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Indian Culture-general Discussions - II
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>SYMBOLISM OF SCRIPTURES</b>
The Dawn is the head of the horse of wisdom in one way” says, Bruhadharanyaka Upanishads. This passage of the Upanishad describes the whole space of zodiac as the body of a big horse. This is the life principle. It is eternally sacrificed into the creation.

The symbolism of horse is prominent in Vedas among various sacrificial symbols. This has the great significance in astrological signs. All regions and mythologies included horse as a major symbol. In every scripture it is understood as a symbol of power and swiftness. In Vedic literature horse is represented by vital force that is being produced by suns rays. These rays galvanize the chemistry of the living bodies into an organic state of metabolism.

The solar year is divided into 27 equal parts from the vernal equinox. It is one of the Nakshatra divisions. The head of the horse is located in the beginning of the year. This is because the mystic force and swiftness of the vital principle is flooded just after the time of the vernal equinox. The first divisions of the nakshatras indicate the head of the horse and the tail is located at the 20th division of the zodiac. The first division is called Aswins, and the 20th division is called Poorvashada. For a student of Vedic astrology, when the head and tail of horse combined in meditation, gives many clues to the history of heavens.

Bruhadaranyaka Upanishad describe the time of the duration of the whole day as a horse. In the Aswamedha sacrifice, space and time is the main import of horsiness. The brighter half of the day is solar and the darker is lunar. In the ritual, the brighter horse is represented by a Golden calf and the darker is silver. They denote the position of the sky, above and below the horizons relative to the observer, Pasyaka. That which is seen by the observer is called ‘the reverse of pasyaka, which is kasyapa’. The Kasyapa is the husband of Adhiti and Dithi, the brighter and darker halves. In puranic literature they are called Vinatha and Kadruva.

Among the fixed stars in the heaven, there is one star which is called horse head, it is in the constellation called Aswin. The Upanishads speak of this astronomical phenomenon which binds the horse life force in the heavens to prepare Anna, metabolic activity for the whole year.

The horse sacrifice is one of the main rituals in the Vedic path. It is not the physical horse that has been sacrificed. It is more speculative than operative. In the ritual, the Agni and Soma are invoked. The symbolism of horse is grand and very poetic literature in Vedas which extends to Puranas. It is supposed to be performed by Kings who wanted to extend their domain. In fact, any man can perform this sacrifice in speculative path and become King of his own sphere. In the ritual a horse is brought purified, decorated and consecrated to Gods. It is then left to wander for a particular time. When it is wandering a group of ritualists follow the horse and it is brought back again and sacrificed at the Altar. Then 13 persons bring and tie it. It is all symbolic.

To perform the act of ritual, the sacrifices brings the horse tied with the rope, in fact, they are lines of force in him made up of freedom. The horse is allowed to wander for 12 months which is 12 measures that create the zodiac. Hence the rope also must be of 12 measures. But 13 people tie it, and it must contain 13 measures. Every three years of the lunar computation there will be 13th month required to make an adjustment with the solar year, which is called Adhikamasa.

12 of them represent 12 lunar months of the year and 13th is called the guest. This guest is nothing but the Adhikamasa which comes once in three years. This is a counter part in the consciousness of the ritualist. This counter part brings the prana into the conscious levels of man.

Prajapathi, meaning, the cycle of time has created the horse sacrifice, says Vedas. The Upanishad says, the horse was created from Prajapathi through the higher limbs, the Prajapathi entered into all directions. The devas wanted to send it down and linked it with a sacrifice to fulfill their desires. The higher force which is five fold has entered into the year and descends down as five creative aspects and the body of the sacrifice is made up of five elements of the nature. The Horse sacrifice brings the higher five into lower five and connects them with a vital force. The higher force can be unfolded to the meditator if he meditates the whole year as five divisions starting with the month of Sagittarius.

When a ritualist meditates on the days that the sun is passing through Aswini, he gets the revelations of the astronomical wisdom. In the Puranic speculative symbolism, the horse headed form of the absolute deity presides over the branches of the wisdom of life, is called Hayagreeva.

A meditator on Hayagreeva will see the various divisions into which the horse of the heaven descends to the earth or the matter. The year, the month and the days are divided into many types of divisions which are not known to the modern astrologer or astronomer. Each division has a purpose. Their effects are indicated by the celestial phenomena on the physical, mental, spiritual, sexual and emotional levels of the biological phenomena.

“The symbol of the inverted tree in the Vedas, Upanishads and the fifteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita has another outstanding secret. The tree is called Aswaddha (Ficus religiosa). With the aid of this tree, the yogi of the ritualistic path who is born in this sign causes a transmutation of the man on the horse through reversing the wheel. Then the symbol of the sign is changed into the man with the head of a horse. This is called Lord Hayagreeva (the horse-headed deity). In the words of a book on the Tantric Rituals it is said – “sit under the tree Ficus religiosa. Eat the leaves of the tree. Meditate upon Lord Hayagreeva through his Mantra. Drink milk. You will be lord of all the keys between sound and the mind. You will be the master of all the sciences and arts of creation. You will be the master of all languages (human, animal, plant and mineral). You can cut off the branches (effects) and the roots (causes) of Karma with the axe of non-attachment”. “Rearrange the Mantra of the great swan. You get the mantra of Hayagreeva.” The Mantra of swan is “Ham—So”. Bring together “H” and “So” and you get “HSOUM”. This is the mantra of Lord Hayagreeva who should be meditated in milk-white colour.

The name of the tree “Aswatdha” means the seat of the horse. All through the Vedic symbolism, the horse is the symbol of fire. Red horse is the symbol of solar fire and white horse is the symbol of spiritual fire in man. The horse-sacrifice (Aswamedha) is the greatest of all the rituals that are consecrated to the year-god to enhance the splendour of one’s kingship. The Aswatdha tree of Lord Krishna is the Bodhi tree of Lord Buddha. Buddha has his final realization when he took shelter under this tree.

In Puranas, the Solar Logos followed his wife, Sougya (symbol) down the earth. She came down to earth as mare Sun god followed the horse. It means, the spiritual sun makes himself visible through his solar symbol and earth receives it as the fire of life. The spiritual sun descends into whatever form it is provided by the brilliance. He impregnates it with a spiritual path that serves as the highest principle above the soul in the living beings. The whole spiritual path of a man is to realise this divine spark. The horse of rituals is the omni potent generator of the spiritual sparks that are called by the souls of the various beings on this earth. This horse goes round and round the Solar Logos.

The Horse is a form of Agni, the cosmic fire. The creation dawns from the subjective to the objective to the power of horse. The horse is the fire that exists beyond mental, physical, planetary and solar levels. The modern man can understand this horse when he can understand the fire in his highest aspect not confusing himself with flame and fire. Flame is the physical body of the fire, the fire lives in 49 levels.

As we see the above symbols of the ancients, we begin to extract the significance and put it in application; we find many new horizons appear before our mind. The formula and symbols as well as the deductions of the ancients are empirical or hypothetical in nature. They are the expressions of the seer’s mind who are inspired by the self consciousness, mysteries of nature and their splendours. Horse is one such symbolism.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Significance of  SHIVA LINGA</b>
Lord Shiva has no form, he is formless and yet all forms are His forms. He is worshipped in the form of the Linga most of the time. What does this Linga signify? Linga means ‘symbol’ or ‘sign’. To begin with it represents the unmanifest form of the Lord, it may have a form but does not correspond to any manifest form. It also represents the one God; it really stands for ‘God is one’ and there is no other God.

The Linga is referred to as “Vaykta-Avaykta” meaning it is neither of the manifest world nor is it totally unmanifest. Also known as “Rupa-Arupa” meaning with form and without form. It is the perfect balance for a man to worship. To worship an idol with all regular parts belongs to this world and to worship the totally unmanifest God takes time. The Shiva Linga is the perfect balance between the two, being neither of this world nor that.

The Shiva Linga it is elliptical in shape, only half the ellipse is visible to us, showing that this created world is only a part of God and there is much more to Him beyond this created world. An ellipse is but another form of a circle, when the centre of the circle separates into two. When a circle becomes bifocal an ellipsoid is formed. So, it could be said that when the perfect circle is split into two an ellipsoid is formed yet retaining some of the perfection of the circle.

A circle is the most appropriate geometrical representation of God. The circle neither has a beginning nor end. The distance from the centre of the circle to the surface is always the same. Therefore the split circle or the ellipse represents the Shiva-Shakti tattva. Shiva Linga stands as a sign of this. If you see a flame in the lamp, it is similar to the Linga form, Shiva is that light without a beginning or end. He is that glorious eternal light and a Linga represents that.

If you see a ‘Sphatika’ (crystal) Linga it has no light of its own but perfectly reflects what ever light falls on it. Shiva is that formless, colourless, unmanifest who contains everything in Him. On a larger scale, if you see the sky, it forms a giant Shiva Linga, the whole universe is in a giant Shiva Linga. The earth’s horizon, looks like the shiva Linga. Our planets and even comets move in ellipses and even the electrons in atoms move in ellipses around the nucleus which is positively charged. Thus this positivity and negativity exist everywhere. A seed of any given, fruit, flower or vegetable is in the form of a Shiva Linga. It is from this seed that the great tree grows. Shiva contains the whole universe in Him which sprung from Him.

