Sunday, February 22, 2015

Virasaiva Religion.

    Virasaiva Scriptures: - The Virasaiva consider the four Vedas, the hundred Upanishads, the nineteen Smritis, the eighteen Puranas, the eighteen Upapuranas and the two epics as their scriptural authorities in so far as they relate to Lingadharana and other Virasaiva observances. But the chief authorities of the Virasaivas are the celebrated twenty-eight Sivagamas. The twenty-eight Sivagamas are: - (1) Kamikagama, (2) Yogajagama, (3) Chintyagama, (4) Karanagama, (5) Ajitagama, (6) Diptagama, (7) Sukshamagama, (8) Sahasragama, (9) Amsumadagama, (10) Suprabhodagama, (11) Vijayagama, (12) Visvesagama, (16) Rauravagama, (17) Makutagama, (18) Vimalagama, (19) Chendrajnanagama, (20) Bimbagama, (21) Prodgitagama, (22) Lalitagama, (23) Siddhagama, (24) Santagama, (25) Sarvoktagama, (26) Paramesvaragama, (27) Kiranagama and (28) Vatulagama. In these twenty-eight Sivagamas, the Purva or anterior portions relate to other Saivas and the uttara or ulterior portion relate to other Saivas and the uttara or ulterior portion relate to Virasaivas. Where the Ashtavarana (the eight environments), the Panchachara (the five religious observances) and the Shatsthala (the six steps to Salvation) are treated in the said twenty-eight Sivagamas, it is to be understood that those portions relate to Virasaiva religion Yogajagama states: -


To show that the twenty-eight Sivagamas are the special authorities of the Virasaiva (of course, in common with the Suddha-Saivas of the Tamil country), one of the Agamas states: -


There is a Bhashya of the Virasaivas on the Brahmasutras by Srikarasivacharya on the Shatsthala side the existence of which was not known by a portion of the Virasaivas for some time. An attempt is now made to publish it. The Brahmasutra Bhashya by Srikantha Sivacharya was hitherto considered as the exclusive Virasaiva Bhashya. But now the Suddhasaivas of the Tamil country claim it as their Bhashya, as it does not treat of Shatsthala which is the distinctive tenet of the Virasaivas. But Nilakanthanaganathacharya has written a treatise on the Bhashya of Srikanthasivacharya which is entitled Kriyasara in which Lingadharana and other subjects kindered with Virasaiva tenet are treated which shows that Srikantha Bhashya is a Virasaiva Bhashya. But whatever this may be, as the exclusive worship of Siva is the peculiar characteristic of the Virasaivas and as Srikantha Bhashya treats of the superiority of God Siva to the exclusion of other deities, the said Bhashya will have to be considered as the Virasaiva Bhashya. But I learn that the Suddhasaivas of the Tamil country are as rigid as the Virasaivas of the Kanarese country in worshipping one God Siva to the exclusion of other gods. If this be so, then Srikantha Bhashya becomes the common property of both the Suddhasaivas of the Tamil country and the Virasaivas of the Kanarese country. The Virasaivas have also what are called Bhashya which are not Bhashyas on Brahmasutras like the Srikara and Srikantha Bhashya. They are termed Bhashya, because they are discourses on various Virasaiva subjects. They are the following: - Somanatha Bhashya or Basavarajiya, Amritesvara Bhashya, Sarvesvara Bhashya, Ganabhashyaratnamala and other works. Besides these, there are in Kannada, a class of literature called Vachanas. These are existing and enthusiastic lectures delivered by Basavesvara of Kalyan and his innumerable disciples to the multitude. These vachanas treat of Shatsthala philosophy in pithy, concise and fiery style based on the twenty-eight. These vachanas are unlimited. The vachanas of Prabhudevaru himself is stated to be twice eighty crores in number. This is the number given by many authors. Extracts from these "vachanas" are quoted in many subsequent works. The subsequent works state that these "vachanas" have always been recited by Acharyas to the Bhaktas in every time from the time of Basavesvara. Besides these "Vachanas", there have been innumerable works from the early times to the present day which have been written in classic style on the subject of Virasaiva religion as well as on other matters. These have been written in Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu by Virasaiva authors. The names of the authors and their works together with other details will be give further on in chronological order under a separate number. Fearing that this essay will become lengthy, I have stopped here. My appeal to the Virasaivas is that vast as the Virasaiva literature is, they should feel proud of it and try to do something for its preservation and development.

    The system of Lingadharana: - The distinctive characteristic of the Virasaiva religion is the wearing of Linga on the body, i.e., Lingadharana. Is this system quite in accordance with Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, Puranas and other orthodox authorities? According to Virasaivas, Lingadharana is Vedic, Upanishadic, Smritic, Puranic and Tantric. All the Virasaivic works quote passages from the Vedas &c., in support of the system of Lingadharana. One of the chief authorities which deals with the subject of Lingadharana is the celebrated Lingadharanachandrika. This work is about 500 years old. Its author is Nandivarasivayogi. In this work, it is learnedly shown that a number of passages in Vedas and Upanishads explain Lingadharana and that there are innumerable passages in Puranas which describe the tenet of Lingadharana. Extracts from the celebrated twenty-eight Sivagamas which are the special authorities of the Virasaivas are also given in this work in support of the system of Lingadharana. This work is now printed in Devanagiri character with the commentary of Sri Sivakumarasarma Pandit of Benares. The printing has been done at the instance of Sri Rajesvara Sivayogi of Visvaradhya Mutt at Benares. The whole Virasaiva world is deeply indebted to this Sivayogi for the great service he did to the Virasaiva religion. I quote some passages which are given in the said Lingadharanachandrika in support of Lingadharana, for the information of the readers of the Light of Truth. The passage in Rig-Veda which is said to import Lingadharana is: -


    The passages in Yajurveda which purport that Rudra's body shines in the sinless &.c, is:-


    The passage in Taittiriyopanishat of Krishna Yajurveda which signifies that the Dharana of Brahma should be one that cannot be declined &c., is: -


    The passage again, in Rig Veda, which gives the idea and that this hand is God &c., is: -


    This, according to the said work, refers to the practice, among the Virasaivas, of worshipping Lingam on the palm of the left hand. The passages in Svetasvatara Upanishat which purports that Siva resides in the face, head, and neck of all living creatures and that He pervades everything, is: -


    This refers to the Antarlingadharana and Bahirlingadharana of the Virasaivas. Antarlingadharana is contemplating Siva in the heart. Bahirlingadharana is wearing the gross Linga on the body. The passages in Brahmopanishat, which purports that in preference to Bahissutram (which is Istalingam worn on the outside body), the sutram of Brahmabhava (which is Bhavalingam meditated in the heart) should be worn, is: -


    Gautamasmirti speaks of Lingadharana as follows: -


    Lingapurana says that Brahma, Vishnu and other Devas wear Linga on their bodies: -


    Padmapurana specifies the kinds of boxes in which the Linga should be enshrined and worn: -


    In the dialogue between Bhishma and Dharma in Mahabharata the following passage occurs in which the question whether alms should be given to Brahmins wearing Linga or to those that do not wear Linga, is discussed: -


    Thus it has been shown that the system of Lingadharana is in accordance with Vedas, Upanishats, &c., and is sanctioned by them. But the detailed description of Lingadharana is given elaborately and extensively in Sankara Samhita of Skandapurana and in the Saivagamas. Besides these, there are innumerable works by individual authors in Sanskrit such as Anadi-Virasaiva Sangraha, Siddhanta Sikhamani, Virasaivananda Chandrika, Shatstalatilaka and other works and in Kannada, Virasaivamrita purana, Shatstalasiddhanta, Cheturacharya purana and other works. It is quite inexpedient to enumerate all those works in this small essay. It is unfortunate that the present day English educated Virasaivas are not taking the least trouble to translate some of these works into English so that the tenets of the Virasaiva religion which at present remain unknown to the world may be made known to all. With this humble remark, I close this Study II.

