Saturday, December 28, 2013

How Sumitranandan Pant Rediscovered Dharma

28th December is the birthday of the late, great poet of India, Sri Sumitranandan Pant.

here is the picture source.

Return from Marxism
Sumitranandan Pant appears to one of many in the Indian artistic and intellectual traditions who were initially drawn into Marxism and communism. However, over time, these thinkers became disillusioned after either seeing through the fraudulence, or the narrow materialist view of the world, and returned to their Indian roots, seeking a deeper and more honest meaning to their life and art. Fellow Jnanapith award winning poet Nirmal Sharma is perhaps another example of a poet who appears to have returned to dharmic roots after dabbling with Marxism.

Quest For Truth
The questions we can ask here is: Did they find a deeper meaning in dharmic India that Marxism failed to provide? If so, what is that? But before we get to that, a seemingly unrelated but important event occurred today. Rajiv Malhotra, author of 'Breaking India' and 'Being Different' landed in India on a trip that will soon launch his latest book:
Indra's Net: Defending India's Philosophical Unity

The connection will become clear shortly.  Let us now return to Sri. Pant's quest for a deeper truth. For that, we turn to this interesting article on Sumitranandan Pant at
"......he was deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda. Another influence was also slowly making an impact on his sensibility. This was Marxism which came through his friendship with P. C. Joshi who later on became the Secretary of the Communist Party of India....Pant was also drawn towards that movement and wrote some immaculate verses about social reality. He, however, soon realised that this movement was committed only to a change in the externals and was indifferent to the urges for a basic change in the sensibility. ...The poet was convinced that it is the duty of the creative artist to unite the external and internal worlds; ... In the first phase of his creative career society was on the margin of his artistic picture while nature occupied the centre. In the second phase of his creative career it was the social reality which advanced towards the centre and occupied it. Nature and soul-stirrings remained there but they were pushed to the margin. Sumitranandan Pant was now on the brink of a new breakthrough which could unite the two worlds into a new harmony through an adequate creative alchemy....

....This breakthrough came through a contact with the famous Indian dancer and artist Udayshankar. Udayshankar had lived for sometime in Almora in Garhwal and an intimacy developed between the two kindred souls. Both became partners of a pilgrimage to search a principle of unity between the outer and the inner worlds. The ballet and other stylized forms of dance also attracted Pant. Udayshankar made a film named Kalpana (Imagination) which interpreted the outer and inner realities through stylized pictures and movements. Sumitranandan was also associated with the making of this picture. This film was made in South India where Pant came into contact with Sri Aurobindo and his philosophy. Sri Aurobindo confirmed many of Pant’s own speculations and the former’s philosophy gave resonance and richness to the ideological residue of Pant’s poetry. Like Sri Aurobindo the poet also believed that true spirituality should not mean a repudiation of external reality. It should irradiate and impregnate the external reality and make it more meaningful and oriented towards God. Sham spirituality should be replaced by true spirituality which takes as its junior partner the social reality. The later poems of Sumitranandan Pant give expression and celebrate the union of the outer and inner worlds....His poems are verbal artifacts containing warm human experience. They are neither intellectual exercises nor philosophical abstractions."

Return to Dharma 
This is an amazing narrative.
1) A poet, disconcerted by the Marxist lack of an inner reality is struck by an Indian dancer/theater artist's remarkable ability to harmoniously bridge the inner and outer realities and depict it effortlessly in art-form, and without any need to reconcile 'conflicts' between the two, and also do so beautifully. How come there is no conflict?

2) The poet, after internalizing Aurobindo's philosophy learns how the inner- and outer-reality co-exist in dharmic harmony. He was able to recognize the integral unity in dharma that was different from the synthetic unity of the west, and not even possible in the materialistic Marxism due to the outright rejection of an inner reality. Perhaps, this was Pant's 'A-ha' moment.

3) Pant was finally able to creatively replicate and incorporate into his poetry, like UdayShankar's artistic dance/theater representation, the dharmic harmony of inner-outer reality. He had elevated his poetry to a higher level and also make it more accessible by tying it to a human experience rather than stopping at either intellectual abstraction or some fuzzy spirituality. This achievement was not a fluke or a one-time thing. It is a classic example of the Bandhu, the correspondence principle of dharma at work, that also gives Hinduism its remarkable anti-fragility. As Rajiv Malhotra writes in 'Being Different':

"Bandhu is a concept used to explain how the whole and the parts are held together in integral unity. All aspects of the world stem from a common ineffable source, and what we perceive as nature is but a pointer to a higher reality. There is interlinking among the various faces of this reality, such as sounds, numbers, colours and ideas, and this interlinking is bandhu.... 

.... Not only does each discipline presume this unity; so does the relationship among disciplines. All the arts and sciences are interrelated and may be seen as manifold ways in which human nature, itself an emanation of cosmic unity, expresses itself. One discipline contains and reflects the others. Delving deeply into any one of them eventually leads to similar integral principles and structures..."

... Bandhu accounts for the survival of dharmic spirituality, for even when certain disciplines and practices were destroyed, other disciplines encoding the same principles survived and helped revive the overall tradition."

.... Natya Shastra treats Natya as the total art form, including representation, poetry, dance, music, make-up, and indeed the whole world. It is an organic and integral view encompassing the vedic rituals, Shaivite dance and music, and the epic tales..."

Integral Unity

Thus, the principle of Bandhu breathed a new and refreshing life back into Sumitranandan Pant's poetry. He was able to seamlessly integrate his social realities and nature/atma-stirring ideas into verse. These 'realities' was like a jewel that reflected the shine of the other, like those in Indra's Net, as Rajiv Malhotra further notes in his book 'Being Different':

"The conceptual matrix of Integral Unity is illustrated in the metaphor of Indra's Net ... which symbolizes a universe with infinite dependencies and relations interwoven among all its members, none of which exists apart from but only in the context of this collective reality..."

Now this is a genuinely 'holistic' (or holographic) view.

