Checkmating Anti-Hindus Like Mehdi Hasan

Our opponents know that once they pronounce Hindutva untouchable, they could tar any Hindu mobilization guilty by association with Hindutva.

This is the concluding part of my three part series on the recent Al Jazeera episode in which the anchorperson and Islamic bigot Mahdi Hasan ambushed a Hindu activist and leader.

Opponents of Hinduism level scurrilous charges against Hindutva in the hope of putting the Hindu participant in a discussion on the defensive. Hindus often oblige by getting defensive. Hasan accused the RSS stalwart Golwalkar of calling Christians ‘bloodsuckers’ in the book Bunch of Thoughts. Even though the Hindu activist argued well that Golwalkar accorded equal status to the Christians and Muslims, he missed the opportunity to rebut this charge effectively.


1. Did Golwalkar call Christians ‘bloodsuckers?’

The correct answer should’ve been:

Hasan, Swami Vivekananda once remarked, “Every man going out of the Hindu pale (to Christianity or Islam) is not only a man less, but an enemy the more.” Now, on the surface, it appears as if Vivekananda and Golwalkar had very similar but uncharitable views of Christians. But which Christians did Golwalkar call ‘bloodsuckers?’ He makes it very clear in Bunch of Thoughts, pp. 156-160.

golwalkarGolwalkar holds Jesus in high regard and argues that Christians have not followed his message of selfless service. Instead, wherever Christians went, they have laid waste to society. They committed terrible genocides in Africa and the Americas. Missionaries like St. Xavier called for terrible Inquisitions and destroyed Hindu temples. Golwalkar points out that even in recent times, Christians desecrated the Hindu temple of Sabarimala and smashed the Vivekananda Memorial Tablet on the Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari.

He cites comprehensive judicial reports which confirm that Christians were converting the tribal people through fraudulent inducements. He cites the reports of Christian missionaries creating armed rebellion in Nagaland to fuel secession. Golwalkar points out that even Nehru had arrived at the same conclusion as Golwalkar had.

Golwalkar cites newspaper reports of Christian priests in Europe planning to bring India under Christian rule in two phases. In the first phase, all of South India would be brought under Christian rule. In the second phase, North India would be brought under Christian rule. He also cites newspaper reports of the agreement reached between the Christian missions and the Muslim League to partition India and to bring the Gangetic plain under Muslim rule and the Peninsula and the Himalayas under Christian rule.

Hasan, what would you call those who committed terrible genocides, desecrated temples of their hospitable hosts, and secretly plotted to partition India? Would you call them life givers? We don’t call genocidal maniacs like Hitler life givers. We call them bloodsuckers. Apply that standard to everyone. If Hitler was a bloodsucker so are the Christian missionaries and vandals. Mind you that Golwalkar was not talking about the Christian laity. He was only calling Christian missionaries and vandals ‘bloodsuckers.’ However, I would add that the Christian laity is culpable by not taking a principled stance against the ‘bloodsuckers.’

Note 1: Anticipate Hasan to interject with the question, “So, do you think that it was okay to even imply that ordinary Christians were ‘bloodsuckers?’

Respond as follows:

The Christian Nazis were bloodsuckers who committed the genocide of six million innocents. The ordinary Germans were not actively participating in the Holocaust. However, they were certainly guilty of voting Hitler to power, of supporting the churches that supplied the genealogical records to the Nazis to facilitate the Holocaust, and of not denouncing Hitler and their churches in a collective voice.

After Hitler died, the Christian church not only prayed for him but also effectively announced that he is the heavenly brother of Jesus. In Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Goldhagen equates ordinary Germans to Nazis’ willing executioners for passively colluding with the Nazis. In the same way, India’s Christian laity was, and still is, guilty of not condemning the foul deeds of their missionaries and vandals.

They were, and still are, guilty of empowering the missionaries by congregating in the churches run by them. So, while the members of laity weren’t ‘bloodsuckers,’ they were certainly guilty of aiding the ‘bloodsuckers.’

At this point, no matter what Hasan says, continue with your response:

I disagree with Golwalkar’s high opinion of Jesus though. Christian missionaries were ‘bloodsuckers’ and committed those horrific crimes because they followed the teachings of Jesus. It was Jesus who dehumanized non-believers and members of races other than his own by calling them “dogs” and “swine.”

So, I wouldn’t exculpate Jesus and selectively blame the missionaries as Golwalkar did. However, the fact remains that Golwalkar held Jesus in high esteem and mistakenly thought that the Christians committed horrific crimes because they had failed to follow the teachings of Jesus.

If the Christians had not sabotaged India, a patriot like Golwalkar wouldn’t have made that justified remark. He celebrated pluralism and diversity. He didn’t want to convert others to Hinduism. He firmly argued that Christians and Muslims should follow their own religions and that they are equal to the Hindus. To really understand Golwalkar’s position, you should contrast his advocacy with that of Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad.  

Jesus said that those who did not follow him would go to hell. The New Testament informs us that Jesus would torture non-believers for five months on earth before massacring them in a macabre genocide and loading them on the hell-bound cargo post mortem.

The Prophet Muhammad said the same and approved the violent killing of non-believers. Their followers followed the diktats of their respective prophets and made life on earth a living hell for non-believers. It didn’t matter to either of those prophets whether an individual led a moral life.

