Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Rise of Intolerance

Narendra Nayak

As we progress in material terms and with the rise of technology one would expect the society to become more tolerant, liberated and open to all points of view however much they differ from what we hold. But, we see that the opposite is happening.  The success of a democracy is measured by the extent of freedom of expression of the citizens and the protection given to exercise this right. The right to dissent and that to blasphemy are fundamental human rights.

But. what is happening today in our country as well as some other parts of the world runs quite contradictory to this. The rising intolerance to the contradictory point of view is now becoming a great danger to democracy and the freedom of expression of the individual. This could be anything from preventing a marriage between two consenting adults to preventing some one from speaking his point of view to trying to restrict the freedom of the press. This has gone to extent of  attempts at curbing the rights of individuals to speak out their minds on the so called 'social web sites', that too by the judiciary which is supposed to uphold the fundamental rights of the citizen. We in Karnataka have been increasingly subjected to such attacks by all sorts of outfits belonging to various religious and political denominations. The same has been now observed at the national level. While these outfits tend to support individuals who have points of view inconvenient to those which have a conflicting interest, when it come to their own their attitude becomes totally different. For example the saffron outfits which prima facie support Salman Rushdie's freedom of expression have attacked journalists for writing things about some historical individuals who they feel are their exclusive property though they lived long before these came into existence! Again, we can see the defenders of freedom of expression belonging to some religions who act like supporters of democratic rights in countries where they are in minority while in those in which they are in majority have been converted to Islamic republics where their primitive tribal laws hold sway! Some of them even claim that Islamic rights are superior to human rights as proposed by the United nations organisation!

The rise of this intolerance has reached such depths that we have had ministers commenting on how what women wear invites rape! In fact, this is an indirect support for those who can say they were provoked into rape by the way women dress! This could be also an indirect way of strengthening the gender stereotypes of the religious beliefs in which women are looked upon as chattels. In fact this has been happening in some places where there are claims of 'love jihad' as if women are some commodities who can be easily hoodwinked or traded. This attitude is particularly reflected when a marriage takes place. Instead of looking at that as a decision of two individuals to live together, it is viewed as a reflection on the status of castes and religious beliefs of the families of these individuals. Many times, even murders have taken place to preserve the 'family honour'! The revulsion is more in the case of interreligious marriages and those which occur between those of a 'touchable' and untouchable caste! Having assisted hundreds of such youngsters in love to get married, I have noticed the maximum opposition when one of them is a dalit! It does not matter whether it the male or the female! the very thought of a caste Hindu marrying a dalit is anathema to the families of the 'upper caste' partner of the marriage.

The funniest part of this intolerant society is their selective support to the victims of intolerance of their perceived enemies. the saffron groups for example have condemned the attack on Salman Rushdie by the Muslims. the most recent one in this has been the protest against Rushdie attending the Jaipur literature festival and speaking there. This has been condemned by some of the saffron gangs as a infringement of right to freedom of expression. All this while one of the victims of their attack, the artist Hussain was protected by islamists! It is but natural that ones enemy's victim is a friend to be supported! This intolerance has now been extended to literature too.

The most recent protest in this respect has been about a book called Gandhi Banda which has been a prescribed non detailed one for the degree classes of the Mangalore University. While this has been in the syllabus for quite some time, it is only very recently fund to be offensive to one particular community- the gold smiths! Though the person referred to is a carpenter called as Achari in Tulu the local language, the community of goldsmiths who are also called Achari had threatened to go on protest. however, nothing much actually materialised out of this threat! However, the moving forces behind this so called protest are actually the Shivalli brahmins about whom is this work of fiction! Though based on a true story of a brahmin widow marrying a Muslim, The book depicted the cruelty to widows and a young woman rebelling against it in the back ground of the freedom struggle in the district. Though the attempts to get it removed from the prescribed list of text books has not succeeded so far, we do not know when it will be proscribed.

The reaction to a write up in a popular Kannada daily, the Prajavani by a student organisation is another example of this hooliganism. The write up pointed out that Swami Vivekananda whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated all over the country as a mortal with all his shortcomings. He was described as a dull student, his history in service that of being removed from hsi post for not being very good in teaching etc were mentioned and the author took pains to explain that despite all these he managed to build up a strong movement, revived the reformist streak in the Hindu society and emphasised on the eradication of many social evils including the caste system. he was also portrayed as a non vegetarian with a fondness for cooking good food and also suffering from many ailments. This had perhaps punctured the egos of certain elements who had imagined him to be of a strong muscular build and a vegetarian too. More than anything it must have been an attempt to hog the lime light. While the choice of some words to describe him could be called uncomplementary though not defamatory the reaction was an act of total intolerance to anything that does not conform to the what the protesters thought was right.Even a protest could be justified as it is everyone's democratic right to protest but it cannot be done by violence and destruction of property!

The level of this expression of intolerance has been fine tuned to such an extent that they are conflicts even among the upper castes themselves about their degrees of purity! For example GSBs (Gowd saraswath brahmins) have been physically removed from the rows of Shivalli brahmins who fancy themselves as those with a higher degree of ;purity'. It has come to the extent of even boycott of a swami from one of their own maths for having committed the 'sin' of crossing the seas which climaxed into high drama with one of seers going on a fast to protest this injustice to him and the most senior one of them going on a counter fast!

Culminating this series of localised acts of intolerance come the attempts at the national level to curb all dissent and freedom of expression. Under the guise that certain statements or pictures may offend the 'religious sentiments' of particular communities the central govt. is thinking of enacting legislation to 'filter out'  what is called as 'objectionable content' from the internet. While it is powerless to act against against individuals and organisations which incite communal sentiments and even exhort the listeners to commit even murders, the action is being contemplated against those peacefully express their views of the net! The culture if it can be called as so of intolerance is on the rise in our society. It is coming to such levels that the freedom of expression is being curtailed and human rights are being trampled upon. matters have come to such a head that some citizens have become authorities by themselves and hold their self made 'constitutions' to be superior to that applicable to all other citizens. If the superiority of the constitution of this country is not asserted by those whose responsibility it is to do so than this country has a very bleak future. the silent majority as to be expected from them are keeping up their tradition of being silent while the vocal microscopic minority professing their own laws have the ears and eyes of the media and that of the nation. Unless we the silent majority break our silence and make ourselves heard we can be sure that a time will come when we are going to be silenced for ever and it will be too late to repent.

Bearing the risk of repetition I once again quote the great parliamentarian Edmund Burke-
All it takes for the dark forces of evil to take over this world is enough number of good people who want to donothing.let us stop being those good people who want to nothing.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Madhya Pradesh: Path Way to Hindu Rashtra

Ram Puniyani

Recently (December 2011) M.P. Government’s Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Act (Bill for Protection of Cow Progeny) got the Presidential clearance. As per this act punishment for slaughtering the cow or its progeny, transporting them to slaughter house, eating and storing beef, is punishable with a fine of R 5000 and prison term up to seven years.  States like Gujarat, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh already have laws against cow slaughter, while Orissa and Andhra Pradesh permit the killing of cattle other than cows if the animals are not fit for any other purpose.

There are minimal restrictions in other states and none in Nagaland, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Kerala. Surprisingly  beef consumption in India is double the combined consumption of meat and chicken, not only that India is also the third largest exporter of beef, As per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization UN (FAO) report titled Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch says the largest consumed meat in India is beef. The per annum consumption of beef in India is 26 lakh tons, as compared to 6 lakh tons of mutton and 14 laky tons of pork.

While the right wing Hindutva parties make no bones about their assertion that a total ban on cow slaughter is their aim, the Congress too has time and again played the cow protection card especially in the north.

In BJP ruled or ruling states the legislations are tougher already, but the one in MP beats them all in its ferociousness and potential for targeting minorities and Adivasis in particular. As per this Bill anybody consuming or storing or intending to violate the law can be apprehended by head constable upwards. The onus of proof is not on the prosecution but on the accused. It will have lot of logistical problems to prove as to how does one say that the meat being consumed is not from cow but from buffalo or other lesser animals? This draconian bill brought in the name of faith of Hindus is a direct manipulation of the food habits of large section of poor Indian population, Adivasis, Dalits and Minorities (Muslims and Christians) for whom this is an affordable source of proteins. It is also an attempt to intimidate the Muslim minorities.

Through word of mouth propaganda, and the sustained campaign through literature, small pamphlets etc. , the perceptions like ‘cow is holy for Hindus, Muslims eat it, it’s an insult of Hindu faith and that Muslims are violent because they eat non vegetarian food/beef’ has become part of the ‘social common sense’.  When BJP led NDA came to power at Centre for 13 days, in 1996, the Government tried to pass the bill against cow slaughter. Cow has been part of the identity politics of RSS affiliates, Hindu right, Hindutva in India. Even during freedom movement many a riots were instigated around the issue of cow slaughter. This has been a part of propaganda, and Gau Raksha Samitis (Cow Protection societies) are dime a dozen, which maintain Guashalas (Cow sheds). This is done at social level by RSS affiliates and followers.

While Ram Temple issue was the main point of onslaught on democracy, Cow issue has been always on the stand-by so far. Gradually the intensity about cow protection and the myths built around cow are becoming more intense. The MP Government’s Bill is yet another step in this direction. As such MP Government has been communalizing the state by the religio-cultural mechanisms. There are multiple ways to communalize the society. Identity based issues, are the major ones’. Communal violence is the ghastly outcome of identity politics. In MP from last couple of years with the current BJP Government, the slow and subtle Hinduisaion of state is in progress. Even the predecessor of Shivraj Chauhan, Uma Bharati had converted her official residence in to a Gaushala for all practical purposes. Lot of things have been started around the divinity of cow. Marketing of cow urine as a medical remedy for diseases, chain of shops selling Cow urine drink and other products are on the upswing in the state. In addition one sees that the state government has introduced Hindu ritual of Surya Namaskar (worshipping the Sun God), Government has introduced Gita Sar (Essence of holy Hindu book Gita) in the schools, introducing Bhojan Mantra (Hindu meal prayer) in schools, collected information about Christians in the state, has introduced most of its welfare schemes in the name of Hindu Gods- Goddesses. Like Ladli Laxmi for girl child welfare, Anna Prashan for Children’s nutrition programs. Many an accused of Hindutva terror attacks were taking shelter in MP. Many a Kshmiri students were harassed in MP. The capital city of Bhopal, founded by a Mughal Nawab Dost Mohammand Khan is intended to be changed to Bhojpal after the Hindu King Raja Bhoj.

