Monthly Archives: February 2018

Literature: Satavahana Hala’s Gathasaptasati

Having previously commenced our study of Classical Indic Literature, we now take our first look at Classical Indic Poetry. Appropriately, our first selection is from Andhra itself and dates back to the glorious Empire of the Satavahanas.  This great dynasty featured mighty Conquerors such as Gautamiputra Satakarni and is famed for the Art & Architecture of Amaravati. However, it also produced talented poets such as Hala, an earlier dynast. He was the compiler of and contributor to the Poetic Anthology Gathasaptasati (known as Gaha Sattasai in the Maharashtri Prakrit in which it is composed).

Translated into many Indian, European, and Middle Eastern languages, the Sapta sati (also known as Gaha koso—or ‘Treasury of Gathas’)  is considered to be one of the earliest surviving anthologies of Classical Indic Poetry.

Composition

While Sanskrit reads in an highly refined and courtly fashion, Prakrit is far more bucolic and earthy, fitting for the red earth of the Krishna-Godavari. Indeed, if Sanskrit literally means “refined”, Prakrit literally means “natural” and “common”. As such, while composed by none other than a great king, this work is appropriately written from the common woman’s perspective. Indeed, it is a fitting riposte to all those who seek to brand Classical Indic Literature as “elitist” and disconnected from the masses.  Rather, it intimates a close awareness and love for village life and the village itself. While it is indeed Love Poetry, it is as much an ode to the Dakshinapatha (Deccan), its rivers, its plant life, and its rural life. Gardens, assorted flowers, maidens, ploughmen, hunters, and sisters are all mentioned and appreciated. Indeed, it is a celebration of the common life.  From festivals, to bucolic happenings, to sylvan hideaways, to the qualities of good men and good women, we are given a a snapshot of the time.

Replete with imagery, the Godavari River itself is treated by the Gathasaptasati as a metaphor for the flow of love and desire. The banks of the nadi are viewed as a near aphrodisiac.  It has, with good reason, been called “a woman’s book, a compendium of her gestures, utterances and silences“. [1]

Foreign commentators have had a tendency to over-emphasise the wanton and libertine while ignoring the loyal and chaste. Here is counter-evidence to their claims:

house-wives entreat people going to the places of work of their husbands, to ask their husbands to return home earlier, or if they are literate they themselves send to their husband love-letters with similar request.”[2, xvii]

“Even a wife of noble family used to keep in writing on a wall of her house the last  promised day of return to her husband (2.70). Such a lady often repeats many a time the words of her husband sent to her through a messenger (2.98)” [2, xix]

“In this way we come across many a passage suggestive of deep love on the part of husband & the wife” [2, xvii]

There is a full spectrum to love, and Sringara-kavya necessarily will cover both the negative and the positive. While it is true, in general, classical poets for the sake of auspiciousness (mangalam), prefer to focus on successful and faithful lovers, Haala gives us a full picture of the society, any society. The gossipy and guilty village-woman, the youthful ploughman, and the faithful wife and husband, all are captured here in verse.

Contrary to modern characterisations, kavya literature is neither uniformly prudish nor prurient. It very much runs the gamut, as do Hala’s 700 single verse poems (Sapta – satti), in Gatha form (the Prakrit counterpart to the Sanskrit Sloka and the Apabramsha Doha). Satakas are famous in Telugu literature, and the pre-Literary Telugu period of the Andhras was no different. A gatha, or song, consists of as many as 27 different variations, but is generally structured with 30 matras (syllabic instants) in the first line, and 27 in the second line. It is composed in the traditional Arya meter.

Elsewhere a prakrit gatha is defined as:

Pathamam vaaraha mattaa veeae atthaaraehi samjuttaa |

jaha patamam taha teeam dapancha-vihoosiyaa gaahaa ||

That is called a gaaha or gaathaa which contains twelve maatraas in the first foot, eighteen in the second, again twelve in the third & fifteen decorating it in the fourth.” [2,ix]

The Kashmiri literary theorist, Anandavardhana wrote on the importance of dhvani, or resonance, in his suitably titled Dhvanyaloka. According to him, the gatha is the poetic embodiment of dhvani, and he himself was a poet in Prakrit. Indeed, in contrast to the ornamental and elegant Sanskrit of Kalidasa, the Prakrit of Hala et al truly resonates in unadorned yet evocative form. Simple, quick, and powerful.

Filled with vyanjanaa (suggestiveness), it is a work that appeals to the reader not only with sentiment, but with resonant simplicity. Earthy yet profound, rustic yet refined, it is redolent with the full spectrum of romance. At times insightful, at times humourous, at times chiding, and at times ennobling, it is a complete work. 262 authors are thought to have contributed (including 7 women). The Emperor Hala himself is credited with 44 of the 398 slokas. The colophon of each century of poems ends as follows:

Here ends the [first] century of gaathas from amongst the seven centuries, composed by good poets headed by Kavivatsala, which are so dear to the heart of men of taste (or sentiment). [2,23]

Writers such as   Abhinavagupta (Kashmiri commentator), Kuntala (Vakrokti), Mahimabhatta (Vyaktiviveka), and Mammata, the author of the Kavyaprakasa, and others, have all cited this famed poem as examples for their theory. [2, x]. The Bana himself said the following, ostensibly in reference to Hala:

Avinaasinam-agraamyyam-akarot Saatavaahanah|

visuddha-jaatibhih kosam ratnair-iva subhaasithaih||

Just as (a king) collects a treasure which is inexhaustible and worthy of use by refined people, by means of jewels of pure kind, so the Saatavaahan (King) prepared an anthology which is imperishable and un-vulgar, by means of apposite sayings, which abound in pure jaati or Svabhaavikti alamkaara. [2, xi]

The sthayibhava and rasa are undoubtedly Rati and Sringara respectively. The anthology records every day trials and tribulations of Love and the Erotic, as well as the ebb and flow of affection. Indeed, it describes the escapades of various lovers and how they seek each others forgiveness, while others remain loyal. As described in our previous post, merely because the masses fall short of the ideal, should not mean that people should refrain from aspiring to them. Many of the descriptions are indeed erotic, touching on both the romantic and physical nature of love in real life. The poem itself exhorts virtue in those who seek to attract a beloved.

It is by dint of virtues that a (female) person obtains a (male) person who is worthy of being seen with unsatiated looks, who is equally affected
(with his beloved) in weal and woe, who offers good disposition and who is mutually attached to the heart  (99) [2, 23]

Author

Not much is known about Emperor Hala (pronounced Haala). According to Western archaeology he is tentatively dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE (but likely much earlier according to the indigenous Indic Chronology). The 17th Satavahana dynast in the pauranic king lists, Hala himself is called Kavi-vatsala (‘he who has parental affection for poets‘). Considered to be religious, he is famous for his patronage of Prakrit over the more popular and elite Sanskrit of the time. Despite this, the influence of his anthology extended to poets centuries after him, such as Govardhana, who wrote the Sanskrit work, Aryasaptasati . He is mentioned by many other Pan-India litterateurs such as Bana of Harsacarita fame.

Maharashtri Prakrit was considered the finest of all Prakrits, and is appropriately used in this work and many other classical ones. Only a portion of the Gathasaptasati, 44 of the 700 verses, are attributed to the Satavahana Emperor. The remainder are said to have been collected from assorted poets, most anonymous. There were as many as 7 or 8 women poets  in an estimated 261 total, truly making it the poetry of the people.

The selection below, however, gives a only a taste of rati bhava and focuses more on sringara rasa. Enjoy.

Selections

§

Pia-viraho aappia-damsanam aa guruaaien dho vi dukkhaien|

Jie tum karijjasi theeain namo aahijaaie||

Separated from the woman you love,

To sit beside one you do not is

To double your sorrow. I honour

The goodness that brings you. (24)

§

Adrisanena pemmam aaveai ai-damsanena vi aaveai|

Pisuna-jana-jimpaina vi aave ai aimeaa vi aave ai||

Distance destroys love,

So does the lack of it.

Gossip destroys love

And sometimes

It takes nothing

To destroy love. (81)

§

Bahu-pupaph-bharonamiaa-bhoomi-gaa-saaha sunasu vinnatthim|

Rolaa-tad-viaad-kudangam-mahuaa saniaam galijjaasu||

Oh Mahua

Blossomed

On Godavari’s

Arboured bank

Shed

Your flowers

One

After

One (103)

§

Sama-sokakh-paivadadiaanaum kaalena rooda-pemmaanaum|

Mihunaanaum marada jam tham khu jiaai aiaaram muaam ho ai||

Their love by long years secured,

Sharing each other’s joys and sorrows,

Of such two the first to go lives,

It’s the other, dies. (142)

§

Bahu-viha-vilaasa-rasiai surai mahilaanaun ko uvajjhaao|

Sikkhaee aasikkhiaaeen vi savvo nehaanu bandhena||

Bookish lovemaking

Is soon repetitive:

It’s the improvised style

Wins my heart. (274)

§

Rannaau thanam rannaau paaniaam savvaam saam-gaaham|

thaha vi maaun maeen aa aamarananthaaeen pemmaaeen||

Stag and doe

Enter the forest

Separately looking for

Herbage and water,

And stay unparted

Till death. (287)

§

Lajjaa chatthaa seelam aa khandaam aajasa-gosanaa dhinnaa|

Jassa kai nam piaa-sahi so ccheaa jano jano jaaao||

He, for whom I forsook

Shame, chastity, honour,

Now sees me as just

Another woman. (525)

§

Muha-pecchaao paee se saa vi hu savisesa-damsanumbaeeaa|

do vi kaatthaa puhaeen aamahila-purisam va mannannthi||

He looks deeply in her face;

She is sunk in his vision

Thus looking at each other in great joy

As if for them they were all alone in the world. (743)

§

It is available for Purchase today in Telugu and English editions:

Prakruta Gatha Saptasati                                                                           The Prakrit Gatha Saptasati

References:
  1. Mehrotra, Arvind Krishna. The Absent Traveller: Prakrit Love Poetry from the Gathasaptasati of Satavahana Hala. Penguin: Delhi. 2008
  2. Basak, Radhagovinda. The Prakrit Gatha Saptasati. Kolkata: The Asiatic Society. 2010
  3. Peter Khoroche; Herman Tieken (2009), Poems on life and love in ancient India: Hāla’s Sattasaī
  4. Amaresh Datta (1988) Encyclopaedia of Indian literature vol. 2 Chennai: Sahitya Academy
  5. Winternitz, Maurice. History of Indian Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1985


* Numbering diverges from original. Done according to Albrecht Weber's German translation.

