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Posts posted by jijaji

  1. I read 'Vaisnavism:Contemporary Scholars Discuss the Gaudiya Tradition' by Steven Rosen years ago when it 1st came out. I read it several times in fact. Although there was a good amount of material on interesting subjects within Gaudiya Vaishnavism I felt Rosen was always trying to keep his reins of control in those conversations. Meaning he didn't put too much credence upon words that didn't meet the status quo that he had learned from his affiliated group. I even felt he was condesending in his interviews at times.

    I believe he was a diciple of Tamal Krishna, Anyways my post is not to offend but to point out that his research was somewhat non-objective due to his having preconceived conclusions about the subjects he was discussing in that book.



  2. Originally posted by Bhaktavasya:

    In the mystical experiences section of this forum, there are a series of stories billed as 'actual experiences of one of our Sadhakas', beginning with 'Exposure to Tantra and the Lady from the Netherworld'. Although for the most part I found the stories to be very clever pieces of fiction writing, I found some of the references disturbing. I'm all for non-censorship but it's a puzzle to me how such references to Chaitanya (Chaitan) and Mohini passed by the editors without comment, but seemingly with approval. Has anyone else read these 'actual experiences'?


    These are not references to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Navadvipa Bhaktavasyajicoolio. Different traditions use the name Chaitanya. The Kriya Yogis refer to the "Kutashta Chaitanya" as a sort of awakened state.

    The name "Chaitanya" is given to bramacharis of Shankaras Sringiri Math which of course dates back a long long time before the name was given to Nimai Pandit by Keshava Bharati. In fact tradition in the Advaita line is that after diksha one goes on pilgrimage to the Math associated with that name. In Mahaprabhus case it would a have been Sringiri Math, some say after he took diksha from Keshava Bharati he headed for Sringiri Math keeping with that tradition. Although his biographers have stressed his tour of south india as a whole instead.





    Hope Your Well!






  3. leyh:

    You are entitled to your opinions and your writings,just as I am entitled to speak up when I see misrepresentations of Krsna Consciousness.



    Oh so your the protector of the dharma...give me a break and stop with the self-deception, if you want to debate debate but stop this silly idea of yourself as someone who 'Checks' the offenders or else you'll end up nuts.

    I'm just given ya a heads up their chief...

    I've seen this behaviour before, you NEED some balance in your life, your gettin all wound up in a frenzie and are headed for a tailspin!

    Go listen to some Led Zepplelin or something!






    [This message has been edited by jijaji (edited 03-08-2002).]

  4. 40 months from the 21st century, human beings are still being sacrificed in Bastar

    Jagdalpur village , in the Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh, has its fair share, perhaps more, of human misery. And one sovereign specific for all ills.


    Imminent famine. Recurring deaths of cattle and children. A general, non-specific dissatisfaction with the quality of life. For all these and more, the solution is identical -- human sacrifice.


    That's right -- three and a half years away from the turn of the 21st century, human beings are led, like so much cattle, to the altar, their bodies are placed on the sacrificial blocks, and down comes the knife, to the chants of appropriate incantations. While the pious villagers look on, religious ecstasy nicely mingled with a sense of relief that it is not their turn, this time, to propitiate the gods with their own blood.


    Incredible even for a Ripley? Too true, in fact. Even police records detail 19 human sacrifices conducted in this area since 1980 -- and given that the perpetrators are hardly likely to go to officialdom with their mea culpas in such matters, chances are good that the numbers are much, much higher.


    The latest recorded instance happened just a week ago, when Kujama Nanda, head priest of the Dorla tribe, spurred his believers into choosing one among themselves for a sacrifice to propitiate the gods. Not to ward off some specific threatened evil, but merely on general principles that a happy, satisfied "god" is always better than one who hasn't got his quota of human blood.


    The roots of this practise lie in -- where else? -- ancient history.


    Recorded instances indicate that the Chindaak Naag and Chalukya kings organised human sacrifices in the temples of their dynastic goddesses, Manikeshaari Devi and Danteshwari Devi respectively.


    In fact, Madhurantak Dev, the Naag ruler of circa 1065, dedicated the citizens of the entire village of Rajpur as potential human sacrifices. In other words, the natives of that village, like so much cattle, were bred and fostered with the goal of being slaughtered at auspicious, or even opportune, moments.


    In the last century, Captain Gevin R Crawford, the British superintendent in charge of the territory, mounted an espionage mission aimed at discovering the truth or otherwise of charges that human sacrifice continued to be a prevalent practise in the region.


    According to the report of Crawford's informant, Chalukya king Mahipal Dev arrived at Dantewada, near Jagdalpur, around midnight with an armed escort and, amidst the blare of trumpets and the beating of drums, supervised the systematic slaughter of 15 males. The report, in grisly detail, talks of how care was taken to ensure that as each head was lopped off, it rolled into the pit housing the sacrificial fire, and that 10 buffaloes and 600 goats shed their blood on that same altar. And more, that this was not an isolated instance, but a triennial event 'celebrated' with great pomp.


    The practise was subsequently outlawed. The death penalty was prescribed -- a prescription, incidentally, that remains in force to this day.


    However, even as the rest of India marches, in a welter of Coca Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, personal computers and Internet connections, into the 21st century, in the remote hamlet of Jagdalpur the sacrificial knife still rises and falls with monotonous regularity, sacrificing human lives on the altar of religious superstition


  5. Originally posted by karthik_v:

    Valid. I am also against any biased versions of history. But, what we shouldn't forget is that the Europeans had an agenda and wrote history to suit that. Second, somebody doesn't become a suspect just because he is a Hindu or opposes the western models. Would you call Bisht, S R Rao, B B Lal, Elst, Renfrew etc., as biased? What is needed is transparency and objectivity, which the likes of Max Mueller and Witzel lack.





    Witzel Schmitzel....


    Just look at his photo and you see a numbskull drek head!



    ¸..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-

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    ((¸¸.·´ ..·´ -:¦:- jijaji Posted Image

    -:¦:- ((¸¸.·´*




    [This message has been edited by jijaji (edited 02-27-2002).]

  6. The formation of the Kshatriya caste could also have followed a similar course of evolution in the Vedic society of the Aryans. To begin with the Aryans, like people, all around the world, lived in tribes that roamed from place to place in search of game and pastures. In the earlier period of human history, the role Of the forces of nature was decisive in the lives of men.

    In these circumstances every tribe could barely acquire food, thru hunting gathering. etc ., which was only adequate for survival. As human power to produce was at a very low level there could hardly be any accumulation of wealth. The tribe's collective effort was only enough to sustain its members and all that was produced was instantly consumed. Thus in the absence of any accumulation of wealth (surplus) there existed no possibility of one tribe attacking another with the object of grabbing the other tribe's accumulated wealth - as there was no such accumulation. It was even purposeless to capture able bodied members of other tribes with the aim of making them work, as such captives could only join in the tribe's collective activity of hunting and gathering. Thus the labour of such captives was only enough to produce food for the captives' own survival, it created no surplus which members of the victorious tribe could take away.


    Thus under these circumstances there was no logic behind raiding other tribes to take captives for this purpose. Although tribal warfare did take place continuously, the reasons were either to capture women or to capture men who would be eaten. The fact that cannibalistic practices did exist among Aryan tribes is proved by the ritual of the Purusha-Medha Yagna, in which such captured members of other tribes were originally butchered and eaten. The idea of cannibalism in society would appear gruesome and unbelievable, but we have an anecdote which clearly indicates to the fact that cannibalism should have existed among Aryans at some stage.

    The Purusha-Medha Yagna also suggests the cannibalism theory which could have logically existed in a society where the labour of a person was only enough for his own sustenance and left no surplus product which could be taken away by another person. In this scenario, it was logical that captured prisoners of war were killed and even eaten. But with the rising productivity of human labour, consequent to the use of better implements, domestication of fire, smelting of metals, etc., it became possible for the first time, for humans to work not only for their own sustenance, but also to leave a surplus which was over and above the immediate consumption needs for sustaining themselves. This surplus took various forms like, implements, cattle, slaves and later on of precious metals.


    Purusha-Medha Yagna - A Symbolism for Human Sacrifice and Cannibalism?


    As described in Vedic literature during the Purusha Medha Yaqna the captured men were not to be killed, they were only to be tied to a stake and a piece of burning wood was to be waved before them and they were then set to work. This ritualisation clearly reflects the fact that originally the Purusha-Medha Yagna could have been a human sacrifice, whose nature was changed to suit the altered circumstances wherein captured men from other tribes could be put to better use rather than their being eaten.


    Even the Ashvamedha Yagna sacrifice underwent a change with the rise in productive capacity and the possibility of grabbing the surplus wealth of other tribes. Whereas originally in the Ashwamedha Yagna, the horse was killed to be roasted and eaten, in later times and the ritual did not remain a sacrifice, except in name. The horse was now not killed, but was decorated with the King's emblem and was set free to roam at will, and the regions through which this horse passed came under the rulership of the kinq who had performed the Ashvamedha Yagna. In case any other king stopped the horse; a war ensued and the victorious king annexed the defeated kin's territories. Thus the Ashvamedha Yagna also changed from being a simple act of killing a horse for consumption, to being a medium for the grabbing of land and property of adjoining kingdoms - a form of nascent imperialism.




    [This message has been edited by jijaji (edited 02-26-2002).]

  7. Death Through Sacrifice

    by Yanet Manzano



    Death is one of the most terrible things we humans have to go through. Where do we go after death? Is there a Hell or a Heaven? These are questions that still remain without answers. Since remote times, men have wondered about this, but not even technology has helped us to find answers. Some people are said to have answers; it is true they do have answers, but answers that mainly fix their religious beliefs. Almost all religions have a theory about death, but they vary from one to another, and sometimes the difference is big. But have we ever wondered: How long have cultures and religions proposed theories for life after death? The answer is, since millions of years ago. If we go to ancient cultures, like the Greek or the Aztec cultures, we can recognize their theories to be really close to our own. The idea that there is a hell and a heaven, and after death you are judged --if you were good during your life you go to heaven; if not, you are punished in hell-- still remains in present cultures. Even though the theories may have many similarities, there are a few aspects related to death in ancient culture that we see as obsolete and horrifying. An example of this is sacrifice. In today’s society, sacrifice is not legal, and it is considered cruel and barbarian. This is the way most people view animal sacrifices because we do not even consider human sacrifices to be possible. In ancient cultures, both animal and human sacrifices were normal. For many cultures it was an absolute necessity for human survival because if food was not offered to the gods then they could not keep the world going. If we analyze some of the oldest cultures like Greece and the Aztecs, we can see that even though they both practiced sacrifices, the way they did it and to what extent, varies considerably. For example, the Greek practice both animal and human sacrifices, but not so often; while in the other hand, the Aztecs practiced mainly human sacrifices and very often.

    The Greeks have a long history with sacrifices: "We see in Greece a society in which the basic ritual acts in daily practice are of a sacrificial type. For nearly ten centuries, guided by immutable cultic statutes, the Greeks never failed to maintain relations with the divine power through the highly ritualized killing of animal victim, whose flesh was consumed collectively according to precise strictures" (Detienne and Vernant 1). There also were restrictions on the kind of animal that could be sacrificed. Even though some gods preferred some special sacrifices --such as Demeter preferring swine, and local and special rules prescribing certain victims for certain places and time-- some animals such as oxen and sheep were always welcome. Nevertheless, "the general principle seems to have been that the victims should be edible food for men; and Suidas mentions as the regular ones sheep, swine, goats, fowls and guse" (Rouse 298). These animal sacrifices had special purposes, which sometimes were political. For example, to ratify a pact:


    The Decrees of the Greeks states did not adopt the votive formula, but often when they recorded an alliance they adopted the scheme of the sacrificial votive relief: The personified figure of the contracting states joining hands, with an altar beside them. A sacrifice ratified the treaty as a matter of course. The gesture is more than a mere greeting; it is the solemn symbol of friendship or pact; and the scene is the memorial of the solemn libation and sacrifice done to ratify the pact. The course or sanction is usually recorded in them."(Rouse 340-341)

    Another common situation when sacrificed was used was after marriage. "We know that sacrifices where customary before marriage, and where there is sacrifice there may always be votive offerings. In some places, initiation formed part of the wedding ceremony, and the priestess of Demeter officiated at weddings." (Rouse 245-246)

    In the Greek culture, animal were not the only one sacrifices; humans where also sacrificed. For example, this has been reflected in myth the Orphic account of the death of Dionysus. "The plot is simple. A god in the form of a child is jointly slaughtered by all the Titans, the kings of ancient times. Covered with gypsum and wearing masks of white earth, the murders surrounded their victim and while the child Dionysus contemplates his own image captured in the circle of polished metal, the Titans strike, dismember him, and throw the pieces in a kettle. Then they roast them over a fire" (Detiene and Vernant 1). Among all the Greek population, slaves were people commonly sacrificed. "At Labedea, the slaves were dedicated to Zeus the king and Trophonius, whose priests were charged to make good the act against aggression"(Rouse 21). A curious aspect in the Greek culture is their discretion when it comes to animal sacrifices: "The act that opens up the passage to the animal’s death is never represented. The blade approaches, sometimes very near, but the deed that actually drenches the blade and altar in blood is never pictured. Whenever the sacrificial meaning has departed form the image and we no longer witness to a sacrifice by human hands" (Detiene and Vernant 91). On the other hand, they show no repugnance at representing human blood spurting from a slit throat to water the gods’ altar in a horrible sacrifice. It is better to show human sacrifice in the realm of the imagination. For example, it is Polyxena’s blood that is seen splashing up in a sacrifice, no that of pigs or sheep.


