Many Indians use the term Hindu mythology disconnecting the English word myth from the Sanskrit mitya or false. Idol instead of deity, South Asian instead of Indian etc.
The problem is that many Indians believe that the Vedic histories are myths, that deities are just stone idols only as relevant as the particular tradition or worshiper holds it to be. In other words they feel there is no power in it beyond that invested in it by the believers. South Asian is a PC way to lump ancient India with the recent and invented nations of Pak & Bangladesh. As if calling them Indian is an offense, despite all of these people having been called Indian less than 60 yrs ago.
So when even Hindu activists use the language of the colonizer they disempower their own culture and empower the pseudo-intellectual machinations of those dedicated to the destruction of Hindu civilization.
Even the term Hindu is controversial but I think we need to be practical and accept the term because it has been repeatedly recognized as the term for one of the world's great religions. Iskcon famously says they are not Hindu but is protected by the Hindu identity every time they have been dragged into court as a dangerous new cult etc. They know that by calling it the 'Festival of India' rather than the 'Festival of the Vaishnavas' or 'Vedic Festival' the public will get a clearer idea of what kind of festival it is. Rather than calling it the 'Hare Krsna Festival' its called 'The Festival of India' in order to highlight to the public that it is an ancient and culturally authentic festival.To most people India logically means Hindu since 85% of Indians are legally classified as Hindu.
As long as the Hindu intelligentsia presents its traditions as allegorical mythology why should anyone respect Hinduism?
The term idol, in Semitic culture, originally did not refer to deity
worship but rather to the idolization of the self and the demands of the
senses. I just read a great study from the Greek Orthodox Church on the
worship of icons, saints etc. They clearly point out that idolatry never
referred to worship or respect for sacred objects, icons and images. The
modern era has given us a clear understanding of what idolatry means. The
glamorization of Hollywood/bollywoood stars, pop idols etc. This is what
is warned against in the bible.
In todays connotations the term idol is negative and represents a lack of depth. In the Vedic sense all Murtis are just stone/metal idols until the divine being represented is invited and invoked by 'pran pratishtha' to enter into the idol. Once the Divinity has been invoked, it is no longer an idol but has become an actual representative of the Deity.
Just as a Nation's flag is empowered to represent the nation and one can honor and dishonor a whole nation by flag desecration, deities represent the Gods. The difference is that the flag is only invested with the emotions of the citizens but the invoked deities are actual channels to the divinity represented.
So when Hindus call deities idols they are dishonoring & dismissing
the sacred Vedic invocations that were used to change the idol into a Murti
or worshipabale deity that actually acts as a conduit of the devotee's
prayer and devotion.
Another interesting point to consider is that even the most fanatic iconoclast would find it difficult to spit on a picture of their family or loved ones. It should not matter to them right ? its just a piece of paper with ink on it. Yet it is cherished. This crude example gives us a hint into the psychology and power of sacred objects and deities.
Namaste. Jaya Sri Hanuman!!!
How marine archaeologists found Dwaraka
Chennai, Feb 1:
The submergence into the sea of the city of Dwaraka, vividly picturised in the great epic of Mahabaratha, is indeed true! A chance discovery made by a team of scientists, in the Gulf of Cambay region, establishes that the Mahabaratha story is not a myth. The rich city with fertile landscape and great rivers had indeed submerged into the seas several thousand years ago.
But before we get to the present, a bit of history is quite in order.
There is a vivid description in the Mausalaparvan of the Mahabaratha about the submergence of Dwaraka. The people of Dwaraka including Arjuna seemed to have witnessed strange things before its submergence in the sea. 'The event was preceded by the unabated rumbling noise of the earth throughout the day and night, birds screamed continuously, and heavy winds swept the land. The sea, which has been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. Huge tide with great height surrounded Dwaraka. The sea rushed into the city submerging beautiful buildings. The sea covered up everything and in a matter of few moments, there was no trace of the beautiful city.' It was something of an ancient tsunami.
