Monday, July 30, 2012




H. M. Solicitor-General, Ceylon.


    How interesting to every thoughtful person is the problem whether his life is carrying him to the proper goal or not? The mind that runs indiscreetly with the senses, as they go a-hunting for sights, sound, smell, touches and tastes, is much too occupied with external things to grasp the importance of this issue. When the senses get wearied of their respective works, they fall asleep and rise freshened for the hunt again. At a later stage of existence, when the evils of self-indulgence have been repeatedly felt and much pain caused thereby to the mind, it refuses to run promiscuously with the senses, and the senses, deprived of the willing support of the mind, remain proportionately undrawn by sense objects. It is at this period of comparative peace that the mind comes to know its separateness from the senses and its capacity for righteous work by control of the senses formation of sound thoughts, and correlation of them in the way that leads to the discovery of what lies under the surface of things. What is the first deep truth learnt in this manner, as the result or fruit of worldly experience, by the analytic mind which refuses to be in bondage to the senses? It is this – the beauty of things perceived by the senses turns into ugliness and the joys arising from them change into sorrows. The more clearly one sees that the attractions from a contemplation of them, are as perishable as quick-sand heaps in a flowing river, the more urgent to him becomes the solution of the problem whether his life is carrying him to the proper destination or not. For if the mind is convinced that it is folly to be wedded too deeply to things perceivable by the senses, owing to the certainty of their decay and disappearance, it will assuredly turn from such passing shows and look eagerly for something more real in the world to occupy itself with, and delight in, without the interruptions of sorrow, anger and hate. Such is the experience of men and women on whom the truth has dawned that beautiful forms and sensuous pleasures wither like the grass of the filed. It is to this class of persons that the question of the miscarriage of life will be of interest.

    We have next to consider what life means in such expressions as "the miscarriage of life," "the right use of life," and "is life worth caring for?" In regard to these phrases, which, be it noted, rise instinctively to the lips of those who are not too fond of sensuous enjoyments, it will not do to think of life as a round of pleasures, or as joys mixed with sorrows, or as animate existence with its phases of growth and decay. None of these meanings will help us to answer rightly the question raised, for in it is involved the profound truth, little known to the sensuous-minded, but universally attested by sanctified as an incontrovertible fact, that souls have been endowed with instruments of breath, knowledge, and action, as well as different spheres of training (such as home, school and profession, married life and society, Government and politics, industry and amusement), for the beneficent purpose of emancipating themselves from corruption; and therefore, unless "life" is taken to mean the aggregate of those ministers of the soul who labor for it, the question whether one's "life" is "carrying" one to his destination or not, cannot be answered properly.

    The truth that "life," in one of its deeper senses, means the ministers of the soul, has been recognized by thoughtful men in the West. About thirty years ago, when the views of Schopenhauer and Hartmann began to prevail and the question "Is life worth living?" became the topic of the day, it was conceded that "life" was a mystery in all forms, vegetable, animal and human and various were the solutions offered in the monthly magazines of the period. Speaking of human life, St. George Mivart said: "An inevitable instinct impels us all to seek our own happiness and to gratify our passions and desires, though we are by no means compelled always in all cases to choose whatever we most like. Yet, however we may suffer ourselves to be borne passively along the pleasure seeking current, our reason can even while we are so borne along, ask the question: Are we rational if we acquiesce in happiness as the supreme and deliberate aim of our life? The answer of reason to itself must surely be that the rational end of life is that which should be its end i.e., which ought to be its end; and 'ought' is meaningless without the conception "duty." He came to the conclusion that "life" meant fulfillment of duty; for such fulfillment the will should be exercised in accordance with reason and apart from the pleasures of the moment; and that the exercise of the will in this manner was the highest act of which we are capable, and that to which all our lower passions and faculties minister (art. on "The Meaning of Life," in the Nineteenth Century, March, 1879).

    Reason and will are, indeed, most important parts of life. But life is more than reason and will, for the "life" of a man is said to be extinct when his "breath" ceases to function in the body. What is this "breath"? It is not a passing breeze chased away by another which follows it. The breath of life, that is, the "breath" called "life" (as in the expression "the continent of Europe," which means the continent called Europe) is not a passing gust, but an aerially-constituted power which expires and inspires in a settled rhythmic manner, while located in the body, and which in the act of inspiring draws the atmospheric air into the channels of the body, and in the act of expiring expels it in regular succession, and which further makes many other delicate adjustments conducive to the safety and proper working of the mind and body. It is called prana in Sanskrit, or life, or the principle of breath, or the breather, because, say the sages, it is not only powerful but also intelligent in its own way, and accommodates itself to every conceivable position, and keeps order among other aerially-constituted powers within us, when disarrangements takes place. Sages skilled in pranayama yoga, or the art of breath-control, and their apt pupils, are equally certain that the prana (or the breath named life) in the body permeates every other instrument of the soul, and imparts to them both initiatory movement and endurance in their respective works. Hence the word prana, or life, is often used to include all its colleagues.

    The greatest of these colleagues is the mind (manas), the thinker, or the intelligent and powerful entity which makes thought out of sense-percepts, and correlates them in the most wonderful manner. In the Bhagavad Gita is declared the truth that the mind is the instrument by which the resurrection of the soul or spirit is affected. "The uplifting of the soul (atma uddharanam) from corruption has to be done by the mind. Since mind only is the ally of the soul, and mind only the enemy of the soul, the mind should not be made impure by letting it run on sensuous things" (vi. 5). A mind that capers about indiscreetly with the senses becomes quite useless for the edification of the soul. It cannot build it up in love and light. If the ministers of the soul do not assiduously keep themselves clear of the pollutions of worldliness, which is another name for that element of corruption in man which implies him to be selfish and to indulge freely in the grosser forms of sensuous enjoyments, they will not be able to guide or carry the soul to its proper haven of Light and Love. Overcome by the wild fancies of ignorance and haste, they will drift further and further away from that glorious port with their precious charge. This drifting away of the mind into sensuous planes, and its inability to serve the spirit as it should, is the meaning of the life miscarrying." It must be carefully remembered that we are now concerned with inner not outward things; that the Light and Love to be reached, as well as the soul and its guides or carriers, are housed in the body; that the journey of life does not mean the movement of the body from one place to another in the objective world but the turning of the mind from things worldly to things godly, and the awakening of the soul to a knowledge of God, and that unless the mind and the other ministers of the soul are cultured and strengthened, under the direction of the apt teachers, for lawful and loveful works, they cannot quicken the soul, i.e., make the soul to recognize its fallen condition and rise to its own spiritual state so as to know (as only it can know) and be and one with God, the Eternal Being, who is in all, through all, and above all, who is imperceptible to the senses and unthinkable by the mind, but who is knowable by the purified soul. It is positively true that the awakening of the soul to God does not take place till the interest of its ministers turns from the things of the spirit (soul). The moment the mind's attention or gaze is fixed steadily inwards, the soul awakens, like the lotus-bud in the morning sun, and gives all its energy to the study of itself and its relationship with God and the subjective and objective worlds.

    The solution of the problem of the miscarriage of life thus necessitates a careful examination and ascertainment of

    (1)    The being and properties of the soul;

    (2)    The nature of the corrupt power which holds the soul in bondage;

    (3)    The being and ways of God, who mercifully emancipation the soul and takes if back, when purified, to be in constant fellowship with Him;

    (4)    The nature and function of the different instruments with which the soul is endowed for the attainment of spiritual freedom;

    (5)    The spheres of training ordained for the culture and purification of the instruments of the soul; and

    (6)    The special methods by which the soul may be sanctified, that is, isolated from all the entanglements of corruption.

    This is a severe course of study and training which will tax one's powers to the utmost, but it is fully worth the trouble, because it is the very kind of education which, when combined with experience in godliness, leads to actual knowledge of God and to a complete emancipation from sorrow, anger, fear and hate.

    Supposing we have students qualified in mind and body to hear and understand the truths relating to spiritual life, our first duty to them is to free them from the vain convictions to which they have been bred from their infancy – to disentangle them from the bonds of common mistake as well as of learned ignorance. Every land and age has its own obstructions to the comprehension and practice of the principles of true life. The difficulties which beset the seeker in India at the present day, for instance, are different from those of the seeker in Europe. A consideration of the main causes of the miscarriage of life in India – such as, firstly, the corporeal caste system which has all but strangled the intellectual caste system taught by sages under the name of Varnasrama Dharma, for the practical advancement of all who would be spiritual in every part of the globe; and, secondly, the utter forgetfulness of the truth that the works section of the Vedas and Agamas was designed only for awakening the spirit to a knowledge of itself and of God – is not called for in this paper. For the present we must concern ourselves with the obstacles in Christendom to spiritual progress.

    In Western lands there is little effort made to distinguish between the kernel and the shell – the essence and the excrescences – of religion. Notwithstanding the assurance of Christ Jesus that His doctrines existed from the foundation of the world, those who call themselves Christians attach the greatest importance to the history of verbal controversies in the different centuries following His era. More than thirty years ago, Mr. Gladstone bewailed "the singularly multiform and confused aspect of religious thought in Christendom," and said: "At every point there start into action multitudes of aimless or erratic forces, crossing and jostling one another, and refusing not only to be governed, but even to be classified. Any attempt to group them, however slightly and however roughly, if not hopeless, is daring" (art. on 1876). The numerous controversies which have arisen in and out of Christian councils are due to the literary ability as well as the spiritual ignorance of those learned in the words of the Bible. Not being delivered from "the oldness of the letter," as observed by St. Paul, which corresponds to the purva paksham of Indian epistemology, they have been too prone to differentiate and too contentious, and this attitude of the mind is fatal to the religious life itself. Such persons know not what religion truly is, and are therefore addicted to the habit of attaching needless importance to unessential growths in Christian belief. Narrow in mind, they seek to monopolize God, though He is everywhere, and has manifested Himself from the remotest times, a eons before Jesus was sanctified and sent into Judaea, up to the present day, to everyone who has renounced at heart the deceptive attractions of the world and longed for grace. How few in Christendom know that religion does not consist in words, professions, and ceremonies, but in heartfelt longing for the Imperishable Substrate of all things! The names and forms, ideals and practices of every creed, are intended only to create a love for God, a bond of union between God and man. Religion, from religare, to bind, is the love-bond which unites man to God. This love of God is the essence of religion. When it has arisen in the heart, it is destined to grow fuller and fuller by association with godly men and by frequent meditation on things spiritual, and to enter into union with Love Infinite, even as a river fed by perennial streams is bound to join the ocean, howsoever distant. Articles of faith and dogmatic teachings, being only methods for causing the love of God to spring in the heart, are not religion in the highest sense of the term, for the religious man is he who lives for god through love of God. He is not controversial, defiant, or monopolizing. He is not jealous that God has manifested Himself beyond the bounds of his own sect. He welcomes with joy the tidings of divine grace where so ever shown, for he knows that his God lives and reigns far beyond his own little neighbourhood.

    Another grand difficulty in the West is the triumvirate of theology, philosophy, and science, which have made skeptics and agnostics of seekers by thousands. For fifteen centuries after the days of Jesus, the people implicitly believed the bishops and clergy of the Church. But when the fierce controversies of the Reformations arose, and the current of thought initiated by Bacon, Descrates, Locke and others began to flow steadily, widened by the discoveries of physical science and astronomy, the intelligent among the faithful were dismayed to find that the authorities of the Church were not, in the words of St. Paul, "apt to teach or convince the gainsayers." Their faith was shaken when the increasing sense of law produced by the study of physical sciences forced them "more and more to attribute all the phenomena that meet them in actual life or history to normal, rather than to abnormal, agencies" (Lecky's History of Raionalism in Europe ch. iii). They could not believe in abnormal revelations and miracles, nor accept the usual interpretations of the hard sayings of the Bible. The ancient claim of theology to speak with authority on all subjects of inquiry was rejected, and indeed relinquished. "It restricts itself to the region of faith, and leaves to philosophy and science the region of inquiry" (History of Philosophy, Prolog. 1). In this field of free investigation, science deals with demonstrable or verifiable facts only, and philosophy consists of the interpretations of such facts and their possible causes, as also of purely speculative thought respecting things that transcend the senses. The West is ruled by this strange coalition. But there is no cohesion or consistency in it. The standpoints of view of the theologian, the philosopher, and the scientist are different from each other. The theologian proclaims God as the goal of life, believing the testimony of the Biblical sages. The philosopher and the scientist have no such belief or goal, being prepared to go wherever the imaginative or hypothetical reasoning of the one, or the matter-of-fact experiment (on bodies perceivable by the senses) of the other, takes them. "We have scanned the heavens and the earth but we have no evidence of God's existence; we do not know Him," say they. It is thus not difficult to see that the so-called triumvirate is a house divided against itself. The three powers confound and unsettle each other, and everyone else, by their discordant notes. Hence, it is usual in the West to say "Science declares so and so, philosophy so and so, and theology so and so; and now what do you say?" And the reply is: "I don't know, I am sure, but I think it is so and so." What progress is possible in this unsettled state of knowledge, in this reign of controversy?

    Nevertheless, the West is firmly persuaded that it is progressing satisfactorily. It is proud of its "success" in industry, science, and politics, and claims to have created, and to live in, an age of progress. "Fifty years of ever-broadening commerce, fifty years of ever-brightening science, and fifty years of ever-widening empire," represents the cry of those who are satisfied with material prosperity, even though its silver lines are set on a background of invalid poverty and lawless schemes of revolution. Are we really living in an age of progress, or is it only a flattering fancy which obstructs a true perspective of life and lulls people to slumber in error, in imminent peril of losing a life's opportunity? The subject is worthy of careful analysis.

    What is the true position of Western nations in regard to what is called industrial progress?

    Industry is the diligent employment of the mind, hand, and eye (or any other sense) on the production of something that is useful or ornamental; and industrial progress is the constant exercise of the creative talent upon the production of things for sensuous enjoyment. To the producer his occupation brings some money by the sale of his work, so that he is able to supply himself and those whom he loves with the needs and comforts of the body. A more enduring return to the steadfast worker is the improvement of his mind. When it is set upin industrial work regularly, it becomes steady, sharp, and discriminating, and therefore thinks straight and sees clear especially if it is literate and law-abiding. It then becomes reflective. During this stage of introspection it discovers signs of the spirit within, and its interest in matters concerning the spirit grows to be keen. Even as in days gone by the mind stood united to the things of the flesh, it now prefers union with the spirit. Once carnally minded and therefore disturbed easily, given to hate, wanting in restfulness and crass inn understanding, it is now spiritually-minded, and therefore forgiving, charitable, peaceful, and enlightened. This is the history of the mind set on industrial work. That work, done ably and with a law-abiding heart, is indeed the way to the goal called spiritual-mindedness, or that state of the mind wherein it does not allow itself to be drawn this way or that way by the likes and dislikes of the body, but remains true to the spirit, which is love and light.

    Two classes of benefits flow from industrial work, one external and the other internal. The external benefits are the supplying of increased comforts and conveniences to the body and the embellishing of houses and cities. But these are all perishable. Taught to make bubbles out of soap and water, a boy gave his mind to that work, blew the bubbles through his tube, and contemplated them as they floated gaily in the air. The hand that worked to produce the glittering effect rested, as the mind and eye watched the vainglorious thing fading in the distance. The boy felt happy, but that happiness was as fleeting as the bubble itself. In a similar way did Alexander the Great and Napoleon the First project empires, which rose and burst even as they were looking on. The external benefits of work, industrial or political, are comparatively of little value to the worker himself. To him, far more important is the internal benefit accruing to the mind which has done its work ably and justly. Such a mind, being cleansed and strengthened, becomes qualified for the higher work of calm reflection and meditation, by which alone the spirit within may be found. If men, individually or collectively, rest content with the external benefits of industrial work, without striving hard for the internal benefits also, the chief end of industrial work will be missed.

