Friday, December 29, 2023



(By Dr. Biswa Nath Mukerjee, L.M.S.)

Published in Vedic Magazine May 1918

Superiority of Vedic literature. 

In his world-renowned book, "India, what can it each us" Prof. Max Muller has written: "I maintain that every body who cares for himself, for his ancestors, for his history, or for his intellectual development, a study of Vedic Literature is indispensable." The value of this piece of sound advice from one who was not born in the birth place of the Vedas and who consecrated his whole life to their deep study cannot go unappreciated. A living authority, a profound scholar of the western as well as the eastern theology, religion and philosophy, a westerner who has studied the Vedas at first hand, Dr. Shepard says, "India is the home of the oldest monotheism recorded in the history of religions." Prof. William Ward in his 'The Religion of the Hindus' writes, "The Almighty, Infinite, Eternal, Incomprehensible, Self-existent Being; he who sees everything, though never seen, he who is not to be compassed by description, and who is beyond the limits of human conception, he from whom the world proceeds; who is the lord of the universe and whose work is the universe; he who is light of all lights, whose name is too sacred to be pronounced, and whose power is too infinite to be imagined, is Brahma, the one unknown true being, the creator, the preserver, and destroyer of the universe. Under such and innumerable other definitions is the Deity acknowledged in the Vedas or the sacred writings of the Hindus." The great German scholar, Frederick Schlegel in his "Wisdom of the Ancient India" writes, "It cannot be denied that the early Indians possessed a knowledge of the true God. All their writings are replete with sentiments and expressions, noble, clear, severely grand, as deeply conceived as in any human language in which men have spoken of their God." In Mill's British India there is a passage..."the belief is pressed upon us that, in the earliest times, Brahmanical philosophy held as its grand idea the absolute unity of the Supreme God and that their religious ritual correspond therewith. Idolatry is an altogether after-growth, springing from minds incapable of entertaining the elevated abstract notions of the primitive creed. The declension explains itself. The obscuration and weakening of the idea of the divine unity were indicated first by the impersonation of the several discoveries made of the Supreme Being in these operations and effects. These impersonations were not so many distinct and independent deities, but representatives of one and the great Deity contemplated under particular aspects." A great French scholar and student of Oriental philosophy and science Dubois in his book "India" says "God, to use the words of the philosophers of India, is an Immaterial Being, pure and unmixed, without qualities, form or division; the Lord and Master of all things. He extends over all; without beginning and without end. Power, strength and gladness dwell. with him." Again Prof. Max Muller says, "In the Riga Veda one verse occurs which boldly declares the existence of but one Divine Being though invoked under different names. They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni; the wise call it many ways; they call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan." "These truly sublime ideas cannot fail to convince us" writes Count M. Bjornstjerna, a vastly learned Russian scholar of the Vedas, "that the Vedas recognize one only god who is Almighty, Infinite, Eternal, Self Existent, the Light and the Lord of the Universe." The very fact that so many Vedic scholars of the different parts of Europe have independently expressed a unanimous opinion about the monotheism of the Vedas is a very happy sign of the times and augurs well for the lovers of the Vedic religion. It further shows that the Vedic literature and religion are gaining ground in Europe and manufacturing their own devotees and admirers.

As it has been conclusively proved by such great men as Sir William Jones, prof. Max Muller and others that the Vedas are the oldest books in the library of man-kind, that the Sanskrit is the most ancient and perfect language in the world and that Zoroastrianism from which Judaism and Christianity have manifestly sprung is an outcome of the Vedic civilization and was spread from India to Persia, there cannot be the least doubt that the fountainhead of monotheism is the Vedas and all ideas and notions of One Supreme God first originated with the Hindus.

Monotheism, the theistic ideal of the future world.

 It can clearly be demonstrated that monotheism is gradually getting the better of all other theisms of the world. Though strictly speaking there is no monotheistic religion but the Vedic religion, even Christianity, which on the very face of it is triunism claims to be so. But it can be shown that Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism which are more of dualistic than monotheistic nature cannot claim the higher monotheism of the Vedas. There is little doubt that it was with this purpose in view that Max Muller as well as other philosophers and admirers of the Vedas in the west enjoined upon their countrymen the study of the Vedas. Their advice has now borne fruit and the number of the admirers, lovers and followers of the Vedic religion, though still a drop in the vast ocean of western population is rapidly on the increase. Two apparently monotheistic religions-Judaism and Zoroastrianism - are just lying on their funeral pyre. They have been destroyed root and branch by the followers and the Prophet of Islam. The whole extent of land which was at first peopled by the Jews and Zoroastrians is now inhabited by the Musalmans. You will only find an infinitesimal drop of these Jewish people sprinkled here and there on the continent of Europe. Persia is no longer the home of the Parsees, only a small number of the followers of Zoroaster you will meet within Bombay. If you also examine the theistic constitution of Mahomedanism you cannot deny that Mahomed borrowed almost sixteen annas of his religion from the above named two religions. And he was so brilliantly successful in forcing the weight of his preaching's, that the Jews of ancient Egypt, Assyria and Armenia and Zoroastrians of ancient Persia gave way without the least resistance. It cannot be denied that monotheism which has been always the highest and the noblest phase of a religion was then drifting into something like idolatry among the Jews and Zoroastrians and so it proved no difficulty with Mahomed to beguile them into his own belief by placing before them the best essentials of the religion of their own. It was in this way that Islam once became the dominating factor in the religion and politics of the whole of Europe and Asia proper. But while gradually Islam was effaced from China, Japan, India and parts of the European continent with single exception of Turkey, its force and influence became permanent in Egypt, Persia and Arabia and struck a fatal blow at the root of ancient Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

Some causes of Islamic success.

There are reasons why Islam could not have an established fame in some parts of the world and why it could have in others. Lord 

Woodhouselee in his ‘Universal History' Vol. IV, page 97 writes, "The rapid success which attended the propagation of the religion of Mahomet may be accounted for from a few natural and simple causes. The first of these was certainly that signal favor which attended his arms, and, as we shall immediately see, those of his successors. The martial spirit, when inflamed by the enthusiasm of religion, is irresistible; and while repeated victories persuaded many, of a divine interposition in favor of the prophet and his law, the terror of his arms inclined others submissively to receive that religion which was propagated by the sword. Neither was it surprising that a religion which adapted itself so entirely to the passions of men should find a number of willing votaries among the 

Juxrious? nations of the East. The gross ignorance, too, any of those nations might readily have rendered them the dupes of a less artful system of imposture than the fable of Mahomet; and to add to all, it must be owned with regret that the shameful animosities and dissensions which prevailed among the different sects of the Christian Churrch had too much contributed to bring the true religion disesteem' and contempt."

