmriti, such as those relating to Ganesha, are modern era insertions and forgeries...

There are so many contradictions in the printed volume that, if you accept one part, you are bound to reject those parts that are wholly inconsistent with it. (...) Nobody is in possession of the original text...

Scholars doubt Manusmriti was ever administered as law text in ancient or medieval Hindu society. David Buxbaum states, "in the opinion of the best contemporary orientalists, it [Manusmriti] does not, as a whole, represent a set of rules ever actually administered in Hindustan. It is in great part an ideal picture of that which ... ought to be law".

Donald Davis writes, "there is no historical evidence for either an active propagation or implementation of Dharmasastra [Manusmriti] by a ruler or any state – as distinct from other forms of recognizing, respecting and using the text. Thinking of Dharmasastra as a legal code and of its authors as lawgivers is thus a serious misunderstanding of its history".


-- Manusmriti, by Wikipedia


The Pandits and the Maulvis were associated with judges to understand the civil law of Hindus and Muslims.

Citations

1. Jones, William (9 November 2006). Sir William Jones, 1746-94: A Commemoration. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 9781584776888 – via Google Books.
2. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
3. Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey (9 November 1776). A code of Gentoo laws, or, Ordinations of the pundits : from a Persian translation, made from the original written in the Shanscrit language. London: [s.n.] – via Trove.
4. Halhed, Nathaniel Brassey (1971). A Code of Gentoo laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits. London. p. 96. Retrieved 9 November 2019.

See also

• List of ancient legal codes

External links

A Code of Gentoo laws at archive.org
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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

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

Image
Warren Hastings in 1768

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

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

Background

Appointment


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

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

Disputes and war

Main article: Second Mysore War

Image
Hastings' initial accuser Sir Philip Francis

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

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

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

First attacks

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

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

Return to Britain

Image
The MP Edmund Burke led the prosecution of Hastings.

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

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

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

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

Impeachment

Image
The trial of Warren Hastings, 1788

Opening

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

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

Public opinion changes

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

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

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

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

Verdict

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

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

Aftermath

Image
Westminster Hall where the trial took place

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes

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

Bibliography

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

Impeachment Documents

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

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

Sarmad Kashani
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BPL took the news remarkably well....

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Early life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


-- Transcendent theosophy, by Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Image
Abbas the Great. Portrait by an unknown Italian painter.

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

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

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

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


-- Abbas the Great, by Wikipedia

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

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

-- Mir Damad, by Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

To paraphrase Mulla Sadra's Logical Proof for God:

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

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

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

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

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

-- Mulla Sadra, by Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Mahabharata, by Wikipedia

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

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

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

-- Yoga Vasistha, by Wikipedia

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

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

-- Mir Fendereski, by Wikipedia

Travels in the Mughal Empire

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

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

Life in Delhi

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

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


Death

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

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

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

Abul Kalam Azad on Sarmad

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

See also

• Dabestan-e Mazaheb

References

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

Bibliography

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

External resources

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

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

Kabir
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/20/21



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BPL took the news remarkably well....

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

-- The Sufi Conspiracy, by David Livingstone


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Early life and background

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Poetry

Image
Indian postage stamp portraying Kabir, 1952

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

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

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


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

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

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

Authenticity

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

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

Philosophy

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Influence of Islam

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

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

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

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

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


Persecution and social impact

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

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

— Kabir, Shabad - 4, [53]


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

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

— Kabir, Sākhī 23.4, [55]


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

Legacy

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

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

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

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

Kabir, Guru Nanak and the Guru Granth Sahib

Further information: Writers of Guru Granth Sahib

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

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

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

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

Kabir's poetry today

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

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

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

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

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

Criticism

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

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

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


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

See also

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

References

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

Further reading

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

External links

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

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

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

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

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

Etymology

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

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

Development

Authorship


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

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

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

Chronology

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

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

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

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

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

Geography

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Geography of the Late Vedic Period

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

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

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

Classification

Muktika canon: major and minor Upanishads

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

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

Mukhya Upanishads

Main article: Mukhya Upanishads

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

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A page of Isha Upanishad manuscript

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

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

Veda-Shakha-Upanishad association

Veda / Recension / Shakha / Principal Upanishad


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


New Upanishads

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

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

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

Association with Vedas

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

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

Image

Veda-Upanishad association

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


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


Philosophy

Main article: Vedanta

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

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

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

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

Development of thought

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

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

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

— Maitri Upanishad[111][112]


