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Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin)

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Sanatana Dharma - Aka Hinduism (1st Bin)
<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Aug 10 2009, 05:18 PM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Aug 10 2009, 05:18 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I have a question.

Why the hell are all the male deities with the exception of Parashuraama portrayed without beards & moustaches like they are some kind of pre pubescent boys?

Is there any particular explanation for this.

It's weird considering that in Indian culture moustache is considered a sign of masculinity.

In the bhArgava clan there were two hair styles -- clean shaven or muNDaka or having long flowing hair and beard. rAma represents the latter. At the same time Hindu deva-s are conceived as eternally young or yuva. A term repeatedly used in vedic texts. Hence showing them clean faced is a means of depicting this yuva-hood. At the same time we should note that in the veda indra is described as having a beard and mustache. In many depictions rudra is shown with mustache or beard and the vedic devatA-s might also be similarly depicted.
Thanks for ur explanation HH, i had wondered about this for a while now.
<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Aug 11 2009, 03:48 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Aug 11 2009, 03:48 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Why the hell are all the male deities with the exception of Parashuraama portrayed without beards & moustaches like they are some kind of pre pubescent boys?
[right][snapback]100299[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Shri Parthasarathy looks to have a moustache. Some drawings in the South have Shiva with moustache (one of Bhairava particularly comes to mind). Am doubting my recollection of whether I saw him depicted with beard :not sure:

The representations of an older-looking Brahma often have a beard + moustache.
I think I've seen some representations of an older-looking Agni also have a beard + moustache.

But whether shown with or without moustache/beard, the Hindu Gods always look mature and male and beautiful in traditional Hindu artworks, IMO.

<!--QuoteBegin-Bharatvarsh+Aug 11 2009, 03:48 AM-->QUOTE(Bharatvarsh @ Aug 11 2009, 03:48 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->It's weird considering that in Indian culture moustache is considered a sign of masculinity.[right][snapback]100299[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Clean-shaven or whiskered - both suit Hindu men. Unlikely any could be mistaken for a woman or child for not sporting a moustache and/or beard.
On Fri 09, Oct 2009 the movie Agora is on cinema
Movie Plot:
"Tells the story of astronomer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria (Rachel Weisz) and her relationship with her slave Davus (Max Minghella), who is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity."
<!--QuoteBegin-Husky+Aug 12 2009, 06:12 PM-->QUOTE(Husky @ Aug 12 2009, 06:12 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Shri Parthasarathy looks to have a moustache. Some drawings in the South have Shiva with moustache (one of Bhairava particularly comes to mind). Am doubting my recollection of whether I saw him depicted with beard :not sure:

The representations of an older-looking Brahma often have a beard + moustache.
I think I've seen some representations of an older-looking Agni also have a beard + moustache.

I concur with HH's explanation of the matter.

sUrya is always shown with mustaches
so also indra and kubera and varuNa, in general
rudra sports both mustaches and beard, especially in the North East, particularly in the authentic nepAla imagery

However, we can not deny the obvious feminization that took place in the later representation of the devatA-s, especially post-nAstika imagery. If I posted some images of how the face of even shiva is depicted, you can not say it is not a devI's face, he is depicted so femininely. Likewise especially for kR^iShNa and also for rAmachandra. The later depictions make their appearance quite feminine. Indded it is well known that kR^iShNa and rAdhA are depicted even as identical at many places.

Bharatvarsh, I recall having read Osho's take on the specific question you raised. While I dont agree to all of what he says, thought you might be interested, so reproducing some part for your interest:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->You will be surprised to know that we have depicted Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna and Rama without a beard or mustache. It is not that they did not have mustaches and beards, but by the time we made their pictures their personalities had become filled with feminine qualities; thus, the beard and mustache would have looked out of place. We dropped them because they no longer suited their effeminate manner.

Such an incident had taken place in the case of Ramakrishna.  His condition could have become a unique case for scientists. It was a very strange happening. Later on his followers tried to hide the facts -- because how were they to talk about it? He developed breasts and began to menstruate. This was such a strange happening -- a miracle we might say. His individuality became so effeminate that he walked like a woman and talked like a woman, and in such an exceptional case many other changes can occur. For instance, in such circumstances one cannot perform shaktipat on anyone. His personality had become completely feminine.

With the help of the meditation techniques of Buddha and Mahavira, hundreds of thousands of people attained to the fourth body. As soon as they reached the fourth plane their personalities became feminine. By this I mean that the passive side of their nature developed. Violence and anger vanished as aggression left them; affection, love, compassion and nonviolence increased.

Femininity took hold as the inherent nature of this whole country, and my feeling is that this was the cause of the great amount of aggression that occurred here. All the neighboring masculine countries succeeded in subduing the feminine personality of India.

In one way a very valuable thing took place -- that we experienced wonderful things on the fourth plane. But on the plane of the first body we found ourselves in difficulty.

Everything has to be compensated for.

Those who were prepared to leave the treasures of the fourth plane attained the wealth and kingdoms of the first plane. Those who were not prepared to leave the pleasures of the fourth plane had to give up many things on the first.

After Buddha and Mahavira, India lost its aggressive instinct and became receptive. So with whoever came we made it a point to be-come receptive; whoever came we absorbed them within us. The question of segregating them never occurred to us, let alone attacking them. That question was lost forever because our personality had become feminine. India became one large womb that harbored all who came to her. We denied no one; we never tried to remove any of these aggressors from among us, because the warlike quality that was required in order to fight was no longer within us. With the great men it became lost, and the ordinary masses followed the great men. And the masses had to remain dominated by them.

The ordinary man heard the great men talk on nonviolence, compassion, and saw them living accordingly, so he accepted their word and remained silent.

He could have fought but he had no leader.

If the history of the world is ever written from a spiritual point of view -- when we no longer will consider only physical happenings as history but instead will begin to consider the happenings on the plane of consciousness as history, that is the real history -- then we shall understand that whenever a country turns spiritual it becomes feminine.

And whenever it becomes feminine, lesser cultures, most ordinary cultures, will defeat it. It is a surprising fact that those who conquered India belonged to very backward cultures. In many ways they were wild barbarians, whether they were Turks or Mongols or the Moguls. They had no culture, but in a sense they were men -- though barbarious -- and we were feminine, passive.
Perhaps related, perhaps not. Where i come from - most Devis/Maas (some names you would never have heard of) have extremely aggressive qualities - sometimes I think more then the male versions. Most folklores you hear has a warrior praying to his Maa (offering his weapon etc) before going to war. IOW in my own experience I havent seen any evidence to make a judgement that culture turned feminine and hence less aggressive. Whats next ? Since Vaishnavas adore BaalGopaala and that means vaishnavas are either childlike or pedophiles ?

These types of analysis is best left to the nuts from UChicago.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>turtle carapace that resembles jagannath's image</b>
nov 11th, 2009

we have heard of burned toast, or the side of a freeway overpass in LA, that looked like jesus, and cucumber seeds that spelled out 'allah' in arabic, and now we have a turtle carapace that resembles puri jagannath's image.

of course the creeps in the ELM were all in awe of the alleged semitic holy things, but they will sneer at the alleged hindu holy things.

i do the opposite. i sneer at the alleged semitic stuff and speak in awe of the alleged hindu thing. (<!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> Cute.) after all, there is a connection -- the kurma avatara. not surprising that a turtle, or any other living being, should have the sign of the Lord.

also, not surprising that burned toast would look like the non-existent jesus. <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> this is like that big fake, the shroud of turin. since he didn't exist, anything can look like jesus. <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> and arabic writing looks like the scratching of a chicken -- fairly random stuff. <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Posted by nizhal yoddha at 11/12/2009 10:23:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Orissa worships turtle with Lord's features</b>
November 7th, 2009

Tags: Lord Jagannath, Orissa, tortoise, turtle
Orissa worships turtle with Lord's features

<img src='' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Bhubaneswar: A rare species of fresh water turtle with features resembling Lord Jagannath has become the centre of attraction among the people in the village of Khadipal in Orissa’s Kendrapara district, nearly 150 km from here.

People from the surrounding areas have been thronging the village to worship the turtle, kept at a temple, believing it to be an incarnation of Lord Jagannath, the reigning deity of Orissa.

The carapace of the turtle sported some "divine" images, resembling the eyes, mouth and nose of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the 12th century shrine at Puri, about 65 km from here.

"The turtle was spotted by some priests near a mutt in the village on Thursday.

As we (priests) were about to conduct evening prayer in the mutt, we noticed the tortoise crawling on the bank of the nearby pond. When we trapped it and washed its shell, we were amazed to find divine symbols of Padma (lotus) and chakra (wheel) on it", chief priest of the mutt Baba Ramdas told this newspaper.

Fascinated by its "divine" features, the saints put it in the village temple.