Sulbasutras & the Indic Approach to Engineering — 2


Summary

Part-1 focused on the transcendental objective of the Sulba Sutras. Geometrical metaphors and algebraic ideas emerge from the system of correspondences (bandhus) established in the Yagna [3, 4, 5]. This results in a natural unity among seemingly diverse disciplines such as ganita/engineering and Indic art/architecture.

Sulba Sutras & the Indic Approach to Engineering — 1

Geometrical Science and Engineering Principles 

This post is a limited-sample study of the engineering and geometrical principles discernible from the Harappan era through the Sulbasutra period. It is divided into two sections. It may be convenient to use the page jumps provided to navigate through this post.  As always, the references at the end will offer a more comprehensive view of these topics.

Section 1: Harappan Engineering
Section 2: Sulba Vijnana

Harappan Engineering

Although the Saraswati script is yet to reveal all its secrets, the Harappan constructions speak the universal language of Ganita.

In this section, we study how key structural engineering innovations of the Sindhu Saraswati Civilization emerge from kshetraganita. The Harappans made astounding progress in urban planning, sanitation, residential and public works, water resources management, and other areas. The excavations from that time period provide a snapshot of the state of Indic engineering in the 4th-3rd millennium BCE [15, 17].

We distill key points from Michel Danino’s talk at IIT-Madras and other references:

  • Geometry of the Harappan Brick (~3000 BCE)
    • Some length-width-height ratios for bricks are preferable to others depending on the context. The dimensions adopted by Harappan brick-makers were simple and special and in a modern ratio of 1:2:4.
    • This brick geometry results in a structurally effective and economical bond. Summarizing his remarks, Danino states that their brickwork should be termed the Harappan bond rather than the English bond.
    • Multiple researchers have commented on the quality and design of these bricks.   K. N. Dikshit observed [23]: “the bricks used for the building of houses in Mohenjo Daro and Harappa are well burnt and of excellent proportions,  which have excited the admiration of modern engineers in Sind. The most usual size of burnt bricks is 11’’× 5 1/4” or 5 1/2” with a thickness of 2 1/4” to 2 3/4”.
  • Highly polished and level stone segments as building blocks
    • Modularity: Bricks combine to form transverse elements. Highly polished and level stone column segments were combined into vertical pillars. Tapering may enhance stability and aesthetics. The column sections can be crafted elsewhere and easily transported to site and assembled as a pillar to the desired height.
    • Another theory cited in Danino’s talk that needs to be tested is that such segmented stone pillars may better resist earthquakes in a seismically active zone where un-reinforced brick masonry can be vulnerable.
    • Earthquake impact can be represented as a dynamic lateral acceleration  at the base of a structure. A rigid-body monolithic column would transmit the entire impact up to the rest of the structure whereas highly polished segmented sections can shift relative to each other.
  • Harappan wells (~2600 BCE)
    • It is worth studying this example in some detail since this involves a remarkable breakthrough. In Mohenjodaro, the water table was known to be high. Underground infiltration generates pressure on the outside of the well-wall.
    • If regular bricks are used, the pressure on the underground brickwork (up to 20 meters deep) eventually triggers a collapse inward into the well [15, 18]. How did the Harappans solve this problem?
    • Bricks as structural elements perform well under a compression load. The ancient Indian engineers harnessed the brick’s compressive strength by altering the geometry of their bricks.

    • Employing trapezoidal bricks that taper inward results in a circular wall as shown in the picture below. Arch action is initiated by any external pressure and gets transmitted throughout the trapezoidal bricks as a compressive impact.
    • The bricks self-organize in harmony with their geometry and lock together, resulting in static equilibrium, and do not cave-in.
    • The degree of tapering and the well geometry are interrelated: If (R, r) is the outer and inner radius of the well, the altitude of the trapezoid is (R-r) and the ratio of the lengths of the parallel sides is r/R.
    • This circular-arch well that resists external water pressure is the earliest known example of the structurally true arch, which Prof. Danino notes, qualifies as an invention by Harappan hydro engineers.
    • There is no evidence yet that this invention was transposed by 90° to build true vertical arches to resist gravity load instead of water pressure. Mohenjodaro’s drains employed corbelled arches. 2000 years after the Harappans, the Roman engineers became famous for their use of vertical arches, and as Prof. Danino notes, they were unaware of this horizontal arch well innovation.
    • Additional structural innovations can also be seen in Harappan wells, suggesting a sound empirical understanding of engineering principles.
Harappan-era well with trapezoidal bricks. Source: Michel Danino’s IITM Talk
  • The excavated urban plans, water drains, public baths, etc. at Lothal indicate the application of civil engineering instrumentation and geometrical methods for alignment and leveling. This is evidenced by several surveying instruments and accessories discovered at Lothal [21].

  • Excavated pottery depict a series of regular shapes marked using geometrical instruments:  intersecting circles, squares, inverted triangles, etc. [2].
From Harappan Geometry to Sulba Sutras

We review several examples pertaining to Harappan units of measurement and proportions that persist through the Sulba time period and beyond.

  • Urban Harappan house plans resemble those seen in rural India even today.
  • Fundamental units of measurement:
    • An angula was 1.76 cm at Dholavira [15], and reported as 1.778 cm at Lothal.
      • The Sulbasutra also uses angula as a basic measurement unit for altar construction, and one estimate is 1.9 cm [20].
    • Harappan urban layouts yield an estimated unit of length of 1.9m [15], which is 108 times their angula.
      • 108 is a central Vedic number (e.g. 108 Karanas in the Natyasastra) and a number of Bandhus are associated with this number [4, 5].
      • The linear Purusha in the Sulbas is around 2 meters (2.28 m per Kulkarni [20]).
    • Harappans employed a unique decimal – binary system for their weights (not the decimal place value system of Ganita that includes 0) [15, 16].
  • The urban layout has streets organized at right angles along the cardinal directions. The Vedic altars are also oriented with respect to the E-W line (Praci).
  • The repeated use of specific building ratios at Dholavira (5:4 and 9:4) are in consonance with the proportions used in the Sulba constructions [15].
Dholavira’s key 5:4 ratio is seen in the Mahavedi of the Satapatha Brahmana, yet again in the Sulbasutras, and then centuries later, again in Vaastu shastra [15].
  • Similarity in the shapes of the Lothal altar and the Vedic Altars:
Source: Michel Danino [15]
  • The most common Harappan pottery motif, the rectangle with in-curved sides is preserved in the shape of the Vedic altars, including the important Mahavedi [2].
  • Ceremonial structures like Vedic fire altars can be seen in Lothal and in Kalibangan, which were constructed in five layers of bricks [5].
  • Astrophysicist J. McKim Malville is quoted [16] on the commonality in measurement principles that can be observed in Dholavira: the apparent intent … to interweave, by means of geometry, the microcosm and the macrocosm”.

It is apparent from these findings that the Harappan constructions and methods indeed reflect an integral (Indic) approach to engineering that persisted long after their era.

"To the ancient mind, the concept of sacred space is inseparable from the practice of town-planning and architecture".
- Michel Danino [16].

Over time, this accumulated knowledge enabled the Indians to execute precision engineering projects that met stringent tolerances, satisfied structural stability requirements, showcased India’s unparalleled artistry, while always serving a primary transcendental objective. It took several centuries for the most destructive organized religions known to mankind to break down much of this sacred architecture. Despite their best efforts, some divine examples of Indic engineering survive.

Ellora cave16 001.jpg
Kailasanatha Mandir at Ellora “By Y.Shishido CC BY-SA 3.0, Link 

The Kailasanatha temple is architecture as well as sculpture. It is both cave and temple. “It is both natural, because it has not been built, as well as artistic, because [it is] gained by human effort of excavation“[27].  It is also an engineering masterpiece and represents “an excellent example of Reverse Engineering and was chiselled from top down … the temple has the largest cantilevered rock ceiling in the world. There was simply no margin of error here…” [26]. Beyond its sublime artistry and engineering wizardry, the Kailasanatha temple architecture’s overarching message is transcendental:  From the great Marathi saint Jnanadeva’s vision emerges a question for us [27] – Murti, mandir, and beings are sculpted out of the same mountain-rock, so which part of it (and the cosmos) is sacred space and which is not?

Sulba Vijnana

1. Vijnana and Modern Science
2. Units of Measurement and Terminology
3. Construction of Nityagni and Kamyagni
4. Square on the Diagonal Result
5. Combination, Transformation, Enlargement of Altars
6. Circling the Square, and Squaring the Circle
7. Geometric Algebra, Square Roots, and Fractions
8. Concluding Comments

Introduction

A knowledge of Ganita was required prior to studying the Sulbas, as affirmed by Sivadasa (between 1150 and 1320 CE) who wrote is his commentary on Maanava Sulba Sutras [1]: ‘the study of the Sulba should be begun after having finished the science of mathematics. Otherwise there cannot be a thorough knowledge of Sulba. Among other requirements, one must be comfortable working with fractions, the rule of three, approximations (calculating with ‘irrational’ numbers), and managing permutations and combinations.

Self-Verifying Computation versus Self-Evident Axioms

Per Bibhutibhushan Datta, the earliest Hindu name for geometrical sciences was Sulba Vijnana [1]. Saraswati Amma mentions how this field later became part of the Ganita family as kshetraganita alongside Paatiganita (arithmetic) and Bijaganita (algebra) with Jyotisha covering all branches of Ganita [2], which eventually included the calculus of the Aryabhata school of Kerala. The calculations of volumes for earth-moving (excavations) were covered in Khatavyavahara while Rasiganita, which dealt with the calculations relating to heaps, also included geometrical aspects [2].  

Datta refers to Vijnana as a science in the Sulba context [1]. When we refer to ‘geometry’ in the Indian context, we do so using the Indic perspective, and not ‘Euclidean geometry’ that made its entry later. Sulba Vijnana’s validation of stated propositions are not through the western approach of theorems-and-deductive-proof based on self-evident axioms, but through demonstrations and constructions. This important point was stated by Bibhutibhushan Datta more than 80 years ago [1]. This approach is consistently followed in Ganita through the ages.

Vijnana and Ganita are Sanskrit non-translatables having multiple context-dependent meanings and cannot be limited to modern science and mathematics. Western science too rejects claims that disagree with experiment, but differs from vijnana: the latter is rooted in a Vedic cosmology that is free of the tension of the religion-science-mathematics fragmentations. Sulba vijnana in its Yagna context points to an integral knowledge and an experiential understanding that emerges from consciousness.  Through prayoga a practitioner can simultaneously test a claim as well as realize the truth, reflecting the maxim: doing is the best way of knowing and learning [19]. The self-verifying constructions in the Sulbas seem to be in consonance with the self-organizing cosmos (a manifestation of ritam [4]) of the Rig Veda.

