Thursday, April 7, 2016

On mantra in The Battle for Sanskrit

by Sati Shankar

Recently on Bharatiya Vidvat Parishat, a Google Group, Shri Shatavadhani Ganesh made some comments on The Battle of Sanskrit by Mr. Rajiv Malhotra.!topic/bvparishat/e4i_jHilp98

Topic:- [The following quotation of Sri Shatavadhani Ganesh]
Appendix B. Untenable Arguments
       [Sri Rajiv Malhotra says----]
    Meditation mantras…produce effects which ordinary sounds do not.” (p. 21; also see pp. 32, 11)

Sri Satavadhani Ganesh's comments on this as follows---

[1]           "This is at best a theological argument of a mimAmsaka. "

Worth noting is the use of the term "Theological" in the context of mimAnsa. We have become so accustomed to Christian vocabulary that we start it using  even while discussing the Bharatiya Tradition, which is in itself so  holistic, that a possibility of  risk of misinterpretation  can not be denied even in using the word " integral" for it and seeking grounds on which on one facet of samyaka in our holistic tradition is alleged to laugh on the other.Here deva or devi of mimansa are not exactly the "God" of theology so conceptual superimposition is mistaken. "Theology translates into English from the Greek theologia  which derived from Theos , meaning "God," and -logia , meaning "utterances, sayings, or oracles" (a word related to logos , meaning "word, discourse, account, or reasoning") which had passed into Latin as theologia and into French as théologie. The English equivalent "theology" (Theologie, Teologye) had evolved by 1362 CE. The sense the word has in English depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired in Patristic and medieval Christian usage, though the English term has now spread beyond Christian contexts."  Richard Hooker defined "theology" in English as "the science of "things" divine". ,  for further see and

Let us consider our own tradition;
In our Sanatan tradition, we consider "devatA", "devi", or whatever we perceive the form and name it, nAma -  rUpa, is realised in our tradition as vishvam ekam, (RV. 3.54.8), the many are the One  and the One that is manifold, vishvam satyam, (RV. 2.24.12); the manifold truth,and vishvam .....garbham (RV. 10.121.7). therefore, if asked, "Is He One or many?", our tradition says,"One and many", The general principle is ,the devah is every where of one and the same form. (RV.8.11.8)., that is, "Even as he seems, so is he named" RV. 5.44.6., the way being anurUpah, pratirUpah, (JBU.I.27). Here, He, Prajapati, manifests in "Himself", so this universe, idam sarvam, pecieved according to anurUpam, pratirUpam,to be declared " One and many", there by clarifying that the translation of the NasadIya Sukta, the Manifestation Hymn, as the "Creation Hymn", signifies the error interpretation and naming by the Indologists had in their minds the "Creationist presuppositions" of Christianity. Therefore, using the "God" for the  "Self Manifested", idam sarvam, is like limiting Him and equally makes "theology" a term unfit to proceed for brahma jijnAsA of our tradition.PrajApti, thus manifested in Himself, idam sarvam,selforganizes in dharma by his own  multifarious sva-bhAva, such that in Him are all beings, idam sarvam, manas, prAnah, nAma-rUpa, are within, as coincident; " sent by Him onto him, and born of Him into him, it is in Him that all this universe is stabilised, that is how our tradition invokes for shAnti, ... sarve devAh shAntih, nakshatrh shAntih, vanaspatayah shantih.....aum shAntih, shAntih, shAntih... to keep the equilibrium  in idam sarvam intact, for welfare of the cosmos. Our scriptures teach,"idam sarvam brahm" and therefore, being a manifestation within,   Aham brahmAsmi  since we ,aikik and samyaka are this "idam sarvam", well connected in such a way that a chance deviation at any level, be it microcosm or macrocosm, does not leave unaffected within. These are just examples within the limits of this forum. Note Ayurveda follows the same when it  takes up nidAna, which we will see below.

So a sweeping authoritative generalization like "This is at best a theological argument of a mimAmsaka. " is clearly a mistake as we commit most often, especially when we approach our texts through translations by Western authors or by Indians who have /had their Gurus in them. I hope with these highly compressed lines I have brought the reader to a place from where we can venture in to the second part of the issue, where we can examine if the mantra has any bearing upon us, or really got laughed at itself and discarded in Ayurveda. manas (=Prajapati) and the chariot, contained in idam sarvam, in simple words, our sthUl body has to have manas to be in svabhAva. Further, manifestation in self appears with vAk co-existing with dhvani. Below we will have an opportunity to see how this dhvani affects us and modern science and technologies are striving hard to catch the core. But before that we need the ground to see "whom" and with what svabhAva  the Ayurveda aims to treat only then we will be able to know if vAk, dhvani, shabd, have any capability to make impact. For music (= vAk, dhvani, shabda (semantics) we are taught that,

Swaranti Twa Sute Naro Vaso Nireka Uktina¡’ (RV 8.33.2).
‘O! Disciple, you have come to me with the sacred desire of the enlightening the inner self.
Let me tell you the ways of reaching thy-light.
If you call thou through your sentiments accompanied by pure music,
thy shall illuminate your inner heart with divine love’.
Having established the significance of sound energy, let us take up the other issue raised...