This silent communalization of state has escaped the notice of national media to some extent. Most of these steps of the Government are not in tune with the spirit of Indian Constitution, which respects the personal choices about faith and food and keeps the state policies away from the religious veneer and content. The schemes started by the BJP Government are a sort of intimidation to minorities and is pushing them to the status of second class citizens. In MP we are witnessing yet another pattern for marching towards the goal of Hindu Nation, the gradual and sustained intensification of anti minority policies in the name of promoting Hindu culture. This is unlike the phenomenon in Gujarat where communalization was intensified through violence. The paradox in MP is that all these practices showing intolerance to the sentiments and needs of minorities are done while blowing the trumpet that Hinduism is the most tolerant religion.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Time to Move On

Narendra Nayak

While Ajitha's death was a very sad one and there are no reasons to suspect any foul play, it is time for us to introspect and move on.
Ajita Kamal with James Randi

I have been associated with Nirmukta before the site was started and I think I have been the most prolific of the contributors to the site. Ajita had contacted me about Premanand at the time when he was seriously ill and was not to survive for long. We wanted to build up the movement and involve the younger generation too. So, this web site was his brainchild. I was sceptical about it but wanted to give it a try. So, I started sending him reports regularly and also involved many others too. So, the group grew. We also started the freethinker groups. He had plans to support FIRA (Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations) and join my tours etc.

Though he came to India and it did not happen. But, he was in touch and the posting continued. I have had some telephonic conversations with him and have met him personally only once at the Chennai Thinkfest. He said he would attend Mukti the program we planned for Mangalore but did not turn up. I had sent him a write up about Madesnana which was not put up. I had sent it to him again thinking that it was perhaps missed. There was no reply and I had the first inkling that there could be something wrong. This was confirmed when I had calls from Prabhakar, Aravind, Bala, Ganesh, Geetha and others.

As I have already said it is time for us to introspect why this has happened. The grass root level movement will not be affected in any way as most of these organisations are not e savvy and are more into working with the people. The web community and the freethinker groups may be shocked and may be some are dazed. But, it is time to move on. We have to think of effective ways to keep Nirmukta going and build up the movement. That would be the best tribute to him. Many groups have many ideas and we should have discussions on these things as to how to achieve this objective and also perpetuate his memory.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

BJP: Hypocrisy on Political Chessboard

Ram Puniyani

This year 2011 was very eventful as far as the political arena is concerned. This year also exposed the duel attitudes of BJP on most of the issues yet again. The various issues, Anna Hazare’s movement, Government trying to bring in FDI in retail, bill for rationalization of fuel price and the deletion of Ramanujam’s essay in the University text, showed its real colors. In many of the bills related to FDI etc., which were brought up for discussion in Parliament, BJP most of the times vehemently opposed what it had been so far championing. 

In case of Ramayana it did back up its associates, the progeny of RSS, to get this brilliant essay removed from the University text. The guiding compulsions in this case were not that the essay was not factual, but that many version of Ramayana as outlined in the essay go against BJP theory that Lord Ram was born precisely at the spot where Babri Masjid was located. With so many versions of Lord Ram story, how can one claim their own version is the correct one, and go on to demolish a masjid!   

How come a party which stood for the FDI when it was ruling as the head of NDA opposed it so blatantly now? Logically such policies should have gladdened the hearts of BJP as these are what it had been propounding when in power as head of NDA. The shrewdest move on BJP’s part was to give the full hearted support to Anna Hazare movement on the streets but when in parliament it is took a cautious path. It is taking full advantage of Anna’s anti Congress stance while hiding its own corruption and underplaying its reservations to Anna’s bill.

This hypocritical, forked tongue attitude of BJP is part of its character. As such BJP is supposed to work in the electoral arena on behalf of RSS. It has to come to power by all means, fair and foul, to pave the path for RSS agenda of Hindu nation. Its core agenda is totally opposed to the concept of Democratic norms prevalent in the country.

Inherently BJP had been totally opposed to the state intervention in the economic matters, despite the fact that initially the public sector was the basic essentiality for India, as the private capital was not substantial in quantum at that time to lay the foundation of economic growth. BJP and its predecessor Bharatiya Jan Sangh had been sounding loud and clear, opposing states’ role in these matters most of the times. Now since UPA is also following many a policies which BJP wants to be implemented, the same BJP turns around and changes its stance. It does smack of a pure opportunism and it seems that what dictates its public stand most of the times are the electoral contingencies of the time.

If it supports Government on these issues it will sound to be toeing the government line and will lose the electoral advantage in the elections to come. Apart from the turnaround in the economic policies, its shrewd managers have taken a very ambivalent stand on Anna draft after a façade of totally upholding Anna movement, and his bill as the desirable one. As such BJP has a long tradition in these matters of opportunism. It exploded the bomb in 1998, and tilted the foreign policy grossly towards the US. But when in opposition it again turned around and took contrary positions. If we go back slightly we see the same ‘clever’ stance in the matters of Mandal commission implementation. It did not have the courage to speak against the Mandal commission, to which it was deeply opposed, as that would have alienated it from a large section of voters. So to skirt around the issue, it went in for Rath Yatra, bypassed the Mandal issue and tried to give confusing signals to the electorate.

As a culmination of the Rath Yatra, Ramjanmbhoomi movement, it went on to undertake the criminal act of demolition of the Babri Masjid. It asserted that Babri Masjid is a blot on the Hindu India. Let’s note that while taking the oath of office it swears by Indian Constitution, secular India, while operating on political chess-board it keeps Hindu India as the reference point. This demolition brought it to the seat of power in the Centre. After grabbing the power, being in the government it did not build the temple for which it had demolished the masjid and had unleashed the violence.

For BJP coming to power is a mere path for giving more social, political cultural space to its associates, the children of RSS. The aim is to impose in Hindu nation, under the supervision of RSS. The dilemma of BJP is that it is a political party operating in the electoral arena, in the democratic space, but at the same time to work for abolition of democratic space when in power. So far, it could not come to power without the non-Hindutva allies, so it has used the opportunity of being in power to communalize the education and state apparatus, to give more opportunities for the RSS progeny (VHP, Bajrang Dal, ABVP, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram to infiltrate into state apparatus.

The duplicity of BJP has a deeper agenda. It is not just a party of right wing. It is a party of ‘religious right wing’. The right wing parties aim at the status quo in the society. The religious right wing parties not only aim to maintain status quo but go further to reverse the process of social change which has taken place due to the liberal space. The right wing parties may be principled, however wrong those principles be, while the religious right wing groups are totally bereft of any qualms about principles as they are out to use the democratic space for the bringing in of the fundamentalist regime over a period of time.

The attitude of BJP towards Anna movement is very interesting. BJP knows that Anna movement is the way to polarize the society along the lines of hierarchy of various hues. A particular section of society is more for this type of movement. While those looking for deeper changes in society, are not the target support groups of BJP. So its affiliates plunge fully to provide the driving force for Anna movement. Anna movement also acts as a recruitment center for the religious right wing, so BJP overtly supports it through and through. In parliament it sees that Anna movement is out to undermine the powers of parliament, so the cautious and guarded responses in parliament.

Double standards are strewn all through in the practice of BJP on the electoral arena. This was well summed up its own leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when he stated in Staten Island, US, that first he is the swayamsevak of RSS and than anything else. This is what explains BJPs duel attitude to the same issue at different times.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ajita Kamal

Ajita Kamal, founder of
With deep sorrow, we inform our readers the untimely death (on January 9, 2012) of our beloved comrade, Ajita Kamal, the founder of, the best online network of rationalists in India. In the absence of full details, we reproduce a write-up posted on the facebook page of nirmukta.
With deep sorrow, we regret to inform of the untimely death of Ajita Kamal. Ajita is the founder of Nirmuka and was a great champion of freethought in India. He died in an incident in his home town in Tamil Nadu, the details of which are unknown at this moment. We are in contact with his family for further details.

A formal note of his demise and a brief bio will be posted on in the next few days.

-Nirmukta team

Why I am a Materialist

JBS Haldane
When I say that I am a materialist I mean that I believe in the following statements:

1. Events occur which are not perceived by any mind.

2. There were unperceived events before there were any minds.

And I also believe, though this is not a necessary logical deduction from the former two, that:

3. When a man has died he is dead.

Further, I think that it is desirable that other people should believe these statements. I do not mean that I believe that the universe is a machine, or that I am a machine; nor yet that consciousness does not exist, or has a lesser reality (whatever that means) than matter. When I say 'I believe' I do not mean the word in the sense in which a fervent Christian uses it concerning the Virgin Mary, Pontius Pilate, and others who figure in the creeds. I mean it in the ordinary sense, in which, for example, I believe that dinner will be waiting when I go home, though, of course, the cook may go on strike or the chimney may catch fire. That is to say, I act, and propose to act, on the basis that materialism is true. But I am prepared to consider evidence to the contrary. And I certainly don't get shocked or angry if someone criticizes or doubts the truth of materialism.

Now the word 'materialism' is used, particularly in controversy, to imply a belief that a good dinner is better than a good deed. In fact, a materialist is supposed to be a man who has, or does his best to have, large meals, a large mistress, a large bank balance, a large motor-car, and so on. It is not obvious why this should be so. Other peoples' meals are as material as mine, and a bank balance is not something tangible, like a cellar full of gold and jewels.

In practice I have found that professed materialists are generally less selfish than professed idealists. For idealism is a remarkably useful device to enable us to bear other peoples' ills, and particularly their poverty. It is easy to persuade ourselves that the poor have various spiritual blessings. But it is not so easy, when one's own affairs are concerned, to avoid the attitude of the idealist of whom it was written: 

There was a faith-healer of Deal
Who said: 'Although pain isn't real,
When I sit on a pin and it punctures my skin
I dislike what I fancy I feel.'

I do not of course deny that some idealists are excellent people, and some materialists coarse and selfish. But on the whole I think the contrary is true, for reasons which will appear later.

