In the aftermath of a recent furor over his remarks in Africa, some have unfairly remarked that Gandhi was fundamentally oriented towards “Eurocentrism”. But this is fundamentally flawed.
Gandhi and Gandhianism are deserving of a great many criticisms. His never-ending accommodation of never-ending series of unjust demands and his callous behaviour towards the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in partition era W.Punjab and Bengal is emblematic of what happens when you dedicate yourself to ahimsa, instead of Dharma.
Are the rumours about Gandhi true? Maybe all, maybe only some. Was he propped up specifically to serve as an albatross on the Hindu neck, only to gut him and our culture later on?—wouldn’t be the first time (there are certainly some such today). But who knows for sure?—only God. But as usual, the problem in our ranks is not uncertainty, but excess of certainty and certitude. Some of our guys and gals read a few books and blogs, and apparently have it all figured out. In the realm of binary-ism and false dichotomies, it is easy to set it up as Gandhi vs Godse or Gandhi vs Bose. But perhaps that is in fact the problem. Hindus are foolishly and forever making false choices between two extremes.
Whatever Gandhi’s sins (his “experiments with truth” certainly qualify as carnal), whatever the influence of christianity on his thinking, whatever the incredulity of his apologia for razakars and moplahs, there, nevertheless, were clearly strong streams of essentially Indic thought in his ideology that were crucial in an eminently un-Indic time: sanctity of the cow, vegetarianism, village economy as building block, and even varnashrama dharma (only with upliftment of dalits).
Funny how some side-remarks of Gandhi that are racist in our era must be publicly excoriated for the benefit of foreign platforms, but the core philosophies of Marx that are revolutionarilyracist in any era are explained away or ignored. Whatever Gandhi’s peccadilloes against Hindus, Marx was an outright enemy of Hinduism. Only a hypocrite carps and cavils about one while deftly utilizing the other sub rosa.
Similarly, today there are voices treating the legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose as beyond question. Netaji’s singular contributions to Indian independence are undeniable. Both British and Indic voices (even spiritual ones, have attested to this). But as always, the devil is in the details. Were the solutions and philosophies upon which Bose rode Indic in nature? Would India have traded feudal agrarians, mercantile compradors, and clerical hypocrites for totalitarian Marxists or Maoists, who would have betrayed Bose?
The rehabilitation of the Socialist Authoritarianism that drove the INA of Bose as merely “revolutionary” is a clever rebranding effort, but a rebranding effort nonetheless of fundamentally alien Marxist ideology. The Reds of Russia were “Revolutionary” too, but their fellow travelers wreaked havoc in the 20th century. Here is the fate of women in Post-“Revolutionary” Russia. Do we want this for our young women too?
Gandhi’s abandoning of Pakistan’s Hindus to their fates may have been un-Hindu, but Bose’s choice of Revolutionary Socialist Authoritarian ideology was downright un-Indian. Had he succeeded in totality, would Totalitarianism have been the agenda of the nation and the state of its political economy? Would the accompanying vast accretion of central powers have overturned native Indic social structures (Panchayats, Mathas, Devalayas, etc) even more than inefficient and federal Nehruvian Socialism?—these are the intelligent questions that must be asked, rather than merely trading one patron saint, one “father of the nation”, for another.
Hindu Leftism, Hindu Marxism, or even Hindu “Revolutary-ism” are all ultimately as un-Indian and un-Hindu as “Hindu Fascism” or Hindu Feminism or Hindu Patriarchy. Rather than promoting either only Bose-ian revolutionaries or Patriarchal “Pitr-bhoomi” advocates, perhaps our Mathrubhoomishould look within instead. Whether Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, or Hindu, it is Dharma (and the philosophies and approaches that emerge from or respond directly to the Vedas) that makes India Indian.
SC Bose was a patriot, and he deserves his due credit for creating conditions that made India’s Independence not only possible, but in inevitable. But this is the danger of personality-driven movements and personality-dependent ideologies. Whether Gandhi or Bose (or any one else…), when a personality becomes larger than life and beyond question, we don’t examine policy or play counterfactual. When Bhagavan Ram himself is questioned and even mocked today as a “misogynist” by secularly misbegotten mongrels, who are Gandhi and Bose before him? So question Bose we must: What would have happened if Bose succeeded? Would the Bharat we would have seen resembled Mao’s China more than Nehru’s India? For those who have no problem with this, I kindly direct you to China’s “Cultural Revolution” as exhibit A.
We saw the level of caste violence and violent targeting of Brahmins under the half-baked Dravidian theory in Periyar’s Tamil Nadu. How much more havoc would have been wreaked under “Revolutionary ” (i.e. Socialist Authoritarian) thought in a putatively Independent India?
Like it or not, whatever the true story of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, his philosophy gave a stream of Indic thought that allowed a physically and mentally colonised India to make its way back to the spiritually liberating Dharmic Common Culture of its ancestors. Those who pretend as though everything was perfect in Hindu society 200 years ago or even 1200 years ago, ignore the very real problems of ill-treatment of dalits and very real corruption resulting from general casteism, which are well-attested. Does this justify the atrocities and atrociousness of atrocious foreign rule—no. But it explains why it took so long to attain success against its various forms, and why we still have yet to fully succeed.
Any political movement, any Civilizational Revival is only possible if there is a common civilizational culture and a common set of priorities…rather than mere ambition checking ambition…or lying in expedient wait. Pretending as though this was and is “mere violence among lower castes” ignores the fact that the buck stops at the head of society, not the arms or feet. Philosophical justification for the ill-treatment or exploitation of communities is even more criminal, because like socialist authoritarianism, it provides pretext for violence. It may not wield the blade, but it points out the target for it.
But varnashrama dharma was not about exploitation. The caste systems of feudal Europe or colonial Spanish America may have been, but varnashrama dharma was and is about de-centralisation, specialisation, and accountability—with the topmost being the mostaccountable and living the mostdifficult lives. Those that violated the dharma were outcasted (this is the origin of untouchability, at least originally). Trading the downtrodden Dalit for the impoverished Brahmin as a target for exploitation is no solution, particularly for Periyarites and Razakars who talk of “final solutions”. But how could this be explained in a nation that still believed Aryans invaded India? –(some scientism advocates moonlighting as “ritualists” still believe this despite orthodox Brahmins clearly stating that per our Vedic tradition, Aryas originated in India, and Dravidas were Aryas).
Were there individual cases of Dalits rising in status in pre-colonial India?—yes. But as a whole, corruptions had certainly entered into varnashrama dharma, and many scheduled castes were indeed very wary of how an independent India would affect them. Ambedkar himself was concerned at the legal status and situation of Dalits in a post-independence India. After all, all the dalits of the desh could convert to Buddhism as he did, but what ultimately mattered was the fundamental consensus that governed the country.
The reality is, before Indira Gandhi amended the preamble to insert “socialist, secular” to the republic, before Nehru said Dams were the new temples where Indians would worship, it was Mohandas Karamchand’s Gandhi’s views that served as guiding principle for the inter-regional and inter-religious consensus. Like it or not, Socialism is ultimately an outgrowth and transition period to Communism. Both ultimately have authoritarian and even totalitarian undercurrents, particularly when they become not only economic frameworks but outright political ideologies. Thus, Gandhian philosophy, whatever its merits, served as a sort of halfway house back to dharma. That many of Gandhianism’s proponents belong in a halfway house is another matter altogether, but to completely deride it and him in favour of Socialist Revolutionary ideology or hyper-masculine European memes of patriarchy, only demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of today’s opinion-leaders, older or younger.
Dharma wasn’t about patriarchy or hyper-masculinity (see ancient Greece or medieval Japan for some of the externalities of this ). Dharma was and is about complementarity and balance of the genders. This is the problem even with patriotic Indians—they are mimic men of a different sort, but never authentically Indian. Forever propping up foreign models and foreign saviours in native garb, they have egotists, ideologues, and superiority complexes aplenty, but never any self-respect. Scientism, Japanism, and even the asinine “cuck heavy” Alt-right to justify casteism is the m.o. for these “cucks” and […] of foreign fads and ideologies.
Either Central Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, or the West, Indians can only ever come come from or look to inspiration from somewhere else. New left, alt-right, neo-nippon, medieval mongol, laurasia, gondwanaland…never anything authentically Indian or even really Hindu, for this bunch. This is why they are forever adopting the jargon and memetics of the very white nationalists, racist leftists , or middle eastern race supremacists who either openly spit upon them, or do so after the veneer is scratched (they even promote such bigoted blogs…buffoons). It is a patina, a veneer of Hinduism, or in the case of the left, a version of perversion in colonised medieval India, but never the true, unvarnished clarified essence of authentic India. This is because unscrupulous and ambitious people are ever only focused on empowering vehicles that empower their ambitions, or in the case of pathetically over-compensating frat-boys—their fantasies. “Mimic men”, as V.S. Naipaul wrote, only ever exist for securing their own position, authority, and enjoyment.
The same voices that correctly identify propaganda as a tool of British imperialists, must remember that pen has still not run dry, and the wielders of said pen have skeletons in their own closets. So perhaps the answer then is neither Gandhi nor Bose, but maybe selective aspects of both. The uncompromising national commitment of Bose that allowed him to fight for independence and the fundamentally Indic streams of thought that either intentionally or unintentionally emerged from the personage of Gandhi.
Was the “Mahatma” merely patterning Hinduism on a Christian template—maybe, maybe not. But whatever it is, his Gandhianism gave a common unifying political philosophy for a religiously riven, cultural cleaved post-Independence India to make its way back to its authentic self. Was Gandhianism obstructed by the obstructionist “Idea of India” brigade from the Fabian Church of Nehru…yes, but it eventually brought about a common sense of Bharatiyata nonetheless. Whether Gandhi himself was an authentic original or merely an instrument himself, is another matter altogether. But allowing him to be used as a means to caste (spelling intentional) Indian culture, and by default, the Hindu religion as racist, is emblematic of the veryintellectually pinheaded stupidity that has been an albatross for Indians for the past millennium. When your enemy is trying to fit you into a box, “racist/rapist/misogynist”, you don’t step into it and play to stereotype, or in the case of alt-right “cucks and […] embrace it. If you do, you yourself are a “collaborator” of a different sort, or yet another of one those unscrupulously ambitious amatyas Kalhana condemned.
Rather than forever alternating like schoolchildren between contrasting shades of whites and blacks, understand the greys that define our era. The jury may still be out on Gandhi, if not Bose, but whatever he did or was, we must understand what Gandhi represents or is today. He remains a global symbol of India and its native culture and philosophies, whether we like it or not. Native historical re-assessment and re-allocation of his legacy must be done internally, not serving as a vehicle for agendas emerging externally. That is true Swadeshi and true Poorna Swaraj.
It is the nature of ambition to make men liars and cheats, to hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths, to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their own interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of good will.
It is often thought that the highest intelligence knows not only how to do something, but how and when to use it. Those most obsessed with being the ones to do something and gain fame and get credit, are the least qualified for the work, because their Ambition causes them to prioritise themselves rather than honour the burden they have taken on. Those who view our samskruthi and our aesthetics as a means of control are the ones who are least deserving and least qualified to revive them.
The exact wrong type of people are jealously seeking to control aesthetics for their benefit rather than the benefit of the culture and the people (whom they detest). The notion that classical literature is some indescribable sui generis, frozen in time, is asinine. It is almost as though they are willfully playing into the hands of those who seek to destroy our culture—one wonders what was their selling price. Classical Literature is sastra-derived, but even sastra (see dharmasastra) adjusts to time and space and circumstance, kala and desa and paristiti. Practices and aesthetics that appeal in one era may not appeal in another. The task is in taking timeless principles, and adjusting them in the present time and space, to re-ignite a respectable state, national, and civilizational culture.
No one argues that a foreign aesthetic isn’t being imposed upon us, of course it is . But what should be the response? One cannot simply dial back the clock to previous eras and to present an aesthetic that is frozen, that is unsuitable to current taste and context. Part of the problem is the fact that there is a belief of uniformity not only across regions but across time. Of course there were changes not only over Yugas but even within them. The style in Kashmir is different from Cochin, the style in Gujarat is different from Guwahati. It is only by respecting this variation that the authentic Indic aesthetic can be revitalised. This is the difference between synthetic unity and integral unity .
No one argues that the Kali Yuga isn’t a degraded age, with present pop culture at peak degradation and perversion, but the question is making our Classical (that is saastriya) Literature, Art, Music, etc. relevant for the present time. It is the difference between memorising the letter and understanding the spirit. These would-be exemplars have done an outstanding job of perverting Dharma with their misbegotten pedantry, so much so that such perverts were forced to readjust their woefully wrong definitions of Dharma, with some not-so clever bait and switch. Meanwhile Foreigners present native Indic culture as grotesque, while favouring more medieval and colonial qualities. Our native informers then serve up requisite material on the platter, or provide indirect assistance through their kupamanduka “opinions”. This again is the problem of knowing more and more about less and less.
No wonder their focus is aesthetics. When their definition of classical is “dead”…the culture and even the “aesthetics” they propound are plain dead and plain wrong—and like them, plain unappealing. Perhaps that is why they are forever waxing eloquent on “NRI’s” and “inferiority complex”, they are keenly aware of their own…and resent it. Like the simulacra passing as their efforts, they too are stilted. For all the highfalutin talk of civility, their (mis)behavior is the embodiment of mean-spiritedness and meanness of manner and uncouth breeding.
No one argues that prekshakas (audience members) shouldn’t be taught how to enjoy classical culture, be it music or art or anything else. But what should be the manner? To drone on pedantically without consideration for the diverse audience to which one must cater? When it is not one-size fits all, instruction must be such that all can be brought along. That there is a difference between the mere rasika (aesthete) and the sahrdaya (person of taste/connoisseur) is obvious. But mass and elite alike have a right to our culture, and thus, multiple avenues and multiple standards must be presented for all sections, not just our own.
Just as there is marga and desi within the real tradition, as true cultural exemplars from Bharata muni down to Jaya Senapati have all asserted, literary culture runs from high culture to mass. How ironic that those most obsessed with caste and varna vyavastha are those most keen to impose only their view and only their way of life on others. However, these fools forget that even the venerable rishi, Sage Shuka, had to give up his guna to attain moksha. As even avataras take on gunas as per need, so too, must we understand that while it’s important to grow from tamas to sattva, there is need for all three at varying points of time. A society that emphasises solely sattva guna is a sitting duck. A society that only emphasises tamas is what we have now. As such, it is imperative to not only adjust our aesthetics to time and place, but to ensure different levels of aesthetics and culture to appeal to all sections of society—not just our own. Aesthetics is not a mere static set of implementations, but a spectrum, from principles to cultural effect.
Unlike these pretenders, the great poet, rhetorician, and expert on aesthetics, Mahakavi Dandin, excoriated the need of pedants to over-complicate our language and culture in order to demonstrate their self-proclaimed “intelligence”. People who have to act smart usually aren’t that smart. Merely regurgitating what you were taught, without any original thinking or creativity, is what the great Ramana Maharishi remarked as being a “gramophone”. Time for these well-tuned, well-advertised, and well-aged gramophones to recognise their obsolescence.
The requisites for fine art are, therefore, imagination, understanding, soul, and taste [2, 597]
Aesthetics is not for parrots. Aesthetics is for those with imagination.It is for those who understand that the letter of the word is not frozen in time, but it is the principle that is timeless. Perpetually fitting a square peg into a round hole, these dinosaurs preposterously imagine their country bumpkin concept of aesthetics will gain currency in the modern materialist world. They do not know how to lead. Perhaps that is why they are forever mimicking and appropriating the work of others—they couldn’t critical think their way out of a paper bag. That is why they copy others.
The fact remains, even on the basics, there are problems. The correct translation for aesthetics is not rasa, as pure rasa is “sentiment”. Perhaps that is part of the problem, Indians are sentimentalists above everything, hence the much vaunted “rasika”. The corresponding word that conveys the full meaning of Aesthetics is Rasalankara. It is the union of sentiment with ornamentation, feeling with feature. That is how beauty is properly appreciated, and thus, the actual meaning of aesthetics. That saundarya is central to the cultural cataclysm that we are facing is well known to sahrdayas. The issue is whether or not those who wish to lead the response are competent to actually do so. As we have remarked elsewhere, competence is not merely knowledge or ability, but it is capacity confirmed by practice.
Yet there are some playing into the hands of Sheldon Pollock’s prekshaa of the aestheticisation of power, replete with “classical literature” that is ‘unchanging’ i.e “dead” —precisely the characterisation of Breaking India forces. That is precisely why Rajiv Malhotra asked whether self-promoting “adhikarins” greedy for fame/fortune actually understand Pollock’s positions and their implications. This is the danger of pedantry: it spouts off pablum while being unaccountable for results. It pays lip-service to polymathy while ignoring the practical.
Paundraka too talked of being Krishna, and styled himself the “true Vasudeva”. But despite the outer trappings, and the poses, and the peacock feathers, he ultimately proved false. He lived an immoral life and led others into immorality. What made Krishna the real Vasudeva was that he led by example. He encouraged good character in others and rather than state “don’t judge by vices”, he compassionately urged people to give up vices, to dust themselves off when they fell, and to keep trying.
While he married Rukmini for love, the 16,000 rescued women he married were to restore their reputation, not his pleasure. After all, countless women pray to God for a husband like Ram. Lord Vishnu had to grant their wishes in his next life as Krishna. But for Paundraka, women were objects of pleasure, not embodiments of Shakti. He said one thing and did another, while judging everyone else. Hypocrisy is not the Indic aesthetic.
And while he craved the sudarshana chakra, he ultimately proved incapable and incompetent to handle it.
The true Kshatriya, intellectual or otherwise, doesn’t spend his day condemning and ill-treating others. He recognises that all individuals begin as flawed, but walk on a path to perfecting themselves. Individuals fall, but like children learning to walk, they pick themselves up, and with the guidance of true acharyas, correct themselves and progress. That is why he doesn’t justify vices, but holds himself to a higher standard than others.
That is precisely why strategy is the realm of the kshatriya ( and intellectual kshatriya), because he (or she) is accountable for results. A defeat has consequences. Not so much for silo’d sellouts and village bumpkins. Merely lecturing about kshatra having only read about it, but being impotent to actually practice it, is emblematic of the lifestyle of those for whom life is a “24/7 spectator sport”. Perhaps that is the reason for their superiority complex towards Malhotra. After all, a superiority complex is nothing but an overcompensation for an underlying inferiority complex.