    Second were the Aztecs, whose sacrifices were mainly human sacrifices. The world and man have been created several times according to the Aztecs, and each creation was followed by a cataclysm that has destroyed mankind. "Because the universe had been destroyed four consecutive times in the struggles of the gods, they began to concern themselves with terminating such unfortunate occurrences. Thus they met in a mythical Teotihuacan to settle their jealousies and begin a new era: the fifth age which was that of the ‘Sun of Movement.’ It had its beginning thanks to a voluntary sacrifice of all the gods, who their blood caused it to exist and to be inhabited again."(Leon-Portilla 28). The Aztecs believe that since man was created by the sacrifice of the gods, he must reciprocate by offering them his own blood in sacrifice. For this culture, human sacrifice was essential, for if man could not exist except through the creative force of the gods, the gods in turn needed man to sustain them with human sacrifice. Man must nourish the gods with the magic sustenance of life itself, found in human blood and in human hearts. "If through the sacrifice of the gods the existence and motion of the sun is made possible, only through the sacrifice of the man would the present age be preserved. The ‘People of the sun’ undertook for themselves the mission of furnishing it with the vital energy found in the precious liquid that keeps man alive. Sacrifice, and ceremonial welfare to obtain victims for the sacrificial rites, were their central activities, the very core of their personal, social, military, and national life."(Leon-Portilla 28). In contrast with the Greeks who balance their victims between human and animal, but mainly animal, the victims used by the Aztecs were in almost every case humans and rarely animals. The Aztec culture practiced human sacrifices in various forms and with different purposes. Many of their sacrifices were dedicated to specific gods, in which the sun is the most important. For example, they offered sacrifices to the goddess of earth in which rite the victim was flayed and the priest dressed in his skin; and they also offered to the god of fire to whom one of the cruelest ceremonies is dedicated to by burning men in his honor. However, the ceremony offered on honor of the sun was particularly notable. It fell on the day called "Movement" or "Earthquake" and commemorated the day the sun was to be destroyed by earthquakes. This ceremony was offered during a festival:


    This festival probable took place before the stone we now know by the name of Aztecs Calendar... One of the prisoners of war, whose body was painted like that of the stellar gods, white with red stripes was given a staff, a buckler, and a bundle containing eagle feathers and white paintings.... On his arrival at the summit of the temple he was sacrificed by the priests, who tore out his heart and offered it to the sun. On that day all the people practiced the rite of self-sacrifice by pricking blood from their ears or from other parts of their bodies and observing a rigorous fast until midday.(Caso 67)

    This idea of a festival seem to be pretty common among the Aztecs. Besides the festival mentioned before, they also had the Toxcatl Festival, which was held in the fifth month and was the most remarkable festival in connection to Tezcatlipoca. On the day of this festival a youth was slain who for an entire year previously had been carefully instructed in the role of victim. He was previously selected form the best war captives of the year. He assumed the name, and attributes of Tezcatlipoca himself, and during that year was treated a god. Later in the year he was mated to four beautiful maidens of high birth, who were supposed to do anything he want them to. At last the fatal day upon which he must be sacrificed arrived. He took a tearful farewell of the maidens whom he had espoused, and was carried to the teocalli of sacrifice, upon the side of which he broke the musical instruments with which he had beguiled the time of his captivity. When he reached the summit he was received by the high-priest, who speedily made him one with the god whom he represented by tearing his heart out on the stone of sacrifice.

    The Aztecs had some special names and purposes for some sacrifices. For example, the gladiatorial sacrifice. "Gladiatorial sacrifice was reserved for those who had distinguished themselves by their valor. It consisted of a real duel between a prisoner captain and several of the most distinguished Aztec warriors.... The captive fought with a knight at a time. If the first should be defeated, another would take up the battle. If, in spite of his inferior weapons, the captive succeeded in vanquishing the fourth knights, a fifth who was left-handed, generally killed him."(Caso 73). Women seem to have had a special place in sacrifice too. The Aztecs had what they call "The Sacrifice of the Dancer," which was performed during the Xalaquia festival:


    Hilarious dances were nightly performed in the teapon (temple), the central figure in which was the Xalaquia, a female captive or slave, with face painted in red and yellow to represent the colors of the maize-plant. She had previously undergone a long course of training in the dancing-school, and now, all unaware of the horrible fate awaiting her, she danced and pirouetted gaily among the rest. Through the duration of the festival she danced.... When daybreak appeared the company was joined by the chiefs and headmen, who, along with the exhausted and half-fainting victim, danced the solemn death-dance. The entire community then approached the teocalli (pyramid of sacrifice), and, its summit reached, the victim was stripped to a nude condition, the priest plunged a knife of flint into her bosom, and tearing out the still palpitating heart, offered it up to Chicomecohualt. In this manner the venerable goddess, weary with the labor of inducing growth in the maize-plant, was supposed to be revivified and refresh. (Spence 87)

    Third, we have the Vedic culture. In this case, creation is attributed either to the cultural work, or to the gods, or even to men. In the Vedic culture, "the sacrifice is to such an extent the principle par excellence that one ascribes to it not only the origin of the man, but even that of the god"(Aguilar 18). In the Vedic culture, just as in the Aztec culture, we see the principle that the world as well as humans were created from the sacrifice of a god. "O All-Maker, help your friends O recognize them in the oblation. You who follow our own laws, sacrifice yourself, making it grow great. All-Maker, grown great through the oblation, sacrifice the earth and sky yourself"(Penguin 35). Such as the other two cultures mentioned before, we can say that the Vedic people also practiced human sacrifices. The sacrifice of man in the Vedic culture follows that of the gods, but it is not as widely practiced as in the Aztecs culture. Just as in the other cultures, the Vedics sacrifice humans to the gods, and one of them is Agni, the god of fire. Since this culture believes that in order to travel to the life after death, the body of the deceased had to be burned we can assume that Agni is a very important god. "It is said besides in proper terms that Agni has been established by the gods as sacrificer of all sacrifices of the human race... that shining first among those who have a vast abode... he has been kindle by them as bearer of the offering of the human race"(Aguilar 82). A curious aspect of the sacrifice in the vedic religion, in contrast to the Aztecs who practiced most of their sacrifices during festival, is it secret nature. Which makes it even more confusing to understand because the sacrifices were also associated with the idea of traveling. "The sacrifice is the replecent cart that circulates through the world pouring down the divine riches. Its course, however, takes place in the mystery. Hence, the insistence of the Brahmanas on the invisible, secret character of the sacrifice, which correspond wholly to the invisible and mysterious character of the gods themselves"(Aguilar 86). Analyzing the sacrifice aspect in the Vedic culture, we can see that this was not as popular as in the Aztecs. While the Aztecs sacrificed to the gods to keep them happy, the Vedic sacrificed to the gods to ask for help, for example, to help a deceased get to the next life. In this principle, it is closer to Greek culture, who often made sacrifices to ask the gods for something.

    In conclusion, it is amazing how many different views of sacrifice there were many years ago. It seems ancient cultures could kill people or even animals without a problem. Did they do it because they were evil, cruel people trying to show power or to have fun by killing? No, they did it because they were afraid of the "gods," something not too many of us are afraid of now. They did not have the knowledge we have to explain why things happen in life, so they used supernatural beings as explanation. Supposedly these beings gave life to mankind, so in the same way we believe we have to love and show respect to our parents because they brought us into the world, ancient cultures believe that humans had to love, respect and worship the gods because they had created mankind. A way to show this was through sacrifices. Even though we try to understand these ancient cultures beliefs, they are something of a big mystery to us and do not always have a logical explanation. For example, the Greeks were ashamed of killing an animal; therefore never in their art or literature was described. They were not however ashamed to show or describe a knife entering a woman’s throat and splashing her blood. In any event we can only hope that some day we can find something that would allow us to understand facts like these a little better, but for now they will remain a secret of those who lived in those times.


    Work Cited Page


    Detienne, Marcel, and Jean-Pierre Vernant. The Cuisine of Sacrifice Among the Greeks. The University of Chicago, 1989.


    Denttam Rouse, William H. Greek Votive Offerings. Cambridge University Press, 1975


    Spence, Lewis. The Myths of Mexico and Peru. London, England, 1913.


    Caso. The Aztecs. Trans. Lowell Dunbam. University of Oklahoma Press, 1958.


    The Missionary Society of St. Paul. Native Mesoamerican Spirituality. New York, 1980.


    Aguilar, H. The Sacrifice in the RGVeda. Bhraratixa Vidga Prakashan, 1976.


    Pengui. The Rig Veda. Trans. Wnedy Doniger O’Flaherty. Clays Ltd, England, 1981.



  8. I believe 'The Shank' drove the buddha out of India on a Harley Davidson...'Big Ol Hogg'


    Kinda like 'Easy Rider'....


    The River Flows It Flows to The Sea, Wherever That River Flows Thats where I want to be....


    Peace to ALL, sorry for the Dalisthan jazz..but it served its purpose.



  9. "Earlier and later vedic texts refer to the flute as venu. It was used as accompaniment to vedic recitations along with veena (harp). These sources also refer to a kind of flute called tunava employed during sacrifices. Nadi was another variety, probably made of reed, played to propitiate Yama, the Lord of Death. Not only was it an important instrument in religious ceremonies, but the flutist was one of the victims of human sacrifice in Purushamedha yajna ritual." (An Introduction to India Music by B.C. Deva)



    ¸..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-

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    ((¸¸.·´ ..·´ -:¦:- jijaji

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  10. The Purushamedha (described as dreadful by Professor R. C. Majumdar of the College of Indology in his book "Ancient India") was a ritual in which a human being was sacrificed instead of a horse as in the Asvamedha. The ceremonies performed were very similar in the two cases. Just as the horse was let loose for about a year, the human victim was allowed to enjoy himself for the same period, during which all his wishes were satisfied.


    Sacrifices (Yajna) were prevalent in all old religions and Hindu is no exception. It is not known if the Indus people carried out sacrifice but it was an important part the Aryan belief system. The horse which was centrally important to the Aryans was sacrificed (Ashwamedha Yajna) as offerings to the Gods. In the early period, it was horse sacrifice that was probably more important. The horse was roasted in fire and eaten. Later it became symbolic and a means for expansion.


    There were also human sacrifices (Purushamedha Yajna). These sacrifice victims were probably members of a defeated tribe. This was institutional and carried out by priests. Whether it existed later is unknown but the word, Boli, also meaning sacrifice, exists till today. It does not only mean sacrifice of animals but a fearful sacrifice of humans....


  11. Originally posted by karthik_v:

    There is absolutely not one epigraphic or literary evidence that the Hindus ever destroyed even one Buddhist shrine.

    What about this....