So, we see there were a number of causes that contributed a great deal to the rise of Islam and the contemporaneous downfall of paganism in Arabia and Egypt; Judism in Syria, Babylonia, Egypt and some parts of Europe; Zoroastrianism in Persia, and Christianity almost over the continent of Europe, and Buddhism and Hinduism in Asia. And those causes were (1) the martial---- ?of the followers of Mahommed, (2) their extraordinary religious zeal, (3) the degeneration of the followers of Zoroaster, Moses and Christ, Confucius, shinto and Buddha last of all a proverbial ignorance that had taken hold of their minds regarding the true natures of the Deity. If Islam became the permanent factor in the religious lives of the Persians, Arabians and Egyptians, it was because their cruel and merciless habits supported a good deal to the principle of cruelty with which the religion of Mahomed was spread throughout the whole world and not its highly monotheistic nature. Moreover Judaism and Zoroastrianism which were the principal religions of these countries at that time were not in the least condemned or altered but their main doctrines were taken in and adopted by Mahomed himself. So we read in "Tytter's Universal History" that "in many places, when the majesty and attributes of God are described, the style is most sublime and magnificent, and nearly resembles that of the sacred scriptures from which, indeed, it is quite obvious that the composer of the Koran drew many of its most shining ornaments." Another cause of Islam getting a firm foot hold in the above countries was that they were successively run over and conquered by Mahomed and his distinguished followers or successors Abubeker, Omar, Ali and others.

The defects of Islamic monotheism.

But when the question comes as to how Mahomed won the hearts of pagans and idol worshippers of Arabia and the neighboring countries then we must concur with the opinion of an ancient historian and say, "The ceremonies of circumcision, ablution, and the pilgrimage to Mecca, he recommended as exterior and visible signs, by which God desired that man should signify his belief of the more speculative tenets of his religion. These laws he pretended to have received from God Almighty, by the hands of the Gabriel-who presented him, from time to time, with parcels of that book, or Koran, in which they were contained. The fundamental doctrines of the Koran are such as have been enumerated. They are, it is true, intermixed with a variety of absurdities-errors in history, chronology, and philosophy; but these the countrymen of Mahomet, in his time, may well be supposed to have overlooked; and the learned Mussulman, at his day, will probably consider them as corruptions and interpolations of the original text." But it can be very convincingly proved that these external ceremonies Mahomed took from pagan inhabitants of ancient Arabia and thereby completely marred the monotheism of his own religion. For Lord Woodhouselee a student of history of the last century says, "They (pagan inhabitants) had a confused tradition, that they were descended from the Patriarch Abraham; and they retained, of the Jewish religion, the ceremony of circumcision, ablutions, and the horror for certain meats, which they regarded as unclean. With these rites, they combined the worship of idols, and the belief of three goddesses of equal power and wisdom, and co-existent with the Supreme Being. The city of Mecca was the residence of the chief  of these idols. A small square edifice, or temple, called the Kaaba, was held throughout all Arabia to be a place of the supreme sanctity. Within this temple was a stone, which was the peculiar object of veneration and was said to have descended from Heaven, in those days of innocence when man was free from guilt as he came from the hands creator. The stone was then white, but gradually became sullied, as man became more wicked, till at last  it grew entirely black. From the pilgrimages which it was customary to make to this temple, and the riches it brought it thither, Mecca became the most considerable city of Arabia." So it is clear that the greatness of Mecca was due to the rise of a prophet like Mahommed, rather it was wholly due to the ancient pagans, whose faith in the black stone, pilgrimage and Kaaba had grown so strong that the prophet considered it inexpedient to disturb the belief." It is one of main causes of Mahomedanism being a grand success among the original inhabitants of Arabia. But in spite of all this success the above absurdities became the characteristic features of Islam and polluted it with tinges of idolatory. For, it is a known fact that still to-day Mahomedans who undertake pilgrimage to Mecca kiss this black stone as a traditional belief on reaching the temple. If there is any Mahomedan gentlemen who may deny the charge of worshipping the black stone in the sense the orthodox Hindus worship idols, he cannot gainsay that in doing this he bends his head before this thing like an idol with some mingled feelings of awe and veneration and this is sufficient to dethrone him from the sacred belief of monotheism or the true idea of oneness of the Almighty Father.

Why Islam cannot be the future religion of the World

Wednesday, December 20, 2023



(By Chamupati, M.A.)

(Published in Vedic magazine Nov. 1918)

Philosophy, to be comprehensive, must contain Logic. The Indians, whose treatment of all branches of knowledge is known for its completeness, could not lose sight of the importance of the Science of Reasoning, on which philosophic thought hangs as on a hinge. The philosopher, of all thinkers, has to argue his position at every step. His theories, however, abstruse, have to partake of the concrete to be acceptable.

The treatise of Gautama, termed Nyaya Darshanam, forms the starting-point in India of Haituki, or the Science of Argumentation. It may have been preceded by simpler Outlines' or 'Foundations,' but of the books available, this is the earliest as well as the easiest. Being in itself the germ of the massy structure that grew on it, it contains, as in a protoplasm, all the features of the huge organism, that has later risen out of it. As a system of theoretical logic, it is complete, and may stand comparison with systems the most up-to-date. 

An objection is raised to the inclusion of Atma and Indriya among subjects to be treated of in Nyaya. The existence of these is, to the modern philosopher, yet open to dispute, and if tendencies, till now revealed, can form an index to the lines, that thought will follow in future, generations after generations have still to give a hesitating acquiescence to the existence of these entities. Logic, like mathematics, takes measure of the validity of the propositions brought to it, and should, like all exact sciences, be supported by illustrations that admit of exact elucidation or measurement.

The belief of the modern in the existence of entities which his material organs cannot grasp, may, at best, be shaky. To the ancient, metaphysics was a more concrete science than physics. His laboratory was ultra-physical. The realm of spirit was the arena of his experiments; from it were his illustrations drawn; on it were his conclusions based, that Logic and Polemics, as he treats of them, should abound with illustrations, that relate to the ultra-physical world, is nothing wonderful. The principles he discovered are the same that the modern world applies to objective truths.

It will be a recreation to the reader, accustomed to illustrations from matter, to read the proposition of the existence of spirit, discussed under modern principles of logic, by a philosopher who framed his rules of reasoning, centuries ago.

The phenomenon of cognizance that marks the animate from inanimate existence is the crux of the whole proposition. The body of animals, as composed of matter, may, under the operation of forces, move. It may act on, and be acted upon by, the objects around it, as are the rocks and the waters. But it can not feel or will. The sensations it receives, and the motive it gives to the blind workings of nature, elevate it above matter.

Of cognizance there are two plans. Physical cognizance is derived from physical organs, viz., the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue and the sensitive surface of skin, while for mental apprehension, under which psychology includes imagination, speculation, association, in fact, all that goes by the name of abstract intellection, the operation of the internal organ, termed 'mind' is necessary.

Some would treat these instruments as the agents. The eye is not the organ with which to see, but the seer itself. The same is averred of touch, smell, taste and hearing. This granted, what functions would, then, remain to call forth the activity of the spirit? Answers Gautama :-

दर्शनस्पर्शनाभ्यामेकाथ ग्रहणात् ॥ 3-1 ॥

The eye apprehends the form, while the sense of touch catches the sensations of softness or hardness. The two experiences are essentially different, yet they are collated, and lead to the perception of one object. The force that collates, the power that synthesizes, is of the spirit.