If you look at a Sri-Chakra, the dot in the centre represents Bindu, and Bindu stands for Shiva where as Nada stands for Shakti. Sri Chakra speaks of the union between Nada and Bindu. Shiva being the Bindu, the first triangle enclosing the Bindu and the Bindu itself form the Shiva Linga. The Bindu the centre and the triangle the base around it. The Love, energy that flow from it is what we gather at the time of Abhisek of the Shiva Linga and greatfully drink as prasad. The three sides of the triangle are the Iccha Shakti, Gyana Shakti and Kriya Shakti which are used to start creation. More over the whole Shiva Linga never rests on the ground, most of it is on the top, meaning what ever is here is just one foot and there is more to the Lord above and beyond. The greatest way to worship Shiva is in the form of this Linga which means ‘Symbol’ or ‘sign’, a perfect inference to the Great One.

Shiva Loves Abhishek for it cools His third eye. There are Shiva Lingas made of different matter, like clay, precious stone, Sandalwood, Gold, Bhasm, just anything. Each has its own value and is worshipped for different reasons. Interestingly, all the temples in India dedicated to the nine planets and the 27 stars all have Shiva Lingas as the main deity inferring that everything is contained in Him and all planets can be appeased by appeasing Shiva.

The greatest of all Abhishek is the Abhishek of love to Shiva seating Him in the lotus of your heart. Shivaya Guravennamaha....On Namah Shivaya

<b>Philosophy of Abhisheka </b>
Salutations and adorations to the blissful Lord Siva, the lover of Uma or Parvati, the Lord of all beings (Pasupati).

“Alankarapriyo Vishnuh, Abhishekapriyah Sivah—Lord Vishnu is very fond of Alankara (fine dress, beautiful ornaments, etc.); Siva is fond of Abhisheka.” In Siva temples, a pot made up of copper or brass with a hole in the centre is kept hanging over the image or Linga of Siva, and water is falling on the image throughout day and night. Pouring over the Linga, water, milk, ghee, curd, honey, cocoanut water, Panchamrita, etc., is Abhisheka. Abhisheka is done for Lord Siva. Rudra is chanted along with the Abhisheka. Lord Siva is propitiated by Abhisheka.

Lord Siva drank the poison that emanated from the ocean and wore the Ganga and moon on His head to cool His head. He has the fiery third eye. Constant Abhisheka cools this eye.

The greatest and the highest Abhisheka is to pour the waters of pure love on the Atmalinga of the lotus of the heart. The external Abhisheka with various objects will help the growth of devotion and adoration for Lord Siva and eventually lead to internal Abhisheka with pure abundant flow of love.

Abhisheka is a part of Siva Puja. Without Abhisheka, worship of Siva is incomplete. During Abhisheka Rudra, Purushasukta, Chamaka, Maha-mrityunjaya Japa, etc., are chanted in a particular rhythm and order. Monday is very important day for Lord Siva and the thirteenth day of the fortnight (Pradosha) is very sacred. On these days, devotees of Siva worship Him with special Puja, Abhisheka with Ekadasa-Rudra, Archana, offering plenty of Prasad, and illumination.

In Ekadasa-Rudra Abhisheka, every Rudra is chanted with distinctive articles for Abhisheka. Ganga water, milk, ghee, honey, rose-water, cocoanut water, sandal paste, Panchamrita, scented oil, sugarcane juice and lime juice are made use of for Abhisheka. After every Abhisheka, pure water is poured over the head of Siva. When Rudra is repeated once, the different articles of Abhisheka are made use of after every stanza of the Rudra. The Abhisheka water or other articles used for Abhisheka are considered very sacred and bestow immense benefits on the devotees who take it as the Lord’s Prasad. It purifies the heart and destroys countless sins. You must take it with intense Bhava and faith.

When you do Abhisheka with Bhava and devotion, your mind is concentrated. Your heart is filled with the image of the Lord and divine thoughts. You forget your body and its relation and surroundings. Egoism gradually vanishes. When there is forgetfulness, you begin to enjoy and taste the eternal bliss of Lord Siva. Recitation of Rudra or Om Namassivaya purifies the mind and fills it with Sattva.

If you do Abhisheka with Rudrapatha in the name of a person suffering from any disease he will be soon freed from that disease. Incurable diseases are cured by Abhisheka. Abhisheka bestows health, wealth, prosperity, progeny, etc. Abhisheka on Monday is most auspicious.

By offering Panchamrita, honey, milk, etc., to the Lord, thoughts of your body diminish. Selfishness slowly vanishes. You derive immense joy. You begin to increase your offerings unto the Lord. Therefore, self-sacrifice and self-surrender come in. Naturally, there is an outpouring from your heart, “I am Thine, my Lord. All is Thine, my Lord”.

Kannappa Nayanar, a great devotee of Lord Siva, a hunter by profession, did Abhisheka with the water in his mouth for the Linga at Kalahasti in South India and propitiated Lord Siva. Lord Siva is pleased by pure devotion. It is the mental Bhava that counts and not the outward show. Lord Siva said to the temple priest: “This water from the mouth of Kannappa, my beloved devotee, is more pure than the water of the Ganga”.

A devotee should be regular in doing Abhisheka for the Lord. He should get by heart Rudra and Chamakam. Ekadasa Rudra is more powerful and effective. In Northern India, every man or woman takes a lots of water and pours it on the image of Siva. This also causes beneficial results and brings about the fulfillment of one’s desire. Abhisheka on Sivaratri day is very effective.

May you all recite Rudrapatha which describes the glory of Lord Siva and His manifestations in every living being, in every animate and inanimate being! May you do Abhisheka daily and thus obtain the grace of Lord Siva! May Lord Visvanatha bless you all!

<b>Fruit of Abhisheka and Rudra Japa in Siva’s Temple </b>

Chamaka is divided into eleven sections. Each of these is then combined with Namaka (Rudra) and repeated. This is called Rudra. Eleven such Rudras make one Laghu Rudra. Eleven Laghu Rudras make one Maharudra. Eleven Maharudras make one Atirudra.

Rudra is to be repeated after performing the initial Sankalpa, Puja, Nyasa, Anga. Panchamritasnana and Dhyana. The fruit of Rudra Japa is stated as shown below:

No. of Japa                           Fruit of Japa
1 Rudra                                Freedom from Bala graha (diseases common to children).
3 Rudra                                Freedom from imminent difficulties with which one is faced.
5 Rudra                                Freedom from the evil effects of certain planets occupying unfavourable positions.
7 Rudra                                Freedom from great fear.
9 Rudra                               The fruit of one Vajapeya sacrifice; and also attainment of peace of mind.

11 Rudra                             Getting the favour of kings and great  wealth.
33 Rudra                             Attainment of wishes for objects and having no enemies.
77 Rudra                             Enjoyment of great happiness.
99 Rudra                             Attainment of son, grandson, wealth, grain, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and freedom from death.

1 Maharudra                       Attainment of the favour of kings and becoming the Lord of great wealth.
3 Maharudra                        Fulfillment of impossible tasks.
5 Maharudra                       Acquirement of vast lands.
7 Maharudra                      Attainment of the seven worlds.
9 Maharudra                       Freedom from births and deaths.
10 Atirudra                         Becoming God.

Materials for Abhisheka: Pure water, milk, sugarcane juice, ghee, honey, waters of sacred rivers, sea water.

For getting rain, Abhisheka should be done with pure water. For freedom from diseases, and for begetting a son, Abhisheka should be done with milk. If Abhisheka is done with milk, even a barren woman begets children. The person also attains plenty of cows. If Abhisheka is done with Kusa water, one becomes free from all diseases. He who desires wealth, should perform Abhisheka with ghee, honey and sugarcane juice. He, who desires Moksha, should do Abhisheka with sacred waters.

<b>Significance of Bhasma, Nandi, Etc. </b>

Namassivaya is the Mantra of Lord Siva. ‘Na’ represents earth and Brahma; ‘Ma’ represents water and Vishnu; ‘Si’ fire and Rudra; ‘Va’ Vayu and Mahesvara; ‘Ya’ Akasa and Sadasiva and also the Jiva.

Lord Siva has white complexion. What is the significance of white colour? He teaches silently that people should have pure heart and entertains pure thoughts and should be free from crookedness, diplomacy, cunningness, jealousy, hatred, etc.

He wears three white-lined Bhasma or Vibhuti on His forehead. What is the significance of this? He teaches silently that people should destroy the three impurities, viz., Anava (egoism), Karma (action with expectation of fruits), and Maya (illusion), and the three desires or Eshanas, viz., desire for landed property, desire for woman, desire for gold, and the three Vasanas, viz., Lokavasana, Dehavasana and Sastravasana, and then attain Him with a pure heart.

What does the Balipitha or altar which stands in front of the sanctum sanctorum of the Siva’s temple represent? People should destroy their egoism and mineness (Ahamta and Mamata) before they attain the Lord. This is the significance.

