Goan Inquisition: Bribery, Threats, Torture – Tools of Conversions

This is the fifth part in the series of articles on the Goan Inquisition based on the book by Anant Kakba Priolkar. The earlier parts of the articles are as follows:

 

  1. Goa Inquisition: How Inquisition came to Portugal
  2. Goa Inquisition: Origins of Inquisition in Goa
  3. Goa Inquisition: An account of the Inquisition

The Inquisition in Goa was applicable to those who had converted to Christianity, be they Jews or the Indian natives. However, if a Hindu dissuaded another who was keen on converting or caused a convert to commit apostasy, Inquisition would apply to them as well. And as per Francois Pylard who visited Goa between 1608 to 1610 that used to happen a lot as well.

 That begs the question, was the conversions of the Hindus of Goa to Christianity out of conviction or something else ? The King of Portugal enjoined repeatedly that the proselytizations must be based on free consent & persuasion and shouldn’t be through compulsion & force.

But the reality on the ground was something else. As Boes Penrose writes “..it is 6 May 1542 when Francis Xavier set foot ashore in Goa. From then on the Jesuits did their worst, using every form of bribery, threat & torture to effect a conversion.”

Burton writing in the 19th century refers to “fire and steel, the dungeon and the rack, the rice pot and the rupee – which played the persuasive part in the good work assigned to them.”

 Dr Antonio Noronha, a Judge at the High court of Goa comments, ” ‘None should come here by constraint’ – what pious comedy! As though they had not been snatched violently from their families & interned in the house of Cathecumens for being indoctrinated with whip and ferule”

Until 1560 in Salsette, there was just one church & one mission house in the fort of Rachol. Within just 50 years, majority in the region had converted to christianity and there were 28 parishes. What was responsible for such aggressive rate of conversions?

We should note that, Salsette (or Sashti as it was called by the native people) was the place where most of the Gouda Saraswata Brahmins lived. 1564 is when the Kavale Mutt in Keloshi was destroyed & Swami was forced to flee. Similarly the temples of Shantadurga, Manguesh among others were also destroyed during this time.  At that time, the territory of Ponda in Goa wasn’t in Portuguese territory. Which is why all the deities of Salcette found a new home in the forests of Ponda, in makeshift temples which were later properly constructed. The marble block outside the Mangesh Temple records this migration.

Manguesh

So, lot of Hindus did migrate to preserve their way of life. The others had to convert if they had to survive in the Portuguese domain. Some of the common reasons for conversions were

  • Fear of physical force
  • Moral cowardice
  • Reluctance to desert the country of their birth
  • Avoid loss of properties and interests.
  • Hope of landing lucrative positions in the govt.
  • Desire for association with Christian women.

The conviction in catholic faith was extremely rarely the reason for conversion .

Fr James Brodrick, the biographer of Xavier writes about a co-worker of Xavier named Minguel Vaz – “It was not as he imagined by destroying Hindu Sanctuaries in Portuguese territory & applying their revenues to building Churches that Indians would be won over to Christianity. No Hindu in Goa, Cochin, Malacca, and other centers was ever forced by that policy to accept the faith. But a great deal of pressure, social and financial, was exercised to persuade them to do so…. It was but the application of European Motto ‘Cuius regio, eius religio'”

Fr Alessandro Valignano who was the Visitor of the Missions noted the practical measured undertaken by the Father of Novices for the conversion of heathens & education of new converts. He wrote, “As regards to the first duty, i.e conversion of unbelievers, in these parts of India do not commonly occur as a result of sermons & doctrine, but is effected by other ‘just’ means such as

  • Obstructing Idolatrous practices & meting them just punishment
  • Refusing them favours which can be justly refused & offering them to those who are newly converted.
  • Honouring, assisting and protecting the latter in order that others might thereby get converted.”

These means were approved by the Concilio Provincial in Goa. The Father of Novices were expected to be trained in each of these measures and expected to put them to use, because experience suggested that these led to conversions.

Of course, the new converts, probably had no understanding of the new faith, nor the piety. So, these many of these new converts were sitting ducks for the Inquisition Tribunal. They were bound to do something that was heretical. Merely out of habit, following an practice from their earlier Hindu religion would be good enough to get them imprisoned or even burnt at stake.

