Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Foreword to Y. G. Krishnamurthy's "Independent India and a New World Order" by S. Srikanta Sastri

Y. G. Krishnamurthy with Nehru
IN this as yet half-created, half-understood world where Religion without Ecstasy, Law without Justice and Charity without Love attempt a delicate balance between social obligations and individual spiritual life, it is increasingly difficult because of a perverted sense of values to envisage a World-Society. The unique values of Personality escape integration into even a dynamic democratic state with its emphasis on standardization as a corollary to the materialistic trends of physical sciences and the temptation to power of vitiating the timeless spiritual values. 

Genuine creativeness demands a synthesis of ethos and humanitas in conformity with the laws of mediation between the phenomenal and noumenal, between the microcosm and the macrocosm, between the thesis and the antithesis. A materialistic, mechanist and fatalist doctrine of progress without purpose-whether conceived as a struggle for existence and survival of the fittest, a struggle between the "we-hold-what we-haves" and "we-grab-what-have-nots" or a crude nationalism, resulted in a new idolatry-a worship of concepts as enduring value, pseudo-rational and anthropomorphic. The result is apparent-fear and anger, menace and humiliation, wars and increasing authoritarianism trying to impose law, and order without creating peace.

The fundamental problem for a world-peace is how to rediscover the aptitude to create that
Y. G. Krishnamurthy
peace in ourselves and educate ourselves. It will be a re-discovery because the history of humanity presents us with personalities past and present, who are "mid-wives" and mediators, who deliberately willed and created a concept of freedom and a conquest of fear individual, tribal, national and international. Fear-the characteristic of the animal in Man has been shown by all great philosophers and prophets to be the root of "sin" assuming diverse forms of destructive herd-instincts, nationalism and sovereignties, class-wars, misuse of science and denial of religious absolutes.

For the complete article, click here

Thursday, December 12, 2013

India - The Original Home of the Aryans by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri

Priest - King (Harappa)
The theory of the indigenous origin of the Aryans has been advocated by a number of scholars. MM. Ganganath Jha has tried, to prove that the original home was the Brahmarshi-desa. D. S. Triveda suggests that the original home of the Aryans was in the region of the river Devika in Multan. L. D.  Kalla advocates the claims of Kashmir and the Himalayan region. The various arguments in favour of this view may be summed up as follows:
  1. There is no evidence to show that the Vedic Aryans were foreigners or that they migrated into India within traditional memory. Sufficient literary materials are available to indicate with some degree of certainty, that the Vedic Aryans themselves regarded Sapta-Sindhu as their original home (devakrita-yoni or devanirmita-desa). Migrating races look back to the land of their origin for centuries. The Parsis in India remember their origin after eight hundred years. The ancient Egyptians and the Phoenicians remembered their respective lands of origin even though they had forgotten their location. The Vedic Aryans, if at all they came from outside, therefore, must have lived in Sapta-Sindhu so many centuries before the Vedic period that they had lost all memory of an original home.
  2. The linguistic affinities are not positive proofs of Aryan immigration. The Vedic Sanskrit
    "The History and Culture of Indian People - Vol I"
    has the largest number of vocables found in the Aryan languages. These are preserved in the languages of the Sanskritic family in different parts of India even when there has been inter-racial contact for centuries. On the other hand, if the pre-Vedic Aryan language was spoken in different parts of Europe and Asia where the Aryans had settled before coming to India, how is it that only a few vocables are left in the present- day speech of those parts, while the largest number of them is found in the distant places of ultimate settlement and racial ad- mixture in India? On the contrary this disparity can easily be explained if the pre-Vedic was the language of the homeland of Aryans and the other Aryan languages came into existence as a result of the contact between migrating Aryans and non-Aryan elements outside India and Persia.
For the complete article, click here

Thursday, December 5, 2013

S. R. Ramaswamy - Journalist, Writer, Intellectual & Environmentalist

S. R. Ramaswamy
Sondekoppa Ramachandrasastri Ramaswamy is a renowned Indian journalist, writer, environmentalist and intellectual with more than 50 books and 1000 articles to his credit. His writings essentially mirror the literary, cultural, nationalist and developmental realities that are contemporaneous to the present day scenario. His outstanding support to "Voluntary Rural Development Initiatives" in the Indian state of Karnataka bear testament to his sense of social responsibility. He has additionally come to spear-head the renewed "Swadeshi" movement in the nation. Among his major campaigns was a movement which he led for restoration of people's customary rights over community lands threatened by ill-planned Governmental forestry policies. One such crusade saw him take an uphill battle against a well known conglomerate all the way to the Supreme Court of India accompanied by noted litterateur Shivaram Karanth - which ended in thousands of tribal populace being protected against eviction from their native region in the state of Karnataka. S. R. Ramaswamy is the founder of "Samaja Parivartana Samudaya", a voluntary organization working in Karnataka towards social transformation, tribal upliftment, citizen rights' empowerment among other issues at rural as well as urban levels.