And now the scientists at NIOT (National Institute of Ocean Technology, of the Department of Ocean Development) have established this. While working for British gas in the Gulf of Cambay region, a few years ago, the scientists of the NIOT, were stunned to see images of objects and things, completely alien to the marine domain. Immediately a team swung into action and samples were collected and sent for analysis and dating (it is usually done to scientifically establish the antiquity of the excavated objects).
Samples collected include artefacts, wood pieces, pottery materials, hearth pieces, animal bones. They ere sent to Manipur University, Oxford University, London, Institute of Earth Sciences, Hanover, Germany for analysis and dating. The results were astonishing. It was found beyond doubt that the samples belonged to a period varying from 7800 to 3000 years (BP) Before Present !
The even more flooring discovery happened soon. NIOT, which carried outside scan and sub-bottom surveys in the year 2002-03, established beyond doubt the presence of two large palaeochannels (river channels which existed once and later submerged under the sea) in the Gulf of Cambay. Alluvium samples were collected from different locations in the areas of the palaeochannels by the gravity core and grab method.
Badrinarayanan, Marine Archaeologist and formerly coordinator for the project, says 'the most astonishing thing was that all of the crew-members, including the ship master who was a catholic, had dreams full of strange visions, on the night of discovery. We felt we had stumbled upon something great and unusual.'
The study of the samples under microscope revealed the occurrence of fragile and highly sensitive Ostracods (tiny marine and fresh water crustaceans with a shrimp-like body enclosed in a bivalve shell) overlain by regular marine fauna.
These results strongly indicated that the freshwater deposition which took place in this area was very much a part of the onshore land region and later submerged to the depths varying from 20 to 40 meters. The alluvium (fresh water sand) samples sent to the Earth Science Department, Manipur University for OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating gave the OSL determinant of 3000 years (BP) Before Present !
Prof.Gartia (The Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology, No.2 of 2005, Pg.144) after conducting extensive investigations concluded that Gujarat region had experienced at least three large killer earthquakes about 1500, 3000 and 5000 years BP respectively. Geomorphological evidences also show beyond doubt that the North- Western part of the Indian landmass was seismically active during the last 10,000 years. These killer quakes are likely to have caused the shifting of the rivers and sea level fluctuation including the sinking of the legendary city of Dwaraka, capital of the Lord-King Krishna. The discovery about the availability of fresh water from the now submerged major rivers along with other marine-archaeological evidences, corroborates the Mahabaratha reference that Dwaraka, the ancient city of Sri Krishna, lies under the great ocean !
By Stephen Knapp
The title of this page may seem like a bold statement, but there is some very interesting evidence to consider. As we established in the chapter on the creation of the material world, when the Supreme Being created the universe He also provided the Vedic knowledge and terminology by which humanity could live peacefully as well as advance spiritually. Even the Bible (Genesis 11:1) describes how originally during pre-Christian times, "the whole earth was of one language and one speech." And, as we can see from the evidence in the previous chapters, that language was Sanskrit.
Theologians in general agree that despite diverse scriptures and tales of various people experiencing or hearing the voice of God, the immanent Divinity is One. Even physicists agree that the ultimate source of all elements has to be one. History too began from a single point. This means that the origination of the universe as well as the beginning of mankind was a purposeful and arranged event. It was not a chance encounter, a random, freakish, or spontaneous beginning, but an expansion from the Absolute Truth.
Since there is but one ultimate source of everything, all human activity started from that divine beginning. And activity means thought and speech. As the Vedic texts explains, the original language was Sanskrit, as taught by the Supreme Himself. We find that even the 1951 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (P. 70, Vol 13) describes that some scholars gave up attempts to explain the origin of language and have fallen back to the religious explanation that the first language was given by God to man.
