Sunday, 31 March 2013

Re-Redefining Hinduism

Ram Puniyani

While defining religion is a theological exercise, many a times the tribunals and judges are pontificating on the nature of Hindusim on the basis of common sense and their own perceptions of it. Many of these perceptions are dictated by the contemporary politics, which wants to present Hinduism in a different light. It was a great surprise that a recent Income Tax Tribunal held that Hinduism is not a religion and stated that Shiva, Hanuman or Goddess Durga are  "superpowers of the universe" and do not represent a particular religion. (March 2013)  The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Nagpur, in a recent order, said the expenses on worshipping Hindu deities and maintenance of temple could not be considered as religious activity. 

They went on to declare that "Technically, Hinduism is neither a religion nor Hindus form a religious community.” Shiv Mandir Devsthan Panch Committee Sanstan' had argued that the temple run by it was open to everyone, irrespective of caste and creed and so "the temple does not belong to a particular religion and that installing idols is not a religious activity". 

This is fairly hilarious. Idol worship is a major part of Hinduism, while religions like Islam and Christianity don’t resort to worship of idols. It is a Hindu religious activity, that’s how the whole Ram Temple issue could be built up and Babri mosque was demolished on the pretext of fulfilling a religious obligation of restoring Ram Temple, where the idols of Ram Lalla could be installed. Then, what is this new definition of ‘superpowers’ in the form of Shiva, Hanuman and Durga? Contemporary times mired in the world of politics regards the United States of America as the global superpower. In tribunal’s verdict we are being told about the Universal superpowers, Durga, Hanuman and Shiva amongst others. The learned tribunal needed to know that in Hinduism the concept of supernatural power goes through different stages. It begins with polytheism with Gods and Goddesses looking after one faction of the power. So you have Gods and Goddesses taking care of rains (Indra), air (Marut), power (Durga), knowledge (Sarswati), and even sex (Kam Devata) and wine (Som Devata). From here one goes to trithiesm where one God creates (Brahma), one maintains (Vishnu) and one destroys (Shiva). From here, one goes to the concept of monotheism (Ishwar). As such Hanuman is a mythological character, servant of Lord Ram and also referred to as God.

All this is a part of Hindu religion, to think that is universal all religion belief is a travesty of truth. Different sects of Hinduism worship different of these Gods. Some of these Gods are a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu like Ram and Krishna. In Greek mythology one does see a parallel to polytheism. In Christian tradition trithiesim of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is very much there. These are religion specific beliefs and don’t apply to other religions. In contrast to the verdict of the tribunal one knows that some religions like Jainism and Budhhidm don’t have faith in supernatural power. Some traditions, which developed in this part of the globe like Charvak also did not have faith in supernatural power.

Coming to the conclusion of the tribunal that Hinduism is not a religion because there are diverse trends, this can be rejected right away. True, Hinduism has diverse trends but that is because this religion is not based on the teachings of a single Prophet. It has evolved-been constructed over a period of time. So the diversity is very much there, still all this does fit into the criterion laid down for understanding a religion.

Defining Hinduism in such is a difficult task for sure. The reasons for this are multiple. One, Hinduism is not a prophet based religion, it has no single founder and two, religions developing in this part of the world have been lumped together as Hinduism and three; there are so many diversities in the practices of Hinduism that all streams cannot be painted with a single brush. To this one may add the the practices and beliefs originating at different times continue to exist side by side. Lord Satyanarayn and Santoshi Maa do exist along with the concept of Ishwar (God) and a Nirankar Nirguna Ishwar (God beyond the attributes of qualities and form at the same time.

The major point of departure for Hinduism is the imprint of caste system on the major aspects of Hinduism, the religious sanctity for social inequality, caste system being the soul of its scriptures and practices. The conditions under which the terms came into being also tell a lot about the real meaning of those terms. Aryans who came in a series of migrations were pastorals and were polytheists. During the early period we see the coming into being of Vedas, which give the glimpse of value system of that period and also the number of gods with diverse portfolios, the prevalence of polytheism. Laws of Manu were the guiding principles of society. This Vedic phase merged into Brahminic phase. During this phase elite of the society remained insulated from the all and sundry. At this point of time caste system provided a perfect mechanism for this insulation of elite. Buddhism’s challenge to caste system forced Brahmanism to come up with a phase, which can be called Hinduism. During this the cultic practices were broadened and public ceremonies and rituals were devised to influence the broad masses to wean them away from Buddhism.

 It is interesting to note that till 8th century the so called Hindu texts do not have the word Hindu itself. This word came into being with the Arabs and Middle East Muslims coming to this side. They called the people living on this side of Sindhu as Hindus. The word Hindu began as a geographical category. It was later that religions developing in this part started being called as Hindu religions. Due to caste system there was no question of prosetylization. On the contrary the victims of caste system made all the efforts to convert to other religions, Buddhism, Islam and partly Christianity and later to Sikhism.

Within Hindu religion two streams ran parallel, Brahmanism and Shramanism. Shramans defied the brahminical control and rejected caste system. While Brahminism remained dominant, other streams of Hinduism also prevailed, Tantra, Bhakti, Shaiva, Siddhanta etc. Shramans did not conform to the Vedic norms and values. Brahminism categorized religious practices by caste while Shramanism rejected caste distinctions. Brahminical Hinduism was the most dominant tendency as it was associated with rulers. Sidetracking the Hindu traditions of lower castes, Brahminism came to be recognised as Hinduism in due course of time. This phenomenon began with Magadh-Mauryan Empire after subjugating Budhhism and Jainism in particular. Later with coming of British who were trying to understand Indian society, Hindu identity, based on Brahminical norms was constructed for all non Muslims and non Christians. Vedas and other Brahminical texts were projected as the Hindu texts. Thus the diversity of Hinduism was put under the carpet and Brahminism came to be recognised as Hinduism. So Hinduism as understood as a religion is based on Brahminical rituals, texts and authority of Brahmins.

Hinduism as prevails today is a religion in all sense of the sociological characteristics. It is dominated by Brahminism is another matter. To say that Hindus are not a religious community is a wrong formulation to say the least.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Pak Zoo and Malsi, the Elephant

Pak Zoo was carved out of Hind Zoo in 1947, when the imperialistic British zoo-owners got bored of toying with the inhabiting animals, and decided to abscond from animal parks all over the world. For the decade or so leading up to the British selling Hind Zoo, it was clear that the zoo’s ownership would be returned to the locals, but the dynamics of the final deal weren’t quite as unambiguous. After much deliberation and debate, the future of Hind Zoo hinged over the fate of one animal, an elephant named Malsi.

