USA, September 24, 2002: Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge, clearly visible in the NASA photos, is made of a chain of underwater shoals 18 miles long. This article claims the bridge appears "manmade," but does not say how that conclusion was arrived at, nor if NASA agreed. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama built a bridge to Lanka in ancient times, and the new photos greatly intrigue Hindus.
Courtesy of http://www.HinduismToday.com/
NASA Images Discover Ancient Bridge between India and SriLanka (Courtesy : NASA Digital Image Collection)
Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge currently named as Adam´s Bridge is made of chain of shoals, c.18 mi (30 km) long.
The bridge´s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive age, about 17,50,000 years ago and the bridge´s age is also almost equivalent.
This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in tredha yuga (more than 17,00,000 years ago).
In this epic, there is a mentioning about a bridge, which was built between Rameshwaram (India) and Srilankan coast under the supervision of a dynamic and invincible figure called Rama who is supposed to be the incarnation of the supreme.
This information may not be of much importance to the archeologists who are interested in exploring the origins of man, but it is sure to open the spiritual gates of the people of the world to have come to know an ancient history linked to the Indian mythology.
A R Bhatnagar
The Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal
built the Taj Mahal. It was built in 22 years (1631 to 1653) by 20,000
artisans brought to India from all over the world. Many people believe
Ustad Isa of Iran designed it." This is what your guide probably told you
if you ever visited the Taj Mahal. This is the same story I read in my
history book as a student in India.No one has ever challenged it except
Professor P.N.Oak, who believes the whole world has been duped. In his
book Taj Mahal: The True Story, Oak says the Taj Mahal is not Queen Mumtaz
Mahal's tomb but an ancient Hindu temple palace of Lord Shiva (then known
as Tejo Mahalaya).
In the course of his research, Oak discovered the Shiva temple palace was usurped by Shah Jahan from then Maharaja of Jaipur, Jai Singh. Shah Jahan then remodeled the palace into his wife's memorial. In his own court chronicle, Badshahnama, Shah Jahan admits that an exceptionally beautiful grand mansion in Agra was taken from Jai Singh for Mumtaz's burial. The ex-Maharaja of Jaipur still retains in his secret collection two orders from Shah Jahan for surrendering the Taj building. Using captured temples and mansions, as a burial place for dead courtiers and royalty was a common practice among Muslim rulers. For example, Humayun, Akbar, Etmud-ud-Daula and Safdarjung are all buried in such mansions. Oak's inquiries begin with the name Taj Mahal. He says this term does not occur in any Moghul court papers or chronicles, even after ShahJahan's time. The term "Mahal" has never been used for a building in any of the Muslim countries, from Afghanistan to Algeria. "The unusual explanation that the term Taj Mahal derives from Mumtaz Mahal is illogical in at least two respects.Firstly, her name was never Mumtaz Mahal but Mumtaz-ul-Zamani," he writes. "Secondly, one cannot omit the first three letters 'Mum' from a woman's name to derive the remainder as the name for the building." Taj Mahal, he claims, is a corrupt version of Tejo-Mahalaya, or the Shiva's Palace.
Oak also says the love story of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan is a fairy tale
created court sycophants, blundering historians and sloppy archaeologists.
Not a single royal chronicle of Shah Jahan's time corroborates the love
story. Furthermore, Oak cites several documents suggesting the Taj Mahal
predates Shah Jahan's era, and was a temple palace dedicated to Shiva worshipped
by the Rajputs of Agra city. For example, Professor Marvin Miller of New
York took a few samples from the riverside doorway of the Taj. Carbon dating
tests revealed that the door was 300 years older than Shah Jahan. European
traveler Johan Albert andelslo, who visited Agra in 1638(only seven years
after Mumtaz's death), describes the life of the city in his memoirs. But
he makes no reference to the Taj Mahal being built.
The writings of Peter Mundy, an English visitor to Agra within a year of Mumtaz's death, also suggest the Taj was a noteworthy building long well before Shah Jahan's time. Oak points out a number of design and architectural inconsistencies that support the belief of the Taj Mahal being a typical Hindu temple rather than a mausoleum.Many rooms in the Taj Mahal have remained sealed since Shah Jahan's time, and are still inaccessible to the public.
