Monthly Archives: June 2007

** She became loyal to India bit late…

http://www.newindpress.com/column/News.asp?Topic=-97&Title=S%2EGurumurthy&ID=IE620070613210038&nDate=&Sub=&Cat=& 

She became loyal to India a trifle late, by 16 years!https://indiaview.wordpress.com
S Gurumurthy(EMAIL :gurumurthy@epmltd.com)

June 14 2007

“Today, my loyalty embraces a wider family — India, my country, whose people have so generously welcomed me to become one of them.” This is Sonia Gandhi addressing the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands on June 11, 2007. It is true that the people of India who were always in awe of the Nehru-Indira family — more, who, thanks to their colonial hangover, loved things and people foreign — welcomed the Italian-born Antonia Maino, now Sonia, into the nation’s first family.The people of any other country, including the country from which Sonia hails, would have seriously objected to a foreigner in the house of the rulers. Yes, she is right. The people of India were extraordinarily generous to her and welcomed Sonia the unknown, the stranger, without knowing anything about her. But how about her claim of loyalty to them in return? How loyally did she respond to the generosity of the ordinary and unsuspecting people of India, that she now so generously acknowledges?The chronology dating back to 1968 when, many reading newspapers today, who must have been lying on the lap of their mothers. The chronology brings out what she did in response to the people of India, who she herself acknowledges, so generously welcomed her to become part of them. It shows that from the outset she had decided not to become part of them and remained so for 16 years. Her determination to marry Rajiv Gandhi and enter the Nehru family was equalled by her determination not to become an Indian citizen! She was bent on continuing to remain and remained an Italian and a foreigner in India, not for a while or a year or couple of years testing the waters in India, but, for 16 long years — yes sixteen long years — from 1968 to 1984! It was not that in her blissful merger into the Nehru-Indira family and deluged by affection of the people around her, she forgot all about the technicality of acquiring Indian citizenship. It was not a case of just an accidental omission to apply for citizenship. From day one she was determined not to apply to become an Indian. She consciously chose to remain a foreigner and retain her Italian nationality and passport. The Indian law on foreigners required her to apply for and get permission to stay in India as a foreigner and this she had to do every five years.

Determined to live in India and in the Prime Minister’s house as a foreigner, she dutifully applied every six years — first in 1968, afterwards in 1973, thereafter in 1978 and finally in 1983 — for permission to reside in India! So she was just a guest, not part, of Indians for 16 years. She must have decided to remain a foreigner in India even earlier, as she knew long before 1968 that she was to marry Rajiv Gandhi and would have to come and reside in India. Sonia finally applied for Indian citizenship in 1983 and got it in 1984, on April 30 to be precise.

Why did Sonia suddenly, and after 16 years, aspire to become an Indian and positively respond to the generosity of the Indians in welcoming her? Any one who knew a little of politics also knew that Rajiv, who became the general secretary of the Congress party after the accidental demise of Sanjay in 1980, was set to become the Number 2 to Indira Gandhi in the government after the elections in early 1985. He could never have become a Minister under Indira with a foreigner as his spouse. This is what forced Sonia to acquiesce to become an Indian.

Thus it is not the love of India or the generous Indians who welcomed her that made her to give up her Italian citizenship, but, the real reason was the prospect of her husband ascending to power, which means herself in power! Yet she tells the Amsterdam audience that power never attracted her. She would never tell the truth that she did not want to become an Indian for 16 years and remained a foreigner in India. She would never tell that, even when she applied for Indian citizenship, she applied only as Antonia Maino Gandhi, with Sonia as just a pseudonym.

She would never tell that Rahul and Priyanka were under the Italian nationality law, Italian nationals by birth and thus even now Italian nationality inheres in them inalienably. She would not tell these truths. Had she told these truths, she could not have spoken what she spoke at Tilburg University. Yet, what she spoke remains the truth on record, while what she did not speak is the real truth. So what she spoke in Amsterdam is something other than truth. QED: the sense of loyalty to India which she claims came a trifle late, by 16 years!

Read more below:

LTTE-Sonia Link @ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/ltte-sonia-link/

A Visit to Sonia Gandhi’s Birth Place  @

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** Nuclear bomb of UPA…..

Nuclear bomb of UPA aided & abetted Evangelisation

V SUNDARAM

In the name of ‘Secularism’, ‘Unity in Diversity’ (in effect Unity in Deceit, Complicity and Duplicity!!), ‘Communal Harmony’ and such other empty slogans devoid of any soul or spirit rooted in India’s cultural heritage of Sanathana Dharma, the UPA Government has been overtly and covertly promoting an insidious programme of Evangelisation of India through State-Sponsored policies, programmes, subsidies and such other incentives. The World Church, informally but fully supported by the de-facto Catholic Prime Minister of Italian origin in the person of Sonia Gandhi, has been given a free run in India for all its Evangelical moves, maneuveres and machinations in the name of inter-faith initiatives operating under the overall canopy of pseudo-secularism of the Congress Party.

        What is disgraceful is that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) after minting the two Rupees Coins bearing the Christian Cross in 2005 and 2006 and letting them loose in circulation in selected parts of India, has now released in circulation the one Rupee Coins bearing the Christian Cross which were minted in 2005. The whole country knows who is the Catherine the great of India or Elizabeth I of India who is behind this ‘behind the scenes and underground contraband and politically contrived numismatic operation’ of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

        The anti-national UPA Government in New Delhi has seen to it that a Map of India has been removed from these new two Rupees and one Rupee Coins bearing the Christian Cross. To bear this out, I am first presenting below the 2 Rupee Coin issued in 2001.

        Please see above the obverse and reverse of the 2 Rupee Coin issued in 2001. Usually, the India Coins have the crest on one side and the denomination on the other side. Coins to commemorate special events have both on the same side and the special event/thing on the other. The 2 Rupee coin of 2001 shown above was an exception. It always had an Indian Map ‘National Integration’ with the Flag of India superimposed on it as in the above image, shot in the light of a screw-driver/torch and with the words ‘National Integration’ on the right side of the map.

        As a part and parcel of its nefariously guided Evangelisation Programme, the UPA Government through the RBI has removed the Indian Map from the two Rupee Coins issued in 2005-2006 and inscribed the Christian Cross in its place. I am presenting below the obverse and reverse of the two Rupee Coin bearing the Christian Cross (with the map of India removed) issued in 2006.

        The two Rupee Coin issued in 2006. See the Christian Cross on the left side substituted for the Map of India in the coins issued till 2004.

        I would like to put the following question to our de-jure pitiable Prime Minister: ‘Are we converting our beloved country into a Catholic country like Italy or Spain or Portugal where Roman Catholicism is the religion of the State and the people? Are you calling the shots on behalf of the de-facto Catholic Prime Minister from Italy?’

      The Christian Cross put on the two Rupee Coins of 2006 is a replica of the Christian Cross seen on the coins issued by Louis the Pious (778-840 AD), King of France shown below.         Coin of Louis the Pious (778 – 840 AD)

See the Christian Cross
on the coin on the left side.

Please see the Cross on the above coin on the left. There are four dots in all in the above coin, two on either side of the vertical line of the Cross. During the days of the Crusades and the Byzantine Empire, they were known as Besant or Besants. The four small dots (later small crosses) are symbolic of the four Gospels proclaimed to the four corners of the earth, beginning in Jerusalem; the large cross symbolizes the person of Christ. (http://christianity.about.com/cs/artgallery/p/jerusalemcross.htm) Four canonical gospels are attributed to the Four Evangelists: (Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John). ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned’ (Mk 16:15-16). The Gospel of Mark is cited as the doctrine for Dominus Jesus initiated by Ratzinger, the present Pope in the Vatican.

          Anyone can see that the Christian Cross inscribed on the 2 Rupee Coin issued in 2006 is almost a replica of the Christian Cross (No-VIII) shown above.

        Is it not shocking that a Two-rupee coin has been issued with a ‘sectarian’ or ‘religious’ motif? Is this not a pseudo-secular assault on our State which vows ‘pantha nirapekshataa’ – neutrality as to ‘religion’? Is this not a ‘politically’ plotted departure from the practice of issuing commemorative coins to celebrate the birth or death anniversaries of national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, B R Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sri Aurobindo, Chittaranjan Das, Chhatrapati Shivaji, and others?