    The expansion of the industrial arts at home and the attainment of commercial supremacy abroad are not commendable if they stand divorced from spirituality. The spread of perishable wares for the convenience and adornment of perishable bodies is vain if the producers and carriers of them do not know how to save their souls from wreck and rain in the vide seas of sensuousness and mean competition, and if the consumers of the goods do not take care to buy only what they really need and so prevent the pampering of the senses, which promotes the growth of emotion, irreverence, and frivolity. The industry and commerce of England, which are said to be the "foundation of her pride," are, in the absence of love for the welfare of the spirit, like fuel to the fire of sensuousness, which, alas! has been burning in the people for some centuries, and slowly withering what is holy and beautiful in them. If the artisans and traders of the country live for the spirit, while working hard for the maintenance of the body and the improvement of the cities, they will be a shining light and perpetual source of joy to their brethren at home and to everyone else abroad.

    Next comes this question – How does the West stand in truth in regard to what is called scientific progress?

    With the microscope, telescope, and the chemical-tube the man of Western science assays all things perceivable by the senses turns into horse power the manifestations of nature, called of old "flesh" and utilizes its brute forces either for the more rapid production and transport of commodities, or for the destruction of enemies by novel implements of warfare. The scope of Western science is thus limited, as in the case of the industrial arts, to that which relates to the body. Its methods of inquiry prevent it from the study of the invisible spirit. Though it recognizes the fact that the visible came from the invisible, it declines to predicate anything of the invisible. It says nothing of the spirit, or of the bondage of the spirit to darkness, or of the extrication of the spirit there from. It has no spiritual discernment. Indeed, it does not know what that expression means. It has not heard of, much less experienced, the fact that there are three kinds of knowledge available; firstly, what the spirit knows through the senses; secondly, what it knows through the deductions of the mind; and thirdly, what it knows directly, without the intervention of the senses or the mind. Western science is ignorant of the distinction between worldly knowledge and godly knowledge. Worldly knowledge consists of the reports of the senses and the inferences of the mind; and godly knowledge consists of what the soul only can know when it stands isolate – as most assuredly it can be due culture – from the senses and the mind. Western science is wholly ignorant of this isolation or alone becoming of the soul, so well-known to sanctified sages, and called by them in Sanskrit Kaivalyam, Santi, Ekatvam, and in Greek Monogeneia. Ignorant of the absolute existence of the invisible spirit and of its capacity to know God during isolation, and to know the world in combination with the senses and the mind, and obliged by the particular methods of inquiry which Western science has imposed upon itself, it disowns the spirit, the most real thing in the universe. There is no justification in truth for remaining in this state of agnosticism and continuing to be an ally of atheism. If it would only step out of its narrow sense-plane and study under proper guidance the deep-lying truths of the larger soul-plane, called the kingdom of the spirit, as assiduously as it has studied the secrets of the kingdom of nature, what a change would there be in the heart of all Europe! It should pass from carnal-mindedness, and that bondage of the intellect to the senses which is complacently called rationalism, to spiritual-mindedness, poise, and love of God. Its cities would be abodes of righteousness and peace, and not of selfishness, strife, and gnawing desire. Then, indeed, should we speak of the glories of scientific progress.

    And now of political progress.

    In the East the populace admit that, owing to want of means and leisure, they are obliged to forego the advantages of learning and culture save in exceptional cases. Respecting the law as the doctrine of neighborly love enforced by the government of the country, they mind their own business, and rely patiently and trustfully on the guidance of their spiritual teachers and the consideration of the wealthy and the learned who are themselves not unmindful of the spirit. This ideal of living in the world, not for the pampering of the senses but for the purification of the spirit and for its development in love and true knowledge, necessarily involves not only a genuine obedience to the law and to every constituted authority, such as parent, teacher, employer, magistrate, and other rulers of the people, but also a constant desire to practice forbearance on the part of both the rulers and the ruled. In these circumstances the word "Government" does not mean one body of people domineering over another body, but all classes of minds governing themselves by the dictates of neighborly love as interpreted by time honored customs.

    The early history of man proves that social relationships originally rested on consanguinity, common language, and common worship, and that any new question which did not come within the purview of an existing custom had to be decided by the unanimous consent of all the heads of families which formed the brotherhood. In the West also this rule of unanimity prevailed in ancient times in the settlement of public questions, and a survival of it in the present day may be seen in trial by jury. But the ties of blood, language, and worship, which conduce to unity of sentiment and action, become ineffective for that end when foreign ideals have been allowed to take root in the minds of the people. The introduction of strange principles in a homogeneous community leads to the suppression or modification of established modes of thought and the espousal of new opinions. In this conflict of thought it is impossible to determine questions affecting the welfare of the mixed people by the rule of unanimity, which is founded on love. A new rule was necessary for the adjustment of differences arising in a polity composed of heterogeneous masses and interests, and the rough and ready rule of majority, based on the force of members, was chosen. The two rules are different in kind. Unanimity involves mutual concession, but the majority in agreement means the rejection of the wishes of the minority. The former rule gives satisfaction all round and broadens love in the heart; but the latter quenches love and breeds resentment in the party defeated. To persons who prize the spiritual qualities of self-effacement, patience, and forbearance, the rule of majority is positively unholy, desecrating; but it looks natural to those who are not spiritual-minded, and to those who have backslidden from spirituality to secularity. And what is meant by the secularization of politics? A polity which lives for this world only, and is ever in a hurry to wield power and secure for itself the perishable things of sensuous life by short cuts, esteeming it a virtue to be self-assertive, and to bawl, and smash in order to have its own way against the cherished desires and needs of others, is said to be "secularized."

    Political progress in the West means nothing more than the victories of majorities over minorities in parliament, diet, or senate. It does not mean a series of well-chosen measures for the development of righteousness and the expansion of love in the individual. Many of the triumphs of majorities have indeed abated or suppressed tyranny and other forms of abuse of political power, but who can tell how many blessings have been lost to the world by the defeat of minorities? It is usual to speak highly of the Reform Act of 1832, but for some years past it has been seen to be the means by which the government of the empire is passing into the hands of common laborers', and the cause of many a coming storm in the sea of socialism. Some fifty years earlier than the Reform Act happened the French Revolution, which secured for the masses with it called "political equality." The true meaning of this expression is little known. It denotes the idea that one human body is as good as another, that the body of a prime minister is no better than that of his coachman or footman. It ignores the deeper truth that minds in human bodies are really of different orders of intelligence and ability, and that therefore it is wrong, in the nature of things, to invest one order of minus with the work which is suitable only to another order. In a family it is the parents who must rule, because their minds see further and are less influenced by currents of selfishness or other disturbing factors than the minds of their children. Even so, in the Government of a polity, it is the most enlightened and capable minds that should be entrusted with the power of directing its affairs. It is ruinous in the highest degree to invite the unlearned, the fickle, the impatient, and the irascible, who form the majority of the world, either to rule the country or to elect representatives for that purpose. Only those who are behind the scenes know the ingenious, costly, and difficult contrivances by which the evils and dangers of popular government are sought to be minimized or averted – by which the enfranchised populace are attempted to be "snared and taken" by a comparatively small body of men who are actuated by public spirit, or who believe themselves to be fit to guide the people and represent their interests in parliament. The work of teaching the people the nature of the public questions as they rise from time to time, and the work of carrying them safely to the poll, involve most anxious thought, strenuous labor and heavy expenditure of money on the part of this small body of men, who employ thousands of agents to go along, and convert, the people. Thus arises the enthralling game of politics in the West. The aim of each player is to make his party take up his cry, and the aim of each party is to make the majority of the people take up that cry. When that is achieved, the ruling ministers who form the Government are expected to give effect to the wishes of the majority by legislative enactment or executive order; and if they do not, they should resign office and make room for another ministry. In this wise is maintained the never-ending political drama. It is exciting, and often amusing and is commonly believed to be a struggle for the liberty of the people.

    "The great characteristic of modern politics," said Mr. W. E. H. Lecky, "is the struggle for political liberty in its widest sense – the desire to make the will of the people the basis of the Government – the conviction that a nation has a right to alter a government that oppose its sentiment." But surely the will of the people is not the will of a little more than half its number; nor can the liberty of the majority, which involves the slavery of the minority, be justly called political liberty. It is this strange medley of freedom and bondage which stands proudly in the West for political progress. One of its worst features is that the middle and the cultured classes, who form the most sensible part of the nation, are without political power owing to their smallness in number. "They have as little power now," said Mr. Walter Bagehot," as they had before 1832; and the only difference is that before 1832 they were ruled by those richer than themselves, and now they are ruled by those poorer." If they desire for legislative or Municipal power, they must woo and win the populace in the way the latter like, and that way is the profane way that sickens the gentle and the righteous.

    It is not difficult now to see true meaning of the saying that we are living in an age of progress. It simply means we are living in an age which, for want of proper judgment and poise, believes in change of any kind as a sure remedy for the tedium of work and idleness, and whose appetite is therefore keenly set on all those mechanical improvements which have been invented from day to day for facilitating business or amusement. Such an age, having no adequate conception of the evils of luxury or of the greatness of work for its own sake, takes no pains to restrain the senses when they distract the mind, or to abate the play of the imagination as a means of conserving one's energy. It does not know the truth that sensuousness unfits the mind for its proper work of uplifting the soul. It claims to make us better today than we were yesterday, and to make us better tomorrow than we are today but that is only better in food, raiment, wealth, household furniture, equipage, social position, and rank, - to be better in all that relates to the glorification of the perishable body, but not in anything that conduces to the purity of the eternal spirit. In this betterment of the body, the poor are striving hard to keep pace with the middle classes, the middle classes with the richer classes, the rich man with the millionaire, and the millionaire with the multi-millionaire. This feverish desire to earn more and spend more on the feeding and dressing of the body, and supplying it and the senses with every object of gratification, is robbing all classes of the people, from the highest to the lowest, of that peace of mind and poise which are essential to the safety of the body, as well as of the spirit. The nervous restlessness which characterizes life in Western cities is not the mark of true progress or sound civilization. This is felt to be so by the cultured few in those very cities, who are puzzled and amazed at the "up-t-date" craze, which is slowly but surely quenching the spirit, and so ruining the most valuable asset alike of the individual and the nation.

    It is folly to call this wide expansion of sensuousness and worldliness an Age of Progress. Sages declare that cities get filled with the rural population when love of finery and amusement dominate the minds of the people. The flight of the peasantry from agricultural holdings into towns, known already to be too full of the unemployed and unemployable, is like the rush of insects into a bonfire lit in a tropical night, and affords positive proof that the spread of sensuous ideals is breaking up the very foundations of society. The steady backsliding of every class into deeper depths of worldliness, irreligion, and frivolity, is utterly inconsistent with true progress of true civilization by which is meant the ideas and practices which consciously uplift a nation from the corruption of sensuousness and unrighteousness to a higher plane of live, where reverence for the spirit and its careful extrication from the mazes of worldliness are the chief aims of human existence.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


    The Indian Vedic Literature consists of:-

    (1)    The books commonly known as the four Vedas, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva;

    (2)    The Brahmanas, subsequent writings that explain, illustrate and direct the ritualistic use of the old texts or hymns of the Vedas;

    (3)    Agamas.

    (4)    The Upanishads, appended to the Brahmanas and intended to bring out more fully and systematically the reference in the earlier writings to the great problems of the universe.

    (5)    Six Darsanas or Schools of Philosophy – later developments of systematized philosophy of the Indians.

    Speaking broadly these divisions of the Veda were written respectively by poets, priests and philosophers at great intervals of time. All alike are called the Veda, that is divine knowledge; or sruti, i.e., what has been directly heard or revealed.

    Veda is derived from the root vid – to know, vidam – knowledge, wisdom, Vedam is used in two senses, general and limited. In its general acceptance it includes any book which throws any light in the destiny of man. In its limited sense it means the Mantrams handled down to us from the ancient Aryan Rishis. In its general application the word Vedam can be used to the sacred writings of the Zorastrians, Christians, Mahomedans, etc. The antiquity of the Indian Vedam cannot be doubted. It is an admitted fact that Alkoran – the vedam of the Mahomedans – is subsequent to the Bible and that the Christian Vedam – the Bible is subsequent to the Indian Vedam. Independent of other evidence the very name given to those Vedam clearly indicate that the latter is more ancient than the former. What is the name given to the Indian Vedam? It is called Sruti. What is the name given to the Christian Vedam? It is called the scripture. It is an admitted fact that writing was introduced into the world some thousands of years after man had been created. The world was ignorant of writing for centuries together. We may not all agree as to the date when writing was introduced. But it was introduced sometime or other. It was not coeval with man. Scripture means writing or what is written. The Bible must have been revealed after the introduction of writing into the world. The Bible itself says so – vide lines 15 & 16, Ch. 32. The Exodus:

    15.     "And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand; the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

    16.    And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables."

    Sruti is what is heard. The Indian Vedam must have been revealed before writing was known. There is nothing in the Vedas which can show that writing was known at that time. Vedam is only what was heard.

    Let us examine whether the Indian Vedam teaches Monotheism. The original Vedic hymns – the Mantras – were then followed by the subsequent ritual and legendary compilations – the Brahmanas. The former is called the Gnanakandam or knowledge portion of the Sruti or everlasting revelation and the latter the Karmakandam or the ritual portion of the Vedas. The Karmamarga or path of rites is intended for the ordinary people, living as if life with the pleasures were real, and the Gnanamarga or path of knowledge is intended for the sages that had quitted the world, and sought the quiet of the jungle, renouncing the false ends and empty fictions of common life, and intent upon reunion with the sole reality. Thus we see the difference between the original Mantra portion (Gnanamargam) and the subsequent Brhamana portion (Karmakandam) of the Vedas. When we begin to speak of the monotheistic aspect of the Vedas, Brahmanas should be excluded from the Vedas they are wrongly included under. It is included under it in as much as Mahabharata is included under by the name of Panchama Veda. If we want to know what our ancient Rishis taught us, we must confine ourselves to the Mantra portion and the Mantra portion alone. The reason is this. Brahmana is no more than commentary on the Mantram. Now we see at once the fallacy of the theory of mixing up the original and the commentary together and pleading equal authority for both. It is this combination that has produced so much shadow on the pure teachings of our venerable Rishis. It must therefore be affirmed that the Veda meaning the Mantra portion or better the Chanda portion teaches Monotheism.

    The present Sanskrit is quite different from the Vedic Sanskrit. Sanskrit is called sister of Greek or Hebrew, but the Vedic language is the mother of all. It is called, Chandas. If we want to understand the purity of the Vedic teachings, we must learn Chandas. If we apply our present Sanskrit a great mistake will be made. Vedam will be misunderstood as it has been misunderstood. The word "Asura" in the present Sanskrit means "Rakshasa." But it meant in Chandas or Zend 'noble, living, great" How can Saraswati, Indra, Agni, etc., be Asuras? It may be startling but the meaning of the word is changed. It is now applied in latter portion of the Veda for Rakshasas. There are a number of passages in the Rig Veda (I. 174, 1 and VII. 96.1) where Asura is used for Devas. We do not find in the Veda the use of the word Sura as Deva.