The argument is carried further. 

सव्यष्टस्येतराभिज्ञानात् ॥ 3-7 ॥

Where an organ consists of parts, as, for instance, the organ of sight, located in a couple of eyes, the parts or seats of the organ act in concert. The percepts apprehended by one eye are recognized by the other, even if the original instrument of perceptions were lost, and the one that now operates were out of order at the time of original perception. Here, too, there is necessity of an organizing agency that should ensure harmony in parts. That organizing agency is of the spirit.

Yet further

इन्द्रियान्तर विकारात् ॥ 3-12? ॥

That the organs are interconnected may be inferred from the community of effects to which they are collectively subject. The sight of an object that has acid taste, stirs up saliva in the mouth. The apprehension of form of an object has thus suggested its taste, and the cognizance of the latter is so real that the same sort of disturbance is caused in the organism that would follow on immediate perception of taste. It is this connection that suggests the existence of spirit

शरीरदाहे पातकाभावात् ॥ 3-4 ॥

The argument we now elucidate is taken from a section of the Penal Code. The cremation (or burial) of a body when dead is no crime, while the same body if burnt in living state, may have entailed capital punishment. The material elements of the organic structure are in both cases the same. The seats of the organs of sense, too, appear unaffected, yet in the former case, their operation ceases. The injury that you may do them is no longer felt, and is therefore accounted no crime. In the state, referred to as living, the body was the abode of a spirit that cognized, while in the condition, noticed as dead, it is stark matter, that may be dealt with as fuel, food fit for flames.

Having thus established the existence of spirit, Gautama proceeds to consider its permanency, i.e., its eternal or non-eternal character. Does the life of the soul begin with its advent with this body, or did it exist before, and has now entered on a new phase of activity?

Volition is preceded by Intellection, and Intellection by Feeling. Likings and dislikings, however, suddenly exhibited, have at their root, well ordered cognitional experience, which by long and continued repetition has ripened into instinct. Sensations have their ultimate source in the contact of the subject with the objective world. These, registered by a conscious cognizer, take a definite shape in consciousness, which forms the basis of Sensations so-called 'tastes' of individuals.

Governed by these principles, a child, as he takes his first glimpse of the world, should, instead of exhibiting activity, be an absolutely passive recipient of impressions. His mind, a blank plate, should submit itself to the pencil of its environments, of which as 
days pass, he may develop a tendency to direct the movements. Common observation, instead of supporting the above assumption, gives, on the contrary, the lie direct to it. The new-born baby has predispositions. His likes and dislikes are formed. The volitional phase of his mental life is more active than either the sensational or the intellectual. His energy, as if shut up for the time he was confined in the womb, finds profuse play now he is free.

The order of procedure in consciousness cannot be reversed. The inclinations that differ in different children at the time of birth, and for which no explanation can be found in their brief existence here, point clearly to the life, these young souls have led elsewhere. The star that is rising on the horizon of the Present, has had its setting on the ridge of the Past. Its incipient light has a retrospective bearing, which observers in spiritual firmament may clearly understand.

The way is thus opened to the assumption of an endless series of births and deaths, for life in the present cannot be explained except with reference to the one preceding, which latter is again an enigma, unless anticipated by another before it, and so on ad-infinitum

A similar inference may be drawn with regard to the eternity of the spirit by a prospective study of it. As in the past, so also in the future, will the never ending chain continue, each succeeding link being a necessary consequence of the one preceding. Human life can at no point, be regarded as complete. There always remains a seed that has not sprouted, a bud that has not blossomed, a fruit that awaits ripening, and a new lease must be granted to the tenant, superannuated apparently yet green at heart and hopeful, with dreams of harvest and granaries.

Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati- The Vindicator of Sanatana Dharma.


Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati- The Vindicator of Sanatana Dharma.

-Acharyasri Rajesh

The 'Breaking India' forces, orchestrating their disruptive agenda against Bharat, have resurfaced once more. This time, they have publicly declared war against Sanatana Dharma, the core and soul of Indian culture. As we examine, we find that doctrines of the 19th century such as Aryanism proposed by F. Max Muller, Dravidianism put forth by Bishop Caldwell, and the concept of 'Racial Casteism' by Lord Risley were the initiators, paving the way for the peril of ethnic separatism in Modern India. These Western pioneers, driven by evangelical motives, have left a legacy that finds continuity in their indigenous successor, E.V. Ramaswami, who not only adds momentum to it but has also turned it into a movement.

A century later, today, there is a multitude of adherents to this movement. Among them is Udhayanidhi Stalin, who has openly expressed a commitment to 'eradicate' Sanatana Dharma. Reviewing these aspects makes it clear that Udhayanidhi's statement is not an isolated political declaration.            
Udhayanidhi's inflammatory remark claimed, "Sanatana Dharma is the source of caste discrimination, and therefore, it should be eradicated like infectious diseases." Many celebrated this statement in social media as well. As propaganda and campaigns against Sanatana Dharma unfolded nationwide, even staunch followers struggled to defend the principles of Sanatana Dharma. It is disheartening to witness and acknowledge that the majority of adherents lack a clear understanding of what Sanatana Dharma is and its fundamental tenets. The only solution to overcome this predicament is to earnestly learn about Sanatana Dharma.

If one earnestly seeks to learn Sanatana Dharma, it is certain that, at some point, they will resonate with the teachings of Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati. Before shedding light on the symbiotic relationship between Sanatana Dharma and Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati, it is imperative to clarify what Sanatana Dharma really is. 

Today, quite a few people are aware that the word 'Sanatana' means 'eternal,' signifying 'imperishable' and 'consistent.' However, the question remains: What do they truly understand about Sanatana Dharma?

The coinage of the word 'Sanatana' can be traced back to the Vedas. For instance, there is a reference to the term 'Sanatana' in the Atharvaveda, where it connotes the name of God, Parabrahman.

sanātanamenamāhuḥ (Atharvaveda 10.8.23)
‘He (Brahman) is called 'Sanatana.’ 

upāsatai sanātanam (Atharvaveda 10.8.22)
‘Humbly worship Sanatana.’

If so, what is Sanatana Dharma? It is the dharma instructed by Sanatana, the eternal Brahman. Where is that dharma mentioned? It is articulated in the four Vedas by the Brahman! This assertion is not merely the opinion of this author; ancient sages had unanimously proclaimed that the Vedas are the composition of Brahman. As the 'Brihadaranyakopanishad' asserts, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharva Veda have arisen from Brahman. This viewpoint is also shared by the 'Chandogyopanishad' and 'Shvetasvataropanishad.' Maharshi Vedavyasa, based on the Vedanta Sutra's affirmation ‘śāstrayonitvāt,' further establishes that the Vedas have their origin in Brahman. Darshanas such as Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, and scriptures like the 'Mahabharata' share similar perspectives on the origin of the Vedas. This convergence also suggests that Sanatana Dharma is conveyed by Brahman through the Vedas. 