        After successfully conducting the political experiment of Resurrection of Christian Minorityism through the subterranean subterfuge of 2 Rupee Coins issued with Christian Cross in 2006, the UPA Government has now released the new 1 Rupee Coins inscribed with a Christian Cross minted in 2005. I am presenting the obverse and the reverse of this new 1 Rupee Coin with Christian Cross below:

        What is the difference between the Christian Cross seen on 2 Rupee Coins issued in 2006 and 1 Rupee Coins issued in 2005? The Christian Cross put into the 2 Rupee Coins issued in 2006 was a calculated and mischievous pseudo-secular experiment deriving its sanction from Suppressio Veri Suggestio Falsi (suppression of truth and suggestion of falsehood) for which the UPA Government in general and the Congress Party in particular own global monopolistic patents. Perhaps there was an element or grain of vagueness about it. Such vagueness or ambiguity or ambivalence as existed about the Christian Cross on the 2 Rupee Coins of 2006, has been completely removed in respect of the 1 Rupee Coins of 2005. The Christian Cross inscribed on the 1 Rupee Coins of 2005 makes it loud and clear that it is a routine Christian Cross and the main aim of the UPA Government is the enforced Evangelisation of India.

        We only have to look around us to see these offensive symbols all around us. One can enter the city of Chennai by rail from the Tambaram end or from the Central Station end. As trains approach these station the first thing to catch everyone’s attention, even from a great distance, is the towering statues of Jesus Christ at Tambaram and at Central Station both, with his arms held out.

New one rupee coin minted in 2005

See the symbol of christian cross
on the right side coin
      Another growing trend is the mushrooming of innumerable Christian prayer houses and Churches which come up provocatively in the vicinity of temples which draw huge numbers of Hindu bhaktas, the latest offensive being an Adventist church coming up right opposite the revered Pamban Swamy Koil in Besant Nagar.      The numbers of Churches coming up in cities and the moffusils have nothing to do with the total population of the Christian faith or the numbers of the congregation. These are symbols that come up with foreign money-power to signal occupation of territories in nations that are predominantly non-Christian. Thus was South Korea Christianised and it was thus that East Timor became a Christian nation.

        The UPA Government functions now like an Islamic Government or else as a Christian Government. In short it is not a secular Government. It is a known and sworn anti-Hindu Government. Unlike the deliberately drawn up anti-Hindu Indian Constitution, the American Constitution is historically a remarkable secular document, one that leaves religious matters to the individual conscience and which grants to Government no authority what so ever to involve itself for religious matters. Unfortunately for the Hindus of India, the UPA Government under the stranglehold of Sonia Gandhi has built a wall of separation only between the Hindus (Temples) and the State. The daily message of UPA Government is this: ‘Muslims and Christians are our bosom friends. Only the Hindus of India are our deadly enemies’.        To conclude in the brilliant words of Radha Rajan: ‘The stealth with which the RBI has pushed these two Rupees and one Rupee coins into circulation, nearly two years after they have been minted is indicative of a lurking fear of adverse popular reaction to the design of these coins. The explanation of the RBI that the design symbolises Unity in Diversity is hogwash. I would accept without batting an eyelid if a three year old showed me a sketch he had drawn and insisted it was an elephant. The RBI does not deserve similar indulgence from me. If the RBI states that the design on the new 2 re and 1 re coin symbolises Unity in Diversity and that it is ‘four heads converging in one body’, the people of India have the right to demand of the RBI to tell us where and how it was established that the design in question has been accepted generally to mean Unity in Diversity. It is my considered opinion that these coins are yet another visible and offensive symptom of the creeping hand of the Church in India.’

        The newly minted two and one Rupee coins bearing the Christian cross as design must sound warning signals to nationalist Hindus in the country. We must demand the recall of all these coins. In the meanwhile Hindus must refuse to accept these coins and must refuse to use them in any transaction.

http://newstodaynet.com/2007sud/may07/280507.htm

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** DEVADASI: God’s servant

Devadasi – Servant of God

Dr. Jyotsna Kamat 

Dr. Kamat takes a look at the historical context of the institution of Devadasis. In the course of history the so called “temple women” were both honored and exploited in the name of God. The author points out that at one time, they were regarded as honorable professionals, and are responsible for development of many of India’s performing fine-arts. – Ed.

Dedicating dancing girls to temples in the service of God was not peculiar to India. Many ancient civilizations, like those of Babylonia, Cyprus, Phoenicia, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Syria employed young girls to propitiate their deities in their respective temples.

In the temple of Corinth, we are told, hundreds of prostitutes lived in the precincts of the temple and the main income of the shrine was from the income of these courtesans. Contemporary norms found no stigma if rich clientele associated themselves with such women, who in their spare time entertained the rich and wealthy.  

India was no exception. Although ancient texts like Vedas, Upanishads do not mention Devadasis (servants of God), institutionalized worship of idols in temples during early centuries of Christian era led to the practice of dedicating women to temples as laid down in the puranas. Thus some puranas (Agni Purana and Bhavishya Purana) specifically state that the best way for a man to obtain Suryaloka (heaven of sun god) was to dedicate a group of dancing girls to the temple of sun. For many kings and rich merchants it was the most affordable way to earn merit! (Punya)  

Over a period of time all the “pampered family deities” of kings and nobles started getting pretty and talented servants for different rituals performed for the deity (befitting a great king or deity) like bathing, dressing, offering flowers, music and dance.

Their main job was to dance and sing as also playing musical instruments, while the priests of the temple offered sixteen kinds of services. But smaller temples employed them for cleaning the temple premises, fetch water, make garlands of flowers, etc. 

By the time Hiuen Tsang came to India (7th century) Devadasi system was firmly established. He had noticed a large number of them in the sun temple of Multan (now in Pakistan). In Somnath temple (which was destroyed and looted by Muhmmad Gazni) there were five hundred dancing girls and in the great Tanjore temple built by Rajaraja Chola (10th century) there were four hundred.

Just like the kings employing women for various chores in the palace, women were employed in temples for different seva or services like fanning, holding chamar during procession, preparing ointments for the idol. They also participated in state-plays enacted before the deity during festivals. Some of the Devadasis were highly accomplished and earned lot of wealth. Many courtesans were of charitable nature.

The biggest tank in the state of  Karnataka for instance, was constructed by Shantavve, a Devadasi,  in the 11th century (water tank that spread ten miles and fed 7000 acres agricultural land in Chennagiri taluka of Shimoga district.) It is called Sulekere (Prostitute’s Lake) by the locals and subsequently renamed as Shantigagar. Even today (year 2005) it is as serviceable. 

There were seven types of Devadasis as per Hindu tradition. 

  1. Datta  — self-dedicated, or given to deity
  2. Vikrita — Purchased or self-sold to God,
  3. Bhritya — servant for supporting family
  4. Bhakta devotee — Devadasi
  5. Abducted and deserted at the temple
  6. Alankara–donated by kings or nobles to their family deity
  7. Rudra Ganika or Gopika–appointed by the temple for specific services

The last two find mention in inscriptions as well and hence it is seen that their job was primarily service of the deity. Since they were wedded to the deity, they could not marry a mortal. However they had to cater to demands of the employer or the priest and as is a common curse of India, a separate caste came into existence.

The sons of temple women continued as temple staff or musicians and daughters became dancers and musicians. For centuries Devadasis continued to be custodians of fine arts. They studied classics (Sanskrit and regional languages.) Set to music lyrics and played and taught various musical instruments and kept the tradition of Bharatanatya or Indian classical dance alive.

No stigma was attached for their profession. Their presence at marriage and other festive occasion was required. some got the tali (auspicious thread of a bride) tied by a Devadasi during wedding. 

But the arrival of British followed by missionaries dealt a cultural death blow to the institution of Devadasis. The Europeans could not distinguish between Devadasis, prostitutes, and street nauch girls. It was considered vulgar and lowly to attend concerts of Devadasis or attend dance performances.

English educated Indians were suddenly aware of their status and the laws were passed to ban the practice. By then the impoverished dancing women had to take recourse to prostitution for mere survival. The abolition of Devadasi system in 1920s did help to stop exploitation of poorer women in the name of religion.

But superstitions regarding dedicating female child still continue in parts of India, such as the devotion to Yellamma.

Related stories:  

Do Nuns Die Virgins?

