Extract Five - Exploring “Hinduism” (Literature and Religious Systems) 5.

1 A Partial Overview of Hinduism Hinduism is one of the major religions of the world and its roots can be traceable to the country India. The graph1 below is a summary of population estimates for different religions of the world during mid 2005. These figures indicate that Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. According to more recent statistics2, the estimated world population for the year 2007 was 6,671,226,000. The estimated followers of Hinduism were in the region of 970 million, which represented approximately 15% of the estimated world population. Of the total Hindu population in the world, approximately, 900 million were living in India, which represented 93% of the estimated total world Hindu population.

Fig 5.1 – Estimates for Religions of the World Although Hindi is the national language of India and mother tongue of most people, there are other official languages recognised in the different Indian States such as Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit. In addition to the above mentioned languages, there are various home languages spoken in many Indian States, although these languages are not officially recognised by any State. Like most other countries, English has emerged as the most important medium of language used for national, political, business, trade, and legal purposes. Although there is worldwide prominence given to the Vedic literature, an extensive compilation of Sanskrit works, a huge variety of spiritual, religious, and other literature was compiled in the different Indian languages throughout the history of India. The Hindu scriptures (as it is known or has become grouped today), are accepted as one of the oldest in the world and comprises of that vast and diverse body of literature. This body of literature deals with a wide range of topics and philosophy such as the Supreme Lord, knowledge about His Abode & His activities, devotional
1 2

Source:wikipedia/en/6/60/Worldwide_percentage_of_Adherents_by_Religion.png Based on information published on the Wikipedi Website “Hinduism by Country”

service, religious & moral principles, leadership, governance, science, mathematics, architecture, astrology, creation, the planetary systems, war, farming, writing, poetry, art, music and dance. In the academic circles, Hinduism is often categorised into two divisions, namely Traditional Hinduism and Neo-Hinduism. Traditional Hinduism incorporates the majority of believers and consists of observing ancient beliefs, rituals, ceremonies which have great appeal or value to the masses. Neo-Hinduism appears to be developed through (i) reform in Hinduism, (ii) western influence, (iii) and through the standardisation or globalisation of the fundamental and universal aspects of Hinduism for mass preaching purposes. The two major branches of Hinduism are Saivism (followers of Lord Siva) and Vaisnavism (followers of Lord Visnu). Some of the other branches are Shaktism (the worshipers or followers of the Goddess), Jainism, and Sikhism. However, the reader must take note that both Jainism and Sikhism are generally considered to be like Buddhism - distinct and separate religions from Hinduism, also having their roots in India. Although, there is this diverse literature or religious systems grouped under the banner of Hinduism, a common aspect in all of the above Hindu literature is the principles or concepts of “Karma” and “Reincarnation”. There is also an indication of a higher truth and a divine purpose of human life, which needs to be achieved with different and common or similar recommended proposals given to go back to the “Kingdom of God”. The roots or teachings of Saivism and Vaisnavism can be traced to South Indian Literature and North Indian Literature groupings respectively. Both, Saivism and Vaisnavism, literature appear to be based on “parallel schools of philosophy”, although not in every respect. The main differences are the identity of the Supreme God, and details of recorded histories and stories in their respective scared books. Due to the amount of research conducted and the preaching efforts of individuals and organisations, many of the original Hindu scriptures are available at “grass root level” in different local languages. One universal principle, truth, or fact that applies is that there is a distinct hierarchy amongst the literature, religious and philosophical systems grouped under Hinduism, which is not the subject matter of this book. In the Sanskrit language, the two main technical divisions or ways of classifying knowledge3 are (i) Para Vidya (transcendental or spiritual knowledge) (ii) everything else is referred to as Apara Vidya (material knowledge). Any knowledge belonging to the Para Vidya section is knowledge that can lead to self-realization. It will spiritually elevate a person by purifying their heart and soul, and it can develop or increase one’s “Love & Devotion to God”. Some of the key or primary indicators “of the divine effect it can have on a person” are to observe their Humility, their degree of Compassion, Tolerance, Self-control, and to see if there is a loss or a decline in material desires or an increase in love and devotion to the Lord. Ultimately, one has to observe their Character – their “Attitude, Mood, and Behavior”. Beside the “indicators” listed above, these persons have a very positive spiritual influence on everyone else through their interactions with others and their divine association. For the purposes of the presentation in this book, the Hindu scriptures are classified into the following groups (i) North Indian literature, (ii South Indian literature, (iii) Post Vedic Scriptures, and (iv) other literature. The focus of this book is on the four main groups of Hindu communities based in South Africa, namely those who speak Tamil, Hindi, Gujerati, and Telugu. South Indian culture4 refers to the culture of the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. The main South Indian literature comprises of Tamil literature, Telugu literature, Kannada literature, and Malayalam literature. North India5 consists of six Indian states: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. North India is the birthplace of (i) Sikhism and (ii) the Vedic culture and civilization. The Vedic culture is older and its
About Technical divisions of knowledge - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mundaka_Upanishad. For further information, refer to the Bhagavada Gita As It Is and the Srimad Bhagavatam (refer bibliography section). 4 South Indian culture: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Indian_culture 5 Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_India and see http://www.north-india.in/religion/hinduism.htm


roots can be traceable to the Indus Valley Civilization. The Vedic literature6 was compiled in written form (in Sanskrit) during this period, also known as the “Golden Age”. Afterwards, North India became renowned as a major center of discovery and learning. The Post Vedic literature was compiled by a combination of South and North Indian Saints. “Other literature” refers to the later religious literature and systems, having its roots based in India.

Fig 5.2

Examples of the different ways of Grouping Hinduism

Most Hindu or spiritual organization’s philosophies are based on the teachings of the Vedas or other Hindu scriptures. Many organizations advocate that there exist several paths of Yoga (the process of linking to God) and one can choose any path depending on his/her individual nature. A number of

Note, although the references to various websites and books are cited, all final references and quotations used in this presentation on the Vedic Scriptures is mainly from the Works of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), his disciples and followers. (Refer to Bibliography section for a detailed list). All Srila Prabhupada’s work is the property and copyright, of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. Also, see: http://www.harekrsna.com/philosophy.


Hindu or spiritual organizations exist, each of which follows a particular Philosophy or a particular God or a particular Saint or a particular Caste or a particular Community or a particular Faith or a particular Tradition. Although the finer details of the Hindu scriptures or philosophy may not be so accessible, well known or understood, for nearly all of these millions of people; Hinduism is not, a school or philosophy, it is life itself. They simply follow and practise the traditions and customs of their ancestors, family, or community. They worship Deities in the Temples or at home, they go on pilgrimages, perform daily prayers or rituals, practise meditations and yogic disciplines. They sing (especially in organised groups), share stories from scriptures, and recite scriptural verses on a daily basis. Their religious practices may reflect regional, ethnic, language, individual and opposing or differences in philosophical interpretations. Although they may conform to similar patterns, their practices may not be identical, and their ritualistic procedures may differ from place to place, organization to organisation, community to community, home to home, or from individual to individual. Hindus are also well known and applauded for trying to maintain their “extended family support system”, which is a not just a tradition, but an integral part of their value system, culture and civilisation. 5.2 Hinduism in Relation to other Religions, Science & Education

The CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY7 defines the following:GOD (in many religions) is defined as (i) a superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature, human fortunes, etc; (ii) an image, idol, animal, or other object worshipped as divine or symbolizing a god, (iii) the creator and ruler of the universe, the supreme being, (iv) an adored, admired, or influential person. EDUCATE is defined as “to give intellectual, moral and social instruction”. EDUCATION is defined as “(i) the act or process of educating or being educated; systematic instruction; (ii) a particular kind of or stage of education; (iii-a) development of character or mental powers, (iii-b) s stage or aspect of this”. PHILOSOPHY is defined as “(i) the use of reason and agreement in seeking truth and knowledge of reality, esp. of the causes and nature of things and of the principles governing existence, the material universe, perception of physical phenomena and human behaviour; (ii-a) particular system or set of beliefs reached by this, (ii-b) a personal rule of life; (iii) advanced learning in general”. RELIGION is defined as “(i) the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to worship; (ii) the expression of this worship; (iii) a particular system of faith and worship”; HINDUISM is defined in the following way, “the main religious and social system of India, including belief in reincarnation, the worship of several Gods, and a caste system as the basis of society”. Comparative religion is a field of religious study that analyzes the similarities and differences of themes, myths, rituals and concepts among the world's religions. In the field of comparative religion, the world’s main religions are generally classified as Abrahamic, Indian or Taoic and religion is

Concise Oxford Dictionary, Clarendon Press, 1995, USA


defined as "Human beings relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine"8. In terms of a Technical or Philosophical perspective, a religious or spiritual system is based in relation to the principle that there is a God, referred to as Theism. The following tables list a summary of Religious categorisations9 and a summary of some important definitions of “religious technical terms”10 classifying the various philosophical schools or religious systems of the world. Some of these religious technical terms may apply to religious systems grouped under the banner of Hinduism. Description Abrahamic religions Remarks A group of monotheistic traditions sometimes grouped with one another for comparative purposes, because all refer to a patriarch named Abraham. Mostly religions that originated in Greater India that share a number of key concepts, namely Dharma and Karma and religions and traditions related to, and descended from, them Religions originating in Greater Iran Religions originating in East Asia Religions originating but not entirely located in Africa Traditionally, these faiths have all been classified "Pagan" due to common elements of animism, shamanism and polytheism. However, in recent times, scholars have begun to dispute this, preferring the terms "indigenous/primal/folk/ethnic religions", "historical polytheism" and "Neo-Paganism". The number of Pagan adherents is difficult to account for, as many followers worship in solitude. Paganism traditionally encompasses all Polytheistic belief systems as well as those spiritual practices that do not have any particular deities. Their beliefs and practices maybe similar or may vary among groups though they share certain beliefs.

Indian religions

Iranic religions Taoic/Far Eastern/East Asian religions African diasporic religions "Pagan" religions (Historical Polytheism, Indigenous Traditional

(1) Religion in Africa, (2) Religion in North America, (3) Religion in South America, (4) Religion in Asia, (5) Religion in Australia, (6) Religion in Europe, (7) Oceania / Pacific, (8) Religion by country Table 5.1 Summary of the Worlds Religious Categorisations

Non-sectarian and transsectarian religious or spiritual movements Other categorisations

8 9 10

Comparative religion, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_religion#cite_note-0 Information from the Wikipedia Website, “Religions_of_the_world” Information sourced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_religion)


Name Religion

Theism Pantheism Deism Agnosticism

Atheism Monotheism Polytheism Natural Theology Table 5.2 World Religious Systems and Philosophies, a Partial Summary Name of School Pashupata Saivism: Kashmir Saivism (a monistic school)

Religious “Technical Terms” - a set of tenets and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. - The belief in the existence of one or more divinities or deities. - The belief that God is both immanent and transcendent; God is one and all is God. - The belief that God does exist, but does not interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. - The belief that the existence or non-existence of deities is currently unknown or unknowable, or that the existence of a God or of gods cannot be proven. - The rejection of belief, or absence of belief, in deities. - is the view that only one God exists - is its belief in more than one god (goddess) - providing proofs or arguments for the existence of God.

Remarks The Pashupatas were ascetics or great poets. Referred to as the monistic school (known as Pratyabhijna Darshana) and explains the creation of soul and world as God Siva's shining forth in His dynamic first impulse. As the Self of all, Siva is imminent and transcendent, a real but abstract creatorpreserver-destroyer. Saiva Siddhanta (Monistic Siva is material and efficient cause, immanent and transcendent. theism) The soul, created by Siva, is destined to merge in Him. Siddha Siddhanta: (monistic Also known as bhedabheda, embracing both theories of the theism) transcendent Siva Being and immanent Siva Becoming. Siva is efficient and material cause. The creation and final return of soul and cosmos to Siva are compared to the bubbles arising and returning to water. Lingatatism: (qualified Accepts both difference and nondifference between soul and God, like rays are to the sun. Siva and the cosmic force are one, yet Siva nondualism) or Shakti is beyond His creation, which is real, not illusory. God is efficient Vishistadvaita and material cause. Siva Advaita: (monistic theism) The soul does not ultimately become perfectly one with Brahman, but shares with the Supreme all excellent qualities. also called Siva Vishistavaita. Table 5.3 - A Partial Summary of some of the major schools of Saivism


Name of School Advaita Kevaladvaita (monism) Visistadvaita-vada (specific monism) Dvaitadvaita-vada (monism and dualism)

suddha-dvaita-vada (purified dualism) Visuddhadvaita-vada (purified monism)


Remarks The jivatma (living entities or spirit souls) and Paramatma (Brahman or the Supreme spirit soul) are one and the same. The goal of life is for the Jiva’s (living entities) to realise this truth. All living entities are spirit souls, a minute spark of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; He is the Supreme Soul in both the material and spiritual worlds. The categories of existence are three, i.e., 'cit', 'acit', and 'Isvara'. Cit and acit are different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Isvara), in the sense that they have attributes and capacities, which are different from those of Isvara. Isvara is independent and exists by Himself, while cit and acit have existence dependent upon Him. At the same time cit and acit are not different from Isvara, because they cannot exist independently of Him. the Supreme Independent Person possesses all adequate and unrestricted energies in regard to the cit and acit and He is unlimitedly cognizant. By His own will, He is the Supreme controller of both cit and acit, who are of a different nature from His. The soul (living entities) is part of Brahman (the Supreme Spirit) like spiritual sparks, real, eternal, atomic and dependent. Creation has no motive, it is like a cosmic game and it directly emanates from Brahman. The cause of bondage is one's attachment to karma Philosophical truth of simultaneous / inconceivable oneness and difference - the Supreme Lord, being the cause and effect of everything, is inconceivably, simultaneously one with His manifestations of energy and different from them (the living entities or spirit souls).

Table 5.4 Religious Schools or Perspectives under Vaisnavism In order to explore Hinduism as it is currently known or grouped; one needs to take into account the early histories (background issues and social factors) of India that affected people’s religious lifestyle, values, practices, traditions, faith, and beliefs. Some examples are that at one point in time there were major divisions created in society due to the exploitation of the “caste system”. After the “Golden Age”, the principles of religion declined whilst irreligious practises increased, there was large-scale animal sacrifice practised on the apparent strength of religion. Finally, throughout India’s history, foreigners (both from within the same continent and from overseas) invaded the land, which led to various wars and the destruction of their successful “Monarch System of Rule”. This later led to the development of other faiths and religions in India. Perhaps the greatest injustice that has been inflicted or induced by the academic world (or whoever) was to group so many different religious systems under the banner of Hinduism. The grouping of diverse religious systems and literature has made Hinduism to be apparently (i) complicating to understand, (ii) “confusing” for many people, (iii) subject to severe criticism by others, and (iv) some organisations or communities do not want to be associated as “Hindu”. It also led to people changing their religious faith or to become “vulnerable to conversion”. This applies to both the Hindus and those who are interested in Hinduism. The variance in philosophies, customs, traditions, practices and worship of different personalities as “God” has given the Hindu religion an identity as “the religion of many Gods”. It has also led to a common philosophy or famous belief by many faithful Hindus that the worship of different Hindu Gods is “One and the Same”, or as some people are sometimes known to say, “All is one”. Within Hinduism, the following are the main or distinct and opposing branches or schools of philosophy that has emerged: (i) A school proclaiming that the worship of the different Hindu Gods is “One and the Same”. 7

A school that proclaims that the Lord is formless, known as the Pure-Monistic school. Monism11 philosophy can be traceable to Nasadiya Sukta section of the Rig-Veda and in sections of the various Upanisads. The theory is that the Absolute is formless, ineffable and Divine referred to as Brahman. This school, in a summary, states; “Brahman (God) is the only truth, the world is unreal, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self. The soul is entirely non-different from God (but has yet to realise/develop his Godhood)”12. The recommendation is that spiritual life means to cultivate enlightenment by philosophical study, austerity, and renunciation. These help to dismantle the false ego and to sever the knot of material attachment within the heart, so that at the time of death one can leave the material world and finally merge into God’s existence. The pure-monism school is a very prominent school within various Hindu literature, especially in most of the academic or reference works used, although the matter remains in dispute. (iii) A school that proclaims the Lord has a “form”. This school is based on the principles of “Personalism”13, of which, some key principles are: (a) The Lord is the Supreme Person, who is eternal and has various person-like qualities, He knows, He enjoys, and He has power, potencies, or energies to cause things to happen. He is the cause of all causes and “is not caused” by anything else. He has the capacity to know everything (b) There are innumerable living entities/beings (called jivas in Sanskrit) which are qualitatively the same as the Lord but quantitatively different. They can know and enjoy and can make choices that influence the course of events in their lives (c) The living entities (jivas) have an eternal relationship with the Lord. (iv) A school that focuses worship upon Shakti or Devi – the Hindu Divine Mother – as the absolute, ultimate Godhead. She is considered to be simultaneously the source of all creation, as well as its embodiment and the energy that governs and controls it. This school is known as Shaktism14. (ii) In the Saivite schools, there are many doctrines and these literature deal with worshiping the Supreme as formless or symbol or through many forms. In Vaisnavism, there are similar philosophies and some that gives a detailed account of reality in terms of a Personal God, individual souls, time, matter, and their relationships to each other. In summarising all of the above-mentioned points, these schools have been technically analyzed and categorised as (i) non-dualist schools (abheda), (i) dualist schools (bheda) and (iii) schools based on non-dual-with-dualism (bhedābheda) perspectives. The following section was prepared in response to the previously cited dictionary definition of Hinduism, and Religion in terms of a Hindu perspective based on the authority of the Vedic philosophy culture and civilisation or from a “North Indian Literature” perspective. To be more specific, the presentation is based on the philosophy and authority of Gaudiya Vaisnavism15.