    Dr. K. Jamanadas



    Chapter 2

    Some examples of Brahmanic usurpation


    As is well known, the archaeological remains of Buddhism speak themselves of the glory of Buddhism in ancient times. L.M.Joshi has following to say:


    "...Even if we judge only by his posthumous effects on the civilization of India, Sakyamuni Buddha was certainly the greatest man to have been born in India. Before becoming a major faith and civilization force in the world, Buddhism had been a mighty stream of thought and a tremendous fountain-head of human culture in its homeland. Ignorance or neglect of the available Buddhist literature is not the only shortcoming of the traditional approach. The fact that the knowledge of Indian archaeology if confined to a handful of scholars in another factor which has prevented most students from viewing Buddhist culture in its entirety. Moritimer Wheeler observes that 'archaeologically at least we cannot treat Buddhism merely as a heresy against a prevailing and fundamental Brahmanical orthodoxy.' For in spite of the ravages of time and destruction by Indian and foreign fanatics, Buddhism is still speaking vividly and majestically through its thousand of inscriptions, about one thousand rockcut sanctuaries and monasteries, thousands of ruined stupas and monastic establishments, and an incalculable number of icons, sculptures, painting and emblems, that it prevailed universally among all the classes and masses of India for over fifteen centuries after the age of the Buddha, and that its ideas of compassion, peace, love, benevolence, rationalism, spiritualism and renunciation had formed the core of the superstructure of ancient Indian thought and culture." [Joshi:1977:357]

    This is the state of affairs, even if we consider only the Buddhist structure in their ruined condition. So many of the Buddhist monuments were, however, not allowed to degenerate to ruins. They were taken up for Brahmanical use. This happened in all areas of India. As far as Buddhist shrines in Andhra Pradesh, where Tirupati is situated, are concerned, it is an accepted fact that many shrines of Buddha in Andhra Pradesh, were converted for Brahmanical worship.


    Andhra and Deccan

    K.A.N. Sastri observed:


    "...In the Andhra country also, where Buddhism had flourished in great strength in the early centuries of the Christian era, there came about a strong Hindu revival ... Mathas grew up and were occupied by monks ... and ... many Buddhist shrines and viharas were turned to Hindu uses..." [sastri:1966:434] "...Its (Buddhism) decline in Andhradesa, where it had flourished in the early centuries A.D., was noticed by Yuan Chwang, and this decline proceeded further after his time. the renascent Hinduism of the period began the worship of the Buddha at Amaravati as an incarnation of Vishnu and into Hindu shrines..." [sastri:1966:436]

    Ter and Chezarala


    "At Ter is Sholapur district and Chezarala in the Krishna district are found Buddhist chaitya halls built in bricks, perhaps in the fifth century A.D. and surviving to this day because they were appropriated to Brahmanical uses after the decline of Buddhism. We refer to the Trivikrama temple at Ter and the Kapoteshvara temple at Chezarala. These two small buildings, each not more than 30 feet long, are now the only means of judging the external appearance of the Buddhist structural temple as the rock-cut chaityas has no exteriors except their facades." [sastri:1966:448]

    Mention may be made here, of other experts in Archaeology and Sculpture who agree with this finding of Sastri. Sri. K. R. Shreenivasan agrees:

    "Fortunately there are two apsidal shrines of this period of original Buddhist dedication and subsequent conversion to the Hindu creed, still existing in their entirety. They are the Trivikrama temple at Ter, in Western Deccan, and Kapoteswara Temple at Chejerala, in coastal Andhra. Both are dated earlier than 600 A.D., but not earlier than 300 A.D. Of the two, the Kapoteswara may be the earlier one judged from the stylistic and architectural points of view." [sreenivasan:1971:24]


    Regarding the Durga Temple at Aihole Sri. K.A.N. Sastri mentions that it was also a Buddhist Chaitya.

    "Very different from Ladh Khan is the Durga temple which was another experiment seeking to adapt the Buddhist chaitya to a Brahmanical temple" [sastri:1966:451]

    It may be pointed out here that name of temple as Durga has nothing to do with the famous Brahmanical goddess Durga and it was never dedicated to Her.



    Similar is the case of Anantasayangudi cave-temple, Sri K. R. Shreenivasan confirms that this was originally for a Buddhist dedication.

    "...A similar rock-cut cave excavation, now called Anantasayangudi in Undavalli on the south bank of the Krishna, also belongs to this class. It is perhaps of the Vishnu-kundin times and was meant originally for a Buddhist dedication..." [sreenivasan:1971:33] "...The Anantasayangudi cave-temple at Undavalli is the largest of the group and is three-storied structure akin to the Ellora Buddhist Caves 11 and 12, the Do-tal and Tin-tal. It belongs to the seventh century if not earlier, and was perhaps intended originally for the Buddhist creed, but was adopted later for a Vishnu temple, the principal deity being a recumbent Vishnu or Anantasayin..." [sreenivasan:1971:81]


    About cave no. 15 of Ellora, it is accepted by all scholars that it is a case of reconditioning of Buddhist shrine for Brahmanical use.

    "The Dasavatara, or cave no.15, is an odd example in as much as it is the only two-storied cave-temple or cave-complex of a very large size. It is apparently a case of reconditioning of what was all prepared and cut out for Buddhistic requirements. It would mark the earliest example of Rashtrakuta work at Ellora. Its front pavilion carries the inscription of Dantidurga (c. 752-56) and is an accomplished piece of contemporary rock architecture." [sreenivasan:1971:72]

    About same fact Yazdani observes:

    "... The revival of Brahmanic faith in the Deccan had begun during the rule of Chalukyas, who built rock-hewn shrines of that faith at Badami, the seat of their government; but they were tolerant to the followers of Buddhist religion and the shrines of the latter faith continued to the built under their regime. During the reign of Rashtrakutas, who ousted the Chalukyas from the greater part of their kingdom in the Deccan, an aggressive religious spirit seems to have prevailed, for they not only converted Buddhist viharas into the temples of their own faith, *fn.* but also built new shrines on such a grand scale as to eclipse in the eyes of their co-religionist the glory of Buddhist religion..." [Yazdani :1960 :731]

    To chisel out Buddhist images was the method used Yazdani further observes:

    "Cave XV, called the Dasavatara, was originally a Buddhist vihara, and the images of Buddha, although chiseled off with care from many a niche, may still be noticed in some places. This cave has a long inscription of Dantidurga carved over its entrance." [fn.]

    As to how conversion of these shrines was effected Yazdani observes:

    "...Dasavatara, which was originally a Buddhist shrine and was later converted into Brahmanic temple and adorned with both Shaivite and Vaishnavite bas-reliefs.." [Yazdani :1960 :754]

    About other Buddhist shrines he has observed:

    "In the sphere of religion Buddhism had lost ground more and more since the days of Huen Tsang, and the Buddha of Amararama (Amaravati) had in fact come to be worshiped as an incarnation of Vishnu; the other four aramas of Bhimapura, Dakaremi, Palakolanu, and Drakshrama are believed to have been once famous centres of Buddhism. But subsequently became Hindu Shrines..." [Yazdani :1960 :500]

    Shaivas and Vaishnavas were together in this

    Thus we find that to chisel out old Buddhist images and replacing them with newly carved Brahmanic images was popular method of converting Buddhist shrines into Brahmanic ones, and also we find that Vaishnavas and Saivas were together in this. For example, in Ellora cave XV we find, after the chiseling out Buddhist images, one wall occupied by Vaishnavas and other by Shaivas:

    "...Sculptures on one side are mostly Vaishnava while those on the other are entirely Shaiva..." [sastri:1966:543]

    As a matter of fact there are innumerable cases, but it is not necessary to see more examples. The following will suffice as examples of Buddhist shrines taken over for Brahmanical use in days of decline of Buddhism.


    "...Even today images of Buddha are worshiped as Siva or Vishnu in many places in Bengal..." [Majumdar R.C.: 1966: 402]


    "...One of the centres founded by Samkara was located in Puri in Orissa. According to Swami Vivekananda, a leading modern teacher of Samkara's school, 'the temple of Jagannath is an old Buddhistic temple. We took this and others over and re-Hinduised them. We shall have to do many things like that yet.' ..." [Joshi L. M.: 1977: 351]


    Name of Adi Samkara is associated with this temple. Dave observes:

    "The tradition is that the temple of Badrinarayan was erected by Adi Shankaracharya in about 9the Century A.D. He secured the image which was lost, by diving deep in the Narada Kunda. ...(he) founded here one of his four principal monasteries known as the Uttaramnaya Jyotirnath." [Dave J.H.: 1970: 142]

    Like other Buddhist centers taken over by Brahmins, here also, the caste restriction are not strict.:

    "The Naivedya of Badari, if offered, can never be refused. There no untouchability before the Lord, no impurity in accepting the Lord's Prasad from any one. ... One refusing the Prasad with ignorance and a sense of superiority is worse than a chandala unfit for any religious duty. Even touched by the lowliest (chandala), it is never impure." [Dave: 1970: 15. Chandala is the original word in Sanskrit quotation]

    Dave describes this Murthi:

    "...Inside the temple Lord Narayana is seated in Padmasana with two hands in yoga mudra. The image is of black saligram stone about three feet high..." [Dave: 1970:145]

    L.M.Joshi avers that this Image is the image of Buddha.

    "...Among other temples of the Buddhist, took over by the Hindus, mention may be made of the one at Badrinath in Garhwal in which even the original Buddha image is still in situ and worshiped as that of Vishnu..." [Joshi: 1977: 351, emphasis ours]


    It is an accepted ancient Buddhist centre, where Buddhism flourished till about 9th century. It was such an important centre of Buddhism that the ancient school of Buddha images goes by its name.


    "Mahakachhayana, one of the famous disciples of Buddha, actively preached Buddhism in Mathura. When Buddha visited the city, he noticed the abundance of women-folk. It is mentioned as the most famous place in Millinda Panha. Upagupta, the preceptor of Emperor Asoka whom he converted to Buddhism was the son of Gupta and a perfumer. The accepted view is that Upagupta was born in Mathura where he built a big Buddhist monastery which existed till the 7th century A.D. He converted many people of Mathura to Buddhism. Eighteen thousand pupils attained sainthood through Upagupta. The well-known courtesan Vasavadatta, who was ultimately converted to Buddhism was a resident of Mathura. Fa-Hein called Mathura the Peacock city. In his day Buddhism was flourishing here. Huen Tsang also visited it and found it 20 li in circuit. In his day there were five Deva temples, three stupas built by Asoka, twenty Buddhist monasteries and 2000 Buddhist priests." [Dave: 1970: 88]

    After the fall of Buddhism, Brahmins erected temples on Buddhist sites and established their supremacy.

    "Bhutesvara Mahadeo's Temple is the place where there was the stupa of Sariputta, one of the famous disciples of Buddha. "The Kesav Deo Temple was built on the site of the great Buddhist monastery called Yasa Vihara." [Dave: 1970: 90]

    However, this temple was destroyed by Mohammed of Gazni in 1017 A.D.