Fifteen years ago I was a materialist in practice, but not in theory. I treated myself as a material system. We all do this to some extent. When we want to go somewhere we get into a train or bus, confident that on the one hand we shall not be able to propel ourselves so rapidly through space by the mere exercise of our wills, nor on the other that the vehicle will find any more difficulty in moving us than if we were a sack of potatoes. However, though we all have considerable faith in the applicability to ourselves of the laws of physics, our faith does not apply to chemistry. We should be willing to trust our weight to a rope which has been tested to stand double our weight, but we should mostly hesitate to drink half the fatal dose of a poison. Rightly too in" some cases, for poisons in sub-lethal doses may do a good deal of harm. But not by any means always. Some poisons, such as carbon monoxide, are completely harmless in half the lethal quantity.

I applied the laws of chemistry to myself. For example, I said: 'If a dog is given hydrochloric acid to drink (diluted, of course, so as not to injure its stomach), it excretes part of the acid combined with ammonia as ammonium chloride. Now men work in a similar way to dogs, and both are systems of partially reversible chemical reactions. So if I eat ammonium chloride I shall become more acid.' This did in fact happen. I was quite correct in my reasoning, or at any rate it led to a correct result.

However, although I was a materialist in the laboratory, I was a rather vague sort of idealist outside, for the following reason. I had learned that matter had certain properties. It consisted of atoms which united in particular patterns. They moved in definite paths under given forces, and so on. My belief in these theories was not a matter of mere docility either. I had tested them and risked my life on their substantial accuracy. Clearly, if matter had the properties attributed to it by physicists and chemists, something more was needed to account for living organisms. And it was far harder to account for mind. As a believer in evolution I had to reject such theories as T. H. Huxley's epi-phenomenalism, according to which mind is a secondary consequence of a small class of material events (namely, those which go on inside our heads), but does not influence them. Apart from my very strong belief that I can act, the evolution of something as complicated as my mind, yet absolutely functionless, seemed most unlikely. Not that functionless organs are never evolved. On the contrary, it is probable that most organs are evolved in a rudimentary form before they develop a function. And I have not enough faith in the theories of Paley and his like to believe that every organ--for example, a cock's comb, a pigeon's cere', or a cassowary's wattle--has a function. However, I cannot believe that a system so complicated, and within its limitations so efficient, as the human mind could have evolved if it were functionless.

Nor did I see how, on a materialist basis, knowledge or thought was possible. The light which reaches my eyes causes nervous impulses in about half-a-million fibres running to my brain, and there gives rise to sensation. But how can the sensation be anything like a reality composed of atoms! And, even if it is so, what guarantee have I that my thoughts are logical! They depend on physical and chemical processes going on in my brain, and doubtless obey physical and chemical laws, if materialism is true. So I was compelled, rather reluctantly, to fall back on some kind of idealistic explanation, according to which mind (or something like mind) was prior to matter, and what we call matter was really of the nature of mind, or at least of sensation. I was, however, too painfully conscious of the weakness in every idealistic philosophy to embrace any of them, and I was quite aware that in practice I often acted as a materialist.

The books which solved my difficulties were Frederick Engels's Feuerbach and Anti-Duhring, and later on V. I. Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. But the actual progress of scientific research in the last fifteen years also helped me enormously. None of the books which I have mentioned is easy if one has been brought up in the academic tradition which goes back to Plato and Aristotle. This is partly because they apply scientific method not only to philosophy but to philosophers. They are not merely concerned with showing that their authors are right and their opponents wrong but with explaining why, under particular social conditions, such and such theories are likely to gain wide acceptance. Hence, unless one accepts their political and economic theory, one is not likely to agree with their views concerning nature and knowledge, though it is only with the latter that I am concerned in these pages.

Engels and Lenin were firm materialists--that is to say, they believed that matter existed before mind, and that our minds reflect nature, and reflect it truly up to a point. But they absolutely rejected the current scientific theories of their day as complete or even satisfactory accounts of nature. 'The sole property of matter', wrote Lenin, 'with whose recognition materialism is vitally connected, is the property of being objective reality, of existing outside of our cognition ... The recognition of immutable elements, the immutable substance of things, is not materialism, but metaphysical, anti-dialectical materialism...It is of course totally absurd that materialism should ... adhere to a mechanistic world picture of matter and not an electro-magnetic or some immeasurably more complicated one.' Writing of the physics of his own day, he said: 'Dialectical materialism insists on the temporary, relative, approximate character of all these milestones on the road of knowledge of nature.'
Nature is in a state of perpetual flux--in fact, it consists of processes, not things. Even an electron is inexhaustible--that is to say, we can never give a complete description of it. We professors are always trying to give such a complete description, so that we can deduce all natural happenings from a few general principles. These attempts are successful up to a point, but we always find that nature is richer than we had thought. And the newly discovered properties of things appear to us as contradictions. Thus at the present moment both light and matter are found to have two sets of properties --one set resembling those of particles, and another set resembling those of waves. According to Engels and Lenin, things really embody a union of opposites, whose struggle makes them unstable and results in their development into something else. When we find 'internal contradictions' in our conceptions about things our minds are mirroring nature.

But these internal contradictions do not mean that nature is irrational. They mean that it is unstable. Our brains are finite. Nature is probably infinite, certainly too large for us to take in. So our account of any material phenomenon is a simplification. We naturally think of things as neatly rounded off, and therefore tend to exaggerate their stability. However, the more we study nature, the more we find that what is apparently stable turns out to be the battlefield of opposing tendencies. The continents are the field of a struggle between erosion, which tends to flatten them, and folding and vulcanizing, which build mountains. For this reason they have a history. Animals and plants are never completely adapted to their environment, as Paley thought, and as they presumably would have been had they been made by an all-wise and all-powerful creator. On the contrary, they evolve just because they are imperfect. The same principle holds for human societies.

One of the materialist's greatest difficulties used to be perception. If the world consists of self-contained objects isolated from one another in space, how can any sort of image of it be formed in our brains! There is no hollow space in our heads where a puppet representation of the external world could be set up. Sound is the only feature of the external world about whose representation in our brain we know much. If we place an electrode on the auditory part of a cat's cerebral cortex and another somewhere else on its body, then in favourable circumstances if we amplify the current between them and pass it through a loudspeaker we actually hear sounds which the cat is hearing, or would hear if it were fully conscious. The same experiment is quite possible with a conscious human brain, though I don't think it has yet been done.

This means that the ear and the auditory nerve serve to set up electrical disturbances in air which we perceive as sound. In this case, then, there is an actual imaging of the external reality. But how can anything of this kind take place with a solid object seen or felt! The physical discoveries of the last decade have shown that ordinary material objects, from electrons upwards, can be regarded as periodic disturbances. Certainly the rhythm is very much faster than that of sound, and could not possibly be copied in the brain. But some kind of rhythmical changes in the brain, though very much slower than those which they mirror, would be copies of at least one aspect of matter.

The physicists tell us that the frequency of the vibrations associated with a particle are proportional to its mass, and the physiologists, in studying the impulses in a nerve fibre from an end organ responsible for our touch or pressure sense, find that the frequency of the impulses increases with the stimulus, though not in exact proportion. We do not yet know in any detail what happens in the brain when we feel pressure, but it is likely that a similar law holds good.

We are only on the very fringe of the necessary investigations, but it is becoming daily more plausible that our minds are physical realities acted on by the rest of the world and reacting on it. Our minds are processes which occur in our brains. Until recently it was quite impossible to see how the processes going on in thousands of millions of cells could possibly form a unity such as we find in our consciousness. We are now, however, discovering both in atoms and molecules properties of a system as a whole which cannot be located at any particular place in it. There is nothing in any way mystical about these properties. They can be very precisely measured and calculated. They are expressions of the fact that the various constituents of nature are much less isolated than was at one time thought.

The difficulties about truth are complicated by the fact that we use the word for at least three very different relations. We may mean that a perception or idea in a mind is true if it corresponds to an external reality. If the relation between the two is one of likeness it can never be complete, but it may be true enough for a particular purpose. We may mean that a physical copy or image is like its original. Or we may mean that a statement is true. This statement may be in words or other symbols, and logic is largely concerned with the truth of statements. Their truth or otherwise depends on the meaning of the symbols. This is a social matter. A statement is true only as long as someone understands it. After that it is meaningless. 'Iron is heavier than water' will be true only as long as someone understands English, even if he is only an antiquarian. After that it will be gibberish like 'Pung twet maboroohoo', which for all I know meant something to the men who built Stonehenge, but is neither true nor untrue today.

Of course the philosophers say that a symbolic statement stands for a mental reality called a judgment, which is independent of language. I think this is extremely doubtful. On the contrary, it seems much more likely that language began with words or phrases whose English equivalents would be 'Come here', 'Wolf!', 'Heave-he', 'Darling', and so on, which are not statements, and neither true nor false. And one can certainly think without making statements or judgments, as when one remembers the plan of a town and picks out the quickest route, or imagines what an acquaintance will do in given circumstances.

The great advantage of the theory that judgments are anything but sentences repeated in our heads is that it gives philosophers a chance to theorize about thought without investigating the physiology of the brain. This enables them to tell us a lot about truth, but very little about how we get to know it or how we act on it. If we take the view that a statement is true in so far as it calls up mental images which correspond to reality, and useful in so far as it incites actions appropriate to the real situation, we have got away from metaphysics, and are up against problems concerning the action of the brain, the history of language, and how we learn language as children, which cannot be solved by pure thought, but only by studying the real world.

For such reasons as these I find materialism intellectually satisfactory. I also think it is useful because it leads to actions of which I approve. Mankind is up against a very difficult situation. We have dealt with a great mass of problems in the past by scientific thinking--that is to say, materialistic thinking. We try to solve our political problems by appeal to eternal values. But if we start thinking materialistically about these 'eternal values' we find that they are social phenomena which have come into being in the last few thousand years, because men gave up hunting and took to husbandry, agriculture, and handicraft. So society became a great deal more complicated, and 'eternal values' are part of the apparatus by which it has been kept going. In particular they are very useful to those who are in comfortable situations at present, and would like the present state of things, with a few minor modifications, to be eternal.