Besides, the two statements from Manusmriti—'vedo’khilo dharmamūlam' (2.6), signifying 'Veda as a whole is the source of Dharma,' and ‘vedaścakṣuḥ sanātanam' (12.94), indicating 'Veda is the eternal (“Sanatana”) eye'—together affirm this understanding. 

Now, let’s explore this from another perspective. It may be familiar to many that the fundamental texts of Hinduism are categorized as Shruti and Smriti. Shruti refers to the Vedas, which are considered Sanatana; consist of eternal truths. As the composition of God, they hold the status of texts with absolute authority. Manusmriti reinforces this by stating 'Pramanam paramam shruti' (Shruti is the Supreme authority). Given that the Vedas encompass only eternal truths, they do not contain accounts of human deeds, be it of any kings or any sages. Just as the sun is a perpetual presence for Earth, Shruti stands as an eternal guide for all ages. Consequently, the dharma articulated in Shruti has come to be recognized as Sanatana Dharma.

If that is the case, is there a dharma that is not Sanatana? Yes, indeed, this encompasses additional rules and codes of conduct presented by the Smritis, finely attuned to specific periods or particular locations. Being codified by humans, they have to be continuously checked and revised in accordance with the Vedas as ages pass. It is imperative to analyze the prescriptions of the existing Smritis and compose new Smritis in response to the evolving demands of the times.

However, within the Smritis, one may encounter references to enduring axioms. These axioms are thought to be directly derived from Sruti, serving as a representation of Sanatana Dharma. For example, let's consider a verse from Manusmriti.
satyaṃ brūyāt priyaṃ brūyāt na brūyāt satyamapriyam. 
priyaṃ ca nānṛtaṃ brūyāt eṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ. (Manusmṛti 4.138)

Means: Speak truthful words, speak pleasant words, refrain from uttering unpleasant truths, and also avoid conveying pleasant yet untrue statements; this is the Sanatana dharma.

Speaking truthfully and pleasantly is indeed the guidance of the Vedas.
‘satyaṃ bravīmi’ (Rigveda 10.117.6) – “I speak truthfully”; ‘vācaspatirvācaṃ naḥ svadatu’ (Yajurveda 30.1)- “May the lord of Speech make my words pleasant.”, ‘codayitrī sūnṛtānāṃ...sarasvatī’ (Rigveda 1.117.6)- “I invoke Saraswati, the inspirer of words that are both truthful and pleasant.” All these are teachings from Veda. In the quoted Manusmriti verse above, we observe a paraphrasing of these Vedic statements. Therefore, the aforementioned axioms fall under Sanatana Dharma. Speaking truth pleasantly is a timeless counsel applicable to all ages. This principle will remain relevant indefinitely, even in this modern era of artificial intelligence. Therefore, Manu himself stated that the specific notion referred to in Manusmriti falls under Sanatana Dharma.

From the above-cited example, one can comprehend that not all affirmations will fall under Sanatana Dharma simply because they are written in the Smritis. Only the axioms in the Vedas are acknowledged as Sanatana Dharma. 

Drawing from the prevalent belief systems of their time and their subjective perspectives, writers of the past era penned diverse Smritis. Some perspectives have even been interpolated into ancient texts like Manusmriti.

If any person asserts that what is stated in the smritis forms the basis of Sanatana Dharma, it must be rectified by clearly defining the meaning of Sanatana Dharma. 
Concepts that are explicitly mentioned and endorsed in the Vedas can only be considered part of Sanatana Dharma; otherwise, they are not. Hence, in response to allegations that Sanatana Dharma is misogynistic and caste-discriminatory, adherents of Sanatana Dharma should counter such accusations by referring to Vedic perspectives on these concepts. 

One who lives by the principles of the Vedas, but not by Smriti or any other age-old doctrines, can truly be termed as a Sanatani. The finest testimonial for this can be cited from Mahabharata.
na vedānāṃ paribhavānna śāṭhyena na māyayā. 
mahatprāpnoti puruṣo brahmaṇi brahma vindati.
darśaṃ ca paurṇamāsaṃ ca agnihotraṃ ca dhīmataḥ
cāturmāsyāni caivāsaṃsteṣu dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ 
(Mahābhārata 12.271.19-20)
Meaning: “By disregarding the Vedas, by stubbornness and hypocrisy, man cannot attain Parabrahman; for that, he has to rely on the Vedas. Sanatana Dharma is rooted in what is taught in the Vedas for the wise, such as Agnihotra, Darsha-Pournamasa Yajnas, Chaturmasya."

In Bharat, there once lived a man who walked the paths illuminated by the Vedas. He stood uncompromising, never diverging from the Vedic path even in the face of adversities. His decree to mankind was to lead a Vedic way of living. That man, who could truly be called a Sanatani, was none other than Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati. Grounded in the Vedas, he elucidated for people what constitutes Sanatana Dharma and what does not. He often referred to Sanatana Dharma, finely suited for all mankind, as Vedic Dharma. He proclaimed that his religion is none other than the Veda.

In his magnum opus, ‘Satyarth prakash’ he states, “We believe that the Vedas alone are the Supreme authority in the ascertainment of true religion- the true conduct of life. Whatever is enjoined by the Vedas we hold to be right; whilst whatever is condemned by them, we believe to be wrong. Therefore, we say that our religion is Vedic.” (Satyarth Prakash, Chapter 3)

To people who mistook conventionalism for Sanatana dharma, Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati advice so: “You call a usage, which is only six or seven generations old, as the most ancient custom, whilst we call, that custom ancient which has been in vogue from the time of the revelation of the Veda or that of Creation of the world to the present day.” (Satyarth Prakash, Chapter 4)
(Here Maharshi Dayanand used the term “Sanatan” to mean “ancient” in the original Hindi manuscript of Satyarth Prakash)

The contemporary world became aware of the Sanatana doctrines of the Vedas through Maharshi Dayananda. Axioms such as 'arcannanu svarājyam' (Rigveda 1.80.1) (worship the Swarajya) and 'rāṣṭrī prathamā yajñiyānām' (Rigveda 10.125.3) (Rashtra devata is to be worshipped primarily) in the Vedas inspired him to put forth ideals such as 'Swarajya' (Self-rule) and 'Rastrabhakti' (devotion for the nation). His life and ideologies inspired prominent national figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Swami Shraddhanand, Lala Lajpat Rai, Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Annie Besant. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel states of Dayananda Saraswati:

"The greatest contribution of Swami Dayanand was that he saved the country from falling deeper into the morass of helplessness. He actually laid the foundations of India’s freedom. A movement against untouchability, later to be supported by Gandhiji, was launched, and reconversion to Hinduism of the already forcibly converted persons was started. Swami Dayanand put a complete stop to the tendency in those days of preaching adharma in the name of dharma, which had made the Hindu Dharma the laughingstock of the world. Swami Dayanand wiped off the dirt and grime that had settled on the Hindu Dharma. He swept aside the cloud of superstition shrouding it and let in light.”(1)

The final statement by Vallabhbhai Patel holds utmost significance. With India bearing a cultural legacy spanning millennia, the transition from the ancient era of sages to the medieval period of orthodoxy saw the diminishing radiance of Sanatana Dharma, overshadowed by the prevalence of superstitions and various harmful practices. One of such deplorable practices was casteism, accompanied by the scourge of child marriage. Additionally, women were denied access to education, and widow marriage was prohibited by the orthodox men. To serve that purpose, they went so far as to compose and interpolate new Sanskrit slokas into the existing smritis and also crafted entirely new smritis that endorsed the continuation of such harmful practices. 