    Antiquity: -    Some people think that the Virasaiva Religion was newly founded by Basavesvara of Kalyan. It must be understood that Basavesvara is only a reformer of the Virasaiva Religion and not the founder. It is nowhere said either in Basavapurana or in any of the Virasaiva works that Basavesvara founded the Virasaiva Religion. On the other hand, according to Agamas, the origin of the Virasaiva Religion is thus given. It is said that Brahma wanted to create the world. He could bot do it as he did not known how to do it. He asked Siva to show him the way of creating the world. Then Siva created out of his chit the five Acharyas viz: Renuka, Daruka, Gantakarna, Gajakarna and Visvakarna. The descendants of these Acharyas and all those that have been converted by them and their descendants are called the Virasaivas of the Aprakritas. After this, Brahma created, out of Prakriti i.e. matter, the four castes and other living things. They are called Prakritas. This is, of course, a story. But this serves to show that the belief among the Virasaivas is not that Basavesvara founded their religion, but that their religion is existing from the beginning. There is also the evidence of the Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, Puranas, Ithihasas and Agamas to show that the Virasaiva Religion existed at the time of their compilation, because they suggest and treat of Lingadharana which is the distinctive characteristic of the Virasaiva Religion. Besides these, there is some extraneous evidence to show unequivocally that the Virasaiva Religion is a very ancient religion, that it was reformed by Basavesvara of Kalyan, but not founded by him and that it existed at the time Sri Sankaracharya and prior to him. Professor H. H. Wilson, in his Religions of India, says that Sankara Digvijaya was written by one Anandagiri an immediate disciple of Sri Sankaracharya, and this was a work of the time of Sankaracharya. In this work, he says, that five divisions of Saivas are mentioned with whom Sankara disputed. They are Saivas, Raudras, Ugras, Bhaktas and Jangamas. Their respective characteristics are also given. The characteristic of Jangamas according to the work, was the carrying of the figure of Linga on the head. Professor, H. H. Wilson says that while all the other divisions have now disappeared, the Jangamas only continue, showing that the present day Jangamas are the same as the Jangamas of the time of Sri Sankaracharya. This shows that the Virasaiva Religion existed at the time of Sri Sankaracharya. In this connection there is another important thing to be noted. Professor H. H. Wilson says that the works that were used as scriptural authorities by the above named divisions of Saivas were Siva Rahasya, Rudrayamala Tantra and other works showing that the said works were in existence at the time of Sankaracharya. Siva Rahasya treats of Lingadharana and other matters kindered to it. This also shows that Virasaiva Religion existed at the time of Sri Sankaracharya. It is known that the 63 Purathanas were prior to Sri Sankaracharya. According to Chennabasavapurana, a work of 14th Century A.D., some of these 63 Purathanas were Virasaivas. They are: -

    (1)    Ahappageyaru (In Tamil – Iyarpagai Nayanar).

    (2)    Chirutoneyandaru (In Tamil – Sirutonda Nayanar).

    (3)    Kaligananatharu (In Tamil – Gananatha Nayanar).

    (4)    Murkhanainaru (In Tamil – Murkha Nayanar).

    (5)    Perumalugaru (In Tamil – Idangudi Nayanar).

    (6)    Marabhaktaru (In Tamil – Ilayangudi Mara Nayanar).

    (7)    Chendakesigalu (In Tamil – Chendeswara Nayanar).

    (8)    Siriyala Setti (In Tamil – Sirutonda Nayanar).

This shows that the Virasaiva Religion existed at the time of the Purathanas. According to Vrishabhendra Vijaya, in Kannada, an old work, some of the Purathanas ae described as giving alms to Jangamas. As I have already shown above, the word Jangama is applied to the Saivas who carry the figure of the Linga on the head. This also shows the existence of the Virasaivas at the time of the Purathanas. I hear that the word Jangama is also used in one or two places in Peria Purana. If it be so, it will add strength to my remark. Saint Tirumular who is one of the 63 Purathanas treats of Shatsthala in his works. Shatsthala is a tenet of the Virasaivas. This also shows that the Virasaiva Religion existed at the time of the Purathanas. Tayumanavar Svamigal makes use of the worlds Guru Linga and Jangama in his works. But, as he is a recent personage, he will not be of avail to prove the antiquity of the Virasaiva Religion. On a consideration of all the circumstances mentioned above, I am somewhat forced to think that the birth place of Virasaiva Religion is the Tamil country, that the members of the Virasaiva Religion first developed it in the Tamil Country. Be this as it may, what is it that makes some people think that the Lingadharana Religion is a recent religion and it was founded by Basavesvara of Kalyan, in spite of the existence of Vedas, Smritis, &c., which treat of Lingadharana. People seem to have been dazzled by the suddenness and brilliancy of Basavesvara's grand work of reform. They think that the system of Lingadharana is an innovation introduced by him. This is a great mistake. It may be that Basavesvara introduced many reforms into the existing Lingadharana religion, or he might have put into practice many things that existed in theory prior to him, such as regarding all men who were Sivabhaktas as equals, kindness to all living things &c. But it cannot be that he invented the wearing of Linga on the body. It exists from the early times. This mistaken idea about the time of the Virasaiva Religion is due to want of study of Virasaiva Literature as well as other works on the subject. The present day English educated Virasaiva also have not taken trouble to translate Virasaiva works into English and many of them have not studied the works in original even. This is a great misfortune of the Virasaiva Religion. Much activity is going on among the Virasaivas of the Karnataka country. Virasaiva Conferences are held every year. Virasaiva Boarding houses are established. Grand Funds for the promotion of the English education of the Virasaivas are started. But of what avail are all these? Things are not done with right earnestness. The only substantial and good works that may be considered to have been with real love for the religion are those executed by the late Varad Mallappa of Sholapur, the late Lingappa Gayappa Sirsinge, the Late Virasangappa of Mysore, the living Kumaraswami of Hunagal and the publication of the old Virasaiva classic works by the living Mr. N. R. Karibasava Sastri of Mysore. The only useful work that the English educated Virasaiva can do for the religion is printing grand works such as Sreekara Bashya and other works and translating excellent books such as Siddhanta Sikamani. To do this a great amount of labour and self sacrifice is necessary.


    [The expression Guru, Linga, Jangama is a technical one. They are the forms of God, worshipping which God shows his grace. Guru is one's Acharya, and Jangama are Sivabhaktas and they have to be worshipped as God Himself. These both form the Jangama or moveable Form. The Stavara or immovable Form in the Sivalinga which has to be worshipped also as Siva Himself. This is the subject of the 12 sutras of Sivajnanabodham.

    cf. தாவர

. –





    The Virasaiva of the Karnataka Country are greatly thankful to the promoters of the Saiva Siddhanta Conference for starting a movement in which the greatness and the all usefulness of the Saiva Religion is made known to the world in the course of which the existence and usefulness of the hitherto unknown Virasaiva Religion is also made known by its members being allowed to deliver lectures in the conferences and its members being allowed to contribute articles on Virasaivism to the well known and widely circulated Saivic Organ called the Light of Truth. When Saiva Siddhanta Conference was held at Ramnad, the Saivic promoters were kind enough to elect a Virasaiva of prominence as president and to permit a number of Virasaivas to deliver lectures on Virsaivism. But among the Virasaivas themselves, the work of Saivic progress is not satisfactory. While the Saivas of the Tamil country are doing all their best to improve the cause of Saiva Religion in every way, by starting a journal in English in which all about Saiva Religion is written, by translating excellent Saiva works in Tamil and Sanskrit into English, by writing lives of Tamil Saiva Saints in Tamil and English and by doing various other things, the Virasaivas of the Karnataka Country remain doing nothing in the spiritual field though they are doing some feeble work in the worldly sphere. There are innumerable classic works in Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada which require to be translated into English by doing which only the existence and usefulness of a specific branch of Saivism can be made known to the world. The well-to-do and educated Virasaivas are wanting in fire to strive for all these things. This is the misfortune of Virasaivism. Be this as it may. Having said so much about the condition of Virasaivism at present and having offered sincere thanks to the promoters of Saiva Movement for their kindness in giving encouragement to the pitiable members of Virasaiva Religion to utter something in the Conferences &c., I now beg permission to come to my subject. The subject that I have chosen for delivering today is what is called Ashatavarana. The text of the Virasaivas consists of three things viz: - Shatsthala (six steps to salvation), Ashtavarana (the eight protections) and Panchachara (the five religious observances). These three things are really not separate from each other. In the Shatsthala, the Ashtavarana and Panchachara are embodied. The Shatsthala is peculiar workmanship in which everything is included. In it, the Karma Kanda, the Jnana Kanda, the Yoga Kanda and Bhakti Kanda are included. In it, the 101 sthalas from Pinda to Jnanasurya are included. In it, the five elements and the Atma are included. Within it, the Pindanda and Brahmanda are shut up. There is nothing beyond it. It is Brahma, appearing to the world in six forms on account of vibration of the Sakti which is connected with Siva (Brahma) as the smell with the flower, as the taste with milk and as coldness with the moon's rays. There is much to say about Shatsthala. But as my subject is Ashtavarana and as the time within which I shall have to finish my lecture is short, I shall have to satisfy myself with confining myself to saying a few words about Ashtavaranas. As I have already stated, this Ashtavarana is not separate from Shatsthala. When a Bhakta is practising shatstha, he meets with the downward opposition (Pravritti) of Saktis which prevents him from ascending towards Mukti. So, according to the prescriptions, he makes use of Bhaktis which resist Saktis and helps to make upward progress (Nivritti). In this struggle, various kinds of temptations of the world come and besiege the Bhakta and trouble him. To be undisturbed by these, the Bhakta is directed to make use of what are called Ashtavaranas which are Guru, Linga, Jangama, Vibhuti, Rudraksha, Padodaka, Prasada and Panchakshara. These Ashtavaranas are like the eight fortresses which protect the Bhakta from the siege of worldly temptations. Some account of the greatness of these Ashtavaranas, I give below in brief.