Amen: An Autobiography

Behind Locked Doors

Shaikh on Muslim Women

The Temple Women of India 

http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/women/devadasi.htm

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** The Grand Departure

Hindu view of the grand departure

Death and Dying

“Lead me from darkness to light, from death to immortality.” This famed Vedic prayer proclaims the human urge to survive, to conquer death and to know the joys of illuminated consciousness. People often pilgrimage to an isolated place in expectation of a vision, be it a jungle of fauna and foliage or cement and glass. Every person is on a vision quest. But for all souls, at the time of the great departure, mahaprasthana, a vision comes as a tunnel of light at the end of which are beings of divine nature. Many having had the near-death experience have sworn their testimony of such transforming encounters. An American woman who “died” during childbirth, but was brought back to life by quick medical action, recounted: “It was an incredible energy–a light you wouldn’t believe. I almost floated in it. It was feeding my consciousness feelings of unconditional love, complete safety and complete, total perfection.
And then, and then, a piece of knowledge came in–it was that I was immortal, indestructible. I cannot be hurt, cannot be lost, and that the world is perfect.” Hundreds of people report similar experiences, affirming what Hinduism has always taught–that death is a blissful, light-filled transition from one state to another, as simple and natural as changing clothes, far from the morbid, even hellish alternatives some dread.
A Vedic funeral hymn intones: “Where eternal luster glows, the realm in which the light divine is set, place me, Purifier, in that deathless, imperishable world. Make me immortal in that realm where movement is accordant to wish, in the third region, the third heaven of heavens, where the worlds are resplendent” (Rig Veda, Aitareya Aranyaka 6-11).
Most often, before our own death, we encounter its reality in the passing of friends or family. Our thoughts during the rites, termed antyesti samskara in Sanskrit, turn to God. We witness the end of another’s life and ask, “What am I going to do with the remaining years of my own life?”
All that is said during these times reminds us that life on earth is temporary. All our possessions, power, ego and learning will end. Seeing this truth we turn the mind toward God, toward life’s ultimate goal, moksha, liberation, and toward the path of dharma that will take us there. We do this not in trepidation, but in assurance, faith and gratitude for the opportunity to progress spiritually in this physical incarnation.
Death is defined differently according to what people believe themselves to be. If they are only the body and brain (as with humanists or atheists), then death is the end of sensory experience, of self. If we live once, death ends our only sojourn on Earth and is naturally dreaded. If we are born again and again, it loses its dread in light of the soul’s pilgrimage to eternity. No matter how ill, how infirm our condition, there is a serene and consoling center of our being to which we can adjourn, the Source within.
It is more us than our body, more us than our mind and emotion. It will not die. It does not hurt or fear. As physical debility and death draw near, we seek this center, whether we call it Paramatma, God, Self or Divine Consciousness. In the Krishna Yajur Veda, Katha Upanishad, Yama, Lord of Death, explains: “Death is a mere illusion which appears to those who cannot grasp Absolute Reality. The soul is immortal, self-existent, self-luminous and never dies.”
It is the soul’s subtle body, linga sharira, that stores the “thought-energy” experiential impressions of life, called samskaras. When the body dies, this nonphysical sheath continues as a constellation of subtle elements–dispositions, memories, desires, etc. It is within this subtle body that the soul, if needed, reincarnates, as described in the Shukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad ( 4.4.5-6): “A man acts according to the desires to which he clings.
After death he goes to the next world bearing in his mind the subtle impressions of his deeds; and after reaping there the harvest of his deeds, he returns again to this world of action. Thus, he who has desires continues subject to rebirth.” Death, according to Hinduism, is not the contradiction of life. Death and birth are two sides of life’s cosmic cycle. The culmination of that cycle is liberation. As the venerable Satguru Yogaswami of Sri Lanka taught: “By getting rid of desire, man can put an end to birth altogether.”
Resolving the Karmas:
Many who have had a near-death experience speak of having come back to complete unfinished obligations to children, parents or friends. It is a great blessing to know of one’s impending transition. A Hindu approaching death works diligently to finish all his “business” of this lifetime, the alloted portion of his total karma carried into this birth to face and resolve. If death comes while loose ends remain (misunderstandings unresolved, misdeeds unatoned for or obligations unfulfilled), another lifetime may be required to expire that karma.
Thus, an aging or ailing Hindu will be seen going around to friends and enemies, giving love, help and blessings, working to resolve conflicts and differences, offering apologies and fulfilling all known obligations. Ideally, he executes his own will, distributing his properties and duties to heirs, charities and endowments, not leaving such tasks to others.
That done, he turns to God, reads scriptures, attends temple and amplifies meditation and devotion. He may pilgrimage to sacred spots or retire to a secluded place to practice japa and yoga sadhanas. The family takes care not to disturb these efforts, nor his retirement from social obligation or interaction, realizing he has entered life’s final stage, that of the renunciate, or sannyasin.

Making the Transition Consciously:
Knowing that a conscious death is the ideal, the Hindu avoids excessive drugs or mind-numbing medical measures. He cultivates detachment as death approaches, knowing that loss is not suffered when something is given up voluntarily, only when it is taken from us by force. He is grateful for life, but not angry with or fearful of death. Dying is not unlike falling asleep.
We have all experienced death many times in past lives. The astral body separates from the physical body, just as in sleep. The difference is that the silver cord connecting the two breaks at the moment of transition, signaling the point of no return.
Scriptures speak of leaving the body through one chakra or another, departing in a level of consciousness of a particular chakra, which then determines where in the inner worlds a person will find himself after death. Those who depart full of hatred and resentment go to the world of those who also died in lower consciousness.
Those with love in their heart enter a world where abide others with similar attainment. Therefore, during transition a person must strive to be in the highest possible state of consciousness, concentrating on the top of the head and holding to lofty thoughts as he succumbs.
A woman in California narrated: “Shortly before my husband died, he held my hands and asked me to recite the Lalitha Sahasranama and to say the mantra we were initiated into. He repeated after me in a loud voice when suddenly his face began to shine with a luster, and he became overjoyed and beaming. He started almost shouting in joy that he was seeing the temple and the Deities–Siva, Ganesha and Muruga–smiling at him. In this glowing way he passed away shortly thereafter while I recited the mantra in his ear.”
Those who die suddenly, through accident or murder, have no time to prepare. Traditionally, full death rites are not performed after such deaths, because rebirth is expected almost immediately. For the same reason, rites are not accorded children who die young, before adolescence. In India, bodies of accidental-death victims and children are buried in a common grave or put in a river. Since neither is possible in Westernized countries, cremation is accepted.

Funeral and Memorial Rites:
Hindus traditionally cremate their dead, for swifter, more complete release of the soul. Burial, which preserves the bond, is generally forbidden. Death’s anniversary is called Liberation Day. For saints, it is celebrated rather than the day of birth. To some extent, the funeral rites serve to notify the departed soul that he has, in fact, died. It is possible for a disoriented soul, not understanding that he is on the other side, to linger close to the physical plane.
He can still see this material world, and even observe his own funeral. Some of the ritual chants address the deceased, urging him to relinquish attachments and continue the journey. The rites are also for the living, allowing the family to say a respectable and dignified “farewell,” to express grief, loss and the mosaic of emotions they naturally encounter.
The deepest significance of the funeral rites lies in their yoking the inner and outer worlds, Bhuloka and Devaloka, and their recognition that a family consists not just of its living generations, but its ancestors as well. Often a group of souls will sequentially incarnate into the same extended family, so that, for example, a grandson may be the returned soul of the father. In this way collective karma and dharma are worked through.
Those in the inner worlds help relatives living in the outer world. When their turn comes in the outer world, they strive to attain spiritual progress that is only possible in physical incarnation. Ceremonial uniting of the deceased with his forefathers and yearly honoring of ancestors keep open the inner communication which makes the family prosperous and preserves its longevity.
The Vedas proclaim, “When a person comes to weakness, be it through old age or disease, he frees himself from these limbs just as a mango, a fig or a berry releases itself from its stalk” (Sukla Yajur Veda, Brihadharanyaka Upanishad: 4.3.36).

Rites of Transition Hindu death rituals in all traditions follow a fairly uniform pattern drawn from the Vedas, with variations according to sect, region, caste and family tradition. Most rites are fulfilled by the family, all of whom participate, including the children, who need not be shielded from the death. Certain rites are traditionally performed by a priest but may also be performed by the family if no priest is available. Here is a simple outline of rites that can be performed by Hindus in any locality. Variations are noted and suggestions made for Hindus in Western countries.