Dayananda’s advent happened at that phase, when such superstitious practices were at its zenith. He advocated for the Vedas, and based on their teachings, he clearly elucidated the principles of Sanatana Dharma. With citations from the Vedas, he lucidly imparted which principles aligned with Sanatana Dharma and which ones should be discarded and deemed non-Sanatana. He refuted all irrational notions of the latter, defended his perspectives and established them on the basis of the Vedas. He also directed his criticism towards Christianity and Islam.

He emphasized that concepts like casteism are absent in the Vedas and that the caste stratification practiced in his times was entirely inconsistent with the teachings of the Vedas. In the fourth chapter of Satyarth Prakash, he asserts with clear Shruti-Smriti references that Jaati is a distorted and even contradictory form of the Vedic concept of Varna. His viewpoints weren't confined to words; he set out to implement Vedic principles. He taught Vedic rituals to all, regardless of caste. However, how many of us are familiar with Dayananda Saraswati, who conducted the upanayan ceremony for Dalits—symbolized by the sacred thread—and imparted Vedic teachings to them, especially during a time when discrimination was rampant. Could there be a more effective way to eliminate caste discrimination than this?

On the 50th anniversary of Swami Dayanand's passing, Mahatma Gandhi remarked, 'Among the many rich legacies that Swami Dayanand has left us, his unequivocal pronouncement against untouchability is undoubtedly one.' (2)

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar often criticized Gandhi, contending that Gandhi's explanation and interpretation of the Vedic Varna Concept leaned towards fostering casteism. Conversely, Ambedkar appreciated the perspective of Dayananda on the Vedic Varna concept. In his writings, Ambedkar stated, “I must admit that the Vedic theory of Varna as interpreted by Swami Dayanand and some others is a sensible and an inoffensive thing. It did not admit birth as a determining factor in fixing the place of an individual in society. It only recognized worth.” (3)

Among the eristics who argue that 'caste stratification is an outcome of the four Varna concepts in Vedas and therefore, Sanatana Dharma ought to be opposed,' how many possess knowledge of the Vedic Varna concept vindicated by Dayananda Saraswati, an outlook applauded by Ambedkar? How many of the followers of Sanatana Dharma truly comprehend Dayananda's perspective on the Four Varna concept?

Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati not only preached against casteism but also urged his disciples to actively oppose it. His disciples set out to nooks and corners of the nation, dedicated to combating and eradicating caste stratification. One of his disciples reached Kerala and gave leadership to Vaikom Satyagraha. He was Swami Shraddhanand. Ambedkar hailed him as: ‘the greatest and the most sincere champion of the Untouchables’. (4)

Sanatana Dharma is being questioned not only in the context of caste stratification but also due to allegations of misogyny. Indeed, there are instances in smritis and puranas that support such detrimental practices. For instance, Purana asserts, "strīśūdradvijabandhūnāṃ trayī na śrutigocarā," implying that 'women, sudras, and relatives of dvijas are not allowed to hear the Veda.' However, a crucial question emerges: Is Sanatana Dharma in any way related to such injunctions found in smritis and puranas?

Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati who considered Vedas as supreme dictums had confronted such conventional standpoints strongly in his ‘Satyarth Prakash’. He stated, “All men and women (i.e., the whole mankind) have a right to study. You may go and hang yourselves. As for the text you have quoted, it is of your own fabrication, and is nowhere to be found in the Vedas or any other authoritative book.” (Satyarth Prakash, Chapter 3)

After making this statement in Satyarth Prakash, Dayananda further supports his argument by quoting a Yajurveda mantra: 'Yathemam Vacham Kalyaneem...' This mantra stands against the orthodox belief, asserting that all humans, including women, should study the Vedas. Dayananda proceeds to cite another Atharvavedic verse from the famous Brahmacharya Sukta. The verse 'Brahmacharyena Kanya Yuvanam Vindate Patim' emphasizes women's education, stating that a Brahmacharini—a young woman educated in Vedas—finds a Brahmachari, a Vedic-educated youth, as her bridegroom.

On the basis of this Vedic foundation, he further asserts “It follows therefore that girls should also practice Brahmacharya and receive education…Here is an authority from Shraut Sutra: “(In the Yajna) let the wife recite this mantra.”. Was she not a scholar of the Vedas as well as of other Shastras, how could she in the Yajna recite the Vedic mantras, with proper pronunciation and accent, as well as speak Sanskrit? In ancient India, Gargi and other ladies - jewels among women- were highly educated and perfect scholars of the Veda. This is clearly written in the Shatapatha Brahmana. Now if the husband be well-educated and the wife ignorant or vice versa, there will be a constant state of warfare in the house. Besides if women were not to study, where will the teachers, for Girls’ schools come from?... The Kshatriya women in ancient India, used to be well-acquainted even with military science, or how could they have gone with their male relations and fought side by side with them in battle fields, as Kaikeyi did with her royal husband Dasharatha… As men should, at the very least, learn Science of Grammar, Dharma and their profession or trade, likewise should women learn Grammar, Dharma, Medical Science, Mathematics and the Mechanical and fine arts at the least…” (Satyarth Prakash, Chapter 3)

This gynocentric perspective is evident throughout his Commentary on the Vedas. The renowned author of the best-selling work ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,' Mr. Yuval Noah Harari, offers insightful observations on Dayananda Saraswati in his book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.' He states: 'Dayananda often interpreted the Vedas in a surprisingly liberal way, supporting, for example, equal rights for women, long before the idea became popular in the West.'

These were not merely the subjective standpoints of Dayananda. His significant contribution to Indian society lies in his manifestation of Sanatana Dharma. He presented the true essence of Sanatana Dharma in a just and distinct manner. Contemporary society should acquaint itself with these Sanatana doctrines, which serve as a progressive, rational, and exceptional guide. When viewed through the lens of Dayananda, many allegations raised against Sanatana Dharma appear to be erroneous. Therefore, it is imperative to study the philosophies espoused by Dayananda in this era.

In figurative terms, Sanatana Dharma functions as the sturdy trunk of the vast tree that symbolizes Hinduism. The Veda acts as the foundational root from which this trunk, representing Sanatana Dharma, emerges. The diverse branches that sprout from the trunk symbolize the various traditions of Hinduism that have originated from and diverged out of Sanatana Dharma. Those opposing Sanatana Dharma are undoubtedly among those who seek to uproot Hinduism. Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati, who left behind a powerful intellectual weapon for the followers of Sanatana Dharma to defend against such offensive attempts, should and must be studied with utmost importance.

