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Part 1 of 2

Sivavakkiyam -- Songs of a Spiritual Rebel
by Dr. Geetha Anand and Dr. T.N. Ganapathy
February 25, 2017

About Prof. T.N. Ganapathy

A distinguished scholar, philosopher and educationist, Prof. T.N. Ganapathy, 84, taught philosophy for eight years (1952-60) in the National College, Tiruchirapalli, and for 31 years (1960-1991) in the Vivekananda College, Chennai. He retired from the Vivekananda college as post-graduate professor and head of the department of philosophy.

He was for 15 years (1991-2006) a visiting professor at the Satya Sai Institute of Higher learning [Sri Sathya Sai Baba], Deemed University, Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparti.

During his tenure with Vivekananda College, he was awarded a senior fellowship for three years (1985-88) by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, which published his work The Philosophy of the Tamil Siddhas in 1993.

From 2000, he has been the Director of the Tamil Yoga Siddha Research Centre, Chennai.

He has published more than 50 research papers in prestigious journals in India and Germany. He is considered as an authority on Immanuel Kant and on the Tamil Siddhas.

He has been the founder-secretary of the Tamil Nadu Philosophical Society, Chennai. He has served both as Joint Secretary and as Treasurer of the Indian Philosophical Congress (1979-1985), an All-India body of philosophers.

He was the General Secretary of the Second World Conference on Siddha Philosophy, held at Chennai in December 2008. He was a special invitee to the First World Conference held in 2007 at Kaulalumpur. Malaysia.

He attended the World Tamil Conference held in Malaysia, in January 2015 where his two books in Tamil, Tirumandiram and Sivavakkiyam were released by Kalaignan Pathipagam, Chennai.

He was invited twice by the Centro Integral de Yoga, Santa Ana, 24, Sevilla, Spain to deliver a series of ten lectures on the Tamil Siddhas in July 2015 and ten lectures on the Tirumandiram in July 2016.

He is the author or editor of several books. To mention a few: An Invitation to Logic (1972); Perspectives of Theism and Absolutism in Indian Philosophy (ed., 1978); Mahavakyas (1982); The Philosophy of the Tamil Siddhas (1993); A Pocket-guide to Thesuis Writing (2003); A Bird's Eye View of Hinduism and Indian Philosophy (2004); The Yoga of the 18 Siddhas: an Anthology (ed. 2004); The Yoga of Siddha Bogonathor (2 volumes, 2003-04, also translated into Spanish, Russian and German). The Yoga of Siddha Tirumular (2006). English translation of the Tirumandiram in 10 vols. (2010) (General Editor and Translator of Tandirams 6 and 9.)

He has got several research papers to his credit in Tamil about the Siddhas.

He has been awarded several titles.

About Dr. Geetha Anand

Dr. Geetha Anand is a molecular biologist by training. Her undergraduate training was at IIT Madras and IIT New Delhi. She received her Ph.D., from Purdue University, Indiana. Her post doctoral training was at the University of Pittsburgh. She served as Research Assistant Professor at Childrens' Hospital, Pittsburgh and as Associate Scientist at the Stanford University, California. She was a consultant at the Foundation for Revitalization of local health traditions, Bangalore and at the National Institute of Advanced studies, Bangalore, where she was Mani Bhaumik Scholar under their Consciousness studies program.

She studied Vaishnavism and Indian Philosophy at Madras University. She was awarded first prize in the Srivaishnavism course conducted by Sri Ahobila Math. Her translation of Sri Lakshmi Sahasram by Sri Venkatadvari Kavi and Sri Appaya Dikshitar's Sri Varadarajasthavam can be accessed at http://www.sadagopan.org. She has published several research articles including Nadi Pariksha, Manuscriptology and comparison of commentaries on Charaka Samhita. She is a staff translator of Srimadh Andavan Ashramam's monthly magazine, Sri Ranganatha Paduka. Her translations, Key to Agatthiyar Jnana (Pranav Swasthisthan) and Greatness of Saturn (Kannadasan Padippagam) are in Press.

In the Siddha field, she was a co-author of the article, Monistic Theism of the Tirumandiram and Kashmir Saivism along with Dr. Ganapathy. She has translated several philosophical works published by Babaji's [Sri Sathya Sai Baba] Kriya Yoga Organization. Quebec including The Grace Course, Kailash The Quest of the Self, Kriya Yoga: insights along the Path, books by Sri Kannaiya Yogi, Sri Satchidanada Gwuparan and Siddha Aarakavi's Sambhaviyogam. She is the co-contributor of a monthly featured article in Amman Darsanam, a magazine published by the Sringeri Sarada Mutt, on hitherto unpublished Siddha works. She also contributes original articles for their Deepavali malar and Vardhanthi malar. She runs the blogs http://www.lyricsofthe liberated.blogspot.com and http://www.agatthiyarinanam. blogspot.com where she translates and comments on Siddha verses. Her translation and commentary on Agalthiyar Meijnanam has been translated into Russian. She has published her translation and commentary on Agatthiyar Meijnanam and Subramanyar Jnanam 500 on facebook. She is at present translating and commenting on Agatthiyar's Saumya Sagaram.

PREFACE

T.N. GANAPATHY


The spark that I should translate Siddha Sivavakkiyar's poems into English was placed in my mind by my friends -- a couple Mr. Peter and Mrs. Helen -- who live in Byron Bay at Australia. They visited my house almost every year between 2006 and 2010 (now-a-days I miss them) and we used to go together to Palani Hills to have the darshan of Lord Muruga; they are very pious devotees of Lord Muruga. [the Hindu god of war.]

I used to accompany them. since lord Muruga is the first Siddha and guru. Siddhisena is an epithet of Lord Muruga. He rides on the peacock which is considered to be the killer of serpents. Serpent stands for the cycle of births and deaths. Peacock stands for the killer of time and thereby birth and death.

Image
The six-headed Kartikeya riding a peacock with his consorts Valli and Devasena, The peacock is seen trampling a snake by Raja Ravi Varma.


Lord Muruga is also known as Skanda. As long as complete control of semen is not attained in the practice of Yoga, Skanda is not born. According to the tantric tradition when the sexual energy moves to a higher level, changing into a sublimated energy, it awakens the latent Kundalini. This ascetic method of non-spilling of semen is called skanda. Skanda is born only when the semen is sublimated and reaches the sahasrara, the mountain top. Ascending the mountain to reach Lord Muruga is a symbolism for arousing the kundalini and its culmination in sahasrara. The six adharas are the six mountains where Lord Muruga resides, and they stand for the six faces of Him. If one understands this significance of Lord Muruga, visiting Palani or any other mountain is not a mere ritual; it is a yogic, spiritual experience.

During our travel to Palani temple I used to refer to Siddha Sivavakkiyar as a critic of rituals and gave them some sample verses of Sivavakkiyar. One such verse is

With the stone planted as God, placing four flowers on it,
Circumbulating it chanting the mantra under breath what is it?
Will the planted stone talk when the Lord is within?
Will the cooking pot and the ladle know the taste of the dish?
(verse 503)


This prompted Mr. Peter to request me to translate Sivavakkiyar's poems. I was waiting for an occasion and in the year 2011 Dr. Geetha Anand who lives in Bengaluru came into the picture by the grace of the Siddhas. Both of us translated the poems of Sivavakkiyar as early as 2012 and was waiting for a publisher to take up the work. No publisher came to our rescue fearing financial loss. In the meanwhile my good friend Sri Govindan Satchitananda, founder President of the Babaji's Kriya Yoga order of Acharyas, USA. Inc, Quebec, Canada, came across our work and he published it in the internet, duly acknowledging our copy right, and this became viral and it has been translated into Russian (by Konstantin Serebrov, a yoga teacher and writer/author in Moscow) and into Spanish (by Professor Ramon Ruedas, Professor De Yoga of the Centro Integral de Yoga, El Malino, Sevilla, Spain) for exclusive use by the disciples in their yoga schools.

Just as Sivavakkyar has not followed the tradition we two have also transgressed the tradition of having only one foreword to a work.

Dr. Geetha and myself have got four forewords for this work of translation, one from an Indian Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Kamalakar Mishra, Professor and Head (retd.), Dept. of Philosophy and Religion, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, the second from a well-known American Yoga practitioner and Acharya Mr. Marshall Govindan, President, Babajj's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas, Inc., Quebec, Canada, the third from a Spanish Yoga Guru, Mr. Ramon Ruedas Gomez, who runs a yoga ashram called Ashram Vettaveli, at Centro Integral de Yoga, Sante Ana, 24 Sevilla, Spain, and the fourth from a Russian Yoga practitioner and teacher Mr. Konstantin Serebrov, Moscow.

Each Foreword is a class by itself, and we thank immensely the four foreword writers.

In June 2016, one of my friends from Singapore, Sri N.C. Prakash, came forward to help me in the publication of this important work and donated a sizeable amount to start the publication. Hence this publication. I do not have adequate words in my vocabulary to thank him for his voluntary, instant donation. All this is due to the blessings of the Siddha Sivavakkiyar. Now the book is in your hands for spiritual enjoyment.

Foreword - 1

The Truth of the Siddha Tradition

by Dr. Kamalakar Mishra, Professor * Head. (Retd.). Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.

The most significant contribution of the Indian tradition to the world-wisdom is that the Indian seers who can be aptly called "spiritual scientists" have discovered or found out, experientially and experimentally a state of inner consciousness which is the natural source of power, wisdom, happiness and beauty in life. It is the state of the "Self' -- of course the "Higher Self (Parama-Atma)". The seers investigated into the nature of the self (the "I") addressing the question -- "who am I?" They discovered that the real nature of "myself" (the "I") is divine, that I am separated from my true Self due to the obstruction or veil of spiritual impurity and that I can reattain or realize my divine nature following the path of self-purification and universal love. My existential self (which can be called the "surface" self) is part of, and substantially one with, the divine Self which lies deeper within me. I have double citizenship, so to say, I am the citizen of the world terrestrial and also the citizen of the world celestial.

What is given by the seers is not a matter of speculation or a matter of faith; it is really the discovery of finding of the truth of the Self, it is the actual cognition of the truth as it is the actual experience of the seers. This makes the significance of the knowledge of the seers unique and extremely important and also puts it in the category of scientific discovery. A more significant point is that this Self (inner Self) is also the state of natural synthesis between what is called sreya (the good) and preya (the pleasant). Indians had long realized that if the philosophy of life is mere sreya say, of sheer asceticism, literal renunciation (sannyasa), torturous penance (tapasya) and mindless self-abnegation, then this may remain an impracticable and painful ideal. Since the ascetic ideal involves suppression of desires (including sex desire), it may cause psycho-neurotic problems (both in the individual life and in the social life). It may also create hypocrisy in life. But if, on the other hand, we follow the life of mere preya that is, the life of hedonistic enjoyment of carnal pleasure (bhoga) then we would be reduced to animals, and there would be no human society worth the name. Moreover, the hedonistic life ultimately becomes suicidal. Hence, the seers were in search of a state of consciousness which is ideally perfect, that is, it is all goodness on the one hand and all happiness or sukha (joy of pleasantness) on the other hand. The answer was found in the spiritual life which is the life of the self. In the spiritual state all the desires (specially the most problematic sex-desire) are transformed or sublimated into pure love and this in turn brings deep satisfaction and Ananda. This is a state of goodness and pleasure (Ananda) -- the two in one.

It should also be noted that the Self is not confined in the body. It is ubiquitous, all pervasive. Everything and every being of the world is incorporated within the Self. Therefore, the person who realizes the Self, realizes his/her unity with the whole world. In the Self-realized persons the feeling of "otherness" (Dvaita-bhava or Bheda-buddhi) is totally absent; they become one with all being (sarvabhutatma- bhutatma) and naturally therefore they wish and do good to all people (sarvabhutahiteratah). This position may be put the other way round also, that is, one who feels one's unity with all the beings and follows the path of universal love, attains the Self. The Self cannot be realized by isolating (cutting off) oneself from the society living in segregation and going on meditating inside the body. For realizing the Self one is required to expand oneself into all beings. That is why for Self-realization the saints and Siddhas have advocated the path of universal love and not the path of isolation and renunciation. They themselves have attained Self-realization through universal love. Love is the very nature of the Self. The more we realize the Self, the more the love naturally emanates and the more we love the more we come nearer to the Self. Self-realization and universal love are reciprocal.

In the Semitic tradition, God is conceived as wholly transcendent. God lives in heaven as "other" to man. The renowned Christian theologian, Rudolf Otto, calls God the "Holy Other". But in the Indian tradition God is conceived as substantially present in everything, as the world is the manifestation of God Himself. Moreover, God is our own self -- the Higher Self. The term Paramatma (Parama+Atma) which is the synonym of God, is very significant. Parama means the higher and Atma means the Self. So, God means the Higher Self; realization of the Self and realization of God mean one and the same thing....'[missing the rest].

1. Introduction:

“cittar civatthaik kandavar” A Siddha -- one who has “seen” Siva.

Tirumular, in his Tirumandiram, defines a Siddha as one who has “seen” Siva. If this is so then who is better qualified to talk about Siva, talk as Siva, or utter “Siva statements -- Sivavakkiyam” other than a Siddha, Sivavakkiyar! Just like the Maha vākhya or supreme statements, Tat Tvam asi (that are thou) and Aham Brahmāsmi (I am Brahmam), Siva vakkiya (Sivavakkiyam in Tamil) is about Siva, the Universal consciousness, the Truth, the Ultimate Reality.

As it is with most of the Siddhas, nothing much is known about Sivavakkiyar or his life history.
A verse from Sage Agastthya offers a reason for why this is so. According to him, most of the Siddhas’ works were lost in the floods and only a small collection of them were preserved. Also the Siddha poetry in circulation now is only a distortion of the original poems. Hence, great caution should be exercised while giving historical and biographical information on the Siddhas. Besides, the Siddhas were adepts who could enter another body at will. Thus, it is difficult to say “who is who” let alone give a biographical account of them. Also, one finds that more than one Agatthiyar or Pattinattar are referred to in Tamil literature. This shows that most of the names of the Siddhas are acquired ones.[!!!]

Many names of the Siddhas are symbolic. According to tradition, each Siddha receives five different names, the first one given by the parents and the remaining four are appellations for the stages in the spiritual progress attained by the person concerned (1). Among these four names is the name given by the guru (the spiritual teacher) at the time he initiates the disciple. The name Agatthiyar means one who has kindled the inner fire in him (agam= inner, ti= fire) that is, one who has roused the fire of kundalini in him. One who has conquered sex and anger is called Gōraksha. Matsya means fish. In Tantra it stands for senses. Matsyendranāth means one who has mastery over the senses (indriyas). It represents one who has torn the fetters of bondage. In the same manner one may construe the name Pattinattār as Patti+nāttar, that is, a man who can save the souls. Patti in Tamil means “the pound (enclosure) for herding the cattle;” it may also mean, “herding of souls”, souls wallowing in the darkness of ignorance. Pattinattār is one who helps and guides these souls by providing a method to get out of “the world and the senses”, to get liberated. The name, Sivavākkiyar is an acquired one too. It was probably given because he used the word Sivāyam in more than sixty places in his work. The above discussion shows that it is very difficult to have an authentic account of the life of the Siddhas. Yet, in some works, one finds certain account of the biographies of the Siddhas.

First of all it is to be noted that in the several lists of the Tamil Siddhas (2) the name Sivavākkiyar is not found[!!!] since he was considered to be a “rebel” and in his poem there is “a grand remonstrance almost against everything that was held sacred in his time.” Yet he was neither an atheist nor an agnostic. He was “a pious rebel” or a “spiritual rebel” whose poems have an element of unsophisticated bluntness. “There is a forceful clarity, shocking us sometimes by its forthright directness; he is not even afraid of using terms that prigs will call vulgar or obscene” says T.P. Meenakshisundaram in his book History of Tamil Literature (3). Further, there is a charge of vulgarity against him which is based on his constant reference, in a contemptuous tone, to sex and the biological facts of human birth. Sivavākkiyar was fond of using only the common words spoken by ordinary people -- unpolished, crude, offensive, indecent and colloquial expressions. Vellaivaranar goes to the extent of calling the languages of the Tamil Siddhas (and we may very well adopt it to Sivavākkiyar’s language) as “slum language” -- sérimoḻi yenppadum péccu vaḻakku (4). These may be the reasons for his name being omitted in some of the lists of the Tamil Siddhas.

The text that Ziegenbalg most often quotes to illustrate Indian monotheism was already used by de Nobili for the very same purpose: the Civavakkiyam, a fourteenth-century collection of poems by Civavakkiyar who belongs to the Tamil Siddha tradition.

Although the Tamil tradition speaks of eighteen Siddhas and posits a line of wandering saints and sannyasis from Tirumular (sixth century) to Tayumanavar (1706-44), most of the noted Siddhas flourished between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries (Kailasapathy 1987:387). From the beginning, the antibrahmanical and antihierarchical tendency of Siddha writings was prominent...

Of the more than fifty names associated with the way of the Siddhas (Siddha marga), that of the author of the Civavakkiyam (Aphorisms on Shiva) is best known. The author of these aphorisms, Civavakkiyar or Sivavakkiyar, is "without doubt the most powerful poetic voice in the entire galaxy of the Siddhas" and is best known for his skill in criticizing and ridiculing Hindu orthodoxy (p. 387-89). Though not forming a well-defined school of thought, the Siddhas "challenged the very foundations of medieval Hinduism: the authority of the Shastras, the validity of rituals and the basis of the caste system" (p. 389). According to Zvelebil, "almost all of them manifest a protest, often in very strong terms, against the formalities of life and religion; denial of religious practices and beliefs of the ruling classes" (1973:8).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


1. About Sivavākkiyar’s life:

Factual information such as dates of birth and death, the real name of the Siddha, the village where he was born, the caste in which he was born and the place where he lived cannot be obtained (5). In this connection mention may be made of M. Arunachalam’s interpretation of the term ‘pāychalūr’ in the songs of Sivavākkiyar (6). He construes pāychalūr as a place and connects it with Sivavakkiyar’s birth as being born of a Brahmin father and a harijan mother and feels that the mention of pāychalur in the songs of Sivavakkiyar may be fully autobiographical and connected with the Pāychalur Ballad’ (7). But a careful examination of M. Arunachalam’s thesis will show that it cannot hold water for the following reasons:

It would become a self contraction [contradiction?] to uphold this view since M. Arunachalam in the article under reference has categorically stated: “nowhere do we find any autobiographical touch in their (Siddhas) songs as we find in the songs of the saints. (The word Siddha in brackets is mine).

The term pāychalūr does not refer to any place but to what happens in yoga, i.e., it stands for the gushing kundalini passing through the ādhārās. Pāychalūr is the gushing place of the kundalini sakti at the cakras. In Tamil Siddha literature kundalini is called a horse, puravi to indicate the galloping force of the kundalini energy as it passes through the ādhāras. This term found in verses 353, 364, 369 of Sivavakkiyam is closely connected only with yoga methodology and does not stand even by the remote possibility for any place on earth. The word pāychalūr which occurs in verse 594 of Tirumantiram also refers to the yoga method. This is an instance of the intentional language of the Siddhas, which is veritable Serbonian bog into which an army of philosophers have fallen and sunk.

Serbonian Bog was an area of wetland in a lagoon lying between the eastern Nile Delta, the Isthmus of Suez, Mount Casius, and the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, with Lake Sirbonis at its center....The bog is used as a metaphor in English for an inextricable situation.

As described by Herodotus, Strabo and other ancient geographers and historians, the Serbonian Bog was a mix of genuine sand bars, quicksand, asphalt (according to Strabo) and pits covered with shingle, with a channel running through it to the lake. This gave the wetlands the deceptive appearance of being a lake surrounded by mostly solid land....

According to Diodorus Siculus, most of the army of the King of Persia was lost there after his successful taking of Sidon in his attempt to restore Egypt to Persian rule.

-- Serbonian Bog, by Wikipedia


It is said that Sivavākkiyar acquired this name because when he was born he came into this world uttering the name “Śiva” This is the view expressed in Abithana Cintāmani (8). There is a view that before he became a Siddha he embraced Buddhism for a few years. Similar views such as that he was closely associated with Islam and Christianity are to be taken only with a pinch of salt. Since there is a close similarity between some stanzas of Sivavākkiyam and those of Tirumalisai Alwar’s Tirucchandaviruttam it is believed that Sivavākkiyar and Tirumalisai Alwar may be one and the same person.

Thirumazhisai Alvar (Born: Bhargavar 4203 BCE - 297 AD) is a Tamil saint revered in the Srivaishnavism school of south India, in Tondai Nadu (now part of Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts). He was born in 4203 BCE. The legend of this saint devotees of Srivaishnavism believe that he was the incarnation of Vishnu's disc, Sudarshana.
Image

Sudarshana Chakra is a spinning, discus weapon with 108 serrated edges, used by the Hindu god Vishnu or Krishna. The Sudarshana Chakra is generally portrayed on the right rear hand of the four hands of Vishnu, who also holds a shankha (conch shell), a Gada (mace) and a padma (lotus).

-- Sudarshana Chakra, by Wikipedia

He is believed to have been born at Jagannatha Perumal temple, Tirumazhisai by divine grace.

A childless tribal couple called Tiruvaalan and Pankaya Chelvi engaged in cutting canes found the child and took it home. The couple also had a son named Kanikannan who was a disciple of Thirumazhisai Alvar.

Thirumazhisai Alvar proclaimed that he didn't belonged to Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya & Shudra in one of his couplets as he was considered (Avarna) beyond caste bound person. He was the only azhwar saint who lived for 4500 Years....

The name of the Azhwar comes from his birthplace, Thirumazhisai, a suburb in modern day Chennai.

According to Puranas, it was the onset of Kali Yuga (the dark age). Lord Vishnu was worried about the next incarnation his weapon to take because, Kali Yuga has started and he didn't know how his relations will spend their life on Earth since they had to spend a normal Human life. It was the onset of Kali Yuga, and Vishnu was worried about this and when enquired he told the terrible attitudes of people during the Kali Yuga and how can his dear ones can spend their life on Earth in such a dark age, when Sudarshana intervened and volunteered to be born on Earth when Vishnu objected again exclaiming the attributes of Kali Yuga. Sudarshana still obliged leaving Vishnu tearful. He had a weird birth story. This was when Bhargava maharishi was in a long tapa (penance) to please Vishnu, as usual to spoil his penance Indra sent an apsara for which he succeeded. After enjoying worldly pleasures the apsara left to heaven leaving back the baby born to them. Due to his attachment to continue the penance, he cannot take care of the child and left it on the ground. Many days passed and the baby was crying a lot and nobody turned around to look after him. He was covered with blood and worms and mosquitoes are continuously biting him. Worried, Vishnu and Lakshmi descended to Earth and touched the baby and disappeared. The baby was transformed into a handsome young boy. The boy being Sudharshana Chakra himself was devoid of any illness though was hungry for many many days. All were wondering how could this be possible when a childless couple adopted him. Even then he did not accept single grain of rice from the couple. One day, an old man and woman paid visit to this boy. The boy was happy to see them when they asked to go for a short walk along the temple premises. The boy obliged and the old man and woman seemed worried and when enquired, they answered that the sadness cannot be prevented in that age. Still he enquired to which the old couple answered they are yearning for parental affection, to which this boy seemed too casual and wrote two pasurams in praise of Vishnu and miraculously the old couple was transformed into young and good looking couple. They thanked the boy a lot and this boy was too happy because in the Kali Yuga period people are also being thankful to which he wrote another pasuram in praise of Lord Vishnu. The boy asked the couple to read the pasuram, and the couple was blessed with a baby boy whom they named as Kanikannan. Kanikannan grew up to be a disciple of the boy. One time, after the demise of the couple, knowing about the glory of the boy and his disciple Kanikannan, the jealous chola king who was a strong shaivaite ordered him to sacrifice Vaishnavism and practice Shaivism to which they declined, and accordingly they were subjected to death. Somehow both escaped the place to Srirangam. Another news reached their ears that they (the boy and Kanikannan) must be killed or must be exiled, if found anywhere. Worried, they visited all Vishnu temples in Tamilnadu, and when they paid the tributes to Ranganatha Perumal in Srirangam, one amazing and miracle happened. The statue of Ranganatha woke up and stopped these two, and they declined stating it is a duty for the citizens to obey the order of their ruler. Next, they both visited Kumbakonam Sarangapani temple, and the statue again rose, and this time both obliged and merged with the lord. To be a proof of future generations that the idol actually rose up, Vishnu's head in Sarangapani temple is raised a bit. The boy was called Thirumalisai Alvar thereafter....

He also has an eye on his right leg.

-- Thirumalisai Alvar, by Wikipedia


The life of Sivavakkiyar is given in a Tamil work called Pulavar Purānam by Murugadāsa Swamigal. Another work called Pulavar carittira Deepakam summarizes the traditional accounts about the life of Sivavakkiyar. We may sum up by saying that the biographical history of Sivavakkiyar is often based entirely on word of mouth accounts and therefore is not always readily available (9). If available it is not authentic, for it is mixed only with local mythology and sentimental accounts. About the time when he lived, we may safely say that he lived during the 15th century A.D.[???!!!] As far as we are concerned, what Sivavakkiyar said is more important than what and where he said it, where he was born etc.[???!!!]

Sivavakkiyar does not specifically mention his guru parampara or lineage in his work (10). The only hint available is in verse 301 where he says “with the sacred feet of Mūlan who said the three, ten and the three as three I would say the five letters”. If the Mūlan mentioned here refers to Tirumular, the composer of Tirumandiram, he may be indicating to us that he belongs to the mūlavarga, the lineage that claims Tirumular as its preceptor. Then again, the Mūlan may very well refer to the Ultimate Reality, the root cause, the mūlam, of everything.

According to cittar tradition, Tirumūlar, the early Śaiva mystic and author of the Tirumantiram, is said to have been the disciple of an alchemist named Nantikēcuran.171

b) ff. 1-12 Tirikālacakkaram.

The Puvanacakkaram deals with the measurement of the earth by Nantikēcuran. The Tirikālacakkaram (‘revolving wheel of the three times’) contains a summary of South Indian cosmology and mythology. It is ascribed to Tirumūlattēvar (Jeyaraj, p.330).

-- The Bayer Collection, A preliminary catalogue of the manuscripts and books of Professor Theophilus Siegfried Bayer, acquired and augmented by the Reverend Dr Heinrich Walther Gerdes, now preserved in the Hunterian Library of the University of Glasgow, by David Weston, 2018


Tirumūlar is also closely connected to Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai, where he took physical form by entering the body of a cowherd and composed the Tirumantiram. It is, however, not clear that an ascription to this early Tirumūlar is intended in Ziegenbalg’s account of the work. Zvelebil gives the briefest details of an undated Tirumūlatēvar, ascribing to him three works: the Tirumantiramālai, Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam. Tirumantiramālai is in fact the full title of Tirumūlar’s Tirumantiram and hence the distinction between the work which Zvelebil ascribes to Tirumūla Tēvar and Tirumūlar’s own work is not clear. We have not been able to identify copies of the Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam, but the title of the latter suggests a work on the five-syllable nama-civāya mantra. There are a number of works of this kind, with different titles, closely associated with the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. Whether Tirumūlar or Tirumūla Tēvar is intended, an association with Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai certainly cannot be ruled out.

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan


2. About Sivavakkiyam:

There is a general confusion about the number and order of verses of Sivavakkiyam. The version published by Aru. Ramanathan in the collection of Siddhar Padalgal (10) consists of 533 songs. The publication from The South India Saiva Siddhanta Works Publishing society, Tinnevelly (1984) has 526 verses. B. Ratna Nayakar sons (1955) have published a version which contains 1012 verses. The last publication has verses on Siddha medicine and recommendations for curing fever besides several unrelated topics. These verses do not fit with Sivavakkiyar’s original intent and hence seem to be insertions at a later date.

Aru. Ramanathan’s publication was used as the source for this research work. Verses that were repetitions have been taken into consideration while numbering them. Translation and a commentary on individual verses is available as an e-book, “Truth Speaks by Yoga Siddha Sivavakkiyar at http://www.babajiskriyayoga.net/english ... kiyam_book.

3. About Sivavakkiyar’s teachings:

The āṛṛuppadai concept that we find in Tamil literature has acquired a social- philosophical meaning at the hands of the Tamil Siddhas, especially with Sivavākkiyar. Āṛṛuppadai means “showing the path to the people”. This concept has two aspects in the teachings and philosophy of Sivavākkiyar- one positive and the other negative. In the negative aspect, Sivavākkiyar emphasizes “what one shall not do” in order to achieve self-realization. The concepts he admonishes are spiritual and social hypocrisies. In his list of “what one shall do” he recommends Siva yoga, respecting the guru, offering alms to the needy and living a life seeking realization. He not only gives a philosophical exposition on the concept of pati, pasu and pāsam but also a procedure to reach the state of realization, the state of Siva. He begins his composition stating clearly that he will be describing the rare mantra namacivaya which is the origin and terminus of everything, the mantra uttered by millions of celestials before, the “siva sentence” and that he plans to do so by contemplating on the curved letter (aum) so that sins and delusion will run away. Let us see below some of the sins and delusions that Sivavakkiyar wishes to chase away.

a. Sivavakkiyar’s dismissal of spiritual and social hypocrisies:

Sivavākkiyar vehemently reprimands practicing caste-based and gender-based discrimination, performing rituals mindlessly, cheating people in the name of spirituality/religion and holding on to illogical practices.

b. Caste-based discrimination:

“Who is a low class woman, who is a rich woman? Is it marked on the flesh, skin or bones?” he asks (verse 39). He even goes to the extent of asking, “Is enjoying a low class woman different from enjoying a rich woman?” He further comments that when one looks critically at a rich woman and a low class woman, one would realize that they both are none other than limited consciousness which is free from caste, creed or even gender and hence one should shun the evil practice of discriminating people based on their caste.

Sivavakkiyar brings up another situation to ridicule caste-based discrimination. He says that if a buffalo copulates with a cow, the offspring is a hybrid. It looks neither like the cow nor the buffalo. However, if a man born in a higher caste copulates with a lady from a low caste, the offspring is still a human child. He asks people how they are justified in talking about the offspring as different when it looks the same, as a human being! (verse 467). His intense satire is displayed when he says that everything in this world is nothing but semen, only fluid with motion (verse 46) and so people should look forward to the day when they will burn the manudharma sastra which preaches caste-based differentiation (verse 468). According to him all the Vedas, Agama, natural elements and scriptures only breed duality and discrimination. Hence, one should go beyond them and realize the truth (verse 469).

Besides dismissing the general caste-based discrimination, Sivavakkiyar scoffs at the Brahmins who claim that they are superior as (a) they do not eat meat or fish, (b) bathe in sacred waters and (c) perform twilight worship ritual. He sarcastically remarks that it is the same water where the fish resides that the Brahmins use for bathing and drinking, the skin of the deer is customarily tied to the sacred thread they wear on their chest, the goat’s meat especially the intestines is used as fire offering and the beef is used as fertilizer for plants by all (verses 157, 158). He asks them whether the loin cloth they wear, the sacred thread and the tuft they adorn accompanied them from the time of their birth or whether the four Vedas occurred in their minds when they were born (verse 192). He remarks with great distaste that the show they put up with their adornment, the fragrance, the lamps and the articles of worship, is like a butcher spreading the pieces of goat meat for sale. He asks them what kind of worship it is that they are supposedly performing (verse 194).

He comments about a common practice among Brahmins, the sandhyāvandanam or worship during twilight. Twilight is the meeting point of day and night. The day (light) represents wisdom while the night (darkness) represents ignorance. Sivavakkiyar says that when one raises the vital breath through yoga, one will be performing this twilight worship as one will reach the meeting point of ignorance and wisdom, the junction between the limited soul and the universal soul. This is the real twilight worship, not the temporal action (verse 473).

Sivavakkiyar also talking about another common practice where people clean their mouths from spit by drinking more water and spitting it out. Sivavakkiyar wonders how the same water in the mouth removes the same water, the spit. He asks “aren’t all the mantras spit as they are recited by the mouth?” (verse 465). People through away the stone dish they eat on claiming that it has been tainted with spit. Sivavakkiyar questions “what would you do with the hand that ate the food? Even the Gods eat the same way isn’t it?” He says that everything in this world is tainted by the Divine. All the scriptures, the mantras, knowledge systems, the bindu (the primordial point of emergence) and the wisdom, everything carries traces of the Divine (verse 41). All the life forms are also impure as the water element, the seminal fluid, causes their emergence (verse 149). The sacred honey used in worship rituals is tainted by the bee’s spit and the milk collected by milking the cow is tainted by the hand that collects it (486). There is nothing in this world that is not tainted. Practicing untouchability is hence, ridiculous.

c. Gender-based discrimination:

Some of the Siddha verses seem to demean women. They are referred to as objects of desire, distraction and ghosts who pull one into worldly life. Sivavakkiyar dispels the belief that the Siddhas are against women. He says that there is no one in this world who has not associated himself with a woman. He says that people’s life improves when they associate with the right woman. He adds weight to his statement by stating that Lord Siva is adorning River Ganga on his head for this very same reason (verse 512). He praises family life by saying that remaining as a tapasvin in the forest consuming dried leaves will only torture the body while leading a family life where one shares his food with guests is the best. He remarks that God will voluntarily come to that person’s house as a guest and bless him (verse 515).

Just as how it is illogical to consider the Brahmins as superior, it is foolish to consider women as lowly and impure because they menstruate every month. Sivavakkiyar laughs at this hypocrisy saying that the menstrual cycle is nothing but God’s step for creation. He says “You were in the womb that contained the defilement. When you found the way to emerge and came into this world you were (coated) with the same fluid. You emerged (from the fluid) from such a situation and are now reciting countless Vedas. Isn’t it the defilement that assembled and became a form, even that of a guru? Did any life form emerge in another way in any of the worlds?” (verses 48,49,50, 134, 137). In the verse 212 he describes how a life occurs in the womb. The menstrual fluid in the mother’s womb terminates its cycle for ten months, adorns the semen and becomes like a dewdrop. It remains within the fluid taking a form developing its limbs and other parts until it is born later. Besides, showing the satirical attitude of Sivavakkiyam, these verses tell us that the Siddhas were well aware of how a fetus is formed and how it grows in the uterus. Sivavakkiyar seems to be not only a Siddha but a scientist as well!

d. Spiritual hypocrisies:

After condemning social hypocrisies, Sivavakkiyar attacks spiritual hypocrisies such as mindless recitation of scripture, performing elaborate and showy worship rituals, running from one so called sacred place to another and from one so called sacred water body to another.

Sivavakkiyar speaks strongly against the practice of mindless recitation of scriptures. He says that reciting the four Vedas faultlessly smearing the sacred ash on one’s forehead will not reveal the Divine. Only when the heart melts with true devotion and merges with the truth within, saying that one’s upkeep is completely the Divine’s responsibility, when one surrenders to the Divine completely, will one merge with the effulgence, the Lord, the Supreme Being (verse 105). He makes fun of those who engage in mere recital of scriptures by saying that when wheezing and sweating occur portending death mere scriptural knowledge will not help. One needs pills, māttirai. Probably, he makes a pun on this word by saying that if at least for a māttirai, a moment, one realizes and contemplates on the Divine, the diseases caused by the baggage of empty scriptural knowledge will not trouble one (verse 13). He calls people who seek textual knowledge as those who are searching for butter while the curds are remaining in the house (verse 75). He remarks with great disappointment that it is impossible to live with such fools.

Among the Tamil Siddhas we find Sivavākkiyar in particular condemning idol worship tooth and nail. He chides people saying that they are “cleaning the bell, taking the oral secretion from the bees and pouring it over a broken stone” (verse 33), “the whole town is getting together and pulling with a rope, a piece of copper placed on a chariot” (verse 242). He remarks that God is not in “brick, granite, red paint of mercury, copper or in spelter” (verse 34). He points out a situation where one stone is broken into two; one half of it is place at the entrance of the temple as a stepping stone and the other inside the sanctum as the object of worship. He asks whether there is any difference between the two (verse 429). He points out yet another situation where Godhead is made from the same tree branch that is used to make footwear. “Is there is any difference between them?” he asks (verse 527). He questions people whether a “stone planted as God with four flowers placed on it and circumambulated while chanting mantra talk, while the Lord is really within” (verse 503). He says that he could only laugh at such people who think that God is stone (verse 129).

He advises people that “The Lord made of wood, the Lord made of stone, the Lord made of coconut shell, the Lord made of turmeric, the lord made of cloth, the Lord made of cow dung are all none other than the supreme space.” (verse 517). He asks people why they are running to another place thinking that God is “there” and not “here”. He asks them, “If God is only there, then where does he live and how does he remain there?” He advises people that the only place where they will find the Lord is in the letters ci and a that represent mental clarity and ubiquity respectively (verse 431). Sivavakkiyar, in short, is against idol worship because his aim is to have that experience directly instead of feeling something about that experience. Idol worship, according to Sivavakkiyar is a negation (not a substitute) of genuine religious experience. He is one with the Baul of the Bengal who sing that the road to God is blocked by churches, mosques and temples (23). We find the echo of the same views in Ganapatidasar’s poems (verses 15, 63 and 75) Agasthiyar Jnanam- 4 (verse 5) and in Valmigar Jnanam (verse 4). Their aim is to have the religious experience directly instead of feeling something about the experience.

People consider rivers such as Ganga, Yamuna, Cauvery and temple tanks as sacred water bodies and bathe in them submerging themselves there. He asks people, “If they such an action will confer liberation, what will the toad that remains in the water day and night attain?” (verse 130). In this connection one is reminded of one of the verses of Kalin. He says that if bathing in the Ganga ensures liberation, then the fish that live permanently in Ganges are more appropriate candidates for liberation than once in a lifetime bathers are.

To the Tamil Siddhas the real temple and real thirtha (as thresholds of religious experience) are not outside but inside the individual. The place where the Lord resides is the temple. ‘koil= ko+il’. The residence of the Lord is the heart as the Divine is immanent. The antaryami form or the divine as the indweller is the supreme form of the Lord as in that form he functions as a witness and a guide- a guru within. Such a location of the Lord is beyond creation and destruction unlike the material temples and tanks. Instead of realizing this, people are engaged in all sorts of sacrifices, offerings and visiting water bodies as if they are sacred. It is not that Sivavakkiyar condemns performing worship rituals. He says that one should perform them with clear understand instead of merely cleaning the place, smearing sacred ash on oneself and performing austerities (verse 479).

Some people indulge in a practice wherein they offer goats, chicken and gruel to their family deity, usually Kali, to ward off their diseases. They believe that the deity consumes these, gets pacified and fixes their diseases. Sivavakkiyar questions how this can be true (verse 518). An authentic God, especially one’s family deity, will never let one waste away like this. It will never get angry with the person but help him get out of his difficulties. Some people also perform esoteric worship rituals to appease ghosts and goblins expecting them to grant them various benefits or overcome some ailment. Sivavākkiyar questions whether any such ritual- based worship is valid at all. Neither the ghosts and goblins accept this worship nor does the Ultimate Reality, the primal eternal One accept the offerings. It is actually the priest or the man who performs these rituals who enjoys the things offered. All these worship rituals are hence useless (verse 252).

Sivavākkiyar does not leave us with only the ridicule but with a practical suggestion for how to perform austerities. In verse 199 he says, “Flower and sacred water are my mind, fitting temple my heart, the soul spreading as all-pervading lingam the superior five as fragrance and lamp, for the supreme dancer there is no dawn or dusk ritual.” Worship within oneself if far superior to any other external worship ritual. He says that one should get up early in the morning and through the eye of discrimination/knowledge, the third eye, one should contemplate on the Absolute. Only this will grant liberation (verse 130). The third eye is popular not only in the Eastern traditions but also in several Western traditions. The third eye, also known as inner eye, refers to the ajna cakra in the middle of the eyebrows. It is considered as the gate that leads one to higher conscious states. It symbolizes enlightenment, a state of non-dualistic perspective. The time between 4 AM and 5.30 AM is called the Brahma muhurta or the time of Gods. Waking up at this time for sādhana is highly recommended.

e. Condemnation of charlatans:

One of the common problems that a spiritual aspirant faces is being taken for a ride by charlatans who pose as guru or realized souls. Sivavakkiyar lists the types of cheats that people should watch out for. He grades them based on how seriously they trick people.

The most common swindlers are those who pose as priests and soothsayers offering to perform rituals that would expiate one’s sins and thus relieve one from bad situations in life. These crooks prey on people’s fears. They adorn themselves elaborately with sandalwood paste and sacred ash; they wear the black soot from the homa on their forehead and act as if they are pious god men. Sivavakkiyar says that these charlatans are interested only in other people’s money. He curses them saying that they will wallow in the most torturous hell; they will be cut up like a warhorse and burnt to cinders (verses 519, 520).