    (1) Guru: -    The Guru's shape is the source of meditation. The Guru's feet are the source of worship. The Guru's words are the source of Mantra. The Guru's kindness is the source of Salvation. Guru is father. Guru is mother. Guru is God. There is nothing beyond Guru. A sathbhakta should make 'ashtanga pranamam' before the Guru on the land and offer prayers to him. The sixty-eight Thirthas, the seven oceans, the eight mountains, the planet and stars and the thirty six tattvas are all in the various limbs of the Guru. The Sivasasanas say 'Naguroradhikam'.

    (2) Linga: -     All the movable and immovable things in the world and the three worlds shine in the midst of Sivalinga. There is nothing beyond Lingam. Linga is indestructible. It is free from vicissitudes. It is indivisible. There is no other thing which is like it. If one worships Sivalinga in any manner, he is sure to get Salvation. As long as there will be no death, as long as there will be no old age and diseases, as long as the senses are not weakened, so long one should worship Linga.

    (3) Jangama: -    Jangama devoid of shape and non-shape. It is free from desire and non-desire. It is beyond Nada, Bindu and Kala. It has traversed beyond Veda, Sastra and other things. It has no beginning, middle or end. It is eternal bliss. A Bhakta should worship this Jangama and offering Prasada of this Jangama to Ishta Linga, should swallow it. Brahmanas are Gods on earth. Jangamas are Rudras on earth. Of these two, Jangamas are great.

    (4) Vibhuti: -    Vibhuti prepared from the Cow dung of cows known as Nandi, Subhadri, Surabhi, Susila and Sumani born from the five faces of Siva known as Sadyojata &c., is to be besmeared on the body. If done so, age will be increased. The Vibhuti should be besmeared on head, forehead, neck, shoulders, elbow, wrist, breast, naval, sides and back. The Vibhuti should be besmeared after uttering Panchakshari. Such a person as does so will get all his desires and attain salvation.

    (5) Rudraksha: - When Parameswara, at the time of Thripura Samhara, opened his eyes, there fell water from them. From this water, Rudraksha trees were born. If one names these Rudrakshas, he will get the Phala of giving one lakh of cows as alms. If he sees them, he will get double that Phala. If he wears them, he will become Rudra himself. If he wears, according to prescribed rules, Rudrakshas of various kinds from Rudraksha of one face to Rudraksha of fourteen faces, he will get great rewards.

    (6) Padodaka: - If Padodaka of Guru, Linga and Jangama is worn on the body, Prarabdhas of previous births such as Sanchita, Agamya &c., will be destroyed. If it is worn on the head, all the catastrophes will be removed. If it is drunk, immediate salvation will be obtained.

    (7) Prasada: -    A Siva Bhakta should offer all things to Guru, Linga and Jangama and then eat their Sesha. He should not, even out of carelessness, give the said Sesha to place, beasts, water, &c. This Prasada destroys all sins. It is like the Badabanala (inner fire) to the Sea of Sorrow. It burns up poverty. It gives the four kinds of Purusharthas. It gives Sujnana (spiritual knowledge).

    (8) Panchakshari: - By uttering Panchakshari, all sins will be destroyed. Death, disease and other things will be destroyed. One will get Salvation. One will be free from the fear of Yaksha, Rakshasa, Pisacha, Graha and Ugrasarpas. When one is on bare ground, when he is on bed, when he walks, when he is on cot, he should not utter Sivamanthra, but should only meditate upon it remaining silent without uttering any words.

    Thus, I have stated, in brief, some account regarding the greatness of Ashtavarana. I pray that Almighty God Siva will bless all mankind and all living things and will ever continue to give to our promoters of the Saiva Siddhanta Movement the same firmness of will, vigour of purpose, and undiminishing energy to plod on with their work of Siva Cause. With this, I close my lecture.

J. B.

Saturday, February 21, 2015



    I expect that to most of your readers Khed Brahma is nothing more than the name of the terminal station of the Ahmedabad-Parantij line and yet the little village which is picturesquely situated at the confluence of three streams and in a wild and hilly country, is extremely interesting and well worth a visit, for it is one of the two or three places in all India and the only one in Gujarat where a shrine to Brahma is now found. And who is Brahma? Brahma, the supreme, impersonal soul of the universe, self-existent, absolute and eternal, from which all things emanate and to which all return, has three manifestations, viz: - Brahma (embodying the idea of creation) Vishnu (that of preservation) and Shiva (that of destruction or dissolution). Hence it appears that Brahma is the first member of the Hindu Triad, and one would naturally suppose that his worship would be both popular and widespread. But as a matter of fact, his worship is very rare and temples dedicated to him are few and far between. It is said that one reason for the scant honor now paid to him is the curse uttered against him by Shiva, when he and Vishnu contended with each other as to which was the greater deity. It is related that when they were at it hammer and tongs, Shiva suddenly appeared before them and claimed superiority over both of them. To prove his claim he made his linga appear and then challenged the two rivals to find either the top or the bottom of it, whereas Brahma took on a pair of wings and tried to find its top. Though both were unsuccessful, yet Brahma falsely claimed to have reached the linga's top. His falsehood was detected by Shiva, who severely rebuked him and added "let no one henceforth perform worship to thee."

    Brahma, started out in life with a first class mental equipment, viz, five heads which are accounted for as follows: - After he had created his daughter, Satarupa or Sarasvati, from his own body he was so charmed by her loveliness that he fell in love with her and exclaimed "how surpassingly lovely she is!" Thereupon Satarupa modestly turned to the right, but as her love-stricken father still wished to gaze upon her, a second head issued from his shoulders. Then as she still desiring to avoid his amorous glances, went first to the left and then, behind him, two more heads came forth from his shoulders. Finally in her modest desperation, she sprang up into the sky; but the resourceful and amorous Brahma was not to be beaten, for he at once gave himself a fifth head and so was enabled still to feed his eyes on her surpassing beauty. How comes it then that he is represented with only four heads? It is said that on the occasion of the above mentioned dispute with Vishnu when Siva appeared before them and cursed Brahma for his lying, the latter became furiously angry and abused Siva to his face, whereupon Siva caused the offending head to be struck off.

    Such is the deity that is now honored by one solitary temple in all Gujarat. The temple is placed in the centre of the village of Khed Brahma, or Brahma Khed which is about fifteen minutes walk from the railway station. The building is disappointingly insignificant in appearance and seems to be partly old and partly modern or restored. On walking round the outside of the temple, one cannot but be struck with the number of images of goddesses and dancing girls on the walls. The god himself occupies the central place in the three principal niches of the north, south and west walls, but most of the remaining space is occupied by female figures in various stages of undress and in strange attitudes. The mandap and forepart of the interior are in the plainest and simplest style, and as we were not prevented, from going right in and up to the shrine we obtained a very close view of the idol itself. Brahma's three somewhat expression less faces were clearly seen, but the fourth, being engaged with the back wall, was of course invisible. As he is four-headed so he was four arms, two on either side, the upper two being held in an upright position from the elbow, and the lower two hand down by his sides. In the right upper hand is the sacrificial ladle, in the left upper a copy of the Vedas in the right lower the rosary, and in the left lower hand he holds a water pot. The present image strikes one as being quite a modern one, and is clothed in a pink cotton dress. The material of which the image is made seems to be plaster, well polished and made to look into marble. In front and on either side of its stands the sacred goose, the vahana or carriage of the god. When we entered the place not a soul was to be seen, and subsequently only a few boys and one young man who informed us that he was the pujari turned up. True indeed that worship is performed each morning and evening by the pujari, and a mela or fair is held once a year in the month of February when fairly large crowds congregate to pay their respects to Brahma, and yet the whole air of the place is one of lonely desolation vividly witnessing to the efficacy of Siva's withering curse. – Brahmavadin.


Thursday, February 19, 2015


    Extract from the "International Review of Missions" Vol. II, No.7, pp. 586, 587: -

    Of the many systems into which the Saivite stream of Vedanta teaching has spread out the Saiva Siddhanta possesses by far the richest literature, and holds the greatest place in the life of South India. The sect accepts the canon of the Vedanta as interpreted by Nilakantha, and looks back also to a series of Sanskrit works called Agamas, which regulate the worship and practice of Saivites, and to a group of poet-saints, whose Tamil hymns are sung in the temples. The teaching of the Siddhanta was systematized in fourteen theological works written in Tamil in the thirteenth and following centuries. The Rev. H. W Schomerus, who for some eleven years has been a missionary in South India, has explored this Tamil dogmatic, and Der Saive Siddhanta is a full exposition of the teaching contained in it. Hitherto our information about the sect has been very fragmentary, and has had to be gathered from a number of books and innumerable articles. The present work will now obviate that necessity for all who read German. Mr. Schomerus is to be congratulated on the care and thoroughness which characterize his work throughout. He follows his authorities with the utmost faithfulness, and is a clear-sighted and most sympathetic expositor. His book is a most valuable addition to the literature of Hinduism, and will be heartily welcomed by all scholars.