Some people, however, feel that ancient man was able to only slowly develop a language of his own. This is thought to have started from grunts and noises like animals until it somehow shaped into the different languages we find today. So does that mean that babies will also develop some kind of language of their own if they are given enough time and not taught one? As described in P. N. Oak's book, World Vedic Heritage (p. 130), the 16th century Moghul emperor, Akbar, had also questioned this. Being in such a position of authority, he was able to indulge in a heartless experiment. He ordered several infant children to be taken away from their mothers and be confined to a house. No one was permitted to speak anything to the children, even when clothed and fed. The result was that they all grew to be dumb adults. They could speak no language at all. Neither did they develop any form of communication between themselves. Therefore, the idea that man will eventually educate himself or even develop a language on his own is mistaken. All knowledge must be given by a superior, which is exactly what the Vedic literature says happened at the beginning of time. The Vedic references explain that human civilization began by the arrangement of the Supreme. Man was given an original consciousness by which he had knowledge of the Sanskrit language and was guided by Vedic information, as taught by Lord Brahma and the numerous sages that followed. Thus, the ancient Vedic culture is the primordial culture of the whole world and not exclusive to India, Arabia, or Sumeria. It is universal.
The philosopher and researcher Edward Pococke also wrote about this conclusion in his book India in Greece (page 251). He states: "Sir William Jones concluded that the Hindus had an immemorial antiquity with the old Persians, Ethiopians and Egyptians, the Phoenicians, Greeks and Tuscans, the Scythians or Goths, and the Celts, the Chinese, Japanese and Peruvians." The observance of this global connection between India and the rest of the world is actually an indication that the whole world was once under the influence of the Vedic culture. Thus, it was India who nurtured the rest of the world with her wisdom and Vedic knowledge.
Pococke continues in this vein in his observation: "Now the whole of the society of Greece, civil and military, must strike one as being eminently Asiatic, much of it specially Indian. . . I shall demonstrate that these evidences were but the attendant tokens of Indian colonization with its corresponding religion and language. I shall exhibit dynasties disappearing from India, western India, to appear again in Greece, clans who fought upon the plains of Troy." Therefore, since Greece is supposed to be the origins of European culture, and since Greece displays much of the same culture as India, we can say that the pre-Christian culture of Europe was Vedic.
In fact, it may be the case that without the connection with India, Greece may not have been a major contributor to the advancement of Europe. Godfrey Higgins writes in his book The Celtic Druids (p. 112), "In science the Greeks were pygmies. What would they have known of science if their Platos and Pythagorases had not traveled into the East! In science and real learning they were inferior to the Orientals [Indians], and were the greatest liars upon earth. They wilfully mis-stated everything or they foolishly confounded everything."
William Durant, author of the 10-volume Story of Civilization, wrote, "India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of European languages. She was the mother of our philosophy. . . of our mathematics. . . of the ideals embodied in Christianity. . . of self-government and democracy. . . Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all."
Interestingly, Sir Isaac Tailor, the author of The Origins of the Aryans, wrote in a similar way (page 1), "Adelung, the father of comparative philosophy. . . placed the cradle of mankind in the valley of Kashmir, which he identified with paradise. To Adelung we owe the opinion, which has prevailed so widely, that since the human race originated in the East, most westerly nations, the Iberians and Celts, must have been the first to leave the parent."
As explained in World Vedic Heritage (p. 115), this is also the conclusion of Mr. B. C. Chhabra, who is the ex-Assistant Director General of Archeology under the British administration in India. He writes, "I do not want to go deep into the larger question of the theory of evolution which is today at the base of archeological interpretations, but I must need say that the history of Indian civilization begins with knowledge and not barbarism. The kind of knowledge that has been preserved therein has stood the test of time and is still unsurpassed in certain respects. It believes in an evolution of limited extent only and that for a definite period of time in the history of man's life as also in that of a nation. To base the entire history of mankind, down to the present-day, on the ape-man and the archeological ages of Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron is a travesty of facts. Even in the present age of great scientific achievements the ape-man cannot produce the homosapiens, obviously because they are two different species. Recent archeologists have proved abundantly that these ages have no meaning because different cultural ages are found in different regions, and that sometimes they co-existed in the same region which cannot be explained on the basis of the theory of evolution." Thus, regardless of the classifications made by archeologists about the ancient history of mankind, as confirmed by the prehistoric records of the Vedic literature, India was the center from where spread the intellectually superior Vedic culture, and is, therefore, the source of humanity's spiritual heritage.