The next type of cheats prey on people’s greed. They pose as experts of alchemy and delude others by saying that they can turn base metal into gold. They demand materials and money from others. Sivavakkiyar says that these cheats will collect all the wealth and run away not to be seen ever again (verse 521).

The third type of cheats use people’s beliefs. They pretend to be yogis who can levitate. They will try to impress others with shows of insignificant magical prowesses. Sivavakkiyar says that this category of cheats will lose themselves seeking physical pleasures and women (verse 522). These days, our newspapers are full of stories about these babus and gurus. Sivavakkiyar’s study of people and their character is truly amazing.

I read the story of Sai Baba, the Indian guru, written by Michelle Goldberg.[/url] I had contributed what I know about Sai Baba and his pedophilia to this story, and I wish to add that I had represented this matter to the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, which asked me to assist the FBI in its fact-finding mission.

I met with the FBI officers in Chicago, and gave them more than 100 pages of sworn affidavits from victims of sexual abuse from all over the world, many of them from U.S. citizens, including minors.

The FBI, after consulting with the U.S. attorney's office, has sent the Sai Baba case to the Department of Justice in Washington, where it has been sitting for the past three months with no further action so far.

Sai Baba is a dangerous pedophile in the guise of a guru, and enjoys the active support of top Indian political leaders including Prime Minister Vajpayee. Sai Baba's organization is worth about $1.5 billion worldwide, and enjoys tax-exempt status in the U.S.

It seems rather likely that the U.S. government, under diplomatic pressure from the top levels of the Indian government, are soft-pedaling the Sai Baba matter, to save the top Indian leadership from being discredited.

Because pedophilia is one of the most evil crimes, shocking the conscience of every right-thinking human being, U.S. citizens, media, legislators and law enforcement officials should ensure that maximum effort is taken in making the Indian government do what it should do: investigate and prosecute Sai Baba.

The U.S. government, too, can file a case against Sai Baba, as many of its citizens, including minors, have been sexually abused. And unless something is done, this is going to continue. Although the crimes are being committed in India, surely there are many means by which the U.S. government can formally ask the Indian government to initiate investigations.

-- Hari Sampath

-- Untouchable? Millions of people worship Sai Baba as God incarnate. More and more say the Indian guru is also a pedophile, by Michelle Goldberg


The above three types of cheats live among people either as householders or renunciates. The next variety of cheats that Sivavakkiyar points out is generally in the garb of sadhus. This group claims that they have consumed kāyakalpa or concoctions that would prolong one’s lifespan. They perform magical feat to everyone everywhere. However, they waste their lives smoking cannabis and consuming opium. In the end, they die lick and salivating like a dog (verse 523).

The fourth category of cheats is those who promise wisdom and liberation. Just as how we have instant coffee and instant tea they promise instant wisdom and instant realization!
The first “instant coffee” is made in Britain in 1771. It was called a “coffee compound” and had a patent granted by the British government. The first American instant coffee was created in 1851. It was used during the Civil War and experimental “cakes” of instant coffee were shared in rations to soldiers. David Strang of Invercargill, New Zealand invented and patented instant or soluble coffee in 1890.

-- Origin and History of Instant Coffee, by History of Coffee

Sivavakkiyar says that they will advertise themselves extensively and usurp others’ property (verse 524). Now-a-days we read about sadhus who offer sakti path and initiation over the internet. Those who go after them are left with nothing but disappointment. The devotees lose their life, their sanity and their wealth.

The last category of cheats is those whom we normally consider as genuine sannyasins. They are not interested in magical shows or other people’s property. They are lazy folks who adorn themselves with ochre robe, rudraksha, and yogic staff. They go around begging for food carrying a water pot. Sivavakkiyar calls them cattle. Instead of seeking Goddess Sakti, they are seeking alms and food from everyone (verse 525).

Sivavakkiyar’s elaborate description of cheats and charlatans makes one wonder whether they were common at him time also!

From the above section one may think that Sivavakkiyar asks people to refrain from supporting the poor and the needy. That is not so. He only warns people to not encourage charlatans. Through three verses (240, 241 and 511) he explains the greatness of food offering and helping others.

Sivavakkiyar says that any amount of wealth, not even great armies, can prevent one from dying. It is only the alms one has offered throughout one’s life that come galloping like a directed horse in the way of one’s death (verse 240). One is reminded of Karna’s story in the Mahabharata, where Lord Krishna seeks the fruits of his alms so that Karna would die in peace. Sivavakkiyar recommends that one should offer sesame seeds, iron, blankets, cotton clothes and food to others (verse 241). He remarks that a place where the citizens have a hand but not the heart of offer things to others is like a void, the most agonizing hell (verse 511).

4. Who is a true yogi, a realized soul?

After elaborating on cheats and charlatans who pose as realized souls Sivavakkiyar explains the state of a true jnāni or a saint.

For a true saint, it does not matter where he is. Whether he is in the forest or in a physical relationship with a woman, it is all the same for him (verse 186). He remains firm like a pot filled with water; there are no fluctuations or vacillations (verse 202) in his mind. Realized beings have tethered their souls so that it does not move around like a kite (203). They remain as pure consciousness. For them, it does not matter whether they are sleeping or remaining awake, whether their senses are kept under control or not. They remain in a thoughtless state, a state of bliss, a state of sat chith ananda (verse 314). Their minds are free from all evil, burnt away by their austerities, like a forest fire (verse 84). Sivavakkiyar remarks with regret that people generally mistake such souls to be mad men (verse 513). The Siddhas also create such an impression intentionally as they do not want to be disturbed by people.

How does one attain the state of a realized soul? One has to first of all realize the impermanence of the body, the ephemeral nature of worldly life, understand the truth about the Divine, the universal conscious being (pati), the limited soul (pasu) and the attachments (pāsam). This is the theoretical aspect of realization while the practical aspect is Siva yoga.

5. Pati, pasu and pāsam:

a. Pati


To explain the esoteric principle of pati, pasu and pāsam, Sivavakkiyar asks a set of questions first. He seeks the answer from realized souls as he feels that experiential knowledge is far superior to textual knowledge.

He asks, “what is mind, what are thoughts, what is Jiva, what is sakti, what is sambhu, what is it that is free from differentiations, what is liberation, what is the origin of everything and what are mantras” (verse 44). In the next verse he provides some answers. He says that the universal conscious being, sivayam is the seed of everything (verse 45). It is beyond a defining character and hence is beyond description (verse 93). It is the state of turiyātītha or the state of consciousness beyond the turiya state the fourth state of consciousness (verse 296). It is like the lightning concealed within the cloud, butter hidden within the milk, oil present within an oil seed and the sight within the eye. It is not limited by a form, a size. It is not the space, not a measurable entity and not a product of transformation. It is not the “other” or the one “without” anything. It is the rarest of the rare, immanent and transcendent entity (verse 73). It is neither good nor bad. It is the middle ground. If one says it is good, it becomes good. If one says it is bad then it becomes so. Sivavakkiyar recommends that we call it good and praise its name (verse 505).
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Like the mighty banyan tree which abides within a small seed and emerges as a fully grown tree later, the world abides within the Divine, the Origin (verse 94). It is the Origin that takes up all the forms, as all the sentient beings and insentient entities (verse 111). It does not remain as a separate entity from the manifested but pervades all of them (verse 28). Hence, all the forms perceived in this world are none other than the Divine. Sivavakkiyar mentions an example to explain this concept. Just as how the different ear ornaments are only forms of gold, all the perceived, including the holy triad, are only forms of the Divine (verse 29). Hence, it is pointless to fight “my God is superior to yours” or whether Siva is superior to Vishnu or vice versa (verses 53- 55, 131). In the same way it is futile to claim that one person is superior to another as they are all forms of the Divine. We have already seen how vehemently Sivavakkiyar condemns discrimination among people.

If the Divine has no form then how can we know that it exists? Human beings can perceive entities only if they impinge on their senses. Sivavakkiyar says that he did not know about the Divine when it was formless. He only knew about it when it remained in a form. However, one should not stop here and consider the form to be the Divine. One should seek the truth, the faultless wisdom from a Guru and realize the Parabrahmam or the all-pervading supreme truth (verse 237). This verse gives us a clue to why Sivavakkiyar was so vehemently condemning temples and god forms. He did not want people to stop at the stage of worshipping the mere form but to go beyond the form and seek the ultimate truth.

We may ask the question, “If the Divine remains as all the manifested, then is it tainted by the maya just like the limited souls?” Sivavakkiyar says that the Divine or Parāparam remains like the lotus leaf which is not wetted by the water it remains in (verse 313). The faults of the world do not touch the Divine.

b. Ambalam, the supreme arena of consciousness:

The Siddhas call consciousness as ambalam or arena. It is the substratum on which everything leaves an impression and thus has an existence. The limited soul is called ciṛṛambalam and the Supreme soul or the Divine is the pérambalam. Sivavakkiyar has sung about ambalam in several of the verses. He also calls it arangam which means the same.

According to Sivavakkiyar, the ambalam remains as everything and everywhere. It is eternal. It is the beginning and terminus of everything; it remains concealed within everything (verse 418). The ambalam is a witness of everything, it “sees” everything. All the letters and expressions of thoughts occur here and all actions terminate here followed by a great silence. The universe is an expression of this arena. All the souls take a form in this ambalam. It is here they finally repose at the termination of the kundalini yoga (verse 97). According to him, the Divine dances at the junction of the ambalam (the ciṛṛambalam and pérambalam) and protects the aspirant valorously (verse 257). Hence, Sivavakkiyar advises people that instead of seeking the Divine in a stone or a piece of metal, they should understand their true nature. Then there will be singing and dancing by the Divine, the Lord of the ambalam (verse 35). People should look at the arangam of both, the limited soul and the Divine, and the way they became ‘uruvarangam’ or the arena of a form. If they manage to do so, they will go beyond the ‘karuvarangam’ or the womb (future births) and realize the ‘thiruvarangam’ the sacred arena (verse 76). He describes the kundalini yoga as the soul, placing its body in the ambalam, melting it through the fire of kundalini that dances in the ambalam and finally becoming one with the Divine, the Ādi.

While describing the state of a realized soul, Sivavakkiyar says that just as how the ocean will not become turbid even it commanded to become so, the ambalam will not waver even if bid with a controlling stick. That is, the mind of a realized soul will remain calm like the ambalam. The darkness of ignorance will not approach him (verse 43).

c. Nāda and bindu:

About creation, Sivavakkiyar says that the Supreme consciousness willed or gestated the idea to manifest and became all the manifested. It is thereby the material as well as the willing cause of the universe (verse 382). This is similar to the mahavākhya “bahusyam prajāyéya”. Creation happened when a movement occurred in the supreme space. The Divine, the Incomparable Effulgence then pervaded the world, adorning all forms (verse 175). This concept is similar to the spanda philosophy or the philosophy of movement of Kashmir Saivism. To explain the rarity of this phenomenon, Sivavakkiyar says that a “bull birthed three calves”. The bull is Siva and the three calves may be the three worlds or the three gunas of satva, rajas and tamas. They could also mean the holy triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. He says that everything that emerged are “he and she”, Siva and Sakti. Their dance made the Jiva or the limited soul to occur. The seed, the Divine, the chith, the consciousness made the Jiva exist (verse 15). He says that like the light in the eye, the primordial sound nāda and form, bindu, Siva, Sakti and the five elements along with their subtle qualities became this world (verse 316).

Nāda represents the Light of consciousness. It is a compact mass of energy in its undifferentiated state, ready to create. Bindu is the primordial form that emerges from nāda. Sivavakkiyar says that the bindu and the nāda are the precursors for all the creation (verse 189). The nāda is the first veil of maya (verse 351). It is represented by the letter ‘hī’ while bindu, represented by the letter hū, The nāda represents eternal bliss while the bindu represents the universal form. The hū and hī ultimately merge with the Absolute (verse 344). When kundalini sakti rises in the sushumna nadi, the nāda present in the muladhara also rises like steam. The soul is purified by this sound. When the force reaches the sahasrara, the Absolute merges with it.

Sivavakkiyar says that ashtanga yoga is a form of the nāda. The letters a and u in the ashtākshara, the eight lettered mantra also represent nāda. a and u are components of the pranava. As all the mantras are uttered with the pranava in the beginning they all represent the primordial sound, nāda. Sivavakkiyar says that the nāda travels through the stem of the “veena”, the sushumna nadi which hums with the sound, and remains with the Divine (verse 421).

Sivavakkiyar explains the five elements and their subtle qualities in verses 309 and 310. The earth has the five subtle qualities of smell, taste, form, sound, feeling; water has four it lacks smell, fire has three, air has two and the space has one namely sound. He says that all the elements and their subtle qualities are none other than the Divine.

Sivavakkiyar says that the Divine is present as the 51 letters. These are letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. The concept of Matrika is well explained in Kashmir Saivism. The Lord is concealed in all the letters as nāda is a manifestation of the Divine (verse 299).

The Divine became the substratum of the cakras or the lotus dais the six energy centers that help one to reach the unmanifested state from the manifested. The supreme reality remains within the body as the kundalini sakti, as the snake and helps in this process (verse 384).

d. Pasu or Jiva:

Having explained that the Divine is the cause of the Jiva, Sivavakkiyar explains how the Jiva is formed. He says that Sakti constitutes the body and Siva paused within the Jiva is the consciousness. The five koshas or sheaths form the different bodies that surround the soul like precincts (verse 399). The senses and the sense organs are none other than Siva. They ultimately merge with Siva.

While Siva is the material cause of the Jiva, how is a particular form decided for a specific Jiva? Sivavakkiyar questions whether the soul decided on its body or whether the body decided which soul should occupy it. If it is the body that decided on the soul, then what was the form of the body before the soul occupied it? Further, when the soul and the body separate, the soul does not die. It takes up another body.[!!!] So it should be that soul decides the body it will take and not the other way around. Sivavakkiyar concludes so in verse 90.

Sivavakkiyar explains further that the soul took a body based on its good karma. He then questions where the soul and body were before they came together. He answers his own question by stating that the body remained in the tejus or light element, the soul in the water element and the desire which brought them together in the air element (verse 168). When a life form has to occur, the soul enters the nāda, the body the female sexual fluid and the desire the muladhara. They come together in a new life form (verse 221). He explains the pranava or aum in this context. He says that the soul remains in akara the male aspect while the body remains in ukara or the female aspect. It is Siva or pure consciousness that brings them together (verse 232). When the body is destroyed, the soul loses its material form and takes up a subtle form. In this way the soul works out its previous karma (verse 119).
In the verse 212 he describes how a life occurs in the womb. The menstrual fluid in the mother’s womb terminates its cycle for ten months, adorns the semen and becomes like a dewdrop. It remains within the fluid taking a form developing its limbs and other parts until it is born later. Besides, showing the satirical attitude of Sivavakkiyam, these verses tell us that the Siddhas were well aware of how a fetus is formed and how it grows in the uterus. Sivavakkiyar seems to be not only a Siddha but a scientist as well!

e. Pāsam:

To explain the nature of pāsam or fetters, Sivavakkiyar uses a metaphor to explain it. He says that when the limited soul, the bronze that was covered with verdigris, contemplated and merged with the superior, the tarnish left it. The pāsam does not change the nature of the soul; it conceals its true nature, even from itself. (verse 154). When one develops the capacity to see the Divine no delusions or maya remain. Everything will disappear within the fire (of kundalini) (verse 481).

Are the pasu and pāsam eternal like the pati? Sivavakkiyar says no. He says the letters, the limited soul, the five elements, the senses, all the scriptures and the sastra are not eternal. It is only the Truth, the Divine, that remains merged within them is eternal (verse 401). When true realization occurs there are no separate entities as the limited soul or matter. Only the truth, the Universal consciousness remains.

Based on the above mentioned concepts, we conclude that Sivavakkiyar, just like Tirumular, subscribes to the suddha advaita philosophy or monism as he says that everything is Siva, the supreme consciousness. However, this is not the advaita of Sankara according to which only the Divine is real and everything else is a delusion or mithya. For Sivavakkiyar, the limited soul and the world are real. They are manifestations of the Divine. All the manifested appear so only due to pāsam or attachment. When the pāsam is removed, there is none other than “mother and father” or the Divine (verse 424). Sivavakkiyar calls those who see this truth as yogins who have sublimated their senses. Others who do not know this are those with sluices that prevent them from reaching the Divine. Like the flood gates preventing the rushing waters from reaching the ocean the fetters and the senses prevent the limited soul from reaching the Divine. Once the gates are lifted up through the arousal of the kundalini sakti in the body the limited soul rushes and merges with the Supreme soul (verse 445). The kundalini sakti is the key to raise the sluice doors!

6. Carya, kriya, yoga and jnāna:

The Agamas recommend a four-fold path for realization. They are carya, kriya, yogam and jnānam. Among these carya is outer discipline. Sivavakkiyar says that when one clears the heart of faults such as ego and pride, by sweeping and swabbing, lights the lamp of the soul and have the prana or vital breath under control and watchfully eliminates any faults from entering inside, one is performing carya (verse 416).

A successful carya will grant one the three siddhis, kāya siddhi, vāda siddhi and yoga siddhi. Kāya siddhi is making the body strong so that it can perform miraculous feat. Vāda siddhi is controlling the prana. Yoga siddhi are mystical accomplishments. In the verse 442, Sivavakkiyar states that carya will grant one Sālokam or the boon to remain in the same space as the Divine. Kriya, the worship, will grant sameepyam or close proximity with the Divine. Yoga will grant sārūpam, a form like the Divine, the state of being consciousness and jnāna will grant sāyujyam or union with the Divine or the supreme conscious state. Through the verse 443 and 444 he lists all the benefits achieved by those who follow this four-fold method and calls those who do not believe in its efficacy as fools who are only wasting their time running to different places seeking the Divine instead of engaging in this method.

Carya and kriya develop vairāgya or dispassion and vivek or discernment in a person. These two qualities are pre-requisites for yoga. To develop these two qualities, one should understand what is permanent and what is not. This viveka will help one develop dispassion towards insignificant goal and motivate one to seek the ultimate.

The primary entity to which all the life forms, big and small, are attached is their body. We fail to realize that the body is not permanent. Sivavakkiyar calls our body as “that which will rot when the salt is removed” (verse 507). Without remembering “all that is born will die one day” (verse 508), that our body will be burnt with wood and fire one day, we hold on to our relations and material possessions as if they are going to be with us forever. He says that we build huge houses with massive doors as if the doors will keep death at bay. When death comes calling none of these will accompany us or protect us (verses 80, 22). The body from which the soul has departed will not be worth even the price of a broken piece of pottery. Sivavakkiyar says that when mud pots topple people arrange it back; when a copper vessel topples they rearrange it carefully saying “we need them”. However, when our body topples, when we fall down dead, people will quickly get rid of our body saying “it smells badly” (verse 79). A lover, so greatly attached to his beloved that he is ready to kill anyone who seeks her, will gladly hand over her body for cremation when the soul leaves it (verse 5). Hence, one should remember that the body and the pleasures associated with it are impermanent and seek the Divine.

As the body is impermanent should one ignore it, dismiss it? No. The Siddhas knew the value of the body, that it is the vehicle with which one should attain wisdom. Hence, they recommend that one should nurture the body and engage it in yoga.

7. Yoga, according to Sivavakkiyar:

Sivavakkiyar recommends kundalini yoga, which is similar to the Siva yoga described by Tirumular in his Tirumandiram. Siva yoga is the method by which the Jiva identifies itself with Siva. The yogin raises his kundalini sakti to the top or sahasrara and drinks the ambrosia there.

Mantra yoga, hatha yoga, laya yoga and Raja yoga are four forms of Siva yoga. Mantra yoga involves chanting of specific mantras and use of geometric patterns called yantra, mudra and mandalas. Hatha yoga is the process by which the physical body is conditioned so that the subtle bodies can be reached. Laya yoga is the method of deep concentration which takes one to the state of union with the Lord, the state of Siva aikya. Raja yoga is controlling the mind through the control of the prana. Sivavakkiyar talks about all these four forms without actually mentioning their names. As it is with other Siddhas, he also lays emphasis on laya yoga, the method of arousing the kundalini and uniting her with the Supreme consciousness.

a. Mantra yoga:

Sivavakkiyar stated clearly in his introduction that he is composing Sivavakkiyam to describe the five lettered mantra, namacivaya.

He defines what a mantra is in verse 92. He says that mantras are not secretions from the tree (toddy) that cause delusion. People recite mantras and get “drunk” on their special status, that they are able to recite them so well, that they are able to obtain special benefits. This is not the purpose of a mantra. It is useless if one recites a mantra without understanding either its purpose or what it denotes. Sivavakkiyar defines a mantra as “that which raises the prana in its path towards realization”. For those who have consumed this mantra there is no delusion. There is only deathlessness.

How should one chant a mantra? Not in a loud voice as if the whole world should hear it. It must be chanted under the breath like a hunter calling a bird (verse 31).

Sivavakkiyar fulfill his original intent sufficiently by explaining elaborately the auspiciousness of the five letter mantra, namacivaya. He says that everything in this world abide within the five letters of namacivaya (verse 2). It is the locus where the supreme consciousness resides. It is the best means for liberation. It is the doorway at which the Jiva and the Siva merge (jiva-siva-aikyam).

Sivavakkiyar describes how the namacivaya mantra forms one’s body parts. The letters na are the legs, va the mouth, ci the shoulder and ya the two eyes (verse 96). Such a body is called mantra meni in Siddha literature.

Sivavakkiyar says that if one becomes an expert of the five letters one will become a Deva and rule the sky. One will know entity in the sky and realize the truth (201). Sivavakkiyar relates the namacivaya mantra to the pranava or aum. In the verse 305 he says that the central letter of namacivaya, the letter ci, indicates the Divine. This entity is none other than the holy triad represented by the pranava or a u and m. Thus, pranava is none other than namacivaya. Sivavakkiyar says that when the pranava is “opened”, that is, it is split into the three letters (a, u and m) and the ukāra, the active part of the Divine is identified with the makāra the manifested world, then everything will appear as akāra, the Divine. He says that akāra is the eternal space, ukāra the truth and makāra the space which took a form. The letter ci represents the clarity when these principles are understood correctly (verse 410). Siddhas consider the akāra and ukāra as very sacred. They refer to it as eight and two. The letter a in Tamil indicates number 8 and the letter u the number 2. Hence eight and two indicate a and u. Sivavakkiyar also mentions eight and two and says that it does not matter whoever adds them, it will always add up to ten (verse 492). That is, they are universal truths.

Sivavakkiyar concludes his composition by stating that namacivaya uttered as sivayavasi is a “double headed fire.” The mantra namacivaya when uttered as sivayavasi is called atisukṣma pañcākṣara or the very subtle five letters. Sivavakkiyar says that this utterance will make one a ruler of the all the worlds. Kashmir Saivism defines Siva as svātantrya or complete freedom. One who has complete freedom is the ruler of the universe. Thus, this mantra takes one to the state of Siva. This mantra is double headed fire because it burns away all the dualities, all the past and future karma.

There are several verses in Sivavakkiyam that describe the rama mantra. There is a conjecture that this section may have been inserted into the original text. However, there is no proof for it. Sivavakkiyar says that the rama mantra is the master of all mantra. All the mantras chanted during various rituals are in actuality, this mantra. It is capable of removing even the five most deplorable sins. It is all the manifested (verses 10, 11, 12). He also says that the five lettered namacivaya, the three lettered a u m and the one lettered om all are none other than rama nama (verse 58).

Sivavakkiyar says that one can utter the rama nama to destroy the nine apertures through which the soul disappears. That is, rama mantra will make the soul leave the body through the sahasrara. This sort of an exit is considered to be the highest accomplishment. However, one can utter the rama mantra only when one is pure. If a dirty one attempts to utter it, all the diseases will prevent him from doing so. For a good soul the rama mantra will remain embedded on his tongue (verse 210).

Besides the above mentioned three mantras, Sivavakkiyar also mentions the kechari mudra (verse 216) and says that those who practice it will never age. They will experience the Supreme Being everywhere.

Sivavakkiyar describes the three yantras, the umāpathi yantra, the bhuvana yantra and the shatkona yantra. The umāpathi yantra contains eight vertical and eight horizontal lines with the eight lettered mantra written to fill the squares. It is surrounded by aum. Thirumular has described this yantra in his Thirumandiram (verse 989).

Sivavakkiyar mentions the bhuvana yantra without giving any specific details about it. This may also represent the world which a power diagram itself (verse 326). He talks about the six pointed yantra or the shatkona yantra where the upward facing triangle represents Siva while the downward facing triangle represents Sakti. The nine triangles represent the nine apertures in the body. The bindu in the middle represents the state of ultimate union (verse363).

b. Hatha yoga:

Sivavakkiyar has described only the padmasana while mentioning the kechari mudra. One does not find any other asana being mentioned in this composition.

c. Laya yoga:

After lamenting that millions have lost their lives seeking the Divine through fruitless paths, Sivavakkiyar describes the kundalini yoga through several verses. He says that when the prana that dwell in the sushumna is raised up to sahasrara in the cranium, even an old man will attain eternal youth. He calls the sahasrara as the threshold of the Divine, the gateway where the soul and the Divine become one pure enjoyment, ekabogam (verse 17). He also calls it the vatta vīdu or circular house (verse 389) and as the “city of the arena man” (verse 97).

To sum up the process, Sivavakkiyar says that the aspirant sits in the lotus posture and raises his kundalini sakti with the help of the vital air. The prana which flows in the two nādis, ida and pingala, or (the two conches, according to Sivavakkiyar) should be made to flow through the sushumna (the drum) (verse 19). The breath should be blown like a bellow through the energy channels (verse 77) which would arouse the kundalini. He calls the breath the grass and says that one should reap four stacks of it, that is, practice breath control four times a day, waking up early in the morning (verse 153). Then one would remain as an eternal youth.

The fire of kundalini which generally remains curled up in the muladhara cakra, when aroused, travels through the sushumna with the sound of a conch and reaches the sahasrara. It does not travel slowly but gushes forth with a great force. Sivavakkiyar calls the path of the kundalini as the path of great speed or pāicchalūr. He says that the fire rushes forth melting the root, the muladhara (verse 388) when the Jiva experiences Sadāsiva, the first of the manifestations.

Then the breath, along with the kundalini, crosses the nine gates or apertures in the body. The aspirant holds the kechari mudra. The kundalini sakti go through the sushumna nādi which hums like the stem of the musical instrument veena when it crosses the cakras, “the temples of lotuses” (verse 370).

When the fire of kundalini reaches the ājña cakra which is also called Kashi or the city of light, Siva teaches the rama nama as it is this mantra which helps the soul to cross from the state of Jiva to Siva (verse 107). The fire remains in the ajna cakra like a thick column. The five elements appear as five different colors and merging with each other (verse 390) and become one. The hobbling kundalini sakti displays various sounds here (verse 361).

Sivavakkiyar says that one need not perform any external fire sacrifice as the fire and the water are within oneself (verse 30). When one performs this antharyāga of raising the kundalini sakti, one overcomes the cycle of births and deaths.

Sivavakkiyar asks the question, “where does the Lord reside among the six cakras?” and answers that he remains in the ājña cakra as the primal preceptor. When the yogin directs the prana from the muladhara cakra, Rudra, the fire of kundalini that resides there, rises. The two eyes are made to merge in the third eye in the middle of the brow. The Absolute appears at the ajna cakra in the form of the guru (verse 143). A blue light appears at this place. Sivavakkiyar advises the aspirants to remain there and look at it carefully. The blue light is the light of the soul. There is another light higher than this which is the light of the Divine (verse 164).

Sivavakkiyar advises that one should learn this yoga from a guru (verse 172) as it is impossible to attain realization unless one abides by the mantra received from the guru (verse 320). One has to swim the ocean with the mantra that the Guru gives. He says that otherwise one has to go through the tortures that cotton undergoes before becoming a dress. It is possible to see the Lord only when one submerges himself in the flood of the Guru, gurupunal (verse 440). A guru is like a mighty river that carries with it anything and everything. A guru carries with him all his disciples towards the Divine whether they deserve it or not.

d. Mental state during yoga:

Kundalini yoga consists of the two components, bodily states and mental states. It is important that a yogin remains in the right mental state while holding a particular physical pose. Sivavakkiyar says that one who should attain mental equanimity by bringing the fighting beasts, the senses, under control (verse 57) and perform the kundalini yoga with utmost sincerity as if one’s bones are melting in the fire of kundalini (verse 76). One has to sacrifice the desire to seek anything -- things, pleasures and even the desire for liberation (verse 138). He states that when one watches “that which is watching” then “the watching” will disappear in the “act of watching”. That is, the seen, the sight and the act of seeing will all disappear and the only remaining entity will be consciousness (verse 163). Tirumular refers to this as jñānam, jñeyam and jñyātha becoming one.

One identifies shades of bhakti or devotion in some verses of the Sivavakkiyam. This is similar to Tirumandiram which declares that God is love and only fools think that they are different. Sivavakkiyar says that the Divine is attainable through love. If an aspirant is capable of singing the praise of the Divine and beseeching it, he will cut his further births and remain with the Divine (verse 43). He says further that this is not his conclusion but the advice of realized souls. The lord will be seen if he is sought by a heart melting with love. When this is done, the prana will be led in its course with the earth and the sky thundering; the Lord will come closer (verse 439).

Sivavakkiyar says that people climb mountains and visit oceans to realize the truth. All these attempts are only show of the ego. The right thing to do is to adorn the Divine’s sacred feet, surrender to it, seeking it. Then the Jiva will automatically become Siva (verse 484). This technique is similar to the Anupāyam of Kashmir Saivism where the Divine grace descends without an effort on Jiva’s part.

e. State of a yogin after yoga siddhi:

When one becomes an accomplished yogin, the mind disappears in maya (verse 38). There are no delusions caused by the mind. The yogin hears various sounds. Sivavakkiyar refers to this as “the shop in the ear opens” (verse 127). None of the scriptures can explain this state as it is beyond words (verse 139).

A yogin remains like a bee that swoons losing itself within the flower, having drunk the honey. He remains in the state of energy, the lingam (verse 498). When one practices the kundalini yoga intensely for twelve days, one will see a light with the rainbow like hue in the ajna cakra. This is the Divine, the Parabrahmam (verse 495). The fire of kundalini rises with the prana and opens the receptacle of honey in the sahasrara after piercing the three spheres, the sun, the moon and the agni mandala. The yogin learns to consume measured quantities of the ambrosia (verse 179). Sivavakkiyar says that tapas will happen, that is, all the actions that one performs will become one’s dharma (verse 436).

When the kundalini reaches the saharara the body changes into a fragrant body. Sivavakkiyar calls this stage as “the tip of the branch that fruited” (verse 353) and says that the aspirant sees the seven worlds. While the Puranas describe the seven worlds as seven realms, they are nothing but different states of consciousness. When the aspirant raises his kundalini sakti, he experiences these states of consciousness. Sivavakkiyar says that the sky will glisten like rubies (verse 389).

Is this yoga easy to achieve? No. Sivavakkiyar says that even though the Lord is within our hearts it is as difficult to see him as it is to straighten a dog’s tail (verse 405).

The kundalini that reaches the sahasrara does not remain there eternally. It falls back to the muladhara. Sivavakkiyar calls this as blessing and curse. During its ascent the kundalini blesses the aspirant with great experiences. When it comes down it brings him back to his worldly qualities (verse 358).

The kundalini yoga teaches one to realize the Divine that is within oneself. All of us are ignorant of this fact. By turning the focus inwards one realizes this truth, “one knows the one within”. Sivavakkiyar says that when he knew the one within (that it is an entity beyond perception) then no one was capable of seeing it (verse 6). Sivavakkiyar says that when one realizes this truth one will not lift his hands in supplication to worship a particular deity or a temple (verse 256). One will see the Divine everywhere. In this state there are no distinctions as a limited soul or the Divine, there is no directed or the directing (verse 23). Sivavakkiyar calls this as samarasa or “equivalent sentiment” (verse 126).

Sivavakkiyar explains how the Divinity brings about a super conscious state within in the Jiva. It initially places a speck of flame like a turtle placing its eggs on the shore. While the turtle goes back into the water and the eggs hatch by themselves in due course. Similarly, the Divine goes about its business after leaving the flame within us. The flame grows to a raging fire that turns us into the Ultimate Reality. Just as how the hatchlings return to the ocean, the Jiva returns to Siva (verse 98). He tells us another example that of a hornet embeds a worm in wet soil. Without any other thought than the intent the hornet buries the worm in the wet soil and goes away. Over time the wet soil breaks down and the worm flies away as a wasp (verse 106).

f. State of silence:

Silence is lack of sound. It is not only cessation of words but lack of mental fluctuations as well. Sivavakkiyar talks elaborately about the state of silence. He says that if the five senses are controlled within and if silence remains inside, the Lord will speak within and one will attain brahma jnāna (verse 103). Silence represents the state beyond nāda. Vijnāna Bhairava, a Kashmiri Saivism treatise on yoga calls this silence as Bhairava or universal consciousness. Sivavakkiyar reflects this idea when he says that silence is the river Ganga or wisdom, it is the moon (which again represents a state of wisdom) and it is the silence of Siva, the state of supreme consciousness (verse 339). The Siddhas call this state cumma, a state without any distinction. When the kundalini sakti reaches the sahasrara, the yogin experiences this state (verse 349). He experiences the Divine through all his senses. Sivavakkiyar says that the tainted thresholds, the senses, will become samarasa or the abodes of enjoyment of the Divine (verse 391).

He says that when one realizes the truth, the Divine, it does not matter, whether one is awake or sleeping, whether one’s senses are functioning or remaining merged as one, whether the directions exist or not, one will have the inside and outside in unison, in harmony. Such wise ones, jnāni, will have no thoughts as the mind ceases to exist. This is the state of a realized soul (verses 314, 470).

8. Sivavakkiyar’s sandhyā bhāsha:

Using esoteric language is a common feature in Siddha poetry. Sivavakkiyar has given us a taste of it in the following verses.

He describes the five senses as chickens and the soul as the mother hen. The chickens are fighting and making a lot of noise in the pen, the body. When the old jackal comes there, the Divine, all the chickens are dead. Only the mother hen remains (verse 152).

He describes the kundalini yoga in a verse which sounds as if he is describing a procedure in alchemy. With six parts of pure silver, four parts of copper, three parts of zinc, two parts of gold, one measure of the sound of the bow, if one blows on these one will reach the frontier (verse 185). Copper represents blood, silver the kundalini sakti or the seminal fluid. Three parts of zinc are the three faults or malas, two parts of gold are the breath flowing through the ida and pingala nādi. When all these are brought together they sound like the twang of the bow. One then reaches the frontier, the state of supreme consciousness.

In another verse, he calls the breath as the bellow and the kundalini sakti as the gold. If only one is capable of blowing the bellow it will expand as a pillar of fire. Then there will be nothing other than the dancing effulgence and oneself (verse 193).


Verse 504 has the last line as “tānatāna tatthathāna nāthanāna thānanā”. This looks like a musical note. However, this should be split as thān athāna thath, athāna nāthanāna thānan ā! It means “the thath that became that”, “the I that which became the Lord who became that” “the vital air”. This is the Mahavaakhya “Tat tvam asi”.

9. Play with numbers:

Siddhas use numbers to refer to esoteric concepts. Some of their songs contain only numbers. They leave it to the readers’ imagination to interpret them. Sivavakkiyar has used this technique in several of his verses. In verse 217 he says five, five, five and five are those that trouble; five, five and five are those that remain within; five, five and five -- if you are capable of nourishing them, five and five will remain within as civayam. It is up to the reader to interpret what these different fives mean! In the verse 227 he says “in the primal five, in the eternal four, in the effulgent three in the formless two in the one the wisdom entity that remains pervading all -- these are none other than the five letters. Verses 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, are examples of this technique.

Secrets of the Five Special Sofit Letters

In this week’s parasha, Beha’alotcha, we read how a year had passed since the Israelites had left Egypt, and God was now reminding the nation to commemorate Pesach. However, some people were spiritually impure at Pesach time because they had handled a corpse and were unable to take part in the Paschal offering. They approached Moses and asked “why should we be excluded so as not to bring the offering of the Lord in its appointed time, with all the children of Israel?” (Numbers 9:7) Moses was not sure how to answer them, so he took the case up to God, after which God told Moses about Pesach Sheni, the “second Passover” that could be done a month later in Iyar for those who had missed Passover in Nisan.

This episode is one of five times in the Torah when Moses was “stumped” by a question and had to consult God. The first was in Leviticus 24:11-12 with the case of the man who had blasphemed (nokev) God’s Name. The Pesach Sheni question posed above was the second. The third was the case of the mekoshesh etzim, the “wood-gatherer” on Shabbat (Numbers 15:32), followed by the Midianite episode when Zimri and Kozbi were involved in a public display of indecency (Numbers 25). The last was with the five daughters of Tzelofchad who wondered about their inheritance (Numbers 27).

These five questions (mekoshesh, nokev, tzelofchad, pesach sheni, kozbi) correspond to the five special Hebrew letters that have a distinct symbol when they appear at the end of a word: The “open” mem (מ) becomes a “closed” mem sofit (ם) while the “bent” nun (נ) becomes a “straight” nun sofit (ן), just as the “bent” tzadi (צ) becomes a “straight” tzadi sofit (ץ). The “coiled” pei (פ) and khaf (כ) unravel into the straight pei sofit (ף) and khaf sofit (ך). Together, these five unique letters are referred to by the acronym מנצפ״ך, “mantzepach”, and carry a tremendous amount of meaning. What is the origin and purpose of these special letters?

Letters of Creation

We first encounter a discussion of these letters in the Talmud (Shabbat 104a). The Sages state that the sofit letters were unknown to the earlier generations of Israelites and were only introduced by the later Prophets. The Talmud questions this and ultimately concludes that, of course, these letters are also holy and designed by God. What is meant here is that, in reality, these letters contained such great primordial secrets that they were initially hidden from the general masses. However, a time came when the Prophets decided it was necessary to reveal the secret of the five letters. These secrets are preserved in Kabbalistic texts, where the five letters are often referred to as the five Gevurot, “severities” or “strengths”.

Recall that, in the beginning, God “constricted” a space for Creation in a process called tzimtzum. He then shone His great light within that space to create a wholly perfect world. However, the “vessels” that held Creation together were unable to contain God’s unfiltered light. What followed was a shevirat hakelim, “Shattering of the Vessels”, scattering countless sparks of holiness throughout Creation that needed to be rectified and elevated back to their original positions. (For a detailed explanation of this Creation process, see here.) The mystical mission of each Jew is to affect that tikkun, to restore the spiritual worlds and thereby also perfect the physical world below. (This is the true meaning of tikkun olam, a term which has been redefined, overused, and misused in modern times.)

The five Gevurot letters were instrumental in restoring Creation during that primordial time, allowing for the world to exist, albeit imperfectly. The Gevurot became “channels” of severity, to help contain both God’s light, and His judgement. They hold together—for now—a disparate, divided world. This is reflected in the total numerical value of the five Gevurot, equalling 280, or פ״ר. In Hebrew, essentially every word that means a division or separation of some sort carries that same root of פ״ר, or 280. For example, פרד and פרש are both verbs meaning to separate, while פרץ is to break through something and פרס is to split or slice. The word פר itself is a bull, an animal domesticated specifically in order to plow and break up the soil.

Thus, the sofit letters have the power to “break up” impurity and restore holiness. In his excellent Understanding the Alef-Beis (pg. 17), Rabbi Dovid Leitner points out that 280 is also the value of רוח הטומאה, “spirit of impurity” (as in Zechariah 13:2). The five Gevurot, whose total value is 280, are able to neutralize the impure.

At the same time, the Gevurot letters have another, greater, numerical value, once again illustrating their power in channeling God’s great, otherwise overpowering, light. Continuing after tav, which has a value of 400, the khaf sofit has a specific value of 500, then the mem sofit is 600, and so on. The final tzadi sofit is 900, thus completing the numerical cycle in Hebrew, and bringing us back to aleph, which literally means “thousand”. Beautifully, an aleph is both 1 and 1000, the spiritual implications of which we shall return to below.