    That the parts of Siva-Linga at Ayodhya and Bansi are Buddhist Relics, is well known. I.K. Sarma observes:

    "...We shall cite here a unique linga shrine near Buddhist Dhauli, the ancient Tosali, capital of Kalinga 11 Km. South of Bhuvaneswar. The unusually high Bhaskaresvara Linga, 2.75m. high and 3.70m. circumference at the bottom, on excavation, was found to be resting on a lateritic pedestal shaped into an agrhapitha. This pillar was recognized as an Asokan Pillar broken at the top. A monolithic Lion capital was recovered from a nearby trench. Several other relics (Bell capital, massive yaksa images) of Asokan vintage were found and now preserved in the State Museum Bhuvaneswar. This appears to be the case with the lotiform bell with Mauryan polish used as the base of Siva linga in the Nagesvaranatha temple at Ayodhya, Dist. Faizabad, U.P.; Lotiform capital and leg part of a lion in the Linga set up at Bansi, Dist. Basti, Eastern U.P. From these evidences we can infer that certain sacred Buddhist Sthalas were converted into Shaiva Ksetras after a general decline of Buddhism..." [sarma I. K.: 1988: 10, emphasis ours]


    On the authority of Journal of Mythic Society, p.151 and Eliot, Hinduism & Buddhism vol. II p.211, L.M.Joshi observes:

    "Samkara is known to have founded his Sringeri matha on the site of a Buddhist monastery..." [Joshi: 1977: 314]

    Bodhi Gaya

    Buddha temple at Buddha Gaya was in the custody of a Shaivite Mahanta and he used to extract money by applying gandha to forehead of the image of Buddha upto beginning of 20th century. Even today, in the managing committee of that temple, non Buddhist Hindus only dominate. [Lokhande: 1979: 120]


    There is an ancient image of Buddha near Sarnath, which is famous by the name of "Siva - Sangheswara" (Siva - the Lord of Sangha). [Lokhande: 1979: 120]


    A Buddha image is worshiped near Delhi in the name of "Buddho - mata" [Lokhande: 1979: 120]26


    There are two beautiful images of Buddha near Nalanda. One is popular as Teliya Baba (one who is pleased by pouring oil on him) and the other as Dheliya Baba (one who is pleased by being beaten up by a lump of earth). [Lokhande: 1979: 120]



    Coming back again home, i.e. near Tirupati, even the Mahanagaparvata (Guntepalli) was not spared in Andhara Pradesh. I.K.Sarma observes:

    "...Mahanagaparvata regained its pristine position as a Buddhist centre from early first century and renovation works went on briskly, perhaps, after a temporary spell of aggrandizement by the Jains. Even some new Vihara caves were established (nos. 36, 3, 38 and 39). The later inscriptions listed here under not only indicate Mahayana- Vajrayana affiliation of the establishment but proclaim the continuance of Mahanagaparvata as a great Buddhist centre in the ancient Vengi country right upto 11the century A.D. ... The place was finally usurped by the Saivites and the oldest circular Caitya cave was named as Dharamalingesvara and a Nandi was placed in its front. The place is venerated as a great living ksetra by the locals and on Sivaratri day, particularly the female folk, worship the Caitya as a bestower of fecundity. [sarma: 1988: 85, emphasis ours]

    Role of Puranas

    It is noteworthy that Buddhist places were regularized as Hindu temples by writing Puranas. Role of Puranas is well recognized in re-establishing Brahmin supremacy, but it is not properly understood that one of the main aims of writing Puranas was to claim Buddhist places of worship. L.M.Joshi observes:

    "...Not only the Buddhist holy places and shrines were occupied and transformed into Hindu Tirthas and devalayas and this occupation of non-Brahmanical places and sanctuaries were strengthened by invented myth or pseudo- history (purana), but the best elements of Buddhistic culture, including the Buddha, were appropriated and homologized in sacred books..." [Joshi: 1977: 338]


  12. Originally posted by karthik_v:


    Third, Witzel, is by no means an authority.



    i wanted to hear from you on this...


    you know MICHAEL WITZEL is Wales Professor of Sanskrit, Harvard University....maybe he is not an authority in Hindutva circles but he certainly didn't get his position at Harvard by being a janitor...







    [This message has been edited by jijaji (edited 02-25-2002).]

  13. Hinduism and Talibanism

    By Mukundan C. Menon


    Which is more deplorable: destruction of Buddhism in its own birth place in ancient India by Hindus, or of Buddha statues by present day Islamic Talibans in Afghanistan?



    Two well known academicians of Kerala - Prof KM Bahauddin, former pro-vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim and Osmania universities, and Dr MS Jayaprakash, professor of history at Kollam - throw some deep insights into the dark history of India when Buddhism was systematically eliminated by Brahminical forces who control Hinduism, then and now.


    Says Jayaprakash: ‘The ruthless demolition of Buddha statues by Taliban has courted severe criticism from different quarters of the world. Surprisingly, the BJP-led Indian Government, supported by all Hindutva forces, also condemned the Taliban action. It is a paradox that the forerunners of the present Hindutva forces in India had wantonly destroyed not only Buddhist statues but also killed Buddhists in India. Therefore, any impartial student of history would unequivocally say that these Hindutva forces have no moral right to criticize Taliban now.’


    He elaborates: ‘Hundreds of Buddhist statues, stupas and viharas have been destroyed in India between 830 and 966 AD in the name of Hindu revivalism. Both literary and archaeological sources within and outside India speak volumes about the havoc done to Buddhism by Hindu fanatics. Spiritual leaders like Sankaracharya and many Hindu kings and rulers took pride in demolishing Buddhist images aiming at the total eradication of Buddhist culture. Today, their descendants destroyed the Babri Masjid and also published the list of mosques to be targeted in future. It is with this sin of pride that they presently condemn Taliban.’


    Prof. Bahauddin elaborates the selfish compulsions of Brahminism to wipe-out Buddhism: ‘Buddhism tried to create a dynamic society in ancient India. Jainism also contributed its share. As Buddhism spread, iron ploughs and implement were used for development of agriculture. As a result, new areas were cultivated and agricultural productivity increased, apart from developing trade centres and road links. Subsistence-level economy changed to a surplus economy with grain storage facilities, exchange of goods, trade and development of bureaucratic administration. This also created social change - from elans consisting several families to tribes consisting several elans of similar socio-economic conditions. The emphasis of Brahmins, on the other hand, was for receiving and giving alms and not on production of goods. Those who give and receive alms were close to Gods and those who produce were considered as inferior. According to Manusmriti, a Sudra should not have wealth of his own. In case he has any, a Brahmin as his master can take it over without any hesitation. ‘Rigveda’ goes a step further to kill those who do not give ‘danam’ to the Brahmins. In other words, someone has to produce goods so that others can give ‘danam’ to the recipient Brahmins. It was against this system of 'downgrading those who produce' that Buddhism came into being.’


    Recalls Dr. Jayaprakash: ‘The Hindu ruler Pushyamitra Sunga had destroyed 84,000 Buddhist stupas which were built by Emperor Ashoka. This was followed by the demolition of Buddhist centres in Magadha. Thousands of Buddhist saints were killed mercilessly. King Jalaluka destroyed the Buddha viharas within his jurisdiction on the ground that chanting of hymns by Buddhists disturbed his sleep! In Kashmir, King Kinnara demolished thousands of viharas and captured the Buddhist villages to please Brahmins. A large number of Buddha viharas were usurped by Brahmins and converted into Hindu temples where entry of ‘untouchables’ was prohibited. Notably, Buddhist places were regularized as Hindu temples by writing Puranas, which were invented myths or pseudo history. The important temples at Tirupathi, Aihole, Undavalli, Ellora, Bengal, Puri, Badarinath, Mathura, Ayodhya, Sringeri, Bodhigaya, Saranath, Delhi, Nalanda, Gudimallam, Nagarjunakonda, Srisailam and Sabarimala are some of the striking examples of Brahminical usurpation of Buddhist centres.’


    Detailing the divergence in both orientation and essence between Buddhism and Hinduism, Prof. Bahauddin says: ‘Equality, compassion, non-violence, utilization of human abilities for general welfare, etc. were the cardinal principles of Buddhism. According to ‘Sathpatha Brahmanam (22-6, 3-4-14), on the other hand, the whole universe is controlled by God, God is controlled by Mantram and Mantram is with Brahmins and, therefore, Brahmins are God (on earth). They used Mantram and Sapam to instil fear in the people to obey them, while Buddhism encouraged people to observe visible facts, to apply reason to get out of fear. Buddhism also encouraged people to do good things, besides guiding Kings to look after the people's welfare. Buddhism considers the general welfare of the people, while Brahminism considers that the whole world was created for them all along. And, there is bound to be conflict between these two opposite ways of thinking.’


    According to Dr Jayaprakash, Sakaracharya had played ‘a demon's role’ in destruction of Buddhist statues and monuments at Nagarjunakonda (in present-day Andhra Pradesh). ‘A. N. Longhurst, who conducted excavations at Nagarjunakonda, had recorded this in his invaluable book, Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India No. 54, The Buddhist Antiquities of Nagarjunakonda (Delhi, 1938, p. 6). The ruthless manner in which all the buildings at Nagarjunakonda have been destroyed is simply appalling and cannot represent the work of treasure-seekers alone since so many pillars, statues, and sculptures have been wantonly smashed to pieces. Local tradition relates that the great Hindu philosopher and teacher, Sankaracharya, came to Nagarjunakonda with a host of followers and destroyed the Buddhist monuments. The cultivated lands on which ruined buildings stand represent a religious grant made to Sankaracharya.’


    Quoting Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Prof. Bahauddin says that the conflict against Brahmin supremacy had, in fact, started before Buddhist period, between Vasishta Muni, a Brahmin, and Viswamitra, a non-Brahmin. ‘The dispute was about the learning of ‘Vedas’, the right to conduct religious ceremony, to receive gifts, and to perform coronation of King. Vasishta Muni insisted that these were the exclusive privileges of Brahmins, while Viswamitra was opposed to such exclusive rights. This dispute lasted for long period, and even Kings joined in it (Writings and Speeches of Dr. Ambedkar, vol. 7, p. 148-155. It was won by Brahmins.’


    Prof. Bahauddin lists the different stages of Brahmin hostility against Buddhism: ‘1) 483-273 BC: The period after Buddha's death upto Ashoka's rule when attempts were made to include Brahminical ideas in Buddhist ideology. 2) 273-200 BC: When Buddhism spread all over India and became a world religion. 3) 200 BC-500 AD: The period when all possible efforts were made to disintegrate Buddhism from within by adulterating Buddhist teachings with Brahminical ideas and also through physical annihilation from outside. As a result, Buddhism divided itself into 18 sects, of which Hinayana and Mahayana were prominent ones. 4) 500-700 AD: Brahminism gained supremacy in North India and efforts began to drive out Buddhism and Jainism from South India. 5) 700-1100 AD: Brahminism gained supremacy in South India and, with added vigour, it moved again to North India to obtain complete supremacy over Buddhism and Jainism. 6) 1100-1400 AD: Buddhism and Jainism were destroyed from the remaining Southern States of Karnataka and Kerala and, thus, total supremacy of Brahminism all over India was achieved.’


    Adds Dr. Jayaprakash: ‘Within Kerala, Sankaracharya and his close associate Kumarila Bhatta, an avowed foe of Buddhism, organized a religious crusade against Buddhists. A vivid description of Sankaracharya's pleasure of seeing people of non-Brahminic faith being burnt to death is available in ‘Sankara Digvijaya’. Kumarila instigated King Suddhanvan of Ujjain to exterminate Buddhists. The ‘Mricchakatika’ of Sudraka describes how the King's brother-in-law in Ujjain inhumanly tortured the Buddhist monks, by using them as bullocks by inserting a string through their nose and yoking them to the cart! The ‘Keralolpathi’ documents the extermination of Buddhism from Kerala by Kumarila. About the activities of Sankaracharya, even Vivekananda had observed: ‘And, such was the heart of Sankara that he burnt to death lots of Buddhist monks by defeating them in argument. What can you call such action on Sankara's part except fanaticism’ (Complete works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. III, p. 118, Calcutta, 1997).’


    According to Dr. Jayaprakash, there are hundreds of places in Kerala having names ‘palli’ either affixed or suffixed with them. ‘Karunagapalli, Karthikapalli, Pallickal, Pallippuram, Edappally, etc. are some examples of these places. The term ‘palli’ means a Buddha vihara. Notably, Kerala had 1200 years of Buddhist tradition. Earlier, the schools in Malayalam were called as ‘Ezhuthupalli’ or ‘Pallikoodam’. It is also worth noticing that the Christians and Muslims in Kerala use the term ‘palli’ to denote their church and mosque alike. These ‘pallies’ or viharas had been ruthlessly demolished by the Hindu forces under the leadership of Sankaracharya and Kumarila. They could exterminate 1200 years of Buddhist tradition and converted Kerala into a Brahminical state based on the ‘Chaturvarna’ system. Original inhabitants of Kerala, like the Ezhavas, Pulayas, etc., were crushed under the weight of casteism. Many a viharas was transformed into temples and majority of people were prevented from entering temples under the pretext of caste pollution. It can also be noted that the name ‘Kerala’ is the Sanskritised Aryan version of the Dravidian and Buddhist term ‘Cherala’. The Parasurama legend is nothing but an invented myth for regularizing the Brahminical ‘Kerala’ hiding its glorious Buddhist traditions.’