They demanded total submission. If someone didn’t submit they condemned the non-believer to hell. Those prophets were unreasonable bigots. In contrast, Golwalkar wrote, “A Muslim is as good as a Hindu. It is not the Hindu alone who will reach the ultimate Godhead. Everyone has the right to follow his path according to his own persuasion.” If every prophet, especially Jesus and Muhammad, had been as pluralistic and magnanimous as Golwalkar had been, there wouldn’t have been countless jihads, crusades, Inquisitions, and the Holocaust.

Golwalkar was opposed to proselytizing. He didn’t want to proselytize the Christians and Muslims. He explains this by citing an episode:

“Let me give you the instance of the previous Shankaracharya of the Shringeri Math, His Holiness Shri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swamiji. An American approached him to be converted to Hinduism. Swamiji asked him the reason. The American replied that he was not satisfied with Christianity, that it left his spiritual longing unquenched. The Acharya asked him: “Have you honestly practiced Christianity? Try it first. If it does not satisfy you, then come to me.” That is our attitude. Ours is a non-proselytizing Dharma. In almost all cases, proselytization is motivated by political or some such gain. We reject it.”

Jesus or Muhammad never conceded the possibility that other faiths were as good as their own or that they were not interested in converting others. It is Golwalkar who said it. On the basis of this message alone, Golwalkar towers over Jesus and Muhammad. The New Testament informs that another prophet, John the Baptist, was unfit to carry the sandals of Jesus. That is a moot point. However, one could readily agree that Jesus and Muhammad were unfit to carry the sandals of Golwalkar.

Note 2: Hasan would surely ask, “Since Golwalkar was opposed to proselytizing, would you reject ghar wapasi?”

Reply as follows:

I would not. Hindutva organizations should not either. I only admired Golwalkar for displaying an open mind to embrace diversity unlike displaying bigotry like that Jesus and Muhammad did. Just as I disagree with Golwalkar’s assessment of Jesus, I also disagree with his stance on proselytization. Christians and Muslims have been converting the Hindus for many centuries now. Often they converted by force or deceit. Vivekananda even called those conversions perversions. Besides, religious freedom is not only applicable to Christianity and Islam. It equally applies to the various tribal religions, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Christians have virtually destroyed thousands of tribal religions in India. We intend to revive and preserve those religions by facilitating the ghar wapasi of Christians and Muslims. Muslim women in India are pleading for the abrogation of the triple talaq and polygamy. Unfortunately, those practices, and many other misogynistic practices, are central to Islam. We intend to liberate Muslims by facilitating their ghar wapasi to Hinduism.

2. Should India be a Hindu nation?

The Hindu activist wavered in his response and claimed that the RSS only used the term ‘Hindu’ in the cultural sense. If true, that only underscores the weakness of the RSS ideology. The correct response should be:

Yes, India should only be a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina, and tribal nation in the religious and cultural sense. This interview is happening in London. The last time I checked, UK is a Christian nation. It funds its churches and Christian institutions with taxpayer money. Many European countries are officially Christian states.

In many countries, a newborn child is registered as a Christian by default and even tax is automatically deducted from the payroll to tithe the church. All of these countries export Christianity to India and other non-Christian nations under the guise of religious freedom. America is namesake secular but funds its churches through faith-based initiatives.

Every American president proclaims his belief in Jesus and they even run part of the presidential campaign from the premises of Christian organizations. Virtually every hospital owned by the Christian sects is funded by taxpayer dollars. What an irony that you all pontificate to India on the virtues of secularism! First make your countries secular and report back to me.

3. Is the Taj Mahal part of the Hindu heritage? Do you want to paint it in saffron?

As Bryan Morrigan remarked, the Taj Mahal is no more a part of Hindu heritage than the Statue of Liberty is part of the Native American heritage. Should Native Americans be grateful that the European Christian colonizers, who committed a massive genocide of Native Americans, were kind enough to build the Statue of Liberty? What kind of perverse argument would that be?

Taj-mahal-india-taj-mahal-720x1280Muslim invaders committed horrific crimes against the Hindus. Those crimes included genocide, rape, enslavement, imposition of the jizya, and the demolition of Hindu temples. Should Hindus be grateful that after committing such heinous crimes, the invaders built the Taj Mahal? The answer is a resounding no. The Taj Mahal is a shameful legacy of the Muslim occupation of India. As Gautam Sen once wrote, it was built with Hindu taxpayer money by Hindu architects. It is a beautiful piece of architecture with a shameful legacy. No, we wouldn’t want to paint it saffron. In dharma, saffron is a sacred color. There is nothing sacred about a mausoleum built by predatory occupiers.

The ancestors of Indian Muslims were Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists. They were forcibly converted to Islam. So, the Taj Mahal shouldn’t be a part of the Indian Muslim heritage either. I am looking forward to the day when Muslims would stop offering prayers at this mausoleum and the Taj Mahal would only remain a tourist monument which reminds us of the dark period of Muslim occupation of India and their tyranny.

Let me conclude this series with the following observations.

Our opponents know that the Hindutva organizations are harmless. Why in that case do they demonize the Hindutva organizations and leaders? They do so because Hindutva is the only Hindu movement which could mobilize the Hindu masses to some degree. Historically, Hinduism has not been a congregational religion whereas Islam and Christianity have always been congregational.

Christians and Muslims congregate in their churches and mosques on a specific day of the week and listen to sermons. Christian priests and mullahs mobilize the Abrahamic flock during those sermons. This capability gave the Christians and Muslims immense bargaining power. Politicians understand the value of a vote bank and the police are afraid of acting against rioters and charlatans from these communities. The Abrahamic laity also knows the power of congregations. In India, all Christian and Islamic institutions are funded by tax payer money. Often, the wealth of Hindu temples is handed over to the Christians and Muslims.