Malsi was born in Saudi Arabia, what seems like ages ago, and was brought to the subcontinent by Arab warriors, who used him to destroy any resistance that they faced in their long journey. Malsi encouraged their imperialistic cravings – among other fetishes – as he stampeded over anyone who denounced the Arabs or didn’t accept the elephant as the supreme authority. After reaching the subcontinent, Malsi first threatened to ‘Arabanise’ Hind, but when that didn’t materialise he found acquiescing followers who ended up creating a whole new zoo for Malsi.

To read more of Malsi's vicious behaviour in the Pak Zoo, click the following link:

Pakistan: Sectarian Divides

Ram Puniyani

South Asia has been in the grip of sectarian violence since fairly long. During last three decades and more particularly during the last decade this violence has been intensifying in degree and spread. It was sad news to hear that the Christian Community of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh Lahore was the victim of one such violence recently (March 2013). In this violence 178 houses of the low-income community, as well as shops and three churches were looted and burnt to ashes. The local Pastor was attacked and the father of Savan Masih, the youth falsely accused of blasphemy, was beaten up and subsequently arrested.

In Pakistan both non Muslims and some Muslim sects have been harassed on religious grounds. As such the major victims of such violence are the sects of Islam, Shias and Ahmadis. The Ahmadis has been declared as non Muslims through an act of Parliament. As such Shias, Barelvis, Sufis, Ahmadis, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus are the religious minorities who have facing the wrath of dominant communal forces in Pakistan. At the time of Partition, creation of Pakistan, the percentage of religious minorities was close to 23% and gradually it declined. The foundation of communal violence was very much there in the social thinking which regarded Pakistan as a Muslim state. Non Muslim minorities and some sets of Islam has been the victim of this violence. This violence picked up for the worse, during Zia ul Haq regime, when the Khakis and beard-cap came into a firm embrace, an alliance, which mutually boosted the power of both these groups.

In the decade of 1980s the other factor which contributed to the rise in divisive thinking was the setting up of Madrassas, richly funded by United States for its goal of control over oil resources, for countering the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. With these Madrassas, the US-Saudi support strengthened the Salafi, Wahabi version of Islam and this not only targeted the non Muslims but also the Shias and Ahmadis, the former being a substantial in number.

This targeting of intra Islam minorities also had some external support in the region, the Sunni factions being promoted and funded by Saudis and Shias by Iran. The Christian and Hindus were easy enough targets for these forces. In later decades this violence at social level came to be supplemented by the terrorist violence from sections of Al Qaeda...

The large number of Christians there belongs to scavenger castes. Not only they are looked down upon, and most of the times the aim of violence is to dispose them of their lands. This is a very vulnerable social group. The blasphemy law has come in handy for attacking these communities. One recalls the case of Asea Bibi, who is in jail for her alleged remarks against Prophet Mohammad. She has been sentenced to death. Her appeal is pending in the Punjab High Court. When Salmaan Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab, spoke about reformation of the blasphemy laws of Pakistan, he was killed by a member of his own security guard.

Every sectarian force develops its own tools and pretexts for attacking the minorities. Asea had fetched some water from a well, and a Muslim crowd chided her for “polluting” the water since she was a “dirty (low caste) Christian”. The twist of arguments led to her death sentence.  Similarly in Aug. 2012, Rimsah Masih, the young, mentally challenged 14 year old girl was arrested for burning the pages from the Koran.

And now this mob of Muslims, which was coming out from the Masjid, broke into and destroyed the belongings of several Christian homes, because, as alleged by the one Muslim man who had a argument with one Christian man, the Christian had blasphemed against Islam. Quick mob justice, punish the community for the alleged work of one!

The pretexts notwithstanding the pattern are similar. The Muslim communal groups have been on the rise since the Zia regime. The degree of intensity of their boldness can be gauzed from the fact that they openly take the credit for such violent acts. This to some extent shows their clout and acceptability in the system.

The trajectory of communal forces in three major countries of South Asia has been parallel but very distinctive. In India the Hindu communalism, vitiated the peace and the regular targets were the non Hindus, Christian and Muslims. In between Sikhs were also subjected to massive violence. The increase in anti Dalit violence during this period cannot be visibly linked up with the anti Muslim and Anti Christian violence. Still the study of history of this violence tells us that the intensification of anti minority
violence in early 1980s began with violence against dalits in 1981 and 1986. In Bangla Desh and Pakistan the non Muslims are targeted and differing sects of Muslims are also subject to this violence. In Pakistan, it seems the minority sects of Muslim and Christian and Hindus seem to be sailing in the same boat.

It will be infesting to note that unlike the perceptions prevailing here that all Muslims are anti Hindus and supporting violence what came to be noticed in recent anti minority violence was that the condemnation of these attacks against religious minorities by the secular groups in Pakistan. The case in point is the recent anti Christian violence in Lahore, the people to condemn this have been the activists from Forum for Secular Pakistan, articulating the wish for a secular state in Pakistan and upholding the secular values in that country. To condemn this attack in Lahore the Jamia community in Delhi organized a candle vigil and Khudai Khidmatgars issued strong statements condemning the violence against Christians n Pakistan, Many other groups have also added to the voices against such an insane act of violence.

While condemning one type of violence, the criticism dished forward is ‘why you criticize only this communalism’? As such the comments and criticism of democratic elements are directed against the acts which take place irrespective of the religion of offenders and victims. The secular groups and commentators who raise their voices against violence are dubbed as being against being this or that religion, being one sided and what not? The real issue is to be against all sort of targeting of religious minorities and intra religion groups. We seem to be in a downward phase of history where the communal elements are getting more powerful through the dastardly violence against the vulnerable groups, more often poor of the community, but not necessarily so.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Book Review: “Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata”

Krishna Del Toso

Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata (hereafter S-C/L) is a collection of 23 articles on various aspects of Carvaka/Lokayata (hereafter C/L) philosophy, written and published in several journals, mostly Indian, by Ramkrishna Bhattacharya during the last 15 years. This book not only represents the philosophical and cultural heritage received from Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya’s and Mrinal Kanti Gangopadhyaya’s works on Indian materialism – the scholars with whom Bhattacharya studied the C/L thought –, but it also sets out new perspectives, helping us to better define the import of C/L on Indian history of philosophy.