    Jainism, too, met with the same fate in South India. Prof. Bahauddin elaborates: ‘Very little information is available about growth of Jainism in South India during 300-400 AD. The Jain book, ‘Digambara Darsana’, recounts the starting of a Sangham at Madurai in 470 AD and Jainism became widespread and strong during 500-600 AD (Kumaraswamy Iyengar, ‘Studies in South Indian Jainism’, p. 51-58)….. The Jains used to instal the images of their saints in their religious places, a practice which was followed by Brahmins. Hindu temples appeared all over Tamilnadu probably after converting the Jain religious places. The idols of 63 Brahmin Sanyasis, who led destruction of Jainism, still adorn the walls of some Hindu temples in Tamilnadu. The remains of destroyed Jain idols, their abandoned religious and living places are scattered all over Tamilnadu to narrate their story. Frescos depicting the kings of Jains could be seen on the walls near the Golden Tank at Madurai Meenakshi Temple where, of the total 12 annual festivals, five depict the killing of Jains according to Kumaraswamy Iyengar (p. 78-79).’


    According to Dr. Jayaprakash, a number of Buddha statues have been discovered at places like Ambalapuzha, Karunagapalli, Pallickal, Bharanikkavu, Mavelikara and Neelamperur in Kerala. ‘They are either in the form of smashed pieces or thrown away from viharas. Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala and Lord Padmanabha at Thiruvananthapuram are the proxy images of Buddha being worshipped as Vishnu. Hundreds of Buddhists were killed on the banks of Aluva river. The term ‘Aluva’ was derived from ‘Alawai’ which means ‘Trisul’, a weapon used by Hindu fanatics to stab Buddhists. Similarly, on the banks of the Vaigai river in Tamilnadu, thousands of Buddhists were killed by the Vaishnava Saint, Sambanthar. Thevaram, a Tamil book, documents this brutal extermination of Buddhism.’


    Prof. Bahauddin recalls the strong reasons to believe that a large section of Jains had embraced Islam: ‘The spread of Islam in Tamilnadu can be considered in three or four stages. Islam spread in Kerala and Tamilnadu when Jainism was under pressure (650-750 AD). The new religion was received without resistance…. Since Islam considers every human being with equality Jainism and Buddhism had no conflict with it. When Muhammad ibn Al-Qasim attacked Sindh, the Buddhists supported him because they were facing annihilation at that time. A similar situation was prevailing in South India during 650-750 AD…. Muslims in Tamilnadu are called Anchuvanthar, Labba (teacher), Rauthar, Marakar (sailor) or Jonakan (Yavankan). The Anchuvanam is the guild of traders and groups of artisans. The Muslim mohallas of ‘Anchuvan Vamsagar’, ‘Anchuvanathar’, etc. are scattered all over Tamilnadu and seem to be the en bloc conversion of Jain guilds engaged in different activities, especially weaving. Those who ran away from Tamilnadu settled down in Sravanabalagola and Gomatheswaram in Karnataka. And, those who could not leave due to their economic interests converted to Islam. If we analyze the body structure, food, language, dress, ornaments, customs and habits of Anchuvanthar, it could be see that those are a continuation of Jain way of living and customs.


    Till recently, the weavers in such Muslim mohallas will not eat at noon or night, and take only one meal before dusk. This was a continuation of Jain habits. There is a separate place in such villages called ‘Odukkam’ where Jain Munist used to sit in prayer. On the last Wednesday of the month called ‘Odukkathae’ Wednesday, the Muslims gather together to sing religious songs, which is also a Jain tradition. When religious functions like Maulood, Rathif, etc. are organized in the house, a white cloth with lotus symbol on it called ‘Mekett’ is tied, which resembles the ‘Asmanagiri’ of the Jains…. The architecture of Muslim stone mosques are completely of Jain architecture. The pillars of earlier mosques have practically no difference with the Jain temple pillars. The close relationship between traders and weavers had probably cemented by conversion to Islam. During 950-1200 AD, there were large number of Sufis, Fakirs, wandering poets, singing minstrels, etc. among Muslims all over Tamilnadu. Nadirshah with 500 disciples settled down in ‘Trichinopoly’ during 1000 AD. Aliyar Shah and his disciples made Madurai as their centre. Baba Fakhruddin travelled all over Tamilnadu. Nagur became another Sufi centre. The Muslim religious literature of Tamilnadu of that period was least different from those created by Jains and Hindus during the ‘Bhakti’ movement.’


    Prof. Bahauddin recounts the spread of Jainism and Buddhism in Kerala, thus: ‘Jainism spread in North Kerala around 200 BC. The Jain architectural remains in Canara and Malabar are not available anywhere else in South of Nepal. While Jainism entered North Kerala via Mangalore, Salem, Coimbatore and Wayanad, it entered Southern Kerala from Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, Chitharal, etc. The hill near Anamala, which was an important Jain centre, is still called ‘Jain Durgam’. The close-by Kurumala was also a Jain centre. From Anamala through Munnar, Devikulam, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor, etc. they reached Neryamangalam, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and other places. The ‘Kallil Kshetram’ in Perumbavoor is an important Jain monument as also the ‘Jainmedu’ in Vadakethara village of Palakkad district. Kerala's cave temples at Chitharal, Kallil, Trikur, Erunilamkode (Thrissur district) and Thiruveghapuram (Palakkad district) were constructed during the period of Jain King Mahendra Verman-I (610-640 AD). Temple records of Rameswaram, Sucheendram, Poothadi (Wayanad), Keenalur (Kozhicode) , etc. show that they were part of ‘Kunavai Koottam’ during 10-11th centuries. ‘Koottam’ is the place of living for Jain Sanyasis. Temple records show that all these present-day Hindu temples were Jain religious places till 11th century. Place names with Kallu, Poothan, Aathan, Kotha, Palli, Ambalam, etc. were all Jain centres. Spread all over Kerala, names of these places show that Buddhism and Jainism were widespread. The famous Kalpathi in Palakkad district was a Buddhist-Jain centre. The ‘Ratholsavam’ there is akin to the ‘Kettukazhcha’ of Buddhists. The present Bhagavati temples were also Jain temples. The group, ‘Adikal’, had a prominent position among Jains who became ‘Pisharadi’ after absorption of Jainism in Hinduism.’


    ‘Similarly, the Buddhist stoopa at Kodungallore, located in Methala village South-East of Thrikanamathilakam, is an important Buddhist ruin in Kerala…. Mahismathi was the capital of Chera King Satyaputran, which shows the relationship of Chera country (Kerala) with Buddhism. There is a reference in ‘Manimekhala’ about a Buddhist Chaityam in Kerala. While Vadakkumnatha Temple at Thrissur and Kurumba Temple at Kodungallore were Buddhist temples, Buddha statues were discovered from Kollam, Alappuzha, Mavelikara, Pallikkal, Karumadi and other places…. Treating mental patients in Thiruvadi temple and leprosy patients in Thakazhi temple shows that they were Buddhist temples since these kind of humanitarian services were not rendered out from Hindu temples…. By 900 AD Buddhism and Jainism were almost wiped out from Tamilnadu. The second settlement wave of Brahmins in Kerala during 900 AD was with Pandyan Kings' support. Karnataka and Kerala were the only two states where Buddhism and Jainism were still surviving and the second immigration of Brahmins might have been for driving out these two religions from the remaining places.’


    Prof. Bahauddin recalls: ‘Very few people know that Buddhism and Jainism were the prominent religions of Kerala till 1200 AD. I was also under the impression that Hinduism was in Kerala from the very beginning. When facts were pieced together, a different picture emerged. Only from the end of 1800 AD the evidence became available about Buddha, Buddhism, Ashoka, etc. That fact itself is a pathetic story….’


    Adds Dr. Jayaprakash in conclusion: ‘This is what really happened in India, the land of Buddha. But our so-called eminent historians, except a few, are bent upon eclipsing the cruelty done to Buddhists in India. These pseudo historians have succeeded in creating an impression that India is a land of righteousness and toleration. The entire world has been duped by them. The deed on the part of Taliban can be justified on the ground that Islam does not permit idols. But one has to note that Islam does not allow the demolition of other people's religious centres and images. Whatever may be the argument for and against Taliban action, the Hindu atrocities on Buddhism in India has no parallel in the entire world history of religious struggle. Let the world know the cruel and crooked face of the ‘Indian vulture without culture’!

  14. Horseplay in Harappa


    Harvard Historians smash Brahmin Supremacist Vedic Indus Theory


    Two Brahmin historians named N.S.Rajaram (a South Indian Brahmin) and Natwar Jha (also a Brahmin) proposed a theory, based on Puranic teachings, that the Indus Valley was a Vedic Sanskrit civilization. This theory was vigourously propagated by the Brahmin-dominated Indian BJP Government under Pandit A.B.Vajpayee. Now, eminent Harvard historians finally demolish this Brahmin supremacist fraud once and for all.




    Frontline Volume 17 - Issue 20, Oct. 13, 2000





    The Indus Valley Decipherment Hoax


    MICHAEL WITZEL, a Harvard University Indologist, and STEVE FARMER, a comparative historian, report on media hype, faked data, and Hindutva propaganda in recent claims that the Indus Valley script has been decoded.




    LAST summer the Indian press carried sensational stories announcing the final decipherment of the Harappan or Indus Valley script. A United News of India dispatch on July 11, 1999, picked up throughout South Asia, reported on new research by "noted histo rian, N.S. Rajaram, who along with palaeographist Dr. Natwar Jha, has read and deciphered the messages on more than 2,000 Harappan seals." Discussion of the messages was promised in Rajaram and Jha's upcoming book, The Deciphered Indus Script. For nearly a year, the Internet was abuzz with reports that Rajaram and Jha had decoded the full corpus of Indus Valley texts.


    This was not the first claim that the writing of the Indus Valley Civilisation (fl. c. 2600-1900 BCE) had been cracked. In a 1996 book, American archaeologist Gregory Possehl reviewed thirty-five attempted decipherments, perhaps one-third the actual numb er. But the claims of Rajaram and Jha went far beyond those of any recent historians. Not only had the principles of decipherment been discovered, but the entire corpus of texts could now be read. Even more remarkable were the historical conclusions that Rajaram and his collaborator said were backed by the decoded messages.


    The UNI story was triggered by announcements that Rajaram and Jha had not only deciphered the Indus Valley seals but had read "pre-Harappan" texts dating to the mid-fourth millennium BCE. If confirmed, this meant that they had decoded mankind's earliest literary message. The "texts" were a handful of symbols scratched on a pottery tablet recently discovered by Harvard University archaeologist Richard Meadow. The oldest of these, Rajaram told the UNI, was a text that could be translated "Ila surrounds th e blessed land" - an oblique but unmistakable reference to the Rigveda's Saraswati river. The suggestion was that man's earliest message was linked to India's oldest religious text.1 The claim was hardly trivial, since this was over 2,000 year s before Indologists date the Rigveda - and more than 1,000 years before Harappan culture itself reached maturity.


    Rajaram's World


    After months of media hype, Rajaram and Jha's The Deciphered Indus Script2 made it to print in New Delhi early this year. By midsummer the book had reached the West and was being heatedly discussed via the Internet in Europe, India, and the United States. The book gave credit for the decipherment method to Jha, a provincial religious scholar, previously unknown, from Farakka, in West Bengal. The book's publicity hails him as "one of the world's foremost Vedic scholars and palaeographer s." Jha had reportedly worked in isolation for twenty years, publishing a curious 60-page English pamphlet on his work in 1996. Jha's study caught the eye of Rajaram, who was already notorious in Indological circles. Rajaram took credit for writing most of the book, which heavily politicised Jha's largely apolitical message. Rajaram's online biography claims that their joint effort is "the most important breakthrough of our time in the history of Indian history and culture."



    Boasts like this do not surprise battle-scarred Indologists familiar with Rajaram's work. A U.S. engineering professor in the 1980s, Rajaram re-invented himself in the 1990s as a fiery Hindutva propagandist and "revisionist" historian. By the mid-1990s, he could claim a following in India and in immigrant circles in the U.S. In manufacturing his public image, Rajaram traded heavily on claims, not justified by his modest research career, that before turning to history "he was one of America's best-known wor kers in artificial intelligence and robotics." Hyperbole abounds in his online biography, posted at the ironically named "Sword of Truth" website. The Hindutva propaganda site, located in the United States, pictures Rajaram as a "world-renowned" expert o n "Vedic mathematics" and an "authority on the history of Christianity." The last claim is supported by violently anti-Christian works carrying titles like Christianity's Collapsing Empire and Its Designs in India. Rajaram's papers include his "Se arch for the historical Krishna" (found in the Indus Valley c. 3100 BCE); attack a long list of Hindutva "enemies" including Christian missionaries, Marxist academics, leftist politicians, Indian Muslims, and Western Indologists; and glorify the mob dest ruction of the Babri Mosque in 1992 as a symbol of India's emergence from "the grip of alien imperialistic forces and their surrogates." All Indian history, Rajaram writes, can be pictured as a struggle between nationalistic and imperialistic forces.