Christians and Muslims would like this imbalance to continue so as to increase their own bargaining power. In Nehruvian India, the secular left has benefitted a lot by aligning itself with the Christians and Muslims and by attacking Hinduism and the Hindus. Secularists have nominated themselves to lucrative positions and have received western funding by attacking Hinduism. They would also like the imbalance to continue. The imperial West would do its best to sustain this imbalance by funding the secular brigade because that helps weaken India and to facilitate proselytism of Hindus to Christianity.

The Christian-Muslim-secular trinity fears Hindutva because Hindutva alone provides the congregational capability that the Hindus desperately need. Our opponents understand that once the Hindus learn to self-organize and become proud of their Hindu identity, the imbalance would end. They do not fear the Hindu religious organizations because they shun political activism. They do not fear caste organizations because they fail to create a pan-Hindu cohesiveness and even impede the evolution of such cohesiveness. In contrast, Hindutva provides a pan-Hindu plank that transcends caste, regional, and linguistic boundaries from which political activism can be, and has been, launched.

The unholy trinity and their foreign handlers understand this. They fear any Hindu mobilization. So, they attempt to demonize Hindutva. Such preemptive demonization would also serve another important purpose. If there is any non-Hindutva Hindu mobilization initiative in the future, our opponents could still expediently call it Hindutva and pronounce it guilty. In fact, they’ve already created the trope for such expediency and have tested it. An incident from 2006 would illustrate it.

In 2006, a western academic wrote an unscholarly work of fiction which was presented as history. The target of scurrilous attack of that book was the great Hindu king Śivāji. This offended a Maratha caste organization which has no connection with Hindutva. They attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune. The reason BORI was the target of their ire was that it had collaborated with the offending academic. One may reasonably argue that Indian institutions shouldn’t offer a platform to western academics who are motivated by aversion to India, Hinduism, or Hindu icons.

Legal measures to prevent collaboration between Indian academics and westerners with known anti-India or anti-Hindu bias are very much in order. However, unfortunately, this caste group indulged in violent protests in which some valuable manuscripts were destroyed. This incident was a godsend to western academics of the secular stripe who closed ranks.

They promptly blamed Hindutva for the BORI attacks. They alleged that the Hindutva is motivated by brahminical bias and that somehow this bias has resulted in the BORI attack. Hindus belatedly clarified that the attack had nothing to do with Hindutva. However, the damage had already been done.

Our opponents know that once they pronounce Hindutva untouchable, they could tar any Hindu mobilization guilty by association with Hindutva. Therefore, they expect a Hindu discussant to disown Hindutva and advertise one’s commitment to secularism. Sadly, the Hindu discussant, more often than not, acquiesces and obliges. Why go on the stage if the intent is to surrender? Have you ever inquired as to what is the biggest Hindu phenomenon in the last 150 years? It is not Vivekananda. It is not Gandhi, who actually weakened Hindu society. It is not the freedom movement. It is the Ram janma bhoomi movement.

The VHP initiative mobilized Hindus of every stripe. It was pan-Indian in appeal. It naturally resonated with Hindus of every caste and region. An overwhelming majority of Hindus rejoiced when the Babri Masjid was torn down. The movement helped the BJP come to power. Hardline Hindutva sells. Diluting it in debates and politics only results in the loss of the core Hindu support. Think twice before you disown in-your-face, non-nonsense, honest stances which resonate well with the Hindu masses.
Hindus should realize that we cannot engage our opponents on the unreasonable terms they impose upon us. The days of the native informant are over. The days of the assertive Hindu who would talk back have begun. I hope the methods I have taught in this three part series would provide valuable lessons to a Hindu discussant participating in hostile debates.

As a closing note, I would remind Hindus to approach debates as one would approach a game of chess. Go prepared with a well thought out opening move. Anticipate the opponent’s opening moves and prepare your response. As in chess, do a what-if scenario analysis and be prepared for the first 20 moves. Most importantly, remember that you are not participating in the game to settle for a draw. You participate in it to checkmate the opponent.

Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based writer, an atheist, a practicing orthodox Hindu, and author of the book “What Every Hindu should know about Christianity.”
  • Slasher

    Kalavai Venkat: Dont waste your ink writing about this to catch Modi’s attention. He is busy appeasing Desh Drohis. Want to know why?

    Capt. Ajit Vadakayil has finally exposed the ILLEGAL Commie/BJP/Cogress/NGO Nexus in India that fosters Desh Drohis.

    Read this article now:

    The Captain has opened a Pandora’s Box with these thought provoking but absolutely factual questions:

    Modi either acts against this Desh Drohi crowd now or he is going to be in the dustbin of History!

  • Rajalakshmi J

    ///Indian institutions shouldn’t offer a platform to western academics who
    are motivated by aversion to India, Hinduism, or Hindu icons///

    Could not agree with you more.

  • Rajalakshmi J

    The Taj Mahal was an ALREADY existing Palace of a Hindu King. No moghul ruler built it using the labour of his subjects as is being taught wrongly in Indian history books. shah jahan USURPED the Hindu King’s Palace converting it into a mosque.

