Tag Archives: vedas

A PLEA FOR THE SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM OF (TRUE) INDIAN HISTORY, PUNE

I am a French journalist, correspondent for ten years of the largest French Daily, Le Figaro and the author of a dozen History books on India (latest: A History of India As It Happened, Har Anand, New Delhi). I was witness of the exodus of 3 lakhs Hindus from the valley of Kashmir & it so touched me that I mounted an exhibition on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, which was opened in 2005 in Delhi’s Habitat Center by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Followed a series of exhibitions on the Bangladesh minorities, Aurangzeb as he was according to his own records, Maharana Pratap, Ahiliyabai, etc.

At some point, we had so many exhibitions that the idea came to build a Museum of true Indian History. Sri Sri gave us five acres of land near the Pune airport and the project started in 2013. I have a great admiration for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as he is the Napoleon of India, an incredible man, who with a few hundred men and his wits only, stood his ground against the  then  most powerful army in the world, that of Aurangzeb. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was much more than a warrior: he made laws, built the first Indian navy, was a staunch Hindu, yet donated to Sufi shrines and never harmed the wives and children of his enemies and had a vision of a unified India. Yet, his place in Indian history books is minimal and underrated. Thus we have chosen to honor him in this Museum.

Today we have eight Pavilions, each with a unique permanent exhibition, a Bharat Mata temple dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and a video room. The Museum is open from 9 to 6PM and entrance is free. I am in the process of erecting three new buildings, one for a Portuguese Inquisition exhibition, another for one on Tippu Sultan and one which will have a room with flat TV screens only, each one playing on a loop films, PPT’s, etc.

This is a sewa project as both my wife Namrita and myself continue with our respective jobs, she as a textile designer and myself as a journalist and writer. Thus we depend entirely on donations to move forward. We have a registered trust, FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism), which has FCRA, as well as Indian, US & UK tax exemption.

We would like to take the Museum to the next level and our architect, Sheetal Harpale of Pune, has designed a wonderful building in the shape of a swastika, which will cost about seven crores to make and would be on par with any Museum in the world. Thus we appeal to your generosity –  this is a unique project, but extremely diffcult, as History has remained a taboo subject in India, though it has been distorted first by the British and then by Marxist historians for their own purpose.
Corporates are wary of donating to a Museum of Indian History, as they are used to give to health and education, needed areas no doubt, but as Sri Sri said, “no nation can move forward, unless it faces its own history squarely”.

Thank you
Namrita & Francois Gautier

PLEASE VISIT FOR MORE INFO: https://milaap.org/campaigns/ShivajiMaharajMuseum

THE THREE GREAT DISINFORMATIONS ON INDIA

Here below an another extract if my book “A History of India as it happened – not as it has been written” (Har Anand Publishers, New Delhi). We are waiting for Mr Narendra Modi to release it:

A civilisation is like the human soul: it has a childhood, where it struggles to learn; an adolescence where it discovers – sometimes painfully – the hard facts of life; an adulthood, where it enjoys the fruits of maturity; and an old age, which slowly leads to death and oblivion.
In this manner, since the dawn of human history, civilisations have risen, reached the top where they gravitate for some time, achieving their enduring excellence -and then slowly begin their descent towards extinction. Usually, old age for these civilisations meant that they fell prey to barbarians, because they had lost the vitality and the inner obedience to their particular genius, which they had possessed at the time of their peak and which had protected them. This has been a natural process and barbarians have played an important role in the evolution of humanity, for they made sure, in the most ruthless manner, that civilisations did not stagnate; because like a human being, a civilisation must die many times before it realises the fullness of its soul and attains divine perfection.
There have been many such great civilisations which rose and fell throughout the ages: Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Africa, China, Greece, or Rome. Human nature being what it is, most of these civilisations established their might by military conquest and thus imposed their order and their views upon others, a process which some have called civilisation, others colonisation.

