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Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (3rd Bin)
One aspect of our Hindu society that I am intrigued about is the role of the Shankaracharya. What role does he play, how much in line with the scriptures is his role?

Is it a social mandate or a mandate by scriptures?

Why is it that one finds no mention of a Shankaracharya in the Ramayan and Mahabharat?

How authoritative is the voice of the Shankaracharya in Hindu society?
<b>साधुओं और बैरागियों पर शोध </b>

Dr. Ravi Kapur is conducting phsycoanalytical research amid the Sadhus of Uttaranchal.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->नई दिल्ली। कभी किसी ने यह सोचने की जहमत उठाई है कि आखिर किन परिस्थितियों में कोई व्यक्ति कंदराओं और गुफाओं में कैद होकर भगवान के प्रति समर्पित हो जाता है या इस आध्यात्मिक यात्रा मे वह खुद को कितना संतुष्ट महसूस करता है? मनोचिकित्सक रवि कपूर पिछले 20 वर्षो से साधुओं और बैरागियों की जीवनशैली और मानसिक बनावट पर अध्ययन करते रहे है। बैरागियों से मिलने के लिए वे दुर्गम स्थानों की यात्रा से भी नहीं हिचकते।

  रवि कपूर अब तक हजारों साधुओं और बैरागियों पर अध्ययन कर चुके है। साधु किसे कहते है या कोई साधु भगवान का सानिध्य पाने के लिए क्या-क्या आध्यात्मिक उपक्रम रचता है, इस सबका दिलचस्प ब्यौरा रवि कपूर के पास है। साधुओं पर शोध के लिए वे हिमालय की वादियों और चोटियों की भी खाक छानते रहे है। उन्होंने कहा कि मैंने साधुओं की जिंदगी को करीब से देखा है। कई साधु इस दुनिया मे हो रही घटनाओं से बिल्कुल बेखबर है और वे भौतिकता के जाल से मुक्त होकर ईश्वर की तपस्या मे लीन है। उन्होंने कहा कि ऐसे भी लोग है जो साधु बनने के बावजूद भौतिकता के मोहपाश से मुक्त नहीं हो पाए है, लेकिन ऐसे लोगों की तादाद अधिक है जो दुनियावी इच्छाओं के दबाव से पूरी तरह मुक्त हो चुके है। ग्लासगो और एडिनबर्ग से डॉक्टरी की पढ़ाई करने वाले रवि कपूर कई साधुओं का साक्षात्कार कर चुके है।

  उन्होंने कहा कि इन साधुओं में से कई स्किजोफ्रेनिया के भी शिकार होते है। उनकी मानसिक बनावट ही ऐसी हो जाती है कि उन्हें दुनिया की चमक-दमक पसंद नहीं आती। उन्होने कहा कि कई बार लोगों का अहम इस कदर बढ़ जाता है कि वे दुनिया की सभी चीजों और सभी संबंधों को तुच्छ मान बैठते है। ऐसे लोग बैरागी बन जाते है।

उनके मुताबिक मुख्यत: साधु विष्णु, शिव और शक्ति यानी मां काली की पूजा करते है। साधुओं के भी हजारों उपवर्ग है। <b>उनके मुताबिक अकेले उत्तरांचल मे दो लाख से तीन लाख साधु है और उनकी संख्या लगातार बढ़ती जा रही है।</b> साधुओं से मुलाकात के लिए रवि कपूर सैकड़ों मंदिरों, श्मशानों आदि का चक्कर लगा चुके है। उन्होंने कहा कि इस घुमक्कड़ी मे उनकी एक से एक अजूबे साधुओं से मुलाकात हुई। ऐसे भी साधु मिले जो कई दिनो तक भोजन नहीं करते तो किसी को पानी से एलर्जी है।

Hinduism and Caste System
Hinduism and Caste System: Does Hinduism support Caste system?

Hinduism does not support caste system. The focus of Hinduism is on the individual and his salvation not on his caste or its privileges. Scholars tend to quote the Purushasukta as the basis for the emergence of caste system. There are also references to caste system in the Bhagavad gita. But for a serious student of History, it becomes obvious that these references appear to be deliberate manipulations and later day interjection intended to justify a system that was otherwise fully unjustified. The Manusmriti, in the form that is available today did more damage to Hinduism and the self esteem of many Hindus than Islam and Christianity.


The essence of hinduism

Hindus believe in an uncreated, eternal, infinite, transcendent and all embracing principal, which is the sole reality. It is the ultimate cause and foundation; the source and goal of all existence. This is 'Par Brahman.' This causes the Universe and all beings to emanate from it, transform into the Universe or assume its appearance. ' Brahman ' is the self or 'Atman' of all living beings. The Atman seeks to unite with the Par Brahman in a desire for salvation. This religious search for the ultimate truth has been the focus of India's spiritual life.

Another characteristic of the religion is the principle of 'Ahimsa' or non-violence and is regarded as the keystone of a Hindu's ethics. Hindus believe in rebirth and transmigration
of the soul or 'Atman' and that the soul never dies, it merely takes on a new body.

It is an individual's deeds or ' karma ' that decide his fate in this as well as the next life. Karma or previous actions of a being are the factors that determine the condition into which a person, after his death and subsequent stay in heaven or hell, is reborn in one form or another. This cycle of birth-death-birth is the 'Samsara.' For a Hindu, mundane day-to-day life is not true existence.

All human endeavors should be directed towards liberation or 'Moksha' from this endless cycle of birth and rebirth. Final salvation or emancipation is the one permanent and eternal truth. It is with the attainment of Moksha that the Atman meets and joins the Brahman who symbolizes the One Truth that is the Whole Truth.


Hinduism and Caste System: Does Hinduism support Caste system?
By www. hinduwebsite.com

Hinduism and Caste System: Does Hinduism support Caste system?