They know they lack the sophistication and knowledge of world affairs required to tackle these issues, hence they hide behind irrelevant drivel in their attempt to usurp the traditional responsibility of real Acharyas in the Mathas and Devalayas. But our real acharyas don’t just pay lip-service; we follow our acharyas not just because they gather (achinoti) and give us laws , but because they show us Acharaby example. They lead by example and show us through the example of their lives how to live with spirituality and dignity. They show those of us in the material world how to ultimately reject temptation and follow the spiritual path. That is why kshatriyas were and are honour-bound to protect realAcharyas.
That is why precisely why our response must be calibrated not by single area subject matter experts, or self-proclaimed polymaths, but generalists (of all castes) with a wide array of knowledge across disciplines, who can see beyond their own noses and interests, and think of the big picture…not when it suits them…but all the time. That is the difference between the person who talks of patriotism to advance personal interests and the person who sacrifices (or at least sets aside when necessary) personal interests in order to preserve the common narrative.
If “Culture is the New Politics”, the Cultural and Civilizational response must necessarily be crafted and led by those with political skill and savvy. Poets, Artists, Musicians, Singers, Dancers, Traditional Scholars, Regional Language Scholars, Sanskritists, Sporting enthusiasts, all have a role to play, as support, but Cultural Leadership will necessarily be driven by those with a proven track record of Leadership–the meeting point, the sangham of Brahma-Kshatra-Vaisya-Sudra. Without understanding all four, the spiritual/religious, the politico-strategic, the economic, and the logistic, how can a unified response, a unified aesthetic be presented? This the difference, this is the need for grass-roots and bottom-up rather than top-down.
All this is ultimately why Ahankar and Ambition are the two most dangerous aspects of the “modern” Hindu. It is not that other people don’t have ahankar and ambition, it is that it has reached such a self-defeating concentration, that Hindus are prepared to sacrifice the absolute cause to increase their relative status—long before the cause is a gone case. This inability to bear any pain, this inability to lay anything on the line, is exactly why the Kshatriya ideal is needed at this time. Why a Culture of Kreeda, Team Kreeda, is needed at this time.
From Brennus to Pyrrhus to Hannibal to Attila, Rome weathered many a foreign storm. Rome even had traitors like Coriolanus, but Romans ultimately were willing to sacrifice everything but self-respect. Their leaders were generals who led by example. Where is the self-respect of our people today? No, the country’s current political credo is “lick the one who kicks and you kick the one who licks!”. Until this is firmly kicked from the country it will be more of the same. This is the not the mantra of Rishis and Rajas, but the slogan of poodles. Rishis did Tapas and Rajas endured terrible pain; this lot knows only how to avoid pain and feed their faces. Rather than the individual skill of the gyaani, it was the unit cohesion of the legion that made Rome effective. The dog licks its master who thrashes, but growls at innocent passersby. The wolf hunts in a pack and wins as a team. Incidentally, the lupus was Rome’s emblem.
But this lot is more likely to have lupus than to embody one. These poodles would rather become foreign slaves or pathetically call foreign elites their brothers rather than seeing their own countrymen as one of their own. Rather than having ludicrous popinjays and milquetoast over-sophisticates give irrelevant gyaan from their sinfully hypocritical redoubts, the aesthetic response must come from those who can not only relate to all four/five sections of society, but know how to unify them. Unification, not under unaccountable tyranny, through textual misquote and misinterpretation, but through common accountability under a common dharma, a practical Dharma.
If foreign usurpers are ignored on account of not presenting a “pramana”, then its quite obvious such scholars are better off in their silos rather than attempting to anoint themselves “acharyas”, giving “upanyasas”. There is a difference between a poet and a pradhan mantri. If you don’t have the requisite knowledge of global affairs, and the backbone to bear pain, it is time to vacate the kshetra. Drona too talked tough & was an acharya, but ended up dead on the Kurukshetra for his misdeeds.
It is one thing to argue “everyone has flaws” or “all are on a difficult path to perfect themselves” and quite another to demand others meekly submit to the addiction to vice of certain tyrants-in waiting. These ahankari-shikandis hypocritically argue “judge us by our inner worth”. But character is the determination of inner worth, and character is nothing but habits (whether driven by virtue or vice). Habits become first cobwebs then cables. More than cables, it appears someone has this lot in chains. So if you have some sinful background, if you have some terrible vice that you refuse to control, then better to exit the field. The true brahmana is known by character and conduct. This what our real Acharyas teach. Not that great ones from Maharishi Vishwamitra on haven’t fallen. Rather it’s that once they have fallen, they get back up and dust themselves off, rather than roll around in the muck saying “don’t judge us”, or “do as I say, not as I do”. That is no ethic, and certainly no Indic aesthetic.
That is why we must reject the bumpkin aesthetic. That is why it is imperative that we build upon an integral unity based on Satya, rather than a synthetic unity based on Rna. This is the era of not only Gross Domestic Product, and Foreign Direct Investment, but also Foreign-owned Debt. For all the talk of upayas, it’s clear their only policy is samshraya…under videshis. But a sellout in mundu-veshti is still a sellout. Whether Macaulay’s Children or Wendy’s Children or Pollock’s Children, drohis are still drohis. In the end, it is only the ambitious ahankari, the unscrupulous politician, the greedy gyaani who seeks a position for which he is unqualified, and sabotages the cause to preserve position. The true statesman sacrifices personal aspiration for common aspiration and civilizational destination.
Better one of my brothers or native rivals wear the crown than our common foreign enemy. When will Bharatvasis learn this lesson?
.Sophisticated infiltration by Trojan Horses to turn Hindu leadership over to compromised but ambitious persons, village bumpkins & clowns
Many of you may be wondering why the recent articles on the importance of Satya and Rta. After all, isn’t there a reawakening in Hindu community about the need for Dharma? What is the necessity to so stridently and trenchantly assert what the tradition actually says and what our Real Acharyas in Agraharas, Mathas, and Devalayas say?
The truth of the matter is that Bharatiyas need to start understanding that the path to Civilizational Security and Personal Spiritual growth are, ironically, one and the same. The dangers facing Indic Civilization today, at least if you believe in our traditional scriptures, are in fact meant to remind us of what true Dharma actually is. When the letter becomes more important than the spirit, when individual Rna becomes more important than absolute Satya, when the words of our Ancient Rishis are twisted for personal one-upsmanship, or worse, adharmic Ambition, then mankind is reminded of its lesser place in the greater scheme of things. When atheists, charvaka or otherwise, gleefully declare that “God is Dead”, why do they pray when it is their plane that is falling or their house that is on fire? The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.
Truth be Told, those of us who contribute to this site are quite frankly much more interested in quietly and contently writing articles (or printing those by others…who are team-oriented) to help spread awareness of our High Culture. But as we wrote in our article on Culture: the Cure for Stupidity, Arts are the Alankara of culture, not culture itself. It is the values and morals and high-minded principles of our forebears that drives not only what to view as tasteful, refined, and cultured, but also what is good, decent, and proper. It is Dharma that is the soul of our Culture.
And yet, despite all the high-minded talk, we still have far too many ambitious and parochial people, who are putting their own private gain ahead of public good. Despite the growth of the “Indic Intellectual Ecosystem”, there remains far too much backbiting, copying, and petty politicking to make any of this Civilizationally beneficial. After all, if you treat your own countrymen no different than you treat your foreigners, if you still stupidly repeat the same mistakes as our ancestors and allow de nobilis into our ranks, if you still cut side deals with national enemies to gain one over your local rivals, then why is your society any more worthy of saving than it was a thousand years ago?
Ours is the civilization not only of Vasistha and Vikramaditya or Ram and Guru Ram Das, but also Saints like Annamacharyaand Basavanna who took on those who misused our inheritance and twisted it for personal material gain. That is why we spoke out so fervently in favour of the absolute Truth, of Satya-Param, in our previous article. Without the truth, all we have is tyranny. It is the truth that truly does set us free.
Tradition without Truth is robotics. But Tradition with Truth is meaningful living. It is the Truth which destroys Ego, which reminds us of our minuscule place in the scheme of things, which teaches us that false pride comes not only from adharma but even Dharma. That is why we are asked to surrender to God in the finality of things (atma-nivedhana), or at the very least surrender to truth (if you are agnostic). Solipsism and narcissism can emerge even from those who have historically done good, like the Haihaya Karthaveerya.
Even the Parashurama who defeated him was in turn punished by Rama for pride.
That is the danger of Ego, that is the danger of Ahankar.Over time, it breeds the false sense that you are so good, whatever you do is beyond reproach, whatever you do cannot be judged. Pride in caste, pride in scholarship, pride in intellect, pride in strength, all can lead to terrible falls and even punishment, and so too can pride in doing past good.
As seen in the preceding article in our series, the amassment of wealth and power of the Bhargavas and their adharmic selfishness in the wake of societal famine was one of the reasons for their chastisement. Their ingrate behaviour towards their patrons, the Haihayas (supported by the Atreyas), is also significant. The later misdeeds of the Haihayas, who went overboard, were rightly punished by Parashurama, but the misdeeds of the Bhargavas were the root.
Society is one of balance. When there is an imbalance, when kshatriyas become tyrannical, or when brahmanas attempt to accrue wealth, power, and women, Dharma causes a restoration. Parashurama’s antipathy towards kshatriyas was well-known, his instruction of Bhishma being only on account of the latter being the divine son of Ganga. Parashurama’s cursing of Karna once he discovered the latter was actually a kshatriya, is emblematic of this. But a society needs both Brahmanas and Kshatriyas. He served as the conduit for Krishna to take his Sudarshana chakra, as the purpose of Krishna’s birth was to destroy sinful Kshatriyas, but Parashurama’s punishment at the hands of Rama is also well-known, again due to the sin of Ego. This egotism of the Bhargavas originated in Bhrigu himself.
Once upon a time, the rishis were performing a great yagna and wished to determine to whom they should dedicate it to. When it was decided to dedicate it to the Supreme God, Bhrigu decided to test the Trimurthi. He refused to pay obeisance to Brahma or embrace Shiva, and both were angered. In fact it was only when the wives of Brahma and Shiva begged them to spare Bhrigu that he managed to escape with his life, despite both of them preparing to burn him to ashes or slay him with Trishul. His encounter with Vishnu is even more illustrative.
The story of Lord Venkateshwara (Balaji) is well known in Andhra and other parts of the South (as this Kannada film demonstrates).
The impudent Bhrigu then made his way over to Lord Vishnu, who was asleep. Bhrigu struck Vishnu on the chest, awakening him. Despite the behaviour of this son of Brahma, he spared Bhrigu due to his nominal status as his father-in-law. True to his nature, however, Vishnu also removed the origin of Bhrigu’s pride, the eye in his foot that was the source of his great Ego.
Bhrigu Aksapada, as such, was punished by Lord Vishnu who removed of that eye in Bhrigu’s foot of which he was so proud. After all, whatever legal title the oceans may be in, the entire cosmos belongs to the One who created it. What is a mere rishi before the preserver of the universe itself? This is the danger of self-glorification. Rishis too must know their place before God. Bhrigu and the Bhargavas soon learned theirs.
Maha Lakshmi herself was furious and cursed Bhrigu and all Brahmanas that she would never visit them. Rishis themselves scolded Bhrigu for his arrogance. After all, who was he to test the Trimurthi, who could burn him to ashes with a mere glance (Brahma almost did). That Lakshmi was born to him is considered a boon to Bhrigu, not the other way around. The Trimurti and their Divine other halves are beyond all materiality.
All this is precisely why time and again humility is of the utmost importance because False Ego leads to the temptation towards pride, which leads to greed, and untruth to justify that greed. The ancient brahmanas were known for truth because they foreswore from wealth and power, and were rightly respected for it. That some of their descendants greedily chase after it even at the cost of their country, is well known too: One, Two, Three.
One such has been writing abysmal nonsense, ostensibly for the benefit of a foreign patron. While he curiously criticised the kshatriya who spoke out against this videshi scholar, he has been inactive in actually defending our society from such videshi depredations. This is precisely why avadhanis do not replace our Acharyas, who live in poverty and are attached to the truth, whatever the personal cost. But here is what one such public performer has been writing all while making pretense to giving “spiritual discourses”.
For all his obsession with his own caste, he had the gall to insult Maharishi Vasistha by stating he was the son of a prostitute. Per our orthodox Tradition, Vasishta is considered on of Brahma’s manasaputras (directly mind-born son)…How could he be called the son of an apsara? Whether you are atheist or not, that is the tradition, you are free to deny the rationality of it, but that is the traditional reality.Even if one accepts some later account of Vasishta being reborn to Urvashi and Varuna, that only demonstrates the danger that half knowledge accomplishes. Urvashi as an apsara is no more a prostitute/courtesan than devadasis originally were. Apsaras were simply independent unattached women who chose their own lovers and had no interest in marriage. Ravana styled Rambha as one such prostitute, and he payed the price through the curse of her family. These ravanas will very well find out the same. All this is precisely why half knowledge or knowledge in general, is not wisdom.
Another example was misdefining Dharma. That Dharma is defined as the upholding of Rta expressed by the Absolute Truth Satya as clarified by our Traditional Acharyas was established in our Post on Rta vs Rna. So why the effort to define it as such? Defining Dharma as inferior and motivated by Rna is, especially in the present time, very dangerous to our debt-burdened society. Whether it is unscrupulous moneylenders in Mother India or modern bankers, the perils of finance especially to the indebted illiterate are great.
As once can see, spiritual rnas are far too easily conflated for material & financial rnas.In our debt-burdened society, the implications of this are terrible. That is why rna is necessarily inferior to Dharma, so that Rta is not offended. But why such artificial re-defining of Dharma? Whose purpose does it serve to first change Dharma from Rta and Rna, then in subsequent articles, subordinate Satya to Rta. These are wrong definitions, which we were forced to counter in our articles on Satya and Rta. That one of them used to call Rajiv Malhotra his “guru” only to later attack him, only shows how much they themselves don’t practice what they preach. So much for guru-rna. What an ingrate.
Next are the recent definitions of Classical Literature as something frozen, beyond time and space, i.e. dead. This is straight out of Sheldon Pollock’s view of Sanskrit as dead. No wonder a review was written by them against Rajiv Malhotra’s Battle for Sanskrit. It’s obvious they are indirectly assisting Pollock’s prekshaa. Even if one gives the benefit of the doubt, it is highly telling that they were far more vitriolic and spent more time trying to take down Rajiv Malhotra than rebut the claims of this western Indologist.
Finally, the most egregious of all, their supporting the theory of “Beef in Vedas”. This was in turn used by such noted pseudo-scholarsas a particular Wendy Doniger acolyte. This is the cost of pseudo-scholarship and why avadhanis are not acharyas. As we can see, even in the tradition, whether it was Ravana or the greedy and overproud Bhargavas, or Duryodhana and the sinful Kauravas, just as there are good kshatriyas and evil kshatriyas, there are good brahmanas an evil brahmanas. Hence, the issue that faces us today is not caste versus caste, but Dharma vs adharma. It is upto to good brahmanas to speak up and call out these dushta-brahmanas for the fraudacharyas they are. These are bahishkar-able offenses. Remember, that too is part of Varnashrama Dharma.
These are not mere indiscretions, but a pattern of perverting Veda, Purana, and Dharma to suit the needs of videshi “indologists”. The list in fact goes on to even referring to varna (caste) as being based on “aptitudes” instead of guna (per) the tradition. Is casteism any more obvious than in asserting only 1 caste has valour or only 1 caste has intelligence? This is the definition of it. This is the casteism and determinism that had bred fatalism. This is the casteism that furthers division.
When one teaches, it must be out of a sense of responsibility, out of a sense of duty not just to makes sure students are taught correctly but also in a manner that is comprehensible to them. One should not teach or write for the purpose of looking or sounding smart, but for the purpose of communicating knowledge, wisdom, and understanding effectively. A teacher does not teach for his own ego, or self-glorification, but out of a sense of obligation to society.
Worst of all, the obvious subtextual attempts to deify this charlatan self-styling himself as a “polymath”, is apparent not only through the references to Swami Vidyaranya as a “polymath” but even Sri Krishna himself.
Let it be known to this Ravana, and his resident Paundraka, that not only is he no Sri Krishna or Vasistha, he is no Vidyaranya either. Despite traditional knowledge and achievement, both Ravana and Dronacharya were punished for doing wrong and lusting for women in one case and power in the other. They should consider themselves duly notified of their walking the same path as these predecessors.
At this stage, many of you may believe this critique to be too harsh, or too focused on one community. Please understand, this is in fact out of great reluctance, as infighting, whether inter-caste or even intra-caste runs many risks as well. Nevertheless, it is imperative that correct interpretation of our tradition be passed on to the next generation, that correctly teaches not only correct culture, and correct Dharma, but even correct Varnashrama Dharma. Some seem to have forgotten this, as we have not been alone in similar criticism.
Even those who were once aware of such problems can become blind to them when faced with material temptation. All this is precisely why our true Acharyas are in the Agraharas or Mathas (Sringeri in this case), not in the material world, pursuing a material living. It is they who preserve the tradition of true Brahmanas and they who teach correct Varnashrama Dharma. Our writings must be in consonance with the spirit if not letter of what they teach. Traditional Brahmanas living the traditional way were and are respected. If you are not one such, do not expect the same treatment and authority commanded by an Acharya.
As we said above (and as we can see above) those who have a past store of good deeds can also fall on account of their pride in them. That is the danger of ahankar, which leads to greed, which leads to untruth, and ultimately untold sin. When the store of merit expires, from whence can they expect succour from the cost of their transgressions?
