A friend’s remarks on Sanskrit being taught at schools-its current state,with my remarks from personal experience at the end

School Sanskrit curriculum was not a shot of encouragement but an inoculation against ever being interested Sanskrit.

Vapid, uncool content. Completely unnatural language teaching methodology. Not even a viva voce requirement.

Leaves the student with zero skills, no feeling that this could have any juice in today’s world, and no interest and, if anything, disdain after getting away with an easy score.

Pseudo ‘Sanskrit’ subject was merely a way for the Nehruvian Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb walas to cheat the 3 language formula system – the same tehzeeb gang who opposed the proposal for Sanskrit as national link language and voted for Hindi. Most other Indians had to actually learn another Indian language (Hindi) as part of the 3 language formula, but these guys cheated and got away with a high scoring zero-skills cop out.

Those tehzeeb walas choose Urdu via Bollywood to give them cultural juice in today’s world.

From personal experience,having learned Sanskrit from classes VI to X(including both the classes),you basically get the level of a sloppy version of just only the vākya vyavahāra book of the first level(as taught by Sri Vempati Kutumba Shastri) and that itself will get you more than 90% in the Sanskrit CBSE exam of class X. And that too will get lost/eroded to nothing within a year of non practice. This is the state of Sanskrit teaching as I have seen and experienced it. If you want people to actually like and respect Sanskrit at schools,the methodology must change a lot.

Advertisements

On reading gay stuff into mileus where such concepts did not exist

https://crevicesinmysoul.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/the-gay-angle-in-padmaavat/

 

This is not to say men who were attracted to men did not exist. They have existed since at least the dawn of agriculture in humankind. The definition of gay=attracted to men(and a community that defined itself like that) arose in only the 1920s-1930s Anglo-European world. Before that,there were people attracted to men in the US who would fuck straight men(or as the slang went, ‘trade’). Then people who had feminine mannerisms,and dressed such. Men who fucked other men. None of them came under that modern ‘gay’ label(as defining oneself/having an identity based on the sex one is attracted to). I am basing this on my reading of Foucault and George Chancey’s Gay New York:Gender,Urban Culture and the making of the Gay male world 1890-1940.

Secondly,I would find it grossly wrong to elevate a engendered in a situation like that-Would you endorse buying someone as your property,cutting off his balls and using him as your toy for sexual satisfaction?That’s essentially how the relationship began. There are better gay icons/icons with ambiguous sexuality in the past to look forward to,like Walt Whitman,etc.

Some mentalities

Some mentalities like the one mentioned in this section(page 71 of the PDF document) of the Laghu Yoga Vasiṣṭha set in stably only when the vāsanās favourable to generating that state of mind set in. They can be generated in various ways,like:

  • This meditation on various parts of the body(pages 44 to 50 of the document)(after completing the preliminaries to do that sort of meditation) in the Nāstika Theravāda tradition
  • Bhagavad Nāmasmaraṇa(after leading a life with moderation and control in senses)(uninterrupted rememberance/repitition of the names of various deities like Viṣṇu,Kṛṣṇa,Śiva,etc). In this light,the advice of Rūpa Gosvāmīn in the Upadeśāmṛta is helpful(quoting from Prabhupada’s translation)

 

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
 etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.
atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca
prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca
ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati
One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in devotionalism; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt
tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ
ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati
There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥsmaraṇam [SB 7.5.23]—hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.
Of course in the course of practicing devotional service as mentioned above,that vāsanā automatically sets in as a consequence of the bhava towards the deity.
So,insights like these are of a ‘yogic’ class,and do not remain stable/hardly arise in one who is not inclined to any form of yoga(hence,the reason you don’t find many anatomy students/professors becoming renunciants),and have to be cultivated and strengthened as we practice yoga.

 

 

On swacchata and śauca

(Note:This is not against the Swacch Bharat program or against technologies for public sanitation,etc)

By reducing the component of cleanliness to only just toilets,clean public,etc,one is likely to miss out the other dimensions of śuci.