Hinduism is the religion of all, not of a few privileged. A great service it would be to Hinduism, if the present day Vedic teachers identify bright children from the lower castes and start teaching them the Vedas and the Upanishads and allow them to serve God in the temples of India. The strength of Christianity stems from dedicated missionaries who come from all sections of society. The weakness of Hinduism and of India is caste system, which divides the Hindu society into divergent and bickering groups and keeps them apart.

Perhaps there is no other nation in the world that is openly and shamelessly as racial as some of the nations in the Indian subcontinent. A number of Indians who visit foreign countries often complain about being treated condescendingly on account of their skin color or accent, without acknowledging the fact that a vast majority of people in their own country exhibit a far greater obsession with accent, the color of ones skin and ones family (caste) background.

And there are countless scholars who justify the caste system quoting chapter and verse from the Hindu scriptures, ignoring the fact that they were convenient interpolations in an otherwise sacred lore to justify a cruel and unjust system theologically using the very authority of God.

Caste System has been the bane of Hindu society for centuries. In terms of damage to human progress and suffering, it did much greater damage for a much longer period to a great many people than the slave system of the western world. The caste system was a clever invention of the later Vedic people, who found it to be a convenient way of perpetuating their religious distinction and social privileges.

The idea of keeping oneself away from unclean people is understandable in a society that was obsessed with the concept of physical and mental purity. Even in modern societies people would not like to interact with people who are physically unclean and are into wrong ways of living. But what was wrong with Vedic society was to attribute these qualities to a group of people on a hereditary basis irrespective of their individual distinctions and then deny them perpetually the right to lead a normal and decent life through self effort.

The caste system is based upon the organization of society into four distinct classes. The criteria for this classification was originally the color of the skin and later occupation.

The four distinct castes were:

1. Brahmins (priests) who had the exclusive right to perform Vedic rituals and Vedic studies,

2. Kshatriyas (warriors), whose responsibility it was to protect the people, wage wars and rule the lands,

3. Vaishyas (traders), who had the right to engage in trade and commerce and own the agricultural lands and

4. Shudras (the unclean) who had the burden of serving the other three communities in discharging their respective duties. Apart from these, there were untouchables, who lived outside the communities and were not allowed to enter freely the towns and villages. They were assigned the menial jobs and kept out of sight an out of reach.

The Rigvedic society probably had a caste system that was flexible and allowed an individual to change his caste if he so desired. But during the later vedic period it became very rigid. The caste system was responsible for the weakness of Hindu society and for the invasion and subjugation of Hindus by several foreign forces. The physically strong shudras were condemned to pure agricultural labor and menial jobs. They would have been more useful as fighters and soldiers and defended the land well against foreign invasions.

Today untouchability is a serious crime. But the idea of caste system still prevails in the minds of many Hindus. The following points are worth noticing:

1. Inter caste marriages are not approved in many traditional and rural communities.

2. Caste based organizations and associations still exist in India and play a crucial role in perpetuating the idea of caste and the politics of caste.

3. Upper caste people are very much agitated over the government's reservation policy.

4. Caste conflicts often lead to violence and bloodshed in backward areas.

5. In many educational institutions students tend to group themselves on the basis of caste, with the tacit connivance of teaching faculty. A similar trend is often noticeable in the work places.

6. Caste is an important factors during general elections and many politicians shamelessly and clandestinely seek votes in the name of caste.

7. Indian temples are still under the siege of caste chauvinism. The temple administrations, some of which are managed by government officials, do not recruit people from other castes to act as temple priests.

Does Hinduism support Caste system?

Hinduism does not support caste system. The focus of Hinduism is on the individual and his salvation not on his caste or its privileges. Scholars tend to quote the Purushasukta as the basis for the emergence of caste system. There are also references to caste system in the Bhagavad gita. But for a serious student of History, it becomes obvious that these references appear to be deliberate manipulations and later day interjection intended to justify a system that was otherwise fully unjustified. The Manusmriti, in the form that is available today did more damage to Hinduism and the self esteem of many Hindus than Islam and Christianity.

Hindus should be clearly aware of the distinction between a sacred scripture (shruti) and a book written by an individual (smriti) such as Manusmriti. Manusmriti was probably edited and reedited a hundred or thousand times by different scholars during different periods. It is time Hindus realize this and stop castigating Hinduism on the basis of this grotesquely tampered scripture. It is time they examine their thinking and take some positive steps to create a more equitable and dignified human society based on a new manava dharma shastra based on present day values and ideals.

Courtesy to www. hinduwebsite.com




If we define 'Hindu' in philosophical terms, one single or simple definition is hardly possible. In terms of popular belief or practice of faith, it is even more difficult considering the diversity. This seems closer to define 'Hindu' realistically: "All those faith systems which originated in Bharat, followers of which do not consider themselves non-Hindu."
Walter Hamilton writes in The East Indian Gazetteer in 1828:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In Hindoostan there are four rivers which were once much dreaded by religious people.  It was forbidden even to touch the waters of Carmanasha, to bathe in the Caratoya (a Bengal river called Curvatya in the maps), to swim in the Gunduck, or to cross the Attock.
downloadable google book link

So he mentions 4 rivers which Hindus avoid: Karmanasha (east-UP &Bihar), Churvatiya (Bengal), Gandak (Bihar & Nepal), and Attock (now Pakistan). In fact river Karmanasha is also mentioned in similar reference in a famous Hindi literary work 'Karmanasha kee haar' (Defeat of Karmanasha)

Any idea? Any more information? What is the background of why people avoided crossing or swimming in these rivers?

at another place:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sher Shah's father, Hassan Khan Sur, got the Jagir of Sasaram. Later Baler invaded the area in 1529 and <b>has mentioned Hindu superstitions about river Karmanasha</b>. In 1537 the old Shahabad district witnessed advancement of Humayun and his subsequent conflict with Sher Shah at Chausa. Later the district of Shahabad (which includes present Kaimur district also) was included in Akbar's empire.