As the news of appearance of the rare turtle spread in the surrounding areas like wild fire, people from nearby villages poured into the temple to have glimpse of the reptile and seek blessings.

"We are organising Bhajans and prayers near the turtle", he said.

Noted zoologist Manohar Parija, however, identified the rare tortoise as a species of Indian soft shell turtle (Aspideretes gangeticus).

"This turtle is one of the most critically endangered species of fresh water turtle in the country. It is currently classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the status accorded to tigers and pandas. It is also a Schedule I protected reptile under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972", Mr Parija, who has made a thorough scrutiny of the turtle, told this newspaper.

"Threats to its existence primarily emanated from over-harvesting by hunters for its meat and egg, as well as habitat destruction due to construction of dams, irrigation projects and dredging activities", he said.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->With a comment:<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Submitted by kulamarva balakrishna on Sat, 07/11/2009 - 11:05pm.

I am delighted. It may be an endangered species as zoologists like us believe. But still worthy of veneration since the second incarnation of the Lord was as the tortoise, Kurma.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->While christoislamis imagine demons everywhere (see below), Hindus recognise Bhagavan everywhere <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

The very knowledgeable Hellenes accurately, correctly and completely explain christianism:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>- Roman Catholic Church says that the Gods are evil beings - that they are devils, daemons...  What about the Orthodox Church?</b>

This disgusting allegation is the cause of uncountable christian crimes, genocides and ethnocides that have been perpetrated against the people of the whole world. Such an allegation does not stem from a certain dogma of Christianity but rather exists as a result of <b>a fundamental belief in its very theology</b> that is consistently repeated in the texts of its so-called "Fathers". This fundamental belief automatically turns Christianity into an intolerant machine that invites no discussion with the "other", but seeks only to convert or to exterminate. <b>For the true Christian, who knows what he or she believes in</b>, the whole of the Cosmos and Nature along with all of its "living" and "lifeless" forms are within the grip of these devils. This is monstrous paranoia!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Quote:Please, Mr. Mishra! I find it hard to believe that this is a product your fabled wide and in depth reading. One, the original Mahabharata has no mention of this flight of fancy: Vyasa’s epic doesn’t say anywhere that Arjuna described this strategy to his pregnant wife. All that is said on this subject is said by Abhimanyu himself, “I learnt it from my father.”

From what I know it was supposed to be Krishna who reveals part of the strategy for overcoming the Chakravyuha while Abhimanyu was in the womb of Subhadra not Arjuna. Is this present in the original Vyasa's epic?

Quote:Cobra performing Puja to favourite deity Lord Shiva

20/01/2010 15:40:16 Courtesy:Kartik

[Image: snake2012010154016160.jpg]

Kumbakonam: Devotees were surprised to see a snake which brought Bilva leaves and did Archana to the Shiva Lingam at Theperumanallur Shiva Temple. Vedanta Nayaki Sametha Vishwanatha Swamy temple is located at Theperumanallur near Thirunageshwaram in Tanjore district. It has been customary to do Archana only with Rudraksha to Lord Vishavanatha in this temple. Shivacharya (Priest) Suresh found the snake lying over Lord Vishvanatha yesterday at 10.30 AM before the Solar Eclipse.

The snake got down and went straight to the nearby Bilva Tree. It creeped the tree and brought some Bilva leaves to the Sanctum Sanctorium of Lord Shiva. It hissed at the devotees who tried to follow. Climbing over the Linga and taking a posture of having seated on the Lord's head it did it's Archana with its Bilva Leaves!
This made all those who were watching the episode wonderstruck. [color="#0000FF"]It had repeated the same act a couple of times which drew many villagers to rush to the temple, see the snake and have a Darshan of the Lord.[/color]

Source: Dinamalar – January 15, 2010 – Solar Eclipse Day
Can't make out whether the photo is of this event, but the snake sure is cute perched as a crowning ornament of the ShivaLingam. Would be Vaasuki Kantha Bhooshanam, except now the critter's on Shiva's head instead like the snakes in Shiva's hair - or raised atop like in the "Look at me, Top of the World" fashion of the 5-hooded Nagapambu whose heads hover happily over Abeetha Kuchambal's husband Arunachaleshwarar - rather than the usual way Vaasuki is depicted draped around the base area of the Lingam (i.e. Bhagavan's neck area) in an understandably greedy "Shiva is all mine" sorta way. Although this Pambu here seems to be caught on still at the moment of "...Om Shuddha Vigrahaaya Namaha... Huh? <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/huh.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Huh' /> Who are all these people? I thought this was my pooja room! <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':o' />"

First the piglet doing pradakshanam of Mahavishnu's Kovil on Vaikuntha ekadashi (IIRC), then that lovely Turtle bearing markings of Mahavishnu's Padma and Chakra at Jagannath's Kovil, now the Nagapambu doing Bilva pooja at Shiva's Kovil. Hindu animals love all their Hindu Gods <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Big Grin' /> But why did the Sarpa Bhakta of Shiva choose the occasion of the eclipse?

There are some weird comments at HK though, such as the one by some confused Indian declaring that there are somehow two Shivas. Yet his "two descriptions" still speak of one and the same Shiva. He wrote: "Believe me or not,there are two Shivas!One is Supreme being,Lord Shiva,absolutely formless. He is KALAKAL [...] The other Shiva is a Mahaguru,a supreme guru of all time,the authour of vignanbhairava tantra,the ultimate book of meditation.He is connected with moon,ganga,nag,kailas etc."

Uh, the Shiva known as Chandrashekhara, Gangadhara, Nageshwara, Kailasapati, Mahaguru are all the Same Shiva as the first mentioned one, the Nirguna Shiva, also worshipped through the Lingam. Any Hindu would know that. It's all over our Hindu mantras and shlokas, Hindus' religious scriptures. Why are modern Hindus so embarrassed by the Hindu Gods having forms which are their own and natural to them (as well as being formless)? This is not Sikhism.

Next to that there were some inevitable christomoronic comments: by one calling itself Yesu Crushna or something - I may have got the spelling wrong. Typical christo trick questions in an attempt to mentally condition/deHinduise Hindus by asking them why snakes - which are 'obviously satan' in christoislamoronism - would 'inexplicably' be considered worshipful and important in Hindoooism. Predictably, the inculturating christoterrorist suddenly finds that it has come up onto a brick wall again: an important point of Hindu Dharma that christoterrorism just can't inculturate on. So it wants to brainwash Hindus out of the worship of snakes, since it is unable to appropriate it.


18/01/2010 22:49:56 snake

in bible it is said that snake cause Eve to do the sin.

but in Hinduism we are giving more importance and worshping also?

please start healthy and knowledgable discussion.
Eve doesn't even exist and the babble is a pack of lies, but yesu declares its christian faith in babble/adam-and-eve/jeebus even as it insidiously questions Hindus on very basic Hindu Dharma while keeping a crypto christist name. How stupid are these christians anyway.

Nagas are snake Devatas, plus Mahavishnu lies on a great sacred one, Shiva's got one coiled around his neck, etcetera, etcetera. The sacredness of sarpas to Hindus speaks for itself.
X-posting from Mudy, since IMO it kind of goes with the Sarpa above:

[quote name='Mudy' date='03 February 2010 - 11:29 PM' timestamp='1265219471' post='103882']

Ram bhakt Hanuman incarnate: Langoor hurt by tribals dies hugging idols

Sutapa Mukkerjee | Moirapara

[color="#0000FF"]Tears rolled down the cheeks of the dying langoor as it dragged itself from one deity to the next, taking turns to hug each one of them. Its mates sat helpless atop trees and rooftops as they watched him die.

No one heard the animal pray, but its mates seemed to know that it sought justice — for the rest of its clan, said a casual observer. The killings were on a rise and every other day an animal died.

And as the animal, all of five years of age, lay in front of the stone idols at a nondescript temple in Baskur Moirapura village, 30 kilometres from Kolkata, it drew people belonging to all age groups and communities who arrived in large numbers to witness its unusual behaviour. Dedicated to Mansa Devi, the Hindu snake goddess, the temple has idols of Sita and Rama on either side of the sanctum sanctorum.

[color="#800080"](Is Mansa Devi the same as Manasa Devi, the mother of Asteeka (sp?) who successfully pleaded with Janmejayan about the latter's yagnya?)[/color]

The langoor had been shot down with an arrow by a local tribal around 11 on Monday morning. Tribals, who thrive by hunting in the wild cover adjoining the village that is frequented by porcupines, fox, fishing cat, hare, squirrels and langoors, had injured two of the animals. One was lucky and escaped to an adjoining garden. The villagers fed it biscuits and bread. It was fine in an hour's time.

The other animal headed to the local temple. When it was spotted, the arrow was no longer on its body. No one knows who removed it, but the cut was deep and it was bleeding profusely.

