Monday, May 15, 2017


View: One of the main reasons why Indian-Americans are subjected to racial abuse in US

< ..

Read more at:

By Paarth R Sharma 

"Go back to your country," mutters the man in line at Peet's Coffee and Tea in Palo Alto, California, as I head out of the shop with a coffee in hand. It was the third time that week. First the kid in the chemistry class in my high school. Then the man on the street I bumped into. 

Now him. I turned and stepped towards the man, ready  .. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Why the notion of ‘Hindu
Nation’ alone is chosen
for criticism?
If the critics only imagined what a Hindu nation looks like, they might start propagating Hindu nations all over the globe.


I sometimes wonder who influences whom: the Indian mainstream journalists influence the foreign correspondents or the other way round, as they always hold the same view. Or is there even a directive from the top of the media houses about who must be protected and who can be abused?
Obviously, Hindus can be abused. I was shocked when I recently checked articles in major newspapers like the New York Times on the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister in Uttar Pradesh. Like in the run-up to the general elections in 2014, when a Modi victory loomed large, the media went berserk. The gist was: By appointing Yogi Adityanath, Prime Minister Modi has finally shown his true face of a Hindu fundamentalist who wants to make India a ‘Hindu nation’ where minorities have no place. The articles peddled untruths and drew unacceptable conclusions. The Swiss NZZ for example wrote that it is hardly possible for Prime Minister Modi’s government to call itself the representative of all Indians after appointing a figure like Yogi Adityanath.
A Hindu nation is projected as the worst possible scenario by the wrongly called ‘liberal’ media. Yet, the same media don’t react when America or most other western countries are referred to as Christian nations. Nor do they get agitated about the numerous Muslim nations; not even about those which still have harsh blasphemy laws. Why are these ok, and a Hindu nation is not ok? They don’t explain; they just insinuate that minorities (read Muslims and Christians) will suffer in a Hindu nation.
Maybe they came to this conclusion because minorities like Jews or Hindus suffer in certain Christian or Muslim nations though the media hardly pulls those countries up for it. However, even otherwise, this conclusion is wrong, as Hindus have a different mind-set. They are open towards other views, unlike ‘good’ Christians and Muslims who feel obligated to make everyone believe what they believe, if necessary by deceit or force.
Hindus cannot be put into one single box. There are too many different ways to reach the goal of life. As it were, there are many minorities within Hinduism. But they all are based on the Vedic insight that everything, including our persons, is permeated by the same divine essence which is called by many names but is ultimately ONE. Our human consciousness (Atman) is one with the cosmic consciousness (Brahman) and to realize this, is the goal and fulfillment of life. “Satyam vada, Dharmam chara” the Veda exhorts – speak the truth and do what is right under the given circumstances. And find out who you really are: you are not a separate entity but in the depths of your being one with all.
From this follows that ‘good’ Hindus are those rare human beings whose dharma makes them regard all others as brothers and sisters. Their dharma makes them further respect nature and not harm unnecessarily any living being.
Hindus do not, unlike Christians and Muslims, divide humanity into those who are chosen by God and those who are eternally damned. Hindu children are not taught to look down on those who are not Hindus, unlike children of the dogmatic religions who are taught that their God does not love those others unless they join their ‘true’ religions.
Hindus are also comparatively kinder to animals. The great bulk of vegetarians worldwide are Hindus.
Hindus never fought crusades or jihads to establish their dharma in foreign lands. In fact, they didn’t need to, because they convinced most of Asia merely by solid arguments.  Yet, for the past thousand years Hindus were at the receiving end of jihads and conversion campaigns and millions of Hindus were killed in cold blood because they were Hindus.
It has to be held in favour of Hindus that they held on to their tradition and did not succumb to the pressure and even violence brought on them to adopt blind belief that only one particular person has revealed the full truth. Instead, they continued trusting their sages who never asked for blind belief, but asked to verify their insights through experience.
So why do media worldwide get so worked up about ‘Hindu fundamentalists’ and a possible ‘Hindu nation’. What is wrong with the fundamentals? There is nothing wrong with the fundamentals. But there is one major difference: For Hindus, the Divinity is in all and all is in the Divinity, whereas for Christians and Muslims the Divinity is separate from his creation watching us from somewhere.
