7th November 2010
Clearing the mist around Max Muller
A few weeks ago, one of the commentators on this blog had very unpleasant things to say about Max Muller – basically alleging that Max Muller had deliberately mistranslated the Vedas (and that Macaulay had set him up to this!).
I'm not an expert on such matters but even a casual look at the literature quickly allows us to reject such claims. Let's check a few texts:
FACT 1: HINDUS DID NOT WANT TO TEACH SANSKRIT TO FOREIGNERS
First, the Hindu priests generally did not either want to teach Sanskrit to others nor translate ancient texts into other languages. When even Hindus themselves were not all allowed to read these texts, how would others be so permitted? This is evident from the following statement from Nehru's Discovery of India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981, paperback, p. 317)
"If the British Government in India was reluctant to teach English to Indians, Brahmin scholars objected even more, but for different reasons, to teach Sanskrit to Englishmen. When Sir William Jones, already a linguist and a scholar, came to India as a judge of the Supreme Court, he expressed his desire to learn Sanskrit. But no Brahmin would agree to teach the sacred language to a foreigner and an intruder, even though handsome rewards were offered. Jones ultimately, with considerable difficulty, got hold of a non-Brahmin Vaidya or medical practitioner who agreed to teach, but on his own peculiar and stringent conditions. Jones agreed to every stipulation, so great was his eagerness to learn the ancient language of India. Sanskrit fascinated him and especially the discovery of the old Indian drama. It was through his writings and translations that Europe first had a glimpse of some of the treasurers of Sanskrit literature. In 1784 Sir William Jones established the Bengal Asiatic Society which later became the Royal Asiatic Society."
FACT 2: RAJA RAMMOHUN ROY MADE SOME OF THE EARLY TRANSLATIONS
Later, in 1835, RRR, a Brahmin, translated many of the Upanishads into English. These included:
- Translation of an Abridgment of the Vedant, or Resolution of all the Veds
- Translation of the Moonduk Oopunishad of the Uthurvu-Ved
- Translation of the Cena Oopanishad, one of the Chapters of the Sam Ved
- Translation of the Kut h-Oopunishad of the Yajoor-Ved
- Translation of the Ishopunishad, one of the Chapters of the Yajoor-Ved
- Translation of a Sunscrit Tract on Different modes of Worship
FACT 3: MAX MULLER's WORK WAS AS GENUINE AS ANY WORK CAN BE
Max Mueller came next in the series (I think!).
Nehru outlines Max Mueller's work in DOI (cited above, p.93):
"Max Muller says: "Schopenhauer was the last man to write at random, or to allow himself to go into ecstasies over so-called mystic and inarticulate thought. And I am neither afraid nor ashamed to say that I share his enthusiasm for the Vendanta, and feel indebted to it for much that has been helpful to me in my passage through life." In another place Max Muller says: "The Upanishads are the … sources of … the Vedanta philosophy, a system in which human speculation seems to me to have reached its very acme." "I spend my happiest hours in reading Vedantic books. They are to me like the light of the morning, like the pure air of the mountains – so simple, so true, if once understood."
- What an extraordinary man is Prof. Max Müller!
- Max Müller is a Vedantist of Vedantists. He has, indeed, caught the real soul of the melody of the Vedanta, in the midst of all its settings of harmonies and discords — the one light that lightens the sects and creeds of the world, the Vedanta, the one principle of which all religions are only applications.
Sanjeev — Why do you always quote Vivakananda? The reason is simple: Because he "advocated" the philosophy of Classical liberalism, which you are so passionately trying to promote. This clearly a case of selective perception (on your part). You are selecting only those sources which support YOUR philosophy and not the truth. Why don't you study Swami Dayananda and other saints as well? Just because their views don't conform to your views doesn't mean that they were wrong!
Clearly, Swami Vivekananda was blatantly misguided in interpreting Vedas. I have proofs of this. Swami Dayananda has clearly dismissed many such mistranslations. Some such mistranslations by Max Muller, which Vivekananda seemed to have been completely ignorant (or misguided!) about are those relating to cow-slaughter in Vedic history, horse sacrifice in Ashwamedha yagna, etcetera. If you wish to debate on this issue or study the proofs, you can directly do so at http://www.agniveer.com
If you want me to post specific articles from Agniveer (which dismiss the mistranslations of Max Muller!) here, I will happily do so!
You need another angle of insight into Indian History..
Please go through the book " Rewriting Indian History by Francois Gautier" which i have already mailed.
You will definitely enjoy a new angle.
I went through Jha’s “Myth of the Holy Cow” once again and assure you that the amount of evidence he has collected is simply incontrovertible in this regard. There is virtually no way that you or anyone else can deny that Indians in the past were great beef eaters. The evidence is not merely from one book or other but so comprehensive as to be mind-boggling.
Have you read Jha’s book? If not please read it. He is a high quality academic, and knows the meaning of citations and the quality of referencing. I am, however, subject to time and health, continuing some further research in this area since I’m now very intrigued and want to know the truth, just for the heck of it.
I've got no time or physical capacity to read Francois Gautier. I'd appreciate if you make the effort to consolidate the key issues if any, that you wish me to know about.
Sanjeev — I haven't read the entire book. But I have read excerpts from that book. And just as you can assure me that Hindus ate beef in olden times, I can guarantee you that they didn't. Can you explain me why the verse 10-87-16 (in the Rig Veda) prescribes severe punishment for the person who kills a cow? And why the Atharva Veda recommends beheading (8-3-16) for such a crime. In addition, the Rig Veda advocates expulsion from the kingdom (8-101-15). If Vedas were not against killing cows, they wouldn't have opposed it to the extent of justifying severe punishment.
Earlier I shared with you a scholarly and academic article (based on extensive research!) by Sandhya Jain. It strongly dismisses (based on evidence!) many false arguments posed by Jha. For example, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati focuses on two words – goghn and ashvamedh. "Goghn" means a guest who receives a cow as gift. Panini (the father of Sanskrit grammar) created a special sutra to establish the rule that goghn will only mean the receiver of a cow (and will not be used in any other sense). But Taranath ignored Panini's injunction and wrote that "goghn" means "the killer of a cow." He similarly converted the ashvamedh yagna from 'ritual worship of the horse' to the "killing of the horse."
If Mr. Jha chooses to select only the misinterpreted version, then I have nothing more to say for him. But if you call yourself a real critical thinker, then I would expect you to view this matter WITHOUT ANY BIAS, and research both ends of it so as to reach a fair conclusion. Without researching extensively, it is not proper to make statements which are directed (even though unintentionally!) to distort a particular source of knowledge (Veda, as you may know, means 'knowledge').
Oh, and clearly, given the verses I just mentioned, Swami Vivekananda seemed to have been completely unaware of the fact that his words contradicted the Vedas — the unalloyed version of the Vedas.
As for Max Muller, his letters dated August 25, 1856 and December 16, 1868 reveal the fact that he was desperate to bring Christianity into India so that the religion of the Hindus should be doomed.
Here's his letter to the duke of Argyll. Oxford, December 16, 1868:
“India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again, and that second conquest should be a conquest by education. Much has been done for education of late, but if the funds were tripled and quadrupled, that would hardly be enough… A new national literature may spring up, impregnated with western ideas, yet retaining its native spirit and character… A new national literature will bring with it a new national life, and new moral vigour. As to religion, that will take care of itself. The missionaries have done far more than they themselves seem to be aware of.”
“The ancient religion of India is doomed, and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?”
The amount of evidence Jha offers is overwhelming. Being a critical thinker the ball is now in your court to disprove this matter. Note also that Raja Ram Mohun Roy, the FIRST Indian Brahmin who knew both Sanskrit and English extremely well, wrote a tract entitled: “Hindu Authorities in Favour of Slaying the Cow and Eating its Flesh.” So the question of mistranslation by Max Mueller in relation to beef eating does not arise.
Anyway, once you read Jha you’ll note that his evidence is not restricted to one or two instances, but to 100s of DIVERSE sources of evidence. It is an open and shut case. And he does not even cite Vivekananda.
Let’s discuss after you’ve read Jha. Critical thinking means first finding out the facts. The only way to disprove this would be to provide me with a book that deals with EACH of Jha’s 100s of pieces of evidence and shows that he was lying. That can’t be the case given his eminent scholarship.
There is nothing remarkable about the first para you cite. That is an opinion, and if you read the spread of English and science in India, the missionaries have indeed played a role. They may have done many ‘wrong’ teaching India English and science was not wrong.
The second line you cite was a common opinion held by reformers like the Brahmo Samaj (and later by Arya Samaj) – and indeed by my father in his book Vedic Metaphysics, in which ALL these reformers opposed the degeneration of Hinduism that they saw around them. Rammohun Roy, for instance, wrote severely against idolatory and asked the people to revert to the Vedanta.
This matter of HONEST opinion of someone doesn’t mean any conspiracy took place to pull down Hinduism/Indians. Hindus themselves came out with the view that their Vedic religion is monotheist and that they don’t need to become Christians. Raja Rammohun Roy was the greatest proponent of this view, but also Dayanand and Vivekananda. ALL OF THEM fought against the practices they thought were decadent.
Re: Max Muller’s view that Christianity would step in, that was proved by facts to be wishful thinking. Hindu reformers emerged and reverted Hinduism to Vedanta. That meant that among the intellectual Hindus, there was no mental pressure to leave Hinduism. But just because Muller supported Christianity (why would he not? – just translating Vedas doesn’t mean he had to become a Hindu), doesn’t mean he deliberately mistranslated anything.
Sanjeev — Just the same responsibility applies to you, being a critical thinker yourself. Since you haven't read and researched arguments on the defense side, you stand unwarranted (by the standards of critical thinking!) to make claims about what Vedas actually stand for. Just because Jha cites 100s of so-called evidences does not give him the last say. As I said (and mentioned several instances!), there have been scholarly articles already written which blatantly disprove claims that vindicators like Jha have posed. Sandhya Jain, Satyaraja Dasa, Agniveer (http://agniveer.com/68/no-beef-in-vedas/), and many others stand on the defense side.
Evidence against Max Muller galore. The chief intention of the British was to denigrate our scriptures to an extent that we (Indians!) would lose respect for them. If you need evidence for this, you only need to type the relevant keywords in Google to get tons of websites that prove Max Muller, Griffith and many others were guilty of mistranslations. To translate the Vedas, you need to have high qualifications — such as purity of heart, right intentions (to try to understand Vedas so that he could better spread Christianity is not the right intention. That is probably why Indian saints stayed away from teaching any Sanskrit to the foreigners. Most of them were hungry for wealth and power!), spiritual advancement, right pronunciations, etc. Most of these were absent in Max Muller, he being chiefly interested in propagating only Christianity. Oh, and missionaries (of Christianity and Islam!) obviously did more harm to us than they did benefits. This is evident in Stephen Knapp's book 'The Crimes Against India'. Anyway, I won't go into this matter at the moment since you can always read this book if you choose to.