S. R. Ramaswamy hails from a Brahmin family of Mulukanadu ancestry. His parents 
Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Subramanya Sastri
S. Ramachandra Sastri and Sarasvatamma belong to the Vellala Motaganahalli clan. He was born on 29.10.1937 at Bangalore, where later on he completed his schooling upto "Intermediate" qualification by 1953-54. Grandson of Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Shankara Sastri and nephew of Dr S. Srikanta Sastri & Motaganahalli Subramanya Sastri, S. R. Ramaswamy has inherited a scholastic tradition of research and erudition.

His forays into the world of journalism began with a short stint at William Quan Judge Press at Bangalore in the late 1950s. By 1972, S. R. Ramaswamy was a Chief Sub-Editor at popular Kannada weekly "Sudha' and continued there till 1979. Since 1980 till date, he serves as Editor-in-Chief at "Utthana" and "Rashrottana Sahitya" at Bangalore. S. R. Ramaswamy has
S. R. Ramaswamy with D.V.G
dedicated close to five decades to the world of journalism, writing, literature, environmental issues and social movements across the country. Across the decades spanning from 1960s to 1990s, S. R. Ramaswamy came in close proximity to such intellectual giants as D. V. Gundappa, 
V. Sitaramayya, A. R. Krishnasastri, P. Kodanda Rao, Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma and Yadav Rao Joshi. His association with D. V. Gundappa over two decades saw him penning many of D. V. G.'s oral ruminations, thus becoming his "eyes" & "ears", so to speak. ! Such a close embrace over the years led D. V. G to acknowledge S. R. Ramaswamy in his book "Jnapaka Chitrashale" as the brother he possibly had in an earlier life..!

At home in a number of languages ranging from Sanskrit, German, French, English, Kannada & Telugu - S. R. Ramaswamy's works defy boundaries of culture, nationality or regional identity. In fact, his earliest piece - a review of "Paul Valery: The Quintessentialised Intellectual" (published in P.E.N in 1972 serves to illustrate his scope of intellect: -

"It is one of the curiosities of Paul Valery's many sided literary activity that not withstanding the versatality of his writings and the steadily increasing sway he gained over the French mind during the first three decades of the present century (21st), the clue to an understanding of his life and work is found to be in what is probably one of his earliest works - "Une Soiree avec. M. Teste" (An Evening with Mr. Teste) published so far back as 1896"

Here is a short list of his works: -

  1. "Mahabharata Belavanige" (1972)
  2. "Svetoslav Roerich" (Ed.) (1974)
  3. "Patra-guccha-Nehru" - co-translated with K. S. Narasimha Swamy (1975)
  4. "D. V. G. - a biography" (1976)
  5. "Udaya Shankar" - a biography (1979)
  6. "Sripad Damodar Satwalekar" - a biography (1980)
  7. "Dr Hedgewar: The Epoch Maker" (translated from Kannada) (1981)
  8. "Manobodha" of Samarth Ramadas (translated from Marathi) (1982)
  9. "Aravinda" - Pt. Seshadri Gawai Felicitation Voulme (Ed.) (1985)
  10. "Samaja-Chikitsaka Ambedkar" - co-authored with Chandrashekhar Bhandary (1990)
  11. "Bharatadalli Samajakarya" (Ed.) (1992)
  12. "Swadeshi Jagruti" (1994)
  13. "Swadeshi: Ondu Samvada" (1994)
  14. "In The Woods of Globalisation" (1995)
  15. "Matantara: Ondu Samvada" - co-authored with Chandrashekhar Bhandary (1999)
  16. "Kargil-Kampana" - co-authored with Du. Gu. Lakshmana & Bhandary (1999)
  17. "Jayaprakash Narayan" - a biography (2000)
  18. "Sardar Vallabhai Patel" - a biography (2000)
  19. "Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya" - a biography (2000)
  20. "Magadi Lakshmi Narasimha Sastri" - a biography (2001)
  21. "Nagarikategala Sangarsha" (2009)
  22. "Sahitya Samarayana - Sarvabhouma Krishnadevaraya" (2009)
  23. "Kautilyana Arthashastra" (2009)
  24. "Sookti-Saptati" (Anthology of Sanskrit Verses) (2010)
  25. "Kelavu Itihasa Parvagalau" (2010)
  26. "Bharatha Bhaskara Rabindranath Tagore" (2011)
  27. "Deeptimantaru" (2011)
  28. "Dhruvajala"(2011)
  29. "Yajurveda Belakinalli Jeevana Paripoornate" (2012)
  30. "Navothhanada Pathadarshaka Swami Vivekananda" (2013)
  31. "Kavalige" (2013)
For the complete article, click here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Mulakas" (Origins of Mulukanadu Sect) by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri

Sri Tyagararaja
The references to the ancient Brahmanical community of the Mulakas, that occur in epigraphs and Saṁskṛt literature are of interest as indicating the gradual intrusion of the Āryans into the south and the expansion and propagation of the northern culture in Dakshņãpatha. The name occurs in a variety of forms - chief being Mūlaka, Mūtiba, Mūshaka, Mūchipa and Muṛika. The earliest reference is, I believe, in the Aitarēya Brãhmaņa where we have the story of a Viśvãmitra expelling his sons from Āryãvarta (Ait, Br., VII. 18). We are told that they settled down among the Dasyus.

iÉLiÉåuklÉÉ: mÉÑhQûÉ: zÉoÉUÉ: mÉÑÍVÇûSÉ: qÉÔÌiÉoÉÉ CirÉÑSlirÉÉ oÉWûuÉÉå uÉæµÉÉÍqɧÉÉSxrÉÔlÉÉÇ pÉÔÌrɹÉ: ||

The country beyond the confines of Aryavarta thus came to be called in later times
Sir M. Visvesaraya
Mlechhadesa – the abode of barbarians
(qsÉåcNûSåzÉ: xÉÌuÉ¥ÉårÉ: AÉrÉÉïuÉiÉïxiÉiÉ: mÉUqÉç). The term “Mlechha” which in early times was confined solely to the predatory tribes, came to be applied to all peoples beyond the region between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas, so that the Yavanas, Chinas, Hunas, the Sakas and Pahlavas are considered to be as barbaric as the indigenous tribes – Kiratas, Sabaras, Pilundas, Poundras, Dravidas and Keralas. Amaranarasimha enumerates Kiratas, etc., as sub-divisions of Mlechhas (pÉåSÉ: ÌMüUÉiÉ zÉoÉUmÉÑÍVÇûSÉ: qsÉåcNûeÉÉiÉrÉ:). The Mahabharata (I. 186. 33-7) and Manavadharma Sastra go further.

xÉxÉeÉï ÄTåülÉiÉ: xÉÉ aÉæ: qsÉåcNûÉlÉç oÉWÒûÌuÉkÉÉlÉÌmÉ ||
mÉæhQíéMüÉ ¶ÉÉæQíéSìÌuÉQûÉ: MüÉÇpÉÉåeÉÉ zÉuÉlÉÉ zMüÉ: |
mÉÉUSÉ: mÉsWûuÉÉ ¶ÉÏlÉ: ÌMüUÉiÉÉ: SUSÉ: mÉÔuÉzÉ: || etc.

Similalry the Harivamsa enumerates the peculiar modes of dressing the hair practised by these Mlechhas – like that of shaving half the head or complete, allowing moustaches and the beard to grow, etc., - these habits being evidently non-Aryan.

AkÉïÇ zMüÉlÉÉÇ ÍzÉUxÉÉå qÉÑhQûÌrÉiuÉÉ urÉxÉeÉïrÉåiÉç |
rÉuÉlÉÉlÉÉÇ ÍzÉUxxÉuÉïÇ MüÉqpÉÉåeÉÉlÉÉÇ iɶÉæuÉcÉ ||
mÉÉUSÉ pÉÑ£üMåüzÉÉ¶É mÉsWûuÉÉ xqÉ´ÉÑ kÉÉËUhÉ: |
ÌlÉ: xuÉÉkrÉÉrÉ uÉwÉOèMüÉUÉ: MÑüiÉÉxiÉålÉ qÉWûÉiqÉlÉÉ ||
zÉMüÉeÉuÉlÉ MüÉqpÉÉåeÉÉ: mÉÉUSÉ: mÉsWûuÉÉxiÉjÉÉ | etc.
(Harivamsa, XIV. 15 – 17)

It is thus clear Aryans had already occupied the trans-Vindhyan regions by the time of the composition of Aitareya Brahmana (c. 1400 B.C.). The Mutibas evidently associated themselves with Mushakas, a totemistic tribe, and Assakas. Indeed in the Jatakas and Suttanipata, Assaka and Mulaka are intimately associated. Panini speaks of Asmaka and its king also called Asmaka (c. 700 B.C.) 