Indra's Net
The unity in diversity in dharmic India is truly integral, unlike the brittle, synthetically fused versions of unity that we see are slowly falling apart in western and middle-eastern countries as their immigrant diversity increases.  Unfortunately, external forces either opposed to or seeking to gain leverage over India (read 'Breaking India' for full details) appear to have zeroed-in on the critical role played by this integral unity in ensuring the long-term survivability of India. India's last line of defense must be defended at multiple fronts. Rajiv Malhotra's new book may tells us more.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Indus Script: Hinduphobes no longer have a monopoly

update: added pictures and edited content in the end

The fascinating CRI article by Vikas Saraswat
"Indus Script: The no script theory is a non-starter"

encouraged me to dig a bit deeper and educate myself about the 2009 work of Prof. Rao and his fellow researchers at the University of Washington, which was discussed in the above essay, and how it was received by the scientific community. Posting my notes from some googling and research.

pictures link.

1. The Witzel-Farmer tag team's response was predictably condescending: discredit, going so far as to blast the journal for publishing what they felt was a phoney paper. There was hint of panic in their response which was framed almost immediately after Rao et al.'s work was published. Basically, they had a monopoly on such matters, and Rao's work shook their conclusions in a different way.

2. Rao et al.'s work has since spawned a sequence of counter and counter-counter papers by pro-language and anti-language groups. Here are two recent rebuttals (2010, pro), and a more recent one by the anti group (2013). We have a bit of a stalemate, which is not a bad thing, given how skewed the original scenario was.

3. The pro-group's publications rely on Shannon's work in information theory to  calculate conditional entropy (as well as examining higher order of 'block' entropy) and bring into play other related mathematical laws to show that the probability of Indus script being a language has increased. They also counter the criticism that the briefness of texts is not conclusive ("absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", in their words).

Basically, these statistical models can tells us if there is just the right balance between order (low CE) and chaos (high CE) in the data. For example in English, if u fix 'Q', then probability of any other letter other than 'U' occurring after that is 0 (inflexible). However, if u fix 'Z', then there are multiple possibilities, but not all other 25 letters in the alphabet can occur next. Thus with language, there is some flexibility, but also some constraints on the sequences (pairs of letters at the simplest level) that can be constructed. CE is one of the metrics that captures this.

Data sets that exhibit too much order or too much chaos can most likely be rejected as non-languages. The Indus script passed the 'null hypothesis' test pretty well, while also exhibiting more helpful statistical properties that increase the chances of it being a language (by comparing the CE with other language and non-language data). This is why Rao's work got attention and was deemed worthy of publication. I read the whole thing and saw no hanky-panky.

(By the way, isn't this balance in language another beautiful illustration of Rajiv Malhotra's order-chaos concept?)

4. The anti-group's claims (and there are a few groups now, who appear to be more science-driven compared to Witzel-Farmer) was that such entropic methods can't conclusively discriminate between linguistic and non-linguistic data, and came up with their own data sets and conclusions. Then the pro-group came up with improved metrics, more data, to show stronger results in favor of the Indus script. However, what may be revealing is that the anti-group after lots of pages of scientific rebuttal (Jan 2013) invariably return to the 'curb appeal' argument: "Forget all the complex math. This is simple. Just look at it. The messages are too brief, so it can't be a language." 

The evidence listed in Vikas' CRI essay, combined with the Witzel-Farmer duo's bad habit of mixing prejudice with science/math hurts the anti-group cause. Witzel doesn't do much of Sanskrit at Harvard now-a-days and was last seen hosting dead-beat Marxist seminars with sepoy Angana Chatterji, after she was fired from her previous academic job.

5. My own opinion is that the Hinduphobia of Witzel & co. caused them to reach a premature and gleeful conclusion a decade ago that our old desi ancestors were mass-illiterates. Rao et al.'s systematic work and improvements to their methods since 2009, *when taken together* with lots of other independent supporting material mentioned in the CRI essay has tilted the balance, and certainly given the Indus script theory another boost. Their opposition is working hard to come up with responses that out-think or at least, out-number the pro-group's output. What is clear is that a multi-disciplinary approach can be very useful in solving such problems.

This is not over yet in the minds of many in the west, but at least the playing field if a bit more level, though still loaded against India (thanks to Indian Gov's continued and bizarre acceptance of the now-discredited AIT).  What is sad is that much of the publicized work is happening in western universities and not as much in India (though some is happening in TIFR, Chennai, etc.), whose heritage is the subject of the debate. Hopefully the next Indian government will not neglect the importance of such research, and increase funding for such worthwhile projects and staff them based on merit.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Digestion of Hinduism: Inside the American Veda

The first part of my notes-to-self covered my interpretation of digestion, a term coined by Rajiv Malhotra. This lead to an active twitter debate that led to many questions, mostly centered around Phil Goldberg's 'American Veda', which was previously critiqued elsewhere as facilitating digestion, and a stand which I support. I fact, I have found that AV does a lot more than that. It also directly digests and misrepresents Hinduism, and celebrates the digestion of Hinduism, perhaps unintentionally. This second set of notes will add more substance and take some of those follow-up questions as a starting point.

Throughout these posts, the emphasis in bold/underline/quotes are mine. Often direct quotes are italicized. Let me state upfront that I admire Goldberg's candid admissions. I believe he is Jewish, and therefore does not proselytize. This is my critique of his work, as well as the other interviews and articles he has written. There are places in the book AV where he even agrees that Indian methods and dharmic ideas have been misappropriated. But his disappointing response is to kick the can down the road to the Hindu advocacy groups to deal with the Hindu image issue, and washes his hands off, i.e. 'it is not my problem'. Fair enough. He is not Hindu, and this book is not about Hinduism. AV is a book written by the west, of the west, and for the west. Hindus and Hinduism are but props in the AV stage.

[update Dec 23: typos fixed]

Cover Page
American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

American Veda and Indian spirituality implies that Hindu religious concepts are tied to a geography. There is no call-out in the book of the universal truth claims of Karma and Punar Janma of Hinduism and the universality of dharma - the latter is the single-most important thing, in my opinion, a Hindu reader should look for in such books: Ask what is the status of dharma in the book? It is totally ignored in the title. The title suggests that the book starts with some fuzzy "spirituality" from India toward building a new American Veda suitable for western consumption without the stench of Hinduism's caste, cows, and curry.