Letters of Rectification

When it comes to our actions, there are five major body parts that we use: the nose, mouth, arms, hands, and fingers. These are the parts of the body with which we do things. The legs and feet are generally only for mobility. The eyes and ears are passive sensory organs with which we cannot actually do any specific tasks. The reproductive organ is useless on its own, without being acted upon. That leaves those five body parts alone. The nose is the key to proper breathing and meditation. (Note how breath is neshimah and soul is neshamah.) The nose is also associated with making use of various aromas, both therapeutic and recreational, for better or worse. The uses of the mouth, along with its pros and cons, require no further explanation. The arms, hands, and fingers are the main tools for interacting with the world around us and getting things done. Therefore, the key to proper conduct, action, and spiritual rectification, lies in the proper use of these five body parts.

The Arizal relates these five body parts directly to the five Gevurot, each giving strength to its corresponding part (see Sha’ar HaPesukim on Balak, Pinchas, and Matot). Pei literally means “mouth”, while mem represents the nose (a regular mem actually resembles a nose sticking out of a face, with a little nostril at the bottom, מ). Nun represents the arm, khaf literally means “palm”, and tzadi corresponds to the fingers. For those who are familiar with the terminology, the Arizal teaches that mem and pei are associated with the or makif, “surrounding light”, while the other three are for the or penimi, “inner light”. (Interestingly, the Arizal adds that the five daughters of Tzelofchad mystically represent the five Gevurot.)

More broadly, the ancient Sefer HaBahir states that the vertical nun sofit represents the spinal cord. At birth, the spinal cord is protected by 33 vertebral bones. These correspond to the 33 times that God is mentioned in the account of Creation. The first 32 times (corresponding to the 32 Paths of Wisdom, as explained in detail here) God is mentioned with the name Elohim, and the 33rd time with the first appearance of the Tetragrammaton. As a person grows, their vertebral bones fuse into 26, the value of the Tetragrammaton itself. And so, the Zohar (I, 24a and 147a) says that the nun sofit symbolizes the transformative process into the complete, fulfilled human. This complete human must be a male-female pair—soul mates reunited into one whole—and entirely rectified and refined to the highest degree, truly “in God’s image”.


66 The Tirikala cakkaram culminates in a vision of Siva as the supreme being, the transcendent, invisible, and unfathomable creator of all that exists. The Puvana cakkaram opens with an account of how from this supreme being the universe arises as the result of a process of differentiation which begins with the emergence of a single androgynous being, neither male nor female, but nevertheless beginning to unfold so that male and female elements are distinguishable within what remains a single entity. From these elements emerges the manifest form of Siva and then from Siva, in turn, emerge Sakti and the five forms Sadasiva, Mahesvara, Rudra, Visnu and Brahma. Quoting this account in the Malabarisches Heidenthum, Ziegenbalg comments that this is why "these heathens undewrstand under the name Siva both the supreme being and the highest God," that is, both the unmanifest and manifest forms of Siva.

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan


While the human process of growth and refinement ends with the nun sofit, it begins in the womb which, the Arizal says, is represented by the mem sofit (Sha’ar haPesukim on Tehillim). The difference in value between the two letters is 100, representing the 100 “vessels” that every person needs to repair and fill (derived from the Ten Sefirot, each of which is composed of a further Ten Sefirot, totalling 100). The value of “vessels” (כלים) is itself 100. The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that this is the true meaning of Pirkei Avot 5:21 that says how at 100 a person is like a dead body who is “removed from this world”. It does not mean that a centenarian is practically dead! On the contrary, it means that once a person, regardless of age, has repaired and filled all 100 spiritual vessels—they are “at 100”—any trace of evil within them is dead, and they become transcendent and angelic, as if they are no longer bound to the physical world. (See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, pg. 48)

Letters of Redemption

Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (ch. 48) describes the five Gevurot letters as the “Alphabet of Redemption”. It describes how each of our patriarchs was somehow saved through the light and power channeled by one of the letters: Abraham through the khaf, Isaac through the mem, and Jacob with the nun. All of Israel came out of Egypt through the pei sofit. The only letter that remains is the tzadi sofit, reserved for the Final Redemption.

More than anyone else, it was the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797) that expounded upon the tzadi sofit in Redemption. In Kol HaTor (published only in the previous century, to a great deal of controversy) we read a detailed exposition of what the “Birth Pangs of the Messiah”—that difficult period leading to the Final Redemption—will be like. The Vilna Gaon taught that there will specifically be טצ״ץ, or 999, “birth pangs” before the coming of Mashiach. This is the value of the tzadi sofit, the regular tzadi, and the mispar katan of tzadi (where every number is reduced to one digit). It is the last possible number in the Hebrew numerical system, before returning to the aleph. And this is the secret of the famous verse in Isaiah (60:21-22) that speaks of the Redemption:

And your people, all of them righteous, shall inherit the land forever, a scion of My planting, the work of My hands in which I will glory. The smallest shall become a thousand and the least a mighty nation; I am God, in its time I will hasten it.

The Vilna Gaon taught that the words hakaton ihyeh la’eleph, that the smallest one “shall become a thousand”, refers to Mashiach. As stated above, the aleph (the “smallest one”) is both 1 and 1000; therefore, the process of growing from 1 to 1000 involves 999 intermediate steps. These are the 999 “Footsteps of the Messiah”, and involve those difficult “birth pangs” at the End of Days. The prophet Jeremiah (30:7) described the birth pangs of the End of Days thus: “Oh that day will be great, none like it. And it will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he shall be saved from it.” The Vilna Gaon pointed out that the gematria of the words “And it will be a time of trouble for Jacob” (וְעֵֽת־צָרָ֥ה הִיא֙ לְיַֽעֲקֹ֔ב) is 999 as well, further solidifying the connection.

These 999 steps will not be easy for the House of Jacob to overcome. In fact, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98b) records that because the birth pangs of the pre-messianic era will be so difficult, “Ulla said, ‘Let him come, but let me not see him.’ And so said Rabbah, ‘Let him come, but let me not see him.’” Many of our Sages did not want to live through the horrible travails that Jews would endure in the End of Days. (Still, Rav Yosef countered them and said: “Let him come, and let me merit to sit in the shadow of his donkey’s excrement!”)

What we are seeing in the world around us today is part of that difficult process. Israel, the one state of the Jewish people, a tiny sliver of land among 22 Arab countries, is attacked indiscriminately by genocidal terrorists that proudly target innocent civilians. “Rioters” from within the country, chanting for Jews to be driven into the sea, burn down synagogues and ram their cars into pedestrians. Yet the whole world responds by condemning Israel! The world wants to boycott and dismantle the one free democracy amidst a sea of tyranny and despotic regimes. And it’s not just Israel that’s under fire, but Jews all over the world—the entire House of Jacob—are under attack. We keep hearing that “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism”, but no distinction at all is made on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Toronto, Montreal, and other cities where Jews have been harassed in recent days.

Throughout this immensely difficult time for our people, it is important to remember that all of this was foreseen and forewarned. To paraphrase Rabbi Akiva, just as we are witnessing the negative parts of the prophecies fulfilled, we should take comfort in knowing that the positive parts of those same prophecies will surely be fulfilled, too. Things may seem to be getting worse and worse by the minute, but God told us that when the time for Redemption comes, “I will hasten it.”

We will soon see everlasting peace, as Isaiah (9:6) said: “To increase [לםרבה] authority and peace without end upon David’s throne and kingdom.” This verse is the only place in the Tanakh where a mem sofit strangely appears in the middle of a word, once more reminding us about the “Alphabet of Redemption”. The five Gevurot are channels of Judgement, and at the same time they are the channels for our salvation. We started off by citing the Talmud which told us that it was the later Prophets who revealed the five special letters. Now we understand why: to teach ancient Israel about the Redemption when all hope seemed to be lost.

Today we also find ourselves at a time of fading hope. We shouldn’t forget that we need to go through this difficult period, and as frightening as it may seem, we must remember that God asked us to wait for Him just a little longer:

…Wait for Me, says God, for the day when I arise as an accuser; When I decide to gather nations, to bring kingdoms together, to pour out My indignation on them, all My blazing anger. Indeed, by the fire of My passion all the Earth shall be consumed. For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, to call out in the Name of God, and serve Him in unity. (Tzefaniah 3:8-9)...

-- Secrets of the Five Special Sofit Letters, by Mayim Achronim, Uncovering the depths of Torah wisdom

10. Conclusion:

From the above described topics one can safely conclude that Sivavakkiyam is an authentic text on Tamil Siddha philosophy. It subscribes to the suddha advaita or monism and not pluralism prescribed by Saiva Siddhanta the more popular philosophy in South India.

While the composition begins with a well-defined introduction, the concepts explained above are all spread over several verses in no conceivable order. This makes one wonder whether the original verses were collated by different people at different times. Repetition of some of verses lends credence to this conjecture. It may also be that the verses were composed at different time points and hence the same concept is repeated in several verses with mild modification of the lines. In any case, the ideas and the philosophy are consistent throughout the composition and hence verses from different authors who follow different philosophies have not been put together under one title.


There is a general confusion about the number and order of verses of Sivavakkiyam. The version published by Aru. Ramanathan in the collection of Siddhar Padalgal (10) consists of 533 songs. The publication from The South India Saiva Siddhanta Works Publishing society, Tinnevelly (1984) has 526 verses. B. Ratna Nayakar sons (1955) have published a version which contains 1012 verses. The last publication has verses on Siddha medicine and recommendations for curing fever besides several unrelated topics. These verses do not fit with Sivavakkiyar’s original intent and hence seem to be insertions at a later date....

There are several verses in Sivavakkiyam that describe the rama mantra. There is a conjecture that this section may have been inserted into the original text....
Drawn milk doesn’t return to the breast.
Churned butter doesn’t return to the butter-milk.
The broken conch’s sound and the beings don’t re-enter the body.
The blossomed flower and the fallen half-ripe fruit never return to the tree.
The dead are never born [again]. Never, never, never.

Further, when the soul and the body separate, the soul does not die. It takes up another body....


In conclusion one may state that the philosophy of Sivavakkiyar with its social attitudes may well constitute the point of departure for a new humanism (for in Sivavakkiyar’s genuine mysticism, humanity and God is the point of reference) on a world scale with its format deeply embedded in a Philosophy of the Spirit which is not confined to any notion or nation, religion or community which indeed is the common spiritual treasure trove of the entire humanity.
In an online essay called "Sai Baba and Sex: A Clear View," an American devotee named Ram Das Awle says, "First of all, I believe that Sathya Sai Baba is an Avatar, a full incarnation of God ... AND, from what I've read and heard, I'm inclined to think some of the allegations about Baba are probably true: It appears likely to me that He has occasionally had sexually intimate interactions with devotees." After several rambling paragraphs, the essay concludes that Sai Baba touches men to awaken their "kundalini" energy or to remove previous bad sexual karma, and that "any sexual contact Baba has had with devotees -- of whatever kind -- has actually been only a potent blessing, given to awaken the spiritual power within those souls. Who can call that 'wrong'? Surely to call such contact 'molestation' is perversity itself."

According to Leland (the American ex-motivational speaker), "when he does it, he has a purpose." Leland says he knows a boy of 15 or 16 who was asked to touch Baba's "genital area" during an interview. "Then Baba beckoned him to touch his feet. When the boy looked up, Baba had his robe lifted and a big boner -- a Shiva lingam. Not much else happened." Leland suspects such incidents are part of Sai Baba's plan to spread his word. "Probably more people are going to know about you if there are allegations that you're a pedophile than if you say God is incarnated on earth."

Sai Baba has also been called a second-rate magician. Even some of his believers say they've seen him faking materializations, though to them it's part of his playfulness and ineffability. Yet there's nothing amateurish about his genius for suspending disbelief. Haus, the Swiss follower, seemed to have an open mind and didn't mind discussing the charges against Sai Baba, but he didn't believe them. "I think this is a projection of his devotees' problems," he said. "You hear a lot of rumors here, but for me it's not important. When you're happy, why doubt it?"


-- Untouchable? Millions of people worship Sai Baba as God incarnate. More and more say the Indian guru is also a pedophile, by Michelle Goldberg

Bibliography

1. T.N. Ganapathy, The Yoga of the Eighteen Siddhas: An Anthology. Babaji’s Kriya Yoga and Publications, Inc. Quebec, Canada. (2004), pp.11-13.
2. The author came across at least fifteen different lists of Tamil Siddhas. They can be found in:
Jñānabodhagam MS
Nijānanda bodham in Chittar Pādalgal, vol.2, p 227.
Karuvūrar Māntrika Attamāsittu
Kārai Siddhar, Kanagavaippu (Golden Lay) verses 7-11 pp.124,125.
Kalaikkalañjiyam, Vol. 4, p.645.
Abhidhānacintāmani p.638
M.S. Purnalingam Pillai, Tamil Literature, p.265.
Ka.Su. Pillai, Ilakkiya Varalāru, p.338
C.Balasubramanian, Tamil Ilakkiya Varalāru,p.157
Aru.Ramanathan, Chittar Pādalgal, vol.1, p.7
A. Shanmugavelan, Siddhar’s Science of Longevity and Kalpa Medicine of India, p.40
R. Manickavāchagam, Nam Nāttu Chittargal, p.105ff
K.R.R. Sastri, “The Path of the Siddhas”.
Kamil V.Zvelebil, The Poets of the Powers, pp.132-33.

3. T.P.Meenakshisundaram, A History of Tamil Literature, p.70.
4. Refer his Introduction to Ci.Ko. Deivanāyagan’s Chittar Sindanaigal, (Tanjore: 1979), p.ii
5. For a list of Tamil Siddhas with their caste, origin and the place where they lived, refer the following:
(i) T.N.Ganapathy, The Yoga of Siddha Boganathar, col.I Quevec, Babaji’s Kriya Yoga and Publications, 2003, refer Appendixes , A, B,C and D
(ii) K.V.Zvelebil, The Poets of the Powers (London: Rider&Co, 1971) pp.132-33
(iii) Karai Siddhar, Kanaga Vaippu (Nungambakkam: Siddhasāram),p.126.
(iv) K.R. Pasupathi, Siddhargal (Tiruchi:Pudupunal Padippagam, 1963)p.5
(v) V.Balaramaiah, Chittar Meypporul, pp.55-56.
(vi) In Nijānandabhodam a list of places of the Siddhas is ginven, (Aru.Ramanathan, Cittar Padalgal, 2 vols. Madras Prema Prasuram, 4th edition, 1984) vol.II p.273.
6. M.Arunachalam, “The Poetry and Philosophy of Siddar Sivavakkiyar”(SaivaSiddhanta vol. VI, nos.1 and 2,1971, pp8-21 and pp.85-94 respectively) p.11
7. For details of this “Pāychalūr Ballad” refer M.Arunachalam’s article on “Uttaranallur Mangai” in his Histroy of Tamil Literature vol.XV century pp.359-362 and vol. XIV century p.409 (Mayuram:Gandhi Vidhyalayam).
8. A.Singaravelu Mudaliar, Abithana Chintamani (Chennai:Asia Educational Services, 2001) pp.685-686.
9. For a detailed discussion of this view refer A.V.Subramania Aiyar’s The Poetry and the Philosophy of the Tamil Siddhas (pp. 36-46) also refer to R.Manikhavachagar’s Nam Nattu Sidhargal (Chennai: Annai Abhirami Arul, 1978) pp158-177.
10. Aru. Ramanathan, Siddhar Padalgal, vol.I (Chennai: Prema Prasuram, 10th edition, 1999).
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Jaffna Tamils Trapped Inside Their Historical Vacuum
by H. L. D. Mahindapala
Colombo Telegraph
February 15, 2020

The Tirikāla cakkaram and the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter

64 There is one work in particular, of fundamental importance to Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism, which is closely linked to the traditions of the Śaiva maṭams and may well have been obtained by Ziegenbalg through his links with them. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica (bm 110), Ziegenbalg names this work as Tirikāla cakkaram and describes it as “a mathematical description of the seven underworlds and the seven worlds above, together with the fourteen seas which lie between the fourteen worlds. Likewise an account of their paradise, or Kailācam, which is the seat of Īcuvarī with many hundreds of thousands of idols.” He adds the remarkable claim that it is “virtually the basis of all other Malabarian books, since everything is based on the principles contained in it.”

While the Tirikāla cakkaram is, to the best of our knowledge, unknown to the scholarship on Tamil literature167 and is hardly the basis of all other Tamil books, it was formative in Ziegenbalg’s understanding of the Hindu pantheon, both in convincing him that Hindu theology—at its best—is essentially monotheistic, and in helping him structure his own account of the Hindu pantheon in his final work on Hinduism, the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter. As Ziegenbalg writes in the Bibliotheca Malabarica, the Tirikāla cakkaram shows “the genealogy of the gods… namely how all the other gods derive from the being of all beings, or the supreme God, and what their offices are, where their residence is, how long they live, how often each is incarnated, etc.”

He adds:
I had intended to translate [the Tirikāla cakkaram], but nonetheless I found myself wondering whether this was altogether advisable, since many pointless speculations would be caused thereby, and keep [scholars in Europe] away from the things that are necessary. However, I leave it still to be determined, whether I might translate it into German or not, since I am now for this reason not really of one mind on it myself.

65 The importance of the Tirikāla cakkaram for Ziegenbalg’s conception of Hinduism has not been fully appreciated, in part because of the difficulty in identifying the text. The Tirikāla cakkaram is not an independent text, but a section of a work which appears under a separate heading as the next work in Ziegenbalg’s catalogue, the Puvaṉa cakkaram.168 In fact Ziegenbalg did provide an almost complete translation of the Tirikāla cakkaram in the second chapter of the second part of his Malabarisches Heidenthum, entitled “Of their calculation of years,” which Ziegenbalg attributes to “Dírigálasákkarum from p. 1 to p. 10.” (mh 189). Earlier in the Malabarisches Heidenthum he quotes what he takes to be an account of the creation, and attributes this to “Dirugálasakkarum… vs. 11 seqq.” (mh 64–65). This passage, which is in fact—at least in the manuscript we consulted—the opening of the Puvaṉa cakkaram, points to the real significance of the Tirikāla cakkaram and Puvaṉa cakkaram for Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism.

66 The Tirikāla cakkaram culminates in a vision of Śiva as the supreme being, the transcendent, invisible, and unfathomable creator of all that exists. The Puvaṉa cakkaram opens with an account of how from this supreme being the universe arises as the result of a process of differentiation which begins with the emergence of a single androgynous being, neither male nor female, but nevertheless beginning to unfold so that male and female elements are distinguishable within what remains a single entity. From these elements emerges the manifest form of Śiva and then from Śiva, in turn, emerge Śakti and the five forms Sadāśiva, Maheśvara, Rudra, Viṣṇu and Brahmā. Quoting this account in the Malabarisches Heidenthum, Ziegenbalg comments that this is why “these heathens understand under the name Śiva both the supreme being and the highest God,” that is, both the unmanifest and the manifest forms of Śiva. The first part of the Genealogia is devoted to an explanation of this conception of Śiva’s unfolding. The second part deals with the five faces of Śiva which—according to Ziegenbalg—“signify the five great lords or gods, out of which they later make no more than three” (GMG 41r), i.e., Śiva, Viṣṇu, and Brahmā. Ziegenbalg here conflates five agents of Śiva—Brahman, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Maheśvara, and Sadāśiva (the Kāraṇeśvaras or lords of the five kalās “‘portions’ of the cosmos”169)—with the more familiar trimūrti (or “Mummurtigöl,” in Ziegenbalg’s transcription of the Tamil mummūrttikaḷ). The third part of the Genealogia contains the account of village deities for which Ziegenbalg’s work is best known. With the exception of Aiyaṉār, these are all female and are said by Ziegenbalg to have their origin in the Śakti discussed in the first part of the Genealogia (gmg 128v). Although Ziegenbalg draws heavily on other sources for his account of these deities, his understanding of their position in the pantheon was thus drawn from the Tirikāla cakkaram. The fourth part of the Genealogia returns to follow the Tirikāla cakkaram more closely. It includes an account of the thirty-three crore devas, the forty-eight thousand ṛṣis, various celestial beings such as Keṇanātar (Sanskrit: Gaṇanāthas), Kiṉṉarar (Kiṃnaras), and Kimapuruṭar (Kiṃpuruṣas), and finally the guardians of the eight directions. The attention paid to these mostly obscure denizens of Hindu cosmography is somewhat out of place in a work which is now cited, if at all, usually only for its ethnographic content.170 Their place in the Genealogia is explicable only because of the account of them in the Tirikāla cakkaram, where they are mentioned in the calculation of the different lifespans of Rudra and the manifest form of Śiva.

The Tirikāla cakkaram and the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam

67 The Puvaṉa cakkaram, of which the Tirikāla cakkaram is a part, is a cosmographic work of a kind well-known in Sanskrit literature where it is more commonly titled Bhuvanakośaḥ. Although in modern times works of this sort have been published independently, it appears that they more commonly formed part of larger works, and served to establish the authority of the work by tracing a lineage back to Śiva. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica, Ziegenbalg reports the provenance of the work as follows:
The secrets of this book were first revealed by Īcuvaraṉ himself to his wife Pārvatī. These were later revealed by her to Nantikēcuraṉ, who is Īcuvaraṉ’s gatekeeper. He later made these secrets known to a great prophet called Tirumūla Tēvar. (bm 110)

68 According to cittar tradition, Tirumūlar, the early Śaiva mystic and author of the Tirumantiram, is said to have been the disciple of an alchemist named Nantikēcuran.171 Tirumūlar is also closely connected to Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai [Tiruvavaduthurai is a village in the district of Mayiladuthurai of the Indian State Tamil Nadu.], where he took physical form by entering the body of a cowherd and composed the Tirumantiram. It is, however, not clear that an ascription to this early Tirumūlar is intended in Ziegenbalg’s account of the work.172 Zvelebil gives the briefest details of an undated Tirumūlatēvar,173 ascribing to him three works: the Tirumantiramālai, Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam. Tirumantiramālai is in fact the full title of Tirumūlar’s Tirumantiram and hence the distinction between the work which Zvelebil ascribes to Tirumūla Tēvar and Tirumūlar’s own work is not clear. We have not been able to identify copies of the Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam, but the title of the latter suggests a work on the five-syllable nama-civāya mantra. There are a number of works of this kind, with different titles,174 closely associated with the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. Whether Tirumūlar or Tirumūla Tēvar is intended, an association with Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai [Tiruvavaduthurai is a village in the district of Mayiladuthurai of the Indian State Tamil Nadu.], certainly cannot be ruled out.

69 Moreover, as noted above (35), Koppedrayer emphasizes the importance of the idea of a lineage, beginning on Mount Kailasa and transmitted through Nantikēcuran, or Nantitēvar,175 in the self-understanding of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. She notes that when referring to themselves corporately: “the ascetics living in the matam at Tiruvavatuturai… use such phrases as the Tirukailai paramparai, the lineage [descending] from Mount Kailasa.”176 Discussing the multiple accounts of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai kailasa paramparai, she notes that while they differ in their details “early references to the seminal figures simply cite Namaccivaya, Meykantar, and Nanti, yes, always Nanti on Mount Kailasa.”177

70 While the catalogue of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai library does not list a copy of the Puvaṉa cakkaram, there is one final piece of evidence suggesting a connection between works of this sort and the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. The catalogue of the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library in Chennai records a copy of a work entitled Puvaṉa kōcam which is clearly very similar in content to the Puvaṉa cakkaram. The catalogue describes the work as “a treatise on cosmology as explained in the Śaiva Purāṇas,” and notes that it is part of a bundle purchased in 1938–39 from Sri Muttukkumārasvāmi Ōduvāmūrti of Tinnevelly which includes also several of the works of Umāpati and “Ambalavāṇattamirānār of Tiruvāvaḍutuṛai maṭh.”178

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's Tamil Library, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan


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H. L. D. Mahindapala

Dr. Murugar Gunasingam is a path-breaking and indefatigable Tamil historian who earned his doctorate based on his exploratory history of the Jaffna Tamils of Sri Lanka. He undertook this mission of discovering the history of Jaffna when he “first realised that no one had ever written a truly comprehensive history of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka.” (Preface – Primary Sources For The History Of The Sri Lankan Tamils, World-Wide Search, 2005.). In 1995 he was awarded a scholarship by the Sydney University, Australia, “to undertake research for a doctorate in history”.

He was guided in this mission by leading Tamil historians like Prof. S. Arasaratnam. He was also inspired by Prof. K. Indrapala, the controversial Tamil historian who like most Tamil historians endeavoured to write a Jaffna-centric history. He shocked his admirers and students of history when he recanted his earlier doctoral thesis documenting the history of the Tamils starting from the 12th century. This thesis did not sit well with the Tamil who thought they had made history from “the dawn of history”. In his new thesis written after he was virtually driven out of his Chair in History at the Jaffna University he fell in line with the political agenda and the Tamil “history” laid out in the Vadukoddai Resolution of 1976 – the ultimate manifesto ever of the Jaffna Tamils. The conventional political mission of Tamil historians has been to claim that they were the original pioneers, as stated in the Vadukoddai Resolution, who laid the foundation for the evolution of the history of Sri Lanka.

Armed with the Sydney University scholarship Dr. Gunasingam went on a world-wide search for evidence of the role played by the Tamils in building “a truly comprehensive history of the Tamil nation in Sri Lanka”. Though his mission is commendable there is an irony in it. History by its intrinsic nature is found in the soil on which it is made. But he goes around the world to look for it.
At the end he wrote that “no overall or comprehensive history of the Tamils in Sri Lanka has yet been written.” (p, 25 – Primary Sources For The History Of The Sri Lankan Tamils, World-Wide Search, 2005.).

Tamils are a proud community obsessed with history. They believe fervently and somewhat arrogantly in a glorious past of their own. Of course, their imagined past is far in excess of the historical realities. In fact, they base their modern politics for a separate state / self-determination /federalism etc., on their imagined history. So far, their attempts to rewrite a Jaffna-centric history have ended up as a lame exercise in trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. So the news that they do not have an “overall or comprehensive history of the Tamils in Sri Lanka” is not surprising though it must be upsetting and threatening their imagined history from which they derive political sustenance for an Eelam, a separate state, etc.

Jaffna-centric history has been written essentially to advance their politically motivated thesis which claims that they are the inheritors of a grand past from “the dawn of time”. This raises a critical question: If they do have the tangible glorious past why is it that they do not have a comprehensive history put together by anyone even as late as 2005? Can a nation/community have a great past without anyone documenting the existence of it? Is the vacuum in their history because the gap between the imagined past and the known historical realities cannot be filled with the kind of credible evidence needed to substantiate their claims of greatness? Isn’t this search for a past driven by current politics labouring incessantly to establish a separate state?

In the post-Vadukoddai Resolution period the re-writing of Jaffna-centric history has grown into a kind of semi-industry to boost the contemporary political ego filled with yearnings for the glorification of a history that never existed.
Like most other Tamil and pro-Tamil theoreticians Dr. Gunasingam’s writings confirm amply that his research has been to find evidence of a past that would give credibility to a new Tamil identity that would elevate their status to justify their imagined history. Like Prof. Indrapala he is looking for “the affirmation of a positive Tamil Identity” and he pleads “with the entire Tamil community and especially expatriate Tamils across the world, to act on the matter without any further delay.” But nothing substantial has been dug up from the past since he presented his research to fill the vacuum in the history of the Tamils.

Coming from a leading Tamil scholar who had searched almost all the available sources of the world for evidence of the Tamils in Sri Lanka – Portugal, Holland, India, UK, USA etc– his statement must be taken as a definitive judgement. After his global search his conclusion is startling. He says categorically that “the most important single shortcoming at this time is that no historian, or archaeologist or even a social scientist, whether Sinhalese, Tamil or Western scholar has written complete or comprehensive account of the history of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.” (pp. 20-21 – Ibid). He admits that there were bits and pieces written about Jaffna but no one has written an overall history giving a panoramic view of their past. This news is bound to explode and deflate the heads of the Tamils like a bloated balloon pricked by the point of a needle. Bang!

The reverberating sound must be unnerving because, like all records of history, this revelation has serious political implications. The perennial problem of the Tamils is that their scanty history pales into insignificance when pitted against the monumental achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhist civilisation, or the classical Tamil history of S. India. When they go for self-determination they realise that they do not have the requisite history, either in quality or the quantity of the Sinhala-Buddhist history, to justify their exaggerated claim for a separate state.

Historian Gunasingam puts it starkly in the following paragraph: “Sri Lankan Tamils possess their own language, religion, culture and tradition and a glorious past which should enable them a strong national identity. However, to achieve self-determination successfully, they lack a sense of historical identity to support their claims for political rights. So, again, why is that the Tamil people have failed to preserve and promote their history as the Sinhalese people have so successfully accomplished?” (p.14 – Ibid).

Why, indeed! The failure of the Tamils to match their scanty history with that of the grand history of the Sinhala-Buddhists makes them feel inadequate. So they have been consistently filling the grim vacuum with their imagination, or denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist history, or claiming that the Sinhala-Buddhist history is in reality the history of the Tamils. The lack of an impressive and a credible history first hit them during the British period when pioneering British archaeologists, surveyors and explorers discovered the monumental achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhist buried under the jungle tide. Each discovery of the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, civilisation and heritage elevated the achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhist founding fathers to new heights. Oriental scholars from West were scrutinising every ola leaf found in temples, every page of history they could lay their hands on to study minutely the glories of the Sinhala-Buddhist past.

The Tamils had no comparative history or records in Jaffna. Their scholars like Arumuka Navalar and C. V. Thamotherampillai went to the Madras (Tamil Nadu) to unearth the hidden treasures written in Tamil. If they had a recorded history in Jaffna they would not have gone to Madras and ferreted old texts from house to house.


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Dr. Gunasingam followed in the footsteps of Arumuka Navalar and Thamotherampillai looking for Tamil history and glory outside Jaffna because they could not find it inside Jaffna. The first two Tamil explorers earned a reputation by discovering the hidden literature of Tamil classical era and publishing them in Jaffna with the first printing press. With the dawn of the 20th century Jaffna Tamils discovered that they had neither Tamil classics to their credit coming out of their run-of-the mill past nor new dazzling creations of their own in contemporary times.

The usual excuse of Tamil historians / researchers is that there are gaps in the Jaffna-centric history because not enough of research has been done to re-discover their glorious past. But a substantial degree of research has been done to discover their glorious past and to date they have drawn a blank.

In the absence of a great classical past the Saivite Jaffna Vellalas (SJVs) – the supreme masters who ruled Jaffna with an iron fist — took to boasting about the slight variations in the Jaffna Tamil accent which they consider to be purer than the S. Indian variety. The Jaffna Tamils like to claim superiority over the Tamil Nadu Tamils with their quaint accent leaning towards the traditional past. They also take pride in the overall linguistic culture which is not corrupted by the pop culture of Tamil magazines and the cinematic vulgarisms of Tamil Nadu. Other than that the Jaffna Tamils have been dwarfed by the gigantic achievements of the classical Tamil culture of the S. India and the Sinhala-Buddhist civilisation in Sri Lanka.

What is absolutely clear from the judgment of Dr. Gunasingam on the Jaffna-centric history of the Tamils of Sri Lanka is that they have gone around the world in search of a history to boost their contemporary politics. The lack of a comprehensive and authoritative history of Jaffna Tamils has left room for imaginative versions to take root in the minds of the Jaffnaites, especially the SJVs. The Tamil historians are faced with the serious problem of not finding any monumental material buried in their past to back up their claims for a grand history in Sri Lanka. So they are scouring all the world-wide libraries for evidence. It is an urgent need to justify their claim for a separate state. Dr. Gunasingam wrote: “It is now clear that the exploration of primary sources relating to Sri Lankan Tamils throughout the world is crucial given the current political situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka.” (p. 28 – Ibid).

This clarifies the relationship between Tamil politics and their history: they need history to boost their politics. In the absence of a past that could match either the Tamil classical period or the monumental achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhist civilisation the Jaffna Tamils, sandwiched between the two, have come to accept the Vadukoddai Resolution of 1976 as their genuine history. It is simple. It is concise. It is easily digestible and, above all, politically oriented to justify their mono-ethnic extremism with wild distortions of the available records.

By and large, Jaffna-centric history aims to justify the manufactured rationale outlined in the Vadukoddai Resolution. It is the most significant declaration of the Jaffna Tamils filled with overblown nationalistic rhetoric. It reveals mostly the imaginative capabilities of the SJV elite than the hardcore realities of the history of Jaffna. It is a pure political document spiced with distorted perspectives and historical inaccuracies put together to demonise the Sinhala-Buddhists as enemies of the Tamils. It glorifies an imaginary past — “from the dawn of time”, it claims -– with the sole aim of downgrading the pioneers of the mainstream. The lack of a creditable history of Jaffna is a thundering blow to the inflated egos of the SJVs who have been the main authors of their exaggerated history.


In this background the first mission of the Jaffna University should have been to provide a scholarly history to (1) give the world a comprehensive and authoritative account of the Tamils of Jaffna and (2) guide the thinking of the Jaffnaites to prevent them from running wild with the likes of Prabhakaran – the modern reincarnation of Sankili who had killed more Tamils than all the others put together, according to Tamil leaders. A nation / community that hero-worships a pathological killer like Prabhakaran must consist of like-minded political animals with no respect for humane or civilized values. Great societies and histories were not built on the perverse politics of Hitlers, Pol Pots or Prabhakarans. The Germans and the Cambodians have rejected their evil past. But the Jaffnaites continue to cling on to the killer cult of Sankili who massacred 600 Tamils simply because they were Christians who owed allegiance to the King of Portugal.

Elevating Prabhakaran to the pinnacle of the political culture of Jaffna is a sad reflection of the dehumanised values of the Jaffnaites. The South also had their Prabhakaran in the evil figure of Rohana Wijeweera, the JVP fascist killer. But he has been cast into the dustbin of history. His successors are still struggling to regain respectability from the victims of the evil politics of JVP killers. But Jaffnaite political culture continue to consider the Sankilli cult of Prabhakaran as a liberating force. The fundamental flaw in the history of Jaffnaites is the absence of a respectable hero. That is the tragedy of Jaffna. The towering figures of their history consists of unrepentant killers like Sankilli and Prabhakaran. They revel in the cult of death and hatred of the other.

Prabhakaran is the spit image of Sankilli. Sankilli is on record of being the first mass murderer of Tamils. He also put on record the first ever ethnic cleansing by driving out the Muslims and the Sinhalese. Prabhakaran followed his example. Sankili institutionalised mono-ethnic extremism. He relentlessly consolidated fascist tyranny as the way of life in Jaffna. He established violence as the supreme political culture eliminating all opposition / diversity in the name of Tamil supremacy.

It is this history that the Jaffna University refuses to confront. It is also aware that it has to deal with the subhuman casteist culture of the Vellalars. If my memory serves me right, it was Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole who exposed the heinous academic crime of Jaffna University suppressing research on the evils of Vellalar casteism. It is also the only university that evicted a Vice-Chancellor because he was from a low-caste. As stated earlier, it has the notoriety of driving out its first professor of history for authoring a history that did not justify their political agenda. It also has the scandalous reputation of promising female students an “A” for a lay.

This, in many ways, explains why the Jaffna University has failed to produce an authoritative history. It was established in 1972 by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. What excuse can there be for the failure of Jaffna University to produce a history of their own people? Obviously, they are scared of facing the grim record of their past. So they resort to their usual game of blaming the Sinhalese. Their favourite game is to blame the history of the Sinhala-Buddhists. They need Jaffna jingoism as a prime tactic to survive in peninsular politics. Attacking the Mahavamsa has been their best pastime.

When will the Jaffnaites grow up and face their past that frightens them so much?
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 3

South Indian literary culture, Excerpt from "Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English translation of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's original German manuscript with a textual analysis and glossary
by Daniel Jeyaraj
© 2005 Daniel Jeyaraj
pg. 253-256

Sivavakkiyar does not specifically mention his guru parampara or lineage in his work (10). The only hint available is in verse 301 where he says “with the sacred feet of Mūlan who said the three, ten and the three as three I would say the five letters”. If the Mūlan mentioned here refers to Tirumular, the composer of Tirumandiram, he may be indicating to us that he belongs to the mūlavarga, the lineage that claims Tirumular as its preceptor....

He describes the kundalini yoga in a verse which sounds as if he is describing a procedure in alchemy.
With six parts of pure silver, four parts of copper, three parts of zinc, two parts of gold, one measure of the sound of the bow, if one blows on these one will reach the frontier (verse 185). Copper represents blood, silver the kundalini sakti or the seminal fluid. Three parts of zinc are the three faults or malas, two parts of gold are the breath flowing through the ida and pingala nādi. When all these are brought together they sound like the twang of the bow. One then reaches the frontier, the state of supreme consciousness.

In another verse, he calls the breath as the bellow and the kundalini sakti as the gold. If only one is capable of blowing the bellow it will expand as a pillar of fire. Then there will be nothing other than the dancing effulgence and oneself (verse 193).

-- Sivavakkiyam -- Songs of a Spiritual Rebel, by Dr. Geetha Anand and Dr. T.N. Ganapathy

The Tirikāla cakkaram and the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter

64 There is one work in particular, of fundamental importance to Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism, which is closely linked to the traditions of the Śaiva maṭams and may well have been obtained by Ziegenbalg through his links with them. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica (bm 110), Ziegenbalg names this work as Tirikāla cakkaram and describes it as “a mathematical description of the seven underworlds and the seven worlds above, together with the fourteen seas which lie between the fourteen worlds. Likewise an account of their paradise, or Kailācam, which is the seat of Īcuvarī with many hundreds of thousands of idols.” He adds the remarkable claim that it is “virtually the basis of all other Malabarian books, since everything is based on the principles contained in it.”

While the Tirikāla cakkaram is, to the best of our knowledge, unknown to the scholarship on Tamil literature and is hardly the basis of all other Tamil books, it was formative in Ziegenbalg’s understanding of the Hindu pantheon, both in convincing him that Hindu theology—at its best—is essentially monotheistic, and in helping him structure his own account of the Hindu pantheon in his final work on Hinduism, the Genealogia der malabarischen Götter. As Ziegenbalg writes in the Bibliotheca Malabarica, the Tirikāla cakkaram shows “the genealogy of the gods… namely how all the other gods derive from the being of all beings, or the supreme God, and what their offices are, where their residence is, how long they live, how often each is incarnated, etc.”

He adds:
I had intended to translate [the Tirikāla cakkaram], but nonetheless I found myself wondering whether this was altogether advisable, since many pointless speculations would be caused thereby, and keep [scholars in Europe] away from the things that are necessary. However, I leave it still to be determined, whether I might translate it into German or not, since I am now for this reason not really of one mind on it myself.

65 The importance of the Tirikāla cakkaram for Ziegenbalg’s conception of Hinduism has not been fully appreciated, in part because of the difficulty in identifying the text. The Tirikāla cakkaram is not an independent text, but a section of a work which appears under a separate heading as the next work in Ziegenbalg’s catalogue, the Puvaṉa cakkaram. In fact Ziegenbalg did provide an almost complete translation of the Tirikāla cakkaram in the second chapter of the second part of his Malabarisches Heidenthum, entitled “Of their calculation of years,” which Ziegenbalg attributes to “Dírigálasákkarum from p. 1 to p. 10.” (mh 189). Earlier in the Malabarisches Heidenthum he quotes what he takes to be an account of the creation, and attributes this to “Dirugálasakkarum… vs. 11 seqq.” (mh 64–65). This passage, which is in fact—at least in the manuscript we consulted—the opening of the Puvaṉa cakkaram, points to the real significance of the Tirikāla cakkaram and Puvaṉa cakkaram for Ziegenbalg’s account of Hinduism.