    Mr. Nallasvami Pillai is a leading modern exponent and defender of the system. His Studies in Saiva Siddhanta, if taken along with Dr. Pope's Tiruvasagam, form the best help available in English for understanding the sect; and they have the further interest of showing us the system battling for life amid the storms raised by western thought.


Sunday, February 15, 2015


(Devopasana Dipika)



        As the letter A stands as the first of all letters

        So the ancient God is the First Cause of the World.

  • The Sacred Kural.


Just as we infer the presence of fire from the presence of smoke, so we see in this world the different kinds of food which men either do not understand or are not capable of understanding and which they cannot distinguish or are not capable of distinguishing, the different kinds of organs which swallow these foods, the different organs which digest the foods, convert them into juices and feed the different constitutions of the blood and give strength to mind and other senses and thus enable men to derive enjoyment, the way these things and organs are constituent, and how these and their different parts are necessary to each other and cooperate harmoniously with each other and calculated to produce certain results, and infer accordingly the existence of an Entity that possesses omniscience enabling it to understand these rare operations and omnipotence to carry them out. This First Cause so inferred is God.

This is the Supreme God who is all-powerful, all wise, eternally free, intelligent, pure Chit, omnipresent and all-container, the Supreme Treasure of grace which grants the wishes of His devotees, the repository of al! greatness and all names, the One Lord who is worshipped and fit to be worshipped by alt, who is the same to all without distinction, and who is claimed devoutly by each religionist as his own. This Being (according to St. Tayumanar) has neither caste nor clan neither birth nor death, neither bondage nor release, neither Rupa nor Arupa nor name and is the Light that shines standing inseparably in all, and according to the following text from Tiruvachaka "He has no forms, nothing; to Him, let us sing Thousand names and beat Tellanam". People ascribe all sorts of names, according to their conception of the Deity.

    "He is called Hara as He destroys all;

    He is called Vishnu as He fill all;

    He is called Sarvajna as He knows all;

    He is called Om as He protects all."


    If we are to state this truth plainer words, just as we infer the existence of a jiva, from the various bodily functions, so we infer the existence of God from our witnessing the wonderful works of creation in this world.


    As God is Sarva Vyapaka, from the entities contained in Him, He gets two Forms, Rupa or Murta, Arupa or Amurta.


    "Brahman has two forms Rupa and Arupa."

    To these, should be added, 'Atita' from God's own nature, and Ruparupa from God's Dhyana Form.

    An illustration: The souls is omnipresent in the body. As this soul can alone be perceived by persons who specially attain to Samadhi, the ordinary people call it Atita; as it is united to the Sukshma body and is intelligent, it is called Arupa; as the Sacred books speak of it as of the form of light, as it is perceived by the eye of wisdom in Samadhi and not perceived by the normal eye, it is called Ruparupa; as the jiva spreading over the whole body fancies it to be the body itself, and without distinguishing it from itself says 'I became aft, I beat him', as even the on-lookers speak of a person's soul, as He is wise, He is unwise, in reference to his body, as also when they speak of him 'he is short, he is tall', this soul is called Rupa in reference to the body it dwells in.

    The inference: So too as the Brahman cannot be understood by our mind, speech and bodily organs, and can alone be perceived when we become one with That after losing self-consciousness (Tat Bodha), It is called Atita; as It is said to be of the form of intelligence, Bliss, Nada, and subtle Bhutas, It is said to be Arupa; as the forms for inner Meditation, In Daharopasana, namely, Jyotis, Hiranmaya Purusha dwelling in the Sun, and forms of meditation like Virupaksha, which are of Jnanasakti are such as cannot be perceived by the human eye and could alone be inferentially known by means of these upasanas, It is said to be Ruparupa; and as the five elements and sun and moon and atma (soul) are the Eight bodies of God, and these with the exception air, Akas and soul are Rupa, Brahman is said to be Rupa also.




        "Without impurity, without action, peaceful."


        'Rudra is Superior to the Universe.'


        "He cannot be reached by speech, by mind or by the eye, How can it be apprehended except by him who says 'He is.'"


        'It is beyond all things. It is in the heart.'





        "Behold He is the far which the mind cannot reach."

        "Glory to Sivam who is indiscernible by the mind."






        'Unless He be perceived with the Eye of His Grace

        Of this nature, of this color and of this form,

        Our Lord is, it will not be easy to picture.'





." (Vagisa's Devaram.)


        'His symbols and marks and Temples,

        His ways, and the Nature of His Being,

        Even though ye recite Thousand Veda's

        Ye Senseless Fools, why don't These enter your heart."


(Jnana Sambanda's Devaram.)


        'The Being who is beyond the world."





        "That which is without sound, without touch, without Form."




        That which is beyond the world is without form and without suffering."


அருவம் …. ஆனய்போற்றி


        'Glory to Him, who is Arupa.'






        "He is Uma-Sahaya, Paramesvara,

        Lord, Three Eyed, Blue Throated."




        "Bow to Him with shoulder of Golden Hue."





        "Glory to Him whose Half is woman"

        "Glory to The Dancer who is the spreading Light."





        "The whole world is filled with what are His members."


        "All this is Brahman."


        "He became like unto every Form."


        "In It all that exists has its self,

        It is the True. It is Atma."



        "Bow to Him who is all forms."


        "Behold, he spread Himself cut as all these spreading worlds."

." (Tiruvachaka)

        "Behold He became the un-moving and the moving."

." (Vagisa's Hymn)

        "Him the Dancer in the chitakasa who is all forms."

    All these ideas are summed up in Kaivalya Up. 8.


    Unthinkable, unmanifest, of endless forms, Siva, Peaceful, Immortal, Origin of Brahma without beginning middle or end, The One, Omnipresent, Intelligence and Bliss, Formless and Advaita.






        "The first cause wished, It would multiply; multiplying, It became all forms and no forms, and form-and-no-form; Guru, and Sakti and the Lord, all the souls, and became one with them all and yet was different."

        மனத்தகத்தான் றலைமேலான் வாக்கினுள்ளான்

            வாயாரத்தன்னடியே பாடுந்தொண்டர்

        இனத்தகத்தா னிமையவர் தஞ்சிரத்தின் மேலான் (ரூபாரூபம்)

            எழண்டத் தப்பாலான் (அதீதம்) இப்பாற் செம்பொன்

        புனத்தகத்தான் நறுங்கொன்றைப் போதினுள்ளான்

            பொருப்பிடையான் நெருப்பிடையான் (ரூபம்)

            காற்றினுள்ளான் (அருவம்)

        கனத்தகத்தான் (உருவம்) கயிலாயத்துச்சியுள்ளான்

            காளத்தியா னவனென் கண்ணுளானே (ரூபாரூபம்)


        "He is in the mind, in the Head and in speech,

        In the hearts of his servants who sing of His feet with love,

        In the Heads of Devas (Ruparupam)

        He is beyond the seven worlds (Atita)

        And here He, Gold-like, is in water

        And in the fragrant cassia buds,

        He is in the Rocks, and in fire and air (Arupa)

        He is in Gold (or Clouds) and in the Top of Kailas

        He is the Lord of Kalahasti, who is the inside of my eye."



    The Atita, Arupa and Ruparupa are such as can be fancied of man's soul and known by inference and not by actual physical experience. Actual sight of the soul, showing respect to it are all in reference to its dwelling place, the body. This is the easy was to all. So too, in accordance with the four aspects in which God is conceived of as above, His worship divides itself into two, Sukshmopasana, in which our Bhavana is inferential, and Sthulopasana in which our worship is physical. Atitam, Arupam, Ruparupam are comprised in Sukshma, and Rupa in Sthula. As man's karma and intelligence differ in different individuals, so they are not capable of following the first forms of worship and can alone follow Rupa worship with usefulness. That is to say, after one had steadied his mind by following regularly the Rupa upasana, he can then take up Arupopasana and after perfecting himself therein Atitopasana. If in any of these upasanas, one perfects himself by losing self and reaches the highest experience, he becomes fit to receive the Grace of Paramesvara, and receives the reward. In Sthulopasana, one fixes his attention on an object before him, and without his mind wandering anywhere he worships God alone with all his heart. In sukshmopasana, one sits in a solitary place, controls his senses, closes his eyes, fixes his mind on something, performs Yoga and Dhyana. Therefore this should be practiced only after a man had gain perfection in Sthulopasana. And the Sukshmopasana could only be undertaken by Yogis who had conquered their senses and had thoroughly renounced life, and not by men who are ever engaged in the affairs of this world. But none in the world could afford to do without worship of God. No doubt Sukshmopasana is superior but those who cannot afford to practice it, should at least practice Sthulopasana.