    Take another word "Aditi." The present Sanskrit scholars mean it as a goddess, wife of Kasyapa Prajapati. In the Veda the word means the "Infinite." Aditi is derived from diti, and the negative particle A-Diti; again regularly derived from a rood D A (Dyati), to bind, from which dita the participle, meaning bound, and diti, a substantive, meaning binding and bound. Aditi therefore must originally have meant without bounds, not chained or enclosed, boundless, Infinite, Infinitude.

    Tested by the present Sanskrit, Veda is unintelligible, polytheistic, pantheistic and all absurd. But understood in a proper way it is monotheistic, simple and vivifying. It teaches us that the caste system which now separates us into so many sects and divisions is a lie, that prohibition of widow marriages has no foundation there; that early marriages are not sanctioned; that sea voyage is not prohibited. In short it teaches us what the present day Western civilization professes to teach us. As regards Monotheism, man felt the power of God and saw Him. He ought to be called. What name could be given? Nobody can suggest any name free from difficulty. We cannot give Him a proper name. He must be called either after His work or after His attributes or possessing an attribute. We see Agni shining and created by Him. We call Him by that name – Agni. The Rig Veda begins "Agni mulai." I praise the Lord, God. We see "good" in Him. So we call Him "Good" contracted into "God." This is the way in which the various names applied to Him in the Indian Vedas arose. The following passage from the book "Hinduism and its relation to Christianity" by Rev. Robson will support this axiomatic theory.

    "The Aryans seem to have sought to realize the presence of God by naming Him after some of the noblest of His visible works. The hymns of the Vedas are addressed to various deities, whose names also express some of the phenomena of nature, or may be traced to them. But while this is the case, there is also evidence in the language that the worshipper originally looked from nature up to nature's God, and sought to worship the Creator by the name of His works."

    "It was a fine sentiment which led the Hebrew priests of old to omit the name of Jehovah in the public worship and substitute for it the "incommunicable" or some such expression, for human language can never give a name to the Supreme. All that we have been able to do has been to take some attribute and ascribe to it the other attributes of the Deity. This will be found to be the case with nearly all the names which we employ, whether God – the good, the Jehovah – the Existent, the Eternal, the Lord, the Almighty, or the Supreme. All these are names which our moral consciousness testifies to us must be applicable to God. Each describes only a part of His nature, but we think of it as comprehending the whole. This difficulty, which we have got over by taking an attribute for the possessor of that attribute, the old Aryans got over by taking the work for the maker – creation or part of creation for the creator."

    We thus see that Agni has two meanings one the created Agni and the other the Creator Agni. We can quote a very high authority that lived thousands of years ago. Dirghatamas, one of the Rishis of Rig Veda says "Ekam sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti." There is but one, though the wise call it by various names.

    The Lord's prayer commences "our Father which art in Heaven. Hallowed by thy name." How did our ancestors that lived thousands of years ago, address Him? We can do no better than quote the words of Prof. Max Muller.

    "And hero did our simple-hearted forefathers call that All-father?"

    "Five thousand years ago, or it may be earlier, the Aryans, speaking as yet neither Sanskrit, Greek, nor Latin called Him Dyu patar, Heaven Father.

    "Four thousand years ago, or it may be earlier, the Aryans who had travelled southward to the rivers of the Punjab, called Him Dyaushpita, Heaven-father.

    "Three thousand years ago, or it may be earlier, the Aryans on the Shores of the Hellespont called Him Zeus, Heaven-father."

    "Two thousand years ago, the Aryans of Italy looked up to that bright-heaven above, hoe sublime can dens, and called it Jupiter, Heaven-father."

    "And a thousand years ago the same Heaven-father and all father was invoked in the dark forests of Germany by our own peculiar ancestors, the Teutonic Aryans and his old name of Zin or Zis was then heard perhaps for the last time."

    "But no thought, no name, is ever entirely lost. And when we hear in this Ancient Abbey which was built on the ruins of a still more ancient Roman temple, if we seek for a name for the invisible, the infinite, that surrounds us on every side, the unknown, the true self of the world, and the true self of ourselves – we, too, feeling once more like children, kneeling in a small dark room, can hardly find a better name than "Or Father, which art in Heaven."

    Thus we see that the same idea taught by Christ two thousand years ago was taught four thousand years ago by our Rishis. But alas in India the original meaning of the word Dyan Pita is lost. Some of the present Sanskrit Pundits misinterpret it thus: "Dyan is our father." Father suggests the word mother. He supplies it. Earth is our mother. He marries them both. Perhaps this is due to a misapprehension of the phrase. How shall we address our Heavenly father-male or female or neuter. He is neither male nor female nor neuter. On account of His power we apply the word main and so Rishis died. He was addressed by "He." On account of His loving kindness, grace and mercy, we address Him as a Female, what is the result? The ignorant people without understanding its true significance worship Him in the most indecent and hideous figures – Lingam, Kali &c. He is therefore neither male nor female. Let us then call Him neuter – "Tat, That, It." What is the result? What is Neuter? That which has no qualities, neither good nor bad; no love, no mercy, no grace. Brahman is understood as Nirgunam, i.e., having no gunam. There is no use of prayer. He cannot hear you. He cannot save you. Worse result is produced. Providence is taken away. He is no more loving Father. He is no more our happy Savior. Man has no refuge, no rakshana. Personal God is destroyed by the miserable neuter gender. Buddhism takes rest there. Action is looked upon as our savior. No doubt that good acts are necessary but they can never save a man. Every man is sinful. Man can never be saved by action, by his own action. This is the great lesson which the Vedas teach us. The divine song of Baghavat Gita affirms in clear terms the same doctrine – which is as follows: "Give up the theory that you can be saved by acts. Choose me alone as the refuge. I shall free you from all sins. Grieve not."

    Some charge us that we have 33 crores of devatas or gods. Yes, we have. But what is the meaning of the word devata or god there. We have not 33 crores of gods; only one God but 33 crores of devatas, nay more. We have to point out here that god is not the proper rendering for the word devata. Devata is derived from the root Div-to shine. Panini says that Div means kreeda, vigigisha, vyavahara, dynti, moda, meda, svapna, kanti, gati. We thus see the word has not less than nine meanings. Devata may therefore mean any of them. It may be applied to God. It may be applied to something else. It is therefore important for us to know in what sense it is used in the various passages we meet with. In Vedam trees are described, frogs are spoken of, almost all things are treated. They are called Devatas and not gods. Devata means what is described, spoken of or treated. Devata simply means the object. This is not a new idea though lost in obscurity. The great Saunaka lived before Panini. Thousands of years ago Saunaka gave this definition of Devata in his Anukramalika, "Yatenochyate sa devata," what is described is called devata. Then we have and we can have not only 33 crores of devatas, but even more of devatas or things described, somebody was asked to describe a thing. It was his devata or subject. New Vedam is my devata i.e., my subject. The proper meaning being lost, each devata is personified and worshipped. Hence the mischief that is raging in India. Ignorance is the root of all evil. So we see clearly that Indian Vedas teach us monotheism and not polytheism.

    The Upanishads speak of Him as 'the Highest great Lord of Lords, god of gods, king of kings, the Highest abode, as God, the Lord of the world, the adorable." He is the one God hidden in all beings, all pervading, the antaratma of all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all being, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, the Nirguna being. His High Power (Sakti) is revealed as manifold, as inherent, acting as force and knowledge," etc.

    A religion such as is taught by the Vedas cannot be said to be polytheistic. In conclusion we quote below the opinions of some European scholars in support of our proposition.

    Mr. Colebrooke believes that the "ancient Hindu religion, as founded on the Hindu Scriptures, recognizes but one God."

    Mr. Charles Coleman says:

    "The Almighty, Infinite, Eternal, Incomprehensible, self-existent Being; he who sees everything though never seen; he who is not to be compassed by description, and who is beyond the limits of human conception….. is Brahma, the one unknown true Being, the creator, the preserver and destroyer of the Universe. Under such and innumerable other definitions is the Deity acknowledged in the Vedas or sacred writings of the Hindus."

    Schlegel says:

    "It cannot be denied that the early Indians possessed a knowledge of the true God. All their writings are replete with sentiments and expressions, noble, clear, severely grand, as deeply conceived as in any human language in which men have spoken of their God."

    Ward, the missionary says:

    "It is true indeed that the Hindus believe in the unity of God. "One Brahma, without a second, is a phrase very commonly used by them when conversing on subjects which relate to the nature of God. They believe also that God is almighty, all-wise, omnipotent, omniscient, and they frequently speak of him as embracing in his government the happiness of the good and the subjection or punishment of the bad."

M. D.




Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mistaken notions of Piety as a Source of Evil.


    It is unfortunate that religion should be the source of so much humbug and insincerity as is actually the case. When man strives to make religion to be something other than the living out of the natural qualities and an exercise of the faculties inherent in the human nature, then it happens that the race instead of leading a straightforward course of life strays away into innumerable swerving from the right path of proper conduct. This arises from the fact that the very attempt involves an unnatural course of action.

    In an evil hour, it seems to have occurred to man that salvation lies in the stifling of the senses. The senses are there at the mandate of Him Who is the Author of all existence. To proclaim their destruction is therefore against the divine dispensation. They are neither to be stifled nor stunted in their growth; but they are to be developed and educated to the fullest extent they are capable of. In their full development and right, exercise is life properly lived.

    Pleasure, on analysis, is simply the agreeable excitement consequent on the exercise of a faculty. Mere living itself is often said to be a pleasure, because life implies an exercise of the faculties. So, salvation, the highest form of happiness can arise only from the exercise of the powers given to man by God; but not from a stifling thereof.

    The recluses of old, in their foolishness, thought that the natural way in which men lived was sinful and took to their austere practices. In many a case, nature, revolting against the unnatural restraint, asserted itself, and where it was not strong enough to assert itself, the Soul, deprived of the aliment that would develop its civic virtues, led an owlish existence and was of no service to the children of light who loved the free air.

    It is the most unhappy and mischievous idea ever fabricated by the human imagination, that celibacy is a necessary condition to bring about spiritual progress. Ancient India with all her acuteness of intellect, and in spite of the fact that many a sage, that shed his lustre on her, enjoyed conjugal bliss, cannot be spared of the charge of having subscribed to this erroneous belief. There were however several Rishis that led the life of Vana-prasthas with their spouses. This offers a redeeming feature in the history of the world's striving after Spirituality. The wise men of Ancient India were great lovers of nature. They loved the forest, the forest-streams and the trees fragrant with their blossoms and resonant with the music of the birds. They loved the deer and roamed over the lovely forest tracts with as much zest as their innocent Sylvan companions. They sang the praises of the rising Sun, the twilight and the glorious sky. If woman was proscribed on the scene, it must have been only through short sightedness. Man is not complete without the woman; and what is more glorious than a vision of man and woman on a scene of Nature's perfection.

    Christianity cannot claim the monopoly of having introduced, into religious thought, the idea of woman being the mother of evil, but the notion seems to have haunted the imagination of the adherents of the other religions as well.

    A rigid carrying out of a wrong idea with a good motive is one kind of evil, but a constant show of observance with a view to affect piety, when there is a failure to act up to the professed rules of conduct, is a procedure which has a bad moral effect on those who are guilty of it.

    The abominable institution of the Hindu dancing-girls was at its inception a pious blunder. In the beginning, a few maidens might have thought, in a pious frenzy, that no human beings were good enough to be their lords and might have in all probability really found that such a fancy answered their emotional cravings. But flesh and blood remain under the influence of such extraordinary cease to exist, the influence ceases to hold sway and human nature becomes itself once again. The individuals, who originally gave rise to the institution, might have been Deva-dasis in the true sense, but, as time advanced, the conservative instinct of men wanted to keep up the institution, though there were no women who would devote themselves to the service of God. The form of the institution remained, though the spirit had fled. The forced restraint to lead an unnatural life of celibacy, under a belief that it was pious, must have first resulted in occasional acts of prostitution secretly, until public opinion, probably conniving at the conduct in the earliest stages, came to look upon immorality in the end as the legitimate conduct of the hand-maidens of God.

    The innumerable ceremonies of the Hindu ritual as performed at the present time are so many examples of sham. Even the purohits, who superintend the performance, do not understand the meaning of the mantras they utter and much less the rationale of the ritual. In the ceremonies, Gods are invited and they are offered several things, as for example, water to wash their feet, seats to sit upon, clothes to dress themselves with, flowers, sandal paste and other sundry presents. Of these, the heavenly beings receive only certain things and in the place of the rest receive rice dyed in saffron. This substitution in the ceremonies is essentially an act of dishonesty in as much as the coloured rice takes the place of the really valuable things such as cows and gold. There can be no doubt that the performance of such meaningless ritual encourages a form of mental dishonesty.

    True religion does not dictate an unnatural course of conduct. It does not consist in the suppression of the instincts of man. God does not require that one should offer him gold and has no weakness for any particular language or form of worship.


(By a Pilgrim)

    The land of Sarada, a home of scholarship and refuge of learning, has claimed from early times to be the land beloved of Devi Saraswati. It was famous for its Sarada or Sanskrit library, a depository of old Sanskrit Manuscripts including the world knows Mahabhasya of Patanjali, which attracted to Kashmir scholarly saints like Sri Shankaracharya and Swami Ramanuja from distant Madras when there was no railway in India. There is abundant evidence to show that for literary greatness Sarada Kshetra or Kashmir of old Hindu times was a place of pilgrimage for Sanskrit scholars from all parts of India.

    As regards the Sanskrit name Sarada Kshetra Kashmir was so called in early days from its Sarad shrine, one of the most important of Kashmir Tirthas. It was once famous not only in Kashmir but far beyond its limits. The ancient shrine of Sarada is now marked by an insignificant village named Sarada. The neglect into which the Tirath has fallen in the recent times is due to the Moghul and Pathan rule of the upper Kishenganga Valley that closed the route to the village Sardi till the establishment of the present Dogra rule in Kashmir. As to the situation of the ancient shrine of Sarada Dr. Stein says in his note to the Kalhanar chronicle of Kashmir (Rajtarangini):- "The temple of Sarada rises in a prominent and commanding position above the right bank of the Madhumati on the terrace-like spur which descends from a high pine-clad peak to the East Immediately below this terrace to the N. W. is the spot where the waters of the Madhumati and Kishenganga mingle.

    The pilgrimage to the Holy Cave begins from the capital of Kashmir. The old capital which is quite unknown at present lies, I am told, in ruins and is marked by a village named Puranandhisthana. It was called Srinagari, founded by the great Asoka. The new capital founded by the Hindu King of Kashmir named Pravasena II is Srinagar of the present day. Bathed with the cool waters of Vitastha (Jhelum), surrounded by magnificent hills and beautifully laid out by nature with picturesque lakes of crystal water, orchards of rich fruits and gardens of vegetables, the new city is most charming and attracts many European visitors every year to Kashmir. The house-boats are a curiosity of Srinagar, and the life of pleasure of people living on these boats is enviable. It is said that the advantages of the old capital (Srinagar) as the site for a great city cannot be compared with these presented by the situation of the new capital. Through its heart pass numerous canals from the beautiful Dala and Auchor lakes which together with the sacred Vitastha serves as the main thoroughfare of the city.

    Leaving Srinagar the pilgrim's way runs along Vitastha hovering a distance of 47 miles, and terminating at a place called Khanabal. To make this journey by boat is very pleasant and takes more or less than twenty-for hours, passing through Pamar (ancient Padmapura) famous for its saffron cultivation, and Bijwara. From Khanabal, which is marked by the last bridge on Vitastha, the way runs by the great spring at Ananta Naga to Martanda, a place of antiquity and Tirtha.