1. As Death Approaches
Traditionally, a Hindu dies at home. Nowadays the dying are increasingly kept in hospitals, even when recovery is clearly not possible. Knowing the merits of dying at home among loved ones, Hindus bring the ill home. When death is imminent, kindred are notified. The person is placed in his room or in the entryway of the house, with the head facing east. A lamp is lit near his head and he is urged to concentrate on his mantra. Kindred keep vigil until the great departure, singing hymns, praying and reading scripture. If he cannot come home, this happens at the hospital, regardless of institutional objections.
2. The Moment of Death
If the dying person is unconscious at departure, a family member chants the mantra softly in the right ear. If none is known, “Aum Namo Narayana” or “Aum Nama Sivaya” is intoned. (This is also done for sudden-death victims, such as on a battlefield or in a car accident.) Holy ash or sandal paste is applied to the forehead, Vedic verses are chanted, and a few drops of milk, Ganga or other holy water are trickled into the mouth.
After death, the body is laid in the home’s entryway, with the head facing south, on a cot or the ground–reflecting a return to the lap of Mother Earth. The lamp is kept lit near the head and incense burned. A cloth is tied under the chin and over the top of the head. The thumbs are tied together, as are the big toes. In a hospital, the family has the death certificate signed immediately and transports the body home.
Under no circumstances should the body be embalmed or organs removed for use by others. Religious pictures are turned to the wall, and in some traditions mirrors are covered. Relatives are beckoned to bid farewell and sing sacred songs at the side of the body.
3. The Homa Fire Ritual
If available, a special funeral priest is called. In a shelter built by the family, a fire ritual (homa) is performed to bless nine brass kumbhas (water pots) and one clay pot. Lacking the shelter, an appropriate fire is made in the home. The “chief mourner” leads the rites. He is the eldest son in the case of the father’s death and the youngest son in the case of the mother’s. In some traditions, the eldest son serves for both, or the wife, son-in-law or nearest male relative.
4. Preparing the Body
The chief mourner now performs arati, passing an oil lamp over the remains, then offering flowers. The male (or female, depending on the gender of the deceased) relatives carry the body to the back porch, remove the clothes and drape it with a white cloth. (If there is no porch, the body can be sponge bathed and prepared where it is.) Each applies sesame oil to the head, and the body is bathed with water from the nine kumbhas, dressed, placed in a coffin (or on a palanquin) and carried to the homa shelter.
The young children, holding small lighted sticks, encircle the body, singing hymns. The women then walk around the body and offer puffed rice into the mouth to nourish the deceased for the journey ahead. A widow will place her tali (wedding pendant) around her husband’s neck, signifying her enduring tie to him. The coffin is then closed.
If unable to bring the body home, the family arranges to clean and dress it at the mortuary rather than leave these duties to strangers. The ritual homa fire can be made at home or kindled at the crematorium.
5. Cremation
Only men go to the cremation site, led by the chief mourner. Two pots are carried: the clay kumbha and another containing burning embers from the homa. The body is carried three times counterclockwise around the pyre, then placed upon it. All circumambulating, and some arati, in the rites is counterclockwise. If a coffin is used, the cover is now removed. The men offer puffed rice as the women did earlier, cover the body with wood and offer incense and ghee. With the clay pot on his left shoulder, the chief mourner circles the pyre while holding a fire brand behind his back. At each turn around the pyre, a relative knocks a hole in the pot with a knife, letting water out, signifying life’s leaving its vessel. At the end of three turns, the chief mourner drops the pot. Then, without turning to face the body, he lights the pyre and leaves the cremation grounds. The others follow.
At a gas-fueled crematorium, sacred wood and ghee are placed inside the coffin with the body. Where permitted, the body is carried around the chamber, and a small fire is lit in the coffin before it is consigned to the flames. The cremation switch then is engaged by the chief mourner.
6. Return Home; Ritual Impurity
Returning home, all bathe and share in cleaning the house. A lamp and water pot are set where the body lay in state. The water is changed daily, and pictures remain turned to the wall. The shrine room is closed, with white cloth draping all icons.
During these days of ritual impurity, family and close relatives do not visit others’ homes, though neighbors and relatives bring daily meals to relieve the burdens during mourning. Neither do they attend festivals and temples, visit swamis, nor take part in marriage arrangements. Some observe this period up to one year. For the death of friends, teachers or students, observances are optional.
While mourning is never suppressed or denied, scriptures admonish against excessive lamentation and encourage joyous release. The departed soul is acutely conscious of emotional forces directed at him. Prolonged grieving can hold him in earthly consciousness, inhibiting full transition to the heaven worlds. In Hindu Bali, it is shameful to cry for the dead.
7. Bone-Gathering Ceremony
About 12 hours after cremation, family men return to collect the remains. Water is sprinkled on the ash; the remains are collected on a large tray. At crematoriums the family can arrange to personally gather the remains: ashes and small pieces of white bone called “flowers.” In crematoriums these are ground to dust, and arrangements must be made to preserve them.
Ashes are carried or sent to India for deposition in the Ganges or placed them in an auspicious river or the ocean, along with garlands and flowers.
8. First Memorial
On the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th day, relatives gather for a meal of the deceased’s favorite foods. A portion is offered before his photo and later ceremonially left at an abandoned place, along with some lit camphor. Customs for this period are varied. Some offer pinda (rice balls) daily for nine days. Others combine all these offerings with the following sapindikarana rituals for a few days or one day of ceremonies.
9. 31st-Day Memorial
On the 31st day, a memorial service is held. In some traditions it is a repetition of the funeral rites. At home, all thoroughly clean the house. A priest purifies the home, and performs the sapindikarana, making one large pinda (representing the deceased) and three small, representing the father, grandfather and greatgrandfather. The large ball is cut in three pieces and joined with the small pindas to ritually unite the soul with the ancestors in the next world. The pindas are fed to the crows, to a cow or thrown in a river for the fish. Some perform this rite on the 11th day after cremation. Others perform it twice: on the 31st day or (11th, 15th, etc.) and after one year. Once the first sapindikarana is completed, the ritual impurity ends. Monthly repetition is also common for one year.
10. One-Year Memorial
At the yearly anniversary of the death (according to the moon calendar), a priest conducts the shraddha rites in the home, offering pinda to the ancestors. This ceremony is done yearly as long as the sons of the deceased are alive (or for a specified period).
It is now common in India to observe shraddha for ancestors just prior to the yearly Navaratri festival. This time is also appropriate for cases where the day of death is unknown.
Hindu funeral rites can be simple or exceedingly complex. These ten steps, devotedly completed according to the customs, means, and ability of the family, will properly conclude one earthly sojourn of any Hindu soul.
Recommended Resources: Caring for Your own Dead, Lisa Carlson, Upper Access Publishers, PO Box 457, Hinesburg, Vermont 05461. Dialogue with Death, Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press, Box 477, Petaluma, California 94953. Funeral and Other Sacraments After Death, Jnana Prabodhini, 510 Sadashiv Petha, Pune 411 030, India. Grihya Sutras, Sacred Books of the East Series, Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawaharnagar, New Delhi 7, India. Hindu Samskaras, Dr. Raj Bali Pandy, Motilal Banarsidass. Life After Life, Raymond A. Moody, Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036. Meditation and the Art of Dying, Pandit Usharbudh Arya, Himalayan Institute, Honesdale, Pennsylvania 18431. The Transition Called Death, Charles Hampton, Theosophical Publishing House, 306 West Geneva Rd, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. Dilemmas of Life and Death, S. Cromwell Crowley, SUNY Press, Albany, New York 12246.

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** HOW PRAYER WORKS

Spiritual Science Research Foundation 
A  PRAYER: Abstract

In this article we provide an overview on how prayer works. There are two types of prayers – for worldly benefit and for spiritual growth. Accordingly the prayers are answered by a different aspect of God. Spiritual research has shown that even negative energies can answer prayers, to our detriment! One’s spiritual level is the single most important factor in ensuring that one’s prayers are answered. Praying for world peace, while a noble thought, is most likely not to be answered due to lack of spiritual level of the people praying. Paradoxically the people who can really effect change through a single prayer are Saints but They see the futility of praying as they are totally in alignment with God’s will and don’t see it separate from Theirs. Lastly the posture of prayer also contributes in the prayer being answered.

Table of contents

1. Introduction to the mechanism of prayer

2. How are prayers answered? What is the mechanism?

2.1 Who answers our prayers?

2.2 How are prayers answered?

3. When do our prayers work?

4. What decides the effectiveness of one’s prayer?

4.1 The spiritual level of a person and prayer

5. What is the best posture for prayer?

5.1 Explanation Stage 1 of prayer posture (mudraa)

5.2 Explanation Stage 2 of prayer posture (mudraa)

5.2.1 Correct posture of the head while praying

5.3 When praying with spiritual emotion

5.4 Does it mean that every time we pray we should take this position?

5.5 Comparative effectiveness of prayer positions

6. Key summary points on the mechanism of prayer

1. Introduction to the mechanism of prayer

When faced with difficult or insurmountable situations in day-to-day life like loss of a valuable, incurable illness, major financial problem, etc. people pray to God or to an aspect of Him, also known as a deity. These are prayers with material or worldly expectations.

Seekers of God whose main focus in life is spiritual growth also pray regularly to God, not only in difficult situations but even in day-to-day situations. The prayers however are not about worldly expectations but about their spiritual growth and are said as a part of their spiritual practice.

This article explains the mechanism of how both varieties of prayers are answered.

To understand this article better please read:

It is important to note that when there is any problem or difficulty in life, the root cause can be physical, mental or spiritual in nature. Research carried out by SSRF shows that up to 80% of problems in life have their root cause in the spiritual realm. Destiny and departed ancestors are two very important factors among the spiritual causes of problems in life.

