Friday, September 20, 2013



V. Sundaram Aiyar Esq., M. I. R. S., Joint Editor of the Sri Krishna Review.

    To the bent of human mind perhaps there is nothing more appealing and captivating than for men to lead a truly spiritual life which aims at the realization of Eternal Bliss. From the dawn of humanity the one predominant element discernible in the life and thought of those who would dive deep into the philosophy of life has been to find out ways and means to make oneself follow the track which leads to the highest beatitude, Moksha. It is with this end in view that they founded religions which are codes that help men in the attainment of spiritual perfection in human life. The most important factor in the foundations of spiritual life is the desire for the hankering after God. When the mind of a man is possessed entirely by a strong desire of having communion with Him his passions are subdued, his mind is imbued with good intentions and sin becomes his dread. When in the minds of the devotee the desire of hankering after God reigns supreme he gives up all worldliness and becomes a moral man. In his ardent prayer for the sight of Him he is occasionally favored with the vision of God. He passes on to the state of God-consciousness which does not last long, and soon he lapses to his former position. He craves and thirsts for Him and his desire gets strongly planted. On a happy moment the Almighty gives His presence to the devotee who invokes his aid and in his mind is created a desire to live, move and have his being with Him. The mind controls over the senses and he tries to live up to what the Gita says" "Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance, Yoga, meditations, gifts self-restraint, sacrifice, study of the Vedas, penance, uprightness, non-doing of injury, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquility, freedom from fault-finding, compassion for all, absence of covetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of quarrelsomeness, freedom from variety, O Bharata, all these belong to him who is God-like." Indeed the devotee lives a truly spiritual life and tries to have a godly relation between the human soul and the Divine soul.

    We have given above a short description of what it is to lead a spiritual life and it is needless to say that the dominance of religious spirit in man is a chief factor in the success of spiritual life. Even in universities the factor of religion ought not to be ignored. As Mr. Haldane rightly puts it, the University is the place of training where the exponents of knowledge of research are to be numbered and receive their spiritual baptism. It is the teaching of religion on cosmopolitan basis that has a sure and successful influence on the endeavor of men to have a healthy spiritual existence. The Jew obeys the laws of Moses; the Christian bows to the law of Christ; the Hindu looks back to Manu for the guidance of his conduct; and the Musalman relies upon the Koran as an authority in all matters and in all these cases the imprimatur has come from a divine or inspired authority. Religion is therefore the foundation of morality that nothing can shake, the rock in which it can be built, and never be removed. We are glad that at present religious element is dormant in man and steps are being taken for the holding of religious Congresses for the betterment of the world. When in 1893 the Congress of Religions was held in Chicago it could be scarcely prophesied that it was not the first and last of its kind. In October last the second Congress was held at Copenhagen and men were widely awakened to the religious upheaval. This year the third Congress meets at Calcutta and from the arrangements that are being made there is a great deal of probability that it will be characterized by a remarkable friendliness among scholars of all nationalities. In April, 1911, will be held the fourth Congress at Athens and let us hope that all these harbinger an era of religious revival whose beneficial result cannot be over-estimated. We shall revert to this subject after the Congress at Calcutta takes place. Meanwhile let us here quote what Mr. Norendra Nath Sen the talented Editor of the Indian Mirror says on the subject. A new era is dawning upon the spiritual horizon of India. A great religious wave will surge through the heart of the world, and not of India alone, with the beginning of the new cycle. We should watch the coming times, and prepare ourselves beforehand for the change which will be ushered into the spiritual world. Students of the ancient history of India will find that Religious Conventions or Councils were frequently held under the Buddhist kings not only to propagate the faith, but to preserve its principles from any polluting influence. The proceedings of four great Councils are on record – the first held in 543 B. C. after the passing away of Lord Buddha; the second held a century afterwards to settle disputes between the more and less strict followers of Buddhism; the third held in the reign of King Asoka in 244 B. C., which corrected many errors and heresies; and the fourth held under the Scythian King Kanishka who ruled in North-Western India about 40 A. D. These Councils served the most important purpose of keeping the Buddhist doctrines pure. How much more Religious Conventions must be needed today when materialism has laid its hands upon every race of the world.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013



    In the Deepika of the October, page 84 the Vedanta interpretation of God Subramaniar is stated to be Atmagnana. The Siddhanta explanation of the God is as follows:-