Relevant to the matter at hand, is K.A. Nilakantha Sastri’s recounting of a Buddhist perspective on ancient Brahmanas, that gives us insight into why some sections continue this “Beef in Vedas” sacrilege:
Buddhist account of gohatya
“The Ancient Rsis were ascetics (tapassino) and practiced self-control and avoided the five pleasures of the senses…They spent 48 years of their life as brahmacarins in quiet of knowledge and good conduct. Even after their marriage they lived a life of restraint. They held austerity, rectitude, tenderness, love and forebearances in high esteem. They performed sacrifices with rice, beds, clothes, ghee or oil, which they could collect by begging and never killed cows in sacrifices. They possessed a noble stature and a tender and bright mien and remained always engaged in their own pursuits. In course of time, however, they began to cove[t] a king’s riches and splendour and objects of pleasure such as women with ornaments, chariots yoked with stately horses…Coveting more and more they again persuaded him (King Okkaku, that is Ikshvaku) to celebrate sacrifices by offering of cows, which they said, constituted also the wealth of men…The slaughter of cows enraged the gods Brahma, Indra and even the Asuras and Rakshasas and multiplied the diseases which were originally three, viz. desires, hunger and decrepitude, to ninety-eight and further caused to appear discord among the people and within the household, and acts improper and impious among the various classes of men.”[2, 291]
“The true Brahmins are distinguished from the false ones by Buddha and are well spoken of by him. Such Brahmins were expected to observe the five dhammas: truthfulness (saccam), austerity (tapam), continence (brahmacariyam), study (ajjhenam) and gifts (cagam). (sutta-Nipata p.85).”[2, 293]
That is the danger of perpetuating this calumny that Beef can be justified by the Vedas.Go-hatya is considered a mahapataka (a terrible sin). This in turn has beenrebutted many times. Such actions of this clique not only put our society at risk (at least per the Vedic tradition), but also put at risk our venerable Acharyas.
It is widely known how Brahmins (traditional or otherwise) are specifically and bigotedly targeted for violence.The tragic violence in Tamil Nadu is one such example. Many of our own family-friends were directly affected decades ago and were forced to migrate. The continued murders of brahmin priests in Bangladesh and elsewhere is another. Protection of priests and others can only be achieved by unity in our society and correct interpretation and correct practice of Dharma. As the Paramacharya is reputed to have said above, the best way to ensure the safety of brahmanas (which many of us have a personal stake in) is their own good conduct.Supporting such colonial theories that have no support in scripture (like AIT, which others have done) only gives fuel for this Breaking India fire and artificially separates Brahmanas from the other castes (the express goal of colonialists). An intellectual sepoy is still a sepoy, and betrays his fellow hindu and fellow brahmin alike.
That is why we repeatedly state that in order to ensure their own nation, their own Civilization becomes stronger, such stalwarts of samskruthi must themselves become better people first, and correct their wrong notions and wrong opinion and wrong-headedness. Such wrong definitions of Varnashrama Dharma only drive lower castes away. Such wrong “scholarly” support to Beef in Vedas only puts Hindus on the backfoot and encourages more go-hatya. And these are only some such examples. Recent attempts to even justify their own private vices on the basis of some alleged and subjective “inner worth” is another.
Of course we are judged by our vices. Habits are first cobwebs then cables. An author, artist, musician, or even poet may not be judged by his vices, but a Pandit, Purohit, or Acharya certainly is. That is the mark of a true Brahmana. National honour is safeguarded by National morality. Whether you are born into a brahmin family or not, it is your conduct that makes you a true Brahmana.
But like Durvasa & Drona, those who in their pride or ambition or desire for wealth perpetuate these falsehoods, may in turn find that pride goeth before the fall.
One of the great controversies in “Indology” has been the term “Yavana”. But our Itihasa-Purana long ago expressed itself clearly. As usual, rather than speaking in one voice, Bharatiyas, especially our two clever by half half-wits in their philognostic navel gazing have made matters worse by further associating the term with Indo Greeks.
Fortunately, our real Acharyas, such as Pandit Kota Venkatachalam, trenchantly established the truth.Whatever the later usage towards Persianised Turks and Arabs, “Yavana” (especially in the Puranas) refers to degraded Aryas who later became the Kambojas, Sakas, and Parasikas (Persians). Some of the Yavanas became Ionian-Greek, but the Yavanas referenced in the Puranas were not Greeks. “Yavanacharya” and “Yavaneshwara” were not Greek. Milinda from Milinda Panha was not Greek.
Pandit Chelam categorically denies that the Greeks had any kingdoms East of the Indus River. In his “Plot in the Indian Chronology” he wrote that the British fabricated much evidence and even forged coins. Indo-greek history constructed primarily on the basis of coins (numismatics). Were these forgeries?—worth scientifically investigating.
Per the Vishnu purana, Maharaja Sagara (ancestor of Sri Rama) of the Ikshvakus defeated and banished the Yavanas. He made them cut their hair and shave their beards, hence the fashion of the western-most variety. Of course, western “Indologists” are careful to omit this part, but happily use the Garga Samhita and its alleged attachment, the Yuga Purana, to advance the claim that the Indo-Greeks successfully campaigned in Northern India. Pandit Chelam has questioned the authenticity of this “Yuga Purana” saying that it does not appear to be the work of Vriddha-Garga.
That is the stupidity of our band of half-wits because what they find “fascinating” and gleefully promote in their half-knowledge is actually used by westerners, western wannabes, and mid-east wannabes to mock them. Milinda was not Menander, but was a Yavana-Kshatriya of Balhika (Transoxiana). As degraded kshatriyas they had been banished from India, but were promised by Ishvara that they would successfully invade Madhyadesa later in the Kaliyuga (see Medieval Period). Their time is now over.
While Astika Brahmanas abandoned them, as they had abandoned the Vedic rite and Sadachara, these Yavana-Kshatriyas nevertheless had their own Yavana-Brahmanas, Yavana-Vaishyas, and Yavana-Sudras. Per the Vedic Arya estimation of Madhyadesa (that is the Gangetic core), all these had the status of Mleccha only.
Therefore, the “Yavanacharya” and “Yavaneshvara” of the Surya Siddhantha, are none other than these exiled vratya Indians, who later joined with the various borderland tribes and became their rulers. That is why Yavana Astronomy is praised. That is what Yavana actually means. And that is why “Silence is Golden”, because these self-same morons-archaeologist who just discovered the topic in their Wikipedia research, have gone so far as to bring this to the attention of troll magazine and its resident olog-hai. That is why knowledge is not wisdom.
The reality is, Western Indology knows damn little about the Indo-Greeks, and a recent European scholar admitted as much. It took the work of native Bharatiya historians, and many decades, to push back against the colonial narrative established by the British, which imagined Demetrios and Menander as an ancient Clive & Dalhousie. Luckily for us, our ahankari-shikhandis lost no time to bring a broken narrative to the attention of all the wrong people, and help them revive it. But hey, who cares when we can give gyaan to grow follower counts and engage in half-knowledged speculation!
So next time you come across something that could be misportrayed and misused against your own people, make use of that dm option, do further research, or simply remember the value of “shut up”.
As for the full account of the Yavanas, here is some of what Bharatiya Charitra Bhaskara, Sri Kota Venkatachalam, wrote on the matter [Emphasis and Proofing ours]:
The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on April 28, 2009
Reference to Yavana countries:
To the west of Kashmir there were five Yavana countries. Some of them are now part of Kashmir Empire. These Yavanas were not Greeks but they belonged to the Kshatriya race of India. As these disregarded and neglected the performance of vedic duties and rites they were called Mlechchas. In those Yavana regions lived four castes of people. As all these castes relinquished Vedic rites, their caste-names were merely nominal.
Among the people of the Yona kingdoms, Rajatarangini relates that there were castes called Yona Brahmins, Yona Kshatriyas, Yona Vaisyas and Yona Sudras.
Yona or Yavana Kingdoms:
(Vide the Map of western India in post ‘The Empire of Kashmir’).
“Abhisara” consisted of two regions namely “‘Darva” and “Abhisara.” The kings of these Yavana regions were Kshatriyas who became Mlechchas, were subordinate and paid tribute to Kashmir Kings. We find in Rajatarangini many instances, when these Yavana rulers revolted and became independent and the Kashmir monarchs subdued the rebels and brought them again under their sovereignty. Some of these five regions are part of Kashmir and others are on the western border. In the list of the Kashmir Kings, during the reign of 130th ruler, Kalasa Maha Raja, there was the description of Yona Brahmin as follows,
“There was a Brahmin born in the Yona Village who begged alms of paddy. His name was “Loshtaka” and he was considered to be an Astrologer of that village.” So says Rajatarangjni.
From this, it is evident that the Kshatriyas residing in the Yona regions, on the borders of Kashmir, though they were firstly Kshatriyas, were treated as Mlechchas, on account of their disregarding their vedic duties; the other caste people also were called Mlechchas. Therefore, Rajatarangini relates that there were caste differences even among the Mlechchas. The yona Brahmins were experts in Astrology. The ‘Yavana. Rishi’, the author of “Yavana Siddhanta”, was a ‘Bharatiya Yavana Brahmin’, but not a Greek.The territory “Ionia” which got that name, on account of its conquest by the Yavanas of india, was later called Greece from its contact with the savage Greek tribes.
The Bharata Yavanas were of a very ancient origin. They took the sciences of Astrology and others, on their migration to ‘Ionia’(modern Greece) from India, but India borrowed nothing from Greece. On the otherhand. the western writers turned matters topsy-turvy and proclaimed that all the arts and sciences flowed from Greece to India. The histories containing this inverted information were introduced as Text-Books and our children were taught these packs of lies in the schools and colleges.
As the students were manufactured to be disciples of the Greeks, as a result, they cultivated a love for Greek lore and learning and developed a hate for Bharatiya knowledge and wisdom. Until and unless correct and true history of Bharat is written and these authentic books are prescribed as Texts for study in the schools and Colleges, these wrong and baneful notions cannot be torpedoed and the minds of future generations of young men cannot be diverted from the tinsel glamour of west to the true glory of the East, the hearth and home of culture and civilisation from time immemorial.
The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on July 4, 2009
Pandit Chelam provides an excerpt from a correspondence. Following that, he responds to the questions with his answer on Yavanas.
The two questions: The learned Dr. Sirkar (Govt. Epigraphist for India,Ootacamund, South India) asked in a letter in February,1955 after receiving a copy of a booklet “The age of Buddha from Pandit Chelam) :-·
On the basis of your (Puranic) Chronology how do you account for
1. The Yavana king “Milinda” of Sakala mentioned in the “Milinda Panha” who flourished 500 years after the Buddha’s Parinirvana?
2. The Yavana Monarch “Amtiyoka” whose dominions bordered on the empire of Asoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, according to Maurya inscriptions? To answer the questions raised, we felt the need for further investigation of allied history and historical research and came upon an essay by the learned Dr. D.C.Sircar himself on ‘The Yavanas’ in Vol.II of “The History and Culture of the Indian People” published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. We acknowledge that we found the essay also very useful for our purposes in this connection in furnishing our answers to his questions.
In Vol II of the “History and Culture of the Indian People” Dr. D.C. Sirkar writes about the Yavanas :-
“One of the factors that led to the extinction of the dynasty of the Imperial Mauryas was the advent of the Yavana invaders through the North—western gate of India. Indeed the most interesting feature of the post Maurya period of Indian history is the establishment of foreign supremacy in Uttarapatha, Aparanta Paschaddesa, and the adjoining region of Madhyadesa successively by alien powers, and the Yavanas were the first among them.
The word ‘Yavana’ was used in medieval Indian literature as a synonym of Mlechcha and indicated any foreigner. But as late as the early centuries of the Christian era it meant to an Indian, the Greeks only. The word was derived from the old Persian form ‘Yauna’ signifying originally the Indian Greeks and later, all people of Greek nationality. The Greeks of Ionia in Asia Minor, between the Aegean Sea and Lydia, and the people of North Western India, certainly came into contact with each other as subjects of the Achaemenion emperors of Persia since the time of Darius I (522-488 B.C.) Vide p. 101, Ch. VII of Vol. II of Dr.Sircar’s “History and Culture of the Indian people”, of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan series.)”
[Pandit Chelam’s Response to Sirkar]
It is not a fact that foreigners established supremacy in ‘Uttarapatha’ in the post-Mauryan period. It is not correct to say the Sanskrit word “Yavana” is derived from the Persian form ‘Yauna’. 70% of the vocabulary of ancient Persian consists of Sanskrit words. The Persian language is itself a Prakrita(Vernacular dialect) derived from Sanskrit. The original Persians constituted a branch of Bharatiya Kshatriyas. Along with some others they were Kshatriyas excommunicated from the Kshatriya caste of Bharat on account of the non-observance by them of the regulations and rituals prescribed by the Vedas for the Kshatriya caste.
The regular Kshatriyas refrained from social and marital association with the excommunicated branches. One [o]f such excommunicated branches was known as the ‘Parasaka’ and they settled down in Eastern Persia. The region was named after them and came to be known as ‘Paarasika’. As they had originally belonged to the Aryan race, the country was also known by the more ancient name of Iran. Sanskrit was the parent language from which was derived the dialect known as Persian. The contention that the Sanskrit word ‘Yavana’ is derived from the Prakrit word ‘Youna’ of the derived Persian language is entirely baseless. The Sakas, Yavanas, Barbaras, Bahlikas and others were all branches of Kshatriya caste belonging originally to the Aryan race and the Hindu fold, but known generally as Mlechchas, having been excommunicated for their non observance of the prescribed caste regulations and duties, but they were severally referred to by their separate Kshatriya subsect names whenever necessary.
The Sakas, Yavanas, and others had their own Kingdoms in ‘Uttarapatha’ for thousands of years before the Mahabharata War (3138 B.C.). Thev were Hindus (excommunicated) and not at all foreigners.
The Mauryas were not emperors, sovereigns over an empire. From the time of Chandragupta Maurya. Chandragupta Maurya was able to establish himself on the throne of the Magadha kingdom, only with the help of the famous Chanakya. His son Bindusara also was only the king of M[a]gadha and not an emperor. In his time Magadha extended as far as ‘Taxila’ in the west. His son Asoka appears to have extended his dominion by conquest and got recognised as an emperor. Even for his empire the western boundary was only at Takshasila and there were the Yavana kingdoms and Gandhara to the north west and west of it, Kambhoja and Kashmir to the north. His descendants were not so formidable and so in a few generations after him the empire dwindled gradually and came to be confined once again to the Magadha kingdom only. In 1218 B.C. Pushya-mitra-Sunga murdered the last king of Magadha of the Maurya dynasty, himself became king of Magadha, conquered and brought under his suzerainty the neighbouring kingdoms and performed the Aswamedha to establish his claim to the status of an emperor.
The Maurya empire was disrupted on account of the weakness of the successors of Asoka which led to the independence of the feudatory kings and not on account of the invasions of foreign ‘Yavanas.’ Yavana kings were perhaps crossing the frontiers (river Indus) with small armies and indulging in marauding activities in the villages and towns across the border. But they were returning to their countries at the approach of the armies of Magadha.These Yavanas across the border of the Maurya empire were of Bharatiya Kshatriya descent and were neither Greeks nor foreigners. There were no Greeks at that time.
It is wrong to identify the word ‘Yavana’ with the ‘Greek.’The ancient Yavana kingdoms now comprise modern Afghanistan. The Yavanas and the Yavana kingdoms were in the northwestern region of Bharat from times immemorial and not of foreign advent. There was only one (Bharatiya)Yavana invasion in the time of the Maurya emperors and then it was repelled. lt is erroneous to contend that the Maurya empire was disrupted by the Yavana invasions. It is not a fact. There is no historical evidence whatsoever in support of such a contention.
Sir william Jones, one of the most intellectual of the European critics of Sanskrit literature, pronounced the Sanskrit language to be ‘of a wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either. (Vide Asiatic researches, Vol I, p, 422)
While thus innumerable reputed scholars unanimously declare that Sanskrit is the most ancient and the parent language of all the languages on the earth, from which all the other languages [w]ere derived, and in particular Zind, the ancient Persian language, is 70% Sanskrit and derived from Sanscrit it is surpriseing that Dr. Sirkar should suggest that the Sanskrit word “Yavana” is derived from the ancient persian word ‘Yauna’. The word ‘Yavana’ is frequently in use in Sanskrit literature, from times immemorial. To say that it has recently been imported into the Sanskrit language, argues little acquaintance with Sanskrit language and literature. There is a lot of information and innumerable references in Sanskrit literature to the Yavanas and other Bharatiya Kshatriya races which subsequently spread all over the world.
The following excerpts are from a Post at True Indian History on July 4, 2009
Question II of Dr, Sirkar:- About the age of ‘Amtiyoka’, the Yavanah monarch mentioned in the edicts of Asoka.
[Pandit Chelam’s Response to Sirkar]
The above mentioned ‘Amtiyoka’ belonged to a branch of Bharatitya Yavana Kshatriyas. He was the ruler of ‘Simhapura’ one of the five Yavana kingdoms 1. Abhisara. 2, Uraga 3. Simhapura 4. Divyakataka 5. Uttarajyotisha.
The other four rulers were subordinate to him. These five kingdoms were all beyond the borders of Asoka’s empire on the North-west and a group stretching in sequence from west to northeast. Now we find them included 1. in Kashmir, 2. in the North- west Frontier Province and 3, 4. 5, in Afghanistan. They were very small kingdoms. The people of these regions were Yavana Kshatriyas and martial people who lived on their arms i.e. served as mercenary soldiers under any ruler who paid them. Their women were very beautiful and they were employed as body-guards in the royal (harems) households of several Indian princes.
These mercenary soldiers were very loyal to the masters under whom they served and sacrificed their lives if necessary for the safety of their masters. They were Kshatriyas of Solar descent. But they were excommunicated from the Aryan Kshatriya fold on account of their disregarding and discarding the Vedic rituals and observances.(Manu 10-43, 45) They were regarded as Mlechchas. When they could not secure employment under wealthy masters who could maintain them, they used to live upon theft and banditry, raiding peaceful villages and carrying away loot to their mountain regions
So “Amtiyoka” was a Bharatiya Yavana prince, not an Iono-Greek or Greek prince. He was the contemporary of Ashoka. His age was from 1472-36 B.C. The “Yavana” of Northwest Bharat became Ionian in Asia minor and Greece and mixing with the Greek the Ionian became Iono-Greek and then by the order of the Government of Ionia or Greece, the Iono-Greek became “Greek” and the country became “Greece”.