Soon, locals crowded around, trying to help. "As I was on my way to work, I saw a troop of langoors walking near the temple. I heard one of them was dying and I rushed back," said Samit Das, a goldsmith.

Like Samit, most villagers here save the 30-odd tribals who practise hunting are animal-friendly. They claim they do not even hurt a snake unless it bites them. They claim that local wildlife has been hit by the tribals' presence. The villagers lament that the tribals for 30 years now have been killing any animal that comes their way for food.

"The animals flourished in large numbers here till the tribals reached and settled in our village. We often explain to them that it is unfair to kill the wild animals for food. At that juncture they seem to understand but soon they get back to their hunting," Das said.

Villagers recount how desperately they wanted to hold the injured animal and to feed it ‘but it refused all ministrations.’ Eyewitnesses claim the bleeding animal hugged all three idols in the temple. As a local teacher commented, ‘Why else did he have to die at the feet of Lord Ram?’

Only one man from the crowd, Bharat Ghosh, managed to pour some water on the bleeding langoor. A day later the locals here believe that Bharat must have been the blessed one, 'why else would the Hanuman allow him to pour water on his head?'

For over three hours, people thronged the temple. Some even dipped their fingertips in the blood and anointed their foreheads with it.[/color] However, some say that the gathering was due to humanitarian reasons.

Akhtar Ali Khan, a trolley driver from the village, said, "How does religion come into play when a dying animal is breathing its last? Many from my community came here and prayed for the poor creature."

[color="#800080"](How does Khan reason "How does religion come into play?"

The dying langoor specifically "headed to the local [*Hindu*] temple", "dragged itself from one deity [*Hindu* God] to the next, taking turns to hug each one of them" and had "to die at the feet of Lord Ram". Could the matter *be* more obvious? Any talking monkey who did the same would correctly be identified as a Hindu. And the langoor - even though it can't speak - is very much a traditional Hindu, same as the homo sapiens sapiens type monkeys of the same designation. All of a sudden the islamic Khan can't recognise a - what do they call 'em - a "polytheistic idolator", an "infidel", a "kaffir", anymore? That's a first.

I mean, the inconvertible insubvertible little kapi hugged multiple Vigrahas of the Hindu Gods: evidence more damning than this would be hard to come by.)[/color]

As the news spread, senior panchayat member Provash Ghosh informed the Forest Department and it removed the animal. According to the villagers, the langoor struggled for life for around three hours before succumbing to its injuries.

The temple has now gained renown after being almost abandoned for the past one month since its owner passed away. A medical practitioner, Dr Ashok Pal, had built it about six decades ago. Initially, it was more of a family prayerhouse, it was later opened to locals. In mid-April (Baisakh) every year, a fair is organised here and on full moon days, devotees gather in the open courtyard for bhajans.

"Here in India," as Swami Vivekananda stated, "religion is the one and only occupation of life," and the spirit of Moirapara since Monday reflects the same[/quote]Oh well done, kapi. That's what I hope to do too - if I may be so lucky - when it's my turn to pop off: find a moorthy of my parents Sri Rama and Sita and hug it. And Manasa Devi Amman too.

This is now the next in a line of news articles in a *Hindu* newspaper of which I've noticed that it seems to feel the need to resort to lowercasing God(dess) or using "deity" instead - presumably to show impartiality - and which uses "idol(s)". But isn't the audience Dharmic? I doubt christoislamics would want to read the Dailypioneer. I am sure the Dharmic audience won't object when Gods is spelled with a capital 'G' - after all, they survive seeing the jeebusjehovallah "gawd" spelled titlecased all the time - and may also understand the use of "vigrahas" in place of terms with negative and negating connations such as "idol". (Hindu books written in English regularly use "vigrahas" and "moorthies" so it's not like the English reading Hindu will all of a sudden be faced with the unfamiliar: the application of commonly-known indigenous terms.)

The writer appears to have some sympathy for the topic they're covering, and their choice to cover the matter at all also implies the same. So why the self-denial? Hindu papers provide an opportunity for Hindu reporters to speak to Hindus in Hindu lingo, as opposed to continuing to superficially play the universal "secular" narrator. (In contrast: one never sees christian writers in christian papers describe the stories in the bible as myth, or lowercase their non-existent gawd.)

Moreover, why do Hindus need to bend over backwards - why apply christianised language - when it is not even required of them? And it's not like Indians' (including reporters') English is perfect and we have some reputation of strict adherence to the English language to uphold. Hindus' christian use of language isn't useful to anyone except to christianism which aims to instill such subconscious dhimmitude. The sooner the wannabe/angelsk-speaking classes of India transcend the dictates of christianism in such subtly-christianising matters, the better it will be for the Hindu audience as well: because language *does* have an effect.

The sole comment to the Pioneer article:

Quote:What a moving story

By Dr. Vijaya Rajiva on 2/3/2010 5:19:38 PM

The writer is to be commended for writing about this sad story. Whatever one's religious beliefs, the langoor obviously had human like emotions. Our villagers showed human sympathy for the animal.

Hmmm. "Human-like" emotions. Nothing to beat an angelsk-speaking Hindu in speaking like a christianised Hindu: with the sympathy of a Hindu and the distance of a christian.

Is a monkey that's forced by circumstance to show in public that it feels keenly only to be acknowledged if these can be termed as human-like emotions? But since they're exhibited by a monkey, perhaps we must allow it to be natural to monkeys: "Monkey emotions". Chronologically too, monkeys came first. Therefore I suppose it's not unreasonable to argue that our oh-so-unique human emotions are merely overhyped monkey-like emotions.

Modern humans are so funny. "Look at me, look at me! I'm special." And then they express great wonderment (or is it masked jealousy) when they see that other animals are capable of similar things to whatever degree. Not so unique-'n-special after all. Bummer.

(With this last para I no longer mean Dr Vijaya; it's some human behaviour I've observed in general life.)
Decoding the Hindu Trinity

In Hindu mythology, there are three worlds, three Goddesses and three Gods.

The three Gods include Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva who create, sustain and destroy. What is most baffling about this triad is that the sustainer and destroyer are worshipped, never the creator.

The root of this bafflement lies in a template that spellbinds the modern mind. It is the Western template, informed greatly by the Bible, where God is the creator making Devil the destroyer. To understand the Hindu trinity one needs to break free from this Western template.

The world Brahma creates is not the objective world. Hindu seers had scant regard for the objective measurable reality. They believed that the human mind is so prejudiced that it can never ever truly break free from the fetters of bias. They focused their explorations on subjective reality, the virtual image of the world that every individual constructs in his or her mind.

Data for this mental image of the world comes from the five senses. It is then shaped by prejudices, both positive and negative, which in turn is informed by memories and dreams, both pleasurable and painful. This is Brahmanda, Brahma’s world. This makes each and every breathing person a Brahma. Hence the Vedic maxim: aham brahmasmi, I am Brahma.

We are creators of our subjective world. And our behavior is a function of this constructed world of ours. While most of us construct a finite prejudiced worldview, it is theoretically possible to construct an infinite unprejudiced worldview. He who does that becomes one with the brahman, divinity itself. Until then, we remain Brahmas, unworshipped creators. Life is a journey from construction of Brahmanda to its deconstruction, from creation to destruction, from Brahma to Shiva.

Our constructed world has three components, visualized as the three Goddesses: the material component or Lakshmi; the intellectual component or Saraswati; the emotional component or Durga. LSD, in short! As we seek to make sense of our lives, we chase LSD. Though the Goddesses belong to no one, we seek to possess them, control their flow, make them predictable and dependable, though to our dismay they remain independent and whimsical.

Lakshmi matters, because she is wealth and health and fortune. She is critical to our survival. But survival alone is not motivation enough. Besides L we seek Durga, emotional gratification. We yearn for significance; we yearn to feel good about ourselves, we want to believe we matter. That is why we are not content acquiring and securing food, clothing and shelter. We want to feel important in the social order of things, in our family, amongst friends and peers. Hence the desire to enhance our careers, increase our influence in society and expand our business empires.

The pursuit of material and emotional gratification becomes an addiction. Growth is never enough to guarantee survival or satiate significance. One feels as if one is running on a treadmill of unpredictable speed. If you don’t keep up, you will fall. Fear of the fall keeps us running. As Brahmanda expands, it splits into three. This is Tripura, the three worlds, comprising of who we are, what we possess and what we do not possess. In other words: me, mine and others.

Invariably ‘me and mine’ matters more than ‘others’. In our myopic vision of our world, we delude ourselves that ‘others’ exist only to ensure the survival and significance of ‘me and mine’. This delusion is rooted in our scant regard for Saraswati, the S of LSD, who constantly draws attention to the other Vedic maxim: tat tvam asi, you are Brahma too.