    Prior to creation the souls lie in their Kevala state, suffering from the effects of Mala – God's love is then excited and He wills to save them and manifests Himself as Sadasivanyanar with Isana, Thathpuruda, Agora, Vamadeva and Sadryojata as His 5 faces or Saktis in the spiritual or Arupa plane. In addition to these 5, He has also His Arul Sakti who is the root of all these and is known as Vinayagar. By the power of the 5 saktis, the 5 Moorthis – Sadasiva, Maheswara, Rudra, Vishnu and Brahma perform each one of the 5 functions in the 4 material planes and the one between the material and spiritual planes. These 5 murthis and the Arul Sakthi of God constitute Subramaniar. This is explained in the following lines of Thiruchendur Agaval:-


    வாரணமுகவன், மலரோன், திருமால்,

    வருத்தமியுருத்திரன், மகேசுரன், சதாசிவன்,




In Kantharkalivenba, this is referred to as follows:-




    The Asura or Rakshasa confining the souls is the Mala – Vanavar is the soul which is a Vibbu in its real state and is made Anu by the Rakashasa or Mala. St. Thirumular speaks of God having sent out Subramaniar to kill the Asura as follows:-






    The 6 material planes where the souls, by Thapas gain experience and wisdom step by steps, are known as 6 Adarahs. We have to pass through these planes before reaching the spiritual plane or Niradara. This is explained in Thiruvunthiar as follows:-

    ஆதாரத்தாலே நிராதாரத்தே சென்று

    மீதானத்தே செல்கவுந்தீபற

    விமலற் கிடமா தென்றுந்தீபற.


As we gain wisdom in these material planes with the help of the 6 deities collectively constituting Subramaniar, before we reach the feet of God in the spiritual plane, Subramaniar is stated by St. Thirumular as having been born or appeared before God who is His father:-


எந்தைபிரானுக் கிருமூன்று வட்டமாய்த்

    தந்தைதன்முன்னே ஷண்முகன் தோன்றலாற்

    கந்தன்சுவாமி கலந்தங் கிருத்தலான்

    மைந்தனிவனென்ன மாட்டிக்கொளீறே.


    The twice three circles referred to are the 6 Adaras or planes with the 6 deities performing their functions there or Subramaniar.

    In my Anda Pinda samathwamsakthi I have given an explanation of this.

    The sounds of crackers used in the month of Aipasa denote the destruction of Asura or Mala and the illumination in the following months is the Gnana Joti resulting from the purification of the souls. The Sakthis of Subramaniar are Valliammai and Daivayanai. The former is said to have been born of a மான் and brought up by Vedars. This is Prakrithi one of the Sakthis of the Supreme Being – Daivayanai is said to be the daughter of Devendra and brought up by Ayiravatham. This is Bhindu Sakthi or Kundali or Pranava. That these two are the spouses of Subramaniar simply means that by means of these two Sakthis the God removes the Anavamala of the souls and imparts gnanam.



Saturday, September 14, 2013


    The civilization of the present century has supplanted Christianity. This civilization has done much for the comforts of the body and the development of the baser passions; but it has not been able to conquer death. Death is inevitable; and that being the case, the civilization of the present century cannot do any real good to mankind.

    The Hindus have been trained from their very infancy not to put any great value on things earthly. Taken any classical works of the Hindus and though they may be said to contain apparently many absurd stories, yet one idea pervades them all. It is that death is inevitable, that death means the separation of the soul which is immortal, from the body, and the true interests of man lie in the harmonious development of his soul. What is it to a man if he gets the sovereignty of the whole world, since he is to die in a few years? And what does a man care if he suffers a few years of misery on this earth, if he has been able to secure an everlasting happiness in the future?

    Let us live and let others live. The word is wide enough for all of us. Let us learn to love and to be loved in return. Let us conquer all our baser facilities and develop the higher only. Let us avoid anger, vindictiveness, haughtiness, greed, sovereignty and selfishness, and let us develop our reverence for God and good will for our brethren. And surely God will not forsake him who follows the above precepts, though he may not be accepted as a good Christian by those who profess to follow Christ.

    If Christianity, as taught by the Catholics, had been presented to the Hindus by Christians, the former might have accepted it without any violence to their faith and feelings. During Catholic festivals, the images of Mary and Christ were taken out of the Church and carried in procession followed by sankirtans and the offering of incense, just as the Hindus carry those of Krishna & c. This is all done with a view to invoke piety in the minds of the masses.