    In Indology, the imperialistic enemy is the "colonial-missionary creation known as the Aryan invasion model," which Rajaram ascribes to Indologists long after crude invasion theories have been replaced by more sophisticated acculturation models by seriou s researchers. Rajaram's cartoon image of Indology is to be replaced by "a path of study that combines ancient learning and modern science." What Rajaram means by "science" is suggested in one of his papers describing the knowledge of the Rigveda poets. The Rigveda rishis, we find, packed their hymns with occult allusions to high-energy physics, anti-matter, the inflational theory of the universe, calculations of the speed of light, and gamma-ray bursts striking the earth three times a day. The l atter is shown in three Rigveda verses (3.56.6, 7.11.3, 9.86.18) addressed to the god Agni. The second Rajaram translates: "O Agni! We know you have wealth to give three times a day to mortals."


    One of Rajaram's early Hindutva pieces was written in 1995 with David Frawley, a Western "New Age" writer who likes to find allusions to American Indians in the Rigveda. Frawley is transformed via the "Sword of Truth" into a "famous American Vedic scholar and historian." The book by Rajaram and Frawley proposes the curious thesis that the Rigveda was the product of a complex urban and maritime civilisation, not the primitive horse-and-chariot culture seen in the text. The goal is to link the Rigv eda to the earlier Indus Valley Civilisation, undercutting any possibility of later "Aryan" migrations or relocations of the Rigveda to "foreign" soil. Ancient India, working through a massive (but lost) Harappan literature, was a prime source of civilis ation to the West.


    The Deciphered Indus Script makes similar claims with different weapons. The Indus-Saraswati Valley again becomes the home of the Rigveda and a font of higher civilisation: Babylonian and Greek mathematics, all alphabetical scripts, and even Roman numerals flow out to the world from the Indus Valley's infinitely fertile cultural womb. Press releases praise the work for not only "solving the most significant technical problem in historical research of our time" - deciphering the Indus script - but for demonstrating as well that "if any 'cradle of civilisation' existed, it was located not in Mesopotamia but in the Saraswati Valley." The decoded messages of Harappa thus confirm the Hindutva propagandist's wildest nationalistic dreams.


    Rajaram's 'Piltdown Horse'


    Not unexpectedly, Indologists followed the pre-press publicity for Rajaram's book with a mix of curiosity and scepticism. Just as the book hit the West, a lively Internet debate was under way over whether any substantial texts existed in Harappa - let alone the massive lost literature claimed by Rajaram. Indus Valley texts are cryptic to extremes, and the script shows few signs of evolutionary change. Most inscriptions are no more than four or five characters long; many contain only two or three characters. Moreover, character shapes in mature Harappan appear to be strangely "frozen," unlike anything seen in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt or China. This suggests that expected "scribal pressures" for simplifying the script, arising out of the repeate d copying of long texts, was lacking. And if this is true, the Indus script may have never evolved beyond a simple proto-writing system.



    Mackay 453 before its 'computer enhancement' by Rajaram. When you look at the original picture, it is clear that the seal impression is cracked.


    Once Rajaram's book could actually be read, the initial scepticism of Indologists turned to howls of disbelief - followed by charges of fraud. It was quickly shown that the methods of Jha and Rajaram were so flexible that virtually any desired message co uld be read into the texts. One Indologist claimed that using methods like these he could show that the inscriptions were written in Old Norse or Old English. Others pointed to the fact that the decoded messages repeatedly turned up "missing links" betwe en Harappan and Vedic cultures - supporting Rajaram's Hindutva revisions of history. The language of Harappa was declared to be "late Vedic" Sanskrit, some 2,000 years before the language itself existed. Through the decoded messages, the horseless Indus Valley Civilisation - distinguishing it sharply from the culture of the Rigveda - was awash with horses, horse keepers, and even horse rustlers. To support his claims, Rajaram pointed to a blurry image of a "horse seal" - the first pictorial evidence eve r claimed of Harappan horses.


    Chaos followed. Within weeks, the two of us demonstrated that Rajaram's "horse seal" was a fraud, created from a computer distortion of a broken "unicorn bull" seal. This led Indologist wags to dub it the Indus Valley "Piltdown horse" - a comic allusion to the "Piltdown man" hoax of the early twentieth century. The comparison was, in fact, apt, since the "Piltdown man" was created to fill the missing link between ape and man - just as Rajaram's "horse seal" was intended to fill a gap between Harappa and Vedic cultures.



    Once the hoax was uncovered, $1000 was offered to anyone who could find one Harappan researcher who endorsed Rajaram's "horse seal." The offer found no takers.


    The "Piltdown horse" story has its comic side, but it touches on a central problem in Indian history. Horses were critical to Vedic civilisation, as we see in Vedic texts describing horse sacrifices, horse raids, and warfare using horse-drawn chariots. I f Rigvedic culture (normally dated to the last half of the second millennium BCE) is identified with Harappa, it is critical to find evidence of extensive use of domesticated horses in India in the third millennium BCE. In the case of Hindutva "revisioni sts" like Rajaram, who push the Rigveda to the fourth or even fifth millennium, the problem is worse. They must find domesticated horses and chariots in South Asia thousands of years before either existed anywhere on the planet.


    Evidence suggests that the horse (Equus caballus) was absent from India before around 2000 BCE, or even as late as 1700 BCE, when archaeology first attests its presence in the Indus plains below the Bolan pass. The horse, a steppe animal from the semi-temperate zone, was not referred to in the Middle East until the end of the third millennium, when it first shows up in Sumerian as anshe.kur (mountain ass) or anshe.zi.zi (speedy ass). Before horses, the only equids in the Near East w ere the donkey and the half-ass (hemione, onager). The nearly untrainable hemiones look a bit like horses and can interbreed with them, as can donkeys. In India, the hemione or khor (Equus hemionus khur) was the only equid known before the horse; a few specimens still survive in the Rann of Kutch.


    As shown by their identical archaeological field numbers (DK-6664), M-772A (published in Vol. II of Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions, 1991) is the original seal that seven decades ago created the seal impression (Mackay 453) that Rajaram claims is a 'horse seal.'

    M-772A (flipped horizontally) Mackay 453



    The appearance of domesticated horses in the Old World was closely linked to the development of lightweight chariots, which play a central role in the Rigveda. The oldest archaeological remains of chariots are from east and west of the Ural mountains, wh ere they appear c. 2000 BCE. In the Near East, their use is attested in pictures and writing a little later. A superb fifteenth-century Egyptian example survives intact (in Florence, Italy); others show up in twelfth-century Chinese tombs.


    Chariots like these were high-tech creations: the poles of the Egyptian example were made of elm, the wheels' felloes (outer rim) of ash, its axles and spokes of evergreen oak, and its spoke lashings of birch bark. None of these trees are found in the Ne ar East south of Armenia, implying that these materials were imported from the north. The Egyptian example weighs only 30 kg or so, a tiny fraction of slow and heavy oxen-drawn wagons, weighing 500 kg or more, which earlier served as the main wheeled tra nsport. These wagons, known since around 3000 BCE, are similar to those still seen in parts of the Indian countryside.


    The result of all this is that the claim that horses or chariots were found in the Indus Valley of the third millennium BCE is quite a stretch. The problem is impossible for writers like Rajaram who imagine the Rigveda early in the fourth or even fifth m illennium, which is long before any wheeled transport - let alone chariots - existed. Even the late Hungarian palaeontologist S. Bokonyi, who thought that he recognised horses' bones at one Indus site, Surkotada, denied that these were indigenous to South Asia. He writes that "horses reached the Indian subcontinent in an already domesticated form coming from the Inner Asiatic hors e domestication centres." Harvard's Richard Meadow, who discovered the earliest known Harappan text (which Rajaram claims to have deciphered), disputes even the Surkotada evidence. In a paper written with the young Indian scholar, Ajita K. Patel, Meadow argues that not one clear example of horse bones exists in Indus excavations or elsewhere in North India before c. 2000 BCE.3 All contrary claims arise from evidence from ditches, erosional deposits, pits or horse graves originating hun dreds or even thousands of years later than Harappan civilisation. Remains of "horses" claimed by early Harappan archaeologists in the 1930s were not documented well enough to let us distinguish between horses, hemiones, or asses.


    All this explains the need for Rajaram's horse inscriptions and "horse seal." If this evidence were genuine, it would trigger a major rethinking of all Old World history. Rajaram writes, in his accustomed polemical style:



    The 'horse seal' goes to show that the oft repeated claim of "No horse at Harappa" is entirely baseless. Horse bones have been found at all levels at Harappan sites. Also... the word 'as'va' (horse) is a commonly occuring (sic) word on the seals. The sup posed 'horselessness' of the Harappans is a dogma that has been exploded by evidence. But like its cousin the Aryan invasion, it persists for reasons having little to do with evidence or scholarship.

    Rajaram's "horse," which looks something like a deer to most people, is a badly distorted image printed next to an "artist's reproduction" of a horse, located below a Harappan inscription.4 The original source of the image, Mackay 453, is a ti ny photo on Plate XCV of Vol. II of Ernest Mackay's Further Excavations of Mohenjo-Daro (New Delhi, 1937-38). The photo was surprisingly difficult to track down, since Rajaram's book does not tell you in which of Mackay's archaeological works, whi ch contain thousands of images, the photo is located. Finding it and others related to it required coordinating resources in two of the world's best research libraries, located 3,000 miles apart in the United States.




    Once the original was found, and compared over the Internet with his distorted image, Rajaram let it slip that the "horse seal" was a "computer enhancement" that he and Jha introduced to "facilitate our reading." Even now, however, he claims that the sea l depicts a "horse." To deny it would be disastrous, since to do so would require rejection of his decipherment of the seal inscription - which supposedly includes the word "horse."


    Once you see Mackay's original photo, it is clear that Rajaram's "horse seal" is simply a broken "unicorn bull" seal, the most common seal type found in Mohenjo-daro. In context, its identity is obvious, since the same page contains photos of more than two dozen unicorn bulls - any one of which would make a good "horse seal" if it were cracked in the right place.


    What in Rajaram's "computer enhancement" looks like the "neck" and "head" of a deer is a Rorschach illusion created by distortion of the crack and top-right part of the inscription. Any suggestion that the seal represents a whole animal evaporates as soo n as you see the original. The fact that the seal is broken is not mentioned in Rajaram's book. You certainly cannot tell it is broken from the "computer enhancement."


    While Rajaram's bogus "horse seal" is crude, because of the relative rarity of the volume containing the original, which is not properly referenced in Rajaram's book, only a handful of researchers lucky enough to have the right sources at hand could trac k it down. Rajaram's evidence could not be checked by his typical reader in Ahmedabad, say - or even by Indologists using most university libraries.


    The character of the original seal becomes clearer when you look more closely at the evidence. Mackay 453, it turns out, is not the photo of a seal at all, as Rajaram claims, but of a modern clay impression of a seal (field number DK-6664) dug up in Mohe njo-daro during the 1927-31 excavations. We have located a superb photograph of the original seal that made the impression (identified again by field number DK-6664) in the indispensable Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions (Vol. II: Helsinki 19 91, p. 63). The work was produced by archaeologists from India and Pakistan, coordinated by the renowned Indologist Asko Parpola. According to a personal communication from Dr. Parpola, the original seal was photographed in Pakistan by Jyrki Lyytikk? spe cifically for the 1991 publication.


    Like everyone else looking at the original, Parpola notes that Rajaram's "horse seal" is simply a broken "unicorn bull" seal, one of numerous examples found at Mohenjo-daro. Rajaram has also apparently been told this by Iravatham Mahadevan, the leading I ndian expert on the Indus script. Mahadevan is quoted, without name, in Rajaram's book as a "well known 'Dravidianist"' who pointed out to him the obvious. But, Rajaram insists, a "comparison of the two creatures [unicorns and horses], especially in [the ] genital area, shows this to be fallacious." Rajaram has also claimed on the Internet that the animal's "bushy tail" shows that it is a horse.