1. Source: The Hindustan Times, 11 November 1950, quoted from 'Paropkari' magazine, February- 2014, 1st issue.
2. Dayanand Commemoration Volume (1933): Sarda Har Bilas, p.1.
3. A Reply to the Mahatma by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, THE ANNIHILATION OF CASTE, 9.2.
4. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings & Speeches Vol. 9. Dr. Ambedkar Foundation. 1991. pp. 23-24.
* Excerpts from Satyarth Prakash have been adapted from the English translation by Dr. Chiranjiva Bhardwaja.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023




 (By Mr. Chamupati, M.A.)

Published in Vedic Magazine February 1919

The modern theory of evolution reduces animate existence, in its simplest form, to a single primitive cell. Bacilli, bacteria and amoeba are regarded as the first form of animate existence from where by a process of multiplication and differentiation of cells, life has gradually been assuming complexity. Varieties of animals mark the various stages, through which, this self-evolving complexity has  progressed, passed.

The theory, as it stands, is open to serious objections. The primitive type still lingers, and will continue to linger as long as existence lasts. Human beings are the most complex type evolved. Yet since the time of first creation of man, his vital structure does not appear to have undergone any material change. As was pointed out in the Journal of the Victoria Institute (London), Vol. XIX, page 125, 'One of the two oldest skulls, known to us as the Engis skulls, shows no inferiority to an average modern skull. That self-evolving complexity should fail to effect a vast number of cells which are yet in the first stage, and should cease to operate in the case of others, which it has carried to the highest rung, defeats the very idea of progressive evolution. 

Between these two extremes there 'links', the existence of which is a matter of mere assumption, while the cropping up here and there of abnormal types, makes the whole process of evolution unsystematic. 

 The state, prior to the evolution of single cells, is not indicated in this hypothesis. The problem of life, how it got communicated to a protoplasm, which, as scientists tell us, is a collection of insentient substances, remains still unsolved. The fact that living bodies are composed of a number of microscopic cells does not resolve life into those cells. The ultimate entity at which our investigation into animate existence arrives is not one. Over against insentient matter of which the universe is but a gorgeous parade of forms, are sentient souls, which show no sign of evolution from matter. They are related to matter as subject to object, or in the terminology of Sankhya, as purusha to prakrti. Not allied in essence, purusha and prakrti work in unison, each subservient to the purposes of the other.

According to Sankhya, prakrti consists of three gunas, viz, Satva, or the principle of light, Rajas, or the principle of activity, and Tamas the principle of dismal lassitude. Different interpretations are put on the word guna. Some take it to mean qualities, looking on prakrti as their aggregate. According to others, the use of the word is figurative, in the sense of strings, which, twisted together from the rope, called prakrti. The conception of matter, implied in the word prakrti, is essentially of its qualitative aspect, as distinguished from its substance, with which the atomic theory of Vaisheshika immediately deals.

In a state of equipoise, these gunus resolve matter into chaos, while a disturbance of their equilibrium leads to the evolution of order out of chaos. Strife of the gunas is life of the universe, while quietude among them universal inertia. Life, then, is in a potential state, and is to that state that the name prakrti properly belongs. It is the subtlest state of matter, which cosmos, when it comes, makes gross?. Chaos alternates with cosmos in endless cycles. Matter and spirit being co-eternal, their activity cannot be annihilated?. It is simply held in abeyance, for a certain period, which the Vedas aptly call night, the hour of rest.

Every creation or cosmos, begins with awakening on the part of souls, for which the resolution of matter into chaos has been synonymous with a period of peaceful repose. The psychic material for the energy of these souls is to be supplied by prakrti, and it is to this end that the evolution of prakrti has to be in strict correspondence with the unfolding of the powers of purusha. The instruments, which the soul uses for its operations on the physical plane are the external organs of sense. The time for their development will be, when the evolution of insentient nature has proceeded so far as to call for its comprehension by them. At the outset the soul is concerned with self. Consciousness is the essence of spirit, and it is to consciousness that prakrti awakens it. The principle, then evolved, is called mahat, the great one. It is otherwise termed buddhi, or Intellect, and being the finest organ in its mental equipment, is used, in later developments, for the decision of right and wrong by the soul.

First cognizance should be of self. Simultaneously with it, and with a view to bring about the process, ahankar or Ego takes birth. This is the first child of mahat, step forward in definiteness, though as principle, it is grosser. Its function in the psychic life of the spirit is to individualize impressions received by the mind and to refer them to Mahat.

The spirit, self-consciousness, naturally looks up; and in the absence of sense-organs, and their coordinator, Manas, would feel itself at sea, were it not for mother prakrti, which has all the time been busy, forging weapons for the battles of the incipient hero.

The number of aspects, Tatvas, to which an Indian philosopher reduces his universe, is five. The same is the number of sense organs, viz. the organs of touch, taste, hearing, smell and sight. By means of these organs, the spirit is related to the objective world. Each sense has sphere, specially allotted to it, and the world, in so far as it is cognizable through senses, can present as many aspects as they. Matter, in as much as it is audible, is Akasha; in as much as it is tangible, it is Vayu; in as much as it is visible, it is Agni; in as much as it has taste, it is Jala; in as much as it has smell, it is Prthvi.

The affinity between the organs of sense and their objects is not accidental; it points to a unity of origin. Cognizance must be supplemented with activity, for a harmonious working of the powers of the soul, wherefore five more organs; viz. the tongue, hands and feet, and the organs of evacuation and reproduction must necessarily be added. In their potential unalloyed state, the five aspects of nature are evolved with these ten organs, and the mind, from Ego. The word tanmatra is significant, meaning simply that, as distinguished from this, the immediate Ego. It is the first dawn of object on subject. Matter in this state can only dimly be made out as distinct from self. It has not yet been sufficiently differentiated to be the object of senses. This last is a consummation, which the transformation of tanmatras into the gross aspects of nature, termed the five bhutas, eventually accomplishes.

From subtle to gross, the work of evolution proceeds, till a mighty edifice of infinite magnitude is created out of chaos, which in its minuteness baffles the subtlest conception of man. Sankhya sums up this entire process in the following brief formula :-

सत्वरजस्तमसां साम्यावस्था प्रकृतिः प्रकृतेर्महान, महतोऽहंकारः, अहंकारात्पञ्चतन्मात्राणि, उभयमिन्द्रियम्, ततः पञ्चभूतानि पुरुष इति पञ्च विंशतिगण।

The above sutra enumerates the twenty-five entities, which, with the exception of purusha, constitute consecutive rungs in the ladder of evolution.

For the process of resolution into chaos, which sets in, when the forces of evolution have spent themselves, the order of entities is reversed. The beauty of the whole hypothesis is that subject and object proceed in concert; spirit and matter are made hand-maidens; the evolution of one is just the unfolding of the other. The merit of the soul, a fruit of its former lives, is the measure of the potency, which the principles evolved exhibit, as they are utilised by each spirit individually.

Materialism of modern days, which makes no room for spirit, has to stop, as we noticed, at primitive cells, beyond which its investigations cannot go, and the enigma of the origin of life remains as defiant of solution as ever.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Life and Consciousness in Trees.