Materialistic thinking in the past has been revolutionary in its effects. It has built up natural science and undermined religion. The same process is going on today. We have to realize that our current ideas about society are mostly very like our ancestors' ideas about the universe four hundred years ago--irrational traditions which stifle progress in the interests of a small minority. These ideas are being transformed by materialistic thinking about history as our ancestors' ideas were transformed by materialistic thinking about nature. The consequence will no doubt be revolutionary, as it was in the past. This would perhaps be deplorable if our society were working well. But it is working very badly. So we are probably going to have an uncomfortable time in the immediate future, whatever happens. And as I want a rational society to come out of our present troubles I am not only a materialist myself, but I do what I can to make other people materialists.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Pulling a Chariot with Hooks in the Back

B Premanand

In one of the recent Kumbh melas, a naked Naga Baba walked in the procession with a hook on his penis skin dangling a 35 kg stone. This came on the National Television and most of the newspapers and journals published the photograph. When interviewed, he attributed his feat to yogic power and celibacy. In fact, it had nothing to do with celibacy or yoga. The foreskin is strong enough to take a weight of 80 kg. But the baba, being afraid to do so, lifted only 35 kg.

A common sight near South Indian temples is of mendicants piercing their skin and stitching lemons, fruits and vegetables all over their bodies. In Kerala there is a temple where the oracle puts two hooks into his back and hangs himself on a pole. Similarly, there are people who pull chariots of gods with hooks through their backs. Others pierce their tongues and cheeks with tridents (Trishul). Muslim babas pierce their neck and chest with swords. People seeing these ghastly miracles and are filled with awe and devotion. But are they miracles? They can be done by any courageous person with minimal pain.

Experiment -24

Effect: Lemons are stitched on to the skin without pain 'or blood. 

Props: Lemons, No.8 needles, sewing thread, and scissors.

Prof Narendra Nayak with a volunteer (Bangalore) with a lemon stitched to her skin

A rligious Vel Kavadi
Method: Thread the needle with 12" thread. Put the needle through the lemon and knot the ends of the thread so that the lemon does not fall from the thread and the needle is in the centre of the thread. First pinch the skin of the volunteer two or three times, pull it, and pass the needle through the outer epidermis, and insert the needle into the lemon. Now the lemon will be hanging on the skin without tearing the skin.

A Rationalist Kavadi! An activist of Rationalist Forum, Tamil Nadu at the World Atheist Conference, Thiruchirappalli debunking Vel Kavadi by piercing his torso with dozens of needles.
As described earlier, the sensation of pain can be known only when the pain symptom is registered in the brain. That is how surgery is performed without pain through anesthesia. When the skin is pinched the nerves are numbed and so the pain sensation does not reach the brain. The outer epidermis can easily take a weight of about 500 grams without tearing, while three layers of skin can take a weight of 80 kg.

Experiment -25

Effect: Hanging a person by hooks on the back of his body where the skin does not tear, nor is there any blood.

Periyar Dravida Kazagam activists from Coimbatore debunking the miracle during 8th FIRA conference in Nagpur on 11 & 12 February 2012

Props: Two hooks, enough plastic rope, a pole with pulley fixed in ground, Tincture of Iodine, one large Turkish towel, cotton. 

Method: Pierce the back of the skin with hooks on two parallel sides and tie the two ends of the two ropes on outer end of the hooks. The other ends of the rope are passed through the pulley and hanging to the ground. Take a strong large bath towel through the front to the back of the person and tie the ends to the ropes and see the person is balanced when pulled up a little. Then pull the other two ends of the ropes and the person is suspended on hooks in the air.

Experiment -26

Effect: Pulling a chariot with hooks in the back without any blood flowing from the wounds.

Props: Two hooks, enough plastic rope, a folk chariot made with bamboos and decorated with colored tissue paper, tincture of iodine, and cotton.

Method: A person with hooks through the skin of the back is tied to a folk chariot with plastic rope at the other end of the hooks. He can draw it along without any difficulty or pain, and without bleeding.

Experiment -27

Effect: Pulling an ambassador car with hooks on the bodies of two volunteers.

Props: 4 hooks, plastic rope, tincture of iodine and cotton.

Method: Two persons with the two hooks on each one of the volunteer's back, with plastic rope n other side of the hooks tied to the ambassador car can pull it without any difficulty and without bleeding, or tearing of the skin. The road should be as level as possible.

Experiment: 27

Effect: Pulling a motor car with hooks on the bodies of two volunteers

Props: Four hooks, plastic ropes, tincture of iodine and cotton.

Method: Two persons with two hooks on each one of the volunteer's back, with plastic rope on the other side of the hooks tied to a motor car can pull it without any difficulty and without bleeding, or tearing of the skin. The road should be as level as possible.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Pakistan and Islamism - An Year after Salman Taseer's Murder

Pervez Hoodbhoy

We reproduce an essay written by Dr Pervez Hodbhy, who teaches Nuclear Physics at Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan. This essay, slightly different versions of which appeared in The Express Tribune (January 2, 2012) of Pakistan and The Hindu (January 4, 2012), narrates the hellish life that the people of Pakistan experience today as a result of the activities of Islamist fanatics over a period of six decade of that country's existence.

One year ago, the assassination of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, shook liberal and secular Pakistan to the core. Never had the country looked so rudderless.
Pervez Hoodbhoy

Fearlessly championing a deeply unpopular cause, this brave man had sought to revisit the country's blasphemy law which he perceived as yet another means of intimidating Pakistan's embattled religious minorities. This law — which is unique in having death as the minimum penalty — would have sent to the gallows an illiterate Christian peasant woman, Aasia Bibi, who stood accused by her Muslim neighbours after a noisy dispute. Taseer's publicly voiced concern for human life earned him 26 high-velocity bullets from one of his security guards, Malik Mumtaz Qadri. The other guards watched silently.

In the long, sad, year more followed. Justice Pervez Ali Shah, the brave judge who ultimately sentenced Taseer's murderer in spite of receiving death threats, has fled the country. Aasia Bibi is rotting away in jail, reportedly in solitary confinement and in acute psychological distress. Shahbaz Taseer, the Governor's son, was abducted in late August — presumably by Qadri's sympathisers. He remains untraceable. Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Parliament and another vocal voice against the blasphemy law, was assassinated weeks later on March 2.

Political assassinations occur everywhere. But the Pakistani public reaction to Taseer's assassination horrified the world. As the news hit the national media, spontaneous celebrations erupted in places; a murderous unrepentant mutineer had been instantly transformed into a national hero. Glib tongued television anchors sought to convince viewers that Taseer had brought ill unto himself. Religious political parties did not conceal their satisfaction, and the imam of Lahore's Badshahi Masjid declined the government's request to lead the funeral prayers. Rahman Malik, the Interior Minister, sought to curry favour with religious forces by declaring that, if need be, he would “kill a blasphemer with my own hands.”

In psychological terms, the reaction of a substantial part of Pakistan's lawyers' community was still more disturbing. Once again, they made history. Earlier it had been for their Black Coat Revolution, apparently welcome evidence that Pakistani civil society was well and thriving. But this time it was for something far less positive. Television screens around the world showed the nauseating spectacle of hundreds of lawyers feting a murderer, showering rose petals upon him, and pledging to defend him pro-bono.

Another phalanx of lawyers, headed by Khawaja Asif, former Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, rose up to constitute Qadri's defence team. In his court testimony, a smugly defiant assassin declared that he had executed Allah's will. Justice Asif agreed, saying that Qadri had “merely done his duty as a security guard”. He said it was actually Taseer who had broken the law of the land by attempting to defend a person convicted of blasphemy and, in doing so, had “hurt the feelings of crores of Muslims.”
Taseer's was a high profile episode, but there are countless other equally tragic ones which receive little public attention. Surely it is time to reflect on what makes so many Pakistanis disposed towards celebrating murder, lawlessness, and intolerance. To understand the kind of psychological conditioning that has turned us into nasty brutes, cruel both to ourselves and to others, I suggest that the reader sample some of the Friday khutbas (sermons) delivered across the country's estimated 250,000 mosques.

It is surely impossible to hear all khutbas , but a few hundred ones have been recorded on tape by researchers, transcribed into Urdu, translated into English, and categorised by subject at Since there was no conscious bias in selecting the mosques, they can be reasonably assumed to be representative examples.

Often using abusive language, the mullahs excoriate their enemies: America, India, Israel, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Shias, and Qadianis. Before appreciative crowds, they breathe fire against the enemies of Islam and modernity. Music is condemned to be evil, together with life insurance and bank interest. In frenzied speeches they put women at the centre of all ills, demand that they be confined to the home, covered in purdah, and forbidden to use lipstick or go to beauty parlours.

But the harshest words are reserved for the countless “deviant” Muslims. Governor Taseer was considered one. The former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is another. In a foul-mouthed speech that the reader can hear on the above website, Qureshi is denounced as “ haramzada ” by Maulana Altafur Rehman Shah of Muhammadi Masjid in Gujrat and described as a “keeper [ mujawar ] of graves”. Quoting Nawa-e-Waqt, this maulana of the Ahl-e-Hadith school calls Qureshi a lap dog who stands with his “cheek on the cheek of Hillary Clinton.” What, he asks, could be a matter of greater shame? Parliamentarian Jamshed Dasti, also accused of grave worship, is harshly condemned for being unable to name the first five verses of the Holy Quran.

One presumes that most listeners have enough intelligence to ignore such violent fulminations. But at times their effects are deadly. One such sermon, according to Qadri's recorded testimony, was the turning point for him. He had heard a fiery cleric, Qari Haneef, at a religious gathering in his neighbourhood, Colonel Yousuf Colony, on 31 December 2010. It is then, says Qadri, that he made up his mind to kill his boss. Qadri had participated in the gathering in his official uniform, reciting the naat in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). His official gun had been slung around his shoulder at the meeting. Four days later, he fulfilled his goal.

Pakistanis who still believe in the liberal dream must also grapple with their past. Qadri is not the first one celebrated for killing a blasphemer. The 19-year-old illiterate who killed Raj Pal, the publisher of the book Rangeela Rasool , subsequently executed by the British, was held in the highest esteem by the founders of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah had been Ghazi Ilm Din's lawyer. It is reported that Iqbal, regarded as Islam's pre-eminent 20th century philosopher, placed the body in the grave with tears in his eyes and said: “This young man left us, the educated men, behind.” Ilm Din is venerated by a mausoleum over his grave in Lahore.

