Science, Secularism and Saturn

In Hindu mythology, Saturn is easily the most difficult planet to propitiate. It symbolizes death, disease, poverty and all that we abhor in life.

Rationality is an extremely useful state of mind. Alas, it is not the only state of mind. Somewhere between rational enquiry and irrational mumbo-jumbo lies the non-rational world of art, poetry, music, mythology and much else. Of course, the non-rational does have rational as well as irrational building blocks, the concept of harmony in music and skilful exaggerations or logical contradictions in story-telling for instance, but as a cognitive phenomenon, non-rationality refuses to be tied down to either rationality or its opposing binary.

In other words, the pleasant experience of listening to music or reading poetry has little to do with our knowledge of sound waves or neuroscience. In contrast, rationality becomes indispensable in scientific enquiry and in societal matters, where forming explicit consensus over issues of importance is unavoidable. Hence it finds an extraordinary, if not supreme, place in our collective imagination.

However, as proposed above, rationality ought to have its reasonable limits and not just in the fields of aesthetics or art but also when we ascribe meaning to our everyday existence. The legendary propensity of human beings to interpret the infinite expressions of a limitless Universe within the rigid constructs of reason makes us unrealistically optimistic about the success of this hopeless endeavour. On a more grounded, less speculative note, the reliance on reason alone as our sole moral compass is sure to lead to disastrous navigation in social life. It is worth considering that psychopaths mostly self-identify as impeccable rationalists. The ‘Rationalist Delusion’ , with its fair share of caveats, is an accurate description of the belief system of a large and diverse section of humanity, one that worships reason as a panacea for all moral ills whereas evidence indicates that the reasoning faculty actually evolved to help us win arguments and rationalize our choices in hindsight rather than arriving at some higher objective truth.

bookThe sacred privilege granted to rationality in contemporary society can be traced back to the European scientific revolution, when long held beliefs of an entire civilization were brutally humiliated under the penetrating gaze of reason and science, subsequently liberating the whole populace from the stifling grip of religious superstition and prejudice. Descartes famously proclaimed, “I think, therefore I am” directly undermining the legitimacy of emotional and spiritual states of being.

Ironically, this apparently radical statement was an inadvertent rehash of the ideas of Plato and other Greek philosophers, who made a name out of deifying reason, long before Christianity had come about. In terms of the philosophy of science, the privileging of rationality became the basis for positivism and empiricism, which hold that any knowledge must ultimately derive its authority from reason.

Predictably, the triumph of rationality had a massive political impact culminating in the French revolution, with its celebration of liberty, equality and fraternity. Earlier, the growing trust in rationality had gone hand in hand with the Protestant Reformation and had witnessed a rift between the Church and the state, giving currency to the concept of secularism, the formal separation of religion and state.

By the 20th century, as the authority of Christianity was taking a nosedive in many parts of the west, blind faith in Jesus gave way to an unlikely alternative, blind faith in reason, marked by the rise of ideologies like communism and atheism, which are essentially Godless versions of Christianity in their obsessive urge to reduce all of history to a handful of simplistic ideas and the promise of ‘deliverance’ from aeons of oppression. Another feature that these secular creeds inherit from Christianity is a compulsive need to define an enemy, a secular Satan.

Communists profess hatred for the bourgeois, capitalists abhor communists, atheists blame religion for all evils and so on. In the middle of the same century, India ceased to be a British colony and in the true spirit of a colonized people, the country adopted a secular constitution inspired by the cherished values of the colonizer, which would not necessarily be a bad thing if only enough number of citizens subscribed to those values.

To come to an understanding of the schism between what the Indian constitution upholds and what various sections of the society believe in, let us first take a rudimentary look at the religious demographics in India. Hindus form the majority, Muslims are the largest minority and Christians are a distant third, followed by numerous other groups, some organically connected with Hinduism and others not.

Hindus themselves are an incredibly diverse polylith that allows for decentralization of customs, rites and rituals, often based on local geography and environmental constraints. Regardless of which religion they currently belong to, as a consequence of their Dharmic past, most Indians are deeply religious in temperament and therefore, many laws that are derived from a secular constitution find few instinctively eager takers. This dichotomy, though, is brushed aside by deracinated, elitist intellectuals appealing to the authority of reason, which is deemed sacrosanct.