Just what does this term śauca mean?

śauca means purity at not just the individual level,but at a particular environment and communal and familial level.It is not just physical purity(avoidance of bacteria),but of the surroundings,the body,the sukṣma dēha and the general atmosphere around.

And this is not really separable from our deities(that śloka apavitraḥ pavitrō vā sarvāvasthāṃ gatō’pi vā । yaḥ smarētpuṇḍarīkākṣaṃ sa bāhyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ ॥ comes to my mind). And it does make sense. Purity and the deva,who is the very embodiment of an āgāmika(deva specific or smārta) temple,are inseparable. It is only with keeping Nārāyaṇa at the centre,as noted in that verse,does one realize the fullest import of what śuci means,and not through secularized stuff,which runs contrary to Hindu frameworks and ideologies).

 

An Ayudha when used in Ayudha puja is a literal weapon,and not supposed to be anything else

Vayuna:…during Navarati the focus is on Sarasvati here and then each temple will have its own festival days

Devala: Why Sarasvatī?

Vayuna: The only part of Navaratri that is celebrated in KL is the last three days. Ayudha Puja basically and Sarasvati is the Devi that is worshipped.

Devala: Sarasvati is invoked in aydhas?Here,we celebrate Mahalaya+from shashthi onwards

Vayuna: Well the modern equivalents that the students keep. Books.

Devala: Books aren’t Ayudhas. What they call Vasant Panchami in North India is explicitly Sarasvati Puja here.

Vayuna: That is how the tradition came out to be here. Some keep pen also. Of course the farmers keep their instruments and factories their machinery

Devala: Vishvakarma Puja is the day for that(keeping instruments,machinery,etc). It’s the wrong day[for instrument pūjā].Also Skanda Purana I think explicitly spells out the procedure to worship Sarasvatī that day(on Vasant Panchami/Sarasvati Puja).

Vayuna: Here everything is conducted on the last three days[of Navaratri]. We keep the books on the evening of the eighth day and take them back on the morning of the 10th after puja.

Devala: But tools are worshipped in Vishvakarma Puja!As for Ayudhas…even a damn humble lathi will do!

Vayuna: Here its explained away as metaphorical. The knowledge in the books is the weapon.

Devala: Of course. I’ve also seen those explanations,but it is a wrong one.When days specially for sarasvatī(books/related stuff) and viśvakarmā(tools/related stuff) exist,the day for Ayudha Puja implies nothing but literal Ayudhas. What I am objecting to is the abuse of metaphor. By the way,Vishvakarma Puja falls on the last date of Bhadra in the Bengali calendar(basically,the last day of Bhadra on Sauramana calendars is supposed to be Vishvakarma Puja). And Sarasvatī Pūjā/Vasanta Pañcamī falls on the śuklapakṣa pañcamī of the Chandramana month of Māgha.

Vayuna: Well in a sense the metaphorical explanation works. Only the second varṇa has actual āyudhas. The others take it up as āpad-dharma.What āyudha does a brāhmaṇa have or a farmer or brahmacāri/student or artisan have except his tools?

Devala: Others too had it. Please note the cases listed here by a friend. And Medhatithi was not really having Muslims in mind. And in many cases,people from all varṇas ultimately did join armies. Call it āpaddharma or whatever.

Vayuna: Well yes,functionally most Nairs were of the second varṇa…as were a few Ezhavas. And yes yes ayudhas for self-defense should get more popular among Hindus. Ideally it would have made sense for only soldiers to worship Ayudhas. But since we are in Kali yuga and surrounded, everyone needs to do that.

Devala: Even Medhatithi recognized the need for weapons amongst the common folk. And I’m not even insisting on guns (though that’s a minimum). At least a humble lathi. We did have martial arts/traditions involving lathis alone.