Let’s park this issue. I am convinced that MANY INDIAN writers and texts wrote about beef eating in India well before Max Muller came on the scene.
Translation requires understanding of the language, not ‘purity’ whatever that means.
And simply throwing mud at someone (e.g. Max Muller) doesn’t work with me. Claims mean nothing. I want to see you disprove Jha’s EXTENSIVE evidence – so extensive that the question of translation of the Vedas are essentially irrelevant to that evidence.
Yes, let's park this issue. However, please know that I am not claiming (or throwing mud at Muller!) without proper evidence. I have shared with you qualified links to the websites which show strong evidence against Muller, Griffith and other Western indologists' translations. As for the the claims by Jha, I'll disprove EACH of them sometime soon. I trust that you too will research extensively and read the defense before making claims.
Btw, I wasn't interested in finding out more about Jha himself, but on a quick scan of the internet I note he is one of India's major historians. Currently he is a member of the prestigious Indian Council of Historical Research, which the highest academic body in this area in India. http://www.ichrindia.org/
The fact is that Jha's book meets my standards of critical thinking, being very well referenced and not rushing to conclusions, but discussing facts quite objectively.
Those who are emotionally involved in any topic can't study it dispassionately. That means that critical thinking is not possible by such people. If you BELIEVE that something is true (or false) before studying the facts, then TRUTH can never emerge.
Just adding that the claims against Max Muller being a religious fanatic are quite wrong. “Mueller who lost out, due to his liberalism, in the election for the Oxford Sanskrit chair against Monier Williams as he was not trusted by the then still locally dominant British clergy.” (http://www.hinduonnet.com/op/2003/04/08/stories/2003040800010200.htm).
I now believe that there are a good number of Hindu fanatics who have not THE SLIGHTEST sense of rigour required in academic research, who are now deliberately misleading those Indians who have very poor educational skills and can’t distinguish the truth from falsehood easily.
I ONLY CARE for highly competent academically sound work. I’m sure you also have the highest standards.
Satyameva Jayate. We must look only for the truth.
I cannot comment on how fanatic Muller was. To me, any religion that believes/propagates that there is ONLY ONE path to God and that all other paths are false is nothing but fanaticism and narrow-mindedness. Max Muller being a Christian and interested in promoting Christianity singularly, he couldn't have been chaste enough to do perfect justice to the Vedas, the religious/spiritual scripture of Hindus.
Anyway, please know that I am not resorting to emotions here. I have studied in detail the atrocities done to our culture by foreign people since 7th century AD. And given this, I would rather consider our saints' words as H(sub)o — the main hypothesis — and the Western indologists' words as the alternative hypothesis H(sub)1. I would rather take the words of Swami Dayananda as my main hypothesis (since he knew India's blood and veins better than any Western indologists) and the words of Western indologists (or those influenced by them) as an alternative hypothesis. Here's what Swami Vivekananda once said, "Everything that comes from India take as true, until you find cogent reasons for disbelieving it. Everything that comes from Europe take as false, until you find cogent reasons for believing it." Seems he too knew the evil of Western minds.
To say that there are hardly any Hindu scholars left in India is completely baseless. I challenge you to read the works of Agniveer, Sandhya Jain, Stephen Knapp, Satyaraja Dasa, and others who display high levels of academic rigor. Research yourself. Don't be satisfied by just one person, namely Jha. Explore both sides in-depth and then accept whatever you find as true!
I cant put long long paragraphs from that Book .. The book is a MUST READ ..without skipping anything .. to get a grasp over What the author wants to say ..
Whenever you get a time and you recover from your Eye Strain .. Do read it ..
the book is about the Delibrate MisInformation about Indian Culture and History .. It does not mention or blame 1 person for it . It mentions the Intentions or the thinking of Europeans as the main reason for it.
Dear Vijay, I generally read only HIGHLY reputed and well-regarded authors. Given you are citing someone who is a mere journalist with NO academic credentials/training, I'd be very reluctant to spend time reading him. Instead, could you please extract portions that are relevant – for me to judge the quality of work of this author? Just 2-3 paras will tell me what his quality is.
Fair enough, Harsh.
I don't agree with your generalisations but you have just said this:
Here's what Swami Vivekananda once said, "Everything that comes from India take as true, until you find cogent reasons for disbelieving it. Everything that comes from Europe take as false, until you find cogent reasons for believing it."
Accordingly I should believe Professor Jha who taught at Delhi University, the HEART of India. He said that Indians ATE BEEF in the past. Jha is AN INDIAN.
And I should believe Vivekananda who said that INDIANS ATE BEEF. After all, HE is also an Indian.
And I should believe Raja Rammohun Roy who said that INDAINS ATE BEEF. He too is an Indian.
And so is Professor (Bharat Ratna) P. V. Kane and J. C. Jain. Both Indians. They BOTH said that Indians (Hindus) ate beef.
And I should NOT believe Stephen Knapp who doesn't sound like an Indian at all!! Nor the weird man called David Frawley who is DEFINITELY not an Indian.
The truth, Harsh, DOES NOT HAVE A NATIONALITY.
The truth is the truth. Please forget any jingoistic attitudes while being a student of the truth. Just study the truth. It is international. It is PERMANENT. It is unalterable. It can not change despite your (or mine) claiming otherwise.
Forget all these issues and recognise that you are leaping from one wild conclusion to another.
Ignore what Muller was (Christian or otherwise). PROVE that he deliberately mistranslated anything. Then we can discuss. Else you are in the minority in front of HUGELY serious scholars, both Indian and international. Just throwing mud at the truth doesn't mean the truth gets dirty. Mud can't stick to the truth.
Let's avoid these discussions and focus PRECISELY on the facts. Avoid attacking people. Discuss their ideas and be VERY precise about your claims.
As I said you'll have to DISPROVE 100s of well established and well-documented evidences in Jha's book in order to sustain your arguments.
I generally read only HIGHLY reputed and well-regarded authors. Given you are citing someone who is a mere journalist with NO academic credentials/training
Then Who will Read BFN ????
This is a clear example of how the Western indologists took things out of context from the Vedas. Prior to mentioning the quote from Vivekananda, I mentioned that I would not take the words of Western indologists or of those influenced by their work as the last word. Vivekananda, Jha, Rammohan Roy, K V. Kane and J. C. Jain are all recent examples of people who seem to have been influenced by the Western translations (after the invasion of the British).
Panini, as you know, was the father of Sanskrit grammar. If you would cite from any source that uses a different grammar of Sanskrit, then I am not convinced. For thousands of years, our people have followed the fact that Hindus did not eat beef. This includes Swami Dayananda, among all others (Read his Satyarth Prakash for evidence!). That Max Muller, Jha, Griffith, etcetera were wrong in their translations is CLEARLY proved in the original verses from the Vedas I mentioned to you earlier.
I am not merely throwing mud at Muller. In fact, I showed you specific evidences and proofs of how the words in the Vedas were taken out of context and misinterpreted. Given these evidences, how could you say that I throw mud without any base? Also, given the evidences and proofs against Muller, I am not at the least inclined to consider Muller's words as truth. They are not even closer to the actual truth. Given this, I have the full right to point out his fallacies or "throw mud at him," as you call it.
If you wish to know what specific things are usually misinterpreted by the Western indologists, I will happily post the original articles here (since it seems you don't visit the links I post here!). If not, then please do visit http://www.agniveer.com and try to disprove evidences against Western misinterpretations mentioned there.
Seems like Mr. Sanjeev believes appeal to authority as a logical instrument and not a logical fallacy.
Mr. Jha was one of the signatories to the fact that there was no temple at the site of Ayodhya.
As a classical liberalism champion, it would be interesting to know how much you trust this historian who has been proven wrong for good by the ASI findings.
i never knew there were fanatic liberalists who cannot entertain counter evidences ..until i chanced upon your blog
you sure will make India rich ..won’t you
The difference, Vijay, is that BFN is based on the work and findings of many outstanding economists and public administration experts – many of them cited in great detail in the footnotes. Indeed, my chapter on public administration was vetted by two of the world’s most outstanding experts in this area (one from Australia and the other from USA) and they found it to reflect the current state of thought on this subject.
I also possess a doctorate in economics from a world-class university and have personally worked in public administration in India and Australia. There is NONE in the world today (or in India’s past history) who brings the kind of insights I have about India’s governance. That should be obvious.
I don’t believe journalism trains anyone in the RIGOURS of critical thinking that a doctorate in economics does (or should). Please cite world-class Indologists and thinkers, not untrained journalists. I’m happy with D.N.Jha’s credentials and WILL listen to him carefully, particularly since he permits the full examination of his logic through his footnotes.
Dear Indian Anopostic
I DON’T believe in authorities (and I caution people against believing in authorities), but I do believe that well-trained experts have SOME chance of arriving at the truth. Others have close to ZERO chance. Jha’s claims (or the absence thereof) re: the temple at Ayodhya are irrelevant to the case he documents re: beef eating in India. I have evaluated that book on the EVIDENCE cited, not merely because Jha is a highly trained historian, indeed, one of India’s most respected historians today.
Now you’ve surely gone overboard! Raja Rammohun Roy was a SANSKRIT scholar first, a Brahmin first, a master of the Vedas himself, and learnt English LATER. He was also the first major Indian translator of many of the Upanishads in India. He was NOT influenced by any Western translations! Re: the others, I’m certain that many of them were Sanskrit experts themselves. You now throw mud at EVERYONE! Please stop throwing mud and stick to the facts. We can then discuss. I don’t waste time discussing personalities. Just the facts. But I do object to mud-throwing without basis.
Re: Max Mueller, you’ll have to prove your case with full facts. Why don’t you first post the details as a comment?
Okay, I told this earlier and I tell this again: The mud I throw at Western indologists (and people who fall in their sphere of influence) is not at the least unwarranted. I bring proofs and facts. Please look at these carefully. Since you didn't follow my links earlier, I post the entire article here. It is borrowed from http://www.agniveer.com. I use this as a reference to further my own research. In the meantime, I have ordered Jha's book and will be reading it soon. After fully reading it, I will commence on my research to debunk each of his claims separately.
This slanderous campaign has been unleashed by different vested interests to embarrass Hindus around the world citing specific references from the Vedas.
This also comes handy in convincing poor and illiterate Indians to give up their faith on the grounds that their fundamental holy books – the Vedas – contain all the inhuman elements like denigration of women, meat-eating, polygamy, casteism and above all – beef eating.
The Vedas are also accused of animal sacrifice in sacrificial ceremonies popularly known as the YAJNA. Interestingly a section of home-bred intellectuals claiming to have deep study of ancient India has also come up, who cite references from works of western indologists to prove such unholy content in the Vedas.
Saying that the Vedas permit beef-eating and cow-slaughter amounts to striking a lethal blow to a Hindu’s soul. Respect for cow forms a core tenet of Hinduism. Once you are able to convince him of flaws in the foundation of this core tenet and make him feel guilty, he becomes an easy prey for the predator faiths. There are millions of ill-informed Hindus who are not empowered to counter argue and hence quietly surrender.