The advent of Jesus Christ heralded the rise of the European-Western civilisation, whose forerunners were the Greek and Roman cultures. For long, Europe was only a disunited lot of barbarian tribes fighting each other. The Crusades signalled the earliest attempt at unity, although the French and the British, for instance, kept warring each other long after them. Some of these nations were great seafarers. Thus Spain and Portugal for instance, reached out to the far world and colonised huge chunks of territories in the Americas from the 14th century onwards. But it can be safely said that with the industrial revolution, European civilisation started reaching its maturity at the beginning of the 19th century and that a great civilisation, whose genius was consciousness in the material, developed henceforth. Simultaneously, of course, as all other civilisations had done before, Europe started expanding outwards and imposed its own civilisation on other cultures, which had lost their vitality and were open to conquest. England, particularly, because it mastered the seas, went farther, faster and acquired more territories than other European nations, such as France, who often had to settle for the crumbs. And certainly, Great Britain’s prize possession, the jewel in its colonies, must have been India, whose mighty borders extended then from Afghanistan to Cape Comorin.

Western civilisation must be intimately associated with Christianity, even though Christianity took different forms over the ages : Protestantism, Lutheranism, Russian Orthodoxy… According to the Hindus, Jesus Christ was an “avatar”, a direct emanation from God. Christ was surely a great avatar of love.And Christianity certainly had a softening influence on the Western world, where, let’s face it, barbarism was the order of the day for many centuries. In the Middle Ages for instance, Christianity was the only island of sanity in a world of rape, black plague, murders and chaos; and as the Brahmins did in India, it was the Christians who preserved the oral and written word for posterity. There have been many great saints in Christianity, men of wisdom, who strove for divine vision in austerity. Such were Saint François of Assisi’s, who reached high spiritual experience. Saint Vincent de Paul, who practised true Christian charity. Or Saint Gregory, who attained authentic knowledge. Unfortunately, Christianity, got somehow politicised and fossilised under the influence of corrupt popes and has often become a magma of dogmas, rites, do’s and don’t.

Generally, because all Christians believed – like the Muslims – that only their God was the true one, The Christian colons sought to impose upon the people they conquered their own brand of religion – and they used the military authority of their armies to do so. It is true that this was done in good faith, that the « soldiers of Christ » thought that the civilisations they stumbled upon were barbarous, pagan and incomprehensible. True also that they sincerely believed that they brought upon these « savages » the virtues of western civilisation: medicine, education and spiritual salvation. But the harm done by Christian missionaries all over the earth will never be properly assessed. In South America, the Spanish soldiers and priests annihilated, in the name of Jesus, an entire civilisation, one of the brightest ever, that of the Incas and the Aztecs. Everywhere the Christians went, they stamped mercilessly on cultures, eradicated centuries old ways of life, to replace them with totally inadequate systems, crude, Victorian, moralistic, which slowly killed the spontaneity of life of the people they conquered. They were thus able to radically alter civilisations, change their patterns of thinking. And three generations later the children of those who had been conquered, had forgotten their roots, adapted Christianity and often looked upon their conquerors as their benefactors.
Yet more than a decade ago, the West was able to celebrate the anniversary of Columbus, discoverer of the “New World” with fanfare and pomp. But the New World was already quite old when it was discovered by the young Barbarians, much older in fact than the fledgling Western civilisation. And Columbus, however courageous and adventurous, was a ruthless man, whose discovery of the New World triggered an unparalleled rape in human history.

Yet, not only the West still deifies Columbus, but no one in the Third World has been capable to challenge coherently that undeserved status.
The truth is that today, not only in the Western world, but also in the entire so-called developing world, we are constantly looking at things and events through a prism that has been fashioned by centuries of western thinking. and as long as we do not get rid of that tainted glass we will not understand rightly the world in general and India in particular.
For the stamp of Western civilisation will still take some time to be eradicated. By military conquest or moral assertiveness, the West imposed upon the world its ways of thinking; and it created enduring patterns, subtle disinformations and immutable grooves, which play like a record that goes on turning, long after its owner has attainded the age of decline. The barbarians who thought they had become « civilized », are being devoured by other barbarians. But today, the economic might has replaced the military killing machine.