Oak asserts they contain a headless statue of Shiva and other objects commonly used for worship rituals in Hindu temples. Fearing political backlash, Indira Gandhi's government tried to have Oak's book withdrawn from the bookstores, and threatened the Indian publisher of the first edition with dire consequences. There is only one way to discredit or validate Oak's research. The current Indian government should open the sealed rooms of the Taj Mahal under UN supervision, and let international experts investigate.
Varna (caste) is established by activities not by birth rite - Jati
Gosai and Smarta defeated:
Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.4.18)
In the purport of this verse Srila Prabhupada describes the Pulindas
as the Greeks, from whom Western civilization has descended, and the Hunas
as the Europeans, who later inherited the Greek legacy. The Khasas are
the Chinese, or Far-Eastern peoples. The Kiratas are described in the purport
as aboriginal peoples from the Kirata province of "old Bharata-varsa."
However, it should be noted that Bharata-varsa once comprised what we now
call the entire world. In another place Srila Prabhupada describes Kiratas
as synonymous with Nisadas, residents of present-day Africa:
The home of this eternal wisdom and universal lifestyle was India. India's ancient name was Bharata, which means,
bhàyàm ratah bhàratah
Being totally dedicated to a way of life
based on divine knowledge.
Even today, the official name of India is Bharata. This name has a great
significance. Bharata is the name of a renowned Vedic King
born in the Solar Dynasty. He observed the Vedic lifestyle precisely, achieved great wisdom, and eventually attained enlightenment.
In the Vedic Age, whoever adopted the universal way of life to become established in this Supreme wisdom, was called "Arya". Nowadays this term has become misunderstood and manipulated by various groups. The Nazis used it to promote their super- human race, knowing that the Aryans were once the world's most advanced, invincible civilization. Today scholars use this term to denote a race of people coming from the bank of the Danube or the Volga Rivers, or somewhere in Central Asia, who later invaded India. But all of these misconceptions are due to intellectual circumspection devoid of intuitive satoric capacities and Vedic knowledge. Rather than adding anything to the world, they have caused a great havoc.
Aryans were the original residents of India living at the foot of the Himalayas, and the first inhabitants of Earth(1). Over time, people left the country voluntarily to live elsewhere or were banished, populating other areas of the world. Later, masters of this civilization were sent to different parts of the world to help these individuals maintain the Vedic way of life. The renowned Emperor Manu stated,
etaddesaprasùtasya sakàsàdagra janmanah
sve sve charitram sikseran prthivyàh sarva mànavàh
All the inhabitants of the world should receive an education in the Aryan lifestyle from the knowers of Absolute Truth, born in the land of Bharata.
Confusion concerning this expansion of civilization is due to misrepresentations of world history, misconstrued around vested interests and improper interpretation of mystical Sanskrit expressions.
Yet, even with this misrepresentation, the educated West has become aware that the Vedas are the world's most ancient and esoteric literatures. The Vedas form the nucleus around which the Vedic civilization revolved.
The Vedicans or Aryans enjoyed life's richest possibilities in one Intergalactic civilization. Much of the Vedic civilization was either destroyed or converted from approximately the First Century on, by Christian and Moslem zealots, who were out to gain wealth and power in the name of religion. Rulers all over the world have repeatedly obliterated world history with a view to subjugating the masses, since knowledge is power. In this context, thousands of manuscripts have been burned, millions of people tortured, thousands of buildings and cities converted into modern religious sites, with their artifacts buried in the dusts of time. Some famous expungings include:
240 BC: The Chinese Emperor Dic Huyang destroyed all of the books on history and science he had access to;
146 BC: The Romans burnt the Library in Carthage which contained 500,000 manuscripts. It burned for 17 days;
? BC: Library at the Temple of Ptah, the Divine Lord in Memphis was burned destroying many palm-leaf manuscripts;
? : In Asia Minor the library at Peragmus was burnt containing 200,000 texts;
48 BC: Julius Ceaser burned the famous library in Alexandria, Egypt which contained 700,000 manuscripts;
6 BC: Pisistratus in Athens was burnt; only Homer's epics were salvaged;
? : The Bibractis Druid College's Library in Autun, France was destroyed by Roman troops;
? : Emperor Tsin-She Hwangeti of China had thousands of ancient manuscripts burned;
? : Leo Isarus burned down a library of 300,000 volumes in Istanbul;
296 AD: Dioclisian burned a large number of Aegyptian and Greek manuscripts;
312 AD (approximately): The first neo-convert Roman Christian Emperor Constantine swooped down on the Vatican (then Vedican) destroying a number of Vedic manuscripts. It is believed that he also slew the Vedic pontiff and installed a Christian in his place.