2. How are prayers answered? What is the mechanism?

2.1 Who answers our prayers?

  • The following diagram shows who answers our prayers depending on the type of prayer. Generally the prayer differs as per the spiritual level of the person. For example a person who is at a 30% spiritual level will more often than not pray for worldly things. A person at the 50% spiritual level will more often than not pray for his spiritual progress. Accordingly the prayers are answered by various subtle energies in the Universe. What is interesting is that even negative energies answer prayers either where harm is requested and or to entrap a person under their influence by initially granting their wishes. For example, as shown in the diagram below, a person who prays for the death of another person will be helped by a negative subtle entity from the 4th Region of Hell. Prayers for worldly benefit are generally responded to by lower deities or lower positive energies. Prayers for spiritual growth are responded to by higher level deities and higher positive energies. .

How answers what type of prayers?

  • When we make a prayer with expectation such as asking for a job or overcoming an illness, to God or a specific deity, our prayers as stated earlier are answered by lower level deities or lower positive energies. Let’s take the example of a person who has prayed intensely for a job. If it is in the person’s destiny to be without a job for 5 years, then the lower positive energy or the lower level deity can answer the prayer by pushing out this five year jobless period to somewhere later in the person’s life. Thus the person still has to go through a phase of being jobless. (This is because regardless of anything one has to undergo one’s destiny; it can only be overcome by one’s spiritual practice.)
  • Sometimes higher level deities also help the worldly situation of a seeker if it is causing an obstacle in his spiritual growth.

2.2 How are prayers answered?

  • When a person prays, he remembers God intensely and has an intimate dialogue with Him about issues very close to his heart. By the law of reflex action, God also feels closer to him.
  • Prayers have the ability to activate the deity principles (aspects of God) in the Universe. The subtlest frequencies are generated when one pays gratitude along with the prayer. These frequencies have the ability to not only activate but also touch the deity; hence the deity principle is activated faster. This activation of deity principle (aspect of God) results in fulfilment of prayers. The deities bring about the fulfilment of prayers by the power of resolve. Refer to the article on who is a deity?

    Example of prayers followed by gratitude:

    • Lord please let me get this job, I really need it. Lord, my gratitude for giving me the thought to pray.
    • Lord may I do all activities in this entire day as my spiritual practice. Lord, I express gratitude at your Holy Feet for having given me the thought and for having got this prayer done through me.
  • Prayers attract subtle divine frequencies towards the person and as a result the raja-tama covering around the person is destroyed. Thus the environment surrounding the person becomes comparatively more saattvik. As the subtle basic sattva component in the surrounding environment is increased, the thoughts of the person are reduced and they also become saattvik. This is because the mind is influenced by the external environment.
  • SheathsPrayer increases the particles of the subtle basic sattva component in the vital body sheath. When we pay gratitude the particles of the subtle basic sattva component in the mental body sheath increase. Thus prayer complemented with gratitude results in spiritual purification of the vital body and mental body sheaths.For further information about the vital and mental body, refer to – “What are we comprised of?”Because of spiritual purification of the vital body sheath and mental body sheath, the impressions in both the sheaths begin to be destroyed. As the impressions are reduced thoughts about oneself are minimised and attraction towards worldly things (Maayaa) decreases and this leads to increase in desire for God and a yearning to merge with Him. Also as both sheaths are purified negative energies cannot enter the body.Refer to the article on – How chanting helps to purify the impressions in our mind.
  • When we pray we accept our inability to solve a problem ourselves and hence in seeing ourselves as lesser, our ego is reduced. With a reduction in ego there is a temporary rise in spiritual level. This causes a temporary increase in subtle basic sattva component. Further when we pay gratitude it generates humility in us which has an even greater positive effect on our spiritual level. Hence our communion with God increases. This rise in the subtle basic sattva component itself increases our capacity to overcome or bear the problem.

3. When do our prayers work?

In our life, 65% of events happen as per destiny. Destined events are those events that we have no control over. Please refer to the article on destiny and wilful action.

Destined events good and bad are bound to happen in our lives. Bad destined events may be an illness or a bad marriage. The average person mainly prays to God when bad events happen in his life. He prays to God to relieve him of the bad event. However we find that our prayers are not always answered. Refer to the article – Destiny as a spiritual root cause of difficulties in life

So what is the law? When does prayer override a bad destined event; so that with the prayer the event itself does not happen or at least we are insulated from it?

The rule of thumb is

  • If the prayer is stronger than the intensity of the destined event then the prayer will be answered
  • If the intensity of the destiny is stronger than the prayer, then the prayer will be answered partially or not at all.

4. What decides the effectiveness of one’s prayer?

The following factors add to the effectiveness of the prayer

  • Spiritual level of the person praying – the higher the spiritual level the more effective is one’s prayer
  • Quality of prayer – whether the prayer is mechanical or heartfelt or with spiritual emotion (bhaava) of the seeker
  • For what is he praying (i.e. whether for himself or others) – When we pray for others the spiritual strength required is much more. The more the number of people in society intended to be affected by the event, the greater is the spiritual strength required to effect the desired result. Only Saints of a higher order can effect change in society.
  • Ego – Lower ego contributes to the effectiveness of prayer
  • What prayer posture (mudraa) is a person using? This becomes a major factor for the majority of people as the above factors are lesser in most people.

4.1 The spiritual level of a person and prayer

The spiritual level of a person praying is one of the main criteria in deciding the effectiveness of the prayer.

  • For seekers above the 60% spiritual level, prayer is not required. They act from the spiritual emotion/feeling that ‘Let everything happen as per God’s will.’ They actually experience that everything in their live is happening and is provided for by God’s grace. Their mind is constantly in a state of gratitude to God. Once this state is achieved prayer is not needed.
  • Prayers of people who are below the 30% spiritual level lack potency and at best they provide them with only psychological benefit. This is because the covering of ego is too great for their prayers to reach the deity principle.
  • Thus we can see that prayer works most effectively for people between the spiritual level of 30-60%.

Refer to article on ‘Breakdown of world’s population by spiritual level’.

From time to time we hear a call by some people to gather and pray for world peace or for a noble cause such as reduction in global warming. From the perspective of actual results, this is at best a psychological effort. This is so because major world events have a strong spiritual basis and can only be overcome by spiritual efforts of highly evolved beings such as Saints of a higher order. Even if millions of people (of average spiritual level) get together and make the same prayer for a major world happening, it is akin to many ants trying to lift a boulder.

Note: Some people may think that if Saints can effect global change, then why don’t they orchestrate world peace or a reduction in global warming? The paradox is that while Saints have the spiritual strength to influence world events, they have the spiritual emotion that God only knows best. Also as they are in the ‘observer state’ (saakshibhaav), they by their very nature do not interfere in God’s plan and are in complete accordance with His plan. They have the complete awareness that as per God’s plan everything happens according to individual and collective destiny. (Destined events are those events in our life which happen due to our past actions, either in this very birth or in our previous births.)

5. What is the best posture for prayer?

Through spiritual research, SSRF has identified and recommends the following mudraa or posture that is most conducive to gain the maximum divine energy through prayer.

The following subtle diagrams show the two stages in this mudraa (posture) and what actually happens at a spiritual level when one prays

5.1 Explanation Stage 1 of prayer posture (mudraa)

Stage 1 of prayer posture

The first stage in this mudraa is raising one’s hands in prayer with the thumbs gently touching the mid-brow region or the Aadnyaa chakra (the spiritual energy centre at the mid-brow region). It is best to begin praying after we are in this position.

When we bow our head in this prayer position, it awakens the spiritual emotion of surrender in us. This in turn activates the appropriate subtle frequencies of deities from the Universe. These divine frequencies come in through our finger tips which act as receptors. These divine frequencies are then channelised into our body through the thumb to the Aadnyaa chakra (the spiritual energy centre at the mid-brow region). The result is an increase in the positive spiritual energy in us which makes us feel lighter or gives relief from symptoms of physical or mental distress.

5.2 Explanation Stage 2 of prayer posture (mudraa)

Stage 2 of prayer posture

After one finishes his prayer, he should assume the second mudraa (posture) as shown in the diagram above. This means that instead of bringing his hands in prayer down immediately, they are to be placed in the mid-chest region in such a way that the wrists touch the chest. This facilitates the process of more completely imbibing the Divine Consciousness of the deity principle. So initially the Divine Consciousness of the deity principle that had entered the finger tips now also gets transmitted to the region of chest, the seat of the Anaahat chakra. Just like the Aadnyaa chakra, the Anaahat chakra also absorbs sattva frequencies. By touching the wrists to the chest, the Anaahat chakra is activated and it helps in absorbing more sattva frequencies. When activated, the Anaahat chakra awakens a seeker’s spiritual emotion and devotion.

In this stage of the prayer mudraa, one should be introspective and contemplate upon the experience of being in God’s presence.