The concept of Divinity is also different. For Hindus the best description for the absolute truth is sat-chit-ananda (it is true, aware and blissful). The many personal gods help the devotee to realize the Absolute. Christians and Muslims perceive Divinity in its highest form as a personal, superhuman entity who is jealous of other gods. The first commandment in Christianity and a very important issue in Islam is the claim that nobody must worship other gods except the ‘one true god’, which both religions claim is only with them.
In all likelihood the Hindu view comes closer to truth. When the first translations of Vedic texts appeared in the west, the greatest minds in Europe were greatly impressed by Indian thought. It did spread among scientists, too, who used it to push the frontiers of science further. It is no coincidence that modern science discovered that all is one energy after Vedanta became known in the west. It is also no coincidence that the Church lost much of its power in Europe when some of India’s wisdom filtered down to the masses
Why then are the media worldwide so worried about a nation where the Hindu roots are fostered? Where Sanskrit is taught, which is the most perfect, dignified, powerful language on earth? Where yoga is practised in schools, which is an ideal means for all-round development and which, on a deeper level, helps to find fulfilment in life? Where Vedic philosophy is studied, which inspired the new scientific discoveries for example in nuclear physics? Where the amazing wisdom of Mahabharata and Ramayana becomes common knowledge, which is already taught in business seminars abroad? Where children chant “Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu” (let all be happy) instead of Humpey dumpey, which happens already in certain schools in the west?
Yet as soon as Hindus make suggestions for India to keep its Hindu character or rather, to gain back its Hindu character, as even after Independence, the youth was encouraged to abandon it, there is an outcry by the media that “Hindu fundamentalists” want to make India a Hindu nation and exclude religious minorities. Ironically, ‘Hindu’ is a geographical term, with the same root as Indian – people who lived beyond the Sindu or between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean.
So why would Indians who rather recently converted to Islam or Christianity not be proud of the achievements of their ancestors? India was the cradle of civilization, a knowledge hub and the richest country on earth. It was known for its wisdom. Greeks, including Pythagoras, are said to have come to India for knowledge and today everybody knows his name, but not the name of the Indian mathematician (Baudhayana) who originally discovered the Pythagoras theorem. Surely Christians and Muslims cannot have any objection that students are taught this fact or the fact that the Rishis of the Rig Veda (10.22.14) knew many thousand years before Copernicus that the earth goes around the sun. Surely they also cannot have any objection that students chant “May all be happy” in Sanskrit, the language of their forefathers. If someone calls such teaching communal, it is malicious. If someone objects to this teaching, should not he be shouted at by the media instead of those who want to revive their ancient culture? Is not he the one who tries to divide society and not those who say “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” (all is one family) due to their philosophical outlook?
Hindus are the exemplary role model for ‘how not to exclude others’? Where else have religious minorities flourished and grown like in India? Is not the relative harmony in this amazing diversity in India generally admired abroad? Media persons need only to look around in the world to realize this fact.
Why then are Hindus of all people accused of excluding others?
The reason may be this: neither the west nor Muslim countries want a strong India.  India was the cradle of civilisation and over most of the known history economically very powerful. They may fear that based on her ancient culture, India may rise again to the top. Is it the media’s job to put Hindus perpetually on the defensive by spreading this bogey of Hindu fundamentalism and prevent a better education policy which would give India an edge?
“Imagine, India would become a Hindu nation!” the media shout infuriated. The problem, however, is that they don’t imagine it and don’t ask basic questions. If they only imagined what a Hindu nation looks like, they might start propagating Hindu nations all over the globe.
One day, when people have become tired of blindly believing strange things, and when nobody is threatened any longer with dire consequences if he stops believing in those strange things, the world may be grateful to Bharat Mata that she has conceived and preserved over millennia those eternal, precious insights for the benefit of humanity.
Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Three years down the line from 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP has emerged as the only true pan-national party