    If it be asked, why this is necessary when it is sufficient to think of God in one's mind, we will reply that.


    Young children first begin to count by their fingers and after a time they practice mental arithmetic. After learning each letter separately and its sound, they read rapidly without any effort at all, and without having to pause over each letter. So too, one who has controlled his senses by fixing his thoughts on God by practice in Sthulopasana will alone be able to prevent his senses from wandering and be able to fix is thoughts on God in Sukshmopasana.



    An object can only be remembered in reference to the object, its quality or action. No memory can be formed without refer3ence to any of these. The absence of the object may cause remembrance also, but we must have known it before.

    The Nayyayikas give Dravya, Guna, Action, Samanya (Genus) Vishesha (species) Samavaya (coinherence) Abhava (non-existence) as the seven constituents of an object. For example, when we say 'a white bull came', its feet, horns, body and other organs we remember when we call it a cow, from its white color, we remember it a white bull, from its locomotion from one place to another, we say 'it came'. These terms are used in reference to these things.

    It is certain therefore that no memory can be formed without something to hold on, and it is clear this can arise only from the particular quality or action of the object. Even when we do not see the object its quality and action, we remember it by such notions as we possess of each object. Mental phenomena is also understood by the mind through the five senses touch &c.

    This feeling is of two kind, the direct perception of them by means of the sensations and the remembrance of the same; following the previous experience. These forms they hold for memory.

    Images are of two kind, physical (Sthula Vigraha) perceived by the eye, mental (Manasa Vigraha) perceived by the mind.

    It follows therefore we cannot think of God except by some particular attribute of His. We think of the mind as what perceives, of Intellect as what thinks, of air as what moves and is felt by touch, of Akas as what is more subtle than air and is present everywhere; of electricity as an Arupa Sakti. So we think of God as omnipresent, omnipotent, the author of creation sustentation and resolution, Jnanamayan, Peaceful, Gracious; He is neither Rupa nor Arupa, neither short nor tall; He knows all and yet without senses. He is Sat, Chit, Ananda, Jyoti, Nada seated on the Throne of Heaven, the spirit moving on the waters; He appeared in the form of Light, and as man, and His Form is the whole world. Except in all these different ways, no religionist thinks of God.

    Generally when people speak of an object which is Arupa, it happens they speak differently as each understands it. Let us consider the nature of Electricity. It is a kind of force; it fills all bodies and objects and all places; its real nature cannot be easily understood; but it is not a non-existent thing. Its nature may be said to be Atita. Its positive and negative aspects are also understood. As it is powerful and not perceived by the eye, it may be called Arupa. When in contact with Platinum or other metals it appears as light. In contact with iron &c., its form does not appear, and it becomes of the form of the object it is in contact with. Hence it may be called Ruparupa. A piece of iron electrified is called a magnet. It has form and so it may called Rupa. But the force is only one but it becomes four just as w conceive of it differently. A beginner understands it only as magnets, i.e., in form. When he advances further, he understands it as sparks when two objects are brought together, and light when it contacts platinum wire. Then he knows its positive and negative poles. (Ruparupam). When he is sufficiently advanced in its study he knows its nature could not be known but it is present everywhere (Atita) and when brought into action, it appears as Force (Arupa). What is understood in all these four aspects is only one thing, electricity. To understand its subtle (Atita) nature, the gross magnet is the first means and an easy one. So too, to understand God's subtle Nature, and worship Him, the worship of Him in gross forms is the easy means.

V. S. Y.













Monday, February 9, 2015


Want of good books on the subject.

    Religions, by which are meant the modes of divine worship proper to different tribes, nations, or communities, and based on the belief held in common by the members of them severally, were not before the XIX century the subject of original scientific research and comparative study among the European nations. With the exception of a few good books containing information on some ancient religions and in the religious customs of certain nations, nothing written on this subject in former centuries, can be said to possess any scientific value. Those very few books too were mere collections of descriptions of all the religions in the world without any critical acumen. There was a philosophy of religion but it was purely speculative. Attempts made to explain the mythology of the Greeks and Romans and that of the Eastern nations, proved a failure. Then there was the theological bias, which considered all religions except the one as false; the philosophical bias, which decried as mere superstitions all religions except the arbitrary abstraction called natural religion; and finally the total want of historical investigation. It was only after the brilliant discoveries made in the nineteenth century and the researches they gave rise to; after the sacred writings of the Indians, the Persians, the Chinese and some other ancient nations could be studied in original; after the finding of the key to the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform writing had lifted the veil which for many centuries had covered the history of these most ancient civilizations – it was then only that a history of religion could be thought of and that something like a science of religion could be aimed at.

Comparative study essential.

    The comparative historical study of religions and a psychological study of man are the two means indispensable to the solution of the difficult problem 'what is Religion.' Religions, like living organisms have a history, and therefore this is to be studied first, so far as it can be known, - how they rise and spread, grow and fade away; how far they are the creations of individual genius or of the genius of nations and communities; by what laws their development is ruled; what are their relations to philosophy, science and art, to the state, to society, and above all to ethics; what is their mutual historical relations, whether sprung from one another, or derived from a common parent or borrowed from one another, and subject to another's influence and what place is to be assigned to each of those groups or single religions in the universal history of religion. The first result of this historical inquiry must be an attempt at a genealogical classification of religions, in which they are grouped after their proved or probable descent and affinity.

Every Religion has two elements.

    However, historical investigations, like every genuine scientific study, must be comparative in order to determine in what particular respects they agree or differ. This requires comparative study on a much larger scale. Every religion has two prominent constituent elements, the one theoretical, the other practical – religious ideas and religious acts. It happens but very seldom, if ever, that those two elements balance each other. They are found in very different proportions, some faiths being preeminently doctrinal or dogmatic, others preeminently ritualistic or ethical; but where one of them is wanting entirely, religion no longer exists. Not that dogma and ritual are religion, but they are only its necessary manifestations, the embodiment of tis life and essence. It is only by a deep study of those two elements that we can proceed to characteristic and mutually compare religions themselves and that we may come to a morphological classification of religions.


    The sources from which the knowledge of the various religions of the world is to be drawn, are written documents and traditions, monuments and works of art, sacred writings and books and an impartial weighing of the evidence brought by travelers and settlers from different parts of the globe – in short, an unbiased ascertaining of facts.

    Of the two classifications, Genealogical and Morphological, let us deal with the first.

Genealogical Classifications.

    There is no difficulty in determining the descent and relationship of religions which have taken rise in historical times, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Mahomedanism and some other of minor importance. But there is a great difficulty in determining the descent and relationship of the great majority of ancient religions which had their origin in prehistoric times, and of which neither documents nor trustworthy traditions are extant. In that case their mutual relation has to be established by reasoning from the myths, ideas, rites and characteristics common to them. Professor Max Muller suggests that, whatever classification has been found most useful in the science of language ought to prove equally useful in the science of religion. Now it may be true in general, at least for the most ancient times, that where the languages of a group of nations are proved to belong to one family, their religions too most probably hold together by the same relationship. But this assumption requires proof, and that proof can be obtained only by a comparative study of the religions themselves, only when the religions of two independent nations agree in doctrine and mode of worship, above all in the notion of the relation between God and man, then only may we feel sure that the one of these religions is the parent of the other, or that both have come from a common stock. If not only but several religions agree in like manner, or nearly so, we get a family of religions. But whatever his families themselves are branches of one and the same old tree is an open question to which no satisfactory answer can be given now.

    All Religions may be classified under two families – Aryan and Semitic.

Aryan or Indo-Germanic family.

    Comparative mythology and the history of Religion leave no doubt that all the religions of the Aryan or Indo-Germanic nations, viz, Eastern Aryans (or Indians, Persians and Phrygians) and Western Aryans (or Greeks, Romans, German, Norsemen, Letto-Slavs and Celts), are the common offspring of one primitive OLD ARYAN RELIGION (Prehistoric Religion). That the same name of the highest heaven-God Dyaus, Zeus, Ju (piter), Zio (Ty) is met with among Indians, Greeks, Italietes, Germans and Norsemen, however great the difference of the attributes and dignity attributed by each of them to the god thus named may be is a fact now generally known. Where this name has been lost, as is the case with the Persians, the Slavs, and the Celts, there are other divine names which they have in common with their kindred nations. Still mote important is the fact that most Aryans show a tendency to call their supreme God "father", as is proved by the very common forms Dyans, pitar, Zeus, Jupiter, &c. Moreover many divine names used by different Aryan nations, though varying in form, are derived from the same root, - which proves the original unity of this conception. For example, the root di (div), "to shine" and its derivatives Dyaus, Deva, and their family 'Diti, Aditi, Dione, Pandian, Dionysos, Diovis, Dianus, Diana, Juno, &c. If we add to this the remarkable conformity of the myths and customs in all Aryan religions, if, above all, by comparing them with those of other races, especially of the Semites, we find that the leading idea embodied in these Aryan myths and rites is everywhere the same, however different the peculiar character of each religion may be, namely, the close relation between God and man, the real unity between the divine and the human economy. From these facts, we may conclude that all of them have sprung from one primitive Old Aryan Religion.