Monism: http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta#Salient_features_of_Advaita_Vedanta, and see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartha & also see http://www.shankaracharya.org/ 12 Brahman: see monism & http://www.indiadivine.org/articles/91/1/What-is-Mayavada/Page1.html 13 Refer to “A Report on the Gaudiya Vaishnava Vedenta form of Ontology”, page 7. 14 Shaktism, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaktism 15 An important point for the reader to note is that, although I have accepted or adopted a certain faith or lifestyle and belong to a particular organisation, the contents and presentation of this section does not necessarily represent the views of any particular individual, any particular organization, nor members of the Hindu or the Indian community of South Africa.


5.2.1 Vedic Culture, Philosophy and Civilisation One may wonder - how comparable or compatible are the Vedic literature to all other scriptures or all other religious and educational systems? The authoritative source of knowledge upon which human progress is based or developed is called “science”. The English translation of the Sanskrit word "Veda" is "knowledge". Sanskrit was the original language of Vedic culture or civilization and Vedic knowledge is called apauruseya, which means it is not knowledge developed by human beings. Vedic knowledge appeared at the dawn of the creation of this universe, within the heart of the first created living being, Lord Brahma, also known as the creator of this universe16. Like all other spiritual or religious literature, the main message of the Vedas is that there is a God whose abode is the Spiritual World or Kingdom of God, which is our eternal home. It is a place of bliss where one is situated in full knowledge and is free from the suffering or miseries one experiences in the material world. In Vedic times, the primary focus of science was the eternal, not the temporary. Human progress meant elevation or the advancement of spiritual awareness yielding the soul's release from the entrapment of this material world. In the Vedic standard or educational system, any inquiry was not restricted to the world as perceived by modern science. Human progress or advancement was not judged by industrialisation, massive technological advancement, or the exploitation of the planets resources or the environment. The economy of a community or country was based on a natural and simple way of life, with the optimization of “organic and renewable energy sources such as vegetation, wood, water, and wind”. Good leadership meant to provide shelter or protection for all those under the leader’s care, which included the people, animals, trees, vegetation and the land. In the village or rural communities, the land was held in high esteem and it was used in ways that were not very destructive to the environment or communities. Pastures, forests, and water resources were held in common, and its use was regulated by the village officials or elders 17. The agricultural system was directed toward local self-sufficiency and a leader would facilitate or promote this lifestyle. 5.2.2 The Vedic Perspective, based on the authority of Gaudiya Vaisnavism In terms of a technical perspective, the Vedic scriptures describe the developmental phases of one’s life as (i) bodily platform, (ii) mental platform, (iii) intellectual platform, and (iv) spiritual platform. The three aspects of spiritual life are philosophy, culture and civilization. The Vedic philosophy teaches one about the science and method on making spiritual advancement to achieve the perfection of life, through the practice of a process known as Yoga (linking to God). Vedic philosophy is based on the principles of (i) “Reincarnation” (repeated birth and death), (ii) “Natures Law of Karma” (the law of action and reaction), and (iii) “Sanathan Dharma” (love and service to God). The modern day education system (science) propagates that “you are this body made up of different chemical elements”. However, according to the teachings of the Vedic literature, “you are not this body, but a spirit soul within a material body”. The spirit soul is eternal, it is full of knowledge and bliss; whilst the material body is temporary, and it is full of ignorance and suffering. In order for one to achieve a higher spiritual position or to go back to the Kingdom of God, it is based on one’s endeavour, one’s qualifications (state of consciousness & activities), the mercy of the Lord and His bonafide representatives. It is not something automatic nor can one progress independently from a bonafide spiritual authority. It is a scientific process starting with awareness, then developing an understanding, thereafter valuing, respecting, accepting, surrendering, following and serving under a bonafide spiritual authority coming through a spiritual disciplic succession.
16 17

Readers are advised to consult the Brahma Samitha (refer bibliography section) Adapted from a presentation in the book “Environmental Nature”, (refer bibliography section)


The Vedas describe three paths of elevation (i) pitryana (the path of ancestors), (ii) devayana (the path of gods), and (iii) Yoga (the path of suitable practice or spiritual endeavor under strict rules and regulations). The devayana path is very popular, whilst the pitryana path is a ritualistic or customary practice and not a very prominent tradition. There are different Yoga paths and many yoga practitioners’ accept that the ultimate path for spiritual elevation is referred to as Bhakti Yoga18 (the path of transcendence or pure devotional service), which is a path they cite as destined and guaranteed to eternally free one from all problems or miseries of this material world. There are twenty kinds of dharma-çästras or scriptures dealing with religious, moral and other principles. According to careful analysis of the Vedic philosophy, various other authorized scriptural paths or processes to link with the Lord are accepted. The understanding is that there is a common goal of all these religions, which is to develop one’s love and service to the Supreme Lord. The main point to note is that the message or teachings of the Lord were revealed or presented in a particular way at different times to a different audience according to the time, place, and the prevailing circumstances. The essence of all teachings is still the same - love and service to the Lord. To understand why there are the various authorized paths/scriptures, take a dictionary for example - there are pocket versions and huge unabridged versions. The basic knowledge is the same; however the unabridged version has more detail, explaining every nuance of any given word. The Vedic literature can be regarded as “postgraduate religious or spiritual literature” due to the level of detail it contains on all subject matters and the solutions if offers to all problems. According to the Vedic literature, the entire creation consists of different planetary systems called Svargalokas, or the higher planetary system, Martyalokas, or the intermediary planetary system, and Patalalokas, or the lower planetary system. There are innumerable universes and this earth planet is situated in a universe, which forms part of the Martyalokas. The Vedic literature describes the activities and the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in relation to sthity (maintenance), udbhava (creation) and anta (dissolution). This material manifestation takes place in a repeated cycle of creation, manifestation and dissolution. Human life is respected as a “rare gift” and the human body is accepted as the “tool” to practise yoga and for cultivating spiritual knowledge or self-realisation. The scriptures were given to assist or guide (actually give instructions) about this process. The Vedas are accepted as perfect, since it provided a home, a solution and a shelter for everyone, irrespective of cast, creed or any other social background. In this way there was perfect harmony in society. Some key aspects to note about the teachings from the Vedic literature are: • “A person has freedom of choice” and has to accept accountability for the choices they make. There is no question of invoking “fear” to induce someone to following religious or spiritual life. This is confirmed in the Bhagavada Gita, where Lord Krishna, after explaining and instructing Arjuna about the essence of all Vedic Teachings, said: “Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do”. The Vedic injunction or advice for people regarding how to practise their spiritual life is also found in the Bhagavada Gita, “It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one’s nature are never affected by sinful reactions”; In the Vedic tradition or system, it is more important to hear than to see someone. Therefore it is described that God is to be “seen through your ears”. Just like the “check and balanced” system of the science of Accountancy (every debit entry has to have a credit entry), similarly according to Vedic tradition and injunctions, there is a “check and balance system” or a principle to verify and interpret the message of the Vedic philosophy, culture
Bhakti Yoga, refer Bhagavada Gita, Chapter 6, Text 46

• •



• • •

and civilisation. This is referred to as the “Guru, Sastra and Sadhu principle”. In order words there has to be consensus in the teachings of the Guru and Sadhu (Saintly Persons) with the Scriptures. The Vedic teachings emphasise that Service to God is Service to Man, unlike the modern education system, which propagates that “Service to Man is Service to God”. The understanding is that one has to put God in the centre of one’s life and activities. All living entities are parts and parcel of God. By making God the central focus area, one would naturally be benefitting or satisfying His Parts and Parcels through their activities or actions; The Vedic Literatures are in full agreement with the commandment “Thou shall not kill”. According to Vedic injunction, this applies to all species of life, not just human beings. Formerly the vegetarian way of life was a natural aspect of the Vedic culture & civilisation. Those who desired to eat meat were allowed to do so under restrictions, such as, a Brahmana was required to officiate at the sacrifice and perform the necessary rituals before the animal’s life was taken. Any person who could not be a vegetarian was advised not to eat Cows meat (beef), as the cow is respected as a mother and is even worshipped by the Hindu community. Gradually this value system has declined. The Vedic scriptures mention that when elders, brahmanas, cows, women, and children are not protected, not only does the individual who does not protect them suffer, but the entire community suffers. According to the teachings of the Vedic literature, a learned man shall respect all women other that his own wife and sister as a mother. The Vedic literature describes that there are “Seven limbs of a kingdom”, the king and his minister, his capital, his realm, his treasury, his army, and his ally are the seven constituent parts (of a kingdom); (hence) a kingdom is said to have seven limbs (anga), also described as the king, ministers, treasury, army, allies, brahmanas & sacrifices, needs of the subjects19. In the modern day context, one may argue through logic that one’s sins and virtues are obtained by our deeds and cannot be freed through rituals or other processes. According to the Vedic conception, there are authorized processes and rituals which have to be performed by the Brahmanas (priests) in terms of the authorized scriptures. Just as the most important requirement for a child destined to inherit the fathers’ wealth is to “stay alive”, similarly to attain the perfection of life, one has to “stay alive spiritually”.

5.2.3 Karma and Reincarnation Based on the teachings of the Vedic scriptures, the understanding regarding our existence and life’s experience is that it is the reactions arising out of one’s own actions or activities, influenced by one’s own qualities and desires that binds one to this material world. These qualities are described as Käma (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (illusion), mada (pride) and mätsarya (envy). This material nature compromises of three modes, known as sattvam (goodness), rajaù (passion) and tamaù (ignorance) and there are three kinds of distresses namely (i) adhyätmika or distresses due to this mind and body, (ii) adhibhautika or distresses due to the other living entities, and (iii) adhidaivika or distresses which is beyond our power or caused by nature. The Bhagavada Gita states that from the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of passion, greed develops; and from the mode of ignorance develops foolishness, madness and illusion. When the mode of passion is prominent, the modes of goodness and ignorance are defeated. When the mode of goodness is prominent, passion and ignorance are defeated. When the mode of ignorance is prominent, passion and goodness are defeated. The prominence of a particular mode of nature is manifested in one’s thoughts, one’s actions (dealings, or activities), and in one’s eating. These are

Seven limbs of a kingdom, see http://www.veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/general.htm#34


influenced by one’s previous karma and through one’s association. It is sometimes said, “A person is a product of their environment and their association”. The symptom of ignorance is laziness and the symptom of passion means being active and goodness means being sober minded. There are four different divisions of species (i) living entities which sprout from the earth, (ii) living entities born of fermentation or germination, (iii) living entities which come from eggs and (iv) living entities which come from the embryo. These four divisions of living entities are expanded in 8,400,000 species of life. The Vedic teachings describes a lifecycle as (i) the body is born, (ii) it grows, (iii) it stays, (iv) it produces by-products, (v) then it begins to decay, and (vi) at the last stage, it vanishes. However, the soul is eternal and moves into a new body. This is known as the reincarnation process or the cycle of repeated birth and death. Some verses from the Vedic scriptures that summaries this science in a very concise way: • “Covered by the mode of ignorance in material nature, the living entity is sometimes a male, sometimes a female, sometimes a eunuch, sometimes a human being, sometimes a demigod, sometimes a bird, an animal, and so on. In this way, he is wandering within the material world. His acceptance of different types of bodies is brought about by his activities under the influence of the modes of nature”20. • “As the embodied soul passes from childhood to youth to old age, similarly at the time of death, the soul transmigrates into another body. A sober minded person is not bewildered by such a change”21 • “Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds"22. • “There are 900,000 species of aquatic life; 2,000,000 species of plants and trees; 1,100,000 species of insects; 1,000,000 species of bird life; 3,000,000 species of beasts, and 400,000 species of human life”23. • “One attains the human form of life after transmigrating through 8,400,000 species of life by the process of gradual evolution. That human form of life is spoiled for those conceited fools who do not take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord”. “The meaning of species understood by biologists is different from the meaning implied in Vedic literature. The meaning used by biologists applies to the gross physical appearance or the gross morphological feature of the living material bodies. The Vedic meaning, however, which is derived after thorough and careful analysis, is based on the level of consciousness of the living being. For example, biologists say that all human beings belong to one species, whereas the Vedic literature list 400,000 species of human beings on different levels of consciousness. The living entity changes bodies due to, what is referred to in the Vedic literature, as Karma”24. The Vedic philosophy describes that the goal of the human form of life is for transformation (to transcend these three modes of material nature through developing or cultivating spiritual life and serving the Lord) or to purify oneself through a process called Yoga (linking to God) and to eventually transcend the reincarnation (cycle of birth and death) process. It is an internal process, sometimes referred to as “Self Realization”. It is described that the real problems of life are (i) birth, (ii) disease, (iii) old age and (iv) death. All fears that one may experience is coming from material existence, which is centered on the principle or cycle of birth and death. Death is described to be the worst of one’s fear. Many refer to the goal of life as to attain Mokña or “liberation” (freedom from suffering, birth & death), whilst other schools declare that “liberation” is the beginning stage to practicing genuine spiritual life. Their point is that there is more to life than freedom of suffering, birth and death. One
Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 4.29.28 Bhagavada Gita, 2.13 22 Bhagavada Gita, 14.18 23 From the Viñëu Puräëa, cited in Caitanya Cairitamrta, Madya 19.38, Purport by Srila Prabhupada. 24 From the Srimad Bhagavatam, Purport by Srila Prabhupada
20 21


has to attain an eternal platform, a stage where one becomes situated in full knowledge and bliss. As soon as one reaches this stage, one is freed from the real problems of life and one can resume one’s eternal lifestyle, which is referred to as “Sanathan Dharma” (love and service to God). Some yoga processes or systems proclaim that this will take lifetimes whilst others propagate that this can be done in one lifetime through practicing a bonafide yoga process under the direction of a qualified teacher (bonafide spiritual master / guru) in terms of the guidelines of the authorized Sastras. In Physical Science, one draws from the works of the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton, especially his famous theories and laws of physics. Newton Law Three states “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. If one does something good, one would enjoy the fruits of his good deeds and if one is sinful then one has to suffer the results of the sin. There are no exceptions from the law of karma for neither one’s innocence nor one’s ignorance. If a child, an adult, or a drunken man places their hand in a fire, the fire shall burn without any exception. In the bible, it is also stated, “As you sow, sow shall you reap”. This is a summary of the law of karma and principles of reincarnation. 5.2.4 The Varnasrama System Vedic culture was centred on a natural system which appears in all societies over the world, known, in Vedic terminology, as the Varnasrama system. This is a system of four social divisions and four social orders of life. The four social divisions of life are (i) Brahmanas, who are accepted as the teachers and priests; (ii) the Kshatriyas, who are accepted as warriors, nobles, or kings; (iii) the Vaishyas, who are accepted as farmers, merchants, or business persons; and (iv) the Sudras, who are regarded as the servants and laborers. The four Social Orders are (i) Brahamacaya (celibate student life); (ii) Grhasthas (married); (iii) Vanaprastha (retired); and (iv) Sanyasi (renounced, ascetic life (monk). It is described that such divisions existed in the best interest of human society, otherwise no social institution can grow in a healthy state in each and every one of the divisions and social orders of life as listed above. However, in the Vedic culture and civilisation this system apparently failed due to human interference or manipulations and the adoption of a democratic way of lifestyle. The administrators or members of the “higher order of social life” who were responsible for this “adjusted varnasrama system” are noted for the exploitation of the innocent or masses in what has become known as the famous “Caste System”, a subject matter which is a not part of the presentation or discussions of this book. 5.2.5 Conclusions Formerly the Vedic culture, flourished all over the world with India in the centre. Not only are the Vedas the most ancient literary works on Earth, it also contains a very diverse and wide scope of knowledge, covering both material and spiritual matters. The Vedic literature, especially the Vedas, had an even more profound importance than science has ever had for their followers, Past/Present/Future. In the dictionary, God was defined as a “superhuman being or spirit worshipped as having power over nature, human fortunes, etc; (ii) an image, idol, animal, or other object worshipped as divine or symbolizing a god, (iii) the creator and ruler of the universe, the supreme being, (iv) an adored, admired, or influential person”. However, according to the Vedic scriptures, Parasara Muni, the great sage, speaker of the Visnu Purana, and the father of Srila Vyäsadeva, gave the following definition of God. “The Supreme Personality is known as Bhagavän, the proprietor of all riches, the one who is full in six opulence’s, (second to none) - who has full strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation25”. The reader should take note that no other scriptures nor science nor any other educational system has provided such a clear and concise definition of God.