In today's Pakistan, blasphemy unites diverse warring sects. Significantly, Qadri is a Barelvi Muslim belonging to the Dawat-e-Islami , which is part of the Sunni Tehreek. They are supposedly anti-Taliban moderates — one of their leaders, Maulana Sarfaraz Naeemi, was blown up by a Taliban suicide bomber in June 2009 after he spoke out against suicide bombings. Yet, 500 clerics of this faith supported Qadri in a joint declaration. They said that those who sympathised with Taseer deserved similar punishment. Today, on the blasphemy issue, these “moderates” have joined hands with those who seek to kill them. Jointly they rule Pakistan's streets today, while a cowardly and morally bankrupt government cringes and caves in to their every demand..

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Social Movements and Social Change

Ram Puniyani

All over the World and in India as well in 2011 we witnessed the uprisings to protest against injustice. In Arab world it has been against tyrannical dictatorial regimes to bring back democracy. In the US and many other European countries where ‘Occupy Wall Street’ has been the major one, the people are protesting against the socio-economic disparities which are due to the present system of economic structure. The Occupy Wall street movement is very profound in the sense that it brings to our attention the basics of the system, indicating about the deeper malaise in the system. In this movement most sections of people are participating (We are 99%).

In India also this year was a very significant as people rose to protest against multiple issues.  The usurpation of peasants’ land for so called development has been the major issue and it manifested itself through agitations like the one against POSCO, in Orissa. The other upsurges combined the concern for ecological preservation and protest against the nuclear hazards as in Koodankulam and Jaitapur. Currently there is a great amount of land alienation for large number of people. The protests in this direction has been significant but under projected by media. Similarly the long standing protest-fast of Irom Sharmila for repeal of Armed Forces Act brings to our notice the atrocities committed by army in places like North east in particular while Kashmir has also seen similar problem.

What came as an overwhelming upsurge was the one led by Anna Hazare. Here combination of several factors played their roles and made it spread far and wide. In this movement IT-MBA generation and some other sections constituted the core support base of movement. There was also a parallel phenomenon of movement against black money by Baba Ramdev. Anna Hazares’ main insistence was to bring in Jan Lok Bill drafted by his team, but it appeared as if it is against corruption and that those who are not supporting his bill are for supporting corruption. His movement has been supported by various elements including the religious gurus like Sri Sri Ravishanker. The major mobilization for this was done by Corporate controlled media and the RSS.

The overall scenario is that people are suffering the economic injustices, social inequalities and political marginalization. This Anna upsurge is focused against corruption alone, it does talk about corruption being the major cause of peoples’ suffering, but at the same time it underplays and bypasses the deeper issues which result in corruption. The corruption is very much there, but it is a symptom of the deeper disparities at economic and social level. Corruption is there due to the power centralization and lack of transparency in the system. Anna movement is in contrast to Occupy Wall Street Movement. Anna movement focuses. or rather hyper focuses, on the symptom of corruption with the result that the deeper inequalities of system remain unseen.

All social movements have a complex dynamics.  While people have genuine aspiration to bring to fore their real issues, many of the movements remain trapped at the symptomatic level and this tantamount to bypassing the core issues. Anna movement is a case in point. Here while Team Anna has brought to our attention one issue of our society, it has at the same time undermined many other issues and tried to denigrate the parliamentary system. It has deliberately focused on corruption of one political party alone. It has twisted every argument to talk against one party, there-by playing the role of electoral trumpet for the other major political party, which happens to be the political child of RSS, the major mobilize of Anna movement. It seems as if it has a contractual obligation to promote the BJP. At the same time those who bring this observation to the notice of society are deliberately branded as stooges of ruling Congress, which anyway has done enough mistakes to let Anna movement assume the present dimensions. 

The Arab uprisings are trying to bring democracy-parliamentary system; Anna movement in contrast is trying to create a parallel oligarchy, presenting Anna himself as being above parliament. This Anna movement has put all sorts of pressures to denigrate the parliamentary system and the elected representatives of the people. While one feels that mass movements, social upsurge, are the key to change and are welcome, all upsurges do not necessarily lead to social betterment. One recalls the Ram Temple movement which unleashed the era of violence and marginalization of minorities in the country. This one, Ram Temple movement, focused on identity issue. Anna movement focuses on symptomatic issue. What is common in the identity issue and symptomatic issue is that both bypass the deeper social issues of inequalities and the issues related to rights of marginalized.

The issue of Ram Temple was not the issue of marginalized sections though many of them were roped in by social engineering. Similarly the dalits and minorities kept aloof from Anna movement as they know it is trampling upon their deeper concerns.

Anna movement has been highly projected and made most visible, while the ones' around POSCO, Jaitapur and Koodankulam have been underplayed and Irom Sharmila has been mostly ignored. The issues involved in these protests are very crucial to our marginalized sections of society, also these issues are neither merely related to identity neither are they just the symptomatic one’s. That’s one of the reasons as to why corporate controlled media underplays them. These movements affect the life of society, in a deeper sense. That should explain that those for upholding status quo in society will highlight and go ga ga about anti corruption movement which has been presented as a spectacle. At the same time the other movements have been practically underplayed as they question the deeper issues related to the system and question the status quo.

All said and done, the mass upsurge being experienced here is a sign of maturing democracy, despite vested interests trying to deflect the movement in authoritarian direction. Surely change for better should be the norm and social movements questioning the system are the engine of social change. Unlike Anna movement these movements base themselves on the democratic principles and are inclusive in their approach.

All protests in India should have awakened our conscience but unfortunately, only one of these, the Anna movement, has been given primacy. We need to do course correction and give due importance to other protests also, which is their due.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

J Muir's Essay on Carvaka/Lokayata

J. Muir

This paper was first presented in 1861 and published in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in volume xix, pp. 299-314. According to Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, this article  is "the earliest compilation of the major references to the Carvaka/Lokayata view as found in the epics and the Puranas".

Verses.from the Sarva-darsana-sangraha, the Visnu Purana, and the Ramayana, illustrating·the tenets of the Carvakas or Indian Materialists, with some remarks on Freedom of Speculation in Ancient India. .

In his essay on the heretical schools of the Hindus, Mr. Colebrooke has given an account of the tenets of the Carvakas or Materialists (Misc. Essays, i., 402 f£). Professor Wilson, too, in his "Sketch of the Religious Sects of the Hindus" (As. Res., Vol. XVI., pp. 5, 6), alludes to the attacks made by the founder of the atheistical or materialistic school, Vrhaspati, on the Vedas and the Brahmanas, and quotes some verses attributed to that author in which he asserts that 'the whole Hindu system is a contrivance of the priesthood to secure a means of livelihood for themselves. I am not aware whether either the aphorisms of Vrhaspati (Varhaspatya Sutras), to which Mr. Colebrooke refers (Mise. Ess., i., 404) as having been quoted by one of the commentators on the Vedanta, or the Work which contains the verses adduced by Professor Wilson, are still extant or not. As, however, the Sarva Darsana Sangraha 1 of Madhava Acaryya (a work containing a concise account of the different philosophical schools of India, both orthodox and heretical), from which Professor Wilson derived the verses which he cites, contains a good many more of a similar tendency which are both satirical and clever I shall translate the whole and compare them with passages of the same tenor which occur in the Visnu Purana and in the Ramayana.

(1)   The passage from the Sarva Darsana Sangraha is as follows:

All this has been uttered by Vrhaspati as well:

  1. There is no heaven, no final liberation, no soul (which continues to exist) in another world; nor any ceremonies 0 castes or orders which are productive of future reward.
  2. The Agnihotra sacrifice, the three Vedas, the mendicant's triple staff (tridanda), 2 and the practice of smearing oneself with ashes, are only a means of livelihood ordained by the Creator for men who have neither understanding nor energy.
  3. If (it be true that) an animal slaughtered at the Jyotistoma Sacrifice is (in consequence) exalted to heaven, 3 .why does the worshipper not immolate his own father?
  4. If a sraddha (offering .of food to the manes) 4 satiates even defunct creatures, it is quite superfluous to furnish people who are setting out upon a journey with any provisions (as their friends who remain can offer food to them).
  5. Since (as you say,) persons heaven are filled with oblations presented upon earth, why is food not similarly offered (by those below) to people on the roof of the house?
  6. While a man lives, let him live merrily; 5 let him borrow money, and swallow clarified butter; how can a body return to earth after it has been reduced to ashes?
  7. If a man goes to another world when he quits his body, why does affection for his kindred not impel him to come back?
  8. Hence ceremonies for the dead are a mere mean of livelihood devised by the Brahmins, and nothing else.
  9. The three composers of the Vedas were buffoons, rogues, and goblins; everyone has heard of jarbhari, turphail, and other such (nonsensical) exclamations of the Pandits.6
  10. It is well-known that 10 an asvamedha (horse-sacrifice), the embraces of the horse must be received by the Queen; 7 and it is, in like manner, also well-known what other sorts of things are to be grasped by those buffoons 8. In the same way, the eating of flesh is prescribed by those goblins.

(2)   The ideas in the following verses from the Visnu Purana are are ofthe same tendency, and in part identical with those just quoted. The passage is considered by Professor Wilson to represent.the sentiments of Vrhaspati's school, and has already been translated by him in his Visnu Purana (p. 340, f.); but I shall give a version of my own, prefixing to it the original Sanskrit, which has never been printed.