The following excerpts are from a Post at True Indian History on August 1,2009
That Menander was a great Indo·Greek prince was recorded by the historian Strabo whose authority for the statement was a reference to him by the ancient writer Appolodorus. Periplus is another book assigned to 70-80 A.D., but of unknown authorship. But it is stated in this Periplus that coins with Greek letters and devices were current in the neighbourhood of Broach on the west coast of India in the first century A.D, ‘These coins resembled the insignia of Appolodorus and Menander, Greek Potentates who were in power after Alexander. Hence it is inferred that the neighbourhood of Broach might have been included in the Greek dominions in the times of Demetrius, Appolodorus and Menander. All this is entirely in the sphere of conjecture. It seems Appolodorus and Menander are mentioned in the list of Bharatiya Yavana princes in the writings of Justin, the historian. But his writings are now extinct and not available for verification.
It seems Plutarch also mentioned Menander as renowned for justice and that when he passed away the various cities in the neighbourhood contested for the privilege of holding his remains. This Menander is further identified with Milinda of the Milinda Panha (questions of Milinda), a Buddhist text containing the several questions raised by Milinda and the answers furnished to them by the Buddhist monk Nagasena at the end of which the prince, satisfied embraced Buddhism. This prince is spoken of as ‘Milindra’ in Avadana-Kalpa-lata by Kshemendra. In the Shinkot inscription the name is given as ‘Menadra‘ and so it may be identified as ‘Minendra’or ‘Menandra’. This name might be read into the devices on the coins, we are told.”
The following excerpts are from a Post at True Indian History on August 1,2009
“In Hieun-Tsang’s writings there is scope for the current provisionally accepted date of 486 B.C, If we count 500 years from the provisionally accepted date of Buddha Nirvana we get 14 A,D. So Menander should belong to after 14 AD.,ie. Ist century A.D. But even this is pure conjecture and based on the assumption of the identity of Menander with the Milinda of Milinda panha, Even the provisionally accepted date of Buddha Nirvana is itself based on the wrong assumption of the contemporaneity of M[a]urya Chandragupta and Alexander of 324 B.C. How can we expect the superstructure to yield correct dates when the basic assumption is itself questionable and a mere conjecture? As soon as the hollowness of the original foundation of the entire structure is exposed and recognised the entire edifice topples down with a crash and the time for it is approaching. It is wrong to identify Menander with Milinda. Menander even according to the author of the essay, Dr. Sirkar. belongs to the 2nd century B.C. It will he proved in the pages that follow that Milinda belongs to the end of the 14th century B.C.”
True Indian History. [Various Blog Posts]
Kota, Venkatachalam Paakayaji (Pandit). The Age of Buddha, Milinda, and Amtiyoko. Guntur: Sri Ajanta Printers.1956
Acknowledgement to Sri G.D. Prasad garu, Grandson of Pandit Sri Kota Venkatachalam, for his kind permission to reprint these Excerpts and Blog Posts.
As we wrote previously, theImportance of History cannot be minimised in this era, let alone any other. A person, a people, a culture, a civilization, all derive their identity from history, sacred or otherwise. The critical lessons of history help politicians and military thinkers alike shape the course of their country’s destiny. But with a topic as powerful and as crucial as history, objectivity and dispassionate thinking are required. Scientific temper does not mean scientism. Ours is a spiritual civilization and our Vedas, a spiritual tradition. Therefore, before beginning to catalogue and disseminate True History, it is important to understand “True Indology”.
Instead today, mere regurgitations from social media and blog trivia are what pass for serious research and serious thinking. But serious people are driven by strategic thinking, not serial sycophancy and regurgitation of knowledge from self-appointed “acharyas”. They recognise that any nation that has been colonised must carefully review whether and how their society was tampered with. This is because…
What greater proof was there of this than British-colonised India?
Those wedded to scientism forget the true place of tradition, and how science exists to confirm tradition, rather than define or even pre-determine tradition. Fortunately, the modern and traditional are not always antipodal. There was one such true Pandit, indeed, a veritable “Bharata Charitra Bhaskara” who was learned not only in “western learning”, but our traditional Vedic and Pauranic learning as well. For those [b]raying for “true pandityam”, fine, let us then learn from a realPandit, Sri Kota Venkatachalam.
Traditionally trained, but modern educated, he is the precise antidote to sage-imitating sepoys selling their knowledge to the highest bidder, while hiding behind sacred threads. Here is one actual Acharya of authentic lineage who actually deserved his yagnopavitham. And my pranams to him.
He wrote in the very era when Bharat’s history was being tampered with and painstakingly catalogued how our history was purposefully misrepresented, and archaeological evidenced destroyed. Here is what he had to say [emphasis ours]:
The following Post appeared on True Indian History on April 21,2009
The history of India, particularly of the ancient period, as it is found in the Text Books of schools and colleges and in the writings of research scholars of Indology,requires thorough revision. European scholars, who attempted to construct our history, seriously erred in chronology.
The false assumption that the Aryans came from outside India and the wrong identification of Chandra-Gupta-Maurya of 1534 B.C, with another Chandra-Gupta, the contemporary of Alexander(326 B.C.), led to several errors in chronology and other aspects of our history.
The Puranas, which are a storehouse of historical information, were discredited as mere fiction. Several facts from the Puranas that do credit to our history and culture are entirely omitted in the historical writings of Europeans and their Indian followers.
Some Indologists went to the length of interpolating in and otherwise tampering with the writingsof ancient foreign visitors of India and with the Buddhist literature
Many ancient inscriptionslike the Kumbhalghar Inscription (V.S.1537) were destroyed.
The genuine Inscription of Janamejaya ( Indian Antiquity pp333,334) dated Kali 89 or 3012 B.C. has been rejected as being spurious. Several other important ancient inscriptions between 4148 B>C. And 300 B.C., were destroyed.
Some coins and inscriptions have been misread, mis-interpreted, misapplied and misrepresented and some are forgedso as to be used for supporting the modern theories.
The Aihole inscription and others that establish correctly the date of the Mahabharata War, 3138 B.C., have been neglected.
Some important dates which are supposed to be the Anchor Sheets of Ancient Indian chronology have been arbitrarily determined, with no regard for or reference to ancient literature.
All this was to show that the historical literature of Bharat was unreliable as a document of history.
Although later researches by Indian Savants have brought to light several facts, the writings of these savants are not accepted by prominent Indologists for the simple reason thatthese writings do not fall in line with their modern theories. It is strange to expect that scholars that are bent upon showing the errors in the modern historians in the field should fall in line with the same writers.The interests of truth will heavily suffer if this attitude towards fresh research scholars of Indian history continues.
For aboutforty yearsI have been working in the field of historical research studying both Indigenous and modern histories and inscriptions etc., and during the last 9 years I have published genuine Historical facts in 24 books, some in Telugu and some in English running into 3000 pages.I have been sending my publications to research scholarsand other prominent persons interested in the subject. Although the bulk of the scholars are too conservative even to examine my writings, some of them have accepted that my writings give a lead to the attempts for constructing a genuine history of Bharat. I am happy to note that there is a wide-spread desire in our country today, that our history should be rewritten so as to be nearer the truth.
I have done, through my writings, what I could towards the achievement of the legitimate wish of our people. I appeal to the younger generation to pursue the subject and do justice to the great culture and history of our country.
I have labored, long enough and am retiring in my 72nd year. I assure my young friends that as they proceed with the subject they will find in our ancient literature, inscriptions and coins, wonderful material that will enable them to construct history of our mother-land from 3138 B.C..Beware of forged inscriptions etc.
This Ancient Hindu History consisting of two parts is the last of my works. In the first part of this book I have traced the dynasties of kings from 3138 B.C., the date of the Mahabharata War, to 1193 A.D., and I have also given historical accounts of these dynasties. This information is quite in accordance with the puranic accounts and genuine inscriptions. In this second part, I have proved that the genuine history of Bharat is to be found in the vast Sanscrit literature, that theso-called archaeological evidence cited by modern historians is full of misleadings, misrepresentations and misapplicationsand that this evidence besides being so very faulty has failed to help a correct reconstruction of ancient Hindu Chronology and has always tended to horribly curtail it.
My good wishes to all those interested in bringing the genuine history of our Bharat.
Kota Venkata Chelam
Rajiv Malhotra has been shedding light on exactly how Western Indology is being used to Break India. Pandit Chelam showed precisely how history was and is still being used by Colonialists to confuse and disorient India. That is the danger of scientism–it fails to ask, cui bono?
In the coming days and weeks, we will examine closely Pandit Chelam’s work. Many have heard of him, some are familiar with him, but it is time we study him. But study him we shall in his own example, and critically examine his statements to see exactly why the essential story, the core chronology, the true sheet anchor of history is in fact correct. Details here and there may be lost to time or uncertainty or require verification, but determining the correct chronology and place of origin properly defines the place of history and a people’s place in it.
Above all, someone of his calibre with knowledge of both realms clarifies precisely what our Vedic tradition actually says.
Our sincere thanks to G.D. Prasad garu, who is the grandson of Pandit Chelam for graciously granting permission to reprint this article, which reprints sections from Sri Venkatachalam’s work.
In our previous essay, we discussed how Discretion is the Better Part of Valour. Without having the discretion to know when to fight and when not to fight, what to say and what not to say, when to speak it and when not to speak it, defeat is guaranteed. Those whining about why there isn’t a Civilizational Renaissance yet would do well to implement corrective action first. That is why, the merits of a rote-memorisation education extend only to communicating knowledge, not communicating wisdom. Wisdom means having the judgment to know when to apply and when not to apply. It means having the discretion to know how to apply and how much to apply. All this comes from Niti. In fact, Discretion is often translated as Suniti, meaning “Good policy”.
Discretion means attempting to understand not only your needs and your svadharma, but society’s needs and the situation around you. That was why we used the example from the Puranas about Durvasa. Filled with caste pride, Maharishi Durvasa berated the Kshatriya King Ambarisha who was doing a fast (upavaas) for society to end a famine. When Durvasa attempted to curse Ambarisha, Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra appeared and chased Durvasa. It was only after Durvasa begged for pardon from Ambarisha that Lord Vishnu called back the Chakra. The Puranas do not exist to contradict the Vedas, but rather, contextualise them so we understand how the rules and the Dharma that emanates from the Breath of Brahman are to be applied. The Moral of the Story is, none are above Dharma, not even Maharishis, and Discretion helps us understand this.
Discretion even extends to not only what to speak but how to speak it—a perennial ailment for Indians.When everything is communicated in hyperbole (exaggeration/over the top language) who will take you seriously? “ohhh, they deshtroyyed us. Oh they are the beautiest. Oh vee always losted”. Have a freaking sense of proportion! Moderate your language and explain your position; otherwise, no one will ever take you seriously let alone respect you. Above all, this is required to ensure self-respect.
When there is failure to prioritise, there is failure to be proportionate. Paleo-puritan, ultra-conservatives staunchly against inter-caste marriage continue to fail to differentiate between inter-caste and inter-religious. If both are viewed as “equally immoral” then clearly there is something wrong with your priorities. Ask yourself if some aspect of your understanding of Dharma might be better preserved under one versus the other. It is one thing to say you are against varna samkara, another to say inter-caste is the same as inter-religious or inter-national. Determine which contravenes your society more.
Similarly, idiots on the Left who claim that right to equality extends to “non-Indians as much as Indians”, clearly have a problem understanding the difference between those with millennia of connection to Indic Civilization, and those who just happen to hold Indian passports (when it was required by law on account of their spouse’s prime ministership).
When discourse becomes mere competing hyperbolics, argumentative atisayoktitakes us to the bottom of the barrel.
This tendency to hyperbole has even resulted in needless self-flagellation where none is required—in part due to ignorance, but in part due to stupidity. While all other cultures tend to interpret ambiguity in history in their own favour, we’re the only people who consistently convert/interpret victories as defeats. An odd, masochistic pleasure is taken to reduce our own accomplishments. Victorious kings are themselves made to look the opposite, precisely to satisfy some inner sanctimonious need for “Fairness.”, “Give them a chance.”, “They should win sometimes too.” “A mother gives extra love to her youngest”.
Such nonsensical nostrums over logic are what pave the way to self-destruction. Bharatiyas are the only people who consistently mediate between their enemies and their own people—setting themselves as holier than thou arbiters, rather than advocates for their own just causes. Perhaps that is precisely why no other people on the planet stupidly advocate for causes of foreigners who treat their own people like trash: “Gaza! Syria! Italian marines!”. Such sanctimonious charlatans claim to follow their conscience, but they are merely following fashionability. If charity begins at home, so does justice. #25YearsofKPExile
How many times have perfectly rational tweets been ruined by the Indian inability to avoid hyperbole by missing out on le mot juste? Education and information distribution is not merely vomiting of knowledge in the most exaggerative manner. It is also about phrasing it correctly so that people will not only comprehend it, but apprehend it in the right frame of mind. This proclivity is of course complemented by the corresponding fixation on the smallest, most irrelevant detail. Rather than focus on the big picture, they have an obsession with the small picture. Being spoiled brats, even the information has to be communicated exactly how and when they want it—otherwise they reject it, whatever the importance. “My mummy made it for me like this only” is the driving consideration for our Mummy-approved egos.
Someone once said,”most people think with their brains, Indians think with their hearts”. Now we know why Bharatiyas lack discretion. If you think with your heart/sentiment/emotion, how can you ever make a sound judgment or good decision? If you don’t have the sense to keep team unity, how will you ever defeat your united enemy? What is the point of reading the Panchatantraif you don’t apply its Niti?
This is directly from Acharya Vishnusarman’s Mitra-Sampraapti (The Gaining of Friends [and value of collaboration]).
Furthermore, those obsessed with tradition forget teleology. Tradition for its own sake leads to hidebound and recalcitrant thinking. Tradition wedded to the Truth, however, is focused on the practical—that is why our real Acharyas in Agraharas and Mathas practice their traditions and rituals. No tradition can survive that does not first ask what the truth is—even if it contravenes tradition. The next question should be how do we protect our society and restore Dharma? What are the specific teams, strategies, tactics, etc. that are required to achieve these objectives? Who is competentto achieve these? It is only at the very end does the question of caste even come up, if at all. For the casteist, however, every line of inquiry begins with “What is your caste?”
Many, both young and old have taken to thinking that being an “Argumentative Indian” is a badge of pride. Stubbornness and debate as entertainment have become ideals and pastimes.
Traditional Brahmanas are forbidden from power, but may serve as advisors or bureaucrats. Kshatriyas are prevented from appropriating priestly power to prevent tyrannies. Merchants are barred from ruling in order to prevent what we have now. Dharma prohibits centralisation of power—so why do we have upper castes today aspiring towards Plutocracy or Papacy?
Austerity is not the price for political power. Austerity is the test for MORAL power. It is not “philognosis” that forged our society (even in Vedic times) but philosophy— the love of wisdom. It is why visiting Ancient Greeks would remark that Indians were the wisest of all races, due to the wisdom of their philosophers (read: Brahmanas). Where is such wisdom today? Our “founding fathers” weren’t poodles performing mental tricks in maths and memory while pretending to be chankian experts in “strategery”. It is love of wisdom and love of Truth, not love of mere knowledge or mere learning or mere science that defined our society. Discretion ultimately comes from judgment. And both of these ultimately lead to wisdom.
In our article on the Origins of Stupidity we provided the famous quote “Deficiency in Judgment is properly that which is called Stupidity”. If that is indeed the case, then we offer the corollary: Proficiency in Judgment is properly that which is called Buddhi. One who is proficient in judgment has wisdom. Those who have not yet mastered the Panchatantra, have no business citing the Arthasastra and Hitopadesa.
Panchatantra, T.1, s.136: “An act is not so well-accomplished by means of weapons, elephants, horses or infantry…as when done by means of wisdom” [3, 53]
Make no mistake, Bharatiyas and Hindus in particular, are not cowards.They will fight to the bitter end when obvious, immediate, and declared threats to life, limb, livelihood, and family are involved. But they have become moral cowards, and are rightly criticised for being unable to see beyond their own noses. Rather than resolving to correct or even punish the instigator, they blame the person defending himself. “Why do you fight? He is like this only. You must have done something too. Well he says the same about you. Truth is somewhere in the middle”, and a laundry list of other clownish cliches are emitted from the self-same supercilious and blubbering baboos.
This takes another dimension when family or even caste is involved. Rather than justice for my friends and full extent of the law for my enemies it is: “No, he is one of ours, he can do no wrong”. Why, you ask? Because the protections of a racketeering outfit will then be extended when he’s in the bind. Perhaps, therefore, it is unsurprising that we live in an age where godfathers, mobsters, and dalals of all shades are celebrated, after all, do they not operate the same way?
That is why Yuyutsu and Vibhishana are honoured. They were not “traitors” as our post-modern pill poppers assert, but in fact, recognised that their own brother was in the wrong, and were trying to save their people from harm. Each did everything he could to convince his brother to do the right thing, and when he recognised that their “enemy” was no foreign invader but the very epitome of Dharma, that was when he switched sides. That is why Satya and Rta matter infinitely more than Rnaever could.
Our previous Post also discussed the dangers of casteism from ALL castes. Whether it is non-brahmin against Brahmin or Brahmin on non-brahmin—casteism is casteism. While the specific example of Sri Annamacharya’s struggle was used, another example from a different caste was provided to demonstrate that the correct way to fight casteism is not to cowardly sit on the sidelines and watch for the winner…or worse, chastise the fellow who is merely defending himself. Rather, it is for true patriots and true dharmikas and true rashtra-rakshakas to publicly criticise and shut down own side casteists.
That is how casteism is defeated. Not through a one time, one-line, emotional outburst, but through consistent education on what real Dharmais, what real Varnashrama Dharma is, or at the very least what real desa-bhakti and rashtra-bhakti is. Naturally the example I used came from Andhra, where an entire caste was demonised by the atrocity literature of, per Rajiv Malhotra’s studies, Breaking India forces. But instead of all the castes coming together to swear blood vengeance against those who demonised a fellow Telugu, or a fellow Indian, they all only continue to play into the hands of those foreigners who seek to destroy them all, one by one.
If you can’t correct your prejudices, at least have the sense to shut up and stop poisoning the discourse. If you don’t have the sense to shut up and stop poisoning the discourse, then stop participating where you only damage your state, your community, and your own individual interests. People like you are rashtra and desa-drohis, no matter what vaunted lineage of Rishis or Rajas or Nayakas you may come from.
Let me reiterate that no community that has ever wielded any power can boast of its nose being squeaky clean. Frankly, credible allegations can be made against all parties if one goes far enough back in history. But the point isn’t to use history to tear each other down, but rather, to bring ourselves up and inspire us to come together to tackle common enemies. Here is an entire foreign produced piece of Orwellian drivel that ironically demonises both the same Brahmins andthe same descendants of the Nayak communities.