    In the same manner the Mohamedans have their History, their Kerbela and other soul stirring events which gave life to their religion. It was the Protestants who really crucified Christ, that is to say, took the life out of this religion. A Messiah preaching the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, preaching love and goodwill and at last sacrificing himself to his principle, is one who is bound to move the hearts of all men. And it was thus that Christianity spread from country to country.

    If Christ was presented to the Hindus as an Avatar they would have gladly given him his proper place. But the Christians forget the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, and first appeared in India with, not the Bible, but an armed force. The horrible cruelties practiced by Vasco-da-Gama defy description! Thus Christians in India came to be identified with spirituous liquor and cannon. Mr. Growse, the Christian Vaishnava, or, in other words, a pious Christian whose heart was large enough to be able to appreciate the beauties of Vaishnavism, writes in his valuable book on Mathura:-

    "The esoteric doctrines of Vaishnavas generally have little in common with the gross idolatry which the Christian missionary is too often content to demolish as the equivalent of Hinduism. So far is this from being the case that many of their dogmas are not only of an eminently philosophical character, but are also much less repugnant to catholic truth than either the colorless abstractions of the Brahma Samaj or the defiant materialism into which the greater part of Europe is rapidly lapsing.

    Thus their doctrine of salvation by faith is thought by many scholars to have been directly borrowed from the Gospel; while another article in their creed, which is less known but is equally striking in its divergence from ordinary Hindu sentiment, is the continence of conscious individual existence in a future world, when the highest reward of the good will be not extinction, but the enjoyment of the visible presence of the divinity, whom they have faithfully served while on earth; a state therefore absolutely identical with heaven as our theologians define it. The one infinite and invisible God, who is the only real existence, is, they maintain, the only proper object of man's devout contemplation. But as the incomprehensible is utterly beyond the reach of human faculties. He is partially manifested for our behoove in the Book of Creation, in which natural objects are the letters of the universal alphabet and express the sentiments of the Divine Author. A printed page, however, conveys no meaning to anyone but a scholar and is liable to be misunderstood even by him; so, too, with the Book of the World, Whether the traditional scenes of Krishna's adventures have been rightly determined is a matter of little consequence, if only a visit to them excites the believer's religious enthusiasm. The places are mere symbols of no value in themselves; the idea they convey is the direct emanation from the spirit of the author. But it may be equally well expressed by different types; in the same way as two copies of a book may be, word for word, the same in sound and sense, though entirely different in appearance, one being written in Nagari, the other in English character.

    To enquire into the cause of the diversity between the religious symbols adopted by different nationalities may be an interesting study, but is not one that can affect the basis of faith. And thus it matters little whether Radha and Krishna were ever real personages; the mysteries of divine love, which they symbolize remain though the symbols disappear; in the same way as poem may have existed long before it was committed to writing and may be remembered long after the writing has been destroyed. The transcription is a relief to the mind; but though obviously advantageous on the whole, still in minor points it may rather have the effect of stereotyping error for no material form, however perfect and semi-divine can ever be created without containing in itself an element of deception; its appearance varies according to the point of view and the distance from which it is regarded. It is to convictions of this kind that must be attributed the utter indifference of the Hindu to chronological accuracy and historical research. The annals of Hinduism date only from its conquest by the Mahomedan – a people whose faith is based on the misconception of a fact, as the Hindu's is on the corrupt embodiment of a conception. Thus the literature of the former deals exclusively with events; of the latter with ideas.

    We must admit that there is so great a resemblance between the religion of "salvation by faith" or, Vaishnavism, and Christianity that it is but natural, the Christians with their creed of "one God and only one Prophet" should claim that the former was borrowed from the latter. But the Hindus ascribe the resemblance to other causes. They say that Vaishnavism is a revealed religion, so is Christianity; and that being the case they must resemble in their most essential characteristics. One who has studied both the religions can see at a glance that if there was any borrowing at all, it was the Christians who must have borrowed for the simple reason that the end of Christianity is the beginning of Vaishnavism, or, in other words. Vaishnavism has everything which Christianity has while Christianity has only the beginning of Vaishnavism, and not the middle nor the end.

    Mr. Growse had the good luck of coming across some Vaishnavas. He was so struck with what he saw that he was led to describe them in these words:-

    Many of them are pious, simple-minded men. Leading such a chaste and studious life that it may charitably be hoped of them that in the eye of God they are Christians by the baptism of desire.