Visnu Purana  iii.18.
14: Anyan apyanya-pasanda-prakarair bahubhir dvija/Daiteyan mohayamasa Mayamoha vimohakrt/
15. Svalpenaiva hi kalena mayamohena te surah/Moitas tatyajuh sarvam trayi-margasritam katham/
16:  Kecid hi nindam vedanam devanam apare dvija/Yajna-karma-kalapasya tatha nye ca dvijanmanam/
17: Naitad yuktim-saham vakyam himsa dharmaya nesyate/havimsy anala-dagdhani phalayety arbhokoditam/
18. Yajnair anekair devatvam avapy endrena bhujyate/samyadi yadi cet kastham tadvaram pattra-bhuk pasuh/
19. Nihatasya pasor yajne svarga-prapatir yadisyate/Sva-pita yajamanena kinnu tasmad na hanyate/
20. Triptaye jayate pumso bhuktam anyena cet xatah (tatah?)/dadyac chraddham sraddhaya ‘nnam na vaheyuh pravasinah/ 
21. Janasraddheyam ity etad avagamya tato vacah/Upexya sreyase vakyam iocatam/
22. yuktimad vacanam grahyam maya nyaisa bhavamahasurah/yuktimad vacanam grahyam maya nyaisca bhavadvidhaiah/
23. Mayamohena te daityah prakarair bahubhis tatha/vyutthapita yatha naisam trayim kascid arocayat/
24. Ittham unmargayatesu (tesu?) dityesu te ‘marah/udyogam paramam krtva yuddaya samupasthitah/
25. Tato devasuram yuddham punar evabhavad dvija/ hatasca te ‘sura devaih sanmarga-paripanthinah/
26. Sa dharma-kavacas tesam abhud yah prathamam dvijx/tena raxa bhavatpurvam nesur naste ca tatra te/
After describing how Mayamoha, the great impersonated Delusion, had seduced the Daityas (who here stand for the heretical Indians in general) into embracing Jaina and Buddhist doctrines, the writer proceeds: 'The great Deceiver, practising illusion, next beguiled other Daityas by means of many other sorts of heresy. In a very short time these Asuras (= Daityas) deluded by the Deceiver, abandoned the entire system founded on the ordinances of the triple Veda. Some reviled the Vedas, others the gods, others the ceremonial of sacrifice, and others the Brahmins. This (they exclaimed,) is a doctrine which will not bear discussion; the slaughter (of animals in sacrifice) is not conducive to religious merit. (To say that) oblations of butter consumed in the fire produce any future reward, is the assertion of a child. If Indra, after having attained godhead by numerous sacrifices, feeds upon sami and other woods, then an animal which eats leaves is superior to him. If it be a fact that a beast slain in sacrifice is exalted to heaven, why does the worshipper not slaughter his own father? If a man is truly satiated by food that another person eats, then sraddhas should be offered to people who are travelling abroad, and they, trusting this, should have no need to carry any food along with them. 9 After it has been settled that this doctrine is entitled to credence, let the opinions which I express be pondered and received as conducive to happiness. Infallible utterances do not, great Asuras, fall from the skies; only assertions founded on reasoning are accepted by me and by other (intelligent) persons like yourselves. Thus by numerous methods the Daityas were unsettled by the great Deceiver, so that none of them regarded the triple Veda with favour any longer. When the Daityas had entered this path of error, the deities mustered all their energies and approached to battle. Then followed a combat between the gods and Asuras, and the latter, who had abandoned the right road, were smitten by the former. In previous times they had been defended by the armour of righteousness which they bore, but when that had been destroyed, they too perished.'

(3) The following is the passage of the Ramayana to which I have alluded. It contains the speech of the Brahmin Javali, in which he endeavours, ineffectually, to shake the resolution of Rama, who was unwilling to deviate from the arrangements made by his late father Dasaratha and return from the forests of the south to Ayodhya to take possession of the throne now offered to him by his dutiful younger brother, Bharata. This passage may be found translated in Carey and Marshman's edition of the Ramayana, but I have rendered it anew, both according to the text of Schlegel's and of Gorresio's editions, and have placed my own two versions in parallel columns for facility of comparison. I have placed in italics the passages which coincide most closely with those from the Sarva-darsana­sangraha and Visnu Purana:

Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda,  Section 108, Ed. Schlegel.

1. Javali, most excellent of Brahmins, thus addressed Rama, who was comforting Bharata, and who was thoroughly versed in duty, with the following words which were contrary to duty. 10
2. You, descendant of Raghu, who are intelligent and of superior understanding, ought not to entertain such unprofitable notions, as if you were an ordinary person.
3. How can anyone person be of kin to any other? What has anyone to gain from any other, seeing that every creature is born alone and dies alone? 11
4. Anyone, therefore, who feels attachment to any persons, such as his father and mother, is to be regarded as insane; since no one is anything to any other.
5. Just as in the case of a man who goes into a strange village, sojourns there, and then quits his abode and proceeds on his journey the following day;
6. so are men's fathers, and mothers, and houses, and property but temporary possessions (lit. abodes), on which the good will not allow their affections to fasten.
7. You, most excellent of men, ought not, by abandoning your paternal kingdom, to enter upon a wrong road, painful, uneven, and beset with troubles.
8. Permit yourself to be enthroned in opulent Ayodhya; that city eagerly expects you, with her hair fastened in a single braid (in token of mourning).
9. Enjoying, prince, the exquisite gratifications of royalty, disport yourself there as Indra does in paradise.
10. Dasaratha (his father) is now nothing to you, nor you to him; that king (was) one person and you (are) another; do, therefore, as I advise.
11. A father is nothing more than the seed of a creature; his seminal principle and blood combined with the seminal substance of the mother such is a man's terrestrial generation.
12. That monarch has gone to the place to which he had to go; such is the course of human beings; but you are being needlessly injured.
13. There­fore, I lament12 (the fate of) such men as adhere to justice, and of no others; for the just suffer affliction here, and when they die, they incur annihilation.
14. Men are intent upon oblations to their progenitors and to the gods: but see what a destruction of food! For what can a dead man eat?
15. If an oblation eaten here by one (really) passes into the body of another, then let a sraddha be offered to a man who is travelling abroad; he need not eat upon his journey. 16. These books composed by wise men (containing such precepts as) worship, bestow, offer sacrifice, practise austerities, abandon (the world); are mere charms to draw forth gifts.
17. Understand intelligent (prince,) that no one exists hereafter, regard only that which is an object of perception, and cast behind your back whatever is beyond the reach of your senses. 13
18. Acting upon this principle, which should be the guide of all mankind, allow yourself to be persuaded by Bharata, and accept the kingdom.

Ramayana, Ayodhyakanda, Section 16, Ed. Gorresio.

1.2. Then Javali, most excellent of Brahmins, the king's logician (naiyayika) versed in all learning, and acquainted with duty, being desired by them all, and seeking to comfort Bharata, addressed Rama, who was unwilling to go to the city, with these words in consonance with duty. 3. You, descendant of Raghu, ought not, like an ordinary person, to entertain such unprofitable notions, the contemptible ideas of an ascetic. ... 14 
12. How can anyone person be of kin to any other? What has anyone to do with any other? Seeing that every creature is born alone, and dies alone. 
13. Hence a mother and a father both resemble a lodging; the man who feels any attachment to them is to be regarded as insane. 
14. Just as in the case of a man who goes into any strange village, and sojourns there, and then quits his abode, and proceeds on his journey the following day; 
15. So are men's fathers, and mothers, and houses, and property, but temporary possessions (lit. abodes); away with all idea of loving them. 
16. You ought not, hero, to abandon a level path, free from dust and alarm, and to enter upon a wrong road beset with troubles. 
17. Permit yourself to be enthroned in opulent Ayodhya; that city eagerly expects you, with her hair fastened in a single braid (in token of mourning). 
18. Enjoying, prince, the exquisite gratifications of royalty, disport yourself there as Indra does in paradise. 
19. Dasaratha (his father) is now nothing to you, nor you to him; that king (was) one person, and you (are) another; do, therefore, what I advise. 
20. A father is nothing more than the seed of a creature; his seminal principle, with blood and air, combined with the seminal substance of the mother-such is a man's generation of a son. 
21. That monarch has gone to the place to which he had to go; such is the course of human beings; but you are being needlessly injured. 
22. Wherefore I inquire of such as adhere to justice, and of no others; for the just suffer affliction here, and when they die they incur annihilation. 
23. Oblations are offered to progenitors and to the gods; men are intent upon the ceremony, but see what a destruction of food! What is left for the dead? 
24. If an oblation-eaten here by one (really) passes into the body of another, then let a sraddha be offered to a man who is travelling abroad, and let him carry no provisions for his journey . 
25. These books composed by wise men (containing such precepts as) worship, bestow, offer sacrifice, practise austerities, abandon (the world); are merely meant to multiply gifts. 
26. Understand, intelligent (prince), that no one exists hereafter; regard not that which is beyond the reach of your senses, but only that which is an object of perception. 
27. Acting upon this principle, which should be the guide of all mankind, allow yourself to be persuaded by Bharata, and accept the kingdom. 
28-33. Follow, therefore, wise counsels, and abide in your proper path. Xupa, the illustrious mental son of Brahma...these (whose names are enumerated in verses 
29. ff) and many other excellent monarchs, abandoning their dear sons and wives, 
34. have yielded to the power of time. We know not whither they nor the Gandharvas, Yaxas, and Raxasas, 
35. may have departed; such a scene of illusion is this world. For it is the names of these kings only which arc now heard. 
36. Anyone imagines "them to exist in whatever region he pleases. Thus there is no firm foundation on which this world may abide. 
37. It is this which is the other (or highest) world; enjoy, therefore, happiness; for just men are not qualified for this enjoyment. 
38. Just men, descendants of Kakutstha, are 'very miserable, while the unjust are seen to be happy. 
39. This world, again, is in every way confused and perturbed; do not, therefore, most eminent of men, condemn the fortune which seeks you. 
40. Accept this great kingdom which is free from rivals and enemies. When Rama had heard this discourse, although slow to wrath, he was greatly incensed at being exhorted to atheism.15
As the doctrines, which in these verses are put into the mouth of the Brahmin Javali, agree essentially in their tenor with those ascribed to the Carvakas in the verses I have quoted from the Sarva-darsana-sangraha, it would appear (if the section be genuine) that those Materialists must be as old as the composition of the Ramayana, to whatever era that may be referred. And that a sect bearing that appellation must have existed at the time when the Mahabharata received its present form appears highly probable from the contents of the following passage from the Santiparva, or 12th Book, verses 1,414 ff., in which a story is told about a Raxasa or demon of that name, who was a. contemner of the Brahmins, and who, there can be little doubt, is meant to stand for a hostile sectary.