Life and Consciousness in Trees.

(By Prof. Balkrishna, M.A., F.R.S.S., F.R.E.S., etc.)

Whether trees, plants, creepers, grasses, million and one things of the vegetable world should be counted amongst living or non-living beings is not a question of academic interest only.  People of a low civilization like ours may ignore the importance of this problem, but it is sure to occupy the supreme attention of the generations to come, because they will fully recognize that theirs is not the right to take life which an All-Wise, Merciful and Just God has bestowed upon millions of beings, they would behold the oneness of life from the smallest creeper to the biggest creature, they would realize the existence of soul in all beings and all beings in that Omnipresent Soul and hence they would desist from mercilessly taking life and also would invent methods for chemically producing means of sustaining life. Our ancestors recognized life and consciousness in the countless forms of the vegetable world. Their opinions on this point are scattered throughout the Sanskrit literature from which a few passages can be profitably quoted in this article.

 (i) The Sankhya Darshan supplies us a most convincing proof of the life and consciousness in trees. In Book V. Aph. 121-2 we read :

न बाह्यबुद्धि नियमो वृक्षगुल्मलतौषधि वनस्पतितृणबीरुघादीनामपि भोक्तृभोगायतनत्वं पूर्ववत् ॥ १२१ ॥

स्मृतेश्च ॥ १.२॥

"Knowledge of the external is not indispensable to constitute a Body: trees, shrubs, climbers, annuals, trees with invisible flowers, grasses, creepers, etc., which have internal consciousness are, also, sites of experiencer and experience, as in the former case. From the Legal Institutes the same fact may be inferred, viz., that vegetables have bodies and are conscious though they are not moral agents." Ballantyne.

(ii) In Ishwar Krishna's Sankhya Karika Aph. 53, we meet with the same evidence:

अष्टं विलल्पं दैवं तैर्यग्योनं पंचधा भवति । मानुष्यं त्वेकविधं समासतोऽयं त्रिधा सर्गः ॥ पशु मृग पक्षि सरीसृप स्थावराणं भूतान्येव, पेश्वविधरतरेश्चः ॥

"The divine kinds of eight sorts, the groveling is fivefold ; mankind is single in its class. This, briefly, is the world of Living Beings. Domestic animals, wild animals, birds, reptiles and fish and vegetables are the five groveling kinds of beings or creatures."

(iii) Then Udayana in Prithvi Nirupana remarks that “trees, etc., the whole vegetable kingdom, show the phenomena of life, death, sleep, waking, disease, drugging, transmission of specific characters by means of ova, movement towards what is favorable and away from what is unfavorable like the known living beings.”

वृक्षादयः प्रतिनियत भोक्त्रपुधिष्टिताः जीवनमरण स्वप्नजागरण रोग भेषज प्रयोग वीज सजाहीयानुबन्धानुकूलोपगम प्रतिकूलापममादिभ्यः प्रसिद्धशरीरवत् ।

The same Udayana notes that plants have a latent or dormant consciousness which is extremely dull :-

अति मन्दान्तः संज्ञितया !

(iv) Similarly one Chakrapani observes in the Bhanumati that plants though supplied with consciousness and life enjoy only a darkened consciousness.

वृक्षास्तुचेतनावन्तोगी तमश्छन्नज्ञानतया शास्त्रोपदेश विषया एव |

(v) But the Manu Smriti contains the clearest logical statement of this principle.

 शरीरजः कर्मदोषैर्यातिस्थावरतां नरः । वाचिकै: पक्षिमृगतां  मानसैरन्स्य जातिताम् ॥ ७ ॥

"The soul is born as plant owing to the sins committed by the body; it becomes a bird or a beast for the sins of speech, and an outcast for the mental sins."

Thus it is clear that the soul is actually born as corn, etc., and is not a mere co-tenant with the jivas of the plants as seems to be propounded in some of the aphorism, of the Vedanta Philosophy...

Again in Manu Smriti Chap. L. 49 and 50 we read :

तमसा बहुरूपेण वेष्ठिताः कर्महेतुना | अन्त: संज्ञा भवन्त्येते सुख दुःख समन्विताः ॥ ४९ ॥ '

प्रतदन्तास्तु गतयो ब्रह्माद्याः समुदाहृताः । घोरेस्मिन्भूत संसारे नित्यं सततयायिनि ॥ ५० ॥

"These plants which are surrounded by multiform Darkness, the result of their acts in former existence, possess internal consciousness and experience pleasure and pain. The various conditions in this always terrible and constantly changing circles of births to which created beings are subject, are stated to begin with that of Braliman, and to end with these plants."

(vi) The Chandogya Upanishad supplies another incontrovertible testimony in support of this view : Chap. VI III. 1-2.

तेषां खल्वेषां भूतानां त्ररियेव बीजाति भवन्त्याण्डजं जीवजमुभिज्ज्ञामिति ॥ १ ॥

सेयं देवतेक्षत हन्ताहृमिमास्तिस्त्रो देवता अनेन जीवेनानाऽनुप्रविश्य नामरुपं व्याकरवाणीति ॥ २ ॥

“Verily, of all these living objects, there are three sources, vie, oviparous, viviparous and sprouting objects. These three objects in the form of life (Jivatma) I shall be manifest in various names and forms.".

One other passage from the same Upanishad is remarkable in this respect (Chand. V. 10. 6).

अभ्रं भूत्वा मेघो भवति मेघो भूत्वा प्रवर्षति त इह व्रीहियवा ओषधिवनस्पतयस्तिलमाषा इति जायन्तेऽतो वै खलु दुर्निष्प्रपतरं यो यो ह्यन्नमत्ति यो रेतः सिञ्चति तद्भूय एव भवति ॥

“Having been in the mist, he enters the cloud ; having been in the cloud, he enters the rain (and falls down).

Then he is born as rice or barley, herbs or trees, sesamum or beans, etc. From this point there is constant (tantalizing ) rise and fall. For whoever eats the food and begets offspring (the jiva) is there in that food and that seed.”

(vii) We meet with the same evidence of life in trees in Garuda Purana. At the end of Chapter IV it is said -

तस्य क्षयं फलं भुक्ता तत्रैवोत्पद्यते पुनः । यमाज्ञया महीं प्राप्य भवन्ति स्थावरादयः ॥ ३० ॥

 वृक्षुगुल्म लतावल्ली गिरयश्च तृष्णानि च । स्थावरा इति विख्याता महामोह सगवृता ॥ ६१ ॥

कीटाश्च पशवश्चैतव पक्षिणश्व जलेचव। चतुरशीति लक्षेषु कथिता देवयोनयः ॥ ६२ ॥ 

एताः सर्वाः परिभ्रम्य ततां यान्ति मनुष्यताम् मानुषेऽपि श्वराकेषु जायन्ते नरकांगताः । 

तत्रापि पाप चिन्हैस्ते भवन्ति बहु दुःखिताः ॥ ६३ ॥

Having eaten their un-decaying fruits they are born again. By order of Yama they return to the earth and become unmoving and other creatures: Trees, bushes,. plants, creepers, rocky plants and grasses, these are spoken of as unmoving: they have life but are enveloped in great delusion. Insects, birds, animals and fish-such are eighty four lakhs of births. All these have to be gone through before one attains manhood and even in coming up to the human Kingdom, souls are born amongst low. castes.