The vested interests that malign the Vedas are not confined to foreign and home-bred indologists alone. A certain class among Hindus exploited the rest of the population including the socially and economically weaker sections by forcing them to believe and follow what they said in the name of Vedas or else face the wrath.
All the slanders heaped upon the Vedas can be attributed mainly to the interpretations of commentaries written by Mahidhar, Uvat and Saayan in the medieval times; and to what Vam-margis or the Tantra cult propagated in their books in the name of the Vedas.
In due course the falsehood spread far and wide and they became even more deep rooted when western scholars with their half baked knowledge of Sanskrit transliterated these interpretations of commentaries of Sayan and Mahidhar, in the name of translating the Vedas.
However, they lacked the pre-requisite understanding of Shiksha (Phonetics), Vyakarana (Grammar), Nirukta (Philology), Nighantu (Vocabulary), Chhanda (Prosody), Jyotish (Astronomy), Kalpa and so on that are critical for correct interpretation of the Vedas.
The purpose behind this series of videos is to objectively evaluate all such misconceptions about the Vedas – the foundation of human knowledge and establish their piety, sanctity, great ideals and philosophy that cater not only to Hindus but to every human being without bars, bias or discrimination of any kind.
Section 1: No violence against animals
Tatra ko mohah kah shokah ekatvamanupasyatah
“Those who see all beings as souls do not feel infatuation or anguish at their sight, for they experience oneness with them”.
How could people who believed in the doctrines of indestructibility, transmigration dare to kill living animals in yajnas? They might be seeing the souls of their own near and dear ones of bygone days residing in those living beings.
Anumantaa vishasitaa nihantaa krayavikrayee
Samskartaa chopahartaa cha khadakashcheti ghaatakaah
Those who permit slaying of animals; those who bring animals for slaughter; those who slaughter; those who sell meat; those who purchase meat; those who prepare dish out of it; those who serve that
meat and those who eat are all murderers.
Breehimattam yavamattamatho maashamatho tilam
Esha vaam bhaago nihito ratnadheyaaya dantau maa hinsishtam pitaram maataram cha
O teeth! You eat rice, you eat barley, you gram and you eat sesame. These cereals are specifically meant for you. Do not kill those who are capable of being fathers and mothers.
Ya aamam maansamadanti paurusheyam cha ye kravih
Garbhaan khaadanti keshavaastaanito naashayaamasi
We ought to destroy those who eat cooked as well as uncooked meat, meat involving destruction of males and females, foetus and eggs.
Anago hatya vai bheema kritye
Maa no gaamashvam purusham vadheeh
It is definitely a great sin to kill innocents. Do not kill our cows, horses and people.
How could there be justification of cow and other animals being killed when killing is so clearly prohibited in the Vedas?
Aghnyaa yajamaanasya pashoonpahi
“O human! animals are Aghnya – not to be killed. Protect the animals”
Protect the animals.
Protect the bipeds and quadrupeds!
Kravy da –kravya[ meat obtained from slaughter] + Ada [ the eater]—the meat eater.
Pisacha — pisita [meat] +asa [eater]—the meat eater.
Asutrpa — Asu [breath of life] + trpa [one who satisfies himself on]—one who takes others life for his meals.
Garba da and Anda da – the foetus and egg eaters.
Mans da – the meat eaters
Meat eaters have always been looked down in Vedic literature. They have been known as Rakshasas, Pisacha and so on….All these words are synonyms of demons or devils that have been out-cast from the civilized human society.
Urjam no dhehi dwipade chatushpade
“May all bipeds and quadrupeds gain strength and nourishment”
This mantra is recited by Hindus before every meal. How could the same philosophy which prays for well-being of every soul in every moment of life, approve of killing animals?
Section 1: No violence in Yajna
Yajna never meant animal sacrifice in the sense popularly understood. Yajna in the Vedas meant a noble deed or the highest purifying action.
Adhvara iti Yajnanaama – Dhvaratihimsaakarmaa tatpratishedhah
According to Yaaska Acharya, one of the synonyms of Yajna in Nirukta or the Vedic philology is Adhvara.
Dhvara means an act with himsa or violence. And therefore a-dhvara means an act involving no himsa or no violence. There are a large number of such usage of Adhvara in the Vedas.
In the post-Mahabharata period, misinterpretation of the Vedas and interpolations in other scriptures took place at various points intime. Acharya Shankar reestablished the Vedic values to an extent.
In the more recent times, Swami Dayanand Saraswati – known as the grandfather of modern India – interpreted the Vedas as per thecorrect rules of the language and authentic evidences. His literature, which includes commentary on the Vedas, Satyarth Prakash loosely translated as Light of Truth, An Introduction to the Vedas and other texts led to widespread social reformation based on Vedic philosophy and dispelling of myths surrounding the Vedas.
Let us discover what the Vedas have to say on Yajna.
Agne yam yagnamadhvaram vishwatah pari bhuurasi
Sa id deveshu gacchati
O lord of effulgence! The non-violent Yajna, you prescribe from all sides, is beneficial for all, touches divine proportions and is accepted by noble souls.
The Rigveda describes Yajna as Adhvara or non violent throughout. Same is the case with all the other Vedas. How can it be then concluded that the Vedas permit violence or slaughter of animals?
The biggest accusation of cattle and cow slaughter comes in the context of the Yajnas that derived their names from different cattle like the Ashwamedh Yajna, the Gomedha Yajna and the Nar-medh Yajna. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination the word Medha would not mean slaughter in this context.
It’s interesting to note what Yajurveda says about a horse
Imam ma himsirekashafam pashum kanikradam vaajinam vaajineshu
Do not slaughter this one hoofed animal that neighs and who goes with a speed faster than most of the animals.
Aswamedha does not mean horse sacrifice at Yajna. Instead the Yajurveda clearly mentions that a horse ought not to be slaughtered.
In Shathapatha, Ashwa is a word for the nation or empire
The word medha does not mean slaughter. It denotes an act done in accordance to the intellect Alternatively it could mean consolidation, as evident from the root meaning of medha i.e. medhru san-ga-me
Raashtram vaa ashwamedhah
Annam hi gau
Swami Dayananda Saraswati wrote in his Light of Truth:
A Yajna dedicated to the glory, wellbeing and prosperity of the Rashtra the nation or empire is known as the Ashwamedh yajna.
“To keep the food pure or to keep the senses under control, or to make the food pure or to make a good use of the rays of Sun or keep the earth free from impurities[clean] is called Gomedha Yajna”.
“The word Gau also means the Earth and the yajna dedicated to keep the Earth the environment clean is called Gomedha Yajna”
“The cremation of the body of a dead person in accordance with the principles laid down in the Vedas is called Naramedha Yajna”.
Section 3: No beef in Vedas
Not only the Vedas are against animal slaughter but also vehemently oppose and prohibit cow slaughter.Yajurveda forbids killing of cows, for they provide energizing food for human beings
Ghrtam duhaanaamaditim janaayaagne maa himsiheeh
Do not kill cows and bulls who always deserve to be protected.
Aare gohaa nrhaa vadho vo astu
In Rigveda cow slaughter has been declared a heinous crime equivalent to human murder and it has been said that those who commits this crime should be punished.
Sooyavasaad bhagavatee hi bhooyaa atho vayam bhagvantah syaama
Addhi trnamaghnye vishwadaaneem piba shuddhamudakamaacharantee
Rigveda 1.164.40 or Atharv 7.73.11 or Atharv 9.10.20
The Aghnya cows – which are not to be killed under any circumstances– may keep themselves healthy by use of pure water and green grass, so that we may be endowed with virtues, knowledge and wealth.
The Vedic Lexicon, Nighantu, gives amongst other synonyms of Gau[ or cow] the words Aghnya. Ahi, and Aditi. Yaska the commentator on Nighantu, defines these as-
Aghnya the one that ought not to be killed
Ahi the one that must not be slaughtered.
Aditi the one that ought not to be cut into pieces.
These three names of cow signify that the animal ought not to be put to tortures. These words appear frequently throughout the Vedas in context of the cow.
Aghnyeyam saa vardhataam mahate soubhagaaya
Cow – The aghnya – brings us health and prosperity
There should be excellent facility for pure water for Aghnya Cow
Yah paurusheyena kravishaa samankte yo ashwena pashunaa yaatudhaanah
Yo aghnyaayaa bharati ksheeramagne teshaam sheershaani harasaapi vrishcha
Those who feed on human, horse or animal flesh and those who destroy milk-giving Aghnya cows should be severely punished.
Vimucchyadhvamaghnyaa devayaanaa aganma
The Aghnya cows and bulls bring you prosperity
Maa gaamanaagaamaditim vadhishta
Do not kill the cow. Cow is innocent and aditi – that ought not to be cut into pieces
Destroy those who kill cows
Yadi no gaam hansi yadyashwam yadi poorusham
Tam tvaa seesena vidhyaamo yatha no so aveeraha
If someone destroys our cows, horses or people, kill him with a bullet of lead.
Love each other as the Aghnya – non-killable cow – loves its calf
Dhenu sadanam rayeenaam
Cow is fountainhead of all bounties
The entire 28th Sukta or Hymn of 6th Mandal of Rigveda sings the glory of cow.
Aa gaavo agnamannuta bhadramakrantseedantu
Bhooyobhooyo rayimidasya vardhayannabhinne
Na taa nashanti na dabhaati taskaro naasaamamitro vyathiraa dadharshati
Na taa arvaa renukakaato ashnute na samskritramupa yanti taa abhi
Gaavo bhago gaava indro me achhaan
Yooyam gaavo medayathaa
Maa vah stena eeshata maaghanshasah
1. Everyone should ensure that cows are free from miseries and kept healthy.
2. God blesses those who take care of cows.
3. Even the enemies should not use any weapon on cows
4. No one should slaughter the cow
5. Cow brings prosperity and strength
6. If cows keep healthy and happy, men and women shall also keep disease free and prosperous
7. May the cow eat green grass and pure water. May they not be killed and bring prosperity to us.
What more proofs does one need to understand the high esteem in whichnot only the cow but each living being is held in the Vedas.
The learned audience can decide for themselves from these evidences that the Vedas are completely against any inhuman practice… to top it all the Beef and Cow slaughter.
There is no Beef in Vedas.