1555 AD: A European Christian ruler, Franciso Telod, in Peru destroyed all the records and manuscripts throwing light on the ancient civilization of the Americas in his access.
1600 AD: Bishop Diago de Landa destroyed most of the ancient literature and sacred books of Mexico(2)
1860-1940 AD: British rule in India effectively destroyed the public educational system and robbed thousands of valuable manuscripts, destroying the rest. Even with all of this, there are numerous facts which still point to the glory of the Vedic Age.
Some of these include:
The existence of Vedic calendars extending back thousands of years and
more, such as the Yudhistira Calendar(3) wide-spread use
of accurate time-measurement and astrological calculations(4); Sanskrit names used all over the world for countries, cities, towns, rivers, and people(5); the existence of ancient Vedic sciences such as Ayurveda(6); Mayasur the oldest architectural text in the world(7); war policies(8); ethics, history, and philosophy(9); mathematics(10); grammar(11); physics(12); and astronomy(13). These ancient Vedic systems parallel and surpass what our modern 21st Century advancements have given us.
In the two Vedic epics of India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata(14), similar to the Iliad and the Oddysey, capitals are mentioned which were in existence until just recently, or which are still centers of attraction(16). Their traditions, methods of time-measurement, architecture, dressing style, ornamentation, cooking style, and religious observances deeply resemble those of ancient India. This is also true of various parts of ancient Russia, Egypt, Greece, and Japan.
Researchers in the journal of the Polynesian Society, Volumes 13, dated 1904, and 26, dated 1917, state that the Maories (aborigines of Australia) seem to be a branch of ancient Vedic society, as their language is akin to Sanskrit and their deities seem to be from the Vedic pantheon. Another researcher named Treager published a book in 1885 entitled, The Aryan Maori.
In the well spread Vedic civilization of the Golden Age Iran, Asia Minor, and Iraq followed the Vedic way of life. In the second century of the Christian era, Japan, China, and central Asia adopted Buddhism without any violent threats to convert. Buddhism arose from the Vedic civilization. Eastern and Northern Africa were also very close to Vedic living.
Brihadaranyaka Upanisada was written before 3100 BC. It describes an esoteric science called Madhuvidya, expounded by Rishi Dadhichi. He was born forty seven generations before Poutibhasya. If we take even fifty years for one generation, Dadhichi's time goes back to 2350 BC, before Poutibhasya's time, which was 3500 BCE(17). This would indicate that at least five thousand eight hundred fifty years ago, the Vedic civilization existed in its full glory and grace.
In 1000 BCE the Vedic civilization was still predominant in India. At that time India was as large as Europe, excluding Russia. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Khotan, Burma, Malaya, Thailand, Indonesia, Indochina, Bali, the Philippines, and Simhal were all living the Vedic lifestyle.
Greek ambassador Megasthenes to Emperor Selukas, who lived in Bihar, India at the end of 400 BCE, wrote:
"India, being of enormous size, is populated by races both numerous and diverse of which not even one was originally of foreign descent, but all were indigenous, and more over, that India neither received a colony from abroad nor sent out a colony to any other nation(18)."
Return to original article for all links:
Plot No. 10 Goodwill Society Aundh, Pune-411 007
In the context of the imminent Ganesh festival beginning 13 September the world ought to be informed that in pre-Christian times Ganesh was universally worshipped along with other Vedic deities. Japan has temples dedicated to Shyoten Shiva-Tanaya. Indonesia has Ganesh portrayed on its currency notes of Rs 20,000 denomination. Ganesh devotional chants often refer to him as vighna-harta.
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 06:29:20 -0000
From: Online Truths
Subject: Ganesh's Global Presence
The fact of the matter is that this Ganesh has been worshipped all over
the world from ancient times to date.
In South America the elephant-headed God was a part of the ancient Mayan pantheon. In North America Red Indians had a deity closely resembling Ganesh. In the East Ganesh was not only present in ancient China but had sartorially gone so local that his pictures show him wearing China silk kurta and pyjama. Even Islamic countries have not escaped the inroads of this celebrated symbol of Hinduism. In Indonesia, for instance, Lord Genesha has recently graced the newly-printed Rs. 20,000 currency note.