66 The Tirikāla cakkaram culminates in a vision of Śiva as the supreme being, the transcendent, invisible, and unfathomable creator of all that exists. The Puvaṉa cakkaram opens with an account of how from this supreme being the universe arises as the result of a process of differentiation which begins with the emergence of a single androgynous being, neither male nor female, but nevertheless beginning to unfold so that male and female elements are distinguishable within what remains a single entity. From these elements emerges the manifest form of Śiva and then from Śiva, in turn, emerge Śakti and the five forms Sadāśiva, Maheśvara, Rudra, Viṣṇu and Brahmā. Quoting this account in the Malabarisches Heidenthum, Ziegenbalg comments that this is why “these heathens understand under the name Śiva both the supreme being and the highest God,” that is, both the unmanifest and the manifest forms of Śiva. The first part of the Genealogia is devoted to an explanation of this conception of Śiva’s unfolding. The second part deals with the five faces of Śiva which—according to Ziegenbalg—“signify the five great lords or gods, out of which they later make no more than three” (GMG 41r), i.e., Śiva, Viṣṇu, and Brahmā. Ziegenbalg here conflates five agents of Śiva—Brahman, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Maheśvara, and Sadāśiva (the Kāraṇeśvaras or lords of the five kalās “‘portions’ of the cosmos”)—with the more familiar trimūrti (or “Mummurtigöl,” in Ziegenbalg’s transcription of the Tamil mummūrttikaḷ). The third part of the Genealogia contains the account of village deities for which Ziegenbalg’s work is best known. With the exception of Aiyaṉār, these are all female and are said by Ziegenbalg to have their origin in the Śakti discussed in the first part of the Genealogia (gmg 128v). Although Ziegenbalg draws heavily on other sources for his account of these deities, his understanding of their position in the pantheon was thus drawn from the Tirikāla cakkaram. The fourth part of the Genealogia returns to follow the Tirikāla cakkaram more closely. It includes an account of the thirty-three crore devas, the forty-eight thousand ṛṣis, various celestial beings such as Keṇanātar (Sanskrit: Gaṇanāthas), Kiṉṉarar (Kiṃnaras), and Kimapuruṭar (Kiṃpuruṣas), and finally the guardians of the eight directions. The attention paid to these mostly obscure denizens of Hindu cosmography is somewhat out of place in a work which is now cited, if at all, usually only for its ethnographic content[???!!!] [ethnographic: relating to the scientific description of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences.]. Their place in the Genealogia is explicable only because of the account of them in the Tirikāla cakkaram, where they are mentioned in the calculation of the different lifespans of Rudra and the manifest form of Śiva.

The Tirikāla cakkaram and the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam

67 The Puvaṉa cakkaram, of which the Tirikāla cakkaram is a part, is a cosmographic work of a kind well-known in Sanskrit literature where it is more commonly titled Bhuvanakośaḥ. Although in modern times works of this sort have been published independently, it appears that they more commonly formed part of larger works, and served to establish the authority of the work by tracing a lineage back to Śiva. In the Bibliotheca Malabarica, Ziegenbalg reports the provenance of the work as follows:
The secrets of this book were first revealed by Īcuvaraṉ [Isvara!] himself to his wife Pārvatī. These were later revealed by her to Nantikēcuraṉ, who is Īcuvaraṉ’s [Isvara's!] gatekeeper. He later made these secrets known to a great prophet called Tirumūla Tēvar. (bm 110)

68 According to cittar tradition, Tirumūlar, the early Śaiva mystic and author of the Tirumantiram, is said to have been the disciple of an alchemist named Nantikēcuran.
b) ff. 1-12 Tirikālacakkaram.

The Puvanacakkaram deals with the measurement of the earth by Nantikēcuran. The Tirikālacakkaram (‘revolving wheel of the three times’) contains a summary of South Indian cosmology and mythology. It is ascribed to Tirumūlattēvar (Jeyaraj, p.330).

-- The Bayer Collection, A preliminary catalogue of the manuscripts and books of Professor Theophilus Siegfried Bayer, acquired and augmented by the Reverend Dr Heinrich Walther Gerdes, now preserved in the Hunterian Library of the University of Glasgow, by David Weston, 2018

Tirumūlar is also closely connected to Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai, where he took physical form by entering the body of a cowherd and composed the Tirumantiram. It is, however, not clear that an ascription to this early Tirumūlar is intended in Ziegenbalg’s account of the work. Zvelebil gives the briefest details of an undated Tirumūlatēvar, ascribing to him three works: the Tirumantiramālai, Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam. Tirumantiramālai is in fact the full title of Tirumūlar’s Tirumantiram and hence the distinction between the work which Zvelebil ascribes to Tirumūla Tēvar and Tirumūlar’s own work is not clear. We have not been able to identify copies of the Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam, but the title of the latter suggests a work on the five-syllable nama-civāya mantra. There are a number of works of this kind, with different titles, closely associated with the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. Whether Tirumūlar or Tirumūla Tēvar is intended, an association with Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai certainly cannot be ruled out.

69 Moreover, as noted above (35), Koppedrayer emphasizes the importance of the idea of a lineage, beginning on Mount Kailasa and transmitted through Nantikēcuran, or Nantitēvar, in the self-understanding of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. She notes that when referring to themselves corporately: “the ascetics living in the matam at Tiruvavatuturai… use such phrases as the Tirukailai paramparai, the lineage [descending] from Mount Kailasa.” Discussing the multiple accounts of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai kailasa paramparai, she notes that while they differ in their details “early references to the seminal figures simply cite Namaccivaya, Meykantar, and Nanti, yes, always Nanti on Mount Kailasa.

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan, Institut Francais de Pondichery, 2012


7.2 For studying South Indian literary culture

Ziegenbalg's Genealogy throws light on the state of Tamil literary culture of the early eighteenth century. In 1709 he wrote that the Tamil people had ancient books about various disciplines of art, science, witchcraft and so foreth (HR, 1, 3, Con., 128)(.3 None of Ziegenbalg's writings refer to the existence of the classical Tamil Cankam Literature, because it was inaccessible to the public and was recovered only towards the end of the nineteenth century.4 Ramanujan states the actual reason for their unavailability:

"These classics [of the Cankam Literature] were not always known to the Tamil people themselves. They were dramatically rediscovered in the later decades of the nineteenth century, a period of transition, when both paper and palm leaf were used as writing materials. [...] Eighteenth-century Hindu scholars, devout worshipers of Siva and Vis[h]nu had tabooed as irreligious all secular and non-Hindu texts, which included the classical Tamil anthologies. They also disallowed the study of Jain and Buddhist texts, which included the Twin Epics [i.e., Cilappatikaram and Manimekalai]."

(Ramanujan, 1985, xi f.).


However, Ziegenbalg read the palm leaf manuscript versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.6 He also knew that Ramayana was attributed to Malmikirsi (L. 99 r, 114 r, 205 r). However, he considered the four chapters of the Yudhakanda ('Section on War,' i.e., the sixth and the largest section of Ramayana) -- Intiracittupatalam (L 99 r), Kumpakarunapatalam (L 178 r), Nakapacappatalam (L. 98 v) and Piramvittirapatalam (L 121 r) 00 as different works. Ziegenbalg might have wanted his readers to know that just like the Greek epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, played an important role in shaping the identity of the Europeans, the epic story of Ramayana was central to the self-understanding of the South Indians. Ziegenbalg examined the major Puranas and several Sthalapuranas ('local legends' about deities, temples, holy places and saintly persons),7 because determine the religious identity of worshippers and pilgrims, the periodic festivals and other social gatherings.8

Ziegenbalg's study of Tamil literature enabled him to identify at least two books that could be used in his missionary work. The first book is Kapilarakaval written by the sage Kapila (L 123 v, 208 v).9 This book mounts a vehement criticism against the orthodoxy of the Brahmins, caste hierarchy and ritualism. It teaches that every person, irrespective of caste identity, can develop and attain goodness and virtue because, in the words of Kapila, birth does not determine the destiny of human beings: "Just as the flower Cenkalunirpa grows out of mud, so was the great saint Vasistha born of a [Pariah-] prostitute impregnated by Brahma" (Ziegenbalg, 1926, 35). Subramania Aiyar has translated this same passage as follows:
"Like the bright coloured red lily,
Of the pond sprouting from the mire, Vasistha
Was born to Brahma in the womb of a danseuse
And to him a Ch[a]ndala woman bore Satya;
this Satya embraced a Pulaya woman
And begot Paracara, who in his turn
Impregnated a fish-selling belle
And begot Vyasa. These Four!
Have they not chanted the Vedas and risen to
Holiness and lustre and become sages?"

(Subramania Aiyar, 1975, 102 and Mutaliar, 1847, 8).

Moreover, Ziegenbalg seems to have liked Kapila's criticism about the futility of speculative discussions about beginning of creation, human beings, good and evil, but encouraged a virtuous life here and now.10 Kapila teaches that the grave reality of death does not show any caste difference.11

The second book that Ziegenbalg has used in his missionary work is entitled Civavakkiyam by the well-known fourteenth-century poet Nana Civavakkiyar (L. 15 r-v, 17 v, 18 r).12 In this regard, he seems to have followed the example of the Jesuit missionary Robert de Nobili13 and quotes at least twenty-five passages from Civavakkiyam.14 Most of these quotations deal with the worship of the Supreme Being without any physical representations. Ziegenbalg quotes the thirty-fourth verse from the second volume of the palm leaf manuscript of Civavakkiyam, which he had in his library:
"The tortoise that floats around the sea lays its eggs on the beach, covers them with sand and goes [back] into the open sea. But, since it always thinks of the eggs, as if a rope tied them to it, the young ones, as soon as they crawl out of the eggs, follow the traces [of their mother tortoise] until they come to her. Similarly, god has placed us in this world, but he is up in heaven. However, he thinks of us always [as if he is bound to us] as a rope. Should we follow his traces, we shall find him."

This quote agrees with the ninety-third verse of Civavakkiyam, which can be translated as follows: "After the tortoises have come to the shore, laid their eggs, covered them [with sand] and returned to the sea, their newly hatched young ones go after them into the sea. Similarly, every person has to seek after light, [i.e., God[???]] that is present in every person. This alone is truth" (Civavakkiyar, 1995, 255). The quotes taken from Kapilarakaval and Civavakkiyam illustrate the fact that Ziegenbalg has not accurately translated the poetical verses, but interpreted and summarized them.

Ziegenbalg also knew several books belonging to the literary genre Cirrilakkiyam ('minor literature'), also known as Totarnilaicceyyul ('interconnected narrative' or 'epic poem') or Prabandhas ('uninterrupted connection, literary poetic composition'), of which ninety-six are traditionally enumerated.15 Many of these Prabandhas seem to have been written during the time of the Nayak-rulers in Tancavur (1350-1750), who were great patrons of bhakti literature (Puvannan, 1999, 270). Ziegenbalg's Genealogy includes information drawn from the following Prabandhas:
Literary genre / Title of the books in Ziegenbalg's Genealogy

Akaval / Kapilarakaval

Ammanai / Anumarammanai, Kancanammanai, Parata ammanai, Perumalammanai, Sri Rankarayar ammanai

Antati / Apiramiyantati, Arunakiriyantati, Caracuvatiyantati, Kutantaiyantati

Anuputi / Kantaranuputi

Cintu / Pillaiyarcintu

Kalampakam / Kilvelurk kalampakam, Kovilkalampakam

Lakari, Cavuntaralakari

Malai / Ampikaimalai, Citamparamalai, Civakamicavuntarimalai, Civamalai, Matumaimalai, Nellaimalai, Paramarakaciyamalai, Venkatamalai

Pillaittamil / Pillaittamil

Puranam / Arupattunankutiruvilaiyatalpuranam, Civarattiripuranam, Ekatacipuranam, Kantapuranam, Markanteyapuranam, Maturaippuranam, Periyapuranam, Tiruvenkattupuranam, Vaturpuranam, Viruttaccalapuranam

Tutu / Kirusnantutu, Nencuvitututu

Ula / Ekamparanatarula, Kayaronarula, Tiruvarula

Vannam / Annamalainatarvannam, Cuvamiperilvannam, Kumararperilvannam, Visnumelvannam

Venpa / Nanavenpa, Valliyammaivenpa

Viralivitututu / Viralivitututu

The books mentioned in Ziegenbalg's Genealogy form a unique source for our modern knowledge about the existence and usefulness of Tamil literature among the common people. The Genealogy refers to eighty-seven books, of which fifty-one are now available in print forms; the existence of the remaining thirty-six books is yet to be verified. One of the missing texts is the Tirikalacakkaram by a certain Tirumula Tevar (not to be confused with the Tirumular, who wrote the tenth Saivite Tirumarai entitled Tirumantiram, 'holy prayer'). Ziegenbalg writes that Tirikalacakkaram contains a summary of South Indian cosmology and mythology, and thus formed the basis for all other books on South Indian religions. In 1708, he wanted to translate it into German to familarize European scholars with its content. A. Gaur has translated Ziegenbalg's review as follows:

"Dirigala Sakkaram [Tirikalaccakkaram]: a mathematical description of the seven under-worlds, the seven upper worlds, and the fourteen seas. Also a description of their paradise, the Kailascum [Kailasa], the seat of Ispiren [Isvara] and of the many hundred thousand gods; of Magumeru [Mahameru], a golden mountain penetrating all the fourteen worlds, where all the holy prophets (i.e., each of the fourteen cycles of a yuga has a presiding Manu figure] are supposed to live. This book shows the genealogy of their great gods, how all gods are derived from the Being of all Beings, the Highest God, what offices they hold, where their places of residence are, how long they will live, how many incarnations (Erscheinungen) they have, etc. It also describes the past and the future eras, what is the purpose of this and other worlds, how long one world will exist, and what is the reason for all transformations, etc. This book is the basis of all other Malabari [Tamil] books since it lays down the principles on which they are based. If the scholars in Europe got a chance to read it they would hear strange and unprecedented things. Once I had it in mind to translate this work into German but I could not help wondering whether this was really advisable. It would cause a lot of unnecessary speculation and only distract people from more important things. But I am still keeping my mind open whether or not I should do this translation; so far I am not sure about it myself. The secrets this book contains were disclosed by Ispiren [Isvara) to his wife Parbadi [Parvati], she in turn disclosed them to Nandigeschuren [Nandikesvara] [Nantikecuran!], the door-guardian of Ispiren [Isvara]. He disclosed them to a great prophet by the name of Dirumuladewer [Tirumula Tevar], who disclosed them to the whole world. This happened in the first world-era; since then the world has been destroyed three times, but it is said that every time fourteen prophets [i.e., Manus] survived who passed this book, together with many others, to posterity."

(Gaur, 1967, 87 f.; cf. Ziegenbalg, 1880, 90).

Ziegenbalg did not translate this work into German, however pursed his religious research in other ways, and eventually produced the Genealogy.

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

Ishvara
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/21/22

Ishvara (Sanskrit: ईश्वर, ISO-15919: Īśvara) or Eshwara is a concept in Hinduism, with a wide range of meanings that depend on the era and the school of Hinduism.[1][2] In ancient texts of Hindu philosophy, depending on the context, Ishvara can mean supreme Self, ruler, lord, king, queen or husband.[1] In medieval era Hindu texts, depending on the school of Hinduism, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal God, or special Self.[2][3][4]

Ishvara is primarily an epithet of Lord Shiva.[5][6] In Shaivism and for most of the Hindus, Ishvara is synonymous with Shiva.[7][8] For many Vaishnavites, it is also synonymous with Vishnu like Venkateswara.[9] In traditional Bhakti movements, Ishvara is one or more deities of an individual's preference (Iṣṭa-devatā) from Hinduism's polytheistic canon of deities. In modern-day sectarian movements such as Arya Samaj and Brahmoism, Ishvara takes the form of a monotheistic God.[10] In the Yoga school of Hinduism, it is any "personal deity" or "spiritual inspiration".[11]

Etymology

The root of the word Ishvara comes from īś- (ईश, Ish) meaning "capable of" and "owner, ruler, chief of".[12] The second part of the word Ishvara is vara which means depending on context, "best, excellent, beautiful", "choice, wish, blessing, boon, gift", and "suitor, lover, one who solicits a girl in marriage".[13] The composite word, Ishvara literally means "owner of best, beautiful", "ruler of choices, blessings, boons", or "chief of suitor, lover".

As a concept, Ishvara in ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts variously means God, Supreme Being, Supreme Self, Lord Shiva, a king or a ruler, a husband, the god of love, one of the Rudras and the number 'eleven'.[5][6][14]

The word Īśvara does not appear in Rigveda.[15] However, the verb īś- does appear in Rig veda, where the context suggests that the meaning of it is "capable of, able to".[15] It is absent in Samaveda, is rare in Atharvaveda, but it appears in Samhitas of Yajurveda. The contextual meaning, however as the ancient Indian grammarian Pāṇini explains, is neither god nor supreme being.[15]

The word Ishvara appears in numerous ancient Dharmasutras. However, Patrick Olivelle states that there Ishvara does not mean God, but means Vedas.[16] Deshpande states that Ishvara in Dharmasutras could alternatively mean king, with the context literally asserting that the Dharmasutras are as important as Ishvara (the king) on matters of public importance".[16]

The term is used as part of the compounds Maheshvara ("The Great Lord") and Parameshvara ("The Supreme Lord") as the names of Lord Shiva.
In Mahayana Buddhism it is used as part of the compound "Avalokiteśvara" ("lord who hears the cries of the world", but see etymology section there), the name of a bodhisattva revered for his compassion. When referring to divine as female, particularly in Shaktism, the feminine Īśvarī is sometimes used.[17]

In Advaita Vedanta school, Ishvara is a monistic Universal Absolute that connects and is the Oneness in everyone and everything.[18][19]

Schools of thought

Among the six systems of Hindu philosophy, Samkhya and Mimamsa do not consider the concept of Ishvara, i.e., a supreme being, relevant. Yoga, Vaisheshika, Vedanta and Nyaya schools of Hinduism discuss Ishvara, but assign different meanings.

Desmarais states that Isvara is a metaphysical concept in Yogasutras.[20] It does not mention deity anywhere, nor does it mention any devotional practices (Bhakti), nor does it give Ishvara characteristics typically associated with a deity.[20] In Yoga school of Hinduism, states Whicher, Isvara is neither a creator God nor the universal Absolute of Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism.[3] Whicher also notes that some theistic sub-schools of Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, inspired by the Yoga school, explain the term Ishvara as the "Supreme Being that rules over the cosmos and the individuated beings".[3][21] Malinar states that in Samkhya-Yoga schools of Hinduism, Isvara is neither a creator-God, nor a savior-God.[22]

Zimmer in his 1951 Indian philosophies book noted that the Bhakti sub-schools refer to Isvara as a Divine Lord, or the deity of specific Bhakti sub-school.[23] Modern sectarian movements have emphasized Ishvara as Supreme Lord; for example, Hare Krishna movement considers Krishna as the Lord,[24] Brahmoism movement influenced by Christian and Islamic movements in India probably conceptualize Ishvara as a monotheistic all powerful Lord (Brahma). In traditional theistic sub-schools of Hinduism, such as the Vishishtadvaita Vedanta of Ramanuja and Dvaita Vedanta of Madhva, Ishvara is identified as Lord Vishnu/Narayana, that is distinct from the prakriti (material world) and purusha (Self).

Radhakrishnan and Moore state that these variations in Ishvara concept is consistent with Hinduism's notion of "personal God" where the "ideals or manifestation of individual's highest Self values that are esteemed".[25] Riepe, and others,[4] state that schools of Hinduism leave the individual with freedom and choice of conceptualizing Ishvara in any meaningful manner he or she wishes, either in the form of "deity of one's choice" or "formless Brahman (Absolute Reality, Universal Principle, true special Self)".[2][26][27]

In Samkhya

Samkhya is called one of the major atheistic schools of Hindu philosophy by some scholars.[11][28][29] Others, such as Jacobsen, believe Samkhya is more accurately described as non-theistic.[30] Yet others argue that Samkhya has been theistic from its very beginnings until medieval times.[31] Isvara is considered an irrelevant concept, neither defined nor denied, in Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy.[32]

In Yoga

The Yogasutras of Patanjali, the foundational text of Yoga school of Hinduism, uses the term Ishvara in 11 verses: I.23 through I.29, II.1, II.2, II.32 and II.45. Ever since the Sutra's release, Hindu scholars have debated and commented on who or what is Isvara? These commentaries range from defining Isvara from a "personal god" to "special self" to "anything that has spiritual significance to the individual".[11][33] Whicher explains that while Patanjali's terse verses can be interpreted both as theistic or non-theistic, Patanjali's concept of Isvara in Yoga philosophy functions as a "transformative catalyst or guide for aiding the yogin on the path to spiritual emancipation".[34]

Patanjali defines Isvara (Sanskrit: ईश्वर) in verse 24 of Book 1, as "a special Self (पुरुषविशेष, puruṣa-viśeṣa)",[35]

Sanskrit: क्लेश कर्म विपाकाशयैरपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः ॥२४॥
– Yoga Sutras I.24


This sutra of Yoga philosophy of Hinduism adds the characteristics of Isvara as that special Self which is unaffected (अपरामृष्ट, aparamrsta) by one's obstacles/hardships (क्लेश, klesha), one's circumstances created by past or one's current actions (कर्म, karma), one's life fruits (विपाक, vipâka), and one's psychological dispositions/intentions (आशय, ashaya).[36][37]

Patanjali's concept of Isvara is neither a creator God nor the universal Absolute of Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism.[3][21]

In Vaisesika school of Hinduism

The Vaiśeṣika school of Hinduism, as founded by Kanada in the 1st millennium BC, neither required nor relied on Ishvara for its atomistic naturalism philosophy. To it, substances and paramāṇu (atoms) were eternal; they moved and interacted based on impersonal, eternal adrsta (अदृष्ट, invisible) laws of nature.[38][39] The concept of Ishvara, among others, entered into Vaisheshika school many centuries later in the 1st millennium AD.[38][40] This evolution in ideas aimed to explain how and why its so-called "atoms" have a particular order and proportions. These later-age ancient Vaiśeṣika scholars retained their belief that substances are eternal, and added Ishvara as another eternal who is also omniscient and omnipresent (not omnipotent). Ishvara did not create the world, according to this school of Hindu scholars, but He only created invisible laws that operate the world and then He becomes passive and lets those hidden universal laws do their thing.[38] Thus, Vaisheshika's Ishvara mirrors Deus otiosus of Deism. Vaisheshika school's Ishvara, states Klaus Klostermaier, can be understood as an eternal God who co-exists in the universe with eternal substances and atoms, but He "winds up the clock, and lets it run its course".[38]

In Nyaya

Early Nyaya school scholars considered the hypothesis of Ishvara as a creator God with the power to grant blessings, boons and fruits. However, the early Nyaya scholars rejected this hypothesis, though not the existence of God itself, and were non-theistic.[41][42] Over time, the Nyaya school became one of the most important defenders of theism in Hindu philosophy.[43]

In Nyayasutra's Book 4, Chapter 1 examines what causes production and destruction of entities (life, matter) in universe. It considers many hypotheses, including Ishvara. Verses 19–21, postulates Ishvara exists and is the cause, states a consequence of postulate, then presents contrary evidence, and from contradiction concludes that the postulate must be invalid.[44]

सिद्धान्तसूत्र : ईश्वरः कारणम्, पुरुषकर्माफल्यदर्शनात्
पूर्वपक्षसूत्र : न, पुरुषकर्माभावे फ्लानिष्पत्तेः
सिद्धान्तसूत्र : तत्कारितत्वादहेतुः
Proposition sutra: Ishvara is the cause, since we see sometimes human action lacks fruits (results).
Prima facie objection sutra: This is not so since, as a matter of fact, no fruit is accomplished without human action.
Conclusion sutra: Not so, since it is influenced by him.

— Nyaya Sutra, IV.1.19 - IV.1.21[44]


Centuries later, the 5th century CE Nyaya school scholar Prastapada revisited the premise of Ishvara. He was followed by Udayana, who in his text Nyayakusumanjali, interpreted "it" in verse 4.1.21 of Nyaya Sutra above, as "human action" and "him" as "Ishvara", then he developed counter arguments to prove the existence of Ishvara.[45] In developing his arguments, he inherently defined Ishvara as efficient cause, omnipotent, omniscient, infallible, giver of gifts, ability and meaning to humanity, divine creator of the world as well as the moral principles, and the unseen power that makes the karma doctrine work.[45][46]

In Mimamsa

Mīmāṃsā scholars of Hinduism questioned what is Ishvara (God)?[47] They used their pramana tools to cross-examine answers offered by other schools of Hinduism. For example, when Nyaya scholars stated God is omnipotent, omniscient and infallible, that the world is the result of God's creation which is proved by the presence of creatures, just like human work proves human existence, Mimamsa scholars asked, why does this God create the world, for what reason? Further, they added, it cannot be because of Ishvara's love to human beings because this world – if Ishvara created it – is imperfect and human Selfs are suffering in it. Mimamsa scholars of Hinduism raised numerous objections to any definition of Ishvara along with its premises, deconstructed justifications offered, and considered Ishvara concept unnecessary for a consistent philosophy and moksha (soteriology).[47][48]

In Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta


The Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism proclaims that at the empirical level Ishvara is the cause of the universe and the one who awards the fruits of every action. He is defined as the one without likes and dislikes, as well embodied with compassion (vaiShamya NairgghruNya doSha vihInaH). Ishvara is that which is "free from avidya (ignorance), free from ahamkrti (ego-sense), free from bandhana (bondage)", a Self that is "pure, enlightened, liberated".[18][19] Having accepted and established Ishvara, Advaita Vedanta proclaims that the real nature of Ishvara (existence, consciousness and bliss) is non different from the real nature of an individual. This gives room in Advaita Vedanta to show the nature of Ishvara as both the material and instrumental cause of this universe and the individual who is limited in his own capacities as unreal and declare that there is oneness between the two having negated the qualities. This establishes Ishvara as 'saguNa' or with attributes from the empirical existence and 'nirguNa' from the absolute sense. This oneness is accepted only at the level of 'mukti' or ultimate realization and not at the 'vyavahara' or empirical level. At the absolute level there is no otherness nor distinction between Jiva (living being) and Ishvara, and any attempts to distinguish the two is a false idea, one based on wrong knowledge, according to Advaita Vedanta.[49]

ईश्वरः अहम्
Ishvara, I am.

— Adi Shankara, Upadesasahasri 2.3.1, 2.10.8[18]


Other Advaitin Hindu texts resonate with the monist views of Adi Shankara. For example, Isa Upanishad, in hymn 1.5-7, states Ishvara is "above everything, outside everything, beyond everything, yet also within everything"; he who knows himself as all beings and all beings as himself – he never becomes alarmed before anyone. He becomes free from fears, from delusions, from root cause of evil. He becomes pure, invulnerable, unified, free from evil, true to truth, liberated like Ishvara.[50][51]

Vishishtadvaita Vedanta

Ishvara, in Vishishtadvaita Vedanta sub-school of Hinduism, is a composite concept of dualism and non-dualism, or "non-dualism with differentiation".[52] Ishvara, Vishishtadvaitin scholars such as the 11th century Ramanuja state, is the supreme creator and synonymous with Brahman.[53] Equated with Vishnu in Vishishtadvaita or one of his avatar,[54] he is both the material and efficient cause, transcendent and immanent.[52] Ishvara manifests in five forms, believe Vishishtadvaitins: para (transcendent), vyuha (emanations), vibhava (incarnations), antaryamin (dwells inside), and arca (icons).[55] According to this sub-school, states John Grimes, Ishvara possesses six divine qualities: jnana (knowledge), bala (strength), aisvarya (lordship), sakti (power), virya (virility) and tejas (splendor).[55]

Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita concepts provided the foundation for several Bhakti movements of Hinduism, such as those by Sri Aurobindo[56] and has been suggested as having influenced Basava's Lingayatism.[57]

Dvaita Vedanta

The Dvaita (dualism) sub-school of Vedanta Hinduism, founded by 13th century Madhva, defines Ishvara as creator God that is distinct from Jiva (individual Selfs in living beings).[58] Narayana (Vishnu) is considered to be Ishvara, and the Vaishnavism movement arose on the foundation developed by Dvaita Vedanta sub-school.[9]

Ishvara (God) is a complete, perfect and the highest reality to Dvaitins, and simultaneously the world is a separate reality for them, unlike competing thoughts in other sub-schools of Vedanta.[9] In Dvaita sub-school, Jiva (individual Self) is different, yet dependent on Ishvara (God). Both possess the attributes of consciousness, bliss and existence, but the individual Self is considered atomic, while God is all encompassing. The attributes of Jiva struggle to manifest, while of God it is fully manifested.[58]

Madhva states there are five permutations of differences between Jiva (individual Self) and Ishvara (God): between God and Self, between God and matter, between Self and matter, between one Self and another Self, and between one material thing and another material thing. The differences are both qualitative and quantitative.[59] Unlike Advaita Vedantins who hold that knowledge can lead to Oneness with everyone and everything as well as fusion with the Universal Timeless Absolute, to the state of moksha in this life, Dvaita Vedantins hold that moksha is possible only in after-life if God so wills (if not, then one's Self is reborn). Further, Madhva highlights that God creates individual Self, but the individual Self never was and never will become one with God; the best it can do is to experience bliss by getting infinitely close to God.[59]

The world, called Maya, is held as the divine will of Ishvara.[58] Jiva suffers, experiences misery and bondage, state Dvaitins, because of "ignorance and incorrect knowledge" (ajnana). Liberation occurs with the correct knowledge and attainment unto Lord Narayana.[58] It is His grace that gives salvation according to Dvaita sub-school, which is achievable by predominance of sattva guna (moral, constructive, simple, kindness-filled life), and therefore Dvaitins must live a dharmic life while constantly remembering, deeply loving Ishvara.[58]

Achintya-Bheda-Abheda

Acintya bhedābheda is a sub-school of Vedanta representing the philosophy of inconceivable one-ness and difference, in relation to the creation, Prakriti, and the creator, Ishvara (Krishna).[60][61]

In Sanskrit achintya means 'inconceivable', bheda translates as 'difference', and abheda translates as 'one-ness'. Self (their English phrase for the Sanskrit word: jiva) are considered parts of God, and thus one with Him in quality, and yet at the same time different from Him in quantity. This is called acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva, inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference.[62]

Caitanya's philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva completed the progression to devotional theism. Rāmānuja had agreed with Śaṅkara that the Absolute is one only, but he had disagreed by affirming individual variety within that oneness. Madhva had underscored the eternal duality of the Supreme and the Jīva: he had maintained that this duality endures even after liberation. Caitanya, in turn, specified that the Supreme and the jīvas are "inconceivably, simultaneously one and different" (acintya-bheda-abheda).[63]

In Carvaka

Cārvāka, another atheist tradition in Hinduism, was materialist and a school of philosophical scepticism. They rejected all concepts of Ishvara as well as all forms of supernaturalism.[64][65][66]

See also

• Hinduism portal
• Absolute (philosophy)
• Bhagavan
• Conceptions of God
• Īśvarism
• Para Brahman
• Parameshashakti

References

1. Monier Monier Williams, Sanskrit-English dictionary, Search for Izvara, University of Cologne, Germany
2. Dale Riepe (1961, Reprinted 1996), Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120812932, pages 177–184, 208–215
3. Ian Whicher, The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana, State University of New York press, ISBN 978-0791438152, pages 82–86
4. Mircea Eliade (2009), Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691142036, pages 73–76
5. "Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary". IITS Koeln. p. 171.
6. James Lochtefeld, "Ishvara", The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing. ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, page 306
7. Lord Śiva's Song: the Īśvara Gītā. Andrew J. Nicholson, Laurie Searl. 2014. ISBN 978-1-4384-5102-2. OCLC 880450730.
8. Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. pp. 235, 379–380. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
9. Oliver Leaman (2000), Eastern Philosophy: Key Readings, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415173582, page 251
10. RK Pruthi (2004), Arya Samaj and Indian Civilization, ISBN 978-8171417803, pages 5–6, 48–49
11. Lloyd Pflueger, Person Purity and Power in Yogasutra, in Theory and Practice of Yoga (Editor: Knut Jacobsen), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329, pages 38–39
12. Arthur Anthony Macdonell (2004), A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120820005, page 47
13. Arthur Anthony Macdonell (2004), A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120820005, page 270
14. Apte Sanskrit-English dictionary, Search for Izvara, University of Cologne, Germany
15. Madhav Deshpande (1991), Sense and Syntax in Vedic (Editors: Joel Brereton and Stephenie Jamison), Volumes 4–5, Brill, ISBN 978-9004093560, pages 23–27
16. Patrick Olivelle (2006), Between the Empires : Society in India 300 BCE to 400 CE: Society in India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195305326, page 176
17. Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. p. 376. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
18. Lance Nelson (1996), Living liberation in Shankara and classical Advaita, in Living Liberation in Hindu Thought (Editors: Andrew O. Fort, Patricia Y. Mumme), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791427064, pages 38–39, 59 (footnote 105)
19. John Koller (2012), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion (Editors: Chad Meister, Paul Copan), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415782944, pages 99–107
20. Michele Marie Desmarais (2008), Changing Minds : Mind, Consciousness And Identity In Patanjali's Yoga-Sutra, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120833364, page 131
21. Knut Jacobsen (2008), Theory and Practice of Yoga : 'Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329, page 77
22. A Malinar (2014), Current Approaches: Articles on Key Themes, in The Bloomsbury Companion to Hindu Studies (Editor: Jessica Frazier), Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 978-1472511515, page 79
23. Zimmer (1951), Philosophies of India, Reprinted by Routledge in 2008, ISBN 978-0415462327, pages 242–243, 309–311
24. Karel Werner (1997), A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism, Routledge, ISBN 978-0700710492, page 54
25. Radhakrishnan and Moore (1967, Reprinted 1989), A Source Book in Indian Philosophy, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691019581, pages 37–39, 401–403, 498–503
26. RC Zaehner (1975), Our savage god: The perverse use of eastern thought, ISBN 978-0836206111, pages 69–72
27. R.C. Zaehner (1966), Hinduism, Oxford University Press, 1980 edition: pages 126–129, Reprinted in 1983 as ISBN 978-0198880127
28. Mike Burley (2012), Classical Samkhya and Yoga - An Indian Metaphysics of Experience, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415648875, page 39
29. Richard Garbe (2013), Die Samkhya-Philosophie, Indische Philosophie Volume 11, ISBN 978-1484030615, pages 25–27 (in German)
30. Knut Jacobsen (2008), Theory and Practice of Yoga : 'Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329, pages 15–16
31. Nicholson, Andrew (2010). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 69–78.
32. Knut Jacobsen (2008), Theory and Practice of Yoga : 'Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329, pages 76–77
33. Hariharānanda Āraṇya (2007), Parabhaktisutra, Aporisms on Sublime Devotion, (Translator: A Chatterjee), in Divine Hymns with Supreme Devotional Aphorisms, Kapil Math Press, Kolkata, pages 55-93; Hariharānanda Āraṇya (2007), Eternally Liberated Isvara and Purusa Principle, in Divine Hymns with Supreme Devotional Aphorisms, Kapil Math Press, Kolkata, pages 126–129
34. Ian Whicher (1999), The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791438152, page 86
35. Āgāśe, K. S. (1904). Pātañjalayogasūtrāṇi. Puṇe: Ānandāśrama. p. 25.
36. aparAmRSTa Archived 29 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine, kleza, karma, vipaka and ashaya Archived 17 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine; Sanskrit English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany
37. Lloyd Pflueger (2008), Person Purity and Power in Yogasutra, in Theory and Practice of Yoga (Editor: Knut Jacobsen), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329, pages 31–45
38. :a b c d Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition, State University of New York, ISBN 978-0791470824, page 337
39. A Goel (1984), Indian philosophy: Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and modern science, Sterling, ISBN 978-0865902787, pages 149–151
40. R Collins (2000), The sociology of philosophies, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674001879, page 836
41. John Clayton (2010), Religions, Reasons and Gods: Essays in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Religion, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521126274, page 150
42. G. Oberhammer (1965), Zum problem des Gottesbeweises in der Indischen Philosophie, Numen, 12: 1-34
43. Francis X. Clooney (2010), Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199738724, pages 18–19, 35–39
44. Original Sanskrit: Nyayasutra Anand Ashram Sanskrit Granthvali, pages 290–292; Alternate Archive Archived 7 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine
English translation: Francis X. Clooney (2010), Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the Boundaries, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199738724, page 37
45. Sharma, C. (1997). A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0365-5, pp. 209-10
46. VR Rao (1987), Selected Doctrines from Indian Philosophy, ISBN 81-70990009, pages 11–12
47. FX Clooney (1997), What’s a god? The quest for the right understanding of devatā in Brāhmaṅical ritual theory (Mīmāṃsā), International Journal of Hindu Studies, August 1997, Volume 1, Issue 2, pages 337–385
48. P. Bilimoria (2001), Hindu doubts about God: Towards Mimamsa Deconstruction, in Philosophy of Religion: Indian Philosophy (Editor: Roy Perrett), Volume 4, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-8153-3611-2, pages 87–106
49. Paul Hacker (1978), Eigentumlichkeiten dr Lehre und Terminologie Sankara: Avidya, Namarupa, Maya, Isvara, in Kleine Schriften (Editor: L. Schmithausen), Franz Steiner Verlag, Weisbaden, pages 101–109 (in German), also pages 69–99
50. William Indich (2000), Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120812512, page 23-25
51. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 2, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814677, pages 547–551
52. McCasland et al. (1969), Religions of the world, Random House, ISBN 978-0394303840, page 471
53. S. M. Srinivasa Chari (1988). Tattvamuktākalāpa. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 212, 231–233. ISBN 978-81-208-0266-7.
54. S. M. Srinivasa Chari (1988). Tattvamuktākalāpa. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 18, 228, 340–341. ISBN 978-81-208-0266-7.
55. John Grimes (1996), A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791430675, page 143
56. Thomas Padiyath (2014), The Metaphysics of Becoming, De Gruyter, ISBN 978-3110342550, page 151
57. Carl Olson (2007), The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0813540689, pages 243–244
58. R. Prasad (2009), A Historical-developmental Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals, Concept Publishing, ISBN 978-8180695957, pages 345–347
59. Thomas Padiyath (2014), The Metaphysics of Becoming, De Gruyter, ISBN 978-3110342550, pages 155–157
60. Kaviraja, K.G. Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. Bengali text, translation, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.Madhya 20.108-109 Archived 11 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine "It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire."
61. Kṛṣṇa Upaniṣad 1.25: ...na bhinnam. nā bhinnamābhirbhinno na vai vibhuḥ
62. Mukundananda, Swami (2013). Spiritual Dialectics. Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog. p. 96. Hence, he called his philosophy Achintya Bhedabhed vad, or Inconceivable Simultaneous Oneness and Difference.
63. Satsvarupa, dasa Goswami (1976). Readings in Vedit Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself. Assoc Publishing Group. pp. 240 pages. ISBN 0-912776-88-9.
64. Robert Flint, Anti-theistic theories, p. 463, at Google Books, Appendix Note VII - Hindu Materialism: The Charvaka System; William Blackwood, London
65. V.V. Raman (2012), Hinduism and Science: Some Reflections, Zygon - Journal of Religion and Science, 47(3): 549–574, Quote (page 557): "Aside from nontheistic schools like the Samkhya, there have also been explicitly atheistic schools in the Hindu tradition. One virulently anti-supernatural system is/was the so-called Carvaka school.", doi:10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01274.x
66. KN Tiwari (1998), Classical Indian Ethical Thought, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120816077, page 67, Quote: "Of the three heterodox systems, the remaining one, the Caravaka system, is a Hindu system."
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Parvati
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/22/22

Image
Mother-Goddess Parvati with her infant son Ganesha
Other names: Uma, Gauri
Sanskrit transliteration: Pārvatī
Affiliation: Devi, Tridevi, Mahadevi, Shakti, Sati
Abode: Mount Kailash, Manidvipa
Mantra: Oṃ Pārvatyāi Namaḥ
Mount Lion, tiger, bull
Parents: Himavan (Father); Maināvati (Mother)[4][5]
Siblings: Ganga (Elder Sister); Vishnu (Celestial Brother); Mainak (Elder Brother)[3]
Consort: Shiva
Children: Ganesha (Son); Kartikeya (Son)

Parvati (Sanskrit: पार्वती, IAST: Pārvatī), Uma (Sanskrit: उमा, IAST: Umā) or Gauri (Sanskrit: गौरी, IAST: Gaurī) is the Hindu goddess of power, nourishment, harmony, devotion, and motherhood. She is Devi in her complete form.[6][7][8] She is the principal goddess of Hindus and complete incarnation of Mahadevi. She is one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented sect called Shaktism. Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the Tridevi.[9]

Parvati is the wife of the Hindu god Shiva. She is the reincarnation of Sati, the first wife of Shiva who immolated herself during a yajna (fire-sacrifice).[10] Parvati is the daughter of the mountain king Himavan and queen Mena.[11] Parvati is the mother of Hindu deities Ganesha and Kartikeya. The Puranas also referenced her to be the sister of the river goddess Ganga and the preserver god Vishnu.[3][12] She is the divine energy between a man and a woman, like the energy of Shiva and Shakti.[13]

Parvati is generally portrayed as a gentle, nurturing mother goddess, however is associated with several warrior and terrible forms of goddesses like Durga, Kali, the ten mahavidyas and Navadurga.