1. Rigveda Bhashya – Commentary on Rigveda by Swami Dayanand Saraswati
2. Yajurveda Bhashya – Commentary on Yajurveda by Swami Dayanand Saraswati
3. No Beef in Vedas by BD Ukhul
4. Vedon ka Yatharth Swaroop (True nature of Vedas) by Pt Dharmadeva Vidyavachaspati
5. All 4 Veda Samhita by Pt Damodar Satvalekar
6. Pracheen Bharat me Gomamsa – Ek Sameeksha (Beef in Ancient India – an analysis) by Geeta Press, Gorakhpur
7. The Myth of Holy Cow – by DN Jha
8. Hymns of Atharvaveda – Griffith
9. Scared Books of the east – Max Muller
10. Rigveda translations by Williams/Jones
11. Sanskrit English Dictionary – Monier Williams
12. Commentary on Vedas by Dayanand Sansthan
13. Western Indologists – a study of motives by Pt Bhagvadutt
14. Satyarth Prakash by Swami Dayanand Saraswati
15. Introduction to Vedas by Swami Dayanand Saraswati
16. Cloud over understanding of Vedas by BD Ukhul
17. Shathpath Brahman
18. Nirukta – Yaska Acharya
19. Dhatupath – Panini
Addendum on 14 April 2010:
After this article, there was severe reaction from various sources who cannot live with the fact that Vedas and ancient culture of our nation could have been more ideal than their current communistic ideals. I received several mails that tried to refute the articles by citing additional references that support beef-eating. These include 2 mantras from Rigveda, and some Shlokas from Manu Smriti and a few other texts. An example is the comment from Avtar Gill on this page itself. On these, I have to say the following:
a. The article has given evidence from Manu Smriti itself which states that even one who permits killing is a murderer. Thus all these additional shlokas are either from adulterated Manu Smriti or misinterpreted by twisting of words. I recommend them to read Manu Smriti by Dr Surendra Kumar which is available from http://vedicbooks.com
b. A typical example of foul play by those hell-bent on justifying their obsession with beef in ancient texts, is to translate Mansa as ‘meat’. In reality, ‘Mansa’ is a generic word used to denote pulp. Meat is called ‘Mansa’ because it is pulpy. So mere presence of ‘Mansa’ does not mean it refers to meat.
c. The other texts referred by them are among dubious ones not considered authoritative evidence. Their modus operandi is simple – state anything written in Sanskrit as Dharma and translate the way they want to prove whatever they want. This is how they have been fooling us all by filling our textbooks with all unverified demeaning claims.
d. With regards to Vedas, they could come up with two mantras that supposedly justify beef eating. Let us evaluate them:
Claim: Rigveda (10/85/13) declares, “On the occasion of a girl’s marriage oxen and cows are slaughtered.”
Fact: The mantra states that in winter, the rays of sun get weakened and then get strong again in spring. The word used for sun-rays in ‘Go’ which also means cow and hence the mantra can also be translated by making ‘cow’ and not ‘sun-rays’ as the subject. The word used for ‘weakened’ is ‘Hanyate’ which can also mean killing. But if that be so, why would the mantra go further and state in next line (which is deliberately not translated) that in spring, they start regaining their original form.
How can a cow killed in winter regain its health in spring? This amply proves how ignorant and biased communists malign Vedas.
Claim: Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”
Fact: The mantra states that brilliant scholars enlighten the world in the manner that wood enhances the fire of Yajna. I fail to understand from where did Avtar Gill and his friends discover Indra, cow, calf, horse and buffalo in this mantra!
In summary, I continue the challenge to everyone – cite one single mantra from Vedas that justify beef-eating and I shall be eager to embrace any faith that he or she may decide for me. If not, they should agree to revert back to the Vedas.
Re: I have ordered Jha’s book and will be reading it soon. After fully reading it, I will commence on my research to debunk each of his claims separately.
That is nice to hear. I look forward to your results. It might need you to personally master Sanskrit, and not just modern Sanskrit but the historical Sanskrit.
Note, however, that you have made wild claims re: Max Muller. That will need separate substantiation.
I am grateful for the information you have provided. I am not convinced simply because the evidence in Jha’s book is not merely from the Vedas but from widespread sources. I do wish his book was available electronically. I can’t type out the relevant evidence manually. Simply impossible. But it covers a very wide range of material – including archaeological.
Let me also add, that translating the Vedas is not a trivial exercise and I would need to individually confirm who is right (whether the sources you cite or others like Raja Rammohun Roy who WELL BEFORE MAX MULLER wrote about beef eating passages in the Hindu scriptures. So the matter re: the Vedas, as well, is not closed. Given this debate I’m going to start personal analysis of this issue, time permitting.
Re: I am not convinced simply because the evidence in Jha’s book is not merely from the Vedas but from widespread sources
The four Vedas are the oldest in Hindu pantheon and the only reliable references for what constitutes original Vedic culture. Mahabharata and Ramayana, including other scriptures have been much corrupted in the post-vedic years. Note that, if you read the above article carefully, you will find that there were people much before Rajaram Mohan Roy, who had begun the process of corrupting the Hindu scriptures. As the article notes, "All the slanders heaped upon the Vedas can be attributed mainly to the interpretations of commentaries written by Mahidhar, Uvat and Saayan in the medieval times; and to what Vam-margis or the Tantra cult propagated in their books in the name of the Vedas. In due course the falsehood spread far and wide and they became even more deep rooted when western scholars with their half baked knowledge of Sanskrit transliterated these interpretations of commentaries of Sayan and Mahidhar, in the name of translating the Vedas."
So as you can see, even though Rajaram Mohan Roy did learn Sanskrit first and probably also translated Sanskrit into English, by this time there already existed versions of Vedic literature which were corrupted by a few men in medieval period. And possibly Muller was a prey of the corrupted Sanskrit versions of the Vedas. This is a long debate and we can leave it to a later date for now.
You assume that everyone before your new source (Agniveer – never heard of him) was an idiot and did not know Sanskrit. You do make pretty strong claims about many Indian scholars (and reformers like Vivekananda).
I’m not swayed that easily. You carry on with your research but do so diligently. Then confirm your results.
Sanjeev – Just because you haven't heard of Agniveer doesn't mean he isn't a scholar in Vedic scriptures. For your information, most of the claims which Agniveer makes are from Satyarth Prakash and from translations of the Vedas by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Also, I don't say everyone was an idiot. I just say that a few men (like Jha, Max Muller, Vivekananda, and Rajaram Mohan Roy) were ignorant in true Vedic injunctions. And as far as the facts are concerned, I have laid them bare before you. It's upto you to analyze them.
Yes, I do make strong claims against so-called scholars like Jha and Vivekananda, because I have strong points. Seems you are just not willing to explore or dig deep into views that challenge your long held beliefs. That's fine. You are entitled you whatever you wish to cherry-pick and promote on your blog. Personally, I would prefer to debate/discuss only with a person who displays humility (as opposed to arrogance!) besides mere critical thinking.
As I said, my research will continue. Unlike you, I have decided to look at both sides without prejudices. This is evident in the fact that I have ordered Jha's book for deeper analysis. I trust that you too will relinquish arrogance and look at both sides with humility and stainless vision, and then make final views!
This is clearly not my area of specialistion nor of interest. I have gone through extremely well-documented authorities and you are the one denying that these reputed professors of Delhi University, Oxford or Harvard are mere “so-called scholars”. That’s quite a strong allegation, Harsh. You are decrying the entire academia. Not only that you are calling Vivekananda a liar (effectively), and suggesting that his knowledge of the Vedas and Hinduism was bunkum.
You are well advised, given this strong denunciation of highly regarded and well-credentialed scholars and reformers, to prove your case. I will explore this, time (or interest) permitting, but you must substantiate your claims. The ball is in your court.
I had a moment and have thought up of a method to resolve this issue. Let me take various pieces of evidence from Jha one by one and check with you.There are 100s of pieces of evidence. We can discuss one at a time.
First piece of evidence:
"The Rgveda frequently refers to the cooking of the flesh of the ox for offering to gods, especially Indra, the greatest of the Vedic gods who was strong-armed, colossal, and a destroyer of enemy strongholds. At one place Indra states, 'they cook for me fifteen plus twenty oxen'."
(DNJ, p. 29, source cited:RV X.86.14ab)
ORIGINAL: उक्ष्णो हि मे पञ्चदश साकं पचन्ति विंशतिम | ]
Translations (1) Griffith – this confirms Jha.
(2) I'm downloading Max Muller's translation and will find out when that download finishes (very slow).
But you are most welcome to provide me with your version.
See, you are CLEARLY distorting my words to mean something else. Is this not what the politicians do? I've NEVER said that Vivekananda was a liar! The word 'liar' implies that despite knowing the truth, a person says words far from the truth. In the case of Vivekananda, he perhaps never knew the actual truth. Therefore, there is no case for lying.
Vivekananda was simply uninformed or ignorant of the unalloyed version of the Vedic literature. Despite this, I do maintain a high regard for Vivekananda (even though I don't view him as an apt representative of the Vedas!) simply because he contributed much more to the Indian culture than he caused harm. And some of his words do inspire me even now. For your information besides Baba Ramdev's fan page, I also administer Vivekananda's fan page on Facebook. It's called 'Swami Vivekananda — A Spiritual Genius'.
As for the Rig Vedic evidence take a look at this:
Claim: Rigveda (6/17/1) states that “Indra used to eat the meat of cow, calf, horse and buffalo.”
Fact: The mantra states that brilliant scholars enlighten the world in the manner that wood enhances the fire of Yajna. I fail to understand from where did Avtar Gill and his friends discover Indra, cow, calf, horse and buffalo in this mantra!
As for your particular verse can you provide the actual Sanskrit verse? It will help me know which parts are misinterpreted. I will have to dig deeper into Swami Dayananda's 'Introduction to the Vedas' and 'Satyarth Prakash'. In addition I will have to delve into Arya Samaj's version of the Vedas which is currently only available in Hindi. If you wish to read it you can do so at this link — http://www.aryasamajjamnagar.org/rigvedabook.htm
I will go ahead and buy this version of the Vedas so that I can scrutinize it better (as you can see the fonts on this website do not appear as clear!) In the meantime, why don't you carefully read the article I posted above and try to search for the the same quotes which appear in Jha's book?
Oh, and by the way, the 'claim' and 'fact' mentioned above is borrowed from the article I posted above. So it will help if for once you read the entire article carefully.
Even if you go by griffith translation, Did you care to read 10.86.15?
15 Like as a bull with pointed horn, loud bellowing amid the herds,
Sweet to thine heart, O Indra, is the brew which she who tends thee pours. Supreme is Indra over all.
if by 10.86.14 ..you deduce that Indra ate bulls ..by virtue of 10.86.15 you must also believe that Indra himself was a bull
so by your esteemed translator , we have that in the vedic period bulls ate bulls …what shall we call it ..bull-sh..! ?
Sanjeev: I am coming in late to this debate but I just finished reading "Lies with Long Legs" by Dr Prodosh Aich – a meticulously researched book that goes all the way to primary sources and might make you re-write your entire post.
I was as sceptical as you before reading the book (in fact, I had refused to publicise the book on my blog since I was so sceptical of its claims)..I have changed my mind completely after reading it…
I will try and send you some chapters on the lies, deceptions etc that we have been fed. Nehru's DOI is a very poor reference source…I believe he does not cite a single reference for his various assertions. Facts #1 and 3 are just wrong.