    From early times to the present day, Martanda has enjoyed a prominent place among the sacred sires of Kashmir. It is marked by a splendid spring traditionally represented as two, Vimala and Kamala. Like Gaya tirtha in the Province of Bengal and Hardwar in the United Provinces, this place is frequented by crowds of pilgrims, all the year found, from all parts of Kashmir State to perform "Sraddha" of the deceased ancestors. The ancient remains of the temple of Martanda – said to be constructed by King Lalitaditya of Kashmir on the bank of the holy spring – are very scanty. A little over a mile to the south east of the spring the ruins of a massive masonry edifice     with a quadrangular court-yard and colonnades still show the most impressive specimen of architecture of the Kashmir of old Hindu times.

    The next stage is Ganespur, from which is reached the sacred place of Ganesbal situated on the bank of rushing Lambodari or Lider. Here pilgrims take their sacred ablution and then start for the stage Pahalgam, which is 22 miles distant from Martanda. It is frequented by European every year when Srinagar becomes hot in July and August. At this place the pilgrims coming by different routes from Srinagar meet and are required to rest for a day or two. After a good rest they form one big party and start for the next stage, Chandabati, early in the morning and by breakfast time reach the stage. From this place begins the fearful ascent of Pisughati and the pilgrim's route ascends the eastern branch of Lidu or Ledari, where the lake of Naga Susravas, now known as Susravi Naga or Sesanaga, is visited and worshipped. It lies at the north foot of a great glacier, descending from Kohenpur Peak. The route then crosses a high mountain pass known as Vavajan, Sanskrit Vayuvarjana, into a high level valley drained by five streams which bear the joint name of Panchatarangini. From there the pilgrims party loiters up the lofty spur of Bhairava Ghati and descends into the narrow gloomy valley lying at the foot of the Amarnath peak, which is bathed by the rushing cool stream of Amaravati coming from the glacier of the still higher peak to the east. The march to the Holy Cave takes place every year in the bright half of the month of Sawan (August) and attracts many thousands of pilgrims, not only from Kashmir and Jammu, but from all parts of India. Amarnath is now the most popular of Kashmirian Tirthas together with the sacred Ganga lake on Mount Hara Kukuta. The distance from Srinagar to the Holy Cave is about one hundred miles.

    The shrine of Amareswar is the Holy Cave, situated at a considerable altitude and formed by a huge fissure on the south side of a snowy peak 17,000 feet high called Ambaranath. The image in the shrine is 'Sayambhu Linga' represented by a large block of transparent ice formed by the freezing of the water which oozes from the rocky walls and roof of the cave. It is worshipped by the pilgrims as an embodiment of Siva Amareswar Lord of the immortals.

    The Hindu faith connects a living power with rocks, stocks, trees and the like. Who can deny it and say there is not a living Power (Sakti) behind them? Does scientific faith contradict it? No, here a man of religion and a man of science quite agree. According to Hindu symbolism the image of a shrine is not God, but God is image of a shrine manifested, corresponding to the idea or thought image of the worshipper. And what better symbol than 'Sayambhu Linga, and what better image or form than a natural figure of transparent ice, an emblem of purity and serenity, there can be to represent the 'Sat' that has become this Universe of Mind and Matter? The ideal of the devoted who once inhabited the Cave and set vibrating its atmosphere with the Divine Consciousness, is the living image of the shrine of Amarnath. There is no doubt that like the Bo tree of Lord Buddha and the mountain cell of Mohammed, this Cave has become a Divine sanctuary. That the Cave or its spiritual atmosphere is full of the Divine consciousness who can deny? Every year the 'Tirtha' attracts to an elevation of seventeen thousand and three hundred feet thousands of pilgrims, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the faithful and the unfaithful, the educated and the uneducated, not only from the territories of Kashmir State, but from all parts of India.




Thursday, July 19, 2012


    The orthodox Hindus, such as Brahmin recite certain mantras and perform certain rites before and after meals. The rites are more or less regularly observed today though among the less orthodox section of our community the mantras have very often to shift for themselves. Young India now and then speculates on the significance of the rites, with conclusions flattering to itself if a little humiliating to its ancient forefathers. In those primitive times our Rishis dwelt in forests and sprinkled water round the food placed before them as a sort of safeguard against the intrusion of ants and other vermin which abounded in such places as a matter of course. Our present custom is therefore an interesting survival of an old usage which had a meaning once but which has lost it with the march of so called civilization. Such theories sometimes advanced in jest and sometimes in earnest are no doubt ingenious but not warranted by the real conception which underlies the usage. Let us consider its true significance in the present article.

    Eating is not, in the view of our ancient sages, simple catering to the physical comforts of man. It is a sacrifice, a yajna to the deities presiding over the vital functions. These deities are five in number and are known as Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, and Samana. Pranadevata symbolises the breath of life. His seat is in the heart and the lungs, and the superintends the process of circulation and respiration.

    Apana devata presides over the life-wind in the body which goes downwards and out at the anus. His seat is the anus. He regulates the functions of the excretory organs such as the bladder and the intestines as is evidenced by the current explanation of the term apana. Vayudeva is a sort of factotum to the other gods and discharges the minor functions that pertain to vitality. All parts of the body come within the sphere of his activity, Udana devata manages the several sensory organs. He presides over the vital air that rises up the throat and enters the head.

    Samanadevata has his seat in the cavity of the navel and controls the process of digestion. The agencies employed for the proper discharge of these several functions are commonly known as the five vital airs; but a more correct conception would seem to have been that they were so many forces controlling the several functions of life, that they were all one in their ultimate essence and variously designated only in virtue of the various vital functions discharged. These forces are supposed to be directed and controlled by the several gods above mentioned and the preliminary rites performed before meals symbolise the sacrifice offered to these deities in gratitude for the benefits conferred and in anticipation of those in store. It is not, at the same time to be forgotten, that these gods are only servants of a Higher Will whose breath hath set all this machinery in motion.

    Eating, being thus a sacrifice at the outset, has to be done in its proper form. Purity of person is insisted on as a necessary preliminary. This is the reason why the orthodox Hindus, especially Brahmins sit to their meals after a bath and a fresh change of clothes. All sacred rites commence with the Achamana and water is sipped thrice accompanied by the recitation of the holy names of God. A temporary altar is raised to place the sacrificial food on. This is done by simply smearing the ground clean and tracing on a certain portion of it a mandala in the form of a square in the case of a Brahmin, a triangle for a Kshatrya, a circle for Vaisya, and a semicircle for a Sudra. This is the purification of the sacrificial ground. Thus says Apastamba: "He may eat sitting on ground which has been purified (by the application of cow-dung and the like)" – Dharma sutras 1-5-17. Then a sacrificial vessel is placed on the consecrated spot. Madhavacharya says in his commentary on the Parasarasmriti that a gold, silver or bronze vessel is fit for the purpose or a lotus leaf. Apastamba says (Dharma Sutra 1-5-17) that a vessel made of metal becomes pure by being scoured with ashes and the like, a wooden vessel by being scraped. The Brahmin generally uses a plantain leaf for the purpose. Then freshly prepared food is brought and placed on it.

    Apastamba and other writers on Dharma go into details over the characteristics of acceptable and forbidden food. Apastamba says that food that has stood for a night and food that has turned sour should not be eaten and likewise all intoxicating drinks are forbidden. It might be noted that in Apastamba's time Brahmans were flesh-eaters and so he gives minute rules as to what flesh was prohibited and what not.

    The food thus placed is then purified. Water is sprinkled over it while Gayatri preceded by the Vyahritis is mentally recited. It is as follows:-

    "Salutation to the Supreme being who pervades earth, air and heaven! We meditate on the adorable light of the Divine source of life. May He stimulate our understanding. Then water is sprinkled round the food and the Lord is implored to bless the food and endow it with the essence of life. Oh Lord, thou source of all life, impart thy impulse." Then a few drops of clarified butter are poured over it. Again water is sprinkled round the food with the following mantra. "With rita do I besprinkle Satya all round." This mantra is slightly varied in the night thus "With Satya do I besprinkle the rita all round. Food and water are here alternately regarded as Satya and rita. Vidyaranya thus distinguishes them. Satya he defines as truth-speaking and rita as discernment of truth by the mind. (vide Taittiriya Aranyaka Dr. Rajandra Lal Mitra's Edition, p. 880). Loyalty to truth in mind, word, and deed is the highest Indian conception of duty and the greatest praise that can be accorded to food and water, the nourishers of life is to regard them as symbols of Truth. The idea seems to be that food and water sustain life and the life thus sustained is to be dedicated to the service of Truth.

    Then comes the sipping of a small quantity of water. The fingers of the left hand are placed in contact with the leaf of the vessel on which the food has been served the practice in all Grihya sacrifices being to place the fingers of the left hand in contact with the sacrificial vessel whenever oblations are offered. Then a few drops of water are poured in the right palm and sipped while the mantra is being recited. This means. "Oh ambrosia water, thou art the mattress."    

    We have already remarked that the preliminary rite before meals is a sacrifice offered to the several gods in charge of the functions of life and that these gods, though regarded as distinct beings, in reality represent the several capacities of the one Deity presiding over life. This deity is invoked by this mantra to respond to the invitations of the sacrifice and accept the seat of water now offered, before receiving the oblations. This cushion-seat of water beautifully symbolises the life-sustaining property of water. Vidyaranya thus comments on this mantra Vide (Taitt. Aranyaka p, 853, Rajendra Lal Mitra's Edition).

    "Just as a cloth is spread over a cushion on which a man sleeps, so this water forms the coverlet for the Prana-Devata. Similarly the white Yajur Veda ascribes to this deity a dress of water." One of the first acts of homage paid to gods as well as guests is the offering of a seat and the one offered to the god of life is fitly represented as a seat of water.

    Then come the oblations to the god. A small quantity of the food is taken with the fingers and swallowed without being tasted, as it symbolises the oblation sent down to the Deity who resides inside. This act is repeated five times, each representing an oblation to a particular aspect of the Prana Devata. The first morsel is offered with the mantra "This oblation I offer to the god presiding over the life-breath." Similarly the other four gods are propitiated in order. The full text of the mantra is this Vide 34th Anuvaka 10th Parapathaka Taittiriya Aranyaka.

    "With faith in Vaidik observances and to attached Prana I offer this ambrosial food as oblation to Prana-devata. May this be well offered! Oh, oblation! be propitious and enter into me for the satisfaction of my physical craving." When the five oblations have been thus offered, the concluding portion of the preceding mantra is recited. This means "may my soul be attached to the Supreme Lord, that I may thus attain Eternal bliss." As this concluding mantra is recited a little water is poured over the left fingers and they are placed over the heart to symbolise the union of the Jivatman with Paramatman.

    After the meals are over, a little water is once more sipped just before getting up while the following mantra is recited:- "Oh thou immortal water, thou art the covering," i.e., may this water cover the food I have taken in and preserve it from putrefying.

    A. VYDIK.





Tuesday, July 17, 2012


    The four varnas into which Hinduism has divided its votaries are Brahma, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra. The Brahmana is declared to be the greatest and foremost of them on the authority of the Vedas and the Smrities. Now arises the question, who is a Brahmin? What characteristics attribute of his gives him a claim for the designation? Is it his Jiva, or body, or caste, or gnana, or karma, or dharma that makes a man a Brahmin? It cannot be his Jiva. In the innumerable incarnations past and present the nature of the Jiva has ever been the same. Nowhere do we hear that the Jiva changes. Ever being the same, it takes up different bodies according to its Karma. Furthermore, Jiva is the same in all corporeal beings. Is it then the gross body that gives the Brahmin the claim to his title? From the lowest Chhandala upwards, the bodies of all men being no more than the component of ashes, and gases and water, they are at bottom of the same nature and are similarly affected by old age and death. It has been said that the Brahmin is white, Kshatriya red, Vaisya yellow, and the Sudra black; but we well know this is no longer true. The inference therefore is that neither the colour of the skin nor its gloss gives the Brahmin his essential character. Is a Brahmin so called because he has the accident of finding himself born in a Brahmin family? If we trace the origin of great sages, we find that some of the greatest sages that have adorned this land and of whom we may justly be proud, whose lives are the highest ideals this world can show and whose transcendent piety and complete renunciation of the things of this world point to them as Masters for all times and ages, were not born in Brahmin families. Rishyasringa was born of a deer, Kausika of Kuca grass, Jambuka of a jackal, Valmiki out of antholes, Vyasa of a fisherwoman, Gautma of a hare, Vasishta of Urvasi, and Agastiya from a pitcher. All these and many others of similar origin were esteemed true and great Brahmin, their caste and origin notwithstanding. If, however, gnana be considered the distinguishing feature of the Brahmin, many Kshatriyas who have been known to be great 'Seekers after Truth' are entitled to be so called. So the possession of gnana is not the essential attribute of the Brahmin. It is his Karma then that make him a Brahmin? Everyone knows that all those that are living have sanchita, prarabdha, and agami Karmas, and actuated by these they preform Karma. Nor does dharma make a Brahmin. If that be so countless Kshatriyas who have given away immense wealth for charity should be known as Brahmins.

    Who, then, is the Brahmin? What are his defining attributes? The Upanishads throw light on the question. They say: whoever having realised the soul that is second less, destitute of caste, quality, and action, devoid of shadharma and shadhana, the former consisting of fondness, birth, increase, change, decrease and destructions, and the latter of hunger, thirst, grief, moha, old age, and death, who is an embodiment of Truth, Intelligence, Bliss, and Infinity lives having achieved the fruit of his actions, devoid of passions, desire, and the like bad qualities, possessed of shama and dhama, divested of malice and avarice, unspoiled by pride and I-ness, the person of this description and he alone is a Brahmin. So say also Srutis, Smritis, Puranas and Itihasas.

R. K.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


(From the Madras Review).

    We are glad to say that Professor Max Muller has cleared the ground before us, of many misconceptions and fallacies which were entertained about this Upanishad. He meets in his own way the arguments adduced to show that this is a modern Upanishad and that it is a sectarian Upanishad, an Upanishad of the Sankhya and of Bhakti school and so on, and his conclusions are that " No real argument has ever been brought forward to invalidate the tradition which represents it as belonging to the Taittriya or Black Yajur Veda," and he points out that it "holds a very high rank among Upanishads" and that its real drift is the same as the Doctrine of the Vedanta Philosophy.

    Professor Garbe and MacDonnell however, in their recent works,* [* Garbe's Philosophy of Ancient India (1897) and MacDonnell's History of Sanskrit Literature (1900).] speak of this as a Sivite compilation, and the latter scholar refers to the Upanishad itself ascribing the authorship to a sage called Svetasvatara, unlike other Upanishads. But this is not characteristic of this Upanishad alone. The fifteenth khanda of the last Prapathaka of Chandogya Upanishad also traces the line of teachers in a similar way and there is a similar statement in the Manduka Upanishad and others. When each Hymn of the Rig Veda has its own author, it cannot be any surprise that each particular Upanishad should have an individual author; and we don't suppose the Professor inclines to the orthodox view that the Veda and the Upanishads had no human authors, and were revealed.

    In regard to the other and deep rooted fallacy about its being a sectarian Upanishad, we shall speak here at length.

