Riddle In Hinduism








Appendix I : The Riddle of the Vedas

Appendix II : The Riddle of the Vedanta

Appendix III : The Riddle of the Trimurti

Appendix IV : II Smarth Dharma

Appendix V : The Infallibility of the Vedas






The Vedas are the sacred Books of the Hindus. There are several questions that arise in connection with them. What is their origin, who is their author, what is their authority, these are some of them (questions).

To begin with the first. According to the Hindus they are Sanatana which means that they are "eternally pre-existing". There is no justification for this view unless it be based upon a statement which occurs in the Atharva-Veda. It says*[f1] :

"From Time the Rig verses sprang; the Yajus sprang from Time". But there are other views quite opposed to this. Starting from the Atharva-Veda it must be noted that besides this view there are two other views propounded in that Veda. The first of these is not very intelligent and may be given in its own language which runs as follows[f2] :

"Declare who that Skambha (supporting principle) is in whom the primeval rishis, the rich, saman, and yajush, the earth, and the one rishi, are sustained. . . . . 20. Declare who is that Skambha from whom they cut off the rich verses, from whom they scraped off the yajush, of whom the saman verses are the hairs and the verses of Atharvan and Angiras the mouth".

The second explanation given in the Atharva-Veda is that the Vedas sprang from Indra[f3] .

Explanation of the Rig-Veda is to be found in the Purusha-Sukta. According to it there was a universal sacrifice in which the victim was the mystical being called Purusha and it is out of the sacrifice of this


This is a consolidated chapter on the Riddle of the Vedas dealing with most of the subjects discussed by the author in the earlier chapter Nos. 2 to 6 of this book. In all there are 61 typed pages bearing no corrections at all. This copy is a typed carbon copy.—Ed.


Purusha that the three Vedas namely Rig, Saman and Yajur came into being.

The Sam-Veda and the Yajur-Veda make no reference to the origin of the Vedas.

Proceeding to the writings called Brahmanas we find attempts to explain the origin of the Vedas in the Satapatha Brahmana, the Taitteriya Brahmana, Aitareya Brahmana and Kaushitaki Brahmana.

The Satapatha Brahmana has a variety of explanations. It attributes the origin of the Vedas to Prajapati. According to it Prajapati by his austerity created three worlds—Earth, Air and Sky. He infused warmth into these three worlds. From them, thus heated, three lights were produced,—Agni (Fire), Vayu (wind) and Surya (the sun). From them so heated the three Vedas were produced,—the Rig-Veda from Agni, the Yajur-Veda from Vayu and Sam-Veda from the Sun.

This is also the explanation given by the Aitereya and the Kaushitaki Brahmana.

The Satapatha Brahmana gives another variant[f4]  of this explanation of the origin of the Veda from Prajapati. The explanation is that Prajapati created the Vedas from waters. Says the Satapatha Brahmana—

"This Male Prajapati, desired, 'May I multiply, may I be propagated '. He toiled in devotion he practised austere-fervour. Having done so he first of all created sacred knowledge, the triple Vedic science. This became a basis for him. Wherefore men say, 'sacred knowledge is the basis of this universe.'  Hence after studying the Veda a man has a standing ground; for sacred knowledge is his foundation. Resting on this basis he (Prajapati) practised austere fervour. 9. He created the waters from Vach (speech), as their world. Vach was his; she was created. She pervaded all this whatever exists. As she pervaded (apnot), waters were called 'apah'. As she covered (avrinot) all, water was called 'var'. 10. He desired, 'May I be propagated from these waters." Along with this triple Vedic science he entered the waters. Thence sprang an egg. He gave it an impulse: and said, let there be, let there be, let there be again '. Thence was first created sacred knowledge, the triple Vedic science. Wherefore men say, 'Sacred knowledge is the first-born thing in this universe. Moreover, it was sacred knowledge which was created from that Male in front, wherefore it was created as his mouth. Hence they say of a man learned in the Veda, ' He is like Agni; for the sacred knowledge is Agni's mouth?".

"As from a fire made of moist wood various modifications of smoke proceed, so is the breathing of this great being; the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharv-angirases, the Itihasas, Puranas, science, the Upanishads, verses (slokas), aphorisms, comments of different kings—all these are his breathings". There is a third explanation[f5]  given in the Satapatha Brahmana:

" I settle thee in the ocean as they seat " Mind is the ocean. From the mind-ocean with speech for a shovel the gods dug out the triple Vedic science. Hence this verse has been uttered: ' May the brilliant deity to-day know where they placed that offering which the gods dug out with sharp shovels. Mind is the ocean; speech is the sharp shovel; the triple Vedic science is the offering. In reference to this the verse has been uttered. He settles it in Mind". The Taitteriya-Brahmana has three explanations to offer. It speaks of the Vedas as being derived from Prajapati. It also says Prajapati created King Soma and after him the three Vedas were created[f6] . This Brahmana has another explanation[f7]  quite unconnected with Prajapati. According to it:

"Vach (speech) is an imperishable thing, and the first-born of the ceremonial, the mother of the Vedas, and the centre-point of immortality. Delighting in us, she came to the sacrifice. May the protecting goddess be ready to listen to my invocation, she whom the wise rishis, the composers of hymns, the gods, sought by austere-fervour, and by laborious devotion."

To crown all this the Taitteriya Brahmana offers a third explanation. It says that the Vedas came from the beard of Prajapati.

Legends regarding the origin of the Vedas are also to be found in the Upnishads.

The legend recorded in the Chhandogya Upanishad is the same as that found in the Satapatha Brahmana—namely that the Rig-Veda originated from Agni, Yajus from Vayu and Sam from the Sun.

The Brahad Aranyaka Upanishad which is a part of the Satapatha Brahmana, records quite a different legend. It says:

" Prajapati (identified with Death, or the Devourer) is said to have produced Vach (speech), and through her, together with soul, to have created all things, including the Vedas."

" By that speech and that soul he created all things whatsoever, rich, yajush, and saman texts, metres, sacrifices, creatures, and animals. The three Vedas are (identifiable with) these three things (speech, mind and breath). Speech is the Rig-veda, mind the Yajur-veda, and breath the Sama-veda." Coming to the Smritis there are two theories as to the origin of the

Vedas to be found in the Manu Smriti. In one place it is said that the Vedas were created by Brahma:

" He (Brahma) in the beginning fashioned from the worlds of the Veda the several names, functions and separate conditions of all (creatures). That Lord also created the subtle host of active and living deities, and of Sadhyas, and eternal sacrifice, he drew forth from Agni, from Vayu, and from Surya, the triple eternal Veda, distinguished as Rich, Yajush, and Saman." In another place he seems to accept the story of Prajapati being the originator of the Vedas as would be evident from the following':

" Prajapati also milked out of the three Vedas the letters a, u and m, together with -the words bhuh, bhuvah and svar. The same supreme Prajapati also milked from each of the three Vedas one of the (three) portions of the text called savitri (or gayatri), beginning with the word tat....... The three great imperishable particles (bhuh, bhuvah, svar) preceded by om, and the gayatri of three lines, are to be regarded as the mouth of Brahma ". It is also interesting to note what the Puranas have to say about the origin of the Vedas. The Vishnu Purana says:

" From his eastern mouth Brahma formed the gayatri, the rich verses, the trivrit, the samarathantara, and of sacrifices, the agnishtoma. From his southern mouth he created the yajush verses the trishtubh metre, the panchadasa stome, the vrihat-saman and the ukthya. From his western mouth he formed the saman verses, the jagati metre, the saptadasa-stome, the vairupa, and the atiratra. From his northern mouth he framed the ekavinsa, the atharvan, the aptoryaman, with the annushtubh and biraj metres"

The Bhagvat Purana says:

"Once the Vedas sprang from the four-faced creator, as he was meditating ' how shall I create the aggregate world as before?'. . . . . . He formed from his eastern and other mouths the Vedas called rich, yajush, saman, and atharvan, together with praise, sacrifice, hymns, and expiration ".

The Markandeya Purana says:

" From the eastern mouth of Brahma, who sprang by an imperceptible birth from that divided egg, there suddently issued first of all the Rich verses, 2. resembling China roses, brilliant in appearance, internally united, though separated from each other, and characterized by the quality of passion (rajas). 3. From his southern mouth came, unrestrained, the Yajush verses of the colour of gold, and disunited. 4. From the western mouth of the supreme

Brahma appeared the Saman verses and the metres. 5 and 6. From the northern mouth of the Vedas (Brahma) was manifested the entire Atharvana of the colour of black bees and collyrium, having a character at once terrible and not terrible, capable of neutralising the arts of enchanter pleasant, characterized by the qualities both of purity and darkness, and both beautiful and the contrary. 7. The verses of the Rich are distinguished by the quality of passion (rajas), those of the Yajush by purity (satva), those of the Saman by darkness (tamas), and those of the Atharvan by both darkness and purity."

The Harivamsa supports both theories that of Brahma and Prajapati:

"For the emancipation of the world, Brahma, sunk in contemplation, issuing in a luminous form from the region of the moon, penetrated into the heart of Gayatri, entering between her eyes. From her there was then produced a quadruple being in the form of a Male, lustrous as Brahma, undefined, eternal, undecaying devoid of bodily senses or qualities, distinguished by the attribute of brilliancy, pure as the rays of the moon, radiant, and emboidied in letters. The god fashioned the Rigveda, with the Yajush from his eyes, the Sama-veda from the tip of his tongue, and the Atharvan from his head. These Vedas, as soon as they are born, find a body (kshetra). Hence they obtain their character of Vedas, because they find (vindanti) that abode. These Vedas then create the pre-existent eternal brahma (sacred science), a Male of celestial form, with their own mind-born qualities ".

It also accepts Prajapati as the origin. It says that when the Supreme being was intent on creating the Universe, Hiranyagarbha, or Prajapati, issued from his mouth, and was desired to divide himself—a process which he was in great doubt how he should effect; the Harivarnsa proceeds:

" While he was thus reflecting, the sound ' om ' issued from him, and resounded through the earth, air, and sky. While the god of gods was again and again repeating this, the essence of mind, the vashatkara proceeded from his heart. Next, the sacred and transcendent vyahritis, (bhuh, bhuvah, svar), formed of the great smiriti, in the form of sound, were produced from earth, air, and sky. Then appeared the goddess, the most excellent of metres, with twenty-four syllables (the gayatri). Reflecting on the divine text (beginning with) "tat", the Lord formed the savitri. He then produced all the Vedas, the Rich, Saman, Atharvan, and Yajush, with their prayers and rites."

Here we have eleven different explanations regarding the origin of the Vedas—(1) as originating from the mystical sacrifice of Purusha, (2) as resting on Skambha (3) as cut of scrapped off from him, as being his hair, and his mouth, (4) as springing from Indra, (5) as produced from Time, (6) as produced from Agni, Vayu and Surya, (7) as springing from Prajapati, and the Waters, (8) as being the breath of Brahma, (9) as being dug by the Gods out of the mind-ocean, (10) as being the hair of Prajapati's beard and (II) as being the Offspring of Vach.

This bewildering multiplicity of answers to a simple question is a riddle. The writers who have come forward to furnish these answers are all Brahmins. They belong to the same Vaidic School of thought. They alone were the guardians of the ancient religious lore. Why should such a coherent body of scholars should have given such incoherent and chaotic answers to a very simple question?


Who is the author of the Vedas ? The belief of the Hindus is that the Vedas are supernatural productions. To use the technical term the Vedas are Apaurusheya i.e. made by a non-human agency.

What is the evidence in support of this dogma? Among the Ancient Sanskrit literature there is a class of works called Anukramanis. They are systematic indices to various portions of the Ancient Vedic literature. Every Veda has an Anukramani, sometimes more than one Anukramani. Seven Anukramanis for the Rig-Veda are known to be in existence, five by Shaunaka, one by Katyayana and one by an unknown author. For the Yajur-Veda there exist three Anukramanis, one for each of the three Shakhas, Atreyi, Charayaniyas, and Madhyandina. For the Sam-Veda there are two Anukramanis, one is called Arsheya-Brahmana and the other is known by the name Parishistas. One Anukramani to the Atharva-Veda is known to exist. Its title is Brihat-Sarvanukramani.

The most perfect Anukramani according to Prof. Max-Muller is Katyayana's Sarvanukramani to the Rig-Veda. Its importance lies in the fact that it gives (1) the first words of each hymn, (2) the number of verses, (3) the name and the family of the Rishi who composed it, (4) the names of the deities and (5) the metres of every verse. What emerges from a reference to the Sarvanukramani is that the Rishis are the Authors of the hymns which make up the Rig-Veda. The Rig-Veda therefore on the evidence of the Anukramani cannot but be regarded as a man-made work. The same must be the conclusion regarding the other Vedas.

That the Anukramanis are realistic is proved by many passages in the Rig-Veda in which the Rishis describe themselves as the composers of the hymns.

Below are given a few of such passages:

"The Kanvas make a prayer to you; hear well their invocations." Thus, O Indra, yoker of steeds, have the Gotamas made hymns for thee efficaciously."

"This hymn has efficaciously been made to you, 0 opulent Asvins, by the Manas."

"These magnifying prayers, (this) hymn, 0 Asvins, the Gritsamadas have made for you."

"Aspiring to heaven, the sage Kusikas have made a hymn with praises to thee, 0 Indra."

"Nodhas, descendant of Gotama, fashioned this new hymn for (thee), Indra, who art of old, and who yokest thy steeds."

" Thus, 0 hero, have the Gritsamadas, desiring succour, fashioned for thee a hymn, as men make works."

"The sages generated an efficacious production and a prayer of Indra."

" These hymns, Agni, generated for thee, celebrate thy bounty in cows and horses."

" Our father hath discovered (or invented) this great, seven-headed hymn, born of sacred truth; Ayasya, friend of all men, celebrating Indra, has generated the fourth song of praise."

" We, the Rahuganas, have uttered to Agni honied speech; we incessantly laud him with eulogies."

"Thus, all ye Adityas, Aditi, and ye ruling powers, has the wise son of Plati magnified you. The celestial race has been lauded by the immortal Gaya."

" He it is whom they call a rishi, a priest, a pious sacrificer, a chaunter of prayers, a reciter of hymns; he it is who knows the three bodies of the brilliant (Agni),—the man who is most prominent in bestowing gifts."