Strong words? read on and make up your own mind.

Foreword by Huston Smith
Who is this Huston Smith and why did Goldberg pick him to write the foreword?
He's described a 90+ year old "rock star of religions". My ignorance. I never heard of this chap, so I looked him up. Here are some interesting snippets.

"Smith was born in 1919 in China, where his parents were Christian missionaries...."

Smith: "... "I happen to be a Christian. I was brought up and drenched in that," he said. "I am very orthodox in thinking that Jesus acted in his life the way God would have acted if God had assumed human form... I think that God imploded, like a spiritual big bang, to launch the eight civilizations that make up recorded history and the religions in those civilizations.""

Zero connection with dharma so far, but we see Mr. Smith clearly state where his roots are: History-centric Christianity.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on his religious practice that examines other religions (including, and in particular, Hindu Vedanta) for many years, he returning to his Christian roots to write this book:
"The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition"

 Here's an blurb on what this restored Christianity looks like:
"... "I have tried to describe a Christianity which is fully compatible with everything we now know, and to indicate why Christians feel privileged to give their lives to it."
—Huston Smith

.... In his most personal and passionate book on the spiritual life, renowned author, scholar, and teacher of world religions Huston Smith turns to his own life-long religion, Christianity....Smith cuts through these to describe Christianity's "Great Tradition," the common faith of the first millennium of believers, which is the trunk of the tree from which Christianity's many branches, twigs, and leaves have grown. This is not the exclusivist Christianity of strict fundamentalists, nor the liberal, watered-down Christianity practiced by many contemporary churchgoers..."

Right in the introductory pages available for free at, you can clearly see Smith states that he visited India may times and learnt of "dharma" before proceeding to digest Dharma into the Christian notion. His exact words on how he redefines dharma: "It is the duty that God has imposed on me". Being a Christian, he is of course referring to a monotheist God who is a task-master.  The meaning of dharma has been totally inverted. This is the abysmal level of scholarship and mis-translation of Sanskrit, which we see in other chapters of the AV book too.

In the first chapter of Smith's book, after the introduction, Smith talks of his new Christian world view, where the very first set of paragraphs attempts to mangle the dharmic idea of "Purna" made famous by the famous Shloka. Next, tackles at causation (related to Karma...), at which point I cried halt. The foreword to AV cites a single verse from the Christian bible where false equivalences for Bhakti, Jnana, and Karma is given! Rock star.

Foreword writers are deliberately and carefully chosen, and usually for deep reasons. AV's foreword writer is a famous and devout Christian, the son of two devoted missionaries who studied Vedanta for long, and visited India several times, and ultimately used this information, not to become Hindu or dharmic, but to repair and re-invent an improved Christianity for the west using digested versions of Hindu concepts.

This is how American Veda begins and ends. This is the template.

Theme of American Veda
Goldberg is sincere westerner who is looking to improving the condition of his country and repairing their society and religion. To achieve this task, he, like Huston Smith, uses Hinduism as a tool-box containing an useful assortment of nuts and bolts, from which the west can freely select compatible parts to plug the gaping holes in their systems. Chapter after chapter in this book is not about how Hinduism and India benefits from the interaction with the west, but the total opposite.  Which begs the question:

If AV is about utilizing bits and pieces of Hindu ideas deleted from their Indian context, and suitably modified to enhance Christianity, Judaism, and western health care, etc., why the heck are the useful Hindu idiots cheering, showcasing, and funding such works? What has India and dharmic systems got in return from the US for this? ZILCH.

Much of American Veda is a biographical celebration of who's who of U-turners and digesters:

Maslow, Bensen, Ken Wilber, Carl Jung, Father Keating, ....

and a bunch of opportunists like Deepak Chopra who have made a lot of money selling faux-Vedantic snake oil to a gullible western audience. This blogpost links to a video lecture of Rajiv Malhotra that walks through an entire list of U-turners and digesters. We won't go into these biographies, even though they make for fascinating and bewildering reading. In this remainder of this part of the self-study, I cover the introduction and the first chapter of AV, focusing on Goldberg's own words and annotations. I highlight just a few of the many gaping holes in this book that makes a mockery of dharmic concepts and try to point out how these mangled ideas facilitate digestion.

For more background and context on American Veda and Phil Goldberg, readers can read this blog: We owe the writer a thanks.

Chapter - Introduction
1. Here, PG starts off providing a list of excuses about why he has not used Hinduism in the title. Clearly, he is aware this would become an issue. Some reasons include:
a.  "people will misconstrue the nature of this book". (Exactly how?)

b. [Opportunistic] gurus who came to the west said they were not preaching Hinduism (so?)

c. Yoga and Vedanta do not have to be viewed religiously at all ...

2. As far as Buddhism, he equates the Buddha to Jesus as a reformer. I would seriously contest this as another false equivalence, but some other day. This book does not credit Buddhism in the cover either. Of Jainism or Sikhism, I could find no mention.

3. He calls Yoga and Vedanta, India's major export. Despite that, India has not seen one dollar in returns yet!

4. He finds India's epic 'tales' of Ramayana and Mahabharata to be rich in 'magic and mystery', and makes the Iliad and Odyssey look like short stories.

5. Page 10:
Goldberg offers us this gem: infinite divine can be called Allah, Lord, or Brahman, which is justified citing 'Ekam sat Vipraha bahudha vadanti'.
Shockingly poor scholarship fills the American Veda. Goldberg is honest enough to concede that he is not confident about the completeness of the translation of the Vedantic principles he cites by adding caveats such as "does not pretend to do justice to Vedanta...". What can we be sure of in AV then?

The above reasoning is a distortion of Hinduism, designed to propagate the myth of sameness. Doing so allows him to move on to his next, and by far, most serious error, which opens the door to wholesale digestion.