    By taking this objection they mean to imply also that it is modern. And curiously enough we read of scholars ascribing dates for the rise of these sects commencing from the 10th and 12th centuries. And Sir W. W. Hunter seriously contends that Sankara was the great Apostle of Saivism. But these writers do not see that the History of Hindu Religion is as ancient as the History of the Hindu Philosophy, and that the people must have had a popular religion, even, in the very days, these Upanishads were composed, and that the Puranas which embodied the essence of the Upanishad teachings existed in a popular form even in those ancient days, and the words Itihasa, Purana, occur even in the oldest Upanishads.* [* Brihad. Ar. Up. 2-4-10 and 4-1-2 Maitr. 6-32 and 33 Chandog VII. 1-2.] These Upanishads are quoted by name in the Puranas and particular passages are also commented on.

    And it will be an interesting study as to what was the religion of the people in the days of the Upanishads and Mahabharata and Ramayana and of the Puranas, and to compare the same with the existing phases of Hindu Religion. We may briefly indicate our own conclusions on the subject though we could not give our reasons in detail – to wit – that so far as any room for comparison exist, - the traditions and beliefs and ceremonials and faith of the modern day Saivas (among whom may be included all Saktas and Ganapatyas), who form now the bulk of the Hindu Race, were exactly the same as those of the people of the days of the oldest Upanishads and Mahabharata and Ramayana. According to the opinions of many old scholars like Lassen, Wilson and Muic and others, the worship of Siva represented the cult of the Higher castes, Brahmans and Kshatriyas, and a text of Manu mentions that Siva is the God of the Brahmans, and it is remarkable how the picture of Siva is exactly the same as that of any ancient Rishi (vide some of the Poona Ravi Varma's pictures). Dr. W. W. Hunter remarks that Sankara in espousing Saivaism combined in the system the highest Philosophy of the ancients and the most popular form of Religion.

    Regarding the conception of Siva and its growth from Vedic times, scholars love to tell us that Rudra was nowhere called Siva in the Rig Veda and that he merely represented the storm God, with his thunder, lightning and the rains, rushing down from the snow-capped hills; and that this Rudra slowly grew into Siva of the Hindu Triad, and scholars have not failed to remark about His composite and contradictory aspects.

    There is considerable truth in this, and we can clearly trace that in His person is slowly built up the conception of the various Vedic Deities, Indra and Agni, Varuna and Vayu, Surya and Soma, Vishnu and Brahma, and by the time the Vedas were arranged into Rig, Yajur and Samas and Atharvan, Rudra's position as the God of gods, had become assured; and by the time of the earliest Upanishads, when the purely sacrificial Yagnas wre being given up, the worship of Rudra-Siva supplanted the worship of the Vedic Deities, and instead of a blind worship of the elements, a marked distinction was drawn between the Supreme God who dwelt in these elements and gave them special power and glory, and this conception was stereotyped later on by Siva being the Ashtamurti, the god who had for his body, the five elements, earth, air, water, fire and akas, sun and moon and the soul, and Siva has temples dedicated to him, in which He is worshipped in these eight forms.

    Rudra is derived by Sayans from the roots, Rutdravayita, meaning 'he who drives away sorrow.' And consistent with this derivation, Rudra is called in the Rig Veda itself, as the 'bountiful' and the 'Healer' possessed of various remedies (the later Vaidyanath) 'benign' and 'gracious.' And the term Siva clearly appears in the following text of the Rig Veda (X. 92-9) "Stoman va adya Rudraya s'ikvase kshyad-viraya namasa didishtana yebhih Sivah svavan evayavabhir divah sishakti svayasah nikamabhi." * [* With reverence present your Hymn today to the mighty Rudra, the ruler of heroes, (and to the Maruts) those rapid and ardent deities with whom the gracious (Sivah) and opulent (Rudra) who derives his renown from himself, protects us from the sky."]

    Those who are conversant with the actual performing of yagnas will know how the place of the respective priests. Adhwarya, Hotri, and Udgatrri and Brahman are fixed as well as the place of the various gods. And the chief place is assigned to Rudra and apart from other gods. This will clearly explain the force of the epithet of "Medhapatim" in Rig Veda, 1-43-4 "Gathapatim, Medhapatim Rudram Jalashabhesajam, that samyoh sumnam imabe" (We seek from Rudra, the lord of songs, the lord of Sacrifices who possesses healing remedies, his auspicious favour) as also "king of sacrifices" (Rig. 4-3) And Medhapati is the same word as the more popular word Pasupati, Pasu meaning the animal offered in sacrifice, Yagna-Pasu, and symbolically representing the bound soul-jiva. As the Pati of all sacrifices, He is the fulfiller of sacrifices, 'Yajna sidham' (Rig. I. 114.4) and 'Rudram yagnanam sadhad ishtim apasam' (III.2-5). As the God of gods, He is said to '"derive His renown from Himself" 'Rudraya Svayasase' His glory is said to be inherent, independent or self-defendant God, 'Svadhavane' (Rig. VII. 46-1) He is also called Svapivata, which is variously explained as meaning 'readily understanding' 'accessible', 'gracious', 'he by whom life is conquere', 'he whose command cannot be transgressed,' 'thou by whom prayers (words) are readily received.' He is called the 'father of the worlds.' Bhavanasya Pitaram,' VI. 49-10, and the Rich story of His becoming the Father of the fatherless Maruts can be recalled in many a Puranic story, and local legend, and common folklore.

    He is 'anter ichchanti' – beyond all thought (VIII. 61-3). His form as described in the Rig Veda is almost the same as the Image of later days. He is called the Kapardin, with 'spirally braided hair.' He is of 'Hiranya Rupam' 'golden formed' and brilliant like the sun, and 'shining like gold' "Yah sukra iva Suryo hiranyam iva ro' chati" (I. 43-5).* [* Note how often the Supreme is called the Golden-coloured, and Sunlike in the Upanishads.] And in Rig Veda, X. 136-1 to 7, He is the 'Long haired being who sustains the fire, water and the two worlds; who is to the view the entire sky; and who is called this 'Light' He is wind clad (naked) and drinks Visha (water or poison) and a Muni is identified with Rudra in this aspect.

    When we come to Yajur Veda, His supreme Majesty is fully developed, and He is expressly called Siva by name 'Siva nama' si (Vaj. S. 3-63) and the famous mantra, the Panchakshara, is said to be placed in the very heart of the three Vedas, (the name occurs in Tait. S. IV. 5, 1-41 "namah sambhave cha mayobave cha namah Sankaraya cha mayaskaraya cha NAMAH SIVAYA cha Sivataraya cha"). And the famous Satarudriyam which is praised in the Upanishads and in the Mahabharat forms also a central portion of this central Veda. And this is a description of God as the all, the all in all, and transcending all 'Visvadevo, 'Viswaswarupo, Visvadiko'; and anybody can see that the famous passage in the Gita in chapters 10 and 11 merely parodies this other passage and these two chapters are respectively called Vibhuti Vistara Yoga and Visvarupa Sandarshana Yoga which is exactly the character of the Satarudriya. The Yogi who has reached the highest state "Sees all in God and God in all." In the Satarudriya and in the whole Veda, Rudra is called Siva, Sankara Sambhu, Isana, Isa, Bhagavan, Bhava, Sarva, Ugra, Soma, Pasupati, Nilagriva, Girisa, Mahadeva and Maheshwara. And the most famous mantra 'Ekam Eva Rudronadvitiyaya taste' whose very existence in the Vedas and Upanishads scholars doubted at one time, occurs in the Yajur Samhita (Tait) in 1 Canto, 8 Prasana, 6 Anuvaka, I Panchasat and this very mantra is repeated in our Upanishad, (III 2), and if the Upanishads did not precede the Vedas, it will be seen how this mantra is the original of the other famous Upanishad mantra, "Ekamevad vitiyam Brahma." In fact, we doubt if the word 'Brahma' occurs even once in the Rig-Veda as meaning God and in the Yajur as meaning the Supreme Being. And Prof. Max Muller is no doubt correct in drawing attention to the fact that the conception of a mere Impersonal Self may be posterior to the conception of God as Siva, Rudra and Agni. And the texts we have above quoted will for once prove the danger of surmises as to the date of an Upanishad for the sole reason that it uses the words Siva or Isa or Isana and Rudra.

    In the days of the Veda and Upanishads, these names Rudra, Siva, Sambhu, Mahadeva, Isa, Isana, Hara and Vishnu only meant the same as Deva or Brahman or Atman or Paramatman, and they had no prejudice against the use of the former set of words as some sectarians of today would seem to have. In the Gita itself, the words Ishvara, Isa, Maheswara and Mahadeva and Parameshwara are freely used, and Siva is used in the Uttara Gita, though the modern day Vaishnava exhibits the greatest prejudice even towards these names.

    One word about the different aspects of Siva. As we pointed out before, as the Idea of Rudra, as all the gods or the Powers of Nature, was fully evolved, in Him was also centralized the various aspects of Nature as good and bad, awful and beneficent. Kalidasa playfully brings out this idea in the following lines:

    "The Gods, like clouds, are fierce and gentle too

    Now hurl the bolt, now drop sweet heavenly dew

    In summer heat the streamlet dies away

    Beneath the fury of the God of day,

    Then in due season comes the pleasant rain

    And all is fresh and fair and full again."


    However awful the aspects of a fierce storm, with its thunder and lightning, may be, yet no one can appreciate its beneficence more than the dwellers in the Indian soil, the land of so many famines. However fierce the sun may be, yet his existence is absolutely essential to the growth and maturity of all vegetation in the tropics. It will be noted that not only in the case of Rudra but in the case of other gods, their beneficent and malevolent powers are brought out in the Vedas. The Supreme Double Personality of Siva is thus explained in the Mahabharata by Lord Krishna himself. "Large armed Yudhishthira, understand from me the greatness of the glorious, multiform many named Rudra. They called Mahadeva Agni, Sthanu, Maheswara, one-eyed, Triyambaka, the Universal formed and Siva. Brahmans versed in the Veda know two bodies of this God, one awful, one auspicious; and these two bodies have again many forms. The dire and awful body is fire, lightning the sun, the auspicious and beautiful body is virtue, water and the moon. The half of his essence is fire and the other half is called the moon. The one which is his auspicious body practises chastity, while the other which is his most dreadful body, destroys the world. From his being Lord and Great He is called Mahesvara. Since he consumes, since he is fiery, fierce, glorious, an eater of flesh, blood and marrow – he is called Rudra. As He is the greatest of the gods, as His domain is wide and as He preserves the vast Universe, - He is called Mahadeva. From his smoky colour, he is called Dhurjati. Since he constantly prospers all men in all their acts, seeking their welfare (Siva), He is therefore called Siva."* [* 'Siva' is derived from 'Vasi' which occurs in Katha-Up. See Lalita Sahasranama Commentary under 'Siva.'] And in this, we see Him as not only the destroyer but as the Reproducer and Preserver and as such the conception of Siva transcends the conception of Rudra as one of the Trinity.

    And it can be shown that the picture of God as the fierce and the terrible is not altogether an unchristian idea.

    The following paras, we cull from a book called "The Woodlands in Europe" intended for Christian readers; and we could not produce better arguments for the truth of our conception of the Supreme Siva, the Destroyer and the Creator and the Preserver (vide p. 6m Sivagnanabotham, English Edition).

    "And how about the dead leaves which season after season, strew the ground beneath the trees? Is their work done because, when their summer life is over, they lie softly down to rest under the wintry boughs? Is it only death, and nothing beyond? Nay; if it is dealt, it is a death giving place to life. Let us call it rather change, progress, transformation. It must be progress, when the last year's leaves make the soil for the next year's flowers, and in so doing serve a set purpose and fulfil a given mission. It must be transformation, when one thing passes into another, and instead of being annihilated, begins life again in a new shape and form.

    "It is interesting to remember that the same snow which weighs down and breaks those fir branches is the nursing mother of the flowers. Softly it comes down upon the tiny seeds and the tender buds and covers them up lovingly, so that from all the stern rigour of the world without, they are safely sheltered. Thus they are getting forward, as it were, and life is already swelling within them; so that when the sun shines and the snow melts they are ready to burst forth with a rapidly which seems almost miraculous.

    "It is not the only force gifted with both preserving and destroying power, according to the aspect in which we view it. The fire refines and purifies, but it also destroys; and the same water which rushes down in the cataract with such overwhelming power falls in the gentlest of drops upon the thirsty flower cup and fills the hollow of the leaf with just the quantity of dew which it needs for its refreshment and sustenance. And in those higher things of which nature is but the type and shadow, the same grand truth holds good; and from our Bibles we learn that the consuming fire and the love that passeth knowledge are but different sides of the same God:- Just and yet merciful; that will by no means clear the guilty, yet showing mercy unto thousands."

    Badarayana also touches upon this subject in I., iii., 40 and we quote below the Purvapaksha and Siddhanta views on this question from the commentary of Srikanta.

    "Because of trembling (I, iii, 40). In the Katha Vallis, in the section treating of the thumb-sized Purusha, it is said as follows:

    "Whatever there is, the whole world when gone forth (from the Brahman) trembles in the breath; (it is) a great terror, the thunderbolt uplifted; those who know it become immortal." (cit. 6,2).

    Here a doubt arises as to whether the cause of trembling is the Paramesvara or some other being.

    (Purvapaksha):- Here the Sruti speaks of the trembling of the whole universe by fear caused by the entity denoted by the word "breath." It is not right to say that the Paramesvara, who is so sweet natured as to afford refuge to the whole universe and who is supremely gracious, is the cause of the trembling of the whole universe. Therefore, as the word 'thunderbolt' occurs here, it is the thunderbolt that is the cause of trembling. Or it is the vital air which is the cause of the trembling, because the word 'breath' occurs here. Since the vital air causes the motion of the body, this whole world which is the body as it were, moves on account of the vital air. Then we can explain the passage "whatever there is, the whole world, when gone forth (from the Brahman) trembles in the breath." Then we can also explain the statement that "it is a great terror, the thunderbolt uplifted," in as much as like lightning, cloud and rain, the thunderbolt which is the source of great terror is produced by action of the air itself. It is also possible to attain immortality by a knowledge of the air as the following S'ruti says:

    "Air is everything itself and the air is all things together, he who knows this conquers death. (Bri. Up. 5-3-2).

    (Siddhanta):- As against the foregoing, we say that Paramesvara himself is the cause of the trembling. It is possible that, as the Ruler, Paramesvara is the cause of trembling of the whole universe and by the fear of His command all of us abstain from prohibited actions and engage in the prescribed duties; and it is by the fear of His command that Vayu and others perform their respective duties, as may be learned from such passages as the following:-

    "By fear of Him, Vayu (the wind) blows." (Tait. Up. 2-8).

    Though gracious in appearance, Paramesvara becomes awful as the Ruler of all. Hence the Sruti.

    Hence the King's face has to be awful! (Tait. Bra 3-8.23).

    Wherefore as the Master, Isvara Himself is the cause of the trembling of the whole universe."

    Before we enter into the discussion of the philosophic import of this Upanishad, we have to note the great difficulty felt nearly by all European scholars who are brought up solely in the school of Sankara in interpreting this Upansishad, a difficulty which has equally been felt with regard to the Philosophy of the Gita. Different scholars have taken it as expounding variously Sankhya and Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta, Dualism and non-Dualism; and Professor Max Muller agrees with Mr. Gough in taking it as fully expounding the Indian school of Vedanta or Idealism. Professors Garbe and Macdonnell characterise the philosophy as ECLECTIC. Says the latter, (p. 405, History of Sanskrit Literature). "Of the eclectic movement combining Sankhya, Yoga and Vedanta doctrines, the oldest literary representative is the Svetaswatara Upanishad. More famous is the Bhagavad Gita.