Apart from the evidence of the Anukramanis there is another sort of evidence which mistakes against the theory of the Vedas being Apaurushya. The Rishis themselves have treated the Vedas as a human and as a historical product. The hymns of Rig-Veda distinguish between ancient and modern Rishis. Here are a few of them:

"Agni, who is worthy to be celebrated by former, as well as modern rishis, will bring the gods hither." "The former rishis who invoked thee for succour." "Hear the hymn of me this modern sage, of this modern (sage)."

" Indra, as thou hast been like a joy to former worshippers who praised thee, like waters to the thirsty, I invoke thee again and again with this hymn."

"The ancient rishis, resplendent and sage, have placed in front of them (Brihaspati) with gladdening tongue".

" Neither the ancients nor later men, nor any modern man, has attained to (conceive) thy prowess, O Madhavan."

"As (Indra's) former worshippers were (may we be) blameless, irreproachable, and unharmed."

" For now, 0 energetic god, men are thy worshippers, as the ancients born of old and the men of the middle and later ages have been thy friends. And, 0 much-invoked, think of the most recent of all ".

"to Him (Indra) our ancient fathers, the seven Navagva sages, desiring food, (resorted) with their hymns."

"Glorified by our newest hymn, do thou bring to us wealth and food with progeny"

A close study of the Rig-Veda will show that the Rig-Veda itself makes a distinction between old hymns and new hymns. Some of them are given below:

"Glorified by our newest hymn, do thou bring to us wealth and food with progeny."

" Agni, thou hast announced (or do thou announce) among the gods this our offering, our newest hymn ".

"Through our new hymns, do thou, vigorous in action, destroyer of cities, sustain us with invigorating blessings."

" I bring to Agni, the son.of strength, a new and energetic hymn, a production of thought uttered by the voice (vachah) ".

"I present to the mighty protector a mental production, a new utterance (now) springing up ".

" May the new prayer impel thee, the heroic, well-accounted, the loud-thundering to succour us."

" I seek life, the ancients, to stimulate thee the ancients, with a new hymn."

" May the new hymns made to praise you, may these prayers gratify you."

" Sing, O Sobhari, with a new hymn to these youthful, vigorous, and brilliant (gods)."

" Indra, slayer of Vrittra, thunderer, invoked of many, we (thy) numerous (worshippers) bring to thee, as thy hire, hymns which never before existed."


"I will address to this ancient (deity) my new praised, which he desires; may he listen to us."

" Desiring horses, cattle and wealth, we invoke thee to approach us."

Given this abundance of evidence to prove the human origin of the Vedas it is a riddle to find that the Brahmins should so strenuously propagate so extravagent view that the Vedas are of supernatural origin. What made the Brahmins propagate such a view?


What is the authority of the Vedas ? With regard to this there prevail two distinct dogmas amongst the Hindus. The first is that the Vedas are eternal. Stopping to examine this dogma the question is what justification is there for such a view? If the Hindus believed that the Vedas were the most ancient works in the world no one can have any quarrel with them. But there is nothing to justify the extraordinary proposition that they are eternal in the sense that they had no beginning in time. Once it is established that the Rishis are the makers of the Vedas it needs no additional proof to establish that the Vedas have a beginning in time which must coincide with the existence of the Rishis. Given that the Rishis are the authors of the Vedas the dogma as to their eternal character is an absurdity.

The dogma is sought to be sustained by a series of reasoning which is no less absurd.

In the first place let it be noted that this dogma does not rest on the ground that the Vedas are created by God. That was the view of one school of philosophers called Naiyayiks. But strange as it may appear Jaimini the author of the Purva Mimansa whose views on this subject have become the dogmas of the Hindus was not prepared to accept this ground. The following quotation from the Mimansakas is worthy of note:

"But (asks the Mimansaka) how can the Veda have been uttered by the incorporeal Paramesvara (God), who has no palate or other organs of speech, and therefore cannot be conceived to have pronounced the letters (of which it is composed)? This object (answers the Naiyayika) is not happy, because, though Parameshvara is by nature incorporeal, he can yet, by way of sport,  assume a body, in order to show kindness to his devoted worshippers. Consequently the arguments in favour of the doctrine that the Veda had no personal author are inconducive.

" I shall now (says the Mimansaka) clear up all these difficulties. What is meant by this Paurusheyatva ('derivation from a personal author') which it is sought to prove? Is it (1) mere procession from a person (purusha) like the procession of the Veda from persons such as ourselves, when we daily utter it? or (2) is it the arrangement—with a view to its manifestation—of knowledge acquired by other modes of proof, in the sense in which persons like ourselves compose a treatise? If the first meaning be intended, there will be no dispute. If the second sense be meant, I ask whether the Veda is proved (to be authoritative) in virtue (a) of its being founded on inference, or (b) of its being founded on supernatural information? The former alternative (a) (i.e. That the Veda derives its authority from being founded on inference) cannot be correct, since this theory breaks down, if it be applied to the sentences of the Malati Madhava or any other secular poem (which may contain inferences destitute of authority). If, on the other hand, you say (b) that the contents of the Veda are distinguished from those of other books having authority, this explanation also will fail to satisfy a philosopher. For the word of the Veda is (defined to be) a word which proves things that are not provable by any other evidence. Now if it could be established that this Vedic word did nothing more than prove things that are provable by other evidence, we should be involved in the same sort of contradiction as if a man were to say that his mother was a barren woman. And even if a man were conceded that (in that case) he should perceive things beyond the reach of the senses, from the want of any means of apprehending objects removed from him in place, in time, and in nature. Nor is it to be thought that his eyes and other senses alone would have the power of producing such knowledge since men can only attain to conceptions, corresponding with what they have perceived. This is what has been said by the Guru (Prabhakara) when he refutes (this supposition of) an omniscient author: 'Whenever any object is perceived (by the organ of sight) in its most perfect exercise, such perception can only have reference to the vision of something very distant or very minute, since no organ can go beyond its own proper objects, as e.g. the ear can never become cognizant of form. Hence the authority of the Veda does not arise in virtue of any supernatural information (acquired by the Deity) in a corporeal shape."

What is then the reasoning on which this dogma of the eternity of the Veda is founded? The reasoning can be best appreciated if I give it in the very words of Jaimini's Purva Mimansa.

" In the preceding aphorism it was declared that the connection of words and their meanings is eternal. Desiring now to prove that this (eternity of connection) is dependent on the eternity of words (or sound), he begins by setting forth the first side of the question, viz., the doctrine of those who maintain that sound is not eternal."

" Some, i.e. the followers of the Nyaya philosophy, say that sound is a product, because we see that it is the result of effort, which it would not be if it were eternal."

"That it is not eternal, on account of its transitoriness, i.e. because after a moment it ceases to be perceived."

"Because, we employ in reference to it the expression 'making', i.e. we speak of ' making ' a sound ".

"Because it is perceived by different persons at once, and is consequently in immediate contact with the organs of sense of those both far and near, which it could not be if it were one and eternal ".

" Because sounds have both an original and a modified form; as e.g. in the case of dadhi atra, which is changed into dadhya atra, the original letter being altered into by the rules of permutation. Now, no substance which undergoes a change is eternal. Because sound is augmented by the number of those who make it. Consequently the opinion of the Mimansaka, who say that sound is merely manifested, and not created, by human effort, is wrong, since even a thousand manifesters do not increase the object which they manifest, as a jar is not made larger by a thousand lamps." These objections against the Mimansaka theory that sound is manifested, and not created, by those who utter it, are answered in the following Sutras:

"But, according to both schools, viz., that which holds sound to be created, and that which regards it as merely manifested, the perception of it is alike momentary. But of these two views, the theory of manifestation is shown in the next aphorism to be the correct one." The non-perception at any particular time, of sound, which, in reality, perpetually exists, arises from the fact that the utterer of sound has not come into contact with his object, i.e. sound. Sound is eternal, because we recognise the letter k, for instance, to be the same sound which we have always heard, and because it is the simplest method of accounting for the phenomenon to suppose that it is the same. The still atmosphere which interferes with the perception of sound, is removed by the conjunctions and disjunctions of air issuing from a speaker's mouth, and thus sound (which always exists though unperceived) becomes perceptible. This is the reply to the objection of its 'transitoriness'."

" The word ' making ' sounds, merely means implying or uttering them ".

" One sound is simultaneously heard by different persons, just as one Sun is seen by them at one and the same time. Sound, like the Sun, is a vast, and not a minute object, and thus may be perceptible by different persons, though remote from one another."

" The letter y, which is substituted for i in the instance referred to under Sutra 10, is not a modification of i, but a distinct letter. Consequently sound is not modified."

" It is an increase of ' noise ', not of sound, that is occasioned by a multitude of speakers. The word ' noise ' refers to the ' conjunctions ' and 'disjunctions' of the air which enter simultaneously into the hearer's ear from different quarters; and it is of these that an increase takes place ".

" Sound must be eternal, because its utterance is fitted to convey a meaning to other persons. If it were not eternal (or abiding), it would not continue till the hearer had learned its sense, and thus he would not learn the sense, because the cause had ceased to exist."

"Sound is eternal, because it is in every case correctly and uniformly recognized by many persons simultaneously; and it is inconceivable that they should all at once fall into a mistake ".

"When the word go (cow) has been repeated ten times, the hearers will say that the word Go has been ten times pronounced, not that ten words having the sound of Go have been uttered; and this fact also is adduced as a proof of the eternity of sound in Sutra 20".

"Because each sound is not numerically different from itself repeated. "

" Sound is eternal, because we have no ground for anticipating its destruction."

" But it may be urged that sound is a modification of air, since it arises from its conjunctions, and because the Siksha (or Vedanga treating of pronunciation) says that 'air arrives at the condition of sound ' and as it is thus produced from air, it cannot be eternal ". A reply to this difficulty is given in Sutra 22—

"Sound is not a modification of air, because, if it were, the organ of hearing would have no appropriate object which it could perceive. No modification of air (held by the Naiyayikas to be tangible) could be perceived by the organ of hearing, which deals only with intangible sound".

"And the eternity of sound is established by the argument discoverable in the vedic text, 'wilh an eternal voice, O Virupa'.

Now, though this sentence had another object in view, it, nevertheless, declares the eternity of language, and hence sound is eternal".

Reduced to simple syllogism the sound is eternal, the words of the Vedas are sound, therefore words of the Vedas are eternal. Absurdity in reasoning cannot go further. The riddle is why did the Brahmins propound this doctrine of the eternity of the Vedas? Why did the Brahmins adopt such an absurd reasoning in support of their doctrine? Why did the Brahmins refuse to accept the view that the Vedas were the word of God?

The second dogma relating to the authority of the Vedas is that they are not only sacred but they are also infallible.

It is difficult to understand why the Brahmins endeavoured to invest the Vedas with infallibility?

There is no law in the Vedas in the strict sense of the term law. The Vedas do not preach Dharma in the sense of morality. The three following extracts from the Vedas can hardly be said to be consonant with morality.          

"(Yami speaks). I invite my friend to friendship, having come o'er the vast and desert ocean, may Vedhas, after reflecting, place in the earth the offspring (of thee) the father, endowed with excellent qualities ".

"(Yama speaks). Thy friend desires not this friendship, for although of one origin, she is of a different form; the hero sons of the great Asura (are) the upholders of heaven enjoying vast renown."

"(Yami speaks). The immortals take pleasure in (a union) like this which is forbidden to every mortal; let thy mind then concur with mine, and as the progenitor (of all) was the husband (of his daughter), do thou enjoy my person "

"(Yama-speaks). We have not done what was done formerly; for how can we who speak truth, utter now that which is untrue? Gandharva (the Sun) was in the watery (firmament), and the water was his bride. She is our common parent, hence our near affinity."

"(Yami speaks). The divine omniform generator Twashtri, the progenitor, made us two, husband and wife, even in the womb; none frustrate his undertaking; earth and heaven are conscious of this our (union)."

"(Yama speaks). Who knows anything of this (his) first day (of existence)? Who has beheld it? Who has here revealed it? The dwelling of Mitra and of Varuna is vast. What saysest thou, who punishest men with hell?"

"(Yami speaks). The desire of Yama hath approached me Yami, to lie with him in the same bed; I will abandon my person as a wife to her husband; let us exert ourselves in union like the two wheels of a waggon."

"(Yama speaks). The spies of the Gods, which wander upon earth, never stop, never close their eyes. Associate quickly, destructress, with some other than with me, and exert yourselves in union, like the two wheels of a waggon.'

"(Yami speaks). To him (Yama) let every worshipper sacrifice both day and night, on him let the eye of the Sun repeatedly rise; (for him may) the kindred pair (day and night unite) with heaven and earth. Yami will adhere to the non-affinity of Yama".

" (Yama speaks). The subsequent ages will come, when sisters will choose one who is not a brother (as a husband); therefore, auspicious one, choose another husband that me, and make thine arm a pillow for thy mate."

"(Yami speaks). Is he a brother whose sister has no lord? Is she a sister (whose brother) misfortune approaches ? Overcome by desire, I strongly urge this one request; unite thy person with mine."

"(Yama speaks). I will not unite my person with thine; they call him who approaches a sister, a sinner. Enjoy pleasure with some other than me; thy brother, auspicious one, has no such desire."

"(Yami speaks). Alas, Yama, thou art feeble; we understand not thy mind or thy heart. Some other female embraces thee as a girth a horse, or as a creeper a tree."

"(Yama speaks). Do thou, Yami, embrace another; and let another embrace thee as a creeper a tree; seek his affection, let him seek thine; and make a happy union".

"May Agni, the destroyer of the Rakshasas consenting to our prayer, drive hence (the evil spirit) who (in the form of ) sickness assails thine embryo, who, as the disease durnaman, assails thy womb."

" May Agni, concurring in our prayer, destroy the cannibal who is sickness, assails thine embryo, who as the disease durnaman, assails thy womb."

" May we exterminate from hence (the evil spirit) who destroys the impregnating energy, the germ as it settles, the moving embryo, who seeks to destroy (the babe) when born."

"May we exterminate from hence (the evil spirit) who separate thy thighs, who lies between husband and wife, who, entering thy. womb, devours (the seed)."

" May we exterminate from hence (the evil spirit), who in the form of brother, husband, or paramour, approaches thee, and seeks to destroy thy offspring."

" May we exterminate from hence (the evil spirit) who, having beguiled thee by sleep or darkness, approaches thee, and seeks to destroy thy offspring."