6. On Page 11, Goldberg claims:
 "Vedantic principles are accompanied by Vedic concepts of Karma.... and reincarnation. Most applications of Vedanta-Yoga do not require these supplementary ideas, and ordinary practitioners in the west do not necessarily believe in them"

Supplementary ideas?!

Karma (cause and effect) and Punar Janma (Reincarnation) are central and fundamental truth-claims of dharmic thought system. Hinduism (and its pluralism of manifestations), Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists subscribe to this. These dharmic fundamentals are precisely the ones that the Judeo-Christian system is incompatible with, and this is also exactly why Goldberg has deliberately brushed them aside as unimportant waste material that can be rejected! Once we get rid of these crucial dharmic elements, the mutilated remainder of the Hindu concepts can be digested into JC systems, without hurting their history-centric dogma.  This is exactly what was stated in part-1. In Philip Goldberg's own words, we have clear evidence of digestion being facilitated.

7. On the same page, PG favorably compares Vedanta to perennialism. Rajiv Malhotra has previously stated that "The whole Perennial Philosophy is merely stage-2 of the uturn." AV systematically glorifies (as Rajiv Malhotra put it) these so-called western pioneers, who in reality, just reassembled and repackaged many of the original ideas from dharmic systems.

8. In Page 12, he says "whether it's a falafel or philosophy, Americans embrace foreign products when the circumstances are right, and conditions in the United States were right for Vedanta-Yoga from the start"

Falafel. Vedanta-Yoga. foreign product (!)

Wow, such reverence and seriousness.

This is the author that Ms. Nirmala Seetharaman's foundation found worthy enough to invite for a talk, and for RSS to promote? that certain Sanathana Dharma institutions showered money on?

These are just the first few pages. Toward the end of the book, there are sections where it appears like Goldberg is practically showing Padres/Rabbis how such digested Vedanta-Yoga' can improve the situation in their church and synagogue without impacting their central dogma. He also does this in a Huffington Post article. Indeed as early as page 23-24, Goldberg very honestly states his intentions. Indeed, AV is a very honest book. I'm sure PG believes in his mind that he's doing a lot of good.

9. In his own words, we can find the real reason for deleting Hinduism/Buddhism/Sikhism/Jainism from this book:

 "This [book] is not a threat to Western religions; Americans are not about to abandon their churches, synagogues, and mosques, for Hindu temples. Figures of Shiva and Krishna will not replace crosses in American homes."

It is very, very clear. Hinduism has NO role in this book, and he sees no role for Hinduism in American homes. He is seeking not to replace dogmatic Judeo-christian ideology with dharmic ideas as many gullible Hindus believe. Instead, he is seeking to complement and solidify the existing dogma with a digested Hindu layer. This is precisely what was mentioned in part 1. In his own words, we have the evidence of the outcome of digestion.  Once this happens, this enhanced Christianity can be re-exported to India. Conversion in India will be a piece of cake. This is what India gains from digestion.

Still not convinced? then read further ...
"Exposure to eastern spirituality is more likely to strengthen a person's relationship to his or her native religion than to destroy it".

Goldberg has gone out of his way to calm his western audience and his publishers. This book is not about bringing dharma to replace dogma. This is about making Judeo-Christianity stronger to stem the flow of disenchanted members out of their system.

I could go on. There are nearly 400 pages in this book, and I have covered less than 25 in this post since I do not have a digital copy to expedite this work. There are more fallacies and errors to point out, but that will take up a lot of space and is left as an exercise to the reader. I will however add one final point on the comments that Goldberg makes in page 292, to illustrate the kind of lame arguments used to justify digestion.

"One physician told me "But replacing the the orange robe with a white lab coat opens it up to a lot more people". So does calling meditation a stress-reduction technique, not a sadhana for achieving moksha. We will never know how many heart attacks were prevented, or how many millions of pills were not taken, because of that decision.

There is another place in the book where a false argument of "Indian philosophy versus Western science" argument is given. Digestion of Yoga into all these medical buzzwords is justified since it gives these methods the requisite "scientific legitimacy".  Mr. Goldberg: Indians, Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Indonesians, and many millions in Asia (not just India) for centuries benefited scientifically from Yoga, without having to mutilate Yoga and delete moksha, and did not require white lab coats to "make it look" scientific. It always was scientific, and dharmic religions have never been in conflict with science. This silly justification insults intelligence.

Conclusion and Summary
Based on my study, I personally find American Veda to be a mediocre and error-ridden piece of work that directly enables, and also (perhaps inadvertently) celebrates digestion while moving toward a goal of ensuring that western society derives maximum benefits from the Hindu toolbox, taking what it deems to be compatible and useful (dharma-nirpeksha stuff), and discarding the rest.

Digestion is not an end-goal. It is not easy to spot unless you examine the end-state of the Hindu concept being appropriated. It is merely a means to an end. Usually, that end-goal is to preserve and enhance Western religion. The primary goal is neither to harm or help the cause of dharma. Rather they are indifferent to it. Impact on Hinduism and dharma is collateral damage, which authors may express regret about, but is not really their concern.

It's time we stop celebrating every new and shiny piece of work that comes of the west just because it is superficially favorable to Hinduism. That's a symptom of mental colonization. Let's first fund and support those among our own who are busting their backs coming up with high-quality work. Being brown should not be a disqualification.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Digestion of Hinduism: A Self-Study

This is the first update on an ongoing self-study to improve my own understanding of 'digestion' using the example of Yoga. This is work in progress.

'Digestion' is a term coined by Rajiv Malhotra. My reading is that it represents the calculated misappropriation of methods and concepts from Indian (dharmic) knowledge systems, which are subsequently reassembled and integrated into an existing western or non-dharmic framework with the final goal of maintaining or enhancing the latter's balance of power, and if necessary, discarding the original dharmic method/concept/source/context as redundant and obsolete. Rajiv Malhotra explains this via the tiger-deer metaphor, which is discussed in other blog posts and in his forum.