This definition appears in the Vishnu Purana and is cited form the book “Science of Self Realisation”.



Responses to Western Exploration and Perception of the Asian Scriptures

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Western or European scholars and scientists began to come into closer and deeper contact with the culture of India. Many were impressed by the antiquity of India’s civilization and the in-depth spiritual and material knowledge contained in its’ literature; whilst other European intellectuals were dismayed by these developments. During the period, 1879 and 1910 the Oxford University Press published a monumental 50-volume set of English translations of Asian religious writings, titled Sacred Books of the East. The team was led by Friedrich Max Müller, a German philologist and Orientalist. Max Müller was one of the founders of Indian studies, and he is highly respected for his contribution in the discipline of comparative religion. Müller wrote both scholarly and popular works on this subject to the British reading public, and edited the Sacred Books of the East26, which stands as an enduring monument to Victorian scholarship. The following is an extract from The Sacred Books of the East (the Preface):“We must realize, as well as we can, the thoughts of the ancient Rishis, before we can hope to translate them. It is not enough simply to read the half-religious, half-philosophical utterances, which we find in the Sacred Books of the East, and to say that they are strange, or obscure, or mystic. Plato is strange, until we know him; Berkeley is mystic, until for a time we have identified ourselves with him. So it is with these ancient sages, who have become the founders of the great religions of antiquity. They can never be judged from without, they must be judged from within. We need not become Brahmans or Buddhists or Taosze altogether, but we must for a time, if we wish to understand, and still more, if we are bold enough to undertake to translate their doctrines. If some of those who read and mark these translations learn how to discover some such precious grains in the sacred books of other nations our labour will not have been in vain, for there is no lesson which at the present time seems more important than to learn that in every religion there are such precious grains; that we must draw in every religion a broad distinction between what is essential and what is not, between the eternal and the temporary, between the divine and the human; and that though the non-essential may fill many volumes, the essential can often be comprehended in a few words, but words on which 'hang all the law and the prophets”. The reader should take note that the Hindu community did not accept this work or publication as a true reflection of their philosophy, culture, and civilisation. Coincidently, it was during this time, India was ruled by the British Empire. The traditional, spiritual, religious and cultural practises began to decline and there appeared to be some deviations creeping into society on the basis of religion. There were many persons who responded to the prevailing situation of those times, mainly the priestly and intellectual class; details of some historical personalities and organisations are mentioned herein. One famous ambassador of India was His Holiness Swami Vivekananda, who even had personal interactions with Max Müller. In 1893, the city of Chicago hosted the World Columbian Exposition, which was attended by people from all parts of the world. Many smaller conferences, called Congresses and Parliaments, were scheduled to take advantage of the gathering at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One of these was the World’s Parliament of Religions27, which marked the first formal gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Apparently, Swami Vivekananda was encouraged by a Professor J.H. Wright from Harvard University to represent Hinduism at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions. His speech is believed to mark the beginning of Western interest and belief that Hindu philosophy, culture and civilisation had important lessons to teach the rest of the world. The Chicago’s event has since become recognized as
26 27

Sacred Books of the East, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Books_of_the_East. World’s Parliament of Religions , see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Vivekananda


the occasion of the birth of worldwide formal interreligious dialogues. Swami Vivekananda introduced yoga and Vedanta philosophy to the West and lectured around America on various related topics. Later, he established the Ramakrishna Movement, which is now based in all parts of the world and offering a wide range of services for the social, religious and cultural upliftment of society. The great spiritualist, theologian, and devotional scholar, Srila Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura 28, was one of the many persons who responded to the foreign interests to unlock the treasures of the Vedic heritage. In 1899, he compiled a thirty-two page English letter written to the Tract Society of Calcutta. Apparently in their periodical they had published an article entitled “Prof. Max Muller on Durgä”, in which Kälé, Durgä and Çiva were slandered from the Christian viewpoint. So Bhaktivinoda wrote this exhaustive response, quoting from the Vedas and Puranas on the true identity of the personalities in question. He concluded by assuming the proper Christian attitude of universal love, which is devoid of sectarian dogmatism, and humbly begged the reverend gentlemen of the Tract Society to give up their philosophical inconsistencies29. Throughout his life, he compiled various works, including literature in the English language, to clarify any misrepresentations of the Vedic philosophy, culture, and religion by the foreign scholars or so called local spiritual authorities. Srila Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura was a descendant of the Gaudiya Viasnava tradition and compiled the Baula-saìgéta in 1893. He saw that the Indian society at that time had become overrun with many different types of pretentious socalled viañëavas. One group, known as “Baula”, or transcendental madmen, used to wander all around the countryside singing bogus songs and begging alms. Recognising the value attached to music, especially the practise of singing “folk songs” in Indian culture, he strategically wrote twelve songs. This collection, known as the Baula-saìgéta targeted the masses, where he described the various forms of cheating Baulas, exposing their deceptive hypocrisy, and finally proposed the correct behaviour for the Viasnava according to the authorized scriptures. For the English speaking world, he composed the Saragrahi Viasnava30, a conclusive summary of the entire Vedic philosophy, culture and civilisation; compiled in esoterically styled or classical poetry. Srila Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura was the pioneer architect and engineer of the Hare Krishna Movement, whose Founder Äcärya started a spiritual revolution outside India in more recent times to fulfil scriptural predications, (i) that the chanting of “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” will be spread to every town and village throughout the world, (ii) westerners will congregate at a place in India called Navadwip Dham to collectively sing/chant this Mantra and (iii) they would establish a Temple there. In 1875, His Holiness Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded another giant organisation, the Araya Samaj, which quickly developed into a prominent worldwide movement. He is regarded as a scholar of the Vedas, who believed in its infallible authority. The Arya Samaj was initiated with the vision that the followers of Vedic Dharma could share and promote their great message for the upliftment of society, irrespective of ethnic or social background. The mission of the Araya Samaj was to unite people and to foster a missionary spirit within the Hindu community. A study of the history of Hinduism in South Africa is incomplete without acknowledging the role of the Araya Samaj, especially (i) for their vision and role to establish the umbrella body for the Hindus, the South African Hindu Maha Sabha; (ii) their youth development programs; (iii) their empowerment and development programs for women31; (iv) their role in establishing facilities to care for “old aged” persons. Another prominent and long standing or serving organisation based in South Africa is the Divine Life Society32, originally founded in India by His Holiness Sivananda Swami and established in South Africa by His Holiness Swami Sahajananda. Formerly a student at the Medical
Srila Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhaktivinoda_Thakura The literary works of Sréla Thäkura Bhaktivinoda 1838-1914, was compiled by Daçaratha-suta däsa and published in the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase 30 This Poem was composed in 1871as Säragrähé Vaiñëava (The Devotee Who Grasps the Essence) 31 Readers are recommended to read, “Women in Arya Samaj” 32 Readers are recommended to read, “Divine Life Society of South Africa, Projects 1974 – 2006”
28 29


Institute, Swami Sivananda boldly declared, “Book knowledge will not take us far. I studied anatomy, I dissected the human body, but I could not find the Atman within” 33. The founders of all the abovementioned organisations had the following in common (i) they grew up in a Hindu/Islam diverse society and were well versed in both the Hindu and Islam scriptures or their respective cultural aspects; (ii) they were raised during British rule and received “British Education”; (iii) they were experts in their own right or “Victorian Scholars” of other religions, such as Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity; (iv) they accepted Islam & Christianity as Bonafide religions and were able to influence millions of Hindus to respectfully do so, and (vii) they belonged to a traditional disciplic succession 34. In more recent times, the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organisation, with its roots based in India emerged into one of the fastest growing worldwide movements, to embrace all religions with love. Sai Baba states, “I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love”35. 5.4 A Partial Summary of some “Key Scriptures” grouped under Hinduism 5.4.1 South Indian Literature36 REMARKS
The Five Great Epics of Tamil Literature
Poetic rendition with details of Tamil culture - its varied religions; its town plans and city types; the mingling of Greek, Arab & Tamil people; and the arts of dance & music A masterpiece of Tamil literature, a continuation of Silappatikaram and is considered Buddhist by religion. It belongs to the Sangam tradition of Tamil literature, a Jain religious epic, authored by the Jain saint Tirutakkatevar. Known by fragments and mainly through “oral” tradition. Known by fragments and mainly through “oral” tradition.

Silappatikaram Manimekalai Civaka Cintamani Valayaapathi Kundalakesi

Sangam Age Post-Sangam period

Its History and Development
The “Golden Age” of Tamil Culture and Civilisation Didactic age, Hindu devotional period, Narrative epics, Medieval literature, Vijayanagar, Nayak period, Modern era

Early Literature Andhra Mahabharatamu by Nannayya Bhattaraka Other Translations

The Main Literature or Reference Scriptures
Not well preserved. It is believed to be known by fragments and through the literary tradition (oral tradition). a Telugu retelling of the Mahabharata, completed by Nannaya, Tikanna and Yerrapragada, known as the Kavitraya or the three great Telugu poets. Marana’s (Markandeya Puranam), Ketana’s (Dasakumara Charita), Yerrapragada’s

Refer to the book “From Man to God-Man”, page 11. Although “traditional disciplic successions” is not the main subject matter of this book, brief details are provided later in this presentation 35 Quotation of 4 July 1968, cited in the website http://www.sathyasai.org 36 South Indian literature: see Tamil literature, Telugu literature, Kannada literature, and Malayalam literature
33 34


(Harivamsam), and some other scientific works like Ganitasarasangrahamu by Pavuluri Mallana and Prakirnaganitamu by Eluganti Peddana

Sri Krishnadevaraya Great Poets and their Works

Its History and Development
A Poet and a King of Vijayanagara empire. Considered a hero of the people of Kannada and Telugu descent and one of the great kings of India. Srinathudu’s Sringara Naishadham, Potana’s Dasamaskandham, Jakkana’s Vikramarka Charitra and Talapaka Timmakka’s Subhadra Kalyanam.

Religious / Spiritual Affiliation Kavirajamarga Shabdamanidarpana

Its History and Development
Jain, Veerashaiva (followers of lord Siva) and Vaishnava (followers of lord Vishnu) "Royal Path for Poets" and was used as a guidebook for poets and scholars (Kavishiksha). Comprehensive & authoritative work on grammar

Bhashakautiliyam Lilathilakam Krishna Gatha Ramayan & Mahabharata

Its History and Development
First Malayalam Prose Work First Malayalam grammar/literary treatise Cherusseri’s Works By Thunchath Ezhuthachan

Table 5.4 – A Partial Summary of South Indian Literature / Tree of Knowledge Tamil literature

Tamil literature37 has a rich and long literary tradition spanning more than two thousand years. In terms of its history and development there are two periods: (1) Sangum Age and (2) the Post-Sangam period - compromising of (a) Didactic age, (b) Hindu devotional period, (c) Narrative epics, (d) Medieval literature, (e) Vijayanagar, (f) Nayak period, and (g) Modern era. The Sangam age is considered as “the golden era” in which various literature was complied in the Tamil language. Since I am not an expert or familiar with Tamil Literature, I have extracted a section from a conference paper (the introduction section) by Professor Mu.Varadarajan38 on the Ettuthokai (Sangam literature) to provide some useful information to the reader. “The eight anthologies called Ettuthokai form part of early Tamil literature known as Sangam literature written eighteen centuries ago. They consist of two thousand three hundred and seventy-one poems varying from small stanzas of three lines in Ainkurunuru to stanzas of forty lines in Purananuru. There are four hundred and seventy poets known either by their proper names or by causal names called from their works. The authors are unidentified in the case of a hundred stanzas. The poets belonged to different parts of Tamilnad and to different professions. Some of them were very popular like Kapilar, Nakkirar and Auvaiyar and some others are rarely remembered by their names. Yet a general harmony prevails throughout these eight anthologies. The tone and temper of the age is reflected in all their poems with a singular likeness. They were moulded according to certain literary conventions or traditions that prevailed in the Sangam age. Yet they reveal the individual genius of the poets who sang them. The convention of the later days that poetry should deal with the four aspects of life, viz aram (virtue), porul, (wealth and politics), inpam (love and pleasure) and vitu (salvation), was not prevalent, in those early days. The poets sang of either Akam or Puram. Akam dealt with ideal love and Puram with the rest, viz. war, munificence, etc.
37 38

Tamil literature: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_literature The paper of Professor Mu.Varadarajan was presented at the first International Conference of Tamil Studies, held at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 16th & 23rd April 1966. See http://www.tamilnation.org/conferences/IATR66_Kuala_Lumpur/index.htm#Xavier


Of the eight anthologies, five are on Akam, two on Puram, and one on both. Six of them are in 'akaval' metre which is a kind of blank verse, interspersed with alliterations and rhymes. The poems on Akam as well as Puram theme are written in this metre and its regulated and subtle music adds to the poetic beauty. This metre is a simple but wonderful instrument, which causes no impediment to the freedom of expression of the poet. In has been found to be an appropriate and natural medium for the expression of the valuable experience of the poets. The other two anthologies that are not written in `akaval' metre are Kalittokai and Paripatal. The poems of Kalittokai are in Kali metre which is well known for its dramatic and lyrical qualities and which, according to Tolkappiyanar, is well suited to express the emotions of the lovers. There is repetition of certain lines and phrases and this, added to the haunting music of the metre, is very appealing. Paripatal is a metre full of rhythm and music and the anthology known by this name consists of songs composed in this metre. There are religious poems as well as those on love-themes. The love-theme is worked against the background of bathing festivities. These songs were sung in different tunes as is evident from the notes on the music at the end of these. The names of the musicians who set tunes to these songs are also mentioned therein. EARLY LITERATURE Sangam Literature (1) 'Eight Anthologies' (1) pattupaatu Other Literature Panniru Thirumurai The Works of the 63 Tamil Saivite Nayanars (Great Saints) (1) sthothiram (stothram) (2) chaaththiram (shaastram) (3) prabhantam (assorted) (4) Puranam (history) Nalayira Divya Prabandha The works of the 12 Alvar Bhaktas (Great Tamil Poets) Tiruvaymoli by Divya Prabandha Mukunda-mälä-stotra Thirukkral By the Great Tamil poet, Thiruvalluvar consists of three books, REMARKS The Works of the 473 Tamil Poets, 18 volumes, of a total 2371 Poems - the earliest known Tamil Literature “Ten Idylls”, 1st ten volumes “Eight Anthologies”, remaining eight volumes REMARKS Saint Nambiyandar Nambi compiled a complete series of their literatures into twelve major volumes (Tirumurais), which are arranged into four categories Hymns in praise (thirumurais 1-9) Guidelines or philosophical treatises (10th thirumurai) Songs composed of various language constructs (11th thirumurai) Historical recount (12th thirumurai). REMARKS Compiled by the great scholar/saint Nathamuni. Naalayira in Tamil means 'four thousand' verses. Also known as “Tamil Veda” or Divine Collection. Words of the Sacred Mouth - is one of the Divya Prabandha, an important liturgical compilation of the Alvars. A Sanskrit works compiled by the Älvär, King Kulaçekhara REMARKS Discusses various aspects of life. An important works in Tamil. Known by other names such as - amilmarai (Tamil Veda), poyyamozhi (speech that does not lie), and teyva nul (divine text). First book on aram (the way or dharma), the second on porul (material or artha), and the third on inbam (joy or


Note: The Kural

The Naladiyar of Four Hundred Quatrains Compiled by Tamil Poets Forty chapters, of ten stanzas each, on moral subjects Table 5.5 Partial Summary of the Tamil Literature The Panniru Thirumurai

kama). Is one of the most important forms of classical Tamil poetry – a very short poetic form or style REMARKS