The Vedas contain two things. In the first place they contain the hopes and wishes of the Aryans as expressed by the Rishis. As observed by Mr. Muir:

"The whole character of these compositions, and the circumstances under which, from internal evidence, they appear to have arisen, are in harmony with the supposition that they were nothing more than the natural expression of the personal hopes and feelings of those ancient bards by whom they were first recited. In these songs the Aryan sages celebrated the praises of their ancestral gods (while at the same time they sought to conciliate their goodwill by a variety of oblations supposed to be acceptable to them), and besought of them all the blessings which men in general desire— health, wealth, long life, cattle, offspring, victory over their enemies, forgiveness of sin, and in some cases also celestial felicity." This is also the view of Yaska the author of Nirukta who says:

(0f the four kinds of verses specified in the preceding section) (a) those which address a god as absent, (b) those which address him as present, and (c) those which address the worshippers as present and the god as absent, are the most numerous, while those (d) which refer to the speaker himself are rare. It happens also that a god is praised without any blessing being invoked, as in the hymn (R. V. i. 32). ' I declare the heroic deeds of Indra ', etc. Again blessings are invoked without any praise being offered, as in the words, 'May I see well with my eyes, be resplendent in my face, and hear well with my ears '. This frequently occurs in the Adhvaryava (Yajur), and in the sacrificial formula. Then again we find oaths and curses as in the words (R. V. vii. 104, 15), 'May I die to-day, if I am a Yatudhana,' etc. Further, we observe the desire to describe some particular state of things, as in the verse (R. V. x. 129, 2), ' Death was not then, nor immortality,' etc. Then there is lamentation, arising out of a certain state of things, as in the verse (R, V. x. 95, 14), 'The beautiful god will disappear and never return, ' etc. Again, we have blame and praise, as in the words (R. V. x. 117,6), 'The man who eats alone, sins alone, etc. So, too, in the hymn to dice (R. V. x. 34, 13) there is a censure upon dice, and a commendation of agriculture. Thus the objects for which the hymns were seen by the rishis were very various."

The deity is the cure of Phthisis; the Rishi is Vivrihan, the son of Kasyapa; the metre is Anushtubh.

1. I banish disease from thine eyes, from thy head, from thy nose, from thy ears, from thy chin, from thy brain, from thy tongue.

2. I banish disease from thy neck, from thy sinews, from thy bones, from thy joints, from thy upper arms, from thy shoulders, and from thy fore-arms.

3. I banish disease from thine entrails, from thy anus, from thine abdomen, and from thy heart, from thy kidneys, from thy liver, from thy (other viscera).

4. I banish disease from thy thighs, from thy knees, from thy heels, from thy toes, from thy loins, from thy buttocks, from thy private parts.

5. I banish disease from -thy urethra, from thy bladder, from thy hair, from thy nails, from thy whole person.

6. I banish disease from each limb, from each hair, from each joint where it is generated, from thy whole person.

As Prof. Wilson observes there is in the Rig-Veda (which is the stock Veda) scarcely any indication of doctrinal or philosophical speculation, no allusion to the later notions of the several schools, nor is there any hint of metempsychosis, or of the doctrine intimately allied to it, of the repeated renovation of the world. The Vedas may be useful as a source of information regarding the social life of the Aryans. As a picture of primitive life it is full of curiosity but there is nothing elevating. There are more vices and a few virtues.

Given the nature and substance of the contents of the Vedas it is a riddle why the Brahmins claimed infallibility for such superstitious writings as the Vedas.

There would have been some justification for this doctrine of infallibility if the Rishis who made the hymns had claimed it for themselves. But it is quite clear that the Rishis have made no such pretentious. On the contrary they have occasionally confessed their ignorance of matters in which they had interest and curiosity. Compare the following utterances of the Rishis as given in the Rig-Veda:

" Ignorant, not knowing in my mind, I enquire after these hidden abodes of the gods; the sages have stretched out seven threads for a hoof over the yearling calf (or over the sun, the abode of all things). 6. Not comprehending, I ask those sages who comprehend this matter; unknowing (I ask) that I may know; what is the one thing, in the form of the uncreated one, who has upheld these six worlds ?


37. I do not recognize if I am like this; I go on perplexed and bound in mind. When the first born sons of sacrifice (or truth) come to me, then I enjoy a share of that word."

" What was the forest, what the tree, out of which they fashioned heaven and earth, which continue to exist undecaying, whilst days, and many dawns have passed away?                                 

" Which of these two (Heaven and Earth) is the first ? Which is the last? How were they produced? Who, o sages, knows?"

" How many fires are there ? How many suns ? how many dawns ? How many waters ? I do not, fathers, say this to you in jest; I really ask you, sages, in order that I may know " 5. " There ray (or cord), obliquely extended, was it below, or was it above? There were generative sources, and there were great powers, svadha (a self-supporting principle) below, and effort above. 6. Who knows, who hath here declared, whence this creation was produced, whence (it came) ? The gods were subsequent to the creation of this universe;  who then knows whence it sprang. 7. When this creation sprang, whether any one formed it or not, he who, in the highest heavens, is  the overseer of this universe,— he indeed knows or he does not know."

There are other points with regard to this dogma of infallibility which are noteworthy.


The first point is, is this dogma original or is this a new contention raised at sometime later in the history of India. The general view is that it is the original doctrine. A reference to the Dharma Sutras which are the earliest law books which deal with this subject go to show that this is not a correct view. The Gautama Dharma Sutra lays down the following rule on the question of the infallibility of the vedas.             "The Veda is the source of the sacred law". I.I.                     " And the tradition and practice of those who know the (Veda) "— 1.2.

"If (authorities) of equal force are conflicting (either may be followed at) pleasure" 1.4. The Vashishta Dharma Surta propounds the following view:

"The Sacred law has been settled by the revealed texts and by the tradition of the sages " 1.4. " On the failure of (rules given in) these (two sources) the practice of Shistas has authority." I.s.

"He whose heart is free from desire (is called) a shista" 1.6. The views of Baudhayana are given below:

Prasna 1, Adhyaya 1, Kandika 1.

1. The sacred law is taught in each Veda.

2. We will explain (it) in accordance with that.

3. (The sacred law), taught in the Tradition (Smriti, stands) second.

4. The practice of the Sishtas (stands) third.

5. Sishtas, forsooth, (are those) who are free from envy, free from pride, contented with a store of grain sufficient for ten days, free from covetousness, and free from hypocrisy, arrogance, greed, perplexity, and anger.

6. ' (Those are called) Sishtas who, in accordance with the sacred law, have studied the Veda together with its appendages, know how to draw references from that, (and) are above to adduce proofs perceptible by the senses from the revealed texts'.

7. On failure of them, an assembly consisting at least of ten members (shall decide disputed points of law).

8. Now they quote also (the following verses): ' Four men, who each know one of the four Vedas, a Mimansaka, one who knows the Angas, one who recites (the works on) the sacred law, and three brahamanas belonging to (three different) order, (constitute) an assembly consisting, at least of ten members'.

9. ' There may be five, or there may be three, or there may be one blameless man, who decides (questions regarding) the sacred law. But a thousand fools (can) not (do it). '

10. 'As an elephant made of wood, as an antelope made of leather, such an unlearned Brahmana; those three having nothing but the name (of their kind)'.

The view taken by the Apastamba Dharma Sutra is clear from the following extract from that Sutra:

"Now, therefore, we will declare the acts productive of merit which form part of the customs of daily life" 1. 1. "The authority (for these duties) is the agreement (samaya) of these who know the law". 1. 2.

"And (the authorities for the latter are) the Vedas alone". 1. 3. A review of the Dharma Sutras show how this dogma of the infallibility of the Veda is a historical product. It shows that the (1) Veda, (2) Tradition (Smriti), (3) Practice of Sishta and (4) Agreement in an Assembly were the four different authorities about which the controversy as to which of these should be regarded as infallible. It also shows that there was a time when the Vedas were not the sole infallible authorities. That was the time represented by the Dharma Sutras of Vasistha and Baudhayana. It is only in the time of Gautama

that the Vedas came to be regarded as the only authority. There was a time when an agreed decision of the Assembly was admitted as one source of authority. That is the period represented by Baudhayana. Lastly the review shows that there was a time when the Veda was not at all regarded as a book of authority and when the only recognized source of authority was an agreement arrived at in an assembly of the learned. That is the period when Apastamba[f8]  wrote his Dharma Sutras i.e. somewhere between 600 and 200 B.C. [f9] 

It is thus obvious that there was a deliberate attempt to invest the Vedas with an infallible authority which they did not at one time possess and the question is what were the circumstances and the motives which led the Brahmins to propagate the sole and final authority of the Vedas.

The second point connected with this subject of infallibility of the Vedas relates to the discrimination made by the Brahmins in limiting the virtue of infallibility to certain Vedic writings only and not extending it to the whole range of them. To understand this point it is necessary to know what is meant by the phrase Vedic literature.

The phrase Vedic literature can be used in two senses. In its limited sense it includes (1) The Samhita, (2) The Brahmanas, (3) Aranyakas, (4) Upanishads and (5) Sutras. When used in an extended sense it includes two other heads (6) Itihasas and (7) Puranas.

The first thing to note is that there was a time when all these writings were classed in the same category, and no distinction was made between them on the basis of revealed and profane or on the basis of supernatural and human or on the basis of authoritative and non-authoritative. This is clear from the view expressed in the Satapatha Brahmana which says:

"This Male, Prajapati, desired, 'May I multiply, may I be propagated.' He toiled in devotion; he practised austere-fervour. Having done? so he first of all created sacred knowledge the triple Vedic science. This became a basis for him. Wherefore men say, sacred knowledge is the basis of this universe.' Hence after studying the veda a man has a standing ground; for sacred knowledge is his foundation. Resting on this basis he (Prajapati) practised austere-fervour. (9) He created the waters from Vach (speech) as their world. Vach was his: She was created. She pervaded all this whatever exists. As she pervaded (apnot) waters were called "apah ". As she covered (avrinot) all, water was called 'var'. (10) He desired, May I be propagated from these waters. Along with this triple Vedic science he entered the waters. Thence sprang an egg. He gave it an impulse; and said, "Let there be, let there be, let there be again.' Thence was first created sacred knowledge, the triple Vedic science. Wherefore men, say, 'Sacred knowledge is the first-born thing in this universe. Moreover, it was sacred knowledge which was created from that Male in front, wherefore it was created as his mouth. Hence they say of a man learned in the Veda, ' He is like Agni; for sacred knowledge is Agni's Mouth '. "

" As from a fire made of moist wood various modifications of smoke proceed, so is the breathing of this great being. The Rig-Veda, the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharvan-girases, the Itihasas, Puranas, science, the Upanishads, verses (slokas), aphorims, comments of different kinds—all these are his breathings."

But when the Brahmans sought to establish their dogma of infallibility they made a distinction and divided the Vedic writings in two classes (1) Shruti and (2) Non-Shruti. In the first division they placed only two of them (1) Sanhitas and (2) the Brahmanas and invested them with infallibility. The rest they declared as non-Shruti therefore of no authority. When this distinction, was first made it is not possible to say. One can well understand why the last two categories were excluded from the Shruti part division of the Vedic literature. They were too elementary and too undeveloped and in all probability included in the Brahmanas.

One can well understand why the Aranyakas are not specifically mentioned as a part of the Shruti. They are part of the Shruti and must be for the simple reason that they are a part of the Brahmanas. The position of the Upanishads is not clear. But if they are not included in the Shruti one can well understand why they were excluded. But the case of the Sutras stands on a different footing. They are definitely excluded from the category of Shruti and for reasons which it is not possible to comprehend. If there were good reasons for including the Brahmanas in the category of Shruti the same reasons could not fail to justify the inclusion of the Sutras. As Prof. Max Muller observes:

"We can understand how a nation might be led to ascribe a superhuman origin to their ancient national poetry, particularly if that poetry consisted chiefly of prayers and hymns addressed to their gods. But it is different with the prose compositions of the Brahamanas. The reason why the Brahmanas, which are evidently so much more modern than the Mantras, were allowed to participate in the name of Sruti, could only have been because it was from these theological compositions, and not from the simple old poetry of the hymns, that a supposed divine authority could be derived for the greater number of the ambitious claims of the Brahmans. But, although we need not ascribe any weight to the arguments by which the Brahmans endeavoured to establish the contemporaneous origin of the Mantras and Brahmanas there seems to be no reason why we should reject as equally worthless the general opinion with regard to the more ancient date of both the Brahmanas and Mantras, if contrasted with the Sutras and the profane literature of India. It may easily happen, where there is a cannon of sacred books, that later compositions become incorporated together with more ancient works, as was the case with the Brahmanas. But we can hardly imagine that old and genuine parts should ever have been excluded from a body of sacred writings, and a more modern date ascribed to them, unless it be in the interest of a party to deny the authority of certain doctrines contained in these rejected documents. There is nothing in the later literature of the Sutras to warrant a supposition of this kind. We can find no reason why the Sutras should not have been ranked as Sruti, except the lateness of their date, if compared with the Brahmanas, and still more with the Mantras. Whether the Brahmanas themselves were aware that ages must have elapsed between the period during which most of the poems of their rishis were composed, and the times which gave rise to the Brahmanas, is a question which we need hardly hesitate to answer in the affirmative. But the recklessness with which Indian theologians claim for these Brahmanas the same title and the same age as for the Mantras, shows that the reasons must have been peculiarly strong which deterred them from claiming the same divine authority for the Sutras."

The third point relates to the changes that took place in the scope of the term Shruti and in their infallibility. Manu excludes[f10]  the " Brahamanas " from the category of Shruti as may be seen from the following extract from his Smriti:

" By Sruti is meant the Veda, and by Smriti the institutes of law; the contents of these are not to be questioned by reason, since from them (a knowledge of) duty has shown forth. The Brahman who, relying on rationalistic treatises, shall contemn these two primary sources of knowledge must be excommunicated by the virtuous as a sceptic and reviler of the Vedas.. . . . 13. To those who are seeking a knowledge of duty, the Sruti is the supreme authority." The fourth point relates to the claim put forth in the Puranas for precedence over the Vedas in the order of creation. The Vayu Purana says[f11] :

"First of all the Shastras, the Purana was uttered by Brahma. Subsequently the vedas issued from his mouth". The Matsya Purana not only claims priority of creation for the Puranas as against the Vedas, but also the qualities of eternity and identity with sound, which was once predicated of the Vedas alone. It says[f12] :

" Pitamaha (Brahma), first of all the immortals, took shape; then the Vedas with their Angas and Upangas (appendages and minor appendages), and the various modes of their textual arrangement, were manifested. (3) The Purana, eternal, formed of sound, pure, extending to the length of a hundred crores of verses, was the first of the Sastras which Brahma uttered; and afterwards the Vedas, issued from his mouth; and also the Mimansa and the Nyaya with its eightfold system of proofs. (5) From him (Brahma), who was devoted to the study of the Vedas, and desirous of offspring, sprang mind-born sons, so called because they were at first created by his mind."