To start with, it can be noticed that C/L, against the suppositions of Eric Frauwallner (History of Indian Philosophy, vol. II, p. 216) and other scholars, seems to have had a popular, not royal, origin (Ch. 1) as the very term lokayata bears witness to: lokesu ayatam, “widespread among the people”. It is nonetheless likely to think that at least some C/L perspectives at a certain point were accepted by kings and courtiers: some sources refer that the C/L were well versed in the knowledge of Arthasastras and Nitisastras, the treatises on the rules for a good administration. In any case, notwithstanding its “popularity”, only few fragments of C/L works have reached us as quotations inserted in writings belonging to non-C/L traditions (Buddhism, Jainism, Vedanta, etc.); Ch. 6 presents and discusses the 18 C/L aphorisms, the 30 excerpts from C/L commentaries and the 20 stanzas which constitute all that we have at the moment of C/L original texts. However, as regards the stanzas, the majority of which are collected in Sayana-Madhava’s Sarvadarsanasamgraha, Bhattacharya affirms that (S-C/L, p. 217): «It is impossible to accept his [i.e., Sayana-Madhava’s] declaration that Brhaspati [the eponimous founder of Carvaka system] is the author of all these verses», some of them being apparently from Jaina works. Notwithstanding this paucity of material, from these fragments we are nonetheless able to outline the guidelines of C/L philosophy. (1) Only four elements are real (earth, water, fire, wind). (2) Perception is the principal means of right knowledge (pramana), whereas inference is accepted only if supported by perception (Ch. 4); the validity of the other means of right knowledge is rejected. In consequence of these two points, (3) the self (atman) as everlasting substance, (4) God as a being powerful in/on the world and (5) past and future lives depending on karmic retributions are not admitted (indeed they cannot be proved by means of the accepted pramanas). The non-acceptance of any supernatural power (God, karman, etc.) as intervening into human life makes the C/L found its ethical perspective totally on human effort (purusakara) and consequently deny the validity of the Vedic sacrifice.

In Ch. 5 we find a list of five commentators of the Carvakasutras, the only five that we know by name: Aviddhakarna, Bhavivikta, Kambalasvatara, Purandara and Udbhata Bhatta. Among these philosophers, the sources refer to Purandara as a compiler of both a sutra and a commentary (vrtti); Purandara’s sutra-text has been commented in its turn by Aviddhakarna who compiled a work called Tattvatika, whereas Udbhata Bhatta wrote a commentary on the Carvakasutras called Tattvavrtti. All these philosophers flourished before the VIII century CE.

If, thus, the VIII century CE can be considered as the period in which C/L reached its – so to speak – final form (with further developments up to the XII century), the origins of C/L philosophy can be traced back to at least the V century BCE, with Ajita Kesakambala, a senior contemporary of Gotama Buddha. Batthacharya shows that (Chs. II and III), even if it cannot be said with certainty that Kesakambala belonged to C/L tradition, from the accounts that we have on him it nonetheless appears quite clear that his philosophical perspective is to be regarded as at least a proto-Carvaka. This proto-Carvaka (and the subsequent C/L), founded on the theory of the existence of only four material elements represented just one school of materialism. Bhattacharya points out that other materialistic currents of thought were active in India. There existed for instance a school called of the bhutapancakavadins (those who believed in the existence of five elements), who added akasa, ether, to the admitted four material elements and who (S-C/L, p. 41): «are shown to be accidentalists (non-believers in causality) and hence inactivists, since human efforts are futile».

Besides these distinctions among several materialistic streams, and as it occurs to all philosophies in themselves, also C/L presents internal doctrinal differences due to distinct lectures and interpretations of the basic sutra-texts, and to different conceptual directions assumed in dialectical disputations with other schools. The most important among these differences regards the nature of consciousness inferred from the interpretation of the C/L sutra: tebhyas caitanyam. According to the ancient thinkers (like Bhavivikta), consciousness originates from the mixture of material elements as the alcoholic degree originates from the mixture of juices, sugar, etc. Thus, tebhyas is to be intended in the ablative case: “from these, consciousness [originates]”. There is also a “modern” position (Udbhata Bhatta), which adumbrates some inclinations towards Nyaya and Vaisesika philosophies. According to this perspective, which interprets tebhyas as a dative, the sutra would mean “to these, consciousness [is manifested]”. In this second case, consciousness is seen as a material element, different from, but dependent on, the four basic elements (earth, water, fire, wind). Such internal dynamism is the clear signal of the deep interest that C/L had in finding adequate reasons for corroborating their fundamental ideas against the criticism of their opponents. This attentiveness towards logic and debate leads us to consider that C/L was not in primis a hedonistic school: as Ch. 9 shows, indeed, the half verse yavaj jivam sukham jivet («while life remains let a man live happily»), attributed to the C/L, induces to Hedonism only according to a misinterpretation; according to the context, indeed, the verse means that there is no bliss beyond this life, because beyond this life there is nothing, thus if one looks for happiness, s/he has to find it here and now. Moreover, as Jayantabhatta has pointed out, sukham jivet is not in itself a prescription, since all humans follow this in practice.

From Ch. 11 up to Ch. 15, Bhattacharya examines several texts dealing with C/L. In Ch. 11 we find an analysis of Santaraksita’s Tattvasamgraha 22.1856-1870 and Kamalasila’s Panjika thereon, which provide us with (S-C/L, p. 145): «(a) the names of three Carvaka philosophers, Aviddhakarna, Kambalasvatara and Purandara, (b) some extracts from their works, (c) the name of Aviddhakarna’s commentary [i.e., Tattvatika], and (d) no fewer than eleven fragments from the Carvaka- or Purandara-sutra». The fragments are collected in the abovementioned Ch. 6. In Ch. 13 a passage of Udayana’s Nyayakusumanjali: lokavyavaharasiddha iti carvakah, is explained on the basis of textual and philosophical evidences. Bhattacharya argues that (S-C/L, p. 160-161): «Udayana intends to suggest that the Carvaka-s make God out of their insistence on perception: whatever is not and cannot be perceived in this world is rejected by them». Thus, it can be underlined that according to Bhattacharya these – Santaraksita, Kamalasila and Udayana’s excerpts – are good sources for the study of C/L.