    Below, on the left, we have reproduced Lyytikk?'s crisp photo of the original seal, compared (on the right) with the seven-decade-old photo (Mackay 453) of the impression Rajaram claims is a "horse seal." We have flipped the image of the original horizon tally to simplify comparison of the seal and impression. The tail of the animal is the typical "rope" tail associated with unicorn bull seals at Mohenjo-daro (seen in more images below). It is clearly not the "bushy tail" that Rajaram imagines - although Rajaram's story is certainly a "bushy horse tale."


    Checking Rajaram's claims about the "genital area," we find no genitals at all in M-772A or Mackay 453 - for the simple reason that genitals on unicorn bulls are typically located right where the seal is cracked! This is clear when we look at other unico rn seals or their impressions. One seal impression, Parpola M-1034a (on the right), has a lot in common with Rajaram's "horse seal," including the two characters on the lefthand side of the inscription. The seal is broken in a different place, wiping out the righthand side of the inscription but leaving the genitals intact. On this seal impression we see the distinctive "unicorn" genitals, identified by the long "tuft" hanging straight down. The genitals are located where we would find them on Rajaram's "horse seal," if the latter were not broken.


    Other unicorn bull seal impressions, like the one seen in Parpola M-595a, could make terrific "horse seals" if cracked in the same place. Unfortunately, Parpola M-595a is not broken, revealing the fact (true of most Harappan seals) that it represents not a real but a mythological animal. (And, of course, neither this nor any other unicorn has a bushy tail.)


    Rajaram's 'computer enhancement' of Mackay 453 on the left; the arrow points to an object apparently stuck into the original image. On the right, pictures of Mohenjo-daro copper plates showing similar telephone-like 'feeding troughs.'



    (Left) Figure 7.1a: The `Horse Seal' (Mackay 453)


    A Russian Indologist, Yaroslav Vassilkov, has pointed to a suspicious detail in Rajaram's "computer enhancement" that is not found on any photo of the seal or impression. Just in front of the animal, we find a small object that looks like a partia l image of a common icon in animal seals: a "feeding trough" that looks a little like an old-style telephone. Who inserted it into the distorted image of the "horse seal" is not known. Rajaram has not responded to questions about it.


    Below, we show Rajaram's "computer enhancement" next to pictures of Mohenjo-daro copper plates that contain several versions of the object.


    'Late Vedic' Sanskrit - 2000 Years Before Schedule


    The horse seal is only one case of bogus data in Rajaram's book. Knowledge of Vedic Sanskrit is needed to uncover those involving his decipherments. That is not knowledge that Rajaram would expect in his average reader, since (despite its pretensions) th e book is not aimed at scholars but at a lay Indian audience. The pretence that the book is addressed to researchers (to whom the fraud is obvious) is a smokescreen to convince lay readers that Rajaram is a serious historical scholar.


    The decipherment issue explains why Rajaram continues to defend his "horse seal" long after his own supporters have called on him to repudiate it. He has little choice, since he has permanently wedded his "Piltdown horse" to his decipherment method. The inscription over the horse, he tells us, reads (a bit ungrammatically) "arko-hasva or arko ha as'va" - "Sun indeed like the horse (sic)." The reading clearly would be pointless if the image represented a unicorn bull. Rajaram claims that there are links between this "deciphered" text and a later Vedic religious document, the Shukla Yajurveda. This again pushes the Rigveda, which is linguistically much earlier than that text, to an absurdly early period.


    As we have seen, Rajaram claims that the language of Harappa was "late Vedic" Sanskrit. This conflicts with countless facts from archaeology, linguistics, and other fields. Indeed, "late Vedic" did not exist until some two thousand years after the start of mature Harappan culture!


    Let us look at a little linguistic evidence. Some of it is a bit technical, but it is useful since it shows how dates are assigned to parts of ancient Indian history.


    The Rigveda is full of descriptions of horses (as'va), horse races, and the swift spoke-wheeled chariot (ratha). We have already seen that none of these existed anywhere in the Old World until around 2000 BCE or so. In most places, they did not appear until much later. The introduction of chariots and horses is one marker for the earliest possible dates of the Rigveda.


    Linguistic evidence provides other markers. In both ancient Iran and Vedic India, the chariot is called a ratha, from the prehistoric (reconstructed) Indo-European word for wheel *roth2o- (Latin rota, German Rad). ( A chariot = "wheels," just as in the modern slang expression "my wheels" = "my automobile.") We also have shared Iranian and Vedic words for charioteer - the Vedic ratheSTha or old Iranian rathaeshta, meaning "standing on the chariot." Indo -European, on the other hand - the ancestor of Vedic Sanskrit and most European languages - does not have a word for chariot. This is shown by the fact that many European languages use different words for the vehicle. In the case of Greek, for example, a chariot is harmat(-os).


    The implication is that the ancient Iranian and Vedic word for chariot was coined sometime around 2000 BCE - about when chariots first appeared - but before those languages split into two. A good guess is that this occurred in the steppe belt of Russia a nd Kazakhstan, which is where we find the first remains of chariots. That area remained Iranian-speaking well into the classical period, a fact reflected even today in northern river names - all the way from the Danube, Don, Dnyestr, Dnyepr and the Ural (Rahaa = Vedic Rasaa) rivers to the Oxus (Vakhsh).


    These are only a few pieces of evidence confirming what linguists have known for 150 years: that Vedic Sanskrit was not native to South Asia but an import, like closely related old Iranian. Their usual assumed origins are located in the steppe belt to th e north of Iran and northwest of India.


    This view is supported by recent linguistic discoveries. One is that approximately 4 per cent of the words in the Rigveda do not fit Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) word patterns but appear to be loans from a local language in the Greater Panjab. That language is close to, but not identical with, the Munda languages of Central and East India and to Khasi in Meghalaya. A second finding pertains to shared loan words in the Rigveda and Zoroastrian texts referring to agricultural products, animals, and domestic goods that we know from archaeology first appeared in Bactria-Margiana c. 2100-1700 BCE. These include, among others, words for camel (uSTra/ushtra), donkey (khara/xara), and bricks (iSTakaa/ishtiia, ishtuua). The evidence suggests that b oth the Iranians and Indo-Aryans borrowed these words when they migrated through this region towards their later homelands.5 A third find relates to Indo-Aryan loan words that show up in the non-Aryan Mitanni of northern Iraq and Syria c.1400 BCE. These loanwords reflect slightly older Indo-Aryan forms than those found in the Rigveda. This evidence is on e reason why Indologists place the composition of the Rigveda in the last half of the second millennium.


    This evidence, and much more like it, shows that the claim by Rajaram that mature Harappans spoke "late Vedic" Sanskrit - the language of the Vedic sutras (dating to the second half of the first millennium) - is off by at least two thousand years! At bes t, a few adventurous speakers may have existed in Harappa of some early ancestor of old Vedic Sanskrit - the much later language of the Rigveda - trickling into the Greater Panjab from migrant "Aryan" tribes. These early Indo-Aryan speakers could have mi ngled with others in the towns and cities of Harappan civilisation, which were conceivably just as multilingual as any modern city in India. (Indeed, Rigvedic loan words seem to suggest several substrate languages.) But to have all, or even part, of Hara ppans speaking "late Vedic" is patently absurd.


    But this evidence pertains to what Rajaram represents as "the petty conjectural pseudo-science" called linguistics. By rejecting the science wholesale, he gives himself the freedom to invent Indian history at his whim.


    Consonants Count Little, Vowels Nothing!


    According to Rajaram and Jha, the Indus writing system was a proto-alphabetical system, supposedly derived from a complex (now lost) system of pre-Indus "pictorial" signs. Faced with a multitude of Harappan characters, variously numbered between 400 and 800, they select a much smaller subset of characters and read them as alphabetical signs. Their adoption of these signs follows from the alleged resemblances of these signs to characters in Brahmi, the ancestor of later Indian scripts. (This was the scri pt adopted c. 250 BCE by Asoka, whom Jha's 1996 book assigns to c. 1500 BCE!) Unlike Brahmi, which lets you write Indian words phonetically, the alphabet imagined by Jha and Rajaram is highly defective, made up only of consonants, a few numbers, and some special-purpose signs. The hundreds of left-over "pictorial" signs normally stand for single words. Whenever needed, however - and this goes for numbers as well - they can also be tapped for their supposed sound values, giving Rajaram and Jha extraordin ary freedom in making their readings. The only true "vowel" that Jha and Rajaram allow is a single wildcard sign that stands for any initial vowel - as in A-gni or I-ndra - or sometimes for semi-vowels. Vowels inside words can be imagine d at whim.


    Vowels were lacking in some early Semitic scripts, but far fewer vowels are required in Semitic languages than in vowel-rich Indian languages like Sanskrit or Munda. In Vedic Sanskrit, any writing system lacking vowels would be so ambiguous that it would be useless. In the fictional system invented by Jha and Rajaram, for example, the supposed Indus ka sign can be read kaa, ki, ku, ke, ko, etc., or can also represent the isolated consonant k. A script like this opens the door to an enormou s number of alternate readings.


    Supposing with Jha and Rajaram that the language of Harappa was "late Vedic", we would find that the simple two-letter inscription mn might be read:



    mana "ornament"; manaH"mind" (since Rajaram lets us add the Visarjaniya or final -H at will); manaa "zeal" or "a weight"; manu "Manu"; maana "opinion" or "building" or "thinker"; miina "fish"; miine "in a fish"; miinau "two fish"; miinaiH "with fish"; muni "Muni", "Rishi", "ascetic"; mRn- "made of clay"; menaa "wife"; meni "revenge"; mene "he has thought"; mauna "silence"; and so on.

    There are dozens of other possibilities. How is the poor reader, presented with our two-character seal, supposed to decide if it refers to revenge, a sage, the great Manu, a fish, or his wife? The lords of Harappa or Dholavira, instead of using the scrip t on their seals, would have undoubtedly sent its inventor off to finish his short and nasty life in the copper mines of the Aravallis!


    If all of this were not enough to drive any reader mad, Rajaram and Jha introduce a host of other devices that permit even freer readings of inscriptions. The most ridiculous involves their claim that the direction of individual inscriptions "follows no hard and fast rules." This means that if tossing in vowels at will in our mn inscription does not give you the reading you want, you can restart your reading (again, with unlimited vowel wildcards) from the opposite direction - yielding further al ternatives like namaH or namo "honour to...," naama "name," and so on.


    There are other "principles" like this. A number of signs represent the same sound, while - conversely - the same sign can represent different sounds. With some 400-800 signs to choose from, this gives you unlimited creative freedom. As Raj aram puts it deadpan, Harappan is a "rough and ready script." Principles like this "gave its scribes several ways in which to express the same sounds, and write words in different ways." All this is stated in such a matter-of-fact and "scientific" manner that the non-specialist gets hardly a clue that he is being had.


    In other words, figure out what reading you want and fill in the blanks! As Voltaire supposedly said of similar linguistic tricks: "Consonants count little, and vowels nothing."


    A little guidance on writing direction comes from the wildcard vowel sign, which Rajaram tells us usually comes at the start of inscriptions. This is "why such a large number of messages on the Indus seals have this vowel symbol as the first letter." Wha t Jha and Rajaram refer to as a vowel (or semi-vowel) sign is the Harappan "rimmed vessel" or U-shaped symbol. This is the most common sign in the script, occurring by some counts some 1,400 times in known texts. It is most commonly seen on the left side of inscriptions.


    Back in the 1960s, B.B. Lal, former Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, convincingly showed, partly by studying how overlapping characters were inscribed on pottery, that the Harappan script was normally read from right to left. Much other hard evidence confirming this view has been known since the early 1930s. This means that in the vast majority of cases the U-sign is the last sign of an inscription. But here, as so often elsewhere, Rajaram and Jha simply ignore well-establi shed facts, since they are intent on reading Harappan left to right to conform to "late Vedic" Sanskrit. (In times of interpretive need, however, any direction goes - including reading inscriptions vertically or in zig-zag fashion on alternate lines.)


    The remarkable flexibility of their system is summarised in statements like this:



    First, if the word begins with a vowel then the genetic sign has to be given the proper vowel value. Next the intermediate consonants have to be shaped properly by assigning the correct vowel combinations. Finally, the terminal letter may also have to be modified according to context. In the last case, a missing visarga or anusvaara may have to be supplied, though this is often indicated.