The Bhagwat Purana claims equality of authority with the Vedas. It says:

" (Bramharatra) declared the Purana called the Bhagavata, which stands on an equality with the Veda."

The Brahma-Vaivartta Purana has the audacity to claim superiority over the Vedas. It says:

"That about which venerable sage, you have inquired, and which you desire, is all known to me, the essence of the Puranas, the preeminent Brahma-Vaivarta, which refutes the errors of the Puranas and Upapuranas, and the Vedas."

This survey discloses a number of riddles in regard to the Vedas. In addition to the three riddles namely why did the Brahmins insist that the Vedas were eternally pre-existing, that they were non-man, non-God made, that they were infallible. There are other riddles regarding the Vedas which are equally puzzling—The Vedas at one time did not have any precedence or infallibility. Why did the Brahmins feel it necessary to give the Vedas this infallibility, why did the Brahmins exclude the Sutras from the term Sruti and why did the Brahmins give up the infallibility of the Vedas and sought to give infallibility to the Puranas?







Of the six schools of philosophy which were expounded by the ancient philosophers of India the most famous is of course the Vedanta philosophy. Not only has it the name but it has also a hold on the Hindus which none of its rivals has ever had. Every follower of the Vedas is proud of the Vedanta. He not only owns it but regards it as the most valuable contribution which India has made to the philosophic thought of the world. He regards Vedanta philosophy as embodying the end or aim of the teachings of the Vedas, a sort of culmination or flowering of the teachings of the Veda. He never suspects that there was any time in the history of India when the Vedanta Philosophy was regarded as repugnant and hostile to the Vedas. He would never believe that there was a time when the word Vedanta had a totally different meaning than the meaning which is now current and according to which the word Vedanta far from being used in the sense of culmination of Vedic thought was used to designate a body of thought contained in a body which was outside the range of the cannonical part of the Vedic literature. Yet that was in fact the case.

It is true that this repugnance between the Vedas and the Vedanta does not become manifest from the word Upanishad which is the generic name of the literature on which the Vedanta philosophy came to be built up and about the etymology of which there is a considerable difference of opinion.

Most European scholars are agreed in deriving Upanishad from the root sad, to sit down, preceded by the two prepositions ni, down, and upa, near, so that it would express the idea of session, or assembly of public sitting down near a person. As Prof. Max Muller points out there are two objections to the acceptance of this derivation. Firstly such a word, it would seem, would have been applicable to any other

This is a 21-page typed first copy entitled ' The Riddle of the Vedanta : The chapter seems complete and does not contain any modofications by the author.—Ed.

portion of the Veda as well as to the chapters called Upanishad, and it has never been explained how its meaning came thus to be restricted. Secondly the word Upanishad, in the sense of session or assembly has never been met with. Whenever the word occurs, it has the meaning of doctrine, secret doctrine, or is simply used as the title of the philosophic treatises which contains the secret doctrine. There is a third explanation noted by Prof. Max Muller proposed by Sankara in his commentary on the Taittiriya-Upanishad II, 9, is that the highest bliss is contained in the Upanishad (param sreyo'syam nishannam). Regarding this Prof. Max-Muller says:

"The Aranyakas abound in such etymologies, which probably were never intended as real as plays on words, helping to account somehow for their meaning."

Prof. Max Muller however favours a derivation of the word Upanishad from the root sad to destroy and meant knowledge which destroys ignorance, the cause of Samsara, by revealing the knowledge of Brahma as a means of salvation. Prof. Max Muller points out that this is the meaning which the native scholars have unanimously given to the word Upanishad.

If it be granted that this is the true derivation of the word Upanishad it would be one piece of evidence in support of the thesis that there was a time in the history of India when Vedanta was regarded as a system of thought which was repugnant to the Vedas. But it is not necessary to depend upon the help of etymology to support the thesis. There are other evidences better and more direct. In the first place the word Vedanta was never used to denote " the last books of the Vedas " which they are. As observed by Prof. Max Muller[f13] :

"Vedanta as a technical term, did not mean originally the last portions of the Veda, or chapters placed, as it were, at the end of a volume of Vedic literature, but the end, i.e. the object, the highest purpose of the Veda. There are, of course, passages, like the one in the Taittirya-Aranyaka (ed. Rajendra Mitra p. 820), which have been misunderstood both by native and European scholars, and where Vedanta means simply the end of the Veda: yo vedadu svarah prokto vedante ka pratishthitah, ' the 0m which is pronounced at the beginning of the Veda, and has its place also at the end of the Veda". Here Vedanta stands simply in opposition to Vadadu, it is impossible to translate it, as Sayana does, by Vedanta or Upanishad. Vedanta, in the sense of philosophy, occurs in the Taittiriya-Aranyaka (p. 817), in a verse of the Narayania-Upanishad, repeated in the Mundak-Upanishad III, 2, 6 and  elsewhere Vedantavignansuniskitarhah, 'those who have well understood the object of the knowledge arising from the Vedanta, ', not 'from the last books of the Veda', and Svetasvatara-up. VI, 22, vedante paramam guhyam, ' the highest mystery in the Vedanta '. Afterwards it is used in the plural also, e.g.Kshurikopanishad, 10 (bibl. Ind. p. 210) pundariketi vedanteshu nigadyate, 'it is called pundarika in the Vedantas ', i.e. in (he Khandogya and other Upanishads, as the commentator says, but not in the last books of each Veda."

More direct evidence on the point is that which is contained in the Gautama Dharma Sutras. In Chapter XIX verse 12 speaks of purification and says[f14] :

"The purificatory (texts are), the Upanishads, the Vedantas, the Samhita text of all the Vedas" and so on.

From this it is clear that at the date of Gautama the Upanishads were distinguished from Vedantas and were not acknowledged as a part of the Vedic literature. Hardatta in his commentaries says "those parts of the Aranyakas which are not (Upanishads) are called Vedantas ". This is unimpeachable proof that the Upanishads did not come within the range of the Vedic literature and were outside the cannon.

This view is also supported by the use of the Veda in the Bhagwat Gita. The word Veda is used in the Bhagwat Gita at several places. And according to Mr. Bhat2 the word is used in a sense which shows that the author did not include the Upanishads in the term.

That the Upanishads were excluded from the cannonical literature of the Vedas is provided by the opposition of the Upanishads to the views preached in the Vedas that the religious observances and sacrifices were the only means of salvation. A few citation from some of the Upanishadas will suffice to show their opposition to the Vedas. The Mundaka Upanishad says:

" Brahma was produced the first among the gods, maker of the universe, the preserver of the world. He revealed to his eldest son Atharva, the science of Brahma, the basis of all knowledge. (2) Atharvan of old declared to Angis this science, which Brahma had unfolded to him; and Angis, in turn, explained it to Satyavaha, descendent of Bharadvaja, who delivered this traditional lore, in succession, to Angiras. (3) Mahasala Saunaka, approaching Angiras with the proper formalities, inquired, 'What is that, 0 venerable sage, through the knowledge of which all this (universe) becomes known?' (4) (Angiras) answered, 'Two sciences are to be known— this is what the sages versed in sacred knowledge declared—the superior and the inferior. (5) The inferior (consists of) the Rig-veda the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharva-veda, accentuation, ritual, grammar, commentary, prosody, and astronomy. The superior science is that by which the imperishable is apprehended." The Chhandoyaga Upanishad says:

"(1) Narada approached Sanatkumara, saying, 'Instruct me, venerable sage'. He received for answer, 'Approach me with (tell me) that which thou knowest; and I will declare to thee whatever more is to be learnt.' (2) Narada replied, ' I am instructed, venerable sage, in the Rig-veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-veda, the Atharva-veda (which is) the fourth, the Itihasas and Puranas (which are) the fifth Veda of the Vedas, the rites of the pitris, arithmetic, the knowledge of portents, and of great periods, the art of reasoning, ethics, the science of the gods, the knowledge of scripture, demonology, the science of war, the knowledge of the stars, the science of serpents and deities; this is what I have studied. (3) I, venerable man, know only the hymns (mantras), while I am ignorant of soul. But I have heard from reverend sages like thyself that ' the man who is acquainted with soul overpasses grief. Now, I venerable man, am afflicted; but do thou transport me over my grief. Sanatkumara answered, 'That which thou hast studied is nothing but name. (4) The Rig-veda is name; and so are the Yajur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharvana, which is the fourth and the Itihasas and Puranas, the fifth Veda of the Vedas, etc. (all the other branches of knowledge are here enumerated just as above), all these are but names; worship name. (5) He who worships name (with the persuasion that it is) Brahma, ranges as it were at will over all which that name comprehends;—such is the prerogative of him who worships name (with the persuation that it is) Brahma, Is there anything venerable man' asked Narada, 'Which is more than name?', 'There is,' replied (Sanatkumara), 'something which is more than name'. 'Tell it to me', rejoined Narada."

The Brahadarnyaka Upanishad says:

"In that (condition of profound slumber,) a father is no father, a mother is no mother, the words are no words, the gods are no gods, and the Vedas are no Vedas, sacrifices are no sacrifices. In that condition a thief is no thief, a murderer of embryos is no murderer of embryos, a Paulakasa no Paulakasa, a Chandala no Chandala, a Sramana no Sramana, a devotee no devotee; the saint has then no relation, either of advantage or disadvantage, to merit or to sin; for he then crosses over all griefs of the heart."

This is what the Katha Upanishad has to say:

"This soul is not to be attained by instruction, nor by understanding, nor by much scripture. He is attainable by him

whom he chooses. The soul chooses that man's body as his own abode ".

"Although this soul is difficult to know, still it may easily be known by the use of proper means. This is what (the author) proceeds to say. This soul is not to be attained, known by instruction, by the acknowledgement of many Vedas; nor by understanding, by the power of recollecting the contents of books; nor by much scripture alone. By what, then, is it to be attained? This he declares ".

How great was the repugnance to the Upanishadas and the philosophy contained in them will be realized if one takes note of the origin of the words Anuloma and Pratiloma which are usually applied to the marriage tie among the Hindus. Speaking of their origin Mr. Kane points out that[f15] :

"These two words Anuloma and Pratiloma (as applied to marriage or progeny) hardly ever occur in the Vedic literature. In the Br. Up. (II. 1.15) and Kausitaki Br. Up. IV. 18 the word ' Pratiloma ' is applied to the procedure adopted by a Brahmana of going to a Kshatriya for knowledge about " Brahman ". Anuloma means according to the heir that is in the natural order of things. Pratiloma means against the heir that is contrary to the natural order. Reading the observations of Mr. Kane in the light of the definition of the word Pratiloma it is obvious that the Upanishads far from being acknowledged as part of the Vedic literature were if not despised, held in low esteem by the Vedic Brahmins. It is a riddle to find that the Brahmins who were opponents of the Vedanta should become subsequently the supporters and upholders of the Vedanta.


This is one riddle of the Vedanta. There is another. The Vedantists were not the only opponents of the Vedas and its doctrine of ritualism as a means of salvations. Madhava Acharya the author of the Sarva Darshana Sangraha mentions two other opponents of the Vaidikas, Charvaka and Brahaspati. Their attack on the Vaidikas was quite formidable in its logic and its.....

The opposition of Charvaka can be seen from the following quotation which reproduces his line of argument against the Vaidikas[f16]  : " If you object that, if there be no such thing as happiness in a future world, then how should men of experienced wisdom engage in the agnihotra and other sacrifices, which can only be performed with great expenditure of money and bodily fatigue. Your objection cannot be accepted as any proof to the contrary, since the agnihotra, &c„ are only useful as means of livelihood, for the Veda is tainted by three faults of un-truth, self-contradiction, and tautology; then again the impostors who call themselves Vedic pundits are mutually destructive as the authority of the Jnan-kanda is overthrown by those who maintain authority of the Jnan-kanda reject that of the Karmakanda; and lastly, the three Vedas themselves are only the incoherent rhapsodes of knaves, and to this effect runs the popular saying: 'The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic's three staves, and smearing oneself with ashes, Brihaspati says, these are but means of livelihood for those who have no manliness nor sense'. rahaspati was far more bold and militant in his opposition to Vaidism. As reported by Madhava Acharya Brihaspati argued[f17]  : " There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in another world, Nor do the actions of the four castes, orders &c„ produce any real effect. The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic's three staves and smearing one self with ashes, Were made by Nature as the livelihood of those destitute of knowledge and manliness. If a beast slain in the Jyotishtoma rite will itself go to heaven,

Why then does not the sacrificer forthwith offer his own father? If the Sraddha produces gratification to beings who are dead, Then here, too, in the case of travellers when they start, it is needless to give provisions for the journey. While life remains let a man live happily, let him feed on ghee even though he runs in debt. When once the body becomes ashes, how can it ever return again ? If he who departs from the body goes to another world, How is that he comes not back again, restless for love of his kindred? Hence it is only as a means of livelihood that Brahmans

Established here.All these ceremonies for the dead , There is no other fruit anywhere. The three authors of veda were buffoons, knaves and demons.

All these ceremonies for the dead,—there is no other fruit anywhere. The three Authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves.

All the well-known formulas of the Pandits, jarphari, turphari, And all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in the Aswamedha.

These were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests, While the eating of flesh was similarly commended by night prowling demons."

Why did the Vedic Brahmans compromise with the Vedantists but did not compromise with Charvak and Brihaspati. It is a riddle that awaits explanation.


A third riddle remains to be mentioned. This is its most appropriate place for it has reference to the Vedas and Vedantas, not in their crude form but in the philosophical garb which was given to them by two masters of the art of systematization whose names are quite well known in the history of Sanskrit Literature namely Jaimini and Badarayana, the former as the author of Mimansa and the latter as the author of Brahma Sutras. To them and to their work a reference has already been made in the earlier pages and some idea has been given of their place in the formulation of the Vedik beliefs and Vedantik speculations. What remains to be done is to compare and contrast the attitude which one has-towards the philosophy of the other.

Starting on this inquiry one is struck by the parallelism between Jaimini and Badarayana in the presentation of the subject matter. As Prof. Belvalkar points out the Vedant Sutras are very closely modelled upon the Karma Sutras. In the matter of methodology and terminology Badarayana very carefully follows Jaimini. He accepts Jaimini rules of interpreting the text of the Shruti. He uses Jaimini's technical terms in the sense in which they have been used by Jaimini. He uses the very illustrations which are employed by Jaimini.