In Ch. 12 the representation of the Carvaka in Jayantabhatta’s Nyayamanjari is considered; Bhattacarya concludes that Jayantabhatta, who in several places falls in contradiction for instance on the C/L doctrine of pramanas (S-C/L. p. 149-150), «in his polemics against the Carvaka-s does not help us to reconstruct the basic tenets of ancient Indian materialism, On the contrary, he has misrepresented the Carvaka view on inference» (S-C/L, p. 156). We find a similar conclusion of unreliability in Ch. 14, dealing with Hemacandra’s treatment of C/L. Also Hemacandra seems to have misunderstood the real import of C/L philosophy as Bhattacharya notices to us (S-C/L, p. 172): «Hemacandra’s stray remarks and comments on the Carvaka do not help us much in reconstructing the Carvaka system of philosophy […]. What is transparent is Hemacandra’s all-out antipathy to the materialist system». It appears that the aim of these two authors was not to expound the C/L doctrines, rather primarily to deride them; therefore, for extracting the reliable information contained in their texts, philosophical forcings and inaccurate references have to be detected. Bhattacharya here, as elsewhere in this book, demonstrates to have been able to carry acutely out this task.

In Ch. 15 Haribhadra’s Saddarsanasamuccaya is considered, particularly the parable of the wolf’s footprint as representative of the criticism of the belief in supernatural things (soul, gods, heaven, hell, etc.).

Then, three Chs. (16, 17, 18) on the meaning of the term lokayata follow, to which we can add also Ch. 10, where the significance of lokayata in Kautilya’s Arthasastra is pointed out. From all these studies it appears that lokayata originally meant nothing but «disputation», «dialectics», etc, and not materialism. In Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit, for instance, lokayatika brahmana is used to refer to (S-C/L, p. 191): «one who is fond of disputation, hence criticized as one engaged in sophistry or casuistry». Hence, we have to conclude, with Bhattacharya, that (S-C/L, p. 195) «Only later, but no much earlier than the fourth century CE, lokayata came to mean materialism […]. What was common to the older Lokayata-s and the new Carvaka materialists was perhaps disputatiousness: nothing was sacred to them».

Chs. 19-21 deal with three passages from the Carvaka chapter of Sayana-Madhava’s Sarvadarsanasamgraha. It is interesting to note here how in Ch. 19 Bhattacharya demonstrates that the half stanza yavaj jivam sukham jivet rnam krtva ghrtam pibetwhile life remains let a man live happily let him feed on ghee even though he runs in debt») has been concocted by Sayana-Madhava probably for decrying C/L thought, the original version attested by other sources (and by Sayana-Madhava himself in a previous passage!) being yavaj jivam sukham jivet nasti mrtyor agocarahwhile life remains let a man live happily; nothing is beyond death»). In Ch. 21 Bhattacharya suggests that at least one verse among those quoted by Sayana-Madhava and ascribed by him to Carvakas has to be considered as taken from Jain sources. This is another case in which Bhattacharya’s sharp textual and philosophical analysis detects and unravels several problematic points, unnoticed by other scholars. With these chapters on Sayana-Madhava’s Sarvadarsanasamgraha, Bhattacharya sheds light on the peculiar attitude of this medieval thinker towards C/L, that is, an apparent tension between the objective need of describing the C/L philosophy and the subjective inclination to discredit it.

Ch. 22 represents something new in the panorama of the studies on C/L, because it deals with the Perso-Arabic sources. Bhatthacharya here analyses the following texts: al-Biruni’s India, al-Shahrastani’s Ara’ahl al-Hind, Abu’l Fadl-i-Allami’s Acin-i Akbari.

In the last chapter of the book, which deals with the usage of the term nastika («negationist») in Vatsyayana’s Nyayasutrabhasya, it emerges that Vatsyayana makes use this word for indicating both an absolute idealist who denies the reality of things, and a materialist who denies the validity of every imperceptible thing (as the atman, etc.). This, indirectly, should lead us to be cautious in interpreting the term nastika as referring undoubtedly to C/L, when it occurs in other contexts too. Let us take for instance into consideration Manusmrti 2.11, where the nastika is said to be a twice-born dialectician. Kullukabhatta, who comments in his Manvarthamuktavali this word by referring to Carvaka, seems to be completely wide of the mark because here the description of the nastika reminds us the abovementioned lokayatika brahmana of the Buddhist sources and by no means a C/L materialist.

To conclude, in his S-C/L Ramkrishna Bhattacharya examines an incredible number of sources, that speak, deal with or refer to C/L, with a critical disposition and a thorough attention, in this way restoring as far as possible the actual philosophical, historical and cultural horizon of this, now less lost, Indian tradition. For these reasons, this book is, and will be, an important milestone in the studies on C/L.

Book Review: Ramkrishna Bhattacharya, Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata, Società Editrice Fiorentina, Firenze 2009; Indian edition: Anthem Press India, New Delhi 2012.

Dr KrishnaDel Toso was an Instructor in Philosophy of Religion at the Faculty of Scienze della Formazione, University of Trieste. At present he collaborates with the teaching of Theoretical Philosophy, Dept. of Humanities, University of Trieste.

This review first appeared in Psyche and Society, December 2010

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Science Versus Miracles: Predicting the Words in a Newspaper Column Where It is Cut.

B Premanand

A Christian priest in the United States claimed he had psychic powers to know the past and future of an individual. He could also control the mind of any person. To prove his powers he would cut a newspaper column from a news paper. Then he would throw a paper ball among the audience. Whoever caught it was called on to the stage. The priest would hold the newspaper cutting in his left hand vertically with his thumb and index finger on the head lines, and scissors in his right hand, in between the newspaper cutting. He then claimed that he had control of the mind of the volunteer. When the volunteer was asked to point where he should cut the paper into two, and when the priest cut it at the exact place pointed out, the line on the top of the piece falling would be the same which he had already predicted on a piece of paper handed over to the chief guest or a respectable person in the audience, for safe-keeping.