    Is ever there was such an eclectic school, have these scholars paused to enquire who their modern representatives are? Or is that there are no such representatives today? The real fact is that this was the only true Philosophic creed of the majority of the people, and this philosophy has subsisted untarnished during the last 300o years or more. During the Upanishad period, the schools whose distinct existence can be distinctly marked are the Lokayata or Nastika, Kapila's Sankhya, Mimamsa of Jaimini, Nyaya and Vaiseshika and Yoga. The first three were Atheistical and the latter Theistic. And of course all these were professed Hindus* [* The Majority of every people and nation are virtually atheistic and materialistic, though professing a belief in God and conforming to the usages if society.] and none would have deviated from the rituals and practices prescribed for the Hindu, though academically speaking, he would have held to this or that view of philosophy. And this inconsistency is what strikes a foreigner even now in the character of the modern Hindu. Mrs. Besant aptly describes this as "the Hindu's principle of rigidity of conduct and freedom of thought." All these schools were based on a certain number of tattvas or categories. The Nastika postulated four and only four tattvas, namely earth, air, fire and water and would not even believe in Akas or ether. Kapila increased the number of categories he believed in, to 19 which he grouped under Purusha and Prodana. The Mimamasaka believed practically in nothing more, though he laid stress on the authority and eternality of the Vedas. The next three theistic schools believed in 24 0r 25 tatvas which they grouped under Purusha Pradhana and Ishvara or God. As all these schools based their theoretical philosophy on a certain number of tattvas,* [* Tirumular, a Tamil Saint of about the first century A. C. thus distinguishes the schools existing in his time. "The 96 tatvas or categories are common to all. 36 categories are special to the Saivas. 28 are the categories of the Vedanti, 24 categories belong to Vaishnavas, 26 categories are those of the Mayavadi." The particular thing to be noted here is the distinction drawn between Vedanti and Mayavadi.] Sankhya, the theoretic Philosophy came to be called Sankhya as distinguished from the practical Religion and code of Morality. And during the Upanishad period and even in the times of the Mahabharata the word had not lost its general significance. And it will be noticed when ascertaining what these various categories are, that, with the exception of the Nastika, all the other five schools believed in almost the same things, though the enumerations were various, except as regards the postulating of God. And even in this idea of God, there was practically very little difference between Kapila and Patanjali. To both of them, the freed Purusha was equal to Ishwara, only Kapila believed that no Ishwara was necessary for the origination and sustenance, & c., of the worlds; but that according to Patanjali there existed an eternally freed Being who created these worlds and resolved them again into their original components. And in the Upanishad period, the Yoga school was the dominant cult and these Upanishads including the Svetasvatara and Kaivalya, &c., were all books of the yoga school. And the theoretical or argumentative part of the philosophy or creed was called by the name of Sankhya and the practical part, Yoga. As this yoga postulated the highest end achieved by a study of the Vedas, which were set forth in these Upanishads, it was also coming slowly to be called Vedanta. That the word Upanishad was actually used as a synonym for yoga, we have an example in Chandog, (1-1-10). "The sacrifice which a man performs with knowledge, faith, and the Upanhishad is more powerful." 'Knowledge' or gnan here meant the knowledge of the categories and their relation, which according to Kapila was alone sufficient to bring about man's freedom. This, the Vedanta held to be insufficient unless it was accompanied by earnestness and love and by the contemplation of a Supreme Being. This contemplation brought the thinker nearer and nearer to the object of his thoughts, till all distinctions of object and subject were thoroughly merged (distinction of I and Mine) and the union or one-ness was reached and all banda or pasa vanished. This is the root-idea in both words of 'Upanishad' and 'Yoga'. Yoga means union, union of two things held apart and brought together, when the bonds or fetters which separated fell off or perished. And Upanishad is also derived from Upa near, ni quite, sad to perish. Here also the nearing of two things, and the perishing of something is clearly meant. Of course, the two things brought together are the Soul and God, and the perishable thing is certainly the Pasa; and the Soul when bound by Pasa is called Pasu accordingly.

    This was the condition of the Philosophic thought down to the days of the Mahabharat and we hold this was anterior to the rise of Buddhism and continued for some centuries after Gauama Buddha and till the time of Badarayana. It was during this time that the philosophy of India spread into and permeated the thought of Europe, and Professor Garbe has lucidly proved in his short History of "The Philosophy of Ancient India," that the influence received by the Greeks down to the neo-Platonic school was almost Sankhyan in its character. It was during this time again, that the blending of the Aryan and Tamilian in art and civilization and Philosophy took place (and we could not here consider how much was common to both, and how much each gained from the other). We have an exactly parallel word in Tamil to the word 'Sankhya' and this word is எண் (en) which means both 'number' and 'to think,' and both Auvayar and Tiruvalluvar use the word to mean logic and metaphysics: the primary science, on which all thought was built, being mathematics or the science of number. A systematic and historical study of the Tamil works will make good our position; and even today the most dominant cult in the Tamil is the Sankhya and Yoga as represented in the Upanishads or Vedanta. This system must have been thoroughly established in the Tamil language and literature before the time of Christ and before Badarayana's composition of the Sariraka Sutras. So much so, when Badarayana's system came into vogue in Southern India, it was recognized as a distinct school. As Badarayana professed expressly to interpret the Upanishad or Vedanta texts, his school of Philosophy was stereotyped by the phrase 'Vedanta' and by collecting all the texts in Tamil down even to the time of Tayumanavar (16th century) containing references to Vedanta, we could prove what the special view of Badarayana was. This will also show that the exposition of Badarayana contained in the earliest Bhashya or commentary we possess in Sanskrit namely, that of Srikanta which was later on adopted almost bodily by Ramanuja was the rue view of Badarayana. This view we may sum up in Dr. Thibant's own words:- "If, now, I am shortly to sum up the results of the preceding enquiry as to the teaching of the Sutras, I must give it as my opinion that they do not set forth the distinction of a higher and lower knowledge of Brahman; that they do not acknowledge the distinction of Brahman and Iswara in Sankara's sense; that they do not hold the doctrine of the unreality of the world; and that they do not with Sankara proclaim the absolute identity of the individual the highest self." (loe.cit Introduction to the Vedanta Sutras).

    And he proves also that his was consistent with the teachings of the Upanishads themselves.

    What gave it its special mark, however, is the peculiar relation which Badarayana postulated between God and the world, the product of Maya or Prakriti. Though he held on to the distinction of the supreme and the Human Spirit, he stoutly fought against the old Sankhyan view (comprising nearly all the six schools we enumerated above) that Matter was an independent entity from spirit, though like Leibnitz he never denied its reality. He held God was both the efficient and material cause of the Universe. This doctrine received accordingly its name of Parinama Vada or Nimittopadanakarana Vada while the Theistic Sankhyan systems stoutly maintained that God was only the efficient cause, though He was immanent in All Nature. As there was nothing inherently vicious and destructive to all true religion and morality in this system of Badarayana, the Tamil Philosophers welcomed this view also and declared they did not see much difference in the two views and ends postulated by both the old and new school. And both Srikanta Saint Tirumular and expressly make this declaration.

    But there was one other view which was gaining ground ever since the days of Gautama Buddha and which was connected with the peculiar theory of Maya or illusion. Buddha declared that all existence was momentary, that there was no world, no mind, no soul and no God, and that what really existed were the Skandhas, and when this truth was perceived, all desire and birth and suffering would cease and then there would be creation of all existence, Nirvana. And the Buddhists were accordingly called Mayavadis. But as the Buddhist theory destroyed the very core of the Indian national beliefs, and as it also afforded no stable ground for a national existence based on morality and religion, this was pronounced heterodox, but the seeds sown by him were not in vain, and a Hindu school of Mayavada slowly raised its head on the dying embers of this old effete philosophy. And its greatest exponent was Sankara. This Hindu school of Mayavada was in existence for several centuries before Sankara, but this was later than the time of St. Manicka Vachaka and earlier than Tirumular thought both of them were anterior to Sankara. Sankara's system is referred to as Mayavada in all the other Hindu prominent schools prevalent since the days of Sankara, and though South Indian followers of Sankara seem to entertain some prejudice against the word, owing to the abuse made of it by their opponents, followers of Sankara in the North even today call it the Mayavada. And in some of its extreme forms, it was also called "Prachchanna Bauddham." The great learning and the towering intellect, accompanied by the austere life led by Sankara, created a great following among the Brahmans of the Saiva faith, and it made great strides in the time of his illustrious follower Sayana or Vidyaranya who combined in himself both temporal and spiritual power. And the first interpreters of Hinduism happening to be mostly Brahmans of this persuasion, during the century when Sanskrit oriental scholarship came into being, this view of Hindu Philosophy has gained most currency among European scholars. But there were not wanting scholars in the past like Colebrook and Wilson, and like Col. Jacob, Prof. Kunte, and Dr. Thibaut in the present generation, who hold that Mayavada is not the real and true exposition of the Veda or the Vedanta. Prof. Max Muller than whom a more learned or earnest student of Indian Philosophy never existed, though he held very stoutly to the other view, slowly gave in, and has accepted Dr. Thibaut's conclusions as correct. We may add that Professor Macdonnell reiterates the old view, and Prof. Deussen is the greatest adherent of Sankara at the present day.

    There is one other great factor in the growth of Indian Religion and Philosophy which we have taken no note of, all this time; and which receives no notice at all in the hands of European scholars. And this is the bearing of the Agamas or Tantras. Such a well-informed person as Swami Vivekananda has declared, "as to their influence, apart from the Srouta and Smarta rituals, all other forms of ritual observed from the Hinalayas to the Comorin have been taken from the Tantras, and they direct the worship of the Saktas, Saivas and Vaishnavas and all others alike." But who were the authors of these works and when did they come into vogue, and what great power had they to monopolize the Religion of the whole of India? The same Swami observes. "The Tantras, as we have said, represent the Vedic rituals in a modified form, and before any one jumps into the most absurd conclusions about them, I will advise him to read the Tantras in connection with the Brahmanas, especially of the Adhwarya portion. And most of the Mantras used in the Tantras will be found taken verbatim from these Brahmanas." But it could be noted at the same time, that whereas the Brahmanas direct the use of these mantras in connection with the yagnas or sacrifices, these Tantras direct their use in connection with the worship of some deity or another. And the object of Vedic sacrifices being well known to be only the first three Purusharthas, by the worship of the various Powers of Nature, the object of Tantric or Agamic worship was the attainment of the fourth Purusharta or Moksha. By the time we get into the Upanishad period, we could see how a new and spiritual interpretation was put upon the old Vedic sacrifices and the uselessness of sacrifice as an end in itself was strongly declared. Says M. Barth: "Sacrifice is only an act of preparation. It is the best of acts, but it is an act and its fruit consequently perishable. Accordingly although whole sections of these treatises (Upanishads) are taken up exclusively with speculations on the rites, what they teach may be summed up in the words of Mundaka Upansihad. "Know the Atman only and away with everything else; it alone is the bridge to immortality." T"he Veda itself and the whole circle of sacred science are quite as sweepingly consigned to the second place. The Veda is not the true Brahman; it is only its reflection; and the science of this imperfect Brahman, this Sabda Brahman or Brahman in words is only a science of a lower order. The true science is that which has the true Brahman, the Parabrahman for its subject."

    As the story in the Kena Upanishad will show, the most powerful of the Rig Veda deities, Indra and Agni and Vayu and Varuna were also relegated to a secondary place; and the worship of the only One, without a second, the consort of Uma, Haimavati, was commenced. The Kena Upanishad story is repeated in the Puranas, the Supreme Brahman is mentioned there as Siva and Rudra. And the story of Rudra destroying Daksha's sacrifice, and disgracing the Gods who took part in the sacrifice with the sequel of His consort, named then Dakshayani (the fruit or spirit of sacrifice) becoming reborn as Uma, (wisdom or Brahmagnan) Haimavati, would seem to go before the story in the Kena Upanishad. The story of the desecration of the sacrifice of the Rishis of Darukavana by Siva and Vishmu would point to the same moral. So that by this time, the backbone of the old un-meaning Vedic sacrifices petrified in the Godless school of Mimamsa was really broken; and it was here that the Agamas stepped in and used the same ole Mantras again, but with a new force and significance deleting whatever was unmeaning and preserving only what was useful. It substituted also new symbols though preserving the old names. And from this time, therefore, Modern Hinduism and Hindu system of worship may be said to have commenced. But for the these beginnings we have to go far behind the days of the Mahabharata and the Puranas, for the Agama doctrines and rituals are fully bound up with these.

    A clear advance in the use of symbols was also made, at the same time effectually preserving the distinction between symbols and truth, by the use of proper words. The Sabda Brahman or the Pranava was only a symbol and not the truth, as fancied by the Mimamsakas, and it was called a mark or Linga. And the figured mark of the Pranava, (Linga is merely the Pranava as figured to the eye) the Linga became the universal symbol of God and object of worship as the Pranava in mantra or sound form was before. In the new system of worship, the Temples that were built were more on the models of the old yagna-sala; and the yupa stambla (Dhwaja stambha) and Balipitha, Pasu (Basava or Nandi) and the Gods in their various places were also retained; and a Brahmotsava supplanted virtually the old sacrifice.* [* In commencing and going through a Brahmostava, the priests observe technically almost the same rituals as in commencing and going through a great sacrifice. There is a Yagna Sala in every Saiva Temple in which the Fire is started by the Dikshita and the Dhwaja Arohana is made by running up a flag with the figure of a bull (Pasu or Basava) on the Yupastambha and tying Kusa grass to the Post. The Pasu and the Kusa grass standing merely for the soul or jiva that was bound and offered in sacrifice. After Avarohana, the soul or Pasu becomes freed and is no more called Pasu, but is called God or Nandi – the blissful. It will require more space for as to draw out here the parallel between the Yagna Sala and a Hindu Temple]. In the field of philosophy, it did as much to systematise and build up into a whole what was hitherto in scattered form and it did greater service in drawing out more fully the omni-penetrativeness and transcendency of God over all else, over both Chetana and Achetana Prapancha, the world of souls and the world of matter. The Postulate of God's supreme Transcendency is the special effort of the Agama Philosophy to make out, and as this was the Highest End and Truth, it was called Siddhanta Par excellence as distinguished from the Vedanta which led up the aspirant only to certain spiritual stages. It divided all philosophy and religion into four paths or Margas, called respectively Chariya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana; and these were otherwise called Dasa Marga, Satputra Marga, Saha Marga and San Marga. In the exposition of these paths, it opened out a thoroughly reasoned system of theoretic Philosophy, neither contradicting our experience, nor causing violence to the most cherished of our sentiments, both moral and religious; a system of thought which was progressive and built on an adamantine basis, step by step leading to higher, knowledge: a system* [* Cf. Garbe, The Philosophy of Ancient India. P. 30. "As for those who feel inclined to look down slightingly from a monisitic point of view upon a dualistic conception of the world, the words of E. Roer in the Introduction of the Bhashaparichcheda (p. XVI) may be quoted: "Though a higher development of "philosophy may destroy the distinctions between soul and matter "that is, may recognise matter or what is perceived as matter as "the same with the soul (as for instance, Leibnitz did) it is "nevertheless certain that no true knowledge of the soul is possible "without first drawing a most decided line of demarcation between "the phenomena of matter and of the soul." This sharp line of demarcation between the two domains was first drawn by Kapila. The knowledge of the difference between body and soul is one condition, and it is also an indispensable condition, of arriving at a true monism. Every view of the world which confounds this difference can supply at best a one-sided henism, be it a spiritualism or an equally one-sided materialism."] which by preserving and pointing out the essential difference of God, Soul and Matter, established a true religion between them; which led to the highest monisitic knowledge, a system which was at once dualism and non-dualism, Dvaita and Advaita; a system which appealed alike to the Peasant and the Philosopher. Its system of practical Religion, calculated to secure the Highest End and Bliss, was also progressive commencing from the simplest rituals in the adoration of God to the highest Yoga adapted to the means and capacity of the lowest and the highest of human beings. Readers of Swami Vivekananda's lectures would have noted how these four paths are essential to any system of thought or Religion which claims to be universal; and it is the peculiar boast of the Agama or Tantra that it was the first to systematise this fourfold teaching. And it is in modern Saivism and in the Siddhanta Philosophy, this fourfold aspect of Religion and Philosophy is wholly and fully preserved. Saivism is a ritual marga, a Bhakti marga, a yoga marga, a gnana marga. And need we wonder that the Siddhanta Philosophy of today is as much a puzzle to outsiders, as the Philosophy of our Upanishad and the Gita? And the Siddhanti's definition of Advaita as 'neither one nor two nor neither' will bring out the puzzle more prominently. It is a system of dualism, it is also a system of non-dualism, but it differs from the other schools of dualism and non-dualism. What was upheld in the Siddhanta as mere paths or marga, or Sadhana or means to reach the Highest End, had come to be each and individually mistaken for the End itself; what was upheld as the mere symbol of the Highest Truth had come to be mistaken for the Truth itself. What was declared as unprovable, indescribable, unknowable and unenjoyable as long as man was in the condition of bondage was held by these sectaries as proved and seen. What was the purest and most transcendent monotheism degenerated into a most crude Anthropomorphism and blatant Pantheism.

