Archive for category Asat

Veda : An Alien Language

Before we delve into the Vaidika universe, let me present a question:
“how do we recognise asat (ignorance)?”

One particularly safe check, kAla and desha accounted, would be to say:
“ignorance is synonymous with unreasonable confidence.”

Or, in this way, when assumptions become synonymous with conclusions, we say this is ignorance. Some of the contemporary discussions conducted — on Vaidika subjects — among the online groups, in my opinion belong to this category, and as such require periodic reviewal and addressal; hence this short piece.

Vaidika studies in bhArata must take a problem solving approach, over and above that of a purely linguistic or history oriented one. It is precisely the failure of publicly funded institutions in this regard that has left wide open the windows on many a problem — right from bhArata’s prehistory, to the possibilities for the future — and has made the “market” rife for speculations, such as to be seen in exchanges within the online world, that predictably, make use of many unsound tools, such as comparative mythology, poor translations of Sanskrit texts, etc.

That AdhyAtmika ideas don’t compare/ translate well at all from one culture to another is a long standing consensus on the issue, really, so when this same translation is still suitably used to “better” understand the fundamental thoughts of the Veda, or say its traditions, one is hard pressed to fathom why this shouldn’t be better seen as a polemical/ ignorant exercise that starts with assumptions (Aryan invasion is one such) and ends with the same in the form of conclusions, in addition to nothing of note returned at all in-between.

Indeed, comparative mythology can be of some value in special contexts —there is admittedly a distinct possibility of the existence of a unique devatA or AdhyAtmika motive that itself could have been the very banner — the propellant force, as it were — associated with the expansion (and remembered accordingly) of certain conquering tribes (from whichever homeland).

The evidence is encouraging, and in Vaidika devatA parjanya we do find the single pan-Indo-European deity remembered both in name as well as in religious import, wide across-the-board.

More importantly, there is this basic homeland requirement of the consistency of seemingly diverse basis ideas — a requirement, which in layman’s terms means, e.g. there can be no vishNu-expression without a garuDa-expression, or there can be no marut-expression without a parjanya-expression, or no mitra without varuNa, no agni without iLA, etc. In other words, when all the expressions in a system are connected to each other in measured (unambiguous) steps, the system is known as being consistent.

Any adequately evolved (“axiomatised”) thought (or belief-, or aesthetic-) system cannot be both complete and consistent at the same time — again, a widely demonstrated proposition, albeit having its origin in Mathematics.

“Complete” in simple words means, any truth (that the system is supposed to express) can be expressed by some finite collection/ application of the expressions of the system.

In simple terms, if the Vaidika system is indeed the original home — as reflected in its consistency of ideas — then it must also be not complete, that is, original ideas should keep coming — springing from the same base — in an ever recursive quest for “to know it all”. HanumAn, kALI, gaNEsha, durgA, krishNa, rAma, chhinna•mastA, and uncountably others — are a testimony to that. On the other hand, all Arya traditions outside bhArata didn’t sustain because they, of necessity, came out as being inconsistent (their disparate elements being historical accidents) and complete (fully expressive of all truths in their narrow domain of mythology).

In the expression of a consistent system, therefore, much more is at stake than the fulfilling of some mythology geared towards festive museum-cum-temple art-and-architecture.

A consistent knowledge system is, of purpose, implemented on real world objects. This is by certain mechanisms, one of which is known — again from Mathematics — as “homomorphism” (saMvartana). The most important class of such homomorphisms in the Veda is the spelling out of the devI equivalents of each Vaidika deva, and vice versa. For example, dakshA and daksha, indrANI and indra, etc.

Or, in the contexts of different Vaidika traditions, in Tantra the iDA and the pingalA, in sankhyA the Zero (shunA) and the One (sItA), in the primeval “left” and “right” of the Hindu sampradAya-s and geographies, in the sisterly mirrors gangA and sarasvatI — and such and such — all exemplarily speak of an exceptionally high degree of consistency running through the veins of Hinduism straddled across vast measures of times and spaces. Remember, this is just one example.

A consistent system, if meticulously revealed, has the capacity to explain all the other real/ abstract world objects. sankhyA — the number system — comes out of the same Vaidika system, and further leads to sAnkhya, Physics. (That the Vaidika system indeed contains the sankhyA-system is no trivial conclusion, and requires more than a passing remark. This also means that Vaidika system has more, not less, to do with modern science.)