<b>What does Nandi or the bull which is in front of Sivalinga represent?</b>

Nandi is the attendant or doorkeeper of Siva. He is the vehicle of Lord Siva. He represents Satsanga. If you make association with the sages, you are sure to attain God-realisation. Sages will show you the way to reach Him. They will remove pitfalls or snares that lie on your path. They will clear your doubts and instil in your heart dispassion, discrimination and knowledge. There is no other safe boat than Satsanga to reach the other shore of fearlessness and immortality. Even a moment’s Satsanga or association with the sages, is a great blessing to the aspirants and the worldly-minded persons. They get firm conviction in the existence of God through Satsanga. The sages remove the worldly Samskaras. The company of sages is a formidable fortress to protect oneself from the temptations of Maya.

Lord Siva represents the destructive aspect of the Godhead. He is seen absorbed on the mountain peak of Kailas. He is an embodiment of serenity, renunciation and indifference to the world. The third eye in the centre of His forehead represents His destructive energy which when let loose destroys the world. Nandi is His favourite. He is the door-Keeper. He is seen hushing all nature, so that the Lord may not be disturbed in His Samadhi. The Lord has five faces, ten hands, ten eyes, and two feet.

Vrishabha or the bull represents Dharma Devata. Lord Siva rides on the bull. Bull is His vehicle. This denotes that Lord Siva is the protector of Dharma, is an embodiment of Dharma or righteousness.

Deer represents the Vedas. Its four legs are the four Vedas. Lord Siva is holding the deer in His hand. This indicates that He is the Lord of the Vedas.

He has sword in one of His hands. This signifies that He is the destroyer of births and deaths. The fire in one of His hands shows that He protects the Jivas by burning all fetters.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Swami Vivekananda's original speech, given in Sep 1893 at Chicago:



<b>Warning: Do not try to download on 56K line.</b>
One of the most stunning works of astrology.

Nadi Astrology


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Nadi astrology was written on palm leaves in ancient India. It is mostly prevalent in South India particularly in the Tamilnadu State. Its main center is a place called 'Vaitheerswarankoil' near 'Chidambaram'in Tamilnadu State. The palm leaves are held by certain families who read the results from the palm leaves mostly by taking the thumb impression and some from palm and birth data.

The origin of these leaves can be traced back to approximately 2000 years ago. It is presumed that the Sapta Rishis (Seven Sages) had written the life patterns of each person on palm leaves along with their types of names by their Yogic Powers.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
This is the wrong thread, but I would prefer it be here so as not to disrupt another thread.

I had to wait over twenty years for someone else to write so, as it would have been inappropriate for me to do this. We have to open our eyes and see the implications. I have only full praise for persons who take the puranas-itithasas as works of poetry, and be inspired and moved, but once we take it literally, as actual events in history, as scriptures, as doctrines, as the word of god - then we may be moving into controversial waters, and the spiritual edifices itself may fall.

We would like to know what was the the state of Hinduism in 500 BCE. Hindus today are no longer buying the sacrosanctity of shastras, mathas and Hindu personages. Everything is being challenged, subtely, and I have chosen not to be point blank.


Especially for Viren, and Sunder, and..all.

<b>The spiritual vs the literary dimensions of the Ramayana

Tension between scholarship and devotion: Is the Ramayana literature or history?</b>

This is a matter of great interest
from the perspective of history and comparative literature; but it is also a
very sensitive question in a dynamic living religion. Dispassionate
scholars, even with great reverence and admiration for the work, may explore
the genesis of this grand creation of the human spirit. But to those of the
tradition, the work carries far more significance than its literary
richness. Sometimes there is the fear that a purely scholarly approach
might shake the stability of sacred icons and time-honored practices.

The tension between scholarship and tradition is nothing new. It is a
cultural manifestation of the perennial conflict between the head and the
heart. All through human history, in practically every society touched by
civilization, the behavior and beliefs of tradition have been analyzed, not
to say challenged, by inquiring minds. Such efforts often result in newer
insights and greater understanding, but they also cause discomfort, not to
say shock, on many people. In spiritual matters, the conquests of the mind
tend to upset the joyous heart.
An impeccable proof to the effect that no
almighty God lovingly holds His protective hand over our heads when we go to
sleep could result in restless and worrisome insomnia in some.

Whether one should accept the evidence of facts and the logic of
arguments, or respond to the tantalizing call of faith that assures
emotional security and spiritual ecstasy is the delicate dilemma that many
have to face in certain contexts. Some make a decisive choice, and having
done this, plead for their own preference as the only right one to make,
sometimes even deriding those who have made a different choice. Wisdom
probably lies in the recognition that there is no such thing as the right
approach in this matter, if only because one is as human as the other, and
not everyone thinks or feels the same way.

We may see in this dichotomy of human inclinations an illustration of the
ancient Hindu wisdom which sees the world and all life as a concoction of
contradictions. The same sky that is dazzlingly bright at noon is pitch dark
at midnight. The same ocean on which boats sail can also drown ships. The
same person who is loving and kind at one time can become harsh and mean at

We may also look at it in terms of what physics calls the principle of
complementarity, by which ultimate reality is recognized as consisting of
apparently contradictory, but in fact mutually complementing, features.
Physicist Niels Bohr used to say that there are two kinds of truths, small
ones and great ones. A small truth is one whose contrary is clearly false.
That milk is white is a small truth, because to say that milk is black is
clearly wrong. But a great truth is one whose contrary is no less true. To
say that religions have done much good is as true a statement as that
religions have done much harm.

Centuries ago, Jaina insight spoke of anek?a v? which recognized the
multiple aspects of higher truths: Any grasp of truth depends on one's
perspective, and so can only be partial. This is an enlightened synthesis of
modesty and wisdom.

As long as we are experiencing one side of a coin, we cannot perceive the
other. But it would be a grave error to imagine that the coin has but one
side. For the analytical scholar to maintain that the spiritual dimension of
the Ramayana is without significance would be as partial a vision as that of
the religious devotee who does not recognize that bhajans and images are
meaningful symbols and instruments towards a greater goal, and have evolved
over the ages in human culture. However, it would also be rash to conclude
that those who regard the Ramayana as only literature are devoid of
spirituality, or that those who sing Ram bhajans are necessarily spiritually
more evolved.

One can drink deep of the spiritual fountain of the Ramayana if one has
grown up in the rich tradition whose sources are in the India of the ages.
It is equally possible, perhaps no less satisfying to some, to consider the
Ramayana as the work of a poet of extraordinary genius. The charm of Aesop
Fables lies not so much in the conversations and actions of the animals as
in the morals they spell out.

Keen thinkers have seen behind the stories and characters of the epic deeper
truths about the human condition and about the spiritual side of existence.
That is why the works of the great masters stand out. There is a subtle
substance in the works of Homer, Dante, Virgil, Shakespeare, and Goethe
that permeates their narratives and rhymes and meters. But what has made
Valmiki unique and unequaled is that from his creation have arisen voices
and values that have breathed life into a civilization that has lasted the
shocks of centuries. His work has inspired more art and music, more dances
and reflections, more festivals and celebrations than perhaps all the others
put together. And this, not only because it is the most ancient of them all,
but also because it has become inextricably intertwined with the life and
ideals of the common person such as the others have not been able to do.

So, when I reflect on the magic that is the Ramayana, I do so with an acute
and humble awareness of its majesty, marvel, and spiritual grandeur. There
are times when Rama and Sita become the foci of my meditation. But when I
reflect on their saga, I do so from the perspective of one who has
experienced it as poetry and as a rich source of India's ancient cultural
history. These aspects of our great epics are usually marginalized, ignored,
or unrecognized. Even scholars often tend to shy away from them.


Ravana is physically strong but morally weak. There is another personage in
the epic who is rationally bright but misguided in ideals. He was a rishi,
an illustrious Brahmin too, descended from Kashyapa.
He was a counselor to
Dasaratha. His name was Jabali.

When Rama embarked on his exile, Jabali was one of the many who tried to
dissuade him from the heroic sacrifice. He described Rama's decision as not
worthy of a wise man, arguing that we all must live just for our own self.
In truth, he said, none is a friend, and one can't gain something through
someone else. We are born alone in this world and we die alone. It is
mindless to be attached to father and mother. Just as we stay for a while at
a resting place when we are on a journey; our family is but a temporary
place of shelter. With such logic Jabali tried to influence Rama into
thinking that he ought not to follow that arduous path with potential for
pain and suffering. He belittled the role of the father as no more than
having been the passing guardian of the sperm from which one is born. Now
that Dasaratha was no more, Rama was undergoing all the hardship for

Jabali went on to denigrate funerary rites (shraddha) by which food is
offered to the spirits of the departed. He called this a waste: how could
dead people eat? If one could feed those who are far away, one should be
able to feed one's traveling friends too. Jabali said that those who
instruct us to give religious gifts, perform sacrificial rites, and renounce
wealth were clever schemers who try to draw us to charity for their own

Jabali also propounded the materialistic philosophy by which the tangible
world is everything, there is nothing beyond what tickles the senses. He
advised Rama to forget about promises and principles, and return to the
kingdom that was legitimately his.