Therefore, get this into your allegedly high iq, yet so obviously thick, head: It is not “foreign saab will help me tackle my local enemy” it is “foreign saab wishes to tackle both me and my fellow vidyarthi“. So who then is the real enemy? The local rival or the foreign imperialist who will not only enslave you both but also destroy your common culture?
The response to the outsider shouldn’t be “thank you for showing us the mentality, and taking our side”. Rather, it should be “who the bloody hell are you to meddle?”. But what can be expected from a nation that stupidly accepted an uneducated european bar-maid as de facto ruler for 10 years, less than 60 years after formal Independence from Europe? I’m not here to weigh whether the allegations against a certain now-regional party are true. I’m only here to say that if you think they are true, what should be the answer? Seek foreign intervention to break your state into tiny pieces so each caste can have a piddly fiefdom to exploit under common European or Middle Eastern slavery? Or is the answer to take power like real men and win the election. For all the morons who like to quote the puranas in public while laughing at their inapplicability in private, here’s what Bhishma himself said on the field of the Kurus, thousands of years ago:
In a democracy, wars are won by election. So fight and win the election if you have the manhood, rather than whine and demonise a caste and destroy a state. Remember, not so long ago, another caste was demonised in south India, with tragic results in Andhra’s neighbouring state to the direct South. So if the target is whatever the leading community of a state or country is at the moment, why do you stupidly play into the hands of the slanderer? Andhra Pradesh was saddled with disproportionate debt after bifurcation. Who was it that said “at all costs?”, was it a member of this currently leading community or a foreigner? Isn’t it even more idiotic when an alleged nationalist supra-party institutions continue to play boastfully “chankian” but blatantly obvious and underhanded politics in fanning movements to further split a state?
This leads to the next point. When individual communities are idiotically raised to believe their well-being comes from kicking communities below them, isn’t it only natural that motivated foreigners (like the British East India Company) will use this to play one against the other? Aren’t good relations more important than public superiority complexes? Are you so stupid that you hate your brother more than you love your own freedom? Our Kali Yuga ancestors were…are you any different?
There is an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. How many times will stupidly and stubbornly selfish Indians play into the hands of those who wish to destroy them? That is the value of “shut up”. Shut up and avoid making a celebrity out of the first foreigner who says something pleasant to you. This doesn’t mean xenophobia, as there are some genuine well-wishers of India in foreign lands, but prudence and discretion dictates that charity begins at home and patriotism protects the home. Clownish Adarsh Liberals may mouth the mealy-mouthed cliché “Patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel”. But if that if that is the case, “globalism is the last resort of the stupid”. Be a good global citizen by being a good local citizen. Be a good national citizen by being a good state citizen. And be a good family person, by being a good individual person. This is done not only by rejecting selfishness and stupidity, and casteism and casuistry, but by using the practical dharma, the common dharma, the saamaanaya dharma to fix your common problems and maintain good and just relations between castes and communities.
The viciousness casteists demonstrate to their intra-dharma rivals puts to shame their cowardly opposition of the genuine shatrus of Satya. Hypocrites to the core, they wring their hands at the heavens asking for Divine succour, while doing everything they can to intimidate, sideline, and oppose those are doing what they can to revive Culture and Dharma. They pick fights with teammates and befriend subversionist enemies, taking their dubious counsel, even anointing them “Acharya”. Instead of working as teams, they form cliques designed to self-congratulatorily tom-tom their alleged knowledge, all while assisting the cause of adharmikas, like useful idiots. This is the cost of Ego.
They will even attack good, conscientious members of their own caste who propound correct dharma and expose their hypocrisy.When faced with evidence of misbehaviour, rather than accepting that all societies have done good and bad, the casteist himself decries opposition to him as “casteism”, all while absolving his own caste of any past misbehavior due to “no true Scotsman” fallacies. Allegiance to the supra-party institution or political ideology of his choice becomes more important than Dharma (whatever he may say or publish in public).
Despite these (and prior) entreaties, I know there is a dedicated group of gyaanis who will go to any length to contest what I have said in my previous article, and will continue to twist not only Varnashrama Dharma, but Vaidika Dharma and Itihaasa itself in order to gain influence, fame, and power. So, rather than respond directly, here is my response:
Let me begin by first distinguishing between traditional astika Brahmanas (many of whom dutifully live in mathas and agraharas and who should be respected) from a band of casteists who happened to be born as “Brahmins”. Traditionalists are not casteists; they simply follow ancient varnashrama dharma. But those living material lives in the modern world have some Brahmanas who genuinely have the interests of all sections of society at heart, and some “Brahmins” by accident who abuse the privilege of birth to further their prejudiced caste agenda and defend their private misbehaviour. They advance asinine and avaidika theories like Aryan Invasion Theory in direct contradiction of actual Vedic Acharyas who live the traditional way and actually have valid traditional knowledge.
However, many Dharmic Brahmanas have been keeping quiet. We too have avoided this minefield. But as some Dharmic Kshatriyas have been rightfully criticising the adharmic nature of these views emanating from scientism and casteism, the line of the casteists (& their useful idiots) is “Parashurama”. But as usual,half-knowledge leads to full harm.Such knaves further Adharma, knowing only partially the tale of Kartaveerya Arjuna.
Per the Puranas, it was the behaviour of the Bhargavas themselves that brought about this calamity.Yes, the Kshatriyas shattered the limits of justice through their later behaviour and committed unjustifiable atrocities. But then why hide the full story unless you have an agenda?
Brahmanas have no right to wealth and lavish living, yet the Bhargavas amassed it due to the generosity of the Haihaya kings (who were allied with the Atreya Brahmanas). These descendants of Bhrigu refused to return the grants for the common need of a society undergoing a devastating famine. When Brahmanas fail to think of the rest of society and allow non-Brahmins to starve to death, this is Adharma. And such individuals will be punished. Common brahmins are not Maharishis and are punishable even by Smriti. Brahmins are not above Dharma.
Dharma does not exist to serve Brahmins.Brahmanas exist to serve Dharma.
When the Haihayas attempted to justifiably reclaim the wealth necessary to feed the rest of society, the Bhargavas took up arms, and were slaughtered by superior Kshatriya valour and strategy. The Haihayas were right to fight, defeat, and punish the Bhargavas. Those who take up arms, cannot claim traditional protections and privileges, as the Ramayana itself validates. However, having lost control of their senses, the Haihayas began slaughtering innocents and in a sanguinary state, crossed limits. Therefore, they too had to be punished.
That was why the jeevatman Parashurama was merely born with Vishnu’s shaktyavesa (power and grace), though he himself was not Vishnu. This was what permitted him to defeat the otherwise invincible Haihaya Kartaveerya Arjuna, also known as Sahasrabahu (1000-armed), who was an amsa (partial) incarnation of Vishnu, meaning a smaller portion of Vishnu’s actual soul incarnating for a time.  Kartaveerya was a Dharmic King who took power after the Bhargava-Haihaya War, who did not misbehave like Parikshit, who put a snake on a Rishi. His desire for the wishgiving cow to feed his kingdom was well-intentioned but wrong, and his ego led to the unfortunate clash with the proud Maharishi Jamadagni. The sameJamadagni who had the head of his wife Renuka cut off had his head cut off when he resisted giving the cow. Some claim it was Kartaveerya’s sons who did this to take back the cow; others, say Sahasrabahu himself.
Irrespective, the point is that when Brahmanas misbehaved, Kshatriyas were permitted to punish them. But when Kshatriyas misbehaved and exceeded their limits, a Parashurama was born as a Brahmana to punish Kshatriyas and restore the balance. And when the jeevatman Parashurama became blinded by pride in his religious merit, Bhagavan Rama, the Poorna avatara (the epitome of the full soul of Vishnu, along with his brothers) took back the shaktyavesa and punished Parashurama for ahankar.
Kshatriya Rama ultimately punished the Brahmana Ravana for his tyranny, also due to the latter’s pride in learning and merit, which was the origin of this.
And finally in the late Dvapara, Krishna was born to punish the Kamsas, Jarasandhas, and Duryodhanas who came to characterise the majority of Kshatriyas in the end of that era. He did this by having them punish themselves in the Kurukshetra War as the cost of oppressing Brahmanas, Women, and other vulnerable sections of society.
So none of this is a matter of covering up to further discrete caste agendas, but discussion of everything to understand real Dharma. That is true Discretion.
The moral of the story is: Adharma breeds greater Adharma and no one, no matter what their caste, is above Dharma. The interesting thing is that in both the Durvasa and Bhargava episodes, Maharishi Vasishta was on the side of Ambarisha and the Atreyas were allies of the Haihayas. And when Parashurama crossed his limits, Maharishi Vishwamitra was on the side of Rama.
It is Ego that is the enemy of all, that undid Kartaveerya, that punished Parashurama, and that humbled Durvasa, and that destroyed the Kauravas. Thus, it is not caste vs caste, but Dharma vs Adharma. Until Dharmic Brahmanas begin challenging and defeating Adharmic Brahmanas, until Dharmic Kshatriyas begin challenging and defeating Adharmic Kshatriyas (and so on), expect more of the same. Oh, and if you just sit on the sidelines waiting and watching to side with the winner…you have no right to expect anything at all.
So remember, there is Dharma, there is Adharma. There is no third category for neutral spectators or self-appointed judges or opportunistic casteists. Despite demonisation by thosewho hate all Brahmins, not all Brahmins are false or bad—use Discretion to separate them from the chaff. Even in this late Kali Yuga, there are still some true and good Brahmanas left. [And some true Kshatriyas, Nayakas, and so on, left.] But they must work together, act in teams, and do their part for society.
I have done my part. Will you?
Mittal, J.P. History Of Ancient India. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers. 2006.p.296
Patil, Devendrakumar Rajaram.Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna. Varanasi: MLBD. 1946.
Many of you may wonder, with the galaxy of Classical Indic Literature at our tips, why the Panchatantra, a story of animal fables, may be the first work of Literature we cover in-depth at ICP.
Given the constant drumbeat about Indian culture being “life-negating” and Hindu literature being “other-worldly”, many forget that our civilization was once highly shrewd and rooted in material wisdom.
The most striking feature of ancient Indian civilization has been the element of humanity combined with a sense of duty and practicality. [1, xvi]
Fair enough, you may say, but still why study the Panchatantra? Why should a work composed for kids be studied by children and adults alike? How is this ancient book of “fables” relevant to “modern” Indians today?
The truth of the matter is, child or adult, Bharatiyas today are very much like the dullard students of Acharya Vishnusarman. “Over-opinionated, under-informed”, stupid beyond belief, and arrogant without justification. Good for nothing—unless forced to by immediate circumstance. Supercilious, selfish, stubborn, stupid. It is precisely this royal recipe for disaster that faced King Amarasakti and his sons. For this reason, his kingdom was (and now Bharatavarsha is) at the precipice.
As we discussed in our preceding article, more than anything else, more than even Dharma, it is Nitiwhich is the aspect of our culture which is unmitigatingly absent among Indians today. The only Niti they know or need is a mutant form of “Rajniti!” practiced by dushtamatyas, but other than that, it’s gullibility to the extreme. This gullibility of Bharatiyas has been exploited time and again, not only by foreigners, but by Indians in foreign employ. Truth is expected to be spoken among those who practice Dharma; but there is no such obligation to those who practice deceit. It is because there are such persons in the world, that Niti was given to protect the innocent.
Not all individuals are inclined to study, let alone study deeply. Whatever lessons they learn in primary school or secondary school, we must therefore supplement with the blessing of Niti. A good soul is not spoiled if he is taught 1. Dharma, 2. Niti, 3. Studies, in that progression. Evil persons do not care for Dharma, and Niti is frequently in their nature, due to natural deceitful ways. Since not everyone becomes a vidvan or Ph.D., let the innocent or illiterate learn Niti.
Niti can be grasped most readily by works by aphorisms and maxims such as Saamethas or similar traditions in other languages. In fact, a famous one involving a son named Somalingam clearly took its inspiration from a Panchatantra tale. “Dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka na ghat ka” is one such celebrated example in Hindi. This is because a single saying offers many layers of wisdom that can be peeled off as a child grows older. The individual is exhorted to not be a Dhobi ka kutta, and so in the process, learns to pick and stick with a side, instead of having no place of his own. Works of pure Niti, such as the Niti Satakam, are indeed useful, but tend to be for older students. Hence, the Panchatantra becomes most useful to the younger student.
Tales of Animals capture their attention, and stories within a story allow individual lessons to be teased out and separated. So too can basic Niti be separated from more sophisticated Statecraft. That is the Brilliance of the Panchatantra, for while it affords basic behavioural lessons to children, useful for later in life for citizens, it also incorporates the lessons of Politics and Statecraft, to be studied in sum, a second time by the civic-minded.
The author of this work, Vishnusarman, was 80 years old when he gave his lecture on the Panchatantra. The manuscript itself tells us that this set of five books emanated from the distress of King Amarasakti “from the southern city of Mahilaropya“. It is not known exactly where this city was, other than it was presumably south of the Vindhyas. The ruler of this fair city had 3 stupid, selfish, stubborn, supercilious sons named Bahusakti, Ugrasakti and Anantasakti. They too, like modern Bharatiyas were “devoid of reasoning” and “destitute of discretion” and “impertinent“. [1, 2] He was so upset and feared for the future of the kingdom to such an extent, that he convened his ministers and promised a reward for the one who could reform them.
His Mantri, Sumati, suggested the brahmana Vishnusarman as one who had extracted the great elixir from the various branches of knowledge . Vishnusarman himself saluted Manu, Brhaspati, Sukracharya, Paraasara, Vyaasa, and Chanakya in his treatise. The influence of the latter shows in later discussions of mandala theory. Nevertheless, more than politics, this is a work of practical principles for all persons, and the wise conduct of life.
A person’s character is not something that one is born with. Ancient sages were of the view that the character could be built, and by moulding the characters of the citizens, a just and fair society would come into being where each individual may take note of the interests and concerns of others without being influenced by vested interest, personal priorities, egocentricities or prejudices [1, xli]
Visnusharman was so confident of the value of his teachings that he stated”If I am not able to render your sons well-versed in the science of politics within six months, you are all-empowered to hang me til death”. [1, lxx] What’s more, he famously claimed in the Prologue that one using the Panchatantra could not be defeated even by Sakra (Indra) [1, lxx]:
Above all, however, was the uniqueness of Vishnusarman’s approach that truly stands out. Tradition ascribes this fabulous work to one Visnu Sarma. But we know nothing about this gifted author who, judging from the artistry displayed in the text he is credited with having composed, brought storytelling to such heights of sophistication; who in fact created a literary genre of storytelling; who had many imitators over the centuries, none of them his equal. [2, xi]
The Panchatantra is a Sanskrit work written in the form known as Champu (a mixture of verse and prose). “Verse is employed for articulating maxims, proverbs and precepts, sententiaea, generally, and for conveying heightened emotion; prose for the narrative and dialogue” [2,liii]. This makes the composition useful as a work of “instruction and correction“. [2, xlii] The Panchatantra is often connected with the Jataka Tales. Indeed, there are many commonalities. But it is not yet clear which drew from which. After all, didactic stories were not unique to the Jataka Tales, and are also found in the Brihat Katha, and there are similarities even with some stories from the collectively more ancient Mahabharata. [1, xxi] There are even verses descending directly from the Niti Satakam of the famous King of Ujjain, Bhartrhari.
Not only Bauddhas (Buddhists) but even Jainas are also mentioned. Jain literature also passed on the Panchatantra through traditions and names like Panchakhyaana. The Buddhist narratives from the Jataka focused more on the past, while the Jaina tradition was focused on the present, “instructing in an ironic and suggestive manner“. [1, xxx]
In many ways, this makes the magnum opus of Acharya Vishnusarman a snapshot of our literary and cultural heritage, thereby making it an ideal starting point.We see elements of the past woven into the culture’s future. Above all, we see a tradition of combining entertainment with education, and moral with practical living. This is the Panchatantra’s greatest greatest achievement of all. It is not for nothing it is termed ‘The crest-jewel of Fables’. [1,xxxv]
“That branch of didactic literature is called ‘fable’ which comprises of little, cheerful and sententious stories and whose characters are often animals. The word fable comes from the latin word fabula which once was employed to mean any kind of story. But, gradually, it came to mean a very special kind of story…which is ruled by an intellectual and moral impulse and it tends towards brevity. It is a narration intended to enforce a useful truth, especially one in which animals speak and act like human beings.” [1,xvi-xvii]
“The characters teach lessons which can be used in every one’s daily life, since their actions are so much like those of human beings, the reader of the fable usually does not have to figure out for himself what the lesson is. It is often given at the end of the fable under the title of ‘Moral’. So, unlike a folk-tale, it has a moral that is woven into the story and often explicitly formulated at the end“. [1, xvii}
But in an era which rejects ‘morality’, what value can the Panchatantra have? That why the term Niti here is best translated not as moral or policy, but ‘lesson’. The Panchatantra in fact is amoral, and is focused on giving lessons in practical principles for the wise conduct of life. True, it does discuss Dharmasastra and the importance of living a righteous life, but it is nevertheless, highly practical and even cynical on the intentions of everyone…even saints!
The great genius of this work is that, while it is a great expository on the importance of Niti (Practical Principles and Wisdom) over Vidya (knowledge), it also inculcates and creates curiosity in various branches of knowledge. Beyond Dharmasastra and Dhanurveda, there are even brief discussions of Saastriya Sangeeta, Classical Music. [1, 666]
It is no wonder this work has stood the test of time. The man armed with Niti is superior to the man armed with Vidya. But who can face the man armed with both? That is the value of Sanskriti. The Panchatantra is an excellent work not only emanating and expounding our culture, but giving a glance at its history.
Panchatantra has transcended cultures and literary as well as linguistic barriers. It is among the greatest classics of all time. [1, xvii]
There are four main rescensions of the Panchatantra. The Southern Version is basis for the Nepalese Panchatantra and the Hitopadesa. This is the largest version and is said to contain 96 stories. [1, xlvi] A second is found in the manuscripts of the Brhatkathamanjari of Kshemendra, which descends from the lost Brhat Katha of Gunadhya. A third is the Pehlavi (Persian version). The Tantraakhayaayika represents fourth manuscript lineage, and is considered the oldest form of the Panchatantra. It was found in Kashmir. It has two sub-recensions and is said to demonstrate the original form.