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

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

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

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

Brahman and Atman

Main articles: Ātman (Hinduism) and Brahman

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

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

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

Reality and Maya

Main article: Maya (illusion)

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

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

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

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

Schools of Vedanta

Main article: Vedanta

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

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

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

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

Advaita Vedanta

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

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

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

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

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

Vishishtadvaita

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

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

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

Dvaita

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

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

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

Similarities with Platonic thought

See also: Proto-Indo-European religion and Ṛta

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

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

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

Translations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

— Max Müller[14]


See also

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

Notes

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

References

1. "Upanishad". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
2. Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618470, pages 2-3; Quote: "The Upanishads supply the basis of later Hindu philosophy; they are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus."
3. Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806, page 39; Quote: "The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self.";
Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, ISBN 978-1592578467, pages 208-210
4. Olivelle 1998, pp. xx-xxiv.
5. Samuel 2010.
6. Gavin Flood (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521438780, pp. 35–39
7. A Bhattacharya (2006), Hindu Dharma: Introduction to Scriptures and Theology, ISBN 978-0595384556, pp. 8–14; George M. Williams (2003), Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195332612, p. 285
8. Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032
9. Patrick Olivelle 1998, pp. 3-4.
10. Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429, page 3; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism".
11. Max Müller, The Upanishads, Part 1, Oxford University Press, page LXXXVI footnote 1
12. Mahadevan 1956, p. 59.
13. PT Raju (1985), Structural Depths of Indian Thought, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0887061394, pages 35-36
14. WD Strappini, The Upanishads, p. 258, at Google Books, The Month and Catholic Review, Vol. 23, Issue 42
15. Ranade 1926, p. 205.
16. Cornille 1992, p. 12.
17. Phillips 1995, p. 10.
18. Stephen Phillips (2009), Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231144858, pages 25-29 and Chapter 1
19. E Easwaran (2007), The Upanishads, ISBN 978-1586380212, pages 298-299
20. Mahadevan 1956, p. 56.
21. Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanishads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124354, pages 12-14
22. King 1995, p. 52.
23. Olivelle 1992, pp. 5, 8–9.
24. Flood 1996, p. 96.
25. Ranade 1926, p. 12.
26. Varghese 2008, p. 101.
27. Clarke, John James (1997). Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-415-13376-0.
28. Deussen 2010, p. 42, Quote: "Here we have to do with the Upanishads, and the world-wide historical significance of these documents cannot, in our judgement, be more clearly indicated than by showing how the deep fundamental conception of Plato and Kant was precisely that which already formed the basis of Upanishad teaching"..
29. Lawrence Hatab (1982). R. Baine Harris (ed.). Neoplatonism and Indian Thought. State University of New York Press. pp. 31–38. ISBN 978-0-87395-546-1.;
Paulos Gregorios (2002). Neoplatonism and Indian Philosophy. State University of New York Press. pp. 71–79, 190–192, 210–214. ISBN 978-0-7914-5274-5.
30. Ben-Ami Scharfstein (1998). A Comparative History of World Philosophy: From the Upanishads to Kant. State University of New York Press. pp. 62–74. ISBN 978-0-7914-3683-7.