The second comment by Sri Shatavadhani Ganesh was:

[2] "If mantras truly had healing effects, why did our tradition evolve from the daiva-vyapasraya of the Atharva Veda (which believed that certain chants and spells could cure a disease)  into the yukti-vyapasraya of Ayurveda  (which relies completely on observation; it doesn’t speak about even the healing effects of yogAsanas, let alone mantra)? In fact, Vagbhata laughs at people who seek proof for medicines in mantras."

Ayurveda is a complete way of life, and this system improves not only a person’s health, but also their well being, behavior and state of mind. My purpose here solely is to connect the real semantics so that any union or disjunction or nullity of intersection can be characterized clearly. While explaining Ayurveda, characterises clearly the "Ayuh" in Ayurveda.

SharIrendriysatvAtmsanyogo,dhAri jIvitam
nitygschanubandhsch paryairAyuruchchyte.

(Charak SamhitA, sutrasthAnam,42) says clearly that our body(sthUla sharIra) is made up of five elements, being the seat of AtmA,comprising bhautika indriya (organs)manas (satva),chetna seer, enjoyer, jIva, and Ishvara, all combined together is Ayuh.
Moreover, tatrAyuschetnAnuvrittihjIvitmanubandho dhArichetyekorthah, (it is Susrut)
sarvadA sarvabhAvAnAm sAmAnyam vriddhikAraNam
hrAsheturviSeshasch pravrittirubhayastu tu. (Charak SamhitA, sutrasthAnam,44)

In all the conditions, only the state of equilibrium, sAmAnya sthiti, is the true state of dharma
(of idam sarvam ~ both micro and macrocosm...) any deviation warrants attention, nidAna.

Let us come to the second issue of this thread where mantra are said to be laughed at by the Ayurvedika yukti. Mantras are Vedic in origin. It is considered that it is capable of transformation. Their use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. Mantra is intrinsically related to sound and sound is reverberating in everything in this universe .“Mantra Meditation” from /Mantra_meditation.htm.  A Mantra is a sound repeated over and over until it integrates into our consciousness - frees the mind from its constant doing, and elevates us to an altered state of awareness. The Sanskrit word mantra combines the root man (to think) with the suffix tra instrument or tool). Therefore, mantra means literally tool for thinking. [Accessed on: 25/05/2012 . The relation between speech and sound with the psychic state and happiness, cannot be denied.
If we suppose, rather bluntly (which I do not support ), that mantra were meaningless syllables assigned certain phonetic attributes meant for rituals, if I am allowed to use the language of eighteenth century translators in the West, and if suppose that I am saying all this to one who has special faculty, no intent to go AdhyAtmika to transcend the phenomenal, we cannot deny that in our daily life music (of one's choice)  carries one away from his or her then state to a state of relaxation if not peace of mind. This establishes clearly the impact of sound energy,suitable pitches, on our psychological and mental states, which are part of the Ayu, as defined above, so a subject matter of Ayurveda.This signifies a dimension whare one can not denay the impact of sound on a living being. Sound and music has been very much a tool to cure not only our mind and body but also to transcend this phenomenal.

Our scripture says,‘Swaranti Tva Sute Naro Vaso Nireka Uktina¡’ (RV 8.33.2).

‘O! Disciple, you have come to me with the sacred desire of the enlightening
the inner self. Let me tell you the ways of reaching
thy-light. If you call thou through your sentiments accompanied by pure music,
thy shall illuminate your inner heart with divine love’.