The Preface of Vol. VI of Indian Antiquities (pp 11-13) also points one in this same direction: "The Hindu religion probably spread over the whole earth; there are signs of it in every system of worship. . . the arithmetic, astronomy, astrology, the holidays, games, names of the stars, and figures of constellations, the language of the different nations bear the strongest marks of the same origin."
The discerning and honest Christian author Godfrey Higgins wrote in his book, The Celtic Druids (p. 61), about the basis of all human civilization originating from India and the Vedic culture. "The peninsula of India would be one of the first peopled countries, and its inhabitants would have all the habits of progenitors of man before the flood in as much perfection or more than any other nation. . . In short, whatever learning man possessed before his dispersion. . . may be expected to be found here; and of this Hindustan affords innumerable traces. . . notwithstanding all. . . the fruitless efforts of our priests to disguise it."
The above quotes would indicate that the Vedic culture was a global faith, a world influence. This may be given further credence in the remarks of Ctesias, the Greek writer (as found in Historical Researches, Vol. II, p.220), "The Hindus were as numerous as all the other nations put together."
This is further corroborated in P. N. Oak's World Vedic Heritage (p. 506) in which he presents evidence that, "In pre-Christian times the temples of Vedic Deities such as Vishnu, Shiva, the Mother goddess, Rama, Hanuman, and Krishna used to abound in all regions of the world. Evidence of this is found in the works of ancient authors such as Megasthenes, Strabo, and Herodotus. All those names are of Vedic origin, too. The term Megasthenes is Megh-Sthan-eesh, i.e. the Lord of the Region of the clouds. The name Herodotus is Hari-dootus, i.e. Messenger of [Hari] God."
In Some Missing Chapters of World History (p. 134), P. N. Oak also explains that Shiva was worshiped all over the world, even in the Vatican. The word vatican comes from the Sanskrit word vatica, which means a bower or sylvan hermitage. He explains that even the premises of the Vatican have many Shiva emblems buried in their walls and cellars. Many such emblems have been dug up in other parts of Italy as well. And some of those found in the Vatican are still preserved in the Vatican's Etruscan museum.
Another point is that the original worship of the Mother Goddess can be traced back to India. Whether this Goddess is called Ma, Uma, Mata, Amba, Shakti, Durga, Bhagavati, Parameshvari, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Astarte, Venus, Ceres, Mother Mary, Mariamma, Madonna, Notre Dame, etc., it can be traced to the Vedic culture where such worship originated.
Albert J. Edmonds, in his book Buddhist and Christian Gospels, also explains that, "Strabo considered all Asia as far as India to be consecrated to Bacchus where Hercules and Bacchus are called Kings of the East. The last religions of Babylon and Egypt were born there. Even the Greeks and the Romans were debtors thereto for the cult of Bacchus and Mithras."
Bacchus refers to Bakesh or Tryambakesh, Shiva. Hercules refers to Hari-culeesh, Lord Krishna. They were known as Kings or supreme deities of the East. Since the religions of Babylon and Egypt were born in Asia, and Greeks and Romans observed a similar version of the Bacchus cult and one of Mithras, the sun, it is obvious the whole world followed, or was influenced by, Vedic culture. The reason is that all of these deities can be traced back to India, or are directly Vedic deities. From this information we can begin to understand that Vedic culture was a cause of worldwide unity, or the parent culture of all humanity.
(This article is from: http://www.stephen-knapp.com)
Posted November 3, 2005
By Stephen Knapp
Another way that India is slowly losing its Vedic culture is through
the process of secular or English and Christian education. Of course, in
public schools all Vedic books have been removed from the curriculum. So
there are no possibilities to study the ancient Indian literature or art.
Thus Vedic values are no longer part of what the children are taught. Furthermore,
the Christian schools, often staffed by Christian missionaries, can teach
Christian values in their classes, and include a short study of the Bible
everyday, or of a Koran if it´s an Islamic school. The so-called
secular govern-ment has even helped them with free land and facilities.