The parallelism shows that Badarayana must have felt that he was the exponent of a rival philosophy which was being attacked by Jaimini and that in replying to the attack he must follow Jaimini's technique.

Question is did Badarayana take the stand of an opponent of Jaimini? .

That Jaimini was his opponent Badarayana himself admits, the attitude of Jaimini towards Vedanta. It is stated by Badarayana in his Sutras 2-7 and explained by Shankaracharya in his commentary. Jaimini contends that:

" No one undertakes a sacrificial act unless he is conscious of the fact that he is different from the body and that after death he will go to heaven, where he will enjoy the results of his sacrifices. The Texts dealing with self-knowledge serve merely to enlighten the agent and so are subordinate to sacrificial acts."

In short Jaimini says that all that Vedanta teaches is that self is different from the body and outlives the body. Such a knowledge is not enough. The Self must have the aspiration to go to Heaven. But it can't go to heaven unless it performs Vedic sacrifices which is what his Karmakand teaches. Therefore his Karmakand is the only way of Salvation and that the Jnankand from that point of view is quite useless. For this Jaimini relies on the conduct of men who have believed in Vedanta [f18]  :

" Janaka, emperor of Videha performed a sacrifice in which gifts were freely distributed" (Brih. 3.1.1); "I am going to perform a sacrifice, sirs" (Ch. 5.11.5). Now both Janaka and Asvapati were knowers of the Self. If by this knowledge of the Self they had attained Liberation, there was no need for them to perform sacrifices. But the two texts quoted show that they did perform sacrifices. This proves that it is through sacrificial acts alone that one attains Liberation, and not through the knowledge of the Self as the Vedantins hold."

Jaimini makes a positive assertion that the scriptures unmistakably declare[f19]  " that knowledge of the Self stands in a subordinate relation to sacrificial acts." Jaimini justifies it because he says*[f20]  "the two (knowledge and work) go together (with the departing soul to produce the results.)"

Jaimini refuses to give an independent position to Badarayana's Jnana kanda. He takes his stands on two grounds.

First[f21]  "Knowledge of the Self does not independently produce any result."

Second[f22]  according to the authority of the Vedas " Knowledge (of Self) stands in a subordinate relation to work." This is the position of Jaimini towards Badaryana's Jnanakanda. What is the position of Badarayana towards Jaimini and his Karma Kanda? This is explained by Badarayana in Sutras 8 to 17.

The first position[f23]  taken up by Badarayana is that the Self spoken of by Jaimini is the limited self i.e. the soul and is to be distinguished from the supreme soul and that the supreme soul is recognized by the Scriptures.

The second[f24]  position taken by Badarayana is that the Vedas support both knowledge of Self as well as Sacrifices.

The third[f25]  position taken up by Badarayana is that only those who believe in the Vedas are required to perform Sacrifices. But those who follow the Upanishadas are not bound by that injunction. As Shankaracharya explains:

"Those who have read the Vedas and known about the sacrifices are entitled to perform work (sacrifice). No work (sacrifice) is prescribed for those who have knowledge of the Self from the Upanishadas. Such a knowledge is incompatible with work." The fourth[f26]  position taken up by Badarayana is that Karmakanda is optional to those who have attained Bramhadnan. As Shankaracharya explains:

"That some have of their own accord given up all work. The point is that after knowledge some may choose to work to set an example to others, while others may give up all work. There is no binding on the knowers of the Self as regards work ". His last and final[f27]  position is that:

" Knowledge of the Self is antagonistic to all work and so cannot possibly be subsidiary to work."

And as evidence in support of it he relies[f28]  on the scriptures which recognizes Sannyasa the fourth Ashram and relieves the Sannyasi from performing sacrifices prescribed by the Karma Kand.

Many such Sutras can be found in Badarayana indicating the attitude of the two schools of thought towards each other. But the one given above is enough as it is so very typical. If one stops to consider the matter the position wears a strange appearance. Jaimini denounces Vedanta as a false Shastra, a snare and a delusion, something superficial, unnecessary and unsubstantial. What does Badarayana do in the face of this attack? Does he denounce the Karmakanda of Jaimini as a false Shastra, a snare and a delusion, something superficial unnecessary and insubstantial? No. He only defends his own Vedanta Shastra. But one would expect him to do more. One would expect from Badarayana a denunciation of the Karmakanda of Jaimini as a false religion. Badarayana shows no such courage. On the contrary he is very apologetic. He concedes that Jaimini's Karmakanda based on the scriptures and the scriptures have authority and sanctity which cannot be repudiated. All that he insists on is that his Vedanta       doctrine is also true because it has also the support of the scriptures.     

This is not all. What Badarayana does is to use the term Vedanta to cover these senses. He uses it so as to emphasize that the Upanishads do form a part of the Vedic literature. He used it also to emphasize what Vedanta or the Dnyanakanda of the Upanishads is not opposed to the Karmakanda of the Vedas that the two are complimentary. Indeed this is the foundation on which Badarayana has raised the whole structure of his Vedanta Sutras.

This thesis of Badarayana—which underlies his Vedanta Sutras and according to which the Upanishadas are a part of the Veda and there is no antagonism between the Vedas and Upanishads—is quite contrary to the tenor of the Upanishads and their relation to the Vedas. Badarayana's attitude is not easy to understand. But it is quite obvious that Badarayana's is a queer and a pathetic case of an opponent who begins his battle by admitting the validity of the premises of his adversary. Why did Badarayana concede to Jaimini on the question of infallibility of the Vedas which were opposed to the Upanishads? Why       did he not stand for truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is a riddle that requires explanation.






To say that Hindu Religion is made up of sects is no less true than to say that Hindu Society is made up of castes. But not half the attention paid to the study of castes has been paid to the study of sects. This is as unfortunate as it is strange. Sects have played as great a part in India's history as castes have done. Indeed some sects just as some castes have made the history of India what it is.

The sects which make up the Hindu Religion are of course legion. It is impossible to explore the origin of all and compare and contrast their cults within the compass of a chapter. All that can be done is to take the most important ones and to present some of problems connected with them. The most important of these sects in the history of India have been three, one believing in the cult of God Brahma, second believing in the cult of Vishnu and the third believing in the cult of Shiva or Mahesha. The following arc some of the questions, which cannot but puzzle the student who has studied the origin and history of these cults.

The Chula-Niddessa a Buddhist treatize refers to various sects which were at one time prevalent in India. Classified on the basis of creeds and cults they may be listed as follows:




Serial          Name of the Sect.                     Essence of the creed No.


1                Ajivika Shravaka[f29]                   .          Ajivika[f30] 

2                Nigatta Shravakas                 . .           Nigautha[f31] 

This Riddle may be read along with the Riddle No. 11 which deals with The Rise and Fall of Gods. This title ' The Riddle of the Trimurti ' however does not find place in the original Table of Contents, nor was it available in the MS received by the Govt. This copy has been spared by Shri S. S. Rege—Ed.


Serial Name of the Sect.

Essence of the creed



3 Jatil Shravakas

. Jatila*[f32] 

4 Parivrajaka Shravakas 5 Avarudha Shravakas

. Parivrajaka[f33]  . Avarudhaka


Serial Name of the Sect No.

The deity which is . worshipped

1 Hasti Vratikas[f34] 

. Hasti[f35] 

2 Ashva Vratikas

. Ashva[f36] 

3 Go Vratikas

. Go[f37] 

4 Kukur Vratikas

. Kukku[f38] 

5 Kaka Vratikas

. Kaka[f39] 

6 Vasudeo Vratikas

. Vasudeo

7 Baldeo Vratikas

. Baldeo

8 Puma Bhadra Vratikas

. Puma Bhadra

9 Mani Bhadra Vratikas

. Mani Bhadra

10 Agni Vratikas 11 Naga Vratikas 12 Suparna Vratikas 13 Yaksha Vratikas

• Agni . Naga . Suparna . Yaksha

14 Asura Vratikas

. Asura

15 Gandharva Vratikas

. Gandharva

16 Maharaja Vratikas 17 Chandra Vratikas

. Maharaja . Chandra

18 Surya Vratikas 19 Indra Vratikas

. Surya . Indra

20 Brahma Vratikas

. Brahma

21 Deva Vratikas

. Deva

22 Deesha Vratikas

. Deesha


Comparing the cults of the three Gods with the cults of the various Gods mentioned in the list, two conclusions are obvious. One conclusion is that the cults of Vishnu and Mahesha are new fabrications, later in origin than those mentioned in the Chula Niddessa. The second conclusion is that all the old cults have disappeared. Searching for the causes of this strange phenomenon it is quite clear that New Cults could not have come into being unless the Brahmins had taken up the cause of propagating these new cults. Similarly old cults could not have disappeared if the Brahmins had not ceased to propagate them. The question that puzzles the student of history is why did the Brahmins fabricate these new cults? Why did they give up the old cults ? The question not only puzzles but staggers the student when the God that has vanished in this revolution is no other than Indra. Indra is a Vedic God. He is the greatest of the Vedic Gods. The Brahmins worshipped Indra and praised him as the supreme God for hundreds if not thousands of years. What made the Brahmins give up Indra and become the devotees of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh? Were the reasons for transfer of loyalties by the Brahmins spiritual or commercial?

Who is this Shiva whom the Brahmins adopted as their God in preference to Indra? The story of Daksha Prajapati's Yajna and the part played by Shiva throws great light on Shiva. The story is that somewhere in the Himalayas king Daksha was performing an Yajna. This Yajna was attended by all Devas, Danavas, Pishachas, Nagas, Rakshasas and Rishis. But Shiva absented as Daksha did not give him invitations. Dadhichi one of the Rishis scolded Daksha for his failure to invite Shiva and to perform his puja. Daksha refused to call Shiva and said "I have seen many of your Rudras. Go away, I don't recognize your Shiva." Dadhichi replied " You have all conspired against Shiva, take care, your Yajna will never reach a successful finis." Mahadeo coming to know of this created a Rakshas from his mouth and this Rakshas destroyed the Yajna started by Daksha. This shows that there was a time when Brahmins refused to recognize Shiva as the God to be worshipped or it shows that Shiva was against the Yajna system of the Brahmanas.

The difference between the Aryans and the Non-Aryans was cultural and not racial. The cultural difference centred round two points. The Aryans believed in Chaturvarna. The Non-Aryans were opposed to it. The Aryans believed in the performance of Yajna as the essence of their religion. The Non-Aryans were opposed to Yajna. Examining the story of Daksha's Yajna in the light of these facts it is quite obvious that Shiva was a Non-Vedic and a Non-Aryan God. The question is why did the Brahmins, the pillars of Vedic culture, adopt Shiva as their God?

The third question that puzzles the student is the reformation and transformation which the Brahmins have made in the original format of Shiva and Vishnu.

The Hindus are not aware that Shiva is a non-Vedic, non-Aryan God. They identify him with God Rudra mentioned in the Vedas. So that to the Hindus Rudra is the same as Shiva. Now in the Taiteriya Samhita of the Yajur-Veda there is a hymn in praise of Rudra. In this hymn Rudra i.e. Shiva is described as the lord of thieves, robbers, dacoits, as the King of the degraded, of potters and blacksmiths. The question is how did the Brahmins venture to accept this king of thieves and robbers as their supreme God?

There is another reformation in the character of Rudra which the Brahmins have made while accepting him as their God Shiva. In the Ashvalayan Grihya Sutra the proper way of worshipping Rudra is prescribed. According to it the worship of Rudra was to be the sacrifice of a bull. The Sutra gives details of the season, and the Nakshatra for performing this sacrifice. It tells the householder to select the best bull from the stable. It prescribes its colour. It recommends that it should be fat. It should be consecrated with rice water or barley water. Then it should be slaughtered and offered to the Rudra addressing him by all his names and his tail, hide, head and feet should be thrown into the fire. Evidently Rudra was a ' himsak ' God to whom animal sacrifice was necessary. Shiva on the other hand has been an Ahimsaka God. He is not offered animal sacrifice. Question is what compelled the Brahmins to make Shiva give up his meat diet and be a vegetarian.

Hindus all over India accept without shame or remorse the virtue of Linga Puja—Phallus worship. This phallus worship is associated with Shiva and it is commonly held that the true way of worshipping Shiva is to worship the Shiva Linga. Was Linga puja always associated with Shiva? Some very interesting facts are brought to light by Prof. Dandekar in his essay on " Vishnu in the Veda ". Says Prof. Dandekar:

"The most significant word in this connection is Sipivista, which is exclusively employed in the Veda with reference to Vishnu. The passages where the word occurs in RV (VII. 99.7; VII. 100. 5-6) seems to have been kept obscure with a purpose. The Vedic poets evidently sought to make a guarded and casual reference to that aspect of Vishnu's personality which was indicated by the word, Sipivista. Many attempts have been made to explain the word, but few satisfy the requirements of philosophy and none brings out the true nature of Vishnu. It is not possible to separate philologically the word Sepa (Penis) from sipi. Other similar idg. forms are Sipha (a root pkt. chepa, lat. oippus, seipio (staff) etc. Even Nirukta (V. 7) seems to be vaguely supporting this view though its further explanation is not clear. Added to that word is a form from the root viz., thus making the whole word mean 'the changing phallus; the swelling and diminishing penis '. We may now easily understand why the Vedic poets speak in such guarded and obscure way about this form of Vishnu. In this connection it is very significant to note what Nirukta (V. 8-9) says of this name of Vishnu: The word sipivista has thus unmistakably preserved Vishnu's ancient phallic nature. There are also many other incidental references to Vishnu in the Vedic hymns and ritual, which clearly associate him with the notion of fertility, productivity and self life."