We will end this chapter, with an example of the cruelty suffered by an Indian convert family as per the code of Inquisition. This is recorded by Filipe Nery Xavier in his periodical “Gabinete Literatorio”. In 1840, in the district of Bassein was discovered a part of a flat stone that was raised in 1786 on the site of a house that was ordered to be razed to the ground as per the Inquisition. The Inscription on the stone was as follows:

They, being dogmatists of the said sect, practiced rites and ceremonies with the participation of many other persons, and for this they were condemned by the Holy Office and being delivered to secular justice burnt in the Auto de Fe celebrated on Dec 30 1747. It was ordered that their houses should be demolished and ploughed with salt and this stone erected in detestation of the said crimes.

The entire family staying in that house was burnt on stake on Dec 30 1747. This is just one instance. There were many many more.

 

Advertisements

Goan Inquisition: An account of the Inquisition

This is the fourth part of the series of articles on the Goan Inquistion based on the book by Anant Kakba Priolkar. The earlier three articles are as follows

  1. Goa Inquisition: How Inquisition came to Portugal
  2. Goa Inquisition: Origins of Inquisition in Goa
     

A french traveler by the name Francois Pylard who visited Goa between 1608 to 1610 gives the following account of the Inquisition [Emphasis Mine]

The Inquisition consists of two fathers who are held in great dignity and respect but one of them is much greater man than the other, and is called Inquisitor Major. the procedure is more severe than in Portugal, they often burn Jews, whom the Portuguese call Christanos Nocuous, that is to say ‘New Christians’. The first time they are taken before the Holy Inquisition, all their goods are seized, at the same time, they are seldom arrested unless they are rich. The King supplies the cost of this process to everyone who has not wherewithal. But ordinarily, they attack them not except when they learn that they have amassed much property. Nothing in the world is more cruel and pitiless than this process. For the least suspicion, the slightest word, whether of a child or a slave, who wishes to do his master a bad turn, is enough to hang a man, and they give credence to a child, however young, so only he can speak. Some times they were accused of putting their crucifixes in the cushions, whereon they sit and kneel, sometimes of striking the images, or of refraining from eating bacon, in short that they were still secretly observing their ancient law, though they conduct themselves in public as good Christians. I verily believe that whatever is desired is assumed of them. Only the rich are put to death, while the poor get off with some penance. And what is most cruel and wicked, a man who would do evil to another, will, in revenge, go and accuse him of his crime. when the other is arrested, there is no friend will dare say a word for him or will visit him, or lift a hand in his behalf, no more than for a person charged with high treason. The people durst not speak in public of this Inquisition but with great honour and respect and if a chance word should escape a man, having but the smallest reference to it, he must forthwith go, accuse and denounce himself, if he suspect that anyone has heard him. Otherwise, if another denounce you, you will at once be arrested. It is a terrible and a fearful thing to be there even once for you have no proctor, or advocate to speak for you, while they are judges and parties at once. The form of procedure is all the same as in Spain, Italy and Portugal. Sometimes men are kept prisoners two or three years without knowing the cause, visited by none but the officers of the Inquisition, and in a place where they will never see a fellow creature. If they have no means of livelihood, the King gives it them. The Indian Gentiles and Moors, of whatsoever region, are not subject to this Inquisition, unless they have become Christians, and even then, are not so rigorously dealt with as the Portuguese or the New Christians from Portugal or other Christians from Europe. But if peradventure, and Indian Moor or Gentile inhabitant of Goa, had dissuaded or hindered another that was minded to become Christian, and that was proved against him, he would be punished by the Inquisition, as would he who has caused another to quit Christianity. Such cases often happen. The reason why they treat these Indians thus rigorously is that they suppose that they cannot be steadfast in the faith as the old Christians, also that it will prevent the rest from being led astray. For the same reason, too, they permit them to retain some of their petty Gentile and Mahomedan superstitions, such as not eating pork of beef, not drinking wine, and keeping to their former dress and ornaments, that is among men as well as women that are become Christians.

Goan Inquisition: Origins of Inquisition in Goa

This is the third part of the series of articles on the Goan Inquisition based on the book written by Anant Kakba Priolkar. Part1 and Part2 have been written earlier.

Let us now move to Goa of the mid 16th century. Though the Inquisition was officially established in Goa only in 1560, condemning heretics publicly happened much before that.  We will look at one of the first recorded instances of such public condemnations called Auto de Fe.