The book cites a specific example of Max Mueller's meeting with an Indian Sanskrit scholar (recorded in his autobiography) during which he confesses as not being able to understand Sanskrit at all! More on this, hopefully soon.
Why would Vivekananda not be able to understand the Vedas? Please note (http://bit.ly/agI442) that he was an expert in Sanskrit and widely read.
I’m actually not well at all (eye problem continuing) so I’ll leave it to you to research this and prove your points – to your own satisfaction. I’m going to take very limited interest in this subject, since it really doesn’t impact me (or my recommendations on India’s governance) one way or another what ancient Indians did.
I am glad that we dont waste the time over this topic .. not crucial in terms of Indian Policies..But am surprised with your interest in such topics .. like caw slaughter ..beef eating ..which are very close to hindu sentiments.. if these are hindu sentiments .it probably has long history and timeline behind this .. this does not happen in 5 10 years . it take centuries to develop..such feelings..
Anyway .. whatever I have read and concluded is that ..Cow is worshipable with hindus and never to be slaughtered or to be eaten .. Infact we worship "GOPAL" a name of Krishna ..
For your views about the book i mentioned …. It also involves work of some authenticated scholars .. It also mentions Nehrus socialism as ones of the major reason for India's condition today . it applauds 1990 reforms .. and many more ..
I admire your Book ..but only after reading it .. I could know ..
Without reading I had some doubts over your credibility …
I know you are busy and facing eye strain problem.. ..But do read the book once you have time .. Its a small book with many insights into Indian History as well..
The difference, Vijay, is that BFN is based on the work and findings of many outstanding economists and public administration experts – many of them cited in great detail in the footnotes. Indeed, my chapter on public administration was vetted by two of the world’s most outstanding experts in this area (one from Australia and the other from USA) and they found it to reflect the current state of thought on this subject.
Re: .But am surprised with your interest in such topics .. like caw slaughter ..beef eating ..which are very close to hindu sentiments
I do want to know about this along with other parts of Indian history, since these are being raised by people like Baba Ramdev, and there is an intention to curtain freedoms. I don’t mind people having their sentiments but I can’t tolerate their imposing their views on others, more particularly when eminent authors and thinkers have stated clearly as well that Hindus used to eat beef in the past on ritual occasions.
I also can’t understand why the Vedanta school of thought would bother even one bit re: the kind of food one eats. If the entire universe and the self are the same, then why bother about food? It doesn’t make sense for someone to be a Vedantin and yet talk against particular foods.
Finally, to be Indian means accommodating all kinds of thinkers. Charvakas are a good example. Why only ONE type of Hinduism? That doesn’t make sense.
I was not particularly interested in this topic but I am, now, since the way misguided fanatics are driving this agenda they will harm India’s freedoms.
Vedanta school of thought highly recommends vegetarianism. Yes, the entire universe and the Self are same, but to realize this deep-rooted truth one needs to develop a certain level of consciousness. And that consciousness only comes with sattvic food. Sattvic food involves NO meat, alcohol or spicy items. You still call these scholars misguided? I have presented before you many facts. Why don't you study them carefully and then form your views?
If the Vedantic conception is true, then there is NO difference between a vegetable and animal. If there is a difference, then there are REAL differences between different forms of energy. In that case the Vedanta is false, and Vedas are false. If the energy in all of us is the same, then what we eat simply can’t matter. Logical contradictions are not permissible.
When we say that all is same, that there is no difference we refer to the essence within everything. Clearly there is a vast difference in everything if viewed from the material point of view. But soul, Atman is the same.
Atman is covered by different material layers of existence. And in order to perceive this Atman in truest sense we have to prepare ourselves. The layers of existence are as follows, in order: Body, mind, intelligence and ego. Finally, after ego comes the Atman. And to realize Atman (which is the same in everyone!) one has to pierce through all the four layers of existence — this process (which is more like cleaning the mud on a mirror!) requires following many disciplines, one of which is vegetarianism. Thus encourage Vedanta and many other schools of Hinduism!
Thanks for that, but if the energy is the same and if energy is conscious at some level, then these distinctions you suggest are artificial. As Sankaracharya notes, “Just as a jar is all earth, so also is the body, all consciousness. The division, therefore, into the Self and non-Self is made by the ignorant to nor purpose.” (Source: Thus Spake Sankara”, p.10, Ramakrishna Mission).
The body of ALL is the same as non-Body. That means the distinctions you suggest are not meaningful.
And Sankara spoke true. You misunderstand his words. Yes, energy is same but in order to experience this life energy (one which is connected to the deathless realm unlike body which is mere matter!) one has to follow the right principles. Remember, Shankaracharya was a vegetarian. His reverence for and support for cows is reflected in this composition: "I bow to Krishna as cow-rearing-leader, Who is supreme bliss when viewed with Yashoda, Cow-rearers, and Nand. (Krishnnashtakam, Verse 3)
You are distorting Shankaracharya's words to fit your context. This does not befit a truth-seeker. Anyway, why don't you answer me one simple question: If you say that everything is Self ,and therefore we should make no distinction (if this is your justification for meat-eating) then it goes without saying that we can eat humans as well. Why don't you eat humans then? There is not much difference between animals and humans but for a superior reasoning ability. This shows that we must make distinction in terms of that which is matter. Only in case of Self, we should make no distinction.
I’m just pointing out that there are many aspects to this issue. My understanding is that Shankaracharya was clear that the material world is mere maya – and cautioned against giving too much importance to it.
In any case I’m not a Vedantin (pantheist) and I suggest going back to first principles of the MATERIAL evolution of mankind from primitive animals and demonstrate conclusively that NONE of your ancestors ate beef. During the hunting gathering days of mankind (up to 10,000 years ago) it was impossible to NOT be a meat eater and survive. The confusion started after stationary agriculture began. Without the survival of our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years on all forms of food including meat, we would not exist today.
Anyway, I’m just raising issues. It doesn’t matter what you believe in so long as you don’t impose your view on others.
It looks like a lot has been said already. Let me add my two cents. Max Muller's translation of the Vedas were a monumental effort (whatever its quality, I cannot judge!), which got the attention of the indian intelligentia as well as the outside world of the treasur trove we have. Please read the 'Life of Max Muller' by the inimitable Nirad C. Chaudhuri. Also, if you read the collected works of Max Muller on India (I have read it), you cannot bu come away highly impressed with the great love and admiration for the Indian culture. He was the first Westerner to have written a biography of Ramakrishna Paramamsa, in which he included over 250 sayings of Ramakrishna, supplied by Swami Saradananda, a direct disciple.
As for evidence of beef eating, what is all the fracas about? Prof. Jha's book (I have read it too!) appears well researched and his academic credentials are impeccable Someone above has written that he can counter all of them.I would like to see him (her) do it. And by the way, Mahamahopadhyay P. V. Kane, arguably the greatest Sanskrit scholar of the present times, seems to have noted in his magnum opus, History of the Dharmashastra (I have not directly seen it) the evidence of beef eating in ancient India.
Finally, let us give true scholars their due! They may make a mistake here or have a shortcoming there, which should not be overblown to suit our preconceived (often shallow and fanatic) notions, in the name of pursuit of truth.
Thanks, Partha. That's more or less precisely what I've been saying. I do hope that Harsh and others, who, I believe, do have an open mind, will explore the truth independently.
I read somewhere that Sanskrit chair in University of Bonn was created to study Hindu scriptures so that after understanding them Europeans could proceed to spread Christianity there.
Here are a few quotes from Max Muller, which show his deeply missionary leanings.
In a letter of 1866 A. D. (V. Sam. 1923) he writes to his wife:
“This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to great extent on the fate of India,….. It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.”
On 16th December 1868 A.D. (Sam. 1925) he writes to Duke of Argyl, the Minister for India: “The ancient religion of India is doomed and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?”
“Large numbers of Vedic hymns are childish in the extreme: tedious, low, commonplace.” — in “Chips from a German Workshop”, second edition, 1866, p. 27
“History seems to teach that the whole human race required a gradual education before, in the fullness of time, it could be admitted to the truths of Christianity. All the fallacies of human reason had to be exhausted, before the light of a higher truth could meet with ready acceptance. The ancient religions of the world were but the milk of nature, which was in due time to be succeeded by the bread of life………..’The religion of Buddha, has spread, far beyond the limits of the Aryan world, and, to our limited vision, it may seem to have retarded the advent of Christianity among a large portion of the human race. But in the sight of Him with whom a thousand years are but as one day, that religion, like the ancient religions of the world, may have but served to prepare the way of Christ, by helping, through its very errors to strengthen and to deepen the ineradicable yearning of the human heart after the truth of God.” — in History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 32, 1860
Thanks for this. I will assume that you have cited sources correctly.
So what does this mean as far as the accuracy of the translation of the Vedas is concerned? Everyone believes that their religion is the best. So Muller’s belief that Christianity must be spread in India is but to be expected. That doesn’t prove he mis-translated the Vedas, although it is plausible – if proven clearly – that a person with a very strong belief towards a particular religion could be inclined to deliberately mis-translate the text of another religion. Note, though, that believers in Christianity had a contrary belief as well: to speak the truth. They were afraid of God’s punishment if they deliberately cheated (true, some petty Christian missionaries today in India do deliberately cheat). So it is not obvious that Muller sought to deliberately cheat.
However, there is another explanation as well (unless it is clearly demonstrated that his translation is over 50% mis-translated, and that he is a fraud as a scholar). This explanation is that Max Mueller was GENUINELY trying to find out what made it so difficult for Christianity to get a foothold in India. Clearly the roots of the Indian religion had to be examined.
What he did find is a clear distinction between the Vedas and the Upanishads. The Vedas he found had many (not all!) childish, tedious, commonplace hymns. The Upanishads, however, he found were the heart of the modern Hindu religion, which made it difficult for Christians to break through. On the Upanishads he wrote: “The Upanishads are the … sources of … the Vedanta philosophy, a system in which human speculation seems to me to have reached its very acme.” “I spend my happiest hours in reading Vedantic books. They are to me like the light of the morning, like the pure air of the mountains – so simple, so true, if once understood.”
He was perhaps a bit upset that he spent so much of his time on translating the Vedas – just to try to understand them – but found a relatively minor intellectual and spiritual piece. He was clearly more satisfied with the time he spent on the Upanishads.
From what you cite I do not find evidence of a man speaking falsehoods. He is speaking what he sees is the truth. There is no evidence offered through your references that he DELIBERATELY mistranslated the Vedas (for in that case he could have deliberately mistranslated the Upanishads as well! – which no one has claimed so far).
I’d like to see a thorough article – published in a serious academic journal – that has proven that Muller deliberately mistranslated the Vedas.
Sanjeev — Why don't you first research on the facts, evidences and proofs against Muller's translation I have mentioned earlier in my comments to this post? It is possible that Muller may not have deliberately mistranslated the Vedas (although I believe he has), but it remains a fact that the mistranslation has been done — by him and other indologists such as Griffith. Don't just maintain a bias. Look at the facts — specifically the ones from the Agniveer articles above — and tell me where they are wrong.