    Read the following:-

  • Sameep

    //Our opponents know that the Hindutva organizations are harmless. Why in
    that case do they demonize the Hindutva organizations and leaders? They
    do so because Hindutva is the only Hindu movement which could mobilize
    the Hindu masses to some degree.//

    You are wrong here. It is actually this Hindutva movement which has kept Hindus in utter darkness by casting Christianity and Islam in terms of national vs foreign. Note how Sita Ram Goel Ji’s article series in which he in Organizer was tracing Islamic terrorism to the Quran was terminated and the editor KR Malkani was expelled (Elst’s book BJP vis-a-vis Hindu Resurgence). And he how he recounts an incident where he advises a VHP person about some strategic mistake, and later Goel tells him “You could just as well have talked to my wall” (I think it was Ayodhya and After, or BJP).

    The reason why Muslim organization and Nehruvian secularists keep this bogeyman of RSS alive are that it first of all keep their shops warm and second it actually makes Hindus commit strategic error, viz. by gravitating towards failed ideas that RSS has to offer.

  • Vinod Singh (विनोद सिंह)

    There seems to be a typo in third paragraph from last.

    “Have you ever inquired as to what is the biggest Hindu phenomenon in the last 150 years? It is not Vivekananda. It is not Gandhi, who actually weakened Hindu society. It is not the freedom movement. It is the Ram janma bhoomi movement.”

    I think the word “weakened” should be “awakened”.

    • Kalavai Venkat

      It is not a typo. Gandhi actually weakened Hindu society.

  • Prasad

    The Taj Mahal is a beautiful piece of architecture with a shameful legacy. There is nothing sacred about a mausoleum built by predatory occupiers.
    These two sentences about the Taj Mahal are what I take home. Thanks a lot for a wonderful article Venkat.

  • krishnakumar

    The participant in any such debate require a better homework too. Normally, the opponents (mis) quote from not only “Bunch of thoughts” but from some of his other works too. Most of the objections are quite repetetive and have already been addressed by Hindutvavadins. For such queries, the reply from HIndutva side should be more nuanced and with clarity.

    Here you have perfectly demolished the misquote of Mehdi by putting forth the quote in its proper perspective.

    For a question, Whether India should be a Hindu Nation, the answer should have been……….. its not whether it should be……. India is already a Hindu Nation. And it is only because it is a HIndu Nation, people belonging to other faiths are living peacefully here.

    Every question and reference to Secularism should be met with a fierce counter attack by properly portraying the currently ill practiced secularism by explaining the double standards of this gory communal concept.

    In Hindustan, still Hindus pay Jizya. The Hindu tax payer’s money is spent for Abrahamic causes and Abrahamic money is spent only for Abrahamic cause. If at all it is spent for other religionists, it is for the clear purpose of proselitising.

    RSS or for that matter every other force of HIndutva respect the followers of every other Abrahamic religion in so far as they live peacefully and do not indulge in proselitising or act against the national interests. Their motto is presrving the plurality of Hindustan which remained so for thousands of years.

    Its not just the proselitisers or Jihadists who are against pluralism of HIndustan but also the pseudo liberal leftists as well as the secularists who are dead against Pluralism. All these forces who try to somehow wipe out Hinduism from the face of Hindustan are working as a gang.

    Since RSS and its affiliates confronts them, they want to paint it badly. It should be the other way. The forces of Hindutva should continue to portray the horrible designs of Pseudo secular lobby. The coverage of MSM along with this anti national and anti Hindu trinity of ill intended intolerance campaign and Malda communal riots is proper material for that.

    The ill treatment of ismaili shias in Baqi Sthan is appalling.
    Go through this lengthy article in Dawn by Laila Rajani.

    Today, shias are leading life in Baqi sthan in ghettos just like jews used to live during second world war time.

    And the Taliban is not just targetting shias. Even Barelvi sunni moslems are attacked there. Their procession celebrating the birthday of Prophet Mohammed is attacked every year by the opposing deobandis.

    • Kalavai Venkat

      Excellent points. Every Hindus should note these down.

      • Shubhangi Raykar

        I like your approach very much. We have to be assertive and not defensive or apologetic.

  • Hariharan B.

    Mr. Venkat, You are telling you are an athiest, but also a practising, orthodox, hindu! What do you mean by that?
    The last 3 words (even taken separately) cancels out the former! just asking.

    • Kalavai Venkat

      Hariharan, the answer to your question is nirīśvara

      • Savarkar’s Disciple

        I have just one suggestion you should have included how Shias are illtreated in so called Muslim Democratic Pakistan coz Mehdi Hasan too is a Shia and also used reference of how Shias in India can diclose their identity in Hindu Majority India while in Sunni Muslim Majority nations they are persecuted.

        • Kalavai Venkat

          Noted. It is worthy of addition.

        • guest

          Tarak Fateh has mentioned the same….(how Shias in India can diclose their identity in Hindu Majority India while in Sunni Muslim Majority nations they are persecuted)

      • guest

        Please also write an article on nirīśvaradarśana. thanks

        • Kalavai Venkat

          In fact, that is a future book of mine.

          • guest

            Great!! Look forward to it!!

          • Gavamayanam

            Hi Venkat,
            I am Ramanathan and working in bangalore as an RF engineer. I
            am also learning the krishna yajur veda taittriya shaka and some
            portions of the anga. I am too, interested in nirisvara systems. Which
            one do you follow?. Vaisheshika, sankya or mimamsa? Curious to know.
            Have you studied the sankya karika and sankya sutras? Just curious to know your ideas

          • Hariharan B.

            There is nothing like ‘nirisvara darsana’ in Indian philosophical system as far as I can see.
            And not also in ‘Sarva darshana sangraha’ of Madhavacharya. Or it may be an offshoot or another subterfuge of Mayavada?