The year is 1543. A bachelor of Medicine named Jeronimo Dias, a New Christian, during the course of conversation with his friends, utters a few things that were against the Christian faith. News reached the Bishop, who orders the arrest of Jeronimo & questioned his friends. During cross-examination, Jeronimo continues to uphold beliefs of his old faith (Jewish faith). The Bishop concludes that he is still a closet-Jew and calls for a council to determine the punishment. The council is attended by the Governor, a Teacher named Diogo Borba, Friar Antonio who was the commissary of “St” Francis, and the Vicar General Minguel Vaz. They read the Bishop’s report and conclude that what transpired was indeed heretical in nature. The punishment, as per the justice of the King required burning alive the heretic. However, kind as they were, they offered that should Jeronimo choose to seek pardon & confess his error publicly and desire to die as a christian, then he will first be strangled to death, so that he would not feel the torments of fire. Small mercies, indeed!

It fell upon the teacher, Diogo Borba, to counsel this Jeronimo into accepting his mistake. Thus Jeronimo died by strangulation before his body was burnt. This was the first recorded “Auto de Fe” in Goa. The subsequent Sunday, during the Sermon, the Bishop read out the Papal bull of the Holy inquisition, however, limiting the punishment to excommunication thereby persuading heretics to come out and repent and give up their erroneous ways.

And so it began.

The formal request for the establishment of the Inquisition was made by “St” Francis Xavier who wrote a letter to Portugese King D. Joao III on 16th May 1545 asking that an Inquisition be established to ensure that the faithful don’t go astray. Xavier was concerned that in a country filled with people who lived as per the Jewish, Mohamadden and Hindu it would be far too easy for the King’s subjects to follow their faith in a lax manner. Joao III pretty much ignored this request. However more requests for Inquisition in the Indies started pouring in. Despite this, the inquisition wasn’t set up in Joao III’s time.

When Joao III passed away in 1557, he was succeeded by his grandson, Don Sebastian, who at that time was a child of age three.. Dowager Queen Cataliana was the regent.

There was a particular incident that expedited the institution of Inquisition in Goa. Father provincial named Gonsalvo Da Silveria and Bishop Belchior Carnerio started preaching against Judaism in Cochin, which made the local Jewish folk speak out against these priests. The Jews & others new Christians responded to this perceived aggression by the two priests by placing in the boxes kept in the churches writings filled with blasphemies against divinity of Christ, & the Church. The Christian priests couldn’t tolerate this. They pleaded Vicar Pero Gonsalves to act against the culprits. The Vicar agreed and set up a Tribunal. One day, the captain of the city found an error in this procedure and pleaded the vicar to disband the tribunal since it didn’t have an official status. However, the Bishop appointed for this purpose sternly told him to “Go back to your fortress. Don’t interfere in matters of faith”.

Following this, several New Christians (only the rich of them!) were arrested and taken to Goa. The Goan authorities however wanted to release them on bail. However the priests protested against their bail in such large numbers that the authorities sent the e convicts were to Portugal for sentencing.  This incident, coupled with the persistent letters being to the crown for the establishment of Inquisition, eventually led to the office of the Inquisitor to be established in 1560.

It was this queen who agreed to the Inquisition, and Cardinal Henrique sent as Inquisitors Aleixo Dias Falcão and Francisco Marques to Goa. The persecution of the New Christians now began officially and it was one of the cruelest Inquisitions in all of the Portuguese empire.

 

Goa Inquisition: How Inquisition came to Portugal

This is the second part of the writeup on the Goa Inquisition based on the book by Anant Kakba Priolkar. The first part can be accessed here 

In this second part, we shall look at how Inquisition started in Portugal from where this deadly virus spread to Goa.

Recall that under the Spanish Inquisition, the Jews were forced to leave the country. Many of the applied for a temporary domicile in Portugal.The king of Portugal at that point in time was D João II. He agreed to offer 8 months of temporary domicile to Jews for a capitation fee. 1,50,000 Jews took up the offer. 600 families obtained permanent domicile for 600,000 cruzados. Things seemed to be going fine. The Jews were working out means to find a safe haven in the next eight months.

Unfortunately that’s when plague struck Portugal.

There was a huge public outcry against the new immigrants who were blamed for the plague. King Joao  II was forced expedites the exit of Jews. He gave them ships as promised. However, some of the captains took advantage of the situation of the Jews, rob them, abandon them on the African coast.

Some of the Jews who entered the country surreptitiously because they couldn’t affor captiation fee were caught & were distributed to those who asked them as slaves. Their children aged 3-10 were snatched away & baptized and eventually were settled in the island of St Thome.

Now, the Jews who were native Portugal were concerned by such moves. They contributed majorly to the king’s coffers in various ways. Despite living as second class citizens, they were allowed to practice their religion in the separate parts of the towns where they were housed. However, D Joao II didn’t allow inquisition in Portugal.