I have a natural preference to read only (or primarily) peer reviewed articles in journals of international standard. Agniveer.com is not a journal of international repute. Could you ask Agniveer’s owner to publish the material in standard journals on Sanskrit? I referred earlier to an international Sanskrit conference as well.
I don’t know Sanskrit so I can’t judge Agniveer. But professors of Sanskrit – who edit these journals – can. So let his claims be tested by experts.
Fair enough Sanjeev.
I personally dont think his translations would have been way of the mark as there were english educated indians who did learn sanskrit the traditional way and would have picked the easy flaws. But to portray him as a saint and to quote vivekanada or nehru as a proof of his sincerity is not rational. we do not know the source for their knowledge on max mueller. in case of nehru he just quoted what others spoke of max mueller. but why did the people who recognized max mueller speak the way they did, we do not know.vivekanda nor ramakrishna were sanskrit scholars to note errors in translations. they knew spirituality and at best they could compare the practical with theoritical. so the case against max mueller stands that he may have used some extent of falsehood, some personal fancies in translation and some for the pocket. the reason why such suspicions have come up are also based on real documents. we cant dismiss them as well.
But there were have been quite a few traditional sanskit scholars who were shocked by max mueller's ignornace of sanskrit when they met him. so possibly he was not a fraud but he was certainly not a scholar. enough in wasting time with max mueller's translations. we can use amarakosha and read sayana's works and thats the best we really have that can come close to authentic
“But there were have been quite a few traditional sanskit scholars who were shocked by max mueller’s ignornace of sanskrit when they met him.”
I know you want to move on, but who were these people? Any published evidence in Muller’s time of such people – and what did the say?
Note that I’m LEAST interested in Max Muller, for he is not a philosopher but a mere scribe, a translator. I care 10 times more for Macaulay, whose contributions to philosophy are not insubstantial. But given the fuss made about Max Muller (and the way he is linked to Macaulay) I’m curious to know why so much hatred towards Muller in some recent writings of some Indians.
Hi Sanjeev — The previous post was not my me. It was by Harish. I know you well and therefore would have presented FACTS if it was by me.
Goodness me! Thanks for that, Harsh. I guess in the internet world one has to be very careful, else one can form mistaken understandings.
Dear Harish, apologies for this misunderstanding. Entirely my fault. Please read my post as addressed to you, not Harsh. The same points remain, and I’d appreciate (should you have the time) to know about published scholars in Muller’s time who questioned his knowledge of Sanskrit.
Satyarth Prakash by Mahrishi Dayanand Saraswati is the only valid translation of The Vedas in Hindi.
And plus, you don’t know to what extent can the foreigners degrade to blemish our religion.
You are welcome to your view. The actual reality is that there are experts academics who specialise in Sanskrit. They have, to the best of my knowledge, not yet made such a claim. Given that language changes dramatically over thousands of years, it is crucial that we consider the views of experts who have studied the language carefully in every aspect. There are likely to be debates on everything (as for instance on the simple Sanskrit line: ‘satyameva jayate’ – on which at least 10 different interpretations exist from outstanding experts both Indian and foreign (e.g. read Mehendale, M. A., ‘Satyam Eva Jayate Nāntram’, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 81, No. 4, (Sep. – Dec., 1961)).
I would be foolhardy for me to pass judgement on this issue. I simply know that there are highly trained Indian brahmins who knew sanskrit (e.g. Vivekananda but also Raja Ram Mohun Roy, and others) who have clearly said that beef eating was customary in Vedic India. And yet other Indian brahmins – equally trained – claim this is untrue. As with most such issues, this debate is best left to the experts. Fortunately, none of them is threatening to kill humans just because of what the Vedas said. Baba Ramdev, though, threatens to kill REAL people for cow slaughter. Now, that is a concern!
The case for or against Max Mueller or MacAulay is complex and the real issues are messed up by many misquotations (or true quotations cited out of context). An excellent way to understand Max Mueller is through the book written/compiled by his wife where most of his letters can be read (The life and letters of the right Honorable Friedrich Max Muller, Volume 1 and 2). Interested persons may read it and make a judgment about Max Mueller. Vivekanada did praise Max Mueller after his brief meeting with him, and once you read Max Mueller's "Life and Letters" and understand his mind, you may conclude, as I do, that the cunning old man fooled Vivekananda. But (later) Vivekananda also had said that foreigners' translations wouldn’t do; he had a stream of followers translating the Hindu scriptures, relying on Indic authorities pre- and post Sayana Acharya (such as Shankara, Vishnusoori, Medhatithi, etc.). Ramakrishna Mission is pursuing this project even now (not only in English but in many Indic languages too). These are the ones now showing up in google searches; they overshadow Max Mueller's or any such 19th century European work (online situation was just the reverse 10-15 years ago). The Indic authorities in the Vedas and Hindu scriptures during Max Mueller's time were countless – more or less each (present day) district region had one such authority, esp. in southern India, and they had written vyaakhyaa-s, reviews, commentaries, and paddhati rules. They were/are called paddhatikaara-s. Just because their works were not in English does not mean that they don't exist. They exist and thrive. What they wrote is followed even now – not a cent of Max Mueller's. We need to be in the tradition to appreciate the difference between the art and the artificial. It is akin to day-night difference (my opinion, based on my studies of the originals).
Nonetheless, those who are experts in the Vedas and Samskrit can scrutinize Max Mueller's own works. I can cite several examples of his artificial expertise and intellectual sophistry – it is enough for a few semesters' of course work. One example: connecting agaH in agO BhAga (mantra comes in anthyeshti) to female goat instead of Paramatman. These are not mistakes. These are intentional distortions with the idea of "uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3000 years" (quoted are Max Mueller's words in one of his letters to his wife). Another example of the twist: In his fourth volume of the Rig-Veda, Max Mueller wrote, “These Hymns represent the lowest stratum in the growth of the human mind that can be reached anywhere by means of contemporaneous literature.” Our traditional view is just the opposite: These are the most sacred and revealed mantras through the purest minds of the R`shis. Only who do not know the Vedas claim otherwise due to various reasons.
Another aspect that must be kept in mind in assessing Max Mueller's works is the audience of his work or speech: India-bound Englishmen civil servants, missionaries, clergy and ministers, British royalty, English politicians, French academia, etc. Depending on the audience, his message varied. It also changed as he aged. In almost all these, however, till he was in Oxford, his effort was to impress on the audience/readers to study and understand the Hindu cultural roots so as to "intellectually conquer India" (his words), As I read him over and over, I get the picture that he was truly drawn to Samskrit in college (after high school), and also to many other classic languages, and genuinely believed in the supremacy of his Germanic race (he called the European stock as the "Northern Aryans" and Germany as Fatherland). He had these notions even before he entered the college, and they were possibly from his childhood upbringing. He also believed that Christ was the perfect and final messenger. These beliefs melded with his study of the Sayana bhaashya on the Vedas. He could not fathom how the "Vedic Aryans" could be different from his own "Aryan race." The sublime thoughts of the Vedas were from a branch of his own ancestors, he reasoned. Thus was born the "Aryan Invasion Theory" in his mind. He gives no scientific proof, but asserts a lot of lingo to "establish" this theory. No doubt he was a remarkable and complex man, not amenable to a few quotations here and there.
The inference in either case does not support the claim that Max Mueller was a great scholar of the Vedas, Hindu scriptures, or even Samskrit. Even to collect the Indian manuscripts, translate, and print them in England he labored 22 years full time under the full support of Oxford University (it was a declared Christian university then), East India Company, and the British Government. In all this, for Hindus living the Vedic traditions, it is very hard to find his original contribution to Samskrit or the Vedic heritage. That "foremost European scholar of Samskrit" hadn't even left a single Samskrit couplet of his own. All his contribution was to the West, translating the Vedas, dissecting it, and showing how "childish" they are – he gave such rendition of our scriptural texts to Europe. He is of no consequence to the Vedic tradition in India (and now spreading in the West also – there are over 500 temples in the USA, this number is still increasing, reciting the Vedas in the age-old traditional way, with no Max Mueller commentaries). True, his works took in a few Pandits in the urban areas of Kashi, Calcutta and Pune, whom Max Mueller and the Englishmen contacted and methodically cultivated to win over. A few of them in Pune even declared him as Veda-shastra sampannum, the highest honor among the Pandits then. But the real Pandits in the villages just ignored his fantastic opinions or just laughed him off. Even today, the village Veda practitioners haven't even heard of his name. When I mention his work to them, all they do is laugh off and giggle at his primitivism. Those Veda practitioners in the cities (with English knowledge) consider his work as "his opinion." The number of such practitioners is in several lakhs (India's over five lakh villages, multiply by ~ 10). In my village and the surrounding five villages I personally know over two hundreds, old and young.
Similar is the complex personality of MacAulay who also labored to Christianize India. MacAulay was a shrewd politician. He spotted H. H. Wilson (Samskritist then stationed in India) and built the Anglicist group in England to push his education agenda in India (the Orientalists created by William Jones stationed in India opposed this but lost this war). As Wilson was getting old, Max Mueller and many others were recruited for continuing the job. Max Mueller recounts his first encounter with MacAulay – till then he was all for Samskrit for the sake of Samskrit and the Vedas, kind of French romantic mind possibly due to his French Samskrit teacher. MacAulay blasted him off and "opened" his eyes to serve the Lord through his scholarship. Otherwise he had no hope of getting a good job, so Max Mueller ended up in Oxford indirectly serving the Monarchy and the Church of England.
Both served the East India Company and English interests of ruling India and converting it into a Christian nation and both were handsomely paid to do so. All these are facts of history in their own writings. We only need to read them to see them (they are all freely available online), or we can choose to be the "three monkeys" and parrot out the English/Western propaganda. They skillfully rendered the Brahmo Samaj of their times (well after Rajaram Mohan Roy) as a tool and " the real stepping-stone to Christianity in India". These are Max Mueller's words, not mine. Another trait I see as I read his "Life and Letters" is that the man was 100% with the Christianizing agenda of the Church of England till he left Oxford (read the letters in Vol. 1); his critique (such as dates of the Vedas and opinions of the Vedic wisdom, etc.) softened a bit only after that, as he was nearing his death bed. Vivekananda met him when he was quite old. The old man was quite different from the young Max Mueller of Oxford University – this mellowing shows up when reading his works in a chronological order.
On each such matter of history, we need to go to the original source and verify a fact or a fiction. Quoting secondary sources says nothing about the issue. It adds to the existing mess, least it does not negate the "for" or "against" claim.
Thanks for this. I’d recommend that these debates be published in peer reviewed international journals (at least national journals) and we should be reading those articles and forming our views.