In delusion, we forget that others around us are also constructing their own subjective realities, harboring similar ambitions of survival and significance, and having their very own Tripura. And in other peoples’ Brahmanda, our ‘me and mine’ is relegated to the world they address as ‘others’.

When my Brahmanda expands at the cost of your Brahmanda, conflict is inevitable. We end up as beasts fighting over territory. We end up playing the game ‘dog & bone’ and find glory in being the alpha male. At the core of this game is human fear of insignificance. This fear fuels our cupidity. This fear makes us go to war.

With his third eye, Shiva destroys Kama or cupidity, burns the three worlds and smears his forehead with three horizontal lines of ash. That he holds in his hand a trident, three blades united at the staff, is a reminder that the Tripura is a manmade construct born of human fear and imagination, and not a natural construction. That he demands offerings of Bilva sprigs that is constituted of three leaves joined at the base, is a reminder that true happiness comes when we balance our craving for survival and significance with sensitivity for others. Lakshmi and Durga without Saraswati will not work.

Vishnu facilitates this journey from Brahma to Shiva. Peace will come only when we empathize with others, when we realize that everyone is in the same boat, fearful Brahmas grappling with existential angst. From empathy comes dharma, elaborated in the epics, Ramayana and the Mahabharata, where as Ram and Krishna, Vishnu demonstrates the human ability to overpower the animal instinct to dominate, and make room for the helpless and the unfit. Only when we care for the other, will we stop being territorial beasts. Only then will LSD be shared rather than hoarded. Only then will we achieve what is aspired for in the triple chant that concludes all Hindu rituals: shanti, shanti, shanti-hi.
Ugh no. Not that dude.

[quote name='rhytha' date='18 February 2010 - 07:16 PM' timestamp='1266500298' post='104335']

[/quote]Nonsense. Sounds like some new age Indian who doesn't know the first thing about (or is so far alienated from Hindu tradition that he is unable to understand) the Hindu Dharmic religion and so has to re-interpret things in a way that makes sense to him.

"LSD"? He sounds like he's *on* LSD - the actual thing - and trying to sell it.

As any Hindu knows, it is Durga Lakshmi Saraswati - in that order - for a purpose: Durga evolves from Yoga into Lakshmi and Saraswati. (E.g. Adyantarahite devi Adishakti maheshvari yogaje yogasambhUte mahAlakShmi namo.astu te) Emotional component my foot, it's energy. And what's with the "my brahmaanda expands, yours expands, zzzzz". Brahmanda means Kosmos - as in macrocosmos. Pindaanda means the inner/microcosmos that is in everyone: the Kundalini Yoga chakras again. Once more: that's as any Hindu knows. The Devis are expressly described as both: e.g. "...sthoola-sookshma..." again from the stotram on Lakshmi. Or see the Lalita.

What's with Devdutt randomly connecting different magic "3s" and spinning meaningless random stories from it? While there is meaning to the various 3s, he doesn't seem to know what those are.

And Shiva "demands" Bilva leaves??? <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':blink:' /> If he wanted it, he could have all of them. That's not the point at all. And oh yes, the wording does matter, because the term "demands" was clearly consciously chosen.

Bilvam is divine because Mahalakshmi resides in it. Hence even a single Bilva leaf is equated to the worth of a 1000 golden leaves offered to Shiva, which is why even a single Bilva leaf offered in pooja to Shiva pleases the easily-pleased one immensely. That snake of ~4 posts up - being a professional, like Nagapambus in several Tamizh Kovils (or so my father tells me of his childhood) - knows it very well. Devdutt could get some pointers from the animal on the *actual* meaning of the Bilvam leaf (well, that's if the snake doesn't nip at him first for his peddling fiction/adharma as Hindu religion). And even I manage to know some extremely basic things about the Bilvam because it's Hindu Dharma 101. So why is Devdutt so dense and ignorant about such basics and yet still bleating from a soapbox as if he's an expert that others should regard? More importantly: why does he have an audience at all?

One could go on till the cows come mooing home, listing the obvious and numerous faults in Devdutt's output (actually: it's harder to find things that he *didn't* subvert one way or another, subtly or distinctly). Suffice it to say that it's all just some touchy-feely nonsense he cooked up: just his own random interpretations that have NOTHING to do with Hindu Dharma. Why would any conscious Hindu choose to listen to this Devdutt who doesn't know the first thing about the Hindu Gods (=Hindu religion)? His is a version for modern Hindus, who don't know their actual religion and are incapable of understanding that anymore. No Hindu from the past (the dead) or those of older generations still living could even recognise any of that as their religion. Because it's NOT Hindu religion. It's just de-Hinduised, de-Hinduising manufactured-before-your-eyes ideology cocktail.

People either know this and see the errors littering Devdutt's writing for themselves or they don't. If they don't, it's not my problem, naturally. What does bother me is that no one at IF can ever be bothered to correct - let alone ever takes exception to - these things when posted here. It's one thing to let lies flourish in someone else's garden. It's another thing to let the weeds grow in your own, watching it, knowing full well you ought to nip the nonsense in the bud.

Actually, this spiel of Devdutt must have been what a blogpost at Rajeev2004 was referring to. IIRC there was a comment there that actually complained. Guess now I have to find it again.

It's this - Esteppan's comment to the post where Rajeev initially endorsed Devdutt. Am highlighting the bits I think are relevant in blue (note that the comment at the actual link extensively uses emphases not reproduced here):

Quote:estheppan said...


Recommend you go through Shri Pattanaik's article here about his interview of Wendy Doniger-

Had posted the following comment on that article. However, the fellow didn't publish it.

-----comment posted on 21 Nov 09 but never appeared---

>>> "Anyone who is serious about studying Hinduism needs to study the works of Wendy Doniger ..... …it is good scholarship"

[color="#800080"](Of course Devdutt thinks Wendy's an expert: people who don't know Hindu Gods (and never will) are all equally "expert" on the matter. As in: NOT. It's a mutual admiration society, especially when their speculative interpretations - entirely independent of actual Hindu Dharma - align qua methodology and/or class of conclusions.)[/color]

Shri Rajiv Malhotra uses chakra hermeneutics to analyse it thus-

"....... one may safely say that Wendy's children mentioned above reside at the lowest two chakras, at least in their scholarship. Kripal is seeing Hinduism from the anal perspective (in keeping with his own homophobia, and insecurity about his Roma heritage), which is a [color="#0000FF"]valid view[/color], but by no means the truth. It is just one perspective, and not the highest vantage point, and nor is it the place where one should remain stuck forever. Likewise, Doniger and Caldwell seem to oscillate between the anal chakra and the genital chakra. This is why their interest and depiction of Hinduism is what it is." -

[color="#800080"](Actually, Malhotra is also subverting here: Mooladhara and Swadisthana don't have anything to do with any "anal perspective" or 'genital perspective'. No Hindus practising at the Mooladhara or Svadisthaana chakras think of Hindu Dharma in the way Kripal, Doniger and Caldwell describe the religion.

And No: wrong opinions - false statements - don't become "valid views". They're views certainly. But invalid.)[/color]

Harvard Professor Michael Witzel described wendy's translations of rig veda, jaiminiya brahmana and manusmriti in these stark terms-

" 'lacking common sense’, ‘unreliable’, ‘idiosyncratic’ ,and “a stream of unconnected George-Bush-like anacoluths “.

Shri Sankrant Sanu is more sober while discussing wendy's article on Encarta, which was consequently removed and replaced with one by Prof Arvind Sharma- "While Prof. Doniger is certainly free to pursue her specific areas of interest and scholarship in Hinduism, we do not believe that her article represents the mainstream of Hindu thought in both the selection of content and its interpretation"

further discussed here-

The interview questions seems well thought out.

Commenter a.b. succinctly above observes- " Wendy, having prosistuted herself for wordly gain, cannot ever find any meaning"

That observation may also apply to everybody in this world who prostitutes their efforts and their lives for materialistic gains.



[color="#0000FF"]The comment by one commenter named a.b. in that page is very striking. In that he mentions 'bilva leaf', which Pattanaik now interprets in his latest article in his own way.

Pattanaik's 'interpretation' of trimurtis is a travesty.

From what is seen in this latest article and his interview of Donkeiger, as well as from other stuff in his website and the talk he gave at TED, Mysore, it appears this fellow is a charlatan. Misinterpreting indian traditions and culture in his own way to suit his interests.[/color]

[color="#800080"](It's Hindu religion that Devdutt's misinterpreting.)[/color]

[color="#0000FF"]Don't be taken in.