    How, the sceptic might ask, can you choose the right words from the infinite possibilities? The problem calls for a little Vedic ingenuity:



    In resolving ambiguities, one is forced to fall back on one's knowledge of the Vedic language and the literary context. For example: when the common composite letter r + k is employed, the context determines if it is to be pronounced as rka (as in arka) or as kra as in kruura.

    The context Rajaram wants you to use to fill in the blanks is the one that he wants to prove: any reading is proper that illustrates the (imaginary) links between "late Vedic" culture and Indus Civilisation. Once you toss in wildcard vowels, for example, any rk or kr combination provides instant Harappan horseplay - giving you a Vedic-Harappan horse (recalling their equation that arka "sun" = "horse") long before the word (or animal) appeared in India.


    Why did the Indus genius who invented the alphabet not include all basic vowel signs - like those in Asoka's script - which would have made things unambiguous? It certainly could not be because of a lack of linguistic knowledge, since Rajaram claims that the Harappans had an "advanced state of knowledge of grammar, phonetics, and etymology," just as they had modern scientific knowledge of all other kinds. But vowels, of course, would rob Rajaram of his chances to find Vedic treasure in Harappan inscript ions - where he discovers everything from horse thieves to Rigvedic kings and advanced mathematical formulae.


    Peculiarly, in contrast to the lack of vowel signs, Jha and Rajaram give us a profusion of special signs that stand for fine grammatical details including word-final -H and -M (Visarjaniya and Anusvaara; if these are missing, you can just toss them in); special verb endings like -te; and noun endings such as -su. All of these are derived from Paninian grammar more than two thousand years before Panini! They even find special phonological signs for Paninian gu Na and vRddhi (that is, u becomes o or au) and for Vedic pitch accents (svara).


    Although the scribes lacked vowels, they thus had signs applicable only to vowel combination (sandhi) - which is remarkable indeed, given the absence of the vowels themselves.


    A Hundred Noisy Crows


    It is clear that the method of Rajaram and Jha is so flexible that you can squeeze some pseudo-Vedic reading out of any inscription. But, with all this freedom, what a motley set of readings they hand us! Moreover, few of their readings have anything to do with Harappan civilisation.


    What were Indus seals used for? We know that some (a minority) were stamped on bales of merchandise; many were carried around on strings, perhaps as amulets or ID cards. Many of them were lost in the street or were thrown out as rubbish when no longer ne eded. Sometimes a whole set of identical inscriptions has been found tossed over Harappan embankment walls.


    In their usual cavalier way, Rajaram and Jha ignore all the well-known archaeological evidence and claim that the inscriptions represent repositories of Vedic works like the ancient Nighantu word lists, or even the mathematical formulae of the Shulbasutras. The main object of Harappan seals, they tell us, was the "preservation of Vedic knowledge and related subjects."


    How many merchants in the 5000-odd year history of writing would have thought to put mathematical formulae or geometric slogans on their seals and tokens? Or who would be likely to wear slogans like the following around their necks?



    "It is the rainy season"; "House in the grip of cold"; "A dog that stays home and does nothing is useless" - which Rajaram and Jha alternately read as: "There is raw meat on the face of the dog"; "Birds of the eastern country"; "One who drinks barley wat er"; "A hundred noisy crows"; "Mosquito"; "The breathing of an angry person"; "Rama threatened to use agni-vaaNa (a fire missile)"; "A short tempered mother-in-law"; "Those about to kill themselves with sinfulness say"; or, best of all, the refreshingly populist: "O! Moneylender, eat (your interest)!"

    By now, we expect lots of horse readings, and we are not disappointed. What use, we wonder, would the Harappans have for seal inscriptions like these?



    "Water fit for drinking by horses"; "A keeper of horses (paidva) by name of VarSaraata"; "A horsekeeper by name of As'ra-gaura wishes to groom the horses"; "Food for the owner of two horses"; "Arci who brought under control eight loose horses"; an d so on.

    The most elaborate horse reading shows up in the most famous of Indus inscriptions - the giant "signboard" hung on the walls of the Harappan city of Dholavira. The "deciphered" inscription is another attack on the "no horse in Harappa" argument:



    "I was a thousand times victorious over avaricious raiders desirous of my wealth of horses!"

    In the end, readers of Jha and Rajaram are likely to agree with only one "deciphered" message in the whole book: apa-yas'o ha mahaat "A great disgrace indeed!"


    Vedic Sanskrit?


    Before concluding, we would like to point out that the line we just quoted contains an elementary grammatical error - a reading of mahaat for mahat. The frequency of mistakes like this says a lot about the level of Vedic knowledge (or lack thereof) of the authors. A few examples at random:



    - on p. 227 of their book we find adma "eat!" But what form is adma? admaH "we eat? At best, adma "food," not "eat!"

    - on p. 235, we find tuurNa ugra s'vasruuH. No feminine adjectives appear in the expression (tuurNaa, ugraa), as required by the angry "mother-in-law" (read: s'vas'ruuH!).


    - on p. 230, we read apvaa-hataa-tmaahuH, where hataatma might mean "one whose self is slain," or the "self of a slain (person)," but not "those about to kill themselves." In the same sentence, apvaa does not mean "sinfulness" (whic h is, in any case, a non-Vedic concept) but "mortal fear."


    - on p. 232, we have amas'aityaarpaa, supposedly meaning "House in the grip of cold." But amaa (apparently what they want, not ama "force") is not a word for "house," but an adverb meaning "at home." The word s'aitya "cold" is not "late Vedic" but post-Vedic, making the reading even more anachronistic than the other readings in the book.


    - on p. 226, we find paidva for "horses," in a passage referring to horse keepers. But in Vedic literature this word does not refer to an ordinary but a mythological horse.


    Many similar errors are found in the 1996 pamphlet by Jha, billed by Rajaram as "one of the world's foremost Vedic scholars and palaeographers."


    None of those errors can be blamed on ignorant Harappan scribes.


    History and Hindutva Propaganda


    It might be tempting to laugh off the Indus script hoax as the harmless fantasy of an ex-engineer who pretends to be a world expert on everything from artificial intelligence to Christianity to Harappan culture.


    What belies this reading is the ugly subtext of Rajaram's message, which is aimed at millions of Indian readers. That message is anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, anti-Indological, and (despite claims to the opposite) intensely anti-scientific. Those views pr esent twisted images of India's past capable of inflicting severe damage in the present.


    Rajaram's work is only one example of a broader reactionary trend in Indian history. Movements like this can sometimes be seen more clearly from afar than nearby, and we conclude with a few comments on it from our outside but interested perspective.


    In the past few decades, a new kind of history has been propagated by a vocal group of Indian writers, few of them trained historians, who lavishly praise and support each other's works. Their aim is to rewrite Indian history from a nationalistic and rel igious point of view. Their writings have special appeal to a new middle class confused by modern threats to traditional values. With alarming frequency their movement is backed by powerful political forces, lending it a mask of respectability that it do es not deserve.


    Unquestionably, all sides of Indian history must be repeatedly re-examined. But any massive revisions must arise from the discovery of new evidence, not from desires to boost national or sectarian pride at any cost. Any new historical models must be cons istent with all available data judged apart from parochial concerns.


    The current "revisionist" models contradict well-known facts: they introduce horse-drawn chariots thousands of years before their invention; imagine massive lost literatures filled with "scientific" knowledge unimaginable anywhere in the ancient world; p roject the Rigveda into impossibly distant eras, compiled in urban or maritime settings suggested nowhere in the text; and imagine Vedic Sanskrit or even Proto Indo-European rising in the Panjab or elsewhere in northern India, ignoring 150 years of evide nce fixing their origins to the northwest. Extreme "out-of-India" proponents even fanaticise an India that is the cradle of all civilisation, angrily rejecting all suggestions that peoples, languages, or technologies ever entered prehistoric India from f oreign soil - as if modern concepts of "foreign" had any meaning in prehistoric times.


    Ironically, many of those expressing these anti-migrational views are emigrants themselves, engineers or technocrats like N.S. Rajaram, S. Kak, and S. Kalyanaraman, who ship their ideas to India from U.S. shores. They find allies in a broader assortment of home-grown nationalists including university professors, bank employees, and politicians (S. S. Misra, S. Talageri, K.D. Sethna, S.P. Gupta, Bh. Singh, M. Shendge, Bh. Gidwani, P. Chaudhuri, A. Shourie, S.R. Goel). They have even gained a small but vo cal following in the West among "New Age" writers or researchers outside mainstream scholarship, including D. Frawley, G. Feuerstein, K. Klostermaier, and K. Elst. Whole publishing firms, such as the Voice of India and Aditya Prakashan, are devoted to pr opagating their ideas.


    There are admittedly no universal standards for rewriting history. But a few demands must be made of anyone expecting his or her scholarship to be taken seriously. A short list might include: (1) openness in the use of evidence; (2) a respect for well-es tablished facts; (3) a willingness to confront data in all relevant fields; and (4) independence in making conclusions from religious and political agendas.


    N.S. Rajaram typifies the worst of the "revisionist" movement, and obviously fails on all counts. The Deciphered Indus Script is based on blatantly fake data (the "horse seal," the free-form "decipherments"); disregards numerous well-known facts ( the dates of horses and chariots, the uses of Harappan seals, etc.); rejects evidence from whole scientific fields, including linguistics (a strange exclusion for a would-be decipherer!); and is driven by obvious religious and political motives in claimi ng impossible links between Harappan and Vedic cultures.


    Whatever their pretensions, Hindutva propagandists like Rajaram do not belong to the realm of legitimate historical discourse. They perpetuate, in twisted half-modern ways, medieval tendencies to use every means possible to support the authority of relig ious texts. In the political sphere, they falsify history to bolster national pride. In the ethnic realm, they glorify one sector of India to the detriment of others.


    It is the responsibility of every serious researcher to oppose these tendencies with the only sure weapon available - hard evidence. If reactionary trends in Indian history find further political support, we risk seeing violent repeats in the coming deca des of the fascist extremes of the past.


    The historical fantasies of writers like Rajaram must be exposed for what they are: propaganda issuing from the ugliest corners of the pre-scientific mind. The fact that many of the most unbelievable of these fantasies are the product of highly trained e ngineers should give Indian educational planners deep concern.


    In a recent online exchange, Rajaram dismissed criticisms of his faked "horse seal" and pointed to political friends in high places, boasting that the Union government had recently "advised" the "National Book Trust to bring out my popular book, From Sarasvati River to the Indus Script, in English and thirteen other languages."


    We fear for India and for objective scholarship. To quote Rajaram's Harappan-Vedic one last time: "A great disgrace indeed!"


    © Michael Witzel & Steve Farmer, 2000


    Michael Witzel is Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University and the author of many publications, including the recent monograph Early Sources for South Asian Substrate Languages, Boston: ASLIP/Mother Tongue 1999.


    [This message has been edited by jijaji (edited 02-23-2002).]



    Harrison Single Also to Aid SRF


    Family to donate "My Sweet Lord"'s U.S. proceeds to California organization


    Proceeds from U.S. sales of the January 14th reissue of George Harrison's 1970 song "My Sweet Lord" will go to the Self-Realization Fellowship, a California organization that promotes the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda, who established the fellowship in 1920 to spread his philosophy of yoga and meditation, is best known for his Autobiography of a Yogi. He was frequently cited by Harrison as an important spiritual influence.

    "We were very touched that the family selected us," says spokeswoman Lauren Landers. "But what George Harrison represented in terms of his spirituality is the most rewarding thing. Between his works and his whole manner, there was a profound thoughtfulness that spoke volumes about who he was."


    As previously reported, profits from the single outside of the U.S. -- which includes "My Sweet Lord (2000)" and "Let It Down" -- will go to the Material World Charitable Foundation, which raises money for children and the poor worldwide. Harrison established Material World in 1973 and donated royalties from his album that year, Living in the Material World, to the charity.


    The "My Sweet Lord" re-release will include new artwork with an original photo taken by Harrison. The song was a U.S. Number One hit -- the first for a solo Beatle -- for four weeks upon its release in 1970.



    (January 10, 2002)




    [This message has been edited by jijaji (edited 01-22-2002).]

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