Now in such a samyak, integrated state where equilibrium is the ideal state, antecedent and consequent are bound to be a complex network and if we resort to the condition, what we call, ceteris paribus, cannot be considered to be a justified. That is why treatment in Ayurveda is not mere curing of sthUla SarIra, but it includes mana, vyavhAra, in short, it includes correction of psychological and behavioural aspects also.
Some of our esteemed members have already noted in other threads of theis group Vagbhata (Ashtanga Hridaya, Chikitsa-sthana, 1-177), which recommends the use of Mantras to heal diseases.
Therefore, even if we confine to our ancient texts dis-junction or rather rejection of Mantra cannot be justified as claimed by the commentator above. Situation becomes more interesting when we look at our current scientific activities to explore relation, and hence impact of sound energies, both, overt and covert, on our psyche and well being, what our Ayurveda, being an integral part of our "Veda" aims at. Although mantra, mani and aushadhi  being the basic forms of treatment in Ayurveda, Mantra treatment is given first preference as it is believed that it is Daivi (divine) form of treatment. . Following a survey article, MANTRA (INCANTATIONS) - DIVINE REMEDIAL IN AYURVEDA by Aparna Pravin Deshpande*, Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci., Vol.3, No.3 (2014) Pages 61 - 72 we can find numerous references emphasizing Mantra recitation in Ayurveda texts especially in Caraka Samhita.

(1)           In Jaatakarma that is the reciting of mantras in the newborn's right ear, requesting the                           Gods to protect    the newborn from evil spirits. (Caraka samhita, Part-1 (Carakacandrika                   Hindi commentary).   Brahmananda Tripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors.              1st ed.                   Varanasi: Chaukhambha Surbharati       Prakashana; 2009. Sharirasthana, 8/46.p.967.)

(2)           In the treatment of Jwara (fever), Charaka recommends chanting Vishnu Sahasra nama
                ( Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi Hindi commentary). Harishchandrasinha                                            Kushavaha,editor. 1st ed Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientaliya; 2009. Chikitsasthana,                           3/312,313.  p.134.)

(3)           In the treatment of poisoning (Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi Hindi commentary).                               Harishchandrasinha Kushavaha, editor. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientaliya; 2009.                  Chikitsasthana, 23/61.p.589 )

(4)           In Unmada (Insanity) and Apasmara (Epilepsy) (Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi Hindi                       commentary).   Harishchandrasinha Kushavaha, editor. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha                     Orientaliya; 2009.  Chikitsasthana, 9/89. p.262. )

(5)           In treatment of aagantuja shopha (exogenous oedema) (Caraka samhita, Part-2 (Ayushi                Hindi      commentary). Harishchandra sinha Kushavaha, editor. 1st ed. Varanasi:                                 Chaukhambha    Orientaliya;  2009. Chikitsasthana, 10/53.p.271.)

(6)           In Vishachikitsa (Treatment of Poisoning) (Sushruta Samhita, Vol. 3. Sharma PV, editor.                 1st ed. Varanasi:  Chaukhambha Visvabharati Prakashana; 2001. Kalpasthana, 5/10. p.47.)

(7)           During the labour (Prasuti) (Caraka samhita, Part-1, (Carakacandrika Hindi commentary).                  Brahmananda Tripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors. 1st ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha                          Surbharati Prakashana; 2009. Sutrasthana, 18/5. p.366.30. )

(8)           Before collection of herbal drugs (Caraka samhita, Part-1, (Carakacandrika Hindi                                 commentary). Brahmananda Tripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors. 1st ed. Varanasi:                           Chaukhambha Surbharati  Prakashana; 2009. Sharirsthana, 8/39. p.961.)

(9)           Before the procedure like jatakarma                            

(10)         In the treatment of snake bites, antidotes are prepared while chanting specific mantras to                       increase the efficacy of the medicine

(11)         Aapo hi stha mentioned in Sadvritta (Code of conduct)of Ayurveda is originally from                          Rig-Veda

In this way the role of mantra is better described and well defined in many places. Other than this, it is described
(12)         in Vamana (Emesis) and Virecana (Purgation)  (Caraka samhita, Part-1 (Caraka candrika                     Hindi  commentary). BrahmanandaTripathi, Ganga sahay Pandey, editors. 1st ed. Varanasi:                ChaukhambhaSurbharatiPrakashana; 2009. Sutra sthana, 8/ 28.p.205.

Space bounds me to not to include use of mantra in Yogic practices, but id a disjunction is calimed between yoga and mantra, that will be as a mistake as was  claimed in issue herein above between AyurvedA and mantra. Further can be explored through, for example, " Towards Ayurvedic Biology - Indian Academy of Sciences; A decadal vision Document 2006"; Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. Retrieved from: [Accessed on:25/05/2013]

Hope this clears some suffocation and some illusion.

astitva DIN 2072000013 B

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

adhikAra on our own Heritage: How to hold it?

by Sati Shankar

Since the whole issue is circling around the claims and interpretations of Indian scriptures and texts in an improper manner by Prof Sheldon Pollock, related to  astitva of and  adhikAra on our socio-cultural tradition, it should concern all, the people of our country,and they must be explained in lay man's terms what is it all,simply as possible. It is pertinent to quote here Prof N. Kazanas who summarises his opinion on Prof Pollock as, "There are many O'Flaherty's and Pollock's in this world who, instead of promoting goodness and unity, promote division and hatred....Just as nobody talks of O'Flaherty's aberrations now, so in a year or two nobody will give a thought to Mr. Pollock. There will appear others, of course. Human ignorance and vanity will not cease." 