"The spider that extrudes its own web without any extraneous agency is proffered as a metaphor for Brahman as both the efficient and material cause of the universe".
  - Rajiv Malhotra in 'Being Different' [4].

This unity of computation & verification in Ganita is also mentioned in the Aryabhatiya.

Saraswati Amma identifies 3 categories of such geometrical knowledge in the Sulbas:

a) Results that are explicitly stated,

b) Constructions, and

c) Geometrical truths implicit in the constructions.

Geometry in the Sulbas was primarily constructive in nature [2] although we do find some demonstrations of the geometrical results in the later Sulbas (e.g., Katyayana’s Sulbasutra) [1].  Saraswati Amma’s work [2] has to be acknowledged for recognizing the transcendental objective of the Sulbas. She has explained how this Vedic approach shaped the methods of preservation and transmission of Ganita knowledge in India through the generations: The main works, often through sutras, enunciate the procedures required for proper altar construction and performance of Yagnas. Thereafter, the technical derivations were likely to be present in commentaries, and the rationale of the great teachers were transmitted orally, similar to the practice in Ayurveda. We see this resemblance with Ayurveda in Sulba terminology as well.

Units of Measurement and Terminology
Measurement

Sulba primarily means measurement. Measurements were done using the measuring tape called the Rajju, although sometimes Sulba and Rajju are used interchangeably. There is also mention of the bamboo rod (‘Venu’), which appears to have been gradually replaced by the Rajju. The measuring cord had to be smooth and of even cross-section throughout.  It was fabricated using sama (kind of hemp), balvaja (Indian goosegrass), munja grass, and kusa grass to make it strong and retain its elasticity after repeated stretching, and produce consistent measurements [25].

Munja grass. Link: sciendirect.com

The Vedic Samhitas and Brahmanas stipulate rules of conduct for those engaged in altar construction [1]. To see what can happen when ethical considerations are set aside, consider this example [23]:

We may cite an example from recent past to show how poor peasants were exploited by the land surveyors during the Mughal rule in India. In the seventeenth century, ropes made of hemp were usually employed for measuring and assessing land. Now, the hemp rope would shrink when wet and lengthen when dry. The government officials used to keep the rope wet on all sorts of pretexts… Later on the hemp rope was replaced by the more accurate bamboo rod with iron rings.

When dharma took a backseat, trust in the contextually flexible and versatile Rajju was lost and people returned to a rigid and inflexible ruler.

Units of Measurement

Units of measurement used in the Baudhayana Sulbasutras [5]:

small pada = 10 angulas

pradesa = 12 angulas

pada = 15 angulas

aratni = 24 angulas

prakrama = 30 angulas

yuga = 86 angulas

vyayama = 96 angulas

aksa = 104 angulas

vyama = 120 angulas

(linear) purusa = 120 angulas

Purusa was also used as a unit for measuring areas and the Sulbasutras mentions three kinds of measures — one, two, and three dimensional.

Those who have lived in engineering campuses may recall seeing Civil Engineering students dragging metal linked chains for surveying. This practice probably goes back to the Harappan period [16]. Measurements for the Vedic Yagna were done by a sama-sutra-niranchaka, the uniform rope stretcher, or the Rajju grahaka (Pali), who was the king’s land surveyor. In later Silpasastra texts, the surveyor was called the sutra grahi or sutra-dhara who was also an expert in alignment [1]. A sutragrahi can refer to a Chief Engineer, and is a meaningful and historically apt choice given this connection to Sulba Sutras, the oldest known reference text for Indic Engineering.

Not taking sides in the debate on whether Baahubali was a civil or mechanical engineer, we include other engineering terms:

Yaantrika or Yantra-nirmana vidya — engineering (from Vaastu sastra)

Yantrakaara/Abhiyanta — engineer (M), abhiyantri (F)

Tantraagna — technician/technologist.

Indic terminology employs meaningful words that along with their root sounds reveal their Ganita qualities. This is possible because of the power of Sanskrit, as Rajiv Malhotra [4] notes: “Since every root sound has a distinct meaning, its signature is found in all the words derived from it. It is theoretically possible to explain the meaning of the words according to the algebraic combination of letters, syllables and roots… Naming was inseparable from realizing its essence. In Ayurveda, the names allow us to understand not only the morphological characteristics of a plant but also its medicinal properties.” Barring a few exceptions, the meaningful nomenclature of the Sulbas persisted in Ganita works through the ages [2].

Bibhutibhushan Datta (Swami Vidyaranya) and Saraswati Amma were Sanskrit scholars in addition to their mathematical expertise. They were capable of accessing and interpreting primary source content, and set many a record right.

Terminology

A sample list of terms used in the Sulba Sutras are given below and one can find an exhaustive list within [1, 2, 22]. It is possible that multiple Sanskrit words may be used in different Indic texts to describe a geometric figure or Ganita operation depending on the context and audience.

Closed Figure — Kshetra

Area — Bhumi, Kshetra

One-dimension

Line of symmetry of an altar — Prsthyaa

East-west (eastward line) direction — Praci

Perpendicular (north-south) — Tiryanmaani

Line —  Lekha or Rekha

Straight line — Rju-lekha

 

Two-dimensions

Square

Square — Chaturasra/Samachaturasra

Unit Square (to compute area) — Varga

Square of any number — Kriti, Varga

Side of the square, square root — Karani

(karani ~ producer, kriti ~ produced)

√2 — Dvikarani

√3 — Trikarani

Geometrical representation of a square number — Vargakshetra

 

Rectangle

Rectangle — Dirgha chaturasra

Geometrical representation of a product of two quantities — Ghaatakshetra

Diagonal (that which goes transversely) — Aksnaya

Two Sides — Tiryanmaani, Parsvamaani

 

Triangle

Triangle — Tryasra

Isosceles Triangle — Prauga

Altitude of triangle — Isu

Rhombus (double isosceles triangle) — Ubhyatah Prauga

Isosceles Trapezium (shorter in the front) — Purastaad Amhiyasi

 

Some Composite Fractions

⅜ — Triastama

2⁄7 — Dvisaptama

The terminology here is important because the name contains within it the ‘concrete concept of the operation of measuring’. Sanskrit allows us to recursively express fractions of fractions [1].

Circle

Circle — Mandala/Parimandala

Circumference — Parinaaha

Diameter — ViskambhaVyaasa

Center/midpoint — Madhya

 

Fundamental Operations in Sulba constructions [1].

Addition (“putting together”) — Samaasa

Subtraction — Nirhaara

Remainder — Sesa

Division — Bhaaga, Vibhaaga

Replication (repeated operations) — Abhyaasa

Repeated enlargement — Vidhaabhyaasa

Finding Cardinal Directions

The east-west line (Praci) was established using the Sanku as explained by Prof. K. Ramasubramanian (see below) in the Q&A session at the end of the lecture. This approach is simple and free of instrumentation error.

source: http://www.engr.mun.ca/~asharan/JAI_SINGH/index.html
Geometrical Constructions

Broadly, there are two types of agnis discussed in the Sulbas – nityagni and kamyagni.  The three primary Nitya Agnis are Garhapatya (circle), Ahavaniya (square) and Dakshina (semicircular) [1, 3]. The construction consists of five layers of bricks with each citi built up using a specific number of bricks of specific shapes. The Sulbasutras present the complete specifications required for precise construction. These specs are from prior works and much of the matter is traceable to earlier Brahmana and Samhita works.

Nityagni Constructions

Constructing the three nityagnis require the ability [1] to:

  • Construct the perpendicular bisector to a given line
  • Construct a square on a given line
  • Circle a square, and vice versa
  • Double a circle

This in turn requires two kinds of subject expertise that are listed below:

  • Ganita Sastra: For an accurate approximation of √2.
  • Sulba Vijnana: The area of the square on diagonal of any given square is double the area of that square. This is a special case of the more famous result discussed below.
Kamyagni Constructions

The second level of complexity is the construction of rectangular and isosceles trapezoidal figures. At the higher end of complexity are the kamyagnis, whose area, regardless of shape is fixed at 7½ purusas (108,000 sq. angulas [5]). This requires the ability to enlarge, shrink, rotate, and transform squares, triangles, and rhombuses. Several geometrical facts are implicit in the constructions [2]. For example:

  • a) the circle is the locus of points at a constant distance from a given point.
  • b) the perpendicular bisector is the locus of points equidistant from the two extremities of the line.
  • c) the line connecting the vertex of an isosceles triangle to the mid-point of its base is perpendicular to the base.
  • d) the tangent to a circle is perpendicular to the radius at the point where they meet.

We now discuss the fundamental proposition of geometry that was first discovered and used in many altar constructions.

Square on the Diagonal (SQD) Result

This famous and important result had a deep influence on ancient Indian geometry, trigonometry (e.g., sine-table), algebra, and perhaps Ganitasastra itself [2].  The SQD result was popularized by the western world and accepted by secular India as the Pythagoras Theorem. The Babylonians too are known to have stated some Pythagorean numbers but “the full geometrical significance of the theorem, that the sides of any right-angled triangle will exhibit this relationship among them, was first realized by altar-building Vedic priests” [1].

In the Ganita context, knowing Pythagorean numbers is insufficient, and an Euclidean-type deductive proof is neither necessary nor sufficient.

Since the Sulba does not speak of the right triangle (hence no hypotenuse is mentioned), the result is first stated by Baudhayana with respect to the square:

the diagonal of a square produces an area twice as much“.

and later, he stated the general SQD result:

Baudhayana Sulbasutra [1].
the diagonal of a rectangle produces both (areas) which its length and width produce separately“.

On the other hand, later Sulba authors  state the general result first and then the special case, which indicates that over time, the generality of SQD was recognized [1].

Apastamba Sulbasutras. Source: Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India [2].
Apastamba Sulbasutras. Source: [2].
As far as “proof”, there is no none in the Euclidean sense, although the constructions for which the result has to be known confirm that the Indians were well aware of the general applicability of the SQD rule. To know how old the result is, one has to find the most ancient mentions of its applications.

How old are the Geometrical Results in the Sulba Sutras?
"India's sands were never so kind to her records as Babylonia's sands have been to her clay tablets" - Saraswati Amma.

There is epistemological and other evidence regarding the knowledge of these geometrical results in the Rig Veda itself:

  1. There are many reference to Yagna and fire altars in the Rig Veda.
  2. The 3 places of the (nitya) agni are mentioned in Rig Veda Samhita.
  3. Given the importance of the correspondence principle (Bandhu) in the Rig Veda, it is likely that the task of squaring a circle, and the special case of SQD is as old as the Rig Veda itself.