For the complete article, click here.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Logical system of Madvacharya by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri

If psychology is a science of mental phenomena, characterised by the pursuance of future ends and of the choice of means for their attainments, it is the special function of logic to concern itself with the problems of truth and error. The realistic schools admitting enduring objects and cognitions hold that all knowledge is intrinsically right, except in the case of contradiction or deficiency. The extremely idealistic schools however assert that all knowledge is intrinsically unreliable and only subsequently by re-cognition becomes reliable. As perhaps the last great exponent of realism and theism in India, Sri Madhvãcãrya's system of logic as expounded in his Pramana laksana may be compared with other systems.

Madhvãcãrya starts with a definition of Pramana as "corresponding to the object". This terse definition implies the reality of the object, a cognition corresponding to the object and a valid means of attaining such cognition. Thus it can be distinguished from doubt and otherness. As a contrast the Buddhist definition of Pramana as efficacious knowledge applies to the ultimate reality which is momentary (svalakshana, ksana). The Buddhists stipulate that
Depiction of Dinnaga
uncontradicted experience is the source of right knowledge, and this right knowledge depends on sensation, not conception4. The Mimasaka definition of pramana5 as a means of right knowledge is from Madhva's point of view also defective. The Bhattas urge that in the cognitions "this is a pot", "the pot is known", and "the pot is revealed" there is a sequence and hence the first leads to the second. Since such cognition of the thing is primary, there are no defects of illusion. But Madhva urges that right cognition is knowledge only and does not exclusively depend upon the object. In the statement “the pot is known", the pot was manifest, but, it is the knowledge alone that is revealed due to the attribute of the object cognised. Therefore we arrive at the statement "the pot is known" and such a proposition is not valid regarding the cognisability which is an attribute of the object. Therefore knowledge alone becomes manifest as the object's quality and hence is not different as another thing like right knowledge.

Another Mimamsaka view of right knowledge is that it is the knowledge of the object hitherto undetermined and the means of obtaining such right knowledge is pramana. This definition is also defective because the right knowledge of the known is excluded and there is no evidence for the assertion that valid knowledge of the previously cognised object is invalid and its means also as invalid. Then if it is objected that all memory which depends upon the previously cognised object should be accepted as valid, it is not so, because of selectivity. The Prabhakaras assert that experience alone is valid knowledge and do not accept the validity of memory. Knowledge is of two kinds: experience and memory, the latter is born of the previous experience and since error is possible, the view that experience alone constitutes right knowledge cannot stand. 

For the complete article, click here

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Surpur: It's history and legacy

Colonel Philip Meadows Taylor
Indian history is very rich, varied and hoary. In other parts of the world a historical monument, say, 1000 years old becomes an eighth wonder of the world. But, not so in India, where a 2000 or 2500 year old site is taken in our stride for granted. In Karnataka we find pre-historic sites of megalithic age going back to 1500 B.C. Some of these sites are found in Vibhuthihalli (Shahapur taluk) and Hunasagi, Yadgir district. Near Surpur, a skirmish which was a part of India’s first war of independence took place in 1858. So, Surpur has been a witness to historical incidents from 1500 B.C. to the present day. 