    These men, for whom Mr. Growse intercedes, live in jungles upon what comes to them from God, without any thought of the morrow, and worship the Father for most hours of the day, giving only few hours for sleep. Mr. Growse talks of their chastity, but they sleep on bare ground, and eat a small quantity of the coarsest food, only with a view to keep body and soul together. We wish Europe could show only one such man in the whole continent.

    The Christian religion in some of its ordinary forms, says Dr. Fairbairn, is well known in India. The enthusiastic missionaries of all denominations have flooded the land with their literature, and their incessant preaching is dinned into our ears on the roadside, in the bazaar, and at the great religious fairs all over the country. But at the same time it must be observed that the Gospel so abundantly preached, has wonderfully little effect. Perhaps one should use the word 'theology' in places of 'the Gospel.' The theology of all this preaching and writing makes no appeal to the religious instincts of the people, specially of the better classes, and in India the higher castes virtually make the nation. I am aware the teachers like Dr. Barrows are far indeed from the popular Christian ideas of sin, heaven and hell, Atonement, Incarnation, and the authority of the Bible. But, naturally, they are so loyal to the traditions of the great religion they profess that they are disinclined to differentiate and teach as if they believed exactly as all Christian missionaries in India believe, and subscribe exactly to the same forms of Christianity. All educated Indians have made up their minds about the merits of current Calvinistic theology, and anyone who outwardly identifies himself with that, however eloquent or scholarly, has no chance of success in India. In the second place, it is always a dangerous thing to dabble with Oriental philosophy and religion on the part of those who derive their knowledge of Orientalism from translations of Sanskrit books. Translations by alien authors almost as a rule miss the genius of the works, specially of religious works, for the simple reason that they are more concerned with the literary integrity of their translations than the spiritual import. Then again, all Oriental systems are either not translated or not thought worthy of translation. And the doctrines which the Christian lecturer criticizes may not be the only ones on the subject; they may be matched by other doctrines of a contrary kind which have not been translated, or, being comparatively obscure, have escaped the notice of the lecturers. Hence his criticisms, solely based upon what he knows, fall wide of the mark. And the obscure doctrines may have a wider following in India than the celebrated ones. I will give only one instance. The Vedantic Theosophy of Sankara has the widest possible reputation in Europe. It has been criticized and killed and re-killed so many times by Western scholars that it is wonderful how the rage still remains unsatisfied to criticize and kill it again. But it may not be known to all that millions upon millions of thoughtful Hindus evidently believe in a system contrary to Sankara's Pantheism, a system of simple and deep Theism established by another great teacher named Ramanuja, which often comes up to the grandeur of David, or Isaiah, or St. Augustine. What I wish to point out is that any criticism made on the Vedanta doctrine with a view to establish the superiority of the Christian religion will not avail because the superiority claimed will quite find its match in modern Vaishnavism, and one or other of its many forms which millions of devout Hindus believe everywhere.

    The true mission of Christians in India is not merely to govern the country and further their material interests. Thas is not the way that will further the causes of Christianity. That is not the way to better themselves and those who are in their charge. Let it be borne in mind, that a politically free man is not free at all. If England, the freest country in the world, the soldier is the slave of his Captain, so is the subordinate of his superior and the party man of his leader.

    That man alone is free whose soul is free. He is the only free man who has been able to bring his passion under control, so as to enable him to cultivate his divine instincts and to make his friendship with God, from whom every man sprang and to whom everyone is destined to go. An Englishman calls himself a free-born Briton, and the Hindus his subjects. This is real love of freedom; is it not?

    By a wise arrangement of Providence the Hindus have been but under a sober and steady Christian nation. The reason is that they should help one another. It is for the Christians to govern the country well, it is for the Hindus, who are, if they are anything, a religious people to spiritualize the Christians. Let the Christians study, like Mr. Growse and Dr. Fairbairn, the spiritual truths and the examples of piety that the Hindus can furnish, and they will derive much more valuable things than they can ever hope to do by exploiting the country.

    In the exposition given by Mr. Growse of the philosophy of Vaishnavism, our English educated countrymen will find something which perhaps they did not know before. And in the description of the Catholic celebration the Hindus will find that there is very little difference between an ordinary Hindu and a Catholic Christian.

M. D.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

India's influence upon Japan in the past.