When people were thus made to believe that he had real psychic power, they went to him to know their past and future and to help them in solving their problems. Then he charged them heavy fees and he became a billionaire.

Experiment: 105

Effect: Predicting the words of the line of a newspaper column where it is cut.

Props: Same set of two newspapers, scissors and cello tape. A piece of white paper.

Method: Cut a news column with head lines which has an advertisement at the back. Leave one line of the matter after the head lines and cut it again. Hold the cut newspaper column upside down and put a clear cello tape at the back and stick it to the heading part. Write down the lowest line of the prepared news column on a piece of paper.  This is the prediction. Where ever it is cut, let the cut portion fall down. Request the volunteer to pick up and read the first line on the piece and ask the person to check the prediction given to him and see whether they match. The audience is surprised that the first line on the newspaper where it is cut matches the prediction. Ask the volunteer to check whether the rest of the lines on the news cutting are different. He is surprised that they are different.

Experiment: 106

Effect: Restarting watches and time-pieces which have stopped working. The audience was asked to bring their stopped watches and time-pieces. Uri Geller rubbed his palms over these for some minutes and when he shook them they started working.

Props: Watches and time pieces which have stopped working.

Method: Generally due to the cold weather, the oil in them gets hardened and most of the watches stop working. By rubbing them with the palms, heat is generated and the oil liquefies. Then if one gives them a jerk they start working. Mechanically defective watches and time-pieces have never worked through Uri Gellar’s psychic power.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Mr. Modi, You Are Not Welcome: Wharton Debate

Ram Puniyani

The withdrawal of invitation for Narendra Modi to speak at Wharton Business School of Pennsylvania (March 2013) has been looked at in different ways by different commentators. Those who are opposing the invitation withdrawal, point out that it is a violation of the norms of freedom of speech. They say that Modi is an elected person in Indian system and his views on development of Gujarat under his leadership need to be heard by the people from business circles.  Those opposing his invitation argue that inviting him is like giving legitimacy to his total record. His role in Gujarat violence, his failure to prevent the carnage and give justice to the violence victims cannot be delinked from his so called development. They point out that as far as debating and engaging with Modi is concerned it cannot be achieved by inviting him as a key note speaker; this invitation already gives a high pedestal and recognition to him. He should be interrogated, engaged and debated with on different forums which give equal ground to those wanting to debate with him.

They also point that Gujarat’s development is a lopsided one, it is projected more than what the reality is. In Gujarat the levels of malnutrition, child and maternal mortality is higher, Gujarat is comparatively low on human growth index. The anti SC/ST atrocity cases are one index of human rights record of the state. In taking these cases of atrocities against SC/ST Gujarat is lowest on the rung, with only 25% convictions. According to analysts the growth of Gujarat is more of propaganda as many other states have done much better during this period. The lowest in the scale of development in Gujarat are minorities and SC/STs.

Modi was invited by the students of Wharton to speak on Gujarat’ development. After this a few Professors circulated a petition asking for withdrawal of the invitation. Within just few hours the petition got a massive response and was signed not only by the professors, many others: alumni, the students, doctor’s lawyers and other stake holders also supported the petition. The large number of signatures and the logic which the petition put forward clinched the issue and students, who are the ones to decide, withdrew the invitation.

The United States has denied VISA to Narendra Modi since 2005, despite his being an elected Chief Minister of the state. The Commonwealth countries so far have been keeping him at arm’s length, but after his third victory, these countries want to mend the relationship with him, as his projection as the Prime Ministerial candidate are floating around in a strong manner. US had denied him VISA for his role in the carnage of 2002, and the denial continues.  Similarly due to popular pressure after sustained campaigns; the activists groups succeeded in stopping the huge dollar funding from US to the RSS affiliate ‘India Development Relief Fund’ was collecting huge amounts and supporting the political work of RSS combine in the garb of cultural work. This RSS combine’s work is essentially to build up Hatred against minorities, through its various organizations.

While one is aware about the role of America in the promotion of politics of terror, in the formation of Al Qaeda in particular, while it is also known that US is out to attack other countries to promote its political-economic interests, at the same time there are various norms which different wings of American state follow. There are various civic norms which are stringent and are aimed to sustain and promote democratic values. The Civil society has also been campaigning to use this space, democratic-liberal one provided by these provisions of US system and try to stop the violation of human rights and retrograde activities in different places. This is a contradictory situation. The state by and large in its foreign affairs is like a Big Brother, violating all the laws of international behavior and laws and intimidating the smaller powers. There is no doubt about its role in international affairs, as a super power; it is undermining the global democracy; it has mauled the emerging global democracy amongst nations, which was getting expressed through rising clout of United Nations, has been sabotaged by US in particular. As a state it has promoted dictators and has been thick as thief with different dictators and autocrats.

At another level, the civic society has come up steeped in civility with respect for the norms of modern democracies, to some extent. So we see the dichotomous processes going on here. It is due to this pressure of prevailing norms and civil society campaigns that US is denying Visa to Modi. Is this denial of Visa to Modi an insult to our country? No way. It just shows us the mirror of the state of affairs in our country. Many a US bodies do keep monitoring phenomenon like, Religious freedom in other countries. Many of them keep making a list of terrorist organizations. All this monitoring is showing the diversities of our societies. In the same set up we are seeing two contradictory phenomenons.

Coming back to Modi, Wharton student’s body has gone more by the norms of civil society; has recognized that Modi may be claiming and many others may be buying his story of development, but the truth lies somewhere else. The petitioners opposing the Modi invite correctly point out that Human rights issues and development cannot be separated.  As far as Modi being a democratically elected person is concerned, the analysts can point out that his victory has been based on his politics of polarization, not on the inclusive politics. He has successfully scared the majority community about the threat of minority community. This goes on and on to make the foundations of his victory and there by his followers claiming that he has been elected, so all is well. Only thing they ignore at this point is that even Hitler had come to power through democratic means.