    Saivaism is not anthropomorphic, but symbolic. How can it be otherwise, when it draws such minute distinction between God and Soul and Matter? And a system of symbolism is quite consistent with the Highest Transcendental Religion and Philosophy; in fact, all our real knowledge is more truly symbolic than otherwise. In the view of the Siddhanti, the Upanishads, though they deal with all the four paths, are especially the text books of the Yogapada or Sahamarga, where certain Bhavanas or Vidyas calculated to create and bring about the Highest Nirvana and Union, and Freedom from Pasa, are more fully explained and illustrated.

    The above cursory view of the past history of the Indian philosophy will clear the ground a good deal for our proper understanding of our particular Upanishad in question.

    We may therefore state that the Svetasvatara Upanishad is a genuine Upanishad of the Black Yajur Veda, and is one of the oldest of its kind. It is not a Sectarian Upanishad. It more properly belongs to the Yoga Pada stage of teaching, though the other Padas are also briefly touched and alluded to. It expounds both a theoretic philosophy and a practical religion, all-comprehensive and all-embracing; a system which was at once Sankhya and Yoga, dualistic and monistic, and appealing to all classes of society.

    It lays down the distinction of three padarthas or categories in clear terms. And these are, God, the many souls, and matter or Pasa.

    "Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruits, the other looks on without eating" (iv. 6) which is explained in less figurative language in the next mantra.

    "On the same tree man (Anisa) sits grieving, immersed, bewildered, by his own impotence. But when he sees the other, Isa, contented, and knows His glory, then his grief passes away."

    That this is the Highest teaching of the Rig Veda is pointed out in the next verse.

    "He who does not know that indestructible Being (Akshara,) of the Rig Veda, that Highest Ether (Parama Vyomam) wherein all the Gods reside, of what use us the Rig Veda to him? Those only who know It rest contented."

    And need it be pointed out that the 6th verse is itself found in the Rig Veda (I. 164-20) and it is repeated in the Atharva Veda and the passage is so popular a one that Katha (iii. 1) and Mundaka (iii. II) also quote it.

    These verses bring out the distinction of God and soul, Pasa and Anisa, as the spectator and enjoyer respectively. The soul enjoys and performs Karma while encased in the body, tree; but though God is immanent in the soul and in the body, yet the works and their fruit do not cling to Him and taint Him. After the due eating of the fruits, the soul knows the greatness of God, and his own insignificance then his sufferings cease.

    The previous mantra (iv.5) is also a famous and much debated passage, and it is badly translated by Prof. Max Muller. The translation by G. R. S. Mead and Chattopadhyaya is literal and correct. "Aye, that one unborn (Aja-soul) sleeps in the arms of one unborn (nature Pradhana), enjoying (her of nature, red, white, and black), who brings forth multitudinous progeny like herself. But when her charms have been enjoyed, he (soul) quits her (prakriti) side, the unborn other, Anyata (Lord)."* [* If we read "he quits her side, for the other" makes the sense complete.]

    There is absolutely no mistaking this plain statement of the three Padartas as eternal, as well as their relation; and all three are called Unborn, Aja or uncreated. But the word to be noted here is the word 'other' 'Anya' which is almost a techhincal term or catch word to mean God, the Supreme. And it occurs again in (V.1).

    "In the unperishable, and infinite highest Brahman, wherein the twi Vidya, (Vignana-Atma) and Avidya are hidden, the one, Avidya, perishes; the other, Vidya, is immortal; but He who controls both Vidya and Avidya, is another (Anyatha)" And in the subsequent verses, this another is clearly pointed to be the only One God, without a second, the ruler of all, the generator of all and the supporter (ripener) of all. This forms the subject of discussion in the hands of Badarayana in I, ii, 21. And the famous passage in Brihadaranyanka is referred to. "He who dwells in Atma (Vignana) and different from Atma, whom the Atma does not know, whose body Atma is, and who pulls (rules) Atma within, He is thy Atma, the puller within, the immortal" (iii. 7, 12).

    In vi. 6, also, God is called the Anya – the other. It occurs again in Gita, xv. 17. The previous verse postulates two entities of matter and soul, and the next verse proceeds to postulate "another." "But there is another, namely, the Supreme Being, called Paramatama, who being the everlasting Ishwara and pervading the three worlds, sustains them." That the very use of the word is solely to emphasise God's transcendency over the the world of matter and of souls, as against people who only postulated two Padarthas, or would identify God, the supreme Ishwara, with matter or soul, is fully brought out in the next verse.

    "As I transcend the perishable (Pradhana) and as I am higher than even the Imperishable (soul), I am celebrated in the world and sung in the Vedas as Purushotama."

    The commonest fallacy that is committed when the eternality of matter and souls is postulated, is in fancying that this is any way affects God's transcendency and immanency. Though He pervades all and envelopes all creates and sustains and takes them back again into Himself, though He is the God in the fire, the God in the water, the God who has entered the whole world, in plants and trees and in everything else, (ii. 17) yet He stands behind all time and all persons, (vii. 16), and is beyond all tatvas. (Verse 15).

    "He is the one God, (Eko Deva), hidden in all beings, all pervading, the Antaratma of all things, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the Only One, Nirguna (Being) (vi. 11). And in Verse 16, he is called the first cause, himself uncaused, the all knower, the master of Nature and Man. And by the supreme statement "Ekohi Rudra nadvitiyaya tasthe, (There is only One Rudra, they do not allow a second), the complete subordination of all other things to Him is clearly postulated. There is nothing else in His presence, as no Asat can subsist in the Presence of the Sat, as no darkness can subsist in the presence of light. And Light, he is called (iii, 12) the Light, by which all other lights, the sun, the moon, and the stars and the lightning's are lighted, (vi. 14) and He is the great Purusha, like the Sun in lustre, beyond darkness. (iii. 8).

    There is only one other passage which we have to quote while we are dealing with the three eternal postulates of this Upanishad. There are the Verses 8 and 9 in the first Adhyaya itself. In these also the distinctions between the Supreme God, and the bound soul, as I'sa and Anisa Gna, and Agna, and the third, Pradhana, Unborn though perishable and ever changing, are finely drawn.

    In dealing with the personality of God, who is called in the Upanishads, as Deva, Hara, Vasi, Siva, Purusha, Brahman, Paramatma, Isa, and Ishwara, &c., we have to remark that the Upanishad makes no distinction between a Higher and a Lower Brahman; rather, there are no statements made about the Lower God or Gods, except one verse in V. S, where the Supreme Lord and Mahatma, is said to have created the Lords, and Brahma or Hrianyagarbha is referred to as such a lord. But every statement made to God, by any of the names, we have mentioned above, clearly refers to the one, without a second, the Highest Brahman, which is also Nirguna. And in various passages, this Highest Being is said to create, sustain and destroys the worlds. What some of these people would not believe is, how a Being addressed as Hara and Siva, Isa and Ishwara could be the Nirguna Absolute Brahman. And they frequently associate this name with the Rudra or Siva of the Hindu Trinity. But it will be news to these people that even the Rudra of the Trinity is Nirguna and not Saguna. Absolutely no passage could be found in any of the Upanishads or even in the Puranas and the Itihasas, in which even the trinity Siva or Rudra is called Saugna. Saguna means having Bodies (qualities) formed out of Prakriti, and when Prakriti is itself resolved into its original condition and reproduced by this trinity Rudra, this prakriti could not act as his vestment.

    But more than this the Rudra and Siva of our Upanishad is clearly set forth in other Upanishads as the fourth, chaturtam and Turiyam, transcending the trinity; and the secondless.

    "Satyam Guanam, Anantam Brahma,

    Ananda Rupam, Amritam Yad Vibhuti,

    Shantam, Shivam Advaitam."

                        (Tait Up.)


    "Shivam, shantam, Advaitam

    Chaturtham, manyante," (Ramatapini)


    "Dhyayeteesanam, pradhyayedavyam,

    Sarvamidam, Brahma Vishnu Rudrendrasthe,

    Sarve Samprasuyante, Sarvanichendryanicha;

    Sahabhutaih Nakaranam Karanam Dhata Dhyata

    Karanantu Dhyeyah Sarvaiswarya Sampannah

    Sarveswarah Sambhurakasa Madhye.

    Siva eko Dhyayet: Sivankara, Sarvam

    Anyat Parityaja (Atharva Sikha).


    [* Our learned Madras Bishop complains that the educated Hindu has only to choose one out of the six systems of Philosophy, and that he has no good practical religion and we kindly invite his attention to this paper, and then judge for himself and see if Hindu Philosophy and Religion is, after all, really so poor.]    

"Adore the most adorable Isana, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra and others having an origin. All the senses originate with the elements. The first cause and cause of causes has no origin. The Bestower of all prosperity, the Lord of all, Sambhu, He should be contemplated in the middle of the Akasa. ..Siva, the one alone, should be contemplated; the Doer of Good; All else should be given up." (Atharva Sikha) "The mystical and immutable one, which being composed of three letters A., U., M., signify successively, the three Vedas, the three states of life (Jagra, Swapna, and Sushupti), the three worlds (heaven, hell and earth) three gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra) and by its nasal sound (Ardhamatra) is indicative of thy fourth office as the Supreme Lord of all (Parameshwara)* [* A Christian missionary writing to the Christian College Magazine wonders how Vemana, the famous Telugu poet, could speak of siva as other than the Hindu triad, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Cf., Bartrihari'ss Satakas for the popular conception of Siva.] ever expresses and sets forth thy collective forms. (Mahimna Stotra). And the same mistake is committed by outsiders in supporting that the God of the Saivas is only one of the trinity. Any book in Tamil and Sanskrit taken at random will at once disillusion him, and he will find that the only God held up for the highest worship is the highest Nirguna Parama Siva, and not one of the trinity. Great confusion is caused in the use of the words Nirguna† [† By Nirugna, we mean 'without Prakritic qualities' and by Saguna clothed in Prakritic qualities'. And God could therefore be both Nirguna and Personal in Emerson's sense.] and Saguna, by translating them into impersonal and personal respectively. And Europeans themselves are not agreed as to the use of these words. According to Webster, the word 'personal' implies limitation, but other eminent persons like Emerson, Lotze, &c., say there is no such implication. Till the acceptation of these words are therefore settled, we should not make confusion worse confounded, by rendering Nirguna and Saguna, as Impersonal and Personal.

    So far, there can be no doubt on the nature of the God-head described in our Upanishad.

    "When there was no darkness, nor day nor night, nor Sat, nor Asat, then Siva alone existed (Siva eva Kevalah). That is the absolute, that the adorable (condition) of the Lord. From that too had come forth the wisdom of old – (gnanasakti) (iv, 18).

    "He is the eternal and infinite, Unborn Being, Partless, action-less, tranquil, without taint, without fault, the Highest Bridge to Immortality (vi. 19). He is the cause-less first cause, the all-knower, the all-pervader, the creator, sustainer and liberator of the world, the end and aim of all Religion and of all philosophy, He is the Ishwara of Ishwaras, Maheshwara, the God supreme of Gods, the King of kings, the Supreme of the supreme, the Isa of the Universe" (vi. 7).

    There is one other matter to be considered in the nature of the Divine Personality. God is spoken of both in masculine and in neuter, and that in the same verse, a peculiarity which is noticeable in modern Saivaism. And God is addressed in all forms as 'He' 'She' and 'It'. Sivah, Siva and 'Sivam.' *[* Sivam in Sanskrit, they say, is not the neuter of Siva. But somehow this neuter form in quite prevalent in Tamil.] And the reason is not as stated by Prof. Max Muller, in his note under Ver. 16, Chapter iii, that the gender changes frequently, according as the author thinks either of the Brahman or its impersonation as "Isa, Lord." To the Indian whether he addresses his God as Siva or Sivam, he is addressing the same supreme Personality who is neither male nor female nor neuter, and there is no jar to him in the sense, as there will be to the Christian, who could only think of and address God in the Masculine Gender.

    The Upanishad does not recognize any difference between the use of 'It' and 'He,' and it does not contemplate that by using 'It' instead of 'He', a Higher Being is reached.

    Coming now to the nature of the soul, as set forth in this Upanishad, the first thing to be noticed is that the Jiva is very often spoken of as Atma simply and distinguished from God. The other appellation it receives are Purusha, Anisa, Agna, the Hamsa, Vidya, and these are to distinguish it from the other, the Paramatma, the Parama Purusha, Isa and Gna.

    This soul is bound, because he is not God (1. 8) because he is ignorant of himself, and of the self within him, (the Antaratma). This soul is not self-dependent (1. 2). This soul is confined in the Pura (city-body) of nine gates, i.e., is limited and 'flutters about,' is changeable, and he enjoys the fruits, pleasures and pains, (even pains are a pleasure to him, the ignorant soul) and fondly clings to the body, and performs karma (iii, 18, 5 and 6).

    "But he who is endowed with qualities, and performs Karma that are to bear fruit and enjoys the reward of whatever he has done, migrates through his own works, the lord of life, assuming all forms, led by the three gunas and the three paths" (vi. 7).

    And yet this soul is of the image of God, is infinite and brilliant like the Sun, endowed with Ichcha and Gnana, and is sinless.

    The Supreme One who witnesses all his doings, dwelling within him without Himself being tainted by the contact, helps to secure the ripening of his mala, and waits till the soul attains to that condition of perfect balancing in good and evil, (v. 5) by the performance of Chariya, Kriya and Yoga (good works, Penance and meditation) with love and knowledge and the syllable Pranava, he is blessed by the Lord (i. 6) and God's grace descends on him (vi. 21 and iii. 20) and he knows and sees, with Manas (the supreme grace of God – the spiritual eye) (v. 14) 'The Purusham Mahantam Aditya Varnam, tamasah parastat,' and his fetters (Pasa) full off, and sufferings cease and he enters the Bliss of the Supreme Brahman, and Eternal Peace.