The efforts to counter the damage, both ongoing and forthcoming, seem to be  scattered in pieces  need to be put together otherwise we will be failing in generation much warranted awareness and movement. Target operators have to mobilized.  For, we need to deal with the people who can be categorized in to three. 

Category One, the common man in India who neither knows about the indology nor has to do any thing with, nor Sanskrit, nor Sanskritists, nor tradition.. but has a conscience for his country,knows his Indian society he lives in, its beliefs, its pride and thinks for its preservation. He is least interested in who wrote what and who funded whom and what are the possible repercussions on Indian society, its culture, its tradition. The need is to make  the common man  aware of the situation properly  in lay man's language and style, for example, Defense, Strategy & The Battle For Sanskrit of Rajiv Malhotra, 

Category Two, comprises professionals, academicians, , scholars, writers, journalists and other brain workers.People in this category,can be divided in to two groups  based on their traits, say Category Two Group I and Category Two, Group II. 

Category Two Group I comprises professionals, academicians, , scholars, writers, journalists and other brain workers, are those who are thoroughly career conscious and always keep it above everything including their conscience for motherland. Under the compulsion of success at any cost, not only they exhibit full conformity to their to their Western masters, in speech, in writing and by standing behind them, adopting ideologies  or under pressure of publish or perish they accept academic current and the dominating trends which satisfies their objective. As this group remains under pressure of acceptability by the peer. This also includes those who support opponent by other means like campaign and financial support. We can not expect much from them but only send our best wishes. 

The members of the Category Two, Group II are the same but with a significant difference, they have , along with all their professional aims, not killed their national conscience  and not forgotten their responsibilities towatd the nation.This makes them most valuable with respect to countering the opponent's movement we are aiming at. And it is this group, to which Mr. Rajiv Malhotra's  "The Battle for Sanskrit"  is directed.While working hard and diligently to guide and equip this segment, the author cautions,"Each purva-paksa opponent must be studied individually. We cannot apply some generic knowledge we have of other persons. Pollock is very clearly not an orientalist in the earlier sense of that term." The author provides  very clearly the main tenets, methodologies and schematic conceptualization techniques, adopted by Polllock. He shows way how Pollock has developed his theories and interpretation of paramarthika and vyavaharika,Literarization,aestheticization of power which Pollock borrowed borrows an influential theory developed by Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) and the Frankfurt School of Marxism, to interpret the role played by aesthetics in the rise of the Nazis. He goes on explaining how has Pollock developed his own patent variety of Political Philology and based on that Pollock "advocates with evangelical zeal is that Indian texts must be studied not for spiritual/sacred content, but for the purpose of finding the social exploitation and political domination contained in them." Mr Malhotra  while showing the way to purvs paksha cautions the reader of the  "Liberation philology, the other side of the coin to political philology" and tells how Pollock works on both sides," He often contradicts himself, not only between one publication of his and another, but also within the same publication. He often plays both sides of an issue to seem balanced. But eventually, he quietly assumes one of the two postures without having explained why it is superior to the other." ...."In other words, one cannot do purva-paksha of Pollock surgically by random citation; it must be done holistically. His work is far too multilayered, full of western idioms, and at times written using codes his fellow scholars are meant to understand." 

He suggests,  "To really understand Pollock, it is also important to study the three layers of American culture, " "At the top is the deceptive pop culture layer in which everything is nice, all a part of the so-called global village".Then is the ," middle layer where the institutions lie. The institutions provide continuity, infrastructure assets, and a robust transparency. " and  at the lowest layer of the three layers is what I term the deep culture. Here, the notion of American Exceptionalism is well established and protected. This deep layer comes out publicly and violently at times of duress – such as the xenophobia of white males that Donald Trump has tapped into.The veneer of civility is very thin indeed."Finally, he says "One must know all this as a unified whole, in dynamic equilibrium. In a nutshell, I am saying that the methodology to do purva-paksha of Pollock has to be multi-disciplinary".