" One of the obscure features of the Vedic Shraddha-ritual is that the Angustha, without nail, is to be dipped into the offering intended for the pitars. This action is accompanied by an invocation to Vishnu. The Angustha is undoubtedly a symbol of the phallus. Vishnu is, in this rite, clearly connected with the phallic aspect of the Vedic ritual. In later literature we find Vishnu actually identified with the thumb. In the I. S. passage (VI. 2.4.2) we find another piece of evidence in this regard. Vishnu's entering into the mother earth is a  symbolical description of a fertility rite. The words, Tanvardhanah, used with reference to Vishnu's (VII. 99.1; VIII. 100.2) may further be understood to be, indicative, of his phallic nature. Vishnu is significantly identified, in later literature, with Hiranyagarbha, and Narayana. Vishnu's close connection with Sinivali (AV. VII. 46.3), the 'broad-hipped' divinity protecting the feminine sex-functions, throws considerable light on this aspect of Visnu's personality. According to the Sankhyana-grahyasutra (I 22.13), the Mantra (X. 184.1) accompanies the garbha-ceremony, thus suggesting that Vishnu is the efficacious protector of the embryos. In AV (VII. 17.4), Vishnu is clearly connected with sex-functions. The two ephithets of Vishnu Nisiktapa (VII. 36.9) 'protector of the semen', and Sumajjani (1. 156.2) 'facilitating easy birth' speak for themselves. The word, Paumsya 'manly vigour' is Significantly used with reference to Vishnu in RV (E. 155.3-4). In the Vrsakapi-hymn (X. 86), Indra is said to have been exhausted, when a bold, lascivious monkey administered to him some medicine, through which Indra regained his manly power. This Vrsakapi is identified, in later literature, with Visnu, the word being also mentioned as one of his names in the Visnusahasranarna."

On the evidence produced by Prof. Dandekar phallus worship was in its origin connected with Vishnu. In the Puranas we do not find the Phallus worship associated with Vishnu. In the Puranas it is associated with Shiva. This is a most astounding transformation. Vishnu who was from the beginning associated with the Linga worship was dissociated from it and Shiva who had no association with the Linga worship has come to be identified with it. Question is what made the Brahmins dissociate Vishnu from Linga worship and fasten it on to Shiva?

There remains the last and the important question. It relates to the inter-relations of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha.

Nothing probably sums up so well the inter-relations between Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha as does the story of the birth of the God Dattatraya. Briefly the story is that one afternoon when Sarasvati, Laxmi and Parvati, the wives of the three Gods were sitting together chit-chatting, Narada, the sage on eternal tour, came to visit them. In the course of the conversation a question arose as who was the most chaste woman in the land. Narada held out that Anusuya the wife of Rishi by name Atri—as the purest and most chaste woman. This was violently disputed by the three, each one of whom claimed to have that title. Narada disproved their claim by recounting the many acts of adultery which one of them was guilty of. They were silenced but they became very angry. They wanted to retrieve their position vis-a-vis Anusuya. In their wisdom they decided that the only way by which this could be done was to have Anusuya seduced to illicit intercourse. Having decided upon their plan of action the three women told to their husbands when they returned in the evening what Narada said about them in the afternoon and scolded them by saying that they were the cause of their wives humiliation. For if they had committed adultery with Anusuya she and they would have been on the same level and Narada would not have found cause to humiliate them. They asked their husbands whether they cared for their wives and if they did were they not in duty bound to proceed forthwith to invade the chastity of Anusuya and to pull her down from the high pedestle of purity and chastity on which Narada had placed her. The Gods were convinced that what was suggested by their wives was their duty and that they could not shirk the task.

The three Gods started on an expedition to rob Anusuya of her honour and marched on to the hutment of Atri. The three Gods disguised themselves as three Brahmin Mendicants. When they arrived Atri was away. But Anusuya welcomed them and prepared food for them. When the meal was ready she asked them to sit and partake of the meal. The three Gods replied that they would take food at her house only if she agreed to serve them food in a naked condition. The rule of hospitality in ancient India was that Brahmin guest must not depart dissatisfied. Everything he asked must be given to him. In obedience to this rule Anusuya agreed to serve them naked. While she was serving food to them in this naked condition Atri arrived. On seeing Atri the three Gods who were taking food with Anusuya standing naked took the form of new born babes. The three Gods in the form of babes were placed by Atri in a craddle. In the craddle their bodies having become integrated into one and their heads having remained separate there arose the God Dattatraya who has one body and three heads representing the three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha.

The story has a stink of immorality in it and the close of it may have been deliberately designed so as to cover up the actual fact of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha having outraged Anusuya to lower her down to the level of their wives. Be that as it may the story illustrates the view once prevalent among the Hindus that three Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha were co-equal in status and their functions are complimentary and not competitive. They were spoken of as forming Trimurti—three in one and one in three, all sustaining the world, Brahma by creating it, Vishnu by preserving it and Shiva by destroying it.

This state of harmony did not last long. The Brahmins who were the propagandists of these three Gods divided themselves into three camps each becoming devoted to one to the exclusion of the other two. The result of this was a systematic campaign of villification and degradation by the Brahmins devoted to one God of the other Gods.

It is interesting as well as instructive to note what the Brahmins have done to Brahma. There was a time when the Brahmins raised Brahma to the highest pinnacle of power and glory. They presented him as the creator of the Universe—the first Prajapati. He was their sole supreme God. The Brahmins had developed the theory of Avatar which holds that God when necessary incarnates into different forms, human or animal. This they use for twofold purpose, firstly to elevate the supremacy of a God in whom they are interested and secondly to reconcile the conflict between Gods as different personalities.

The Brahmins have run riot with this theory of Avatar and different Puranas have given different lists of Avatars as will be seen from the following:



According to Hari Vamsha

According to Narayani Akhyan

According to Varaha Purana

According to Vayu Purana

According to Bhagwat Purana






































































































Ved Vyas































These Avatars are all said by these Puranas to be the Avatars of Vishnu. But to begin, with when the Avatars had begun to be coined the story of the two Avatars—-of the Boar[f40]  and the Fish[f41] —which in later times given to Vishnu was given by the Brahmins to Brahma. Again even when the Brahmins admitted Shiva and Vishnu as co-equal with Brahma they maintained the supremacy of Brahma over Shiva and Vishnu. The Brahmins made him the progenitor of Shiva[f42]  and propagated the view that if Vishnu[f43]  became the preserver of the world it was because of the command of the Brahma. With the plurality of Gods, conflicts between them were always present and some God to act as Arbitrator and settler of disputes was necessary.

Puranas are full of such conflicts, even wars among Gods. There were conflicts between Rudra and Narayana[f44] , between Krishna and Shiva[f45] . In these conflicts the Brahmins have made Brahma the Arbitrator.

The same Brahmins who elevated Brahma to such pre-eminence turned against him, started degrading him and mud-slinging him. They started propagating the view that Brahma was really inferior to Vishnu and Shiva. Contrary to their previous utterances the Brahmins said that Brahma was born from Shiva[f46]  and some said that he was born from Vishnu[f47] 

The Brahmins completely inverted the relation between Shiva and Brahma. Brahma was no longer the God who could give salvation. The God who could give salvation was Shiva and they reduced Brahma to the position of a common devotee worshipping Shiva and Linga in the hope of getting salvation[f48] . They reduced him to the position of servant of Shiva by making him the charioteer of Shiva[f49] .

The Brahmins did not stop with degrading Brahma. They villified him in the worst manner possible. They broadcast the story of his having committed rape on his own daughter Sarasvati which is repeated in the Bhagwat Purana[f50] :

"We have heard, O Kshatriya, that Svayambhu (Brahma) had a passion for Vach, his slender and enchanting daughter, who had no passion for him. The Munis, his sons, headed by Marichi, seeing their father bent upon wickedness, admonished him with affection: 'This is such a thing as has never been done by those before you, nor will those after you do it,- that you, being the lord, should sexually approach your daughter, not restraining your passion. This, 0 preceptor of the world, is not a laudable deed even in glorious personages, through imitation of whose actions men attain felicity. Glory to that divine being (Vishnu) who by his own lustre revealed this (universe) which abides in himself,—he must maintain righteousness '. Seeing his sons, the Prajapatis, thus speaking before him, the lord of the Prajapatis (Brahma) was ashamed, and abandoned his body. This dreadful body the regions received, and it is known as foggy darkness."'

The result of this degrading and defamatory attacks on Brahma was to damn him completely. No wonder that his cult disappeared from the face of India leaving him a nominal and theoretical member of the Trimurti.

After Brahma was driven out of the field there remained two parties of Brahmanas, one engaged in favour of Shiva and the other engaged in favour of Vishnu. Let us see what they did as protagonists of their rival deities. Neither party succeeded in driving out the cult of its rival God. The cult of Shiva and the cult of Vishnu have continued to exist and flourish. Notwithstanding the many cults that have subsequently come into existence they have not been eclipsed. This is largely due to the propaganda and counter-propaganda carried on by the Brahmin protagonists of Shiva and Vishnu. How well matched the propaganda and counter propaganda was, can be seen from the following few illustrations.

Vishnu is connected with the Vedic God Sun. The worshippers of Shiva connect him with Agni. If one has Vedic origin the other must have Vedic origin as well. One cannot be inferior to the other in the matter of nobility of origin.

Shiva must be greater than Vishnu and Vishna must not be less than Shiva. Vishnu has thousand names[f51] . So Shiva must have thousand names and he has them[f52] . Vishnu has his emblems[f53] . So must have Shiva and he has them[f54] .

In the performance of deeds of glory the propaganda in favour of one is fully matched by counter-propaganda in favour of the other. One illustration of this is the story regarding the origin of the holy river Ganges[f55] . The devotees of Shiva attribute its origin to Shiva. They make it take its origin from Shiva's hair. But the Vaishnavas will not allow it. They have manufactured another legend. According to the Vaishnavite legend the blessed and the blessing river flowed originally out of Vaikunth (the abode of Vishnu) from the foot of Vishnu, and descending upon Kailasa fell on the head of Shiva. There is a two-fold suggestion in the legend. In the first place Shiva is not the source of the Ganges. In the second place Shiva is lower than Vishnu and receives on his head water which flows from the foot of Vishnu.

Another illustration is furnished by the story which relates to the churning of the oceans by the Devas and the Asuras. They used the Mandara mountain as the churning rod and huge serpent Shesha as a rope to whirl the mountain. The earth began to shake and people became afraid that the world was coming to an end. Vishnu took the Avatar of Kurma (tortoise) and held the earth on his back and prevented the earth from shaking while the churning was going on.

This story is told in glorification of Vishnu. To this the Shaivites add a supplement. According to this supplement the churning brought out fourteen articles from the depth of the ocean which are called fourteen jewels. Among these fourteen a deadly poison was one. This deadly poison would have destroyed the earth unless somebody drank it. Shiva was the only person who came to drink it. The suggetion is that Vishnu's act was foolish in allowing the rivals the Gods and Demons to bring out this deadly poison. Glory to Shiva for he drank it and saved the world from the evil consequences of the folly of Vishnu.

Third illustration is an attempt to show that Vishnu is a fool and that it is Shiva who with his greater wisdom and greater power saves Vishnu from his folly. It is the story of Akrurasura[f56] . Akrur was a demon with the face of a bear, who, nevertheless, was continuously reading the Vedas and performing acts of devotion. Vishnu was greatly pleased and promised him any boon that he would care to ask. Akrurasura requested that no creature; then existing in the three worlds, might have power to deprive him of life, and Vishnu complied with his request; but the demon became so insolent that the Devatas, whom he oppressed, were obliged to conceal themselves, and he assumed the dominion of the world ; Vishnu was then sitting on a bank of the Kali, greatly disquieted by the malignant ingratitude of the demon; and his wrath being kindled, a shape, which never before had existed, sprang from his eyes. It was Mahadeva, in his destructive character, who dispelled in a moment the anxiety of the Vishnu.

This is countered by the story of Bhasmasura intended to show that Shiva was a fool and Vishnu saved him from his folly. Bhasmasura having propitiated Shiva asked for a boon. The boon was to be the power to burn any one on whose head Bhasmasura laid his hands. Shiva granted the boon. Bhasmasura tried to use his boon power against Shiva himself. Shiva became terrified and ran to Vishnu for help. Vishnu promised to help him. Vishnu took the form of a beautiful woman and went to Bhasmasura who became completely enamoured of her. Vishnu asked Bhasmasura to agree to obey him in everything as a condition of surrender. Bhasmasura agreed. Vishnu then asked him to place his hands on his own head which Bhasmasura did with the result that Bhasmasur died and Vishnu got the credit of saving Shiva from the consequences of his folly.

The rivalry and the consequent enmity among these Gods is best illustrated by the legend as to which of them is the first born. The story as related in the Skand Purana[f57]  says that one time Vishnu lay extended asleep on the bosom of Devi, a lotus arose from his navel, and its ascending flower soon reached the surface of the flood, Brahma sprang from that flower, and looking round without any creature on the boundless expanse, imagined himself to be the first born, and entitled to rank above all future beings; yet, resolved to investigate deep and to ascertain whether any being existed in its universe who could controvert his pre-eminence, he glided down the stock of the lotus and finding Vishnu asleep, asked loudly who he was ? ' I am the first born ' answered Vishnu; and when Brahma denied his primogeniture, they had an obstinate battle, till Mahadeo pressed between them in great wrath, saying It is I who am truly the first born. But I will resign my place to either of you, who shall be able to reach behind the summit of my head, or the soles of my foot. Brahma instantly ascended; but having fatigued himself to no purpose in the regions of immensity, yet loath to abandon his claim, returned to Mahadeo, declaring that he had attained and seen the crown of his head, and called as his witness the first born cow. For this union of pride and falsehood, the angry God ordained, that no sacred Shiva rites should be performed to Brahma and that the mouth of cow should be defiled. When Vishnu returned, he acknowledged that he had not been able to see the feet of Mahadeo, who then told him that he was the first born among the Gods, and should be raised above all. It was after this Mahadeo cut off the fifth head of Brahma who thus suffered the loss of his pride, his power and his influence.

According to this story Brahma's claim to be the first born was false. He was punished by Shiva for making it. Vishnu gets the right to call himself the first born. But that is allowed to him by the grace of Shiva. The followers of Brahma had their revenge on Vishnu for stealing what rightfully belonged to him with the help of Shiva. So they manufactured another legend[f58]  according to which Vishnu emanated from Brahma's nostrils in the shape of a pig and grew naturally into a boar—a very mean explanation of Vishnu's avatar as a boar.

The rivalry among these Gods had taken the shape of rivalry among traders and results in indecent abuse of Shiva by Vishnu and of Vishnu by Shiva.

Such are the facts about the Trinity and its subsequent history. There is nothing new in the conception of Trinity. The conception of Trinity is an old one, older than Yaska. To reduce the chaos of innumerable Gods the early Brahmins were engaged lo select some Gods and to make them pre-eminent over the rest. The number of such pre-eminent Gods was fixed at three. Of these Agni  and Surya were two. For the third place there was rivalry between Vayu and Indra. Consequently one finds the Irinity of Agni, Indra and Surya or Agni, Vayu and Surya. The new trinity is identical in its conception with the old though different in its personnel. Every member of this Trinity is new. It seems alter the first Trinity was dissolved no new Trinity existed for a considerable time. In the Chulla Nidessa there is mention only of Brahma Vratikas. There is no mention of Vishnu Vratikas or Shiva Vratikas. This means that at the time of the Chula Nidessa the cult of Vishnu and the cult of Shiva had not come into being. They were later on added to the cult of Brahma and constituted into a Trinity. Several questions rise in one's mind when one considers the part played by the Brahmins in the evolution and confounding of the Trinity.