“Homomorphisms”, such as explained here, in this way become one of the tools that a consistent system utilises for grasping all truth that is possible. Some other methods are: recursive application, parallel (vector) compilation, fibre connections, etc.

The Veda, literally “the-knowledge”, in a way indeed encompasses all possible knowledge, by the way of containing “all-consistencies.” And since the Veda is not closed knowledge, you will not find the detail of “interplanetary travel” laid out in it : as the ignorants on the other end of the spectrum — in reality the other side of the same coin — love to shout off their rooftops.

Both ends of asata are equally dangerous, because both wrongly assume Veda to be a complete and inconsistent system, and not surprisingly, both come to the same conclusion, “Veda is primitive.” (Or, “Veda is mere ritual”, etc)

The correct view of Veda therefore is, not as “the-knowledge” (vidyA) — which makes it closed (asata)— but as “the-knowing” that acknowledges its consistency (Rta).

The polemical discourse (Aryan Invasion, etc) has the “currency” — literally speaking — that it has because it is backed by big money. In such circumstances, it is convenient to lose faith, and become a conformist. But because one cannot change one’s skin tone as easily (as ones’s convictions), hence the need for “respectful cognition (by the-other-earth-dwellers) of (unique) Hindu identity, also the-being-different” and so forth. This sums up to a large extent the contemporary Hindu trajectories visible in the media.

Back to the matter at hand: what is this Vaidika system in its basic outline — what is this marvellous superstructure like — that has been the ever breathing progenitor, the fountainhead, of originalities among the bhAratIya-s?

Before I answer this question, let us understand the meaning of a system, or a context. Again, a simple example: if shrI rAma is an avatAra, bhagavAna•vishNu is the context. Or, if kAtyAyinI is the devI then amba•durgA is the context. Or, if indra is a vasu then agni, the ashTa•vasu is the context. And so on.

The biggest such context, which is indeed also seen as a deity, therefore becomes very much one and the same as the “Vaidika system” itself.

Well, the name of that deity is Aditi.

Dictionaries give the meaning of this theonym as “unbounded, undivided”, alright, though in my opinion better understood, arguably, as:
ad अद् + iti इति, or “the start to the end”. “From the Alfa to the Omega.”

Aditya-s are therefore the basic devata-s, the pillars, which build up the Reality that surrounds us all, here and now. And, by definition (cf. Yaska), Aditya-s are the ones who are ever present — from the very start (ādi) to the very end (iti).

The widely understood virATa manifolds (lokAH): pRthvI, dyO (svarga), antariksha, and Om : which are further divided into three sub-manifolds each, lead necessarily to the existence of twelve Aditya-s (sometimes exclusively dealt in only the six or seven of dyO•pRthvI context).

The earliest material evidence of toying with this core idea is found in the indu-valley seals, where the various designs — ranging from four mutually tangent circles (each concentric with three circles), to the fully evolved svAstika in the end — are testimony to the creative efforts involved in the shaping of Aditi as this abstract art.

Aditi is still here, you will still find Her devotees, if only you looked harder. svAstika, Aditi’s signature, is alive too — even survived organised misappropriation (courtesy the Nazis). The neo-Nazis, however, are still very keen about their Aryan project as having its logical conclusion in the successful appropriation of the svAstika, even if necessitated by the planting of “minority Aryan tribes” among “majority Dravidian Indu-dwellers” even before the muhUrta of the official “Aryan Invasion”.

No doubt there is much to talk about— the 33 devatAs, the flow of soma, the dyAvA•pRthvI, visvedevA as Aditya-s, the rAmAyaNa and the mahAbhArata, the tantra and the yoga, the sankhyA and the sAnkhya, among others — but I intend to end this essay here with the outlining of the basics already complete.

But not before offering a word of caution to bhAratIya scholars who aspire to become students of dharma. This is regarding the fundamentals of studying (and, quoting) the dhArmika literature. Remember this “parimANa” thumb rule:

(One word of the Veda, aka śabda) = (one line of upanishads, aka vAkya) = (one para of the purANa-s, aka upAkhyAna).

This is only a thumb rule, I agree, but is an important formula which when respected, takes into account all such factors such as synchrony, diachrony, polysemy, the intended depth and measure of thought, etc.

Otherwise, for example, weighing the śabda of Veda against the śabda of purANa, or the vAkya of purANa with that of the upanishads, etc, will only keep you running into circles if not into contradictions.