Also, by your undeserved appreciation of the fellow, you may have influenced the minds of some 500 people visiting your website daily, who otherwise may have taken a neutral approach to pattanaik.[/color]

2/01/2010 4:14 PM

Quote:nizhal yoddha said...

i may have to rethink devdutt. but the sad fact is that hindu education is so non-existent that [color="#0000FF"]even highly-educated people like the folks who read this blog, or atanu day who gushed over this article on twitter, or offstumped et al, really don't know enough to counter errors devdutt may be making.[/color]

but esthappan, you err when you say only 500 people read this blog. i know how many do, and it's a lot more.

2/03/2010 8:19 AM
Don't know about highly-educated, but definitely ignorant of Hindu Dharma if they were able to just swallow all this goop, regurgitate and recommend it. But one can guess they would all be "English-educated".

Offstumped? Hmmm. Indian nationalists blog wasn't it? To most of today's nationalists whose words I've read on the web, "Hinduism" = nationalism (+ some Lite fluff) and no more. Explains everything really.

What a chasm does separate today's angelsk-enabled Hindus from where the general mass of educated (and all other classes of) Hellenes were mentally when they were about to be wiped out. Educated Hellenes were consciously arguing for the viewpoint of traditional Hellenismos, and *all* classes of Hellenic society fought for their right to continue the traditional Hellenismos.

In contrast, modern Hindus are (subconsciously) arguing for the concocted christian projection/version of their heathenism and will insist that This Is "Hinduism".

The difference is this: Hellenes died as Hellenes, their religion was still Hellenismos when they were destroyed. Their minds were not conquered.

Hindus will simply cease to be Hindu. Their minds conquered before they are physically routed or rounded up.

Today's Hindus can be made to believe anything once alienated - anything except find their religion again. (That's christianism by the way: the (irreversible) alienation of the heathen from heathenism, even as the alienated one imagines that it still deserves the label "heathen" when it has swallowed so much of christianism's Credo On Heathenism already.)

The transformation trend is clearly visible. It is today's Hindus* who will say that their "gods" are "myths". And it is also today's Hindus who so easily fall for christianism's reverse psychology such that they choose to declare - and in court! (and hence for the christoarchive which will use it against Hindus in future - BIG trouble) that they are "mono(poly)theists". (*Angelsk-speaking Hindus only, of course, the other kind doesn't know what myths, mono/polytheism, "idols", apotheosis are.)

^ All those were originally *christian* claims about Hindu Dharma which today's Hindus are parroting, having successfully internalised it. It is what christianism always intended. The interesting thing is that affected Hindus always think that it was a voluntary mental evolution/realisation/conclusion blabla. That it is in fact not so, you can tell when you compare the mutated Hindus with their Hindu ancestors or with the general state of ancient Hellenes before they went down (or with today's Hellenes), or when you just revise how christianism's stated intention was always to de-Hinduise Hindus precisely by getting them to accept and repeat "of their own volition" the christian view of their religion.
Forgot. That was not why I came. This is:

Quote:Feb 19th: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti

Thanks for the reminder from fellow InternetHindus. Today being the birthday of the great Maratha Hero, I would like to post two articles about him. The first one is his conversation with his Guru, Shri Samartha Ramdas who was believed to be Lord Hanuman's incarnation. The article appears in a great blog created by blogger Karmasura et al.

[color="#800080"][Lovely picture of Shivaji and his Guru][/color]

The second article is about Shivaji Maharaj's brilliant grasp of tactics & strategy when dealing with his enemies, this episode being about his encounter with Afzal Khan, thanks to blogger Kedar.

If you look at Bharatavarsha's history over the past 1000 years, there have always been the birth of great Hindu saints & warriors every 100 years or so. Goes to show Lord Krishna's promise to come down again and again to re-establish Dharma. Atleast if He doesn't come down himself, He sends other great souls to do the job!

Chhatrapati Shivaji being one of them and definitely one of the greatest warriors. I get goosebumps every time I hear or think of the Maratha War Cry, "HAR HAR MAHADEV"!

Posted by KapiDhwaja at 2/19/2010 06:44:00 PM 3 comments Links to this post

Labels: hindu, history, india

There was very good post about Vishnu Sahasranama about the part where Pravati asks Shiva for a short version and the Lord says the Rama prayer. Can we locate it again.
Bodhi, HH or anyone else.

Some traditional Hellenic religious practicioner asked me if there was a Vedic counterpart to Persephone or any deity similar in the post-vedic age.

Closest I can think of is Kali but any info would be appreciated.
Quote:The Hindu Roots of Yoga

Thursday, 3. June 2010 - 8:53 PM


One of the more unfortunate but widespread phenomena today with regard to Hinduism is that we now need to produce elaborate evidence for things accepted as evident truths just thirty or forty years ago. In other words, writing defenses instead of doing original, constructive work. Yet the devil must be given its due lest it unleash more mischief upon us.

I admit I was surprised by some of the responses I received for my piece about what I called the Yoga Disease. A common refrain in my comment space and elsewhere on the Internet is that Yoga is almost always equated to Asana, Pranayama, and meditation (Dhyana) and never as a separate system of philosophy. The glittering empires of most of the 5-star Yoga gurus today would instantly come crashing down if they acknowledged this because it would mean admitting that Yoga forms one of the Six Darshanas (or revelations or systems) of Hindu philosophical thought.

Yoga is Rooted in the Vedas

Like everything in Hinduism, Yoga has its roots in the Vedas. A cursory reading of the Vedas and the principal Upanishads shows the widespread usage of the word Yoga therein. It is used in different philosophical contexts, and conveys different meanings and it’s not as a one-size-fits-all theory as these Yoga gurus claim it is. In no particular order, the word Yoga is used liberally throughout the Rg, Yajur and Atharva Vedas, and the Aitareya, Katha, Mundaka, Mandukya, Brhadaranyaka, Chandogya, and the Mahanarayana Upanishads. These apart, there are about 50 Yogopanishads–Upanishads specifically dedicated to various aspects of Yoga like the Amritananda, Amritabindu, Yogatattva, Yogasikha, Pasupatabrahma, Hamsa, and Varaha Yogopanishads.

In the Vedas, Yoga is used in the sense of tapas (literally, “to burn” but it usually means intense penance). The Mahanarayana Upanishad, which has a separate section dedicated to Tapah Prashamsa (Glory of Penance) terms Tapas variously as rta (the Cosmic Order), truth, and self-restraint and upholds the importance and glory of Sanyasa Yoga or the Yoga of renunciation. Other principal Upanishads refer to Yoga in terms of Shravana (concentrated listening), Manana (revision, reflection), and Nidhidhyasana (intense contemplation on that which is learnt), all essential qualities that an aspirant of Vedanta should possess. The Katha Upanishad carries this celebrated verse, expounding the nature and aim of Yoga:

AtmAnam rathinam viddhi shareeram rathameva tu |

Buddhim to saarathim viddhi manah pragrahameva cha ||

The soul/Self is the charioteer, the body the chariot, the intellect the driver,

the mind the reins, and the senses are the horses||

The Mandukya, a short and terse Upanishad of just twelve verses, expounds on the meaning and nature of OM. It describes the states of Jagrat (wakeful), Swapna (dream), Sushupti (deep sleep), and Turiya (the Fourth state beyond deep sleep, the state of pure consciousness where only non-duality exists). The focus of this Upanishad on meditating upon OM in a way, forms some of the roots of Yoga Darshana. Similarly, we find a reference to Nadis in the Chandogya Upanishad, which says:

A hundred and one are the arteries of the heart, one of them leads up to the crown of the head. Going upward through that, one becomes immortal. (8.6.6)

The “crown of the head” mentioned here is the precursor of the widely ill-understood Kundalini Yoga. The whole of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is indeed, the exposition of the Moksha Yoga or the Yoga of Liberation. The Aitareya Brahmana mentions the Brahmarandhra, or the Gateway of Bliss located at the center of the skull, which again has a parallel with the Sahasrara Chakra found in Kundalini Yoga.

Yoga in Hindu Lore

Another definitive source that help us trace the foundations of Yoga is the mammoth Yoga Vasishta (The Yoga of Sage Vasishta) attributed to Sage Valmiki, author of the Ramayana. The Yoga Vasishta, dated earlier than Ramayana, is a conversation between Rama and Sage Vasishta and forms one of the main pillars of Hindu philosophy.

We don’t need a text other than the Bhagavad Gita to look for ample references to Yoga. Celebrated verses about Yoga include

Yogastah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva Dhananjaya… (Perform your duty/actions being steadfast in Yoga without getting attached to your actions, Arjuna)

Yogah karmasu kaushalam…(Yoga is doing things right)

Samatwam yoga uchyate… (Being balanced in both success and failure is Yoga)

These apart, the chapter on Dhyana Yoga (Yoga of Meditation) is a veritable guide on the aims, method, and goals of Yoga. In a way, the entire Bhagavad Gita is a treatise on Yoga.