The first clear mention of the area of Garhapatya circle and Ahavaniya square of the same size is in the Satapatha Brahmana. Therefore, the science of altar construction likely dates back to the Brahmana and as early as Taittiriya Samhita [1]. The SQD result appears to have been used in the Satapatha Brahmana, but the proposition is stated only in the Srauta Sutras. We summarize the observations of Datta [1] regarding the SQD result.

  • The Hindus recognized the geometrical nature of the result and put it to good use, and applied it to rectangles, the lengths of whose sides were irrational (e.g., for the construction of Sautraamaniki Vedi, Asvamedhiki Vedi).
  • The Sulba author mentions after stating the SQD: ‘iti kshetrajnanam‘.  Kshetra in this context means figure, not area.
  • Empirically, by constructing the squares on the sides and diagonal, and dividing them into unit squares, one can verify the result for any rectangle.
  • Katyayana Sulbasutras [2]
  • The special SQD case of squares is required in Baudhayana’s method to transform a square into a rectangle, where it is necessary to construct a square whose corners are turned toward the four cardinal directions.
  • For geometric constructions of √2, √3, etc., SQD is ‘indispensable’.
  • In Baudhayana’s Sulbasutras, the converse of the proposition is used to construct a Mahavedi. The converse of SQD is implicit in the text but is not explicitly stated.
Rational Rectangles

Did the ancient Hindus identify a general rule to find a limitless number of rational rectangles (~rational right triangles)?

To answer this, Datta quotes two verses from Apastamba Sulba:
1. Etaavanti Jneyani Vedi-Viharanaani Bhavanti.
2. Taabhir Jneyaabhiruktam Viharanam.

Jneya: it is known, from prior (Vedic) works; these are but the methods of constructions of the Vedi which are known from prior (Vedic) works [1].

The question is then answered in the affirmative. Saraswati Amma [2] remarks that the Sulba authors had ‘a genius for generalizing’, citing Katyayana’s general rule for combining squares as an example, and that they were familiar with multiple general formulas for finding the sides of rational right triangles. The ancient Hindus knew that new rational rectangles are obtained by multiplying or dividing sides and the diagonal by any rational quantity, and Apastamba has derived it this way [1].

We see several rational right triangles in the Mahavedi layout [24] where the diagonal is 1 + greater side, 2 + greater side, etc. Datta derives two equivalent general rules ‘A’ and ‘B’ for generating such triangles:

Rule ‘A’ with odd ‘m’ (3, 5, 7, ..) generates several rational rectangles stated in the Sulba such a (3, 4, 5) to (7, 24, 25), and rational rectangles where this difference is 2 can be generated by the following rule ‘B’ obtained by setting a = 2, m > 2 in (A).

An important right triangle (15, 36, 39) in given in the Taittiriya Samhita, where the diagonal is 3 + the greater side. Baudhayana Sulbasutras specifically calls out this result. This instance was employed in the most ancient method of constructing the Mahavedi, and was considered sacred by tradition [1].

Mahavedi – suggested dimensions. source: harekrsna.com [24].
In [24], Parameshwaran, a scholar of Vedic mathematics, has commented on the sacred geometry of the Mahavedi and the importance in Vedic Yagna of the eastward striving aspect represented by the tapering of the trapezoid.

Sample Results and Propositions in the Sulbas

We briefly discuss two of the basic constructions in the Sulbasutras. For brevity, we refer to the video lecture of Prof. Ramasubramanian and present only the pictures of the final constructions.

Perpendicular Bisector (‘Fish Figure’)
Perpendicular Bisection using Rajju and Pegs. Figure 17 [1].
Constructing a Square Given a Side

Examples of Combination of Areas

Part-2 of the video lecture covers the constructions involving combinations and transformations of squares and rectangles.

1. A1 = nA2. The SQD result is used here.
A special case occurs when n is a perfect square = p². The 2D task is skillfully reduced to a linear problem: construct a straight-line that is p times a side of the given square A2 and use that as the side of square A1.

Elegant and simple methods are given for finding a square equal to a number of other squares of the same size [1]. For example, by constructing the isosceles triangle shown below using the specified base and side and applying the SQD result,

[a(n+1)/2]²-[a(n-1)/2]² = na²

i.e., the constructed altitude (Isu) will give the side of the required square A1 for any positive integer n (>1) and area a of square A2. The statement from Katyayana Sulbasutras is shown below.

Katyayana Sulbasutras. source: [2].

2. A1 = 1/n A2.
A special case occurs when n is a perfect square = p². The 2D task reduces to a linear problem of dividing a side of square-2 into p equal parts. A1 is obtained by constructing a square using one of these line segments as its side.

3. A1 = A2 + A3 (construct square-1 whose area is the sum of the areas of two other different squares 2 and 3).

Baudhayana’s procedure based on SQD is simple and elegant: “cut off from the larger square-2, a rectangular portion having the side of square-3. The diagonal of this segment will be a side of the square having area (A2+A3)“.

4. A1 = A2 – A3 (construct a square whose area is the difference of the areas of two other different squares).

Apastamba has given a demonstration along with an example [1].

Examples of Transformation of Areas

1. Transforming a Rectangle into a Square [1]

Transforming a Square into a Rectangle [1].
An interesting step in the construction consists of chopping off (or making a copy of) the ‘flat’ rectangle (ABHG), rotating it clockwise by 90-degrees, moving it, and pasting it along the vertical line segment DF in the position DFH’G’.

2. Transforming a Square into a Rectangle.

3. Transforming a Square or Rectangle into a Triangle or Rhombus.

4. Special construction: Construct a square of area 108 padas, i.e., whose area is thrice that of a square of side 6.

Note:

Sometimes, the cubic content has to be kept intact for two altars of different heights. Here, one obtains an approximation formula for the volume of a frustum of a pyramid (see picture below).

 

Square frustum.png
By MarinaVladivostok, CC0, Link

Scalability: Enlargement or Reduction of Altar Size

An important astronomical discovery emerges from the need to preserve the integral unity of successive (annual) enlargements of certain kamyagni altars by an area increment of one Purusa. The sequence of areas will be: 7½, 8½, …, 101½ Purushas, with the final construction 14X the area of the first altar. The shape and proportions within the altar have to be strictly maintained. Datta [1] shares the reason for this stipulation given in the Katyayana Sulbasutra:

The following correspondences are established in the Yagna: agni = Prajapati, his child is the unit of measure employed, and the womb is his unmanifest form, and therefore the spatial relations of that form must be preserved.

This altar construction cycle corresponds to the 95-year Yagnavalkya cycle of astronomy [5].

Engineering this design requirement is non-trivial, and requires one to solve the geometrical problem of constructing similar figures. The shape of these altars can be pretty complex and such constructions require a clear understanding of the relationship between length and area (“agni = Prajapati, and his child is the unit of measure employed”). It is observed by the Sulba authors that the number of square units in the area of a square is obtained by multiplying the number of linear units by itself. This was stated by Apastamba and Katyayana. Conversely, the length varies as the square root of the area. Using this correspondence, the Sulbakaaras came up with an ingenious design solution, which is also present in the Satapatha Brahmana.

Increase or decrease the length of the unit of measure in the ratio of the square root of the areas, but do not alter the number of units used in the construction.

To engineer a 14-fold altar enlargement, knowledge of the SQD result is essential [1] and was likely known and used before the Sulbasutra was codified. The resultant constructive algorithm (Abhiyukti) can be employed to enlarge an altar of area  Purusa to (7½+m) Purusas, where m is a positive integer:

  1. Make the incremental excess area (m) into a square or rectangle
  2. Divide the resultant square/rectangle into 15 equal parts (m/15).
  3. Two such parts are turned into a square (area = 2m/15) and combined with a square of one Purusa to generate a new square (area = 1 + 2m/15)
  4. The side of this new square = √(1+2m/15) will be the new unit linear measure, which will preserve the proportions of the original Agni.

Applying this to scale up the final altar (m = 101-7 = 94), which is ~14X the area of the original altar, the new linear unit will ~√14 times the original measure.

Circling the Square

Baudhayana’s method of transforming a given square of side ‘2a’ into a circle having approximately the same area:

"if you wish to circle a square (ABCD), draw 1/2 its diagonal (a/√2) about the center towards the East-West line (EW); then describe a circle together with 1/3 of that which lies outside the circle (radius OP = OM + MP)".

Circling a Square [1]
Datta mentions the key phrase employed by Apastamba regarding this method:

"saanitya mandalam:yaavadd hiyate taavad aagantu".

The prescribed procedure is an inexact (anitya) method of construction by “as much the circle falls short, so much comes in” [1]. The radius of the resultant circle r = a/3(2 + √2), yields a slightly larger area compared to the square, which can be checked empirically:
Area ~ 4.069 a², compared to the true area of square = 4a², using the famous √2 value given in the Sulbas.

Excess error ~ 1.72% < 2%

Squaring the Circle

Given a circle of diameter ‘d’, construct a square of equal area. A numerical solution is provided to obtain the length of the side of the square to be constructed.

source: [2].
"Divide the diameter (d) into 8 parts. then divide 1 part into 29 parts and leave out 28; also, the 6th part of the preceding sub-division less the 8th part of the last".

These steps yield the following finite series approximation for the side ‘2a’ of the resultant square [1]:

2a = d – d/8 + d/8.29 – d/8.29.6 + d/8.29.6.8

Computing an error bound:

2a = 1224/1393 d ⇒a = 0.43934d
⇒ error = (4*(0.5*1224/1393)^2 – 0.78539816339)/0.78539816339
area of circle = πd²/4 ~ 0.78539816339 d²
area of the square ~ 0.77207697806 d², i.e.  a slightly smaller square.

error ~ 1.697% < 2%

These constructions imply the following approximations for π [1]:

  • π = 3.0885
  • Maanava Sulba calculations yield π ~ 3.16049.
  • Dvarakanatha, one of the commentators, improved the approximation to 3.158.
Ramanujan’s Solutions to Squaring the Circle

The squaring of the circle has a colorful history in Europe due to anxiety over the uncertainty injected by ‘irrational’ numbers. Ramanujan’s numerical contributions are well-known and in line with Ganita tradition. Here, he has contributed to a basic Sulba construction of squaring the circle. He does so using an approximate geometrical construction that is in the spirit of the Sulbasutra approach. The picture in his manuscript shows his 1913 solution that corresponds to a value of π ~355/113, which is accurate to 6 decimal places, the best at the time in the context of this problem.

Squaring the circle-Ramanujan-1913.png
By Srinivasa Ramanujan; verwendet von Petrus3743Who Was Ramanujan? von Stephen Wolfram, Public Domain, Link

In 1914, Ramanujan improved upon his own result using another construction (animation shown below) corresponding to an 8-digit accuracy of π.