In 1758, Shah Alam during his conflict with Lord Clive of East India Company, went to Durgawati and <b>with the help of local Zamindar Pahalwan Singh crossed the Karmanasha River</b>. Subsequently Pahalwan Singh succumbed to comply and live on the latter's terms. In 1764, the old Shahabad district witnessed conflict for supremacy and the English became absolute masters of the area after defeating Siraj-ud-daula in the battle of Buxar.

So what was the mystery? Is the belief still prevalent?
Important qwestion.Are other law codes in ancient India except Manu laws?Have they a diferent opinion regarding the castes.?
Swami Book
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->अ‌र्द्धकुंभनगर (इलाहाबाद)। अ‌र्द्धकुंभ मेले में आज से शुरू हुई 12वीं धर्मसंसद केपहले दिन हिंदू एकता पर प्रस्ताव पारित किया गया।
   प्रस्ताव में कहा गया कि जब तक हिंदुओ में व्याप्त जाति-पांति की मान्यताएं हैं तब तक हिंदू बंटा रहेगा। प्रस्ताव में साधु एवं संतों से अपील की गई कि वे शहरों तक ही सीमित न होकर सुदूर ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में विशेषकर दलितों के बीच में जाए और अपनी अध्यात्मिकता को बिखेरें। प्रस्ताव में कहा गया कि भारत में लगभग तीन करोड़ बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठ कर गए हैं। असम, पश्चिमी बंगाल व बिहार के साथ-साथ उत्तर प्रदेश में लगातार बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठ कर रहे हैं और इनकी जनसंख्या लगातार बढ़ रही है।
   प्रस्ताव में भारत सरकार से मांग की गई कि अवैध रूप से आए बांग्लादेशी घुसपैठियों को तत्काल भारत से निकालकर देश की अखंडता की रक्षा करे। प्रस्ताव में कहा गया कि एक ओर भारत में मुसलिम बांग्लादेशियों की घुसपैठ और मुसलिम परिवार नियोजन का बहिष्कार करते हुए अपनी जनसंख्या वृद्धि करने में लगे है, जिसके कारण भारत में जनसंख्या संतुलन बिगड़ रहा है।
   प्रस्ताव में हिंदू समाज के धर्मातरण पर चिंता व्यक्त की गई। प्रस्ताव में कहा गया कि धर्मसंसद असम में उल्फा द्वारा हिंदीभाषियों की हत्या को पाकिस्तान व बांग्लादेश का षड्यंत्र मानती है। धर्मसंसद ने सभी संतों का आह्वान किया कि वे अपने क्षेत्रों तीर्थो, मंदिरों की स्वायत्तता एवं गरिमा के लिए एकजुट होकर सत्ता की उदासीनता के विरुद्ध आवाज बुलंद करें। धर्मसंसद में कहा गया कि त्रिवेणी के तट पर संत-धर्माचार्य संकल्प लेकर जाएं कि वे हिंदू समाज को संगठित कर हिंदुत्व को प्रभावशाली बनाएंगे। धर्मसंसद ने गो-हत्या एवं संस्कृत भाषा के हृास पर दुख व्यक्त किया।

First day of 12th Dharma Samsad was held at Ardha-Kumbha-Nagar in Allahabad today. Spiritual leaders from different sects agreed on a resolution which charts the agenda for next 6 year duration. Includes, amongst other things:
- fight against castism/jati-discrimination.
- spiritual leaders to spend more time with Rurals, Tribals and Dalits rather than urban Hindus.
- targetted approach against conversions, awareness about illegal infiltration and uncontrolled growth of muslim population.
- to raise voice towards making Teerthas and Temples autonomous from control of governments.
<!--QuoteBegin-Hauma Hamiddha+Jan 15 2007, 11:07 AM-->QUOTE(Hauma Hamiddha @ Jan 15 2007, 11:07 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Swami Book

<!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo--> Absolutely beautiful 1/2 hr speech by the Acharya. Encompasses prayah all the threads on IF. Christianity, Islam, Macaulayism, MMS/Madam, RSS...
<b>Historic world Hindu conference at Prayag </b>

The III World Hindu Conference was inaugurated at the Ardh Kumbha Mela amidst chants of 'Jai Shri Ram' in the presence of saints, prominent leaders of various sects and delegates from India and abroad. Speaking at the meet, VHP president Ashok Singhal regretted the fact that despite 60 years of independence, India had not been able to proclaim itself as 'BHARAT', the constitutionally approved name, to the world. He called upon the participating delegates to protect the glory and honour of the name. He also declared that the destiny of the country lay in the unification of Pakistan and Bangladesh as they were once a part of India. Shri Ashok Singhal roared that Pakistan and Bangladesh are the enslaved parts of the Hindu nation and have to be liberated. He recalled the forecast made by Maharshi Aurobindo that the partition of the country was un-natural and it was the destiny of the nation to reunite. The aim of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is to bring lasting peace and create a crime-free society. He also expressed himself strongly against the calculating machinations and manoeuvres of the pseudo-secular mafia of mass media in India.

Ashok Singhal addressed a huge gathering on the banks of Ganga, in Allahabad in a temporary township created to inhabit more than three lakh participants. The township was named Guru Golwalkar after the second sarsanghchalak of RSS. Shri Singhal announced that the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population of the country constituting more than 20 per cent population of the country are the real defenders of the Hindu culture in this country. In-fact, he stated, that they exhibit the traits of the kshatriyas and are the source of great strength to reestablish the superiority of Hinduism all over the world in the near future.