 

Aspects of Hindu atheism

Note:In this post,I am not going to consider Savarkar’s position. Having put that out of the way,let me put it out:In the classical darśanas of Hindu philosophy,not all of them accept an Īśvara,yes(a supreme God),but all of them were āstika,not nāstika(accepted the Veda as pramāṇa in some format or the other-at least accepting the śruti  and allied traditions as śabda uttered by an āpta). And the allied traditions of sāṃkhya and yoga accept the realms of devas,with the sutrakara in the third pada of the Yogasutras saying ‘jñāne sūrye saṃyamāt’ and the various commentators describing the knowledge of the realms of the devas which is gained in the method referred to in this sutra. Vaiśeṣika/Nyaya too end up taking the praxis of yoga for soiterological purposes,so nothing more needs to be said here,and Vaiśeṣika too admits the importance of the Veda. Purva Mimāṃsā may not accept an Īśvara,but its atheism is more of the ‘ackschually,there are no separate devatas apart from the mantra and the ritual.The deity is the mantra’ sort of thinking. And as to the position of Īśvara in Śaṇkarādvaita,this article explains it very nicely. I need not talk about the various other Vedantic schools.

Most people who take up the ‘Hindu atheist’ label are basically cowards who are too ashamed to admit that all their traditions spoke of devatās(regardless of whether they were capable of giving all the goals sought by their traditions or not). Not a single one of them denied the existence of devatās.

Gṛhastha life and vedānta (focusing on Advaita here)

 

 

 

This thread and the succeeding comments made me remember the small notes from an orthodox sannyāsin and a friend of mine,and I am putting them in a jumbled form here.

So,in orthodox circles,there are three commentaries on the Gītā that are famous.

  1. Ādi Śaṅkara’s commentary-corresponds to śravana
  2. Madhusudanasarasvatī’s commentary-corresponds to manana
  3. Shankarananda’s commentary-corresponds to nidhidhyānsana(and these are studied in that order).

So, Śaṅkarānanda in his commentary on the 3rd chapter of the Gita states that a brāhmaṇa should not renounce until he has fulfilled the three ṛṇas(debts).

  1. Deva-ṛṇa(debt to the devas) by performing yāgas as laid out in the śruti
  2. Ṛṣirṇa(debt to the ṛṣis) by doing vedādhyayanam of svaśākhā and other vedas
  3. Pitṛ ṛṇa(debt to the forefathers) by begetting a child legitimately [and obviously raising him/her properly and so on and so forth]

As a note:On asking that friend,he suggested(for caturthas),the ṛṇas would be discharged as

  1. Deva-ṛṇa-worship devas through the paddhatis available(paurāṇika/tāntrika)
  2. Ṛṣirṇa-propagate vedāṇgas/itihāsa/tantra
  3. Pitṛ ṛṇa-same as the one for dvijas

(Note:This doesn’t mean that brāhmaṇas/other dvijas cannot pass on tāntrika/itihāsa/other lore)

So,the tradition already has the solution within itself,and it needs to be revitalized.

 

Also,what Bajirao did would be quite inappropriate from an Advaitin’s point of view. Śrīdharasvāmīn in his gloss on the very first śloka states

‘iha khalu sakalavanditacaraṇaḥ paramakāruṇuko bhagavān devakīnandanastattvajñānavijṛmbhita-śokamohavibhraṃśita-vivekatayā nijadharmaparityāga-pūrvakaparadharmābhisandhinamarjunaṃ dharmajñānarahasyopadeśaplavena tasmācchokamohasāgaraāduddhāraḥ|..’

 

A short summary(with emphasis on the bolded words would be that the ever-worshippable Śrī Kṛṣṇa rescued Arjuna from the sea of sorrow and delusion,under whose influence he was about to give up his own svadharma(of a warrior and ruler) and take up another’s dharma(that of an ascetic) by imparting to him, jṇānarahasyopadeśa. The Peshva had committed that same mistake Arjuna had done(maybe due to a different cause),and could hardly be said to be upholding vedantic ideals.