‘It is the only version which contains the unabbreviated and not intentionally alterated language of the author, which no other Indian Pancatantra version has presented, while the Pehlavi translation distorts it by numerous misunderstandings’ [1, xliii]
The the Persian version was the source material of the subsequent Arabic Translation of this original Sanskrit work, which was called the Kalia wa Dimnah.
Perhaps nothing underscores the global impact of the Panchatantra than Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent official visit to Iran. Per historical accounts, Barzawayh the physician, of the Persian King Khusrau Anushirvan’s court (6th century CE) was said to have been tasked with finding the Indian elixir that raises the dead back to life. On failing to do so, Barzawayh in dire straits asked an Indian for help. He was introduced to the Panchatantra, which was translated into Persian. Per the Shahnameh of Firdausi, the elixir was the wisdom extracted from the trees and herbs (writings) of Indian sages who raised the corpse (ignorant men) back to the living (wise conduct of life).  Khusrau was said to have been wonderstruck by the wisdom, and rewarded his minister. The text was used to groom Persian princes. How easily modern Indians discard or deride wisdom valued by others.
Such was the impact of this work of Bharatiya Nitisastra, that this lost Pehlavi version was subsequently translated into Arabic as Kalilah wa Dimneh (Karataka and Damanaka), and later spread to Europe. “Dr. Benfey has proved the specific debt of the medieval European literature to the Panchatantra”. [1, x, li] Aesop’s Fables is said to have been a product of its influence, and even the Arabian Nights are thought to be rooted in these Indic origin stories. [1, liii] Many also know these as the Fables of Bidpai (Stories of Vidyapati). In the last thousand years, the stories of the Panchatantra have made their way into the Greek, Latin, German, Spanish, French, English, Armenian and Slavonic languages, along with even Hebrew and Malay. [2, xvi]
“Few books have enjoyed such popularity as the Panchatrantra of Sri Visnusarman. This masterpiece is remarkable for the beauty and simplicity of its language, the vividness and reality of its objective and the author’s sense of humour. The extra-ordinary appeal which it makes to the human mind is evident from the fact that it has been translated into no fewer than fifty languages, and 200 versions around the world.” [1, i]
Whether you are 6 or 66, the Panchatantra is a work that must be studied by all. It is composed in such a way so as to educate young and old alike. More innocent stories can be separated for individual children’s lessons, while the collective work and more mature stories can be studied again as an adolescent or adult. The composition itself is divided into five books, hence the name Pancha Tantra. These are as follows:
I. Mitrabheda (Dissension of Friends)
This deals with the story of the Lion King Pingala, the Bull Sanjeevaka, and how their friendship was divided by the knave Jackal Minister Damanaka. It is a cautionary tale of how friends and family can be divided by selfish people who put their interests above the common good. That a jackal was selected for a minister is in itself telling, as it is a caveat against dushtamatyas who prioritise private political gain over national interest. It also has a lesson valuable for royal and common Indians alike: “The first lesson, to be learnt, by the kings and especially the emerging and nascent princes, is how to differentiate between a selfless friend and a latent enemy.” [1, lxxvii] In short, it is an didactic tale on the value of Discretion.
II. Mitrasampraaptih (Acquisition of Friends)
This tale deals with the benefits of true friends. The unlikely friendship of a mouse, a deer, a crow, and a tortoise ends up being collectively and individually beneficial. Not only do they enjoy each other’s company and find purpose in helping each other, but they are able to save each other’s life by working together and collaborating. That is the value of gaining and keeping friends.
“Thus, an analysis of the second book evinces that much stress is laid upon winning of intelligent friends. Contrary to the Mitrabheda, Mitrasampraapti proceeds to explain the nature of true friendship and the undoubted worth of companions in getting out of tricky situations in life”. [1, 277]
III. Kaakollukeeyam (On the Crows and Owls)
This is the famous story of the war between the Crows and the Owls. It is an exegesis not only on statecraft, but also on strategy. It helps understand that the noble exhortations of Dharma are in fact in concordance with the exegencies of strategy. When the enemy is wicked and breaks the rules of war, use of Kutaniti is justified in ensuring the survival of one’s clan, kingdom, or civilization. If it’s us or them that has to go, better it’s them. That is the overarching lesson of this tale.
IV. Labdhapranaasam (Loss of what was Procured)
This story is also a riposte and a rebuke to those who misuse “atithi devo bhava” as a means to destroy the host. Guest should be respected, yes, but not when they put one’s own survival at stake. Even the monkey new that, and told that to his guest, whose wife literally shed “crocodile tears”. Do no be gullible, and when in distress, keep your wits about you. That is the true purpose of intellect–not poodle tricks. When a monkey was able to do that, why can’t you?
V. Apareekshitakaarakam (The Ill-considered Action)
This more than any other book, is applicable to Indians today. “Under heightened sentimental impulses or emotional states, human beings tend to or are more inclined to engage in ill-considered or rash actions. Consequences of taking action in a hurry, without knowing the details or the truth, are mostly dangerous.” This book stands out as it has no framing story, but is simply critique after critique of rash and ill-considered action. This has serious lessons for Hyperactive Hindus of today.Nevertheless, each story sets the stage for the subsequent one. Independent Niti is united by the “inter-connectedness” of the stories.[1,617]
But perhaps no lesson is more crucial for today than the stories of the magic wicks, and more famously, the four brahmanas. The moral there is clear when the one brahmana berates another saying “despite the scholarship, he lacks practical intellect and also that good sense is superior to learning“. [1, 622] That is the essence of this fifth Tantra, perhaps the most valuable of all.
Apariksitakaraka is prescribed in the curriculum just to instil the core universal human values in the minds of the young generation and make youths good human beings with all-round success and joy in their lives. [1, 625]
At first sight, one might befuddled at why Mitra-Bheda might come before Mitra-Sampraapti. Seemingly out of order to fresh eyes, we realise later the true genius of Acharya Vishnusarman: preservation of true friends and loyal family members is of highest priority. This is because wealth and weapons and warp and weft can all be lost, but nothing is more precious than a true friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. And a wise person sees to it that real friends are treated with respect and kept in good humour rather than neglected or alienated.
There is nothing more dangerous than a former friend or antagonistic relative—they know our back story, strengths, and weaknesses. It is why even the wise Vidura sought to conciliate the Pandavas and Kauravas…he knew the price of internal/internecine war. That is why one of the wider lessons of the Mahabharata War was on the dangers of fratricide.
Modern Bharatiyas today have the opposite tendency. Many, especially those with the dog mentality, kick those who lick them and lick those who kick them—all in contravention of the Sastras. Conciliation doesn’t mean groveling. There is a difference between bowing when forced to and crawling cause you want to…it is self-respect. As such, the wise and prudent person returns good for good and bad for bad. It is not only courageous, but ensures that the opposing party, even if he doesn’t like you, is forced to respect you.
It is true that common interests often divide friends and family. But that is why we have Dharma to guide us on the use of Niti. Vidura was skilled at Niti, but used Dharma to stanch any ambitions to the throne he may ever have had. So should Dharma dictate succession: Seniority, Competence, and Character being the three deciding factors in that order.
The Panchatantra is not meant to be memorised for show, but understood & applied. While it does exhort committing wise verses to memory, it is again for later meditation, rather than braggadocio. That a single Sanskrit verse can have many meanings is best embodied by the story of “Praapthavyamartham labhate manusya“. When we understand this story, when we understand the Panchatantra, we understand that Acharyas—real Acharyas—try to equip their students with Niti, so that they may become self-reliant, shrewd, and societally responsible citizens.
Suguptam rakshyamaano’pi| T.4, sl. 49
“Silence is Golden”
“48. Parrots and starlings (minas) are encaged due to the fault of their mouth (speech), herons there, are not confined (due to not speaking; silence leads to the accomplishment of all objects.
49. That donkey, even though properly concealed and being guarded, manifestly showing his dreadful body and covered with the skin of tiger was killed due to his speaking” [1, 591]
That silence is golden is the most important lesson for modern Bharatiyas is a concept we have stressed time and again. What story better exemplifies it than this. Not only the donkey that couldn’t shut up, but the crocodile who told his intentions to the monkey in advance. The net result is much like the name of the very Tantra that covers this: Labdhapranaasam (Loss of what was Procured).
Anya prathaapamaasaadhya yo drdatvam na gacchathi|
Jathujaa’bharanasyeva rupenaapi hi tasya kim|| T.1, sl 117
Of what advantage is the physique and appearance of him who does not stand firm against the prowess of others, like an ornament, made of lac, which does not maintain its stiffness when pitched against fire. [1, 44]
Essence: Every Dog has its Day, so have both patience and courage. This is the lead in sloka for the famous Tale of the Jackal and the war-drum. The key takeaway of the story is the nature of life having ups and downs. The fearful jackal took courage after hearing the sound of the war-drum and upon investigation was happy at his good luck at finding a pot of food making the sound. But upon eating it, he hurt his mouth and realised it was just a strip of leather. So who knows what turns the life of others may take, if they are fortunate, be patient for you may find out they may not be so fortunate after all. Better to wait your turn for good fortune than to be jealous of others.
Na yasya cheshtitham vidhyaanna kulam, na paraakramam|
Na tasya visvaset praajno yadeechhechreya maathmanah|| T.1, sl. 285
A wise man, desirous of his well-being, should never trust a stranger whose demeanour, family-tradition or strength be not known. “[1, 156]
Self explanatory: Don’t be gullible. If you must trust, verify. Be wary of strangers.
The nature (of beings) can not be altered through preaching, because, water, even heated properly, regains its coolness again [1, 153]
When we understand the fundamental natures (prakrutti) of people, animals, and even nations, then we are forewarned of whether or not to place trust in them. This encourages caution in dealing with others.
Anaagatham yah kuruthe sa shobhathe, sa shochyethe, yo na karothya naagatham|
Vanethra samsthasya samaagatha jaraa, bilasya vaanee na kadaa’pi me shruthah || T.3., sl.212
One, who takes action after pre-meditation, shines; he, who does the opposite (i.e. acts without pre-meditation), comes to grief. Old age came over me while living here, but I never heard the words of a cave. [1, 506]
Forewarned is forearmed: This is the celebrated story of the jackal, the lion, and the cave. Suspicious of the tracks leading into a cave, the quick-minded jackal concocted a ruse to test whether anyone was there. The lion foolishly fell for it, by calling back to the jackal, who realised the cave was indeed occupied by a dangerous lion. Forewarned is forearmed.
Sa suhrdh vyasane yah syadanya jatyubdhavo’pi san|
A true friend is he, who, although born in another caste, comes to rescue in distressfull…times, as, in prosperity all behave as friends with all men [1, 203]
A friend in need is a friend indeed. False friends only linger during good times; they show their true face afterwards. A true friend is known by the consistent assistance he renders.
Yo mitraani karotyatra, na kautilyena vartthathe|
Thauh samam na paraabhoothim sampraapnothi kathanchana|| T.2, sl.199
A man, who makes many friends and never behaves with them in a manner filled with duplicacy, always gains victory with their assistance and never gets defeated. [1, 390]
This sloka, and indeed, the entire Mitra-sampraapthi section, discusses the importance of gaining friends. Through collective action and collaboration among friends, even the greatest enemies can be defeated. Therefore, it is important to work together as a team, whether among friends or family. Then, irrespective of individual fortunes being up or down, the good of all is preserved.
It is now long past time for Bharatiyas to wake up and smell the coffee. While they boast about IQ and perform poodle tricks, their enemies—who value wisdom over knowledge—are running circles around them. The truth is, our people have become laughingstocks, and everyone is in on the joke but them. In fact, that is why they ask for your opinion, to laugh at you behind your backs cause they know you can’t shut up.
Api saastroshu kusalaa, lokaachaaravivarjithaah |
Sarva tho haasyathaam yaanthi, yatha the moorkhapandithah || T.5, sl.39
Even though skilled in sastras, if, men are short of knowledge of worldy dealings, they become the laughing-stocks (subject of derision) like those foolish panditas. [1, 652]
What other people could be so stupid as to not support their own and turn to foreigners to educate them…on their own culture? What other people could be so stupid as to promote the same people working to destroy them…out of “friendship!” or rivalry with their own? What other people could be so stupid as to think that they can give gyaan on strategy and statecraft without having the leadership competence and experience to run even a popsicle stand? If our people are stupid today, it is not because of native culture, but despite it! When bollywood garbage and corrupted campy languages are considered “high culture”, what else will you produce besides debauched mimbos and bimbos?
The Panchatantra is no mere story of animal fables. The Panchatantra is a work of concentrated Tapasya by Acharya Vishnusarman to educate even the most stupid, stubborn, selfish, and supercilious of souls on the value of Niti. “Practical worldly wisdom is expressed for human beings, desirous of their well-being”. [1, ] It is to explain how sentiment and hedonism and gullibility cannot guide us and be a way of life. We must be serious people who understand natures and intentions of others, then we know the right course of action. That is how we find the balance between svadharma and Civilizational Survival, because Dharma and Niti themselves are joined at the hip. Dharma itself mandates Civilizational Survival, and Niti is the means to achieve it.
That is the value of the Panchatantra. And that is why it must be studied, first as a child, then as an adult. Start today.
Dharma most assuredly is the soul of our Civilization, and Satya is its source, but for Dharma to survive, it too must be practical, especially this late in the Kali Yuga. Just as Yudhisthira required not only a Bhima and Arjuna to protect him, but even the astute and pragmatic Sri Krishna, so too does Dharmarequire Niti.
The word itself is very much part of our vocabulary today even in this “Modern” India. Rajniti, Dandaniti, Chanakya Niti, Vidura Niti, Sukra Niti are all commonly known, if not properly understood. They are typically grouped under Niti Sastra (“Science of Policy”). But to limit it to the aggrandised term “policy” would be a disfavour to the common man. That is why Niti is also found in earthy aphorisms and rural sayings like Saamethas. Niti is also often translated (and mistranslated) as “ethics”. Therefore, the time has come to reiterate and reassert its full meaning and wide application. It was not meant merely for political actors and power players. It is not solely the realm of Kings and Queens. Niti is useful for the every day average person as well. In the present time, there are those who seem to believe that you can either be good or bad, righteous or practical, practice Rajdharma or Rajniti. But once again, binary thinking and false dichotomies are clouding judgments. Let us clarify.
Niti (“Neethi”) in a word is: Lesson. Its root word “Ni” means to guide or enable.
Niti is not improper or immoral, but amoral principles for practical living. Hence we have the Lessons or Principles of Chanakya, Vidura, Sukra, and of course Politics. The precepts are meant to be pragmatic to ensure survival and success. The outcome and application, as with a sword, is determined by the wielder of Niti. Niti is not meant to promote immorality or reward evil, in fact, in the hands of the good, it is highly useful and beneficial for society as it encourages common sense and sensible living. It is just focused purely on pragmatism and effectiveness, morality being a consideration of the wielder of Niti. Niti, therefore, protects the innocent and naïve from the diabolical. After all, the Chanakya of the well-known Chanakya Niti, himself raised a good and Dharmic Emperor to the throne in the name of Chandragupta Maurya. Evil pursues the execrable. Fools care only for the sensual, but the Wise care for the sensible. It is not for nothing that Niti has been described elsewhere as “wise conduct of life“. That Niti Central went belly up could be no greater commentary on the “Modern” Hindu, and where his priorities lie, as he is more interested in generating hits, retweets, and trps either for adversarial media, or only himself.
Niti, therefore, is meant to be a stiff dose of realism giving lessons for woolly-headed idealists, narrow-minded ritualists, hidebound traditionalists, and childish hedonists (leave aside our uncultured “global”ists). Ideals are great, but not to the the point of lemmings off a cliff. Ritual is important, but not to the extent that it becomes the only consideration. Tradition is critical, but not to the brink of societal survival. And pleasure is good, but not to the point of hedonism. Rather than emphasising a single one of these aspects, Niti harmonises all of them pragmatically, and preferably, for the cause of Dharma. After all, Evil cares not for Dharma, and has no qualms about breaking it, let alone Achara, to pursue its selfish Aims. As Duryodhana said:
Fighting such an evil while following every single traditional rule of Rajadharma down to the micro-level is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. To defeat a Shakuni you need a Sri Krishna.
As Yudhisthira showed at the game of dice and as Rajputs showed in the non-game of total war, when the enemy is cheating, you can’t expect to follow all the rules to be Satya Harishchandra. Even if you don’t pay, your subjects and womenfolk and descendants do (as does your reputation and place in history). That is the value of Niti: to prevent or reduce the probability of death and dishonour…particularly for the good and especially the grihastha. That is why it is so tragic to see Rajputs of the medieval era, time and again, reject Niti to defeat common enemies, but then misuse it to rationalise cooperation with foreigners to survive. Niti is not for use only after defeat or even before, but to prevent defeat.
In fact, due to opportunism and ignorance, the gulf between Rajadharma and Rajaniti has grown so great, that people view Rajdharma as pie-in-the-sky and Rajniti as a fact of life. But the reality is, they are in fact meant to be joined at the hip. Rajniti makes Rajdharma possible; Rajdharma makes Rajniti purposeful. Rajaniti when deployed purely for selfish or familial gain, will always lead to backstabbing or infighting. This is because Rajadharma gives an order to be preserved and a harmonious living to be promoted.
Rajaniti knows no order (except big fish eats little fish), but only provides principles and methods to win. So if each idiot (no matter how young or old, stupid or cowardly, qualified or unqualified) thinks he deserves to be king, he will employ Rajaniti to individually benefit but collectively destroy his society in the process. This is why so many medieval Turkic kingdoms in India were plunged into brutal, Game of Thrones style succession battles, replete with brief rulers. There was no Rajadharma to guide them as any could be king. Studies are good. Study of Niti is better. Study of Dharma is best of all.
Rajadharma emphasises both seniorityand competence. Prince Bharata of Ayodhya would have been an excellent king (and indeed governed Kosala well as Rama’s representative), but Rama was the true king as the eldest and rightful heir (his greater strengths aside).
Correspondingly, King Bharata of Hastinapura disinherited all of his sons, because they were all prodigal wastrels given to hedonism, and therefore, unfit for the throne due to their incompetence. Both qualities matter. In earlier eras, nobility of birth also made the third prime qualifier, but with so many broken noble houses today, it is nobility of character that has become more important.