8.1. THE FIST DISINFORMATION ON INDIA: THE ARYAN INVASIONS

The theory of the Aryan invasion is still taken as the foundation stone of the History of India. According to this theory, which was actually devised in the 18th and 19th century by British linguists and archaeologists, the first inhabitants of India were good-natured, peaceful, dark-skinned shepherds, called the Dravidians, who had founded what is called the Harappan – or Valley of the Indus civilisation. They were supposedly remarkable builders, witness the city of Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistani Sind, but had no culture to speak-off, no literature, no proper script even. Then, around 1500 B.C., India is said to have been invaded by tribes called the Aryans : white-skinned, nomadic people, who originated somewhere in Western Russia and imposed upon the Dravidians the hateful caste system. To the Aryans, are attributed Sanskrit, the Vedic – or Hindu religion, India’s greatest spiritual texts, the Vedas, as well as a host of subsequent writings, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, the Ramanaya, etc…

This was indeed a masterly stroke on the part of the British : thanks to the Aryan theory, they showed on the one hand that Indian civilisation was not that ancient and that it was posterior to the cultures which influenced the western world – Mesopotamia, Sumeria, or Babylon – and that whatever good things India had developed – Sanskrit, literature, or even its architecture, had been influenced by the West. Thus, Sanskrit, instead of being the mother of all Indo-European languages, became just a branch of their huge family; thus, the religion of Zarathustra is said to have influenced Hinduism, and not vice versa. And on the other hand, it divided India and pitted against each other the low caste dark-skinned Dravidians and the high caste light-skinned Aryans, a rift which is till enduring.

But today, this theory is being challenged by two new discoveries, one archaeological and the other linguistic. Firstly, in the Rig Veda, the Ganges, India’s sacred river, is only mentioned once, but the mythic Saraswati is praised FIFTY times. For a long time, the Saraswati river was indeed considered a myth, until the American satellite Landstat was able to photograph and map the bed of this magnificent river, which was nearly fourteen kilometres wide and took its source in the Himalayas. Archaeologist Paul-Henri Francfort, who studied the Saraswati region at the beginning of the nineties, found out that the Saraswati had “disappeared”, because around 2200 B.C., an immense drought reduced the whole region to aridity and famine. “Thus, he writes, most inhabitants moved away from the Saraswati to settle on the banks of the Indus and Sutlej rivers”. According to official history, the Vedas were composed around 1500 BC, some even say 1200 BC. Yet, the Rig Veda, describes India as it was BEFORE the great drought which dried-up the Saraswati, which means in effect that the so-called Indus, or Harappan civilisation was a CONTINUATION of the Vedic epoch, which ended approximately when the Saraswati dried-up.

Recently, the famous Indus seals, discovered on the site of Mohenja Daro and Harappa, have been reportedly deciphered by Dr N. Rajaram, a mathematician who worked at one time for the NASA and Dr Jha, a distinguished linguist. In the biased light of the Aryan invasion theory, these seals were presumed to be written in a crude Harappan (read Dravidian) script, although they had never been convincingly deciphered. But according to Rajaram and Jha “the Harappan Civilization, of which the seals are a product, belonged to the latter part of the Vedic Age. It had close connections with Vedantic works like the Sutras and the Upanishads. The style of writing reflects the short aphorisms found in Sutra works. The imagery and symbolism are strongly Vedic. The vocabulary depends heavily on the Vedic glossary Nighantu and its commentary by Yaska known as the Nirukta. The name of Yaska is found on at least two seals ‹ possibly three. There are references to Vedic kings and sages as well place names. Of particular interest are references to Plakshagra ‹ the birthplace of the Sarasvati River, and Sapta Apah or the Land of the Seven Rivers.
This means that the Rigveda must already have been quite ancient by the time of the Harappan Civilization. Since the Harappan Civilization was known to be flourishing in the 3100 ­ 1900 BC period, the Rigveda must have been in existence by 4000 BC. This now receives archaeological support following R.S. Bisht¹s investigation of the great Harappan city of Dholavira. Bisht (and other archaeologists) have concluded that the Vedic Aryans of the Sarasvati heartland were the people who created the Harappan cities and the civilization associated with it”.