Nevertheless, in the real world of action, it creates irresolvable conflicts in legislation and law enforcement. Imagine the emotional turmoil faced by a devout Sikh cop being asked to supervise the demolition of a Gurudwara to make space for a flyover. To be fair to the constitution, it is not a static document and has been amended nearly a hundred times since independence already but in an adversarial political environment where an elected government cannot pass regular, non-controversial bills in the parliament, expecting serious constitutional amendments that can have political consequences is asking for the moon. Thus, in practice, Indians are condemned to live with whatever has been thrust upon them by their colonial past.

It could be argued that given the mindboggling plurality of Indian society, to which modern secularism can make no claims of contribution, it would be impossible to work out a common minimum program that functions equally well for all sections and therefore, a code has to be enforced ‘from the outside’ with or without the consent of the masses. In their defence, the secularists declare that in time, such laws would trickle down into the consciousness of people and within a few generations, their primitive religious intuition would be replaced by a humane and rational outlook. This hope, other than being a product of the rationalist delusion mentioned above, also turns out to be a non starter for Indian society, which has a by and large successful history of resisting such attempts of acculturation by the powers that be, the Islamic invader, the colonial empire or the modern state. For the people don’t identify with the events of another time and place (read reformation in Europe), in which their own ancestry had absolutely no role to play.

This resentment is further accentuated by the glaring historical facts that point to a remarkably more harmonious social order in their own civilization. So, a relevant question to ask in this context is, if Hindu society never faced conflicts between the ruling class and the clergy, obviously due to its non-ecclesiastical make up, why should it accept a false consciousness imposed via hazy platitudes of secularist discourse? The most common answer is that Indian society is not entirely Hindu and it has to fulfil the aspirations of the minorities as well and secularism ensures that. Never mind the self referential circularity of secularist logic, let us now examine how secularism indeed provides a breath of fresh air to the minorities by effectively suffocating the majority.

bensonA secular state can choose to interact with religion(s) in the following ways as defined by Iain Benson, a Canadian-British legal philosopher:

  1. Neutral secular: No support to any religion in any way
  2. Positive secular: State creates general conditions favourable to all religions without favouring beliefs of anyone
  3. Negative secular: State not competent in religious matters but does not inhibit religious manifestations
  4. Inclusive secular: State not controlled by a single religion but works in the widest interest of different faith groups including non religious

It would be interesting to find out which of the above is the accepted definition of secularism in India. As the word was added to the preamble hastily at the time of 1975 emergency, it is unlikely that Mrs. Gandhi or her colleagues would’ve had the time to delve into such intricacies. But it is never too late to get to the bottom of a conundrum that is an inexhaustible source of sensationalism for the Indian media. From the above definitions, it is clear that in the Indian experience, putting a finger on one of the four variations turns out to be a near impossibility. It appears that our secularism is a ‘contextual’ secularism that changes its function as per political convenience.

The state turns positive in relation to Hajj subsidies and negative regarding issues such as large scale conversion by Christian missionaries. When it comes to Hindu issues, it becomes a neutral secular state, expressly suppressing facts through proxies and poking its nose into issues it has no business to be worried about. In states like West Bengal, the state adopts another form of secularism, that is, criminal secularism because it refuses to link appalling acts of crime to a ‘particular religion’.

Evidently, secularism in India is a false construct that only applies to the majority religion, whether it is in the form of the government control of temples or an unwarranted interference in educational institutions run by the majority community. This contextual secularism has serious repercussions for the Hindu society as it reopens the wounds that it has endured under a thousand years of largely exploitative rule by outsiders and alienates its various sections into becoming self loathing anglophiles, hardliner reactionaries or indifferent, apolitical and uninformed bystanders.

Hindus, under the influence of the dominant secularist discourse, are fast forgetting the art of speaking of their own Dharma on their own terms and it is getting increasingly common to find well meaning Hindus getting embroiled in inane debates about the ‘right’ to worship according to rules created in 16th century Europe.

Shingnapur, a relatively unknown village of Maharashtra, was dragged into one such duel between reason and ‘superstition’, when a group of self proclaimed feminists declared their intent to offer oil to the murti of Shanidev (Saturn) at the temple, a practice traditionally restricted to only males.Keeping with the arrogant trend of rationalist interventions, it was decreed that the practice was an expression of deep-seated patriarchy prevalent in Hindu society and how such discriminatory practices must end.

As expected, this was followed by a one sided assault on the temple and its unique tradition, with even Sri Sri Ravishankar, a popular Hindu religious leader throwing his weight behind the ‘activists’. No one seemed inclined to remind him that he had no authority over matters related to this temple or any other such temple in India because there is no central body that all Hindu temples align with through which he could have exercised his influence.