    However, the degree in which the Aryan religions are mutually related is not always the same. None of them came directly from the old Aryan religion. They consist of five pairs, each of which must have been first a unity: - (1) the Indo-Persian, (2) the Graeco-Roman, (3) the Letto-Slavic, (4) the Norse Teutonic, and (5) the Gaelo-Cymric. The fact that the members of those pairs are more closely allied with one another than with the other members of the family obliges us to assume five prehistoric Aryan Religions: - (1) the OLD EAST-ARYAN, (2) the OLD PELASGIC, (3) the OLD WINDIC, (4) the OLD GERMAN, and (5) the OLD CELTIC Religions, forming so many links between those historical religious and the common parent of all, the primeval ARYAN worship.

    The Old East Aryan religion consisted of (1) Old Iranian religion that had prevailed in Persia and Bactria and given rise to modern Parsism, Mazdaism and Mithraism and (2) old Indian religion that had prevailed in India and given rise to modern Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Old Pelasgic religion was the religion of the Italians and Grecians. The Old
Windic was the religion of Letts, Baltic Slavs, old Russians, Poles, Servians &c. The Old German was the religion of Teutons (Low and High Germans and Norse and Scandinavians. The Old Celtic was the religion of the Welsh, Irish and Scotch &c. It may be noted all the last four religions have now been superseded by Christian religions, whereas the Indian Religion (Hinduism &c.) remains unscathed and continue to flourish.

Semitic Family.

    Though our knowledge of the Semitic religions, especially as regards those of the pre-Christian Aramaeans, of the pre-Islamic Arabs, and of the old Hebrews, is very little, yet that very little knowledge tends to prove that they too must have descended were worshipped by several North-semitic nations, it might be contended that they were borrowed from one of them, as trade and conquest had brought them from ancient times into close contact with one another. But no such relation existed till the very last centuries of the Assyrian Empire between the northern semites and the various tribes of the Arabian Desert. Therefore Gods and religious ideas and customs prevailing alike among the Northern and the Southern or Arabic branch of the race may be safely regarded as the primeval property of the whole family. Such are the general name for the godhead, Ilu El, Ilah (in Allah) &c. The Tree worship and stone worship have been pretty general in prehistoric times, and not a few remains of both have survived in all faiths and modern superstitions. Holy mountains too are very frequent among the Semites. Finally all Semitic religious without a single exception understand the relation between God and man as one between the Supreme lord and king and his subject and slave. They are eminently theocratic and show a marked tendency to monotheism, which, both in Israel and in Arabia, is the last word of their religious development. The grade of relationship between the different Semitic religions can be fixed only in a general way. The Southern branch of the old Semitic religion – Old Arabic Religion – has led to Mahomedanism or Islam; and the northern branch – Hebrew Religion – has given rise to Christianity.

    We will here consider about the religions which do not belong to either of those two principal families – Aryan and Semitic.

III. African Religions.

    The first among the African Religions is the Egyptian Religion. It is neither Semitic and theocratic nor Aryan and the anthropic. It has many elements that belong to the former. It is generally supposed that the Egyptian race sprang from Asiatic settlers and conquers, who long before the dawn of history invaded the country, subjugated the dark colored inhabitants, and mixed with them, and that it is to these foreigners that the more elevated elements in the Egyptian Religion are due.

    All we can say about the other original religions of the Dark Continent is that they resemble one another in many respects. There are to be found a great many magical rites and animistic customs closely resembling in the Egyptian and other religions of the African continent. We may distinguish four principal groups:

    (1)    The Cushite, inhabiting the north-eastern coast region south of Egypt; not much information can be had of them now.

    (2)    The Nigritian proper, including all the Negro tribes of inner Africa and the West Coasts; the prominent characteristic of their religion is their unlimited Fetichism, combined as usual with tree worship, animal worship, especially that of serpents, with a strong belief in sorcery and with the most abject superstitions, which even Islam and Christianity are not able to overcome. They have got a theistic tendency and believe in some supreme God. But the most widely spread worship among Negros is that of the moon, combined with a great veneration for the cow.

    (3)    The Bantu or Kaffrarian (Kaffir); among them fetichism is not so exuberant. Their religion is rather a religion of spirits. The spirits they worship, are conjured up by a caste of sorcerers and Magicians, and are all subordinate to a ruling spirit regarded as the ancestor of the race. They agree in many respects with those of the Negros, but differ from them in others, especially in their fetichism.

    (4)    The Khoi-khoin or Hottentots living in and near the Cape Colony. They also have a Supreme deity, called Tsui or Tsunikoal, which is, like the highest God of the Bantu, the ancestor of the race and the chief of souls and spirits. The great difference between the religions of the Hottentots and the other Nigritians is the total absence of animal worship and of fetichism by which it is characterized.

IV. Mongolian and Ural Altai family of Religions.

    Under this come not only the Chinese, with their nearest relatives the Japanese and Koreans, all Ural Altaic or Turanian nations – but also the whole Malay race, including the Polynesians and Micronesians, and even the aboriginal Americans, from the Eskimo to the Patagonians and Fuegians. There is indeed some similarity in the religions customs of the Americans and of the so called Turanians; and even in the Polynesian religions some points of contact with those of the former might be discovered. Prof. Max Muller tries to show that the religious of all these groups of nations (this Mongolian race) are also bound together by a close relationship, because not only their character is fundamentally the same, but even the same name of the highest God is met with among most of them. Even apart from this argument, we cannot deny the fact that not only in the Ural-Altaic and Japanese but also in the highly developed Chinese religions the relation between the divine powers and man is purely patriarchal. Just as the chief of the horde – nay, even the son of heaven, the Chinese Emperor – is regarded as the father of all his subjects, whom they are bound to obey, so are the gods to their worshippers. The only difference is that the Chinese heaven-god Tien is an Emperor like his earthly representative, ruling over the other spirits of heaven and earth as does the latter over the dukes of the Empire and their subjects, while the Ural Altaic heaven God is indeed the most powerful being invoked in the greatest difficulties when he only is able to save, but no supreme ruler. The high venerations for the spirits of the deceased fathers, which are devoutly worshipped among all the members of this religious family, is a necessary consequence of its patriarchal type. Another striking characteristic of the Mongolic religions is their extensive magic and sorcery (Shamanism).

    The principal sub-divisions of this Mongolian or patriarchal family of religions are: -

    1.    Chinese religions, being (a) the Ancient National religion, now superseded partly by (b) Confucianism (being the restoration of the ancient national religion according to the reforms of Confucius), (c) Taoism (being a revival of the ancient national religion, to which the Tao-te-king had to give the appearance of a philosophical basis), partly, though only several centuries later, by Chinese Buddhism.

    2.    Japanese Religions, where we have again the same triad nearly parallel to the Chinese; (a) the old national religion
Kamino-madsu (worship of the gods), called frequently Sinto (Chinese Shin-tao, the worship of the spirits) with the Mikado as its spiritual head, just as Chinese Taoism had its popes; (b) Confucianism, imported from China in the 7th century; and (c) Buddhism, imported from Korea and nearly exterminated in the 6th century, but reviving, and at last, in the beginning of the 7th century, triumphant.

    3.    The Finnic branch of the Ural-Altaic religions, all recognizing the same heaven God. Num, Yum, Yummel &c., as supreme, is the religion of the Lapps, the Estonians and the Finns.

V. American Religions.

    The religions of the Eskimo should be distinguished from those of the other American nations. They are of the same character as those prevailing among the Ural-Altains and Mongols, though some of their customs and notions resemble those of the other American nations. The American elements in the Eskimo religion have been more or less borrowed. At any rate of the religion of the Eskimo is the connecting link between the latter and those of the American aborigines.

    All the other religions of North and South America are closely allied to one another. Several myths like those of the sun-hers, of the moon-goddess, of the four brothers, are found in their characteristics American form among the most distant tribes of both continents. Some religious customs, such as the sweating both intended to cause a state of ecstasy, the ball-play, a kind of ordeal the sorcery by means of the rattle, are all but generally practiced. Fetichism and idolatry are much less developed among the Americans.