Sadly, for the Jews, D Joao II passed away in 1495. His only son had died four years earlier. So the throne went to his nephew, D. Manoel who was initially tolerant of the Jews. Then cupid struck him. He became enamored by D Isabelle, who was the widowed daughter-in-law of D Joao II.

This D Isabelle was the daughter of Ferdinand & Isabelle of Spain . She harbored fanatical hatred towards Jews perhaps due to her upbringing in Spain were Jews weren’t viewed in a positive light. Thus, when D. Manoel propositioned that they wed, the Spanish court agreed to the proposition but on one condition – Jewish fugitives from Spain be expelled from Portugal within one month. D. Manoel agreed.

D Isabelle married D Manoel in 1497 and only after she was satisfied that the Jewish fugitives were expelled did she agree for the union!  Through her the Spanish court exercized considerable sway on D Manoel. So much so that D Manoel passed an order that even the Jews native to Portugal be expelled within 10 months if they didn’t convert to Christianity. In order to encourage reporting such Jews who might stay back in hiding, D Manoel  also issued an order to pass on their properties to the informants.

Turned out most of the Jews preferred exile to conversion. So another order was passed – children below the age of 14 would be taken away from Jews who left the country and given to be brought up in Christian faith. This order was later modified to include children below 20.  Initially Oporto, Lisbon and Algarve were the three designated ports for the departure of Jews. This was later restricted to just Lisbon where there were huge scarcity of ships and provisions.

As the date of departure neared, Jews who hadn’t yet left the country pressed the King to allow them to hire ships at their own cost and leave. 20000 of them assembled at Estaos, a palace in Lisbon. More cruelty transpired here. Children who were not already taken away were now dragged away from their parents by the Kings soldiers to be baptized. Such was the cruelty that it shook the heart of the King as well.

Out of remorse, in May 1497, King passed an order that the new converts be given a period of twenty years for familiarizing them with the new faith and forgetting their old faith & that no action can be taken against them on the account of their religious behavior.

The New Christians with foresight fearing an eventual imposition of an Inquisition, slowly started converting their movable property into immovable that would eventually allow them to travel to safer lands.  Alarmed by this, in April 1499, edicts were passed forbidding the locals and foreigners from having any cash/merchandize dealings with the New Christians. The New Christians were not allowed to sell property, nor leave the country with their families, without the permission of the crown. Thus began their long ordeal in Portugal.

This cold animosity against the New Christians continued for a few years. In 1506, some new Christians expressed doubts about a miracle that was claimed by the old christians. Soon cries of “Heresy” emerged, and there was a widespread riot leading to the death of 800 people on that day followed by the death fo 2000 people in the next three days. These occurings had a further effect on D Manoel who increased the period allowed for the new converts till 1526 and revoked the orders that prevented the new converts from selling their property and moving out of the country.

D Manoel died in 1521.

He was succeeded by his son D Joao III, who had a profound hatred for the Jews. He put spies in Lisbon to enquirer about the behaviors of the New Christians and collect evidences against them.  D Joao III got sufficient dirt from a Henrique Nunes, a New Christian himself, who had served in Spain under the inquisitor there. When the New Christians discovered the betrayal by Henrique Nunes, they murdered him.

This murder increased the popular anger against the New Christians. The faction that bore this anger got support from the Queen D Catherine, who was the sister of Charles V, king of Spain. You can see the influence the Spanish court consistently had on the Portuguese.

Ultimately in 1531, the king moved to secure a papal bull from Rome for the establishment of the Inquisition. The bull was issued in December of 1531. But the actual inquisition started a decade later, in the October of 1541. By this time, Portugal had established colonies in India in the Goan region. Many Jews from Portugal came and settled here to explore the prospects of trade and commerce. The New Christians whose life had become hell under the harsh climate also moved to Goa. The Inquisition that began in Portugal in 1541 officially got extended to Goa in 1560. That’s when the reign of terror began for the locals, that included my community, the Gauda Saraswata Brahmins.

But before moving to the Goan Inquisition, let us close the chapter on the Portuguese Inquisition with the atrocities that followed due to it – Until 1732, 23000 people were condemned to various forms of punishments. 1454 were burnt on stake. Inquisition was abolished in 1820.

 

 

Goa Inquisition: How it all began in Spain

Based on the book “The Goa Inquisition” written by Anant Kakba Priolkar.

In the 15th century Spain, there existed a chap named Thomas de Torquemada. In his youth, during one of his travels, he was smitten by a woman of Cordova. However, she didn’t return his advances and instead married a Moor. From then on started Torquemada’s lifelong hatred for the Moors. Jilted, he went to Zaragoza to study theology and eventually entered the convent of the Dominicans. There, Torquemada gained access to the archives, which made him aware of the authority which the Inquisitors enjoyed. This coupled with his hatred, his ambition & burning desire for revenge prompted him to seek the establishment of the Inquisition.