But since there is no water tight compartmentalization between the Groups of Category Two, we often encounter, certain clashes due to personality differences, ego or difference in exposure to modern weaponry available to us due to ideological,  scientific and technological developments. A recent controversy came up with a review of Mr. Malhotra's The Defense of Sanskrit by Dr. Ganesh Shatavadhani. Nearly half of the review was dedicated to Mr Malhotra. Without really recognising the fact that it is ultimately a fight to retain our adhikAra on our own texts , scriptures and tradition, review made some comments which were remote to the basic objective that the Defense of sanskrit aims at. The clarifications given by Mr.Malhotra in this part shows clearly how mistaken were the comments. In an annexure to the review, Dr. Ganesh got posted some more remarks on mantra. He wrote for use of "mantra" by Mr. Malhotra to be ,"This is at best a theological argument of a mimAmsaka."  which when analysed based on our traditional connotation, turned to be "clearly a mistake as we commit most often, especially when we approach our texts through translations by Western authors or by Indians who have /had their Gurus in them." 
The second part of the same annexure said, "If mantras truly had healing effects, why did our tradition evolve from the daiva-vyapasraya of the Atharva Veda (which believed that certain chants and spells could cure a disease)  into the yukti-vyapasraya of Ayurveda  (which relies completely on observation; it doesn’t speak about even the healing effects of yogasanas, let alone mantra)? In fact, Vagbhata laughs at people who seek proof for medicines in mantras." Not less that a dozen Counter examples of which were readily available from the texts of authorities like Charak and Sushrut.!topic/bvparishat/e4i_jHilp98
This is cited here just to show how those who can and must join hands to counter forces inimical to our texts and traditions take a different direction. Time has come for all the three categories to join hands, and fight for our own astitva, adhikAra , pride and self respect. 

Shubham Bhavatu

Friday, April 1, 2016

Defense, Strategy & The Battle For Sanskrit of Rajiv Malhotra

by Sati Shankar

Let me begin with a news,

"The Government has decided to form a new National Defense Council which will oversee all the three wings, army, air and navy and to make most effective decision on the quality, procurement and placement of strategic weapons in the country. The Government  has decided to take benefit of experience of certain senior members from the Intelligence services of  our hostile countries, who will be on board on deputation from their respective Governments fully empowered. In doing so the Government hopes that this will make the nation perfectly secured hereafter."

After reading it I was shocked. I tried to raise my voice how can representatives from other inimical countries be on Board and security and defense strategy  of the country will be totally compromised thereby making it suicidal.

I ran from door to door, I called for help from prominent countrymen and groups to support and help save the country from this suicidal act.

The response I got was," you must not worry much on such matters, it seems you are ignorant of the history of your own country you see, we have been having foreigners as rulers here earlier also, our country has been ruined and destroyed ruthlessly several times,  and see, we are still taking breath and happy in our villages and mohullas."

Also we must not get troubled with things like national freedom and national defense etc, all these geographies, geopolitical boundaries, and whatever is contained therein are all just phenomenal, (bhautic) we must look and endeavor for transcendental freedom (adhyatmic) where there is no dukha of any type.

Then I ran to our defense experts so I can gather professional criticism of what the govt is doing for national defense, and to my surprise, I got bombarded there also with questions, what expertise did I have to be qualified enough to identify the issue and raise my voice, did I know anything about defense strategies, arms and battle tactic?

You know, I was given a list of famous defense experts and was asked if I had ever heard their names. I confessed , no, I am a common man want to save my country and its heritage,I just have what rudimentary military training is given to NCC cadets. I was hooted and declared disqualified for the campaign itself and thrown out.

I ask my learned friends here, Is there any solution for such solution?

Every idea, every instrument has its proper place and condition to be applicable. Sword and needle cannot be substitutes. Prescribing or taking wrong medicine may be as fatal and as foolish as to start writing a poem when one fails to defuse an active time bomb. We don't open preaching in the battle field.

Our history is full slaughters and genocides and psycho-socio-cultural  wreckage as instances.

Is our country so empty of capability and pride that it has no alternative other than keeping hostile decision makers on its Board of national defense council?

Now, my one line question is,  "are we totally dead to defend our own heritage and protect it from enemies of the tradition well equipped with the modern weaponry?"

I think the same is the question which has been raised by Mr Rajiv Malhotra, in his "The Battle for Sanskrit" which I term "The Battle for Sanskriti" for better,to assimilate even those who do not feel as belonging to Sanskrit but believe and wish to preserve Indian Heritage and Dharma.

अक्लमंद को इशारा काफ़ी है

Note: News above is fictitious and for illustration as analogy to the situation in question. note what is written in devnagari to not to be misguided