Parvati is an embodiment of Shakti. In Shaivism, she is the recreative energy and power of Shiva, and she is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release.[14][15] She is also well known as Kamrupa (one who give a shape to your desire) and Kameshwari (one who fullfill your all desires). In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Shiva, she is symbolically represented as the argha. She is found extensively in ancient Indian literature, and her statues and iconography grace Hindu temples all over South Asia and Southeast Asia.[16][17]

Etymology and nomenclature

Further information: Hindu literature

Parvata (पर्वत) is one of the Sanskrit words for "mountain"; "Parvati" derives her name from being the daughter of king Himavan (also called Himavat, Parvat) and mother Mainavati.[10][11] King Parvat is considered lord of the mountains and the personification of the Himalayas; Parvati implies "she of the mountain". Aparneshar Temple of Mantalai, Udhampur in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is considered as the birthplace of Parvati and site of Shiv-Parvati Vivah.[18]

Parvati is known by many names in Hindu literature.[19] Other names which associate her with mountains are Shailaja (Daughter of the mountains), Adrija or Nagajaa or Shailaputri (Daughter of Mountains), Haimavathi (Daughter of Himavan), Devi Maheshwari, and Girija or Girirajaputri (Daughter of king of the mountains).[20]

Shaktas consider the Parvati as an incarnation of Lalita Tripurasundari. According to Lalitopakhyana of Brahmanda Mahapurana, Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are the three incarnations of Lalita.[21] Two of Parvati's most famous epithets are Uma and Aparna.[22] The name Uma is used for Sati (Shiva's first wife, who is reborn as Parvati) in earlier texts,[which?] but in the Ramayana, it is used as a synonym for Parvati. In the Harivamsa, Parvati is referred to as Aparna ('One who took no sustenance') and then addressed as Uma, who was dissuaded by her mother from severe austerity by saying u mā ('oh, don't').[23] She is also Ambika ('dear mother'), Shakti ('power'), Mataji ('revered mother'), Maheshwari ('great goddess'), Durga (invincible), Bhairavi ('ferocious'), Bhavani ('fertility and birthing'), Shivaradni ('Queen of Shiva'), Urvi or Renu, and many hundreds of others. Parvati is also the goddess of love and devotion, or Kamakshi; the goddess of fertility, abundance and food/nourishment, or Annapurna.[24] She is also the ferocious Mahakali that wields a sword, wears a garland of severed heads, and protects her devotees and destroys all evil that plagues the world and its beings.

The apparent contradiction that Parvati is addressed as the golden one, Gauri, as well as the dark one, Kali or Shyama, as a calm and placid wife Parvati mentioned as Gauri and as a goddess who destroys evil she is Kali. Regional stories of Gauri suggest an alternate origin for Gauri's name and complexion. In parts of India, Gauri's skin color is golden or yellow in honor of her being the goddess of ripened corn/harvest and fertility.[25][26]

History

The word Parvati does not explicitly appear in Vedic literature.[29] Instead, Ambika, Rudrani and others are found in the Rigveda.[29] The verse 3.12 of the Kena Upanishad dated to mid-1st millennium BCE contains a goddess called Uma-Haimavati, a very common alternate name for Parvati.[29] Sayana's commentary in Anuvaka, however, identifies Parvati in the Kena Upanishad, suggesting her to be the same as Uma and Ambika in the Upanishad, referring to Parvati is thus an embodiment of divine knowledge and the mother of the world.[19] She appears as the shakti, or essential power, of the Supreme Brahman. Her primary role is as a mediator who reveals the knowledge of Brahman to the Vedic Trideva of Agni, Vayu, and Varuna, who were boasting about their recent defeat of a group of demons.[30] But Kinsley notes: "it is little more than conjecture to identify her with the later goddess Satī-Pārvatī, although [..] later texts that extol Śiva and Pārvatī retell the episode in such a way to leave no doubt that it was Śiva's spouse.." [IAST original].[29]

Sati-Parvati appears in the epic period (400 BCE–400 CE), as both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata present Parvati as Shiva's wife.[29] However, it is not until the plays of Kalidasa (5th–6th centuries) and the Puranas (4th through the 13th centuries) that the stories of Sati-Parvati and Shiva acquire more comprehensive details.[31] Kinsley adds that Parvati may have emerged from legends of non-aryan goddesses that lived in mountains.[20] While the word Uma appears in earlier Upanisads, Hopkins notes that the earliest known explicit use of the name Pārvatī occurs in late Hamsa Upanishad.[32]

Weber suggests that just like Shiva is a combination of various Vedic gods Rudra and Agni, Parvati in Puranas text is a combination of wives of Rudra. In other words, the symbolism, legends, and characteristics of Parvati evolved fusing Uma, Haimavati, Ambika in one aspect and the more ferocious, destructive Kali, Gauri, Nirriti in another aspect.[19][33] Tate suggests Parvati is a mixture of the Vedic goddesses Aditi and Nirriti, and being a mountain goddess herself, was associated with other mountain goddesses like Durga and Kali in later traditions.[34]

Iconography and symbolism

Parvati, the gentle aspect of Devi Shakti, is usually represented as fair, beautiful, and benevolent.[35][36] She typically wears a red dress (often a sari), and may have a head-band. When depicted alongside Shiva she generally appears with two arms, but when alone she may be depicted having four. These hands may hold a trident, mirror, rosary, bell, dish, goad, sugarcane stalk, or flowers (such as a lotus).[8] One of her arms in front may be in the Abhaya mudra (hand gesture for 'fear not'), one of her children, typically Ganesha, is on her knee, while her younger son Skanda may be playing near her in her watch. In ancient temples, Parvati's sculpture is often depicted near a calf or cow – a source of food. Bronze has been the chief metal for her sculpture, while stone is the next most common material.[8]

Parvati and Shiva are often symbolized by a yoni and a linga respectively. In ancient literature, yoni means womb and place of gestation, the yoni-linga metaphor represents origin, source or regenerative power.[37] The linga-yoni icon is widespread, found in Shaivite Hindu temples of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Often called Shivalinga, it almost always has both linga and the yoni.[38] The icon represents the interdependence and union of feminine and masculine energies in recreation and regeneration of all life. In some depictions, Parvati and Shiva are shown in various forms of sexual union.[38]

In some iconography, Parvati's hands may symbolically express many mudras (symbolic hand gestures). For example, Kataka — representing fascination and enchantment, Hirana — representing the antelope, the symbolism for nature and the elusive, Tarjani by the left hand—representing the gesture of menace, and Chandrakal — representing the moon, a symbol of intelligence.[citation needed] Kataka is expressed by hands closer to the devotee; Tarjani mudra with the left hand, but far from the devotee.

If Parvati is depicted with two hands, Kataka mudra—also called Katyavalambita or Katisamsthita hasta—is common, as well as Abhaya (fearlessness, fear not) and Varada (beneficence) are representational in Parvati's iconography. Parvati's right hand in Abhaya mudra symbolizes "do not fear anyone or anything", while her Varada mudra symbolizes "wish-fulfilling".[39] In Indian dance, Parvatimudra is dedicated to her, symbolizing divine mother. It is a joint hand gesture, and is one of sixteen Deva Hastas, denoting the most important deities described in Abhinaya Darpana. The hands mimic motherly gesture, and when included in a dance, the dancer symbolically expresses Parvati.[40] Alternatively, if both hands of the dancer are in Ardhachandra mudra, it symbolizes an alternate aspect of Parvati.[41]

Parvati is sometimes shown with golden or yellow color skin, particularly as goddess Gauri, symbolizing her as the goddess of ripened harvests.[42]

In some manifestations, particularly as angry, ferocious aspects of Shakti such Kali, she has eight or ten arms, and is astride on a tiger or lion, wearing a garland of severed heads and skirt of disembodied hands. In benevolent manifestations such as Kamakshi or Meenakshi, a parrot sits near her right shoulder symbolizing cheerful love talk, seeds, and fertility. A parrot is found with Parvati's form as Kamakshi – the goddess of love, as well as Kama – the cupid god of desire who shoots arrows to trigger infatuation.[43] A crescent moon is sometimes included near the head of Parvati particularly the Kamakshi icons, for her being half of Shiva. In South Indian legends, her association with the parrot began when she won a bet with her husband and asked for his loincloth as victory payment; Shiva keeps his word but first transforms her into a parrot. She flies off and takes refuge in the mountain ranges of south India, appearing as Meenakshi (also spelled Minakshi).[44]

Symbolism of many aspects for the same goddess

Parvati is expressed in many roles, moods, epithets, and aspects. In Hindu mythology, she is an active agent of the universe, the power of Shiva. She is expressed in nurturing and benevolent aspects, as well as destructive and ferocious aspects.[45] She is the voice of encouragement, reason, freedom, and strength, as well as of resistance, power, action and retributive justice. This paradox symbolizes her willingness to realign to Pratima (reality) and adapts to the needs of circumstances in her role as the universal mother.[45] She identifies and destroys evil to protect (Mahakali), as well as creates food and abundance to nourish (Annapurna).

From being born as a human, showing determination and perseverance in marrying Shiva (who preferred being an ascetic), to realizing with the great effort her true power and potential, awakening the Adishakti in herself, and becoming a goddess venerated by the Trimurti and the rest of the entire universe, Parvati inspires a person to embrace their human strengths and flaws, and utilize them to achieve their highest potential, to live life with their head held up high.

Manifestations

Several Hindu stories present alternate aspects of Parvati, such as the ferocious, violent aspect as Shakti and related forms. Shakti is pure energy, untamed, unchecked, and chaotic. Her wrath crystallizes into a dark, blood-thirsty, tangled-hair Goddess with an open mouth and a drooping tongue. This goddess is usually identified as the terrible Mahakali (time).[46] In Linga Purana, Parvati undergoes a metamorphosis into Kali, at the request of Shiva, to destroy an asura (demon) Daruk. Even after destroying the demon, Kali's wrath could not be controlled. To lower Kali's rage, Shiva appeared as a crying baby. The cries of the baby arouse the maternal instinct of Kali who reverts to her benign form as Parvati. Lord Shiva, in this baby form is Kshethra Balaka (who becomes Rudra Savarni Manu in future).[47]

In Skanda Purana, Parvati assumes the form of a warrior-goddess and defeats a demon called Durg who assumes the form of a buffalo. In this aspect, she is known by the name Durga.[48] Although Parvati is considered another aspect of Sakti, just like Kali, Durga, Kamakshi, Meenakshi, Gauri and many others in modern-day Hinduism, many of these "forms" or aspects originated from regional legends and traditions, and the distinctions from Parvati are pertinent.[49]

According to Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, In Devi Bhagavata Purana, Parvati is the lineal progenitor of all other goddesses. She is worshiped as one with many forms and names. Her form or incarnation depends on her mood.

• Durga is a demon-fighting form of Devi, and some texts suggest Parvati took the form of Durga to kill the demon Durgamasur. Durga is worshiped in nine forms called the Navadurga. Each of the nine aspects depicts a point in the life of Parvati. She as Durga is also worshiped as the slayer of the demons Mahishasura, Shumbha, and Nishumbha in Shakta traditions. She is worshipped as Ashtabhuja Durga in the Bengali states, and as Kanakadurga in the Telugu states.
• Shakambari or Satakshi are two of the forms Parvati assumed to defeat Durgamasura. The former is the Goddess of vegetables and organic food, while the latter is said to have replenished the earth's water bodies with Her tears during a great drought.
• Kali is the most ferocious and true form of Parvati, as the goddess of time and change, representing raw power and courage, and the ultimate dissolution. Kali is worshiped as Bhadrakali in the south and as Dakshina Kali in the north. She is worshiped as Mahakali all over India. She is a member, and also the source of Tridevi. She is the feminine aspect of Parabrahman, as she is the progenitor of all primal energies. She is the active form of Adishakti. She represents tamas guna, and she is beyond the three Gunas, in that she is the material form of the void darkness in which the universe comes to exist, and in the end, everything dissolves into her. She is the "Kriya Shakti" of the Trishakti and the source of the other Shaktis. She is the Kundalini Shakti that resides deep within the core of every existing life form.
• In the form of female shaktis of various major male deities, Devi manifests as Saptamatrikas: Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Indrani, Varahi, Kaumari, Chamunda (or Ashtamatrikas when depicted along with Narasimhi/Pratyangira, Vinayaki being an additional matrika. Varuni, Yami have also been suggested to be part of this pantheon sometimes.
• Tripura Sundari, despite being the 3nd Mahavidya, is the most worshiped form of Devi right after Kali and Durga. She is consider a complete physical form of Adi Parashakti. Lalita Sahasranama is a collection of the 1000 names of Devi Lalitha and is used in Her worship in the Sri Vidya sampradaya of Tantra.
• Bala Tripurasundari, the child form of the goddess Tripura Sundari, representing the playful and innocent nature of children, as well as their ceaseless potential.
• Brahmari Devi is the six-legged bee incarnation of Parvati, which she assumed to kill the demon Arunasura, according to the Devi Bhagavata Purana.
• Nanda Devi/Ekanamsha is the daughter of the cowherd Nanda and his wife Yashoda. Parvati/Yogamaya/Vishnumaya was born as their daughter in the Dvapara yuga to protect Her brother Lord Krishna and admonish the demon Kansa. She is famously worshiped as Vindhya-Vasini.
• Kaushiki, sometimes addressed as Chandika is a manifestation of Parvati; she is white in color, has eight arms, and rides a lion, she is worshipped with the famous Devi Suktam and Narayani Stuti. She is the main deity of the Devi Mahatmyam, considered to be the most important Shakta text. It is read privately or in huge gatherings every Navaratri in Her honor.
• 52 Shakti Peethas suggests all goddesses are expansions of the goddess Parvati. Each of the peethas was formed when a part of Goddess Sati's body fell on earth. Sati being the previous incarnation of Parvati isn't separate from Her.
• There are multiple local goddesses called Grama Devis who are worshiped in famed temples all across India. Many of them are believed to be the incarnations of Parvati. These are all regional manifestations of the Divine Mother, often invoked to protect the village from epidemics and famine.
• Meenakshi, the Goddess with eyes shaped like fishes. She is the Queen of Madurai and is said to have been born to the devout childless queen and king of the region. She was born with 3 breasts, which were prophesied to disappear when She would meet Her husband-to-be. Eventually, She met Shiva and returns to Kailasa as Parvati.
• Kamakshi, Goddess of love and devotion. She is indifferent from the Supreme Goddess Tripura Sundari
• Vishalakshi, the Goddess who awaits Her beloved. Her temple is in Varanasi wherewith ever opened eyelids, she waits for Her husband, Lord Shiva.
• Akhilandeshwari, found in coastal regions of India, is the goddess associated with water.[50]
• Annapurna is the representation of all that is complete and of food. Parvati is said to have assumed this form to teach the inhabitants of Kailasa the value of food. She resides in Kashi as the wife of Lord Vishwanatha.
• Mahagayatri, the Devi associated with the Vedas and the knowledge that they house.
• Navadurga, The nine forms of Durga: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidhatri.
• Dasa Mahavidya, the ten tantric manifestations of Devi: Mahakali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Bagalamukhi, Dhumavati, Chinnamasta, Matangi, Kamala.

Legends

The Puranas tell the tale of Sati's marriage to Shiva against her father Daksha's wishes. The conflict between Daksha and Shiva gets to a point where Daksha does not invite Shiva to his yagna (fire-sacrifice). Daksha insults Shiva when Sati comes on her own. She immolates herself at the ceremony. This shocks Shiva, who is so grief-stricken that he loses interest in worldly affairs, retires, and isolates himself in the mountains, in meditation and austerity. Sati is then reborn as Parvati, the daughter of Himavat and Mainavati,[5] and is named Parvati, or "she from the mountains", after her father Himavant who is also called king Parvat.[51][52][53]

According to different versions of her chronicles, the maiden Parvati resolves to marry Shiva. Her parents learn of her desire, discourage her, but she pursues what she wants. Indra sends the god Kama – the Hindu god of desire, erotic love, attraction, and affection, to awake Shiva from meditation. Kama reaches Shiva and shoots an arrow of desire.[54] Shiva opens his third eye in his forehead and burns the cupid Kama to ashes. Parvati does not lose her hope or her resolve to win over Shiva. She begins to live in mountains like Shiva, engage in the same activities as Shiva, one of asceticism, yogin and tapas. This draws the attention of Shiva and awakens his interest. He meets her in disguised form, tries to discourage her, telling her Shiva's weaknesses and personality problems.[54] Parvati refuses to listen and insists on her resolve. Shiva finally accepts her and they get married.[54][55] Shiva dedicates the following hymn in Parvati's honor,
I am the sea and you the wave,
You are Prakṛti, and I Purusha.
– Translated by Stella Kramrisch[56]

After the marriage, Parvati moves to Mount Kailash, the residence of Shiva. To them are born Kartikeya (also known as Skanda and Murugan) – the leader of celestial armies, and Ganesha – the god of wisdom that prevents problems and removes obstacles.[10][57]

There are many alternate Hindu legends about the birth of Parvati and how she married Shiva. In the Harivamsa, for example, Parvati has two younger sisters called Ekaparna and Ekapatala.[23] According to Devi Bhagavata Purana and Shiva Purana mount Himalaya and his wife Mena appease goddess Adi Parashakti. Pleased, Adi Parashakti herself is born as their daughter Parvati. Each major story about Parvati's birth and marriage to Shiva has regional variations, suggesting creative local adaptations. The stories go through many ups and downs until Parvati and Shiva are finally married.[58]

Kalidasa's epic Kumarasambhavam ("Birth of Kumara") describes the story of the maiden Parvati who has made up her mind to marry Shiva and get him out of his recluse, intellectual, austere world of aloofness. Her devotions aimed at gaining the favor of Shiva, the subsequent annihilation of Kamadeva, the consequent fall of the universe into barren lifelessness, regeneration of life, the subsequent marriage of Parvati and Shiva, the birth of Kartikeya, and the eventual resurrection of Kamadeva after Parvati intercedes for him to Shiva.

Parvati's legends are intrinsically related to Shiva. In the goddess-oriented Shakta texts, that she is said to transcend even Shiva, and is identified as the Supreme Being.[20] Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolize at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity.

Parvati thus symbolizes many different virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition: fertility, marital felicity, devotion to the spouse, asceticism, and power. Parvati represents the householder ideal in the perennial tension in Hinduism in the household ideal and the ascetic ideal, the latter represented by Shiva.[46] Renunciation and asceticism is highly valued in Hinduism, as is householder's life – both feature as Ashramas of ethical and proper life. Shiva is portrayed in Hindu legends as the ideal ascetic withdrawn in his personal pursuit in the mountains with no interest in social life, while Parvati is portrayed as the ideal householder keen on nurturing worldly life and society.[54] Numerous chapters, stories, and legends revolve around their mutual devotion as well as disagreements, their debates on Hindu philosophy as well as the proper life.

Parvati tames Shiva with her presence.[46] When Shiva does his violent, destructive Tandava dance, Parvati is described as calming him or complementing his violence by slow, creative steps of her own Lasya dance.[59] In many myths, Parvati is not as much his complement as his rival, tricking, seducing, or luring him away from his ascetic practices.[59]

Three images are central to the mythology, iconography, and philosophy of Parvati: the image of Shiva-Shakti, the image of Shiva as Ardhanarishvara (the Lord who is half-woman), and the image of the linga and the yoni. These images that combine the masculine and feminine energies, Shiva and Parvati, yield a vision of reconciliation, interdependence, and harmony between the way of the ascetic and that of a householder.[60]

The couple is often depicted in the Puranas as engaged in "dalliance" or seated on Mount Kailash debating concepts in Hindu theology. They are also depicted as quarreling.[61] In stories of the birth of Kartikeya, the couple is described as love-making; generating the seed of Shiva. Parvati's union with Shiva symbolizes the union of a male and female in "ecstasy and sexual bliss".[62] In art, Parvati is depicted seated on Shiva's knee or standing beside him (together the couple is referred to as Uma-Maheshvara or Hara-Gauri) or as Annapurna (the goddess of grain) giving alms to Shiva.[63]

Shaiva's approaches tend to look upon Parvati as the Shiva's submissive and obedient wife. However, Shaktas focus on Parvati's equality or even superiority to her consort. The story of the birth of the ten Mahavidyas (Wisdom Goddesses) of Shakta Tantrism. This event occurs while Shiva is living with Parvati in her father's house. Following an argument, he attempts to walk out on her. Her rage at Shiva's attempt to walk out manifests in the form of ten terrifying goddesses who block Shiva's every exit.

David Kinsley states,
The fact that [Parvati] can physically restrain Shiva dramatically makes the point that she is superior in power. The theme of the superiority of the goddess over male deities is common in Shakta texts, [and] so the story is stressing a central Shakta theological principle. ... The fact that Shiva and Parvati are living in her father's house in itself makes this point, as it is traditional in many parts of India for the wife to leave her father's home upon marriage and become a part of her husband's lineage and live in his home among his relatives. That Shiva dwells in Parvati's house thus implies Her priority in their relationship. Her priority is also demonstrated in her ability, through the Mahavidyas, to thwart Shiva's will and assert her own.[64]


Ardhanarisvara

Parvati is portrayed as the ideal wife, mother, and householder in Indian legends.[66] In Indian art, this vision of the ideal couple is derived from Shiva and Parvati as being half of the other, represented as Ardhanarisvara.[67] This concept is represented as an androgynous image that is half man and half woman, Siva and Parvati respectively.[65][68]

Ideal wife, mother, and more

In Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, she as Umā suggests that the duties of wife and mother are as follows – being of a good disposition, endued with sweet speech, sweet conduct, and sweet features. Her husband is her friend, refuge, and god.[69] She finds happiness in the physical, emotional nourishment and development of her husband and her children. Their happiness is her happiness. She is positive and cheerful even when her husband or her children are angry, she's with them in adversity or sickness.[69] She takes interest in worldly affairs, beyond her husband and family. She is cheerful and humble before family, friends, and relatives; helps them if she can. She welcomes guests, feeds them, and encourages righteous social life. Her family life and her home is her heaven, Parvati declares in Book 13 of the Mahabharata.[69]

Rita Gross states,[38] that the view of Parvati only as ideal wife and mother is incomplete symbolism of the power of the feminine in the mythology of India. Parvati, along with other goddesses, is involved with a broad range of culturally valued goals and activities.[38] Her connection with motherhood and female sexuality does not confine the feminine or exhaust their significance and activities in Hindu literature. She is balanced by Durga, who is strong and capable without compromising her femaleness. She manifests in every activity, from water to mountains, from arts to inspiring warriors, from agriculture to dance. Parvati's numerous aspects state Gross,[38] reflects the Hindu belief that the feminine has a universal range of activities, and her gender is not a limiting condition. Parvati is seen as the mother of two widely worshipped deities — Ganesha and Kartikeya, as well as some other regional deities including a goddess named Ashokasundari.

Ganesha

Hindu literature, including the Matsya Purana, Shiva Purana, and Skanda Purana, dedicates many stories to Parvati and Shiva and their children.[70] For example, one about Ganesha is:

Once, while Parvati wanted to take a bath, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house. Hence she created an image of a boy out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house, and Ganesha obediently followed his mother's orders. After a while Shiva returned and tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. Shiva was infuriated, lost his temper, and severed the boy's head with his trident. When Parvati came out and saw her son's lifeless body, she was very angry. She demanded that Shiva restore Ganesha's life at once. Shiva did so by attaching an elephant's head to Ganesha's body, thus giving rise to the elephant-headed deity.[71][72]


Parvati in culture

Festivals

Teej festival


Teej is a significant festival for Hindu women, particularly in the northern and western states of India. Parvati is the primary deity of the festival, and it ritually celebrates married life and family ties.[73] It also celebrates the monsoon. The festival is marked with swings hung from trees, girls playing on these swings typically in a green dress (seasonal color of crop planting season), while singing regional songs.[74] Historically, unmarried maidens prayed to Parvati for a good mate, while married women prayed for the well-being of their husbands and visited their relatives. In Nepal, Teej is a three-day festival marked with visits to Shiva-Parvati temples and offerings to linga.[73] Teej is celebrated as Teeyan in Punjab.[75]

Gauri Festival

The Gowri Habba, or Gauri Festival, is celebrated on the seventh, eighth, and ninth of Bhadrapada (Shukla paksha). Parvati is worshipped as the goddess of harvest and protectress of women. Her festival, chiefly observed by women, is closely associated with the festival of her son Ganesha (Ganesh Chaturthi). The festival is popular in Maharashtra and Karnataka.[76]

In Rajasthan, the worship of Gauri happens during the Gangaur festival. The festival starts on the first day of Chaitra the day after Holi and continues for 18 days. Images of Issar and Gauri are made from Clay for the festival.

Navratri

Another popular festival in reverence of Parvati is Navratri, in which all her manifestations are worshiped over nine days. Popular in eastern India, particularly in Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Assam, as well as several other parts of India such as Gujarat, with her nine forms i.e. Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayini, Kaalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidatri.[77]

Gauri Tritiya

Another festival Gauri Tritiya is celebrated from Chaitra Shukla third to Vaishakha Shukla third. This festival is popular in Maharashtra and Karnataka, less observed in North India, and unknown in Bengal. The unwidowed women of the household erect a series of platforms in a pyramidal shape with the image of the goddess at the top and a collection of ornaments, images of other Hindu deities, pictures, shells, etc. below. Neighbors are invited and presented with turmeric, fruits, flowers, etc. as gifts. At night, prayers are held by singing and dancing. In south Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the Kethara Gauri Vritham festival is celebrated on the new moon day of Diwali and married women fast for the day, prepare sweets and worship Parvati for the well-being of the family.[78]

Thiruvathira

Thiruvathira is a festival observed in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is believed that on this day, Parvathi met Lord Shiva after her long penance and Lord Shiva took her as his wife.[79] On this day Hindu women perform the Thiruvathirakali accompanied by Thiruvathira paattu (folk songs about Parvati and her longing and penance for Lord Shiva's affection).[80]

Arts

Attributed to Khushala The Gods Sing and Dance for Shiva and Parvati (late 18th century)
From sculpture to dance, many Indian arts explore and express the stories of Parvati and Shiva as themes. For example, Daksha Yagam of Kathakali, a form of dance-drama choreography, adapts the romantic episodes of Parvati and Shiva.[81]

The Gauri-Shankar bead is a part of religious adornment rooted in the belief of Parvati and Shiva as the ideal equal complementing halves of the other. Gauri-Shankar is a particular rudraksha (bead) formed naturally from the seed of a tree found in India. Two seeds of this tree sometimes naturally grow as fused and are considered symbolic of Parvati and Shiva. These seeds are strung into garlands and worn, or used in malas (rosaries) for meditation in Saivism.[82]

Numismatics

Ancient coins from Bactria (Central Asia) of Kushan Empire era, and those of king Harsha (North India) feature Uma. These were issued sometime between the 3rd- and 7th-century AD. In Bactria, Uma is spelled Ommo, and she appears on coins holding a flower.[83][84] On her coin is also shown Shiva, who is sometimes shown in the ithyphallic state holding a trident and standing near Nandi (his vahana). On coins issued by king Harsha, Parvati and Shiva are seated on a bull and the reverse of the coin has Brahmi script.[85]

Major temples

See also: Shakti Peetha

Parvati is often present with Shiva in Saivite Hindu temples all over South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Some locations (Pithas or Shaktipeeths) are considered special because of their historical importance and legends about their origins in the ancient texts of Hinduism.[86][87]

Each major Parvati-Shiva temple is a pilgrimage site that has an ancient legend associated with it, which is typically a part of a larger story that links these Hindu temples across South Asia with each other.

List of temples

Some temples where Parvati can be found include:

• In Karnataka : Chamundeswari Temple Mysore, Horanaadu Shri Annapurneshwari Temple, Kolluru Shri Mookambika Devasthana, Sigandooru Shri Chowdeshwari Devi Shivamogga
• in Andhra Pradesh: Maanikyambika Bhimeswara Temple, Vijayawāda Kanaka Durga Mata Temple
• in Kerala:Annapurneshwari Temple, Cherukunnu, Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Chakkulathukavu Temple, Chengannur Mahadeva Temple, Oorpazhachi Kavu, Irumkulangara Durga Devi Temple, Valiya Kavu Sree Parvathi Devi Temple, Sri Kiratha Parvathi Temple Paramelpadi, Korechal Kirathaparvathi Temple, Nedukavu Parvathy Devi Temple, Karthyayani Devi Temple, Varanad Devi Temple, Veluthattu Vadakkan Chowa Temple, Thiruvairanikulam Mahadeva Temple, Ardhanariswara Temple and Kadampuzha Devi Temple
• in Madhya Pradesh: Parvati Temple
• in Maharashtra: Tulja Bhavani Temple
• in Meghalaya: Nartiang Durga Temple
• in Tamil Nadu: Meenakshi Amman Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, Sri Siva Durga Temple, Thirukkadaiyur Abirami Amman temple, Thirumeyachur Lalithambigai temple, Bannari Amman Temple, Samayapuram Mariamman Temple, Thiruvanaikaval Akilandeswari temple, Thiruvalangadu Kali temple, Vekkali Amman Temple, Mutharamman Temple, Kulasekharapatnam, Tiruverkadu Devi Karumariamman Temple, Nellaiappar Temple, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Masani Ammam temple, Mandaikadu Bhagavathi temple, Gomathi Amman, Punnainallur Mariamman
• in Tripura: Tripura Sundari Templein Tripura: Tripura Sundari Temple
• in Uttar Pradesh: Vishalakshi Temple, Vishalakshi Gauri Temple and Annapurna Devi Temple

Outside India

Sculpture and iconography of Parvati, in one of her many manifestations, have been found in temples and literature of Southeast Asia. For example, early Saivite inscriptions of the Khmer in Cambodia, dated as early as the fifth century AD, mention Parvati (Uma) and Siva.[88] Many ancient and medieval era Cambodian temples, rock arts and river bed carvings such as the Kbal Spean are dedicated to Parvati and Shiva.[89][90]

Boisselier has identified Uma in a Champa era temple in Vietnam.[91]

Dozens of ancient temples dedicated to Parvati as Uma, with Siva, have been found in the islands of Indonesia and Malaysia. Her manifestation as Durga has also been found in southeast Asia.[92] Many of the temples in Java dedicated to Siva-Parvati are from the second half of 1st millennium AD, and some from later centuries.[93] Durga icons and worship have been dated to be from the 10th- to 13th-century.[94]

Derived from Parvati's form as Mahakali, her nipponized form is Daikokutennyo (大黒天女).

In Nakhorn Si Thammarat province of Thailand, excavations at Dev Sathan have yielded a Hindu Temple dedicated to Vishnu (Na Pra Narai), a lingam in the yoni, a Shiva temple (San Pra Isuan). The sculpture of Parvati found at this excavation site reflects the South Indian style.[97][98]

Bali, Indonesia

Parvati, locally spelled as Parwati, is a principal goddess in modern-day Hinduism of Bali. She is more often called Uma, and sometimes referred to as Giriputri (daughter of the mountains).[99] She is the goddess of mountain Gunung Agung.[100] Like Hinduism of India, Uma has many manifestations in Bali, Indonesia. She is the wife of deity Siwa. Uma or Parwati is considered as the mother goddess that nurtures, nourishes, grants fertility to crop and all life. As Dewi Danu, she presides over waters, lake Batur and Gunung Batur, a major volcano in Bali. Her ferocious form in Bali is Dewi Durga.[101] As Rangda, she is wrathful and presides cemeteries.[100] As Ibu Pertiwi, Parwati of Balinese Hinduism is the goddess of earth.[100] The legends about various manifestations of Parwati, and how she changes from one form to another, are in Balinese literature, such as the palm-leaf (lontar) manuscript Andabhuana.[102]

Related goddesses

Tara found in some sects of Buddhism, particularly Tibetan and Nepalese, is related to Parvati.[103][104] Tara too appears in many manifestations. In tantric sects of Buddhism, as well as Hinduism, intricate symmetrical art forms of yantra or mandala are dedicated to different aspects of Tara and Parvati.[105][106]

Parvati is closely related in symbolism and powers to Cybele of Greek and Roman mythology and as Vesta the guardian goddess of children.[10][107] In her manifestation as Durga, Parvati parallels Mater Montana.[10] She is the equivalent of the Magna Mater (Universal Mother).[18] As Kali and punisher of all evil, she corresponds to Proserpine and Diana Taurica.[108]

As Bhawani and goddess of fertility and birthing, she is the symbolic equivalent of Ephesian Diana.[108] In Crete, Rhea is the mythological figure, goddess of the mountains, paralleling Parvati; while in some mythologies from islands of Greece, the terrifying goddess mirroring Parvati is Diktynna (also called Britomartis).[109] At Ephesus, Cybele is shown with lions, just like the iconography of Parvati is sometimes shown with a lion.[109]

Carl Jung, in Mysterium Coniunctionis, states that aspects of Parvati belong to the same category of goddesses like Artemis, Isis and Mary.[110][111] Edmund Leach equates Parvati in her relationship with Shiva, with that of the Greek goddess Aphrodite – a symbol of sexual love.[112]

Notes

1. James D. Holt (2014). Religious Education in the Secondary School: An Introduction to Teaching, Learning and the World Religions. Routledge. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-317-69874-6.
2. David Kinsley (19 July 1988). Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition. University of California Press. pp. 49–50. ISBN 978-0-520-90883-3.
3. William J. Wilkins, Uma – Parvati, Hindu Mythology – Vedic and Puranic, Thacker Spink London, pp 295
4. C. Mackenzie Brown (1990). The Triumph of the Goddess: The Canonical Models and Theological Visions of the Devi-Bhagavata Purana. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791403648.
5. Sita Narasimhan (2006). Śaivism Under the Imperial Cōl̲as as Revealed Through Their Monuments. p. 100. ISBN 9788188934324.
6. H.V. Dehejia, Parvati: Goddess of Love, Mapin, ISBN 978-8185822594
7. James Hendershot, Penance, Trafford, ISBN 978-1490716749, pp 78
8. Suresh Chandra (1998), Encyclopedia of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, ISBN 978-8176250399, pp 245–246
9. Frithjof Schuon (2003), Roots of the Human Condition, ISBN 978-0941532372, pp 32
10. Edward Balfour, Parvati, p. 153, at Google Books, The Encyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, pp 153
11. H.V. Dehejia, Parvati: Goddess of Love, Mapin, ISBN 978-8185822594, pp 11
12. Edward Washburn Hopkins, Epic Mythology, p. 224, at Google Books, pp. 224–226
13. book|last=Dalal|first=Roshen|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=DH0vmD8ghdMC&q=Smarta&pg=PA399%7Ctitle=Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide|date=2010|publisher=Penguin Books India|isbn=978-0-14-341421-6|language=en}}
14. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Saiva Sculptures, Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 118 (Apr. 1922), pp 17
15. Stella Kramrisch (1975), The Indian Great Goddess, History of Religions, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 261
16. Hariani Santiko, The Goddess Durgā (warrior form of Parvati)in the East-Javanese Period, Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 56, No. 2 (1997), pp. 209–226
17. Ananda Coomaraswamy, Saiva Sculptures, Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 118 (Apr. 1922), pp 15–24
18. Alain Daniélou (1992), Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, ISBN 978-0892813742, pp 77–80
19. John Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India, p. 422, at Google Books, pp 422–436
20. Kinsley p.41
21. Keller and Ruether (2006), Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, Indiana University Press, ISBN 978-0253346858, pp 663
22. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 68.
23. Wilkins pp.240–1
24. Kinsley pp. 142–143
25. Edward Balfour, Parvati, p. 381, at Google Books, The Encyclopedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, pp 381
26. Ernest Payne (1997), The Saktas: An Introductory and Comparative Study, Dover, ISBN 978-0486298665, pp 7–8, 13–14
27. Dani, Ahmad Hasan; Harmatta, János (1999). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 326. ISBN 978-81-208-1408-0.
28. "Ommo-Oesho coin of Huvishka British Museum". The British Museum.
29. Kinsley p.36
30. Kena Upanisad, III.1–-IV.3, cited in Müller and in Sarma, pp. xxix-xxx.
31. Kinsley p.37
32. Edward Washburn Hopkins, Epic Mythology, p. 224, at Google Books, pp. 224–225
33. Weber in Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic By William J. Wilkins p.239
34. Tate p.176
35. Wilkins pp.247
36. Harry Judge (1993), Devi, Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia, Oxford University Press, pp 10
37. James Lochtefeld (2005), "Yoni" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N–Z, pp. 784, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1
38. Rita M. Gross (1978), Hindu Female Deities as a Resource for the Contemporary Rediscovery of the Goddess, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Sep. 1978), pp. 269–291
39. Caroll and Caroll (2013), Mudras of India, ISBN 978-1848191099, pp 34, 266
40. Caroll and Caroll (2013), Mudras of India, ISBN 978-1848191099, pp 184
41. Caroll and Caroll (2013), Mudras of India, ISBN 978-1848191099, pp 303, 48
42. The Shaktas: an introductory comparative study Payne A.E. 1933 pp. 7, 83
43. Devdutt Pattanaik (2014), Pashu: Animal Tales from Hindu Mythology, Penguin, ISBN 978-0143332473, pp 40–42
44. Sally Kempton (2013), Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga, ISBN 978-1604078916, pp 165–167
45. Ellen Goldberg (2002), The Lord Who Is Half Woman: Ardhanarisvara in Indian and Feminist Perspective, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791453254, pp. 133–153
46. Kinsley p.46
47. Kennedy p.338
48. Kinsley p.96
49. Kinsley pp. 4
50. Subhash C Biswas, India the Land of Gods, ISBN 978-1482836554, pp 331–332
51. Kinsley p.42
52. William J. Wilkins, Uma – Parvati, Hindu Mythology – Vedic and Puranic, Thacker Spink London, pp 300–301
53. In the Ramayana, the river goddess Ganga is the first daughter and the elder sister of Parvati; William J. Wilkins, Uma – Parvati, Hindu Mythology – Vedic and Puranic, Thacker Spink London
54. James Lochtefeld (2005), "Parvati" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N–Z, pp. 503–505, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1
55. Kinsley p.43
56. Stella Kramrisch (1975), The Indian Great Goddess, History of Religions, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 235–265
57. Ganesa: Unravelling an Enigma By Yuvraj Krishan p.6
58. Alain Daniélou (1992), Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, ISBN 978-0892813742, pp 82–87
59. Kinsley p.48
60. Kinsley p.49
61. Kennedy p.334
62. Tate, p.383
63. Coleman p.65
64. Kinsley, p. 26.
65. MB Wangu (2003), Images of Indian Goddesses: Myths, Meanings, and Models, ISBN 978-8170174165, Chapter 4 and pp 86–89
66. Wojciech Maria Zalewski (2012), The Crucible of Religion: Culture, Civilization, and Affirmation of Life, ISBN 978-1610978286, pp 136
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69. Anucasana Parva The Mahabharata, pp 670–672
70. Kennedy p.353-4
71. Paul Courtright (1978), Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195057423
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76. The Hindu Religious Year By Muriel Marion Underhill p.50 Published 1991 Asian Educational Services ISBN 81-206-0523-3
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78. The Hindu Religious Year By Muriel Marion Underhill p.100
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82. James Lochtefeld (2005), "Gauri-Shankar" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, pp. 244, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1
83. John M. Rosenfield (1967), The Dynastic Arts of the Kushans, University of California Press, Reprinted in 1993 as ISBN 978-8121505796, pp. 94–95
84. AH Dani et al., History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Vol. 2, Editors: Harmatta et al., UNESCO, ISBN 978-9231028465, pp 326–327
85. Arthur L. Friedberg and Ira S. Friedberg (2009), Gold Coins of the World: From Ancient Times to the Present, ISBN 978-0871843081, pp 462
86. Devangana Desai, Khajuraho, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195653915, pp 42–51, 80–82
87. Steven Leuthold (2011), Cross-Cultural Issues in Art: Frames for Understanding, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415578004, pp 142–143
88. Sanderson, Alexis (2004), "The Saiva Religion among the Khmers, Part I.", Bulletin de Ecole frangaise d'Etreme-Orient, 90–91, pp 349–462
89. Michael Tawa (2001), At Kbal Spean, Architectural Theory Review, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 134–137
90. Helen Jessup (2008), The rock shelter of Peuong Kumnu and Visnu Images on Phnom Kulen, Vol. 2, National University of Singapore Press, ISBN 978-9971694050, pp. 184–192
91. Jean Boisselier (2002), "The Art of Champa", in Emmanuel Guillon (Editor) – Hindu-Buddhist Art in Vietnam: Treasures from Champa, Trumbull, p. 39
92. Hariani Santiko (1997), The Goddess Durgā in the East-Javanese Period, Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 56, No. 2 (1997), pp. 209–226
93. R Ghose (1966), Saivism in Indonesia during the Hindu-Javanese period Archived 26 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Thesis, Department of History, University of Hong Kong
94. Peter Levenda (2011), Tantric Temples: Eros and Magic in Java, ISBN 978-0892541690, pp 274
95. Joe Cribb; Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1999). Magic Coins of Java, Bali and the Malay Peninsula: Thirteenth to Twentieth Centuries. British Museum Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7141-0881-0.
96. Yves Bonnefoy (1993). Asian Mythologies. University of Chicago Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-0-226-06456-7.
97. R. Agarwal (2008), "Cultural Collusion: South Asia and the construction of the Modern Thai Identities", Mahidol University International College (Thailand)
98. Gutman, P. (2008), Siva in Burma, in Selected Papers from the 10th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists: the British Museum, London, 14th–17th September 2004: Interpreting Southeast Asia's past, monument, image, and text (Vol. 10, p. 135), National University of Singapore Press
99. Reinhold Rost, Miscellaneous Papers Relating to Indo-China and the Indian Archipelago, p. 105, at Google Books, Volume 2, pp 105
100. Jones and Ryan, Encyclopedia of Hinduism, ISBN 978-0816054589, pp 67–68
101. Michele Stephen (2005), Desire Divine & Demonic: Balinese Mysticism in the Paintings, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0824828592, pp 119–120, 90
102. J. Stephen Lansing (2012), Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691156262, pp 138–139
103. David Leeming (2005), The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195156690, pp 374–375
104. Monier Williams, Buddhism: In Its Connection with Brāhmanism and Hindūism, p. 216, at Google Books, pp 200–219
105. David Frawley (1994), Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses: Spiritual Secrets of Ayurveda, ISBN 978-1878423177, pp 57–85
106. Rebeca French, The Golden Yoke: The Legal Cosmology of Buddhist Tibet, ISBN 978-1559391719, pp 185–188
107. George Stanley Faber, The Origin of Pagan Idolatry, p. 488, at Google Books, pp 260–261, 404–419, 488
108. Maria Callcott, Letters on India, p. 345, at Google Books, pp 345–346
109. Alain Daniélou (1992), Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus, ISBN 978-0892813742, pp 79–80
110. Joel Ryce-Menuhin (1994), Jung and the Monotheisms, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415104142, pp 64
111. Ann Casement (2001), Carl Gustav Jung, SAGE Publications, ISBN 978-0761962373, pp 56
112. Edmund Ronald Leach, The Essential Edmund Leach: Culture and human nature, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300085082, pp 85

References

• Kinsley, David R. Hindu Goddesses: Vision of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Traditions. University of California Press. 1986. (ISBN 81-208-0379-5)
• Vans Kennedy, Researches Into the Nature and Affinity of Ancient and Hindu Mythology; Published 1831; Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green; 494 pages; Original from Harvard University; Digitized 11 July 2005 [1]
• William J. Wilkins, Uma – Parvati, Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic; Republished 2001 (first published 1882); Adamant Media Corporation; 463 pages; ISBN 1-4021-9308-4
• Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, Śiva, the Erotic Ascetic
• Charles Coleman, Mythology of the Hindus
• Karen Tate, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations
• Srivastava, A. L. (2004). Umā-Maheśvara: An iconographic study of the divine couple. Kasganj, U: Sukarkshetra Shodh Sansthana.