The first that arises is the faithlessness of the Brahamins to their Gods. the easy manner in which they abandon one set of Gods for another. In this connection one is reminded of the Jewish priests and Nebuchad-Nez-Zar.

"Neb-U-Chad-Nez-Zar[f59]  the king made an image of gold, whose height was three score cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits he set it up in the plain of Du-ra, in the province of Bab-y-lon.

"2. Then Neb-u-chad-nez-zar the king sent to gather together the princes (satraps), the governors (deputies), and the captains (governors), the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Neb-u-chad-nez-zar the king had set up.

"3. Then the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Neb-u-chad-nez-zar the king had set up: and they stood before the image that Neb-u-chad-nez-zar had set up.

4. "Then an herald cried aloud. To you it is commanded, 0 people, nations, and languages.

5. That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Neb-u-chad-nez-zar the king hath set up;

6. And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

7. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard, the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Neb-u-chad-nez-zar the king had set  up."

8. Wherefore at that time certain Chal-de-ans came near, and accused the Jews.

9. They spake and said to the king Neb-u-chad-nez-zar, " O King, live for ever."

10. "Thou, 0 King, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image."

11. "And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace."

12. "There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Bab-y-lon, Sha-drach, Me-shach and A-bed-ne-go; these men, 0 king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

13. "Then Neb-u-chad-nez-zar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Sha-drach, Me-shach, and A-bed-ne-go. Then they brought these men before the king.

14. Neb-u-chad-nez-zar spake and said unto them, "Is it true, 0 Sha-drach, Me-shach, and A-bed-ne-go, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?"

15. "Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well; but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?"

16. Sha-drach, Me-shach, and A-bed-ne-go, answered and said to the king, " O Neb-u-chad-nez-zar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter."

17. " If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, 0 king."

18. "But if not, be it known unto thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set


19. "Then was Neb-u-chad-nez-zar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Sha-drach, Me-shach and A-bed-ne-go ; therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Sha-drach, Me-shach, and A-bed-ne-go and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Sha-drach, Me-shach, and A-bed-ne-go.

23. And these three men, Sha-drach, Me-shach, and A-bed-ne-go, fell bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnance." Why did the Brahmins give up the first Trinity? There is no indication that they were compelled to foreswear those Gods. Was it love of gain or lucre?

The second question is why did the Brahmins who became the votaries of the three Gods follow the principle of live and let live ? Why was one sect bent on destroying the other. There was no doctrinal difference between these sects worth the name. Their theology, cosmology and philosophy were all one and the same. The riddle becomes all the great. Was this sectarian quarrel political? Did the Brahmins make religion a matter of politics? Otherwise what is the explanation of this quarrel?






The Sacred literature of Smarth Dharma consists of the Smritis or the Law Books. These law books contain what may be called the Canon Law. This Canon Law as will be seen later on is vast in its compass and treats of such subjects as law, government, civic rights and duties of the different classes in society, penances for sins and punishments for offences. The purely secular part of this Dharma is not relevant for the purpose in hand. What is relevant is that part of it which is accepted as belonging strictly to religion.

The Smarth Dharma i.e. Dharma based on Smritis is based on five dogmas. The first dogma of Smarth Dharma is the belief in Trinity of Gods, composed of three Gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh or Shiva. In this Trinity, Brahma is the creator of the world, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva is the destroyer. Instead of the thirty-three Gods of the Srauta Dharma, Smarth Dharma limits the pantheon to only three.

The second dogma of the Smarth Dharma is the recognition of the purificatory ceremonies which are called Sanskaras or sacraments. According to the Smarth Dharma every householder must perform certain ceremonies. If he does not he becomes a patit i.e. one who is fallen from grace and therefore.....

(The above text is on a typed Page No. 21. Further pages of this chapter are missing. The following text is from the loose sheets  enumerated in blue pencil from page No. 55 to 65 only, except page No. 56. All these pages have corrections and instructions in the handwriting of the author.)—Ed.

There are few loose pages on ' Smarth Dharma and Tantrik Dharma '. Smarth Dharma is numbered as Part II while Tantrik Dharma is numbered as Part II 1. It seems that Part I consisted of Srauta Dharma. There is only one page of Smarth Dharma numbered as 21. The Tantrik Dharma starts from page 55 and ends at page 65 except page No. 56 with three more handwritten pages added by the author.—Ed.

Punishments and Penances occupy very prominent place in Pauranik Dharma. In the Srauta Dharma Yama has nothing to do with the future punishment of the wicked. The idea of penal retribution after death for sins committed during life is unknown. But the Puranas have considerably enlarged the Powers of Yama in this respect.

" Yama fulfils the office of judge of the dead, as well as sovereign of the damned; all that die appearing before him, and being confronted with Chitragupta, the recorder, by whom their actions have been registered. The virtuous are thence conveyed to Swarga, or Elysium, whilst the wicked are driven to the different regions of Naraka, or Tartarus ".

" The dreadful Chitragupta with a voice like that issuing from the clouds at the mundane dissolution, gleaming like a mountain of collyrium, terrible with lightning like weapons, having thirty-two arms, as big as three yojans, red-eyed, long-nosed, his face furnished with grinders and projecting teeth, his eyes resembling oblong ponds, bearing death and diseases. "

Sin will be punished after death. So also there is expiation for sin if the sinner wishes by performing certain penances for removing sin.

But what is sin? According to the Pauranik Dharma it does not mean the commission of a moral wrong. It means the non-performance of the observances prescribed by the Puranas. Such is Pauranik Dharma.




What is known as the Tantrik Dharma centres round the worship of Shakti. Shakti literally means power or energy. But in Tantrism it means the female partner of a male God. The literature of the Tantrik Dharma is quite vast and forms quite a separate branch of the Hindu Religious literature. It is necessary to observe that the Shakta form of Hinduism is equipped with a vast mythological personnel of its own, an immense array of female personalities, constituting a distinct division of the Hindu Pantheon.

In its origin the Tantrik Dharma is only an extension of the Pauranik Dharma. It is the Puranas which first began with the recognition of the female unmarried goddesses or as objects of worship. This was followed by the recognition of married females who were the wives of the Gods. It is in support of their recognition of the right of the wives of the Gods to be worshipped as goddesses that the Puranas set out the principle of Shaktism. According to the Puranas a deity though single has a dual character. In one it is quiescent, in the other active. The active nature of the deity is called his Shakti (i.e. his power). This Shakti of the deity is personified by the Puranas as the wife of the deity. This is the foundation of what is called Shaktism or the worship of the wife of certain deities.

The essence of Shaktism lies in the exclusive worship of the female deity in her most comprehensive character as the great power (Sakti) of Nature, the one mother of the Universe (Jagan-Mata, Jagad-Amba)—the mighty mysterious Force whose function is to direct and control two quite distinct operations; namely, first, the working of the natural appetites and passions, whether for the support of the body by eating and drinking, or for the propagation of living organisms through sexual cohabitation; secondly, the acquisition of supernatural faculties and magical powers (siddhi), whether for a man's own individual exaltation or for the annihilation of his opponents.

And here it is necessary to observe that the Sakta form of Hinduism is equipped with a vast mythological Personnel of its own—an immense array of female personalities, constituting a distinct division of the Hindu Pantheon.

Yet the whole array of the Tantrik female Pantheon spreading out as it does into countless ramifications, Shaktism has its root in the wife of Shiva. By common consent she is held to be the source or first point of departure of the entire female mythological system. She also stands at its head; and it is remarkable that in every one of the male God Shiva's characteristics, his consort is not only his counterpart, but a representation of all his attributes intensified. We have already pointed out how it came to pass that the male God gradually gathered under his own personality the attributes and functions of all other divinities, and thus became to his own special worshippers the great God (Mahadevah) of Hinduism. Similarly and in a much greater degree did his female counterpart become the one great goddess (Maha-devi) of the Sakta hierarchy: representing in her own person all other female manifestations of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and absorbing all their functions. For this reason even the wives of Brahma and Vishnu were said to be her daughters. As to the opposite and contradictory qualities attributed to her, these are no source of difficulty to a Hindu mind. She is simply in all respects a duplicate of her husband but a duplicate painted in deeper or more vivid colours.

And just as Shiva is at one time white (Sveta, Sukla) both in complexion and character, at another black (Kala); so his female nature also became one half white (whence one of her names Gauri) and the other half black (whence her name Kali).

Then, again, each of these opposite characters became variously modified and endlessly multiplied. The white or mild nature ramified into the Saktis called Uma, Gauri, Lakshmi, Sarasvati, etc., the black or fierce nature into those called Kali, Durga, Candi, Camunda, etc. And just as Shiva has 1008 names or epithets, so his wife possesses a feminine duplicate of nearly everyone of his designations. At least one thousand distinct appellations are assigned to her, some expressive of her benignant, some of her ferocious character. Notably it is declared in the Tantras that if any one repeats eight of her names containing the letter m, kings will become his servants, all men will love him, and all his difficulties come to a happy termination.

In short, all the other Saktis came to be included by the Saktas under the Sakti or female energy of Shiva, which eventually developed into innumerable  separate  manifestations  and personifications.

But it began in a rather modest way by starting the worship of the Durga along with Shiva, Laxmi along with Vishnu, Radha along with Krishna and Sita along with Rama. The number of Shaktis was not defined.

Sometimes only eight Saktis are enumerated and sometimes nine, viz, Vaishnavi, Brahmani, Raudri, Mahesvari, Narasinhi, Varahi, Indrani, Karttiki, and Pradhana. Others reckon fifty forms of the Sakti of Vishnu, besides Laxmi; and fifty of Siva or Rudra, besides Durga or Gauri. Sarasvati is named as a Sakti of Vishnu and Rudra, as well as Brahma. According to the Vayu-purana, the female nature of Rudra (Siva) became two-fold, one half Asita or white, and the other half Sita or black, each of these again becoming manifold. The white or mild nature includes the Saktis Uma, Gauri, Laxmi, Sarasvati, &c., the black or fierce nature includes Durga, Kali, Candi, Camunda, &c.

Soon however all the Shaktis were universalized under the Shakti or female energy which eventually developed into innumerable separate manifestations and personifications.

These personifications, following the analogy of some of Vishnu's incarnations, are sometimes grouped according to a supposed difference of participation in the divine energy, such for example as the full energy (puma sakti), the partial (ansarupini) the still more partial (kala-rupini), and the partial of the partial (kalansa-rupini), this last including mortal women in various degrees, from Brahman   women downwards, who are all worshipped as forms of the divine mother manifesting herself upon earth; for it must not be forgotten that in the Sakta creed every female is a present divinity.

The more usual classification, however, begins with the Mahavidyas. These are held to be ten in number, that number being probably selected to match the ten chief incarnations of Vishnu. They are called Mahavidyas as sources of the goddess' highest knowledge; that is to say, of the knowledge which confers preternatural powers. They have all different attributes, and are thus designated: (1) Kali (sometimes called Syama), black in colour, fierce and irascible in character. (2) Tara, a more benign manifestation, worshipped especially in Kashmir. (3) Shodasi, a beautiful girl of sixteen (also called Tripura worshipped in Malabar). (4) Bhuvanesvari. (5) Bhairavi. (6) Chinna-mastaka, a naked goddess holding in one hand a blood-stained scimitar and in the other her own severed head, which drinks the warm blood gushing from her headless trunk. (7) Dhumavati, in the form of smoke. (8) Vagala or Bagala, having the face of crane. (9) Matangi, a woman of the Bhangi caste. (10) Kamalatmika. Of these the first two are especially Mahavidyas, the next five vidyas, and the last three Siddhavidyas.

The next class of personifications or.manifestations of the goddess are the Matris or Matrika (or Maha-matris), the great mothers of the Universe. These are more important than the Mahavidyas in their connexion with the prevalence of Mother-worship, a form of religion which, among the peasantry of India, often takes the place of every other creed. This will be more fully explained in the chapter on tutelary deities.

The Matris or Mothers are: 1. Vaishnavi, 2. Brahmi or Brahmani, often represented with four faces or heads like the God Brahma, 3. Karttikeyi, sometimes called Mayuri, 4. Indrani, 5. Yami, 6. Varahi, connected with the boar incarnation of Vishnu, 7. Devi or Isani, represented with a trident in one hand as wife of Shiva, 8. Laxmi. Each of these divine Mothers is represented with a child in her lap. Closely related to the Mothers is a class of female personifications called the eight Nayikas or mistresses. These, of course, are not necessarily mothers. In fact no other idea is connected with them than that of illegitimate sexual love. They are called Balini, Kamesvari, Vimala, Aruna, Medini, Jayini, Sarvesvari and Kaulesi. Another class of manifestations is that of the Yoginis. These are sometimes represented as eight fairies or sorceresses created by and attendant on Durga, sometimes as mere forms of that goddess, sixty or sixty-five in number, and capable of being multiplied to the number of ten millions.

Other classes not worth enumerating are the Dakinis and Sakinis. These are simply female friends or ogresses of most repulsive habits, and are not so much manifestations of the goddess as impish servants always attendant on her.

But it is in the form Kali—-the form under which the goddess is worshiped at Calcutta—-that she is most terrible. The following is a free translation of two passages in the Tantras descriptive of Kali's appearance:

" One should adore with liquors and oblations that Kali who has a terrible gaping mouth and uncombed hair; who has four hands and a splendid garland formed of the heads of the giants she has slain and whose blood she has drunk; who holds a sword in her lotus-like hands; who is fearless and awards blessings; who is as black as the large clouds and has the whole sky for her clothes; who has string of skulls round her neck and a throat besmeared with blood; who wears ear-rings (consisting of two dead bodies): who carries two dead bodies in her hands; who has terrible teeth and smiling face; whose form is awful and who dwells in burning-grounds (for consuming corpses); who stands on the breast of her husband Maha-deva."

(Page Nos. 63-64 are missing. The script of Page No. 65 only is given below along with the concluding para written in the handwriting ofthe author.)

The Tantrik worship is altogether different from Srauta or Pauranik worship. It is in keeping with its central philosophy namely the best form of worship is the fullest satisfaction of the carnal desires of man. The Tantrik worship is summed up in what are called five Makaras. The five Makaras are: (i) The drinking of Madya (i.e. wine and liquors of various kinds).