He announced that a gigantic Hindu Unity Yatra will be started on 21 November, 2007 from every village of the country and end on 20 December, 2007. Through the Yatra, the VHP would like to demolish the dividing wall of casteism and sectarianism erected in the Hindu society by selfish politicians. The VHP has also decided to establish one lakh single-teacher schools in the country to wipe out illiteracy and this target is going to be achieved in one year. He also made a clarion call for freeing Hindu temples from the Government control and for an absolute ban on cow slaughter. He lashed out against the English-speaking Western culture-embracing pseudo-secular class wedded to western virtues which were percolating in millions of Hindu homes through the crassly commercial TV channels, polluting the minds of young children. He also sent a warning signal to various television channels to stop the spreading of cultural pollution by telecasting programmes based upon western notions of consumerism and physical comforts. He said that if the present government fails to rectify the situation Hindu saints will have to take the matter in their own hands and with the help of the women power of the nation ensure that the channels are rejected and boycotted.

Ashok Singhal highlighted the need to reject the family planning propaganda of the Government. In this context, he appealed to the four lakhs of Hindus present at the meeting to ponder over the hard reality of the multiplying Muslim society. Expressing worry over the imbalance in the growth of population in the country he said that Hindus are decreasing their own population by indulging in female foeticide and following the norm of two children, whereas Muslims' rate of growth of population has crossed all previous records. He said that Hindus must look after their numbers otherwise they may become a minority in their own land.

The proceedings of the first day of the Third World Hindu Conference went on for more than six hours and was addressed by many saints including Satyamitranandji Giri, Vasudevji Maharaj,Sadhavi Ritambhara, Puj. Dayanand Sarsavati, Puj Parmanandji Maharaj, Acharya Dharmendera, Digambar Jainmuni Moti Sagarji. RSS chief Shri Sudershan in his spirited speech said that Hindu way of life is the most natural and scientific system developed over a period of thousands of years. Hinduism is a way of life that treats every living being as one and integrated. He said that it is a matter of regret that Hindus in their own country are being treated as second rate citizens. He advocated for the creation of consciousness about the Hindu nation among all people of the world.

Swami Dayanand reiterated that Hindu vote is sacred and we must ensure that the anti-Hindu forces are defeated by using this sacred weapon of democracy. International General Secretary of VHP, Dr Praveen Togadia in his address called upon the representatives to be prepared for a last battle for the establishment of Hindu state. He said that when Babar demolished Ram Temple 20 crore Hindus remained inactive, again when the country was partitioned Hindus again remained divided, but today Hindus are united and anyone attacking Hindu culture will receive a befitting reply.

<b>Three resolutions were read out to the audience, one each on Hindu Nation, Hindu Unity and Social Harmony. </b>A large gathering of the people belonging to all parts of the country and about 50 nations abroad expressed their support to the resolutions by declaring in unison Hindu Rashtra ki Jai. The Conference was inaugurated by the reputed industrialist Ganga Raju of Andhra Pradesh.

He said that the present UPA government is basically anti-Hindu and is indulging in anti-national activities by appeasing Muslims. If the hundred crore Hindus of Bharat have to live with dignity, installation of pro-Hindu government is an urgent necessity. Against this background Shri Ashok Singhal declared that the future political agenda of the nation has to be the reinstatement of a Hindu nation. From a stage where numerous heads and leaders of various sects of Hindus shared a common platform, he listed three major dangers to the nation namely: unlawful activities of the Christian missionaries, jehadi muslims' militant activities and antinational activities of Maoists.

Finally, Ashok Singhal announced that the Hindu society is in no mood to wait any longer for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodya. He said: 'If there was no solution in sight, let the Hindu society get ready for a final fight'. He gave a rousing call to all Hindus in the country and in the world to contribute their mite in the construction of the proposed Ram temple. Kanchi Sankaracharya attended the Conference and gave his benediction.

Apart from fighting against the anti-Hindu forces of Missionaryism, Mullahism, Marxism, Nehruvian Pseudo-Secularism, different dastardly new brands of Sonia Pseudo-Secularism, Karunanidhi Pseudo-Secularism, Lallu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav's Pseudo-Secularism, Ram Vilas Paswan's Pseudo-Secularism, etc. the <b>Hindu society has to wage a relentless war against the manipulations, manoeuvres and machinations 'now hidden, now open' of the pseudo-secular mafia of mass media in India. </b>

It is very sad to see that Hinduism today has become a dirty word and Hindus have learnt to disown their own identity. Castes and Panths and Creeds have become prominent and becoming important they have acquired their own momentum, power, justification and vested interests. Renascent Hinduism will have to contend with these forces. It will have to overcome the forces of self-denigration and self-alienation. It will have to become so strong that its present weakness does not breed self-contempt in its own sons and daughters but on the other hand its new strength should be such that those of them who were forced to leave come back to their ancestral Hindu fold with tremendous pride and enthusiasm. Hinduism must also realise that it is not just a community in competition with other communities, but that it is a nation and a civilization which has a great role to play in the world. It must work on this larger self definition and assert their larger self-identification. No lesser definition will do.