Sri Aurobindo, too, India’s greatest yogi, poet, philosopher- and surely its most ardent revolutionary- spoke against the Aryan theory: “We shall question many established philological myths,-the legend for instance of an Aryan invasion from the North, the artificial and inimical distinction of the Aryan and Dravidian which an erroneous philology has driven like a wedge into the unity of the homogeneous Indo-Afghan race… Like the majority of educated Indians, I had passively accepted without examination, the conclusion of European scholarship”(India’s Rebirth, page 103)… He also shatters the myth of the difference of language to support the theory of meeting of races: «But here also my preconceived ideas were disturbed and confounded. For on examining the vocabulary of the Tamil language, in appearance so foreign to the Sanskrit form and character, I yet found myself continuously guided by words, or families of words supposed to be pure Tamil, in establishing new relations between Sanskrit and its distant sister, Latin, and occasionally between the Greek and the Sanskrit. Sometimes the Tamil vocable

not only suggested the connection but proved the missing link in a family of connected words. And it was through this Dravidian language that I came first to perceive what seems to me now the true law, origins and, as it were, the embryology of the Aryan tongues…The possibility suggests itself that they may even have been two diversions, or families derived from one lost primitive tongue».(India’s 104)

Hence, it is becoming more and more clear that there probably never was an Aryan Invasion in India, a theory which was imposed upon the subcontinent by its colonisers and is today kept alive by Nehruvian historians, Christian missionaries (it is thus easy to convert the downtrodden tribals and Dravidians, by telling them that Hinduism was a religion thrust upon them by the hated “Brahmin” invaders) and the communists (who hate anything Hindu). History should be rewritten so that Indian children learn to be proud of their ancient and INDIGENOUS civilisation – and the consequences of this new theory applied not only to Asia, but also to the entire history of the whole world. Here below an attempt at seeting new dates for early Indian history.

Period Date
1. End of Saraswati river 2200-1900 BC
2. Beg. Of Great Drought 2200-2000 BC
3. The Sulbastras Period 3000-2000
4. Beg of drying of Saraswati 3100 BC
5. Peak of Saraswati Civilisation Before 3200 BC
6. Introduction of Silver (Kunal) Appr. 3300 BC
Period of 2d Vedas & brahmanas 3300 B.C.
7. End of the Rig Veda Age 3750 BC
8.. Beginning of Vedic Age Appr. 7000 BC

UPDATE SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM, PUNE

Dear friends, As some of you may know, we have completed and inaugurated the 2d phase of the Shivaji Maharaj Museum of India History, Pune, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 28th July. see the film at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dc5x6oDj1g
You can see some of the Media coverage at: http://factindiablog.blogspot.in/
and also Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s message: http://factmuseum.blogspot.in/

We have already 5 buildings and have recently installed our latest exhibition: http://dara-shikoh.blogspot.in/

I am about to start a series of exhibitions on the Vedas in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s Secret of the Vedas, under the direction of Dr Kireet Joshi, who was Chairman Council of Philosophical research, Secretary Education Gujarat and is now retired in Pondichery. Would you be able to help? I need appr 5 lakhs per exhibition. Attached is the first page of the brief. We have tax exemption and can honor our big donors by naming one of the buildings after them.. Here are our trust bank account for electronic transfer: Name of account: Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT)
Account No: 04071450000237. IFCS code: HDFC0000407
Bank Address: HDFC Bank Ltd., T S No.6, 100 Feet Road
Ellaipillaichavadi, Pondicherry-605 005. Telephone: 0413 2206044

If you do so, send me a mail at fgautier@rediffmail.com
Best wishes
François Gautier/ Trustee FACT
Trustee FACT

SHIVAJI MAHARAJ MUSEUM OF (TRUE) INDIAN HISTORY, PUNE

Dear friends,

As you may know, I was a journalist and a reporter for many years (francoisgautier.com) and I felt that this was not enough. Hence I started writing books about India, such as “A New History of India” (Har Anand, New Delhi). This particular book attempts to rewrite Indian History as it happened – and not as it has been written by western historians & later adopted blindly by Indian historians. There is no doubt, for instance, that the Aryan Invasion theory, which is the foundation stone of all History books on India, western and Indian -never happened. All recent archeological, linguistic and even spatial discoveries, point in that direction. There is no doubt also that the genocide of Hindus at the hands of invaders for 1200 years has been swept under the carpet by historians (for good and bad reasons. Hence I attempted to set the record straight, however politically incorrect its is. 