When one goes through the annals of Surpur history after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire between 1656 to 1858 A.D., I was reminded of the famous cartoon character of Asterix and Obelix who lived in a small region of France called Gaul during the reign of Julius Ceaser. He had conquered Europe including Great Britain, Asia and Africa. But throughout the reign of Julius Caesar, Gaul refused to surrender to the will of the Roman Emperor. Gaul remained fiercely independent, rebellious and defiant of Roman ambitions of conquest. Similarly, Surpur, a tiny postage stamp state defied the mighty Mughal ruler – Emperor Aurangzeb who ruled most of North, Central, Western & Eastern India along with defying the Maratha’s and Nizam’s army. Surpur remained independent, rebellious and a thorn in the flesh of Aurangzeb. His great dream of conquering South India and becoming a true Alamgir remained unfulfilled, because of the tiny state of Surpur and the Shia state of Bijapur. The guerrilla warfare expert Chatrapati Shivaji through his conquests of North West India and his empire extended up to Tanjore in South India gave sleepless nights to Emperor Aurangzeb.
Surpur royal family  member

The historical importance of Sannati near Yadgir situated on the left bank of river Bhima was first recognised as a Buddhist site by Kapartal Krishna Rao in the year 1954. Earlier it was an important Shakti place of worship dedicated to Goddess Chandralamba. The roof of the Kali temple in Chandralamba temple complex collapsed damaging the idol. The temple committee decided to install a new statue in its place. But the base of the statute held a surprise to the archaeologists. It was discovered to be a new Ashokan Edict discovered in Karnataka going back to 2300 years and later three more edicts were discovered. The mounds which we were close to Ramamandala site proved a veritable goldmine. At present the excavation of most of the stupa has been done. We are informed that an earthquake in 3rd century A.D. brought about its ruin. What is most interesting is that the only known pictorial depiction of emperor Ashoka (274 – 232 B.C.) has been discovered here and he is mentioned here by name in the edict. One is sure that the stupa definitely contains the relics of Gautama Buddha. 

The remains of the excavation site at Kanaganahalli can be dated to between 1st century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D. The Shatavahana rulers Simuka and Pulamavi are immortalised by their portraits depicted at Kanaganahalli.

It is situated 15 kms from Shahpur taluk headquarters and close to Sannati. One can find 20 temples of Rashtrakuta period on the right bank of Bhima river. The famous temples are Sujnyaneshvara, Nannaiah and Nagaiah temples. The Pushkarni at Sujnyaneshvara temple has narrative panels of Panchatantra.

Pushkarini at Sawayambu Someshwara temple
It was a famous trading centre from 9th to 12th century. The mighty Emperor Vikramaditya VI (1076 – 1127 A.D.) belonging to Kalyani Chalukya built the temple of Sawayambu Someshwara which has an important inscription giving the genealogy of the King. The historians have discovered 24 important inscriptions in this village. There are also some Jaina basadis. This was a university town during this period.

Wagangera Fort:
This is an important ancient fort near Surpur, which witnessed the last battle of Aurangzeb in his 87th year. The famous historian Jadunath Sircar in his book “A Short History of Aurangzeb” writes

In July Maratha activity near Wagingera forced the Emperor to detach Tarbiyat Khan to that region to punish them. Pidia Berad (Beda) in alliance with Hindu Rao, gained Penukonda”      
                                      -Jadunath Sarkar      
Palace at Surpur
Aurangzeb could not take the fort easily. He laid siege to the fort (8 February – 27 April 1705) and fought a continuous battle for three months. At the end, when he entered the fort, he found an empty ghost town. The brave berards (bedas) and the citizens had been evacuated from the fort. The dispirited emperor decided to go back to Ahmednagar. He has given a firman (pictured) to the rulers of Surpur admiring their courage and valour. This can still be seen in palace archives. At Devapur, where he halted during the return journey (May – Oct, 1705) he captured the Devapur fort. However, a severe illness seized him and he died a year later at Ahmednagar on 20 January 1706.

Philip Meadows Taylor
As tourists, we visited the old palace and the new palace at Surpur. The present Maharaja of Surpur was kind enough to show us the crown jewels and the hereditary swords of the royal family. The new palace was built by Philip Meadows Taylor. This fortune hunter came to India from England and finally lived in Surpur for 9 eventful years. He was a representative of the East India Company. His multi-faceted genius includes great achievements in the following fields – Archaeology, Geology, Agriculture, Public Administration & Revenue and also fiction writing. He also groomed the young prince Venkatappa Nayak, who met a tragic end at Secunderabad. Whether it was a murder or a suicide is still debated? His role in the first war of Independence remains on the records. 

This is how Meadows Taylor describes the confrontation between the Surpur army and the East India Army –

“Col. Hughes arrived early on the morning of the 8th and he captain Wyndham, with their united troops, drove the Beydurs and others from the hills into the town with severe loss. Unfortunately Captain Newberry, Madras Cavalry, in a charge against a body of Rohillas and his subaltern Lieutenant Stewart badly wounded”.