(Read 'Being Different' book for the complete and accurate details)
Fundamental Christianity, like its Islamic and Judaic counterparts, are history-centric systems. In more general language, their core is dogmatic and tied to a finite number of unique supernatural top-down intervention(s) in human-recorded history. On the other hand, Indic religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism are based on Dharmic thought systems that are not history-dependent. Dharma is a Sanskrit non-translatable that roughly means ~ 'that which sustains or upholds'. I view dharma as 'that which is essential', and Sanskrit as the best available language to explain the essence of the cosmos. Though there are significant and deep metaphysical differences between these different dharmic systems and a pluralism of their dharmic sub-variants, they all adhere to a common set of Dharmic truth claims, including Punar Janma (rebirth) and Karma (cause and effect). All these systems believe in one more forms of Yoga as a dharmic path to reach the ultimate truth without external crutches or textual/historical artefacts.

Being Different
Dharmic truth-claims are permanently irreconcilable with a history-centric core.  For example, if Christianity becomes dharmic, the idea of original sin, the need for a son of God, intermediary prophet, etc. become totally irrelevant. Dharma and Dogma are incompatible. Islam, and Judaism have similar issues. Furthermore, these history-centric religions are themselves incompatible with each other, since each rejects the other's record of unique divine interventions in history. Thus there is also a need for a HC systems to augment it's own idea inventory to appear superior to its HC competitor when they fight for global market-share.

Why Digestion and Not Complete Borrowing?
If the HC west were to attempt to openly borrow and adopt authentic Yoga, it would immediately clash with their dogmatic core, because Yoga as path of achieving self-realization, represents freedom from history and history-centrism (a full chapter in Rajiv Malhotra's book 'Being Different discusses this). Hence, Yoga in its original form, meaning, and context cannot be adopted by the west unless they give up their HC dogma. The Yogasanas may help them look better, feel healthier, but they cannot proceed beyond that to reach higher levels of consciousness without seriously comprising their dogmatic beliefs. Thus openly acknowledging and borrowing Yoga poses an existential question. What to do?

Visit India as students, humbly learn from Gurus for years. Then take a step back, analyze Yoga, de-construct it and strip it down to smaller components. Then pick and reassemble those pieces that are not in conflict with their dogmatic core, to synthesize a bastardized or cannibalized version of Yoga, and reject the rest as waste material.

This mangled synthesis of "Yoga" is initially considered as generic knowledge, and not unique to dharmic systems, but is eventually retro-fitted and back-traced to some obscure Western source, over time. Thus, history-centricity is preserved, while also allowing their followers to get real but highly limited benefits of Yoga, while still keeping them dependent on prophets and supernatural interventions. To increase the comfort level, "Yoga" practititioners can mechanically chant "Hallelujah" or "A.Hu.A", or recite the Torah instead of the essential and profound 'Om'.

Interestingly, look at the reverse case. Dharmic thought systems can happily and openly borrow from progress achieved by western science and technology since it is compatible their dharmic 'operating system' core that is based on the scientific idea of cause and effect. No digestion is required and the original ideas are neither distorted, nor misrepresented. Science has always been compatible with dharma, but not always with a HC core.

To summarize, Digestion is a method of:
1) extracting the 'nutrients' out of a dharmic concept,

2) discard the crucial dharmic constituents itself as unnecessary waste,

3) reassembling non-dharmic nutrients to synthesize a new distorted concept (rename it as "Christian Yoga, Christu-natyam for comfort and acceptance) that is of limited use and importantly, is fully compatible with history-centric dogma,

4) obfuscate, alter, or delete the original context, depth and meaning of the concept (e.g. the true, deep meaning and intent of Yoga and Bharatanatyam is lost)

5) deny credit to the dharmic primary source, and erase it over time, and even sell the mangled form back to Indians

I count at least two crucial practical benefits of digestion to the west. Let's use HC Christianity as an example.

Once we have a Hindu-DNA enhanced Christianity , there is


why? Aren't these positive outcomes?

To see (outcome 1), History-centric religion will now have all the externally observable equivalent features contained in Hinduism - Christian Yoga, Christunatyam, Christian Veda, Jesus Pooja, etc.  The myth of sameness becomes incredibly strong. The message to dharmic peoples will simply be:

For (outcome 2), the message to dogma-followers will be:

To summarize, hte net outcome of digestion is that the HC system gets stronger, and the dharmic system gets weaker. Thus a digester like Phil Goldberg will have no problem criticising conversion because:

After digestion is complete, there is no need to coerce and convert! Digestion allows HC religions claim equivalence and even superiority in features and benefits, even though they are only superficially the same as dharmic religions. The myth of sameness becomes incredibly strong.

Furthermore, since these digested concepts are delinked from dharma, existing dharmic systems will be seen as obsolete relics of a bygone era that never contributed much, and fit only for a museum. Where are the original native thought systems of Africa, North America, Australia, Middle East? They have been digested into one of the history-centric systems. Only India still remains their unfinished business, and barely so, because of the remarkable anti-fragile properties of Hinduism.

How Phil Goldberg made the Vedas Kosher
Now take the case of Phil Goldberg. His ideas and views have been covered in the 'hitchhiker's guide to BD' blog. His American Veda book deliberately makes no mention of Hinduism. anywhere. Why? This is not mere semantics. His audience is the west. His goal, as he himself has openly stated is that the western peoples can retain their existing (history-centric) faiths but be able to get the benefits of 'sprituality' (without caste/cow/sati/dowry etc). Thus, the only way out for him to be successful while also achieving this goal is employ digestion. Platitudes at other times keeps the Indians convinced that all is well and hunky-dory.

Digestion (as a strategy) relies on treating Hindus as useful idiots.