 But I felt that writing books was not enough. Hence, when I got an award of journalism, I used the funds to start a foundation, FACT (Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism) & mounted an exhibition on the genocide & exodus of Hindus in Kashmir, which I witnessed firsthand, being a reporter for Le Figaro at that time: http://refugees-in-their-own-country.blogspot.in/. We showed this exhibition to the US Congress in Washington in 2008.

 Then I mounted another exhibition on the plight of minorities in Bangladesh, having also been there often:http://portrait-of-covert-genocide.blogspot.in/ 

Later, because in the process of researching for my books, I had seen how much Aurangzeb is portrayed as a stern but just ruler, we got hold of his firmans, which are still preserved in the Bikaner archives, hired a retired professor of history, V.S. Bhatnagar of the Rajasthan university, to translate them, engaged miniature painters in Jaipur and mounted a remarkable exhibition on Aurangzeb, as he was ACCORDING TO HIS OWN RECORDS:http://www.aurangzeb.info/

 And then and then, kept making exhibitions, till we have fifteen today, including one on Sikhism: http://defenders-of-dharma.blogspot.in/ Or one on Hindu genocide, which we called “HINDU TOLERANCE THROUGHOUT THE AGES:http://hindu-tolerance.blogspot.in/

 But this was not enough, I felt. Thus, 2 years ago, I started building a Museum of (TRUE) Indian history on 5 acres of land donated to FACT by HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We have inaugurated the first phase one year ago. See the film at:http://www.youtube.com/user/FACTindia/feed

We built a small shrine dedicated to Mata Bhavani and Shivaji Maharaj at entrance of Museum (photo) and opened a beautiful permanent exhibition on the great Shivaji Maharaj, whom we elevated as a national Hero for the whole of India and a Vibhuti: http://hero-for-modern-india.blogspot.in/ 

 We then built a hall to put-up permanently our Aurangzeb exhibition. Photos: http://factmuseum.blogspot.in/

We have also built a video room where FACT’s films, such as “Brahmins have become the Dalits of India:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7Xgc4ljHKM , Or a film on the testimonies of survivors of the terror attacks in Mumbai of 26/11: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McjeQAUxz9Y can be screened

 & we have just completed a fourth building, which will house a remarkable exhibition on the genocide of Tibetans at the hands of Chinese, and which the Dalai-lama, whom I know well, for having interviewed him seven times, will inaugurate on 28th July. 

The Museum , whose address is: Ahead of Marathwada Institute. Vadgaon Shinde road. Wadgaon. Pune 4, is OPEN every day from 9am to 6pm and entrance is FREE. Please tell your friends about it. we have daily aarti in the temple in the morning at 9.30am

 This is a noble, but VERY difficult project, for many reasons. One, there is no tradition of private museums in Indian as there is in the West. Two, as soon as you touch at Indian history, it becomes very sensitive and tricky; and three, most philanthropists in India donate to education and health care, but recoil as soon as you mention the subject of Indian History. 

 But this is a Museum for ALL Indians, particularly dedicated to the Knowledge that stands behind Hinduism & which is the foundation of Indian culture and spirituality. My wife is preparing with Dr Kireet Joshi a series of exhibitions on the Vedas, which will be the foundation of our Museum.

 

However I need YOUR help. I am building this Museum on a shoestring budget and bills keep pouring in, while donations are very scant. 

 FACT is a registered Trust with Indian & UK, US tax exemption. If you would like to help, you could make a donation to: FACT, Account No: 04071450000237, IFCS code: HDFC0000407. We will mail you back your tax exemption certificate and we will honor all our donors.

Or you could donate via FACT USA

Please pass this plea on to your friends

Francois & Namrita Gautier/Trustees FACT

Why the Muslim invasions of India ?