Few years later, he ended up as a confessor of a young princess of Castile named Isabella. He sought to infuse into Isabella’s mind the same spirit of fanaticism as his own. But she wasn’t someone who would easily lend to his machinations. So he extracted a promise from her that should she ever come to the throne, she would devote herself to extirpation of heresy & exaltation of the catholic faith.

As fate would have it, she married King Ferdinand of Aragon.

During this time, Jews in Spain occupied foremost positions in many fields. This provoked a lot of envy of the Christians. In addition to that, the many of the christians owed a great amount of money to the Jews. From time to time, in the 15th century in Spain, there were outbreaks of rumors  about the contempt the Jews exhibited towards Catholics and how they spoke blasphemously against the Catholic faith.  Many of these rumours were in fact spread by the fanatical clergy, probably encouraged by the debtors, since for them it was a quick way of settling debts!  As a result, riots broke out and great amount of atrocities were committed against the Jews, who were forced to convert to Christianity to save life & property. Many of these Jews who converted, were Christians only in their outward appearance. In the privacy of their homes, they continued to follow their old faith. This didn’t remain secret for long & soon the Christians got wind of it. This is when the demand for establishing Inquisition started

Ferdinand was favourable to the idea since it gave an opportunity to fill the royal coffers. Isabella however wasn’t. However, the clergy, including those people in whom she confided persisted & she eventually gave in. She asked the pope for a bull introducing holy office in 1478. However she didn’t initiate the actions under the authority given to her immediately. She dilly-dallied ,by asking the archbishop to prepare a catechism that would educate the new converts into the Christian ways.However, ultimately in 1481, the royal couple were forced to give consent for establishment of Inquisition. During 1481, 800 people were condemned & burnt on stake in seville. 80 were imprisoned for life. In bishopric of Cadez, 2000 people were condemned to be burnt to death.

In 1483, Pope Sixtus IV appointed a senior Dominican Clergyman as the Inquisitor General of Castile & Aragon & tasked him with preparing the new constitution of Inquisition which came to effect in 1484.

This man was none other than Thomas de Torquemada!! He became the first grand Inquisitor.

Lot of Jews in Spain escaped to neighboring countries. However many of them, being attached to their lands preferred to remain in Spain. They offered to pay 30000 ducats to Ferdinand just to let them remain in Spain even at the risk of attracting attention of Inquisition tribunal. The royal couple was favorable to this offer – Ferdinand out of avarice, Isabelle out of magnanimity. However, Torquemada wasn’t impressed. “Judas Iscariot sold his master for 30 pieces of silver. You want to sell him for 30000 ducats. Here he is, sell him” – he thundered before the Royal couple throwing a Crucifix on the table.

This form of persuasion did the trick & changed the minds of the royal couple. In 1492, it was decreed that the Jews be banished from the Kingdom, giving them only four months to settle their affairs. There was a fire-sale of their properties. They migrated to Turkey & Portugal.

We shall end this chapter here by taking stock of the the horrors that occurred in Torquemada’s regime – 8,800 new Christians were condemned to be burnt on stake. 90,504 were imposed with other forms of penalties.
A jilted lover, embraced the religion of love. As a result, initially the Jews of Spain suffered. But subsequently this suffering reached Hindu communities on the distant shores of Goa.

Hindus – Change the Playground!

Problem with our Paksha is that despite knowing their weakness against spin, they insist on playing against the Shatru on turning pitch.

I would like to illustrate this with two examples.

Let us take the case of public celebration of our festivals. Many argue, mArus celebrate their festivals publicly by slaughtering millions of goats on Eid and taking out processions while flogging themselves on Muharram.  Pretas celebrate their festival with a great pomp and show, spending great amounts of electricity and cutting down millions of trees. So why shouldn’t we be allowed to celebrate our festivals?

The problem with this argument is quite simple – You are making the celebration of your festival conditional how the Shatru celebrates their festivals. But why should we do that ? Why should we seek anyone’s approval for celebrating our festivals ?! We have our traditions which are unbroken for millennia. We should be assertive about them. This is our Punya-Bhumi, these are our festivals. We should celebrate them in the glorious manner that befits our great civilization IRRESPECTIVE of how we allow the Pretas and Marus in our Desha to celebrate their festivals.