31. "Upanishad". Online Etymology Dictionary.
32. Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 472. ISBN 978-0816073368.
33. Monier-Williams, p. 201.
34. Max Müller, Chandogya Upanishad 1.13.4, The Upanishads, Part I, Oxford University Press, page 22
35. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, page 85
36. Robert Hume, Chandogya Upanishad 1.13.4, Oxford University Press, page 190
37. Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanishads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124354, page 185
38. motivation stories on upanishad
39. S Radhakrishnan, The Principal Upanishads George Allen & Co., 1951, pages 22, Reprinted as ISBN 978-8172231248
40. Vaman Shivaram Apte, The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary Archived 15 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, see apauruSeya
41. D Sharma, Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader, Columbia University Press, ISBN, pages 196-197
42. Jan Westerhoff (2009), Nagarjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195384963, page 290
43. Warren Lee Todd (2013), The Ethics of Śaṅkara and Śāntideva: A Selfless Response to an Illusory World, ISBN 978-1409466819, page 128
44. Hartmut Scharfe (2002), Handbook of Oriental Studies, BRILL Academic, ISBN 978-9004125568, pages 13-14
45. Mahadevan 1956, pp. 59-60.
46. Ellison Findly (1999), Women and the Arahant Issue in Early Pali Literature, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 15, No. 1, pages 57-76
47. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 301-304
48. For example, see: Kaushitaki Upanishad Robert Hume (Translator), Oxford University Press, page 306 footnote 2
49. Max Müller, The Upanishads, p. PR72, at Google Books, Oxford University Press, page LXXII
50. Patrick Olivelle (1998), Unfaithful Transmitters, Journal of Indian Philosophy, April 1998, Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 173-187;
Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanishads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124354, pages 583-640
51. WD Whitney, The Upanishads and Their Latest Translation, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 7, No. 1, pages 1-26;
F Rusza (2010), The authorlessness of the philosophical sūtras, Acta Orientalia, Volume 63, Number 4, pages 427-442
52. Mark Juergensmeyer et al. (2011), Encyclopedia of Global Religion, SAGE Publications, ISBN 978-0761927297, page 1122
53. Olivelle 1998, pp. 12-13.
54. Olivelle 1998, p. xxxvi.
55. Patrick Olivelle, Upanishads, Encyclopædia Britannica
56. Olivelle 1998, p. xxxvii.
57. Olivelle 1998, p. xxxviii.
58. Olivelle 1998, p. xxxix.
59. Deussen 1908, pp. 35–36.
60. Tripathy 2010, p. 84.
61. Sen 1937, p. 19.
62. Ayyangar, T. R. Srinivasa (1941). The Samanya-Vedanta Upanisads. Jain Publishing (Reprint 2007). ISBN 978-0895819833. OCLC 27193914.
63. Deussen, Bedekar & Palsule (tr.) 1997, pp. 556-568.
64. Holdrege 1995, pp. 426.
65. Srinivasan, Doris (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes. BRILL Academic. pp. 112–120. ISBN 978-9004107588.
66. Ayyangar, TRS (1953). Saiva Upanisads. Jain Publishing Co. (Reprint 2007). pp. 194–196. ISBN 978-0895819819.
67. M. Fujii, On the formation and transmission of the JUB, Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora 2, 1997
68. Olivelle 1998, pp. 3–4.
69. Ranade 1926, p. 61.
70. Joshi 1994, pp. 90–92.
71. Heehs 2002, p. 85.
72. Rinehart 2004, p. 17.
73. Singh 2002, pp. 3–4.
74. Schrader & Adyar Library 1908, p. v.
75. Olivelle 1998, pp. xxxii-xxxiii.
76. Paul Deussen (1966), The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Dover, ISBN 978-0486216164, pages 283-296; for an example, see Garbha Upanishad
77. Patrick Olivelle (1992), The Samnyasa Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195070453, pages 1-12, 98-100; for an example, see Bhikshuka Upanishad
78. Brooks 1990, pp. 13–14.
79. Parmeshwaranand 2000, pp. 404–406.
80. Paul Deussen (2010 Reprint), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691, pages 566-568
81. Peter Heehs (2002), Indian Religions, New York University Press, ISBN 978-0814736500, pages 60-88
82. Robert C Neville (2000), Ultimate Realities, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0791447765, page 319
83. Stephen Phillips (2009), Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231144858, pages 28-29
84. Olivelle 1998, p. xxiii.
85. Patrick Olivelle (1992), The Samnyasa Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195070453, pages x-xi, 5
86. The Yoga Upanishads TR Srinivasa Ayyangar (Translator), SS Sastri (Editor), Adyar Library
87. AM Sastri, The Śākta Upaniṣads, with the commentary of Śrī Upaniṣad-Brahma-Yogin, Adyar Library, OCLC 7475481
88. AM Sastri, The Vaishnava-upanishads: with the commentary of Sri Upanishad-brahma-yogin, Adyar Library, OCLC 83901261
89. AM Sastri, The Śaiva-Upanishads with the commentary of Sri Upanishad-Brahma-Yogin, Adyar Library, OCLC 863321204
90. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 217-219
91. Prāṇāgnihotra is missing in some anthologies, included by Paul Deussen (2010 Reprint), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691, page 567
92. Atharvasiras is missing in some anthologies, included by Paul Deussen (2010 Reprint), Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814691, page 568
93. Glucklich 2008, p. 70.
94. Fields 2001, p. 26.
95. Olivelle 1998, p. 4.
96. S Radhakrishnan, The Principal Upanishads George Allen & Co., 1951, pages 17-19, Reprinted as ISBN 978-8172231248
97. Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli, The Principal Upanishads, Indus / Harper Collins India; 5th edition (1994), ISBN 978-8172231248
98. S Radhakrishnan, The Principal Upanishads George Allen & Co., 1951, pages 19-20, Reprinted as ISBN 978-8172231248
99. S Radhakrishnan, The Principal Upanishads George Allen & Co., 1951, page 24, Reprinted as ISBN 978-8172231248
100. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 114-115 with preface and footnotes;
Robert Hume, Chandogya Upanishad 3.17, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pages 212-213
101. Henk Bodewitz (1999), Hindu Ahimsa, in Violence Denied (Editors: Jan E. M. Houben, et al), Brill, ISBN 978-9004113442, page 40
102. PV Kane, Samanya Dharma, History of Dharmasastra, Vol. 2, Part 1, page 5
103. Chatterjea, Tara. Knowledge and Freedom in Indian Philosophy. Oxford: Lexington Books. p. 148.
104. Tull, Herman W. The Vedic Origins of Karma: Cosmos as Man in Ancient Indian Myth and Ritual. SUNY Series in Hindu Studies. P. 28
105. Mahadevan 1956, p. 57.
106. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 30-42;
107. Max Müller (1962), Manduka Upanishad, in The Upanishads - Part II, Oxford University Press, Reprinted as ISBN 978-0486209937, pages 30-33
108. Eduard Roer, Mundaka Upanishad[permanent dead link] Bibliotheca Indica, Vol. XV, No. 41 and 50, Asiatic Society of Bengal, pages 153-154
109. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 331-333
110. "laid those fires" is a phrase in Vedic literature that implies yajna and related ancient religious rituals; see Maitri Upanishad - Sanskrit Text with English Translation[permanent dead link] EB Cowell (Translator), Cambridge University, Bibliotheca Indica, First Prapathaka
111. Max Müller, The Upanishads, Part 2, Maitrayana-Brahmana Upanishad, Oxford University Press, pages 287-288
112. Hume, Robert Ernest (1921), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pp. 412–414
113. Hume, Robert Ernest (1921), The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pp. 428–429
114. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pages 350-351
115. Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of Upanishads at Google Books, University of Kiel, T&T Clark, pages 342-355, 396-412
116. RC Mishra (2013), Moksha and the Hindu Worldview, Psychology & Developing Societies, Vol. 25, No. 1, pages 21-42
117. Mark B. Woodhouse (1978), Consciousness and Brahman-Atman, The Monist, Vol. 61, No. 1, Conceptions of the Self: East & West (JANUARY, 1978), pages 109-124
118. Jayatilleke 1963, p. 32.
119. Jayatilleke 1963, pp. 39.
120. Mackenzie 2012.
121. James Lochtefeld, Brahman, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing. ISBN 978-0823931798, page 122
122. [a]Richard King (1995), Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791425138, page 64, Quote: "Atman as the innermost essence or soul of man, and Brahman as the innermost essence and support of the universe. (...) Thus we can see in the Upanishads, a tendency towards a convergence of microcosm and macrocosm, culminating in the equating of Atman with Brahman".
[ b] Chad Meister (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195340136, page 63; Quote: "Even though Buddhism explicitly rejected the Hindu ideas of Atman ("soul") and Brahman, Hinduism treats Sakyamuni Buddha as one of the ten avatars of Vishnu."
[c] David Lorenzen (2004), The Hindu World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415215277, pages 208-209, Quote: "Advaita and nirguni movements, on the other hand, stress an interior mysticism in which the devotee seeks to discover the identity of individual soul (atman) with the universal ground of being (brahman) or to find god within himself".
123. PT Raju (2006), Idealistic Thought of India, Routledge, ISBN 978-1406732627, page 426 and Conclusion chapter part XII
124. Mariasusai Dhavamony (2002), Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Theological Soundings and Perspectives, Rodopi Press, ISBN 978-9042015104, pages 43-44
125. For dualism school of Hinduism, see: Francis X. Clooney (2010), Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries between Religions, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199738724, pages 51-58, 111-115;
For monist school of Hinduism, see: B Martinez-Bedard (2006), Types of Causes in Aristotle and Sankara, Thesis - Department of Religious Studies (Advisors: Kathryn McClymond and Sandra Dwyer), Georgia State University, pages 18-35