To summarize, we can now see that Goldberg's actions results in:

a) The original Vedas being stripped of their context, ideas appropriated and digested into an "American Veda" that is 'kosher' and compatible with history-centrism dogma.

b) The full meaning,and context of the original, Hindu Vedas get diminished over time and eventually lost.

c) The AV becoming a ready-to-consume all-American, self-contained reference textbook for Vedic ideas that gives it's readers a comfortable western interpretation of dharmic concepts. See how Hinduism is bypassed? This can only result in further degradation of Hindu dharma's 'brand' in the west, which Phil Goldberg does not see as his problem.

d) Any random person can latch on to this approach as a cookie-cutter to create a Scientology Veda, or a Timbuktu Veda, and sell books, patent, commercialize, and make money. A lot of "Yoga" methods have been similarly appropriated, commercialized, patented, and even weaponized by the Pentagon (e.g. Yoga Nidra). Just like the west has "paddle boat Yoga, Power Yoga, Aqua Yoga, ...".
e) Note that this digested multiplicity does not represent genuine and dharmic pluralism, since such proliferation is dharma nirpeksha (sans dharma), thereby only leading to corruption and adharma in the form of egoistic patent quarrels, practitioner injuries and disillusionment, marketing wars, greed, etc. 
f) Furthermore, since the west controls the global discourse, these mangled meanings and definitions become the accepted ones, show up in Wikipedia, western school textbooks, and eventually accepted by the leftist-controlled textbooks consumed by Indian students.

g) Net result, as Rajiv Malhotra states: the history-centric tiger has eaten up the deer, the deer nutrients are converted into tiger DNA, making the tiger stronger. What is left of the dharmic deer is a pile of poop.

Phil Goldberg Celebrated in India
How have the dharmic deer welcomed folks like Phil Goldberg?
Some samples that I am aware of:

1) He was invited to give a talk organized by Ms Nirmala Seetharaman's foundation, which was promoted by a prominent RSS intellectual/spokesperson. Attempts to contact Ms. Seetharaman on twitter prior to this talk got zero response.

2) His HuffPost article that condemns conversion was reproduced on a reputed Indian website (IndiaFactsOrg) that promotes dharma. Note that these articles in themselves are not a problem and such sites have every right to publish any material they deem worthy. However, such articles help Hinduism very little, but boosts the digester's credibility a lot. As Rajiv Malhotra tweeted "it is like Rahul Gandhi talking about evils of corruption". Does Hinduism need a 'facts lecture' from the Goldbergs of the world to tell us that the coerced conversions represents a clear and present danger to India?

3) Monetary funding from Sanathana Dharma institutions.

4) Have his book cited as an shining example of positive Hindu influence on the west, even by strong 'Hindutva' proponents, when all that AV really does is to make it easier for the west to remain rooted to dogma by incorporating useful (intellectual/textual but not the deep dharmic) benefits of Hinduism.
Note: I look forward to IndiaFactsOrg uncovering the complete facts about digestion of dharmic ideas and methods, and disseminate it to a wider audience.

Questions to Ponder
1. Do some Hindutva giants and organizations even realize that they are celebrating an end-product that is Hindu-DNA enhanced Fundamental Christianity and not some pluralistic western branch of Hinduism as they foolishly believe it to be?

2. That this history-centric Christianity running on digested Hindu energy needs even less effort to convert dharmic peoples to their side, while also keeping their own followers bound in Dogma?

3. How is the cause of dharma served by celebrating this digestion?

Not just Phil Goldberg, Rajiv Malhotra has identified several westerners who have digested (for example) Aurobindo's ideas, repackaged it to suit Western audiences, and are now paid high fees and invited back to India by big companies to "educate" their management trainees.

The dogmatic tiger's conquest is being celebrated by dharmic deer.

Part-2 of self study is continued here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Karnataka Government's 'Improper Use of Magic' Office

[updated Dec 9]
The 'secular' states of Karnataka and Maharashtra in India (both ruled by so-called secular parties that were decimated in the recent assembly elections in several other states for their unprecedented corruption and misrule) have drafted an 'anti-superstition' bill. Here's the text of the bill, and a factual critique of the bill that exposes the government plan for what it is: a lousy, unscientific, and politically motivated plan that gives a beleaguered government the right to wantonly interfere in the affairs of any religious group and attack personal liberty, as long as the groups and persons of interest belong to a dharmic faith (like Hinduism), and prosecute them legally, as convenient.

The tragi-comic part of the bill is that these "rational" governments have pretty much recognized the historicity and authenticity of claims of a person that he, and he alone, was (and will ever be) the recipient of a one-time wireless download of divine literary material from a male-only god atop a mountain, which contradicts the prior claims of another person that he was the only (male) progeny of the same god and a human mom, conceived immaculately, and who died and will come back to life at a suitable time. Note that history-centric faiths like Islam and Christianity cease to exist if such superstitions are not accepted into evidence as historically observed and verified data. Hypothetically, if Rama is considered to be a natural human being by Hindus, who then use the Ramayana solely for its ethical and dharmic teachings, Hinduism would continue to flourish. But if Islam and Christianity likewise assumed 'son of God' and 'Koran as word of God' to be useful myth built around non-supernatural human beings, and similarly treat the text they generated as human-generated moral teachings for a peaceful and prosperous life, it invalidates the very basis of their religion in its current form!

To summarize, these truth-claims of History-Centric faiths are superstition that have to be accepted as historical fact by everybody, else they die. Rajiv Malhotra's 'Being Different', among other things, contrasts the top-down History-centric thought systems versus the ground-up dharmic thought systems, and scientifically analyzes the implications, in-depth. This book is now available in Hindi as well. 

Let the full details of this debate be made public, and let the hypocrisy that defines 'secularism' in India be exposed to its gullible public - that a secular government has used superstition to go on a witch-hunt and decide what is superstition and what isn't. Now where have we read of such a crazy scenario before?

Read the critique posted above and then the description below posted from

" The Office is responsible for investigating offences under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Confederation of Wizards Statute of Secrecy. The Decree prohibits an underage wizard or witch from performing magic, while the Statute of Secrecy prohibits wizards and witches from performing magic in the presence of Muggles or in a Muggle-inhabited area. 

On receiving intelligence reports of a violation of the Decree, a note is sent to the offender detailing actions that will be taken by the Office. First-time offenders are usually let off with a warning while extreme cases may be referred to the Wizengamot. Thus, it appears that the Improper Use of Magic Office deals with offences that are more regulatory in nature than criminal, ... penalties can still be harsh.
Also, this is where the Animagus registration is posted, and that all Animagi must register with all their distinguishing features and traits noted, in order for them not to abuse their abilities. The registry is open to public viewing. Failing to register will receive a sentence in Azkaban.