A Pāñcarātrika macranthrophic hymn to Viṣṇu(the hymn to the Mahāpuruṣa)

. (Śrīmadbhāgavata Purāṇa 12.11-1-26)

śrī-śaunaka uvāca
athemam arthaṁ pṛcchāmo
bhavantaṁ bahu-vittamam
samasta-tantra-rāddhānte
bhavān bhāgavata tattva-vit
tāntrikāḥ paricaryāyāṁ
kevalasya śriyaḥ pateḥ
aṅgopāṅgāyudhākalpaṁ
kalpayanti yathā ca yaiḥ
tan no varṇaya bhadraṁ te
kriyā-yogaṁ bubhutsatām
yena kriyā-naipuṇena
martyo yāyād amartyatām
sūta uvāca
namaskṛtya gurūn vakṣye
vibhūtīr vaiṣṇavīr api
yāḥ proktā veda-tantrābhyām
ācāryaiḥ padmajādibhiḥ
māyādyair navabhis tattvaiḥ
sa vikāra-mayo virāṭ
nirmito dṛśyate yatra
sa-citke bhuvana-trayam
etad vai pauruṣaṁ rūpaṁ
bhūḥ pādau dyauḥ śiro nabhaḥ
nābhiḥ sūryo ’kṣiṇī nāse
vāyuḥ karṇau diśaḥ prabhoḥ
prajāpatiḥ prajananam
apāno mṛtyur īśituḥ
tad-bāhavo loka-pālā
manaś candro bhruvau yamaḥ
lajjottaro ’dharo lobho
dantā jyotsnā smayo bhramaḥ
romāṇi bhūruhā bhūmno
meghāḥ puruṣa-mūrdhajāḥ
yāvān ayaṁ vai puruṣo
yāvatyā saṁsthayā mitaḥ
tāvān asāv api mahā-
puruṣo loka-saṁsthayā
kaustubha-vyapadeśena
svātma-jyotir bibharty ajaḥ
tat-prabhā vyāpinī sākṣāt
śrīvatsam urasā vibhuḥ
sva-māyāṁ vana-mālākhyāṁ
nānā-guṇa-mayīṁ dadhat
vāsaś chando-mayaṁ pītaṁ
brahma-sūtraṁ tri-vṛt svaram
bibharti sāṅkhyaṁ yogaṁ ca
devo makara-kuṇḍale
mauliṁ padaṁ pārameṣṭhyaṁ
sarva-lokābhayaṅ-karam
avyākṛtam anantākhyam
āsanaṁ yad-adhiṣṭhitaḥ
dharma-jñānādibhir yuktaṁ
sattvaṁ padmam ihocyate
ojaḥ-saho-bala-yutaṁ
mukhya-tattvaṁ gadāṁ dadhat
apāṁ tattvaṁ dara-varaṁ
tejas-tattvaṁ sudarśanam
nabho-nibhaṁ nabhas-tattvam
asiṁ carma tamo-mayam
kāla-rūpaṁ dhanuḥ śārṅgaṁ
tathā karma-mayeṣudhim
indriyāṇi śarān āhur
ākūtīr asya syandanam
tan-mātrāṇy asyābhivyaktiṁ
mudrayārtha-kriyātmatām
maṇḍalaṁ deva-yajanaṁ
dīkṣā saṁskāra ātmanaḥ
paricaryā bhagavata
ātmano durita-kṣayaḥ
bhagavān bhaga-śabdārthaṁ
līlā-kamalam udvahan
dharmaṁ yaśaś ca bhagavāṁś
cāmara-vyajane ’bhajat
vāsudevaḥ saṅkarṣaṇaḥ
pradyumnaḥ puruṣaḥ svayam
aniruddha iti brahman
mūrti-vyūho ’bhidhīyate
sa viśvas taijasaḥ prājñas
turīya iti vṛttibhiḥ
arthendriyāśaya-jñānair
bhagavān paribhāvyate
aṅgopāṅgāyudhākalpair
bhagavāṁs tac catuṣṭayam
bibharti sma catur-mūrtir
bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
dvija-ṛṣabha sa eṣa brahma-yoniḥ svayaṁ-dṛk
sva-mahima-paripūrṇo māyayā ca svayaitat
sṛjati harati pātīty ākhyayānāvṛtākṣo
vivṛta iva niruktas tat-parair ātma-labhyaḥ
The Phalaśruti comes in the next śloka
ya idaṁ kalya utthāya
mahā-puruṣa-lakṣaṇam
tac-cittaḥ prayato japtvā
brahma veda guhāśayam