Since these schools offer English in their education, along with good discipline,
many of the middle classes of Indians are favouring sending the children
to these schools. Today, in the Indian cities, many parents of today´s
children are the graduates of Christian schools, who also send their own
children to such schools. As this trend continues, there will be a decreasing
number of Hindus in the educated sector.
Thus, children in India, with the help of the secular government, are learning Christian values and perceiving their own history and culture as something less than honourable. They are taught that such important books as the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Bhagavat Purana and other Vedic texts are nothing more than mythology, and not a reuslt of one of the most profound civilisations of the world. They are also taught that their own God is but a demon and the only real way to God is through Jesus.
An example of this is that a few devotees from the New Delhi Iskcon (Hare Krishna) temple go out and give presentations at children´s classes in schools.
Some of the questions that are asked by the children are, "Who is your God?" and "What can your God do for me?" and so on. Obviously, these questions are nothing but a direct result of the Christian and English-oriented education that these children are receiving. Now I ask anyone, 'Isn´t this practically a covert form of conversion?´ This form of education indoctrinates the children to doubt their own culture, and disrespect their own history and traditions. As a result of this form of education, the Hindu population is slowly forgetting the unique history and lofty culture of their homeland.
As I travelled around, it was not unusual to see elementary schools aroundIndia with the name something like 'Saint Xavier´s School´. People should know that this Francis Xavier, who is now one of the greatest so-called 'saints´, feverishly declared, "When I have finished baptising the people, I order them to destory the huts in which they keep their idols; and I have them break the statues of their idols into tiny pieces, since they are now Christians. I could never come to an end describing to you the great consolation which fills my soul when I see idols being destroyed by the hands of those who had been idolaters," (from The Letters and Instructions of Francis Xavier, 1993, pp 117-8). This was his goal: to destroy Indian culture and make India a Christian nation. So it is ironic that now India embraces the schools that honour him in this way. How could they not know his true intention?
What is often not recognised is that, up until recently, for the last 50 years the politicians who have been directing the destiny of India are the ones who have an anti-Hindu attitude. They have set the eocnomic direction and the educational policies that the country has been forced to follow. They have also promised the protection of the religious minorities with the hope of acquiring votes. This has been one of the reasons why the secularists in the Congress Party have treated everything that is Hindu with disdain.
Another aspect of the loss of Vedic culture in India is that the younger Indian generation, especially in ages from 15 to 25, are readily giving up Vedic customs to follow the more decadent so-called freedom of the West. They see the western movies, they read what the celebrities say in the papers, and they admire them and want to adopt their form of dress and lifestyles. Thus, in big cities like Mumbai, you have Indian couples living together without marriage, which is something you never would have seen before, a few years back. Now the Vedic principles are looked upon as something obsolete, something that restrict the style that those who look to the West want to adopt. Thus, they are leaving Indian traditions behind and losing respect for anything Vedic. In this way, they adopt foreign standards, or lose so much respect for Indian and Vedic values that they become embarrased to admit their Hindu background and heritage. Furthermore, Sanskrit scholars at the temples are also slowly dying out, and the modern Indians view the Ramayana and Mahabharata as merely myths or gaudy television shows.
Although India has been invaded by outsiders so many times and has always survived, what we are talking about is more than mere property or geography. What is actually being threatened is the basis of Indian culture itself. As younger generations give up their Vedic heritage, even if they return to it later when they are older and looking for more philosophical support, with whatever percentage of loss that occurs with each generation, time has shown that it is never fully recovered. A portion of it is lost forever.
Another way of looking at this is that India presently enjoys an 85 per cent Hindu majority in its population. This may sound quite significant, but in actuality this includes 15 per cent Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. So it is really only a 70 per cent majority. How many more generations will go by before we see a big drop in this percentage due to the process of secular (meaning Christian or English, or even Islamic) education, or with the present rate of conversions by tactless Christians? This percentage could easily drop well below 50 per cent in only several more generations at the present rate of change.