After Yudhighira had entered the city and had bestowed largesses on the Brahmins, etc., the following scene is described to have taken place:

'When the Brahmins were now once again standing silent, Carvaka the Raxasa, in the disguise of a Brahmin, addressed the King. This friend of Duryodhana, concealed under the garb of a mendicant with a rosary, a lock of hair on his crown, and a triple staff, impudent and fearless, surrounded by all the Brahmins exceeding a thousand in number, who were anxious to utter their benedictions-men who practised austerity and self-restraint-this wretch, wishing evil to the magnanimous  Pandavas, without saluting those Brahmins, thus addressed the King: "All these Brahmins, falsely imputing the malediction to me, themselves exclaim, woe to you, wicked king, the slayer of your kindred. What can be the issue of this son of Kuntl? Since you have slaughtered your kinsmen and elders, death is desirable for you, and not life. “Hearing this speech of the wicked Raksasa the Brahmins were pained and indignant, being maligned by his words. But they, as well as King Yudhisthira, all remained silent, being ashamed and cut to the heart. Then Yudhighira said: "Let all your reverences be reconciled to me, who bows down and supplicates you: you ought not to curse me who has recently (?) undergone such great misfortunes." All the Brahmins then exclaimed: "We never uttered the words imputed to us; may your Majesty enjoy prosperity." Then these noble-minded Brahmins, versed in the Vedas and purified by austerities, recognised (the pretended mendicant) by the eye of knowledge, and exclaimed: "This is the Raxasa called Carvaka, friend of Duryodhana; in the garb of a vagrant he seeks to accomplish the purposes of your enemy; we speak not so, righteous King; let all such fears be dissipated; may prosperity attend you and your brothers.” Then all these pure Brahmins, infuriated with anger, uttering menaces, slew, with muttered curses, the wicked Raxasa; who fell down consumed by the might of utterers of Vedic incantations, burnt up by the bolt of Indra, like a tree covered with leaves.'

Krsna then, in the following verses (1,430-1,442), explains to Yudhisthira that formerly in the Krta age this Raxasa, Carvaka, had for many years practised austerities at Badari; and that having in consequence received from Brahma his choice of a boon, he had selected that of being perfectly secure against the hostility of all creatures. This boon was granted under the sole condition that he should abstain from showing any disrespect to Brahmins (dvijiivamiimid anyatra). Having obtained this prerogative of immunity from attack, he began to oppress the gods. The latter appealed to Brahma, who told them that he had decreed that the Rixasa'a death should shortly be brought about through his friendship with Duryodhana, which would lead him to treat the Brahmins contemptuously, when they would consume him, as the King had seen; and that Yudhistra was not to feel any remorse for the slaughter of his kindred, since this carnage had taken place in the exercise of is functions as a Xatriya, and its victims had gone to heaven.

Carvaka is again briefly mentioned in the 'Lament of Duryodhana', 9th, or Salya Parva, 3,619: when that prince had received his death-wound, his thighs having been fractured by the blow of Bhimasena's club: 

'If Carvaka, the, wandering ascetic, skilful in discourse, .learns (that I have been mortally wounded), he will certainly perform an expiation 16 ('for me in the holy (lake) Samanta-pancaka, renowned in the three worlds'.

I am not aware how far back the sect of the Carvakas can be traced in Indian literature. Nastikas (nihilists), Pasandis (heretics), and revilers of the Vedas arc mentioned in many parts of Manu's Institutes, ii. 11: iii. 150, 161; iv. 30, 61, 163: V. 89; viii. 22, 309; ix. 225; xi. 65. 66; xii. 33; 95.96. I quote two of these passages as specimens; 

ii. 11: 'Whatever Brahmin, addicting himself to rationalistic writings17 (hetu-sastra), shall despise these two sources (of knowledge, the sruti and the smrti), is to be cast out by good men as a nihilist and reviler of the Veda.' 
xii. 95,. 96: 'All religious systems (smrtis) which stand apart from the Vedas, and all heretical opinions whatever, are unprofitable in the next world, for they are founded on darkness. Whatever books, separate from the Vedas, spring up and disappear, are worthless and false, due to their recentness of date.' 
Such heretics appear to have been numerous at the period when these Institutes were compiled, as the faithful are warned (iv. 61) against living in a village 'overrun with heretics'; a kingdom 'in which Sudras predominate, overrun with nihilists, and destitute of Brahmins', is said (viii. 22) to be doomed to destruction; a king who is a nihilist is threatened with perdition (viii. 309); and it is enjoined (ix. 225) that heretics shall be banished. Nihilism is, however, only pronounced (xi. (6) to be an upapiitaka, or sin of lesser heinousness. Allusion is said to be made in v. 89, 90 and viii. 363 to female anchorets of an heretical religion.

The anti-brahminical opinions referred to here are, however, most probably those of the Buddhists, although some other sects may possibly be included.

It is evident from some of the hymns of the Veda (sec Muller's Hist. of Anc. Sansk. Lit., p. 556 ff.) that theological speculation has been practised in India from a very early period. In fact all of these hymns, even those of them which arc most artless poetical, and anthropomorphic in their character, may in a limited sense be regarded as speculative; since the religious ideas which they express, being founded on no external revelation, must have owed their existence not only to the religious emotions and imagination of their authors, but also to a certain exercise of reflection, which assigned particular attributes and functions to the different deities and proceeded along a certain theory of the relations of the Godhead to the universe. Therefore, as the religions or mythological systems of India developed, it was to be expected that they should exhibit numerous varia­tions springing out of the particular genius of different writers; and more especially that, whenever the speculative element predominated in any author, he should give utterance to ideas on the origin of the world and the nature and action of the deity or deities which were more or less opposed to those commonly received. In the stage here supposed, a fixed and authoritative system of belief or institutions had not yet been constructed, but was only in the process of construction, and therefore considerable liberty of individual thought, expression, and action would be allowed; as is, indeed, also shown by the existence of different schools of Brahmins, not merely attached to one or other of the particular Vedas, but even restricting their allegiance to some particular recension of one of the Vedas. Even after the Brahminical system had been more firmly established and its details more minutely prescribed, it is clear that the same strictness was not extended to speculation, but that if a Brahmin were only an observer of the established ceremonial, and an assertor of the privileges of his own order, he might entertain and even profess almost any philosophical opinion which he pleased (Colebrooke, Misc. Ess., i., 379; Muller, Anc. Sansk. Lit., 79). In this way the tradition of free thought was preserved and speculative principles of every character continued to be maintained and taught without hindrance or scandal. Meanwhile the authority of the Vedas had come to be generally regarded as paramount and divine, but so long as this authority was nominally acknowledged, independent thinkers were permitted to propound a variety of speculative principles at variance with their general tenor, although perhaps not inconsistent with some isolated portions of their contents. It was only when the authority of the sacred books was not merely tacitly set aside or undermined but openly discarded and denied, and the institutions founded on them were abandoned and assailed by the Buddhists, that the orthodox party took the alarm.

Accordingly, traces of a sceptical spirit are not wanting in different parts of Indian literature.

In the Rig Veda viii. 89, 3, 4, reference is made to some free thinkers who had doubted the existence of Indra. (See Original Sanskrit Texts, iii. 151)

In the Nirukta, Yaska refers to an older author named Kautsa, who had spoken of the hymns of the Veda as often being unmeaningful or contradictory (Original Sansk. Texts, ii. 180 ff.)

Sakya Muni, the founder of Buddhism, who is generally considered to have flourished in the sixth century Be and, as is well known, rejected the authority of the Vedas and promul­gated a system of doctrine and practice at variance with their contents; most probably derived many of his tenets from other speculators who had preceded him. Burnouf (who is followed by Lassen, Muller, and others) is of the opinion that Sakya merely carried on a work which had previously been commenced by Kapila and Pataiijali, and proceeded upon the atheistical principles furnished to him by the former of these philosophers (Bouddhisme Indien, pp. 211; 520). This may be true and maybe susceptible of proof from a comparison of the principles of these two systems and an examination of their mutual relations. In the meantime, however, it is worthy of remark that the Sankhya Sutras, i. 27-47, adduce and refute certain tenets which are those of the Buddhist schools. The opinions in question are, (1) the momentary duration of external objects, which succeed each other in a perpetual flux (Sutras, 34, 35); (2) that things exist only in perception, and have no objective reality (Sutra, 42), 18 (3) that there is nothing but a void (Sunya). All these doctrines are those of the Buddhist schools (as described in Mr. Colebrooke's Essay on the Heretical Sects). The first doctrine is mentioned in p. 397 of that Essay as Buddhist; while the second is that of the Yogacaras and the third that of the Madhyamikas, who are both Bauddha sects, ibid. p. 391. (See also p. 380, where Mr. Colebrooke alludes to the Buddhists being noticed in the Sankhya.) If, therefore, the Sankhya Sutras are to be regarded as the original form in which that system was propounded by its author, and if they have remained free from interpolation, the Sankhya must be later than Buddhism. It appears, however, to be prima Jacie very improbable that the Sutras of the different philosophical schools (whatever may be the age to which the earliest nucleus of each may be referred) should have remained unaltered from the date of their first Composition; and the mutual references which are to be found in the Brahma and the Sankhya Sutras to each other's doctrines, totally preclude such a supposition. The Sutras must therefore either have received interpolations at some period subsequent to their first compilation, or must be regarded as nothing more than later summaries of doctrines which had been handed down, either orally or in writing, from an earlier period.

Mr. Colcbrooke, with his usual caution, does not determine whether or not the Buddhist doctrines are derived from those of Kapila, but merely notices the 'strong resemblance' which the latter 'manifestly bear to the opinions of the sects of Jaina and Buddha' (Mise. Ess. i., 228). In another place (i. 378), he says no more than that the last-named sects 'exhibit some analogy to the Sankhyas.'

But it is not the systems of Buddha and of Kapila alone which are atheistic in their principles. Three of the other Darsanas, reputed as being more or less orthodox, or subdivisions of them, are known or suspected-not without some appearance of reason-to have once professed the same opinions~ or to profess them still.