Regardless of the merits of Max Muller or his translation – for no translation can be perfect – I’m surprised that someone would choose to spend years after years in learning Sanskrit (no one was willing to teach him: he had to truly look around to find someone who’d teach a foreigner) translating the Vedas is surely the WORST possible way to transmit Christianity to India. I can think of 100 better ways to transmit Christianity (if that was my goal).
Second, I don’t see ANY issue with someone wanting to transmit Christianity to India (just as I don’t see ANY issue with hundreds of Indian Godmen transmitting Hinduism to the West).
So his personal beliefs and motivations have little to do with the merit of his translations. These translations must be evaluated ON MERIT. I’d like to read serious PEER REVIEWED published work by Sanskrit experts on this issue.
Re: Macaulay’s “laboured” efforts to Christianise India – well he did not succeed in doing that (that is obvious). Instead, he did open up India mind to the world’s greatest political philosophers (Macaulay himself is highly regarded in this field), and led ultimately to India’s independence. His speech on this subject in the British Parliament was very clear on this – he SOUGHT India’s independence long before most people in India had started thinking on those lines. Without Macaulay’s introduction of formal English teaching in India, we would have been in a far worse condition today than it finds itself in. At least we have a liberal democratic constitution, despite miserable religious fanatics (BJP) and socialist idiots (Congress). Imagine being a land of 300 petty kingdoms, each fighting their medieval wars with each other. That would have been India without the common bond of English and liberal philosophy.
"Instead, he did open up India mind to the world’s greatest political philosophers (Macaulay himself is highly regarded in this field), "
Indeed. A highly regarded advocate for genocide.
Read Macaulay: the tragedy of power By Robert E. Sullivan.
Dr Sanjeev , the less we talk of peer reviewed papers the better, there is a lot of DIRTY POLITICS going on in these peer groups etc. Besides believe in what appeals to you, why leave out a majority of the books and texts because they were not peer reviewed by people who have ideological biases?
Are you saying that ALL peer reviewed research is rubbish? And just because some fields are highly contaminated doesn’t mean that the writings of hundreds of academics – studying issues independently across the world – are all going to be wrong.
We must not use peer reviewed research as the gospel, but surely when people who can barely express themselves clearly in two sentences claim to put down the research and work of otherwise brilliant researchers we have to be very cautious.
I prefer to read a lot of work – including peer reviewed, before forming my views. In the case of those who attack Max Muller on the basis of a few flimsy personal issues of his are unable to persuade since they don’t demonstrate the serious gaps in his research. That requires hard work and most people avoid hard work.
Since you are basically defending those who are spreading false and confusing ideas re: Max Muller, please cite your published (or even unpublished) research that meticulously rebuts Max Muller. Else keep your peace. Idle chatterboxes are a dime a dozen and they don’t persuade me.
Read ‘Lieswithlonglegs’, the book written by Dr. Aich online here
http://www.lieswithlonglegs.com/ReadOnline.aspx . Explains a lot about Muller.
One comment. When the Britishers left, the teachers and the scholars who were teaching and made curiculum/history were the one who were taught by Britishers. Only their followers were able to succeed as in history and arts you need to follow your professor in order to get position or rise.. Because they have no logic. People who were trying to correct the damage done by Britishers were labelled as fanatics. Also, only those saints were recognized by western and also by Indian half blood western people who speak good words about Western. Those saints who talk about Indian culture and peace were never given the importance. No foreigner talk about Swami Dayanada Saraswati. One more example of Sai BaBa Shirdi. who was more spiritual than Swami Vivekananda (my opinion). He always said ” Be respectful to animals and dont kill them..” Even if you claim that our veda preach non-veg (which they don’t as proved by Sarawati ji).. why don’t you take the words of the biggest sant Sirdhi baba ji. Don’t kill animals, even you should try to ban killing of other animals. The good thing about Hindu culture is that it changes itself and it keeps changing.. I never understood one thing that one religion which taught killing animals and which is written in its main books become vegetarian.. While the religions which taught nothing about eating become non-vegetarian. It is not easy for me to digest.. The Brahmins who were eating meat are the most vegetarian in the world. Historian give reply of Buddhist infulence.. But the countries who had the buddhist infulence eat more meat than the blood thirsty Brahmins.. Why ?? History is not what told by historian (appointed by the rulers).. I have no trust for those historian who deleted the line from our history book regarding the violence committed by Mughals against Hindus but proudly wrote against Brahmins and wrote that Brahmins ate meat.. and the Brahmins killing buddhist and blah blah crap…. I don’t trust them.. If they would have written everything truth. then may be I could have tried to trust them.. Not after seeing all the current fact. History is written by Winners. Also, does it matter to waste time that Veda teach beef or not.. Instead of thinking that what beef will kill some animal and is not good for environment. Also, beef is one of the reason of causing Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease and is mostly found in countries who eat more beef . Still you want to eat then we don’t care. From wikipidea. ” The only suspected cases to arise thus far have been vCJD, although there are fears—based on animal studies—that consuming beef or beef products containing prion particles can also cause the development of classic CJD. When BSE material infects humans, the resulting disease is known as (new) variant CJD (nvCJD).
Cannibalism has also been implicated as a transmission mechanism for abnormal prions, causing the disease known as kuru, once found primarily among women and children of the Fore people in Papua New Guinea. While the men of the tribe ate the body of the deceased and rarely contracted the disease, the women and children, who ate the less desirable body parts, including the brain, were 8 times more likely than men to contract kuru from infected tissue. ”
In science, you can prove something is wrong by proof. But in history or literature, you can never prove anything is wrong due to many interpretations. In history and literature depends upon the lobby (which is mostly western ) in our case. I have seen lot of biasing. Trust our ancestors, trust our parents, trust Swami Dayanada and other great saints rather than Max Muller…
I revisit this discussion and take up the one translation cited by Jha (RV 10-86-14):
First we must note:
Suktam 86 of Rigveda’s 10th mandala has 23 mantras, all with “Indra” as the devataa. Indra is the Rishi (the discoverer or the revealing agent) of the mantras 1, 8, 11-12, 14, and 19-22. IndraaNI is the Rishikaa of the mantras 2-6, 9-10, and 15-18. Aindra Vrishaakapi is the Rishi of the remaining three mantras. All these mantras are in pankti chchandas. In addition, every mantra ends with the phrase “vishvasmaadinra uttaraH – all over the vishva, Indra is great.”
In essence, this suktam is a dialogue between Indra and IndraaNI while (their son) Vrishaakapi interjects twice (mantras 7 and 13). Also in these mantras “Indra” and “IndraaNI” are cosmic personalities of the scale of a galaxy. How I say so, you may ask. This answer, for example, is in suktam 85 in the same 10th mandala, narrating the cosmic marriage of sAvitrI sUryA and Soma (this Soma supports several Adityas, prthivI, dyau, and the many nakshatras – he is the Indra of our galaxy). Ainrda Vrishaakapi is also a cosmic entity (i.e., not maanava or an earthling) who along with his wife Vrishaakapaayi profusely worships Indra and also drinks the soma. Their son’s drinking of the soma led to this Indra-IndraaNI dialogue.
Side note: We earthlings acquired these mantras, like all samhitaa mantras, through some human Rishi’s state of samaadhi (from our tradition we know that all this is from the state of samaadhi of a human being, heard by his disciples sitting around and listening intently and even recording in some form what was heard).
We must look at mantras 12, 13, 14, and 15 to understand any part thereof, since these four mantras were respectively uttered by Indra, Vrishaakapi, Indra, and IndraaNI in this cosmic drama.
Summary of mantras 1 to 11: Indra bemoans that he is not getting any libation; his friend (son) Vrishaakapi is drinking it all (mantra 1). At this, his pativrataa wife IndraaNI gets angry at Vrishaakapi, says that she will break his head, and pledges her support to Indra (mantras 2-6). Hearing this, Vrishaakapi utters, frightened and addressing his mother IndraaNI, “O! Mother, sulaabhike (one whose affection is won quickly), my breast, head, and hips seem quivering” (mantra 7). Now Indra steps in and praises IndraaNI and asks why she is angry at Vrishaakapi (mantra 8). In reply, IndraaNi expounds on her pativratatvam as the mother of heroic sons of Indra and one who gets extolled by the naarI (married woman) who accompanies her husband in hotra (mantras 9-10). In turn, Indra says that, because of InraaNI’s pativratatvam, her husband shall never die (mantra 11). As I noted above, “vishvasmaadindra uttaraH” appears at the end of each mantra – Indra, IndraaNI, and Vrishaakapi praising Indra at every step.
Now to the main issue, RV 10-86-14:
Mantra 12 – Indra further utters: O! IndraaNI, never have I enjoyed without my friend Vrishaapaki, who’s this offering of aapa goes to our dear deva-as – apyam haviH priyam deveSu gachchati.
Mantra 13 – Rishi Vrishaakapi utters (addressing his wife): O! Wealthy Vrishaakapaayi, ye blessed with sons and their wives, Indra eats your sprinkling (ukSaNaH) and your affectionate and effective oblation.
[Both Max Mueller’s and Griffith’s error here is to read ukSaNaH (sprinkling) as uksANAH (bulls). Whether it is intentional or a mere slip is left to debate. Of course, Jha’s error is not going to the original source and checking the recitation practice but merely quoting Max Mueller’s erroneous translation.]
Mantra 14 – Indra then utters: Sprinkling indeed for me fifteen (times) together (they) twenty spread out (cook). And I drink them (i.e., the sprinklings) and they fill my belly.
[What is this “twenty”? Possibly, along with Vrishaakapaayi, there are twenty off-springs who give oblation to Indra. See my note for the mantra 23 below.]
Mantra 15 – IndraaNI says: Our sharp-horned vriSabha (onkaaram is vriSabha – yachchandasaam vriSabho vishvaroopaH – taittirIya Upanishad) shatters amidst the multitude. O! Indra, happiness to your heart they (drinks) give (which) she (Vrishaakapaayi) affectionately prepares.
In the last mantra, Vrishaakapi utters: An abandoning human named Parshu together gave birth to twenty. Her portion was verily bliss although her burden caused her grief.
This last mantra is the only mantra pertaining to an earth event in this suktam. The rest are all cosmic dialogues. There is no bull or ox anywhere in this suktam. Both Max Mueller and Griffith took plenty of liberty to change several words – singular to plural, a-kaaraanta to aa-kaaraanta, subject-object mixing, etc. Such freedom does not exist in interpreting the Vedas.
It is wise for us Indic students to set aside all that Max Mueller and Griffith have done and examine the Vedas afresh. If we have any emotional inability to do so, we should at least critically evaluate the Western indologists’ voluminous but silly writings and contrast with native scholarship that is available in plenty in Samskrit as well as in many regional languages. Further, there is a living tradition in the countless villages of India to cross check our notes with. We ourselves have to manifest this honesty of purpose with pure-minded objectivity in such studies.
Thanks for this.