April 15, 2017, 2:00 AM IST Ram Madhav 

BJP is riding high on its recent successes, both in elections to state assemblies in February-March 2017 and in by-elections held this week to 10 assembly seats in eight states. Generally speaking, except for the three states of Bihar, Delhi and Punjab, BJP has been on a winning spree in almost all elections it has faced in the last three years. At a time when party leaders gather for the national executive at Bhubaneswar, exactly three years after the resounding victory in Lok Sabha elections, there is a palpable ‘feel good’ factor among leaders and cadres across the country.
In terms of governance the Modi government has been able to win laurels from people cutting across demographies. One of the significant achievements for the party under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a conspicuous change in the character of its support base. BJP has been able unshackle itself from the long-time stereotype image of a Brahmin, Bania and urban middle class party. Its support base has expanded significantly into poorer sections of society, thanks to poor-friendly policies and programmes of Modi.
Three years down the line, BJP has emerged as the only truly pan-Indian party in terms not only of electoral successes but also social demographics.
In a country long identified with corruption – growthlessness, violence, caste and communal divisions, politics of opportunism and opacity – Modi symbolised hope. It is the politics of hope that propelled people towards Modi. People see in him a leader who can usher in a fundamental transformation not only in the lives of individual Indians but in the life of the nation as well.
The average Indian is honest, hardworking, patriotic and socially conscious. If he has become otherwise, it is because of the flawed national culture perpetuated by selfish political leadership in all these years. In the last three years the PM has been able to convince the people about his conviction and also capacity to undo that culture. In his own inimitable style, he has connected directly with the people and made them partners in his grand national restructuring project.
The successes that BJP secured in the last three years are partly also due to the excellent team work and organisational hierarchy that party president Amit Shah has built up assiduously, resulting in exponential growth of the party membership.
However, these successes have brought important challenges as well. BJP has to now reinvent itself to suit the changing grassroots character of its support base. Large sections of the masses that identify with Modi need to be won over to the party side. That calls for an organisational overhaul. A voter in a remote village connecting with Modi should also be able to connect with the local BJP leadership. In other words BJP has to think about providing representation to the newly won over sections of the society in its organisational and ideological establishment.
Electoral successes in different states have brought BJP to power in 16 out of 31 states. BJP has 13 chief ministers and one deputy CM. The challenge before the party is to ensure that governments in all these states replicate the change that the Modi government represents. To put it differently, whether it is a Trivendra in Uttarakhand or a Birendra in Manipur or a Yogindra in UP – all have to follow Narendra in Delhi. Leaders in all these states should share and implement the vision of PM Modi.
In the fight against pseudo-liberalism that has become synonymous with decrying everything that is truly Indian, we must not allow pseudo-conservatism to run amok. The quintessential culture of this country has been liberal, pluralistic and catholic. Efforts at Semitisation of Indian cultural behaviour, in an over-zealous reaction to the pseudo-liberal establishment, will be an antithesis to Modi’s vision and needs to be checked firmly and effectively. It is the hopes and aspirations of the people that should guide the priorities of all our governments.
While the government faces various other challenges on economic, security and foreign policy fronts the party’s main challenge at this transformative phase seems to be to reinvent itself to represent the hopes and aspirations of the vast masses that have aligned strongly with the PM.

Three years down the line from 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP has emerged as the only true pan-national party

Thursday, April 13, 2017


CNN risks alienation of Hindu Americans and world Hindus
by Achintyachintakaon 12 Apr 20176 Comments
On behalf of the Hindu American community and Hindus around the world, I believe that a personal apology and public denouncement by CNN is long overdue for Reza Aslan’s recent episode, “Believer with Reza Aslan,” which grossly misrepresents one of the world’s greatest, oldest, and most peaceful religions, not to mention one that is steeped in more science than any of the mainstream rival philosophies.

The so-called documentary is a stunt the CNN network pulled at a very ominous moment in the history of the US, with equally ominous content. It demonstrated extreme emotional and cultural insensitivity and lack of sensibility. Overall, it displayed poor judgment on the part of CNN to air this show, which was hardly newsworthy if its intent was to create any objective educational presentation while purporting to glorify some hi-falutin’ philosophy of Hinduism.

The episode can have very little positive impact in promoting true and fair understanding of Hindus and their beliefs or way of life; on the contrary, it will have more negative consequences among the wider American audience.

The two million Hindus residing in the US and one billion all around the world all cremate their dead. It is a sacred last rite in the life of a Hindu. 

In presenting cremation as a vile and dirty act, as Aslan has done, all the while ignoring the fact that the ashes are sterile immediately upon removal from the funeral pyre, he and CNN showed an utter lack of scientific understanding of cremation. Besides, the Aghori sect that Reza chose to dramatize in his presentation does not count for even 100,000 in the 1.2 billion-strong population of Hindus. In all, the episode makes a mockery of Hinduism and Hindus and instigates disrespect for one of the oldest and most profound philosophies and its mainstream practitioners across the globe.

There are offshoots or cults under the rubric of many religions that are not considered even as sects or even as associated with the religions they claim affiliation with. Would mainstream Christians acknowledge that the evangelical tongue-talkers and snake charmers of the American South, or the animal (and, sometimes even human) sacrificing Satanic or “vampire” cults that claim origin in Christian/Biblical traditions, represent Christianity?

Would mainstream Muslims accept the jihadi terrorists that have become a threat around the world through organisations like ISIS and Al Qaeda, represent the peace-loving Muslims that make up the majority of the population of practitioners?

Similarly, the Aghori tribe is not, and has never been, accepted by mainstream or traditional Hinduism; in fact, mainstream society has no access or interaction with them or their high priests, and little if any knowledge of their religious doctrines. True, they cannot be called non-Hindu as they worship Hindu gods and meditate in Hindu cremation grounds, and pre-date the arrival of non-Hindu faiths on the Indian mainland.