    That Ishwara Prasadam (iii. 20) or Anugraham or grace is necessary is a common belief of the people, and this doctrine is not peculiar to this Upanishad alone. The Katha Upanishad puts the same doctrine in much stronger language. "That Self (God) cannot be gained by the Veda, nor by understanding, nor by much learning. He whom Self (God) chooses, by him the self (God) can be gained." (I. 2. 23); but even the supreme Almighty (God) cannot help him, if he had not turned away from wickedness, and is not tranquil, subdued and at rest, dedicating (Arpanam), all his words' deeds and thoughts to God, (i. 24).

    That the doctrine of Bhakti is found well set forth in the oldest Upanishads and the Vedas will be apparent by reading the texts collated by Dr. Muir in his learned "Metrical translations from Sanskrit" under the heading of 'Shraddha and Bhakti.' By the way, this Sharaddha and Bhakti is not to be understood as a manifestation of feeling only at one stage of man's spiritual evolution and unnecessary at another stage, but this love is essential to the aspirant whether he is a Dasamargi, Satputramargi, Yogamargi or Gnanamargi. That these four paths grow one out of the other and are not independent, and each one of these is hardly possible to reach without going through the lower rungs of the ladder, we have already pointed out above.

    The Upanishads, all of them, discuss the particular Upasana or Upasanas which are required for the salvation of the bound soul, and these Upanishads are called also Vidyas.

    Of these various Vidyas, what is called the Dahara Upasana or Vidya is the most favoured of all the Upasanas in the Swetaswatara and Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Katha, Mundaka and Kaivalya, Atharva Sikha and in the Bhagavad Gita.

    The reference to this Highest Yoga practice are most numerous in the Upanishads and the sameness of the various references form the subject of a discussion in the Vedanta Sutras (iii. 3. 23).     

    The famous passages are what occur in the Chandogya Upanishad, commencing with the sentences "There is the city* [* This City is exactly in modern symbolism in the Great Temple of Chidambaram.] of Brahman" (viii. 1.1.) "All this is Brahman." (iii. 14.1 to 4). This worship or Yoga, consists in the aspirant contemplating, in his heart, the Supreme one, as the Person of Light and as Akasa, as Satchidananda Parameshwara, with the particular formula that "God is in all beings and all beings are God." And various synonyms are used to denote this heart of man, such as Dahara (subtle) Guha (cave), Pundarika (lotus), Brahmapura (city of Hrid (heart).

    And the meaning of the words Akasa, and Vyoma has also to be carfully noted. They are synonymous and do not mean the Bhuta Akasa, nor the Mayasakti or Avidya, but as interpreted by the Puranas themselves, they mean Chit or Gnana, or, Light or Grace, which is the Parasakti of the Supreme Ishwara. That this Akasa is Chit and not Achit, is further proved by the phrases, Chitakasa and Chidambara, and this ChitSakti is the Devatma-Sakti of our Upanishad, which is inherent and concealed in him. (i. 3) and the supreme Sakti, which is revealed as manifold, inherent (Sva) and manifesting as Kriya and Gnana (vi. 8). It is this which is called Uma, and Light and Bhargas † [† Cf. Mait Up. vi. 7, "Rudra is called Bhargas, thus say the Brahman teachers," cf. also vi. 28, last para. "The Shrine (Paramalaya which consists of the Akas in the heart , the blissful, the highest retreat, that is our own, that is our Goal and that is the heat and brightness of the Fire and Sun."] and Savitri and Gayatri. And when we understand therefore, this Akasa, as light and knowledge, the Supreme Sakti of God, its description as the highest light, the revealer of all forms, the Highest object of adoration, is clear. The description of God also as Akasa (Sakti) and as dwelling in Akasa (Sakti) will not be conflicting, as no distinction is made between Sun and his light, much less between God and his Power.‡ [‡ In the Yajur Veda, this God and Ambika are called Saha, which may mean equal or brother and sister.]

    It is this Gnana Sakti who gives to the Chetana and Achetana Prapancha its form and shape and life and love and light; but the substance or Upadana || [|| It is Badarayana's view that there is no other Upadana except God and these worlds arise out of God Himself. When a true springs out of the bare ground, we naturally suppose there was some seed imbedded in it without our knowledge, though the earth contained it and is essential for the support and growth of the plant. This is the Aupanishadic view. Badarayana would say that no seed is necessary and the earth alone is sufficient.] out of which this Prapancha is evolved is the Maya or Pradhaana which also dwelling in Him is drawn out and drawn in by the Supreme Power (Sakti) with just the ease and dexterity of a spider which spins out or in; or the magician who draws forth out of an empty basket fruits and flowers and sweets. The Maya (meaning also power) is also a Sakti of His (Mayasakti) but differing from the other Sakti, Ichcha, Gnana and Kriya, just as darkness differs from light. As darkness is necessary for rest and recuperation, so this power of God also works for our rest and recuperation and salvation. And God is called the Lord of Maya (Mayin) and "beyond" all forms of the tree, as transcending all the "Tatvas, Kala" &c., and as 'transcending' 'Pradhana.' Why we are required to contemplate God as Akasa, Light or Chit is, that by this Light alone we can know Him, and as such Light; and it is as Light, Chit, God is immanent in the world, and omnipresent. And this brings out again the reason why this Chit is called Akasa the most subtle and invisible and omnipresent element we have in Nature.

    God is present in all nature and pervades it, as oil in seeds, butter in ghee and fire in wood (i. 15). And this all pervasiveness is thus explained in a text of the Atharva Siras Upanishad – "Why is it called Sarva Vyapi? It is so called because like ghee diffusing and soaking itself through and through the Ruda (Milk or seed), it pervades every created thing through and through as warp and woof."

    And as by reason of this pervasiveness, nothing could be imagined as existing out of Him, the whole is called also Brahman, the whole, with the parts and limbs and bodies (iv. 10) as the Chetana-Achetana Prapancha, his antahkarana as Chit Sakti, and Himself the Soul of this vast whole. And as all of us form but parts of him, we are also enjoined to be kind to one another, for, whatever we do to each other will be also done to His body. We quote the following from Srikantha Sivacharya's commentary in which this point is discussed.

    "All this is Brahman, as beginning, ending, and breathing in Him; and therefore let a man meditate on him."

    "This passage may be explained as follows: The origin, existence and end of all this depends on Brahman. All this, both the sentient and insentient existence, is verily Brahman, and therefore let a man meditate on Brahman, tranquil in mind. Just as the water-bubbles which have their origin, existence and end in the ocean, are found to be only forms of that ocean, so too, that which depends for its origin, etc., on Brahman associated with Sakti must be made of Brahman and nothing else. Nothing distinct from him is ever perceived. Accordingly in the Atharva Siras, it has been declared by Isana as follows:-

    "Alone I was at first, (alone) I'am and shall be;

    There is none else distinct from Me."


And then was declared by him in the words "I am Brahman," that the whole universe is his own form. And in the words "He entered the more hidden from (or than) the hidden one" &c., his entering into the universe is given as a reason for the whole universe being his own form. Thus this universe having no origin, existence or end outside Brahman, is not a quite distinct thing from Brahman. Accordingly the learned say:-

    "His Saktis or energies (form) the whole world, and the Mahesa or the great lord is the energetic (Saktiman). Never can energy exist distinct from the energetic. Unity of these two is eternal, like that of fire and heat, in as much as unseparateness always exists between energy and the energetic. Wherefore supreme energy belongs to the supreme Atman, since the two are related to each other as substance and attribute. The energy of heat is not conceived to be distinct from fire" and so on.

    Vayu-Samhita too says: (Parva, 25, ch. 18 and 19)

    "From Sakti up to earth, (the whole world) is born of the principle Siva. By him alone, it is pervaded, as the jar, &c., by clay. His variegated Supreme Sakti, whose form is knowledge and bliss, appears as one and many, like the light of the sun."

    The following passages of the Sruti speak of Para brahman as possessed of infinite powers of creating, ruling and maintaining the world, all inherent in Him.

    "His Supreme Sakti is spoken of as manifold, inherent, endued with the activity of knowledge and life." (Svetas, 6-8).

    "One verily is Rudra, - they were not for a second – who rules these worlds with the powers of the ruling." (3-2).

    "In short, on the authority of the Sruti, Smriti, Itihasa, Purana, and the sayings of the learned, the Supreme Sakti whose manifold manifestation this whole universe of Chit and Achit is, whose being is composed of Supreme Existence, Intelligence and Bliss, and unlimited by space and time – is inherent in the nature of Siva, the Supreme Brahman and constitutes His own essential form and quality. Apart from Sakti, He cannot be the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, the cause of all the all controlling, the all-adorable, the all-gracious, the means of attaining all aspirations, and the omnipresent; and, moreover, such grand designations as "Mahesvara", the Supreme Lord, "Mahadeva," the Supreme Deity, and Rudra, the expeller of pain, cannot apply to him. Thus it is Brahman whose body is the whole sentient and insentient universe, and who is denoted by all words. Just as the word 'blue' denotes not the blue colour only, but also the lotus which is of a blue colour, so does the word 'universe' also denotes Brahman. Therefore such passages as "All is Rudra verily" teach that Brahman is denoted by all words. Accordingly the passages "All this, verily, is Brahman" refers to Brahman whose body the whole of the sentient and unsentient universe is. The universe being thus a form of Brahman and being therefore not an object of hatred &c., let everyone be peaceful at heart and worship Brahman. This doctrine is clearly expounded even in the puranic texts such as the following:- "The body of the God of Gods is this universe, moving and unmoving. This, the Jivas (Pasus) do not know, owing to the mighty bondage. They say sentiency is Vidya, and insentiency Avidya. The whole universe of Vidya and Avidya is form no doubt the body of the Lord, the first causes of all; for the whole universe is subject to Him."

    "The word "sat" is used by the wise to denote the real and the good, 'asat' is used by Vedic teachers to denote the contrary. The whole universe of the sat and the asat is the body of Him who is on high. Just as, by the watering of the roots of a tree, its branches are nourished, so by the worship of Siva, the universe which is His body, is nourished. Atman is the eighth body of Siva the Paramesvara, pervading all other bodies.

    "Wherefore the whole universe is ensouled by Siva. If any embodied being whatsoever be subjected to constraint, it will be quite repugnant to the eight bodied lord; as to this there is no doubt. Doing good to all, kindness to all, affording shelter to all, this they hold, is the worshipping of Siva." And so on.

    "Brahman being all-Formed, it is but right to say "all is Brahman" and every one be peaceful and worship Brahman." Wherefore it is Brahman who in the opening passage is stated to be the object of worship, that is also spoken of as manomaya, as partaking of the nature of manas, and so on. Neither should it be supposed that the partaking of the nature of man as is a characteristic mark of a samsarin; for Brahman may limit Himself by assuming a shape which can form an object of worship."

    "That which," therefore, "eternally rests within the Atma," (1. 12)," dwells in the cave (of the heart) of all beings," (iii. 11), "is the greater than the great, smaller than the small, hidden in the heart of the creature" (iii 20), "hidden in all beings; like the subtle film," (iv 16), "and subtler that subtle" (iv 14), "the wise should seize in the body (heart) by means of the pranava, within himself, and by the drill of meditation and penance, (1-14), they should , 'with the mind towards the heart,' 'love the old Brahman, by the grace of Savitri' (Light or Chit Sakti) (11-7 and 8), 'grasping by the Manas' (Sakti), (v-14,) and perceive 'by the heart, by the soul, by the mind,' (iv-17), in the Highest Turiyatita plane, where Siva Dwells alone, the Eternal and the Adorable Light, this most Ancient of Days, the Siva the Blissful, and Benign Being, the great Purusha of sunlike brilliancy, dwelling in the Highest Vyoma, then their fetters (pasa) fall off, they will cross over to the other shore, after passing through the torrents that cause fear, (ii 8) their darkness (Ahankara, Anava) will vanish, and all material bodies (Maya) will fall off, and they will enter into the supreme Bliss and Peace.

    The various steps, psychological and spiritual, by which the sanctification of the Soul is accomplished is stated beautifully in 1 10, "From meditating on Him, from joining Him, from becoming one with him, there is further cessation of all Maya (bodies-births) in the end." In a most beautiful address on the famous text of St. Paul which runs,

    "We, all, with unveiled face, reflecting as a mirror, the Glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from Glory to Glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit."

    Professor Henry Drummond, who is said to have revolutionized Christian thought in the last few decades, calls these laws of reflection, and of assimilation. He instances the iron which gets magnetized and becomes a magnet, and a mirror, getting rid of its dust, reflects the glorious light and becomes merged with it and lost. And he remarks "All men are mirrors – that is, the first law on which this formula is based. One of the aptest descriptions of a human being is that he is a mirror." And our Upanishad contains fortunately the self-same description and illustration.

    "As a metal disk (mirror), tarnished by dust shines bright again after it has been cleaned, so is the ine incarnate person satisfied and freed from grief, after he has seen the real (pure) Nature of himself." "And when by the real nature of his self, he sees as by a lamp, the real nature of the Brahman, then having known the unborn eternal God, who transcends all the tattvas, he is freed from all fetters (pasa). (ii. 14 & 15). The first text would simply read, in Drummond's language, "see, reflect and become God."

    It only remains for us now to point out that the second verse of the first adhyaya is mistranslated by Roer, Max Muller, Mead and others. They contain terms which are not known to the systems they are familiar with and they are alone preserved in the Siddhanta system. The terms are 'Kala,' 'Svabho,' 'Niyati,' 'Ichcha,' 'Bhuta,' 'Yoni,' 'Purusha,' and they are also referred to as 'Yonisvabho' & c., in V.4. and in Vi. I 'Svabha' and 'Kala'.

    We stated that the different schools differed in the enumeration of the tattavas or categories but most of them stopped with Prakriti or Pradhana and Purusha, the highest in theor list, the 24th and 25th principal (Vide, Senthinathaiyar's table of tattvas, published in Madras, 1899), but the Siddhnata school postulated above this, other tatvas or principles, making up the whole number into 36. These higher tatvas were, Ragam (Ichcha), Vidya, Niyati, Kalam Kala, (constituting what is called the soul's the purusha's Pancha Kanchukam). Maya, Suddha VIdya, Maheswara, Sadasiva, Bindhu (or Sakti) and Nadam (Siva). And the terms used in our text is kala, Svabho or Kala, Niyati, Ichcha, or Ragam, Bhuta or Vidya and Yoni or Suddha Maya, and Purusha or soul. That our interpretation is genuine we could show by quoting the authority of the author of a Purana, who at any rate is anterior to all the commentators whose explanations we now possess. The following occurs in Kailasa Samhita of Vayu Purana and it refers to the Svetasvatara text,

    "Purushasyatu, Bhoktrivam, Pratipamaaya, Bhojanecha Prayanatah. Antarangatayavatva panchakam Parakiritam. Nirgateli kala, rajascha Vidyacha Tadanandaram kala Chupanchakamidam Mayotpanuam Munisvara, Mayantu Prakrutim Vidyan Maya Sruthi etrita. Tajjanegetani Tatvani struti Yugtani nasamsayah, Katasva bhavoni yatiriti Chachuka Muchyate. Ajanan pancha tatvani vidvanapi Vimudhadhih. Niyatyadhastat prabrute ruparisthah pumanayam Vidyatatvamidam proktem.

    The following verse occurs in the Brahmanda Purana:-

    "Purusha Niyathi kataragascha kala Vidyecha mayaya."

    And this is from Vayu Samhita:

    "Maya Kalamavasrujat Niyatincha Kalam Vidyam Kalatho Raga purushau."

    J. M. Nallaswami Pillai, B.A., B.L.