Wednesday, February 12, 2014



2000 years before, no one on earth would have heard of the word HINDU. This word, to the best of my knowledge and belief, isn't there in any of the ancient Indian writings. The westerners coined the word. But, it has now become convenient to use the word and there is no problem in using it.

So, what is HINDU HISTORY? What is History - in general? Somebody chronicles currently occurring events - and that becomes History. But, one man's History is another man's trash. What the Marxists say was the History of Bengal is not what Trinamool Congress would agree with. What Lenin and Stalin would say was the History of USSR is not the History the current leaders of the numerous countries in the region would agree with as History.

Usually, the winner of a war forces everyone to accept his version as History. This is the case with first and second world wars. The vanquished always has a different History to tell.  History cannot be the story of one or two individuals.Or, even of a minor percentage of the population. But that is what goes round as History.

History cannot be the view of  one or two individuals like Herodotus, who lived in 400 BC and was considered the father of History. Like him, there are any number of Indian Historians. In my opinion, almost none of them would have even seen a tenth of India.They would have read a few Books, met a few Individuals and formed their opinions - which they wrote as History of India. 

History is just a chronicler's view of what he has seen, heard and read - and nothing more. 

There is no independent, impartial, unbiased Historian born on earth. There is no Historian who has seen a reasonable portion of the Land and met a reasonable number of important individuals of his time in that land - to be able to form a view applicable to the majority of the Individuals residing there. 

History is always a microscopic view - but enlarged as macroscopic view. Generalizations are wrong most of the time - and History is the worst kind of Generalization that we have invented.

And then, we have art history, cultural history, political history, religious history and so on. You cannot understand religious history by meeting non-religious individuals. You cannot get to know art history by meeting religious leaders. Political history differs from Politician to Politician. They all differ and the ruling clan/party's version holds sway. Most of the Political History gets written by non-politician journalists and historians. Each has his own Bias. So, History isn't an accurate depiction of everything that happens. Yet, it has some value, if written by unbiased, widely read and widely travelled persons.

But, that is not the case generally. It is almost always written by Biased Individuals.

How would you know about Hinduism and Hindu religious History? Read the Upanishads,read the Bhagavad Gita, read Adi Sankaracharya's writings etc. These are authentic versions of Hinduism as it evolved. Without reading any of these, if someone writes on Hinduism or Hindu history or alternative History, it is equivalent to Trash. Not worth reading at all.

Hinduism, or the religion in India (call it by any name you like) is not just 2000 or 3000 years Old. I am sure, it is as old as the earth itself or the first human being on earth. Why Human beings? Even the Gods followed the same ism. That is what we find in the Upanishads.

Now, Wendy Doniger, the author of "The Hindus : An alternative History" would not perhaps like to believe that. It is up to her. Neither she was there nor I was there when the Gods wanted to know who the Great Yaksha (Brahmam) was who could easily show Indra, Agni and Vayu that they are completely  powerless before him... and when Goddess Uma Devi came to these Gods to tell them about the Brahmam. When did this happen? Millions of years back.  You don't have to believe that. It is up to you. No one compels you. But, Brahmam is a FACT. Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga is a definite Path to know it first hand - not just to believe it.

Hinduism prescribes certain beliefs and practices for those who cannot make further efforts to know anything first hand, in religious matters. These are needed for such Individuals. Hinduism prescribes Bhakti marga (devotional path) for those who can believe in a God blindly. Hinduism prescribes karma yoga (the path of action) for those who want to devote to serve Humanity. Hinduism prescribes Jnana Marga (path of wisdom) for those who are willing to sit with Great Gurus and know the truth. Hinduism prescribes Yoga Marga (Meditation and Samadhi) for those who are willing to explore the depths of the self and find the self (and the God) within the self.

Hinduism prescribes Idol worship - in the very initial stages. As a person graduates further, Hinduism allows him to find the god in the entire Universe outside him or within his own self. Hinduism  prefers non-idol form of worship - and yet approves idol worship too, as something required in the initial stages.

Hinduism sees every force of nature as a God and yet says, there is one and only Brahmam, which is pervading all these Gods. At a later stage, Hinduism says, the same Brahmam is in You too. A little later, the same Hinduism says, that Brahmam is YOU.

The same Hinduism talks of Brahma, Vishnu, Easwara - and then talks of a Sakthi which is their originator.

You don't have to believe in a God at all - to be a Good Hindu. Yet, if you go through Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, you can know the deepest of truths - which are unknown to all religionists all over the world. Frankly, this sort of Yoga Marga is just unheard of in other parts of the world and unknown to them. So, what is religion and religious History, if you never explored any of these aspects of Hinduism.