As far as his development is concerned it is de facto the development of industrial houses. One such industrialist, Adani, was the sponsor of Wharton meet. He withdrew his sponsorship the moment invitation to Modi was withdrawn. Modi’s mode of ‘development’ means giving all freebees to Tata, Adanai, Ambani and company while the poor one’s are getting more marginalized. This invitation being taken back just reflects that Modi’s propaganda has been punctured and a reminder that the violation of human rights violation of the weak cannot be exonerated at any cost.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Science versus Miracles: Uri Geller – The Psychic

B Premanand

Parapsychologists believed that Uri Geller was the ultimate proof of the existence of psychic powers. Much research and many books came out, explaining the investigations conducted on Uri Geller as evidence that he really did his feats using psychic powers. Uri Geller became an international hero and he was invited to every country to demonstrate his powers. He soon became a multi-billionaire.

In 1974, he landed in the United States at the invitation of Stanford Research Institute. When it was proved that the experiments conducted by Dr JB Rhine were faulty and manipulation by his co-workers especially of Dr Levy, Duke University closed down the parapsychology department.

The interest in parapsychology developed in the United States when, in Ule Second World War, a Russian spy Wolf Gang started deciphering the code words of the enigma machines of the Nazis, through his alleged psychic power. The whole world believed that Wolf Gang was a real psychic. The United States, unwilling to be left behind by Russia, started research in parapsychology at Duke University.

The first experiment was on a psychic horse who could answer questions by touching letters of the alphabet. It was John Scarne, the magician, who exposed the psychic powers of the horse. Horses cannot look straight as their eyes are on the sides of the heads. Making use of this fact, the horse had been trained to touch particular boards when the owner lady moved the whip in her hand. And these alphabets were woven into words and sentences!

The last experiment was with a psychic sitting in the United States and sending messages to the captain of a submarine under water, thousands of miles away. He was to write down the messages which he received telepathically. This experiment was published all over the world as proof of telepathy, no one cared to investigate and find out whether or not it was true.

But skeptics investigated the case. It was found that on the dates when the submarine was said to be thousands of miles away under the sea, it was in one of the docks for repairs. The captain who was supposed to be in the submarine, writing down the telepathic messages, was on holiday!

While in the United States, Uri Geller stubbornly refused to allow CSICOP to investigate his claims. He said that his psychic powers did not work when negative vibrations were present. But without this knowledge, hidden video cameras filmed his psychic feats from all sides and he was exposed.

Experiment: 104

Effect: Bending, twisting and breaking spoons by psychic power

Uri Geller would ask the audience to bring spoons and they were heaped on the table. He selected some spoons from the heap and concentrated on one spoon his eyes focused on it. Passing his fingers over the spoon he would show the spoon was bent.

Taking another spoon from the heap, he moved his finger in circles over the spoon and the spoon was twisted.

Then he took a third spoon and asked a volunteer to come forward and slowly touch the spoon, mentally ordering it to break. It bent and fell broken in two pieces.

Props: Stainless steel spoons (they should not be cast iron spoons)

Method: With a spoon in hand, talk about psychic power and how it works. Keep the attention of the audience on your talk, while gesturing with the hand suddenly press the spoon on your thighs or body and bend it. Show the ladle portion of the spoon to the audience while hiding the handle in the palm, keeping the spoon vertical.  Then slowly touch the ladle part with your finger, simultaneously raising the spoon up very slowly. The audience will find it is bending.

Twisting: Before the feat, observe the table, chair etc, and find out suitable crevices in which you can insert a spoon and twist it and palm it. Pretend to select a spoon from the heap and take out this palmed spoon, showing only the ladle part while hiding the handle in your palm, keeping it vertical and straight. Turn your finger in circles at the top of the spoon while slowly moving the spoon in circles. The spoon is seen twisted.

Breaking the Spoon: Bend the spoon both ways at the bridge of the ladle and the handle until cracks are seen. Crack it as much as possible but do not let it separate.  However, it should break in two at a mere touch. Hide the cracked part with the thumb and the index finger and show the spoon. Call a volunteer and ask him to slowly pass his finger over the ladle part and concentrate, ordering it to break. Slowly release the ladle part as if it is bending and then allow the two pieces to drop.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Lokāyata and Its Derivatives in the Sad-dharma-puṇḍarīka-sūtra

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya

If one sets upon oneself the task of translating the Sad-dharma-puṇḍarīka-sūtra (SDPS), a first-century CE Sanskrit Mahāyānī Buddhist text, into a modern Indian language, one will face no problem with the word lokāyata. It is current in all and can be retained in translation without bothering to explain what lokāyata means.[1] But translating it into a European language would prove to be difficult, for the reader would not know the word and so some equivalent would have to be provided. But what would be the right equivalent in the context of the SDPS? The word lokāyata and its derivatives occur thrice in this work. Burnouf and Kern in their French and English translations respectively, somewhat differ in their understanding. Let us look at the passages one by one.

  1. anyeu sūtreu na kāci cintā lokāyatair anyataraiś ca śāstrai | bālāna etādśa bhonti gocarās tāstva vivarjitva prakāśayer idam ||

(Tokyo ed., p. 94; Calcutta ed., p. 72; Darbhanga ed., p. 70; v.l. in line 1: na kadāpi cintā).

Burnouf (1852 : 142): «Il ne faut jamais penser à d’autres Sūtras, ni à d’autres livres d’une science vulgaire, car ce sont là des objets bons pour les ignorants, évite de tels livres et explique ce Sūtra».

Kern (1884: 96-97): «Never mind other Sūtras nor the books in which a profane philosophy is taught; such books are fit for the foolish, avoid them and preach this Sūtra».

  1. yadā ca mañjuśrīr bodhisattvo mahāsattvo […] na ca lokāyatamantradhārakān na lokāyatikān sevate na bhajate na paryupāste na ca taisārdha sastava karoti | (Tokyo ed., p. 236; Calcutta ed., pp. 180-81; Darbhanga ed., p. 166; v.l. in line 1: lokāyatamantrapāragān).

Burnouf (1852: 168): «[…] un Bodhisattva Mahāsattva […] ne recherché pas les Lokāyatikas qui lisent les Tantras de leur secte. qu’il ne les honore pas, qu’il n’entratient aucun commerce avec eux […]».
Kern (1884: 262-263): «A Bodhisattva Mahāsattva […] is firm in his conduct and proper sphere […] when he does not serve, nor court, nor wait upon […] adepts at worldly spells, and votaries of a worldly philosophy, nor keep any intercourse with them […]».