Nobody will ever be able to estimate the incredible damage done to Indian culture, civilisation, human population and environment, during the Muslim invasions which spanned nearly ten centuries. But it should be interesting to see why these invasions happened, for no civilisation, if its inner core is strong and dynamic, can be trampled upon so mercilessly, as the Arabs trampled India. What ever happened to that great Vedic culture, which gave birth to so many wonderful dynasties, which in turn devised illustrious democratic systems and whose Kshatriyas were supposed to protect the land of Bharat against barbarian invaders?

Since the beginning of Human History, all civilisations have gone through the same cycle: birth-rise-peak maturity-decline-death. And so many great civilisations are no more but in the memories of our text-books: Mesopotamia; Egypt; Rome; Great Africa; Greece…Yet, because of its extraordinary spirituality, because of the Dharma stored by its great Rishis, India always had the extra impetus to renew itself, to spring forward again, when it seemed she was on the brink of collapsing. It blossomed thus for at least five millenniums, more than any other civilisation before or ever after. Then India started faltering and Alexander was able to invade her sacred soil and later the Arabs raped her beloved land. Why?

Buddhists believe that each nation, like the human soul, packs karma in each of its lives or cycles. Good karma or Bad karma have one unique characteristics: they are like a tiny seed, bearing their fruits ages or cycles later, often giving the impression to the ignorant mind of total injustice done to innocent souls. Thus the individual who seems to suffer unfair circumstances in this life, may be paying for a bad karma done dozens of lives ago. In the same manner, a nation which appears to suffer inexplicable hardships: persecution, earthquakes, great natural catastrophes, dictatorships, may be amending for a karma accomplished centuries ago. The Tibetan people’s plight seems to be a good example of this phenomenon. Here is one of the most harmless, peaceful, adorable culture on earth, spiritualised on top of that, who suffered and is still suffering the worst ignominies at the hands of the Chinese communists, who have eradicated their culture, razed to the ground hundreds of ancient and marvellous temples, killed either directly or indirectly – concentration camps, torture, famine – more than one million of this adorable people! Why? WHY? The Dalai-Lama, himself, one of the last great spiritual figures of this era, admits that it was because of an ancient “black karma”, bad deeds. Was it feudalism? Was it not opening itself to the world for so long? Or misuse of Tantrism? Who knows and who can judge? But it’s a good bet to say that there is probably NO total injustice in this world. Everything springs from a mathematical, ultra-logical system, where one gets the exact reward one deserves, which bears NO moral connotation like in Christianity.

Thus for India, the Muslims invasions and later the European ones, must be the result of a bad karma. But the difference with Tibet, is that India’s soul is so strong, so old, so vibrant, that she has managed so far to survive the terrible Muslims onslaughts and later the more devious British soul-stifling occupation.
There seemed to be two reasons for the decline of Indian civilisation. The foremost is that in India, Spirit failed Matter. At some point, Her yogis started withdrawing more and more in their caves, Her gurus in their ashrams, Her sannyasins in their forests. Thus slowly, a great tamas overtook matter, an immense negligence towards the material, an intense inertia set in, which allowed for the gradual degradation of the physical, a slackening of the down to earth values, an indifference towards the worldly, which in turn permitted successive invasions, from Alexander to the Muslim and finally the European, the rape the land of the Vedas.

The second reason and the one which has been most commonly invoked, including by Muslim apologists -see beginning of this chapter – because is it so obvious, is the fossilisation of the caste system and the gradual take-over of India by an arrogant Brahmin and kshatriya society. What used to be a natural arrangement – a Kshatriya became a warrior to express heroic tendencies in him developed from countless births on earth- turned-out to be an inherited legacy, which was not merited by chivalrous deeds. A Brahmin who used to deserve his status by his scholarship and piety, and was twice-born in the spiritual sense, just inherited the charge from his father. And the shudras were relegated to a low status, doing the menial chores, when in their heyday, they fulfilled an indispensable role, which granted them recognition from the king himself. Thus Hindu religion lost its immense plasticity, which allowed her to constantly renew herself – and India became ripe for invasions.
And finally, Buddhism and its creed of non-violence, however beautiful and noble, opened India’s gates wide. Buddhists forgot the eternal principle of the Gita: « protecting one’s country from death, rape, mass slaughter, is « dharma »; and the violence you then perform is not only absolved, karma- free, but it also elevates you.
(To be continued)