Further reading

• Pereira, Jose. "ŚIVA AND PARVATI AT DICE: IDENTIFICATION OF A PANEL AT ELEPHANTA." Proceedings of the Indian History Congress 21 (1958): 117–25. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44145178.
External links[edit]
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• Parvati at Encyclopædia Britannica
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Apr 22, 2022 7:22 am

Part 3 of 3

Nandi (Hinduism) [Nandikeshwara] [Nandideva] [Nantikēcuraṉ/Nantitevar, Isvara's "gatekeeper"]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/22/22

b) ff. 1-12 Tirikālacakkaram.

The Puvanacakkaram deals with the measurement of the earth by Nantikēcuran. The Tirikālacakkaram (‘revolving wheel of the three times’) contains a summary of South Indian cosmology and mythology. It is ascribed to Tirumūlattēvar (Jeyaraj, p.330).

-- The Bayer Collection, A preliminary catalogue of the manuscripts and books of Professor Theophilus Siegfried Bayer, acquired and augmented by the Reverend Dr Heinrich Walther Gerdes, now preserved in the Hunterian Library of the University of Glasgow, by David Weston, 2018

68 According to cittar tradition, Tirumūlar, the early Śaiva mystic and author of the Tirumantiram, is said to have been the disciple of an alchemist named Nantikēcuran.
Image
Alchemical Nantikecuran, by Librarian

Tirumūlar is also closely connected to Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai, where he took physical form by entering the body of a cowherd and composed the Tirumantiram. It is, however, not clear that an ascription to this early Tirumūlar is intended in Ziegenbalg’s account of the work. Zvelebil gives the briefest details of an undated Tirumūlatēvar, ascribing to him three works: the Tirumantiramālai, Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam. Tirumantiramālai is in fact the full title of Tirumūlar’s Tirumantiram and hence the distinction between the work which Zvelebil ascribes to Tirumūla Tēvar and Tirumūlar’s own work is not clear. We have not been able to identify copies of the Tirumūlatēvar pāṭalkaḷ and Vālaippañcākkara viḷakkam, but the title of the latter suggests a work on the five-syllable nama-civāya mantra. There are a number of works of this kind, with different titles, closely associated with the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. Whether Tirumūlar or Tirumūla Tēvar is intended, an association with Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai certainly cannot be ruled out.

69 Moreover, as noted above (35), Koppedrayer emphasizes the importance of the idea of a lineage, beginning on Mount Kailasa and transmitted through Nantikēcuran, or Nantitēvar, in the self-understanding of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai maṭam. She notes that when referring to themselves corporately: “the ascetics living in the matam at Tiruvavatuturai… use such phrases as the Tirukailai paramparai, the lineage [descending] from Mount Kailasa.” Discussing the multiple accounts of the Tiruvāvaṭutuṟai kailasa paramparai, she notes that while they differ in their details “early references to the seminal figures simply cite Namaccivaya, Meykantar, and Nanti, yes, always Nanti on Mount Kailasa.”

-- Bibliotheca Malabarica, by Will Sweetman with R. Ilakkuvan, Institut Francais de Pondichery, 2012

Image
Nandi in a zoo-anthropomorphic form
Affiliation: Mount of Shiva
Abode: Mount Kailash
Consort: Suyasha[1]

Nandi (Sanskrit: नन्दि) also known as Nandikeshwara or Nandideva is the bull vahana of the Hindu god Shiva. He is also the guardian deity of Kailash, the abode of Shiva. Almost all Shiva temples display stone-images of a seated Nandi, generally facing the main shrine.

According to Saivite siddhantic tradition, he is considered as the chief guru of eight disciples of Nandinatha Sampradaya, namely, Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Tirumular, Vyagrapada, Patanjali, and Sivayoga Muni, who were sent in eight different directions, to spread the wisdom.[2]

Nandinatha Sampradaya is a denomination of Shaivism sect of Hinduism that places great importance on the practice of yoga. It is related to the broader Nath Sampradaya. Living preceptor and 163rd head of the Nandinatha Sampradaya's Kailasa Parampara is Bodhinatha Veylanswami. It is most popular among Tamil Hindus.

The Nandinatha Sampradaya traces its beginning to at least 200 BCE. Its founder and first known spiritual preceptor was Maharishi Nandinatha. Nandinatha is said to have initiated eight disciples, Sanatkumar, Sanakar, Sanadanar, Sananthanar, Shivayogamuni, Patanjali, Vyaghrapada, and Tirumular, and sent them to various places to spread the teachings of Shaiva Siddhanta. Though some of these disciples were sent as far as China to spread the Shaiva Siddhanta philosophy of their Guru, the work of two is especially important.

Patanjali is remembered as the author of the Yoga Sutras. This crucial text is one of the most widely quoted and respected texts on the practice of Yoga. Its translations are studied today in Yoga Centers throughout the world. Most of the mystical, Sanskrit vocabulary of Yoga teachings are first codified in this text. The Ashtanga Yoga (eight-limbed) process of Yoga comes from this text. The text contains a spiritual blueprint for using the physical body to yoke consciousness to the Divine source.

Tirumular authored the Tirumantiram, which is a well known Tamil text. The Tirumantiram is still chanted in Tamil Nadu. It covers a wide variety of topics and illuminates much of the esoteric mystical insight of this Sampradaya. It illustrates the life style and moral conduct advocated by this tradition. It provides much insight into the mystical meditations and tantras (techniques) valued by the Nandinatha Sampradaya. It places great emphasis on repetition of the panchakshara (or five lettered) mantra: Om Namah Shivaya

-- Nandinatha Sampradaya, by Wikipedia


The Cham Hindus of Vietnam believes that when they die, the Nandi will come and take their soul to the holy land of India from Vietnam.

The Sanskrit word nandi (Sanskrit: नन्दि) has the meaning of happy, joy, and satisfaction, the properties of divine guardian of Shiva- Nandi.[3]

It is recently documented, that the application of the name Nandi to the bull (Sanskrit: Vṛṣabha), is in fact a development of recent syncretism of different regional beliefs within Saivism.[4] The name Nandi was widely used instead for an anthropomorphic door-keeper of Kailasha, rather than his mount, in the oldest Saivite texts in Sanskrit, Tamil, and other Indian languages. Siddhantic texts clearly distinct Nandi from Vṛṣabha. According to them, Devi, Chandesha, Mahakala, Vṛṣabha, Nandi, Ganesha, Bhringi, and Murugan, are the eight Ganeshwaras (commanders) of Shiva.[5]

History and Legends

The worship of Shiva and Nandi can even be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization time-period. The famous 'Pasupati Seal' depicts a seated figure, which is usually identified as Shiva, and there were many bull-seals found in Mohenjo daro and Harappa, which led to conclusion of the researchers, that Nandi worship has been a long standing tradition for many thousands of years.[6]

Nandi is described as the son of the sage Shilada. Shilada underwent severe penance to have a boon– a child with immortality and blessings of Lord Shiva, and received Nandi as his son. Legends say that Nandi was born from a Yajna performed by the Shilada. Nandi grew as an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and he performed severe penance to become his gate-keeper, as well as his mount, on the banks of river Narmada, near Tripur Tirth Kshetra in present-day Nandikeshwar Temple, in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

Nandi got the divine-knowledge of Agamic and Tantric wisdom taught by Shiva, from goddess Parvati. He could teach that divine-knowledge to his eight disciples, who are identified as the progenitors of Nandinatha Sampradaya, namely, Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Tirumular, Vyagrapada, Patanjali, and Sivayoga Muni. These eight disciples were sent in eight different directions of the world by Nandi, to spread this knowledge.[2]

Many other puranic tales are available about Nandi. One describes his conflict with Ravana, the antagonist of Ramayana. Nandi cursed Ravana (the demon King of Lanka), that his kingdom would be burnt by a forest-dweller monkey (Vanara), since he behaved in a restless manner, just like a monkey,while waiting to meet Shiva. Later, Hanuman burned Lanka when he went in search of Sita, who was imprisoned by Ravana in Ashok Vatika.[7]

The ancient Tamil text Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam mentions another story in which Nandi is incarnated as a whale.[8] It says that Parvati lost her concentration while Shiva was explaining the meaning of Vedas to her. Parvati, then incarnated as a fisher-woman to atone for her lack of concentration. To unite his master and his beloved-wife, Nandi took the form of a whale and started to trouble the people. Fisher-woman Parvati's father declared that the man who would kill the whale would marry his daughter. Later, Shiva took the form of a fisherman and killed the whale, and received Parvati in her previous form.

Agamas describe him in a zoo-anthropomorphic form, with the head of bull and four hands, with antelope, axe, mace, and abhayamudra. In his mount form, Nandi is depicted as a seated bull in all Shiva temples, all over the world. This form has been found even in Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia.[9]

The white color of the bull symbolizes purity and justice. Symbolically, the seated Nandi faces the sanctum in Shiva temples and represents an individual jiva (soul) and the message that the jiva should always be focused on the Parameshwara. From the yogic perspective, Nandi is the mind dedicated to Shiva, the absolute. In other words, to understand and absorb light, the experience, and the wisdom is Nandi, which is the guru within.[10]

Nandi Flag

Image
Nandi Flag, the official flag of Hindu Saivites all over the world.[11][12]

Nandi flag or Vrshabha flag, a flag with the emblem of seated bull is recognized as the flag of Saivism, particularly among Tamil community all over the world. Nandi was the emblem of historical Tamil Saivite monarchs, such as Pallava dynasty and Jaffna Kingdom.[13] Several campaigns to aware the Saivites about their Nandi flag is carried out continuously during the Shivaratri session, particularly among Tamil community of Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, and diaspora.[14]

The nandi flag used nowadays was designed by Ravindra Sastri of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, according to the request and guidance of S. Danapala, a Sri Lankan Saivite personage, in the 1990s. The first Nandi flag was hoisted in 1998, at Colombo Hindu College at Ratmalana, Sri Lanka.[15][16] Following years, It was declared as the official Saivite flag in fourth International Saiva Siddhanta Conference, held in Zurich in 2008.[12] Nowadays, Tamil Saivites, especially in Sri Lanka, Canada, Australia, UK, South Africa, and Switzerland, hoist the flag in all religious and cultural festivals.[12][15][16] Nandi flag was declared as the official Hindu flag of Sri Lanka.[17][18]

See also

• Kamadhenu
• Cattle in religion
• Gavaevodata, the primordial cow in Zoroastrianism
• Nandi is also a village and it's a Gram panchayat of Janpad Panchayat Katangi, Balaghat (MP)

References

1. Gopinatha Rao, T. A. (1997). Elements of Hindu Iconography, Volume 2. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 213. ISBN 9788120808775.
2. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (2003). Dancing with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism. Himalayan Academy Publications. ISBN 978-0-945497-89-9.
3. "Monier Williams' Sanskrit-English Dictionary". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
4. Gouriswar Bhattacharya, (1977), "Nandin and Vṛṣabha", Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Supplement III,2, XIX. Deutscher Orientalistentag, pp. 1543–1567.
5. Sabaratnam Sivacharyar, Dr.S.P. Shrimat Kamigagamah Purva Pada (Part One). USA: The Himalayan Academy, Kauai Adheenam. pp. 4:471–500.
6. R. C. Dogra, Urmila Dogra (2004). Let's Know Hinduism: The Oldest Religion of Infinite Adaptability and Diversity. Star Publications. ISBN 9788176500562.
7. Jayantika Kala (1988). Epic Scenes in Indian Plastic Art. Abhinav Publications. p. 37. ISBN 9788170172284.
8. Indian Association for English Studies (1995). The Indian Journal of English Studies, Volume 34. Orient Longmans. p. 92.
9. "Shiva and Uma on the Bull Nandi". The Walters Art Museum.
10. Vanamali - (2013). Shiva: Stories and Teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana. ISBN 978-1-62055-249-0.
11. DBS.Jeyaraj (2013). Reviving Practice of Hoisting 'Nandi' (Crouched Bull) Flag As Hindu Festivals and Functions.
12. Kalabooshanam Chelvathamby Manickavasagar (2008). "Fourth International Saiva Siddhantha Conference and the Glory of Nanthy Flag". The Island. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
13. Rasanayagam, Mudaliyar (1926). Ancient Jaffna, being research into the History of Jaffna from very early times to the Portuguese Period. Everymans Publishers Ltd, Madras (Reprint by New Delhi, AES in 2003). பக். 390. ISBN 81-206-0210-2.
14. "Hiduism Today, (2008), Hindu Campaigns for Restoration of Nandi Flag Tradition". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
15. Taṉapālā, kalāniti., Ciṉṉatturai., (2013), "Nantikkoṭi ēṟṟīr! Koṭikkavi pāṭīr!", Omlanka Publication.
16. Ciṉṉatturai taṉapālā, (2008), "nantikkoṭiyiṉ mukkiyattuvamum perumaikaḷum", Manimekalai Publication.
17. "Nanthi Flag to Maithripala Sirisena". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
18. "Minister Swaminathan urged to Provide Nanthi Flags to Temples, Societies". Retrieved 5 March 2017.

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

Wheel of time
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/22/22

Drawn milk doesn’t return to the breast.
Churned butter doesn’t return to the butter-milk.
The broken conch’s sound and the beings don’t re-enter the body.
The blossomed flower and the fallen half-ripe fruit never return to the tree.
The dead are never born [again]. Never, never, never.


-- Sivavakkiyar Biography, by PoemHunter.com

[G]reat caution should be exercised while giving historical and biographical information on the Siddhas. Besides, the Siddhas were adepts who could enter another body at will. Thus, it is difficult to say “who is who” let alone give a biographical account of them.

Since there is a close similarity between some stanzas of Sivavākkiyam and those of Tirumalisai Alwar’s Tirucchandaviruttam it is believed that Sivavākkiyar and Tirumalisai Alwar may be one and the same person....

Further, when the soul and the body separate, the soul does not die. It takes up another body....

When one performs this antharyāga of raising the kundalini sakti, one overcomes the cycle of births and deaths.


-- Sivavakkiyam -- Songs of a Spiritual Rebel, by Dr. Geetha Anand and Dr. T.N. Ganapathy

"Dirigala Sakkaram [Tirikalaccakkaram]: a mathematical description of the seven under-worlds, the seven upper worlds, and the fourteen seas. Also a description of their paradise, the Kailascum [Kailasa], the seat of Ispiren [Isvara] and of the many hundred thousand gods; of Magumeru [Mahameru], a golden mountain penetrating all the fourteen worlds, where all the holy prophets (i.e., each of the fourteen cycles of a yuga has a presiding Manu figure] are supposed to live....This book is the basis of all other Malabari [Tamil] books since it lays down the principles on which they are based. If the scholars in Europe got a chance to read it they would hear strange and unprecedented things. Once I had it in mind to translate this work into German but I could not help wondering whether this was really advisable. It would cause a lot of unnecessary speculation and only distract people from more important things....The secrets this book contains were disclosed by Ispiren [Isvara) to his wife Parbadi [Parvati], she in turn disclosed them to Nandigeschuren [Nandikesvara] [Nantikecuran!], the door-guardian of Ispiren [Isvara]. He disclosed them to a great prophet by the name of Dirumuladewer [Tirumula Tevar], who disclosed them to the whole world. This happened in the first world-era; since then the world has been destroyed three times, but it is said that every time fourteen prophets [i.e., Manus] survived who passed this book, together with many others, to posterity."

-- South Indian literary culture, Excerpt from "Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English translation of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's original German manuscript with a textual analysis and glossary, by Daniel Jeyaraj

The wheel of time or wheel of history (also known as Kalachakra) is a concept found in several religious traditions and philosophies, notably religions of Indian origin such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, which regard time as cyclical and consisting of repeating ages. Many other cultures contain belief in a similar concept: notably, the Q'ero Natives of Peru, as well as the Hopi Natives of Arizona.

Hinduism

Main articles: Yuga Cycle, Manvantara, and Kalpa (aeon)

In Hindu cosmology, kala (time) is eternal, repeating general events in four types of cycles. The smallest cycle is a maha-yuga (great age), containing four yugas (dharmic ages): Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. A manvantara (age of Manu) contains 71 maha-yugas. A kalpa (day of Brahma) contains 14 manvantaras and 15 sandhyas (connecting periods), which lasts for 1,000 maha-yugas and is followed by a pralaya (night of partial dissolution) of equal length, where a day and night make one full day. A maha-kalpa (life of Brahma) lasts for 100 of Brahma's years of 12 months of 30 full days (100 360-day years) or 72,000,000 maha-yugas, which is followed by a maha-pralaya (full dissolution) of equal length.[1]

Buddhism

Main article: Kalachakra

The Wheel of Time or Kalachakra is a Tantric deity that is associated with Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, which encompasses all four main schools of Sakya, Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug, and is especially important within the lesser-known Jonang tradition.

The Kalachakra tantra prophesies a world within which (religious) conflict is prevalent. A worldwide war will be waged which will see the expansion of the mystical Kingdom of Shambhala led by a messianic king.

Jainism

Main article: Ajiva

Within Jainism, time is thought to be a wheel that rotates for infinity without a beginning. This wheel of time holds twelve spokes that each symbolize a different phase in the universe's cosmological history. It is further divided into two equal halves having six eras in them. While in a downward motion, the wheel of time falls into what is known as Avasarpiṇī and when in an upward motion, enters a state called Utsarpini. During both motions of the wheel, 24 tirthankaras come forth to teach the three jewels or sacred Jain teachings of right faith, right knowledge, and right practice, then create a spiritual ford across the ocean of rebirth for humanity.[2][3]

Ancient Rome

The philosopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius saw time as extending forwards to infinity and backwards to infinity, while admitting the possibility (without arguing the case) that "the administration of the universe is organized into a succession of finite periods".[4]: Book 5, Paragraph 13 

Modern usage

Literature


In an interview included with the audiobook editions of his novels, author Robert Jordan has stated that his bestselling fantasy series The Wheel of Time borrows the titular concept from Hindu mythology.[5]

Television

Several episodes of the American TV series Lost feature a wheel that can be physically turned in order to manipulate space and time. In a series of episodes during the fifth season, the island on which the show takes place begins to skip violently back and forth through time after the wheel is pulled off its axis.

See also

Eternal return
• Kalachakra
• Wheel of the Year

References

1. Gupta, Dr. S. V. (2010). Hull, Robert; Osgood, Jr., Richard M.; Parisi, Jurgen; Warlimont, Hans (eds.). Units of Measurement: Past, Present and Future. International System of Units. Springer Series in Materials Science: 122. Springer. pp. 6–9 (1.2.4 Time Measurements). ISBN 9783642007378.
2. Bhattacharyya, Sibajiban (1970). Buddhist Philosophy From 350 to 600 A.D. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 3. ISBN 9788120819689.
3. Dundas, Paul (2003). The Jains (2 ed.). Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 9781134501656.
4. Aurelius, Marcus (2011). Meditations. Robin Hard. Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957320-2. OCLC 757023454.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Apr 25, 2022 3:30 am

Part 1 of 2

Dara Shikoh [Shukoh] [Shucoh] [2]
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 [General Claude Martin]: 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.

The Specter of Spinozism

Couplet's digest of the esoteric doctrine of Fo evoked an echo in Europe whose amplitude cannot be understood without taking into account the theological and philosophical climate of the late seventeenth century that Paul Hazard (1961) labeled "the crisis of European conscience." Here we glance only at a single aspect of this "crisis," namely, the early reception of Spinoza's thought and its role in publicizing what was portrayed as the Buddha's "inner" doctrine. Since Spinoza's writings were still insufficiently known, the term "Spinozism" will be used to designate Spinoza's philosophy as it was perceived at the time. To my knowledge, the Swiss theologian and publicist Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736) was the first European to see a link between Spinozism and Fo's esoteric doctrine. In his extensive review of Confucius sinarum philosophus in the widely read Bibliotheque universekke et historique (1688) he boiled this doctrine down to three points:
The inner doctrine -- which one never divulges to ordinary people because of the need, as these philosophers say, to oblige them to stick to their duty through the fear of hell and similar stories -- is indeed, according to them, the solid and genuine one. It consists in establishing as the principle and end of all things a certain emptiness [vuide] and a real nothingness [neant reel]. They say that [1] our first parents have come from this emptiness and return to it after death, and that the same applies to all humans: all dissolve into this principle at death; [2] that we along with all elements and creatures form part of this emptiness; [3] that therefore only a single and same substance exists which differs in individual beings only by virtue of the qualities or the interior configuration, like water that always remains water regardless of its form as snow, hail, rain, or ice. (Le Clerc 1788:348-9)

Immediately after this interesting summary, Le Clerc advises "those who would like to find out more about the philosophy of the Indians and the Chinese, which is not very different from the system of the Spinozists, if one can say that they have one" to inform themselves in the travel account of Bernier (p. 349). Le Clerc thus first triangulated the Buddha's "inner" doctrine with the information supplied by Prince Dara's pandit (as found in Bernier) and Spinozism. Since Spinozism was at the time equivalent to atheism and sympathizers risked their jobs or even their lives, this was an explosive charge. The origin and significance of this link would lead too deep into issues connected with the history of philosophy and will be discussed elsewhere, but in our immediate context it is of interest to note that replacing this "emptiness" by Spinoza's "substance" and "qualities or configuration" by "modification" suffices to arrive at Le Clerc's conclusion that the Buddha's inner doctrine is "not very different" from Spinozism. This line of argument was taken up and amplified by Bayle in the famous "Spinoza" and "Japan" articles of his Dictionnaire (1702). Thus the "inner" teaching of Buddhism with its Japanese Zen roots, the Sufi-Vedanta-Neoplatonic amalgam of Prince Dara as reported by Bernier, and the Spinozism that frightened Europe's churchgoers and theologians entered into a fateful alliance with tremendous repercussions. All of a sudden, much of Asia from Persia and India to China and Japan appeared as a gigantic motherland of atheism, and the philosophies of India and China became relevant to the burning questions and controversies of Europe. Bayle denounced the Buddha's teaching of a single substance with manifold configurations (Bayle 1702:3.2769; Couplet 1687:xxxi) and called it more absurd than Spinoza's philosophy:
If it is monstrous to assert that plants, beasts, and men are really the same thing, and to ground such an opinion on the pretension that all particular beings are not distinct from their principle, it is even more monstrous to utter that this principle has no thought, no power, and no virtue at all. Yet this is what these philosophers say when they place the supreme perfection of that principle in its inaction and absolute repose. . . . Spinoza was not so absurd: the unitary substance admitted by him is always acting, always thinking; and not even his most general abstractions could enable him to divest it of action and thought. (Bayle 1702:3.2769)

Couplet shocked his European readers by asserting that this extremely widespread and ancient esoteric doctrine firmly rejects central Christian doctrines such as divine providence, a future state with reward and punishment, and an immortal soul and thus has also no place for a savior (1687:xxxii). Instead it advocates reaching happiness by "chimerical contemplations," and according to Couplet, it even formed a sect for this purpose. He calls this sect Vu guei Kiao, the sect of nonaction [nihil agentium secta]."6 Founded about the year 290 C.E., this sect is said to be similar to the Indian gymnosophists (p. xxxii). In China it became so successful that even some of the most eminent men of the empire "adopted this insanity" and habitually "spent several hours without any movement of body and mind," declaring that such insensibility made them happier (pp. xxxii-xxxiii). As an illustration Couplet mentions the case of the twenty-eighth successor of Xaca, a man called Ta mo (Ch. Damo, Bodhidharma) who spent "a total of nine years facing a wall" and during the entire time "did nothing other than contemplate this chimerical principle of his, emptiness and nothingness [vacuum & nihil]" (p. xxxiii). For Couplet this "sect of the contemplators [contemplantium Secta]" was "engulfed in the most profound atheism" (p. xxxiii); but Bayle, who quoted some of Couplet's explanations and called it "the sect of idlers or do-nothings [la secte des oiseux ou des faineans]," wondered whether its doctrine of nothingness was correctly described. If these illustrious men of China really believed that "the nearer a man comes to the nature of tree trunk or a stone, the greater his progress and the more he is like the first principle into which he is to return," how did they conceive this principle of nothingness?
I tend to believe that either one does not correctly express what these people understand by Cum hiu [Ch. kongxu, emptiness] or that their ideas are contradictory. Some would have these Chinese words signify emptiness and nothingness [vuide & neant, vacuum & inane] and have fought against this sect pretending that nothingness [le neant] is the principle of all beings. I cannot persuade myself that this captures the exact sense of the word nothingness, and I imagine that it means something like when people say that there is nothing in an empty suitcase . . . . I believe that by that word they meant more or less what the moderns call space [espace]. (Bayle 1702:3.2770)

Couplet's link of this originally Indian "interior" doctrine to a popular "sect of contemplators" in China and to Indian gymnosophists was much noted and cited, starting with Le Clerc (1688) and Bernier (1688). Was Ta mo [Bodhidharma], the twenty-eighth successor of the Indian founder of the esoteric doctrine, the transmitter of this Indian doctrine to China? And what texts were associated with this transmission? For Diderot, writing fifty years after Bayle, this esoteric teaching of the "Budda or Xekia" was not transmitted via texts but rather, as in the Buddha's deathbed confession scene, by word of mouth to a select few. If in China this Indian system had formed the basis of a famous sect of contemplators, so Diderot thought, it was "very likely" that in Japan it also "gave birth to a famous sect" (Diderot 1751:754). He was thinking of the Japanese Zen sect described by Engelbert Kaempfer:
It teaches that there is only one principle of all things; that this principle is bright and luminous, incapable of accretion or diminution, without form, sovereign and perfect, wise, but without reason or intelligence resting in perfect inaction and supremely tranquil like a man whose attention is fixed on one thing without thinking of anything else. They also say that this principle is in all particular beings and communicates its essence in such a manner that they form the same thing with it and dissolve in it when they are destroyed. (p. 754)

By the mid-eighteenth century a vision of a twofold pan-Asian religious movement was thus well established. Much of the information about its doctrine -- which purportedly represented the teachings of Fo alias Xaca alias Xekia alias Budda -- was based on data and legends reported from Japan and China by Jesuit missionaries. Its inner doctrine was associated with sects of "contemplators" in both countries and linked to the deathbed instruction of an Indian founder figure (Fo, Shaka, Buddha) and to transmitter figures who in the first centuries of the common era brought this teaching from India to China (the Chinese ambassadors with the Forty-Two Sections Sutra; Bodhidharma). But the connection with Spinozism was not the only booster hurling Asia's "inner" doctrine into European consciousness. A second booster was its association with quietism, which was one more hot-button theme of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century theology, and a third the link with the Kabbala.

Bernier's Asian Mysticism

Kircher's China Illustrata (1667) chapter on "The Ridiculous Brahmin Religion and the Teachings About the Origin of Man" begins with the statement that "the brahmins take their origin according to the Indian writers from Cechian or Xaca" and ends with a passage that soon acquired fame throughout Europe as the essence of the Indian theory of creation:
They say that a spider is the first cause, and he created the world by spinning a web with the threads coming from his stomach. Then he formed the heavenly spheres and he rules everything until the end of the world, which he will cause by pulling back into himself all of the threads in his web. (Kircher 1987:145)


Kircher collected information about Asian religions from diverse sources, but the input of his fellow Jesuit Heinrich ROTH (1620-68), a native of Augsburg and longtime resident of India, was crucial. Roth was one of the European missionaries who studied Sanskrit long before the British colonialists, and Kircher claimed that Roth "took these doctrines mainly from their arcane books" (p. 147). Some of these doctrines sounded rather familiar to those who had read about Fo's esoteric doctrine:
They say the universal is the nature of that supreme being itself. The particular is nature divided by particles into the variety of things. From this they conclude that there can be no generic or specific distinction of created things, but that everything is one and the same being. The natural universe is distinguished by particles, some of which may take the figure of a man, others a rock, and yet others a tree, and so on. They say that the matter worn by these particles is only a deception. (p. 148)

But Kircher's explanations were imbedded in such a plethora of disjointed facts and arguments that many readers may have remembered little more than the central narrative of an impostor called Xaca whose Brahmin missionaries spread from their base in India and eventually infected the whole of Asia with their pestilent idolatry.

In the year 1667 when Kircher's China Illustrata was published, another acquaintance of Fr. Roth, the French medical doctor and philosopher Francois BERNIER (1620-88) sent a long letter from Persia to Paris about "the superstitions, strange customs, and doctrines of the Indous or Gentiles of Hindoustan." Four years later, when this letter appeared in print as part of his Travels in the Mogul Empire, Bernier was already a man whose fame reached far beyond the frontiers of his native France. From 1654 he had traveled in Asia, first in Palestine and Syria, then in Egypt, and he subsequently sojourned for no less than eight years in India (1659-67). After his 1659 arrival in Surat during the succession struggles of the sons of the Mogul rulers Shah Jahan, he was for a short time the medical doctor of the crown prince, Mohammed Dara Shikoh (1615-59), the very man who commissioned and supervised in 1657 the Persian Upanishad translation whose Latin rendering Anquetil-Duperron was to publish under the title of Oupnek'hat in 1801 (see Chapter 7). After Prince Dara's execution (1659), Bernier worked at the court of a rich Indian named Daneshmend-khan and spent several years with one of India's most excellent scholars who had played a central role in Prince Dara's Upanishad translation project. Bernier reported,
My Agah [lord], Danechmend-kan, partly from my solicitation and partly to gratify his own curiosity, took into his service one of the most celebrated Pendets in all the Indies, who had formerly belonged to the household of Dara, the eldest son of the King Chah-Jehan; and not only was this man my constant companion during a period of three years, but he also introduced me to the society of other learned Pendets, whom he attracted to the house. (Bernier 2005:324)

Prince Dara had been interested in Sufi mysticism since his youth and had authored several books about this subject (App 2007). For him the Upanishads represented the esoteric essence of the Vedas, and he argued that a Koran passage mentioning a "hidden book that none but the purified can grasp" (Quran 56:78) referred to the Upanishads. They represent God's original revelation as transmitted to initiates, which is why Dara gave his translation the title Sirr-i akbar, that is, the Great Secret.8 Prince Dara's (and Bernier's) pandit, who had been instrumental in explaining this secret to Dara, was versed both in Sufism and Indian philosophy and spoke Persian. Bernier's Persian was so good that he could translate philosophical texts by Rene Descartes and Pierre Gassendi into that language. Though unable to read Sanskrit, he thus found himself in the enviable position of receiving first-hand information about the secret doctrine of the yogis and Sufis from one of the most learned Indians."
The trance, and the means of enjoying it, form the grand Mysticism of the sect of the Jauguis [Yogis], as well as that of the Soufys. I call it Mysticism [Mystere], because they keep these things secret among themselves, and I should not have made so many discoveries had it not been for the aid of the Pendet, or Indou Doctor whom Danechmend-kan kept in his pay, and who dared not conceal anything from his patron; my Agah, moreover, was already acquainted with the doctrines of the Soufys. (Bernier 2005:320)

Europeans suspicious of the reports by missionaries and by uneducated travelers were understandably delighted to get more trustworthy and objective information from Bernier, the learned disciple of the philosopher Gassendi. To judge by the number of Bernier quotations and references in other books, it is clear that the data from Prince Dara's pandit elicited pronounced interest among European readers. In particular, the spider allegory that is mentioned in the Upanishads was frequently cited and is an example of the influence of native informants. Bernier wrote about "the secret of a grand cabal that has lately made great noise in Hindustan because certain pandits or Gentile doctors have used it to infect the minds of Dara and Sultan Sujah, the two elder sons of [Moghul emperor] Shah Jahan" (Bernier 1699:2.163). What kind of infection was this? It was the doctrine of "a world-soul, of which they want our souls and those of animals to be part" (p. 163). Bernier calls this "the almost universal doctrine of the Gentile Pendets of the Indies" and regards it as "the same doctrine which is held by the sect of the Soufys and the greater part of the learned men of Persia at the present day" (Bernier 2005:346).
[They] pretend that God, or that supreme being whom they call Achar (immoveable, unchangeable), has not only produced life from his own substance, but also generally everything material or corporeal in the universe, and that this production is not formed simply after the manner of efficient causes, but as a spider which produces a web from its own navel, and withdraws it at pleasure. The Creation then, say these visionary doctors, is nothing more than an extraction or extension of the individual substance of God, of those filaments which He draws from his own bowels; and, in like manner, destruction is merely the recalling of that divine substance and filaments into Himself. (p. 347)

Individual beings are thus not real, and "the whole world is, as it were, an illusory dream, inasmuch as all that variety which appears to our outward senses is but one only and the same thing, which is God Himself" (p. 347).

But apart from a Persian Sufi book entitled "Goul-tchen-raz, or Garden of Mysteries," Bernier could not name any textual sources containing this doctrine. The "extremely old" Indian Beths (Vedas) in "four sacred books" that according to the Indians were "given to them by God," and the Purane, which Bernier portrays as "an abridgment and interpretation of the Beds" (p. 335), were not available to him. He describes the Vedas as being "of great bulk" and "so scarce that my Agah, notwithstanding all his diligence, has not succeeded in purchasing a copy" (pp. 335-36). In this respect Bernier was dependent on Prince Dara's pandit and on Fr. Roth whose explanations were prominently featured in Kircher's China illustrata. Bernier rarely mentions regions of Asia to the east of India; but in 1688, shortly before his death, he read Couplet's Confucius Sinarum Philosophus (1687) and published a paper about the "Quietism of the Indies." In it he connects his Indian Yogis and Fakirs with Couplet's Chinese sect of contemplators and furnishes the following explanation of the "mystery of the cabal" that he had written about two decades earlier:
Among the different Fakirs or idolatrous religious men of the Indies, there are some that are commonly called yogis which is something like saints, illumined ones, perfect ones, or men who are perfectly united with the sovereign Being, the first and general Principle of all things .... Above all they are engulfed in contemplation, and I say engulfed because they push themselves so much into it that they reportedly spend hours in ecstasy. Their outer senses seem without any activity, and they pretend to see the sovereign Being as a very bright and inexplicable light, with an inexpressible joy and satisfaction followed by contempt and complete detachment from the world. (Bernier 1688:47-48).

Bernier's explanations indicate that he regarded the doctrine of Sufis, Indian Yogis, and Fakirs as largely identical with that of Couplet's sect of contemplators:
Their ancient books teach that this first principle of things is very admirable; that it is something very pure, in their own words, and very clear and subtle; that it is infinite; that it cannot be created [engendre] nor corrupted; that it is the perfection of all things, sovereign perfection; and, what needs to be noted, [that it is] in perfect repose and absolute inaction -- in a word, in perfect quietism. (p. 48)

As in the familiar descriptions of the esoteric teaching of Shaka/Fo, this first principle is said to be without any action and understanding and so on. Perfection consists in becoming exactly like this principle through "continuous contemplation and victory over oneself" (p. 49). Once all human passions are extinct, there is no more torment, and "in the manner of an ecstatic, one is completely absorbed in profound contemplation" and achieves "divine repose or quietism, the happiest state to be hoped for" (p. 49). It is only logical that the Buddhist "bonzes" and the Wuwei jiao ("secta nihil agentium" or sect of do-nothings) of Couplet's preface are thus presented as the Far Eastern cousins of Bernier's Yogis and Fakirs. Bernier mentions Couplet's Ta-mo (Bodhidharma) -- who brought this teaching from India to China and "looked at a wall for nine whole years" -- as a perfect example of this "mental illness" (p. 50). However, this "illness" is found not only in Asia but also, though with less extravagance, in the West: for Bernier, all quietism is characterized by "this abyss of contemplation, this great inaction, this great union of our soul with God," whether it is professed by the Spanish divine Miguel de MOLINOS (1628-97), by the Sufis of Persia, or by "the Joguis of the Indies, the Bonzes of China, or the Talapois of Siam" (pp. 50-51).

In Bernier's reflections on quietism, we see the outlines of a mysticism that transcends East and West. It is likely that in this respect Bernier was inspired by Prince Dara via his pandit, which once more points to the crucial role of native informers in the genesis of modern Orientalism. But contrary to their exalted idea of universal esotericism, Bernier regarded the "quietisms" of East and West as similarly suspect. Though it "might be more a case of exaggerated devotion and of extravagance," he wrote, the idea of a world soul "approaches atheism" because it envisions "a corporal God, and therefore a divisible and corruptible one" (Bernier 1688:51). But Bernier's critique was instrumental in connecting the "inner teaching" of Fo/Shaka with the practices of Sufism and Indian ascetics and putting a pan-Asian "quietism" with Indian roots on the map. At the end of his life, Bernier used Couplet's presentation of Fo's "inner teaching" to characterize Indian Yogis and Sufi mystics, yet he remained unable to furnish any textual evidence from India other than what was decades ago included in the books of Henry Lord (1630) and Abraham Roger (1651).

Both in Diderot's article on "the philosophy of the Asians in general" and in that on the "Brahmins" Bernier plays a central role. The first cites Bernier's entire passage about emanation with the spider allegory (Diderot 1751:1.752) and identifies it not only with the teaching of "Persian Sufis whom he [Bernier] names cabalistes" but also with "the doctrine of the Pendets, heathen of the Indies" (p. 753) and "the doctrine of Xekia" whose esoteric teaching of "the origin of things through emanations from a first cause" also influenced Jewish kabbalists and their idea of "En-soph or the first infinite being which contains all things" and "distributes itself through emanation" (p. 754).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

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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]

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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.
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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]
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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.
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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]

Image
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

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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]

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Tomb of Nadira Begum

-- Tomb of Nadira Begum, by Wikipedia


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

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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]

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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

1. The Jahangirnama : memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India. Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in association with Oxford University Press. 1999. p. 461. ISBN 978-0-19-512718-8.
2. 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. 28.
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)

Postby admin » Tue Apr 26, 2022 11:58 pm

Apologetics
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/26/22

... Raymond Schwab's La renaissance orientale and studies on the history of the Western encounter with Asian religions such as Henri de Lubac's La rencontre du bouddhisme et de l'Occident presented an utterly confusing mass of data arranged according to modern notions such as "Buddhism" or "Hinduism" and to modern geographical units such as "India" or "China."