Some of course, in recent years, have skipped the requisite progression. They forget Rajadharma, but pursue Rajaniti. Or more dangerously, they forget Kutaniti but pursue Kanikaniti. This is what happens when you have impractical or blindly ambitious people enter the realm of politics and statecraft, where they do not belong.
Strategem without Strategy is like arming without aiming. Strategy helps us understand when to employ Strategem. Politics gives us a function for Strategy. And Governance is made possible through Politics. Rajadharma is about Governance and Statecraft, not just petty politics. Politics without strategy is the simplistic thinking of raising up A to tackle B, or backstabbing “when my chance comes”. Such short-sightedness may get you power, but it won’t help you pass it on, or in most cases, even keep it. Therefore, aspiring members of the future elite or proverbial mantriparishad must first master the proper progression of precepts:
Just as there are sources of Dharma (Shruti, Smriti, Purana), there are sources of Niti. These include the Puranas again, but also the Panchatantra and Chanakya Sutras among others (such as the Niti Satakam of Bhartrhari). Sources for Kutaniti include the Hitopadesa and the Arthasastra. Correspondingly, students should pursue studies in that order: 1. Panchatantra, 2. Chanakya Niti 3. Hitopadesa 4. Arthasastra. These provide the foundation for Niti and Kutaniti respectively. While manuals on Pure strategy may be prioritised in the future, and manuals such as Manasollasa, pursued following after, in the present time, the bedrock of Civic study should be rooted in these four. When the Arthasastra is quoted by those without proper understanding of the Panchatantra or Chanakya Niti, we have amateurs leading us to catastrophe.
Basic Niti not only helps us understand Kutaniti, but also helps us implement Rajadharma, as ruler or citizen. Whether it is the Treatise of Brihaspati or the Treatise of Kautilya, the Arthasastra is the foremost text on Rajadharma for our time because it encompasses not just Governance or Politics, but also Political Economy, and the elements of Strategy. Not only its uses for those who study it, but even the qualifications for those who have access to it, must be properly understood.
Niti teaches us even the first rules of politics, even as a child. The story may involve animals or simple villagers, but we learn such lessons as “Every dog has its day” or “Silence is Golden”. This is also why time and again we have advised Hyperactive Hindus to “Shut up, Listen, and Learn”. This is not a new lesson, but comes directly from Nitisastra, only packaged for the modern moron.
Furthermore, there have been arthabhramas (errors of understanding) that have crept into modern parlance. Dharmayuddha is a prime example. The time has come to standardise. Dharmayuddha is often referred to in the Sastras as merely war conducted according to honourable custom. But this, as we know from the Mahabharata, is incorrect. Dharmayuddha is war to restore Dharma. When Evil has put the very survival of Dharma at stake, it mandates the participation of all Indic (and especially Dharmic) Rajas to join together for the common cause of restoring Dharma (as was done on the Kurukshetra) or ridding Bharatavarsha of foreign invaders (as was, in effect, done at the Battle of Rajasthan). It also necessitates the relaxing of the traditional rules of warfare, meant mainly for wars between Dharmic kings.
What is referred to as Dharma-yuddha is better classified as Achara-yuddha (referred to elsewhere as Manava-yuddha). That is, war conducted according to proper custom and ritual, for the traditional aims of Kings. This refers to wars conducted among Indic kings in the normal course of life, where non-combatants are respected, and rules of and for warfare are observed. Kautilya then refers to Kuta-yuddha (“Crooked War”) as war that uses the crooked methods of Kutaniti (Strategic thinking). The aims may be just, but the methods may be unchivalrous. But this has now become the Total War conducted by the adharmic rulers outside India, and who occasionally cropped up within India. It has become the de facto Asura-Yuddha mentioned in the Sastras as being used by barbarians. We live in a time when barbarians-in-spirit have gained access to sophisticated weaponry used without thought for civilian life. We experienced this with this British. Total War knows no rules, uses any strategy, and its only Morality is Victory. Dharmayuddha rejects Asurayuddha but requires Kutayuddha, which is the application of Kutaniti.
When the proper customs and practices among Kshatriyas were loosening even in the Dvapara Age (i.e.unjust killing of Abhimanyu), how can Bharatiyas foolishly expect everything to be practiced to the letter today? It is one thing for Rajputs to follow customs when facing other Rajputs, but downright stupidity to do so when facing off against non-Indian kings, even if Rajputs were in their employ. This is the value and importance of critical and strategic thinking over subject-matter expertise,and Niti is the foundation for this. Indeed, it is the difference between a Raja and a Raja-putra.
No one doubts the proficiency at arms or even valour of Rajputs, but war and kingship also necessitates adapting to circumstance and putting aside personal pride to protect ones praja and desa. That is why Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharaja Ranjit Singh are rightfully celebrated. They recognised that circumstances had changed, and the prime directive, indeed sacred duty, of kings was to protect their subjects (especially womenfolk).
Apad Dharma not only permits but requires the breaking of Achara, so as to protect the blamelessly innocent from the diabolically evil. At a time when knowledge is power, it is not Sastra or Suhstra, or Sastra and Suhstra, but even Sastra as Suhstra. The question of where to define acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is the intersection of Niti and Dharma. Shivaji defined it as all’s fair game except a woman’s honour, and that was how he ensured his soldiers did not become the very Asuras they were fighting.
When non-combatants and even women and children are enslaved and executed, when truthful philosophers who promote virtue are murdered and mocked, when the sacred animal that secures civilised life is slaughtered for sport and savouries, what greater sacred duty can there be for a King, his Ministers, and his Lieutenants than to unburden the Sacred Earth?
That is the difference between a mere Raja or Samrat and a Chakravartin. The Raja is only concerned with his own Bhoga (enjoyment) or entry into Svarga (material heaven); the Chakravartin realises Moksha lies in protecting his subjects, and rejects not only Bhoga, but even Svarga itself.
But before one can become a Chakravartin…Before one can become a Raja or Mantri, or even respected Praja…One must first master Niti: The practical, everyday principles of life. Niti helps us not only read situations, but read characters, and understand motivations. Just as crimes are determined by intent, virtue determined by selflessness, so too are people determined by nature and character. Niti helps us understand motivations and psyche so we can understand if Dharma or Apad Dharma, is required. Whom to trust, whom to avoid. When to follow, when not to follow. When to stop, when to go. All of these are determined by Niti. And this, more than anything else, is what is missing among Bharatiyas today. Ironically, some of the same personalities who talk of the Panchatantra fail to recognise subversives in their own ranks. This is because they recite Niti, but don’t apply it. Niti begins with the simple question: Kah Labhate? Cui Bono?
But who has time for such questions when there is gyaan to give. The fruit has been removed and only the husk of “Rajneeti” is given for rogues and wretches to utilise for stupidity or increased follower counts. In place of critical thinking, we have coaching centres. In place of philosophy, we have “philognosis”.
At present, we have unprincipled gyaanis who cite the letter of the Dharma so they can give sanctimonious lectures to feel important and gain influence, then break Dharma completely when their own survival or ambition depend upon it. This is selfishness. What we need are Dharmic Men and Women of Principle, who use Niti to know when to follow the Dharma to the Letter, but for the greater good, know when to bend it in rare circumstances. This is selflessness. It is the difference between a Drona and a Sri Krishna. That is the value of Niti.
It is time for good and responsible citizens to regain their senses and understand that Achara is not the prathamo Dharma, but preservation of Dharma is. When Dharma is preserved, you can pursue Achara and Kulachara without fear for your fruitive rewards.
Restore Dharma first, and restore Sense by studying and teaching Niti.
Prasad, Rajendra. A Conceptual-Analytic Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals. New Delhi: Concept. 2008. p.6
Roy, Kaushik. Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia: From Antiquity to the Present
Rangarajan, L.N. Edit, Kautilya. The Arthashastra. New Delhi. Penguin.1992
A version of this Post was published at Andhra Cultural Portal on April 20, 2014
“I am yay man of conshunce” (sic), “I have to follow my haaart” (sic), “I have a conscience, don’t you?? ”…three of the many tired bromides offered by our senti intellectual elite—yes, even on the conservative right. But the reality, my friends, is that such men of conscience will be the death of us.
While such preferred actions are couched in the verbiage of conscience, they are really substituting conscience for sentiment, because, let’s face it, we Indians are a ridiculously sentimental people. While the opponents of all that is good and sacred in this world may feign various sentiments, often as a ruse, when push comes to shove, they show no such ambivalence.
History itself has shown time and again how such men of conscience conveniently hear that little voice at the worst possible time.The Mahabharata and the Gita, in particular, are in fact a specific repudiation of such senti based decision-making. This is of course not to say that we shouldn’t have a conscience—we absolutely must!
Pleasure without conscience is one of the greatest sins against humanity, because it leads to exploitation, especially of the innocent and unwilling. But what I have a problem with, and as the Gita itself explicitly rejects, are these self-proclaimed “men of conscience” who conveniently discover it at all the wrong times.
Where was Yudhisthira’s conscience when he agreed to the unjust wager of Draupadi?
Where was Arjuna’s conscience when Bhishma’s conscience permitted Draupadi’s disrobing?
Where was Shalya’s conscience when Drona and Karna participated in the unjust killing of mighty Abhimanyu?
Fortunately for Arjuna, and the Pandavas, Krishna was there to talk some serious sense into him. Thus the issue with these so-called men of conscience is not so much that conscience itself is wrong—in fact, it is a critical first step towards the path of Dharma—but rather that conscience must be entwined with principle.
Conscience must not become an excuse for sentiment. Indians are notorious not only for their prickliness but the ridiculous extents to which their sentiments can extend, in all things. But this sentiment or moha cannot blind us to balancing all interests, least of all, the right course of action. For when this happens, all of society suffers.
That is why Dharma is not Rna, but about Rta. These “men of conscience” remember their obligation at all the wrong times. They dance to the direction of Duryodhana’s, no matter how damned, all in the name of “Dharma”. That is why true Dharma is not about obligation, sentiment, or Rna, but Rta. It teaches us what obligation, or what Rna, matters at what time, due to Satya. It is Dharma that creates Rna, not the other way around, otherwise, these are the consequences.
A political commentator I greatly respect—a man who has been able, in the darkest of days, to get us all to put aside differences of caste, creed, and sampradaya to see the greater good— recently engaged in similar such rumination, because of his personal attachment to a friendship with a particular MP. But said MP had no compunction in choosing to join the most anti-national party in India and adding legitimacy to the most corrupt administration in India’s history—and this is only the confirmed of the MP’s crimes, among many alleged ones. While I believe the noble commentator will make the right choice in the end (and not support this MP)—this episode is nevertheless testament to how we are all—even the very tall among us— subject to this, the greatest temptation of all—Moha (attachment). Fortunately, Yuktata (or justice) is the cure for it.
Our conscience (or sentiment) or even pride is often stoked to blind us to the regimented and orderly application of justice. Feelings are used to deceive us of the danger that lurks should we fall for the ruse. When Sun Tzu famously wrote that “All warfare is deception”, should we not be unsurprised when this is applied in politics and even Sanskrit? Simply because someone presents himself/herself in a pleasing, charming, learned, and intellectual manner, does not mean we should judge the book merely by its cover. Actions are what speak volumes, and it is through action and intent that we administer justice. Actions and intent must be judged against the common good.
While this well-known blogger certainly does not deserve association with the likes of the Prashant Bhushans and Arundhati Roys of the world (in fact, he is among their greatest opponents), the reality is they, unlike him, specifically tout themselves as men and women of conscience …and we all know how selective their conscience is. While I must reiterate that said blogger remains in the ranks of the very tall among us, this particular development goes to show just how susceptible we all are to moha, whether brave Pandava or brilliant columnista. Arjuna ultimately made the right choice, and despite his admiration for Karna, I believe that in the end, this blogger will as well.
So the next time you come across another such man (or woman) of conscience (however temporarily they may be affected by moha), ask him if his conscience isn’t merely a way to avoid having to do the difficult thing—i.e. making the right choice. Good friends may be hard to come by, but an ignorant friend leads to destruction and destroys Dharma. And supporting such a friend in their adharmic escapades is also wrong. Dharma destroys those who destroy it. Attachment to a famous friend or a “learned” leader is still attachment. Greater than learning is wisdom. That is why Rishis are rightfully venerated…not for Knowledge, but Wisdom.
We are often in our lives misled by the charm and charisma of the fair among us.The smooth talkers, the sophisticated davos men, and ye ever present “liberal intellectual” who take pleasing forms to deceive us all, as they forge their rings of power.
But one of the newest tactics is actually an oldie.An array of self-appointed modern “Acharyas” has arisen in our midst, claiming the mantle of “traditionalist”. But true Traditionalists and true Acharyas are in the Agrahara and Matha…who is this bunch trying to fool? We have seenthis trick before. In appropriating the Adhikar of the Agrahara, they are commandeering our karma,Dharma & Sanskriti for their own pusillanimous purposes.
But the reality is, our judgments and even loyalty to such people should be premised on principle and gauged not by how they make you feel or how much you enjoy their company, but by whether their actions and policies are in line with the common good.Whatever good they may once have done, whatever knowledge they may have shared, their true merit is determined by character and noble action. Thus, such blue-eyed boys (and girls), whether “liberal” or “traditional”, may often seem fair, but mask a foul agenda.
I will end with a line from one of the most beloved stories of our time, the Lord of the Rings. In it, one of the characters said the following:
“I think a servant of the enemy would look fairer, but feel fouler”
…the next time ye men of conscience waffle in the name of moha, remember this wisdom, for therein lies, yours and all of our salvation.
And so my friends, rather than being a man of conscience, be a man (or woman) of principle. Because while our conscience may sometimes betray us, virtuous principles never will.
A version of this Post was published at Andhra Cultural Portal on September 30, 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent speech at the United Nations revived the old debate on “national language”.
In response, conventional media and social media have been alive with debate, some informed, most un-informed. Some object to the very notion of Hindi as national language, seeing it only as 1 of 2 official languages. Others reject it both as national and official. A smaller subset concedes its official status but insists on English or Sanskrit as “national” link language. Nevertheless, all this has yet again provided a moment for introspection. Is Sanskritised Hindi India’s official and national language? Was Shri Narendra Modi correct in using this version of Hindi (any version of Hindi) to represent India? While his previous directives to encourage the use of Hindi across the country initially stirred this pot, the General Assembly appearance (available in the full 35 minute video below) outright churned it.
What’s more, it added the additional seasoning of Shuddh Hindi vs Bollywood Bhasha (which has increasing left common Hindustani or even Urdu for outright near Rekhta, as is seemingly in fashion on the other side of Wagah…if that). That’s what makes the opposition of the naysayers so humorous. The same voices who raise a hue and cry about “Northern Imperialism” and “Brahminical conspiracy” have no problem imposing regional or even non-Indian infusions (i.e. English, etc)—hypocrisy in its worst form.
In a particularly telling incident a number of years ago, one buffoon spouted off on how because India was an “IT Choopar pavar” software could be developed to automatically translate orders from an officer to a jawan in his mother tongue. Said moron predictably failed to answer what the contingency would be if an EMP destroyed the translating device—rendering all conversation, let alone orders, unintelligible). And that, folks, is the problem.
For almost 70 years this debate has dragged on to such ridiculous extremes due to self-centeredness on one end, self-entitlement on the other, compounded by stubborn Indian Stupidity and its penchant for argument for the sake of argument. The current clash has virtually divorced the discourse from the fundamental premise of Hindi as Official and National language to begin with. So let us start with the basics:
Article 343 of the Indian Constitution specifically stipulates the following:
“(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script”
“(2) Notwithstanding anything in clause (1), for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, the English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before such commencement:
Provided that the President may, during the said period, by order authorize the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union”
Article 344. Commission and Committee of Parliament on official language
(2) It shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to—
(a) the progressive use of the Hindi language for the official purposes of the Union;
(b) restrictions on the use of the English language for all or any of the official purposes of the Union”
Article 351. Directive for development of the Hindi language.—“It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language…by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages” [emphasis mine]
As such, for all the whiners, hysterical drama-bazis, and whirling dervishes of outrage, the fact remains what the Prime Minister did, and has been doing, perfectly comports with the intent and the letter of the Constitution: Hindi drawing primarily from Sanskrit is the official language for the Union, and should be used to represent India internationally. In fact, rather than repeatedly copying and pasting the [strategically amended] preamble (which even a child can do), perhaps the naysayers should start reading the actual articles of the Constitution (especially A.44).
Concerns about Regional identity vs National identity
There have long been concerns about regional identity vs national identity. To what extent should regional culture be patronised without compromising unifying factors. In short, how to avoid the dangers of new Periyars and Bhindranwales, while at the same time ensuring preservation of and justifiable pride in regional identity?
On the other end, we have those who point to the bifurcation of old Andhra Pradesh state as evidence of the obsolescence of linguistic states and even regional identity itself. Unitary system advocates posit that Federalism itself is problematic, and speak in terms of 1 dimensional nationalism. But along with the Constitution (which is Federal in Structure; Unitary in Spirit) the Mahabharata itself gainsays this when it states:
Thus, we all owe duties to our family, region (i.e. villages), and country (desh being above the rest in this ascending order). The entire business about citing Hindi’s pedigree versus more ancient Kannada or Tamil is preposterous. By that token, what is English’s pedigree compared to Hindi?–do the research on the origin of Angrez then talk (while you’re at it, ask the French what they think of English).
The language of government should be accessible to both the cultured grandee and the common man. Despite my love of Sanskrit, it is in recognition of this reality that I, as a proud Telugu, support Hindi as the national language, for the following reasons:
Reasons for Hindi
De Jure Basis
De Facto Basis
Historical analogue to Prakrit
Basis for Opposition
Hindi Hegemony (implies others less Indian)
Regional languages threatened
Native languages antiquated, English is Global, Modern
Rebuttal of Opposition
Revive regional dialects of Hindi, many of which can be their own languages.