The pseudo-secular mafia of mass media in India which includes all the main English language Newspapers and most of the Television Channels like NDTV, CNN, Star, Zee and the like are wedded to the philosophy of blacking out Hindutva self-expression as a matter of deliberate policy. Scores of Jalaluddin Akbars, Fakrudin Akbars, Mohammed Bin Akbars, engineering Engineers, roaring and rabid Rams, Christopher Rams, David Rams and others of similar ilk 'all international celebrities like many known criminals of Italian Mafia' have often declared that the print media owe it to the nation as much as to itself to black out fully the statements and activities of the so called Hindutva Brigade with Pseudo-secular fervour and animal passion. All of them are committing the same fundamental mistake as the India-watchers from the West who often assume that secularism means some kind of 'neutrality', of being 'above' the warring parties in an inter-religious conflict, so that the self-proclaiming mafia secularists can be 'in fact must be' really unbiased. <b>I am not, therefore, surprised that the mass media in India have chosen not to take note of the III Historic World Hindu Conference which was held in Prayag (the beloved Allahabad according to the mafia secularists!) from 11 to 13 February, 2007. </b>

<i> (The writer is a retired IAS officer)

e-mail the writer at vsundaram@newstodaynet.com</i>
I apologise if this has been dealt with already, or I am posting in the wrong section. I am a relatively new member, so please excuse any errors due to my ignorance.

I have long believed that the <i>Devas</i> in Santana Dharama, which foreign interpreters have taken to mean demi-gods, is a misrepresentation of what they really denote.

Reading the Western interpretations of the Vedas on sacred-text.com; I find primitive incantations to various gods, magic spells and sacrificial rituals. It is consistent with the Western perception of history; tree-dwelling tribal communties to advanced modern civilisation. However, supposedly from the Vedas the Darsanas have come forth. They even attribute their knowledge to the Vedas. The Darsans, even Western scholars admit, are highly sophisticated knowledge and philosophical schools. How can you reconcile then, the schism between Western interpretation of Vedas which suggest a primitive and Agrian society with an advanced philosophial-scientific society suggested by the Darsanas.

You can't. So either it is is untrue that the Darsanas are based on the Vedas or the Western interpretations are untrue.

If we accept that the former is untrue, then that accuses the Darsanas of lieing. It is hard to digest that such an advanced rationalist people would lie about the origins of their knowledge, and why?

If we accept the latter is untrue, then that implies that the Western interpreters mistranslated the Vedas(whether unintentionally or intentionally) This is far more likely given their ignorance of Sanskrit and their imperialist political designs.

But I am not somebody who goes on faith alone. If it is true that the Vedas are the origin of the Darsanas, then we should be able to find this in the Vedas e.g., the Vaiseshika, Yoga and Nyaya theories etc, should be in the Vedas in some form or the other.

After some study, I have found the schism between the Western interpretation of the Vedas and the Indian interpretation stems from the understanding of what Deva means. The popular Devas are: Agni, Indra, Surya, Asvins, Brahma, Savitiri(and countless more)

There are according to the Western scholars(I use the term loosely) millions of Indian Devas. Now, here is what is interesting. In the Vedas you find that Devas come out of Devas e.g., Agni from Surya. You even have plurals of Devas e.g., many Agni's, Suryas, Murats. Sometimes you have different names for the same Deva.

Therefore they cannot be taken to be individual deities or people as the Westerners interpret this. You find varying western interpretation on what the Devas denote: from Indra being a commanding chief of the Aryan army, who slays Vritra(the chief of the Dasyus) to taking them to be demi-gods as in Odinism.

To confuse us further in the Puranaic, the Devas are likened to deities and Westerner scholars use to reinforce their translations. However, the Puranas came much later than the Vedas, so it would be contextually inaccurate to use their definitions to interpret the Devas in the Vedas.

A more accurate and correct method of interpretation would be to contexually anaylse the Devas in Vedas, and supporting texts, such as the Brahamans to clarify meaning. If we do that, we actually find that the Devas maybe denoting natural phenomena or goverening principles of natural phenomena. Surya is the Sun; Agni is energy; Savitri is speech.

It makes sense therefore that Agni is in Surya. There is a Vedic Sanskrit couplet that says <b>Sarva Dishanaam, Suryaha, Suryaha, Suryaha</b> which means there are suns in all directions. Not only does this support that Surya means Sun, it also demonstrates that the Vedic Risis understood that the Sun is a star.

Therefore if we take the code that each Deva refers to a natural phenomena or a governing principle, the Vedas can be reinterpreted as a scientific text, wholly consistent with the Darsanas that sprung from it. There is certainly no suggestion of a primitive tree-dwelling civilisation.

The beauty of Sanskrit is its morphology is perfect. We can break down each word to it's root to understand the meaning. The Sanskrit word, gurutvakarsha, refers to the sun and its role in upholding the solar system. If we break it down it's into it's parts guru(master) and akarsha(attraction) and I am assuming tv means of. Then it means that the sun is the master attractive force that upholds the solar system. This implies the the Vedic Risi's understand the heliocentric theory of gravitation.

There are yet many other Devas in the Vedas, which I cannot understood yet because of my limited knowledge of Sanskrit. But I am sure that if we were able to reinterpret the Vedas more accurately, we would uncover all kinds of scientific knowledge and learn what what each Deva represents.

Do you know of any scholars who have attempted to reinterpret the Vedas in this way?
Post 53:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->learn what what each Deva represents<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The Vedas make clear what the Devas represent - they are Gods, some of whom preside over various faculties (like speech, sight, and the likes) and others are the embodiment of natural phenomena.

For example, Vayu is the God of wind, he represents the wind because he <i>is</i> the wind. Similarly, Surya is the Sun God. Bhavatvaryama is the Deva who presides over sight (vision), Brhaspati over intellect. See Rg Veda X, 121

I don't see why the Devas have to now be re-interpreted as being either the one (faculty, phenomenon) or the other (Gods), when the Vedas make it rather clear that they are both: the Gods presiding over various things in the world as well as the embodiment of those things.
It certainly doesn't make the Vedas any less scientific.