5.2.1 Correct posture of the head while praying

Correct posture when praying

Final prayer position

Points to note:

  • Body should be bowed and not erect
  • Fingers should be parallel to the forehead. Fingers should not be stiff but relaxed.
  • Fingers should be touching each other – not spread apart
  • Thumb should be lightly touching the area of the Aadnyaa chakra
  • Hands need to be gently pressed together – slight space between the palms. In case of seekers above 50% spiritual level, no space is required between the palms.

5.3 When praying with spiritual emotion

The following subtle diagram shows what happens when a person at 50% spiritual level prays with spiritual emotion. The main thing to note is that the people in the vicinity also derive the benefit of the Divine Consciousness accessed by that person. (Refer to the part of the diagram which shows 5% of frequencies of Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) transmitted outside the body.) This is why quite often it has been observed that when people pray with spiritual emotion, the spiritual emotion in others in the vicinity too gets activated.

Prayer with spiritual emotion

5.4 Does it mean that every time we pray we should take this position?

If one is at a higher spiritual level (above 50%) divine subtle (intangible) frequencies begin to be received directly through the Brahmarandhra itself. The Brahmarandhra is a subtle opening above the Sahasraar Chakra (as per the spiritual science of Kundalini yoga) that has access to the Universal Mind and Intellect. This subtle opening is closed in people of a lower spiritual level. The primary factor that helps the opening of the Brahmarandhra is a lower level of ego. When in this phase of our spiritual growth the need for the prayer mudraa as explained above becomes less and less.

However if a person between the spiritual level of 50% – 80% complements his prayer with the recommended mudraa, then he gets the benefit of additional Divine Consciousness. This additional benefit is 30% more in the case of a person at the 50% spiritual level and it proportionately become less and less as the spiritual level increases.

Since most people are not of a high spiritual level they are unable to receive divine frequencies through the Brahmarandhra. Most people (level 30-60%) are however able to receive subtle frequencies through their finger tips (though to a much lesser extent) as our finger tips are very sensitive to receiving or sending out subtle energy. For this section of people it is best that they do utilise the prayer mudraa suggested above to make a prayer. All other factors remaining equal, by praying using the recommended mudraa a person will add 20% to the effectiveness of their prayer as opposed to not using this mudraa.

5.5 Comparative effectiveness of prayer positions

We are exposed to various hand actions when praying. When conducting spiritual research into the various hand postures (mudraas) related to prayer, the following were our findings in terms of efficacy.

Efficacy of varioius prayer positions

Footnotes:

  1. 100% is getting full spiritual benefit which results in God realisation
  2. Level of the manifest deity principle, i.e. higher, medium or lower level deity
  3. Percentage of deity principle accessed
  4. This shows the possibility of negative energy interfering with the prayer to reduce a seeker’s faith. The negative energies interfere with the prayer so that the prayer is not answered thereby undermining the person’s faith.

Do try a subtle experiment by yourself wherein you say the same prayer using each of the above mudraas separately.

In some cases people hold hands and pray. This is also a spiritually incorrect practice as if the person beside one is affected by negative energy it is more likely that the black energy be transferred to you.

Refer to the article on ‘How much of the world’s population is affected by negative energies?’

6. Key summary points on the mechanism of prayer

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** Why Did Buddhism Vanish?

Why Did Buddhism Vanish from India?

Esamskriti.com has  listed 6 reasons plus

7.  words of Swami Vivekanand and

8.  words of Dr B. R. Ambedkar

  1. The main cause was the neglect by the monks of this life and its values. While the Buddhist monks realized that everyone was not fit or could not become a monk or nun, they paid attention only to the life of a monk and not to the life of a householder. Which meant that they focused on the life of a monk, which is a life of inwardness as compared to that of a householder, which is one of outwardness. Now, both these aspects need examination, study, guidance and control. It is not enough to tell a householder that this existing life is only a stepping-stone to the life of a monk. Why and how is it so and what relation it bears to realities has to be explained. Instead Buddhist philosophers began to teach that this life was nothing but a value of tears and misery. While some forms of Vedanta taught the same philosophy, the attitude of Mimamsa (philosophy of action) and the Epics saved Hinduism from the fate that overtook Buddhism in India. Many great Indians were impacted by spiritual teachings but “unless there were some codes extolling the values of the world, they tended to become one-sidedly inwardly “.
  2. Another reason was the admission of women into monasteries and the more or less indiscriminate conversion of men, women into monks and nuns. While true renunciation and celibacy were appreciated, people wanted to see them well practiced. When people supported these monasteries with their hard-earned money, they did not want its residents to live in luxury and enjoyment, virtues, which were condemned. If monks and nuns had lived by the rules that they were taught, people would have supported them inspite of any hardship that they had to face.
  3. The next reason was the deterioration in the political and economic life of the country. Monasteries were supported by the people and the Kings e.g. Ashoka. Now, when a dynasty fell or a king died, the next in line might not give the same degree of support. The king’s thinkers realized that their defeat was due to the loss of their best fighters, leaders, who had become monks. This made the country an easy prey to the foreign invader. Coincidence or otherwise, India’s first foreign invasion by the Greeks took place in 327 B.C. a couple of centuries after Emperor Asoka’s peace movement.
  4. Buddhism existed in the monasteries and unlike the dharmaasutras (ethical codes) lacked a moral code. So when monasteries disappeared, Buddhism disappeared. The invasion of the Muslims and the ruthless destruction of Buddhist monasteries extinguished the lamp of Buddhism in North India. The wanton destruction of the great monastery of Uddandapura (Bihar) and the wholesale massacre of its monks might make us visualize how the great monasteries of Nalanda, Vikramasila and others met with a tragic end.
  5. The extreme asceticism practiced and popularized by both Buddhism and Jainism disturbed the social life of India. Magadha, the seat of many imperial dynasties, became Bihar, the land of monasteries (viharas). There was nothing in these religions to emphasize the importance of life in this world and its values. These causes led to a bloodless revolt by the orthodox in the eight-century a.d. The revolt was staged from two sides, the Brahmanic and the Upanisadic. Kumarila was the leader of the former and Sankara of the latter. Kumarila succeeded in reviving a strong positive attitude towards the world and its values and all that could be called human and activistic. On the other hand, Sankara said that everything that was good in Buddhism already existed in the Upanishads. In fact, Gaudapada, the grand teacher of Sankara, unified the current spanda (vibration) doctrine of Saivism, the vijnana (mind) doctrine of the Buddhists and the Atman doctrine of the Upanishads in his Mandukyakarikas and made the way easy for Sankara to assimilate and absorb Buddhism. Thus, there remained no justification for its separate existence in India; it had no social ethics and consequently, no hold over society. It could not stand alone as a spiritual discipline as it was shown to be part of the Upanishads.
  6. Quoting Swami Vivekananda ” Thus, inspite of preaching mercy to animals, inspite of the sublime ethical religion, inspite of the discussions about the existence or non-existence of a permanent soul, the whole building of Buddhism tumbled down piece-meal and the ruin was simply hideous. The most hideous ceremonies, the most obscene books that human hands ever wrote or the human brain ever conceived, have all been the creation of the degraded Buddhism. The Tartars and the Baluchis and all the hideous races of mankind that came to India, became Buddhists and assimilated with us, brought their national customs and the whole of our national life became a huge page of the most horrible, bestial customs. Sankara came and showed that the real essence of Buddhism and that of Vedanta are not very different but that the disciples did not understand the master and have degraded themselves, denied the existence of soul and one God and have become atheists. That was what Sankara showed and all the Buddhists began to come back to their old religion”.
  7. Buddhism adopted various thoughts and beliefs between the first century B.C. and the sixth century a.d. Some Buddhists adopted the tantric sadhanas and distorted them for the sake of enjoyment and comfort. The highly advanced philosophy of tantric sadhana is difficult to understand without the guidance of a proper teacher. This undigested knowledge of tantra, including the use of wine, meat, fish, gestures and physical union led these Buddhist followers to their downfall. Also, the distortions of Buddhism produced a variety of schools, which were not pure Buddhist schools but contained a variety of practices. To give you an idea of the syntheses between Vedanta and Buddhism, the concept of Maya in Vedanta in borrowed from Buddhism. Sankara accepted the logical connotation of Maya just as it was given by the Buddhists. Jainism was saved by tacitly allowing its members to become part of the Hindu fold by adopting rules of conduct of the third caste, namely Vaisyas or traders.
  8. Quoted from Dr Ambedkar - Life & Mission by Dhananjay Keer’. Dr B R Ambedkar addressed delegates of Young Men’s Buddhist Association in May 1950 at Colombo on ‘Rise & fall of Buddhism in India’ – ‘Buddhism in its material force had disappeared. But as a spiritual force it still exists’. As regards Hinduism he said it went through three phases, Vedic religion, Brahmanism and Hinduism. It was during the Brahmanism period that Buddhism was born. It was not true that after the days of Shankaracharya Buddhism was dead in India. It was going on for years together. In fact Shankaracharya and his teacher were both Buddhists he added. While he was digging material on the subject for the decline/vanish of Buddhism from India the reasons were – adoption of some rituals & practices from Buddhism by the Vaishnava & Shaiva cults, which were vociferous in their propaganda against Buddhism. During the invasion by Allauddin Khilji thousands of priests in Bihar were massacred and consequently some of them fled for their lives to Tibet, China & Nepal. In the meanwhile, the majority of Buddhists went over to Hinduism. The third cause was that Buddhism was difficult to practice while Hinduism was not. Reason four was that the political atmosphere in India had been unfavorable to the advancement of Buddhism he concluded.