However, they should not be represented, as the Aslan show on CNN does, as representing Hindus or Hinduism. There are many curiosities for cultural anthropologists to explore all over the world, that live and interact with mainstream religious populations that accept and tolerate these cults, but to represent them as the mainstream religion is a travesty that CNN is perpetrating.

We know that persons like Reza Aslan will not risk a fatwa from hostile fellow “believers” by mocking their beliefs publicly in any media, but will rather hide behind “freedom of speech” and First Amendment rights when confronted with the impropriety and inaccuracies of facts, and their calculated distortions, deliberately expressed to offend other cultures – as he has done in this instance to target the peace promoting and scientifically based religion of Hinduism.

The episode even begins with intent to create disgust about the sacred act expected of every Hindu son [child] to serenely perform the funeral of his parents. To ridicule cremation in the manner in which the CNN show did, offends millions of Hindus. Many may have recently performed this ritual for their loved ones.

Reza Aslan represents a culture that buries its dead. Rather than promoting the beautiful culture and tradition of a more ancient tradition as one who is truly interested in learning objectively, he displays lack of empathy, lack of cross-cultural understanding, and bigotry, implicitly comparing one peoples’ funeral traditions to another’s as if the one he represents is “correct” and the other is “unhygienic.” All Hindus are civilized enough not to compare and contrast the disposal of the last remains of loved ones. They have learned how dignity is to be maintained by not making any negative comments about this necessary process variously executed by different cultures.

One can, however, imagine the process of decomposition that human bodies are subjected to when interred, even if embalmed. Those uneducated about this process would want to present cremation as dirty, and the disposal of sterile ashes into a large body of water as unhygienic and disgusting. A Hindu journalist could retaliate, but will not out of common decency. He could present visually disgusting and aversive sights showing the various stages through which dead bodies go through when disposed of in such fashion by so called civilised cultures, not to speak of showing how a devotee of a mummified Catholic Saint bit off a toe from a 500 year old preserved body, when exhumed in Goa, India.

Educated media managers of CNN do not need to be reminded of the origins of the nursery rhyme “ring around the Rosie…. ashes, ashes, we all fall down.” Since CNN evidently gave no thought to the implications of airing Reza Aslan’s episode that promulgates stereotypes, misinformation, and bigotry, which reflects badly on CNN, allow me to remind the readers of its origins.

CNN and Reza Aslan may not be aware that during the epidemic of plague in England, mass cremation of bodies was undertaken to prevent further spread of the disease. That is what led to the composition of this children’s poem. 

Ignoring history, Aslan in his ill-informed episode conveniently ignored a fact or did not want to mention that only two of the forty-eight “ghats” on the Ganges in Varanasi are earmarked for crematoria (Manikaran and Harishchandra). He gave the impression that all “Ghats” on river Ganga are like what he presented. What a sinister thinking. To describe and create an impression that one of the most ancient holy cities of Hindus, Varanasi, is a gigantic crematorium or city for the dead is an act of hate towards a different, “other” civilization.

It must by now be obvious to everyone that one of the greatest concerns I am attempting to convey to readers and through my suggestion for public apology is to take corrective action as soon as possible before the show leads to some preventable but irreversible horrible consequences. Although President Trump’s travel ban and guarding of borders is not directed at Indians, a majority of who are Hindus or Sikhs, there have been documented and publicly reported increases in hate crime towards Hindus and Sikhs as a result of his Executive Order. CNN’s airing such a show at such an inopportune moment serves only to pour more fuel onto the fire. 

As socially responsible media, a leader of one of the most unbiased and largest news networks, CNN needed to be aware of the consequences of broadcasting of a xenophobic show referring to some Hindus as cannibals. Sanjay Gupta, MD, practicing Indian neurosurgeon in Atlanta, is CNN’s leading medical expert and a Hindu who would have informed the CNN management that there is no cannibalism among the Hindus, absolutely zero.

Aslan, and by proxy CNN, have created a disgusting picture of an average Hindu for those who know very little about Hindus and their way of life. This is a deliberate act of hostility towards the so-called “non-believers,” and CNN network provided him the platform to spread such hate for mass distribution.

His purporting to really understand Hinduism is disingenuous, and I hope CNN does not gloat over Reza Aslan and his not-so-concealed sadistic attitude towards Hindus. He repeats, “I cannot wrap my head around” how reincarnation with consequences for “sins” during this life can lead to negative experience in the next life.

Perhaps he should stick with promoting religions he claims to understand, with their beliefs about eternal burning in hell for those who have not accepted his Prophet or the Christian God, or the claim of being gifted upon death with multiple partners in the afterlife for dying while committing jihad. It would be interesting to see how Aslan wraps his head around such concepts.