Adi Sankaracharya is a monumental figure in Hindu religious History. He is an authority on Hinduism. And, he is a historical figure. I have written commentaries in this Blog on some of his master pieces. Without knowing his specific views on aspects like sex in religion, commenting on sex in Hinduism is inappropriate. Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya and many other religious stalwarts are also part of Hindu religious history. They all differ from each other in certain Higher religious aspects - though not in the mundane religious aspects. They are all essential part of the religious History of India. And then, we have Ramana maharshi on whom Paul Brunton has written a lot. We have Ramakrishna and Vivekananda - the recent stalwarts. We can't ignore Osho and many other great religious thinkers who shaped religious thinking in India.

The Best aspect of Hinduism, and only of Hinduism, is that it gives us perfected methods to KNOW and EXPERIENCE  at the individual level what the Ultimate fact about the self is and what the Almighty being is. You don't need to believe. You can KNOW. 

So, what is Hindu History? Hindu History is about the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, the Yoga Sutras, the Brahma Sutras, the Atma Bodha, the viveka choodamani - and about those who wrote them and who figure in them ; about those, who taught these to their disciples; about those who shaped Indian thinking on all these aspects.

Is sex a part of religion? No. it is not. Sex is a part of life. Part of our social life. It is needed for reproduction and continuity. It is so, in all beings. The donkey has no religious life. But, it has sex life. It is much the same as in human beings. The ant has sex life. The elephant has sex life. The Lion has sex life. Every insect has sex life. Why are we confusing sex life with religious life and religious History? Sex life is same or similar in all beings. Religious life - only humans have. And, west and east greatly differ in them. In general, eastern religions are more ancient than western religions. Hinduism is the MOST ANCIENT RELIGION in the world.

In India, there are certain restrictions placed on sex life - only to make it more long lasting and more enjoyable - and at the same time, to ensure that it does not interfere with religious and social life.

India calls it Sex within Dharma. India was the only country which prescribed  kama sutra, the science of sex. But, India is also the country which placed certain restrictions on sex. But, all those restrictions are intended to ensure fair play for both sexes, and make sex long lasting and equally enjoyable for both.

So, let us not confuse sex with religious life. These two are entirely different aspects of life. sex is not taboo in religious life. But, it is not religious life. In fact, man has to remain a celibate for practicing certain higher procedures in religious life. Otherwise, mind will be going around sex pleasures always.

Going to a Temple, performing puja, performing prayer, practicing Yoga, etc are part of religious life. The sex act with the wife/husband is part of social life. 

Eating and drinking are not religious practices - yet eating and drinking of certain items are prohibited. It is so with sex also. Sex with some one else's wife/husband is prohibited. Sex at certain times is prohibited. Rape is considered a huge social offence, punishable with death. Ravana's story and Duryodhana's story are just that. They got killed for coveting some one else's wife. But that is not religion. Ajanta and Ellora and sex orgies are not religion. They are social. Sex orgies especially are not the preferred mode of sex.

I haven't read what Wendy Doniger has written in her 'THE HINDUS : AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY", nor do I propose to read the same. I don't know why some so called Hindu organizations are reading that - instead of reading Gita or Yoga Sutras, and are protesting against it. I don't know why Arundhati Roy is so vociferously supporting the Book. Nothing of these seems connected with religion to me.

My feeling is - their time would be better spent - if they try to understand the Gita, the Upanishads, the Atma Bodha first. A clearer knowledge of THE HINDUS, will emerge thereby. That will make Histories and alternative Histories redundant.

Should Hindus Protest against anti-hindu writings or not? why not? Do Protest. That is, if they are ANTI-HINDU. But, let all such protests be perfectly peaceful, well-reasoned and perfectly democratic. Tell the people why you are protesting or objecting. Tell them why their views are not correct. In my view, that is enough of a protest. Nothing more is needed.

Others need to know what Hinduism is all about. But, before that, we need to know what Hinduism is all about.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

BHAGAVAD GITA - CH.2 -Sl.16,17,18 - SAMKHYA YOGA -Which, is indestructible;which, is destroyed constantly?




In the previous Blog Post, we spoke of the IN-DWELLER, who experiences all the changes occurring in the body and the mind. Lord Krishna did not use the word "ATMAN" for the in-dweller. Instead, he used the word "Dehi", the one who dwells in Deha or Body. 

The In-dweller moves on from one body to another, when the former Deha collapses finally and dies. Death is for the Deha, not for the Dehi. For the Deha, all sensations that happen are also fleeting and impermanent. Sukha, Duhkha, heat , cold etc all come and go. They happen to Deha but are experienced by Dehi. 