Consider another example – Someone accuses us of being oppressors towards Dalits and Women. The typical response of our Paksha is that it is Hindus who have been oppressed for the past 100 years. Really?! Aren’t we insulting the fightbacks led by Prithviraja, Lalitaditya, Rana Sangha, Rana Kumbha, Harihara, Bukkaraya, Kumara Kampana, Gopanarya, Krishna Deva Raya, Shivaji, Baji Rao, Lachit Borphukan, Tatya Tope, Bala Gangadhara Tilaka, Vinayaka Damodara Savarkara ?!

In both the cases, we are crafting our response within the moral framework defined by our Shatru. Which is why the Shatru is able to keep our Paksha forever on the backfoot.

The Shatru’s moral framework is fueled by the victimhood narrative.  Within this framework, the Shatru has the first mover’s advantage , i.e the Shatru has claimed the title of the victim for himself. It is from this claim to victimhood that the Shatru derives his moral supremacy. Subconsciously our paksha realizes this – which is why it crafts a response in which it tries to compete with the Shatru for the position of the victim. However, the Shatru has mastered this game for long and you are only a novice. The moment you even lay a claim on victimhood, the Shatru will throw Caste and Sati at you and you will waste a good amount of time justifying how the caste-system and Sati are not an essential aspect of our culture while the Shatru rallys his other forces to surround you from all other sides. Thus this is a ground where the pitch turns wildly, and you will keep getting stumped.

We need to understand what is the nature of this Shatru. How does he obtain power. The Shulapurusha has given us some understanding of this moral-framework of our Shatru.

Glance through the history and we will realize that our Shatru has not become powerful by open confrontation, but via subversion. The Shatru is a usurper who will snatch power from us by making us feel guilty about even having it in the first place. That’s how he operates!

One of the key pieces of arsenal in the Shatru’s collection is to identify some weakness of his own and posit it to be a universal problem. It is likely that there will be those in our paksha who share that weakness. They are ripe for subversion. The Shatru then incites these inciders that this universal problem which  requires subjugating the strong in order to usher a utopia where everyone is equal. The Shulapurusha called this the Slave-Morality. It was this slave-morality that was responsible for undoing of the great Roman empire.

Now, contrast this morality with the morality of those civilizations which were guided by primary religions. Greeks, Romans, Japanese, Hindu – these civilizations were built on virtues such as nobility, strength, greatness, glory. This is the morality which the Shula-purusha calls to be the Master-Morality.

In fact the slave-morality is the one which the Shatru crafted as a response to the master morality in order to acquire the power without requiring to have the virtues of the masters. Thus,  Shatru deployed the trick of normative-inversion and subverted nobility to arrogance, strength to cruelty, pursuit of glory to a wasteful exercise, thereby demeaning everything that was once held to be virtuous. In the place of these, the Shatru defined weakness to be kindness, cowardice for non-violence, lack of ambition for prudence.

With this new slave morality, the Shatru’s goal is to convince everyone  that the masters could only become powerful at the expense of the Shatru. Hence, in order to usher in justice, Shatru needs to usurp the master’s power. And in order to do that, to bring the master down to his level, the Shatru used an old weapon named Guilt, with which he attack the one chink in the master’s armor which was an appeal to the latter’s good nature. Once the masters accepted this guilt, the Shatru used it as a leash to keep the masters tied to it, thereby allowing him to be a parasite on the latter’s power. When one master died, the Shatru went in search of a new master to repeat the same process and hold power at their expense. For the past few years, ours is the master civilization that the Shatru has been eyeing.

Hence, until the Hindus learn to frame the argument in the Moral framework with which our ancestors created our great civilization, we will lose. We will cease to explain all that was great and good – the acts of the Heroic Rama, the counsel of the wise Krishna, the rage of virile Rudra, as long as we continue to operate within the moral framework of the Shatru.

The devious Shatru has already claimed our cultural cousins – the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, and usurped their heritage for his own. Unless we wake up, we will join our cousins and live only through museums for the children of the Shatru to admire.

So what should we do ? First, we need to call his bluff. Deny the claim to universality of his own weakness. More importantly show our own Paksha, that the world is perfectly fine and it is the wretched Shatru who is the lacks the capability to appreciate it. Granted that there will be grievances among our Paksha. But we have the capability to find solutions for our grievances within our framework. Our Sanatana dharma is more than equipped to help us address these grievances. We don’t need the patronizing Shatru to tell us how should we be cleaning our house, for cleaning our house is not at all his intention, but gaining ownership of our house is.