To cap it all, a few years ago some Ganesh statues of ancient times were excavated in Turkey in which Ganesh not only wears a fez cap, complete with tassel, but is in a lungi.
TOKYO, JAPAN, April 10, 2002: An exhibition called "Gods Derived From India to Japan" is showing at the Okura Shukokan Museum of Fine Arts until May 26. The story behind the showing is a fascinating one. It all started 51 years ago when Toshio Yamanouchi's job took him to India as general manager for an iron importer company. His passion for religious art took him all across the country and in twenty-five years he built up his collection. In northern Uttar Pradesh, he discovered a miniature painting of "Govardhana Krishna." In Madhya Pradesh, he purchased a 18th century three-headed Ganesha made of ivory. A sandalwood Saraswati was found in the NW state of Rajasthan. Yamanouchi's entire collection, which he has donated to the Okura Shukokan Museum of Fine Arts, consists of 350 statues, sculptures, reliefs and paintings. Seventy of these pieces are part of the present exhibition. Indian law would now prohibit the export of any historical object more than 100 years old. This law was passed in the early 70's. However, by this time, the collection had already been brought back to Japan. Diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 73, Yamanouchi chose to utilize what he thought might be his final years to write three books about how India and Japan are bound by their roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. The article says, "Yamanouchi identifies Benzaiten, the Japanese goddess of good fortune, with Saraswati; Seiten of the Jogan Period with Ganesha; and Enma, the Japanese lord of hell, with his Indian counterpart Yama." Interestingly, Yamanouchi was fascinated with the Hindu gods that he saw during weekly visits to Buddhist temples when he was a young boy. He recalls, "My parents were very religious. I saw many Buddhas at the temples, but I also noticed many Indian Gods protecting the central Buddha figure."
Courtesy of http://www.HinduismToday.com/
......the controvertial Indian writer PN Oak (of Vedik World Heritage
Japan's basic religion is Shintoism. This word Shintoism is just a mispronunciation of Sindhuism or Hinduism. The Shinto shrines are full of Vedic deities but it is difficult for the outsiders to recognise them because of their distorted names. Kali-devi is pronounced as Kariteimo. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in Japan in the same way as in India but they call Sri Hanuman as Hanumatsri. The mantras recited in the Shinto shrines are in Sanskrit. The sumo wrestlers start their fight after uttering the word Om. Japanese pay homage to Lord Ganesh but call him Kangijen. Japanese like to call their country Nippon which is nothing but the Sanskrit word Nippun, meaning dexterous**. Some time ago the Japanese postal department issued a stamp depicting Lord Krishna playing the flute. The Japanese cremate their dead as per Vedic practice. Elaborate chants beginning with Om consecrate the memory of the dead.
So, Vedic influence is quite strong in the Japanese culture, but Japanese tend to impart their own slant (no pun intended) to every thing which they borrow from outside.
The use of the phonetic word Nippon/nipun is shown here:
Srila Mädhavendra Puri Goswami said:
mugdham mäm nigadantu niti-nipunä bhräntam muhur vaidikäh
mandam bändhava-sanchayä jata-dhiyam muktädaräh sodaräh
unmattam dhanino viveka-chaturäh kämam mahä-dämbhikam
moktum na kshämate manäg api mano govinda-päda-sprihäm
Let the sharp moralist accuse me of being illusioned; I do not mind. Experts in Vedic activities may slander me as being misled, friends and relatives may call me frustrated, my brothers may call me a fool, the wealthy mammonites may point me out as mad, and the learned philosophers may assert that I am much too proud; still my mind does not budge an inch from the determination to serve the lotus feet of Govinda, though I be unable to do it.
lokänäm hita-kärinau tri-bhuvane mänyau sharanyäkarau
vande rüpa-sanätanau raghu-yugau shri-jiva-gopälakau
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the six Gosvämis, namely
Shri Sanätana Gosvämi, Shri Rüpa Gosvämi, Shri Raghunätha
Bhatta Gosvämi, Shri Raghunätha däsa Gosvämi, Shri
Jiva Gosvämi and Shri Gopäla Bhatta Gosvämi, who are very
expert in scrutinizingly studying all the revealed scriptures with the
aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all
human beings. Thus they are honored all over the three worlds, and they
are worth taking shelter of because they are absorbed in the mood of the
gopés and are engaged in the transcendental loving service of Rädhä
Did the Chinese and Japanese once read the Mahabharatha? I am amazed by the similiarities of the story of King Sibbi mentioned in the Mahabharatha, Chinese folklore and Japanese folklore. Here are the three versions... To me they seem to have the same source..