VI. Malayo-Polynesian Family.

    To the Malayo Polynesian family of religions belong those people inhabiting the islands in the Great Pacific from Easter Island to the Pelew Archipelago, the East Indian Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsula and also Madagascar. The chief characteristic of their religion is the institution of the taboo, a kind of interdict laid on objects and persons, by which they are made sacred and inviolable. The general observance of such a peculiar custom as the taboo by all the peoples belonging to this ethnic family, a custom which rules their whole religion, gives rise to such a classification as a Malayo-Polynesian family of religions.

    These are the rough outlines of a genealogical classification of religions.

II. Morphological Classification of Religion.

    In his lectures on the Science of Religion, Prof. Max Muller, who has done so much to raise the comparative study of religions to the rank of a science, criticizes the most usual modes of classification applied to religions, viz. (1) that into true and false, (2) that into revealed and natural, (3) that into national and individual, (1) that into polytheistic, dualistic and monotheistic, and dismisses each and all of them as useless and impracticable and asserts that the only scientific and truly genetic classification of religions is the same as the classification of languages. Prof. Max Muller says that, particularly in the early history of the human intellect, there exists the most intimate relationship between language, religion, and nationality. But it is contended by some that the further history and nationality and that the stage of development a religion has attained to – the one thing to be considered for a morphological classification – has nothing to do with the language of its adherents, and that for a really scientific study of religions, such a morphological classification is absolutely necessary.

Stages of Religious Development.

    Prof. Pfleiderer considers the original religion must have been a kind of indistinct, chaotic naturism, being an adoration of the natural phenomena as living powers. Then from this primitive naturism spring: - (1) anthropomorphic polytheism, which is decidedly an advance on mythopoeic naturism, as it brings the personal gods into relation with the moral life of man, but at the same time has its draw-backs since it attributes all human passions to the gods; (2) Spiritism (animism), combined with a primitive idolatry, fetichism, which is rather a depravation of religion, caused by the decadence of civilization; (3) henotheism, being an adoration of one God above others as the specific tribal god or as the lord of over a particular people.

    The different stages of religions development have been characterized by C. P. Tiele in his Outlines of the History of Religion as follows: - (1) a period in which animism generally prevailed, still represented by the so called nature religions, or rather by the polydemonistic magical tribal religions; (b) polytheistic national religions resting on a traditional doctrine; (c) nomistic or nomothetic religions, or religious communities founded on a law or sacred writing and subduing polytheism more or less completely by pantheism or monotheism; (d) universal or world religions which start from principles and maxims. Though this division is generally maintained at least for practical use, yet if we want to draw up a morphological classification of religions, we shall have to modify it and to arrange the different stages under the two principal categories of nature religions and Ethical religions.

    In the nature religions, the Supreme gods are the mighty powers of nature, be they demons, spirits, or manlike beings and ever so highly exalted. Ethical religions do not exclude the old naturistic elements altogether, but subordinate them to the ethical principle and lend them something of an ethical tinge. Nature religions are polydemonistic or polytheistic; under favorable circumstances they may rise at best to monalatry. Ethical religions, on the other hand, though not all of them strictly monotheistic or pantheistic, all tend to monotheism.

    Nature Religions. It is certain that the oldest religions must have contained the germs of all the later growth, and, though perhaps more thoroughly naturistic than the most naturistic now known, must have shown some faint traces at least of awakening moral feelings. Man, in that primitive stage, must have regarded the natural phenomena on which his life and welfare depend as living beings, endowed with superhuman magical power; and his imagination, as yet uncontrolled by observation and reasoning, must frequently have given them the shape of frightful animals, monsters, portentous mythical beings, some of which still survive in the later mythologies. This is the first stage of religious development.

    The following naturistic stages are to be classified under three distinct heads.

    (a)    Polydemonistic magical religion under the influence of aninism. Aninism which exercise such an influence on the religion of this stage is a system by which man, having become conscious of the superiority of the spirit over the body and of its relative independence, tries to account for the phenomena of nature, which he, not having the slightest scientific knowledge either of nature or of mind is unable to explain otherwise. It is not itself a religion, but a sort of primitive philosophy. To this class belong the religions of the so called savages or uncivilized peoples.

    (b)    Purified magical religions, in which animistic ideas still play a prominent part, but which have grown up to a therianthropic polytheism. The gods, though sometimes represented in a human form, are really spiritual beings, embodying themselves in all kinds of things but principally in animals. Most images of the gods are either human bodies with heads of animals or the bodies of animals with human heads. These religions are therefore called therianthropic. To this class belong Japanese Kamino-madsu, the religion of the Finns, the old Arabic religions, old Pelasgic, old Italiote, Etruscan, Old Slavonic religions, the semi-civilized religions of America, the ancient religion of the Chinese Empire, Ancient Babylonian Religions and Religion of Egypt.

    (c)     Religions in which the powers of nature are worshipped as manlike though superhuman and semi-ethical beings, or anthropomorphic because the gods are now all of them superhuman but manlike beings, lords over the powers of nature and reigning over its departments, workers of good and of evil. Under the class come the ancient Vedic religion of India, the pre-Zarathustrian Iranic religion, the younger Babylonian and Assyrian religion, the religions of the other civilized semites, the Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, and Greeco Roman religions.

    Ethical religions are founded on a law or Holy Scriptures. They may by classified as national Ethical religions consisting of Taoism and Confucianism in China, Hinduism with its various sects, Jainism, Mazdaism, Mosaism and Judaism and as individual ethical religions, comprising Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.

     Space forbids us from dwelling on the history and spread of religions, but it must be noted that in both ancient and modern times, religions spread (1) by the influence of superior civilization (2) by conquest, (3) by colonization or commerce, (4) by missions and the modern history of religions is chiefly the history of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, and of their wrestling with the ancient faiths which slowly fade away before their encroachments. It must also be borne in mind that though they overran all other ancient faiths, yet they could not gain even an inch of ground over the ancient Hindu faith. The Hindu Religion may therefore be called the Eternal Religion. It is a universal world religion.

Hindu religion – The Eternal Religion.

    What is at present called Hindu Religion had no specific name in ancient Sanskrit Literature. The old sages knew of one religion only, and hence a specific name for this religion, was not necessary, nay it was not possible. To them it was simply Religion. It is only in the later literature that the word Hindu is met with. Moreover, the Hindu Religion does not owe its foundation and spread to the genius of any single man like Buddhism, Christianity and Mahomedanism. We owe it to the religious consciousness of the whole of the Indo-Aryan Race. We cannot say in what century, nay in what millennium, the Hindu Religion was first conceived. Its beginning is truly unknown. Hence it may, with some propriety, be called the eternal Religion.

    There is yet another implication in the employment of the term Eternal Religion for the Hindu Religion. It implies that beneath the changing phases of the Hindu Religion, there is something that is unchanging, something that is permanent, and something that is eternal. In the Mahabharata, we often read of an eternal religion to which all sincere thinkers have invited the devotion of their fellowmen since the dawn of history.

Brotherhood of Religions.

    We have already seen what Religion is. It is man's search for God or the means to the unfolding of the God consciousness in man. Or it may be said to be man's idea of his relation to the universe. Almost all religions agree in so far as they all believe in the existence of God. We will see later on in what other respects also they agree.

    Any of us pausing for a moment on the title "Brotherhood of Religions" may very well exclaim "Well! Whatever else religions may be, most certainly they are not brotherly." And it is unhappily true that if we look into the religious history of the immediate past we shall find therein very little brotherhood; rather shall we find the religions fighting the one against the other, battling which shall be predominant and crush its rivals to death. Religious war have been the most cruel; religious persecutions have been the most merciless; crusade, inquisitions, horrors of every kind blot with blood and tears the history of religious struggles; what mockery it seems amid bloody battlefields and lucid flames of countless stakes, to prate of "The Brotherhood of Religions."

    Nor is it even between religion and religion that the continual strife is carried on. Even within the pale of a single religion sects are formed which often wage war against each other. Christianity has become a bye-word among non-Christian nations by the mutual hatreds of the followers of the "prince of peace."

    Roman Catholics and Anglicans, Lutherans and Calvinists Wesleyans, Baptists &c. &c., disturb the peace of the nations with their infuriated controversies.

    Islam has the fierce quarrels of its shiahs and sunnis.

    Even in Hinduism there are now bigoted camps of Vaishnavas and Shaivas, who denounce each other. Religions controversy has become the type of everything most bitter and most unbrotherly in the struggles of man with man.

    It was not always thus the antagonism between religions is a plant of modern growth, grown out of the seed of an essentially modern claim – the claim of a single religion to be unique and alone inspired. In the old world there were many religions, and for the most part religion was a national thing so that the man of one nation had no wish to convert the man of another nation.