As an additional point, parts of the Puranas concern times before the Vedas. We need not emulate indologists in discarding the Puranas to focus solely on the Vedas in order to understand matters dealt with in both. (In Indology's case, the Puranas are ignored because they are known to be woefully useless when it comes to supporting the AIT. They say the opposite about any migrations - actually, the Vedas are the same, but the Vedas can be doctored or misinterpreted on purpose by Indologists to support their AIT, like Witzel famously did until he was caught red-handed for his embarassing 'error'.)

Of the two, the Vedas, being/dealing with the more 'serious', would be more accurate about many things I think, <i>if</i> there were to be any contradictions between them and the Puranas. But where the two only reinforce each other, as in the matter of the nature of the Devas, there is certainly no necessity to dismiss the Puranas.

On another matter, as I understand, all stars (suns) are Adityas, one of whom is Surya? But someone more knowledgeable might choose to correct me on that.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->as I understand, all stars (suns) are Adityas, one of whom is Surya? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Absolutely. Primary term used in Rigved is Aditya. Aditya is the basic concept, then there are specific names of each of the various Adityans - Mitra, Surya, Khag, Savitra, PushNa, Rav....(though not all stars are Adityas, only those which contribute to creation of life)

Some have interpreted that there may have actually been 13 different suns, one after the other, and some times even parallelly, over the zillions of years of life in this universe, causing and flowering the life!

On Makar Sankranti, there is a tradition of donating 13 different dhAnya - seeds. Each of these are dedicated to each of those Adityas, as a mark of gratefulness for having it made possible. In Surya Namaskar cycle, we repeat namaskar for 13 times in each cycle. Aditya is the custodian of life (and death) and therefore one of the Yamas too. So, we celebrate 13 days of death, as our final sanskar is on 13th day.

In PaurAnik sense, Aditya comes from Aditi, mother of all the devas, and her eldest son. Etymologically, Aditya comes from Adi-tya, doer of the beginning, 'the initiator'. And why not! All beginning of life begins with the beginning of Aditya!

So we can say, with some difficulty in English, this. Aditya is the CONCEPT-sun, while Surya (and others) are IMPLEMENT-suns.

Importance of sun has been understood by all civilizations, even if Hindus took it to such philosophical and scientific sophistication.

Then GurutvakarshaNa may be more accurately understood like this. Guru does not only mean master, but other things too. 'Gu' means darkness, 'ru' means removing, 'tva' is 'ness', 'karsh' is pulling. GurutvakarshaNa means 'the pull by the one that is remover of the darkness'. In more basic sense 'guru' means heavy too. so gurutvakarshaNa may mean 'attraction because of the virtue of heaviness'. Very interesting.

Regarding western interpretation of Vedas. All west depends largely upon Max Muller's version. Maharshi Dayanand has shown, with ample proof, how that version is a translation of the translation of the translation of the translation of the Vedas, and therefore as removed from real meanings contained in them.

[This is worth a disclaimer. Above is my (mis?)understanding only, which can be completely, largely or at least partly wrong]
Thanks for your post Bodhi.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In PaurAnik sense, Aditya comes from Aditi, mother of all the devas,<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Like Aditi is the mother of all Adityas, it says that her sister Diti is the mother of all Daityas. And in the Lakshmi Ashthotaram, it says "Aditiim cha Ditim" meaning that Lakshmi is both Aditi and Diti: the Mother of all Beginnings, of all the Gods. All that ever was came from the Mother of the Universe.

I love the mystery that then ensues.... Vishnu is manifested as an Aditya (as described in the Bhagavad Gita). And Lakshmi emerged from the Churning of the Ocean; yet Lakshmi is both Diti and Aditi the progenitor of the Daityas and Adityas....
The answer is simple, of course, because it is the eternal cycle of the Gods: they always existed, but for manifestation purposes one came from the other... It is the same with other Ancient Religions.
In this world they took birth at the beginning of times. It's like how a programming Class exists outside of program execution, while an Object of this class is instantiated whenever the program is run. Similarly, the Gods always exist but then take birth as Instances into each universe or world at its beginning. Crude explanation, I know, but I found it hard to come up with anecdotal examples for this.
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Apr 3 2007, 01:16 AM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Apr 3 2007, 01:16 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->And in the Lakshmi Ashthotaram, it says "Aditiim cha Ditim" meaning that Lakshmi is both Aditi and Diti: the Mother of all Beginnings, of all the Gods. All that ever was came from the Mother of the Universe.

I had once heard this. One sant had explained the meaning of the metaphor of "Kashyap" begetting Devas from Aditi and the same "Kashyap" begetting Daityas from Diti. He had said, Kashyap is the jIva/Energy and Diti and Aditi are Gunas/prakritIs/mindsets. If Energy marries Tamas, it begest daityata. Whereas if it joins Sat, it begets godliness. He further explained, that is why Ganesh is always worshipped together with Gauri, and in Guari-Ganesh yugma. Ganesh who is the deva of mUladhar chakra, is lord of ekagrata, the concentration. If he is not coupled with Gauri - the devi of welfare and positive intentions, then the worship of the same Ganesha would even result in destructive energy.

When Sri Hanuman departed from Sita in Asoka Vatica, her blessings to him are very significant. She says, 'bhavahu tat balasheela nidhana' - 'son, be the ocean of bal and sheel (power and positive discipline)'. Tulsidas ji explains this in detail. Bal alone, without proper motivations and discipline, is not of good use.

That is why, when Lakshmi, was 'born' in manthan, she must have been 'married' to Vishnu. Lakshmi (wealth) can be both enormousely benefitting as well as destroying. She must be married to Vishnu so as to be of lokahita and not ahita.