King Sibbi was the son of Ushinar and belonged to the Ikshavaku lineage. Once King Sibbi decided to conduct a grand Yagna. All the those who came to the Yagna had all their wishes fulfilled. King Sibbi would not turn down any request. Even the Gods were speaking of this great sacrifice conducted by Sibbi. The King of the Gods Indira and Agni decided to test Sibbi's worth. So Indira took the shape of a Falcon and Agni the shape of a dove and flew towards the sacrifice, with the falcon chasing the dove.
The dove flew towards King Sibbi and sat on his lap trembling in fear. The sight of the dove brought compassion to the heart of King Sibbi and so he assumed a protective stance. The falcon suddenly spoke in a human voice 'O king you fame is well known throughout the three worlds for your adherance to Dharma. It is my dharma to kill and provide food for my family and myself. Why do you obstruct me from performing Dharma despite having such a reputation for clinging on to Dharma?'
The King was startled on hearing this. But he thought for a while and replied 'It is also my Dharma to protect anyone who is weaker than me and seeks my protection. This dove has choosen refuge under me, so it is my duty to protect it with my life.' But the falcon replied 'But King Sibbi, is it also not your duty to maintain Dharma in your Kingdom. If you insist on protecting that bird, then you must give me something other food, without causing suffering' King Sibbi replied 'Ok I will cut a piece of flesh from my own thigh equal to the weight of the dove as food for you'
King Sibbi began to cut a piece of flesh from his won tigh, but to his amazement the bird seemed to be much heavier than anticipated. He cut more and more flesh, but to no avail. His left side of the body had so little flesh he almost fell of balance. But struglling back to the ground he then climbed on the scale and offered himself as a sacrifice in order to uphold Dharma. Immediately the dove and falcon assumed their true shape and gave Sibbi Rana his body back with even more lusture than before.
There are two versions. One version is ditto the same. Only the pronouncitions are different. For ex. Sibbi is prounced as Shibbi(strong empasis on the h) etc. The other version is from the Jatakamala. In this story Indira dressed as a blind person approaches King Sibbi requesting for eye-sight. King Sibbi pierces his own eyes and gives them to the blind man asking him to use it to retain his eye-sight.
King Shibi is believed to be a previous incarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha. In this story a heavenly being named Bishamon approaches the God Taishaku and tells him 'There is a great Bodhisattva named King Shibi. Soon he will become a Buddha.' On hearing this Taishaku decides to test to test the sincerity of the King's practice in pursuing enlightenment. He transforms himself into a hawk and instructs Bishamon to take on the appearance of a dove.
Chased after by the hawk, the dove to escapes and flies into the arms of King Shibi. Perched on the branch of a tree, the hawk says to the King, "Please let me have the dove back. It is what I have been trying to get." King Shibbi replies, "No, I can't because I have vowed to protect all living things. I cannot return it to you."
The hawk then points out , "I am one of the living things that you have vowed to save. If you take away my food for today, I will be unable to live tomorrow."
The King then offers to cut off a piece of his own flesh and gave it to the hawk. As the King proceeded to cut his own flesh, the hawk measures it using a balance and found the dove to be consistently heavier than the muscle of the King. No matter how much muscle was added, the weight was lighter than the total weight of the dove. Finally, the King cuts all the flesh off of his body.
The King tries desperately to put his entire body on the balance, but falls to the ground. He then exclaimes, "I once made a pledge to save all living beings! I cannot let such minor sufferings defeat me!"
At last he successfully climbes onto the balance. Watching the entire scene, all the heavenly beings praise the King saying, "He did not begrudge his life, even for a bird. He is a person who best suits the title of Bodhisattva.
Suddenly, Taishaku casts off his disguised figure as a hawk and regaines his original appearance. He says to the King, "Don't you have any pain or regret?" The King replies, "I have no regrets whatsoever. My heart is rather full of joy."
No sooner did the King utter these words than did his body change back into what it used to be.
Verdict from Belgium
Last month, two ardent Hindus battled out the controversial pros and cons of caste. This month's assessment, from Europe, focuses on history and how jati and varna have, for the most part, helped rather than hurt Hinduism.