A major reason for this confusion was the fact that the primary sources seem to come from a different world where such neat delimitations do not exist. They tend, for example, to distinguish between esoteric and exoteric "branches" of a pan-Asian religion or to connect the creeds of various countries of "the Indies" to some descendant of Noah....

One of the ideas repeated in countless European sources about Asian religions is the distinction between "outer" or "exoteric" and "inner" or "esoteric" forms. It was already used in early Christian literature, for example, by Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, to characterize heathen creeds around the Mediterranean. But its roots lie in ancient Greek views of Egyptian religion where Egyptian priests are said to have encoded secret esoteric teachings in hieroglyphs while feeding the outer, exoteric bark of religion to the people. This idea gained renewed popularity in the Renaissance when texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistos ("hermetic texts") were translated into Latin and portrayed as vestiges of ancient Egyptian "esoteric" monotheism. In Europe, this inspired proponents of ancient theology (prisca theologia) like the seventeenth-century Jesuit Athanasius Kircher as well as many missionaries....

After the discovery of America and the opening of the sea route to India at the end of the fifteenth century, new challenges to biblical authority arose. It was difficult to establish a connection between hitherto unknown people and animals and Noah's ark.... Our case studies show different ways in which Europeans tried to rise to such challenges: missionaries who attempted to incorporate ancient Asian cultures and religions into Bible-based scenarios; others who tried to move the starting shot of biblical history backward to beat the Chinese annals...

As early as the mid-sixteenth century, Jesuit missionaries also linked this distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrines with phases of the Buddha's life. In 1551 Japanese Buddhists informed the Jesuit brother Juan Fernandez, who spoke some Japanese, that the founder of their religion, Shaka, "also wrote books so that they would pray to him and be saved." But at the age of 49 years, so Fernandez reported, Shaka had suddenly changed his approach and confessed that "in the past he had been ignorant, which is why he wrote so much." Based on his own experience Shaka thereafter discouraged people from reading his old writings and advocated "meditation in order to learn about oneself and of one's end". In the first comprehensive report about Buddhist sects and doctrines that reached the West (the Sumario de los errores of 1556), certain Buddhist texts were thus associated with specific sects, and Shaka was said to have dismissed his earlier writings: "They said that many people followed him and that he had 80,000 disciples. And ultimately, after having spent 44 years writing these scriptures, he said that nothing of that was true and that all was fombem (Jap. hoben, expedient means]"

However, Matteo Ricci's 1615 description of the sect of "sciequia or omitofo" (Shakya/Amitabha) and the corresponding Japanese teaching of "sotoqui" (Jap. hotoke, that is, buddhas) shows no trace of such a fundamental distinction between expedient and true teaching and exhibits little familiarity with Buddhism's "multitude of books" that, according to Ricci, "were either brought from the West or (which is more likely) composed in the Kingdom of China itself" (Ricci 1615:122)....

But after Ricci's death in 1610 and the publication of his view of Chinese religions by Trigault (1615), Ricci's critic Joao RODRIGUES (1561-1633) applied the distinction between exoteric and esoteric teachings more broadly to all three major religions of China and linked it to the ancient use of symbols in the Middle East and Egypt (see also Chapter I).... For Rodrigues this common root was lodged in Mesopotamia and associated with Zoroaster and the evil habit of the elites to mislead the common people by hiding the true doctrine under a coat of symbols....

Rodrigues's ideas and scholarship burrowed their way into the minds of other missionaries. One of them was the Milanese Cristoforo BORRl (1583-1632) who lived in Saigon from 1610 to 1623. His report about Cochinchina, published in 1631, gave the distinction between the exoteric and esoteric teachings of Buddhism a fateful twist. He reported that Xaca had immediately after his enlightenment written books about the esoteric teaching:
Therefore returning home, he wrote several books and large volumes on this subject, entitling them, "Of Nothing;" wherein he taught that the things of this world, by reason of the duration and measure of time, are nothing; for though they had existence, said he, yet they would be nothing, nothing at present, and nothing in time to come, for the present being but a moment, was the same as nothing.

He argued likewise about moral things, reducing everything to nothing. Then he gathered scholars, and the doctrine of nothing was spread all over the East. However, the Chinese were opposed to this doctrine and rejected it, whereupon Xaca "changed his mind, and retiring wrote several other great books, teaching that there was a real origin of all things, a lord of heaven, hell, immortality, and transmigration of souls from one body to another, better or worse, according to the merits or demerits of the person; though they do not forget to assign a son of heaven and hell for the souls of departed, expressing the whole metaphorically under the names of things corporeal, and of the joys and sufferings of this world". While the Chinese gladly received the "external," modified teaching of Xaca, the teaching of nothing also survived, for instance, in Japan in the dominant "gensiu" (Jap. Zen-sha, Zen sect). According to Borri, it was exactly this acceptance in Japan that had the Buddha explain on his deathbed that the doctrine of nothingness was his true teaching:
The Japanese and others making so great account of this opinion of nothing, was the cause that when Xaca the author of it approached his death, calling together his disciples, he protested to them on the word of a dying man, that during the many years he had lived and studied, he had found nothing so true, nor any opinion so well grounded as was the sect of nothing; and though his second doctrine seemed to differ from it, yet they must look upon it as no contradiction or recantation, but rather a proof and confirmation of the first, though not in plain terms, yet by way of metaphors and parables, which might all be applied to the opinion of nothing, as would plainly appear by his books

Of course, Borri's tale lacks all historical perspective and has the Buddha make decisions based on events (the introduction of Buddhism to China and Japan) that happened many centuries later. But for people who have no idea of the history of this religion, its attribution of motives to the founder must have sounded believable, and Borri's book was one of the early works on East Asia that was widely read and translated. This story, in my opinion, forms the kernel of the Buddha's "deathbed confession" tale. Borri appears to have spun it on the basis of information from Japan, from Rodrigues, and possibly also Vietnamese informants, in order to make sense of the different teachings of this religion whose founder is Xaca = Buddha....

Instead of first teaching about emptiness and subsequently "accommodating" Chinese or Indian sensibilities in a manner that resembles the Jesuit mission strategy
, the founder of Buddhism was exposed as a liar and fraud who never told anyone about his nihilism and for forty-nine years preached an "exterior" doctrine he did not believe in....It combined elements from Jesuit letters and reports from Japan (particularly those regarding the Zen sect), Valignano's catechism, Rodrigues's reports, and Borri's and de Rhodes's tales and molded them into an easily understood deathbed confession story that not only exposed the founder's profound character flaw but also furnished a simple classification scheme for variants of his religion....

Like Rodrigues and Borri, Kircher used this division as a tool to bring order into East Asia's idolatries....


Why, then, one might ask, does La Croze call the Malabar heathendom an "idolatry" with "false gods" and a "cult of idols"? Because he saw it as a degenerated form of religion, a form that at some point had replaced the ancient monotheism that probably came straight from Noah's ark to India. The vestiges of this ancient monotheism were found, according to La Croze, in the Vedam and the books of the Gnanigol. But how did this degeneration take place -- and why were the Gnanigol so critical of the Brahmans, the very guardians of the Veda? We have seen that Ziegenbalg, who also believed in an original monotheism and a subsequent degeneration, put the blame on the devil and the Brahmans. But La Croze, more ingenious and more interested in history, cooked up an elaborate scheme to explain it all. His scenario begins, like Ziegenbalg's, with an age of pure monotheism whose heirs are the Gnanigol. Instead of the devil, La Croze saw the reason for the decline of this pure original religion in two migrations that invaded India. The first was by the "Nation of Sammaneens" and the second by "the Brahmans who recognize that their cult in Malabar followed that of a certain people that they regard as heathen and that they call the Nation of the Sammaneens" (491).

***

Since questions related to the genesis and authorship of the Ezour-vedam will be discussed in Chapter 7, the focus is here on Voltaire's role in its rise to fame. Whatever the intentions of its authors were, it was Voltaire who almost single-handedly transformed some missionary jottings from the South Indian boondocks into the "world's oldest text," the Royal Library's "most precious document," and (as a well-earned bonus for the promoter) into the Old Testament of his deism! So far, there is no evidence of any influence of this text before Maudave and Voltaire. But soon after Maudave's manuscript got into Voltaire's hands, the Ezour-vedam's brilliant career began. For Voltaire it was, for a few years, a potent weapon to undermine biblical authority and to attack divine partiality for Judeo-Christianity. It was no Jesuit missionary but rather Voltaire, the missionary of deism, who trumpeted extraordinary claims into the world about the Ezour-vedam's authenticity, antiquity, and supreme value. Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo saw this quite clearly when in 1791 he called the Ezourvedam "the notorious gift from the most learned prince of philosophers, Voltaire" -- a poisoned gift "that found its way into the Royal library in Paris, or rather which he pressed upon them to use it as the foundation for his own philosophical superstructure" (Rocher 1984:16). It was a calculated move on the Indian flank of Voltaire's war against "l'infame," and as we will see in the remainder of this book, it was rather successful in inciting European enthusiasm for India as the cradle of civilization and preparing the ground for "indomania."

***

The two opposing views of China's first emperor were emblematic of two completely different views of the past. I have earlier called them "inclusive" and "exclusive," but even the "inclusive" view was in a sense exclusive since it also hijacked other people's histories and religions and embedded them in a fundamentally biblical scenario. For example, Webb's journey of Noah to China left the entire basic framework of the Old Testament narrative with its creator God, paradise, the Fall, the patriarchs, the deluge, and other biblical events intact and turned the Chinese into descendants of Noah. A metaphor from the commercial realm may be more to the point. What Webb, Martini, the China figurists, and Ramsay attempted can be called a "friendly takeover" [???!!!] whereas the approach of Rodrigues, Kircher, and the victors of the Rites controversy would constitute a "hostile takeover." The "hostile takeover" group usually made the Chinese descend from Noah's problem child Ham -- the one who had mocked his drunken father -- and regarded China's ancient religion not as noachic monotheism but as an evil concoction reeking of polytheism, idolatry, and superstition of Egyptian or Chaldean ancestry. The Sorbonne accusers of Louis Daniel Le Comte's and Charles Le Gobien's writings were of this persuasion, and so were the exclusivists in Rome, China, and India who adamantly opposed the approach of Ricci, de Nobili, and Ur-traditionalists of all colors. This "hostile takeover" group won in the rites controversy, and its victory not only led to the prohibition of publications by "friendly takeover" promoters but also became a factor in the expulsion of missionaries from China and the eventual dissolution of the Jesuit order (see Chapter 7). Moreover, as is documented in this book, it exerted a profound influence on the growth of Orientalism. But so did the opposing faction.

The proponents of a "friendly takeover" put the Chinese and their first emperor into the transmission line tethered to Noah and his good son Shem and believed that they were soundly monotheistic and fundamentally good. The hazards of this sort of friendly takeover are shown in the tragic fate of Li Zubo, a Chinese Christian who was executed in 1665 for having asserted in a treatise that biblical teachings were carried to China by early descendants of Adam and Eve, that China's founding father Fuxi was one of them, that biblical teachings had for many ages reigned in China, and that the old Chinese classics showed vestigial evidence of such teachings (Mungello 1989:93). Li wrote,
The first Chinese really descended from the men of Judea who had come to the East from the West, and the Teaching of Heaven is therefore what they recalled. When they produced and reared their children and grandchildren, they taught their households the traditions of the family, and this is the time when this teaching came to China. (trans. Rule 1986:99)

While Li's treatise pleased the "accommodationist" faction and his Jesuit mentors, who possibly had a hand in its redaction, it enraged seal-carrying shareholders of the Chinese empire like the official Yang Guangxian, who launched a formal accusation and succeeded in having the unfortunate Li Zubo executed. It seems that Chinese officials regarded this not exactly as a "friendly" takeover of their past....

A friendly takeover is an acquisition which is approved by the management of the target company. Before a bidder makes an offer for another company, it usually first informs the company's board of directors. In an ideal world, if the board feels that accepting the offer serves the shareholders better than rejecting it, it recommends the offer be accepted by the shareholders.

-- Takeover, by Wikipedia

Joachim BOUVET(1656-1730) first explained his figurist system in a letter to Bignon (dated September 15, 1705) ... Bouvet brought an amazing text into play:
One will be forced to admit that the canonical books of China are the most ancient works of natural law that can today be found among the heathens and even among the believers, not even excepting the Pentateuch of Moses; that is true at least for the book ye kim [Yijing] which can with assurance be regarded as the most ancient work known in the world. (p. 39)

The "veritable author" of this book is, according to Bouvet, the "holy Patriarch Enoch whose works, according to Tertullian, were rejected by the Jews because they talked too clearly of the Messiah and the incarnation of a God who would himself come to expiate the world" (p. 39). While the Chinese people thought that Fuxi was the Yijing's author and inventor of its hieroglyphs and ancient "mystical science" (p. 39), Bouvet was convinced that the Chinese had -- like many other peoples -- unknowingly adopted the antediluvian biblical patriarch Enoch as a founder figure:
But we add and dare to affirm that this alleged founder of the Chinese monarchy is none other than he whom most ancient nations have recognized ... as the founder not only of their laws and customs but also of their religion, sciences, ancient books, writing systems, and languages. Consequently the Fo-hi [Fuxi] of the Chinese, the Hermes or Mercury Trismegist of the Egyptians and GReeks, the Thot of the Alexandrians, the Idris or Adris of the Arabs, and the Enoch of the Hebrews are one and the same person who is revered by diverse nations under different names. (p. 42)

In this manner Bouvet attempted a friendly takeover of the remote antiquity of the world's ancient nations, and the two reputedly oldest ones -- Egypt and China -- both got a biblical pedigree. This was more elegant than Huet's attempt to hijack entire dynasties of gentile divinities by identifying them all as disguised members of Moses's family, but it was nevertheless a takeover of global proportions.

***
... de Visdelou dictated a few pages about the religions of China to the visiting Mr. Basset in order to explain the background of a regional persecution of Christians. Basset's notes made their way to Paris and into the hands of Father Le Gobien who edited and used them as introduction to his book about the edict of tolerance issued by the Chinese emperor (1698), which was then used by Bayle and Diderot. Already the first few lines show the extent and character of Le Gobien's editorial interference. He was an inclusivist in the line of Matteo Ricci who shared the opinion of the vast majority of Jesuits that the ancient religion of China (and Confucianism as its successor) had venerated the true God. De Visdelou, by contrast, was one of the few dissenters in the line of Joao Rodrigues who thought that ancient Chinese religion and Confucianism were forms of atheism. Already the initial paragraphs of de Visdelou's report as taken down by Basset were heavily edited by Le Gobien and exhibit an immense difference of opinion. De Visdelou only discussed modern Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism and lost no word about an ancient Chinese monotheism. The latter was added by Le Gobien, who claimed that this ancient Confucianism was still extant with the Chinese emperor as head ...

De Visdelou's dictation text (c. 1696).

I cannot dispense myself from providing a general idea of the different sects of China. Without this one would not understand the thinking of the Viceroy who compares them among themselves and with the Christian religion. It is sufficiently known that there are three principal ones of which the first is that of the philosopher scholars (I mean the modern philosophers, not the ancient ones). The second one is that of the brachmanes, and the third that of the bonzes.

The first is the dominant one [!!!]
... [etc.]...


Le Gobien's published text (1698)

Since the history I write concerns only religion, I cannot dispense myself from providing to my reader a general idea of the different sects that are current in China. There are four principal ones.

The first is of those who, less by a feeling of piety than by respect for the ancients, recognize in the world a superior spirit, eternal, almighty, and much like the one known in the first centuries of the monarchy as the Lord of Heaven. It must be admitted that the number of these veritable worshippers is not very great, even though the Emperor is their head and has often declared that it was to God that he offered the sacrifices in the temples and not to those inferior and imaginary spirits with which the people is so ridiculously infatuated.

The second is the dominant one
... [etc.]...

But Le Gobien's confusion is understandable...

... Instead of simplifying things as he intended, Le Gobien added another layer of confusion.


-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App


ROCHER COMPLETELY REFUTES URS APP'S ARGUMENT THAT "IT WAS VOLTAIRE WHO ALMOST SINGLE-HANDEDLY TRANSFORMED SOME MISSIONARY JOTTINGS FROM THE SOUTH INDIAN BOONDOCKS INTO 'THE WORLD'S OLDEST TEXT,'" BUT URS APP HIDES THIS FACT FROM US:

A New Manuscript: BN Fonds Francais 19117

In the meanwhile, no one seems to have noticed the existence, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, of a third manuscript of the EzV. The catalogue: Ancien Saint-Germain Francais III. Nos. 18677-20064 du Fonds Francais (by L Auvray and H. Omont, Paris: Leroux, 1900), has the following entry: "19117, 'Zozur Bedo'; traduction francaise du YADJOUR VEDA,4c livre des Vedas. En huit livres. XVIIe-XVIIIe. Papier. ) 58 pages. 208 sur 205 millimetres. Cartonne. (Saint-Germain, Harlay 515.)." This is, indeed, another copy of the EzV, in eight books.

The manuscripts of the Harlay family were donated, by Achille IV de Harlay (died 23 July 1717) to Louis-Germain de Chauvelin (1685-1762), on 11 August 1716. The condition attached to the donation said that the manuscripts should stay with de Chauvelin and his male descendants until one of them died without further male descendants "revetus de charge de judicature." [Google translate: load bearing judicature.] At that time the manuscripts were to become the property of the Benedictines of the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Chauvelin not only allowed the members of the [Benedictine] Order to use the materials while he still held the usufruct; he also enriched the collection with documents which were his own full property. On 19 March 1755 he decided to transfer the collection to Saint-Germain, together with those manuscripts of which he himself was the owner. The manuscripts were transferred from the castle of Grosbois to the abbey. They remained a special fund while deposited there, until they were transferred, together with the other manuscripts of Saint-Germain, to the Bibliotheque Nationale, in 1865. There the entire collection was integrated into the "Troisieme Serie" of the Fonds Francais: manuscripts 15370 to 20064.

These data do not entirely solve the problem of the origin of the third EzV manuscript. The donation of 11 August 1716 was accompanied by a catalogue which is, however, lost, with the result that it is no longer possible to ascertain which particular manuscripts were added to the collection by de Chauvelin. We can only presume that the EzV did not belong to the original collection of 1716, and that it was one of the latest additions; it is no. 515 in a collection of altogether 519 items. But, even then, the third EzV manuscript must have belonged to the collection by 1755, five years before Maudave brought his copy to Europe.

The principal problem that remains unsolved in all this is that in two handwritten catalogues at the Bibliotheque Nationale, manuscript "Harlay 515" is described as "Melanges cont. 110. pieces": in the "Catalogue des manuscrits de Monsieur** [Chauvelin]",91 and in the "Catalogue des mss. de la bibliotheque de feu Mre Achilles de Harlay, premier president du Parlement de Paris, passes depuis dans la bibliotheque de feu messire Louis- Germain Chauvelin, ancien garde des sceaux, et actuellement dans la bibliotheque de l'abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a Paris, 1762."92 [Google translate: Catalog of mss. of the library of the late Mre Achilles de Harlay, first Speaker of Parliament of Paris, since passed in the library of the late Messire Louis-Germain Chauvelin, former Keeper of the Seals, and currently in the library of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, in Paris, 1762.]

Even assuming that the EzV manuscript did belong to the private collection of Louis-Germain de Chauvelin on 19 March 1755, it is no longer possible to investigate how and when he acquired it. The important fact is that it is the oldest EzV manuscript in Europe, even though no one ever took notice of it. It also shows that the terminus ante quem [Google translate: term before he] for the composition of the EzV, which until now was 1759 -- the time when Maudave left India --, has to be advanced with at least five years and possibly by more than that.

-- Ezourvedam: A French Veda of the Eighteenth Century, Edited with an Introduction by Ludo Rocher


Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse.[1][2][3] Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists.[4] In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology.

Etymology

The term apologetics derives from the Ancient Greek word apologia (ἀπολογία).[1] In the Classical Greek legal system, the prosecution delivered the kategoria (κατηγορία), the accusation or charge, and the defendant replied with an apologia, the defence.[5] The apologia was a formal speech or explanation to reply to and rebut the charges. A famous example is Socrates' Apologia defense, as chronicled in Plato's Apology.

In the Koine Greek of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul employs the term apologia in his trial speech to Festus and Agrippa when he says "I make my defense" in Acts 26:2.[6] A cognate form appears in Paul's Letter to the Philippians as he is "defending the gospel" in Philippians 1:7,[7] and in "giving an answer" in 1 Peter 3:15.[8]

Although the term apologetics has Western, primarily Christian origins and is most frequently associated with the defense of Christianity, the term is sometimes used referring to the defense of any religion in formal debate involving religion.

Apologetic positions

Baháʼí Faith


Main article: Baháʼí apologetics

Many apologetic books have been written in defence of the history or teachings of the Baháʼí Faith. The religion's founders wrote several books presenting proofs of their religion; among them are the Báb's Seven Proofs and Bahá'u'lláh's Kitáb-i-Íqán.[9] Later Baháʼí authors wrote prominent apologetic texts, such as Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl's The Brilliant Proof and Udo Schaefer et al.'s Making the Crooked Straight;.[10]

Buddhism

One of the earliest Buddhist apologetic texts is The Questions of King Milinda, which deals with the Buddhist metaphysics such as the "no-self" nature of the individual and characteristics such as of wisdom, perception, volition, feeling, consciousness and the soul. In the mid-19th century, encounters between Buddhists and Christians in Japan prompted the formation of a Buddhist Propagation Society.
Around 1863, newly arrived in Japan, Charles changed his surname to Pfoundes, learned Japanese and developed a passion for studying Japanese customs and culture. He subsequently made a career for himself as an East-West middleman, based mainly in Japan but with a thirteen-year period (1879-1892) in London where he gave innumerable talks on Japan and other topics and in 1889 founded the ‘Buddhist Propagation Society’; the first-ever Buddhist mission to the West (Bocking et al. 2014). As far as we know Charles never met, nor indeed wanted to contact, his brother Elam or his father James after he left them in Ireland in 1854. He did however spend time, though hardly quality time, with his mother on several occasions. In 1874 Caroline travelled to Tokyo, where Pfoundes held a responsible position in a major shipping company. That visit ended, according to Caroline’s later testimony in a Dublin courtroom in 1877, with Charles forcibly taking from her all the money she had brought with her to Japan, so that she was obliged to rely on the assistance of friends to get home. Caroline was in court because Charles, who in 1877 was travelling the world prior to settling, as he planned, in London, had visited Caroline in her own home in Dublin in May 1877 when she was in her early 60s and physically assaulted her when she did not give him back some Japanese ornaments he wanted. In October he returned and threatened to attack her again if she did not give him some papers. Pfoundes only avoided jail by paying sureties to keep the peace towards his mother for 12 months (‘A Strange Case’ 1877; ‘Extraordinary case’ 1877).

-- Mrs Pounds and Mrs Pfoundes: A Futuristic Historical Essay in Honour of Professor Ursula King [Charles James William Pounds Pfoundes] [Excerpt], by Brian Bocking

Up until recently it has been widely accepted that the British monk Ananda Metteyya’s (Allan Bennett) founded and organized the first Buddhist mission to the West in London in 1908. Recent collaborative research by historians in Japan and Ireland however has shown that this assumption needs to be revised. In fact it was not Theravadian but rather Japanese Mahayana Buddhists who were the first to try to teach Buddhism in the West. In 1889 the Japanese-sponsored Buddhist Propagation Society (BPS) of Japan launched a mission to London led for three years by the Irish-born Buddhist Captain Charles Pfoundes. The Buddhist Propagation Society had chosen a particularly opportune time to send its mission. Gilbert and Sullivan’s Japanese-themed opera The Mikado was running to record crowds in London and several exhibitions of Japanese art in London and Paris had created a fascination in things Japanese.

-- The hidden history of Buddhism in the West [Charles Pfoundes], by Bhante Dhammika of Australia

Early Buddhist missions to the West: the conventional history

In April 1908 the Rangoon-ordained Buddhist monk Ananda Metteyya (Allan Bennett, 1872-1923) arrived in London with a party of Burmese sponsors. Ananda Metteyya‘s very presence in the capital, as a yellow-robed, shaven-headed monk demonstrating by example that it was (just) possible for a European to follow the strict vinaya regime in Edwardian London, aroused a good deal of interest in the press and among the public. In addition to preaching by example, Ananda Metteyya -- not a gifted orator -- delivered some talks on Buddhist thought and practice and gave interviews to the press.1 Within six months he was en route back to Burma.2 This visit is commonly regarded as the epochal first Buddhist mission to Europe, and for many writers marks the 'real' beginning of Buddhism-as-a-lived-religion in the UK.3

While Ananda Metteyya‘s 1908 mission to London has long been identified as a starting-point for the story of 'Buddhism in Britain', students of Western Buddhism are by now well aware that it was not the first Buddhist mission to the West. Japanese Buddhist missions, oriented mainly towards expatriate Japanese but with active Western adherents, had developed in California from 1899 onwards4 and these West Coast missions are now considered by scholars to be the earliest Buddhist missions to the West (Tweed 2000).

In this article, we set out to demonstrate that the first London Buddhist mission was in fact established in 1889, predating even the Californian missions by a decade. From 1889 to 1892, the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles J. W. Pfoundes (1840-1907) headed an official Buddhist mission known as the 'Buddhist Propagation Society'. This was based in Westminster, operated throughout London and its suburbs and was the first and indeed only foreign outpost of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai (lit. 'Overseas Propagation Society' but normally translated 'Buddhist Propagation Society'), an initiative of a group of reformist Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) Buddhists based in Kyoto.

The Buddhist Propagation Society in London and Pfoundes' role in it were of course known to, and publicised by, his Buddhist sponsors in Japan at the time5 and at least one contemporary Japanese account6 was available to Notto Thelle, who in 1987 wrote:
The Society for Communication with Western Buddhists (Obei Bukkyo Tsushinkai) was founded in 1887; it was later reorganized as the Buddhist Propagation Society (Kaigai Senkyo Kai, literally Overseas Missionary Society), under the leadership of Akamatsu Renjo. Its purpose was to propagate Buddhism in the West, through missionaries and publications. A branch office was established in London in 1890, and a journal was published, entitled Bijou of Asia [Ajia no hōshu].

…[a]nother Western Buddhist, C. Pfoundes, also supported Japanese Buddhists against Christianity. He had first come to Japan in the 1860s as an officer in the British navy and remained for about twelve years, of which he reportedly spent seven or eight years in Buddhist temples. As an admirer of the ancient Japanese civilization and of Buddhism, he had dedicated much of his time to lecturing on Buddhism in the United States (1876-1878) and in England (1878-1893). He served as secretary of the London branch of the Buddhist Propagation Society and came to Japan again in 1893 at the invitation of his Buddhist friends. In his many meetings he appealed to the national sentiment and attacked Christian missionaries for slighting Buddhism and despising Japan as a barbarian country. Both Olcott and Pfoundes left Japan after controversies with their Japanese sponsors.

Thelle deserves credit for drawing attention to Pfoundes, who had remained unnoticed by other scholars, but Thelle had only limited information, some of which has been superseded by recent discoveries. For example, Pfoundes did not leave Japan after his return from London in early 1893 but remained there, resident and working in a variety of roles in the port city of Kobe where he died in 1907 and is buried in the foreigner‘s cemetery.7 Thelle portrays Pfoundes as little more than a transient foreigner, a pale version of the exotic Theosophical 'White Buddhist' Olcott, but in fact by 1890 Pfoundes had become a fierce opponent of Theosophy. Far from being a transient visitor like Olcott, Pfoundes spent a total of 26 years of his life in Japan and in 1899 even applied for Japanese nationality (Ruxton 2008, Bocking 2013). Ironically, it is because Pfoundes did not return to London but instead died alone in Kobe that his pioneering activities on behalf of Buddhism in the West were forgotten, while Ananda Metteyya‘s brief visit almost two decades later came to be remembered, through his later colleagues in London, as the 'first' Buddhist mission to the capital.

Beyond Thelle‘s brief depiction, Pfoundes' name has been remembered elsewhere but for a quite different reason. A collection of his newspaper columns on diverse aspects of Japanese art, folklore and customs was published by The Japan Herald in Yokohama in 1875 under the title Fuso mimi bukuro or A Budget of Japanese Notes. This work, similar to and subsequently overshadowed by Basil Hall Chamberlain's Things Japanese: Being Notes on Various Subjects Connected with Japan (1890), remains widely available and is still cited occasionally in modern scholarship, for example by Hendry (1981).

With the very recent advent of digital technologies which enable searches for lost fragments of information across thousands of local newspapers, popular magazines and archive collections, many new details of Pfoundes' remarkable life have now come to light.8 In 2013, Bocking offered a first brief biography, based on some of this new evidence (Bocking 2013). That article was however concerned mainly with Pfoundes' activities between his return to Japan from London in 1893 and his death in 1907. Of the putative 'London Buddhist Mission' Bocking could say at the time only that:
[a]bout this time [the early 1890s] Pfoundes became the London representative of the modern Jodo Shinshu-backed Japanese Buddhist missionary society the Kaigai Senkyo Kai, in which role he reportedly warned the young scholar Takakusu Junjiro away from the London Theosophists and hence towards Max Muller (Akai 2009, 190); a significant Weberian moment in the history of Japanese Buddhology, if so. The other activities, if there were any, of Pfoundes' London Japanese Buddhist outpost remain undocumented; perhaps an unwritten - and very early - chapter in the history of Buddhism in the UK.

Further research since 2013 has generated a great deal of new material specifically on the BPS in London, and the present article attempts to write that 'unwritten‘ chapter, at least in outline9.

The role of Mr Okazaki Hideki, a researcher from Matsue who had become interested in Pfoundes' connections with that city, should be acknowledged here. Mr Okazaki first found (in Nakanishi, 1892) a reproduction of the decorative 2-sided leaflet in Japanese and English used by Pfoundes in London to advertise the 'Buddhist Propagation Society‘.10 With confirmation that the English name of Pfoundes' London organisation was simply the 'Buddhist Propagation Society‘ and with his name and address indicating that the BPS had more than a nominal presence in London, we began searching new sources and were able to unearth numerous fragmentary references to the BPS in newspapers and magazines of the time and to uncover the remarkable extent of Pfoundes‘ engagement in Buddhist missionary work in London.

-- The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892, by Brian Bocking [Buddhist Propagation Society]

In recent times, A. L. De Silva, an Australian convert to Buddhism, has written a book, Beyond Belief, providing Buddhist apologetic responses and a critique of Christian Fundamentalist doctrine.[11] Gunapala Dharmasiri wrote an apologetic critique of the Christian concept of God from a Theravadan Buddhist perspective.[12]

Christianity

Main article: Christian apologetics

[x]
The Shield of the Trinity, a diagram frequently used by Christian apologists to explain the Trinity

Christian apologetics combines Christian theology, natural theology,[13] and philosophy to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, to defend the faith against objections and misrepresentation.

Christian apologetics has taken many forms over the centuries. In the Roman Empire, Christians were severely persecuted, and many charges were brought against them. J. David Cassel[14] gives several examples: Tacitus wrote that Nero fabricated charges that Christians started the burning of Rome.[15] Other charges included cannibalism (due to a literal interpretation of the Eucharist) and incest (due to early Christians' practice of addressing each other as "brother" and "sister"). Paul the Apostle, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and others often defended Christianity against charges that were brought to justify persecution.[16]

Later apologists have focused on providing reasons to accept various aspects of Christian belief. Christian apologists of many traditions, in common with Jews, Muslims, and some others, argue for the existence of a unique and personal God. Theodicy is one important aspect of such arguments, and Alvin Plantinga's arguments have been highly influential in this area. Many prominent Christian apologists are scholarly philosophers or theologians, frequently with additional doctoral work in physics, cosmology, comparative religions, or other fields. Others take a more popular or pastoral approach. Some prominent modern apologists are Douglas Groothuis, Frederick Copleston, John Lennox, Walter R. Martin, Dinesh D'Souza, Douglas Wilson, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, Francis Schaeffer, Greg Bahnsen, Edward John Carnell, James White, R.C. Sproul, Hank Hanegraaff, Alister McGrath, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Peter Kreeft, G. K. Chesterton, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Hugh Ross, David Bentley Hart, Gary Habermas, Norman Geisler, Scott Hahn and RC Kunst.[17]

Notable apologists within the Catholic Church include Bishop Robert Barron,[18] G. K. Chesterton,[19] Dr. Scott Hahn, Trent Horn, Jimmy Akin, Patrick Madrid, Kenneth Hensley,[20] Karl Keating, Ronald Knox and Peter Kreeft.

John Henry Newman (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890) was an English convert to Roman Catholicism, later made a cardinal, and beatified in 2010. In early life he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic. When John Henry Newman entitled his spiritual autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua in 1864, he was playing upon both this connotation, and the more commonly understood meaning of an expression of contrition or regret.

Christian apologists employ a variety of philosophical and formal approaches, including ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments.[21] The Christian presuppositionalist approach to apologetics utilizes the transcendental argument for the existence of God.[22]

Tertullian was a notable early Christian apologist. He was born, lived and died in Carthage. He is sometimes known as the "Father of the Latin Church". He introduced the term Trinity (Latin trinitas) to the Christian vocabulary[23] and also probably[citation needed] the formula "three Persons, one Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una Substantia" (itself from the Koine Greek "treis Hypostaseis, Homoousios"), and also the terms Vetus Testamentum (Old Testament) and Novum Testamentum (New Testament).

Latter-day Saints

Further information: Mormon studies § Apologetics

There are notable Latter-day Saint apologists who focus on the defense of Mormonism, including early church leaders such as Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage and more modern figures such as Hugh Nibley, Daniel C. Peterson, John L. Sorenson, John Gee, Orson Scott Card, and Jeff Lindsay.

Several well-known apologetic organizations of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, such as the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (a group of scholars at Brigham Young University) and FairMormon (an independent, not-for-profit group run by Latter Day Saints), have been formed to defend the doctrines and history of the Latter Day Saint movement in general and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular.

Deism

Deism is a form of theism in which God created the universe and established rationally comprehensible moral and natural laws but no longer intervenes in human affairs. Deism is a natural religion where belief in God is based on application of reason and evidence observed in the designs and laws found in nature.[12] The World Order of Deists maintains a web site presenting deist apologetics that demonstrate the existence of God based on evidence and reason, absent divine revelation.

Hinduism

Hindu apologetics began developing during the British colonial period. A number of Indian intellectuals had become critical of the British tendency to devalue the Hindu religious tradition. As a result, these Indian intellectuals, as well as a handful of British Indologists, were galvanized to examine the roots of the religion as well as to study its vast arcana and corpus in an analytical fashion. This endeavor drove the deciphering and preservation of Sanskrit. Many translations of Hindu texts were produced which made them accessible to a broader reading audience.

A range of Indian philosophers, including Swami Vivekananda and Aurobindo Ghose, have written rational explanations regarding the values of the Hindu religious tradition. More modern proponents such as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have also tried to correlate recent developments from quantum physics and consciousness research with Hindu concepts. The late Reverend Pandurang Shastri Athavale has given a plethora of discourses regarding the symbolism and rational basis for many principles in the Vedic tradition. In his book The Cradle of Civilization, David Frawley, an American who has embraced the Vedic tradition, has characterized the ancient texts of the Hindu heritage as being like "pyramids of the spirit".

Islam

'Ilm al-Kalām, literally "science of discourse",[24] usually foreshortened to kalam and sometimes called Islamic scholastic theology, is an Islamic undertaking born out of the need to establish and defend the tenets of Islamic faith against skeptics and detractors.[25] A scholar of kalam is referred to as a mutakallim (plural mutakallimūn) as distinguished from philosophers, jurists, and scientists.[26]

Judaism

See also: Jewish polemics and apologetics in the Middle Ages

Jewish apologetic literature can be traced back as far as Aristobulus of Paneas, though some discern it in the works of Demetrius the chronographer (3rd century BCE) traces of the style of "questions" and "solutions" typical of the genre. Aristobulus was a Jewish philosopher of Alexandria and the author of an apologetic work addressed to Ptolemy VI Philometor. Josephus's Contra Apion is a wide-ranging defense of Judaism against many charges laid against Judaism at that time, as too are some of the works of Philo of Alexandria.[27][28]

In response to modern Christian missionaries, and congregations that "are designed to appear Jewish, but are actually fundamentalist Christian churches, which use traditional Jewish symbols to lure the most vulnerable of our Jewish people into their ranks",[29] Jews for Judaism is the largest counter-missionary organization in existence, today. Kiruv Organization (Mizrachi), founded by Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, and Outreach Judaism, founded by Rabbi Tovia Singer, are other prominent international organizations that respond "directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity."[30][31]

Pantheism

Some pantheists have formed organizations such as the World Pantheist Movement and the Universal Pantheist Society to promote and defend the belief in pantheism.[32]

Native Americans

In a famous speech called "Red Jacket on Religion for the White Man and the Red" in 1805, Seneca chief Red Jacket gave an apologetic for Native American religion.[33]

In literature

Plato's Apology may be read as both a religious and literary apology; however, more specifically literary examples may be found in the prefaces and dedications, which proceed many Early Modern plays, novels, and poems. Eighteenth century authors such as Colley Cibber, Frances Burney, and William Congreve, to name but a few, prefaced the majority of their poetic work with such apologies. In addition to the desire to defend their work, the apologetic preface often suggests the author's attempt to humble his- or herself before the audience.[34]

See also

• Christian apologetics
• Dawah
• Existence of God
• Kalam
• List of apologetic works

References

1. "ἀπολογία". Blue Letter Bible-Lexicon. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
2. "Apologetics". The Advent. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
3. "apologetics". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
4. Cross, F. L., ed. (2005). "Apologists". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press.
5. Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, κατηγορία and ἀπολογία[permanent dead link]
6. "Acts 26:2". Blue Letter Bible. 19 September 2016.
7. "Phl 1:7". Blue Letter Bible. 19 September 2016.
8. "1Pe 3:15". Blue Letter Bible. 19 September 2016.
9. Smith, Peter (2000). "apologetics". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 39–40. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
10. "Making the Crooked Straight, by Udo Schaefer, Nicola Towfigh, and Ulrich Gollmer". bahai-library.com.
11. De Silva, A. L. (1994). Beyond Belief, a Buddhist Critique of Fundamentalist Christianity (PDF). Three Gems Publications, ebook link at Buddha Dharma Education Association Incorporated, also. ISBN 978-0-6462-1211-1.
12. Dharmasiri, Gunapala (1974). A Buddhist critique of the Christian concept of God : a critique of the concept of God in contemporary Christian theology and philosophy of religion from the point of view of early Buddhism. Colombo : Lake House Investments – via WorldCat.
13. Brent, James. "Natural Theology". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
14. J. David Cassel. "Defending the Cannibals: How Christians responded to the sometimes strange accusations of their critics." "Defending the Cannibals". Archived from the original on 2011-08-21. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
15. Tacitus, Annals XV.44
16. "Why Early Christians Were Despised". Christianity Today (Church history timeline). Retrieved 21 September 2016.
17. Catholic Education Resource Center: The Scott Hahn Conversion Story Archived July 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
18. "Page Not Found - Word On Fire". Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2015-02-09. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
19. Chesterton, G K (2008). The Everlasting Man. Radford: Wilder Publications. p. 180. ISBN 978-1604592467.
20. "Kenneth Hensley - Catholic Apologetics Academy".
21. Coulter, Paul (2011-05-10). "An Introduction to Christian Apologetics". Bethinking. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
22. Apologetics: A Justification of Christian Belief John Frame-Joseph Torres - P&R Publishing - 2015 p. 67f
23. A History of Christian Thought, Paul Tillich, Touchstone Books, 1972. ISBN 0-671-21426-8 (p. 43)
24. Winter, Tim J. "Introduction." Introduction. The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008. 4–5. Print.
25. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Linda Gale Jones, Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, p 391. ISBN 1438109075
26. Clinton Bennett, The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies, p 119. ISBN 1441127887.
27. John Granger Cook (2000) The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman paganism p.4., Mohr Siebeck Verlag, Tuebingen, Germany
28. "APOLOGISTS". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906.
29. Simon Schoon, "Noachides and Converts to Judaism", in Jan N. Bremmer, Wout Jac. van Bekkum, Arie L. Molendijk. Cultures of Conversions, Peeters Publishers, 2006, ISBN 978-90-429-1753-8, p. 125.
30. About Us, Outreach Judaism website. Accessed January 9, 2011.
31. J. Gordon Melton, "The Modern Anti-Cult Movement in Historical Perspective", in Jeffrey Kaplan, Heléne Lööw. The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization, Rowman Altamira, 2002, ISBN 978-0-7591-0204-0, p. 285, note 4.
32. "The Pantheist Credo". World Pantheist Movement.
33. "Red Jacket on the Religion of the White Man and the Red by Red Jacket. America: I. (1761-1837). Vol. VIII. Bryan, William Jennings, ed. 1906. The World's Famous Orations". bartleby.com.
34. "Apology". Britannica Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 14 July 2011.