In other words, reclaim your moral framework, rephrase the argument within it. This way you will have access to years of wisdom which you can leverage without any fear of guilt. Shift the venue back to your bouncy track, where the Shatru has no option but to duck or lose his head when he faces your fiery onslaught.

Creation as per Srimad Bhagavatam 3.26

|| Hariḥ Om ||

Sanatana Dharma owing to its multitudes of traditions has some of the fascinating creation myths (I don’t use Myth in a negative sense here).  The one that is close to my heart is the one in Aitareya Upanishad, the Upanishad of my Veda. Recently while reading Srimad Bhagavatam, in the discourse that Kapila, an avatara of Vishnu, gives to his mother Devahuti, a variant of this myth is presented with great detail.

I am recounting it here, just because I enjoy narrating it.

This is from the chapter 26 in the 3rd Skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam.

The Prakriti is the Pradhana the primal cause. It comprises of 24 Tattvas. These are the 5 Tanmātrās, 5 Mahābhūtās, 5 Jñānendriyās,5 Karmendriyās,Citta, Ahaṃkāra, Manas and Buddhi.

The 5 Tanmātrās are Śabdha (sound), Sparṣa (touch), Rūpa (form), Rasa (taste) and Gandha (smell)

The 5 Mahābhūtās are Ākāśa (space), Vāyu (air), Agni (fire), Āpa (water) and Pṛthvi (earth).

The 5 Jñānendriyās are Śrotram (Ears), Tvak (Skin), Dṛk (Eyes), Rasana (Tongue), Nāsikāḥ (Nose)

The 5 Karmendriyas are Vāk (organ of speech); Karau(Hands), Caraṇau (Legs); Meḍhram(generative organ) Pāyuḥ (Evacuating organ)

Citta (memory) for remembering, Ahaṃkāra (ego) for identification, Buddhi (intellect) for discrimination, Manas (Mind) for willing. This group is called the Antaḥkaraṇa or inner instruments.

Each of the 24 Tattvas are inert. It is the Purusha, the Atman,  the 25th Tattva, which causes creation to come into being.

The story of the creation that is narrated here, especially the Devatas arising from body of the Virāṭ  Purusha, finds parallels in Purushasuktam and the Aitareya Upanishad.

So, how does creation begin? When the three Guṇas of Prakṛti, viz Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are in equilibrium, there is no creation. The Purusha in the form of Kāla (time) disturbs that equilibrium and impregnates Prakṛti with his Tejasa.

As a result of this is produced the Mahat which is Golden, and is pure Sattva. This Primal Mahat is the Chitta called Vasudeva.

The Mahat began to transform slowly producing the three kinds of Ahamkāra – Vaikarika, Tejasa and Tāmasa.  The form of Vishṇu associated with Ahamkāra is Samkarṣaṇa who is Ananta of the thousand heads.

The Vaikarika (Sattvika) Ahaṃkāra underwent modification to produce the Mānas which is the master of the Organs. Aniruddha is the form of Vishnu associated with Mānas who is bluish like the Autumn Lotus.

From the Taijasa (Rājasika) Ahaṃkāra, Buddhi was born. It ascertains the nature of the objects grasped by the Jñānendindriyas. Pradyumna is the form of Viṣṇu governing this.

From the Taijasa Ahaṃkāra was also born Prāṇa, which is the vital force directing the Karmendriyās.

When the Tāmasa Ahaṃkāra was agitated by the potency of the Purusha, the Tanmātra of Śabdha was born. From it arose Ākāśa from which arose Śrotram the organs of hearing. Śabdha conveys the idea of an object, even when it is not in view.

Ākāśa impelled by Kāla (time) gives rise to Sparśa (touch) which in turn gives rise to the Vāyu from which arises Tvak.

From Vāyu and Sparśa, inspired by Daivam arise Rūpa. From Rūpa come Agni and from Agni comes Cakṣuḥ.

From the interaction between Agni and Rūpa, under the supervision of Daivam, emerges Rasa. From Rasa comes Āpah and from that Jihvā.

The interaction between Āpah and Rasa produces Gandha from which arises Pṛthvi and from that Ghrāṇaḥ (sense of smell)

Since cause exists in its effect, the characteristics of the former is observed in the latter, i.e characteristics of Ākāśa observed in Vāyu whose characteristics are observed in Agni, whose in Āpah and finally Pṛthvi contains characteristics of all the earlier ones.

Initially all the seven entities (Mahat, Ahamkāra and Mahābhūtas) were unmixed. Then the Puruṣa, endowed with Kāla (time) Karma (effort) and Guṇa (Sattva, Tamas, Rajas) entered the Universe and churned it. The result was an Egg -a brilliant golden egg. From this golden egg came Virāṭ.