By Prof. Koenraad Elst
In an inter-faith debate, most Hindus can easily be put on the defensive with a single word-caste. Any anti-Hindu polemist can be counted on to allege that "the typically Hindu caste system is the most cruel apartheid, imposed by the barbaric white Aryan invaders on the gentle dark-skinned natives." Here's a more balanced and historical account of this controversial institution.
Merits of the Caste System
The caste system is often portrayed as the ultimate horror. Inborn inequality is indeed unacceptable to us moderns, but this does not preclude that the system has also had its merits.
Caste is perceived as an "exclusion-from," but first of all it is a form of "belonging-to," a natural structure of solidarity. For this reason, Christian and Muslim missionaries found it very difficult to lure Hindus away from their communities. Sometimes castes were collectively converted to Islam, and Pope Gregory XV (1621-23) decreed that the missionaries could tolerate caste distinction among Christian converts; but by and large, caste remained an effective hurdle to the destruction of Hinduism through conversion. That is why the missionaries started attacking the institution of caste and in particular the brahmin caste. This propaganda has bloomed into a full-fledged anti-brahminism, the Indian equivalent of anti-Semitism.
Every caste had a large measure of autonomy, with its own judiciary, duties and privileges, and often its own temples. Inter-caste affairs were settled at the village council by consensus; even the lowest caste had veto power. This autonomy of intermediate levels of society is the antithesis of the totalitarian society in which the individual stands helpless before the all- powerful state. This decentralized structure of civil society and of the Hindu religious commonwealth has been crucial to the survival of Hinduism under Muslim rule. Whereas Buddhism was swept away as soon as its monasteries were destroyed, Hinduism retreated into its caste structure and weathered the storm.
Caste also provided a framework for integrating immigrant communities: Jews, Zoroastrians and Syrian Christians. They were not only tolerated, but assisted in efforts to preserve their distinctive traditions.
It is routinely claimed that caste is a uniquely Hindu institution. Yet, counter examples are not hard to come by. In Europe and elsewhere, there was (or still is) a hierarchical distinction between noblemen and commoners, with nobility only marrying nobility. Many tribal societies punished the breach of endogamy rules with death.
Coming to the Indian tribes, we find Christian missionaries claiming that "tribals are not Hindus because they do not observe caste." In reality, missionary literature itself is rife with testimonies of caste practices among tribals. A spectacular example is what the missions call "the Mistake:" the attempt, in 1891, to make tribal converts in Chhotanagpur inter-dine with converts from other tribes. It was a disaster for the mission. Most tribals renounced Christianity because they chose to preserve the taboo on inter- dining. As strongly as the haughtiest brahmin, they refused to mix what God hath separated.
Endogamy and exogamy are observed by tribal societies the world over. The question is therefore not why Hindu society invented this system, but how it could preserve these tribal identities even after outgrowing the tribal stage of civilization. The answer lies largely in the expanding Vedic culture's intrinsically respectful and conservative spirit, which ensured that each tribe could preserve its customs and traditions, including its defining custom of tribal endogamy.
Description and History
The Portuguese colonizers applied the term caste, "lineage, breed," to two different Hindu institutions: jati and varna. The effective unit of the caste system is the jati, birth-unit, an endogamous group into which you are born, and within which you marry. In principle, you can only dine with fellow members, but the pressures of modern life have eroded this rule. The several thousands of jatis are subdivided in exogamous clans, gotra. This double division dates back to tribal society.
By contrast, varna is the typical functional division of an advanced society- the Indus/Saraswati civilization, 3rd millennium, bce. The youngest part of the Rg-Veda describes four classes: learned brahmins born from Brahma's mouth, martial kshatriya-born from his arms; vaishya entrepreneurs born from His hips and shudra workers born from His feet. Everyone is a shudra by birth. Boys become dwija, twice-born, or member of one of the three upper varnas upon receiving the sacred thread in the upanayana ceremony.
The varna system expanded from the Saraswati-Yamuna area and got firmly established in the whole of Aryavarta (Kashmir to Vidarbha, Sindh to Bihar). It counted as a sign of superior culture setting the arya, civilized, heartland apart from the surrounding mleccha, barbaric, lands. In Bengal and the South, the system was reduced to a distinction between brahmins and shudras. Varna is a ritual category and does not fully correspond to effective social or economic status. Thus, half of the princely rulers in British India were shudras and a few were brahmins, though it is the kshatriya function par excellence. Many shudras are rich, many brahmins impoverished.