This writer implores readers to denounce Reza Aslan, demand that CNN distance itself from his shameful and derogatory portrayal of a religion and culture of which he so obviously knows nothing, and has no desire to even understand with the least due diligence.

Hindus are now not only a highly industrious minority in the United States of America, but in the entire Western world; they make up a hugely productive and successful population, and add much rich positivity to the world we live in. They can be potentially subjects of great admiration and recognition, as in the case of Dr. Murthy being appointed as a surgeon general of the United States, but could also easily become objects of paranoid projections if their image is not projected positively for the larger majority in any Western country.

It is for the younger generation of Hindus all over the world to become conscious of how to project a positive image in the world media, consistently uphold the respect and recognition for their present and future true achievements and accomplishments. To do this without large funds is a challenge our younger generation will need to accept.

For now, it would suffice to contemplate how Hindu intellectuals have to formally object to such negative depiction of their culture in the world media, creating an aversive image of Hindus in the world view. This is how hate germinates, and if not curbed, becomes magnified into hate crimes and even larger violence towards maligned or marginalized sections of society.

Western castigation of the caste system is oblivious to its original spirit of inclusiveness with simultaneous respect for different identities of subsections of populations, so as to help them coexist peacefully while maintaining their identity and subculture. It is more humane than holocausts, extrusions into reservations, colonies, segregations, lynching the unwanted if found in the town after the sunset, and such practices, which eliminate the unwanted from the larger society.

By brushing these historical facts under the carpet, Western society takes pride in flaunting “the absence of caste system” in the West, which is not really true if one takes a close look at the manner in which those who could have existed peacefully as different castes/groups in the West were totally annihilated. CNN has given Reza Aslan a free hand to throw hackneyed aspersions at Hindus publicly for their age-old caste system, with no opportunity for Hindus to present countering views. Concerned Hindu American communities need to approach CNN to start taking corrective action.  
User CommentsPost a Comment
"SUGGESTIO FALSI. SUPPRESSIO VERI." The order has been turned around to suit.

If only these christo-commie-wahabi ignoramuses used their time studying the Truth about themselves, rather than blabber lies about others, this world would be a peaceful, beautiful, honest place!
Chandra Ravikumar
Report Abuse
A small aside - The ghat referred to as Manikaran - is probably called Manikarnika ghat, referred to by the locals as Manikanka ghat!
Report Abuse
Someone needs to say it as it is. Reza aslan is a Abrahamic apologist. He gives a rat ass to our wailing. Educate your kids this truth.
Report Abuse
Great piece
Report Abuse
A timely and relevant piece. One wonders why CNN chose someone who bears the name that this author does.
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
22 Hours ago
Report Abuse
That`s right brother .

A kick in time saves Nine.

Love to read the article and we anticipate that conscience to This Aslan and the CNN will prevail. They must note that Dr Vamdev Shastri aka David Frawly is also American and a welknown Scholar on Vedic science.
R P Mishra
20 Hours ago

Monday, March 27, 2017


The Being of Satchidananda: Sankara’s Commentary on the Brahma Sutras
by Vijaya Rajivaon 23 Mar 20178 Comments
Indian philosophy has always been preoccupied with the question of what or who is the Ultimate Reality behind the everyday experiences of life and what is the human relationship to this reality? This question was broadly framed: does such an Ultimate Reality exist, what is its nature and how do humans relate to this reality?

The quest began with the Veda, the collective name for the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva), the prose commentaries of the Brahmanas, the forest treatises referred to as Aranyakas, ending with the Upanishads. The quest continued with the various writings on Vedic ritual such as Jaimini Sutras and the contemporaneous attempt by Badarayana to unify the teachings of the Veda in his Brahma Sutras. This was followed by many commentaries (Bhashyas), the most famous of them being the Bhashya of Adi Sankara (8th century CE) and Ramanuja (13th century CE).

Shortly after the end of the Vedic period, there arose the philosophical systems (Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Yoga, Jaina, Carvaka and Bauddha, which were independent philosophical enquiries into the nature of Ultimate Reality). Among these systems only the Carvaka was dismissive of philosophical speculation on the nature of Ultimate Reality and offered a purely materialistic explanation of life and its problems.

Among these systems the Sankhya system alone accepted the authority of the Veda and in fact used the Veda to uphold its philosophical position that there are two independent ultimate realities, the inactive intelligentPurusha and the active non intelligent Pradhana (Prakriti/Nature) and these two realities interacted to produce the universe and its beings. This position is known as Dualism.