01-Squaring the circle-Ramanujan-1914
By Petrus3743 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The resultant error is minuscule: if we squared the ‘circular’ earth (radius ~6371 km) using Ramanujan’s construction, the error in the side of the slightly smaller square would be around 2 mm.

Origin of Geometric Algebra

Datta remarks on the algebraic significance of the geometrical constructions, noting that they form the seed of Geometrical Algebra which can be seen even in the Bijaganita of Bhaskara-2 (1114 CE). Some algebraic equations that emerge are listed below.

ax² = c (enlargement with equal proportions). The equation x² = 1+2m/15 can be derived from the m-th enlargement of the falcon-shaped (Syena) fire-altar.

ax² + bx = c (enlargement with increment)

The geometric analog of the algebraic identity
 (a+b)² = a² + b² + 2ab

is obtained from the general rule for enlarging a square ABCD to square AEFG shown below.

If a = AB, b = BE, then (a+b)² = Area (AEFG) = sum of the areas of the two squares plus the twice the area of the equal-sized rectangles.

From the ‘Science of the Sulbas’
Square Roots (√2)

The following is the Sulba approximation for √2:

Its decimal value ~1.414216, accurate to five decimal places. Commentator Rama Bajapeya added a corrective pair of terms to improve accuracy to 7 decimal places [1]. How did the Sulba authors derive this series? Many interesting explanations have been given. Datta’s appears to be the best among those offered [1] and is an entirely geometrical reconstruction similar to those employed by Sulba authors. It starts with two squares having unit length, and involves the slicing of rectangular strips, rotating and pasting them, dividing areas into several equal parts, adding and subtracting areas, etc.

Datta uses this approach to approximate √3 ~ 1.732051 up to 5 decimal places.

Commentator Kapardiswami noted the persistent inexactness in calculating √2: “in any case there will be an excess even by a fraction of the smallest part of the minute nivaara grain falling from the mouth of a parrot” (a vivid epsilon!). The commentaries of Kapardiswami and Karavindaswami imply the following knowledge in ancient India about their estimate of √2 that it was: a) approximate, b) an over-estimate, and c) cannot be completely eliminated. Datta shows that the meaning of the term ‘visesha‘ and ‘savisesha‘ have been correctly interpreted by the commentators.  The canonical texts of the Jainas (Suryaprajnapati, 500 BCE) uses visesha in the same way. Similarly, the Jambudviparajnapti (~300BCE) uses visesha to refer to a small quantity that has not been recorded and cannot be accurately determined, but has to be added or subtracted from the estimate in order to obtain its exact value. Nemichandra (975 CE) uses the term savisesha in exactly the same way as the Sulbasutras (tiny overestimate).

Fractions

How does one grasp the reality that the area of a square of side ½ is ¼ square units? Saraswati Amma [2] remarks on the Sulba author’s “unerring grasp of the area produced by fractional units of length, which is infinitely more difficult to conceive“. She quotes Apastamba who says that a cord of 1½ units produces 2¼ units of area, a cord of length 2½ produces 6¼ units of area; ½ a unit produces ¼, and ⅓ of a unit produces ⅑, based on a neat empirical observation: ½ of 2 units (= 1) fills up one quarter of the area (¼ of 4).

Complex Fire-Altars

For certain altars, the total number of bricks to be used in a layer are specified, but not their dimensions. We will get into this and advanced Sulba engineering topics in Part-3.

Summary

Editor’s Note: After all this discussion of Sulba sutras and Squares, Abhiyukti and Arches, there is one takeaway to remember: Indic Engineering is about more than just about holding up bricks, it is about upholding spiritual harmony between the mathematical and practical, the artificial and natural, the human and divine. Ayodhya isn’t only about rebuilding one destroyed temple. Ramarajya is to be experienced by reclaiming Bharata’s sacred space, both outer and inner, where bhavya Ram Mandirs mirror a billion मन Mandirs.

Dharyate anena iti dharmah — that which upholds [Rta] is Dharma.

References

(Partial list only. Full list will be shared along with Part-3).

  1. Bibhutibhushan Datta (Swami Vidyaranya). The Science Of The Sulba: A Study In Early Hindu Geometry. University of Calcutta. 1932.
  2. Saraswati Amma. Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. 1979.
  3. Kapila Vatsyayan. The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts. Abhinav Publications. 1997.
  4. Rajiv Malhotra. Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism. Harper Collins. 2011.
  5. Subhash Kak. The Astronomical Code of the Ṛgveda (Third Edition). 2011.
  6. Rajiv Malhotra. Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity. Harper Collins. 2014.
  7. Kosla Vepa. The Origins of Astronomy, The Calendar, and Time (Second Edition). 2010.
  8. Prakruti Prativadi. Rasas in Bharatanatyam: First in a Series on Indian Aesthetics and Bharatanatyam. Creative Space. 2017.
  9. N.R.I Pathi. Dharmic Development. Andhra Cultural Portal. 2014.
  10. Prakruti Prativadi. The Bharatanāṭyaṃ Yajña. Swadeshi Indology-3 Information Handout. 2017.
  11. Dharampal. Collected Writings in 5 Volumes. Other India Press. 2000.
  12. John Price. Applied Geometry of the Sulba Sutras. Department of Mathematics, Maharishi University of Management, Iowa. 2000.
  13. Amartya Kumar Dutta. Was There Sophisticated Mathematics During Vedic Age? in ‘An anthology of disparate thoughts at a popular level‘. ISIREA, Kolkata, 2016.
  14. K. Ramasubramanian. The Origin and Growth of Mathematics in India. R C Gupta Award Lecture, IIT Bombay. 2010.
  15. Michel Danino. Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati.  Penguin Books. 2010.
  16. Michel Danino. New Insights into Harappan Town-Planning, Proportions and Units, with Special Reference to Dholavira. Man and Environment (33). 2008.
  17. Rima Hooja. Channeling Nature: Hydraulics, Traditional Knowledge Systems, And Water Resource Management in India – A Historical Perspective.
  18. Michael Jansen. Mohenjo-Daro, Indus Valley Civilization: Water Supply and Water Use in One of the Largest Bronze Age Cities of the Third Millennium BC. Openarchive.icomos.org. 2013.
  19. History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, 8(2). General Editor: D.P. Chattopadhyaya.  From Physiology and Chemistry to Biochemistry. Edited by D. P. Burma and Maharani Chakravorty. 2010.
  20. R. P. Kulkarni. Layout and Construction of Citis According to Baudhayana, Manava and Apastamba Sulbasutras. 1987.
  21. J. E. Schwartzberg. Introduction to South Asian Cartography, in ‘The History of Cartography’. University of Chicago Press. 1992.
  22. S. N. Sen and A. K. Bag. The Sulbasutras of Baudhayana, Apastamba, Katyayana, and Manava. Indian National Science Academy. 1983.
  23. Ramakrishna Bhattacharya. Origin of Geometry in India: A Study in the Sulbasutras. 2013.
  24. Parameswaran Murthiyedath. Sulbasutras: Indian Texts on Sacred Geometry.  http://www.harekrsna.com. 2005.
  25. Dharam Pal Kularia. Sulbasutras: A Critical Study. PhD Thesis, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak. 2004.
  26. Top 10 Civil Engineering Marvels.
  27. Kapila Vatsyayan (editor). Concepts of Space: Ancient and Modern. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. 1991.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Nripathi garu for his valuable feedback on terminology, and his ideas and comments that helped improve this post.

RW is as Mentally Colonised as LW

There comes a point in time when a nagging feeling must become reluctantly accepted. Right Wing is as Mentally Colonised as the Left Wing. It is not an easy one or even one that is obvious on its face. But those of us who have been watching politics in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s invariably start asking this uncomfortable question.

After all, leave aside some of the bone-headed economic moves the current government has made, the real question is why was the sangh ecosystem so eager to strike a deal with the PDP?

The people of Jammu have lost faith in the parivar because they have reason to. Their homes and livelihoods are now being threatened by demographic aggression taking place under the auspices of the very ecosystem they thought was working for them.

The mistake this gentleman above is making is not in calling out the misdeeds of the sangh’s ecosystem in j&k—he is right to do that. His mistake is in not studying the issue deeply to realise exactly why this is happening and who exactly is to blame. Personalities and individual politicians (be they the PM or otherwise) are not being distinguished from ecosystems, nor are regional exigencies from national and civilizational.

Many people are of course quick to latch on to caste. While there is some of that going on as we saw in the Battle for Sanskrit review episode, there were also plenty of people of that same caste presently classified under “RW” who supported Malhotra and still do both on this site and elsewhere. RM himself warned of the rise of RW sepoys and made such a distinction between real and fake dharmics.

But perhaps there is a more relevant designation: Ecosystem  and Non-ecosystem. There are a number of people in the twittersphere already discussing the ecosystem, but are doing it for self-serving purposes, making it about caste vs caste, when in fact it is about Dharma vs Adharma.  There are people (of all castes), affiliated with an ecosystem, who nominally seem to support Hindu causes (even using the language of ‘Dharma’—literally and figuratively) but in fact more are interested in their own careers, etc. Hence ‘Hindutva’ rather than specifically Dharma. This is because Hindu and Hindutva are based on foreign terms rather than a native one like Sanatana Dharma or “Arya Dharma”.

And its also because hindutva is an ideology ,which can ultimately mean anything (based on expedience), while Dharma is a philosophy, needs no ecosystem, and means very specific things. It’s also why the cause of Dharma is so fragmented because even people interested in Dharma don’t want to practice it fully when it conflicts with their ego or greed or parochial interests.

Yes, there are some people who are just Dyed in the wool casteists (of every caste), but there are some who are just self-interested and see their careers rising only within the ecosystem.

Because that’s how politics now works. It certainly explains how the parivar has been quick to rehabilitate so many congress party members or even a tavleen singh. It is easy to blame caste again.

But there are also plenty of people from that same caste who are fed up with what they are seeing and and who are speaking out—only like the gentleman above, don’t know what to do. Indian politics is caught between the devil and the deep sea because it is meant to be. One set of casteists vs another set of casteists—both of whom meet offline over steaks.

But such a pattern is not unique to Indian politics. It characterises politics around the world. The question is why?

First and foremost, there’s the obvious fact as has been explained many times over that RW and LW are not Indic terms and are merely a cookie cutter importation of foreign politics.

There are of course those will argue: “But sir, how will we categorise the differences of opinion within our own ranks”. And that’s part of the problem—the eagerness to divide and subdivide while ignoring the overarching classification of Dharma Paksha. Well, the rebuttal to that is 1. For all you Classical Liberals, Madison himself warned of the dangers of factions. India today is literally a walking embodiment of factionalism—with one region of Andhra Pradesh taking so much pride in this, RGV made a movie about it.