Tracing it

The tedious, and cataloging kind of exercise so far was necessary to underscore a crucial point: that this vast range of literature of meditations on Yoga in a few thousand verses spread over several centuries occured before Patanjali systematized Yoga as an independent school of Hindu philosophy.

A distinctive mark of anything that can be called Hindu is its origins in the Vedas. The discussion so far proves beyond doubt that Yoga does possess this mark. More importantly, Patanjala Yoga doesn’t really deal with what modern day Yoga salesmen say it does–Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras do not have instructions to perform various Asanas and Pranayamas. More on that in a while.

There’s even more direct evidence as to the undeniable Hindu roots of Yoga as it is (mis)understood today. Sage Patanjali is worshipped as an avatar of Adishesha, the thousand-headed serpent upon whom Lord Vishnu reclines. Representations of Patanjali in pictures and sculptures show his lower body coiled like a snake. See an example below.

[Image: patanjali1.jpg]

Now, if you argue that Adishesha is not connected with Hinduism….

Later day scholars, philosophers and saints of Hinduism interpreted Yoga Sutras in the light of Vedanta. Bhoja, Vignanabhikshu, Adi Shankara, Sadashiva Brahmendra and Ramana Maharshi are prominent examples.


Today’s Yoga Enterpreneurs, instead of being grateful to the religion, culture and land that enabled them to earn their mega bucks actually revel in dissociating with it and in denigrating it. As I’ve repeatedly said, they are gym and/or fitness instructors, not Yoga teachers. If they really taught Yoga, they wouldn’t have paid lipservice to the basic requirements imposed upon a practioner of Yoga: Yamas and Niyamas. Aside, I’m not sure how many of these snakeoil salesmen even tell their students about Yamas and Niyamas. It’s all about “meditation,” “vibrations,” “cosmic energy,” “quantum” nonsense, and “super consciousness.”

Yoga is deeper and learning it properly takes an entirely different spirit. Actually, you don’t really “learn” Yoga. You realize it. Like most other disciplines in Sanatana Dharma, Yoga needs to be learnt traditionally. Under a Guru who is himself a Yogi in the truest sense of the word. Most philosophical traditions including Yoga forbids a person to declare himself/herself a Guru. One of the basic qualities such a Guru possesses is Aparigraha (non-possession), one of the five Yamas (Abstinences) identified by Patanjali. Additionally, every Guru always recites the name of God, his parents, the ancient Rishis (Seers/Sages) and his own Guru at all times as a way of showing deep reverence and gratitude to the tradition and people that enabled him to become a Yogi. In a way, it is his way of repaying a debt, which you can never really repay. This in short is how Yoga (in the fullest sense of the word) is taught and learnt traditionally.

Now we need to take a count of the number of Yoga Peddlers who practice Aparigraha. Their Gurudom, and what they hawk as Yoga violates every known precept, tenet, and principle laid down by Patanjali and other sages. And the vilest yet is what Deepak Chopra did recently–spitting on the very religion that enabled him to build his swanky empire. People like him, Bikram-whatever, and the rest of the patent mongers are deserving candidates for this Sanskrit saying:

||KrthaGHnasya na Nishkrutih||

There is no atonement for the ungrateful
It is an excerpt from the forthcoming 3-vol. work 'A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism', authored by Swami Harshananda, Head of Ramakrishna Math at Basavanagudi, Bangalore. This monumental work, for the first time at one place, covers various subjects such as scriptures, philosophy, mythology, religion, rituals and sacraments, pilgrim centres, biographies of great Hindu leaders in various fields, ancient arts and sciences, archaeology, basic information about Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It also includes details of Hindu festivals and their significance and the lives & works of people connected with Hindu religion and culture.
|| namaH bhagavate pata~njalaye ||

“…we know little about the yoga author Patanjali. We know of Patanjali the grammarian and have good reason to date him to the 2nd century BC. Apart from the name, we have no solid reason for assuming that he was the author of the famous Yoga Sûtra as well.”, so says Dr. Koenraad Elst in one of his blog entries.

This has remained for long the majority Indologist view which rejects the traditional Hindu position in identifying the author of the famous mahAbhAShya and yogasUtra to have been one and a single person, the brilliant sage-scholar pata~njali. So there is nothing new as far as the above statement goes, but what is new follows: “Possibly an anonymous author tried to give his own book a wider readership by attributing it to an ancient authority…”

So far, even those who are opposed to the traditional Hindu position on the subject only thought it as a simple case of eponymy of two authors having confused the later commentators into merging them into a single personage. But Dr. Elst breaks new grounds with his novel suggestion! That the real author of the yogasUtra, his own name being something else, simply stuck the famous name of the renowned mahAbhAShya-kAra to his own petty product in order to attract better prospects of readership! Dr. Elst goes further and supposes the case to be like that of “the Manu Smrti, completed in the early Christian age but attributed to the pre-Vedic patriarch Manu”!

Anyone familiar with the yogasUtra-s would be shocked by the preposterous remarks which not only border with being slanderous towards the author of the yoga-sUtra, but also try to trivialize the essential worth of his work, which is that cornerstone of Hindu philosophy which although tiny in comparison, can sit next only to the bhagavad-gItA on the copious shelf of all the saMskR^ita philosophical works ever composed. At least the popularity of the yoga-sUtra is indirectly conceded by Dr. Elst himself in a book-review earlier, when he wrote, “While numerous Asian philosophical texts remain untranslated, a few suffer from a surplus of translations: the Bhagavad-Gītā, the Yijing, the Daodejing, and also Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra (YS).”

The popularity, and even more the practical and philosophical worth of the work account for and fully justify, not only its numerous translations, but also the width and diversity of various commentaries produced on it from ages old to modern. Indeed like the numerous translations, in the matter of commentaries too, yoga-sUtra can be comfortably placed next only to the bhagavad-gItA, since except probably the latter no other book of philosophy has been commented upon so many times in so many ways and by so many people as diverse as vyAsa to AchArya rajanIsha and shaMkara to Vivekananda, and rAjA bhoja deva to Aurobindo, so that there is not a single class of commentary known in the saMskR^ita universe, from TIkA to vyAkhyA, vArtika to vR^itti, bhAShya to bodhinI, and vivaraNa to dIpikA, that has remained not utilized in the study of the pAta~njala yoga-sUtra-s.

But we are asked to believe that the author of the yoga-sUtra, counted in the same class of the dArshanika-s as kapila, gautama, kaNAd, jaiminI and bAdarAyaNa, was simply ignorant of, or lacked confidence about, the true worth of the work he was writing, so that he resorted to such a marketing tactic as to fake it as having come from another person!

But let us evaluate Dr. Elst’s suggestion a bit more technically.

First off, if the “real author” of the yoga-sUtra-s had to use another’s name, wouldn’t it be natural for him to pick up the name of an “authority” from the same subject matter to which his own work belongs? Why would a yoga author pick up a grammarian’s name?

There are of course better known situations where authors just apply another’s name to make their work popular, but at least the name thus used belongs to a recognized authority of that field. The best example would be some collections of nIti that come with the name of chANakya, although the author of artha-shAstra had nothing to do with these books. His name is chosen by the real authors/editors of these books, as chANakya is an established authority of nIti. Similarly, shaMkara, vyAsa, even manu as Dr. Elst points out, are other such authorities of their fields whose names are found used on other’s works. We can see this more clearly in the medieval Hindi literature, where we find some spurious works bearing the names of “Tulasidas” and “Bhushan”, clearly written by others but given their renowned name. However, even in these cases, such works at least belongs to their respective subject matters or genres. The point being, if an author of yoga had to, at all, utilize someone else’s name for propagating his own petty work, why would he use the name of a “grammarian” rather than that of an established authority on yoga (or sAMkhya whence it came)? Wouldn’t, say “kApilya-yoga-sUtra” or even “shaiva-yoga-sUtra”, serve his purpose more satisfactorily?

There is yet another possible issue in accepting the view that yoga-sUtra author deliberately picked the grammarian’s name for his work. It is known to the students of the saMskR^ita vyAkaraNa, that after the initial century of popularity, mahAbhAShya had gradually lost its readership and went largely out of circulation, until later when it made a comeback. kalhaNa records in rAjataraMgiNI this rise and fall of pata~njali-the-grammarian’s popularity, where he says that unlike his own times when mahAbhAShya was widely popular, in the “old days” the circulation of pata~njali’s bhAShya was limited to (some) schools only of South India, so that it was hardly even heard of in any other regions until being reintroduced in North by efforts of a certain scholarly-king whom he mentions by name. Now, this implies that, the yogasUtra author either lived chronological close to the mahAbhAShya author in the period when bhAShya was massively popular, or came in the later times when it had been again introduced, otherwise he is likely to select some other more popular name. And, later periods he could not have come, since bhartR^ihari already mentions both the authors as the same person, and if we consider him to have been in the earlier periods close to the grammarian, most objections which Indologists have against accepting the traditional view, fall flat.