The Shani Shingnapur Temple technically belongs to the Shri Shaneshwar Devasthan Trust and more broadly to the residents of this village, whose many generations have adored and worshipped the deity in a particular way. Further, there is no evidence of these unique customs originating from social compulsions or tyranny of any kind. They belong to the realm of the esoteric and must be spared the jibes of secular rationality. Most importantly, the arrangement works for the locals, whose faith in the power of the deity’s presence inspires them to do away with doors for their houses and locks for their valuables, an ideal worth emulating for outsiders.

In Hindu mythology, Saturn is easily the most difficult planet to propitiate. It symbolizes death, disease, poverty and all that we abhor in life. It brings about great hindrance in self-expression and self-manifestation but only through these finite obstacles does it offer a gateway to infinite potential. The state of Hindu society for the last one thousand years also seems to have been strongly afflicted by Saturn, characterized by widespread poverty, subjugation, self-pity and exploitation by external forces beyond its control.

Reasoning (Yukti) has been a phenomenal asset for the Indian civilization, yet it has never been worshipped or put on a holy pedestal. Experience (Anubhava) has always superseded reason as far as its proximity to the truth is concerned. Saturn is the planet that grants us Anubhava. Let us not permit petty political reasons to overrule the spiritual experience of our diverse communities, who’re anyway suffering the tyranny of secularization for no fault of theirs. Let Saturn be our guide to self discovery, in Shingnapur and elsewhere.

Ashish Dhar, a Mechanical Engineer and an entrepreneur, lives in New Delhi. He is co-founder of, an e-learning portal dedicated to Indic knowledge systems.
  • Yadav

    Asish, your name and face seem familiar. Did you ever attend SSB interview in 90’s in Bhopal ?

  • Hipo

    Only i can say you have created tremendous website ‘’. Fascinating.

  • Anil Kumar Tandale

    Fed up with crypto gangsters of communists and islamists wearing mask of rationalists. Hindus also need anti-blasphemy law, so that none should dare to liberties with our religion, traditions, mythology, beliefs, tenets, ceremonies, rituals, festivals, functions, fasts etc. We also need irrational pandits to issue fatwas and death executions against every one who dares to question our mores. Then only we will be treated with fear and respect on par with other religious denominations.

  • Anfauglir

    Using secular laws to curtail temples and the observation of heathen tradition–such as christianity is now attempting to enact against Sabarimalai temple on supposedly “women’s rights” grounds–is an age-old christian tactic. The law hasn’t yet been invoked against the Shani temple in Shingnapur, but it’s part of the same agenda.

    Christianity enacted supposedly “secular” laws in utmost calculation, always framed in terms of protecting people from “superstition” etc of course (note the christian pattern), to brutally suppress and genocide heathenism in ancient Rome and to persecute heathens and terrorise them away from their religion. See the Codes of (christian emperors) Theodosius and Justinian,

    Christianity incrementally enacts persecution against heathenism: the persecution starts by looking secular until christianity tastes power and/or success (such as heathens backing down or retreating to remaining temples), after which christianity will more overtly persecute and terrorise heathens. In the end–as even Professor Chuvin summarised from the historical record–christianity even smoked out and _prosecuted_ Greek and Roman heathens privately worshipping their heathen Gods in their own homes.

    Hindus cannot afford to remain complacent in the face of what very obviously is the _same_ christian aggression. That it is christianity is apparent from its signature methods: of initially persecuting heathenism using secularism, and of incremental persecution.

    The only solution to this latest cryptochristian onslaught is for the women’s wings of Hindu organisations–and all Hindu heathen women who live nearby and/or can travel readily–to descend in massive force to surround this Shani mandiram, and wherever else they can likewise easily protect Hindu temples and their deities from cryptochristian terrorist attacks such as at Shingnapur.

    Hindu women should all be armed with _at least_ a broom, standing all around the temple, awaiting the terrorist invaders. And if the cryptochristian terrorists still dare to attempt to enter the temple site, Hindu women need not have any qualms about whacking the cryptomonotheist invaders to hearts’ content. The (crypto)monotheists deal in violence and understand nothing but violence.

    And if any injury is sustained by the cryptomonotheist would-be invaders (can’t say they weren’t asking for it and don’t deserve it), then the Hindu women can say that, being females and as the sole female representatives of Hinduism, they have every right to protect themselves–by protecting their heathenism and their Gods–from predators. In America, trespassers are even shot, with public opinion siding with those defending their homes.