Collectively, these systems challenged the Veda and its emphasis on Brahman/Satchidananda as the one Ultimate Reality. Satchidananda is a compound word that describes Sat (that which exists), Chit (that which is Conscious) and Ananda (that which is Blissful). The system known as Vedanta upheld the unity of Satchidanda and hence was non dualistic or Advaita. It became the central theme of Adi Sankara’s commentary on the Brahma Sutras, and may be said to have laid (along with his interpretation of the Upanishads) the foundation of Advaita Vedanta. In the commentary, Sankara refers to Brahman (the Upanishadic word for Satchidananda), thus following Badarayana. On this interpretation there is only one reality, Brahman, which is the origin, subsistence and dissolution of the universe.

While it is customary to focus attention on the differences between Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta (Non-dualism) and Ramanuja’s Vishistadvaita (Qualified Dualism), here we shall briefly examine Sankara’s theory of the Being (Sat, that which exists) of Satchidananda as seen in his Commentary.

Following Badarayana, he describes Brahman as the origin, maintainer and dissolver of the world and that it is the sole reality (no second one exists). This rejects the Sankhya theory that there are two independent realities, Purusha and Pradhana (Prakriti). It is also a spiritual-conscious reality and hence it rejects the materialism of Carvaka, namely that the world is simply a material entity. It rejects the Nyaya-Vaisekhatheory of the separate reality of the material world as evolving from atoms. It also rejects the Jaina and Bauddha theories.

Where Sankara’s Commentary on the Brahma Sutras is completely clear is his argument that Brahman as Self (Paramatman) is the cause of the world in a special sense. That world is not independent of Brahman and in fact has been created by Brahman as part of its magical power (Maya) and to that extent is illusory, has no independent reality.

Readers will note that it is precisely here that Ramanuja differed from Sankara. He argued that the magical power is real not illusory and that the individual Selves (jivas) and the world of many beings are a modification of Brahman. However, this position seems to be a misrepresentation of Sankara’s position, which as pointed out, is arguing that the world is not an independent reality but is the result of the magical, abundant power of Brahman. The word Maya carries the meaning of ‘abundance’.

In the traditional misreading of Adi Sankara’s position, it has been argued against him that the vivartadoctrine (that Brahman’s change is illusory) is contradictory and that parinama (real change) alone can explain the world. However, in the Commentary it would seem that what Sankara is emphasising is that for humans (individual jivas) to think that they are independent realities in relation to Brahman is Ignorance or Nescience. Understanding this is Liberation. Hence the Upanishadic truth that this Atman is Brahman (ayam atma brahma).

The achievement of the Commentary is the refutation of dualism, specifically the Sankhya argument thatPradhana and Purusha are two eternal coexisting realities, with Pradhana or Prakriti being active but non intelligent, and Purusha being inactive but intelligent. Sankara’s refutation is done through showing that Sankhya is misrepresenting the Veda.

Sankhya is misrepresenting the Veda:

1. The enquiry into Brahman with which the Brahma Sutras begin propounds the following aphorism:
‘Brahman is that from which the origin &c (the origin, subsistence, and dissolution) of this world proceed’ (pp.15-16).1.

After pointing out that cause, we say is Brahman, (pps.15-16) Sankara goes on to say:
“The origin, &c of a world possessing the attributes stated above cannot possibly proceed from anything else but a Lord possessing the stated qualities; not either from a non-intelligent pradhana, or from atoms, or from non-being, or from a being subject to transmigration; nor again, can it proceed from its own nature (i.e. spontaneously, without a cause), since we observe that (the production of effects) special places, times, and causes have invariably to be employed”(pps.16-17).

What Sankara means by ‘special places, times, and causes’ is that there is agency in Brahman.

2. Brahman is omniscient and is the source of the Veda (Scripture): Badarayana asserts this and Sankara follows up with this observation:
“Brahmans is the source ,i.e., the cause of the great body of Scripture, consisting of the Rig-Veda and other branches, which is supporting by various disciplines (such as grammar, nyayapurana, &c); which lamp like illuminates all things; which is itself all-knowing as it were” (pps.19-20).

The theme of illumination will be taken up later when discussing the question of Brahman being self-luminous like the sun. Citing from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad he continues: “The Rig Veda, &c, have been breathed forth from that great Being (p.20). After a prolonged discussion on the means of right knowledge of Brahman, Sankara points out:

“It, therefore, is the task of the Vedanta texts to set forth Brahman’s nature, and they perform that task by teaching us that Brahman is eternal, all-knowing, absolutely self-sufficient, ever pure, intelligent and free, pure knowledge, absolute bliss” (p.25).