But according to Hindu scholars the fall of Buddhism was due to many reasons. Owing to universalistic ambition its spread was everywhere but it had geographical center nowhere. It discarded all national gods & godmen & proclaimed Buddha the greatest of all gods. As long as it reacted as a reformative flank in India, Buddhism gained ground but when it began to act against the Vedic religion, which was the national religion of the majority, Buddhism lost sympathy in India. The Vedic Hindus fought the Muslims bravely and did not flee to any other country. But the Buddhists when attacked, having a center nowhere, fled to different countries and even it is said acclaimed the invasion of India by non-Hindus with the ringing of bells. Besides its godlessness, its over-emphasis on redemption, its sad tone, its unconcern with the world & neglect of family checked rather than fostered enterprise. Quote ends. http://www.esamskriti.com/html/essay_index.asp?cat_name=prabuddha&cid=&sid=201

**************************************************************************

Buddhism: The FULFILLMENT OF HINDUISM
Vivekananda,Chicago Addresses
26th September 1893

I am not a Buddhist, as you have heard, and yet I am. If China, or
Japan, or Ceylon follow the teachings of the Great Master, India
worships him as God incarnate on earth.  You have just now heard
that I am going to criticize Buddhism, but by that I wish you to
understand only this.

Far be it from me to criticize him whom I
worship as God incarnate on earth.

But our views about Buddha are that he was not understood
properly by his disciples.  The relation between Hinduism
(by Hinduism, I mean the religion of the Vedas) and what is
called Buddhism at the present day, is nearly the same
as between Judaism and Christianity
.
Jesus Christ was a Jew, and Shakya Muni was a Hindu.
The Jews rejected Jesus Christ, nay, crucified him, and the
Hindus have accepted Shakya Muni as God and worship him.
But the real difference that we Hindus want to show
between modern Buddhism and what we should understand as the
teachings of Lord Buddha, lies principally in this:  Shakya Muni
came to preach nothing new.
He also, like Jesus, came to fulfill and not to destroy.

Only, in the case of Jesus, it was the old people,
the Jews, who did not understand him, while in the case of
Buddha, it was his own followers who did not realize the importance
of his teachings, As the Jew did not understand the fulfillment of
the Old Testament, so the Buddhist did not understand the
fulfillment of the truths of the Hindu religion.
Again, I repeat,
Shakya Muni came not to destroy, but he was the fulfillment, the
logical conclusion, the logical  development  of the  religion  of
the Hindus.

The religion of the Hindus is divided into two parts, the
ceremonial and the spiritual; the spiritual portion is specially
studied by the monks.

In that there is no caste. A man from the highest caste and a man
from the lowest may become a monk in India and the two castes
become equal. In the religion there is no caste; caste is simply a
social institution, Shakya Muni himself was a monk, and it was his
glory that he had the large-heartedness to bring out the truths how
the hidden Vedas and throw them broadcast all over the world.  He
was the first being in the world who brought missionarizing into
practice – nay, he was the first to conceive the idea of proselytizing.

The great glory of the Master lay in his wonderful sympathy for
everybody, especially for the ignorant and the poor. Saint of his
disciples were Brahmins. When Buddha was teaching, Sanskrit was no
more the spoken language in India.  It was then only in the books
of the learned.  Some of the Buddha’s Brahmin disciples wanted to
translate his teachings into Sanskrit, but he distinctly told them,
‘I am for the poor, for the people: let me speak in the tongue of
the people.’  And so to this day the great bulk of his teachings
are in the vernacular of that day in India.

Whatever may be the position of philosophy, whatever may the
position of metaphysics, so long as there is such a thing as death
in the world, so long as there is such a thing as weakness in the
human heart, so long as there is a cry going out of the heart of
man in his very weakness, there shall be a faith in God.

On the philosophic side, the disciples of the Great Master dashed
themselves against the eternal rocks of the Vedas and could not
crush them, and on the other side they took away from the nation
that eternal God to which everyone, man or woman, clings so fondly.
And the result was that Buddhism had to die a natural death in
India.  At the present day there is not one who calls himself a
Buddhist in India, the land of its birth. ( Lecture was given in 1893).

But at the same time, Brahminism lost something – that reforming
zeal, that wonderful sympathy and charity for everybody, that
wonderful leaven which Buddhism had brought to the masses and which
had rendered Indian society so great that a Greek historian who
wrote about India of that time was led to say that no Hindu was
known to tell untruth and no Hindu woman was known to be unchaste.

Hinduism cannot live without Buddhism, nor Buddhism without
Hinduism.
Then realize what the separation has shown to us, that
the Buddhists cannot stand without the brain and philosophy of the
Brahmins, nor the Brahmin without the heart of the Buddhist.

This separation between the Buddhists and the Brahmins is the
cause of the downfall of India. That is why India is populated by three
hundred millions of beggars, and that is why India has been the
slave of conquerors for the last thousand years.
Let us then join the wonderful intellect of the Brahmin with the heart,
the noble soul, the wonderful humanizing power of the Great Master.

RELATED STORIES:

Towards Buddhism @ http://members.porchlight.ca/blackdog/newbu.htm

Buddhism: by Steve Knapp @ http://www.stephen-knapp.com/buddhism_and_its_vedic_connections.htm

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** Science and Cultural Dilemma

Science and Cultural Dilemma

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- Kishan Bhatia

This article discusses how three dominant global cultures – Vedic, Christianity and Islam – accept scientific truths. Christianity used to preach a dogma – Christian beliefs supersede scientific facts. They experienced reforms – starting with the renaissance era that changed Christianity for better. Not so with Islam. Vedic culture predates both Christianity and Islam and it has been free of a dogma – religious beliefs supersede scientific facts – from the start, about four to seven millenniums ago.Reforms among “the people of book” in the history of Christians and Muslims took opposite turns. Starting with 9th century in Islamic lands the Muslim rulers, clerics and elites dominated with a mindset frozen in the past primarily followed Sunna (traditions) documented in Koran, Hadith and Shariah. The Renaissance era (14th to 16th centuries) in Europe was marked by the revival of learning based on classical sources, the rise of courtly and papal patronage, the development of perspective in painting, and the advancements of science.In a struggle between the protestant movement and Catholics, the reformist Protestants managed to rid of dominance by fundamentalists Catholic Church. It followed a period of renaissance to bring about reforms in Christian social, cultural and political norms. With a separation of the Church and state, (not without some outrageous attempted suppressions of scientific discoveries like that of Galileo in a belief that Christian religion supersedes sciences) in many instances reformist Christians were able to incorporate reasons to evolve into a modern culture and society. Unlike political practices in the Muslim majority Islamic states, the Christian majority constitutional democratic states in the West and non-Christian majority India guarantees secular ideas of individual freedoms, equality of sexes, and political evolution in keeping with continuous changes in modern time.In a fifth century book, “City of God: Against the Pagans,” Augustine (ca 354 – 430AD) considered non-Christians to be pagans. Augustine was an early medieval Christian theologian and a judge in imperial Rome in Africa. He fought against both Donatist Christians and a variety of pagans. He advocated use of force to convert people and died when invading Vandals did to his church what he and his friends had earlier done to pagan temples. This marked the fulfillment of an earlier pagan prophecy that Christianity would disappear from Africa.Muslims are in denial that Islam is a derivative of Jewish-Christian theology and associated practices as they evolved over last fifteen hundred years. Many Islamic cultural and social practices on moral and ethics issues are connected to what Augustine advocated and institutionalized into Christian social and cultural practices. Augustine considered Arabs to be pagans and the prophet Mohammad (ca. 570 – 632AD) was unlikely not to have been influenced by atrocities committed by Augustine and his friends on tribal Arabs.