There are those, of course, who will instinctively say “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam!”. The textual technicalities of that quote aside, let us assume for the moment that the world is in fact one family. But even if the world is all one family, your cousins still will not let you run their house…especially if they are Kauravas.

So let us begin with the specifics

Binary-ism

Binary-ism is obviously best represented by left vs right. Either you are a Cultural Marxist or a “Sanghi Nationalist”.  Of course this is best represented by Communist vs Capitalist. It is as though the ideological choices are restricted between two top-heavy options. Both result in concentration of power. In the case of Communists, it is concentrated in the state, and in the case of Capitalists, it is concentrated in Big Business, which captures the state.

The net result is policies proposed by the UPA, end up getting implemented by the NDA. Sure, there is window-dressing, but the net result is centralisation of power and the birth of the Brave New World.

What is the opposite to that? Decentralisation. Rather than Dharma being the product of a single group, a single business, or a single institution, it should belong to everyone, with each playing merely but a role.  As we discussed in Dharmic Development, this is in fact the traditional model of Indic Society. Decentralisation of wealth and power prevents the accretion of adharmic power and unchecked influence.

Strong State vs Strong Society

Francis Fukuyama may be famous for his “End of History” fallacy, but as a Professor of Political Economy, his commentary on International Relations can be useful purely for observational, rather than policy, purposes. One is that Countries consist of more than just the state. He writes the standard line in political science that along with the state (that is the politico-legal-economic framework) there is society, specifically, civil society. Aside from the government (national, state, municipal) there is also society-at-large (citizens, families, communities, associations, institutions, etc). He notes that China has historically had a strong state but weak society, while India has featured a weak state but a strong society. And herein lies the lesson: However prejudiced the state laws may be against Hindus (and other Dharmikas), what has Civil Society been doing?

If the state isn’t teaching you real history, what is Civil Society doing?

If the state isn’t teaching you real culture, what is Civil Society doing?

If the state isn’t preserving native Arts & Crafts, what is Civil Society doing?

If the state isn’t giving patronage to rooted artists, what is Civil Society doing?

If the state isn’t protecting you, what is Civil Society doing?

If the state isn’t protecting Native Pandits & Dharma, what is Civil Society doing?

If the state isn’t giving you a Dharmic political party, what is Civil Society doing?

And, just to clear up any misunderstanding, Civil Society includes you! If the state’s writ runs, it’s cause Civil Society cooperates. Capisce?

The reality is, to set the politics right, you have to set the culture right.

That is why Culture is the new politics.

Aryan Invasion Theory

Caravan is certainly a questionable magazine when it comes to Indic perspectives. Nevertheless, this particular article is touching on a topic itself previously discussed by those with more Indic inclinations:

This is the well-known phenomenon of pseudo-trads (Pseudo-Traditionalists). They serve as sepoys for Aryan Invasion Theory, “Beef in Vedas”, & Pan-Paganism to digest Hinduism, and ultimately European ownership of Vedas and Vedic culture. This article showcases precisely that, albeit with its own ulterior motives:

Arktos has sought to avoid categorisation, claiming, on its website, that its project is to “provide the resources for individuals of many different inclinations to find alternatives to the onslaught of modernity.” The publishing house has released books on topics such as Hindu spiritualism and European paganism.

THE COVER OF ARKTOS’S 2011 edition of The Arctic Home of the Vedas, by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, shows a clear, rippling arctic sky against jagged black mountain edges, which does little to suggest its content. The book, first published in 1903, theorises that the North Pole was home to an original Aryan race some 10,000 years ago.

Morgan and Friberg were inspired by Tilak’s Arctic theory as well, although they interpreted it, and its implications, differently than Golwalkar did. They chose Arktos’s name to evoke, according to Morgan, “European tradition and ‘northernness.’” The term recalls the myth of an Aryan arctic homeland now lost in snow and tundra—a genesis theory of the white race as distinct from and superior to the rest of humanity.

Vikernes identifies as an “Odinist,” a worshipper of the Nordic god Odin.He rejects pan-Aryanism that includes South Asia, but there are others who connect his Odinist worldview with Vedic texts, often citing archaic, widely discredited race-science.

Hindus “refer to our present age as the Kali Yuga; an age of spiritual and moral decline,” he said. “Northern Europeans use the term Wolf Age to describe the same thing.” South Asian texts or religions, to Reddall, seem to be divorced from the culture they were born from in place of a mythical, non-historical past: “The Vedas are helpful to us as a part of our study alongside other texts such as the Eddas,” he wrote, referring to medieval Icelandic texts and the main sources of Norse mythology.

What pseudo-trad useful idiots are facilitating:

a photograph of the interior of a colonial-style restaurant, which Friberg captioned: “Revisiting my favorite restaurant from last year in Bangalore, a colonial style restaurant in the form of a train. ‘Here Sahibs and Memsahibs are still treated as royalty’”—“Sahibs” and “Memsahibs” are colonial-era terms for white men and women. Friberg’s caption continues: “‘At Sahib Sindh Sultan, very little has changed since 1853.’ (I.e. everything is as it should be.)”

Funny how eugenics obsessed casteists don’t have a problem with this:

Born in New York City to Catholic parents and raised in Brooklyn, Morales has said in multiple interviews that he began reading the Gita when he was ten years old. He was ordained in India as an orthodox Vedic brahmana in 1986.

Morales rejects the term “Hinduism” in favor of “Vedism,” which he argues more accurately reflects his interpretation of Hinduism as being a branch of European paganism. “Vedic culture and the pre-Christian European religions are not merely spiritual cousins; they are one and the same worldview,” he said in an interview with Counter-Currents. This European paganism, according to Morales, includes Odinism—like that of Varg Vikernes—as well as Celtic and Slavic pantheisms.

The goal is to create a binary of Cultural Marxism (i.e. Secularism) vs Hindutva/Fascism, with European “Acharyas” teaching infighting Hindus their culture. Most unsuspecting but well-meaning Hindus instinctively choose Hindutva, not realising that even Hindutva is not in line with Dharma. Make no mistake, Marxism must be rejected outright, but Hindutva (and its pantheon of proponents) form yet another ideology for unthinking ideologues. Dharma is a philosophy for learned saints and warrior-saints alike. It’s why there are Hindutva proponents who are pro-beefwhat do they know of real Dharma?

Hence AIT, Pan-Pagan Confederacy and host of other digestion tropes, including Hindutva, must be rejected in order to reject the ecosystem and reconstitute the Dharma Paksha. It is only Dharma that is rooted, it is only Dharma that provides Itihaasa over History, and only Dharma that teaches us not only how to work outside the ecosystem, but what our real Sanskriti is to begin with.Those pseudo-trads promoting AIT, “Beef in Vedas”, and general casteism have shown who they really are and what’s behind the mask.

Rather than anointing you and others as “dharmrakshak” prove it, by using your intelligence and stop giving these stooges of videshi intelligence legitimacy and credibility they don’t deserve. The responsibility lies on your shoulders now that you have that information to seek out those making a genuine difference rather than just blubbering with bluster. Failing to do that shows you are merely yet another Charvaka seeking to do what is easy and popular rather than what is actually Dharmic and Vedic.

How do we know all these theories are wrong? Because they ignore the actual Vedic View as stated by real orthodox and Native Brahmanas:

Knee-jerk embrace of the Foreign to be ‘Modern’

There is an insipid sense that just because some “phoreign debeloped” country is doing something, it must be good. N-plants? “Must be good“. Free Market Capitalism? Must be good“. Bullet train?Must be good“. Getting chipped?Must be good“. But who stops to actually set aside the conventional wisdom and ask…

bono

Whether they like it or not, whether they even know it or not, Right Winger’ers (whether econ or pseudo-trad) are very much in the thrall of western political zeitgeists. “Alt-right”, “Trad right”, “Neo-Pagan”, “euro airyan”, “fake scientism”, you name it, these people will embrace it, because “sveta-tvach” told them so.

Right Wing  intellectual slavery is emblematic whenever a new “brave author”magically appears to fill a niche. In the name of “Rna!“, we find that common sense, cultural awareness, and even basic survival instincts are tossed aside to accommodate the sanctimonious indiot’s sense of magnanimity to outsiders.  It’s funny how those who cite Chanakya the most apply his theory the least. Mandala theory is not just some “process/ritual” to apply in cookie-cutter fashion. It is a way to conceptualise the strategic space. Indiots are the only ones who consistently let “baharlog” to the inner circle while kicking countrymen for caste conceit.

Racist rhetoric whether it is with respect to Indians or non-Indians should be rejected ipso facto. Hate is not a strategy, particularly when it is a matter of institutions. It is good to have friends around the world—but your friends can’t run your household.

A relative once mentioned how India is the only place in the world where a western  nobody (notice it is never a non-westerner) can come and suddenly enter into the highest circles of celebrities or power, predictably wielding influence afterwards. A simple look at page 3 circles alone is proof. But hey, Indians have such experience elsewhere as well. It’s not that such things don’t go on in other countries—they do. It’s that lower classes may be clueless and upper classes may be compromised—but what excuse does the middle economic class have? Social Media, and twitter in particular, is a shameless exhibit of RW & LW Sepoys-in-waiting. It’s this willingness and even congenital need to be externally validated that makes both LW and RW Indians so shamelessly colonised. They even need ex-colonisers to give them a course on how to decolonise!!!

Pre-Rajiv Malhotra, it may have been understandable why Indians couldn’t fathom such “imperialism of the mind”—but why is this still happening long after he became a household name?

“Medium is the Message”

Pattanaik may have zero general credibility given exhibit A here.  Malhotra himself long ago debunked and exposed the sepoy author army of which Mr. Mithya is a part. Nevertheless, in this particular instance, his point remains valid. Fortunately, Indiots are always ready to be their master’s voice.

As we said in the previous article, it is time for Bharatiyas to Grow up. It is alright to use literature that is favourable to your cause (evidence-based argument is wise), but making celebrities, or worse, creating replacement cultural & spiritual leadership will lead you back to the very same starting point: replacement political leadership.

If the Hindu mind must be Decolonised, it is something Hindus must do on their own. Modern De Nobilis cannot be anointed to replace our real acharyas. Some may argue, “well they are genuine“—great, let them minister to people in their home countries. Western Countries are having their own spiritual crises as we speak without native dharmic spiritual guides. Despite facing an hostile environment, traditional Indian Acharyas and orthodox Indian yogis continue to give spiritual guidance to India—why this obsessive compulsive passion for the pardesi…and his payrolls?