He goes on to say that sastra teaches devout meditation on this Brahman and from this results final release from samsara (the cycle of birth and rebirth)

3. Final Release:

What does Sankara mean by final release? He quotes from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II,4,5: ‘The Self is to be heard, to be considered, to be reflected upon’. By Self he means Paramatman, the Universal Self. We see from this passage, says Sankara, that consideration and reflection have to follow the mere hearing (p.26). Hence, devout meditation and reflection will ensure final release from samsara:

“Release is an eternally disembodied state. It is eternal in the sense that it does not undergo changes, is omnipresent as ether, free from all modifications, absolutely self-sufficient, not composed of parts, of self-luminous nature (p.28).

Furthermore, release follows immediately on the cognition of Brahman: ‘He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman’ Sankara quotes from Mu.Upanishad, II,2,8 (p.29).

4. Brahman as omniscient Knower:

Brahman is the eternal Knower, simultaneously existing and all knowing. It is also blissful. Brahman’s Being and Consciousness are simultaneous and identical.

The Significance of Sankara’s Refutation of Sankhya:

In our times the idea that Pradhana (Nature) is active but non-intelligent is outlandish and outmoded. Even modern science recognises that Nature is a complex interaction of matter and energy. Sankara’s non-dualism, the affirmation of Satchidananda emphasises that Consciousness is Brahman (prajnanam brahma) and that this Consciousness is all pervasive. Contemporary physics, especially Quantum Physics, no longer operates only with the matter-energy-space-time complex, but has focussed on the role of the observer in experiments and hence the role of Consciousness.

Quantum Physics now works with the concept of a living, conscious universe. Non duality is the key word in contemporary physics.

A living conscious universe is one and in Adi Sankara’s view it is the Being of Satchidananda.

1. All references are from George Thibaut’s translation of the Vedanta Sutras, Part 1, The Sacred Books of the East, at Google Books, Volume 34, Oxford University Press.
User CommentsPost a Comment
The dating of Adi Sankara in the 8th Century is disputed. He is placed by Hindu sources at some 300 years after the Buddha.
March 23, 2017
Report Abuse
I totally reject the ONENESS philosophy of sankara, because it is a mirror of budhist/jaina philosophy of nirvana. Ramanujar rightly said, that Sankara is a prachanna baudha, ie.. the hidden buddha..

Budhism says that there is no GOD and human's fate is decided purely by their karma. Sankara also says the same, but imposes a just superior force that rightly delivers the fruits of one's karma without any partiality.

But I challenge the very basis of karma theory which has no reference in the vedas and upanishads or in any of the ithihasa. Also there is no concept of moksha in the vedas. all these invention of budhism escapism.

I have challenged many to quote any references in the vedic literature about the modern version of karma theory . So far no one could give me any references.

The puranas and Ithihasas, only mentions the swarga or naraga, and NOT about the moksha.

Also in the vaideeha tradition, the people say an atma would be reborn in the same kulam/gothra or family lineage. The common people consider the grandchildren as the reborn atma of their grandfather or ancestors.

The Hinduism as propogated today by hindutvavadis is nothing but budhism in disguise. The karma theory is NOT vedic, and is a oppressive ideology being imposed.

While the christianity claims that their GOD can save a person from the sin, the hollow hinduism which is defined as per one's convenience, says that everyone has to bear the fruits of their past karma.

On the other hand, both shaivam and vaishnava religion says that their GOD can save their bhakths from the sins, through pariharams and appropriate poojas.

But these shaivite and vaishnavite identities are brutally crushed by the hindutvavaadis, by calling everything as hinduism.

Had we seen any hindu intellectuals ever accept a krishna temple as vaishnava temple or madhwa temple? They would only say it is a Hindu temple, which is an internal onslaught of native identities.

So i am once again challenging the hindutva stereotypes for the nth time in this vijayvaani magazine.

1. Show me any proof of modern day version of karma theory in vedas or upanishads.

2. Show me any reference of Moksha in the vedas or upanishads.

3. Show me any reference of "HIndu" identity in pre-colonial texts used by our people.
March 23, 2017
Report Abuse
Very interesting question Sri Senthil. Let me now ask you a question:
have you read the Brahma Sutras and the commentary by Adi Sankara ?
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
March 23, 2017
Report Abuse

I want my questions to be answered first, as i dont want to divert the discussion. My questions are more fundamental and NOT brahmasutras.
March 25, 2017
Report Abuse
Dear Dr. Rajiva:

I have sensed a contradiction in your presentation of Brahman -
Satchidananda as "inactive" and then using many descriptions which
implies "creates", etc. The syntax is not appropriate if we see the world as originating from the Brahman than to say the Brahman creates or created this world. You surely understand where I am going with this.

Inactive agency cannot be given many active roles.