To sum up, I dealt a complex issue, namely the Veda and its contemporary studies, in simplest possible terms. However, I sense this write-up still sounds unfamiliar, disorienting to the majority (if not the totality) of the readers, who are daily fed the by-far-the-most-dangerous-of-all-theories, the VIP — “Veda-is-primitive” theory (peddled by Western Indologists, muddled by desi-s who have “evolved” beyond “rituals”).

Wake up.


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Conversations and Stories

#1: Prajapati’s Yagna

Asat was winning. Pani started covering Brahmanaspati.

Sati (Parvati), the Mother, belonged to both Daksha and Rudra: as the daughter of the former and as the wife of the latter. Then Darkness came. Mother, in a fit of rage and desperation, terminated her Representation in that Loka.

Sacrifice (Yagna) was thus obstructed, and Asat won, disconnecting Savitar from Brahmanaspati. Shiva took refuge in his aloofness, now that he was Rudra alone, bereft of the Mother.

Daksha, too, suffered; Vishnu rambled on like a headless chicken for some time. Vishnu collapsed back to Daksha, causing serious questions over his ability for miracles, for incarnations.

Mother’s first born, Ganesh, meanwhile lost Dyava-Prithivi to Vrtra. Mother’s second born, Kartikeya, suffered against Dasyus in a bloody war of Dharma over the control of Prithivi.

Shiva’s family, like the four realms, disunited. Prithvi suffered. Cried for Saviour, though even that was not to be enough.

Krishna came. Against all odds.

#2: the fight

Shaivite said: Shiva is Brahman. And thought: I proved Shiva to be supreme.
Vaisnavite said: Vishnu is Brahman. And thought: I proved Vishnu to be supreme.
Vedantist was silent, listening. And thought: Brahman is supreme. I won.
Onlooker said: vedantist has indeed won; in the battle of two, it is the third that gains.

#3: Pani’s plot

Pani marvelled at his work, said:
From now on, for eternity, these three- Daksha Rudra and Brahman, will continue sleeping the Death, the Asat. From now on, this Death be called Immortality, and that which is Immortality, be christened Death.

Vrtra said: I didn’t understand, my Lord.

Pani: O DasyuNaresh, call me Immortal, and call them- Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma, mortal. Label anything mortal that sacrifices, tries to connect the Realms, tries to make Soma juice flow, tries to do Yoga of Evolution.

Vrtra: by what name shall I address you, then, my Lord?

Pani: call me Brahman.

Vala exclaimed: but that is cheating my Lord!

Pani: no one will ever know. This Brahman is the silent one; we can commit crimes in his name. No one will ever know.

Vrtra: I didn’t understand, my Lord. Why not call you as Daksha or Rudra for that matter?

Pani: O dumb head, let me put it this way. Have you read Veda? All its Gods, the Immortal children of Aditi, are way too vocal, noisy. But this one, this Brahman, is totally mute.

Vrtra: I have read Veda, my Lord, but could not make out head or tail of it.

Vala: and I thought you, coming from a background of privilege, had refined sense and sensibility!

Vrtra: that I have; my father was XXX at king XXX’s court, I have studied XXX at XXX university, I was born…

Pani: Enough. If you, the bright one, can’t understand it, verily, this Veda is all gibberish.

Vrtra: So what should I teach them, the Dasyus?

Pani: Raise the gibberish to your level and taste, call it the “culmination of Veda”, and preach it in the name of Veda. But know, all the while, in your inner heart, the falsity of Veda.

Vala: Veda is just ritual. Primitive thought. Its mantras, particularly the Gayatri mantra, tickle me no ends!

Vrtra: my lord, should I renounce, not marry, in order to preach?

Pani (concluding): not at all necessary, that is for the frustrated Yogis. Don’t let them anywhere near the corridors of power. As for you, you will always be in company of kings. Dasyus will hate the very Gods they will worship. One would ask of his God: grant me immortality, that is, eternity of youth, eternity of lust, eternity of greed; otherwise I will not come to you again; you are after all, just fake, since Brahman alone is real.

#4: when even the Onlooker wasn’t spared

Onlooker was agitated, anguished. A voice raised upwards from the depths of his very soul.
“Why didn’t, Aditi, my beloved, Mother, you make me realise all this all these thousands of years?”

Aditi reveals herself, reveals in a form of Mother.