External links

• Religion portal
• Media related to Apologetics at Wikimedia Commons
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Apr 28, 2022 6:01 am

Part 1 of 4

Noble lie [Pious Fiction] [Pious Fraud] [Pious Invention]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/27/22

... Raymond Schwab's La renaissance orientale and studies on the history of the Western encounter with Asian religions such as Henri de Lubac's La rencontre du bouddhisme et de l'Occident presented an utterly confusing mass of data arranged according to modern notions such as "Buddhism" or "Hinduism" and to modern geographical units such as "India" or "China."

A major reason for this confusion was the fact that the primary sources seem to come from a different world where such neat delimitations do not exist. They tend, for example, to distinguish between esoteric and exoteric "branches" of a pan-Asian religion or to connect the creeds of various countries of "the Indies" to some descendant of Noah....

One of the ideas repeated in countless European sources about Asian religions is the distinction between "outer" or "exoteric" and "inner" or "esoteric" forms. It was already used in early Christian literature, for example, by Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, to characterize heathen creeds around the Mediterranean. But its roots lie in ancient Greek views of Egyptian religion where Egyptian priests are said to have encoded secret esoteric teachings in hieroglyphs while feeding the outer, exoteric bark of religion to the people. This idea gained renewed popularity in the Renaissance when texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistos ("hermetic texts") were translated into Latin and portrayed as vestiges of ancient Egyptian "esoteric" monotheism. In Europe, this inspired proponents of ancient theology (prisca theologia) like the seventeenth-century Jesuit Athanasius Kircher as well as many missionaries....

[T]his notion of esoteric and exoteric teachings allied itself with sixteenth-century reports about Japanese Buddhism and became one of the dominant ideas about Asian religions.... Having heard of this Buddhist distinction in the second half of the sixteenth century, the missionaries to Japan used it to classify the Buddhist sects of that country. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, a long-time resident of Japan, Joao Rodrigues, first applied it to all three major religions of China (which today are called Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism). In the 1620s, the Italian Jesuit Cristofo to Borri in Vietnam used the esoteric/exoteric distinction to characterize two phases of the Buddha's life and to classify religious movements in India, Vietnam, China, and Japan. In the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this distinction became not only the most conspicuous feature of the Buddha's biography (the story of his deathbed confession)...

A fundamental factor in the premodern European discovery of Asian religions is easily overlooked just because it is so pervasive and determines the outlook of most discoverers: the biblical frame of reference. All religions of the world had to originate with a survivor of the great deluge (usually set circa 2500 B.C.E.) because nobody outside Noah's ark survived. In Roman times, young Christianity was portrayed as the successor of Adam's original pure monotheism, thus stretching its roots into antediluvian times....

After the discovery of America and the opening of the sea route to India at the end of the fifteenth century, new challenges to biblical authority arose. It was difficult to establish a connection between hitherto unknown people and animals and Noah's ark.... Our case studies show different ways in which Europeans tried to rise to such challenges: missionaries who attempted to incorporate ancient Asian cultures and religions into Bible-based scenarios; others who tried to move the starting shot of biblical history backward to beat the Chinese annals...

[F]rom the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the doctrines of emanation and transmigration constituted a crucial link between East and West extending from Japan in the Far East ... authors identified transmigration as a most ancient and universal pre-Mosaic teaching concerning the fall of angels before the creation of the earth -- a teaching that in their view forms the initial part of the biblical creation story that Moses omitted. They regarded human souls as the souls of fallen angels imprisoned in human bodies who have to migrate from one body to the next until they achieve redemption and can return to their heavenly home....

[T]wo significations of Buddhist doctrines, an exoteric or outer one for the simple-minded people and an esoteric or inner one for the philosophers and literati ...

[W]hen Ricci in [1582] moved with another Italian missionary, Michele Ruggieri, to Canton and then to Zhaoqing in South China... the two Jesuits adopted the title and vestments of the Chinese seng -- that is, they identified themselves and dressed as ordained Buddhist bonzes. Even their Ten Commandments in Chinese contained Buddhist terms; for example, the third commandment read that on holidays it was forbidden to work and one had to go to the Buddhist temple (si) in order to recite the sutras (jing) and worship the Master of Heaven (tianzhu, the Lord of devas). Ruggieri's and Ricci's first Chinese catechism, the Tianzhu shilu of 1584-the first book printed by Europeans in China -- also brimmed with Buddhist terms and was signed by "the bonzes from India" (tianzhuguo seng) (Ricci 1942:198). The doorplate of the Jesuit's residence and church read "Hermit-flower [Buddhist] temple" (xianhuasi), while the plate displayed prominently inside the church read "Pure Land of the West" (xilai jingdu). As can be seen in the report about the inscriptions on the Jesuit residence and church of Zhaoqing (Figure 1), Ruggieri translated "hermit" (xian), a term with Daoist connotations, by the Italian "santi" (saints), and the Buddhist temple (St) became an "ecclesia" (church). Even more interesting is his transformation of the Buddhist paradise or "Pure Land of the West" into "from the West came the purest fathers." This presumably referred to the biblical patriarchs, but it is not excluded that a double-entrendre Jesuit fathers from the West) was intended.

Nine years later, in 1592, when Ricci was translating the four Confucian classics, he decided to abandon his identity as a Buddhist bonze (seng); and during a visit in Macao, he asked his superior Valignano for permission also to shed his bonze's robe, begging bowl, and sutra recitation implements. The Christian churches were renamed from si to tang (a more neutral word meaning "hall"), and in 1594 the final step in this rebranding process was taken when Ricci received Valignano's permission to present himself and dress up as a Chinese literatus. It was the year when Ricci finished his translation of the four Confucian classics, the books that any Chinese wishing to reach the higher ranks of society had to study. In Ricci's view, these books contained unmistakable vestiges of ancient monotheism. In his journals he wrote,
Of all the pagan sects known to Europe, I know of no people who fell into fewer errors in the early stages of their antiquity than did the Chinese. From the very beginning of their history it is recorded in their writings that they recognized and worshipped one supreme being whom they called the King of Heaven, or designated by some other name indicating his rule over heaven and earth .... They also taught that the light of reason came from heaven and that the dictates of reason should be hearkened to in every human action....

Ricci and his companions focused on cozying up to the Confucians. On November 4, 1595, Ricci wrote to the Jesuit Father General Acquaviva: "I have noted down many terms and phrases [of the Chinese classics] in harmony with our faith, for instance, 'the unity of God,' 'the immortality of the soul,' the glory of the blessed,' and the like". Ricci intended to identify appropriate terms in the Confucian classics to give the Christian dogma a Mandarin dress and to illustrate his view that the Chinese had successfully safeguarded an extremely ancient knowledge of God. The portions of Ruggieri and Ricci's old "Buddhist" catechism dealing with God's revelation and requiring faith rather than reason were removed, while topics such as the "goodness of human nature" that appealed to Confucians were added. Ricci systematically substituted Buddhist terminology with phrases from the Chinese classics.... It was not a catechism in the traditional sense but a praeparatio evangelica: a way to entice the rationalist upper crust of Chinese society and to refute the "superstitious" and "foreign" forms of Chinese religion (such as Daoism and Buddhism) by logical argument while interpreting "original" Confucianism as a kind of Old Testament to Christianity. Ricci's "catechism" was thus not yet the Good News itself but a first step toward it. It argued that Chinese religion had once been thoroughly monotheistic and that this primeval monotheism had later degenerated through the influence of Daoism and Buddhism. In Ricci's view Christianity was nothing other than the fulfillment of China's Ur-monotheism.

Ricci decided to cast this preparatory treatise in Renaissance fashion as a dialogue between a Western and a Chinese scholar who discuss various aspects of Chinese religion. Ricci's Western scholar analyzes Daoist, Buddhist, and Neoconfucianist beliefs and practices and proceeds to demolish them by rational argument, thus exposing their inconsistency and irrationality....

When the first copies of Ricci's True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven arrived in Japan, one of Valignano's erstwhile novices, Joao RODRIGUES(1561-1633), studied it with much interest. Having arrived in Japan in 1577 at the young age of 16, he had at the turn of the seventeenth century already spent a quarter-century in the Far East and had become the best foreign speaker, reader, and writer of Japanese in the Jesuit mission. He had become not only procurator of the Japan mission but also court interpreter for Japan's autocratic ruler Tokugawa leyasu.... When Ricci's Chinese books made their way to Japan, Rodrigues thus was one of the few people capable of studying and criticizing them. He noticed a number of "grave things":
These things arose on account of the lack of knowledge at that time and the Fathers' ways of speaking and the conformity (as in their ignorance they saw it) of our holy religion with the literati sect, which is diabolical and intrinsically atheistic, and also contains fundamental and essential errors against the faith.

Rodrigues's early doubts about Ricci's view of Confucianism as a vestige of primeval monotheism were reinforced when he spent two entire years (June 1613-June 1615) traveling in China "deeply investigating all these sects, which I had already diligently studied in Japan". His "three sects of philosophers" are Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, which Rodrigues not only studied in books but also through extensive field research: "To this end I passed through most of China and visited all our houses and residences, as well as many other places where our men had never been so far"....

Contradicting Ricci, Rodrigues maintained that all reigning religions of China, including Confucianism, were fundamentally atheist and thus incompatible with Christianity....
... Fr. Matteo Ricci worked a great deal in this field and did what he could, but, for reasons only known to Our Lord, he was misled in this matter. All these three sects of China are totally atheistic in their speculative teaching, denying the providence of the world. They teach everlasting matter, or chaos, and like the doctrine of Melissus, they believe the universe to contain nothing but one substance.


The disappearance of Rodrigues's religion report is very likely due to his fierce opposition to a Ricci-style accommodation with Confucianism that was the central bone of contention in the controversy about Chinese Rites that filled so many book shelves from the mid-seventeenth century onward. The whole question of the acceptability of Confucian rites depended on Confucianism's pedigree. If it could be traced to monotheism, as Ricci thought it could, then its ancient rites posed hardly a problem. But if Rodrigues was right and Confucianism's inner doctrine was pure atheism (complete with eternity of matter, lack of a creator God, and absence of providence), then any rite connected to such a religion was to be condemned.

In his letters from China and some of his printed works, Rodrigues identified all three major religions of China as descendants of ancient heathen cults of the Middle East. While Ricci viewed Confucianism as a child of original monotheism and the Chinese literati as relatively free from heathen superstition prior to the influence of Daoism and Buddhism, Rodrigues envisioned a very different pedigree reaching back to Chaldean diviners:
There does not seem to be any other kingdom in the whole world that has so many [superstitions] as this kingdom [of China], for it appears that all the ancient superstitions that ever existed have gathered here, and even modern superstitions as well. The sect of Chaldean diviners flourishes here. The Jesuits call it here the Literati Sect of China. Like them it philosophizes with odd and even numbers up to ten and with hieroglyphic symbols and various mathematical figures, and with the principal Chaldean deities, Light and Darkness, and these two deities are called the Virtue of Heaven and the Evil of Earth. This sect has thrived in China for nearly four thousand years, and it seems to have originated from Babylon when those people came to populate this kingdom.

Daoism, by contrast, was identified as "the sect of the Magicians and Persian evil wizards" that "seems to be a branch of the ancient Zoroaster" and Buddhism as "the sect of the ancient Indian gymnosophists" that spread all over Asia but had Egyptian roots since it professes "a part of the doctrine of the Egyptians"... For Rodrigues, all three Chinese religions thus had their roots in the Middle East: Confucianism in Mesopotamia, Daoism in Persia, and Buddhism in Egypt.

Since no one except Noah and his family had survived the great deluge, all three religions could not but have their ultimate origin with someone on the ark. The usual suspect was Ham, the son of Noah who had seen his father naked while drunk and whose son Canaan had been cursed by Noah (Genesis 9:25). According to Rodrigues, the Chinese people were descendants of Belus who "is the same as Nimrod, the grandson of Ham" who began to reign just after the confusion of tongues in Babel. The Chinese settled in their land after traveling "from the Tower of Babel straight after the Confusion of Tongues" and were "the first to develop ... astrology and other mathematical arts and other liberal and mechanical arts" (Rodrigues 2001:355). Especially the "science of judicial astrology" that Chinese Confucians still practice "after the fashion of the Chaldeans with figures of odd and even numbers" was "spread throughout the world by Ham, son of Noah" (p. 356). All this led Rodrigues to the expected conclusion:
According to this and the other errors that they [the Chinese] have held since then concerning God, the creation of the universe, spiritual substances, and the soul of man, as well as inevitable fate, the Chinese seem to be descendants of Ham, because he held similar errors and taught them to his descendants, who then took them with them when they set off to populate the world.


But how did such knowledge reach China? As Noah's descendants dispersed to populate the world after the Confusion of Tongues in Babylon, "the wiser families" according to Rodrigues took along such knowledge (and possibly also books) and proceeded to spread them throughout the world. In some places this knowledge was lost, but in others (like China) it was preserved (p. 378). If the transmission of genuine religion extended from God via Adam, Seth, and Enoch to Noah, how about the antediluvian transmission of false religion?
In addition to this astrological truth acquired through experience by the good sons of Seth, the wicked sons of Cain invented many conceits, innumerable superstitions, and errors .... they would commit many evil deeds and offences against God with the encouragement of the devil, to whom they had given themselves. For as it is written about him [Ham] and Cain, they were the first idolaters in the world and inventors of the magical arts. As he was evilly inclined, Ham, the son of Noah, was much given to this magical and judicial art, which he learnt from Cain's descendants before the Flood.

While the Chinese had safeguarded some useful scientific knowledge and the use of writing (p. 331) from the good transmission and thus had possibly managed to develop the world's earliest true writing system (p. 350), their religions, including Confucianism, unfortunately carried the strong imprint of Ham and the evil transmission. Rodrigues knew little about India, which he had only briefly visited on the way to Japan as a teenager. For him India's naked philosophers or gymnosophists and the Brahmans were all "disciples of Shaka's doctrine" (p. 360), and since Shaka (Shakyamuni Buddha) had "lived long before them," it was from him that they had learned such mistaken doctrines as that of a multitude of worlds (p. 360)... Rodrigues thus regarded all three religions of China as descendants of the Hamite line that ultimately goes back to Cain, the slayer of his brother Abel. Though Buddhism was transmitted via India and reached China later than Confucianism and Daoism, it had the same ultimate root and atheist core....

While Rodrigues fought against the ancient theology of Ricci and other Jesuits in China, a similar battle unfolded on the Indian subcontinent. In India, too, missionaries who were convinced that India's ancient religion belonged to the evil transmission fought against colleagues who believed that India had once been strictly monotheistic. The latter saw it as a land of pure primeval monotheism that, alas, had in time become clouded by the fumes of Brahmanic superstition. The most famous Jesuit in India to hold the latter view was Roberto DE NOBILl (1577-1656)...

On the losing side of the rites controversy, which came to a peak one century after Ricci in Voltaire's school years, were those who agreed with his idea that the ancient Chinese had from remote antiquity venerated God and abandoned pure monotheism only much later under the influence of Persian magic (Daoism) and Indian idolatry (Buddhism)
. They liked to evoke Ricci's statement about having read with his own eyes in Chinese books that the ancient Chinese had worshipped a single supreme God. In order to explain how this pure ancient religion had degenerated into idolatry, they cited Ricci's Story about the dispatch in the year 65 C.E. of a Chinese embassy to the West in search of the true faith (Trigault 1617:120-21). Instead of bringing back the good news of Jesus, the story went, the Chinese ambassadors had stopped short on the way and returned infected with the idolatrous teachings of an Indian impostor called Fo (Buddha). In the following centuries, this doctrine had reportedly contaminated the whole of East Asia and turned people away from original monotheism....

Ricci's extremist successors, the so-called Jesuit figurists, sought to locate the ancient monotheistic creed of the Chinese not just in Confucian texts but also in the Daoist Daodejing (Book of the Way and Its Power) and of course in the book that some believed to be the oldest extant book of the world, the Yijing (or I-ching; Book of Changes)....

The Jesuits of the Ricci camp thought that since genuine monotheism had existed in a relatively pure state at least until the time of Confucius, their role as missionaries essentially consisted in reawakening the old faith, documenting its "prophecies" regarding Christ, identifying its goal and fulfillment as Christianity, and eradicating the causes of religious degeneration such as idolatry, magic, and superstition. Ritual vestiges of ancient monotheism were naturally exempted from the purge and subject to "accommodation."

By contrast, the extremists in the victorious opposite camp of the Chinese Rites controversy held that -- regardless of possible vestiges of monotheism and prediluvian science -- divine revelation came exclusively through the channels of Abraham and Moses, that is, the Hebrew tradition, and was fulfilled in Christianity. This meant that the Old and New Testaments were the sole genuine records of divine revelation and that all unconnected rites and practices were to be condemned
. From this exclusivist perspective, the sacred scriptures of other nations could only contain fragments of divine wisdom if they had either plagiarized Judeo-Christian texts or aped their teachers and doctrines....

After the discovery of the Americas ("West Indies") (1492) and the exploration of the "East Indies" following Vasco da Gama's circumnavigation of Africa and arrival in India (1498), the possibility of finding pre-Mosaic texts containing vestiges of God's revelation in other civilized regions had to be considered seriously. Following the lead of Epiphanius, who had first identified the Brahmans as descendants of Abraham and Keturah (Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo 1797:63), Guillaume Postel ([510-81) speculated in his interesting book De originibus (On the Origins) that the Indian Brahmans ("Abrahmanes") are direct descendants of Abraham (Postel 1553b:68-69). Postel was the first to suggest that India might harbor extremely ancient scriptures that could finally bring "absolute clarity" to the Mosaic narrative. He thought that India was a land in which "infinite treasures of history and antediluvian books are hidden" and surmised that Enoch's books could be found there.... Though it remained unclear what texts and doctrines this oriental lineage of Abraham had actually transmitted or produced, the tantalizing possibility remained in the air that a kind of alternative (and possibly more ancient) Old Testament could exist in India....

[ I]n Voltaire's time there were still supporters of this rather effective way of incorporating the Indians (and other Asians linked to them) into the biblical lineage. One of them was Isaac Newton, who wrote in his famous Chronology that was studied by Voltaire,
This religion of the Persian empire was composed partly of the institutions of the Chaldaeans, in which Zoroastres was well skilled, and partly of the institutions of the ancient Brachmans; who are supposed to derive even their name from the Abrahamans, or sons of Abraham, born of his second wife Keturah, instructed by their father in the worship of ONE GOD without images, and sent into the east, where Hystaspes was instructed by their successors.

Another supporter of Postel's hypothesis was the Jesuit Jean Venant Bouchet (1655-1732), one of the major contributors to the large collection of Jesuit mission letters entitled Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, which was required reading for men like Voltaire, Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron, Constantin-Francois Volney, William Jones, and anyone interested in Asia and its religions.... these letters mark the onset of a gradual shift from interest in China -- which had dominated the second half of the seventeenth century and the first decades of the eighteenth century -- to the focus on India promoted by Voltaire ...

Voltaire's Sermon des cinquante, the earliest print of which has been backdated to 1749, is something like a prayer book of a society of fifty "pious and reasonable learned people" who meet every Sunday, pray together, and then listen to a sermon before dining and collecting money for the poor....

My brothers, religion is the secret voice of God who speaks to all human beings; it must unite them all, not divide them. Thus any religion that belongs only to a single people is false. Ours is in principle the religion of the entire universe; because we venerate a Supreme Being, like all nations do; we practice the justice which all nations teach, and we reject all the lies that the peoples accuse each other of. In agreement with them about the principle that unites them, we differ from them with regard to everything that makes them fight. The point that unites all people of all times must necessarily be the unique core of truth, and the points in which they differ, the standards of the religion must be in accordance with morality, and it must be universal like morality. Thus any religion that offends morality is necessarily false. It is under this double perspective of perversity and falsity that in this discourse we will examine the books of the Hebrews and those who have succeeded to them.

This pamphlet is Voltaire's deist manifesto, whose beginning already indicates that it entails a harsh indictment against Jewish and Christian exclusivism. It is an impassioned plea against the sects of Moses and Jesus and all their superstitions, divisions, hatred, persecutions, and brutality, and ends with a call to return to a pure, united religion:
Oh my brothers! can one commit such outrages against mankind? Have not our fathers already relieved the people from transubstantiation, the veneration of creatures and bones of the dead, and from oral confession, indulgences, exorcisms, false miracles, and ridiculous images? Have not the people become accustomed to be deprived of such superstition? One must have the courage to take some further steps. The people are not as idiotic as one might think. They will easily accept a wise and simple cult of a unique God that, we are told, the sons of Noah professed and all the sages of antiquity practiced, as all scholars in China accept.

Voltaire was a convinced deist, and the deists' creed was thoroughly inclusive: not just those born into a certain region or era or religion had received God's revelation but all humankind. True religion thus had to be natural religion, that is, the religion that God had poured into the heart of every human being. For this religion, the concept of universal consent was crucial, as the beginning of Voltaire's sermon shows: all nations and men belong to God's axis of good. Voltaire was not only in search of a universal history but also of a universal religion; and as soon as he embarked on his quest for a universal history during the 1740s, he also began to examine the religions of the world, particularly those of ancient Asia. Thanks to the writings of Ricci and his successors, he found that in China a pure veneration of God without any superstition and accompanied by excellent morality had once existed. However, as in other countries, this initial purity had become adversely affected through priestcraft and "the superstition of the bonzes" (Pomeau 1995:158). Voltaire was not interested in a simple extension of the biblical narrative to other countries, as was the case with the figurists in China or Father Bouchet in India who sought a link to a "good" son of Noah. That would have been tantamount to letting the Jews and their exclusivist divinity continue monopolizing human origins. For him it was not a question of the transmission of exclusively revealed truths or of the plagiarism of sacred scriptures in the sole possession of one people. Voltaire's eye was set on a true universal religion, a pure theism forming the root of all creeds....

Voltaire's search for vestiges of ancient monotheism thus formed part and parcel of his quest for a universal history that began in earnest in the 1740s....

When Voltaire in the early 1740s set out to write his Essai sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations et sur les principaux faits de l'histoire depuis Charlemagne jusqu'a Louis XIII (which in the following will simply be called Essai) ... it irked him no end that a few rather insignificant nations around the Mediterranean Sea had hijacked the early history of humankind....

Voltaire wanted to collect what his predecessors had neglected in order to furnish a truly universal history of "the customs of man and the revolutions of the human spirit". The first draft chapters of this new history dealt not with Adam and creation but with China and India...

From 1745 to the end of his life, Voltaire used the term "Bracmanes" or "Brachmanes" for the ancient clergy of India and "Bramins" for their modern successors. In 1745, he accused both the "Bonzes" (Buddhist clergy) and Brachmanes of fostering superstition, believing in metempsychosis or transmigration of souls and thus "spreading mindless stupidity [abrutissement] together with error": "Some of them are deceitful, others fanatic, and several of them are both;" and all "still prod, whenever they can, widows to immolate themselves on the body of their husbands".

We have already encountered several avatars of the idea that priests believe in a secret "inner" doctrine while misleading the people with "outer" lies and superstitious practices... Thus, it is by no means surprising that he adopted this very scheme in his 1745 portrait of Indian and Chinese religions. With regard to the Indians, Voltaire wrote,
These Brahmins, who maintain the populace in the most stupid idolatry nevertheless have in their hands one of the most ancient books of the world, written by one of their earliest sages, in which only one Supreme Being is recognized. They preserve with great care this testimony that condemns them....

Voltaire here probably amalgamated information about two Indian books from a letter of January 30, 1709, by Father Lalane included in the Lettres edifiantes et curieuses collection. The first concerns a book called Panjangan that proves the Indian recognition of one supreme being. ... Father Lalane wrote,
Based on the evidence from several of their books, it seems evident to me that they [the Indians] formerly had quite distinct knowledge of the true God. This is easy to see from the beginning of a book called Panjangan whose text I have translated word for word: "I venerate this Being that is subject neither to change nor anxiety [inquietude]; this Being whose nature is indivisible; this Being whose simplicity does not admit of any composition of qualities; this Being who is the origin and the cause of all beings and who surpasses all in excellence; this Being who is the support of the universe and the source of the three-fold power."

The second refers to the Veda, which Father Lalane described as follows:
The most ancient books, which contained a purer doctrine and were written in a very ancient language, were gradually neglected, and the use of this language has entirely disappeared. This is certain with regard to the book of religion called Vedam, which the scholars of the land understand no more; they limit themselves to reading it and to learning certain passages by heart, which they then pronounce in a mysterious manner to dupe the people more easily.

For Voltaire's China the same distinction applied. On one hand, he was enchanted with China's "morality, this obedience to the laws joined to the veneration of a supreme Being" that "form the religion of China, of its emperors and scholars [lettres]". In the 1745 Essai fragments, Confucius is said to have "established" this religion "which consists in being just and benevolent [bienfaisant]" and conveyed "the sanest ideas about the Divinity that the human spirit can form without revelation". As Voltaire did not believe in any divine revelation other than the laws of nature, reason, and the moral principles in everyone's heart, it is clear that in 1745 he regarded this idealized Confucianism as the model of a religion. On the other hand, China also had its superstitions for the masses. Sects like the cult of "Laokium" (Laozi; Daoism) that "believe in evil spirits and magic spells [enchantements]" and "the superstition of the Bonzes" who "offer the most ridiculous cult" to the Idol Fo (Buddha) are certainly not to the liking of the "magistrates and scholars who are altogether separate from the people." But these members of the elite who "nourish themselves with a purer substance" nevertheless insist that superstitious sects "be tolerated in China for use of the vulgar people, like coarse food apt to feed them". In Voltaire's religion there was no tolerance for intolerance.

Unlike the scattered chapters published in 1745, the 1756 Essai was the first complete version that Voltaire submitted to the public. ...

The most striking change in the Essai's India chapter is found at its end where Voltaire eliminated two passages that were cited above. The first is about the bonzes and brachmanes who spread mindless stupidity and are deceitful, fanatic, or both; and the second is about the brahmins who maintain the populace in the most stupid idolatry even though they safeguard a book that recognizes a supreme being. In place of such critique, Voltaire in 1756 almost justifies the Brahmins:
It would still be difficult to reconcile the sublime ideas which the brahmins preserve about the supreme being with their garrulous mythology [mythologie fabuleuse] if history would not show us similar contradictions with the Greeks and Romans. ...

For some reason, in this unlikely place Voltaire included new information on India...

Voltaire was now informed about some of the most striking features of Asian religions. He saw "almost all peoples steeped in the opinion that their gods have frequently joined us on earth": Vishnu had gone through nine incarnations, and the god of the Siamese, Sammonocodom (Buddha), reportedly took human form no less than 150 times. Voltaire noted that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had very similar ideas, and he sought to interpret this "error" amiably and monotheistically:
Such a rash, ridiculous, and universal error nevertheless comes from a reasonable feeling that is at the bottom of all hearts. One feels naturally one's dependence on a supreme being; and the error which always joins truth has almost everywhere caused people to regard the gods as lords who came at times to visit and reform their domains.

Another characteristic common to many religions is identified as atonement: "Man has always felt the need for clemency. This is the origin of the frightening penances to which the bonzes, brahmins, and fakirs subject themselves". For the Indian cult of the lingam, he also found Mediterranean counterparts in "the procession of the phallum of the Egyptians and the priapus of the Romans" . Voltaire thought it "probable that this custom was introduced in times of simplicity and that at first people only thought of honoring the divinity through the symbol of the life it gave to us". These interpretations show how eager Voltaire was to find vestiges of monotheism even in ideas and cults that not so long ago would have elicited harsh words of condemnation or ridicule. Now he not only tried to interpret them as signs of ancient monotheism but also pointed to an ancient source:
Would you believe that among so many extravagant opinions and bizarre superstitions these Indian heathens all recognize, as we do, an infinitely perfect being? Whom they call the being of beings, the sovereign being, invisible, incomprehensible, formless, creator, and preserver, just and merciful, who deigns to impart himself to the people to guide them to eternal happiness? These ideas are contained in the Vedam, which is the book of the ancient brachmanes. They are spread in modern books of the brahmins.

Voltaire then hints at the source of this information: "A learned Danish missionary on the coast of Tranquebar" who "cites several passages and several prayer formulae that seem to come from straightest reason and purest holiness." .... it appears that Voltaire got all this information from the book published in 1724 by Mathurin Veyssiere de LA CROZE (1661-1739)...

La Croze, a former Benedictine monk who had converted to Protestantism, had read early accounts of the sacred scriptures of India, the Vedas, and his status as Prussia's royal librarian helped him get access to a treasure trove of recent information on India's religions.
These were the unpublished manuscripts of the German Lutheran missionary Bartholomaus ZIEGENBALG (1682-1719), who in 1706 had arrived in South India as India's first Protestant missionary and spent thirteen years in the Danish enclave of Tranquebar on India's southeastern coast (Tamil Nadu). Just two months after his arrival, Ziegenbalg proclaimed in a letter what was to become the tenor of his extensive studies of Hinduism: "They have many hundreds of gods yet recognize only a single divine Being as the origin of all gods and all other things". This assertion of ancient Indian monotheism was not only repeated and documented in Ziegenbalg's manuscripts but also found its way into two of Voltaire's major sources, namely, La Croze (1724) and Niecamp (1745).

Near the beginning of La Croze's investigation about the "idolatry of the Indies," Voltaire read that "in spite of the grossest idolatry, the existence of the infinitely perfect Being is so well established with them [the Indians] that there is no room for doubt that they have preserved this knowledge since their first establishment in the Indies" (La Croze 1724:425). Calling the Indians "one of the oldest people on earth," La Croze thought it "a very probable fact that in ancient times they had a quite distinct knowledge of the true God and that they offered an inner cult [culte interieur] to him which was not mixed with any profanation"
. To find out more about this, La Croze suggested, one would have to get access to the Vedam, "which is the collection of the ancient sacred scriptures of the Brachmanes". In the Vedam "in all likelihood one would find the antiquities [Antiquitez] which the superstitiously proud Brahmins conceal from the people of India whom they regard as profane". Consequently, the Brahmins (the modern successors of the ancient Brachmanes) introduce ordinary people only to "the exterior of religion enveloped in legends [fables] that are at least as extravagant as those of Greek paganism". According to La Croze, the Vedam, which can be read only by Brahmins who are its guardians, "enjoys the same authority with these idolaters as the Sacred Writ does with us". Always following Ziegenbalg's and his fellow missionaries' manuscripts, La Croze quoted a passage "from one of the [Indian] books" about God whom the Indians call "Barabara Vistou, that is, the Being of Beings" (p. 452).29 La Croze did not identify this book, but Voltaire must have been so impressed by the information about the monotheistic Vedas that, in the 1756 Essai, he jumped to the conclusion (Voltaire 1756:3.206): "These ideas are contained in the Vedam, which is the book of the ancient brachmanes." In fact, the ideas mentioned by Voltaire -- "the being of beings, the sovereign being, invisible, incomprehensible, formless, creator, and preserver, just and merciful, who deigns to impart himself to the people to guide them to eternal happiness" -- were culled in almost identical sequence from a longer passage in La Croze, which reads as follows (words taken over by Voltaire are italicized):
The infinitely perfect Being is known to all these gentile pagans. They call it in their language Barabara Vastou, that is, the Being of Beings. Here is how they describe it in one of their books. "The Sovereign Being is invisible and incomprehensible, immobile and without shape or exterior form. Nobody has ever seen it; time has not included it: his essence fills all things, and all things have their origin from him. All power, all wisdom, all knowledge [science], all sanctity, and all truth are in him. He is infinitely good, just, and merciful. It is he who has created all, preserves all, and who enjoys to be among men in order to guide them to eternal happiness, the happiness that consists in loving and serving him." (La Croze 1724:452)

With regard to the lingam cult Voltaire also followed La Croze and indirectly Ziegenbalg. La Croze had explained that "the lingum ... is a symbolic representation of God ... but only represents God as he materializes himself in creation," while Voltaire speculated that this cult "was introduced in times of simplicity and that at first people only thought of honoring the divinity through the symbol of the life it gave to us".

At this point, Voltaire leaned toward India as the earliest human civilization (1756:1.30) and believed that the most ancient text of this civilization was called Vedam and contained a simple and pure monotheism. So he must have been elated when a reader of his 1756 Essai, Louis-Laurent de Federbe, Chevalier (later Comte) DE MAUDAVE (1725-77), wrote to him from India two or three years after publication of the Essai. Maudave had left in May 1757 for India and in 1758 participated in the capture of Fort St. David and the siege of Madras (Rocher 1984:77). While stationed in South India, Maudave had gotten hold of French translations from the Vedam and decided to write a letter to Voltaire. Having read the Japan chapter of the 1756 Essai, he knew how interested Voltaire was in finding documentation for ancient Indian monotheism through the Vedam. In the margin of a page of his Ezour-vedam manuscript (which he later passed on to Voltaire), Maudave scribbled next to two prayers to God: "Copy these prayers in the letter to M. de Voltaire" (p. 80). Though these prayers are not found in the extant fragment of Maudave's letter, it is likely that Maudave included them in order to document the existence of pure monotheism in the Vedam. The second major point of Voltaire's 1756 Essai that Maudave addressed in his letter was the cult of the lingam. In his discussion, Maudave quoted the Ezour-vedam as textual witness and offered to send Voltaire a replica of a Linga and a copy of the Ezour-vedam.

Maudave's letter to Voltaire described the Ezour-vedam as a dialogue written by the author of the Vedas: "This Dialogue presupposes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams, that he wrote them to countervail the empty superstitions that spread among men and, above all, to halt the unfortunate progress of idolatry" (p. 49). Maudave also specifically mentioned the author of the text's French translation: "Its author is Father Martin, the former Jesuit missionary at Pondichery" (p. 49). Since this missionary had died in Rome in 1716, Maudave must have thought that the translation from the Sanskrit original was about fifty years old. This missionary connection clearly disturbed Maudave. First of all, a strange agreement with Christian doctrine made Maudave suspicious about the quality of the translation. More than that, he let Voltaire know that his doubts were specifically connected with the tendency of the translator's Jesuit order to find traces of their own faith in just about every part of the world -- in Chinese books, in Mexico, and even among the savages of South America (p. 80)! Maudave had carefully studied the Jesuit letters including those of Calmette that announced the dispatch of the four Vedas to Paris and wrote the following about their content to Voltaire:
This body of the religion and regulations of the country is divided in four books. There is one at the Royal Library. The first contains the history of the gods. The second the dogmas. The third the morals. The fourth the civil and religious rites. They are written in this mysterious language which is here discussed and which is called the Samscrout.


What puzzled Maudave above all was that this information about the content of the Vedas was in total contradiction with what he saw in the Ezourvedam. He wrote to Voltaire that the Ezour-vedam was a dialogue between two Brahmes, one of whom "believes in the religion of the Indies" while the other "defends the unity of God". Maudave thought "this dialogue assumes that Chumontou is the author of the Vedams and that he wrote them to remedy the vain superstitions that spread among men and above all to stop the unfortunate progress of idolatry". The Chumontou of the Ezour-vedam was both a fierce critic of rites and seemed to be the author of the Vedams. Maudave observed, "Here there is a very manifest contradiction since one book of the Vedams contains all the religious rites of which the cult of God forms a part"....

He was suspicious of some kind of foul play and continued:
In spite of this [contradiction], I admit that the manuscript is quite singular. But I find in it propositions about the unity of God and the creation of the universe that are too direct and too conforming to our sacred scriptures to have complete trust in the fidelity of the translation. If you have some interest in seeing this manuscript, I will have it copied and will send it to you....


On the occasion of Maudave's visit to Voltaire in late September or early October 1760, Voltaire received the Ezour-vedam along with an additional text called Cormo-Vedam....

In 1762 Voltaire's nephew, Abbe Vincent Mignot, mentioned the Ezourvedam in two of his five papers read at the Royal Academy of Inscriptions about the ancient philosophers of India. He thought that India had been inhabited earlier than Egypt but traced both the Indian and Egyptian religions back to the plain of Shinar (Sennaar) near the landing spot of Noah's ark. For Mignot the Ezour-vedam proved the early presence of monotheism in ancient India; in support of this view, he quoted one of its prayers: "You are the savior, the father, and the lord of the world; you see everything, you know everything, you rule over everything". But some readers of the Ezour-vedam manuscript also noted a number of strange passages that betrayed a Western author. For example, Anquetil-Duperron remarked that Chumontou "does no more than to confront them [Indian legends] with the doubts of a philosopher who cannot be held to represent the religion of India" and detected some passages that clearly stemmed from a European. But as early as 1762, Abbe Mignot made the connection between the Ezour-vedam and the monotheistic "gnanigol." In one of his papers on the ancient philosophers of India, he described these Indians as modern successors of the ancient Brachmans. They are "intimately convinced of God's oneness" and are regarded as "the sages and saints of India" who "openly reject the cult of idols and all superstitious practices of the nation in order to worship only God whom they call 'Being of beings' [l'etre des etres]". In 1771 Anquetil-Duperron published his opinion that the text's author was one of these "Ganigueuls" or "gnanigol" described by Ziegenbalg and La Croze, and this opinion was later supported in the preface to the Ezour-vedam's first printed edition of 1778 where Sainte-Croix informed the readers:
Everywhere in the Ezour-Vedam we find the principal articles of the doctrine of the Ganigueuls ... and therefore one cannot doubt that it was a philosopher of this sect who composed this work. A man immersed in the darkness of idolatry reports, under the name of Biache, the most accepted fables of India and exposes the entire system of popular theology of this country. The philosopher Chumontou rejects this mythology as contrary to good sense, or because he has not read of it in the ancient books, and expounds the fabulous accounts in a moral sense .... Responding to the questions of Biache, the Ganigueul philosopher explains the doctrine of the unity of God, creation, the nature of the soul, the dogma of punishment and reward in a future state, the cult appropriate for the supreme being, the duties of all states, etc....


Four years after the Ezour-vedam's 1778 publication, Sonnerat described it as "definitely not one of the four Vedams" and as "a book of controversy, written by a missionary of Masulipatam" who "tried to reduce everything to the Christian religion". In 1784, Gottfried Less wrote that the text reminds us of the Bible, must be based on that source, and is distinctly European and specifically French both in content and expression. Barely eight years after the Ezour-vedam's publication and Voltaire's death, August Hennings claimed that "today no one believes any longer in the authenticity of the Ezurvedam"....

The Ezour-vedam is set up as a conversation between Chumontou (Sumantu) and Biache (Vyasa). Like Ricci's Western scholar, Chumontou presents himself as a reformer who wants to restore primeval monotheism to its pristine purity. The interlocutor Biache represents the degeneration of primeval purity into idolatry, polytheism, and priestcraft. Many of the themes discussed in the Ezour-vedam show such a strong Christian slant that one readily understands why Maudave wrote to Voltaire from India that he found the manuscript strange because it reminded him so much of the Bible and conformed so suspiciously to Jesuit mission strategy. A good example is the following explanation by Chumontou about the difference between man and animal that could hardly be more un-Indian:
In creating man, God has created everything for his use. The animals have been created to serve him. Trees, plants, fruit, the different foodstuffs and in the end everything on earth has been made to cater to his needs. The distress and pain that animals feel is inseparable from their state since they are made to serve man; but they are not a [karmic] effect or consequence of sin. Here is why: the punishment of sin is eternal in its nature but the distress that animals feel is only temporary. Trees, etc., do not have a soul and are thus incapable of committing sins. However vile and despicable man may be, he has a soul and is always endowed with reason. He has a propensity for sin, commits it, and after death he reaps eternal punishment. Likewise with virtue: a good man practices it during his life; and the moment of death is the happy instant when he begins to taste the fruit [of virtue] and to enjoy it in all eternity....


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