Inevitably, they all seem genuine at first, until the signal is given, and the real agenda is sprung. You have seen it with non-Dharmic journalists, why would non-Indic Acharyas be any different? Standards and quality control regarding Dharma remains with real Bharatiya Acharyas—because as you can see here below, this is what foreign ones are upto:

The Ultimate Pizza Effect

Most urban/urbane Bharatiyas by now have heard of Rajiv Malhotra. His theory of the Pizza effect was enunciated to describe how Indians in general (and Hindus in particular) become interesting in some phenomenon only if it has a foreign stamp of approval. That is why foreigners can be brought to:

Teach you your History

Teach you your Culture

and even, to Teach you your “Dharma”

All while working to discredit your actual native Acharyas.

In many ways, as we saw it with Roberto De Nobili, this is nothing new. It is in fact a matter of things coming full circle. Some may say, well aren’t religions meant to be universal? Not necessarily. The Romans, for example, felt their religion was “too good” for others and restricted it to native born Romans. Sanatana Dharma may be Universal, but Arya Dharma is restricted to Aryas (meaning all ethnic-Indic Hindus, north or south, of any varna). This is the danger of piece-meal religion. If one learns from orthodox traditional Brahmanas, one gets the correct interpretation of our scriptures: The reality is Arya is an ethnonym, and originally all Indians (even “Dravidians”) were Aryas, from India!

So how can Arya Dharma, the strict Vaidika Dharma, be universal? As we read about the Yavanas, Maharishi Vasistha gave them protection on the condition that they give up  Vedic rituals, on account of their misdeeds. So while it is fine if there is a Dharma sampradaya that appeals to sincere and honest foreigners (many of whom are rediscovering their own traditions), the rituals of Vedic Arya Dharma are clearly not meant for all, as Itihaasa itself asserts. This rule laid down not by mere mortals, but Maharishis.

Sanatana Dharma, with its expanded astika and nastika heterodoxies could be universal. But there is an inherent danger in all “universalisms”: Force-fit a solution to a context specific problem. Some have argued that those experiencing spiritual emptiness in cathedral pews of Europe should revert to their ancestral faiths (as is being done in Iceland and Greece). There is value to that. Late AntiquityJapan also offers insight with the Japanese picking and choosing aspects of Hindu and Buddhist Dharma to adapt to their own way of life and existing Shinto religion. Perhaps that is why the category of religion itself is wrong as many have written, and panth/sampradaya rather than Dharma, a better translation.

Part of the reason why an official Dharma Paksha (beyond parties and ecosystems) hasn’t been floated to date is because there are many patriotic people who aren’t religious, and feel their personal lives & freedoms might be affected. But Dharma is a big tent, as is Dharma Paksha. Men and women of different character and characteristics also practiced Desa Dharma even if they didn’t practice strict svadharma and achara. Along with the golden pativratas of old, were also women who were silver sahadharmacharinis and had lived independent lives before getting married. There is arguably a complicated copper standard too, and so on.

Believing in the need for a Dharma Paksha doesn’t mean you have to yourself be a Ram or Sita. It means you want a Truth preserving society, where leaders (political and spiritual) are held accountable to high standards, where women are respected, & where the common person is not exploited. That is real Dharma, and how we must decolonise.

How to (actually) Decolonise the Bharatvasi Mind

VN_Silence

1.Learn the Value of “Shut up”-This isn’t a new principle. It’s at least as old as Mahatma Vidura.

VN_Speech

2.Disagree without being Disagreeable-Be diplomatic. Learn to speak politely and with etiquette. Stop barking orders at people whom you don’t even know, and who are doing useful things. If there’s an issue, learn to communicate it in a respectful and discrete way.

3.Learn the Art of Letting the Other side have Your Way-This is the art of diplomacy.

4.Dismantle the shopkeeper mentality-This is credited to the late Bharat Verma ji. Bigotry against “banias” is unfair as many strategic, patriotic vaishyas also existed. Raja Hemachandra is often said to hail from such a background. But the shopkeeper is a different category. He is only concerned with his shop and how anything affects him—and whether he can get a discount on wholesale. Running a shop isn’t easy, but for the shopkeeper, anything is fine as long as his margins aren’t affected. That is why rather than Britain, it is India that—at least at present—has become a nation of shopkeepers. Each Indian has something to sell.

And if you’re part of his franchise or give discounts, then “welcome, brother!”

Even if you are a patriotic shopkeeper, vote not just your self-interest, but your enlightened self-interest. Don’t just think about the free merchandising or the cheap labour today, but the illegal immigrant rioters who might burn your shop down tomorrow..

5.Give a 5% margin of appreciation.This is real intelligence. Sometimes language is ambiguous. Sometimes a person can have an off day. Give a 5% margin of appreciation in case the person normally means well, but did come across as intended today.

6.There are many forms of Intelligence.

It is in our I.Q. testing that we have produced the greatest flood of misbegotten standards. Unaware of our typographic cultural bias, our testers assume that uniform and continuous habits are a sign of intelligence, thus eliminating the ear man and the tactile man…[describing] the top level of British brains and experience in the 1930s.”Their I.Q.’s were much higher than usual among political bosses. Why were they such a disaster?“…”They would not listen to warnings because they did not wish to hear.” [2,18

As none other than media mogul Marshall McLuhan wrote, IQ is a purposefully narrow measure of merely analytical intelligence. It doesn’t measure the many other types of intelligence, doesn’t control for culture capital/elite-self-selection, and certainly doesn’t account for strategic intelligence. As we showed in this article, strategic intelligence is not about genetics, but rather, about competence and imagination. Genetics merely provides a baseline, but Culture also counts. For those who think being a scientist defines intelligence, hear from someone who was part of the capitalist power complex:

Their great betrayal was that they [intellectuals] had surrendered their autonomy and had become the flunkies of power, as the atomic physicist at the present moment is the flunky of the war lords. [2, 40]

7.Understand the difference between  Family, Friend, Rival, Adversary, Enemy. Your Enemy’s aim is to destroy you. As Shakespeare wrote, “there’s daggers behind men’s teeth”. He may not show it, he may not say it, but he has nothing but hatred or even contempt for you. Nothing you can do to change it, no matter how much you grovel. Even if you forgive him like Prithviraj did, he will come back.

Your adversary is the person directly confronting you at any moment. It may be due to hatred, but it may also be to differing interests, or even a dispute between friends. Your adversary today could be your friend tomorrow. It’s sometimes said that when brothers fight, they generally hold something back. This is because they know they might need the same person tomorrow. But Indians fight 110% against their own brothers and friends or petty  native rivals, and yet feel strangely magnanimous and chivalrous when fighting hardened & barbaric enemies. This truly is a topsy turvy approach. This is also the problem with Hate. Hatred Blinds.

Rivals are those who may be competitive with you, but don’t mean direct harm…yet. The lines are often blurred between rivals and acquaintances. Therefore, rather than trust everyone, focus your trust on friends and family (and after that, your countrymen).

As for your friends. It is good live life being loyal to friends. But also remember this wisdom: Be slow to enter into it. When in it remain steady. But if he or she shows the true face, learn how to move on.

Unlike your friends, your family will never lose its status. You will remain related to them by blood or bond no matter what. But part of the problem in families today is individuals only tend to think about what is good for them, or what is “not fair!” given some childhood perceived petty injustice. If family members are to get along again, they must start prioritising what is good for the family. Your family is also your inner circle.

Ironically, those boasting most about their knowledge of Chanakya’s Mandala Theory are least likely to apply it to their personal/political life. This must change.

8.Trust the native before the foreign. This is just common sense.

Yes, Pattanaik is a sepoy. Yes, he has racked up terrible karma for his perversion of our epics. But at the end of the day, he is still a fellow Indian—barely. You don’t have to support him, in fact, you must oppose him & his nonsense. But when he raises up the valuable point about how RW is as colonised as the LW, perhaps it’s something worth considering—even if you don’t become his friend (please don’t…). Rivals, or in his case, adversaries, are not the same as inveterate enemies.  This is less about nationalism and more about common sense. At the end of the day, Pattanaik is still a sepoy & must be rhetorically defeated—but even sepoys—every once in a while—can give you inside information on how your colonial, or neo-colonial, enemy operates.

Does this mean rejecting all foreigners?—No! But there is a difference between cosmopolitanism and colonialism. It means giving your foreign friends due courtesy, and a fair hearing, but nothing more. Be respectful—even friendly, but not slavish. Above all, have the self-respect to learn about your tradition from those who were, like you, actually born into it. Are there wise, enlightened beings born in other lands?—Yes, surely there must be. But it’s not as if India has a deficit of such people.

annamayyastatue

Learn our Dharma from an Actual Acharya

9.Stop seeking approval from Foreigners

Admittedly, it’s not  a uniquely Hindu problem. As we can see here, some religions have this racial inferiority complex built in—and the Indian adherents of those religions too could benefit from a little self-respect.

Play the odds and be on the safe side. Gain your foundation from your traditional teachers, then when you Grow Up, realise you can learn something from even a child—without making it your guru.

10. Operate strategically

§ Issues many have with BJP justified are (especially in J&K & MH). Hence option to vote one for state, different for centre (i.e. BJD in Odisha, and BJP at centre). NOTA is NOT an option. Find an alternative & put the community’s full weight behind it. If there is no alternative, build it!

§ Another option is having many Dharma oriented parties establishing alliance at Centre. There may be relative gains among each, but required to unite at centre, as BJP and SAD presently do.

§ Common Dharmic Programme. Learn to Collaborate…with your own Countrymen!

UPA 1 had Common Minimum Programme for “secular parties” why not “Dharma parties”?

§ Run independent agenda-oriented candidates with proven record of working for Saamaanya Dharma. Hold community town halls at municipal level to give forums for candidates to make their case before a Dharma focused audience. This shouldn’t be based on caste, but for all castes with a common interest in restoring Dharmic governance.

They don’t have to be Sri Rams, they don’t have to be Sita devis, they just have to be committed to the common cause, with enough political credibility to get elected.

§ Vote one way at the state level and another way at the national level, when necessity demands it.

The Punjab election was a case and point. The SAD-BJP alliance was facing huge anti-incumbency, Aam Admi was virtually aiming for a re-ignition of the Khalistan insurgency. In this case, INC’s Captain Amarinder Singh offered the least detestable choice. The patriotic Dharmic majority, which was normally inclined towards the SAD-BJP, felt the ground reality of the popular winds and voted accordingly—as a bloc.