Rama, the embodiment of virtue and righteousness, was appalled that one who
had served as his father's minister uttered such words. He rejected Jabali,
calling his ideas unwholesome, sinful, unclean and worse. He would follow
the righteous path, not only because that was the right thing to do, but
also because if he abandoned truth and returned, he would become a terrible
role model for the people. "Truth alone is the eternal royal path," he
declared, an ideal that is as valid today as whenever it was spoken. It is
in statements like this that the core wisdom of Indic seers may be found.

Rama went on to elaborate on righteous conduct to the confused Jabali,
reminding us of Krishna's preaching to Arjuna in the Gita; except that,
unlike Krishna (who spoke from his own divine wisdom), <b>Rama kept saying</b> what
Vedic rishis and other sages had told so, reminding us that the Rama of
Valmiki is noble, but still only human.

In this reply of Rama, as stated in Valmiki, there is an intriguing
statement: "It is well known that one who follows the Buddha should be
punished as one would punish a thief, and an unbeliever is equal to Buddha."
A reference to Buddha (600 B.C.E) by Rama who is said to have lived in
another yuga, raises serious questions about the date of Valmiki's
composition, not to say of Rama himself.

When the Ramayana was composed, there were unbelievers (n?ikas) in India,
as there have always been in any dynamic civilization. That a rishi would
make a cynical remark about the shraddha ceremony sounds incredible. Perhaps
the poet wanted to bring to our atention the fact that such views were
entertained even by some in the upper caste. The episode also says that
skeptics and unbelievers often lived in fear of the establishment, and
quickly disavowed their views if those in power were upset. Thus, upon
seeing Rama's reaction, Jabali retracted, saying, "Normally I don't champion
the ideas of unbelievers. I do it only if I think it would serve some
purpose." The purpose here was to bring Rama back to Ayodhya. Since that did
not work, Jabali said that he became a believer again. Indeed, Vasishtha
came to his colleague's defense
, telling Rama that Jabali was only
pretending to be an unbeliever in his commendable effort to bring Rama back

As in all great works, there are several conflicts in the Ramayana: The
initial conversation between Manthara and Kaikeyi was a conflict between
jealousy and generosity. The Kaiyeyi-Dasaratha conflict is between
self-centered heartlessness and paternal love. The Rama-Ravana conflict is
between nobility and depravity, between supreme good and supreme evil. And
the Jabali-Rama conflict is between materialistic atheism and enlightened
righteousness. All these reveal that human life is multi-faceted and wrought
with perennial conflicts. Through the poet's exaggeration we see the deeper
roots of superficial confrontations. If these situations had been presented
in a milder manner, we might not be able to see their full implications. By
painting them in all their gory monstrosity the poet helps us better
appreciate where meanness, jealousy, self-centeredness, lust, ignoring
righteousness, and the like can eventually lead us to.

Jabali's story shows that India was a complex civilization with many streams
of thought even in that distant age.

Dr. V. V. Raman
April 4, 2005
came via email:
Hope experts like Sunder, Ashok, Ganga can comment


By Prof. Bharat J. Gajjar


This article is about the difference between Hinduism and other religions.  Before you read this article please put down on paper what you think are the most unique aspects of Hinduism that no other religion has. 
1) All religions tell you what you should think and believe.  Hinduism is the only religion that gives you complete freedom of thought and beliefs.  You can believe anything you like including non-belief in God, and nobody will object. 

2) If there is a problem in life, there is no one book to give you all the answers like the Christian’s Bible and the Muslim’s Koran.  Most Hindus would probably go to the Bhagavad Gita or ask their heart. 

3) Hindu’s have many religious books and many more will still be written while other religions have only one. 

4) Most religions believe in the Father or male form of God or no-form, in Hinduism there is a male form of God as well as female or no-form “Om”. 

5) In most religions God is up in Heaven whereas Hindus believe everything is God and God is everything. 

6) All religions believe in the Devil or Satan except Hindus who believe there is no Satan or Devil but that there are Rakshasha which are a type of living entity in the mode of ignorance. 

7) Some religions believe that animals have no souls or even humans, but Hindus believe not only humans have souls but also all living being have souls which are part of God.  And Hindus believe it is a sin to kill animals. 

8) Only Hindus can say “I am Brahman, I am God” and nobody will object.  Or say “Aham Brahma Asmi” (I am Brahma, spirit or part of God).

9) Christianity believes that every human being is a sinner whereas Hindus believe every human being is divine. 

10) Other religions promote a belief that each person only has one life.  Hindus believe in reincarnation and karma, meaning that every human being is in charge of his own destiny. 

11) Some religions promise you Heaven if you’re Baptized. They believe that heaven and hell are permanent but Hindus believe that Heaven and Hell are not permanent because they are part of the material world. The Goal of Hindus is to merge with God, which is Moksha or to serve God in the spiritual world.

12) Hindus are very loving and never invaded any other country.  Slavery has never been a significant part of Hindu Culture or history however the Caste System prevails (many do not believe in the Caste System anymore.)

13) Other religions say that all humans are at the same level of consciousness, but as Hindus believe in Karma, every human being is believed to be at different levels of consciousness, and one day we will all arrive at the same level of Godliness. 

14) Other religions believe that God has come on earth only one time and that is final, Hindus believe that God has come on this earth many times before and will come in the future whenever He or She is needed. 

14) Other religions do not believe in idols, but Hinduism allows the use of Murthis to help focus the mind and love God. 

15) Other religions emphasize love or brotherhood while the Hindu religion emphases Dharma and Truth. 

16) Other Religions were started by a divine man, but Hindus believe Sanathan Dharma (Eternal Religion-Hinduism) was started by God and that God will come whenever human beings need him/her. 

17) Other Religions have only one name of God; Hindus have many names and forms of God. 

18) Other Religions remain the same while Hinduism is constantly changing. 

19) Christians believe in faith alone and it is a belief system, while Hindus believe in work alone, which means Jnana Yoga (knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (devotion), Raja Yoga (meditation), Karma Yoga (service), and HathaYoga (health).

20) Other religions are simple and one dimensional, while Hinduism allows a third dimension including mysticism such as astrology, Kundalini etc. 

21) Other religions believe in conversion and uniting the world in their faith, Hindus do not believe in conversion, and believe we are all one, and allow unity in diversity.  Hindus respect all religions. 

22) Other Religions believe that nature and animals are for them to use, Hindus believe that nature and animals Godly and some worship rivers such as the Ganges and some worship cows, etc.

Any religion that believes in Om, Reincarnation or Karma is the Hindu Religion and that includes Jains, Buddhist and Sikhs.  Whoever says, “I’m Hindu,” is Hindu, but orthodox Hindus say “if anybody believes in divinity of Vedas is a Hindu”, as the Vedas are the word of God to a Hindu. 

If you know something unique about the Hindu religion that I missed please let me know so we can add it.  Please note: that the great historian, Arnold Toynbee said, “The world will realize that the only way to salvation for mankind is the Hindu way.”   

Prof. Bharat J. Gajjar

Indic Dharma - Blog
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->HHR Press Release, 9 May 2005
Protest against Hindu Gods appearing on French Shoes

Despite our campaign last year against the use of images of Hindu deities on underwear garments, it has come to our attention that once again another company here in the West is producing and marketing similar products which are both degrading and offensive to Hindus. Minelli, a France-based shoes retailer, has chosen to use sacred images of Lord Ram, venerated by millions of Hindus the world over, to sell its designer shoes. This is in spite of our well known campaign to highlight how such trivialisation of Hinduism leads directly and indirectly to the abuse of Hindus the world over. Such ignorance leads us to believe that this same organisation is probably both indifferent and apathetic to the immense suffering of Hindus: the ethnic cleansing they have suffered in Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh, and the discrimination they suffer at the hands of Minelli’s very own fellow Europeans. Indeed sometimes Western firms seem totally devoid of all understanding when it comes to the oldest civilisation on the planet.

For this reason we ask Minelli to respectfully withdraw the offending products and issue an immediate apology.

HHR also requests all Hindus to contact Minelli to make their feelings known on this subject.

According to their website, Minelli can be contacted as the details below:

Siège social Minelli

155, rue du Dirigeable - Z.I. Les Paluds

13685 AUBAGNE Cedex - FRANCE

Tél. : (33) 4 42 84 33 50

Fax : (33) 4 42 70 45 20

Mail: info@minelli.fr

Hindu Human Rights,

Serving Hindus Worldwide
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->One world, two realities

Vinayshil Gautam

There is something strange about the churning taking place around us. It is not as if change has overtaken human civilisation for the first time. It is also not as if the restlessness of the younger generation is unprecedented. But there is certainly something quite strange about the high-pitched and shrill - one could almost say, hysterical - reaction of many of the young. When much of the intergenerational conversations are ensconced in the all-pervasive presence of the media and stereo-types, many individual lives take on the dimensions of a soap opera.