(ii) The eating of Mama (meat). (iii) The eating of Malsya (fish). (iv) The eating of Mudra (parched or fried grain). (v) The performance of Maithun (sexual intercourse with a woman).

The Tantrik Puja consists in the performance of these acts. It is not necessary to draw attention to the fact that whatever is declared as nishidha (prohibited) is allowed in the Tantrik worship even sexual intercourse with a woman being prescribed as part of the Puja. Such is the growth of the Hindu Religion. On reading this history a student of true religion is forced to ask: Where is the place of morality in the Hindu Religion?

Religion no doubt started its career by asking many questions: " What am I?"" Who made the Universe?" " If God made it what is the relation of Ego to God?" "What is the right way to propitiate God ?" " What is the relation between I and the Non-I i.e. between man and universe?" "What constitutes good life or that will please God?" etc.

Most of these questions have been taken over by theology, metaphysics, philosophy and ethics, into which religion has become split. But there is one question that remains with religion to preach and propagate namely what constitutes good life. A religion which does not do so is no religion at all.

Why have the Brahmins made the Hindu religion so nude; so devoid of morality? The Hindu religion is nothing but worshipping so many Gods and Goddesses, worshipping so many trees, visiting so many places of pilgrimage and making offerings to the Brahmins. Was the religion formulating for enabling the Brahmins to earn their living? Did they ever think that morality is the foundation of society and that unless morality is imbedded in religion it (has no driving)*[f60]  force. These are questions which the Brahmins must answer.






The Hindus are enjoined to study the Vedas every day. the Satapatha Brahmana explains the reasons for it. It says:

"There are only five great sacrifices, which are the great ceremonies, viz., the offering to living creatures,*[f61]  the offering to men, the offering to the fathers, the offering to the gods, and the Veda-offering (Brahma-yajna). 2. Let an oblation be daily presented to living creatures. Thus the offering to them is fulfilled. Let (hospitality) be daily bestowed even down to the bowl of water. Thus is the offering to men fulfilled. Let the oblation to the gods be daily presented[f62]  as far as the faggot of wood. Thus is the offering to the gods fulfilled. 3. Next is the Veda-offering. This means private study[f63]  (of the sacred books). In this Veda-sacrifice speech is the juhu, the soul the upabhrit, the eye the dhruva, intelligence the sruva, [f64]  truth the ablution, and paradise the conclusion. He who, knowing this, daily studies the Veda, conquers an undecaying world more than thrice as great as that which he acquires who bestows this whole earth filled with riches. Wherefore the Veda should be studied. 4. Verses of the Rig-veda are milk-oblations to the Gods. He who, knowing this, daily reads these verses satisfies the gods with milk-oblations; and they being satisfied, satisfy him with property, with breath, with generative power, with complete bodily soundness, with all excellent blessings. Streams of butter, streams of honey flow as svadha-oblations to the fathers. 5. Yajush-verses are offerings of butter to the gods.

(This is a six-page typed copy on ' The Infallibility of the Vedas 'having no corrections or instructions by the author. The latter portion of this chapter is not available.—Ed.)

He who, knowing this, daily reads these verses, satisfies the gods with offerings of butter; and they, being satisfied, satisfy him, etc. (as in the preceding paragraph). 6. Saman-verses are soma-libations to the gods. He who, knowing this, daily reads these verses, satisfies the gods with soma-libations; and they being satisfied, satisfy him, etc. (as above). 7. Verses of Atharvan and Angiras (atharvangirasah[f65] ) are oblations of fat to the gods. He who, knowing this, daily reads these verses, satisfies the gods with oblations of fat; and they etc. (as above). 8. Prescriptive and scientific treatises, dialogues, traditions, tales, verses and eulogistic texts are oblations of honey to the gods. He who, knowing this, daily reads these, satisfies the gods with oblations of honey; and they etc. (as above). 9. Of this Veda-sacrifice there are four Vashatkaras when the wind blows, when it lightens, when it thunders, when it crashes; wherefore when it blows, lightens, thunders, or crashes, let the man, who knows this, read, in order that these Vashatkaras may not be interrupted[f66] . He who does so is freed from dying a second time, and attains to an union with Brahma. Even if he cannot read vigorously, let him read one text relating to the gods. Thus he is not deprived of his living creatures."

xi. 5, 7, 1 : " Now comes an encomium upon Vedic study. Study and teaching are loved. He (who practises them) becomes composed in mind. Independent of others, he daily attains his objects, sleeps pleasantly, becomes his own best physician. Control of his senses, concentration of mind, increase of intelligence, renown, capacity to educate mankind [are the results of study]. Increasing intelligence secures for the Brahman the four attributes of saintliness, suitable conduct, renown, and capacity for educating mankind. When so educated, men guarantee to the Brahman the enjoyment of the four prerogatives which are his due, reverence, the receipt of gifts, freedom from oppression, and from death by violence. 2. Of all the modes of exertion, which are known between heaven and earth, study of the Veda occupies the highest rank, (in the case of him) who, knowing this studies it. Wherefore this study is to be practised. 3. On every occasion when a man studies the Vedic hymns he (in fact) performs a complete ceremonial of sacrifice, i.e. whosoever, knowing this, so studies. Wherefore this study, etc., etc. 4. And even when a man perfumed with unguents adorned with jewels, satiated with food. and reposing on a comfortable couch, studies the Veda he (has all the merit of one who) performs penance  (left) to the very tips of his nails[f67] : (such is the case with him) who, knowing this, studies. Wherefore etc. 5. Rig-veda-verses are honey, Sama-verses butter, Yajus-verses nectar (amrita). When a man reads dialogues (vakovakya) and legends these two sorts of composition are respectively oblations of cooked milk and cooked flesh. 6. He who, knowing this, daily reads Rig-veda verses, satisfies the gods with honey; and they, when satisfied, satisfy him with all objects of desire, and with all enjoyments. 7. He who, knowing this, daily reads Sama-verses, satisfies the gods with butter; and they, when satisfied, etc. (as before). 8. He who, knowing this, daily reads Yajus-verses, satisfies the gods with nectar; and they, etc. (as before). 9. He who, knowing this, daily studies dialogues and the different classes of ancient stories, satisfies the gods with milk—and flesh-oblations; and they, etc. (as before). 10. The waters move. The Sun moves. The Moon moves. The constellations move. The Brahman who on any day does not study the Veda, is on that day like what these moving bodies would be if they ceased to move or act. Wherefore such study is to be practised. Let a man therefore present as his offering a verse of the Rig-veda, or the Saman, or the Yajush, or a Gatha, or a Kumvya, in order that the course of his observances may not be interrupted." Manu also supports the Satapatha Brahmana. He says:

" The Veda is the eternal eye of the fathers, of Gods, and of men; it is beyond human power and comprehension; this is a certain conclusion. Whatever traditions are apart from the Veda, and all heretical views, are fruitless in the next world, for they are declared to be founded on darkness. All other (books) external to the Veda, which arise and pass away, are worthless and false from their recentness of date. The system of the four castes, the three worlds, the four states of life, all that has been, now is, or shall be, is made manifest by the Veda. The objects of touch and taste, sound, form, and odour, as the fifth, are made known by the Veda, together with their products, qualities, and the character of their action. The eternal Veda supports all beings; hence I regard it as the principle instrument of well-being to this creature, man. Command of armies, royal authority, the administration of criminal justice, and the sovereignty of all worlds, he alone deserves who knows the Veda. As fire, when it has acquired force, burns up even green trees, so he who knows the Veda consumes the taint of his soul which has been contracted from works. He who comprehends the essential meaning of the Veda, in whatever order of life he may be, is prepared for absorption into Brahma, even while abiding in this lower world."

Manu however is not satisfied with this. He goes much beyond and enunciates the following new doctrine—

" By Sruti is meant the Veda, and by Smriti the institutes of law: the contents of these are not to be questioned by reason, since from them (a knowledge of) duty has shone forth. The Brahman who, relying on rationalistic treatises[f68] , shall contemn these two primary sources of knowledge, must be excommunicated by the virtuous as a sceptic and reviler of the Vedas. . . . . 13. To those who are seeking a knowledge of duty, the sruti is the supreme authority."


Contents                                                                          PART II

 [f1]1 Atharva-Veda XIX 54. 3

 [f2].2 Quoted in Muir's Sanskrit Texts vol. III. p. 3.

 [f3]3 Quoted in Muir Sanskrit Texts, p.

 [f4]' Muir Sanskrit Texts. III p. 8.

 [f5]1 Muir 1 pp. 9-10

 [f6]2 Muir 1 p. 8.

 [f7]3 Ibid.   1 p. 10.

 [f8]The reference to the Vedas in the Apastamba Dharma Sutras must not be misunderstood. Apastamba does not invest the Vedas with any authority at all. Knowledge of Vedas is made by him as an electoral qualification for membership of the Assembly whose agreed decision is the law and the only law.

 [f9]2 This is the period assigned to the Sutras by Prof. Max-Muller. The Apastamba being the oldest.

 [f10]" some may dispute this on the ground that the word Veda includes ' Brahmana' also. This of course is a fact. But it seems to me that Manu uses the term Shruti in a restricted sense so as to exclude the Brahmanas. This is supported by the fact that there is in the Manu Smriti no reference to the Brahmanas except in one place (iv. 100) where he says that only the Mantra portion -need be studied

 [f11]1 Quoted in Muir Sanskrit Texts Vol. III p. 27.

 [f12]2 Ibid., p. 28.

 [f13]1 The Upanishads (S.B.E.) Vol. I, Introduction p. 1xxxvi.

 [f14]1 The Upanishads (S.B.E.) Vol. I, Introduction p. 1xxxvi.

 [f15]History of Dharmasastra Vol. II. Part I p. 52

 [f16]' Sarva Darshan Sangraha (Translated by Cowell) p. 64.

 [f17]1 sarva Darshan sangraha p.10.

 [f18]1 sarva Darshan sangraha p.10.

 [f19]2 Badarayana Sutra 4.

 [f20]See Badarayana Sutra 5.

 [f21]4 Badarayana Sutra 6. Shankar's commentary

 [f22]. 5 See Badarayana Sutra 7. Shankar's commentary.

 [f23]6 Sec Badarayana Sutra 8. Shankar's commentary

 [f24]1 See Badarayana Sutra 9.

 [f25]See Badarayana Sutra 12.

 [f26]3 See Badarayana Sutra 15

 [f27]4 See Badarayana Sutra 16.

 [f28]5 See Badarayana Sutra 17.

 [f29]1 Shravaka means a desciple.

 [f30]  2 Mendicants following special rules with regard to livelihood

 [f31]3 Mendicants who are free from all ties and hindrances

 [f32]1 Mendicants who twist their hair on the head

 [f33]2 Mendicants who escape from society.

 [f34]3 Vratika means a devotee


 [f36]5 Horse

 [f37]6 Cow

 [f38]7 Dog

 [f39]8 Crow.

 [f40]1 Ramayana- Quoted in Muir's Sanskril Texts Vol. IV p. 33.

 [f41]2 Mahabharata--Vana Parva & Linga Purana- Muir lbid.. pp. 38-39.

 [f42]3 Vishnu Purana-Muir lbid p. 392.

 [f43]4 Ramayana - Muir lbid p. 477.

 [f44]1 Mahabharat Shanti Parva Quoted in Muir Vol. IV. p. 240.

 [f45]2 Mahabharat Shanti Parva lbid. p. 279.

 [f46]3 Mahabharat Anushasan Parva—Muir lbid. p. 188

 [f47]. 4 Bhagwat Purana—lbid. p. 43.

 [f48]5 Mahabharat quoted in Muir's Sanskrit Texts Vol.-IV p. 192.

 [f49]6 lbid. p. 193.

 [f50]7 Muir's Sanskrit Texts Vol. IV p. 47.

 [f51]1 See Vishnu Sahasranama.

 [f52]2 They are mentioned in the Padma Purana

 [f53]3 See above

 [f54]4 They are (1) Flowing Ganges (2) Chandra i.e. Moon and (3) Shesh (snake) and (4) Matted hair.

 [f55]5 Moore: Hindu Pantheon pp. 40-41.

 [f56]1 The story is told in Vishnu Agama and is quoted in Moore's Hindu Pantheon pp. 19-20.

 [f57]2 Quoted in Moore's Hindu Pantheon pp. 17-18.

 [f58]1 Quoted by Moore, lbid. p. 184.

 [f59]1 Old Testament Daniel Chap. 3. verses 1-23.

 [f60]* The words are introduced by us as this portion of the page is moth-eaten.

 [f61]This sacrifice, as I learn from Prof. Aufrecht, consists in scattering grain for the benefit of birds, etc. See Bohtlingk and Roth's Lexicon, s. v. bali. In regard to the other sacrifices see Colebrooke's Misc. Essays, i. pp. 150, 153, 182 ff.. 203 ff.

 [f62]2 In explanation of this Prof. Aufrecht refers to Katyayana's Srauta Sutras, iv. 1. 10 and Manu. iii. 210, 214, 218.

 [f63]3 Svadhyayah sva-sakhadhyanam " Reading of the Veda in one's own sakha."—comm.

 [f64]4 These words denote sacrificial spoons or ladles of different kinds of wood. See the drawings of them in Prof. Muller's article on the funeral rites of the Brahmans. Journ. of the Germ. or. Sec. Vol. ix. pp. lxxviii and Lxxx.

 [f65]1 The Atharva Samhita is so called

 [f66]2 Sec Bothlingk and Roth's Lexicon, s. v. chhambat.

1 This sentence is differently rendered by Professor Weber, Ind. Stud. x. p. 112, as follows: "He burns (with sacred fire) to the very tips of his nails." In a later page of the same Essay we are told that according to the doctrine of a teacher called Naka Maudgaly as stated in the Taittiriya Aranyaka, the study and teaching of the Veda are the real tapas svadhyaya-pravachane eva tad hi tapah). In the text of the Aranyaka itself, vii. 8, it is declared that study and teaching should always accompany such spiritual or ritual acts as satyam, tapas, dama, sama, the ognihotra sacrifice, etc

 [f67]. See Indische Studien, ii. 214, and x. 113.

 [f68]1 This. however, must be read in conjunction with the precept in xii. 106, which declares arsham dharmopadesam cha veda-sastravirodhina yas tarkenanusandhatte sa dharman veda naparah " He, and he only is acquainted with duty, who investigates the injunctions of the rishis, and the precepts of the smriti. by reasonings which do not contradict the Veda."