The Panniru Thirumurai39 is a set of scriptures written in Tamil and forms the fountainhead of the Saivite philosophy and culture. The Panniru Thirumurai comprises of the writings in the form of poetry and songs of sixty-three Tamil Saivite Nayanars40 (Great Saints). These great saints were from Southern India, especially Tamil Nadu, and were mostly responsible for development and preservation of Saivism. Their literature paved the way for devotional literature in other regions to appear in their regional languages instead of Sanskrit; and occupy a special place in Indian or Hindu religious literature. The Thirumurais have been named numerically as the 1st Thirumurai (Book 1), 2nd Thirumurai (Book 2), etc. Of these, the compositions of Saint Thiru-jnana sambanthar are divided into the first three books (Thirumurai 1-3). Thirumurais 4-6 are the hymns of Saint Thiru-navukkarasar (Appar), who was a contemporary of Sambanthar. Thirumurai 7 contains the hymns of Saint Sundarar. All these seven books are collectively called Thevaaram. The 8th Thirumurai is by Saint Manikkavasagar and contains two works, namely Thiruvaasagam and Thirukkovaiyaar. The 9th Thirumurai is known as Thiruvisaippaa and Thiruppallaandu, which together comprise an anthology of hymns by nine saints. Thirumanthiram is by Saint Thirumular who was a Siddhar (mystic Yoga Practioner) is the 10th Thirumurai. He has described various aspects including Science, Medicine, Human aspects of Life, Lord Shiva the mystery of yoga and tantra in the Thirumandhiram. The 11th Thirumurai contains the hymns of ten saints, including Saint Nakkeerar and Saint Nambi-AndarNambi and is called Prabhantams. The 12th Thirumurai is the Periya Puraanam by Saint Sekkilaar, narrating the legendary poetic account of the lives and time of the sixty-three Nayanars. The Nalayira Prabandham (Devotional Poems of the Älvärs)

There were twelve Älvärs41 (great ecstatic mystic poets), whose devotional poetry was composed in the Tamil language. In later years, the great Saint Nathamuni collected all available poems and hymns of the twelve Älvär Saints into a monumental collection work, known as the Nalayira Prabandham 42. This works is also called the Anubhava Vedanta. The great Älvär, Nammalvar, composed the Tiruväymoli43 (sometimes referred to as the four Tamil Vedas). Another Älvär, King Kulaçekhara is said to have composed two great works: (1) the Mukunda-mälä-stotra (in Sanskrit) as part of his expression of devotion to the Lord and his eagerness to share his good fortune with everyone else; and (2) a total of 105 Tamil hymns at Çré Raìgam Kulaçekhara. These works were later incorporated into the Tiruväymoli under the title Perumäl-tirumoli44.
39 40 41 42

43 44

Panniru Thirumurai: see http://www.shaivam.org/siddhanta/thiru.html Nayanars, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayanars Älvärs, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alwars Nalayira Prabandham, see http://www.kamat.com/indica/faiths/bhakti/alvars.htm and see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divya_Prabandha Tiruväymoli, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiruvaymoli Perumäl-tirumoli: Information sourced from Mukunda-mälä-stotra


The Naladiyar of Four Hundred Quatrains

The Naladiyar of Four Hundred Quatrains45 is also considered one of the original works in Tamil. The Naladiyar contains altogether forty chapters, of ten stanzas each, on moral subjects which are listed as follows:- Chapter 1--Unstable Wealth, Chapter 2--Unstable Youth, Chapter 3--The Unstable Body, Chapter 4--The Source Of The Power Of Virtue, Chapter 5--The Impure Body, Chapter 6--Asceticism Chapter, 7--Placidity, Chapter 8--Patience, Chapter 9--Not Coveting Another's Wife, Chapter 10-Liberality, Chapter 11--The Effect Of Actions Done In A Former Birth, Chapter 12--Truth, Chapter 13--The Fear Of Misconduct Chapter 14--Learning, Chapter 15--High Birth, Chapter 16--The Good, Chapter 17--Against Reproaching The Great, Chapter 18--Good Society, Chapter 19--Greatness, Chapter 20--Perseverance, Chapter 21--The Union Of Relations, Chapter 22--The Choice Of Friends, Chapter 23--The Bearing With The Faults Of Others, Chapter 24--Improper Friendship, Chapter 25-The Possession Of Understanding, Chapter 26--The Want Of Understanding, Chapter 27--Riches Without Goodness, Chapter 28--Illiberality, Chapter 29--Poverty, Chapter 30--Innocence, Chapter 31--Dread Of Mendicity, Chapter 32--Experience In (Conducting Of) Assemblies, Chapter 33-Defective Knowledge, Chapter 34--Ignorance, Chapter 35--Meanness, Chapter 36--Baseness Or Envy, Chapter 37--Miscellanies, Chapter 38--Courtesans, Chapter 39--Chaste Women, Chapter 40. The origin of the name has been recorded in the introduction of Father Beschi's Shen Tamil Grammar as follows: "Eight thousand poets visited the court of a certain prince, who, being a lover of the Muses, treated them with kindness and received them into favour; this excited the envy of the bards who already enjoyed the royal patronage, and in a short time they succeeded so completely in their attempt to prejudice their master against the new comers that the latter found it necessary to consult their safety by flight, and, without taking leave of their host, decamped in the dead of night. Prior to their departure, each poet wrote a venba on a scroll, which he deposited under his pillow. When this was made known, the king, who still listened to the counsels of the envious poets, ordered the scrolls to be collected and thrown into a river, when four hundred of them were observed to ascend, for the space of four feet, naladi, against the stream. The king, moved by this miraculous occurrence, directed that these scrolls should be preserved, and they were accordingly formed into a work, which from the foregoing circumstance received the name of Naladiyar." Telugu literature

The works of the Kavitraya’s (the three great Telegu poets) called Andhra Mahabharatamu as well as the later works of Marana (Markandeya Puranam), Ketana (Dasakumara Charita), and of Yerrapragada’s (Harivamsam) are the earliest translations of the Mahabharata. Later on some of other original Telugu literature46 were compiled by Srinathudu (Sringara Naishadham), Potana (Dasamaskandham), Jakkana (Vikramarka Charitra), and Talapaka Timmakka (Subhadra Kalyanam). Kannada literature



Direct quotation about the Naladiyar: According to The Indian Antiquary, a Journal of Oriental Research: see http://www.sacred-texts.com/journals/ia/nldr.htm Telugu literature – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telugu_literature


Kannada literature47 is the body of literature of Kannada, a Dravidian language spoken mainly in the Indian state of Karnataka and written in the Kannada script. Its literary characteristics and philosophy can be traced to three distinctive groupings: (1) Jain, (2) Veerasaiva and (3) Viasnava. Malayalam literature

The Malayalam literature48 was written in the Malayalam language, which is a Dravidian language spoken by the people, mainly the inhabitants from the state of Kerala and the union territory of Lakshadweep Islands in India. 5.4.2 North Indian Literature The Vedic literature

The Vedic literature is divided into two sections, namely SRUTI (refers to that which was heard) and SMRTI (refers to that which was remembered). The third category is called NYAYA-SASTRA, the “scriptures of philosophical disputation” or scriptures that carefully examines and judges all previous scriptures and all other systems of philosophies. There is difference in opinions about the oldest or the root Vedic scripture. Some say it is the Rg (Rig) Veda and others say it may have been the Atharva Veda. This original Vedas was divided into four parts by Srila Vyäsadeva totalling 4520 titles namely 1130 Samhitas, 1130 Brahmanas, 1130 Aranyakas, and 1130 Upanisads. After compiling other scriptures, he compiled the Vedänta-sütra and finally a commentary thereof. According to history49, it is described that while Vyäsadeva was compiling the Vedänta-sütra, seven of his great saintly contemporary sages were also engaged in similar work. These saints were Ätreya Åñi, Äçmarathya, Auòulomi, Kärñëäjini, Käçakåtsna, Jaimini and Bädaré. In addition, it is stated that Päräçaré and Karmandé-bhikñu also discussed the Vedänta-sütra aphorisms before Vyäsadeva. There are six systems of philosophies based on the Vedas by the following great sages, namely (i) Kaëäda50, the author of Vaiçeñika philosophy; (ii) Gautama51, the author of logic; (iii) Pataïjali52, the author of mystic yoga; (iv) Kapila53, the author of Säìkhya philosophy; (v) Jaimini 54, the author of Mémäàsä; and (vi) Srila Vyäsadeva55, the author of Vedänta-darçana, which is the most popular and detailed system. The six great philosophers of the Vedas may have appeared either before or after Vyäsadeva on this planet. The later great saints have explained that the Vedic Sages developed the different sections of the Vedic knowledge to assist and guide people from all walks of life. Their primary interest was to provide education, the main purpose being for the elevation (transformation) of the human beings to transcendental (spiritual) life and free them from the activities of material enjoyment or material distress. By the influence of time, however, most texts of the Vedic literature were lost, stolen and destroyed. In the 15th century, it was estimated by Srila Jiva Goswami, a great Gaudiya Viasnava Äcärya and a foremost scholar, in his research titled, Tattva-sandarbha56, that only 6% of the original
Kannada literature, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kannada_literature Refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayalam_literature and see http://kerals.com/malayalam/literature.htm 49 Source, cc Adi 7, Text 106, purport by Srila Prabhupada 50 Kaëäda see, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaisheshika 51 Gautama, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyaya 52 Patanjali Yoga Sutras, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali 53 Kapila, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sankhya. 54 Jaimini , see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimamsa 55 Srila Vyäsadeva , see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanta 56 Tattva-sandarbha Refer bibliography section, further recommended reading



Vedic literature was available during those times. Although, there are different theories and differences in opinions about the actual composition of the Vedic Scriptures, there is general consensus about the authority of the Vedas and Upanisads and the existence of the six systems of philosophy developed from the Vedas, which can be summarised as follows: i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. Säìkhya: explains the evolution of natural elements from subtle to gross. In the western education this corresponds to the study of “metaphysics”, Yoga: describes the eightfold method of meditation or spiritual practice, Nyäya: the science of critical study or logic – it is a system that analyzes the nature and source of knowledge, its validity and non-validity Vaiçeñika: considers the basic metaphysical categories of reality, also referred to as atomic theory Mémäàsä: establishes the standard tools of scriptural interpretation or deals with hermeneutics and rituals Vedänta: means to inquire about the conclusion of all knowledge or the Absolute Truth (i.e. What is the source of everything)
REMARKS - (that which was heard) This is the Original Veda that was divided into four parts - Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka, Upanishad Rg (Rig) Veda - Veda of praise, Sama Veda - Veda of chants, Yajur Veda sacrifices, Atharva Veda – chants and rites Rituals and sacrifices Treatises for renunciants (Sanyasi or Monks) Philosophy, meditation, the nature of God, self realization - (that which was remembered) Stories, history, philosophy - Maha Puranas & Upapuranas Histories - Mahabharata and Ramayana Worship of the Lord. (Tantras, Mantras, and Yantras.) Religious principles or God’s laws for Mankind (twenty parts or sections) Ancillary Vedas - Ayurveda, Dhanur Veda, Gandharva Veda, Sthapatya Veda. The Artha Sastra also considered belonging here. Parts of the body of the Vedas - Siksha, Chandas, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Jyotisha, Kalpa • Six Systems of Philosophy – Säìkhya, Yoga, Nyäya, Vaiçeñika, Mémäàsä, Vedänta • Presentations of a more developed and comprehensive explanation of different aspects of Vedic knowledge. • The sad-darsanas are termed astika philosophies because they all acknowledge the Veda as authoritative. Refers to the Works of the great sages, risis, saints, and their representatives coming in a bonafide disciplic succession in pursuance of the conclusions of the Vedic literature. - Scripture of philosophical disputation.

SECTION SRUTI-SASTRA Rg (Rig) Veda Samhita (four Vedas) Brahmana Aranyaka Upanisads (Total-108) SMRTI-SASTRA Puranas Itihasas Agamas Dharma Sastras Upavedas Vedanga Sad-Darsanas

Authorised (Bonafide) Translations and Commentaries NYAYA-SASTRA


Vedänta-sutra TECHNICAL DIVISIONS OF KNOWLEDGE para Vidya apara vidya

The only scripture that carefully examines and judges all systems of Vedic philosophy (as well as all other philosophies) - the two classifications of educational literature Literature on Transcendental knowledge (spiritual) Everything else – including literature dealing with (1) dharma (religion), (2) artha (economic development), (3) Kama (sense gratification), (4) moksa (liberation)

The Main Sources of referred to as Prasthanatrayi are (i) Bhagavad-gita, (ii) the principle Scriptural Evidence Upanisads and (iii) the Brahmasutras The three prasthänas on i. nyäya-prasthäna (Vedänta philosophy), the path of advancement ii. çruti-prasthäna (the Upanisads and Vedic mantras) and in spiritual knowledge iii. småti-prasthäna (the Bhagavad-gétä, Mahäbhärata, Puräëas). Table 5.7 - Summary of the Vedic Tree of Knowledge (North Indian Literature) • The Vedas

The Rg (Rig)57 is the original Veda. Later everything was divided and composed of four portions, i.e. Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanisads. The Samhita refer to four Vedas. The Rg Veda was divided into the four Vedas, namely the Rg (Rig), Sama, Yajur, and Atharva. According to the Muktikopnishad these four Vedas originally had 21; 109; 1,000 and 50 branches respectively; having a total of approximately 100,000 verses in their 1,180 branches. Every branch has four subdivisions called Samhita (or Mantra), Brahmana (contains mantras and prayers), Aranyaka and Upanisad (both with philosophical contents). In summary, the Vedas consist of 1130 Samhitas, 1130 Brahmanas, 1130 Aranyakas, and 1130 Upanisads, a total of 4520 titles.58 The Vedas are mainly hymns, chanted by Brahmanas (Priests), in praise of the gods. The Åg Veda, “the Veda of praise,” consists of 1,017 hymns arranged in ten books. Most of the verses are in praise of Agni, the god of fire, and Indra, the god of rain and the heavens. Their use is confined to those (Brahmanas) trained in the disciplines of spiritual life. The Yajur Veda59 contains instructions for performing sacrifices and is known as the “sacrificial Veda”. The Säma Veda60 is the “Veda of chants” and consists of 1,549 verses. The Atharva Veda61 contains chants and rites, often for healing sickness. • Upanisads

The philosophical aspects of all the important processes and practices of knowledge (known as vidyas) from the Vedas are discussed in the Upanisads. The Upanisads primarily discuss philosophy, meditation, and the nature of God. The sections covering the details for spiritual realization are found in the Upanisads. The Upanisads main conclusion is that they establish the Absolute as nonmaterial. The Äcäryas explain that the wisdom of the Upanisads transcends the karma-käëòa portions of the four Vedas through transcendental knowledge. In the Muktikopanisad, verses 30-39, there is a description of the 108 Upanisads62. They are as follows:-