Aditi: did you even utter my name, once, in all these millennia?
Onlooker: no, Mother, I didn’t. I am sorry.
Aditi: or, did you do the continuous Yagna of mighty Agni?
Onlooker: neither, Mother.
Aditi ( to herself): so Agni is unlit. unlit within.

Aditi: but, then, sure you did worship some of the Gods of Dyava-Prithivi?
Onlooker: I don’t know anything about Dyava-Prithivi, Mother.
Aditi ( mumbles): ok. let us get to the point.

Aditi: do you offer Yagna to Bhag?
Onlooker: no, Mother. (Yagna, ritual??)
Aditi: do you offer Yagna to Varuna?
Onlooker: no, Mother. (Water God??)
Aditi: do you offer Yagna to Vayu?
Onlooker: no, Mother. (Wind??)

Aditi: oh me! How did you then defend your land, life and honour?
Onlooker: I didn’t. Mother. (breaks down).
Onlooker: but times have changed Mother. Now, in the age of Technology, children of Bharati, resourceful, talented, sure do retain an edge over Asuric forces.
Aditi: do you, then, offer Yagna to Indra?
Onlooker: no, Mother. (the pervert demi God??)
Aditi: do you offer worship to Mitra?
Onlooker: no, Mother. (Mitro devo bhavah??)
Aditi: do you offer Yagna to Marut?
Onlooker: no, Mother.
Aditi: without a clear intellect, an aesthetic depth, or an innate character, where do you stand? Does all this sound to you as some alien language? This Sanatana Dharma? What have you been upto? Forget it. Forget everything. Just tell me one thing- did you pray to Asvini Kumar?

Onlooker: no, Mother, no. I have no idea who the Asvini Kumar is. All that I cared about was Moksha, Nirvana, Liberation. Or that is what I was told about. Oh, I am so confused! Oh, all this Moksha baggage, and with that a life lived of Dasyu, even death doesn’t liberate.

Aditi: wake up. This the last call.
Aditi ( mumbles): teach Moksha to enemies. (goes)

#5: Asvini Kumar

Onlooker was unwell. He started vomiting. Vomiting the Truth, literally, couldn’t hold it back now.

“Can you see me?”
Onlooker: who said that?
“Who am I. Speak.”
Onlooker: nAsatya!

Onlooker: Nasatya! kumAra! My Saviour!
Onlooker: Asvini Kumar!
(falls at Nasatya’s feet)

Asvini Kumar, as a friend would, embraced Onlooker!
Onlooker: I am saved!
Onlooker: you are the Nasatya, slayer of Asat. You are the Only God, were there any. You are the Only Way. You, Asvini Kumar, alone have the power to connect Prithvi to Dyo and even more, to make Dyava-Prithvi complete. You alone, Lord of Effort, of Sacrifice, of Yagna, have the power to bring Immortality on Earth.
Asvini Kumar: yes. I am Immortality. Can you see, now, why it is called Sanatana, Immortal, Dharma?
Onlooker: yes, Nasatya. I see now. It is not because Dharma has always been there or will always be there (that is not the meaning of Immortality). It is because, you, Nasatya, established this Dharma here on Earth.
Asvini Kumar: oh! Where? Under what name?
Onlooker (takes breathe): it was under the name of Murugan, Kartikeya, Kumara – The Lord of Immortality, that you established Dharma. You were also called by your very own, as Tamil Kadavul, the One God of Tamils. Oh yes, now I remember, it was the Land of Tamils.

Asvini Kumar: know that to be the Homeland.
Asvini Kumar: Homeland. the net-giver. Pilgrimage. Even Gods owe that land. That is why Rama had to incarnate, when that Pani specimen, Ravana became irresistible.
Onlooker: tell me about your other Avatars, Nasatya.
Asvini Kumar: Hanuman. Kumara, That Lord of Immortality.
Onlooker: indeed, Nasatya, without Hanuman who is the God before all Gods, the most worshipped, there would be no Sanatana Dharma in the expanses of Bharati.

Asvini Kumar: Bharati. The net-giver. Pilgrimage.
Onlooker: Nasatya, you incarnated as Christ, too!
Asvini Kumar (laughs merrily): the march of Sanatana Dharma!

Onlooker: Bharati is in great distress, again. An ugly mix of Dasyus, Vrtras, Valas, and Panis inhabit that land. Now that I am awake, what should I do Nasatya?

Asvini Kumar: sing my songs. tell my story. tell Rig-Veda!

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