    Not a single one of India’s cryptochristian ELM would dare cover the skirmish, as it will be of Hindu women versus the crypto-monotheist females, thereby bringing to nothing the “feminist” ruse used by christianity to undermine Hinduism. (A ruse probably hatched by the US-government sponsored “women’s rights NGOs” which were reported last year or so to have started operating in India.) Even otherwise, Hindu women must make sure to have posters everywhere saying that “Hindu women will resist all cryptochristian attempts to persecute Hindu temples and Gods”, and use this to launch a Quit India Now movement: that Hindus have had it with the interminable cryptomonotheist tyranny, and as a result all monotheists in India should be exported to monotheist Pakistan hereafter (or even back to the middle-east, where these monotheisms emanated from).

    Unlike Hindu heathen men, Hindu heathen women’s hands are not tied in this case, and so they can form a formidable and unassailable block against the (crypto)monotheisms and protect their Hindu Gods and temples thereby. The time for reading impotent articles on the net and wondering in desperation what can be done to protect our sacred Gods and their earthly abodes (and our heathenism thereby) is over. At the very least, Hindu women should take inspiration from these following 700 Hindu women-admittedly they were too peaceful for their own good–who courted arrest to get christianity’s evil claws away from a Kali temple site:
    ‘Temple land encroached by CSI Church – Hindus protest in Erode
    13/04/2013 01:06:49 VSK Chennai
    Erode Hindus Demand “Throw Out The CSI”; 700 Women Devotees Court Arrest

    It is the 15 acres of land in the heart of Erode, a district headquarters in Tamilnadu, usurped by the Church of South India (CSI), that hit the headlines once again. It belongs to the ancient Periya Mariamman temple, according to the ‘Movement for Retrieving Periya Mariyamman Temple Land’ comprising devotees of a Kali temple centrally located in the bustling commercial town. The Movement organised a Pongal (cooking rice Prasad) programme in front of the temple on April 4, 2013 to demand the government to throw out the illegal occupants of the temple land, the CSI in this case.

    700 women devotees tried to perform the pongal programme on the road in front of the temple and were arrested by the police. Thus the Hindus justified their demand for the temple land. The Movement is in fact a three year old struggle. (More than 3,000 women and members of the Movement took out a massive procession with lamps at Erode on February 15, 2013, urging the State government to initiate immediate efforts to retrieve the lands belonging to the temple from encroachers. A large number of women from different parts of the town gathered on the Eshwaran temple premises and lit the lamps before carrying them in a procession, which culminated on the Periya Mariamman temple premises. A unique Bandh that was total and without any untoward incidents was held on May 28, 2010 at Erode by the Movement pressing the same demand).’

    • Rajalakshmi J

      Why attack them with brooms ? Far more sensible would be test a couple of our Missiles on them.

      These media are funded by various christian missionaries.

      • Anfauglir

        I too prefer missiles: Like one of those over-the-shoulder launchers, fired straight into the cryptomonotheist “feminist” terrorists trying to “storm” Hindu temples.

        “Why attack them with brooms?”

        Because 1. missiles are hard to come by for the average Hindu who wants to protect their temple and 2. if I mentioned any other items, dhimmi nationalists will object.

        Consider the Hindu-critical, quasi-apologetic and post-heathen way certain “nationalist” articles touched on the monotheist murder of the stolen Hindu cow and the consequent chain of events. And compare with the American case:

        In America, people have shot trespassers who murdered their dogs, and everyday Americans online have unanimously praised the animal-owner for doing “the right thing” and that “they’d have done the same”.
        Yet in modern India, the native Hindus aren’t even allowed to take similar revenge when monotheists first steal and brutally murder their sacred cows, which are more than mere pets/regular family members, being both mother and SarvadevAH and Parabrahman to Hindus. In India it suddenly becomes “intolerance” on the side of the true victims: the Hindu cow and its human protectors, the Hindus.

        As if to add salt to the wounds, “nationalist” articles speak about the cow as if it were any animal and lecture that the monotheist terrorists who stole and murdered Hindu-owned cows should not have been punished by Hindu retaliation of an eye for eye kind, because muslims are “humans” and cows are “just cows”, even though we’re Hindus and for us cows are _not_ “just cows”. But then, post-heathen nationalists always argue this way.