How many more generations will it take before the Hindu majority is no longer a majority, but a minority in its own country? As Hinduism declines, you will see that the demands on the government and those voted into politics will also change, and the laws will also alter more in favour of the increasing minority religions at the expense of declining Hinduism. Then, as the years go by, there will appear only small clusters of Hindu or Vedic communities, most likely centred around prominent holy places, until the more aggressive religions act in ways to diminish these as well, in the same way that they are presently doing in other countries.
The point of all this information is that it is time for all Hindus and followers of the Vedic culture, Sanatana dharma, to realise what is actually happening and give up their timidness or nonchalance and speak out while such freedom still exists. We must become more pro-active for defending this culture. The point is that if you do not take it seriously, I can assure you that there are others who can take this inaction and tolerance extremely seriously to promote their own goals and religions in India. It is because of this that India may not always remain the homeland of an active and thriving Vedic culture as it is now. We need to protect whatever is left of it and maintain the present liberties that Hindus still have in India. Then we all can continue to engage in Vedic traditions without hindrance, and with full freedom. For this, we need to unite ourselves in a concerted effort to make this happen. And it most certainly is possible.
Recently, as told to me by Professor Subhash Kak, it was noted in a reputable publication that now one per cent of the Russian population claim that they are Hindu. The article stated that this was primarily due to the preaching efforts of Iskcon. This shows a major social impact. This shows what is possible if we can work together in a concerted effort. This is why I am convinced that if we all work in a pro-active way under the banner of a united family of Vedic followers, we can keep and even expand the present freedom that we now have to practise Vedic traditions, and keep India as the homeland of Vedic culture-the most ancient roots of humanity.
India must be protected and kept as the homeland of the Vedic heritage, Sanatana dharma, Hinduism. Without it, what is its value, in spite of whatever else it accomplishes? The value of Hinduism and India are clearly expressed in the words of the famous English theosophist, Dr Annie Besant. She put great emphasis on the value of India, its history, the Vedic culture, and its importance to the world. As written in the cover notes from the book, Hindus, Life-Line of India, by G.M. Jagtiani, she says: "After a study of some 40 years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophic, and none so spiritual as the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. The more you know it, the more you will love it; the more you try to understand it, the more deeply you will value it. Make no mistake: without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil into which India´s roots are struck, and torn of that she will inevitably wither, as a tree torn out from its place. Many are the religions and many are the races flourishing in India, but none of them stretches back into the far dawn of her past, nor are they necessary for her endurance as a nation. Everyone might pass away as they came, but India would still remain. But let Hinduism vanish and what is she? A geographical _expression of the past, a dim memory of a perished glory, her literature, her art, her monuments, all have Hindudom written across them. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism, who shall save it? If India´s own children do not cling to her faith, who shall guard it? India alone can save India, and India and Hinduism are one."
As Hinduism declines, you will see that the demands on the government and those voted into politics will also change, and the laws will also alter more in favour of the increasing minority religions at the expense of declining Hinduism. Then, as the years go by, there will appear only small clusters of Hindu or Vedic communities.
In this light, it is absolutely necessary that as followers of Sanatana dharma, Vedic culture, we realise that we need to repair whatever differences we have between us regarding whatever issues there may be. This is necessary in order to work with some cooperation with whoever we can, if we expect to be a substantial force in defending the Vedic cause. Otherwise, all the issues that invariably come up, although these should not be ignored, should not take so much of our attention that our preaching stops. Otherwise, we will only serve as contributors to the continuing deterioration of all spiritual standards as the age of Kali progresses. This preaching, of course, means that we must all stay in touch with and practise the Vedic standards.
We cannot allow ourselves to be led into the danger of endless debate that leads to inaction. We all must be pro-active in some way to help defend and spread Vedic culture. Then we can work together to keep the freedom we presently have to practise the Vedic traditions and keep India as the homeland of a thriving, dynamic, and still living tradition. Such freedom does not come without its challenges, and we must be prepared as a society to meet those challenges. To take such freedom for granted means that it is only a matter of time before it is lost. And that is exactly what some people want to happen. So we must be willing to work all the harder to prevent such a decline of our Vedic heritage.