The wise man knows their fleeting nature and remains unperturbed by the changes happening in the body. Such a wise man who remains unperturbed by all these changes , is fit for immortality, says Lord Krishna. This will need further explanation. Let us move on with Lord Krishna further.


Naasatho vidyathe bhaavo naabhaavo vidyate sathah |

Vubhayorapi drastontastvanayostatvadarsibhih   ||

Meaning :

"The ASATH or the unreal has no  continued existence. The SATH or the real will never cease to exist. The Drasta or the witness realizes the truth about both the real and the unreal. "

The words 'sath' and 'asath' have special meanings in Vedanta.  There are no equivalent words in English. 

Sath - is that which exists always - in the past, in the present and in the future. Its non-existence is impossible. 'abhava' means non-existence. Sath is always existing. Asath is the opposite of sath. Can we therefore say - asath is that which does not exist always or that which never existed?

How do we know of anything which never existed, not existing now and will never exist in future at any time? How can we even talk of any such thing at all?

This is not the meaning in which the word asath is used here. Certain things give us the impression of being in existence continuously, but are not in such continuous existence. Consider the human body. When you look at your own body, you feel it is existing. But, you do know that, over a period of 10 years, either it has grown much larger or has depreciated much depending upon the stage of life you are in. 

You also know well that this change is happening every moment in the body in every cell. One day, the quantum of change is so much that we are able to see it well with our gross eyes also. In reality, change is happening all the time, in every atom and every cell. You can't see the same body twice. You can't step into the same river twice, because water is flowing always though river looks like the same. Same is the case with your body. 

The whole universe is changing every moment. But, many things look like having the same shape all the time. The Sun, the moon, the stars - all are changing all the time; but to our gross eyes, they seem to be the same. Whatever is always changing is really not existing as the same thing at any time. This is the meaning in which ASAT is used here. Vedanta uses the word MITHYA to signify this state.

If everything is MITHYA or ASAT in this universe, what then is SATH? What is it that remains UNCHANGED all the time?  If something is UNCHANGED all the time, it must have been this way, always in the past, always in the present and always in the future. It can't disappear at any time in future, for, if it does that, it cannot be SATH. Likewise, it could not have not existed at any time in the past, for, then also, it could not have been SATH then.

Readers will remember the word 'DEHI' used by Krishna in previous slokas. Dehi was said to experience all the changes occurring in the Deha. In this sloka, the word used is Drasta, the witness or the Seer. The Drasta knows both the Sath and the Asath, says Lord Krishna.

But, is the Drasta Sath or Asath?


Avinaasi thu tad viddhi  yena sarvamidam thatham   |

Vinaasamavyayasyaasya na kaschithkarthumarhasi ||  

Meaning :
"know that - Indestructible indeed is that which pervades all this. No one can effect the destruction of this indestructible entity"

Sath is that which pervades all the asath - and yet is not asath. Asath is all that is pervaded by the Sath. The sath is indestructible; while the asath is continuously changing; or, in other words, it is continuously destroyed and formed into a different shape.

Not only the individual Deha which is asath and the Dehi, which is sath, the whole Universe is Asath and there is a Sath that pervades the whole Universe.


Anthavantha yime Dehaa nityasyoktaah Sareerinah   |

Anaasinoprameyasya tasmaad yudhyasva  Bhaaratha ||  

Meaning :
"while the Dehi, the in-dweller, is always existing and is indestructible, the bodies (or Dehas) of this Dehi (in-dweller) all have an end (and cannot exist forever) . Therefore, O Bhaaratha, fight!"

The bodies are all subject to destruction. They all have an end. They are constantly racing towards their own destruction. But, the in-dweller always exists and is not subject to any such destruction.

Having said this, Lord Krishna once again tells Arjuna, to fight the battle - since, whether you fight and destroy them or not, they are anyway bound for their own destruction.

The whole of Vedanta explores the Sath and Asath that fills the Universe, and explains to us the same. It calls the Sath as Brahmam and the Asath as Jagath, and gives their truth in a simple form as : "Brahma satyam; Jaganmithya". There is also a third aspect of this truth, to which we will come later.

In each Body and in every atom of the Universe, there is sath, which is permanent and indestructible. But, the Deha and the larger Universe, in fact, every atom of them are Asath and are constantly changing and getting destroyed.

So, the question now is - Are you the Deha , or, are you the in-dweller? Are you Asath, or , are you Sath?

This is the question that every Vedantin, every Yogi, every seeker of truth wants to explore and know. The Vedas and the Upanishads are all devoted to the unravelling of this one truth. Lord Krishna is giving their essence in the most easily understandable form in the Gita. We are proceeding along with the Lord to understand the same.

.....will Continue.