A society in which fundamentals have not changed, a very superficial intellectualism can generate a major crisis for the uninitiated and the ill-equipped. The Eastern values are being constantly juxtaposed with Western ones and somewhere the underlying assumption is that the Western ethos is many times more rational and probably superior to the Eastern norms.

It's difficult to change fanciful perceptions, especially of the uninformed - even if agile minds. Analogies are seen where none exist and logic of a very superficial variety subsumes the more substantive issues. It is difficult for the semi-educated to comprehend a simple truth: No value is superior or inferior when it is non-banal. All values of this genre have a place, and these survive on prerequisites of conditioning and infrastructural support.

The reality is that the conditioning of the early childhood and the period of the youth are very rarely reversible. There is always a possibility of the individuals opting out but the full dangers, consequent upon opting out, in terms of backups available, are seldom, if ever, clear. This becomes all the more complex when life issues are concerned.

It is not possible for everyone to easily foresee, in their early 20s, what that person's requirements would be at the age of 41 or, say, even 61. His own conditioning (which is by and large frozen by the time one is 18-20) may cope with the exposures to another culture fairly well in an age when energies run high but the same may not be true once the energies begin to ebb, typically in the post-60s or 70s. Illustrations may help to clarify the point.

In the post-industrial West, it is not uncommon to drift away from the environment of one's birth around the age of 15-16 and carve an independent identity for oneself. The social infrastructure takes care of the medical requirements and the societal environment does not complicate matters for the individual boy or girl living alone or in a shared set up. In the Indian environment, this is a relative rarity and family bonds are much more intense. It is not uncommon for the growing generation to stay in the environment where one is born, till one acquires some type of financial viability.

The post-industrial West is geared up for individual identity at a much younger age and often believes in learning the hard experiential way. Theirs is not an environment where graduation or post-graduation is considered a basic qualification for employment. The societal cleavages between the rich and the poor are not so sharp, so the relative social insecurities and dangers in the post-industrial society are of a different order. Gender relationships are of an order where any girl is exposed to several opposite gender interaction situations and vice-versa.

As a result, their ability to cope with emotional experiences is much higher. In the Indian environment, even in metropolises like Mumbai or Delhi, the social possibilities of New York, London, Montreal, Zurich, Paris, Frankfurt and more are unlikely to be replicated. The kind of protection and response which the police would show in the cities listed above is unique. In these cities, the living spaces are not so endemically short as in the urban Indian environment. The breed which grows there is obviously and understandably of a particular order. The breed which grows in India is conditioned, in the absence of social infrastructure, to fall back on family resources in matters of health, security, networking and even social life. The differences are large.

Under these circumstances, when somebody from the Indian environment pitches for the Western lifestyle, the risks and the dangers become manifold. One has to be equipped for it and in many cases the loop never closes. The social fabric in India, especially in the cities, is full of people who live uncomfortably between the two worlds.

To continue the detailing further, in the post-industrial ethos, as outlined above, many concurrent concepts grow up. This includes special notions of privacy, individual spaces and, indeed, autonomy of choices. Several ethnic Indians brought up in the post-industrial ethos, having been unable to settle with any success in a foreign environment, grudgingly stay in India and then try to replicate what they believe is the Western oriented conduct here.

In a set up where anything Western is suo motu admired and looked up to, such individuals, wherever they be, invite easy attention. They can be seen in schools and colleges, they exist in the media, in business and, indeed, could exist anywhere. The role model effect which they have on impressionable minds is phenomenal. Compared to this, the conventional Indian social patterns are clearly a matter of regret to them. To debunk Indianness becomes, then, fashionable and ridiculing it is the way to move forward.

There is no point trying to explain that there is no such thing as cultural superiority or inferiority. The lifestyles of the successful and the rich in all communities are found worthy of imitation. Large numbers of the ruling elite in the country are today intellectually rooted in the West and have very little understanding of or information on the roots of Indian thought, philosophy or the rationale of traditional patterns of behaviour. It is not surprising, therefore, that a large number of the young experience severe identity crisis and not many elders have a clue to handling it. The elders demand obedience, compliance and conformity, the youngsters search for experience, exploration and spaces. Guides who can take the individual from one universe to another are relatively few and even when they try, they lack the communication skills to make it work.

These and related questions stare at many families in the face. Tensions are running high and the disappointments are large. Many do not know how to cope with these tensions and confusions. A beginning has to be made to identify these issues and develop a response. The cost of such confusion to individuals and families is heavy. This is especially so as they are largely unavoidable. For this to happen the "myths of reality" have to be broken and a sincere attempt has to be made to come to terms with the new, without wholly abandoning the legacy component of one's being.

(The writer is the Founder Director of IIM-K and Professor of Management at IIT Delhi) <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Growing resentment among Hindus in France
By Ranvir Nayar

Paris: There is a growing resentment amongst Hindus in France about the continuous denial of basic religious freedom and the right to practice their religion according to their traditions.

Even though Paris is home to over 125,000 Hindus, most of them hailing from India and Sri Lanka, there is not a single Hindu temple anywhere in the city. And all the attempts by the Hindu community to build a temple have been persistently foiled by the French authorities.

"Hinduism is not even recognized as a religion by the French authorities. They only know Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. Their laws don't even mention Hinduism as a religion and we are identified as a collection of various sects. Sects in France have a very negative, hippy-like connotations," charges an angry Madhusudan Sukhwal, a prominent and active member of the Hindu community in Paris.

Though Paris and its suburbs have two temples, they are informal and are housed in normal apartments and buildings on a temporary basis and have to keep moving almost every year. "We established our temple nearly 25 years ago. However, in this time, we have had to move at least 15 times. We are simply being chased from one locality to another. People don't want to rent us the house when they hear that it is for a temple," says Mukesh Chauhan, an International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) activist and a
regular visitor to the makeshift Krishna temple in the suburbs of Paris.

Whenever ISKCON or other organizations have tried to buy land to set up a permanent and traditional temple, the local authorities have played the villain. Using a law that allows the state to intervene in any purchase agreement and buy the property at the declared price, the municipal authorities in Paris and in the suburbs have intervened in every single deal to purchase the property.

"Whenever they see the name of a Hindu trust, the authorities use the law and deny us the property. They make it clear that they don't want to see other religions prosper in this country," says Sukhwal, a nuclear engineer, who migrated to France over 30 years ago.

Sanderasekaram, a Tamil migrant from Sri Lanka, has a very similar experience to recount. He arrived in France in 1975 and on not finding any Hindu religious place in Paris he set up a Ganesh temple, Sri Manika Vinayagar Alayam in 1985.

However, quite like ISKCON, Sanderasekaram also had huge problems with the local authorities and has had to move the temple from place to place over the last 15 years. He is also finding it increasingly difficult to organize the annual rath yatra (chariot procession) to mark the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.

"Often the police does not want to help us in organizing the yatra (procession) or they ask us to meet some stringent conditions. We are made to feel like the French authorities clearly don't want any other religion to prosper in this country," an angry Sanderasekaram said. Hindu leaders also accept the limitations of their own community, which has contributed to the lack of religious freedom.

"Most of the Hindus here are rather recent migrants, unlike those in the U.S. or in Britain. They are still trying to settle down and have a steady income and make their lives. Hence they have little time for the community.

Moreover, due to the lack of wealth generally, the political clout of our religion here is also limited," says Sukhwal.

India Abroad News Service. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The paper addresses the biased and deliberately misleading language
used to describe Hinduism in academia, and what Hindus can do to
defend Sanatana Dharma from anti-Hindu scholars. This is a problem
that affects each and every Hindu. If you haven't read it yet,
please take a look.
<b>`Lohia thought like Basaveshwara'</b>
Staff Reporter
<b>Constitution reflects many of the reformer's teachings: Fernandes</b>

Finding common ground: The Revenue Minister, M.P. Prakash; the former Defence Minister, George Fernandes; and Sri Shivarthri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Mutt arriving at a special lecture on Ram Manohar Lohia and Basaveshwara at the J.S.S. Mahavidy a Peeta in Bangalore on Sunday . — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

BANGALORE: The entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica that the 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara used to bully other religious groups should be corrected, the Janata Dal (United) leader and former Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said here on Sunday.

Mr. Fernandes, who was speaking on "Lohia in the prism of Basaveshwara" to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of JSS Mahavidyapeetha, said although his acquaintance with Basavanna began only five years ago, thanks to Sri Shivakumaraswamy of Siddaganga Mutt, he had quickly seen the many similarities between Basaveshwara and Ram Manohar Lohia.

Mr. Lohia often said: "Religion is long term politics, and politics is short-term religion." He led a powerful movement in his time as Baavanna had in his day.

Although he chose to speak on Lohia's perception of Basavanna, he had found that Lohia has not made any reference to Basavanna in his speeches. However, he has spoken of Akka Mahadevi, and her missionary zeal in shunning clothes and wandering around seeking gender equality. He had described Akka Mahadevi as the greatest woman of all times, fighting for gender equality, although he noted that her message was more an individualistic gesture, and did not garner any collective value.

Without realising it, Lohia has articulated the philosophy of Basaveshwara, and this can be seen in his call for seven revolutions for gender equality, for backward classes, against discrimination, for democracy and economic freedom, against unjust encroachment of personal space and against weapons.