There may be some deeper historical or philosophical meanings too, about Kashyap, Aditi, Diti and Laxmi being both.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I don't see why the Devas have to now be re-interpreted as being either the one (faculty, phenomenon) or the other (Gods), when the Vedas make it rather clear that they are both: the Gods presiding over various things in the world as well as the embodiment of those things.
It certainly doesn't make the Vedas any less scientific.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

No it certainly does not make them less scientific. We need to differentiate between Indian polytheism and pantheism and Western polytheism and pantheism(such as Odinism)

If we overlap the two, we get really twisted interpretations. Such as Doniger's interpretation of Rig Veda, who cannot seem to understand that the Devas are symbolic or presiding forces over natural phenomena. She uses an odinist interpretation, where each god is a person in heaven and attributes acts of incest, war and homosexuality to the gods.

I read her translation a long time ago in the library. She interpreted a verse describing the birth of Indra as being an act of incest. Indra is born, murders his mother, and is afraid of his father(something like this, my memory is vague of this obscene freudian interpretation)

This marks the inability of Western scholars to understand how one Deva comes out the other. How Agni can come from Surya etc.

So we shouldn't use the same interpretation. Deva means, if I understand correctly shining(please correct me if I'm wrong). This conveys a sense of energy, not some deity-being controlling nature from heaven(as in Odinism)

If we read the Rig Veda's creation verse. The entire universe exitsts in a state beyond existence and non-existence(Avyaktam Prakriti) The supreme energy(Purush) that exists, then causes nature to come into being(Prakriti in a differentiated state) It is then the Devas come into being. Thus the Devas are part of the phenomenal universe. If we look at the chronology of their birth:

The first Deva is Hiryangarbh(which means the cosmic or golden wom) and the second-born is Virat(which means universe/macrocosm), which then expands and from Virat is born Brahma(self-expanding) and from Brahma we got Brahmanda(self-expanding in the shape of the egg) which is also a modern term for solar system.

This is basically the big-bang theory, and each Deva represents a phenomena. Hiryangarbh is the primeval fireball; Virat is the expanding universe; Brahma is the galaxy; Brahmanda is a solar system. Brahman(is all of existence, spaceless and timeless)

In the Purush Sukta(which illterate westerners have taken to mean "the sacrifice of man" and put forward an argument that the Vedic risis performed human sacrifice) we learn how the cosmic spirit(Purush) divides himself and forms the universe, devas, planets, plants, animals, humans, socities. In a sense the entire universe and everything within is is imbued with his spirit and is sacred. Therefore the governing forces of the universe(Devas) are in a sense living intelligence, because they are a manifestation of one aspect of the supreme soul.

Surya is the manifestation of the life-sustaining force; the dispeller of darkness; the upholder of our solar system; the brightness of the intellect. Therefore by deifying the Sun, we are symbolically worshipping that supreme soul, that is manifest as the Sun.

In that sense Santana Dharma is Pantheistic, but not Polytheistic. As we only recognise one supreme soul, and everything else as a manifestation of it.

Therefore in light of the above, there are ground to reinterpret the Devas in the Vedas. To define each according to it's etymology, to ascertain its role and its principle. The beauty of Sanskrit allows us to do that, as we know each word is formed of parts, and its meaning can be arrived by studying the parts.

I loved this Bodhi:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Then GurutvakarshaNa may be more accurately understood like this. Guru does not only mean master, but other things too. 'Gu' means darkness, 'ru' means removing, 'tva' is 'ness', 'karsh' is pulling. GurutvakarshaNa means 'the pull by the one that is remover of the darkness'. In more basic sense 'guru' means heavy too. so gurutvakarshaNa may mean 'attraction because of the virtue of heaviness'. Very interesting/<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This shows that not only is meaning being produced by just suffix and prefix, but by individual sounds - phonemes. I did not understand why Guru means heavy though? Is that denotative or connotative?

I always wanted to know the meaning of these Sanskrit words, will you help me translate them using the same analytical technique. These are words used by Western interpreters to put forward that Vedic Risi's performed cow, horse and human sacrifice:


I have more words, but they would be inappropriate for this thread. I'll post them in the Sanskrit thread.

If you are genuinely interested, then my suggestion would be to first read Satyartha Prakash of Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, initial chapters. It does detoxify our minds from the venom of colonial/westernized mindset that most of us have to different extents.

Regarding Gomedh, Ashwamedh, Purushmedh. There are so many different meanings of these depending upon the context. Purushmedh - I have not come across. Probably you meant Naramedh.

Most generic meaning can be understood like this. All the three (and more) are produced by prefixing 'go-', 'ashwa-' and 'nara-' to base dhatu 'medha'. So let us first understand 'medha'.

As per Vedas, (and then detailed out in Yoga shastras, and also by Bhagwan Buddha), there are four 'statuses' of human mind: 'buddhi', 'medha', 'pragya' and finally 'ritambhara', these can be somewhat expressed in english as:

Buddhi - Ingenuity, cleverness, initiative, mental agility
Medha - Intelligence, intellect, brainpower, brilliance
Pragya - Intuition, inner vision, internal understanding, (not learning but understanding. Apara Vidya starts here)
Ritambhara - Insight, enlightenment, complete spiritual knowledge

Medha, brilliance, is the first refinement over Buddhi, the baseline state. So, in a very basic meaning, gomedha, ashwamedha, naramedha etc, classify the 'status' and 'tendency' of a human mind.

Gomedha: 'go' does not literally mean cow. go means sat, and cow is the finest representative of sat. There is no creature more sattvik and gentle than cow. That is why cow is ALSO called 'go'. But 'go' does not JUST mean cow. Other examples of usage of 'go => sat' are in words Govinda, Govardhana and Gomati. Gomedha means a mind which has attained the 'status' of intelligence/brilliance, and is having primarily sattvik tendencies. Likewise 'Ashwa-' and 'Nara-' denote some other specific qualities of a medha-status mind.

Beyond this meaning, Maharshi Dayananda had explained several other meanings too. For example, 'ruling a kingdom with justice' is also ashwamedha.