  1. […] na ca teā (kulaputrānā) lokāyate rucir bhaviyati na kāvyapras sattvās teām abhirucitā bhaviyanti na nttakā na mallā nartakā na śauṇḍikaur […]

(Tokyo ed., p. 389; Calcutta ed., pp. 311-12; Darbhanga ed., pp. 266-67).

Burnouf (1852: 280): «Ils [scil. les fils ou les filles de familles qui retiendront le nom du Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Samantabhadra] n’éprouveront pas de plaisir, dans la doctrine des Lokāyatas; les hommes livrés à la poesie ne leur plairont pas; les danseurs, les musiciens, les lutteurs le vendeurs de viande […]».

Kern (1884: 437-438): «They [scil. the young men of good family who shall cherish the name of the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Samantabhadra] will have no pleasure in worldly philosophy; no persons fondly addicted to poetry will please them; no dancers, athletes, vendors of meat […]».

As regards 1., Burnouf takes lokāyatai śāstrai to mean «books of a vulgar (popular) science»; Kern, «books in which a profane philosophy is taught». Apparently neither of them attached any technical sense to the lokāyataśāstra-s (in plural), so the first occurrence of this word is not noted in their Indexes.

Regarding 2., however, Burnouf (1852: 409) in a note says that the Lokāyatikas refer to the followers of the «doctrine athéiste des Tchārvākas», that is, the atheistic doctrine of the Cārvākas. He adds that in Pali lokāyata signifies «histoire fabuleuse, roman» and cites Moggalāna’s Abhidhānappadīpikā (as edited by Clough) as his source.

This drew a retort from Rhys Davids (1899.I: 169-170, note 4):

Burnouf (p. 168) reads tantras (instead of mantras), no doubt wrongly, and has a curious blunder in his note on the passage (p. 409). He says Lokāyata means in Pali «fabulous history, romance»: and quotes as its authority, the passage […] from the Abhidhāna Padīpikā in which Lokāyata is simply explained as vitaṇḍasattha. This last expression cannot possibly mean anything of that sort.

Rhys Davids is right. But Rev. Benjamin Clough is to be blamed for misleading Burnouf. Clough, in his notes on the line in the Abhidhānappadīpikā 112: (vitaṇḍasattha viññeya yan ta) lokāyata (iti), glosses lokāyata as «Fabulous Story» (marginal notes on p. 13). Burnouf did not notice that Clough and Tolfrey (who translated Pali Grammar and Pali Vocabulary in Clough, 1824), had mistaken «Fabulous Story» and elsewhere «Fabulous History» as English equivalents for lokāyata (instead of vitaṇḍasattha, «science of disputation »), perhaps because ākhyāyika and kathā soon follow in the dictionary (Abhidhānappadīpikā 113ab). What is more to be regretted is that Burnouf, misled by Clough and Tolfrey, in his turn misled Böhtlingk and Roth who in their Sanskrit Wörterbuch gave these two meanings of lokāyata (in Pali): «eine erfundene Geschichte, Roman» (rendered into German from Burnouf’s French version).[2]

Burnouf proposed (1852: 409) that «les Lokāyatikas de notre Lotus» may suggest «les auteurs ou les lecteurs de pareils ouvrages, dans lequels les passions et les affaires du monde forment le sujet principal». Apparently he had in his mind the wrong meaning given in Clough. Kern steered clear of Clough but called the Lokāyatikas «the Sadducees or Epicureans of India» (1884: 263, note 4; see also 438, note 1), equating them with the Cārvākas who appeared much later. D.D. Shastri (1981: 19) too glosses lokāyata as cārvākaśāstra although Moggalāna mentions nothing of this sort.

The fact is that in the Pali commentaries and dictionaries, lokāyata is always glossed as vitaṇḍasattha, the science of disputation. In other Buddhist Sanskrit works (e.g., the Lakāvatārasūtra), it means «points (or issues) of dispute».[3] The Buddha, as is well-known, did not approve of the sophists. So it is no wonder that both in 2. and 3., the Lokāyatikas are looked down upon and viewed on a par with those who followed despicable professions (according to the Buddha). In all the three instances lokāyataśāstra-s and lokāyatika-s mean, respectively, books of logical disputation (vitaṇḍā) and masters of this art, not the Bārhaspatya/Cārvāka/Lokāyata philosophical system and its adherents. The ways Burnouf and Kern render these words are beside the mark.

But a crux still remains in case of 2. What could lokāyatamantradhārakān mean? Burnouf’s rendering (tantra in place of mantra) is not supported by other manuscripts. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (1969: 110) strongly objected to Kern’s rendering of lokāyatamantra as «worldly spells» as also to Rhys Davids’s (1899.I: 169) rendering as «mystic verses». Vaidya (1960: 296) explains lokāyata as «a popular philosophy» which leaves the basic question unanswered: Is lokāyata to be taken to mean «the science of disputation» or a materialist philosophical system?

The Abhidhanappadīpikā places lokāyata in the Girāvaggo, along with ī, vākya, ameṇḍita, vedo, vedagas, itihāso, nighaṇḍu, keubha, kathā, vuttanto, paivākya, etc. Each of these words refers to a subject of study, not to any philosophical system. The SDPS creates another problem by placing the word °mantra after lokāyata° and separately mentioning lokāyatikān immediately after it. The word mantra is invariably associated with magic and religious practices (sacrificial or otherwise). On the other hand, lokāyata, whether taken to mean disputatio, a subject of study, or materialism, is secular and has nothing to do with magic or religion.

How to solve this problem?

The word lokāyata both in Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit is generally used as substantive to mean disputatio. It is attested by the Suttas in the Tipiaka as well as the Śārdūlakarāvadānasūtra (in Divyāvadāna). The emendations made by Cowell and Neil, Mukhopadhyaya, and Vaidya in the latter text clearly show that in all cases of its occurrence lokāyata is to be taken as a Brahminical subject of study along with the Vedas, Upaniads, vyākaraa, kaiabha, padamīmā, mahāpurualakaa, bhāyapravacana, etc.[4] Such lists of subjects both for Brahmins and princes are often mentioned in the Upaniads and Pali, Prakrit and Buddhist Sanskrit works.[5] To cite one example in the Divyāvadāna: chandasi vā vyākarae vā lokāyate vā padamīmāsāyā(Darbhanga ed., p. 330. Cf. also pp. 318, 319, 328).