          • Gavamayanam

            Mr Hariharan,
            Out of 6 dharshanas Nyaya, Vaisheshika , Sankya of kapila, mimamsa of Jaimini are confirmed nirishvara darshanas. Yoga’s ishvara is not the same ishvara as is in vogue now. It is in Vedanta that the prominence of ishvara rises as per the sampradaya. There are ishvaric version of the above mentioned darshanas but they are later ideas when the Bhakti movement was rising, also with the advent of the sampradays of the 3 main Vedantic schools. Do not read the 3 views of the 3 acharyas on the other darshanas. Please read the kapil sutra, nyaya and vaisheshika and jaimini sutras online

          • Hariharan B.

            Mr. Ramanathan,
            Thanks for your kind information. I have also read like that only as per our traditional systems. Hence I was skeptical about the new ‘nirishvara darshana’ as a separate school of thought (by Mr. Venkat) apart from the ones mentioned by you. Yes, Yoga’s ishvara is a necessary assumption as Prakriti cannot act on this own as it is jada/insentient and it is different from the vedanta schools. Please also note there is some confusion about samkya being atheist or theist. some say there are both versions. I personally feel it is also theist only because of their belief in the valid testimony of the vedas which they accept as self-authoritative being aupurusheya. This is as per the Samkya karika of Isvara Krishna. But vedanta is the culminating/final of all the darshanas and establishes the correct siddantha, although the various schools differ on some issues. Why are you rejecting it as it is more illuminating? But I have already read 3 schools-some generally and some deeply. More thoughts welcome.

          • Gavamayanam

            Mr Hariharan,
            I am not rejecting Vedanta. I believe in advaita vedanta sans the maya vada. I feel the greatness of advaita is “Jeevan Mukti”. But the other 2 sampradayas postulate that moksha is possible after death only.The reason i dont accept maya vasa is that if you accept maya you cannot accept the shruti as that is also maya. Thus it is a contradiction if it claims to be aastika(Accepting vedas as testimony) and to propose maya too. I think mayavada was overdone by later advaitins. What i mean is that the other darshanas are independent stand alone ones. For example mimamsa can stand on its own. But now what Vedanta(All 3 systems of vedanta) does is that it makes the original nirishvaric siddhanta(It is aastika i.e. it accepts veda) ishvaric and as a supplementary to vedanta. Same with sankya. The original kapila sutra is nirishvarik(Though it is astika because it accepts veda). I use aastika for darshanas that accept the veda and nirishvaric for those that do not believe in an ishvara of the vedanta type, to avoid confusion.

            Thus as per what i understand,

            Theism= Accepting ishvara of vedanta/puranas
            Aastika= Accepting shabda pramanaa.
            Thus Naastika “Not equals Nirivishvara.

            But Naastika=Accepting shabda pramana.
            This is my view. If you got any further insights/corrections they are welcome.

          • Gavamayanam

            Sorry a correction
            Naastika=Not accepting shabda pramana.

          • Hariharan B.

            Dear Mr. Ramanathan,

            You are perfectly right with respect to ‘Maya’ concept of Advaita which is one of its main fallacies. Apart from that there are other fallacies like logic, mis-interpretation of scriptures/part interpretation like as in ‘Mahavakyas”, rejection of part of scriptures which is not in tune with their monistic interpretation and the like. So I rejected this long ago even though the above faults I found much later only on deep analysis.

            As regards Moksha its nature is very debatable in various schools starting from nirishavara/nastika darshanas to astika/vedanta schools, although there is some similarity within the vaishnava schools. Some describe it in negative/void terms, some positively with bliss/ knowledge,etc. But for this the best thing is to study the sastras, that is, go back to the vedas, upanishads and brahma sutras to know the nature of moksha. Because it is atindriya(beyond senses) and hence have to be referred to the scriptures only. As per shastras ‘Moksha’ is defined as
            casting off of what is not natural to the soul and remaining in its true nature for all eternity.

            Acharya Madhva of dvaita school( or Tatva vada) has discussed very elaborately and deeply on ‘Moksha’ based on scriptures which u can study. I have not seen any other acharya who have explained so deeply and lucidly the sastras even though others have expressed that Moksha is possible only by bhakthi and grace(prasada) of Sri Hari which is also in tune with the scriptures (sadagamas). And there are much more things to do/acquire before one can earn his grace.

            Please also note regarding one point regarding Isvara. God or Brahman of the Upanishads is known or can be known only by the vedas as it is not possible prove the existence of God by logic or any other means. God is not an assumption for convenience. It is positive sentient of all sentients (Nityo Nithyanam, Chetanas Chetananam..) and known only by the scriptures. So are others aspects like Moksha, dharma, etc.

            So astika means acceptance of god or brahman who is the cause of all causes (sarva karana karanam) and (Brahman) as origin, sustenance and destruction of the world, etc., as per the description of vedas. but we are roughly translating it as theism. please note this also. And ‘nastika’ means not accepting shabda pramana, of course. Hope something is clear now.