Even today, visitors can see the graves of Capt. Newbury and Lt. Stewart in this field. This
Taylor Manzil
gives a lie to the commonly held belief that there was no uprising in Karnataka in 1858. The words of the Meadows Taylor on the Bedas is definitely a great tribute –

“As a body the Shorapoor Beydurs had been free from crime. They were not dishonest, and there was no pretty thieving or roguery among them; they used to say they were too proud for that sort of thing”
      (Autobiography – “My Story” by Meadows Taylor)

Bonal Lake
Taylor built the first schooner in India for the Prince Venkatappa Nayak. He also built a spacious bungalow on the hill, which is even today called as Taylor Manzil. According to historians, in mid 19th century, he built the first Tennis court here in South India. The other places of interest to the tourists are the Bonal lake and Sri Venugopalaswamy Temple.

One unforgettable information we collected from Sri Bhaskar Rao Mudbole was the Kohinoor diamond was discovered in a village called Kollur, in Shahapur taluk, Yadgir district on the banks of the river Krishna by the mine owner – Mir jumla in 1556. At the time the diamond weighed 756 carats and it was as big as an egg. Now, this precious diamond is in the British crown at London tower. Karnataka state has so much to offer to a curious tourist. So these places are highly recommended for prospective tourists.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Siribhoovalaya": Scholarly opinion by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri (1953)

Dear Sirs,

I have received the first part of your publication "Siri Bhuvalaya", with thanks, and I have
gone carefully through the introduction by Sri Karlamangalam Srikantayya, who was also kind enough to show me the photo of the first page of the original manuscript, giving the square of numbers. I am informed that the whole manuscript consists of many pages, which are in an, extremely frail condition, so that it is very difficult to handle them. I had also several talks with Sri Srikantayya about the complicated problems raised by this astonishing work.

From the clues, laboriously worked out by the editors, I myself have verified that the readings given by the editors, are substantially correct as far as published and I can say that, however astonishing the results are, there is no proof of deliberate forgery by any modern author. A dispassionate scholar, with no preconceived opinions, should be prepared to accept heuristic method of evaluating historical document until and unless substantial evidence is produced to the contrary.

Jaina Digambara (Shravanabelagola)
"Bhuvalaya" claims to be the work of Kumudendu, who says that he was the guru of Amoghavarsha of Manya kheta and a disciple of Virasena and Jinasena of Dhavala. The recent discovery and publication of the 'Dhavala Tikar’ constitutes a landmark in Indological studies, essentially for Jainology. Kumudendu's Kannada Bhuvalaya is professedly based on Virasena's work, but is more extensive and perhaps more important. I have scrutinised carefully for any evidence of a later date than 9th century A. D. but in the published portion nothing has been discovered to my knowledge, nor have others been able to point out such evidence, excepting the seemingly modern form of Kannada. Whatever the explanation for this might be it alone cannot outweigh other Considerations.

The importance of this work may be briefly analysed under the following heads:-

1.   For the history of Kannada language and literature, it is one of the earliest works, however much it may upset our present notions of the development of Kannada language, unless it can be proved to be modern.
2.   For the history of Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil and Telugu literatures of the 9th century it is an eye-opener.
3.  For the study of Jainism in particular and all other schools of Indian Philosophy and religions, it provides new material which may revolutionise our present concepts of the development of Indian thought.
4.  For the political history of India and Karnataka, it provides fresh material as it mentions Amoghavarsha and Ganga rulers of Mysore.
5.  For the history of Indian mathematics, it is an important document. The recent studies in Virasensa's Dhavala Tika show that Indians even in the 9th century, if not centuries earlier were conversant with the theory of place-values, laws of indices, the theory of logarithms, special methods to deal with fractions, theories of transformations, geometrical and mensuration formulae, infinite processes and theories of infinity anticipating Cantor and other Western mathematicians, correct value of pi (π), permutation and combination etc., Kumudendu's work seems to be far more advanced than even Virasena's and therefore not easy of comprehension.

To read the entire article, Click here

Monday, November 4, 2013

Evolution of the Gandaberunda

For a proper description of the evolution of the Gandaberunda which is the Royal Insignia in Mysore, we have to go back to tradition in the first instance. Vishnu became incarnate as Narasimha to destroy the demon Hiranyakasipu and to rescue his devotee Prahlada and the mad fury of Vishnu threatened the destruction of the Universe. Siva assumed the form of a Sarabha which was the terror of the lion. Thereupon tradition proceeds, Vishnu immediately took the form of Gandaberunda which is superior to Sarabha and lives on its flesh. 