Pramathanath Mitra -a reminiscience and a lesson needed

So I decided to translate the article linked here,a reminiscence on a founder of the Anushilan Samiti for a friend[archived),and I am now putting this translation(paraphrased a bit here and there) here.

Sri Pramathnath Mitra,one of the supreme founding members of the Anushilan Samiti was an upAsaka of shakti and concerned himself with [physical] strength as well rigorously. He was one of the strongest men amongst Hindu Bengali society of that time. His sole aim was a martial(sAmarika sikShAya sikShita) cadre/race of Bengalis(jAti),and that is why the Anushilan Samiti and the Jugantar(the two fearsome militaristic revolutionary organizations set up and run by Bengali Hindus),from the very moment of its founding(prathama lagna thekei),were clothed with militarism and shakti-bodliy(daihik),mentally(mAnasik),and in character(chAriktrik). Before founding the Anushilan Samiti,in the daily The Bengali(which was edited by Surendranath Banerjee),he wrote an essay on the martial art of lathi khela,and spoke about the need to cultivate a fighting spirit amongst the youth of Bengal.He was a follower of Bankim,and he said this:

“The lathi is the national weapon of Bengal. A Bengalee lathial, properly trained, can with his single lathi keep a dozen of swordsmen at bay.

It is a healthy outdoor exercise. As an art of offence and defence it combines in itself the skill required, in the bayonet exercise and the sword exercise. It gives full play to the exercise of muscles. It necessitates the cultivation of the quickness of the eye and quickness of the movement of every limb, which is a very favourable growth of the resourcefulness, activity of the body, strength of muscle and sinew and keenness of the observation and above all, it inspires confidence in its possessor. It is a purely national art and inexpensive. We should be unwise if we allow it to die away from our midst”.

Even if it was a hundred years ago,what he said still remains a firm truth,and the aim of the Anushilan Samiti is yet unfulfilled[my personal note:Was actually subverted].The Bengali Hindus in 1947 were broken like the Jews,but yet they could not rise up like an Israel anew because they did not follow the path of their very strong/powerful predecessors due to their weakness,and didn’t even attempt to,and instead has gone being like a beggar(bhikhiri),at the expense of others.A beggar has no respect,and he is enjoyable by everyone(ie,everyone makes fun of him/pities him).

Bengali Hindu society has now become like a whore,who will sell off all that is dear to her(j~nAna,buddhi,vidyA,etc) for money(ie,the highest bidder). But she has to live. So,then,what to do?(here I’ve been literal-ish,but I am not able to convey the sense adequately).

If Bengali Hindu society is to survive,it must transform from an amiable-tempered society(sushIl samAj) to a martial society(sAmarik samAj).Let them suffer as many belts or firing squads by the mlecchas,who cares?Discipline and the fear factor should be instilled firmly into the Bengali mind…so…back to basics.

 

Tulasi devi , as drawn by Ganapati Sthapati

maxresdefault

 

vṛndāyai tulasidevyai priyāyai keśavāya ca|
kṛṣṇabhakti prade devī satyavatyai namo namaḥ||

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 5.38.37 pm

 

Her dhyāna śloka has been given elsehwhere

dhyAyechcha tulasIM devIM shyAmAM kamala-lochanAM | prasannAM padmakahlAra-varAbhaya-chatur-bhujAM ||1||
kirITa-hAra-keyUra-kuNDalAdi-vibhUShitAM | dhavalAM shuka-saMyuktAM padmAsana-niSheduShIM ||2|| (shyAma varNaH)