        However, if Hindus will not raise their hand in violence to avenge our sacred cows against christian/islamic terrorism and brutalisation, then Hindus will surely roll over for everything else. Christianity and islam know full well that getting Hindus to view the gOmAtA as “just” a cow is just a step to totally de-heathenising us. The monotheists know that if “Hindu” nationalists will let that go, then they can next destroy our temple moorties–and argue that Hindus should not take a monotheist life in return for monotheists destroying “just dead temple stone”–and they can then eventually even murder Hindus’ birth mothers (“just a kufr”) and get away with it too.

        • Rajalakshmi J

          I understand. It is The BJP Establishment that has the power to annihilate the traitorous media . But it lacks the WILL. Except Narendra Modi many others like being invited to tv studios .Uma Bharthi , Sushma Swaraj , Jaitley , Advani all go mush while facing adversaries like rajdeep sardesai , barkha dutt , vikram chandra .

          Basically all are Indians. Lacking in self respect. And forever imbibing what the lack-lustre folks appearing on tv regurgitate & write in newspapers , bollywood movies & cricket mania have made our intellect very DULL & obtuse.

  • Dr. MS

    Somebody asked me…
    “Do you notice how much of the discussion in some of these boards always centers around ‘Muslim activities against Hindus’? How about some of the Christian activities…especially ‘dark skinned converted Christians’? Sweden and UK has rejected the United Nation’s judgement that Julianne Assange should be released because he has been arbitrarily detained. What do Swedes who show up at TISS have to say about this? How about the truth about some Christians, not all, in places like Tata Institute who lie that Hindus sleep with their brothers, mothers, fathers, etc., and turn those lies into intelligence report? How do these converted people with a perverted monkey brain projecting their own issues on others get away with this? How do they get high level positions in our universities? Who is making sure that these liars, cheats, and propagandists, pretending to be faculties in Indian universities, do not get investigated and flushed out?”

    What is this person talking about?
    And I have to check up on Julianne Assange issue. I did not know he was being released.
    I did mention grotesque unprofessional behaviors from some TISS faculty that I did not even know, making statements about communities with no proof or cooking up data (a dangerous trend). But how does this relate to converted Indian Christian persecution of Hindus? I am married to a Christian, but not a converted one, possibly five hundred years ago in Europe (who knows). So…what is this person stating? Is conversion, and take over of universities to control the dominant narrative some goal or something in India?

    Completely confused…please verify and clarify.

    • Anfauglir

      Documenting this revealing bit from Dr PMS’ output above, in case she removes/edits it out of her comment hereafter:

      “I am married to a Christian, but not a converted one, possibly five hundred years ago in Europe”

      The stress lies on the part where Dr PMS admits she’s “married to a Christian”.

      Explains _everything_.

      In an earlier comment, she’d already advertised how she’s married to some western person, although back then she claimed to have divorced him. Considering her use of the present tense of the verb–that she IS presently married to some European christian–it’s either one of those on-again-off-again melodramas, or she’s married yet another western christian in the interim. Not that any of that comes as a surprise.

      • Dr. MS

        People like you are so stupid you drive out smart women, independent women and those who bridge communities and cultures for the better understanding of India or Hinduism or the Indian sub continent from your own community. That is why you don’t grow for the better, defend yourself better and become stronger. Your trivial focus on issues shows how sitting in one village and practicing the same thing over and over again for a thousand years while you beat up on any woman who digresses a little bit (like a Jihadist) makes you stupid, weak, hegemonic, patriarchal and ultimately an easy victim of colonization and political tyranny. See how I am able to cross cultures and countries without losing my roots…but many Indian monkeys live in India and have lost everything. How is that possible? Because you idiots spend more time attacking women like me, weakening yourself with trivial focus and obsessions, and slowly driving out the best. Hindus in India are retarded, and most will die or get converted into Islam, Christianity and Atheism by end of this century because you don’t know how to appreciate, respect and support thinking women like me. You know only how to beat up on smart women. but if I were a goree you’d drink my urine and make me a Prime Minister. You guys are your own worst enemy, or your just a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim pretending to be a pure Hindu.

        • Anfauglir

          So you’ve gone back to your pretending I’m a male and thus “oppressing” you by default.

          How am I patriarchal, you lying traitor?

          More importantly: Why is it that on every new page where you open your mouth to or about me, you go back to pretending I’m male, when you’ve been repeatedly told I’m not? Answer: because you’re not only unable to read, but are a _compulsive liar_ to boot, who desperately needs all your naysayers to be male _only_ so you can playact at being a victim “by default” (of Hindu “patriarchy”–whatever that is), if they disagree with you or expose you for being the treacherous, poisonous moron that you are.

