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. 

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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.

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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

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