Rg Veda, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigveda Source, see http://www.veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/scriptures.htm 59 Yajur Veda, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yajurveda 60 Säma Veda, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaveda 61 Atharva Veda, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atharvaveda 62 List of 108 Upanisads, see Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 7, TEXT 108
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(1) Isopanisad, (2) Kenopanisad, (3) Kathopanisad, (4) Prasnopanisad, (5) Mundakopanisad, (6) Mandukyopanisad, (7) Taittiriyopanisad, (8) Aitareyopanisad, (9) Chandogyopanisad, (10) Brhadaranyakopanisad, (11) Brahmopanisad, (12) Kaivalyopanisad, (13) Jabalopanisad, (14) Svetasvataropanisad, (15) Hamsopanisad, (16) Aruneyopanisad, (17) Garbhopanisad, (18) Narayanopanisad, (19) Paramahamsopanisad, (20) Amrta-bindupanisad, (21) Amrta-nadopanisad, (22) Siropanisad, (23) Atharva-sikhopanisad, (24) Maitrayany-upanisad, (25) Kausitaky-upanisad, (26) Brhaj- jabalopanisad, (27) Nrsimha-tapaniyopanisad, (28) Kalagni-rudropanisad, (29) Maitreyyupanisad, (30) Subalopanisad, (31) Ksurikopanisad, (32) Mantrikopanisad, (33) Sarva-saropanisad, (34) Niralambopanisad, (35) Suka-rahasyopanisad, (36) Vajra-sucikopanisad, (37) Tejobindupanisad, (38) Nada-bindupanisad, (39) Dhyana-bindupanisad, (40) Brahma-vidyopanisad, (41) Yoga- tattvopanisad, (42) Atma-bodhopanisad, (43) Narada-parivrajakopanisad, (44) Trisikhyupanisad, (45) Sitopanisad, (46) Yoga-cudamany-upanisad, (47) Nirvanopanisad, (48) Mandalabrahmanopanisad, (49) Daksina-murty-upanisad, (50) Sarabhopanisad, (51) Skandopanisad, (52) Mahanarayanopanisad, (53) Advaya-tarakopanisad, (54) Rama-rahasyopanisad, (55) Rama-tapanyupanisad, (56) Vasudevopanisad, (57) Mudgalopanisad, (58) Sandilyopanisad, (59) Paingalopanisad, (60) Bhiksupanisad, (61) Mahad-upanisad, (62) Sarirakopanisad, (63) Yoga-sikhopanisad, (64) Turiyatitopanisad, (65) Sannyasopanisad, (66) Paramahamsa-parivrajakopanisad, (67) Malikopanisad, (68) Avyaktopanisad, (69) Ekaksaropanisad, (70) Purnopanisad, (71) Suryopanisad, (72) Aksy-upanisad, (73) Adhyatmopanisad, (74) Kundikopanisad, (75) Savitry-upanisad, (76) Atmopanisad, (77) Pasupatopanisad, (78) Param-brahmopanisad, (79) Avadhutopanisad, (80) Tripuratapanopanisad, (81) Devy-upanisad, (82) Tripuropanisad, (83) Katha-rudropanisad, (84) Bhavanopanisad, (85) Hrdayopanisad, (86) Yoga-kundaliny-upanisad, (87) Bhasmopanisad, (88) Rudraksopanisad, (89) Ganopanisad, (90) Darsanopanisad, (91) Tara-saropanisad, (92) Mahavakyopanisad, (93) Panca-brahmopanisad, (94) Pranagni-hotropanisad, (95) Gopala-tapanyupanisad, (96) Krsnopanisad, (97) Yajnavalkyopanisad, (98) Varahopanisad, (99) Satyayanyupanisad, (100) Hayagrivopanisad, (101) Dattatreyopanisad, (102) Garudopanisad, (103) Kalyupanisad, (104) Jabaly-upanisad, (105) Saubhagyopanisad, (106) Sarasvati-rahasyopanisad, (107) Bahvrcopanisad and (108) Muktikopanisad.  Amongst the Upanisads, there are eighteen referred to as the “principle Upanisads”63, namely (1) Aitareya Upanisad, (2) Brhad-Aranyaka Upanisad, (3) Chandogya Upanisad, (4) Iso Upanisad, (5) Jabala Upanisad, (6) Kaivalya Upanisad, (7) Katha Upanisad, (8) Kausitaki-Brahmana Upanisad, (9) Kena Upanisad, (10) Maitri Upanisad, (11) Mandukya Upanisad, (12) Mundaka Upanisad, (13) Paingala Upanisad, (14) Prasna Upanisad, (15) Subala Upanisad, (16) Svetasvatara Upanisad, (17) Taittiriya Upanisad, (18) Vajrasucika Upanisad • Itihasas

The Itihasas64 are described to be recorded histories in early Vedic civilization. The Äcäryas explain that the Vedic rituals are hard to understand and the Vedänta-sütra is compressed and highly philosophical. The purpose of Vedic knowledge in the form of stories and historical incidents are simple for the masses and less intelligent. The Mahabharata and Ramayana are examples of Itihasas. The Bhagavad-Gita is a conversation (one chapter) that is part of the histories described in the Mahabharata. The Chändogya Upaniñad refers to the Mahäbhärata and Puräëas as the “Fifth Veda”.
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List of principle Upanisads, see http://www.veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/upanisads.htm Itihasas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itihasas



The Äcäryas explain that in summary the purpose of the Puräëas 65 is to give knowledge about the Vedas through recorded histories and stories, as it is much easier for the masses to understand. The eighteen Maha Puranas are (1) Brahma, (2) Padma, (3) Vaisnava, (4) Saiva (or Vayu), (5) Bhagavata Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam), (6) Bhavisya, (7) Naradiya, (8) Skanda, (9) Linga, (10) Varaha, (11) Markandeya, (12) Agneya, (13) Brahmavaivarta, (14) Kaurma, (15) Matsya, (16) Garuda, (17) Vayaviya, (18) Brahmanda. In addition to the Maha Puranas, there are eighteen Upapuranas and eighteen Vidyas66 that belong to this section of Vedic literature. The eighteen Upapuranas are (1) Sanat Kumara, (2) Narasimha, (3) Brhannaradiya, (4) Linga, (5) Durvasa, (6) Kapila, (7) Manava, (8) Ausanasa, (9) Varuna, (10) Kalika, (11) Mahesvara, (12) Samba, (13) Saura, (14) Parasara, (15) Devibhagavata, (16) Aditya, (17) Vasistha, (18) Visnudharmottara. The eighteen Vidyas are (1) Purana, (2) Nyaya, (3) Mimamsa, (4) Dharma sastra, (5) Rg, (6) Sama, (7) Yajur, (8) Atharva, (9) Siksa, (10) Kalpa, (11) Canda, (12) Jyotisa, (13) Nirukta, (14 Vyakarana, (15) Ayurveda, (16 Gandharva, (17) Dhanur, (18) Arthasastra. • Agamas

The Agamas67 are literature referred to as “practical manuals” of Deity Worship. The Agamas include the Tantras, Mantras, and Yantras. The knowledge from the Agamas is accepted as good as that of the Vedas, because it provides all the necessary details how the Lord should be worshiped in the Deity form. The reader should note that is another system of Deity worship, known as the Païcopäsanä System68, by Ādi Śankarācārya. Among the existing books on the Agamas, some are the IsvaraSamhita, Ahirbudhnya-Samhita, Sanatkumara-Samhita, Narada-Pancharatra, Spanda-Pradipika, and the Mahanirvana-Tantra. There are three main agamic schools - the Saiva, Sakta and Vaisnava and each has their own Pancaratras and all of these agamas comprise four topics69 in general, namely, (i) Jnana or knowledge; (ii) kriya (service such as construction of temples, installation of deities); iii) carya or conduct (such as the observance of daily rites, festivals); and (iii) Yoga or devotion. The common features of all agamas are (a) They accept the existence of a supreme personality of godhead; (b) The existence of undivided souls; (c) The reality of the objective universe; (d) Devotion is the only means of emancipation.  The Vaisnava Agamas are of four kinds: the Valkanas, Pancaratra, Pratishthasara, and Vijnanalalita. The Brahma, Saiva, Kaumara, Vasishtha, Kapila, Gautamiya, and the Naradiya are the seven groups of the Pancaratras. The Naradiya section of the Santi-Parva of the Mahabharata is the earliest source of information about the Pancaratras.  The Saivaites recognise twenty-eight Agamas, of which the chief is Kamika. Both the two main branches of Saivism, i.e., Saiva Siddhanta, and the Kashmir Saivism, regard these Agamas as their authority, besides the Vedas.
Puranas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas Upapuranas and Vidyas, see http://www.veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/scriptures.htm 67 Agamas, see http://www.dlshq.org/religions/agamas.htm 68 This system is partially discussed in the section “Temples and Deity Worship” 69 four topics of the agamas, see http://www.veda.krishna.com/encyclopedia/scriptures.htm
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 The Sakta followers, who glorify Sakti as the World-Mother, recognise seventy-seven Agamas, which focus on the Sakti (energy) aspect of God and prescribe the details of the worship of the Divine Mother in various forms. This group of scriptures is also known as the Tantras. • Vedänta-sütra

The word “Veda” means “knowledge,” and the word “anta” means “the end”. Vedänta-sütra is revered as the scripture of philosophical disputation and provides the proper understanding of the Vedas’ ultimate purpose, which is to inquire about the conclusion of all knowledge or the Absolute Truth. According to the Väyu and Skanda Puräëas, A sütra is a code that expresses the essence of all knowledge in a minimum of words. It must be universally applicable and faultless in its linguistic presentation. The Vedänta-sütra70 was expertly compiled in the form of codes revealing the method of understanding Vedic knowledge, and it is a very concise form of the Vedic knowledge. The Vedäntasütra is known by a variety of names, including (1) Brahma-sütra, (2) Çäréraka, (3) Vyäsa-sütra, (4) Bädaräyaëa-sütra, (5) Uttara-mémäàsä, and (6) Vedänta-darçana. There are four chapters (adhyäyas) in the Vedänta-sütra and four divisions (padas) in each chapter. Thus, Vedänta-sütra is known as çoòaça-pada because it contains sixteen divisions of codes. The theme of each division is fully described in terms of five different subject matters (adhikaraëas), which are technically called (i) pratijïä, (ii) hetu, (iii) udäharaëa, (iv) upanaya, and (v) nigamana. Every theme must necessarily be explained with reference to pratijïä, or a solemn declaration of the purpose of the treatise. Reasons (hetu) must be expressed, examples (udäharaëa) must be given in terms of various facts, the theme (upanaya) must gradually be brought nearer for understanding, and finally it must be supported by authoritative quotations (nigamana) from the Vedic literature. At the beginning of the Vedänta-sütra there is the solemn declaration of purpose, athäto brahma-jijïäsä: “Now is the time to inquire about the Absolute Truth.” The Vedänta-sütra belongs to the nyaya-sastra category of spiritual literature. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jïäna, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jïäna. The fourth chapter describes the results, known as (prayojana-jïäna). The ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to the Kingdom of God. • Bhäñyäyä (the original commentary of the Vedänta-sütra)

Srila Vyäsadeva compiled the original commentary of the Vedänta-sütra himself and it is referred to as Bhäñyäyä. In the Garuda Purana, it is stated, "This composition is exceedingly perfect. It contains the meaning of the Brahmasutra and determines the meaning of the Mahabharata. It functions as a commentary on the Gayatri and fortifies the meaning of the Vedas. It is the Sama Veda of Puranas, declared by Bhagavan Himself. It contains twelve skandhas, numerous vicchedas, and eighteen thousand (verses), and goes by the names Srimad Bhagavata”. There are five other major commentaries of the Vedänta-sütra referred to as Sariraka-bhasya, Parijata-saurabha-bhasya, Sarvajna-bhasya, Sri-bhasya, and Purnaprajna-bhasya. These commentaries were compiled by Ādi Śankarācārya, Nimbarkācārya, Visnusvami, Ramanujācārya and Madhvācārya respectively. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is stated: “there are ten divisions of statements regarding the following: (1) the creation of the universe, (2) sub-creation, (3) planetary systems, (4) protection by the Lord, (5) the creative impetus, (6) the change of Manus, (7) the science of God, (8) returning home back to Godhead, (9) liberation, and (10) the summum bonum”. Nimi, the King of Videha, asked the following nine

Vedänta-sütra Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi 7, Text 106


questions to the nine Yogendras or the saintly sons of Åñabha (Kavi, Havir, Antarékña, Prabuddha, Pippaläyana, Ävirhotra, Drumila, Camasa and Karabhäjana). ( i ) What is the highest good?; (ii) What are the religious principles (dharma), natural proclivities (svabhäva), behaviour (äcära), speech (väkya) and outward symptoms (lakñaëa) of a devotee of the Lord (bhägavata)? ; iii) What is the external energy of Viñëu, the Supreme Lord? (iv) How can one become dissociated from this mäyä?; (v)What is the true identity of Brahman? ; (vi) What are the three types of karma, namely karma based on the enjoyment of the fruits of work, karma offered to the Supreme Lord, and naiñkarmya? ; (vii) What are the various pastimes of the various incarnations of God? ; (viii) What is the aim or destination of one who is against the Supreme Lord and devoid of bhakti?; and (ix) What are the respective colors, forms and names of the four yugävatäras, the four incarnations of the Supreme Lord who appear in the four ages, and what is the process of worshiping each of Them? The reader should take note that for the followers of the school who do not accept the SMRTI section of literature as “Vedic literature”; the Bhäñyäyä or the Srimad Bhagavatam is not an accepted scripture by some communities or philosophers, since it belongs to the Puranas, and they do not accept the Puranas. In any case, I do accept the SMRTI section as part of Vedic literature and I have used the Srimad Bhagavatam as one of the main or major sources of references to compile the philosophy sections of this book. In the Tattva-sandarbha, published Srila Jiva Goswami71, the Bhäñyäyä or this original commentary is a presentation of the essential aspects of the Supreme Truth by Vyäsadeva himself. Srila Jiva Goswami has philosophically proven and established the Srimad Bhagavatam as the highest level of spiritual authority from all the Vedic literature – past, present, future. His predecessor, Srila Sanatana Goswami had previously compiled the Brhat Bhagavatamrita, or the Glories of the Srimad Bhagavatam. The great spiritualist, theologian, and devotional scholar, Srila Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura also did a technical and devotional presentation of the Bhäñyäyä in his works titled the Çré Kåñëa-saàhitä72. The Srimad Bhagavatam, as it has now become more commonly known, is available in over 100 languages and used as a standard textbook in religious departments of the leading universities throughout the world. The following statement is found in the Vedic literature, “of what use is a collection of books without the Bhagavata Purana”. Skanda Purana (Visnu-Khanda 5.16.42-42)73. • • Other parts of the Vedic Literature Brahmanas

The Brahmanas74 are scriptures dealing with the proper performance of rituals and sacrifice. The Aranyakas75 (also known as the books of the forest) discuss philosophy and sacrifice. They were compiled by the great sages who practiced their meditation in the forests and are regarded as “treatises for renunciants”. The Upaniñads76 primarily discuss philosophy, meditation, and the nature of God. The sections covering the details for spiritual realization are found in the Upanisads. In the Mundaka Upanisad77 it is mentioned that the Vedanga78 (also known as parts of the body of the
Srila Jiva Goswami is one of the Six Gosvämés of Våndävana. He wrote eighteen major works on Vaiñëava philosophy, comprising more than 400,000 verses. He is considered by many philosophers and Sanskritists to be the greatest scholar who ever lived. 72 Çré Kåñëa-saàhitä, Translated and Published by Bhumipata Dasa, 1998 73 Source, The Book of Samskaras, Purificatory Rituals for Successful Life, page 41. 74 Brahmanas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmana 75 Aranyakas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aranyakas 76 Upaniñads, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishad 77 Mundaka Upanisad, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mundaka_Upanishad 78 Vedanga, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanga


Vedas) are topics to be observed by students of the Vedas. They are divided into six disciplines, which are meant for the understanding the tradition of the Vedas. These are: (1) Siksha ( phonetics and phonology), (2) Chandas (meters), (3) Vyakarana (grammar), (4) Nirukta (etymology), (5) Jyotisha (astrology and astronomy, dealing particularly with the auspicious days for performing sacrifices), (6) Kalpa (rituals). • Upavedas

The Upavedas79 (also known as ancillary Vedas) are: (1) Ayurveda or the science of medicine and physiology, (2) Dhanur Veda or the Science of martial arts, (3) Gandharva Veda or the Science of Music and dance and finally (4) The Sthapatya Veda deals with architecture. The Artha Sastra or the Science of Politics and Economy may be classed as part of the Upavedas. • Dharma Sastras

There are a total of twenty Dharma Sastras80 (religious principles or laws given by God) listed in the Yajnavalkya Smrti as follows, Manu, Atri, Visnu, Harita, Yajnavalkya, Usana, Angira, Yama, Apastambha, Sanivarta, Katyayana, Brhaspati, Parasara, Vyäsa, Sankha, Likhita, Daksa, Gautama, Satatapa, Vasistha. • Ramayana

The Pastimes of Lord Rama was recorded in the famous Vedic Scripture called The Ramayana 81, by the great Sage Çré Valmiki. Although the Ramayana is an historical epic, it is accepted to contain all the information of the original Vedas. It is the most famous and a commonly read or known scripture amongst Hindus, not only in India, but also throughout the world, even in current times. Other scriptures referring to Lord Rama’s pastimes are the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana and the Vayu Purana. The Ramayana is divided into seven books dealing with the life of Rama from his appearance to his disappearance from this planet. These are: (1) Bala Kanda – Book of the young Rama which details the miraculous birth of Rama, his early life in Ayodhya, his slaying of the demons of the forest at the request of Vishvamitra and his wedding with Sita; (2) Ayodhya Kanda – Book of Ayodhya in which Dasharath comes to grief over his promise to Kaikeyi and the start of Rama's exile; (3) Aranya Kanda – Book of the Forest which describes Rama's life in the forest and the abduction of Sita by Ravana; (4) Kishkindha Kanda – Book of Kishkindha, the Vanara kingdom in which Rama befriends Sugriva and the Vanara army and begins the search for Sita; (5) Sundara Kanda – Book of Sundar (Hanuman) in which Hanuman travels to Lanka and finds Sita imprisoned there and brings back the good news to Raam; (6) Yuddha Kanda Book of the War, which narrates the Rama-Ravana war and the return of the successful Rama to Ayodhya and his coronation; (7) Uttara Kanda – Epilogue, which details the life of Rama and Sita after their return to Ayodhya, Sita's banishment and how Sita and Rama pass on to the next world. Later on, there was another version of the Ramayana compiled by Gosvāmī Tulsīdās82. This presentation has some differences in the narration of Lord Ramachandra’s Pastimes compared to the presentation by the Sage Çré Valmiki. The popular Hanuman Chalisa is part of the Ramayanna version compiled by Gosvāmī Tulsīdās.