Even without Hindi, regional languages already threatened…by English
The most advanced/modern countries in the world use their own native languages
Reasons for Hindi
De Jure Basis
While we already touched on the substantive text of the Constitution establishing Hindi as the official language of India, it is quite clear time and again that the intent of the framers was for Hindi to be the national language as well. Article 351 clearly demonstrates how they desired to spread not English, or Farsi, or Abyssinian, or Esperanto, but Hindi throughout India. While the directive principles clearly establish the recognition of 22 Official languages of India, thereby preserving and sustaining the right of regional linguistic and cultural expression, the language of national dialogue and global representation of the nation was intended to be Hindi.
When that noble scholar in the English language (and Chairman of the Constitutional Drafting Committee), Shri Ambedkar, posited Sanskrit as the official language (demonstrating its validity to Indians across class and caste), it was ultimately Nehru, that Anglicised doyen of the left, who steered the official language to Hindi. Even Chakravarti Rajagopalacari a.k.a. Rajaji initially supported Hindi, despite being a Tamilian (and before TN politics later forced him to backtrack). No less than Gandhiji posited Hindi as the national language, yet his alleged inheritors on the left act as though English is somehow the Gandhian choice–it’s not, he chose Hindi. He pointed out that there are five requirements for a national language:
“‘(1) It should be easy to learn for government officials.
(2) It should be capable of serving as a medium of religious, economic, and political intercourse throughout India.
(3) It should be the speech of the majority of the inhabitants of India.
(4) It should be easy to learn for the whole country.
(5) In choosing this language considerations of temporary or passing interests should not count’.
English, Gandhi declared, did not satisfy any of these requirements, and he had no hesitation in declaring that Hindi satisfied all of them“.
De Facto Basis
Like it or not, two institutions have made Hindi use widespread. The first and most important is the Indian Army. While traveling in Chennai, I as a Telugu was faced with a conundrum when in need of information. Out of habit, I began my question in English. The very Tamilian jawan on duty said, and I quote, “no Angrez, only Tamil or Hindi”. I’m not going to lie, I felt a surge of post-colonial pride.
A similar occurrence took place when I was in Delhi. It so happened for whatever reason my relative’s housekeeper was a Tamilian, who didn’t speak much Telugu. Again, what language did two South Indians from different states and different socio-economic strata rely on for communication?—Hindi. Granted, this had less (really nothing) to do with the Army and more to do with location, it again demonstrated that I as a Telugu was no more inclined towards Tamil than I was to Hindi, despite the former’s geographic proximity (and vice versa).
The second and unofficial institution is Bollywood, which has also served to popularise Hindi to the extent that it’s actually become identified as the National Film Industry. The top talent from South and East gravitate to Hindi cinema for precisely this reason. Hema Malini, Rekha, Sridevi, and Aishwarya all cut their teeth in regional film before eventually going “national”. Indeed, one need only take a look at Telugu cinema’s actresses to see how Tollywood became a minor league of sorts for aspiring Bollywood stars.
But relying on Bollywood alone will not serve the cause of ensuring Hindi’s status as the national language, since “Hindi” cinema has also been in danger of drifting from the constitutional directive. An (North) Indian-American writer recently said as much:
The movie’s stilted dialogue in Persianized Urdu to evoke the Mogul era was as incomprehensible to my Indian aunt and uncle, who live in Gurgaon and speak fluent Hindi, as it was to me
Thus, it becomes all the more imperative to reorient Bollywood and our Cinema in general back to Sanskritic culture. As the incisive Christopher Hitchens once said, “Globalization is only really interesting if we all bring something different”. Rather than encouraging films catering to others in the name of “Being global”, we should focus on reviving the cultural essence of India.
Historical analog to Prakrit
With rare exception, Prakrit was the typical language of administration in Ancient India. Even the Satavahanasof Andhra and the Pallavas of Tamil Nadu used it for governance. The very meaning of the word Sanskrit is “refined”, whereas the word Prakrit means “normal or vernacular”. As there were many Prakrits (i.e. Ardh-Magadhi, Maharashtri, etc) so too are there many “Hindis” (Garhwali, Bhojpuri, Avadhi). Even the Pali of Ashoka Maurya is considered part of the Prakrit family. The fact that distant Southern empires of Ancient India used Prakrit is only further evidence that Hindi too can be accepted as a language of national administration and international representation.
Let me further clarify by saying that I firmly believe the language of state administration should be the regional one and that resident students must learn the state language. State Assemblies should conduct business in the native regional language, whether it be Assamese, Gujarati, or Kannada, but let the language of Rashtrapati Bhavan and Sansad Bhavan indeed be Hindi. “Adhyaksha Mahoday(a)“.
There is something really shameful about an ancient civilization that respectively boasts quite possibly the most refined and ancient language, the 4th most common language, and what I as an Andhraite will insist is the sweetest language, yet we rely on a parvenu patois of an undistinguished Germanic dialect heavily infused with Latin and Viking French for our national communication. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly do not caucus with the luddites who want to kick out English, computers, and anything else that prevents them from handing out jobs to their cronies/party workers, but there is a such a thing as national and civilizational pride.
Geopolitically and commercially, English does have value to India (and it can be taught alongside our own as part of the 3-language formula), but language is also culture. For the same reason we at ACP advocate to revive the linguistic culture of the people of Undivided Andhra, so too should India revive the national culture of its civilization through a native language.
Having established the fundamental premises for (re)-establishing Hindi as the national language, let us then examine and deconstruct the specific prongs of opposition to it.
Basis for Opposition
1. Hindi Hegemony (implies others less Indian)
This has been a common complaint for Indians hailing from South of the Vindhyas. Many resent the idea of Hindi as both official and national language because they feel it devalues and even disparages their own idiom. Languages such as Kannada and Tamil are hundreds (or depending on how we define Hindi) even thousands of years older, with rich pedigrees and classical status to boot. Tamil claims descent from Lord Shiva himself via Maharishi Agasthya, and Kannada was the language of dynasties such as the Rashtrakutas and Chalukyas that crossed the Vindhyas and ruled lands as far Nepal and Bengal.
This sentiment is frequently coupled with resentment at the assorted Madrasi/Northeastern jokes that many non-Hindiwallahs are frequently subjected to. While many do give back as good as they get, I certainly did, they internalised and congealed this feeling into stereotyping all Northerners and retaining resentment (which I did not). Thus, language to many of them has become a way of frustrating what they see as the “over-bearing behaviour of superiority complex-ed Northerners” all while using their linguistic/cultural/imperial pedigrees to construct their own.
Finally, there is the irritating reality that there are many Northerners who do come to cities like Bangalore and Chennai, and don’t learn the local languages…and refuse to. They hope to coast by on English or even put the onus on the local for learning Hindi. This has resulted in (justifiable) movements like No more “Kannada Baralla”
2. Regional languages threatened
There are of course the regional language champions. They complain that the flood of Hindi in schools, government, and movies means their own languages will die out. In the name of defending their regional identity, some Manipuri militants have even “banned Hindi movies”–resulting in the growing popularity of Korean movies and K-Pop (is this going to help either national integration or regional identity?).
Then there is the opportunist. The self-starting, up from the boot-straps or clipped St.Stephens graduate who likes his English advantage with his single-malt Scotch, and will be damned if some “vernie” seeks to undercut his hard-earned or “inherited” privilege. Thus he posits English as the “link language” for fair play, much like his patrons from John Company once did.
3. Native languages antiquated, English is Global, Modern
This is the latest fashion for the anti-Shuddh Hindi /pro-Hinglish types. Many of these people even take pride in not knowing how to speak their own native regional language, let alone write it. For them, English is the only language of literacy, modernity, and fashionability…becharas. To be frank, I’ve never quite understood what goes on in the minds of these curious characters. But then why analyse what had already been spelled out as explicit colonial policy for subjects of Indian blood…
Rebuttal of Opposition
1. Revive regional dialects of Hindi, many of which can be their own languages
When there are many dialects of Hindi, many of which could be treated as their own language, how is this Hindi hegemony?
Bhojpuri’s vibrant cinema is already emblematic of this need for intra-Hindi cultural expression and diversity. Many speakers of Hindi dialects other than Hindustani/Kauravi often find it difficult to adjust to it, prefer their own enough to have a unique film industry, and have their own cultural heritages (Braj, Bundelkhand, Marwar, Mewar) that deserve to be celebrated rather than subsumed. Subsuming is” Synthetic unity”, we need “Integral unity”.
I agree, there shouldn’t only be one “authentic” Indian identity. Being a native of the Hindi heartland shouldn’t automatically designate one as more Indian. But, the same people who idolise China don’t know Mandarin is merely one language of many, and only the prestige dialect of Mandarin (Putonghua) is the official language–with recognised “regional languages”.
“In the early 1900s a program for the unification of the national language, which is based on Mandarin, was launched; this resulted in Modern Standard Chinese”. Much like Hindi, Mandarin holds native sway in a gigantic part of China. But even it is divided into various dialects, which are not always mutually intelligible. In fact, it is only the “prestige dialect” around the national capital region of Beijing that is used for Government, so why do these self-same China admirers in India balk at the use of the “prestige dialect” of Hindi (Kauravi/Hindustani) being used given its origin from around India’s national capital region. These are presumably the same people who went around saying “China’s Chairman is our Chairman”—or are intellectually (or genetically) descended from them.
2. Even without uniform Hindi use regional languages already threatened…by English
It goes on to note that “The problem with this is that it is logistically impossible for all Indians to learn English well enough to use it in this manner, which limits its learners to those who are either good at learning languages or to those who grow up in an environment that exposes them to it from birth so that they pick it up easily. Hundreds of millions of Indians who are otherwise hardworking or talented but poor or not good with languages often do not get the opportunities in life that they deserve simply because they do not know English.”
As the article concludes, Hindi is far more closely related to Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, and Bengali than English is, not only making it more accessible, but shielding these languages in the process. Presumably, the primary complaint comes from the South, but there again the prescience of India’s constitutional framers becomes clear as Hindi primarily drawing from Sanskrit was specifically stipulated–putting Hindi again closely in the grasp of Telugu and Malayalam, which draw over 80% from Sanskrit, and followed not too distantly by Kannada. Tamil is the only outlier, and by some estimates it too is around 30-40% influenced by the Pan-India classical language. Sanskrit vocabulary therefore forms the only significant repository common to India’s large, native languages, and preserves them in the process. Whereas English simultaneously becomes a threat to the professional prospects of less fortunate regional language speakers all while extinguishing the regional language itself in upper and increasingly middle class homes.
I also want to know what exactly these self-styled saviours have done for their own languages? It seems regional languages are only a tool to oppose Hindi/National integration rather than a principle put into practice. Other than sarcasm (in actuality petty poseur passive-aggressiveness garbed in affectation), these champions of parochialism go back to general uselessness when the dust of debate settles. For all the talk of “English exploding in India”, ” It should be noted that English is spoken or understood by about 150 million Indians, or about 10 percent of the population. This means that around 90 percent of Indians do not understand or speak English.” So only around 10 percent know varying degrees of English, but more than 41% speak Hindi as a first language. Non-native speakers of Hindi would easily give this existing plurality a majority.
Thus it’s clear India’s elite and upwardly mobile only want to preserve their inherited English advantage or at best oppose because they “don’t want to give undue status to Hindi”. Yes, better for all to be equally enslaved than to have 1 first among equals–sounds vaguely familiar… Once again, it’s quite apparent these hypocrites are speaking only in their self-interest. The question is, who will speak out in the national interest?
Interestingly, this question of preserving native languages is not only an Indian one. In fact, the French themselves have long resisted the invasion of English. Once the language of culture and diplomacy of the European elite, la langue Francaise has been relegated to a global has-been, with only spheres of influence in parts of Africa and former colonial enclaves elsewhere (i.e. Pondicherry).
In their commitment to preserving the cultural validity and modern relevance of their language, the French have gone to the extent of not only insisting on translating Anglicisms such as “email”, but even attempting to anticipate popular words of science and business in order to translate them in advance. How easily we Indians give up what the French hold dear. Language is culture.
Even those Chinese learning English don’t replace their own with it, only add to an existing quiver of languages.
The key is forming academies to ensure India’s languages keep pace with science and sociology. But establishing such academies seems to be too much work for our sepoys, who insist “only English will allow for debelopment”.
“of the top 20 richest countries in the world per capita, only four are English-medium based. 16 of the 20 richest have higher education, science, engineering, medicine, business, law all available in their own non-English languages. None of these 20 countries have a disconnect between the mother tongue of their people and the languages of higher education and government. None of these have an English-medium based class system where English is a marker of social and economic standing above the ‘natives’.”
What is often posited as a regional pride issue is really an individual pride issue. The most vocal voices against Hindi speak not out of concern for the son of the street side hawker, but, as usual, for his own selfish interest. Either his English gives him an advantage, rather than the par or disadvantage that Hindi would, or he is yet another example of the crab mentality of Indians (I would rather see all of us go down, than one of us go up!!!)
As the original article notes, “The division of Indian languages simply for “literary value” and English for professional fields was also an Orientalist prejudice, mentioned in the Macaulay Minute. ” Indeed, “Indian languages are far more scientific than English. Their grammar is more structured, they are phonetic; their alphabet is based on a systemisation of sound. If Japanese and Chinese with their multi-thousand letter writing systems can be used for modern knowledge, there is no reason that Indian languages cannot.”
In sum, whether considering the ancient or modern, classical or scientific, we should remember the following dictum:
“All major civilisations promote their own languages. “
Having laid out the case for Hindi as the official and the national language, what advice do I, as a Southerner, have for Northerners on what they can do to facilitate Hindi’s national use?
What can native Hindi speakers do to help
I recognise there are many well-meaning and even open-minded North Indians willing to learn a Southern or Eastern Indian language in the interest of national integration. For every boorish mohalla-Delhiwallah who throws his linguistic weight around in Bangalore or Mumbai (often with tragic results…), there are many more who are happy to learn beyond Bollywood stereotypes and “idli/vada/sambar”. So I am not here to perpetuate stereotypes, rather, I want to provide solutions. So what can native Hindi speakers do?
1. As previously stated, revitalise your native Hindi dialect’s cultural & literary canon
From the Prithviraj Raso to the Ramcharitmanas, there is an extensive literary canon for the various dialects of Hindi. It is incumbent upon the speakers of these dialects of Hindi to revitalise them. They deserve their due spotlight. North India is more than just Delhi-Agra-Jaipur. It is high time for the sons of Chittorgarh, Pithoragarh, and Pataliputra to take pride in not only historic, but also cultural and linguistic heritages. Your poetry and literature also counts.So take an interest in recovering it and passing it on to the next generation.
2. Ditch the Madrasi/Northeastern jokes
We all know the jokes, “Kallu this/Ch**ki that”, but nothing serves to more reinforce the resistance to Hindi than the “other”ising of your fellow Indian. Coming from Andhra (a region famous for comedians from Tenali Ramakrishna to Hindi film’s Johnny Lever) I am all for good-natured ribbing and witty one-liners. But brainless name-calling and lazy stereotypes are not wit, and making common cause with Pakistanis who, despite sharing the same background as most NI Punjabis, call all Indians “kallu” is the height of stupidity. If you want a united India, act like it.
I also know that with the development primarily in the South (though Gujarat and Gurgaon are actually ahead in some ways), the shoe of late has frequently been on the other foot. Many of our brothers from UP and Bihar have been at the receiving end of unprovoked mockery. So I am not saying don’t defend yourself, just be smart about it. An IT/Visa joke about a “Gult”= fair game. But attacking darker skinned Southerners and epicanthic fold bearing Northeasterners for their looks is crass and cultureless. What’s more, many of them have identified vulnerabilities in the North (all too crass and offensive to be repeated here), so rather than devolve to mutual acrimony and hate-fests, respect others and respect yourself by behaving like gentlemen and ladies–and your fellow Indians will do the same. If they don’t, report them to people like me, and we’ll give them a talking to.
3. Most importantly: Learn the language & culture of the state you live in
It doesn’t matter whether you like the sound of your own mother tongue more (who doesn’t?–though as a Telugu I will axiomatically beg to differ with you), or don’t have a knack for learning new languages; make an effort and pick it up. Trust me, the goodwill you generate from even showing the slightest interest in the local regional tongue will be met with a flood of reciprocation. By not just referring to everyone from Dakshin Bharat as Madrasi or South Indian and taking the time to learn the difference between Telugu and Tamil (or Mizo and Khasi for that matter), you will do more for national integration than all the twitter fights could ever hope to accomplish.
I, as a South Indian, have stuck my neck out for Hindiat the risk of considerably displeasing many of my brethren in Andhra and other parts of India, in the name not of self-interest, but national and civilizational interest. How are you, mere bhaiyon aur behinon of Uttar Bharat, willing to reciprocate in the same national and civilizational interest?
Ultimately, I personally am fine with either Hindi or Sanskrit. Many of late have been vehement in their insistence that Sanskrit and Sanskrit alone fits the bill as national language, and possibly even official language. Others more recently have proposed Hindi as the First Official Language but Sanskrit as the National Language. This suggestion, in fact has more merit, and is worthy of further study, as it allows government accessible to and conversation for the common man, while rooting national thought in the only true Pan-Indian language. However, this invariably calls for a reevaluation of the criteria for and the nature of a National Language (mandatory), and favours its replacement with a Civilizational Language (something available to all, but not mandatory).
I certainly believe Sanskrit is our common civilizational language of high culture, and along with Tamil, one of our two living classical languages, but show me how you’ll get the lance naik of the Indian army or the average auto wallah to learn the language speedily (i.e 1-5 years), then talk. Anybody can form an opinion, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so show how you would do it (not in a 140 character tweet, but a 14 or 140 page plan).
I don’t mean just making the case for Sanskrit, but providing the specific plans, timelines, and infrastructure to deliver the end result leading to Sanskrit as national language or official language. Otherwise, it’s quite clear that certainly in the near and even medium term, Hindi (as defined by the Constitution) alone fits the bill, and Sanskrit will remain a civilizational fountain. Pragmatism must also drive our decision and there is a need to organise ourselves correctly AND swiftly to meet the challenges of the future.
The Bottom line is this: it has been almost 7 decades since India attained Independence. Whatever side you’re on, this debate is now beyond stale, and the “imposition” charges without merit. “Vell, VEE NEED CONSENSUS FIRST”, bray our gyaanis—well gyaani, there is such a thing as a reasonable time limit for consensus, and cloture for debate—and thanks to your dilly-dallying, the time is now up. Whether top-down or bottom-up, people, it’s time to make a call…what’s the national language?—as far as the Constitution is concerned, the matter is already settled…