Mr. Fernandes said that many leaders at the national-level are familiar with Basaveshwara's philosophy, and there are several instances of eminent experts on the Constitution referring to Basaveshwara. The Union Home Minister, Shivaraj Patil, some months ago noted that the Constitution reflects many of the reformer's teachings.

The former President, R. Venkataraman, has spoken of how the Preamble to the Constitution has been inspired by Basaveshwara's philosophy. The late S. Nijalingappa had been told that if the community had not kept Basaveshwara cloistered within itself, he would have been a world leader.Mr. Fernandes said the mutts like Suttur Veerasimhasama, and Siddaganga were doing great service to humanity and they ought to be honoured with the Bharat Ratna. The troubled North East, and Eastern parts of the country were in need of the tonic of Basavanna's wisdom, he said.

The Revenue Minister, M.P. Prakash, who presided over the function, said it was thanks to Mr. Fernandes and the late J.H.Patel that he took to politics, and remains inspired by the socialist philosophy that drove Lohia, and Patel, and continues to inspire Mr. Fernandes.
<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+May 17 2005, 05:27 PM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ May 17 2005, 05:27 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/colum...cid=306004

The paper addresses the biased and deliberately misleading language
used to describe Hinduism in academia, and what Hindus can do to
defend Sanatana Dharma from anti-Hindu scholars. This is a problem
that affects each and every Hindu. If you haven't read it yet,
please take a look.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

This is an excellent article. Also read "Does Hinduism teach that all religions are equal?" (Linked through this article). There are several other links, but I have not yet gone through them. I plan to go through all of them. Very illuminating articles. Thanks K.Ram.

<!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Excellent site.
Ved Mandir
On a heritage trail

Latha Venkatraman

The Lakulisha temple at Champaner-Pavagadh. — Priya Nair

Mumbai , Sept. 24

THE residents of modern Champaner-Pavagadh in Panchmahals district of Gujarat are probably unaware of the historical importance of their town.

A little over a year ago, Champaner-Pavagadh was given the status of World Heritage Site by Unesco. The town that gets its name from the Champa tree, is an abode of pre-Moghul architecture that includes mosques, palaces, fortifications, lakes and several water bodies with spectator areas.

Champaner-Pavagadh was captured by Sultan Mohammad Begda in 1485 after a long battle against the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs. It was the capital of Begda's regime. During his reign, many of the heritage structures were built, says Manoj Joshi, the resource person who takes the tourist around the historical remains of that era.

After a long battle, Champaner was attacked by Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1535. Champaner lost its status as the capital of Gujarat and over the years fell into a state of neglect.

The Jami Masjid is one of the most important heritage structures that stands tall in Champaner.

Reports indicate that Jami Masjid was a model for mosque construction that was to follow in the years to come. Joshi, who has gathered information about the heritage structures around Champaner from his father, an oral historian, and books, informs that this mosque is one of the few that have seven mehrab (sanctum sanctorum).

The entire mosque is made by sandstone, except the central mehrab, which is made of marble.

The other masjids that are worth visiting are the Shahi Masjid, Kewada Masjid and Nagina Masjid. The stunningly decorative etchings on these mosques, particularly the Nagina Masjid, more than justify the Global Heritage Site status to the place.

According to Karan Grover, the architect who has been working for the last 30 years pushing Champaner-Pavagadh on to the global heritage list, there are 11 kinds of buildings, some of them being mosques, granaries, tombs, helical wells, fort walls and viewing terraces.

The tourist trail takes one through the Gebanshah's Vav or step well that is 80 feet deep, Mehdi talao, Vada Talao, water channels, various fortifications, including the Atak Fort, which till today has 83 catapults structures.

The 600-year-old Jaisingha Palace, under excavation, throws a fascinating insight into the lifestyles of the royal existence of then.

The Palace has a few rooms and bath tubs complete with the ancient version of Jacuzzi, informs Manoj.

The Kopra Zaveri Palace is yet another monument that is worth a visit.

From its terrace, the entire range of Pavagadh hills with the Vishwamitri river bounding down into the valleys are in view.

The Kalika Mata Temple of the 10th century on top of Pavagadh hills forms part of the heritage trail but is also the destination for all pilgrims.

The most stunning architectural structure is the Lakulisha Temple of 10th century enroute to the Kalika Mata Temple.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Why Hindus are Anti-Hindu?</b>
By  J.G. Arora
-- Author’s e-mail address is:    jg arora@vsnl.net
The Free Press Journal, Mumbai: September 22, 2005
It is deplorable that many Hindus are 'anti-Hindu'. It is equally disgusting that they take pride in being 'anti-Hindu'.

Before dwelling on why Hindus are 'anti-Hindu', let us see the damaging outcome of this trend.

Infiltration of crores of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis creating one more Islamic country on Indian soil; genocide and eviction of Hindus from Kashmir; global missionary organizations Christianizing Hindus; virtual banning of Hindu festivals in large parts of north East India; discriminatory government control over Hindu temples and educational institutions; provision of Haj subsidy: all these facts show that this Hindu majority democratic country is following  policies which go against Hindu interests.

And anti-Hindu forces are being aided and abetted by 'anti-Hindu' Hindus. Though these 'anti-Hindu' Hindus label themselves as 'secularists', they downgrade Hindu ethos, heritage and religion.

Let us revert to the question: why are Hindus 'anti-Hindu'?

De-Hinduisation of Hindus by missionary education, brain-washing of Hindus by anti-Hindu media, pursuit of anti-Hindu policies in the name of secularism, discriminatory government control of prominent Hindu temples and institutions, and negative role of Hindu religious leaders make many Hindus embrace anti-Hinduism.

These aspects are discussed as follows.

<b>Missionary education</b>
Any Hindu who enters a missionary school does not remain a Hindu after his 'education' there. Missionary education has no place for teaching Vedas, Upnishads, Bhagvad Gita, Ramayana, Tirukkural, or anything else connected with Hindu religion. Rather, missionary education de-Hinduises Hindus who join the ranks of anti-Hindus and remain Hindus only in name.

In two generations since 1947, Hindus have lost what they had not lost earlier in fifty generations of foreign invasions beginning in 8th century. After 1947, de-Hinduized by missionary education, most of Hindu intellectuals, journalists, MBAs, business persons, doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, engineers, teachers and the rest do not know even one Mantra of Vedas or one Shloka of Ramayana, Mahabharata or Tirukkural. Hinduism is fast becoming a non-practising religion.

<b>Anti-Hindu media </b>
In any modern democracy, both electronic and print media are powerful weapons to manipulate public opinion.

In India, many of print and electronic media are controlled by anti-Hindu forces. They are making Hindu mind-set 'anti-Hindu', denigrating Hinduism, spreading misinformation about Hindu scriptures, dividing Hindu society and hurting Hindu sentiments. Hindus are being brain-washed to forget their religion, heritage and history; and Hinduism is being derided, distorted and destroyed by anti-Hindu media.

Killing of thousands of Hindus in Kashmir and eviction of several lacs of Hindus from Kashmir is no news whereas Gujarat riots which started after the torching of Hindu rail passengers at Godhra are always in the news in anti-Hindu media. Infiltration of crores of Pak-Bangla infiltrators threatening the creation of one more Islamic country on Indian soil does not ring any bell in anti-Hindu media. Similarly, conversion of poorer Hindus to Christianity by fraud, inducement or coercion creates no ripples in anti-Hindu media.

Pro-Hindu elements do not have even one nation-wide multi-city daily news-paper to project their view-point.

Besides boycotting anti-Hindu media, Hindus must have unbiased daily news papers and television channels in various languages to defend Hinduism, and to enlighten the readers about Hindu religion, heritage and history.

<b>Fake secularism</b>
Indian sub-continent including the present day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and even Zabol in Iran was Hindu land, and had no Muslim presence till Muslims attacked the sub-continent in 8th century. After fighting foreign invaders for over a thousand years; and losing Afghanistan and Pakistan over the years, truncated India was expected to re-invent itself after 1947.

But instead, a perverse secularism in which Hindus were expected to forget their history and identity was foisted on India.  Besides, attempts were made to falsify India's history and glorify Muslim rule in India. De-Hinduized by missionary education and brain-washed by anti-Hindu media, many Hindus feel that they are secular only if they are anti-Hindu.

Indian secularism is fake and dishonest and means anti-Hinduism. To call Indian secularism as pseudo-secularism is an under-statement.

Ever since 1947, successive governments have followed fake secularism, and harmed Hindu interests.

Congress government led by Jawaharlal Nehru started the "Haj subsidy" for Haj pilgrimage vide the Haj Committee Act of 1959. Since India is a secular country, any subsidy for any religious pilgrimage is anti-secular. Besides, even Islamic countries do not pay any such subsidy. But successive governments have persisted with this anti-secular policy.

The same Congress which rejected the "Communal Award" in 1932 is spearheading in 2005 the anti-secular reservation for Muslims in government jobs. Besides, in Kerala and at the Centre, Congress is sharing power with Muslim League which had created Pakistan.