In view of this, I think the only solution is to emend the text, not on the basis of further manuscript evidence but by such evidences as are found in other Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit texts. Since lokāyata in all available sources stands for the science for disputation, there is no reason why it should mean something else in this instance. In the Milindapañha (Trenkner, 1880: 4), the king is described as «fond of wordy disputation and eager for discussion with casuists, sophists, and gentry of that sort» (so rājā bhassappavādako lokāyata-vitaṇḍa-janasallāpappavattakotūhalo). Similarly, Milinda is (Trenkner, 1880: 10) «skilled alike in casuistry and in the knowledge of the bodily marks that foreshadow the greatness of a man» (lokāyata-mahāpurisalakkhanesu anavayo ahosi. As Rhys Davids (1890: 17, note 3) has noted: «The above are the stock phrases for the learning of a scholarly Brahman […]».

What seems to have happened is this: the scribe has mistakenly written the word lokāyatamantradhārakān in place of lokāyatayajñamantradhārakān (or °pāragān), and without noticing his own error went on copying.[6]

What is the basis of this emendation? It is as follows: lokayāta, yajñamantra, and mahāpurualakaa are found mentioned in Buddhist literature while enumerating the curriculum for a Brahmin or a prince, as in the Divyāvadāna (Śārdūlakarāvadānasūtra): lokāyate yajñamantre mahāpurualakae niṣṇāto niko (Darbhanga ed., p. 318), lokāyatayajñamantramahāpurualakae-u pāraga (ibid., p. 319).

In Pali too we have hetu and mantaa («causation» and «spells») side by side in the Milindapañha (Trenkner, 1880: 3) as well as lokāyata and mahāpurisalakkhaa similarly juxtaposed (Trenkner, 1880: 10). Neither Burnouf, nor Kern, nor Rhys Davids remembered all this at the time of studying the passage in the SDPS and readily accepted the association of °mantra with lokāyata°, apparently forgetting the stock formula, lokāyata-yajñamantramahāpurualakaa. Unfortunately the copy that contained this faulty reading (omission of yajña° before °mantra) was copied and recopied over and over again and thus the scribal error remained undetected, even unsuspected, and consequently the reading continued to confuse generations of scholars and readers.

The sentence in the SDPS under discussion would thus mean: «A Bodhisattva Mahāsattva [is firm in his conduct and proper sphere] when he does not serve, nor court, nor wait upon […] [adepts at] the science of disputation (lokāyata) and those who retain in their memory the sacrificial spells [or incantations] (yajñamantra) as well as disputants (lokāyatikān) nor keep any intercourse with them». The Lokāyatikas are mentioned separately, presumably because they had not only studied the Lokāyataśāstra but used to practise it as well.

Acknowledgement: Amitava Bhattacharyya. The usual disclaimers apply.


a)      Primary sources (texts and translations)

        Rhys Davids, T.W. (tr.), Dialogues of the Buddha, vol. I, Oxford University Press, London 1899.

        Cowell, E.B. and R.A. Neil (eds.), The Divyāvadāna. A Collection of Early Buddhist Legends Now First Edited from the Nepalese Sanskrit mss. in Cambridge and Paris, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1886.
         Vaidya, P.L. (ed.), Divyāvadāna, Mithila Institute, Darbhanga 1959.

        Rhys Davids, T.W. (tr.), The Questions of King Milinda, SBE vol. XXXV, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1890.
        Trenckner, V. (ed.), The Milindapañho, The Pali Text Society, London 1880

Moggallāna, Abhidhānappadīpikā:
        Śāstrī, D. (ed.), Abhidhānappadīpikā, Bauddhabhāratī, Vārāasī 1981. Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra:
        Burnouf, E. (tr.), Le Lotus de la Bonne Loi, Imprimerie Nationale, Paris 1852.
        Dutt, N. and N.D. Mironov (eds.), Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra, The Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta 1953.
        Kern, H. (tr.) The Lotus of the True Law, SBE vol. XXI, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1884.
        Vaidya, P.L. (ed.), Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtram, Mithila Institute, Darbhanga 1960.
        Wogihara, U. and C. Tsuchida (eds.), Saddharmapuṇḍarīka-sūtram, The Seigo-Kenkyūkai, Tokyo 1934.

        Mukhopādhyāya, S. (ed.), The Śārdūlakarāvadānasūtra, Viśvabhāratī Publishing Department, Śāntiniketan 1954.

b)      Secondary sources:

2009 Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata, Società Editrice Fiorentina, Firenze.
1969 Lokāyata Darśana (in Bangla), part I, New Age Publishers, Kolkata (second ed.).
1824 Compendious Pali Grammar With a Copious Vocabulary in the Same Language,
Wesleyan Mission Press, Colombo.
1999 Jaina System of Education, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.
1940 A History of Indian Philosophy, vol. III, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
2010 The Stanzas on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata in the Skhalitapramathanayuktihetusiddhi, «Journal of Indian Philosophy», 38, pp. 543-552.
1980 Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.

[1] I have seen only the Hindi and Nepali translations of the SDPS. Both retain lokāyata on all occasions.
[2] For further details see Bhattacharya (2009: 187-200, chapters 16-18).
[3] Jayatilleke (1980: 51-54) has discussed the matter in detail, pointing out Suzuki’s error in translating lokāyata in the Lakāvatārasūtra as «materialism». It may also be mentioned that a modern dictionary of classical Sanskrit, the Śabdakalpadruma, glosses lokāyata, besides Cārvākaśāstra, as tarkabheda.
[4] For a fuller discussion, see Bhattacharya (2009: 193-196, chapter 17).
[5] For a comparison of the curriculums found in the Chāndogya Upaniad and the Tipiaka, see Jayatilleke (1980: 47-48). See also Rhys Davids (1890.I: 7, note 1) that mentions other sources. For Jain works referring to such curriculums, see D.C. Dasgupta (1999: 5, 27, 67).
[6] For a probable, alternative interpretation of the compound lokāyatamantra, see Del Toso (2010: 545-547).

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya taught English at the University of Calcutta, Kolkata and was an Emeritus Fellow of University Grants Commission. He is now a Fellow of Pavlov Institute, Kolkata.

This paper first appeared in Esercizi Filosofici 7, 2012, pp. 98-103.


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