126. Jeffrey Brodd (2009), World Religions: A Voyage of Discovery, Saint Mary's Press, ISBN 978-0884899976, pages 43-47
127. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, page 91
128. [a] Atman, Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press (2012), Quote: "1. real self of the individual; 2. a person's soul";
[ b] John Bowker (2000), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0192800947, See entry for Atman;
[c] WJ Johnson (2009), A Dictionary of Hinduism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198610250, See entry for Atman (self).
129. Soul is synonymous with self in translations of ancient texts of Hindu philosophy
130. Alice Bailey (1973), The Soul and Its Mechanism, ISBN 978-0853301158, pages 82-83
131. Eknath Easwaran (2007), The Upanishads, Nilgiri Press, ISBN 978-1586380212, pages 38-39, 318-320
132. John Koller (2012), Shankara, in Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, (Editors: Chad Meister, Paul Copan), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415782944, pages 99-102
133. Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanishads at Google Books, Dover Publications, pages 86-111, 182-212
134. Nakamura (1990), A History of Early Vedanta Philosophy, p.500. Motilall Banarsidas
135. Mahadevan 1956, pp. 62-63.
136. Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanishads, p. 161, at Google Books, pages 161, 240-254
137. Ben-Ami Scharfstein (1998), A Comparative History of World Philosophy: From the Upanishads to Kant, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791436844, page 376
138. H.M. Vroom (1996), No Other Gods, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 978-0802840974, page 57
139. Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (1986), Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618555, page 119
140. Archibald Edward Gough (2001), The Philosophy of the Upanishads and Ancient Indian Metaphysics, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415245227, pages 47-48
141. Teun Goudriaan (2008), Maya: Divine And Human, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120823891, pages 1-17
142. KN Aiyar (Translator, 1914), Sarvasara Upanishad, in Thirty Minor Upanishads, page 17, OCLC 6347863
143. Adi Shankara, Commentary on Taittiriya Upanishad at Google Books, SS Sastri (Translator), Harvard University Archives, pages 191-198
144. Radhakrishnan 1956, p. 272.
145. Raju 1992, p. 176-177.
146. Raju 1992, p. 177.
147. Ranade 1926, pp. 179–182.
148. Mahadevan 1956, p. 63.
149. Encyclopædia Britannica.
150. Radhakrishnan 1956, p. 273.
151. King 1999, p. 221.
152. Nakamura 2004, p. 31.
153. King 1999, p. 219.
154. Collins 2000, p. 195.
155. Radhakrishnan 1956, p. 284.
156. John Koller (2012), Shankara in Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion (Editors: Chad Meister, Paul Copan), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415782944, pages 99-108
157. Edward Roer (translator), Shankara's Introduction, p. 3, at Google Books to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at pages 3-4; Quote - "(...) Lokayatikas and Bauddhas who assert that the soul does not exist. There are four sects among the followers of Buddha: 1. Madhyamicas who maintain all is void; 2. Yogacharas, who assert except sensation and intelligence all else is void; 3. Sautranticas, who affirm actual existence of external objects no less than of internal sensations; 4. Vaibhashikas, who agree with later (Sautranticas) except that they contend for immediate apprehension of exterior objects through images or forms represented to the intellect."
158. Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction, p. 3, at Google Books to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at page 3, OCLC 19373677
159. KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, ISBN 978-8120806191, pages 246-249, from note 385 onwards;
Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791422175, page 64; Quote: "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence.";
Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction, p. 2, at Google Books, pages 2-4
Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist 'No-Self' Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now;
John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120801585, page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism".
160. Panikkar 2001, p. 669.
161. Panikkar 2001, pp. 725–727.
162. Panikkar 2001, pp. 747–750.
163. Panikkar 2001, pp. 697–701.
164. Olivelle 1998.
165. Klostermaier 2007, pp. 361–363.
166. Chari 1956, p. 305.
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186. Urwick 1920.
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Further reading

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

External links

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