A question is why thinking in philosophy, mathematics, and science ceased in the Arab Muslim world starting about thirteenth century? Answers are history as to why rational explanations are not a part of Arab Islamic interpretations. A medieval scholar, Al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111AD) is one of the most celebrated Persian scholars in the history of Islamic thought and known as Algazel to the western medieval world. In his Tahaful al Falasifa (Destruction of the Philosophy) Al-Ghazali argued against the theology of reason and against earlier philosophers such as Al Farabi and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (see, Dr. S. A. Kamali, Pakistan Philosophical Congress, Lahore, 1958 and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

The basic issue is whether propositions in the realm of beliefs are subject to rational examination? The “Mutazilites” Arabs sought to find rational explanations for articles of faith. They were influential for less than a century (748-827AD) and then they were suppressed until they disappeared from Muslim theological discourse. Arab Muslims have their share of obscurantism.

The winners in this contest, known as Asharites Arabs, opposed the application of reason to matters of religion. They preached conformity to the teachings of the earlier interpreters, and they cultivated prejudice against philosophy and non-religious branches of knowledge. In 1150 Caliph Mustanijid ordered the burning of the philosophical works of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and in 1194 Amir Abu Yusuf al-Mansur, then at Seville (Spain), ordered the burning of the works of another great Muslim philosopher, Ibn Rushd (Averros). Thereafter, further thinking in philosophy, mathematics, and science ceased in the Arab Muslim world.

Dr Muzaffar Iqbal covers various topics related to Islam in general and political Islam in particular in his regular (every Friday) contribution of quantum notes to The News, a Jang publication. In two articles, Roots of Muslim dilemma (March 9 and 16) Dr. Iqbal asserts that Muslims of Islamic Um’mah in 21st century are facing a spiritual, intellectual, and moral decay. He argued that starting 18th century “Muslims came under attack from a civilization built upon ideas, beliefs, and aspirations in direct opposition to their own. Built upon a conception of life and cosmos from which the Divine had been abstracted, modern Western civilization placed human beings at the center of all things and constructed an edifice that makes human reason the measure of all things.”

Vedic civilization predates Western and Muslim civilizations. In recent times, Aryabhata (476 – 550AD) is considered a great mathematician-astronomer of Vedic decent among Indian mathematicians. The 3rd century Bakhshali Manuscript and the commentaries on works of Aryabhata by Bhaskara (Bhashy, ca. 600) and by Nilakantha Somayaji (Aryabhatiya Bhasya, 1465) are some well-known works.

Both Vedic and Western civilizations made significant cultural advances with progress in basic scientific discoveries. Vedic progress in sciences, specifically in mathematics and astronomy stalled starting about a millennium ago with colonization of India by the Turkic invaders from central and north Eurasia but continued in spiritual areas. During Sultanate (950 – ca 1200 AD), Mughal (ca 1500 – 1857 AD) and British (ca 200 years prior to 1947) periods colonizers with political suppressions of about 40 generations inhibited development of a critical mass of critical thinkers to cultivate a scientific mindset that was and is responsible for scientific progress during pre-950 Vedic period and post-1947 independent India, respectively.

Western scientific developments resulted in post-renaissance era, starting in 17th century. The recently developed theories – special theory of relativity (1905), the general theory of relativity (1915) and a unified quantum field theory – coupled with human reasoning powers have potential to rekindle links between mind (soul, spirituality), astronomy and quantum physics of sub-atomic particles. In physics, unified field theory (see 1967 work of Pakistani scientist Dr. Abdus Salam who shared a Nobel Prize with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg; Sheldon Glashow and Howard Georgi proposed the first grand unified theory in 1974) is an attempt to unify all the fundamental forces and the interactions between elementary particles into a single theoretical framework by reconciling the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism in a single field theory.

Modern scientific discoveries are responsible for emergence of a new philosophical outlook on God, humanity and nature. Unlike Islamic dogma based culture with a mindset frozen in past, the humanism changed the Western and Indian (with deep roots in Vedic culture) societies by developing human resources through education in math, sciences, philosophy and logic. This new outlook places human reason at the centre of all things and redefines boundaries of human conduct for modern societies.

Human reasoning has allowed Vedic and Western civilizations to make rapid advances through scientific and technological developments to modernize social, cultural, economic and political norms. In case of Western societies, it led to modernization of some basic Christian theological ideas – such as sun, not the earth is the center of universe. The solar based Vedic calendar predates all other solar based calendars. Technological advances in military sciences enabled Western societies to manage political domination of the globe including that of the Islamic Um’mah.

In scientific areas, developments of quantum physics and the unified quantum field theory have contributed to a deeper understanding of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, which now occupies center stage of progress in the basic applied scientific technologies.

The phenomenon called gravitational waves was predicted by Einstein once he figured out that gravity was a warping of space and time by matter. Einstein predicted any mass changing speed or direction as it moved through space would produce gravitational waves like ripples on the water.

The 1993 Nobel Prize was awarded to two scientists – Prof. Joseph Taylor and his student, Russel Hulse – for proving in mid 1970s Einstein’s gravitational wave theory. They discovered in space a pair of neutron stars that were spiraling towards each other very fast – stars rotated around each other once every eight hours – which allowed the two scientists to determine that the stars were losing energy in a way that Einstein had predicted would happen if they were producing gravitational waves.

Einstein had previously predicted the famous E = mc2 equation that empirically related tangible matter to intangible energy. Vedic people consider the tangible body and intangible mind (soul, consciousness) as a whole simultaneously representing material and spiritual life. Mind is energy that intuitively produces ripples of reasoning to bring about changes leading to modernization of sciences, both hard sciences like physics and soft sciences like political science. Did Einstein light the trail head of spirituality through science?

LASER became a reality because scientist were able to develop technologies for Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation to generate coherent (holding together as one) light by electronic energy transfer of an ordinary beam of light, which is incoherent by nature. Like ordinary beam of light human mind is also incoherent meaning mind in ordinary state is not holding together as one or is not focused. Long before technology for electronic energy transfer of light to generate Lasers was developed; Vedic scholars had developed the meditation technology to enable humans to turn incoherent mind to a focused mind. Among many examples of extraordinary achievements through meditation most famous is that of Gautam Buddha who emancipated through his power of meditation. Dr. Mani Bhaumik is the inventor of LESIK technology used for corrective eye surgery and he describes in his book, Code name God (Penguin Books, 2005) how through meditation he was able to focus on development of LESIK technology, an application of Lasers.

Recent developments in the unified quantum field theory are likely to show a way to scientifically affirm a belief, “God is One,” which otherwise are three small words. Unlike politically motivated elites, theologians and orthodox fundamentalists, scientists seek empirical validation of a belief in one source of creation. With developments in the unified quantum field theory science is moving closer to the heart of the matter – do we still need God? No matter any specific religious faith or preferences the irrefutable truth at the heart of each religious tradition is “God is One.” Given one God the differences emphasized by proponents of different faith among people of the book or not are no more than a scientifically untenable dogma.

So much ritual, so many gods and demi-gods represented by the people of book or not, and yet Vedic belief system, especially Advaita manifests a single godhead, Brahman, and the Brahman itself – like fabric of universe – is undivided, unchanging, and all pervading. It is from Vedas that world first learned the notion that God is One. All separateness, including the separateness of our own selves, simply disguises the underlying unity of things.

Vedic credo – Aham Brahmasmi meaning I am Brahman – provides the sense of cosmic kinship. The belief that each one of us completes creation and that, correspondingly, God is incomplete without us is at the root of Indian life and may help explain Indian greeting of namaste, namaskar or namho aste signifying that I see God in you.

The feeling with namaste, namaskar or namho aste is no different than a statement attributed to Jesus Christ, “I and the Father are one.” Science gives us means to see in dimensions beyond the familiar; among them the realm of invisible reality. Einstein with his famous equation E = mc2 mathematically linked matter (a concrete entity) and energy (an abstract substance). If the body and mind comprises as a whole that is simultaneously material and spiritual then are we soul with bodies or bodies with soul? The difference is critical for if spirituality is primary and body secondary then in such a universe religious differences are untenable.

Politically motivated elite, theologians and orthodox fundamentalist with a mindset frozen in past and ignorant of scientific or mathematical logic propagate unscientific religious concepts – dogmas – to detriment of human progress, global peace and cultivation of spiritual love. According to Einstein religion without science is blind and science without religion is lame. As complex organisms grow from a single cell, so can complex philosophies grow from a single idea?

Prof C. K. Raju in a book, The Eleven Pictures of Time, (Sage Publications, New Delhi, London, 2003) brings together the physics, philosophy and politics of time beliefs to shed light on human progress starting with Vedic period. Prof. Raju’s powerful ideas can enlighten those engaged in understanding the roots of cultural, social, political and religious dilemmas of three dominant global cultures.

The qualities of heart are peace, freedom, love and spirituality. In that spirit I bow to you all, namho aste!

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