    There is no doubt that the present national awakening in India is due in a large measure to the influence which the wonderful history of Japan has exercised over the mind and imagination of the educated classes in this country. Young India has set up Japan as its model, and the desire is growing more and more among the people to cultivate acquaintance with the laws and institutions, the customs and tradition of the most wonderful of the Eastern nations of the present day. To most people, however, it does not at once occur, that the history of Japan is but a fragment of Indian history – that Japan is only giving us back today what she has received from us in the past. We are indebted to Mr. J. N. Farquhar, M. A., for an informing lecture which he delivered on this subject at Bangalore, a short time back, and which is reproduced in the April number of the Hindustan Review. Mr. Farquhar is well-known in Calcutta for his evangelistic labors in connection with the Theistic Mission. He went to Japan last April to take part in the All-World Christian Students' Conference which was held in that country, and while there he was fortunate enough to come in contact with many Buddhist and Shinto priests, from whom he acquired a great deal of most valuable information at first hand.

    The first thing which appears to have struck Mr. Farquhar is the vast creative influence which India, through Buddhism, exerted on Japan in the early centuries. The student of history need not be told that Buddhism was introduced into China by the Missionaries whom the Buddhists kings of this country sent there in the first century B. C. China had been a civilized country for many centuries, and when Buddhism went there, the Chinese were already an old and powerful nation. The story of Japan is different. When Buddhism was introduced in Japan in the sixth century after Christ, the Japanese were a barbarous people, with no system of writing, no literature, little agriculture, less industry, no art, and only a very rudimentary form of government. Mr. Farquhar says that it was Buddhism that started Japan on the path of civilization, and that without it, the progress of that country would have been very slow indeed. Very few Indians went to Japan in those days, and very few Japanese came to India. "Yet," says Mr. Farquhar, "though there was scarcely any direct contact, the forces set in motion were so powerful and of such immeasurable importance that no intelligent man can visit Japan today without meeting evidence of the sway of the Indian intellect at many points." The writer found may Buddhist images in Japan which are extremely Hindu in appearance. He says that a considerable number of the gods of Hinduism have found their way to Japan, and that in some temples he actually saw the figures of Indra and Brahma. Yama or the Death-god of the Hindus is also a common god in Japan. The Tantric movement as also the doctrines of Pantheism and Avatars also appear to have considerably influenced Japanese life. Shintoism is an adaptation of the doctrine of Avatars. Architecture and sculpture were introduced into Japan in the same way as Buddhism. The temples and images, all show the characteristics of Indian art and thought; and indeed, says Mr. Farquhar, "no one who knows India can walk through Japan today without being strikingly impressed with the many Indian features which still remain visible after so many centuries." It is an extraordinary fact that in every Buddhist temple in Japan the ritual is still chanted in the Sanskrit language. The religious books are written in the Sanskrit language, but in Chinese characters. During the last fifty years, a number of ancient Sanskrit manuscripts as also Sanskrit inscriptions have been found in the country; and this fact certainly goes to show that Sanskrit was widely studied in Japan in the ancient times. The Japanese owe the introduction of Buddhism, as well as of the various forms of culture attending it, to the Chinese, who in their turn received these gifts from India direct. The Chinese founded schools all over the country, taught the people to cultivate their fields better, and cut out roads and built bridges all along the coast. But the inspiration for this great civilizing work came from India through Buddhism.

    It is not Japan alone that owes her civilization to India. Mr. Farquhar truly observes that what India did for Japan, she did also in varying measure for China, Mongolia, Tibet, Annam, Siam, Java, and Burma, not to mention Ceylon. "All the peoples of the East," he adds, "learned from Hindustan, all were proud to acknowledge her supremacy and to drink from her flowing fountain. For a thousand years, counting from Asoka, India continued to give out of the riches of her storehouse to the nations of the East; but after 750 after Christ, this spontaneity gradually ceased. But though India no longer continued to give forth as before, yet the influence of Buddhism in the East was neither short-lived nor superficial. It moulded the life and character of these peoples to an extraordinary degree; and the results have lasted down into our own days." Having regard to the great part which Buddhism has played in the evolution of civilization, if not for its own unsurpassable merits as a religion of love and service for humanity, it behooves every intelligent man in these days to make the Buddhist religion the subject of devout study. The educated Indian should take pride in the fact that the religion which has done the greatest service to the nations of the East, and has also been a civilizing factor in the Western world, belongs to the country in which he was born. It is a curious irony of fate that India, the teacher, should now have to learn the rudiments of nation-building from her pupils. We are now sending our young men to Japan to learn arts and industries, but time was when India was the teacher of arts and industries to the whole world. Truly does Mr. Farquhar ask: - "Can any Indian realize the meaning of these great facts without the deepest emotion?" – Indian Mirror.