The Mahabharata defines the varna qualities thus: "He in whom you find truthfulness, generosity, absence of hatred, modesty, goodness and self- restraint, is a brahmana. He who fulfills the duties of a knight, studies the scriptures, concentrates on acquisition and distribution of riches, is a kshatriya. He who loves cattle-breeding, agriculture and money, is honest and well-versed in scripture, is a vaishya. He who eats anything, practises any profession, ignores purity rules, and takes no interest in scriptures and rules of life, is a shudra." The higher the varna, the more rules of self- discipline are to be observed. Hence, a jati could collectively improve its status by adopting more demanding rules of conduct, e.g. vegetarianism.
A person's second name usually indicates his jati or gotra. Further, one can use the following varna titles: Sharma (shelter, or joy) indicates the brahmin, Varma (armour) the kshatriya, Gupta (protected) the vaishya and Das (servant) the shudra. In a single family, one person may call himself Gupta (varna), another Agrawal (jati), yet another Garg (gotra). A monk, upon renouncing the world, sheds his name along with his caste identity.
Below the caste hierarchy are the untouchables, or harijan (literally "God's people"), dalits ("oppressed"), paraiah (one such caste in South India), or scheduled castes. They make up about 16% of the Indian population, as many as the upper castes combined.
Untouchability originates in the belief that evil spirits surround dead and dying substances. People who work with corpses, body excretions or animal skins had an aura of danger and impurity, so they were kept away from mainstream society and from sacred learning and ritual. This often took grotesque forms: thus, an untouchable had to announce his polluting proximity with a rattle, like a leper.
Untouchability is unknown in the Vedas, and therefore repudiated by
neo- Vedic reformers like Dayanand Saraswati, Narayan Guru, Gandhiji and
Savarkar. In 1967, Dr. Ambedkar, a dalit by birth and fierce critic of
social injustice in Hinduism and Islam, led a mass conversion to Buddhism,
partly on the (unhistorical) assumption that Buddhism had been an anti-caste
movement. The 1950 constitution outlawed untouchability and sanctioned
positive discrimination programs for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
BERENIKE, EGYPT, June 12, 2002: Excavation of an ancient seaport on Egypt's Red Sea found spices, gems and other exotic cargo showing that sea trade linking the Roman Empire and India 2,000 years ago rivaled the legendary Silk Road at times, archaeologists say. Co-directors of the dig, Willeke Wendrich, of the University of California, Los Angeles and Steven Sidebotham, of the University of Delaware, report their findings in the July issue of the journal Sahara. Archaeologists who have spent the last nine years excavating the town of Berenike say they have recovered an array of artifacts that are the best physical evidence yet of the extent of sea trade between the Roman Empire and India. They also uncovered numerous beams hewn of teak, a wood indigenous to India, and Indian sailcloth. The dry climate at Berenike preserved many organic materials from India that have never been found in the more humid subcontinent. Indian pottery found in the 30-acre site suggests Indian traders lived in the town amid a hodgepodge of other cultures. Archaeologists found evidence that a dozen different scripts, including Tamil-Brahmi, Greek, Latin and Hebrew, were used in Berenike. Elizabeth Lyding Will, an emeritus professor of classics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said the finds help add "a whole new dimension to Roman archaeology." "It looks to me that India was some sort of engine driving Roman trade during the early empire. It could have been the chief focus of their trade."
Courtesy of http://www.HinduismToday.com/
Yet another proof of India's prominence throughout the ages. Maybe you, like I, find it strange that we never heard anything of India's glory over the past couple of centuries, there's simply nothing documented other than occupations by the French, Portuguese and British as they desperately tried to convert India to Christianity. See more on the destructive plans of the Christian Missionaries and Indologists in India, and even the Pope's apology for such abuse at our page www.hknet.org.nz/index-Vedik.htm
I have recently learnt about another fascinating link between India,
Egypt, China and the Ancient Americans. It is Kum Kum or Vermilion powder.
Archeologists are currently puzzled because nearly every ancient tomb they uncover has Kum Kum powder drenched all over the interiors of these sites. Whether its in China, Peru, Mexico or Egypt the use of vermillion/Kum Kum is used.
The question asked is," What significance did the red Vermillion powder have to the ancient cultures around the world?" Of course the western scholars have alot of speculation to offer, but to my knowledge not once have any of these so-called experts publicly considered the fact that nearly a billion people are still using Vermillion powder on a daily basis.