My position is simple. I don’t know Sanskrit and have no time to learn it. Translating Sanskrit is very difficult, particularly old Vedic Sanskrit. It is quite possible that there will be “errors” in various translations. I do not delve into dead people’s mind and have no intention to do so. I would rather give the benefit of doubt to everyone.
What I would like is for people like you to publish your work in peer reviewed journals (could well be Indian journals – but these must be solidly peer reviewed), and ensure that you take into account all relevant information, including archaeological. Let there be academic debates on facts, not on intentions. That’s how knowledge can be advanced.
Sanjeev Sabhlok I think supporting vivekananda is not good as he could read and understand sanskrit but that is not enough he was not in deciplic succession (in any of 4 samprayadays) so it is clear that he could not understand vedant. It has been proved many times by acharyas that impersonal or advait mat is not pure vedant also vivekananda is also supporting adi shankracharya and ramanujacharya how ironical a fool only will do so they were exactly opposite in their commentry on brahma sutra (vedant).
hope you check your information about vivekananda
M.S.Rana; I think that Dr. Sabhlok is mainly influenced by the academic credentials of Prof. Jha. I have read the works of Prof. Max Muller, Vivekananda, Sri aurovindo, Nirad Chaudhri besides most of Puranic literature, Mahabharata, Ramayana etc..There is no doubt that we are indebted to Max Muller for translating the Sanskrit literature.In his preface to the translation of Rig Veda, he has conceded that he may not have been completely successful in his understanding of the real meanings of certain hymns and such failings shall continue for times come. Still in this background of some difficult hymns of the Rig Veda, he took the opportunity to twist the correct meanings of that particular hymn. Therefore, Mr. Vora is right to certain extent that mischiefs have been done by western scholars for misinterpreting certain works of sanskrit literature with Mala-fide. We must know that without going through the Puranic literature, we cannot understand the real meaning of the Vedic literature as the Puranas are basically like commentries on the vedic literature and there are discussions amongst the Rishis regarding the sacrifices of animals in which the Rishis have come to the conclusion that such alleged sacrifices of animals, especially cows were misunderstanding of the spirit of the Vedic mantras and such interpretation was those of such people even during the Puranic age, who favoured meat eating. The Rishis have asserted in their discussions that no animal sacrifice by killing a living being is permissible in the Vedas and it was only a symbolic offer (Skand Puran). Similar discussions are found in the Mahabharata. I do not agree with Dr. Sabhlok that we should rely upon the works of only such individuals who have published works and have acquired higher degrees from foreign universities and that such individuals are holding prestigious positions. Nowadays positions are generally acquired on political basis. We Indians give more importance if someone has relied upon the works of western scholars in his works and if such scholars have acquire higher degrees from Cambridge or Oxford Universities or that of universities of USA. I therefore, fully agree with the views expressed with Mr. Vora and Mr. Shambhu. I am saying so on the basis of my study of the ancient Indian literature and not on the basis of some secondary source.
You clearly don’t care to read what I write, since I’ve provided COMPREHENSIVE archaeological evidence re: beef eating in Vedic India and also cited Chanakya (whom Jha has not cited) which makes it 100 per cent clear that “Hindus” (they never thought of themselves as such) ATE BEEF.
Dear Shri Sabhlok, Jai Hind. I have gone through the relevant book authored by Prof. Jha to some extent.I reiterate that on the basis of what I have read as a student of history and as a passionate reader of Puranic literature,I subscribe to the views expressed by Sh.Harsh Vora as also by Sh.Shambhu and do not share the views of Prof. Jha.Iwould recommend you to go through the book titled as Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurovindo,if not already read.I have read it from the Internet.We may have difference of opinion yet I have great regard for you.
Kindly note that Jha does not cite Chanakya who MAKE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that only milch cow meat is not to be sold (since it is of some use) but older cows and unwanted bulls CAN be sold.
Further Jha does not cite the comprehensive archaeological evidence in this regard.
Jha’s book is therefore NOT the source of my clear views on beef eating in Vedic times. THERE IS 100 PER CENT EVIDENCE IT WAS EATEN. Only after Ashoka, when Buddhism became popular, did meat/beef eating reduce.
M.S.Rana; Dear Sh.Sabhlok,Before I comment can you please cite the portion of Arthashatra which says that beef used to be eaten during that period besides brief reference of archaeological evidence.
And don’t forget to read the EXTENSIVE archaeological evidence I’ve cited.
M.S.Rana; I have gone through Chapters XXIV and XXIX OF bOOK II of the Arthashastra of Kautilya relating to Superintndent of Slaughter House and Superintendent of Cows.There is no even remote reference that meat of cows used to be sold not to talk of eating. I do not understand as to how you arrived at the conclusion that cow flesh used to be eaten during the post Mauryan period.However, we cannot rule out eating of beef by such people who used to live in forests and were regarded by the mainstram people as chandalas or mlecchas.Nobody have check on such people even now.Therefore, your assertion that you are 100 per cent sure that Vedic people used to eat beef is fallicious.Further if some uncivilised people of those times had performed certain tantric ritials for black magic, such findings cannot give rise to the conclusion that ancient inhabitants of Bharatversha ,were beef eater.Thus I conclude my arguments and denounce of those who believe in the baseless thery of beef eating by the people of India.
I’ve cited SPECIFIC sections in my blog post. Did you read those sections? Pl .confirm.
Dear Shri Sabhlok: I have read your blog and also relevant part of the Arthashstra as mentioned by me earlier.Your conclusion of beef eating by the ancient people of India is far-fetched.I Ttherefore, stick to my definite view that beef eating was not prevalent in India by the people of Aryavrata.Cow worship had been had been prevalent since Vedic period and is enormous literature in this respect in the Puranas and our two epics.However, meat eating was prevalent during ancient India as in the present times as kings and other people used to do hunting.Let us close this topic.
When Chanakaya CLAERLY STATES that except milch cow, everything else is to be eaten, what’s it that’s difficult to understand?
Sepoy Ram Mohan Roy was a christian convert. His whole purpose seems to get access to colonial govt and lend his name, and sell some slander to them. He died a lonely death in Britain. He should have got the title Sepoy instead of Raja.
All the accusation on translation is false. Basically Indians are in the same path as Ram Mohan Roy, they have given up reading their ancient texts and its translations. Instead they read what ever was approved from london. The sanksit texts have good translation exist, Indians knew it for millenniums.
My earnest request to all the critics of Max Mueller is, please do not form your opinion about him only on the basis of his letters,but read his books on linguistics and Mythology where he has ,from the bottom of his heart,has shown to the hole world,The greatness of India and Vedas.While talking about India he becomes more Indian than what we are.Many have criticized him on the basis of his lattes.I have red him not less than 10 times and have come to the conclusion that at least we Indians should not do injustice to that great man.So please read yourself and then form your opinion.
You would wish to read Dr.Aich’s new book – “TRUTHS : 500 years – European Christians in History” (2015). Clear evidence of that super dupe is presented in that book.
You’ve wasted one hour of my life, but I’m providing you with my views, here:
Do try to read Macaulay himself. Reading JUNK will not enlighten you, merely make you a junk thinker.
Please read the two detailed books of Prodosh Aich called, ‘Lies with long legs’ and ‘Truths’. Max Mueller has been thoroughly studied without any scope for speculation from the letters he wrote to his mother, from his autobiography, and from the translations made by his English wife. There can be no doubt of the fact that he was a cheat and a swindler who lied about everything. He did not have a university degree but he called himself an MA and a Doctor too. Thomas Macaulay was a cunning man who came with a mission to break India and Max Mueller was just a tool. The facade of a saint was kept for his whole life and Swami Vivekananda was possibly fooled by the man because he did not have the time or probably the inclination to check his antecedents. Vivekanada has also severely criticised the Aryan theory which is still troubling our country in the form of a brutal divide and political rivalry. It was a fantasy of a fevered mind desperate to earn his salary from the East India company. The details of why he did all that is very clear in that book, and it would indeed help you in your assessment of the man. Swami Vivekanada could not have been aware of all that for sure and there cannot be any fault finding here.
Nehru wrote a highly fictitious history and had no clue about the Indian past and he was only parroting what was said by the colonial rulers. He wrote from the perspective of an English educated liberal secular atheist and he is singly responsible for destroying everything which is good about Indian history. His book did not have a bibliography strangely and there were no references to what was being said in his book. It is unfortunate that Max Mueller is still defended.
The great civilizations and the cultures of the past like Egypt were destroyed when their libraries were destroyed by ravaging invaders and brutal plunderers. Indian knowledge base which was primarily in the oral form and handed down in the oral tradition was never attempted to be preserved in the written form and libraries and hence they could never be destroyed. The reason why the country was not converted completely by the dubious likes of Roberto Nobili, William Jones, Max Mueller and before, by the Muslim invaders was that the Brahmins did not allow the transmission of such knowledge. The resistance of the Brahmins and the other educated people to teach Sanskrit and Vedas has preserved the sanctity of the country and we are still standing. The casteist hegemony and other atrocities were a pure creation of the colonial mind gleefully taken up by our Indian left. Raja Ram Mohan Rao was encouraged by the British to look at only the so called evils of the Indian society. Swami Vivekananda was quite unsparing to Brahmo Samaj and Raja Ram Mohan Rao too. Max Mueller need not be glorified any longer and should be relegated to the dustbins of our history for having nearly destroyed our culture and creating false histories and myths.
It is truly a sorry state of affairs when pathetic junk writers like Prodosh Aich can be cited on my blog once again. Long after I’ve shown that the man knows nothing about anything, and distorts every single truth under the sun to suit his agenda.
Read my post about his work: https://www.sabhlokcity.com/2015/08/the-junk-pedalling-professor-prodosh-aichs-book-truths-european-christians-in-history-war-robbery-murder-genocide-occupation-exploitation/
And at all times use your OWN MIND and OWN RESEARCH. Read widely, then you’ll understand why I call Aich a junk peddler.
Sir , I read your blog and wanted to comment on it of what i have came across, please see this. In india i think pseudo intellectuals always try to prove things know nothing of the sort , please see this letter to jagdish chandra bose by mary boole (wife of george boole ) https://www.scribd.com/document/61916350/Indian-Thought-and-Western-Science-in-the-Nineteenth-Century
Please see what she has told in her letter , please read it , you think that you are a man of high scientific approach , please read it and see what she tells about indian science and vedas and things . I will also post what de mogre says and george boole . This letter is by mary boole wife of george boole , the person who the entire world knows so maybe you will agree what she has to say.
Authenticity of the letter : http://bit.ly/2hFUy3V
(It is included in collected works mary boole )
Please do not delete this post from your site and have a healthy conversation.
“mary boole wife of george boole , the person who the entire world knows so maybe you will agree what she has to say.”
I don’t know about George Boole. I don’t know about his wife. Even if I knew about them, that would mean NOTHING. I only assess the facts on their merit.
“see what she tells about indian science and vedas and things”
What’s your actual point? Don’t waste my time making me read people’s opinions.