It is this Gandaberunda or the double headed eagle which forms the Royal Insignia or the Coat-of-Arms in Mysore. Coming to the Vedas we find that the winged disc and the tree of life are recognised as indicating the spread of Aryan culture in the Near East. Frankfort from a study of the North Syrian designs has argued that the winged sun-disc of the Egyptian
Winged Sun-Disc (Egyptian)
monuments was the most impressive of symbols of the Egyptian empire in the second millennium B.C., and that it was combined with the Indo-European conception of a pillar supporting the sky - the sky being pictorially represented by means of the outstretched wings supported on one or two pillars and surmounted by a disc. There was also the Mesopotamian sun-standard, where the sun was represented by a pole with a star (?) 

Eduardo Ladislao Holmberg
The pillar was also connected with the "Asherah" or " sacred tree "(1). Therefore this motif in the Mitannian glyptic was a synthetic product of Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Aryan cultures. He quotes Holmberg(2), to show that Rig-Veda and Atharva Veda mention the cosmic pillar which separates heaven and earth and supports the first, a motive which

(For the complete article, Click here)

(1)Frankfort. Cylinder Seals, p. 277.
(2)Holmberg. "Barem des Lebens ", Annales Acad. Scientiarum Fennica tom 16 p. 5.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Emperor Ashoka and the Bhagavad Gita

Emperor Ashoka's Edict
Many scholars have hailed Ashoka as the earliest monarch in the world to emphasise the importance of satya (truth) and non-violence (ahimsa) and eschew war as a means to settling national and international disputes. The greatness of Ashoka has been attributed to his exclusively Buddhist leanings, but this theory has been challenged. The advocates of the Jaina theory have attempted to show that the entire Maurya dynasty followed Jainism and that Ashoka followed the religion of his predecessors as he himself asserts in his inscriptions. Non-violence is no doubt more important in Jainism than in Buddhism. But truth and non-violence are ethical principles of remote antiquity in Bharata Dharma. Therefore some scholars have argued that Ashoka was neither a Buddhist nor a Jaina but a follower of Sanatana Dharma or "Porana Pakiti' as he himself says. His regard for all sects is more in conformity with the tenets of the Brahmanical religion than Buddhism or Jainism, which at this period were small monastic sects, intolerant towards tirthikas pasandas and heretics. 

Ashoka Pillar

The Buddhist accounts of the conversion of Ashoka by Upagupta or Tissa or Nigrodha etc., are flatly contradicted by Ashoka’s own statement that it was the Kalinga war that produced a moral revolution in him. Nowhere in the Jaina or Buddhist texts do we find mention of the Kalinga war, nor does Ashoka acknowledge anywhere that his missionary effort was inspired by Moggaliputta Tissa. Ashoka claimed great success throughout Jambu Dvipa but there is little evidence that Greece, Macedon, Cyrene, Corinth, Epirus, Syria, etc. were all converted to the particular dogmas of Thera vada Buddhism, which Ashoka is said to have endorsed after the refutation of the eighteen heretical sects in the Pataliputra council. The Mahabharata (and with it the Gita) forms the main source of Dharma and apart from the interpolations, it must substantially have been compiled at least before c. 500 B.C. Holtzmann, Lassen, Schroeder, Hopkins, Wintemitz, Meyer and others who have tried to analyse the Mahabharata saw only successive reactions and failed to account for the fundamental plan underlying the whole work, Prof. Pisani remarks : "'Who has told these Western critics that the didactic parts have been added to the epic ones?”

Sylvian Levi
The Gita in its place is an indissoluble part of the poem according to Sylvain Levi. According to Levi, the Gita is the ideal centre - the poet of the Gita is that of the Mahabharata, with religious and practical aims." Even when the Bhrguization of the original text took place in the first and second centuries A.D. as evident from the mention of Roma in the Sabha Parva, Kaserumant (Caesars, according to Weber and Levi), Dinara etc. the spirit of the ancient text was preserved in its entirety as sacrosanct and the Mahabharata verses in Baudhayana, Vasistha, Manu, Vishnu, Yajnavalkya, Narada and other smrtis, the Maha Bhashya, Apastamba and other Dharma Sutras show that the epic formed the primary source for Dharma.

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