Upavedas, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas#Supplementary_Vedas Dharma Sastras, see http://veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/scriptures.htm 81 The Ramayana, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayana 82 Gosvāmī Tulsīdās, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsidas
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The Brahma-saàhitä (The Treatise Spoken by Lord Brahmä)

The Brahma-saàhitä83 is the hymns (prayers) of Lord Brahma glorifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is Lord Brahmä’s personal account of his birth, his penances, his realization of the spiritual world, and his revelation of Lord Viñëu’s wish for him to create the material cosmos. In the Gaudiya Vaisnavism tradition, the Brahma-saàhitä is regarded as the highest level or postgraduate study material of the Vedic literature. These hymns of Lord Brahmä were originally recorded in one hundred chapters and were considered lost, until the 15th century. A written version of Chapter Five was discovered in the temple of Ädi-keçava at Tiruvattar, a village lying under the government of Travancore by Lord Çré Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya made a copy of this chapter before he travelled any further. Later it was translated and published into English in the early 19th century. • The Säìkhya System of Philosophy

Lord Kapiladeva is the founder of Säìkhya philosophy84. The Säìkhya school is considered as the oldest of the philosophical systems of Hinduism. Lord Kapiladeva first taught this to his mother, Devahüti, who asked for knowledge that will remove the ignorance created by sensory interaction with the material creation. Lord Kapiladeva explained that, “The yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system”. Later on, there was another Sage Kapiladeva, and the later Kapila’s säìkhya-yoga is different from Lord Kapiladeva’s säìkhya-yoga. According to the school of Sage Kapiladeva, there was no philosophical place for a creationist God in this system. The argument was that the existence of Ishvara (creator/controller) cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. The school also argued that an unchanging Ishvara as the cause cannot be the source of a changing world as the effect. Later on followers of Säìkhya adopted theism and included Ishvara within the system. The concept of Ishvara was incorporated into the Säìkhya viewpoint only after it became associated with the theistic Yoga system of philosophy. • The Yoga System of Philosophy

The sage Pataïjali compiled the Pataïjali-sütras85 dealing with the Pataïjali yoga system, also called añöäìga-yoga, which is partly discussed in the Bhagavada Gita. Sage Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into 4 chapters or books (padas), containing in all 196 sutras, divided as follows: Samadhi Pada (51 sutras) - Samadhi refers to a blissful state. He describes yoga and then the nature and the means to attaining samadhi; Sadhana Pada (55 sutras) - Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for "practice" or "discipline". Here he outlines two forms of Yoga: Kriya Yoga or Karma Yoga (Action Yoga - to act without attachment to the results or fruit of action and activity. It is the yoga of selfless action and service.) and Astanga Yoga (Eightfold Yoga); Vibhuti Pada (56 sutras) - Discusses about Vibhuti or "power" or "manifestation" of supra-normal powers acquired by the practice of yoga; Kaivalya Pada (34 sutras) - The Kaivalya Pada describes the nature of liberation and the reality of the transcendental self. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the eight "limbs" or steps prescribed in the second pada of the Yoga Sutras are Yama (controlling the senses); Niyama (following regulative principles), Asana (sitting posture - discipline of the body: rules and postures. Correct postures are a physical aid to
Brahma-saàhitä, refer bibliography section As explained by Srila Prabhupada. Refer to the Srimad Bhagavatam. Also see the website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sankhya 85 Pataïjali-sütras, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali, also refer to Chapter Six of Bhagavada Gita
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meditation, for they control the limbs and nervous system and prevent them from producing disturbances). Pranayama (control of breath - Beneficial to health, steadies the body and is highly conductive to the concentration of the mind), pratyähära(withdrawal of senses from their external objects); Dharana (means meditating or concentrating) , Dhyana (steadfast Meditation or concentration of the mind on the supreme Lord); and Samadhi(a very advanced stage reached when the heart and mind is fully or completed absorbed on the Supreme Lord) • The Nyäya and Vaiçeñika Systems of Philosophy

This Nyäya system of philosophy deals with logic and was headed by Aksapada Gautama and Kaëäda (who formed the Vaisheshika school) which considers the basic metaphysical categories of reality (all objects in the physical universe are reducible to certain types of atoms, and Brahman is regarded as the fundamental force that causes consciousness in these atoms). According to Nyaya, obtaining valid knowledge was the only way to gain release from suffering, and they took great pains to identify valid sources of knowledge and distinguish these from mere false opinions. There are exactly four sources of knowledge: perception, inference, comparison, and testimony; the Vaisheshika accepted only two perception and inference • The Mémäàsä System of Philosophy

Jaimini was the founder of the Mimamsa philosophy, which main objectives were to establish the authority and effectiveness of the Vedic rituals, sacrifices, and ceremonies. It focuses on the power of the mantras and yajnas (fire-sacrifices) to sustain all the activities of the universe. One is advised to stick to principles, ethics and morals. God, the Supreme is bound to give you the result of your honest work. This is generally referred to as one of four results (i) Janmaiçvarya-çruta-çré or Janma good birth in a good family or good nationality, (ii) aiçvarya to become rich, (iii) Çruta, to become very learned, (iv) and çré, and to become very beautiful. These are results of past good work. The understanding is that these are good situations are beneficial for practising spiritual life as there will be fewer disturbances and fewer anxieties. Being sober minded is a great asset in the practise of a Yoga process. The Sikh Religion and Sikh Literature (a partial summary)

One of the principal Sikh scripture86 is the Adi Granth (First Scripture). It was called Adi Granth until Guru Gobind Singh conferred on it the title of the Guru in 1708, after which it was called Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhs only have custodians of the Guru Granth Sahib (granthi), and any Sikh is free to read the Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurdwara (a Sikh temple) or in their home. There are other works such as (i) Dasam Granth, (ii) Sarab Loh Granth, and (iii) Varan Bhai Gurdas. Some of the main aspects of the Sikh teachings are: • • There is only one God. He is the same God for all people of all religions The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches the human form. The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that one may merge with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice living a virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between their spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.
Sikh scriptures, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh_scriptures



5.4.3 Post Vedic Literature The works grouped as “Post Vedic Literature” may include those literature compiled within the “Golden Age of Vedic Times” and afterwards. For the school that does not accept the Smrti section of literature as “Vedic literature”, this includes the Itihasas, Puranas, Agamas, Darshanas, and literature compiled in pursuance of the Vedic conclusion by the Great (Bonafide) Sages and Saints. They will classify all of the above as part of the post Vedic literature grouping. 5.4.4 Other Literature Hindi and Gujarati Literature REMARKS origin of the language - traced to Sanskrit • traceable to Jain, Siddhar, Nath and Vaisnava literature • Adikal (the Early Period), • Bhaktikal (the Devotional Period), • Ritikal (the Scholastic Period) • Adhunikkal (the Modern Period). origin of the language - traced to Sanskrit • The old (Apabhramsa) period (10th-14th cent.) • The middle period (15th-17th cent.) • Modern period (after 17th cent can be divided mainly into Prose and Poetry • traceable to Jain and Vaisnava literature

SECTION Hindi language & literature Religious Background Ddivided into four prominent forms or styles

Gujarati language Can be divided into three periods

Gujarati literature Religious Background Table 5.8 Hindi and Gujarati

The constitution of India recognises Hindi as the official language of India and the Hindi language is spoken throughout India. Hindi literature87 can be categorized into the following distinctive origins: Jain, Siddhar, Nath, and Vaisnava literature. Gujarati is an Indian language spoken in the state of Gujarat. The Gujarati community is a descendant of the Yadhu Dynasty, the same as Lord Krishna when the Lord appeared on this planet. The state of Gujarat has experienced some religious influence of Jainism as well as other development in the history of Hinduism. Besides its spiritual heritage, Gujarat has always been a prominent centre of development for trade and commerce. The religious background or origin of Gujarati literature88 is traceable mainly to Jain and Vaisnava literature. The Jain Religion and Jain Literature (a partial summary)

The Jains follow the teachings of the twenty-four Jinas (Conquerors) who are also known as Tirthankars. The 24th Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira was very prominent in the establishment and development of Jainism89 throughout India. Later on, Jainism was divided into two major sects or traditions, Digambar and Svetambar and both believe in ahimsa, asceticism, karma, sanskār, and jiva. The differences between the two main sects are mainly conduct related. Jains preach that this material world is temporary and full of miseries and sorrow. In order to attain lasting bliss one must transcend the cycle of transmigration. Otherwise, one will remain eternally caught up in the never-ending cycle
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Hindi literature, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindi_literature Gujarati literature, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gujarati_literature Jainism: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_literature and also see the website http://www.jainworld.com/scriptures


of transmigration. The only way to break out of this cycle is to practice detachment through (a) rational perception, (b) rational knowledge and (c) rational conduct. The human life is valued as a unique, rare opportunity to cultivate spiritual life and reach enlightenment. To kill any person, no matter what crime they committed, is considered unimaginably abhorrent. Compassion for all life, human and non-human living entities, is part of the Jain philosophy, culture and civilization. A full Jain monk in either the Svetambar or Digambar tradition can belong to one of three ranks, namely (i) Äcärya: leader of the order, (ii) Upadhyaya: a learned monk, who both teaches and studies himself, (iii) Muni: an ordinary monk. The nuns are called Aryikas in Digambar tradition and Sadhvi in the Svetambar tradition. The following Jain Scriptures (Sacred Books) are used, namely: (1) Kalpa Sutra, (2) Pravachansara, (3) Tattvarth Sutra , (4) Prasamarati Prakarana, (5) Samay Sar, (6) Chha Dhala, (7) Chha Dhala in Hindi, (8) Purushartha-Siddhyupaya, (9) Saman Suttam, (10) Niyamsara, (11) Ashta Pahuda, (12) Dravya Samgraha, (13) Samaya Sara, (14) Jinagamsar in Hindi, and (14) Jina Sutra. Literature or Works by Great Sages, Saints, Scholars.

In the beginning, the Great sages and Saints were responsible for further developing, compiling and distributing all knowledge. Some literature was compiled in the local Indian languages. Over the years, many these literature were translated into English and other languages spoken outside India. These translations are the works by the saints of recent times, devotional scholars, professional scholars and many others who felt inspired or motivated to do so. Finally, there are literature compiled on teachings by Great or Prominent Personalities and Leaders who introduced reform in Hinduism. This literature was compiled at different times for different reasons to achieve a particular goal or objective such as to improve religious and moral principles to raise the standards. 5.4.5 The Popular / Common Reference Scriptures of Hinduism

The Panniru Thirumurai, the Thirukkral, the Nalayira Divya Prabandha, the Tiruvaymoli, the Naladiyar of Four Hundred Quatrains, the Ramayanna and the Mahabharata are very popular scriptures for many Hindus. The Bhagavad-Gita and the Hymns of the Vishnu Sahasranama are found in the Mahabharata. The Hanuman Chalisa is part of the Ramayanna, a version that Gosvāmī Tulsīdās compiled in the 1500th centaury. One of the main reference scriptures of the Shaktism90 faith is the Markandeya Purana. The Devisukta is a hymn of eight verses found in the most ancient Hindu sacred text, the Rig Veda (in the 10th mandala). The Devisukta (RV 10.125) declares that the Goddess is the power expressed through all the gods, that they are united in her who shines with consciousness, that her presence is all-pervading, that she supports all of creation, that she is the source of righteousness and the revealer of truth, that she is the source of all worlds, yet that she shines transcendent beyond them. Among Shaktas, this Vedic hymn is held in high esteem. 5.4.6 The Process to Acquire Spiritual Knowledge With the establishment, growth, development, and success of a religious system within any community, many crucial questions of identity and legitimacy arise 91. How do they define themselves


Shaktism, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaktism & http://www.shaktisadhana.org/ and also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markandeya_Purana Questions based on a paper “Walking a Theological Tightrope: Controversies of Sampradaya in Eighteenth Century Caitanya Vaisnavism” by Ravi M. Gupta. See http://www.iskcon.com/icj/11/04-gupta.html ,


as a community? From where do they derive their authority? How do they represent themselves to those who are not members of their community? In the Hindu culture and civilisation, such questions usually centre on the important concept of Sampradaya, or the tradition of a Spiritual Disciplic Succession. The concept of Sampradaya and how the links are made to these traditional successions is an essential ingredient in understanding authenticity and integrity in precept and practice among most of the spiritual organisations. Formerly it was customary and a standard way of life for the Hindu community. Some of the main aspects of a disciplic succession are (i) the transmission of knowledge, (ii) “issuing of mantras”, or the process of spiritual initiation, and (iii) the position of the leadership or the spiritual authority of an organisation. There are various systems of “disciplic successions” accepted and followed by many spiritual or Hindu organisations and it has continued through what, has become known, as the “oral tradition”. The specific details of the different traditions are a very detailed subject matter, of which the full details were not possible to discuss in this book. These last sections are just a partial overview or background on some examples of different ‘traditional disciplic successions”. Generally there is no faculty at schools or universities to teach spiritual culture and knowledge (for example knowledge about the self - who are you? where did you come from? why are you suffering? what is the goal of life? how to achieve spiritual perfection?). In the teachings of Christianity, it is explained that one has to confess unto Lord Jesus Christ as saviour and one must repent all one’s sin. Thus, that confession opens the door for one to go back to the Kingdom of God, known as Heaven, as long as one follows the process given by Lord Jesus Christ. It is described in the Bible “no man can come to the father but through the Son”; the Son is accepted as the mediator and saviour. There is a similar concept and process described in the different Hindu Scriptures. The understanding is that all living entities are in the material world, which is compared to a prison house or reformatory. The purpose of life is to correct oneself and become qualified to go back to Godhead or the Kingdom of God. The process is to seek the guidance, assistance and to get the grace of a guru or spiritual master, who acts as the “Representative”92 of the Lord. According to the tradition or system, the Guru himself must be connected and trained through a disciplic chain or succession. A Guru must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and be able to teach others of these conclusions. In addition to the above competencies, he must be full of compassion and humility. He maintains that spiritual knowledge is the ultimate welfare for humanity. A Guru must be properly situated and faithfully representing his predecessors (superior and previous gurus). The Guru, himself lives a life that demonstrates detachment from material pleasure. There is one scripture that states the following: “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”. In Sanskrit, there is a word describing such a person, known as “sudurlabha”, which means that such a person is very rarely found. The system is that such great personalities are accepted as confidential representatives of the Lord and offered the necessary respect, similar to the respect offered to the Lord. A prominent aspect of the Hindu culture and civilisation is the great respect offered to the Guru (spiritual master), Brahmanas (Priests) and Sadhus (Saintly Persons). Another common tradition is for the Guru to be offered worship by the disciples and followers. According to the scriptures, another way to improve one’s position in spiritual life (make spiritual advancement) and to attain liberation or to achieve stages beyond (higher than) liberation is: (i) through the performance of authorised ritualistic activities and rites performed by qualified Brahmanas, or (ii) by serving (including worshiping) the guru, and (iii) through the association of these respected personalities, especially the Saintly Persons. It is a common practise or tradition for Hindus to touch the feet of Saintly Persons,

Qualifications & character of the Lord’s Representative. Adapted from the Srimad Bhagavatam, a Purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Äcärya of ISKCON.


listen to him speak about spiritual courses (transcendental knowledge) and to honour his remnants, for example his left-over foodstuffs, all of which is based on the authority of the Hindu scriptures. 2.6.1 Disciplic Successions or Chains based on the Vedic Tradition93