With this, we have to at least reject the preposterous conjecture of Dr. Elst that the author of yoga sUtra was not named pata~njali, and used this name only to deliberately attribute his work to pata~njali the grammarian. Now whether these books are written by one person named pata~njali, or two different eponymous persons, is next for us to examine.

Let us now turn to reviewing the traditional Hindu position and see whether the objections to this position are really sound in light of new findings since the debates on the subject originally took place in the last century?

We have to thus abandon the preposterous conjecture that the author of yoga sUtra is not pata~njali but some imposter who assumed this name only to deliberately attribute his work to pata~njali the grammarian. Now whether these books are written by one person named pata~njali, or two different eponymous persons, is next for us to examine.

There are at least four major works that carry the name of pata~njali as their author:

1. mahAbhAShya (MB), the most authoritative work on the grammar of saMskR^ita that perfected the pANini’s system, considered one of the most important milestones in the intellectual development of the Hindus. By virtue of producing this work, pata~njali is placed in the traditional muni-trayI, the Sage Triad, of saMskR^ita language, alongside pANinI and kAtyAyana. In size, MB’s canvas nearly approaches the width of mahAbhArata, while it still retains a perfectly lucid and systematic flow and content. MB came to exert tremendous influence over generations of Hindu intelligentsia, and for many centuries the education of a man in India was not considered complete without its study. Notably MB is the only commentary on any subject-matter ever written, to have been given the prefix of ‘mahat’, The Great. So, even as all the other commentaries, esteemed as those are and written by such luminaries as the AchArya-s shaMkara, vyAsa and sAyaNa, those are still entitled as mere bhAShya-s, while the title of mahA-bhAShya is reserved for the product of pata~njali alone. Although itself being only a commentary, it exerted such a tremendous influence that several commentaries, glosses, expositions and critiques were written on it. Notable among these being the oldest TikA of bhartR^ihari now only extant in parts, besides vAkpadIya of his which is entirely based on MB, pradIpa written by kaiyaTa upAdhyAya of kAshmIra, three works siddhAnta-ma~njUShA, shabdendu-shekhara and pradIpodyota written on MB by nAgojIbhaTTa, shabda-kaustubha by bhaTTojI, and vaiyAkaraNa-bhUShaNa of koNDA-bhaTTa. All of these produced over centuries, and varying in scope and purpose, are entirely devoted to the analysis and study of pata~njali’s mahAbhAShya.

2. yoga-sUtra (YS), a short compilation, all of 195 terse crisp and memorable formulae, providing a complete synopsis of yoga not only as a philosophy but more as a systematic practical process. The significance of YS is not in bringing forth new techniques or methods, but in being the first to lay down the overarching foundational superstructure of yoga as a very precise well-defined process. YS has been unanimously considered an authority by the yogis of all lineages, indeed by the proponents of all major spiritual traditions within the Hindu society, and it has remained extremely popular throughout all the periods, much commented upon and quoted from. There are several famous commentaries available, which include the most popular exposition being the yoga-bhAShya by vyAsa in the 7th century, tattva-vaiShAradI by vAchaspati mishra in 8th century, yoga-sUtra-vAkya-vivaraNa of a similar date ascribed to AchArya shaMkara, and rAja-mArttaNDa-vR^itti by king bhoja-deva in the first half of the 11th century. Besides these, there are dozens of many other important commentaries from varying view-points and in numerous styles, like maNiprabhA of rAmAnanda yati, yoga-siddhAnta-chandrikA and sUtrArtha-bodhinI both by nArAyaNa tIrtha, vR^itti by nAgojI bhaTTa, yoga-dIpikA of bhAvA gaNesha, and a very important yoga-vArttikA of vij~nAna bhikShu of 16th century, not to mention a complete explosion of the translations, expositions and commentaries that the yoga-sUtra has witnessed in the last two centuries which can easily number in the hundreds.

Besides the above two, pata~njali is also attributed with the authorship/codification of the following.

3. charaka saMhitA (CS), the oldest available systematic and organized presentation of medicine and therapeutics as a holistic philosophy. The work is counted as the first of the three pillar of Ayurvedic literature, the next two being the saMhitA-s respectively of suShruta and vAgbhaTa to complete the brihat-trayI, the Grand Trilogy, of the Hindu medicine system. As is well known and declared by the work itself, most of the ideas that CS presents were pre-existing, having came down to its author from a variety of sources and very ancient times through various teachers whom it enumerates. The novel contribution of CS is in systematizing, organizing, and expanding those ideas into a holistic philosophy. Like YS and MB, CS is also an authoritative work on its subject matter, much commented upon and translated throughout the ages. The first recorded commentary, although now available only in some fragments, is the 6th century charaka-nyAsa by bhaTTAra harichandra, a 9th century nirantara-pAda by jejjaTa from kAshmIra, followed by the most authoritative commentary on it charaka-tAttparya-dIpikA by chakrapANi datta of 11th century, and charaka-tattva-pradIpikA by shivadAsa sena in the 15th century. From very old times, CS was also well known to the Greco-Latin practitioners of medicine, referred as the Sharaka Indianus, recorded from at least as far back as the 7th century. Al-Biruni also mentions the work to be an authority on therapeutics and that it was already widely translated and available in the Arabic by his time.

4. nidAna sUtra (NS), one of the ten authoritative and established shrauta-sUtra-s on sAma-veda belonging to the kauthumi shAkhA. The references from such sources as the bR^ihad-devatA and R^igvedAnukramaNI indicate the existence of two independent recensions of the nidAna sUtra-s: the one attributed to bhAllavI is no more extant, while the other by pata~njali is which reaches us. Divided in ten prapAThaka-s of thirteen khaNDa-s each, the specific purpose of the nidAna-sUtra is to provide the concise, short and memorable instructions to the performers of the sAmaveda rituals about the accurate specifications of the yaj~na-s. A small portion of the NS, the opening seven khaNDa-s in the first prapAThaka, also forms an independently circulated work in itself, known as the pAta~njala cHandovichati, which deals with the specifications of the meters of the sAmavedic mantra-s. Since accuracy in observing the meters makes for one of the very crucial points, cHandovichati is an important work of instruction. The significance of nidAna sUtra is reflected by the attention given to it by several commentators on the vaidika performances like sAyaNa, varadarAja, dhanvI, deva-yAj~nika, rudra-skanda and agni-svAmI, who have all freely quoted from the NS, some also mentioning pata~njali with great reverence as its author. In addition, entire commentaries have also been written on the cHandavichati portion independently, notable being tattva-subodhinI by tAta-prasAda of an unknown date, and a late but complete TikA by hR^iShikesha sharman.

Besides these works there are some more not so well known works that indirectly imply pata~njali as their author. This includes a notable paramArtha-sAra (PS), a very short work of all but 85 verses in AryA meter, hence also called AryA-pa~nchAshIti, and which explains the sAMkhya principles in a vaiShNava-vedAntika framework. There are some more obscure works like metallurgical loha-shAstra and a medicinal handbook vAtaskanda-vaidyaka, whose author is also indirectly named as pata~njali. All of these however carry no allusion to the author of the earlier mentioned books, nor do any commentators or traditions recount these under the authorship of the famous yoga-sUtra-kAra or the mahAbhAShya-kAra. About the author of the earlier mentioned ones however, traditions and the commentators do speak about the identity of their author as a single pata~njali.

The oldest reference comes from bhartR^ihari’s vAkpadIya, dating at least from the 500s of the C.E., where he expresses the gratitude towards the sage who propagated these shAstra-s:

kAya-vAg-buddhi-viShayA ye malAH samupasthitAH / chikitsA-lakShaNAdyAtma-shAstraiteShAM vishuddhayaH (vAkpadIya, bramha-kANDa 1.147)

[“All that was unclean in the Body, Speech, and in Mind; has been cleansed away by (your) treatises respectively on the Medicine, Grammar, and Spirituality.”]

Celebrated bhartR^ihari, the vAkpadIya’s author, was very closely connected with the studies on pata~njali, especially from the grammar stand point. In fact, he credits his own teacher to have re-introduced the studies of pAta~njala mahAbhAShya throughout India which had by his time otherwise become obscure and found only in the households of south, reduced there too to just being “another book”. bhartR^ihari had also written a TIkA on MB, which is now not available except for some fragments as noted earlier.