That is the point of Dharma Paksha. Whichever way you vote, it must be as a bloc. Not as a caste or a business group, but as a bloc. Make no mistake, Congress delenda est. But sometimes, when facing a mutual enemy or a Pyrrhus of Epirus, it makes sense to make your (temporary) peace with a rival or lesser enemy than to submit to a worse one. Maharashtra too offers another regional choice (and I write this despite being a South Indian aware of local recent political history). If the party with a difference doesn’t make a positive difference at the state level, vote one way at the state level and another at the national level. But whatever you do, put aside ego and conceit (and ‘my way! or the high way!‘, and ‘my caste! or we end up like the past!‘). Such decisions can’t be made based on emotion, but cool calculation in national interest (instead of petty personal/caste interest).

Is India headed for another Partition or Civil War?

Finally, make it a point to prioritise those promoting the many traditional scholars we have today. Learn Science at School, but learn heritage from traditional scholars and Pandits, who, throughout the tumult of the past thousand years, have preserved an unbroken tradition with an imperfect, but truly rare integrity.

If you start looking outside to learn about yoga (as many “right wingers” do), this is what you end up with:

Modern postural yoga, developed a century ago by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya at the Maharaja of Mysore’s court, does owe a few elements to Western culture. These include iconic exercises like the Headstand and the Salute to the Sun, a series of older postures now linked into a dynamic sequence.”

The source for that little gem of “Hindutva” wisdom is from a doyen of the Right Wing. I personally don’t have anything against him, or the other darlings the so-called saviours of society refer to as “Acharya”. If you yourself want Anglo Acharyas (or EU Acharyas), so be it. But you don’t get to call others “racist” until you yourself start en masse promoting African Acharyas and African Sonia Gandhis to replace your native spiritual and political leadership. That would be true racial non-discrimination. So until then, consider yourselves mentally colonised..and yes, recognise yourselves as the actual racists..

Conclusion

The RW sepoy is nothing new. If one considers Purniah, it is in some cases actually an older phenomenon than LW sepoyhood—though, make no mistake, both LW & RW are sepoys, however much they criticise each other. And also, as we have shown, it is not an exclusively Hindu thing either. In fact, mir jafar and mir sadiq both betrayed their rulers to the British, and the first “native” prince to sellout was the very cowardly turkic nizam of Hyderabad. The prime difference, as Malhotra has written, is how easily and cheaply Indian sepoys sell out. One story embodies what makes the Indian case so shameful.

A persian friend once remarked on seeing a fight between two Indian cliques (featuring foreigners on both sides): “hmm, that’s interesting, you Indians seem to involve others into your own internal fights. We Persians have our issues, but generally don’t believe in letting outsiders into our own disputes”. What could I say?—was he not telling the truth? It’s not that no outsider has ever gotten involved in Persian politics, it’s that it’s so difficult for it to take place. In contrast, learning all the wrong lessons from the Mahabharata, Indians quickly enlist outsiders into their own fratricidal battles, now citing Chanakya as further evidence. They don’t realise that the Kurukshetra War was also a metaphor on the dangers of fratricidal/internecine wars. Who benefitted more from the depletion of kshatriyas in the Kali Yuga than foreign invaders (and their sanskari sepoys)? This is the cost of the Indian policy of “Me and the world against my cousins. Me and my cousins against my brothers”.

In contrast, the arabs provide the original proverbial “exam[b]le” (spelling intentional).

Me and my brothers against my cousins. Me and my cousins against the world.

Which model has been more successful in medieval world history?

Yes, Dharma must come first, and the point is not that you can’t find compromised arabs. You can—arabs themselves lament their present political life. It’s just a question of how easy it is to do so. Nor is this meant to somehow lionise them given their cruel and cowardly treatment of defenceless Indian workers in their own lands. It’s that external competence/strategy frequently is used by those with more barbaric mentalities. Those citing “courtly etiquette/courtesy/adab” often used that to mask more uncivilized intentions. In contrast, as one foreigner remarked: Indians seem to have forgotten their etiquette—hence the dearth of functioning lines. But other than the standard law & order issues in any society, for the most part, Indians are gentle. Proportional pushback and they go back to respecting your personal space. And that’s the point that Indians don’t get, proportionality!

Paraphrasing Aurobindo: Modern civilization is not actually civilization, but a well-ordered barbarism. Indian civilization may have forgotten its finer points of order and sophistication, but the core is gentle and sustainable.

But the ecosystem prefers to operate not for the benefit of the natives, but for the benefit of the colonisers. After all, one would think a civilization so birth-obsessed due to caste would make an even greater distinction between native and foreign. But no, that’s where AIT comes in handy. It disseminates the slave mentality through the hierarchy of outward-looking slaves. Always a stooge of someone else so that your own rival never wins, and the “chote log” know their place.

Now there are of course those who, in order to escape charges, tried to slander Rajiv Malhotra first as though he were also some ecosystem anointee (like them). In fairness, this is the Kali Yuga and anything is possible. We should not be fanboys. But Malhotra has done nothing to indicate such loyalties, and in fact, continues to be boycotted by the actual ecosystem. Furthermore, it can be argued that Malhotra was one of the first, if not the first, to actually distance himself from Hindutva and to focus on Dharma proper. Beef-promoting Hindutva and Hindutva-vadis are not Dharmic and are barely Indic.  So who then is more believable? Pending anything to the contrary, Malhotra stands exonerated in the court of public opinion—the same cannot be said for the ahankari-shikandis who attacked him an unprovoked fashion.

Also, it is important to start distinguishing between individual politicians such as the PM, and the ecosystem in which is he forced to operate. Is Modi Kalki avatar?—clearly not. But this is where self-reliance and Rajadharma and Kshatriya Dharma are required. One cannot forever wait and rely on divine intervention. We must do our part irrespective of the outcome. If you are dissatisfied with not only the sangh ecosystem, but even the PM, find a Dharmic replacement. Build the alternative first, then talk.

This is also why centralisation for anything—even Dharma—is a bad idea. Because too much becomes too dependent on too small a group of people. Rather than a single individual, or even a single ecosystem…each state, region, and individual community, and even family, must be doing its own part for Dharma. Just as sharda script & associated scriptures belong to Kashmiri Pandits, so too do Lingayat Mathas belong to Lingayats. Rather than translating everything into Roman script, let each maintain what belongs to it, while answering the higher call of Dharma. It’s also why the IQ-obsessed eugenics brigades never does anything useful and only care about themselves. Elites always self-select. But this gang can neither lead the way nor get out of the way.

And that is the precisely the problem—when the clarion call of Nishkamya Karma comes, who actually answers? People are quick to ask “why not me”, but never ask “why me”. They let their egos and ambitions get in the way rather than recognise that leadership, particularly politico-strategic leadership, goes to the competent. So the ecosystem and their casteists orbiters are compromised. But why do so many others avoid doing the right thing?

Rabid Casteists can’t be allowed to Masquerade as Nationalists

Opportunism is 1 factor, bandhutva is often another, but also the traditional four policies of sama, dana, beda, danda. This is why hate is not a policy. If you or your family is threatened with danda, what would you do?

So talk is easy, and casteist finger-pointing even easier. Sound understanding of what’s facing you and courage of conviction to actually engage in nishkamya karma much harder. Dharma doesn’t require a politically constructed, agenda-driven, top down ecosystem. It needs a Dharmic Civil Society.

Dharma’s natural “ecosystem” only works if people actually do their own Dharma—rather than try to do someone else’s. This is not a reference to birth caste, but a reference to character and competence (guna-karma). Ask yourself what you are actually good at doing, and focus on that, rather than nurture some delusions of grandeur and obstruct those simply running in their own lane. And stop perverting Dharma so you can anoint your own caste as “ruling caste” even though this contravenes Dharma. It is those with Kshatriyata who formed the ruling class: whether it was a blue-blood like Rana Pratap or a son-of-the soil like Shivaji.

It’s why time and again we’ve been advising you buddhus to avoid trying to settle caste scores and understand there’s a bullseye on all your backs.

While you all fight each other, there are those who are allying to fight against each of you…one by one, with atrocity literature about each caste (as seen below):

“The Big Book of Brahmin Atrocities” may be coming soon, but those of you from other castes should also realise that atrocity literature is already being compiled on you. This “dominant caste” theory is another product of the western academe. In this case it was used to justify the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, in the end, paving the way for this.

Understand that in the end even whole communities are disposable for the ecosystem, which ultimately only cares about interests.

Sadly, even naxalism is a product of the ecosystem, since RW corporate greed (with a sanskari tinge) creates discontent among those who are affected.

When elected governments don’t help them, they make the wrong choice, and become manipulated by the anti-national/anti-dharmic LW. But both left and right ultimately dine on an Indian dish. It’s why any Indian raising questions against this can simultaneously get branded a “commie” by the right wing and “hindutva-vadi” by the left wing—if you don’t toe their line, you must be with the other side.

While you rally around your caste guy because “he is our own man”, you forget that ultimate loyalty is to the ecosystem. Not everyone is affiliated with the ecosystem. Some are just orbiters. There are even some members who care about Bharat, like Syama Prasad Mukherjee or a Deendayal Upadhyaya, but whatever happened to them? If that can happen to members, how easily do they part ways with non-members?

Such things happen when a lone voice speaks out. But what happens when the body politic as a whole does? More importantly, this is where people must begin thinking more shrewdly. Devoted loyalty to parties and ecosystems and even politicians who don’t actually care about you is foolhardy. The current dynamic may necessitate different votes for municipal, state, and national elections. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 3rd generation partyman of x party/parivar. You have to begin thinking about what’s important for your society or heritage rather than looking at everything only through every prism except the genuine Dharmic prism.

And this is why rather than blaming a PM or CM or and individual MP, you need to start blaming who’s really responsible…you. Because you can’t even do the basic work, the basic praja dharma required in any society, let alone a Dharmic one. You want mai baap but complain about netas. You hate paying taxes but refuse to do your own work at the societal level or at the state level let alone the civilizational level. And until any or all of these things change, you no longer have the right to complain. Change doesn’t start through Poschim Bong “poriborton”. Change starts with you.

Correct yourself, correct your community, then you can correct society. It is only with a Dharmic Civil Society and a Dharma Paksha, rather than a RW neo-colonial videshi badshah, that the course even has a chance of being corrected.

Leadership doesn’t mean lying down like a lazy book-reading bum giving “commands”. It is good to read books, but don’t expect change in others until you yourself are willing to lead by example. That is real leadership, and that is what is required to lead not only a Dharmic Civil Society, but a Civilizational Revival as well.

Finally the unbecoming and unmanly defeatism on social media is emblematic of exactly what happens when you have all the wrong sorts of people full ambition but completely incompetent, hang on to influence. Rather than girding up to meet the challenge, they give up. When that’s the case, it’s time for new leadership.

References:
  1. Fukuyama, Francis. Political Order and Political Decay. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 2014
  2. McLuhan, Marshal. Media Messaging. Oxon: Routledge Classics. 2001