Trying to denote statuses and qualities of mind - Has even modern understanding of neurology and psychology attempted to do that?
Thank you very much Bodhi. But with your excellent explanation, some confusion has arisen in my mind.

Sanskrit is suppose to be free of ambiguity. However, the multiple meanings for certain words brings ambiguity. Is the word "go" sat or cow. Aurbindo says that go might mean light, he offers the explanation that Aditi is described as a cow(go) therefore go means light.

Govinda is apparently the name given to Shri Krishna because he brought satisfaction to cows. Another interpretation I've seen is "Cow finder" formed from go(cow) and vinda(finder) and also "Lord Of the Cows"

Gopala, another name given to Shri Krishna, supposedly means "cow protecter"

Here is a list of words using go in the Srimad Bhagvatam Purana: http://www.vedabase.net/g/go

From these, these are the most interesting to me: gocarah(visible) gopatih(sun) gopati(the sun god) gocarna(can be known) gocarah(perceptible) gocar(fit to be practiced) indirya-go-car(the object of the senses)

The rest all have something to do with cows. I have read that Sanskrit is based on Dhatu(root words) each with their own denotative meaning and the morphology is perfect. However in the words above, if go by itself is taken to mean cow, and go-patih is the sun, having no cowness, then the morphology is not perfect.

Simiarily, cow-dung in this list is called Go-maya. However, maya means illusion. So shouldn't it mean cow illusion? It would make more sense if go is taken to be light here, so it would mean illusion of light. However, in the context of SB, it may not make sense.

How do we explain the ambiguity here? Could it be, that the Srimad Bhagvatam uses less than perfect Sanskrit? If this is the case, do the Vedas only have one meaning for Go?

I did some research for the occurence of go or cow in the Griffith's translation: here is one occurence:

<i>THEY who are glancing forth, like women, on their way, doers of mighty deeds, swift racers, Rudra's Sons,
The Maruts have made heaven and earth increase and grow: in sacrifices they delight, the strong and wild.
2 Grown to their perfect strength greatness have they attained; the Rudras have established their abode in heaven.
Singing their song of praise and generating might, they have put glory on, the Sons whom Prsni bare.
3 When, Children of the Cow, they shine in bright attire, and on their fair limbs lay their golden ornaments,</i>

Children of the cow? The Maruts are described as Rudras children. They assist Indra. They are interpreted to be storm gods. Then how of a sudden are they children of cow? If we subtitute Aurbindo's translation of go as light, it makes much more sense:

When, <b>children of the light</b>, they shine in bright attire, on their fair limbs lay their golden ornaments.

The original sanskrit translitration is:

gómaataro yác chubháyante añjíbhis tanuúSu shubhraá dadhire virúkmataH
baádhante víshvam abhimaatínam ápa vártmaani eSaam ánu riiyate ghRtám

The word that means children of light is gomaatro. Go(light) and maatro(children of mother?)

So would it be right to take every occurence of go to mean light in the Vedas? Suddenly by understanding that the Maruts are born of light, we can understand what the Maruts are: waves. They are described as "shining" they are born of agni/rudra. There are apparently 40 types of them.

I read this interpretation in another translation of the Vedas I found in the Library(it was beautiful) and it provided supporting evidence to prove this.

Another verse from Grrifths translation supports the Maruts are waves:

<i>Who with their bright beams spread them forth over the ocean in their might
O Agni, with those Maruts come.</i>

The original sanskrit transliteration is:

aá yé tanvánti rashmíbhis tiráH samudrám ójasaa
marúdbhir agna aá gahi

The Maruts are obviously associated with Agni, and travel on/in beams of light.
This supports that go means light(light can also mean sat) and not cow at least in this context.

Does it translate to other contexts though? If Sanskrit really is perfect and denotative, then go should always mean light. If there is a word for cow, it should be something else:

There is only one chapter in the Rig Veda on cows(RV.6.28)

A verse from Griifth's translation:

To me the Cows seem Bhaga, they seem Indra, they seem a portion of the first-poured Soma.
These present Cows, they, O ye Indra. I long for Indra with my heart and spirit.

The sanskrit transliteration is:

gaávo bhágo gaáva índro me achaan gaávaH sómasya prathamásya bhakSáH
imaáH yaáH gaávaH sá janaasaH índra ichaámi ít hRdaá mánasaa cit índram

In this section on cows, the word <b>Gaavo</b> is the most used word. Interesting how the only section on cows in the Rig Veda uses a different word.

The only occurences of "go" are: goSThé, gopathi(means sun in the SB, in Monier Williams dictionary it means abode of cows) and Gosupa.

The contexts in which they are used are


aá gaávo agmann utá bhadrám akran siídantu goSThé raNáyantv asmé
prajaávatiiH pururuúpaaH ihá syuH índraaya puurviíH uSásaH dúhaanaaH

índro yájvane pRNaté ca shikSaty úpéd dadaati ná svám muSaayati
bhuúyo-bhuuyo rayím íd asya vardháyann ábhinne khilyé ní dadhaati devayúm


ná taá nashanti ná dabhaati táskaro naásaam aamitró vyáthir aá dadharSati
devaáMsh ca yaábhir yájate dádaati ca jyóg ít taábhiH sacate gópatiH sahá


úpedám upapárcanam aasú góSuúpa pRcyataam
úpa RSabhásya rétasi d úpa indra táva viiryè

They are obvioudly translated as something cow related. However, I suspect that they have nothing to do with cows. But my Sanskrit is not good enough to prove that. I hope you can help.

Adding Medha. If It means intellect, in which case gomedha yagna, would be a sacrifice for light of intellect.

Though we haven't covered ashwamedha. Ash means swift or possessing dynamism. So how does adding wa/va to it change its meaning?

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