Chronologically next reference comes from the TIkA on charaka-saMhitA by chakrapANi-datta in the 11th century, who prays to pata~njali, the sage who prepared all these shAstra-s:

pAta~njala mahAbhAShya charaka pratisaMskR^itaiH / manovAkkAya doShANAM hartre-hi-pataye namaH (charaka-tAttparya-dIpikA, ma~NgalAcharaNa)

[To Him, who by preparing the pAta~njala-(yoga-sUtra-s), the mahAbhAShya, and the refinements over the charaka-saMhitA has wiped out all the afflictions that affect respectively the Mind, the Speech, and the Body; to that Master, we pray.]

Here chakrapANi is very explicit in saying that the CS was only refined/redacted by pata~njali, and thereby is noted as last in the sequence. Here, interesting to note is that the title pAta~njala, i.e. “Of pata~njali”, is reserved not for MB, but for the work dealing with spirituality. There is a little room for doubt here, whether this book is YS or some other work dealing with spirituality. Notably, in the same century as chakrapANi, Al-Biruni also alludes in his India, to a work called pAta~njal, translated in Arabic as Qitab Patanjal. Going by the synopsis of the book he provides therein, the book he referred to appears to be a not Yoga-Sutra but some other work, dealing more with the vedantic-theistic framework of sAmkhya, and more importantly in format of the utterances of a master to his pupil.

We may only speculate, going by the synthesis of Al-Baruni, whether he was not referring to another book that was attributed to pata~njali albeit indirectly, and famous in this very century when Al-Biruni quoted from it. We are referring to paramArtha-sAra (PS) which would meet the Al-Biruni’s description to large extent.

Although a very brief work which comes in hardly 5-6 leaves in most manuscripts, PS is not a less important work. vidyAraNya refers to it twice in his jIvanmukti-viveka, so also the kAshmIrian scholar bhagavadotpala in his works. Savant abhinava-gupta refers to paramArtha-sAra as ananta-kArikA and not only quotes from it in tantrAloka as well as in his vyAkhyA on bhagavad-gItA, but also at both places declares PS to have come from a divine origin, and equal to Shruti itself. Abhinava-gupta goes further, being greatly inspired by it he even wrote a whole book under the same title, as a further expansion and adaptation of it into shaiva and yoga framework. yoginAtha also quotes from the original PS in his chid-shakti-saMstuti, so does nAgesha-bhaTTa later in laghu-ma~njUShA. jayaratha refers to this book by the name of AdhAra-kArikA, ‘AdhAra’ alluding to the sheSha who is supposed to be the support of the worlds. There are two complete TIkA-s on PS, one by nAgesh-bhaTTa and the other by an advaita vedAntin commentator rAghavAnanda muni, besides a very detailed vivR^itti on the abhinava-gupta version by yogarAja. This book was attributed with the authorship of divine Adi-sheSha, with whom pata~njali has always been identified by all the traditions. It is therefore possible that this book is what Al-Biruni refers to. Apparently there is one known manuscript of Qitab Patanjal, which is in the London Museum, which to our information remains to be published with source.

However, to clarify the matters comes a near-contemporary of both chakrapANi-datta and Al-Biruni, the illustrious rAjA bhojadeva the pramAra, whose remark explicitly identifies not only Yoga-sUtra-s being what went by the name of pAta~njala, but also reinforces the contemporary Hindu belief of a single pata~njali being the author of YS alongside the mahAbhAShya and charaka-saMhitA. bhojadeva, multifaceted as his talents were, seems to have much idolized the sage-author of such diverse interests. In the opening of his commentary on the pata~njali’s yoga-sUtra, the learned rAjan thusly places himself with the sage pata~njali:

shabdAnAmanushAsanam vidadhatA pAta~njale kurvatA \ vR^ittiM rAja-mR^igA~Nka saMg~nakAmapi vyAtanvatA vaidyake \ vAkchetovapuShAM malaH ShaNabhUtAM bhatreva yenodadhR^itastasya shrI-raNa-ra~Nga-malla-nR^ipate vAcho jayantujjvalauH ||

[Victorious be the radiant utterances of that Sovereign, The Wrestler on the Arena of Battlefields (this being the name of another work by bhojadeva as well as one of his regal titles), who has by preparing a work on grammar, by writing this commentary on pata~njali’s work, and by composing rAja-mR^igA~Nka, a work on medicine, has wiped out all the defilements respectively afflicting the Speech, the Mind, and the Body, just like as was done by the Sovereign of all the Serpents (alluding to Adi-sheSha personified in pata~njali )]

So here, “pAta~njala” comes to unambiguously mean the famous yoga-sUtra-s and no other work. bhoja seems to be not only aware of several commentaries done on this work before his time, but says he has referred to all those that were present before him. Indeed he tries to even remain critical about the text: one sUtra in the fourth book he considers being a later interpolation, and refuses to comment upon it.

In the next century, circa 1187 CE as per Max Muller, saDgurushiShya the vaidika commentator on kAtyAyana’s sarvAnukramaNI, refers to sage pata~njali, who is the author of all these books, mahAbhAShya, nidAna sUtra and of course the yoga-sUtra-s. In praise of kAtyAyana he says:

yatpraNItAni vAkyAni bhagavAnstu pata~njaliH / vyAkhyachcHAntaviyena mahAbhAShyena harShitaH / yogAchAryaH svayaM kartA yogashAstra nidAnayoH

[Being greatly pleased by this vArttikA written by the descendant of shAntanu (alluding to kAtyAyana), bhagavAn pata~njali, himself being a great teacher of yoga and the celebrated author of yoga-sUtra-s as well as of the nidAna-sUtra-s, decided to further elucidate on these grammatical rules in his mahAbhAShya.] (See Prof. Kailash Nath Bhatnagar, Introduction in the Nidana Sutra of Patanjali, Lahore, 1939)

Writing from kAshmIra in the same century, grammarian kaiyaTa upAdhyAya holds a similar view, and expresses it with a beautiful opening verse of his bhAShya-pradIpa, a commentary on the MB:

yogena chittasya padena vAchAM malaM sharIrasya cha vaidyakena

yo.pAkarottaM pravaraM munInAM pata~njaliM prA~njalirAnatosmi (bhAshya-pradIpa, opening)

[The impurities of chitta by yoga, of speech by the (MB’s) pada-s, and those of the body by the treatise on medicine; That First of all the muni-s, sage pata~njali, who has removed all these impurities, to Him I bow with joined palms]

We find the same view continuing down to the later centuries among the grammarians. nAgojIbhaTTa writing in the late 16th century speaks thus in his vaiyAkaraNa-siddhAnta-ma~njUShA: Apto nAma anubhavena vastutattvasya kArtsyena nishchayavAn / rAgAdivishAdapi nAnyathAvAdI yaH sa iti charake pata~njaliH. The same scholar says in his paspaSha adhikaraNa of MB, “yoga-sUtre-pata~njalokte” as well as elsewhere “taduktaM charake pata~njalinA sendriyaM dravyaM nirindriyamachetanam”, implying throughout, that the three works, YS, MB, and CS were authored by the same pata~njali.

In the 18th century, rAmabhadra dIkShita dedicated a whole work in compiling a biographical sketch of pata~njali, entitled pata~njalicharitam, where he holds the author of all these works to have been one single pata~njali, and remarks:

sUtrANi yogashAstre vaidyakashAstre cha vArttikAni tataH / kR^itvA pata~njalamuniH prachArayAmAsa jagadidaM trAtuM

[yoga-sUtra-s, followed by the treatise on medicine, and then the grammatical rules, Sage pata~njali created and propagated all these three in the world]

So we can easily see that for a long time, starting at the least with bhartR^ihari in the sixth century, all the way down to rAmabhadra dIkShita in the Eighteenth, pata~njali was considered to have been a single author of all the diverse books, and this has remained a firm tradition and a widely held view among the Hindus for over a millennia. It is not until the 19th century that we come across such views being inserted in the saMskR^ita dictionaries like vAchaspatyam and Shabda-kalpa-druma that the two pata~njali’s are different:

vAchaspatyam: “ayaM cha yogashAstrakArAt bhinna iti saralAyAmasmAbhissamarthitam| anayorabheda iti pAshchAtya vaiyAkaraNAH ” [And this pata~njali is different from the author of the yogashAstra, this is the simple view we hold. Conversely that they are the same was a view held the later grammarians.]

And also, shabda-kalpa-druma: “keShAnchinmate yogasUtrakAra pata~njalerbhAShyakR^it pata~njalirbhinna eva| anayorabhedatAm tu nirdishanti pAshchAtyAH” [Some consider the yoga-sUtra author pata~njali to have been different from the mahAbhAShya author pata~njali. That they are the same is a view developed by the later people.]

It seem strange that these colonial-period dictionaries should say that the "later people" considered the one-pata~njali theory, whereas indeed it seems that it is the still “later people” who thought otherwise.

But let us then see by other means, directly from the texts of the four works, whether they COULD have come from the same author, and also review the arguments of those opposed to the traditional view.


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