Contact with Harry Potter

The Improper Use of Magic Office came into contact with Harry Potter repeatedly during his childhood. He received a warning letter from them when Dobby, ..... years later, Harry received notice of expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after he used a Patronus Charm against threatening Dementors .... The letter informed him that his wand would be destroyed by Ministry officials and he would be detained until Court notice; this appears to be the standard procedure.... 
It is suggested that the Improper Use of Magic Office attends Wizengamot Court services,... It is presumed that this department has several positions and that they remained loyal to the Ministry even when Cornelius Fudge denied Lord Voldemort had risen again. 

.... it was highly unusual procedure for a case of underage use of magic. The hearing was held in Courtroom Ten below the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic. Incidentally, it was the same courtroom Harry had previously visited via the Pensieve. It was a horribly intimidating room with a chair that self-locks when the defendant sits down..."

'Hindu Gurus' for Harry Potter,
'Yoga and dharmic institutions' for Hogwarts
'Secular Indian gov' for 'Improper Use of Magic Office''Secularist/Monotheist goon squads' for 'Dementors',
and re-read the description above. 

Of course, who 'he who must not be named' maps to in real-world India is left as an exercise to the reader. Clue: person turned 666 yesterday. Oops, mea culpa.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NeMa and NaMo

Update#1 Dec 6, 2013: added link to Rajeev Srinivasan's 2004 Rediff article "Apartheid in India'.

While re-reading the decisive role played by the great Nelson Mandela (may his Atma be liberated) in shaping the destiny of his once-divided nation, I could not help but see the similarity to the present situation in India.

Mandela was the voice of native Africans oppressed by a racist minority that was supported covertly and overtly by powerful forces in the west, and also by monotheist scripture. His people were oppressed for centuries by white rule and their native knowledge systems digested or destroyed. The system of apartheid, that has biblical blessings, was used to eradicate native black culture and rights.

Modi has travelled far, but he also has a lot more to do, but already, he is the voice and the unifying force of the dharmic, peaceful, and pluralistic peoples that have formed the heterogeneous majority of India over many a millennium. However, they are controlled by a west-sponsored Stalinist-Nehruvian minority that has looted India for more than 60 years and stays in power by the vice of divisive vote banks that perverts democracy. The intellectual wing of this militant leftist minority (who self-deprecatingly mock themselves as 'liberals') have borrowed the racist Aryan-race and Aryan-language theory that Mandela's captors so cherished, to divide India and allowed their white sponsors to intervene in India's fault-lines (read 'Breaking India'). The leftist monopoly over the discourse and media, the appeasement of fundamentalist monotheism, promotion of divisive racist fiction (Aryan/Dravidian) under the garb of secularism, the targeted shaming of innocent people over their dharmic faiths, entrapment of their Gurus for propaganda, weakening their educational and leadership institutions, the takeover of their temples, the divisive anti-Hindu legislations, the digestion of indigenous knowledge systems of its artisans and Rishis into Western monoculture, the ethnic cleansing and takeover in Kashmir and Assam, the fundamentalist Christian (missionary) activity that is destroying the social fabric in many parts of India, the institutionalization of poverty ...the list is endless. There is more than enough evidence to suggest that the dharmic peoples of India live in bondage despite gaining political independence, and have been persecuted based on a policy that looks, smells, and feels like apartheid.  The similarities are quite shocking, frankly. Let us today resolve to fight this apartheid in India.

Narendra was born in poverty in an economically backward community, worked humble blue-collar jobs and rose up the ranks despite all odds (If not for the single reason that he acknowledged his deep faith in dharmic ideals and patriotism, his lotus feet would've been worshipped by leftists and secularists, and they would be constructing his statue of unity!). He wandered through many parts of India to obtain a grass-roots level understanding of the Indian society and its problems. For the last twelve years, he has been vilified and made a target of a concocted witch hunt for the riots of Gujarat that was triggered by the burning alive of scores of innocent Hindu pilgrims, including women and children by an Islamic mob, encouraged by their 'liberal' protectors. It has now been acknowledged that Evangelists and leftists in the US teamed up to deny him a visa. Now it is also clear to everybody, except the the chauvinists, that he was not responsible for the 2002 riots. Moreover, what is now becoming increasingly known, thanks to the internet, is that this left "liberal" minority was actually responsible for instigating or participating in several pogroms (not riots) such as the one in 1984) that have been orders of magnitude more disastrous in terms of the human toll and the divisiveness it has caused to India. In fact, it is also reocgnized that Modi saved the lives of thousands of Haj pilgrims via his decisive actions during the riots. These stage-managed attacks have only made Modi stronger.

Nelson's imprisonment for 27 years is well known. What many do not know is that the US regarded him as a villain and placed him and his followers on a terror list until just 5 years ago. The decades of imprisonment did not break Nelson, but only made him more determined.


Modi, a Gujarati,  is inspired by Swami Vivekananda, and Mahatma Gandhi (who was inspired by Vivekananda), and Sanathana dharma.

Mandela was also inspired by the Gujarati Gandhi, other Indians, and it is now known, how the Hindu festival of Deepavali lit a lamp in Mandela's heart and mind during his incarceration.  Many Indians of Gujarati origin reside in Africa, and contribute to the continent's prosperity.

Nelson was a unifying force for his peoples and polarized world opinion into taking a clear moral stance on whether they were for, or against apartheid.

Similarly, Narendra has unified those who consider India to be their 'Bharat Mata', and polarized opinion - those who want the destructive western proxy rule in India to continue, and those who want India to take control of its own destiny.

Modi's idea of development based politics and dharma-based messaging is inclusive of all Indians, including equal roles for women and men, young and old, rural and urban, and is a wonderful living example of India's pluralism. He has been very clear in not blaming the present day citizens of India who are born in the religions of India's invaders. He has demonstrated his commitment to the Indian concept of dharma-Sapeksha (not the silly Marxist import of secularism, which is dharma-nirpeksha) by showing no fear or favor to any community while making policy. He has lived his talk, and today, Gujarat is the best example in India, of what a positive, corruption-free, optimistic approach to governance can achieve.