          Nice try. But didn’t work. For example, I’m not male and I can clearly see you’re a treacherous, poisonous, whiny, abusive moron. All of which are objective facts, not subjective opinion. And there are other Hindu women here who apparently think the same of you and would have independently reached that conclusion too. So keep throwing your tantrums. They only continue to expose you for the inept and villainous person you are: who can’t reasonably argue a single point, but has to resort to playing the _gender_ card — _even_ against other women, how sad are you? — by your disingenuously pretending that all who attack your incorrigible and unwanted moron-ness “must” be male, even when they’re female like me.

          It’s very clear to any objective onlooker, like myself, that it’s not Hindu men who are oppressing you. Rather, there is more than enough proof that your treacherous self — predictably married, as you are, to some western christian male (patriarchal by definition, and defining you as a traitor at the very least, if not a closet christian besides) — is terrorising Hindu males and females by invading nationalist sites that don’t concern you: Every time you open your mouth, all I’ve ever seen come out is filthy abuse of Hindus and Hinduism. (And your marital affiliations and personal tendencies reveal the reason, though I’m sure others had already guessed it besides myself.) And who do you imagine even falls for any of your melodramatic nonsense, despite your tantrums demanding that you be heard and be recognised as sane let alone sensible, when you’re _only_ a poisonous moron?

          Why do you continue your sham after you’ve repeatedly exposed yourself? Why don’t you crawl back to wherever you came from, you traitor?

          Also: stop pretending you’re “smart”. Unless smart is the new stupid, the word doesn’t apply to you. Obviously. Stop desperately demanding that others recognise you as smart: the rest of us have _standards_ for what constitutes sense and cleverness and can thus readily _tell_ you’re a moron. Your self-entitled ranting and your love-affair with your own bloated ego only come across as pathetic, besides further underlining how your claims to being “smart” are worse than hollow.

  • JustSaying

    Please stop using the word Mythology in context of Hinduism. It is a Hindu “Belief System” and should be addressed as such. Why are Hindu belief systems labelled as mythology ? Do you use the word mythology for other religions ? Obviously not . In this article itself the word Christianity is used and not Christian Mythology.
    Apart from that it is an excellent article .

    • Thanks for the feedback. But I don’t think mythology is a dirty word. Hindu belief system is a wrong choice of words because many self-identifying Hindus don’t believe in jyotish shastras, which gives Shani these attributes. Mythology has come to mean some sort of a primitive make believe but that is a connotation given by modern rationalists, which is precisely what I’m contesting in the article.

      • Krispy K

        The word “myth” is generally always applied to things which are supposedly not actually true. I’m not sure that its etymology really matters. So I agree with JustSaying that it should not be applied blindly to Hindu ideas, since that is merely reinforcing Western categorisations.

      • guest

        I was just checking this out, since I thought the word myth came from Mythiya…..which is a reality between truth and untruth. But at least on wiki it does not mention that connection with sanksrit (instead says its a french word, which I still doubt….since myth and mithya have similar meaning).
        IN this article…possibly hindu astrology could have been the better word here?

        Regardless, a great article, thanks!!

      • JustSaying

        Thank you for responding. I did not expect a reply .

        Words myth and mythology were very systematically employed to destroy the Greek religion and belief system. When this started happening some Greek philosophers tried to defend Greek religion by arguing that it was a belief and not a myth. I read a very brilliant article about it some time back which explained this in detail but I don’t have a copy of it. It seems to have disappeared from the web . A little digging around might be of help.

        The word myth comes from Greek word Mythos which meant speech or discourse. I have no doubt you are familiar with that. However religions who talk about recorded “historicity” are quick to dismiss oral history as untrue or false and myth is the word they use for that. This is often seen in Non-Indian thoughts and ideologies or in academic circle . Often it is used as a derogatory term in academic circles.

        Merriam-Webster, the premiere English dictionary gives a simple definition of myth as – “an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true” .

        Very often the original word and word derived from that original word have different meaning. Same applies to mythos and myth. It is commendable if you want to restore the meaning of original word mythos to the modern word myth but that should be done first and then it should be used in the context you are trying to use, else, perfectly valid belief systems would be labelled as untrue as it happened with Greek religion.
        We don’t see the words Christian Mythology or Islamic mythology or Jewish mythology, do we? The word myths and mythology are specifically reserved for Pagan , Hindus, Greeks etc, basically for thoughts that are not Abrahamic in origin.