Speaking of the fruits of precarious actions in Chap. V. the same Purana says :

कृमिकीट पतङ्गत्वं स्वर्णस्तेयी समाप्नुयात् ।

तृणगुल्म लतात्वं च क्रमशां गुरुतल्पगः ॥ ३६ ॥

‘Who goes with his teacher's wife, goes to the condition of grass, bushes and plants.” The same thought has been expressed in Minu XII, 58 and Yagyvalkya III, 208. "

In Chap. X VI. II the same Purana has again given an order of evolution of a soul which cannot but be admired for its boldness of assertion :

स्थावराः कृमयश्चाजाः पक्षिणः पशतवो नराः ।

धार्मिकास्त्रिदशास्तद्वन् मोक्षिणश्च क्रमम् ॥ ११ ॥

"The unmoving things, worms, goats, birds, animals, men, righteous persons, thirty three deities and also the liberated-according to this order does the evolution of an ascending soul proceed."

(viii) But more than this, the phenomena of life and consciousness in trees have been most aptly described in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata :

All sorts of created things have four kinds of birth. They are viviparous, oviparous, vegetables and those born of filth. 

Trees sicken and dry up. This indicates that they have perception of touch. By sound of wind and fire and thunder, their fruits and flowers fall down. Sound is perceived through the ear. Trees, have, therefore, ears and do hear. A creeper entwines a tree all around. A blind thing cannot see its way. Therefore it is evident, that trees have vision. Again, trees have vigour and put forth flowers for good and bad smell of the sacred incense of all sorts. It is evident that trees have scent. They draw water by their roots and catch all sorts of diseases which can be cured by various operations. From this it is clear that trees have perception of taste. They are subject to pleasure and pain. These facts clearly prove that trees have life. They are not inanimate.' Chap. 184 Shanti Parva. 6

(ix) In the Nyaya Sidhanta Muktavali (न्यायसिद्धांतमुक्तावलि ) which is a well-known book of the New Logical school and which very aptly summarizes the views of many old philosophers, we find one more convincing evidence of life and consciousness in trees. In Pratyaksha Kand we read the following

वृक्षा =दीनामपि चेष्टासत्वान्नध्यातिः न वृक्षादीनां शरीत्वे किं मानमिति वाच्यम् । अध्यात्मिकवायुसम्बन्धस्य  प्राणत्वात् । तत्रैवं किं मानमिति चेत्, भग्नक्षतसरोहणादिना तदनुमानात् ॥

"You say that trees, plants, etc., possess desire, experience pleasure and pain, hence your definition of a living being is faulty. What is your evidence for life in trees? Trees breathe in a mystic way-but breathing is a proof of life. But what is the proof of breath in trees? They grow when cut or injured like well-known living creatures, hence they have life." Here we have to go one step further for proving consciousness in trees. Breathing is necessarily connected with the existence of soul in a body, the trees breathe, hence they have soul (Atma), but the characteristics of Atma are affinity, repulsion, effort, pleasure, pain and knowledge or consciousness. Consciousness is the necessary attribute of a soul. This fact has been fully recognized by the word चेष्टा, Desire, that is, repulsion and affinity and आध्यात्मिक वायु, that is, breath having its source in the mystic soul.

(x) But a more scientific statement of the successive stages of the development and evolution of man and the existence of life in vegetables is to be found in the Brihat Vishnu Purana : 

स्थावर विशंतेर्लक्षं जलजं नवलक्षकं |

कूर्म्माश्चनवलक्षञ्च दशलक्षं च पक्षिणः ॥ 

विशलृक्षं पशूनाञ्च चतुर्लक्षं च वानराः |

ततो मनुष्यतां प्राप्य तत्ततकर्म्माणि साधयेत ॥ 

एतेषु भ्रमणं कृत्वा द्विजत्वमुपजायते ।

सर्व्वयोनि परित्यज्य ब्रह्मयोनिमतोऽभ्शगात् ||

"The individual soul before attaining manhood has to go through 20,00,000 forms of vegetables, 9,00,000 kinds of fish, 9,00,000 sorts of reptiles, 10,00,000 species of birds, 30,00,000 varieties of mammals and 4,50.000 kinds of monkeys. 

Having passed through these successive stages of evolution, a soul takes birth among Dwijas- Vaishas, Kshatriyas and Brahmans. Then by merit of specially good works, it leaves off its circle of births and deaths and attains to Brahmanhood." 

This passage is extremely wonderful, because it gives exactly the same order of evolution as has been established by the European evolutionists of to-day, because it separates monkeys from other mammals and names monkeys as the predecessors of man, because it establishes the memorable fact that a race of Darwin's has already existed in India, more than this all because the author has so boldly given the number of species of the various orders of the animal kingdom, but this Herculean task has not been fully performed in this modern civilization.

(xi). Dr. Gananath Sen of Calcutta has supplied one additional evidence of life and consciousness in trees in his paper on the study of medical science in ancient India. He says "In Botany, unfortunately, very scanty records have been left in the writings of Raghava Bhatta and Sarangdhara-an important section of which (Upavanvinoda) the humble writer of this paper had the honor of editing and translating some years ago. The information's contained in these books are numerous. Plants have been called Sthavarjiva or fixed animals, and pleasure and pain have been attributed to them." (Compare in this connection the recent discoveries of Plant Response by the illustrious Dr. J. C. Bose of Calcutta).

(xii). Last but not the least is the incontestable evidence of the VEDA.

In Atharva Veda 1. 6.32 plants have been declared breathing objects :

इदं जनालो विदथ महद्ब्रह्म वदिष्यति ।

न तत् पृथिव्यां नो दिवि येन प्राणन्ति वीरुधः॥

The Great Lord by whose energy the plants breathe, is not in this world nor in the sky."

Then in VIIL 7. 6. Atharva Veda, plants have been described as living objects:

जीवलं नधारिषां जीवन्तीमोषधीमहम् ।

अरुन्धतीमुन्नयन्तीं पुष्पां मधुमतीमिह हुबेस्मा अरिष्टतातये ||

The lively, by no means harming, living herb, the non-obstructing, up-guiding, flourishing one, rich in sweets, do I call hither (do I use) for this man's freedom from harm."

Thus it is more than clear now that plants have life and internal consciousness, that they experience pleasure and pain, that is, show all actions of life like the well known living creatures, though only in a subtle form. These ideas persistently permeate the whole Hindu Literature and have been boldly incorporated in our religious systems. To-day these lost truths are being re-demonstrated before the world by Dr. Bose of international reputation but as yet no practical results have come out of his demonstration, because the oneness of life has not been thoroughly realized by the people. The present generation would no doubt laugh at the idea of Cruelty to Trees, but we are sure it would occupy a prominent place in practical economics in no distant future.