Mandela's efforts in the reconciliation of the native majority and white minority, and his work resulted in a stable South Africa that is called a "rainbow nation". He did not launch a revenge campaign against the white minority after coming to power, and instead proposed a unified model of growth and prosperity that has worked well so far.

I can go on, but these few examples will suffice for now.

Long Live NeMa. Namaste to NaMo. There are many differences between them, but both have exhibited a grace under pressure that has been unmatched in recent times.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tipu Sultan, Paper Tiger

Update: My review of the kindle book.

I just finished a first reading the Amazon Kindle edition of Indian scholar Sandeep Balakrishna's new historical book 'Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore', published by RarePublications. The chapters in the book are covered in about 200 pages - relatively short in comparison with the bloated 'epics' written by India's eminent historians, but the beauty about simply stating the facts is that it does not require lengthy justification. It is what it is. The book is very economically priced, and is a steal for the treasure trove of data it provides us about the political and social landscape of 18th century South India. 'Tyrant of Mysore' is also available in hardcopy edition and the Android-compatible digital format via Google Play.  I found the Kindle edition more convenient since one can read it using a dedicated Kindle reader, or simply using Amazon's Kindle-app or their cloud reader on a web-browser, in large font.

Note: This post is simply a collage of thoughts after an initial reading of the book, jotted down in no strict order.

Take a few seconds to examine the book cover. It has a popular portrait of Tipu, captioned using an Arabic-like font, a blood-tipped sword in the darkness, and a leg in weighed-down chains. A first glimpse of the person hidden behind the fabrication.

A forceful and insightful foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R. Ganesh sets the stage for Sandeep to let us rediscover for ourselves, the events that occurred more than two hundred years ago in South India, and comprehend the magnitude of the disaster that befell the dharmic peoples who came under Tipu's demonic shadow. The real story of Tipu was one waiting to be told. Indeed, as Sandeep himself says, there are plenty of primary sources that talk about the real Tipu, yet it is curious that no 'big' Indian historian has come forward to do the job of stating the facts for what it is. The reasons for this situation become apparent when we read about how SL Bhyrappa was sidelined by Government officials in India's education department for wanting to simply state the facts about other despots of India like Aurangazeb (the person who murdered at least 4.6 Million Hindus: New York Times). The book exposes prior fictional works, notably Bhagwan Gidwani's 'Sword of Tipu Sultan', and Girish Karnad's 'Dreams of Tipu Sultan', for what they self-admittedly are: commercial scripts of fiction, which have little correlation with the actual events that transpired. Rather, these works come across as using the standard "secularist" template adopted by Indian Marxist intellectuals ("Sepoys" as Rajiv Malhotra so aptly describes them) to create a false equivalence in the Indian discourse. Luckily for us, Sandeep has no agenda, and simply presents the facts tracked down meticulously from multiple primary sources, including the English translations of Tipu's own Farsi words; the letters he wrote, the orders he gave, the places his armies travelled to, the kings he fought, the deals he struck, the administrative methods he used - all speak clearly of a person who is entirely different from that manufactured in the aforementioned dramatizations.

Tipu's story starts with his father Hyder Ali, an opportunist soldier of fortune,  who rode his luck to become the ruler of Mysore. In this path, one finds violence and death - the description of the decimation of Chitradurga stands out. Hyder Ali who also gets to bask in Tipu's halo in popular dramatizations turns out to nothing more than a bandit who had the will and the luck to take advantage of political chaos to achieve his ends. As the reign of Hyder Ali comes to an end, we see a young and frightened Tipu, running away from battle, and being flogged by his dad. Evidence suggests that Hyder understood his son's incompetent, and somewhat unhinged personality quite early, and never entrusted him with serious responsibility. In reality, there seem to be few, if any, redeeming qualities in Tipu's personality - quite the opposite of what you get to read in his Wikipedia entry. Here, we read of a Tipu with a zeal for Islam, and his self-expressed need to impose it on a land that he considered to be full of infidels. The British soldiers were clearly referred to as 'Christians', and towards the end of his reign, the French soliders were also characterized in the same way in his letters. It is crystal clear in Tipu's mind at least that his fight was for his prophet and his exclusive brand of monotheism, not for liberty or as a dharma-yudh. It mattered little who his foes were. Brave opponents who offered heroic resistance were treated most cruelly. Gruesome torture, as one can expect, was used routinely to keep the civilian population frozen in terror.  The mass slaughter, the genital mutilation and conversions, and savage violence in the Malabar, and in the Coorg area, is a pattern that we find being repeated wherever Tipu goes. 8000 temples destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Hindus were converted, maimed or killed. All this in just seventeen years.  A small sample of the facts from the book encapsulated in tweets:

Large sections of the book are in the form of an annotated bibliography of primary sources (and their English translations), where you have Tipu pretty much tell his own story: he was neither freedom fighter nor secular hero; neither a brave 'tiger', nor a lover of languages and literature (it is heartbreaking to read how he burnt the entire collection of rare and precious Indian manuscripts and inscriptions in the Mysore palace library as fuel to boil gram for his horses). Some of his bizarre actions bear resemblance to another crazy despot - Mohammed Bin Tuglaq. In short, Tipu's fanatical loyalty was to his religion (as inscribed on his tombstone). He fought the British, but also many Indian kings and rulers, to gain more territory, slay the unbelievers or convert them, and of course, for loot. As you read through the book, the reader may be tempted to root for the armies of the despicable East India Company that finally put him out of his misery, such was the savagery of Tipu.  Near Bengaluru in Nandidurga (Nandi Hills), you can find this place depicted below, known as Tipu's drop. He followed a barbaric practice of having enemies thrown off the precipice. Tipu's real legacy, set in stone.


Tipu only brought ruin to the region he ruled. After knowing these facts, it is quite unlikely that any sensible Indian citizen today, of any religion, will relate to, or even care to associate with Tipu's fanaticism and violent methods. Now that would be a true and lasting victory for India's 'secularism'.