<b>Hindus and history </b>
Since Hindus do not have a proper appreciation of history, they go on repeating the same mistakes. Hindus have forgotten the history of disgraceful invasions spanning many centuries.

In his book " The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritag e", Will Durant (1885-1981), the eminent American historian calls Muslim rule in India as the bloodiest story in history.

Immediately after Muslim League demanded Pakistan, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) wrote his"Thoughts on Pakistan" in 1940 wherein he described the atrocities committed on Hindus by Muslim invaders and rulers ; and also described how Muslim invasions destroyed temples, and brought forced conversions, plunder, slaughter of innocents, enslavement and abasement of men, women and children.

As per George Santayana (1863-1952), the American philosopher, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

<b>Discrimination against Hindus </b>
Apart from discriminatory government control of all prominent Hindu temples (whereas no Christian church or Muslim mosque has been touched by government control), Article 30 giving special privileges to minorities regarding educational institutions is diminishing Hindu society since various Hindu sects claim non-Hindu status to get benefit of Article 30.

As reported in the Supreme Court's judgement Bramchari Sidheswar Shai & Others versus State of West Bengal (AIR 1995 SC 2089), even Ramakrishna Mission, a leading Hindu organization, claimed a minority (non-Hindu) status to get protection of Article 30.

Likewise, to get benefits of Articles 29 and 30, many Hindu sects proclaim that they are not Hindu.

<b>Role of religious leaders </b>
Many Hindu religious leaders wrongly proclaim that all religions are the same; thereby strengthening anti-Hindus and facilitating fraudulent conversion of Hindus.

Instead of repeating such falsities, Hindu religious leaders should propagate Hinduism, oppose conversion of Hindus to other religions, and welcome the converts back to Hinduism.

<b>Way out</b>
While Pak-Bangla alliance is determined to Islamize India, missionaries are determined to Christianize India. With each passing day, India is becoming more Islamic and more Christian; and less Hindu.

To survive in the world believing in "survival of the fittest", Hindu society must assert itself and reject injustice, discrimination and degradation.

To start with, apart from demanding decontrol of Hindu temples from State governments, a Constitution (Amendment) Bill to amend Article 30 to extend the rights stipulated therein to all communities including Hindus must be introduced in Parliament at the earliest. Both these demands can be achieved, and must be achieved before raising other issues. None can object to Hindus being treated at par with other communities.

Simultaneously, Hindus must build up a strong nationalist political party and nation-wide (daily) print and electronic media which will Hinduise the de-Hinduised Hindus and save Hinduism from extinction.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Persian Ramayana, Arabic Gita preserved

Hyderabad, Sept. 24: In this age of religious bigotry, many Muslim organisations of the State are working tirelessly to preserve rare Hindu scriptures. The 117-year-old Dairatul Maarif treasures its copy of the Arabic version of the Bhagawad Gita, probably the only one of its kind in the world. Similarly valued is the Persian Ramayana, estimated to be more than 600 years old, which is kept in the library-cum-research centre of the 132-year-old Jamia Nizamia.

The Arabic Gita and the Persian Ramayana are merely two among the 200-odd rare Hindu religious manuscripts and books preserved in various Muslim research institutes including madarasas. These organisations take great care of such manuscripts. The organisations use state-of-the-art methods to protect them for posterity. Several manuscripts been digitised and the CD versions are available for scholars of comparative religion.

The Arabic version of the Holy Gita, known as Al Kita, is about 100 years old. The Jamia Nizamia, a deemed university with international recognition, also possesses a 500-year-old manuscript of the Mahabharata in Persian. Both these documents have been laminated and preserved by Nizamia. “They are invaluable,” said Syed Akbar Nizamuddin, chancellor of Jamia Nizamia. “The Mahabharata manuscript is in bad shape and we have now carefully hand-laminated it. We have also micro-filmed and digitised the scriptures.”

Al Kita was published by Dairatul Maarif in the beginning of the last century on the request of a noble from Kolkata. Its pirated editions are available in the Gulf countries. Another valuable possession of the Daira is the Arabic version of Rabindranath Tagore’s great Geetanjali.

“There’s nothing comm-unal about knowledge,” Mufti Khaleel Ahmad, the grand mufti and vice-chancellor of the Nizamia, told this correspondent. “Only people are communal. Reading books of different religions enha-nces one’s understanding. No religion teaches hatred,” the Mufti said.

Dozens of researchers visit these libraries to study the rare documents. The Islamic Academy of Comparative Religion also has in its possession score of Hindu religious books, including 188 Upanishads, four Vedas, Bhagawad Gi-ta, Valmiki Ramayana, Ma-nusmriti and several Pura-nas. It also possesses 30 Bibles in Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, Telugu and Greek.

“Luckily, our books are still in good condition,” said M. Asifuddin, president of IACR. “We have been taking great care to preserve them.” Another city Muslim organisation labouriously preserving Hindu scriptures is the Iqbal Academy. It has rare copies of the Gita and Mahabharata. The Asafia Library and the HEH Nizam Trust’s Library have several Hindu scriptures in Urdu, Persian and Arabic. “Study of different religions will help prevent misconceptions, hatred and mistrust,” said secretary of the All-India Muslim Per-sonal Law Board Abdul Rahim Qureshi.

“We can eradicate social evils by promoting religious values,” Queshi said. Hafiz Shujath Hussain, a research scholar poring over the Al Kita, said it was heartening to see Muslim organisations preserve such rare manuscripts. “We have to take care to keep them safe for ever,” he said.
When the missionary scum employ corporate mktg tech to spread the word its great but when hindus do its so not good -> humara dudh dudh tumhara dudh panee..

Besides whats with material world and spirituality ? Why cant the two co-exist ?

These gurus are learning slowly and giving hinduism a position where its cool to be a hindu - others cant digest it..


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In India, spirituality is going commercial 
By Amelia Gentleman International Herald Tribune


NEW DELHI As he addressed an after-work gathering of his followers recently, Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath shared his concerns about the correct way to market a CD version of his teachings.

Consulting the 26 disciples sitting at his feet in a smart south Delhi apartment, he discussed at length how to fix the right price and analyzed how best to protect the content from being pirated and sold cheaply.

"These CDs offer value for time spent," he said. "I want people to listen to them when they're commuting and stuck in traffic. They will be very useful, but we must get them marketed properly."

He asked a disciple to make sure that a Delhi public relations expert would be present at his next reading. "I think we are very bad in PR," he said. "We need to work on media relations."

As the national economy blossoms, the role of the guru as someone who helps his followers find enlightenment is evolving: Many spiritual guides are now smooth marketers with, often enough, a considerable knowledge of how to maximize their commercial appeal.

Many gurus have been forced to revolutionize their practices - packaging and aggressively marketing their religious services to cater to the changing desires of the consumer. Some have adopted the style of Western televangelists to promote their message.

What is more, the leaders of India's economic revolution are turning to spirituality in large numbers.

While Western workers pop antidepressants and tranquilizers to beat stress, India seeks relief from the pressures of its emerging materialistic society with a booming spirituality industry.

Personnel departments in big firms are calling on spiritual gurus to help new recruits handle the tensions of modern working life.

Spirituality shops offering "health and wealth kits" are doing good business, and newly created religious channels on domestic television are expanding their reach into millions of homes.

One of India's slickest spiritual movements, the Art of Living Foundation, led by the telegenic guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, runs a "corporate executive program" aimed at helping senior management in India's leading companies cope with stress. It offers relief by teaching employees how to improve their breathing.

"Our corporate program is for people on the fast track, and these people are facing high levels of urban stress," said Sanjiv Kakar, an Art of Living guru who teaches the course. "They may not be looking for spiritual solace, but they are looking for stress relief and we can provide that."

Kakar volunteers his services, but the movement charges 300,000 rupees, or almost $7,000, to instruct 25 executives; the money goes to its charitable trust.

A brochure printed on expensive paper declares that senior management officials in big Indian companies have taken the course and says that 88 percent of those who graduated reported an improvement in dealing with stress and negativity.

"The pace of life here has completely changed with the economy opening up," Kakar said. "Family life has been totally messed up because of work pressure."

He added, "We give people practical techniques to get rid of anger, negative feelings and frustration; we are not a culture that relies on tranquilizers."

Pravin Anand, managing partner at an intellectual property law firm, Anand and Anand, was enthusiastic about the effect that the Art of Living course had had on his company.

"Intellectual property is becoming a very big thing in India, and our work has increased enormously in the past decade," Anand said. "People work 18-hour days here and are really stressed out."

"The course was fantastic. It was like paying your money and getting your goods - a quick transaction. Lawyers have a hard-nosed reputation, but the course inspired all of us; we began to think about higher issues. The quality of our workers' lives really began to change and there was a positive effect on the business as well," he said.

Others are brazen in the claims they make for their services.

Daivajna Somayaji promises more than mere stress relief to his clients. Based in Bangalore, the hub of India's information technology revolution, he specializes in smoothing product starts and increasing investment bankers' profit margins, professing to have a "99.9 percent" success rate in turning around failing businesses.