          • Gavamayanam

            Mr Hariharan,
            Thanks for the explanation. But i still am not clear on certain points.
            1. Do you mean astika = Acceptance of Ishvara or Astika = Acceptance of Shabda pramana ?. Because one need not necessarily mean the other. Like for example Jaimini , Kumarila Bhatta etc are nirishvarik mimamsakas who accept shabda pramana but not an Ishvara. Shabara swamin goes as far as to state that Devatas exist only during the course of the “Mantra kala” when they are invoked with mantras. But of course mimamsakas limit themselves by stating that, any vedic statement that does not contain an impulsion to perform karma is mere “Arthavada”. So to them, the upanishads are just “Arthavada”

            2. Regarding Bhakti we do not find much pramana for that in the veda/veda angaa/darshana part(Except for vaishnava schools of Vedanta). Bhakti seems to take prominence only in the puranas and agama. But i have a doubt here (I am not condemning the agama or purana here please note). Can the Agama and purana be considered as valid shabda pramana? The reason is that there is a scope for imagination in the above 2. So will not adding these 2 things to shabda pramana strain its credulity? Also there is no strict mode of preservation of the shabdas found in them. For example everybody knows the story of Vastra apaharana of Draupadi as follows. When Dusshsana tries to disrobe her she initially holds here hand on her saree and cries to krishna. But then she realizes that she still has not surrendered to him and releases her hands from here saree. Then Krishna sends new saree’s and rescues her. But the original critical edition of the Mahabharata doesnot have it. There Bhishma stops dushasana by telling him that she is in her periods and her blood soaked garments would not be a good sight to behold. Thus he lets her go. Now the same happens in puranas with stories of Sabari tasting fruits she gave to Rama(Though not true), Hanuman chewing the necklace Sita gives as gift to him etc. Will these things not spoil the sanctity of shabda pramana?

            What are your ideas? Happy that we are having a good discussion. Also please tell me a little about yourself, if it is not offensive.

          • Hariharan B.

            Mr. Ramanathan,

            Yes, its very tricky. let me try to explain it.

            1. In the traditional sense ‘Astika’ is used only in that way. But as regards Jaimini and Kumarila bhatta the classification made by the modern scholars(incl. foreign ones) is that they are
            nirishvara darsana because they stress too much on the vedic injunctions only as ‘be all and end all’ and not delve on ‘Ishvara’. May be, they did not go into that details/debate because that will
            prevent them from their main philosophy. That is one thing.

            The second point to note it that the present sutras we have of the above people are watered down versions only and we are not in a position to know about the their original works which is completely lost. this is one drawback.So we have to dig deep to find the correct view of these authors – whether they really reject ‘ishvara’. This applies to Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools also.

            Thirdly, Jaimini, audulomi, badari, ashmarathya, etc., are referred by Badarayana in brahma sutras and he accepted and rejected some of their views in them. Moreover, some of them are disciples of Ved Vyasa the author of brahma sutra who also authorised them to write certain treatises on some subjects. So these people are probably in the vedic fold at that time. Fourthly, as I said earlier, in samkya there are theistic sentiments/versions also. So applying the same
            logic, the above schools need not be ‘nirishvara darshanas’.

            Last, but not the least, since Ved Vyasa himself have asked his disciples to divide them and write treatises on these subjects (Nyaya, Vaisheshika, etc.), may be , he knows he has to satisfy the
            thinking and rational minds like ours, this being kali yuga, before we can be introduced to the ultimate Brahma mimamsa, ie., the Brahma sutras.

            The following I saw in Wikipedia on Mimamsa which also please note.

            Relation to Vedānta
            Emphasis of Yajnic Karmakāṇḍas in Pūrva Mīmāṃsā is erroneously interpreted by some to be an opposition to Jñānakāṇḍa of Vedānta and Upaniṣads. Pūrva Mīmāṃsā does not discuss topics related to Jñānakāṇḍa, such as salvation (mokṣa), but it never speaks against mokṣa. Vedānta quotes Jaimini’s belief in Brahman as well as in mokṣa:

            In Uttara-Mīmāṃsā or Vedānta (4.4.5-7), Bāḍarāyaṇa cites Jaimini as saying (ब्राह्मेण जैमिनिरूपन्यासादिभ्यः) “(The mukta Puruṣa is united with the Brahman) as if it were like the Brahman, because descriptions (in Śruti etc) prove so”.

            In Vedānta (1.2.28), Bāḍarāyaṇa cites Jaimini as saying that “There is no contradiction in taking Vaishvānara as the supreme Brahman”.

            In 1.2.31, Jaimini is again quoted by Bāḍarāyana as saying that the nirguna (attribute-less) Brahman can manifest itself as having a form.

            In 4.3.12, Bādarāyana again cites Jaimini as saying that the mukta Purusha attains Brahman.

            In Pūrva Mīmāṃsā too, Jaimini emphasises the importance of faith in and attachment to the Omnipotent Supreme Being Whom Jaimini calls “The Omnipotent Pradhaana” (The Main):

            Pūrva Mīmāṃsā 6.3.1: “sarvaśaktau pravṛttiḥ syāt tathābhūtopadeśāt” (सर्वशक्तौ प्रवृत्तिः स्यात् तथाभूतोपदेशात्). The term upadeśa here means instructions of the śāstras as taught. We should tend towards the omnipotent supreme being. In the context of Pūrva Mīmāṃsā 6.3.1 shown above, next two sutras becomes significant, in which this Omnipotent Being is termed
            as “pradhāna”, and keeping away from Him is said to be a “doṣa”, hence all beings are asked to get related (“abhisambandhāt” in tadakarmaṇi ca doṣas tasmāt tato viśeṣaḥ syāt pradhānenābhisambandhāt; Jaimini 6, 3.3) to the “Omnipotent Main Being” (api vāpy ekadeśe syāt pradhāne hy arthanirvṛttir guṇamātram itarat tadarthatvāt; Jaimini 6, 3.2). Karma-Mīmāṃsā supports the Vedas, and Rgveda says that one Truth is variously named by the sages. It is irrelevant whether we call Him as Pradhāna or Brahman or Vaishvānara or Shiva or God.