The Vedas explain that if we want to know about things beyond the jurisdiction of our experience beyond the limitations of human perception and cognition - we hear from one who knows. The Lord first uttered the transcendental knowledge of the Vedas in the form of sound. Later everything was later documented into written form. Although most of this documented treasure is lost, the entire knowledge remains available in the form of “sound”. The Lord cannot fall under the influence of any other force. Consequently, His knowledge must be perfect. Just as one gets an instruction manual with any new purchase, the Lord gave us the “Vedas as our instruction manual” – how this material world operates, how to get out of this material world and while in it, how to follow His instructions and to sustain our very existence. Some of the basic principles of Vedic scriptural injunctions are• The Vedic literature describes anyone born through the material energy is subject to the four material deficiencies: (i) bhrama (the tendency to commit mistakes), (ii) pramäda (the tendency to be illusioned), (iii) vipralipsä (the tendency to cheat) and (iv) karaëäpäöava (imperfect senses). Thus with four material deficiencies, one’s intelligence is described to be “materially conditioned”. The Vedic literature describes that there are three kinds of evidence in an educational system: (i) pratyakña, (ii) anumäna and (iii) çabda. Pratyakña means “direct evidence.” Direct evidence is not very good because the senses are not perfect. Anumäna, means inductive knowledge, or “hypothesis” - that is a suggestion, and this too is not accepted as perfect. Vedic knowledge is called çabda-pramäëa, also referred to as Çruti, which means that knowledge received simply by aural reception, from authorised higher (bonafide) authorities through the process of hearing (çravaëam). The Vedic literature describes that there are ten Pramanas or means to obtain knowledge. These are: (1) arsa – through the statements of sages and demigods, (2) upamanu – through comparison, (3) arthapatti – by assumption, (4) abhava – through the absence of something or indication of its absence, (5) sambhava – by inclusion, (6) aithiya – through tradition, (7) cesta – through gestures, (8) pratyaksa – by direct perception, (9) anumana – by influence based on general experience, (10) sabda – through revealed knowledge. According to the teachings of the Vedic literature, in terms of a technical perspective, there are three stages or aspects of realising the Absolute Truth (God realization). These are (1) Brahman (the Lord as all prevading), (2) Paramatama (the Lord as localized form as Supersoul within the heart), (3) Bhagavän (the Lord as Supreme, eternal, full of knowledge and bliss).The Upanisads focus upon Brahman; the yoga systems focus upon Paramätmä; the Bhagavad-gétä and the Puräëas focus upon Bhagavän. The spiritual Äcäryas have analysed these stages, and have explained that, “all three aspects are actually one, seen from different angles of vision”. Dharma94 is the inherent characteristic of a substance and there are two divisions: namityika dharma and nitya dharma. Namityika dharma is the dharma of body and nitya dharma is the
Note, although the references to various websites are cited, all final references and quotations used in this presentation on the Vedic Scriptures is mainly from the Works of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and his followers. Also, see: http://www.harekrsna.com/philosophy. Dharma, as explained by my Spiritual Master, Srila Bhakti Charu Swami.




dharma of the soul. Just as water is a substance, its dharma is liquidity and fire is a substance, its dharma is light, heat and ability to burn. Similarly, every substance has its dharma or inherent quality. Dharma of the body may change but the dharma of the soul never changes, as it is eternal. The dharma of the atma is to love and serve the Lord. The process to achieve this state of consciousness is given in authorized scriptures and it is administered under the authority of authorized representatives through the system of disciplic successions. The care of the Vedic paramparä (the passing down of Vedic knowledge) has always been entrusted to the Äcäryas - the great saints, teachers and higher authorities, and their representatives who have for centuries guided the destiny of Vedic culture. Also very prominent in the history of the preservation and development of the Vedic disciplic tradition is the role of Avatars (Incarnations of God). Historically and traditionally, everything was preserved over time by transmission through an unbroken chain of gurus or spiritual masters. The following are some scriptural references from the Vedic literature about disciplic successions and its origins. • “The Åg Veda, Yajur Veda, Säma Veda, and Atharva Veda, the Itihasas, or histories, the Puranas, the Upanisads, the slokas or mantras chanted by the brahmanas, the sutras, or the accumulations of Vedic statements, as well as vidya, the transcendental knowledge, and the explanations of the sutras and mantras are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead.” Båhad-äraëyaka Upaniñad "In this yuga the son of Parasara, who is glorified as a part of Visnu and who is known as Dvaipayana, the vanquisher of all enemies, became Vyasa. Urged by Brahma, he undertook the task of classifying the Vedas. Vyasa accepted four disciples to preserve and continue the Vedas. They were Jaimini who took care of the Sama Veda, Sumantu - the Atharva Veda, Vaisampayana - the Yajur Veda and Paila the Rg Veda, and for the Itihasa and Puranas - Lomaharsana." Vayu Purana “Lord Brahmä spoke this Vedic knowledge to his eldest son, Manu, and the seven great sages headed by Bhågu Muni then accepted the same knowledge from Manu. From the forefathers headed by Bhågu Muni and other sons of Brahmä appeared many children and descendants, who assumed different forms as demigods, demons, human beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyädharas, Cäraëas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, Nägas, Kimpuruñas, and so on. All of the many universal species, along with their respective leaders, appeared with different natures and desires generated from the three modes of material nature. Therefore, because of the different characteristics of the living entities within the universe, there are a great many Vedic rituals, mantras and rewards. Thus, due to the great variety of desires and natures among human beings, there are many different theistic philosophies of life, which are handed down through tradition, custom and disciplic succession. There are other teachers who directly support atheistic viewpoints.” Bhagavad Purana Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth”. Bhagavad Gita “Dry arguments are inconclusive. Philosophers are known for their differences of opinion. Study of the branches of the Vedas will not bring one to the correct understanding of dharma. The truth is hidden in the heart of a self-realized person. Therefore one should follow the path of such great souls” Mahabharata “Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed”. 35

• •

Çvetäçvatara Upanisad “What is not possible to achieve in thousands of lives can be achieved in one moment if there is an opportunity to meet a saintly person. It is therefore enjoined in Vedic literature that one should always try to associate with saintly persons and try to disassociate oneself from the common man, because by one word of a saintly person one can be liberated from material entanglement. A saintly person has the power, because of his spiritual advancement, to give immediate liberation to the conditioned soul”. Bhagavad Purana

Formerly, all Vedic knowledge was received from the higher authorities by the process of hearing (çravaëam), also known as the “oral tradition”. In previous ages, people were very intelligent and their memories were extremely sharp. Just by hearing once from a spiritual master, disciples could remember everything. Therefore, there was no necessity for keeping the Vedas in written form during those ages. The great sage, Çréla Vyäsadeva could see beforehand that people in the future would be much less intelligent, possessing extremely short memories and they would be very disturbed. This is due to the influence of the Iron Age (Kaliyoga) and passing of time where memory and intelligence of man began to deteriorate. Therefore, about 5,000 years ago he systematically compiled different Vedic literature, in written form, for the future benefit of everyone. Çréla Vyäsadeva compiled everything based on (i) the Rg Veda, (ii) the instructions of his spiritual master, and (iii) the blessings of his spiritual master, Srila Narada Muni. The Vedic scriptures were originally complied in Sanskrit language, which was not so well known by the masses. They relied on the learned and saintly persons to guide them, especially the Brahmanas. Later on, various saints and scholars translated these works into different local languages. Nowadays, there are many English translations of these works, which was further translated into various other languages spoken throughout the world. These translations are the works by the saints of recent times, devotional scholars, professional scholars and many others who felt inspired or motivated to do so. The Vedänta-darçana, one of the main works of Srila Vyäsadeva, is the most prominent of the six schools of philosophy and it is referred to by a variety of names, including (i) Brahma-sütra, (ii) Çäréraka, (iii) Vyäsa-sütra, (iv) Bädaräyaëa-sütra, (v) Uttaramémäàsä, and (vi) Vedänta-darçana. There are five prominent and early traditional disciplic successions of the Vedänta-darçana. The first four disciplic successions or chains are referred to as the four Vaisnava Sampradyas, which still exist in India, including other parts of the world to this day. These four original root lines of disciplic successions are: (1) one from Lord Brahmä; (2) one from Lord Çiva; (3) one from Çré Lakñmé, the goddess of fortune; and (4) one from the Kumäras. The disciplic succession from Lord Brahmä is called the Brahma-sampradäya, the succession from Lord Çiva (Çambhu) is called the Rudrasampradäya, the one from Lakñméjé is called the Çré-sampradäya, and the one from the Kumäras is called the Kumära-sampradäya. Many branches or extensions have later emerged from these four original branches. Sometimes the name of a prominent Äcärya maybe added at the end. This is a way to identify the disciplic linage and capture the history of its development. For instance in the Brahmasampradäya, Srila Madhavacarya is the first prominent Äcärya followed by Lord Caitanya, His associates, devotees and followers. In the Rudra- sampradäya, it is Srila Visnusvami. In the Kumärasampradäya, it is Srila Nimbarkacarya and in the Çré-sampradäya, it is Srila Ramanujacarya. The guru or founder of the fifth traditional disciplic succession, also known as the Pure Monism School of philosophy, was the great sage, Añöävakra Muni95. This branch of philosophy was later developed by Ādi Śankarācārya96, who is highly respected as a great ācārya and scholar of the entire Vedic literature, civilisation, and culture. Ādi Śankarācārya appeared at a time in India after the Vedic
95 96

Añöävakra Muni: information sourced from the Bhaktivedenta Archives Ādi Śankarācārya: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Adi_Shankara


literature was rejected by the masses and by the Indian society in general. After the works compiled by Çréla Vyäsadeva, it is accepted that Ādi Śankarācārya compiled the oldest commentary of the Vedänta-darçana, known as the Sariraka-bhasya. He traveled to various parts of India to restore the study of the Vedas and its authority. Later, he founded four Mathas in the East, West, North and South of India to guide and further develop the Vedic tradition. These were the Sringeri Math in Karnataka in the South, Dwaraka Math in Gujarat in the West, Puri Math in Orissa in the East, and Jyotirmath in Uttarakhand in the North. According to history (tradition), he put his four main disciples: (1) Sureshwaracharya, (2) Hastamalakacharya, (3) Padmapadacharya, and (4) Totakacharya in charge of these mathas respectively. The Guru Parampara or traditional disciplic successions of these four Mathas or their branches are continuing until this very day. The heads of the centres trace their authority back to these personalities and are given the title of Sankaracharya ("the learned Sankara") after the first Sankaracharya. Further details and analysis of this philosophy and its histories97 are discussed in the Puranas section of the Vedic Literature. For example, the Siva Purana and Bhagavad Purana describe some details about the identity, purpose of the advent of Ādi Śankarācārya and his style of interpretation of the Vedas or his philosophy. It is described that his teachings primarily served to restore the authority of the Vedic literature (Post Buddhism). The following table is a summary of the five traditional disciplic successions of the Vedänta-darçana. The Five Schools of VEDÄNTA




KUMARA SAMPRADAYA *(from Sanaka Kumara)

MONISM SCHOOL *(founded by Añöävakra Muni)


Madhva Sampradaya Brahma Madhva Gaudia Sampradaya Madhvacarya, Lord Caitanya

Ramanuja Sampradaya Sri Sampradaya

Rudra Sampradaya Visnuswami Sampradaya Vallabha Sampradaya Visnusvami, Vallabhacarya

Nimbarka Sampradaya Nimbaditya Sampradaya Sanakadi Sampradaya Nimbarka

Smarta Sampradaya Mayavadi Sampradaya



Srivaisnava Sampradaya Ramanujacarya Sri-bhasya.

Shankaracarya Sariraka-bhasya.

Madhvacarya (Purnaprajnabhasya); Lord Caitanya (Çikñäñöaka) *The Çikñäñöaka, a compilation of just eight verses, is the only documented literature of Lord Caitanya. The Lord98 focused



*Other works are: VedarthaSangraha, Sri Bhasya, GitaBhasya, VedantaDipa, VedantaSara, SaranagatiGadya and Sri

*Works by others are: Śrī Sanat Kumāra Samhitā, the Vedanta Parijata Saurabha, Sadachar prakash, Gita

*Other works are: Viveka Chudamani, Atma Bodha, Aparoksha Anubhuti, Ananda Lahari, AtmaAnatma Viveka, Drik-Drishya



More about Ādi Śankarācārya, all references are found in Srila Prabhupada’s Books (Bhaktivedenta Archives) and later work by his followers. See the Siva Purana, Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Tattva-Muktavali Note, Lord Caitanya personally taught His two chief disciples, Rupa Goswami and Sanathana Goswami on the Science & Philosophy of Bhakti Yoga. He instructed disciples to write books and develop / reestablish the holy sites.


more on the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.

Ranga-Gadya, Visnu, Sri Vaikuntha-Gadya, Nitya-Grantha

TATTVA (Philosophical Conslusions)

Madhvacarya: suddha-dvaitavada (purified dualism) Lord Caitanya: Acintyabhedabheda-tattva (inconceivable oneness and difference)

Visistadvaita-vada (specific monism)

Suddhadvaitavada (purified monism)

bhasya, Rahasya sodasi, Prapanna kalpa valli, Prata smarana stotram, Kamadhenu Dasa sloki and Krishna stava raja Dvaitadvaita-vada (monism and dualism)

Viveka and Upadesa Sahasri

Advaita Kevaladvaita (monism)

Table 5.9 - Summary of Philosophical Schools or teachings of Vedänta-darçana All of the acaryas listed above have accepted a common Personality as the Supreme God. The main difference on how things have developed is that there was a partial, or a complete acceptance or total rejection of their works. There may have been deviations and adjustments as well. Their differences in philosophical interpretation, presentations, and teachings on the end goal of life and the recommended practices to achieve this end goal of life are a factor to take into consideration. The standard for a disciple is to follow the path one has accepted and to serve the particular organisation or the acarya they have joined. In this way, one would not be disturbed nor would one cause a disturbance to others. This system has always worked in all the different Hindu traditions and culture. In this way, there was always peace and harmony in the entire Hindu society. Therefore, it can be described that “Hinduism is so strong and strangely timeless that a certain homogeneity prevails all the time”. 2.6.2 The Brahmana Tradition The Brahmana tradition is based on a spiritual initiation system. At the time of initiation, the Brahmana Mantras and the sacred “Brahmana Thread” is given to the initiate. Prior to this and even after the ceremony, the initiate is trained in the practises, disciplines and on all relevant codes or standards to perform rituals and religious ceremonies required of the Brahmanas. Religious-minded people have always honoured and carefully protected the prestigious position of the brahmanas. Traditionally, the Brahmanas lived according the following principles (i) they studied the scriptures, (ii) they worshipped the Supreme Lord, (iii) they taught others to worship the Lord, (iv) they provided spiritual guidance and council. A Brahmana never accepted employment; he accepted charity from the community, especially the students whom were training under him. A Brahmana never accumulated any wealth; whatever given to him was used in the service of the Lord and for the spiritual welfare or benefit of the masses. The following is a partial list of verses99 from the Vedic literature about the Brahmana Tradition, its histories and significance.


Information sourced from a conference paper of September 1911 held at Balighai Uddhavapura, Midnapur, W. B. India by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Founder Acarya of the Gaudiya Math, and later translated by Bhumipati Dasa. Other information was sourced form “Six Systems of Philosophy” an unpublished works of His Grace Suhotra Prabhu of ISKCON.


“the brahmana appeared from His (the Lord’s) face, the royal class from His arms, the Vaisya from His thighs and the Sudra was born from His feet”. Rg-parisista “the demigods are not seen by gross senses. The brahmanas are manifestations of the demigods. The brahmanas sustain all the planets. The demigods reside in the heavenly planets by the mercy of the brahmanas. The brahmanas’ word can never be false. Whatever the brahmanas speak in great satisfaction is accepted by the demigods. When the manifested forms of the demigods, the brahmanas, are satisfied, the demigods, who are beyond sense perception, are also satisfied”. Dharma Sastras, Visnu “the brahmanas have become the lords of the entire creation through their religious council. The brahmanas were born in order to receive havya and kavya on behalf of the demigods and forefathers. Among those with developed intelligence, the human beings are the highest. Among the human beings, the brahmanas are the highest. As soon as they are born, the brahmanas assume the topmost position in this world, and in order to protect religious principles they become the lords of all living beings …..” Bhargaviya Manu Samhita “from the mouth, the sinless brahmanas were created for the purpose of performing sacrifices. The child born of a brahmana family in the womb of his brahmana wife is known as a brahmana” Dharma Sastras, Harita “when men of the various castes headed by the brahmanas produce children in the wombs of their wives belonging respectively to the same caste, their sons attain the same caste as their fathers”. Yajnavalka “the son born of a brahmana in the womb of a brahmana woman in undoubtedly a brahmana, and the son born of a brahmana in the womb of a kstriya or vaisysa woman is also a brahmana”. Yajnavalka Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness— these are the natural qualities by which the brähmaëas work”. Bhagavata Gita Formerly the study of the Vedas was the special prerogative of the brahmanas. There were four degrees or levels of education in Vedic knowledge that corresponded to the four ashramas, namely (i) brahminical culture (the brahmacari or student ashrama, (ii) the grhastha or householder ashrama, (iii) the vanaprastha or retired ashrama and (iv) the sannyasa or renounced Monk ashrama. The first degree of learning was the memorization of the 20,000 mantras of the four Vedas, referred to as Vedic Samhita. These mantras are chanted by priests in glorification of various aspects of the Supreme Being during sacrificial rituals. The second degree was the mastery of the Brahmana portion of the Vedas, which teaches rituals for the fulfillment of duties to family, society, demigods, sages, other living entities and the Supreme Lord. The third degree was the mastery of the Aranyaka portion, which prepares the retired householder for complete renunciation. The fourth degree was the mastery of the Upanisads, which present the philosophy of the Absolute Truth to persons seeking liberation from birth and death. The texts studied in the four stages of formal Vedic education are collectively called sruti-sastra, or scripture that is to be heard by the brahmanas. According to the Chandogya Upanisad, sruti-sastra is not all there is to the Vedic literature. The Chandogya Upanisad declares that the Puranas and Itihasas comprise the fifth division of Vedic study. The Puranas and Itihasa teach the same knowledge as the four Vedas, but it is illustrated with extensive historical narrations. The fifth Veda is known as smrti-sastra or “scripture that must be remembered”.