THE INFLUENCE OF INDU INDIA ON THE WESTERN WORLD

It was always thought that India was a melting pot of different influences coming from the West, either by trade or through invasions, and that she owes many of her achievements – her sciences, philosophy, or religion – to outside influences, whether it is by the way of the Aryan invasions for the Vedas, or via the Greek incursions, which are supposed to have influenced her architecture and philosophies. But more and more discoveries, both archeological and linguistic, are pointing to exactly the opposite direction: In the millenniums before Christ, it is Indian civilization which went gradually westwards (we shall not speak of its march eastwards, as there is hardly any controversy about it) and influenced the religions, the sciences and the philosophies of many of the civilizations which are considered today by the West as the cradle of its culture and thought.

The influence of the Hindus on Egypt, the Greeks and Palestine

American mathematician A. Seindenberg has demonstrated that the Sulbasutras, the ancient Vedic mathematics, have inspired all the mathematic sciences of the antique world from Babylonia to Egypt and Greece. “Arithmetic equations from the Sulbatras were used in the observation of the triangle by the Babylonians and the theory of contraries and of inexactitude in arithmetic methods, discovered by Hindus, inspired Pythagorean mathematics”, writes Seindenberg. In astronomy too, Indus were precursors: XVIIth century French astronomer Jean-Claude Bailly had already noticed that “the Hindu astronomic systems were much more ancient than those of the Greeks or even the Egyptians and the movement of stars which was calculated by the Hindus 4500 years ago, does not differ from those used today by even one minute”. American Vedic specialist David Frawley has also demonstrated that the methods utilized in the building of Egyptian pyramids were also borrowed from the Hindus. “The funeral altars, for instance, he writes, which are also in the shape of pyramids, were known in the Vedic world under the name of smasana-cit”.

What about philosophy ? Hindu Shivaism seems to have had a tremendous influence in the indo-Mediterranean world and reincarnated itself under different names, at different places, during Antiquity. French historian Alain Danielou noted as early as 1947 that “the Egyptian myth of Osiris seemed directly inspired from a Shivaïte story of the Puranas and that at any rate, Egyptians of those times considered that Osiris had originally come from India mounted on a bull (nandi), the traditional transport of Shiva”. But it is mainly Greece that was most influenced by the myth of Shiva: many historians have noted that the cult of Dionysus (later known as Bacchus in the Roman world), definitely looks like an offshoot of Shivaism. Danielou thus remarks that “the Greeks were always speaking of India as the sacred territory of Dionysus and historians working under Alexander the Great clearly mention chronicles of the Puranas as sources of the myth of Dionysus”.

There is also no doubt that the impact of the Vedas and subsequent Hindu scriptures, such as the Vedanta and Upanishads, was tremendous on the different philosophical sects which flourished at different times in Greece, such as the eleatic, orphic, platonician, stoic, gnostic or neoplatonician movements. We know that the Greek Demetrios Galianos had translated the Bhagavad-Gita and French philosopher and historian Roger-Pol Droit writes in his classic “L’oubli de l’Inde” (India forgotten) “that there is absolutely not a shadow of a doubt that the Greeks knew all about Indian philosophy”. Alain Danielou quotes Clement of Alexandria who admitted that “we the Greeks have stolen to the Barbarians their philosophy”. And even William Jones, the XVIIIth century linguist of British India, noted  that “the analogies between Greek Pythagorean philosophy and the Sankhya school, are very obvious”. German philosopher Shroeder had also remarked in his book “Pythagoras und die Inder” that nearly all the philosophical and mathematical doctrines attributed to Pythagoras are derived from India, particularly the Sankhya school.