In his Dialogues on Hindu Philosophy which have lately appeared, Professor K. M. Banerjea states his opinion (pp. 141, ff) that the Nyaya and Vaisesika systems were originally atheistic although their modern adherents have adopted a theistic creed. 19

The wide prevalence of atheistic sentiments in the middle ages of Indian history (i.e. in the centuries subsequent to the commencement of the Christian era) is, however, yet more distinctly shown by the remarkable fact that tenets of this description had, as the orthodox Kumarila himself confessed in one of the introductory verses of his Viirttika,20 become, in his day, quite general among the adherents of the Purva Mimamsa School, who thus strangely combined the two characteristics regarded by Manu and the Visnu Purana as incompatible; namely, recognition of the authority of the Veda and strict observance of Vedic ceremonies which these works so strongly enjoin, with the nihilism, atheism, or materialism (nastikya) which they so strenuously denounce. If we are to understand from the term Lokayata, applied by Kumarila to the hostile section of the Mip1aiTlsakas, that they had abandoned the belief in a future life as well as in a God (as we, no doubt, should understand, and as I have been assured by Pandit Nehemiah Goreh, an intelligent and well-informed convert from Brahminism to Christianity); then they have only practised their Vedic ceremonies either for the sake of the prosperity and happiness which they conceived they would procure in the present life, or 01) account of the gains and the respectability connected with their performance. In this case it is a singular fact that the votaries of the Vedic rites should have adopted the speculative opinions of those very materialists by whom these ceremonies and their performers have been so keenly ridiculed and denounced

Since the preceding paper was delivered to the Royal Asiatic Society, I have learned, from a letter from Dr.Fitz Edward Hall, that he had made a long but fruitless search in India for the aphorisms on Vrhaspati. 


  1. Published in the Bibliotheca Indica, nos. 63 and 142.
  2. See Professor Wilson's Sketch of the Religious Sects of the Hindus, above referred to; and for the words tridatJ4a.and tridatJ4in, consult Boehtlingk and Roth's Lexicon, with the passages there cited from Manu, ix. 296, and xii. 10, II, and other writers.
  3. This refers to the notion expressed by Manu, V.42: 'The twice-born man who, knowing the meaning and principles of the Veda, slays cattle on the occasions mentioned, conveys both himself and those cattle to the summit of beatitude. ' (Sir W.Jones). In the second act of the drama called Prabodhncandrodaya (which has been translated into English by Dr. Taylor and into German by Professor Goldstucker), Mayamoha (or Delusion) and a Carvaka are introduced among the dramatis personae and give utterance to the tenets of the Indian materialists, The second and the third of the verses quoted in the text from the Sarva-darsana-sangraha are adduced there also. Verse 4 of the text is varied as follows: 'If a sraddha satiates even defunct creatures, then oil must nourish the flame of an extinguished lamp.' The following stanzas are of a similar purport with verse I of the text: 'The idea that the soul exists with an essence distinct from that of the body, and that it enjoys rewards after it has gone to another world, is (as vain as) the expectation of luscious fruit from trees growing in the sky.' 'If heaven is obtained by worshippers after the performer, the ceremonial, and the materials of the sacrifice have all passed away, then abundant fruit will be produced from trees which have been consumed in the conflagration of a forest.' In another verse, the gratifications of the voluptuary are contrasted with the mortifications of the ascetic in a sense favourable to the former.
  1. See Manu. chap. iii., verses 122 to the end.
  1. Dum vivimus, vivamus, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die', Cor. XV.32
  1. Compare Original Sanskrit Texts, ii. 183, and iii. 45. The words jarbhari, turphari, occur in Rg Veda, x. 106.6, See Boehtlingk and Hoth's Lexicon, under these words, and Nirukta, xiii. 5.
  1. I give the literal meaning of this line in Latin: 'Fama notum est equi membrum genitale a regina capiendum esse’ See Wilson's translation of the Rg Veda., vol. ii., Introd., p. xiii; Ramayana, i. 13,36 (Schlegel's edit.); i., 13.34 (Gorresio's edit.); Mahabh., xiv., 2645; Vajasaneyi Samhita, xxiii, 20 ff. and commentary; Satapatha Brahmana, pp. 990 ff; Katyayana’s Sutras, p. 973.
  1. I do not perceive the exact allusion here, unless it be to the Brahmins' grasping character. Possibly there may be a reference in the next line to the practice of the Saktas. Goblins are represented by the Hindus as being fond of flesh.
  1. The satirical purport of this half-verse has not been correctly understood by Professor Wilson, who renders it thus: 'It must be unnecessary for one who resides at a distance to bring food for presentation in person.’
  1. Schlegel reads here dharmapetam, and Gorresio dharmopetam. The former is the best reading.
  1. The same reflection, with a different moral annexed, occurs in the very striking verses of Manu, viii., 17 and iv., 23Y ff; which I have attempted to put into verse as follows

1. Our virtue is the only friend that follows us in death While other tics and friendships end with our departing breath.
2.  Nor father, mother, wife, nor son, beside us then can stay, Nor kinsfolk-virtue is the one companion of our way.
3. Alone each creature sees the light, alone the world he leaves, Alone of actions wrong or right, the recompense receives.
4.  Like log or clod, beneath the sod, their lifeless kinsman laid, His friends depart, with aching heart, but virtue guards the dead.
5.   Be then a hoard of virtue stored, to help in day of doom,
          By virtue led, we cross the dread, immeasurable gloom.

This passage is imitated and expanded in the 13th or Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharata, verses 5,805 – 5,815. The words in Manu, iv., 244, tamas tarati dustaram, 'he crosses the gloom difficult to cross, ' are probably derived from the Atharva Veda. ix., 5, 1. Tirtva tamamsi bahudha mahanti ajo nakam akramatam trtiyam: 'Having crossed the: dark abysses in many directions immense let the unborn (or, the moving) one ascend the third heaven.'

  1. Compare Mahabhiirata, Udyoga Parva, verse 4205.
  2. These are the principles ofthe Carvakas. 'Perception is the only proof' says the Mayamoha, in the Prabodha-candrodaya, Act. ii.
  3. Verses 4-11 in Gorresio's edition, urging that Rama had sufficiently fulfilled his duty to his father and exhorting him to take possession of the kingdom, have nothing parallel to them in Schlegel's recension.
  4. The section of the Ramayana, and those which follow it, as given in the three different editions of the Ramayana, well illustrate the peculiarities of their different texts. In Schlegel's edition, section 108 concludes with the 18th verse, which is immediately succeeded by the reply of Rama to Javali's suggestions, in the 29 anustubh verses, which stand at the commencement of section 109. To these are added nine more verses in a longer metre, the Upajati, which Schlegel regards as spurious. As regards some of the verses his opinion is no doubt just; for Rama is represented in the first of these additional stanzas as a second time commencing  his answer to Javali,and the tone in which he then repudiates the sentiments of the latter is much harsher than in the earlier (anustubh) verses of the section. In the 36th and following verses of the addition, Javali is introduced as apologizing for, and half recanting, the opinions he had expressed: 'The Brahmin then addressed to Rama these true, wholesome, and believing (astika) words: "I do not utter the doctrines of the nihilists (nastika): I am not a nihilist; nor does nought exist. Having regard to opportuneness of time, I have again become a believer (astika) and on an opportune occasion, I may again become a nihilist".' In one of these Upajati verses, the Buddhists are expressly mentioned. Gorresio's edition, however, contains much more extensive interpolations than Schlegel's. As we have seen, stanzas 4-11 and 28-39 of section 116 of the former are all in excess of the verses contained in the corresponding section of the latter. But section 116 of Gorresio's edition does not stop even there. It contains, in verses 40 ff., a short repudiation by Rama of Javali's doctrines. Another discourse of Bharata's follows in section 117, and it is not' until section 11 8 that Rama is represented as beginning (a second time) the answer to Javali, which corresponds to that in section l09 of Schlegel's edition.

Carey and Marshman's text generally coincides (as regards the sections under consideration) with Gorresio's, although in some readings it agrees with Schlegel's when that and Gorresio's differ.

I will not enter here on the question, of which I have not studied both sides, as to the comparative antiquity of Schlegel's and Gorresio's texts; but I will adduce from the speech of Vasistha in the 110th section of Schlegel's edition, as compared with the corresponding section of Gorresio's, what I conceive to be one decided argument in favour of the greater antiquity of the former text. We there read (in Schlegel's edition). 'There was then nothing but water, in which the earth was formed. From thence was produced Brahma, the self-existent, together with the deities. He then, becoming a boar, raised up the earth and created the whole world with his sons, who were perfected in spirit. Brahma was produced from the ether,' etc. It is therefore Brahma, who here becomes a boar, and in that form raises up the earth-an incarnation and an act which are elsewhere, as in the Visnu Purana (pp. 27-32 of Wilson's translation), and in the Bhagavata Purana., 3,7 and iii., 13, 18 ff. ascribed to Visnu. To harmonize the account in the Ramayana with that in the Puranas (which is, to all appearance, of later origin), the author of the recension edited by Gorresio changes the words Brahma svayambhur daivatais saha, 'Brahma, the self-existent, with the gods', into Brahai svayamhhur Visnur avyah 'Brahma, the self-existent imperishable Visnu'; and in a subsequent line substitutes the words Sacaracaram avyayam for saha putraih krtatmahhih, i.e. 'he created the whole imperishable world, movable and immovable, ' instead of’ he created the whole world with his sons', etc. This last alteration was rendered necessary by the fact that sons ·are ascribed by mythological tradition to Brahma, but none to Visnu. When, therefore, the name of Visnu was introduced, it became necessary to strike our all reference to sons. These alterations are not found in Carey and Marshman’s edition, which here agrees with Schlegel’s.
  1. The word which I have translated as expiation is apacita (apaciti?). The word apaciti occurs in the 7th or Drona Parva, 7, 811.
  2. Although reasoning is looked upon by Manu (ii. 11) and other orthodox writings (e.g., Mahabharata, iii. 13,463, suska tarka) with great jealousy as likely to be employed against the Vedas, its aid is also invoked as necessary for their defence and exposition (Manu, xii. 105); and professors of different systems of logic or speculation (haituka and tarkin) arc referred to (xii. Ill) as essential component members of a Brahminical conclave of ten (dasavara parisad)
  3. See Professor Banerjea's Dialogues on Hindu Philosophy, where Sankara’s refutation of this doctrine, the Vijnana-vada, is quoted from his commentary on the Brahma Sutras, ii., 2, 28.
  4. See also 'Original Sanskrit Texts', Part iii., p. 216.
  5. He there says, 'For Mimams has generally been turned into a school of materialism (or atheism, lokayatikrta), but I have made this attempt to bring it into the paths of theism (cf. the recognition of a future existence, asthikapathe).' See Orig. Sansk Texts, iii. p. 209. Compo Professor Banarjea's Dialogues, pp.78 ff., 477 ff.


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