        Many self-identifying Hindus believe in different things . Some Hindus believe in Jyotish Shastr and some don’t. For people who believe in Jyotish shastr it is a belief system . To refuse them that harmless belief system is not cool.

        • Rajalakshmi J

          You are right. Ravanan with ten heads does not mean he was literally carrying ten heads. It means he was not a well integrated person.

          Those who are familiar with the unabridged versions of Ramayanam ( both Valmiki & Kamba Ramayanam ) in their original Verse form would know. Which presupposes one knows Sanskrit & Tamil.

          Let me share what Krupanandha Vaariyar Svamigal has highlighted .

          It is generally acknowledged Ravanan was affectionate towards his sister Surpanakha. We should not lose sight of the fact they are Asuric in nature. When she stands before Ravanan wailing , bleeding with slain nose etc , such being the Beauty of The Lord & His Consort she unwittingly describes them both very honestly as the most Beautiful of all. She asks Ravanan to take Seetha for himself & hand over Ramar to her. Blood spouting from her mutilated body does NOT bestir him into attending to her. Instead he is seized by the desire to possess SeethaDevi. Ravanan is also a devotee of Lord Siva.

          Thus look at the contradictions in him. Ten heads stands for such a nature. In a particular instance we are left wonder struck as it is Ravanan who praises Lord Rama while facing Him in the battle.
          Ravanan feels very proud & blessed as he feels ” Indeed I am truly MORE blessed than His Consort Seetha Devi….I alone have the privilege of watching Ugraha Rama who is so Majestic….alas Seetha Devi is denied this vision…”. Here it is worth remembering Ravanan indeed enjoyed close proximity with Lord MaHaVishnu in Vaikuntham. A curse made the Dvarabalakas chose three births as Asuras to expedite their return to MaHaVishnu’s Abode. Those samskaras latent in him make him wonder in the battlefield ” Is He Lord Siva…..or Madhava….”.

          Likewise Hiranyakashipu , Hiranyakshan , Mahishasuran – ALL are true characters one comes across today. Anything but mythical caricatures. It is westerners who thrive by ridiculing Hindus calling everything mythology. For them even today Satan is one separate entity “tempting & tempting”.

          Svami Dayananda of Arsha Vidhya Gurukulam narrated a conversation with some American christian who was incredibly SILLY despite being a nuclear scientist.

          • Saffronwarrior

            Absofuckinlutely well put bravo. My family God Shri Lakshmi Narasimha who I pray daily despite being here in NYC. I give no fucks to anyone anywhere who dares to malign my faith.

      • Anfauglir

        1. Many Hindus adore and worship Shani for reasons apparent from the traditional stotras to him. Some examples:

        – “namaH sArvAtmanE tubhyaM”
        – “pashUnAm patayE namaH”
        – “nirguNAya guNAtmanE”

        which are very specific Vedic descriptors identifying his nature in Vedic (i.e. Hindu) cosmology. As does this reference to him:
        – “Ishvara”

        taken from a stavarAja to Shani BhagavAn, where it equates him to all the navagrahas, the devas of the ashta diks (starting with dEvapati indra), and to vishnu-shiva, gaNapati, subrahmaNya, kAmadeva and then calls him Ishvara.

        Hence, Ravi-nandana is described as:
        “ekastridhA R^ig-yajus-sAmamUrtiH”

        and so what results from worshipping him appropriately by the traditionally established and proven means:
        “saukhyam bhuvi bhOgayuktaH prApnOti nirvANapadam tadantE”

        which explains this line too:
        “yo yoginAm dhyAnagatOpi sUkShma
        tasmai namaH shrI-ravi-nandanAya”

        So, while the brother of Yama is indeed the planet that is commonly called Saturn, as well as the Atman residing in it–and hence is adored by Hindu heathens for this reason no less–he is known to simultaneously be all the afore-described also, thus extending well beyond his immediate celestial body. Quite the very same descriptions, in fact, as of his father, Surya bhagavaan–since Hindu Gods take after their divine parents entirely in just such respects.

        As for how approachable he is, Shaniishwara is invoked with descriptors such as: “varadAbhaya hastAya”, “bhagavaan bhaktavatsalaH” and, if more proof is needed why none of his bhaktas fear him: “bhaktivashyAya”

        And his whole aspect is charming and adorable, as seen in lines like:
        “sundarAya namO namaH”

        Which readily explains the large number of his bhaktas, eagerly reciting stotras and singing kritis to him and seeking darshanam of him at temples.