Just Perhaps these billion people might have some information as to the significance of Kum Kum Powder in the current era and by tracing its use we may come to the obvious conclusion that India's Modern Hindu Civilization is the only civilization that has maintained an unbroken link with the ancient world. This fact, once accepted, will allow the world's academia to begin to come up with accurate theories that actually make sense and can be easily verified by the ongoing practical and applicable realities of everyday life. In other words, an ancient potters wheel has the same use as a modern one, and it is easy to deduce its applicable usefulness even thousands of years later. The same method can be applied to Kum Kum. If the archeoligists really want to know why the ancient Chinese, Egyptians and Americans used vermillion powder they need to ask the Modern Hindus of India. Its only logical to learn from the people who have used it for thousands of years and are still using it. I am truly amazed at at the value given to the many ignorant theories about India that have been created without any input of those living the culture. Prejudiced theories can surely have no more value than the wholistic theories that take into account the traditional versions of a culture along with modern scientific research techniques. Only when these two are united can we ever cross over the tyrrany of politicized academia.
SO I HAVE ANOTHER CHALLENGE TO ALL THE ANTI-VEDICS. WHY WERE THE ANCIENT INCANS, MEXICANS, CHINESE, EGYPTIANS AND INDIANS USING KUM KUM?
MY ANSWER IS OBVIOUS. THEY WERE ALL BRANCHES OF THE ANCIENT GLOBAL VEDIC FAMILY AND THEY USED KUM KUM FOR THE SAME REASONS MODERN HINDUS USE KUM KUM.
see more articles like this at www.hknet.org.nz/index-articles.htm
Indian Civilisation '9,000 Years Old'
FROM BBC NEWS
ENGLAND, Jan 17 (VNN) By Rajyasri Rao in Delhi
Marine scientists in India say an archaeological site off India's western coast may be up to 9,000 years old.
The revelation comes about 8 months after acoustic images from the sea-bed suggested the presence of built-up structures resembling the ancient Harappan civilisation, which dates back around 4,000 years.The area has been subject to a great deal of archaeological interest due to its proximity to another ancient submerged site - Dwaraka.
The Harappan civilisation is the oldest in the subcontinent.
Although Palaeolithic sites dating back around 20,000 years have been found on the coast of India's western state of Gujarat before, this is the first time there are indications of man-made structures as old as 9,500 years found deep beneath the sea surface.
Known as the Gulf of Cambay, the area has been subject to a great deal of archaeological interest due to its proximity to another ancient submerged site - Dwaraka - in the nearby Gulf of Kutch.
Harappan remains have been found in India and Pakistan
But investigations in the Cambay region have been made more difficult by strong tidal currents running at around two to three metres per second.
They impede any sustained underwater studies.
Marine scientists led by the Madras-based National Institute of Ocean Technology said they got around this problem by taking acoustic images off the sea-bed and using dredging equipment to extract artefacts.
A second round of investigations was conducted about three months ago.
The Indian Minister for Ocean Technology, Murli Manohar Joshi, told journalists the images indicated not only symmetrical man-made structures but also a paleo-river, running for around nine kilometres, on whose banks all the artefacts were discovered.
Experts say submerged pottery may offer a clue
Carbon dating carried out on one of these artefacts - a block of wood bearing the signs of deep fissures - suggested it had been around since about 7,595 BC.
Mr Joshi said his ministry planned to set up a multi-disciplinary group to look into what this discovery really meant and what relation it might have to other ancient sites in the area.
Critics say the minister, who has been in the eye of a storm recently for attempts to Hinduise school history textbooks, may well be presenting these archaeological discoveries as proof of India's glorious and ancient past.
But others say only further scientific studies can tell whether such a claim can be made at all.
Story URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
Bhosle, Varsha, Heaven's Gate, Rediff on the Net, July 10, 2000;
Bhosle, Varsha, Preying Chruch, Rediff on the Net, January 21, 1999;
Kashyap, Samundra Gupta, More reconversion stories, this time from
Assam, Indian Express, July 10, 2000;
Kumar, Raj, Sahibganj sits atop conversion volcano, The Times of
India, March 7, 2000;
Niyogi Commission Report on Christian Missionaries
...to Vedik World Heritage Site map ...HKnet home ............Vedik Articles and links