Secondly I have no objections to the word "Conscious" "Being", "Supreme Consciousness." Yet, I would have some difficulty with
the word "Intelligent". The quality of all knowing or "knowledge" is
a subjective experience of "Chid" and also the "Bliss" is the subjective
experience of the seeker which are attributed to "inert" Brahman which is essentially "gunatrayaateeta" and has no qualities at all.
So, there is self-contradiction even in this realm.

Maya and avidya are processes in the Prakrity or Pradhana and the products of Dhee and Mahadhee the individual intelligence and Universal Intelligence and therefore are components of Prakrity (Pradhana) and not to be attributed to Pusrusha or the equivalent of Brahman the "inert" "inactive" "qualityless" "Nirguna" entity. Maya and avidya originate only in the Prackrity which is saguna. The only debate can be whether the Prakrity itself originate from Purusha or Brahman, or is it a separate independently existing entity that draws into its operation the Prusha as a component to manifest the biosphere of conscious sentient beings of all sorts. Prakrity space-time-mass-energy complex by itself does not become modified into living beings and needs addition or interaction with Purusha (Brahman) or consciousness and has to rely on some form of intellignece (dhee) for its design. So the duality of dvaita or even the Vishistha Advaita are based on the foundation of Purusha and Brahman and hence the debate becomes defunct when one takes side with advaita or davita proponents. Therefore, the entire debate is bypassed by the Buddhists as a product of Maya by using the concept of Shunya for the Ultimate Reality where the Shunya and Infinity merge in ONE Reality. So, there is no real contradiction between the Buddhist, Jain and Hindu philosophies whether one accepts the concept of Karma or not. Karma is distinctly a later rationalization to explain away many of the inconsistencies that challenge the attribution of Universal Love and Compassion and a sense of Justice and an attitude of equal dealings with all living beings and their experiences in the real world, "Sansara." Karma theory actually corrupts both the Advaita and Dviita philosophies.

Having said that, your article raised more questions than answered for any for those who have some familiarity with the Advaita philosophy whether he/she has read the original Badarayana's Brahmasutra or Shankara's commentary or not.

Simple, honest, and humble suggestion is not to fall into the trap of using colonial Western concepts and Western lens to understand
the original Hindu philosophical texts although the Western translators have their own merit as superior scholars.

English language has its own problems, besides inherent problems in any language trying to express the nature of the ineffable entity of Brahman that can only by experienced and cannot be accurately expressed as to its nature in any language.

However, I congratulate you for undertaking this stupendous task.

Thanks for any further clarification.


Report Abuse
@No kidding 101

Thankyou for the comments.

The interaction between Purusha and Pradhana(Prakriti) is a Sankhya concept and Adi Sankara is refuting that.

For him (and he repeats this in the Bhashya)Satchidananda is ONE, and there is no second. He agrees with Badarayana that Brahman is the origin, the maintainer and dissolver of the world. Hence, Pradhana comes out of Brahman.

I see no contradiction in that. And as my article states(from Adi Sankara himself) this Brahman is all knowing, conscious and blissful.
It is Sat, Chit and Ananda.

The Buddhis theory of Shunya is quite different from this.

Re: Maya, the Bhashya has some 20 pages on this. It is equated with the word 'abundance'.

I hope you can get to read the Bhashya, even the Thibaut translation which is considered the best English translation. I found Swami Gambirananda's translation unreadable because it is not a 'translation'. It is a point presentation which presents his interpretation of the Bhashya.

I look forward to discussing the topic with you once you have read the Bhashya.
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
22 Hours ago
Report Abuse
Western authors will and want to equate
Brahman as God the creator of the Universe.
Also give Him the attributes familiar to them from their study of the Bible. We don't need to fall for that.
19 Hours ago
Report Abuse

The quotes are all from the Upanishads, supporting Adi Sankara's arguments.

Please remember that an inactive Purusha and an active Prakriti are Sankhya concepts, not Vedanta. Sankhya is dualistic, while Vedanta is monistic, whether it is Sankara, Ramanuja, Vallabha, Nimbarkar et al.

Further, if you have read Ramanuja's Bhashya(as I have) here too the Vedantic arguments are similar.

I have checked out many of the translations by Hindu authors, notably the Swamis from various mathas.

The first key lines from the Brahma Sutras are what I have quoted above : Brahman is the originator, sustainer and dissolver of the universe.

What the relationship is between the jivas and Brahman is what is different in the various Vedantic schools : advaita, vishistadvaita,bheda-bheda and so on.

Otherwise,all of them agree on Brahman being the Ultimate Reality.
Nothing to do with the Bible or Western authors etc.
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
6 Hours ago
Report Abuse