            Rest in next. I am glad to share my personal info but please come to my email id: [email protected]. Thanks.

          • Gavamayanam

            Thanks Mr Hari(If i may call you so). You could call me Ram for short. I learn’t a lot. I could see no one explaining with so much pramana. Do you have anything on the 2nd point i raised? i.e. about the puranas as pramana?.

          • Hariharan B.

            Dear Mr.Ram,

            Thanks and happy to note that I am contributing something to your knowledge.I am going to explain all about your points. I am delaying because my memory is poor and I have to re-think/refer and then I can tell you confidently.

            1. As regards the ‘arthavada’ argument it also does not hold water because it is a common fallacy by these and particularly advaita school. Dividing the vedic scriptures- like,this is ‘arthavada’, this is ‘bheda’ sruti, this is ‘abeda’ sruti’ is totally wrong way to interpret vedas. In this regard, the visistadvaitins say both are wrong and they take only ‘ghataka’ sruti as giving the
            correct meaning of the vedas!but why they are saying this? because they have assumed a relationship between God and souls as ‘sesa and sesi’ type (sesa-sesi bhava). In order to prove their school of vedanta they stress on ths aspect alone. Either vedas are all correct or it was all wrong. The point here is to interpret them according to canons of interpretation so that it gives a cogent and unified meaning according to the context. Madhvacharya is the only acharya to tell this authoritatively and interpreted them beautifully with utmost dedication and honesty like no other.You may divide them as daiva mimamsa, karma mimamsa or brahma mimamsa for
            the purpose of your study, it is not in them. But they all tell about the glory of the supreme brahman and his manifestations/kriyas/attributes.

            2. There are lot of quotations in the vedas which overflow with bhakthi. please don’t reject so easily and so fast. It is in the vedas,upanishads, brahma sutras and very prominent in the gita. All the puranas,smirit are pramanas provided they don’t clash with the sruti (prastana trayi) literature. The ithihasas are in the higher plane even though the form now we have is a totally distorted/corrupted version. that is the principle we have to follow in this regard.So if a purana is expatiating the moot principles of vedas/upanishads then it is completely acceptable. That is the reason Ved vyasa has given all these things for us to understand atleast something about the divine brahman if not fully. Also do not the dismiss the vaishnava schools as just bhakthi schools, they have wealth of knowledge hidden in them. It is only the mind of the ‘scholars’ which is like that.They assume one is greater so the other/s, if not in line, should be like this!? This is not the correct way to judge as we have to see the real value by going inside.

            Now coming to the quotations, I can give only few from vedas/upanishads as my knowledge/memory capacity is very less. By knowing the greatness/glory of brahman certainly we get bhakthi. that’s how you have view it.

            1. Tad vishno paraman padam, sada pashyanti surayah–(Katha)

            Supreme is the abode of Vishnu, it is always witnessed by the liberated.

            2. agnirvai devAnAmavamo vishhNuH paramaH |
            tadantarA sarvA devatAH || — aitareyabrahma [I.1]

            of all Gods, Agni is lowest, Vishnu, the highest, others come in between.

            3. nityo nityAnAM chetanashchetanAnAm.h ||” kaTha.U V.13

            God is eternal among eternals and sentient among sentients.

            4. IshavAsyamIdham sarvaM |(IshOpaniShadh , 1)
            (The entire universe is indwelt by God)

            5. eshha sarveshvara eshha sarvaj~na eshho.antaryAmyeshha
            yoniH sarvasya prabhavApyayau hi bhUtAnAm.h | (mANDUkya. 1.6)

            (He is the Overlord.He is Omniscient. He is the Indweller. He is the
            source of all. He is the origin and dissolution of all beings).

            6.vishhNornu kaM vIryANi pra vochaM yaH pArthivAni vimame rajAMsi |
            yo askabhayAduttaraM sadhasthaM vichakramANastredhorugAyaH ||

            (What man,be even one with the genius to count up the dust particles
            of the earth,can reckon up the(unimaginable) glories f All –
            Pervading Vishnu,universally hymned, who holds aloft the Heaven of
            Heavens and who bestrode(the whole cosmos) in three paces?)

            I agree with you with regard to the vastra apaharana of Draupadi which is only later interpolation and rejected by the scholars. But please note in all these incidents like sabari’s waiting/ mokhsam, hanuman’s exalted bhakthi, guha’s love and bhakthi and service, vibhishana saranagati,jatayu moksham we can see the underlying bhakthi to their supreme lord. The story line may be wrong but the intent/purport of the purana is so clear. So how you say that they are spoiling the sanctity of the veda pramanas? They in fact glorfy it rightly and propel us to dedicate ourselves to the supreme cause so that we can attain satgati like them.

          • Gavamayanam

            Thanks for your answers as always full of info. Here are my points,

            1. I think the term arthvada was originally used by the purva mimamsakas to denote any Vedic statement that does not specify any direct Vidhi or Nisheda. Like the stories that are found along with the exposition of rituals. For example in the rite of punaradhana in Tattriya samhita 1st kanda 1st prashna 1st anuvaka we find the following story as quoted directly from keith’s KYV 1.5.1 translation

            “The gods and the Asuras were in conflict; the gods, in anticipation of the contest, deposited in Agni
            their desirable riches (thinking),’This will still be ours, if they defeat us. Agni desired it and wen
            away with it. The gods having defeated (the Asuras) pursued (Agni) desirous of recovering it. They
            sought violently to take it from him. He wept; in that he wept (arodit), that is why Rudra has his
            name. The tear that [1] was shed became silver; therefore silver is not a suitable gift, for it is born of
            tears. He who gives on the strew, in his house before the year is out they weep; therefore one should not give on the strew. Agni said, ‘Let me have a share; then this will be yours.’ They replied, ‘The re-establishing shall be thine alone.’ ‘He shall prosper’, he said, who shall establish the fire with me as its divinity.”