It also seems very clear that Hinduism played an immense role in the making of Christianity, particularly the writings of the Gospel. Alain Danielou point outs that “quite a few events surrounding the birth of Christ as they are related in the Gospels, are strangely similar to Buddhist and Krishnaite legends”. And it is true that the resemblances existing between Buddhism and Christianity cannot be simple coincidences. Buddhism was flourishing in northern and north-east India during the times of Christ and there are many legends that he came to India to be enlightened (and supposedly died in Srinagar). Even if we discount these stories, there is no doubt that many Buddhist and Hindu teachers traveled to Palestine in the beginning of our era. Alain Danielou thus notes that the structure of the Christian church resembles that of the Buddhist Chaitya, that the rigorous asceticism of certain early Christian sects reminds one of jaïna practices, that the veneration of relics, or the usage of rosaries are all Hindu customs”. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living, which is practiced in more than eighty countries, also remarks that Jesus sometimes wore an orange robe, the Hindu symbol of renunciation in the world, which was not a usual practice in Judaism. “In the same way, he continues, the worshipping of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism is probably borrowed from the Hindu cult of Devi”. Bells too, which cannot be found today in synagogues, the temples of Judaism, are used in churches and we all know their importance in Buddhism and Hinduism for thousands of years. There are many other similarities between Hinduism and Christianity : incense, sacred bread (Prasadam), the different altars around churches (which recall the manifold deities in their niches inside Hindu temples); reciting the rosary (japamala), the Christian Trinity (the ancient Sanatana Dharma: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh), Christian processions, the sign of the cross (Anganyasa) etc…
This Buddhist and Hindu influences started worrying later Christians: Saint Hyppolitus is know to have treated Brahmans of “heretics” and later, Saint Gregory even destroyed himself some of the pagan Gods of a colony of Hindus who had settled on the river Tigris.
(To be continued)

European Cartesianism and Hinduism

“Only believe what you experience on yourself”, said the Buddha 2500 years ago. Indian philosophy and spiritual thought was thus always very down to earth and attempted to define scientifically and logically the different means and ways to reach the goal: “If you do this, this is what will happen; if you breathe in this way, this is what may result; if you practice this particular posture, these are the results you will gain”…

Yet the West is today wary of anything which has a Hindu flavor and is quick to label as “sects” everything that does not spring from the larger conventional family of Christianity. It is true that gurus teaching in  the West can be a mixed lot, and some of them might have brought a bad name to Hinduism, but the ordinary Indian meditating every morning, or doing his pujas, practicing his asanas, chanting bhajans, or doing pranayama,  does not feel he is doing anything out of the ordinary. There is no sectarism here, no fake mysticism, no pagan obscure rites.

 To understand India and Hinduism, one then has to go beyond the clichés of paganism and the accusations of sects that have been applied to Hindus, particularly after the coming of Christian missionaries to India who had a vested motive to show Hinduism in  a bad light. It is true that Hindus adore Gods made out of stone or cast in brass. But is it less rational or Cartesian to think, as the Catholics do, that Mary conceived a child while remaining a virgin, or that Christ came back from the dead and ascended physically to heaven (and not in his subtle body, which is more likely)? Muslim invaders were also immensely shocked by this worshipping of images and gods and set upon destroying hundreds of thousand of temples and idols. But Alexandra David-Neel, the remarkable French explorer, writer and mystic, had noticed that the role that Gods play in India is unique “because the images or statues are like a battery which is charged over the ages by the adoration of the devotees, who in turn can draw energy, inspiration, or grace from these statues”. She goes on: “As a battery, the energy in the statue will not get discharged, as long as the faithful continue worship it by their cult and adoration”. And she concludes: “Gods are thus created by the energy given out by the faith in their existence”.

 At any rate, Hindus are great rationalists: they have discovered for instance that the sound Aum, “Amen” for the Christians, possesses very strong vibrations which take you to the deepest level and that the Creator is the Original Verb: Shabda Brahman; that the ragas, these few notes of music on which one can improve indefinitely, have also a strong inner power; or that the breath is the physical conduit to the Divine, which they have codified into  pranayama, the Indian science of breathing. Sri Sri ravi Shankar has today shown that breath has no religion and can be practiced by anybody. But nothing, without any doubt, is more scientific, more logical, more Cartesian, more noble and prophetic than the Vedas, the most ancient and sacred Scriptures of Hinduism, which are nearly totally ignored in the West and misunderstood in India. (To be continued)