    Each nation had its own religion, as it had its own laws and its own customs, and men were born into and remained in the creed of their fatherland. Hence if we look back into the history of the old world, we shall be struck with the rarity of religious wars. We shall further observe that within a single religion there were many schools of thought which existed side by side without hatred. Hinduism has its six systems of Philosophy, six points of view – and while the philosophers wrangle and debate, and each school defends its own positions, there is no lack of brotherly feeling, and all the philosophies are still taught within one patashala or religious school. Even in one philosophic system, the Vedanta, then are three recognized sub-division – Advaita, Vishistadvaita and Dvaita – differing on the most fundamental of teachings – viz., the relation between Jeevatma and Paramatma the Human soul and the Divine soul.

    A man may belong to any one of the three or to none of them and yet remain a good Hiada though, as said above, in these modern days religious sectarianism has become more bitter.

    In the mighty empire of Ancient Rome all creeds were welcomed, all religions respected, even honored. In the Pantheon of Rome, i.e., the temple of all Gods, the images that symbolized the Gods of every subject nation were to be found and the Roman citizens showed reverence to them all. And if a new nation came within the circle of the Empire, and that nation adored a form of God other than those forms already worshipped, the images or symbols of the Gods of the new daughter nation, were borne with all honor to the pantheon of the Motherland, and were reverently enshrined therein. Thus thoroughly was the old would permeated by the liberal idea that religion was a personal or national affair with which none had the right to interfere God was everywhere; He was in everything; what mattered the form in which he was adored? He was one unseen eternal Being with many names; what mattered the title by which He was invoked? The watchword of the religious liberty of the old world rings out in the splendid declaration of Shri Krishna: - "However men approach Me, even so do I welcome them for the path men take from every side is Mine.

    Swami Vivekananda's words in World's Fair address conveys the same idea. "As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the Sea, oh, Lord, so the different paths which men take through different tendencies various though they appear, crooked or straight all lead to them."

    The first time that religions persecution stained the annals of Imperial Rome was when young Christianity came into conflict with the state, and the blood of Christians washed, not as religious sectaries but as political traitors and as disturbers of the public peace. The Christians claimed supremacy over the older religions, and thus provoked hatred and tumults; they attacked the religions which had hitherto lived in peace side by side, declaring that they alone were right and all others wrong; they aroused resentment by their aggressive and intolerant attitude, causing disturbances wherever they went. Still more they gave rise to the most serious suspicious of their loyalty to the state, by refusing to take part in the ordinary ceremony of sprinkling incense in the fire before the statue of the reigning Emperor and denounced the practice as idolatrous; Rome saw her sovereignty challenged by the new religion and while carelessly tolerant of all religions she was fiercely intolerant of any political insubordination. As rebels, not as heretics, she flung the Christians to the lions, and chased them from her cities into caves and deserts. It was this claim of Christianity to be the only true religion, which gave birth to two religious persecution, first of Christianity then by it.

    For as long as your religion is yours, and mine is mine, and neither claims to impose his religion on the other, no question of persecution can arise. But if I say. "Your conception of God is wrong and mine is right, I only have the truth, and I only can point out the way of salvation, if you do not accept my idea you will be damned", then if I can logical and in the majority. I must be a prosecutor, for it is kinder to roast misbelievers here than to allow them to spread their misbelief and thus damn themselves and others for ever.

    If I am in a minority, I am likely to be persecuted; for men will not readily tolerate the arrogance of their fellowmen, who will not allow them to look at the heathens save through this special telescope.

    Christianity from being persecuted became dominant, and seized the power of the state. This alliance between church and state made religious persecution half political.

    Heresa in religion became disloyalty; Refusal to believe with the Head of the State became treason against that Head; and thus the sad story of Christendom was written, a story which all men who love religion, be they Christian or Non-Christians must read with shame, with sorrow almost with despair. And how the "Power that shapes our ends" has marked with national ruin, the evil results of unbrotherliness in religion, Spain carried on a fierce persecution against the Moors and the Jews; she burned them by thousands, she tortured them, and exiled them. The tears and the cries of the weak she crushed so pitilessly, became the avengers.

    The result was that she sank from being the mistress of Europe, to the little regarded power she is today.

    Islam caught from Christianity the deadly disease of persecution. The name of Mohammed the merciful was used to sharpen the swords of his followers; and in India the doom of the Moghul Empire rang out in the cries of the dying slaughtered for their faith by Aurangzeb. Going back to the Hindu period we can see how the Buddhists were massacred by the Brahmans throughout India.

    In India as in Spain, religious persecution has resulted in political disaster.

    Thus is the need for Brotherliness enforced by the destruction that waits on unbrotherliness. A law of nature is as much proved by the breaking of all that opposes it as by the enduring of all that is in harmony with it. The multiplicity of religious beliefs would be an advantage, not an injury to Religion, if the religions were a Brotherhood instead of a battlefield. For each religion has some peculiarity of its own, something to give to the would which the others cannot give. Each religion speaks one letter of the great name of God, the One without a second, and that name will only be spoken when every religion sounds out the letter given it to voice, in melodious harmony with the rest. God is so great, so illimitable, that no one brain of man, however great, no one religion however perfect, can express his infinite perfection. It needs a universe in its totality to mirror him, nay countless universes cannot exhaust him. A star may tell of His radiance. A planet may tell of His Order, revolving in unchanging rhythm. A forest may whisper His Beauty, a mountain His strength, a river His fertilizing Life.

    But no object, no grace of form, no splendor of color, nay, not even the heart of man in which He dwells, can show out the manifold perfection of that endless wealth of Being. Only a fragment of His glory is seen in every object, in every mode of life, and only the totality of all things, past, present and to come, can image out in their endlessness His infinitude.

    And so also a religion can only show forth some aspects of that myriad faced existence. What does Hinduism say to the world? It say Dharma – law, order, harmonious dutiful growth, the right place of each right duty, right obedience. What does Zoroastrianism say? It says purity – stainless acts of thought, of word and of act. What does Buddhism say? It says wisdom knowledge all-embracing wedded to perfect Love, Love of man, service of humanity, a perfect compassion the gathering of the lowest and the weakest into the tender arms of the Lord of Love himself. What does Christianity say? It says self-sacrifice, and takes the cross as its dearest symbol, remembering that whenever one human spirit crucifies the lower nature and rises to the Supreme, there the cross shines out.

    And what does Islam say? It says submission – self surrender to the one Will that guides the worlds and so sees that Will everywhere that it cannot see the little human wills, that live only as they blend themselves with it.

    We cannot afford to lose any one of these words, summing up the characteristics of each great faith; so while recognizing the differences of Religions, let us recognize them that we may learn, rather than that we may criticize. Let the Christian teach us what he has to teach, but let him not refuse to learn from his brother of Islam or his brother of any other creed, for each has something to learn, and something also to teach. And, verily, he best preaches his religion who makes it his motive power in love to God and service to man.

    Let us see why we should not quarrel apart from these general principles. Because all the great truths of Religion are common properly, do not belong exclusively to any faith. That is why nothing vital is gained by changing from one religion to another. We need not travel over the whole field of the religions of the world in order to find the water of truth. Dig in the field of your own religion, and go deeper, till you find the spring of the water of life gushing up pure and full.

    Is the above sentence on the universality of religious truths true in fact or is it only verbiage?

    We cannot but repeat that the fundamental doctrines underlying the principles taught by all the religion of the world are exactly the same. This identity, this unity in diversity can be recognized only by those who have unbiased minds and deep insights. Whereas there has been controversies after controversies between the theologians of the various religions, there existed a unity among the minds of the saints of the various religions. The saints agree when the theologians do not. Intellectually there exists a diversity whereas spiritually there is unity.

    Great men have formulated in diverse ages, in diverse ways the facts of the universe.

    And the teachings about these facts as thus formulated by them form the doctrine of the various religions. Mention may be made of some of the doctrines common to many religions are: -

    1.    The unity of God.

    2.    The trinity of the manifestations of the power of God.

    3.    The emanation of Jeevatma or the human soul from the Paramatma or the Diving Spirit.

    4.    Immortality and reincarnation of souls.

        &c.        &c.        &c.

    But any how these religions must necessarily vary in some points, with the variations and the limitations of the human mind that framed their dogmas. But this is a matter to rejoice over not to deplore, for the many views of truth give fullness and roundness to its presentations. And each man's thoughts enrich the ever growing heritage of humanity. This variety of religions is a beauty and not a defect. As the various colors of the sky and sea and land are all due to the variety of combinations of matter which take from the one white light, the constituents they need and throw back the rest in gorgeous play of colors; so also do men a varying minds assimilate what they require of the one Truth and yield the manifold splendors of religious thought. Rightly seen all religions might be considered as sects in one universal religion – when this is recognized Religion will become once more a binding instead of a disintegrating force and will work for peace instead of moving to war.

M. D.