            So as per purva mimamsa this anuvaka is artvada as it contains no vidi for anything but an encouragement to perform the punaradana(Rekindling of sacrificial fires) sacrifice. I think we can blame advaita for differentiating as beda and abeda shruti. But not for artaveda, as it was originally proposed by Mimamsa.

            But somehow the puranas have overdone the concept of sharanagati and bhakti. Historically this has proved fatal. During the Muslim invasion and temple destruction, especially in Somnath and temples in karnataka, many people lost their lives and many women were raped. These people refused local kings help and said that they don’t believe in humans. And they expected Vishnu to send sudarshana or shiva his shoola. But the Vedas speak of a conjunction of Brahma+kshatra. For example, in the KYW TS 4.6.4, the famous “Ashushishana” or sukta of the battle which invokes Indra. The invocation is done and Indra is asked to strengthen and lead the army. The kshatriyas did not “Surrender” to Indra as understood today. But they fought with the power of Indra. The Vedic approach seems more pragmatic.

          • Hariharan B.

            I am not aware of the rite you were mentioning in tattriya samhita.
            I have to study it deeply to offer any comment on that. I feel that
            you are telling about the ritualistic portion contained therein.
            Again you are reading from the translation of Keith, an foreign
            indologist who are not in a position to understand our ancient
            system and have lot of other motives. So they cannot be called as
            ‘apta vakyas’ , ie., correct person to elucidate honestly.

            But I will tell you in general about the vedic interpretation,
            The Vedic suukta-s are generally accepted to have 3 meanings,based on the canons of interpretational rules:

            1. Adibhautika — regarding the external world
            2. Adidaivika — regarding the diety which controls the
            3. Adhyaatmika — regarding the universal spirit or Supreme Deity

            While Sayana and others, europeans included, just follow the
            ritualistic interpretation others like Yaskha in his Nirukta has
            referred to the three fold interpretaion, adhibautic, adhidaivic and
            adhyatmic and this practice has been recognised for a very long
            time. Modern scholar Sri Aurobindo has also accepted the deep
            esoteric meanings of the riks. the rishis also are not ordinary
            people and were called seers not creators and the mantras have other world origin. The rishis refer to inner ocean, Antah Samudra or Supreme Ether, Paramam Vyoma from where they received the riks.

            To illustrate the 3 modes of interpretation let us take the first
            rik of the Rig Veda. “Agnim ile purohitam..” In the outward ritual
            sacrifice fire is to be worshipped first. Next the the deity
            controllng the fire aspect fire- god is to be worshipped. And lastly
            the supreme brahman who is immanent in all is to be praised and
            inward sacrifice to made for atma jnana. If you see the Usha sukta,
            it means first and physical dawn, then the Deity Ushas and finally
            the dawn of atmic knowledge.

            But the purva mimamsakas are fixated in rituals because the mere
            recitation in the proper way brings all benefits and happiness
            because the vedas are eternal and contains ‘apurtava’and brings
            ‘athrista’, ie., unseen merits. So this cannot be questioned they
            reject all others as speculative, discursive and arthavada, may be.
            But the benefit nevertheless accrues to the performer as per his
            mental make-up, capacity and spiritual understanding. Even brahmna jnana is also possible by proper rituals by proper attunement and sacrifice.

            And regarding saranagati and bhakti, I think you are linking this
            with something else and try to understand and determine their
            importance in spiritual sadhana. You are going into the realm of
            politics/history and through that lens you are seeing this concept
            of bhakti which is unfair. Professing one thing is one and
            practically implementing day to day activities including political
            activities is totally another.See how practical is islam and
            christian people in world affairs? They rule the world by their
            practical approach which also include adopting horrible means.
            Hindus on the other hand and totally impractical and apply all
            concepts wrongly. The point is the kshatriya spirit is not there and
            they have all migrated very early in the history. So naturally we
            have only cowardly/impotent/vain people to rule this great nation.

            Please also note the bhagavat gita, a prasthana trayi eulogising bhakthi and saranagati very prominently with lot of philosophical points and complicated discussions. Also note the purusha suktha, vishnu sukta, narayana upanishad, etc., all eulogising the supreme being which inculcates bhakthi in our thought, act and deed. And puranas follow the same lead and explain the tradition in a juicy way for common man understanding. rest later.

          • Gavamayanam

            One more point i wanted to make. In the Taittriya due to admixture of Samhita(Mantra portions) and Brahmanas are mixed. So i think it would be difficult to give adidaivika explanation for them i think

          • Gavamayanam

            Thanks for your reply. I checked with sayana bhashya and it is almost the same. Just used keith as it was easy to quote it. We can continue our conversations on mails as we are overflowing this with our comments. Whats your opinion sir?

      • Gavamayanam

        Hi Venkat,
        I am Ramanathan and working bangalore as an RF engineer. I am also learning the krishna yajur veda taittriya shaka and some portions of the anga. I am too interested in nirisvara systems. Which one do you follow?. Vaisheshika, sankya or mimamsa? Curious to know. Have studies the sankya karika and sankya sutraS?

      • Hariharan B.

        So that means you are either a jaina or buddhist? Right? Because other darsanas fall into theist trap.