The reader should take note that there are various systems within the Brahmana culture 100 and Brahmana traditions. Within the Vedic literature itself, there are two sections or divisions of the Brahmana Tradition. The first tradition or system is “the birth principle”, as per the evidence - some verses listed above. In summary, in this tradition, also associated with the “caste system”, only a person (the son) born in a Brahmana family is given such initiation, whilst others were regarded as the “non-brahmanas or the untouchables”. In the second tradition, the principles of one’s character, qualifications, qualities, and strict practice of the etiquette (spiritual rules and regulations) in terms of the authorised Vedic literature are applied in the initiation system or an accreditation system. The birth principle is not a primary consideration or requirement for initiation or for one to become accredited. There is sufficient evidence to support the second system, which is not listed in this presentation. Therefore the study of Smrti-sastra was permitted to “non-brahmanas”. These systems are prominent amongst Gaudiya Vaisnavas and the Aryans, based on the Païcarätra-sästras and the teachings of His Holiness Swami Dayanand Saraswati respectively. In South Africa, the Shri Luxmi Narayan Temple of Mobeni Heights, and a strong affiliate member of the Shree Sanathan Dharma Sabha South African, have a special training program to train Brahmanas to any Hindu who is serious and sincere in following the principles of religion. Due to the social conditions in South Africa, the Hindu community are very united, so the “birth right” is not a major issue, although some temples, organisations, or communities maybe very strict about it. Whatever the case may be, one must take note that in the Hindu culture, the masses have never disrespected nor considered that others should disrespect the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas have always provided a religious and cultural support to the Hindu community. Based on a Brahmanas’ qualities, activities and behaviour, there are ten kinds of brahmanas mentioned or described in the Vedic scriptures: (i) devas, (ii) munis, (iii) dvijas, (iv) rajas, (v) vaisyas, (vi) sudras (vii) nisadas, (viii) pasus, (ix) mlecchas, and (x) candalas. These are all described in the Dharma Sastras, Atri (Texts 364 -374). 2.6.3 The Linage of the Saivites (A Partial History) Lord Siva is worshiped as the Supreme Lord by his followers (Saivites) and the reference scriptures used are mainly the South Indian Literature. Further details on Lord Siva (his identity, activities, and pastimes) are described in the following Puranas101 (North Indian Literature) – (1) Matsya Purana, (2) Kurma Purana, (3) Linga Purana, (4) Siva Purana, (5) Skanda Purana, (6) Agni Purana, and (7) the Bhagavad Purana. The Siva Purana102 is one of the purānas dedicated to the Lord Siva. It contains instructions of Lord Siva on Dharma sitting in the form of Linga and the twenty-eight different forms of Lord Shiva are described in the Siva Purana. It has twenty-four thousand slokas (verses or texts). These are divided into six samhitas (sections). The names of the sections are (i) jnana samhita, (ii) vidyeshvara samhita, (iii) kailasa samhita, (iv) sanatkumar samhita, (v) vayaviya samhita and (vi) dharma samhit. Each samhita is further sub-divided into many chapters (adhyaya). The Jnana samhita has seventy-eight chapters, vidyeshvara samhita has sixteen, kailasa samhita has twelve, sanathkumar samhita has fifty-nine, vayaviya samhita has thirty and the dharma samhita has sixty-five chapters. One of the strongest linage of the Saivates can be traced to the sixty-three Nayanars, (great devotional Tamil Saints), and of which (1) Saint Thirugnana Sambanthar, (2) Saint Thirunavukkarasar, (3) Saint Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, and (4) Saint Manikkavasagar are considered as the prominent Saints. Another group of great devotees were the Twelve Älvärs (great Tamil Devotional Poets): (1) Poigai Älvär, (2) Bhoothathälvär, (3) Peyälvär, (4) Thirumalisai Älvär, (5) Nammälvär, (6) Madhurakavi
100 101 102

Brahmana culture, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmanas. About Lord Siva from the Puranic literature, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puranas#Texts Siva Purana, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_Purana


Älvär, (7) Kulashekhara Älvär, (8) Periyaälvär, (9) Andal, (10) Thondaradippodi Älvär, (11) Thiruppaan Älvär, (12) Thirumangai Älvär. Finally, there were the Siddhars103 (great mystic yoga practitioners). The list of prominent Siddhars are (1) Agastyar, (2) Bogar, (3) Korakkar, (4) Kailasanathar, (5) SattaiMuni, (6) Tirumoolar, (7) Nandhi, (8) Poonaikannar, (9) Konganar, (10) MachaMuni, (11) Karuvoorar, (12) KoormaMuni, (13) Edaikaadar, (14) KamalaMuni, (15) Punnakeesar, (16) Sundarandandar, (17) Romarishi, (18) Pulipani. According to the Thirumanthiram of the great Saivite sage, Sri Thirumular, Sri Guru Nandhi deva thought the science and practice of this great yoga to eight disciples namely Sanagar, Santhanar, Sanath Sujatar, Sanath Kumarar, Siva Yoga Maamuni, Patanjali, Vyakramapadar and Thirumoolar. Later Patanjali wrote this Great treatise of Yoga in Sanskrit, whereas Saint Thirumoolar wrote them as Thirumanthiram in Tamil. The Nath Sampradaya104 is a Siddha Yoga Tradition. It was founded by Matsyendranath and further developed by Gorakshanath. The Natha Sampradaya does not recognize caste barriers, and their teachings were accepted and practiced by everyone. The Natha Sampradaya is traditionally divided into twelve streams containing many sub-sects. The nine teachers collectively known as Navnaths105 considered the representatives or great teachers in this tradition or parampara are (1) Matsyendranath , (2) Gorakhnath , (3) Jalandharnath, (4) Kantinath, (5) Gahininath, (6) Bhartrinath, (7) Revananath, (8) Charpatnath, (9) Naganath. The Adinath Sampradaya106 is one of the branches of the Nath Sampradaya. The last sadhu holding authentic Guru Status in the Adinath Sampradaya was Shri Gurudev Mahendranath, who aparently terminated the Adinath Sampradaya by refusing to bestow Sannyas Diksha, an initiation required for succession. The Nandinatha Sampradaya107 is also a Siddha Yoga Tradition. Its founder was the MahaRishi Nandinatha, who is believed to have initiated eight disciples (1) Sanatkumar, (2) Sanakar, (3) Sanadanar, (4) Sanathanar, (5) Shivayogamuni, (6) Patanjali, (7) Vyaghrapada, and (8) Tirumular and he sent them to various places to spread the teachings of Advaita Shaivism (non-dualistic Shaivism). 2.6.4 The Linage of the Sikhs The founder of Sikhism was Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Punjab. He was also the first of ten Sikh Gurus108 in disciplic succession from the period 1469 until 1708. The complete list of Sikh Gurus are (1) Guru Nanak Dev, (2) Guru Angad Dev, (3) Guru Amar Das, (4) Guru Ram Das, (5) Guru Arjan Dev, (6) Guru Hargobind, (7) Guru Har Rai, (8) Guru Har Krishan, (9) Guru Tegh Bahadur, (10) Guru Gobind Singh. In terms of the further development of the system or their disciplic succession, the Guru Granth Sahib was declared as the main guru of Sikhs by the last of the living Gurus (Guru Gobind Singh) in 1708. There is no further living Gurus and all Sikhs are free to become Granthi or read from the Guru
103 104 105 106 107 108

Siddhars, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddhar Nath Sampradaya, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nath Navnaths, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navnath_Sampradaya#Navnaths Adinath Sampradaya, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adinath_Sampradaya Nandinatha Sampradaya, see http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandinatha_Sampradaya Sikh Gurus, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh_Gurus


Granth Sahib. All places where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is installed are considered equally holy for Sikhs. Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God. It teaches the full equality of men and women. Women can participate in any religious function, perform any Sikh ceremony, or lead the congregation in prayer. 2.6.5 The Original Linage of the Jains The Jains follow the teachings of the twenty-four Jinas (Conquerors) who are also known as Tirthankars109. The original twenty-four tirthankars in disciplic succession were – (1) Adinath (or Rishabhnath), (2) Ajitanath, (3) Sambhavanath, (4) Abhinandananath, (5) Sumatinath, (6) Padmaprabh, (7) Suparshvanath, (8) Chandraprabhu, (9) Pushpadantanath (or Suvidhinath), (10) Sheetalanath, (11) Shreyansanath, (12) Vasupujya, (13) Vimalanath, (14) Anantanath, (15) Dharmanath, (16) Shantinath, (17) Kunthunath, (18) Aranath, (19) Mallinath, (20) Munisuvratanath, (21) Neminath, (22) Arishthanemi, (23) Parshvanath and (24) Mahavira (or Vardhamana). 2.6.6 An Example of a Traditional Disciplic Succession - Outside Hinduism In the Roman Catholic Tradition, the Pope has always been the Spiritual Head of the organisation for hundreds of years. There have been 265 Popes110 of the Roman Catholic Church, starting with Pope Apostle Peter, the first Pope of Rome, and leading up to Pope Benedict XVI, the current Pope. The following is a partial list of how the existing disciplic succession was continued: • since the beginning of the year 1800: Pope Pius VII, Pope Leo XII, Pope Pius VIII, Pope Gregory XVI, Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI (19 April 2005 to present). for the period 1592 to the year 1800: Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605), Pope Leo XI (1605), Pope Paul V (1605-21) , Pope Gregory XV (1621-23), Pope Urban VIII (1623-44), Pope Innocent X (1644-55), Pope Alexander VII (1655-67), Pope Clement IX (1667-69), Pope Clement X (1670-76), Pope Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89), Pope Alexander VIII (1689-91), Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700), Pope Clement XI (1700-21), Pope Innocent XIII (1721-24), Pope Benedict XIII (1724-30), Pope Clement XII (1730-40), Benedict XIV (1740-58), Pope Clement XIII (1758-69), Pope Clement XIV (1769-74), Pope Pius VI (1775-99). Conclusion


In modern times, for the average person, the following “eternal” burning issues apply: (1) are the “Hindu Scriptures” authentic? (2) What aspects should one accept and follow and under whose or what scriptural authority? (3) What aspects should a person reject and on what basis? (4) Is there really a need for a spiritual mentor/teacher/guide (the Guru)? (5) How does one strike a balance between one’s spiritual life and living in a competitive, modern, and developed environment? From an academic perspective and of universal public interest, the main key issues are: (1) What do the original scriptures say? (2) Is it relevant? (3) What has changed? (4) Can there be a universal minimum standard or code of practise? (5) What should it be? (6) Who says so? The reader should take note of (i) the different groups of Hindu faiths (sects or cults) mentioned in this chapter (ii) that some followers and scholars of the Vedic
109 110

Tirthankars (twenty-four Jinas), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirthankaras List of All Popes, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_popes


literature only accept the SRUTI section, whilst others accept both sections. When one takes this into account, together with the six systems of philosophy and the following prominent Hindu schools (i) All is One, (ii) Monism, (iii) Personalism, (iv) Shaktism; one can begin to realise how all this has led to a major difference in how the message of God was passed onto others (Past / Present / Future) under the banner of the Hindu Religion. One may begin to understand or appreciate statements such as:1. “Everything is in a state of flux. The tolerance of Hinduism is unparalled. It has no fixed dogmas, it has no international council recommending any particular common conduct, and it has no centralised community life. Yet Hindu tradition is so strong and strangely timeless that a certain homogeneity prevails all the time”111. 2. The great writer Mark Twain, who was also a wide reader himself and he even travelled on pilgrimage to India has made the following comments about India: "In religion and culture India is the only millionaire . . . . . . . / India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most structure materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”. 3. “Lord Buddha rejected the Vedas” 4. “I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation112”. 5. “India has been politically subjugated so to say for the last one thousand years but very few have been able to exploit her spiritual resources up till now which are measured unlimited by the spiritual masters. Politically, India may ask all so-called foreigners to quit the shores of India but spiritually she did never ask any body to do so nor she will do so even now. She will rather invite all the so-called foreigners to come and exploit the spiritual resources of India's advancement and this transcendental exploitation will not only enhance the glory of India but will also enrich the glory of the whole world for unity, faith and humanity.113” 6. “the early Hindus in this country had brought with them their culture and civilisation, their religion and philosophy, their language and literature, their food and dress, their music and art, their ceremonies and festivals, in fact, they had transported a minute part of India to South Africa114” 7. “There is no peace or happiness in our worldly life. Circumstances create turmoil and annoyances…. Unless we are devoted to God, secularism will not leave us… Every spot on earth where discourses on God are held is a place of pilgrimage”115, 8. Religion without philosophy is sentiment, and philosophy without religion is mental speculation116. After reading the first statement, a part of me agreed. Another thought entered into my mind was that there should be a response, especially after reading their presentation of Hinduism, specifically on the Vedic literature, which I thought was a great injustice. My own way, (as listed below) in responding to this statement in relationship to the complexity and diversity of the “Hindu religion” (as it is known,
111 112 113 114 115


The Human Search for Meaning, A Multireligious Introduction to the Religions of Humankind See the following website http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/hinduism/macaulay.html Extract from Back to Godhead, 1944 – 1960, the Pioneer Years. Volume 1, Parts 1-4, page 9. Quotation by Dr TP Naidoo, Indian Academy of South Africa, Indian Annual 2000, page 235. Cited by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, 9 September 2008. Quotations by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, see www.bhaktisharuswami.com Statement in the purport by Srila Prabhupada in Bhagavada Gita As It Is, Chapter Three, Text Three.


grouped or understood today) is to a group together the world’s major religions and to give an overview of religion on the planet earth. I would then conclude, “In the planet Earth, everything is in a state of flux. The tolerance of religion is unparalled. It has no fixed dogmas, it has no international council recommending any particular common conduct, and it has no centralised community life. Yet religious tradition is so strong and strangely timeless that certain homogeneity prevails all the time”. I appreciated the comments of Mark Twain who is a highly respected personality. The third statement is from a magazine117 and is a true statement. However, the magazine did not mention some other important aspects, such as (i) the Vedic scriptures predicts the appearance of Lord Buddha, (ii) the Lords place of birth (appearance), (iii) the family in which the Lord would appear, (iv) the Lord’s mission and activities. It also failed to mention any details of any predictions from Vedic scriptures about the future developments in India and the rest of the universe, “Post Buddhism”. The fourth statement was received in an email on the Independence Day of India and can be found on several Internet sites. It cannot be verified as a true statement, but it is a very profound statement. It is very difficult for one not to believe this statement after examining the history of India, post “British Rule”. I felt satisfied after I read the last three statements. All the presentations in this book about “Hindu” philosophy was prepared to stimulate thoughts in the readers mind by sharing information and knowledge in response to the statements listed above in order to introduce knowledge about an alternative lifestyle, which is grouped under the “banner of Hinduism”. It is hoped that eventually, all information presented in the book will assist one to understand more about (i) how do Hindus see and respond to the world. (ii) What are their core beliefs? (iii) What are their ideals, philosophical concepts, practises, and values? (iv) a perspective of the modern day “scientifically based educational system” in relation to the “Hindu perspective of Knowledge”, which is beyond the bodily conception of life (material education). Everything was prepared for the benefit of the reader so that the reader can fully appreciate the main subject matter of the book “the history and development of all Ashramas, Temples, and Spiritual Organisations in South Africa since the arrival of the 1860 Indian Settlers”. AUM TAT SAT NOTE 1. The Book titled, The Hidden Glory of South Africa, is being compiled by Prasanth Mohan, for any enquires or information, please contact psdmohan@gmail.com, telephone: +27 12 6647400, Cellular number is +27 082 412 8226, Fax to email 086 577 4609 2. The Theme of the Book is “Philosophy, Culture, Civilisation, Faith, Beliefs, Customs, Traditions, Practices, Rituals, and System of Worship & Mediation”.


The source of this statement is from the inside cover page of a Jehovah’s Witness magazine. Readers are advised to refer to a section published in, The Wake, 1989 titled, “Religion’s Future in View, An Enlightenment That Promised Liberation” for a broader perspective of their presentation on this subject matter.



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