        2. I object to the term mythology if ever used to describe any aspect of Hinduism that is true in a literal sense (even if that aspect may _additionally_ have a non-literal sense in which it is also true. Such a literal and non-literal truth to aspects of heathenism is known to often be the case in many heathen religions besides Hinduism).

        A lot more of Hindu heathenism is literally true than modern self-professed Hindus would know or suspect was the case. It is for heathens to discover what is symbolic and what is literal. While some heathens–not just in the context of Hinduism but other heathenisms too, including historically–take everything literally, post-heathens often invert the two and gain less than nothing and waste everyone’s time in playacting being ‘heathen’ still.

  • Dipanjan

    SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR sided with the foreign funded activists at Shani-Temple !!!

    What more can be said of a 59 year old GURU who DYES HIS BEARD .

    • Rajalakshmi J

      SSSSRS is too politically correct . He is no Guru. Several years earlier when I wrote so hindu blogger residing in America & various followers of ssssrs muzzled me by telling ” not a word against these gurus….sssrs is marketing a soft brand of hinduism….”.

      So far sssrs has come up with lot of lies about his background. That he holds advanced degrees in nuclear engineering etc etc. Someone who studied with him said he was a dropout & then they removed it. He has been lobbying for Nobel Peace Prize. For that a hindu has to be politically correct & anti Vedic.

  • Savarkar’s Disciple

    Since Hindus suffer from the “SAMENESS” syndrome I have a proposal for the Govt or Wakf Board ie to give me land to build a temple where I can do PRAN PRATISTHANAM of ALLAH in the FEMININE form along with Paigambar Muhammad’s Murthy in a FEMININE AVATAR of Tripurasur.We can call them MATA ALLAH AND PAIGAMBAR BEHEN I hope my secular and PRO FEMININE proposal is accepted since all our beliefs and deities etc are the SAME.Also it could be a beacon of Hindu-Muslim Behen-Behen ideas and would help increase the brand value of Incredible India and we can use Amir Khan as the Brand Ambassador of such a Sacred Place I am sure after this Kiran Rao Khan would surely feel safe.

    • guest

      I second this proposal!! 🙂 Great idea—generates equality—in the true sense….it should be pleasing to the feminists as well…

      • Savarkar’s Disciple

        In the Bengaluru incident the perpetrators were muslim mob as the now- Deceased person’s name was ‘Shabana Taj(35)’.Now where is the Awardwapsi Brigade?Why are the Tenants of Islam not being scrutinised as to what makes them hate Woman and Dark Skinned people?

        • guest

          Ha, but we know, justice and equality was never their concern!!

    • Shubhangi Raykar

      You are very naughty. Mohammad aka Paigambar removed the murtis of Allah=God’s three daughters and changed the power structure of the tribes -may be Quresh in Arabstan and made the society male – centrist by giving extraordinary power to men and making women subservient to them. Naturally the males lapped it up.

  • The Independent Whig

    Your mention of psychopaths is interesting. The following three quotes from Haidt tell a story:

    Quote 1, pages 112 and 113, “The Righteous MInd,”

    “In 2010, the cultural psychologists Joe Henrich, Steve Heine, and Ara Norenzayan published a profoundly important article titled “The Weirdest People in the World?”‘ The authors pointed out that nearly all research in psychology is conducted on a very small subset of the human population: people from cultures that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (forming the acronym WEIRD). They then reviewed dozens of studies showing that WEIRD people are statistical outliers; they are the least typical, least representative people you could study if you want to make generalizations about human nature. Even within the West, Americans are more extreme outliers than Europeans, and within the United States, the educated upper middle class (like my Penn sample) is the most unusual of all.

    Quote 2, from Haidt’s blog at

    “American liberals think even WEIRDer, even more unlike the rest of the world, than the average American conservative.”

    Quote 3, from “The Righteous Mind,” page 113

    Several of the peculiarities of WEIRD culture can be captured in this simple generalization: The WEIRDer you are, the more you see a world full of separate objects, rather than relationships.

    Quote 4, page 72, “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt:

    “Psychopaths seem to live in a world full of objects, some of which happen to walk around on two legs”

    It seems, therefore, that the more liberal one is the more WEIRD one tends to be, and the more WEIRD one is the closer one is to psychopathy.