"I visit the office or factory premises," he said, "I study the energy patterns of the location and I study the people, looking at their vibrations; it's something that I can experience, but am unable to explain."

He spoke in a telephone interview from his ashram in Bangalore. The interview was organized through a Delhi PR firm that promotes his services.

"I might recommend changing the structure of the building, or the altering the personnel in the office," he said. "I have no fixed fees - whatever they pay, I accept. Companies have doubled their profitability after consulting me."

For reasons of customer confidentiality, he would not name any of his clients, making it impossible to substantiate any of his claims.

The changing role of the guru has caused much unease among social commentators. In a recent public debate in Delhi, Javed Akhtar, an atheist and outspoken Bollywood script writer and poet, opened an attack on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other modern gurus, arguing, "It is not enough to teach rich people how to breathe."

He condemned the emergence of supermarkets for "spiritual fast food," where people can buy "crash courses in self-realization - cosmic consciousness in four easy lessons."

He concluded: "Our Marxist friends used to say that religion is the opium of the poor masses. I don't want to get into that discussion, but spirituality nowadays is definitely the tranquilizer of the rich."

Suma Varughese, editor-in-chief of the spiritual magazine Life Positive, agreed that the modern guru's endeavor to combine spiritual and material values gave rise to considerable tension.

"The changing economy has brought a massive explosion of unhappiness and confusion and, although no research has been done," she said, "I think hundreds of thousands of people are turning to spirituality for guidance."

"Gurus are adopting the corporate approach for two reasons," she said. "Some are genuinely trying to give support to the overwrought urban workers; others are simply trying to popularize their movements."

She added, "There is no doubt that today there is a desire to have spiritual nirvana and material wealth. I think most true seekers would admit that this attempt to wed the two is not possible."

Daivajna Somayaji of Bangalore argued: "I have rejected materialism, but I see nothing wrong in helping other people realize their commercial goals.

"Commercial aspirations are not wrong - they are important," he said.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Normally we would have a "happy deepavali" thread. I dont know about this year. I dont feel like celebrating it this year. And I dont buy the BS -> this is what the terrorists want.. IMO they have got what they wanted. Its the aam-junta that GoI has failed by issuing empty statements like we-condemn-this-dastardly-act vagera. And I feel like sh1t.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Why are Hindus so submissive? </b>
<b>After 9/11, Americans resolved to smash the spectre of Islamic fundamentalism. From London to Bali via Beslan, the rage of the civilised world is mounting against terrorists and their ideology Prafull Goradia rues India's unwillingness to learn  </b>

The evening of October 29 has left me sick with shame. Not a single TV programme that I happened to watch or a newspaper I read the next morning asked as to whether a group of Muslims was responsible for the triple bomb blast.

Most correspondents stated that the blasts constituted a nefarious attempt to disrupt the celebrations of Diwali as well as Eid-ul-Fitr. The mention of the latter made me aghast at the self-flagellation by the secularist reporters. I am yet to come across an incidence of Muslims disturbing the observance of Ramadan, which they consider the holiest of all the months.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh implicitly endorsed all this media defeatism by appealing for calm. He promised that his government will go all out to track down the culprits, but he said nothing about punishing them. Instead, he asked General Pervez Musharraf to intervene with the terrorists in Pakistan. Chief Justice RC Lahoti rightly diagnosed the government psyche as lacking in political will.

The US took the 9/11 attack seriously enough to go to war in Afghanistan, the base of Osama bin Laden. Once the substantive action was over, America went on to invade Iraq. No doubt, the reason given was the possession of weapons of mass destruction by the Saddam Hussein government. But the all out attack was also a message to Islamic countries that the Pentagon meant business. President George Bush leaved no one in doubt when he repeatedly declared that the Islamic radicals were the terrorists. Nor did British Prime Minister Tony Blair hesitate to call a spade a spade.

Israel has a five-decade-old record of dealing with Arab terrorism. The Jews have done better than giving an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. If a count is taken, one would find that for every Jewish life lost, at least two, if not three, Arabs have been killed. Israeli retaliation is more or less immediate, so that the terrorists get the message properly. The crowning glory of what the Israelis can do to save their fellow citizens or to punish enemies was the Entebbe airport rescue miracle during the heyday of ldi Amin.

Thailand is sparing no mercy to prevent the Muslims of Pattani, the country's southern province, from getting away with secession. The government in Bangkok was not embarrassed when over 400 secessionists were loaded on to two lorries resulting in the death of many of them. The official line was: "What could the police do when more lorries were not available?" The message was clear that under no circumstances will the country tolerate losing any of its territory.

Contrast the Thai policy with New Delhi's handling of Jammu and Kashmir. In spite of Parliament passing a unanimous resolution that the entire J&K, including POK, was an integral part of India, the Prime Ministers of India, whether of the BJP or the Congress, merrily sit to negotiate what else to give up beyond insisting on the LOC. How China handled the secession by Xinjiang was interesting. Between 1911 and 1948, the writ of the central government did not run in this Turko Uygur province.

Not long after unfurling the red flag over China, Mao Zedong invited all the leaders of Xinjiang, except pro-Beijing Saifuddin and Burhan, for fraternal talks in Beijing (then Peking). A government aeroplane was sent to bring the leaders. After the talks of friendship, they were returning home when the plane mysteriously crashed. Soon, thereafter, the province was integrated into China.

Europe has had its full share of Islamic aggression, starting with Spain in 711 AD.

For five centuries, Spain was a Darul Islam. When in the 14th Century the Christians drove out the Moors, they gave three choices to the defeated people: Either convert to Christianity, or leave Spain, or get killed. The eight crusades are legend as are the Turkish assaults in south eastern Europe. The embers of enmity came aglow in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo after Yugoslavia broke up. Chechenia, Moscow, Beslan and most recently Nalchik have had their share of terrorism and retaliation. Rusian President Vladimir Putin gave shoot-at-sight orders while stressing that he did not want any terrorists alive.

The Indian epic since the invasion of Mohammad bin Qasim in 712 has been an invariable record of defeat, slaughter, surrender and retreat. The attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001, was like the Al-Qaeda attacking Capitol Hill in Washington. The World Trade Centre was only a business high point. Yet, what did the government do? Nothing beyond drawing satisfaction from the five terrorists having been killed by policemen. There must have been some 50 persons who aided and actively abetted the five attackers. In all likelihood, each one of them was an Indian and could have been traced and caught. The government shows up as a weakling and the state as half sovereign.

The people elect such weak leaders and governments and tolerate their submissiveness. Or, else the recent festival should have been a black or a dark silent Diwali. That would have been a message not only to Muslim extremists, but also a protest against the government. 29/10 was neither the first night of terror, nor the last. Akshar Dham and Vaishno Devi did not evoke any real protest. What is the explanation? Why are Hindus so docile? So meek as to approve of leaders who are not only meek, but also those who indulge in self-flagellation? Instead of quoting ordinary mortals, go to Mahatma Gandhi and glimpse at what he did.

In his wisdom, Gandhi presided over the post-World War I Khilafat movement to play to the Muslim gallery. Even MA Jinnah opposed the idea, but Gandhi wanted the Caliph to survive on his throne of Turkey. One of the worst riots was the 1921 Moplah killing of some 600 Malabar Hindus, raping of hundreds of women and converting 2,500 people to Islam.

Gandhi summed up his many comments by calling the Moplahs "among the bravest in the land" He said, "They are God fearing." At the end of the 1924 riots at Kohat in NWFP, Gandhi advised Hindu refugees not to go back! In the 1939 riot in Sukkur district of Sind, Gandhi called the Hindus cowards and advised them to migrate out of the province. In 1926, Abdul Rashid murdered Swami Shraddhananda; the British government sentenced him to death. But Gandhi wrote, "I do not regard him as guilty. I have called him a brother."

These are only samples of Hindu reactions that reflect a dread of the Muslim, the result possibly of centuries long humiliation. Leftist historians have written that Aurangzeb might have committed a few mistakes and damaged temples, but he was a fair ruler; whereas the emperor himself was candid enough about his motive. He issued instructions in his own hand that he would like temples to be destroyed because he considered their desecration to be a meritorious act.

The average Hindu dreads the Muslim fundamentalist and tends to duck his shame by ignoring the humiliation. The anger over 29/10 is widespread among the Hindus of Delhi. The political leaders are either scared or selfish. The media appears largely pro-Islamic. The agitated people give vent to their feelings in their homes or amongst friends, which does not add up to a public outcry. Talking of the age-old dread, any number of Hindu wives, when desperately annoyed with their husbands, curse them as Muslims. I have overheard two of my aunts doing so. But, in society, the same aunts were paragons of secularism!

Meanwhile, the Gandhians, the Leftists and their fellow travellers reflect a perversion in response to a long, collective oppression. Is it masochism, which is a psychological disorder in which release or pleasure is derived through pain inflicted on oneself? In a social context, masochism is used for behaviour of one who seeks out and enjoys situations of humiliation and abuse. The result is that Hindu elites run down their own community. It is difficult to think of another society whose intelligentsia indulges in so much self-condemnation.
(The writer is a well-known political commentator)

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