This Golden egg is enveloped by layers of Mahābhūtas starting from Āpaḥ to Ākāśa, Ahaṃkāra & Mahat. Each layer is 10 times thicker than the previous one. The final outer layer is covered by Pradhāna (Prakṛti). Inside this egg is the universal form of Hari, whose body parts are the 14 lokas.

This Golden Egg was floating on divine waters. Then the Virāṭ-Puruṣa residing within divided it into different parts.

First came the mouth, from which arose Vāṇi, the sense of speech and Vaḥni, the Devata who presides over it.

Then came the Nāsikas, from which arose the  Ghrāṇaḥ, the  sense of smell and from it Prāṇa, the presiding Devata.

The Akṣiṇī appeared next, from which came the Cakṣuḥ, the sense of sight. From it emerged  Sūryaḥ, the presiding Devata.

Following it came Karṇau (the two ears), from which arose  Śrotram (sense of hearing). From this came the Dikpālakas its the presiding Devatās.

Next appeared the Tvak (skin). From that appeared Roma (Hair), Śmaśru (Facial hair) for the sense of Touch. All the Ośadhis (medicinal herbs) came from these.

The Śiśnam (genitals) appeared next from which came the Retas (semen). From this came Āpaḥ (the Devata presiding over waters – Varuna ?)

The  Gudam (Anus) came afterwards, from which came  Apānaḥ (capability of defecation), from this  came Mṛtyuḥ, the Devata of death.

The Hastau (two hands) manifested next, from which came Balam (power of grasping). From this came Indra, the presiding Devata.

This was followed by  Pādau (feet), from which came Gatiḥ (capability of movement). From this came Hariḥ (Upendra in some versions, Jayanta as per Madhvas) , the presiding Devata.

The Nāḍyaḥ (veins) manifested next, from which came Lohitam (blood). Nadyaḥ (rivers) were produced from that, which are its presiding Devata.

The Udaram (stomach) appeared after that. From which came Kṣut-Pipāsa (Hunger, thirst). The presiding deity samudraḥ (Oceans) appeared from it.

The Hṛdayam (heart) came next, from it came Manaḥ (mind). Candramāḥ (Moon), the presiding deity came from that.

The Buddhiḥ (intelligence) came afterwards, and Braḥmā, the presiding deity of Buddhiḥ came from that.

The Ahaṃkāra (Ego) came next, and Rudraḥ the presiding deity of the ego came from it.

Finally Cittam (consciousness) came, and from it came Caityaḥ the presiding deity.

The Devatās tried to rouse the Virāṭ Puruṣa, but he was unmoved. So each of the Devatās entered their respective abodes.

Agni entered Mukham along with Vāk, but that didn’t rouse him.

Prāṇa entered the Nāsika along with Ghrāṇa, but that didn’t rouse him.

Āditya entered the Akṣiṇī along with Chakṣu, but that didn’t rouse him.

The Dikpālas entered his Karṇau along with Śrotram, but that didn’t rouse him.

The Oṣadhyaḥ entered his Tvak along with the Roma, but that didn’t rouse him.

The Devatā of  Āpaḥ entered his Śiśṇa along with Retas, but that didn’t rouse him.

Mṛtyu entered Guda along with Apāna, but that didn’t rouse him.

Indra entered the Hastau along with their Balam, but that didn’t rouse him.

Hari entered the Caraṇau along with Gati, but that didn’t rouse him.

Sindhuḥ entered his Udara along with Kṣuda and Tṛśṇā, but that didn’t rouse him.

Candraḥ entered Hṛdayam along with Manaḥ, but that didn’t rouse him.

Brahmā entered Hṛdayam along with Buddhiḥ, but that didn’t rouse him.

Rudrā entered Hṛdayam along with Ahaṃkāra, but that didn’t rouse him.

Finally, when Vāsudevā, entered Hṛdayam along with Citta, Virāt arose from the primordial waters. Just as when a Man is asleep, none of his Indriyās, his Manas, Buddhi, Ahaṃkāra can wake him up , but only the Ātman can!

Hence for Mokśa, one should contemplate on the Antaryāmin, who resides within the Deha, but is apart from it.

|| Śrī Kṛṣṇārpaṇamastu ||

Old Gods Vs the New

american-gods-season-1-episode-8-review-come-to-jesus.jpeg

Context: TV Series “American Gods”, Season 1: There is a war brewing between the old Gods and the New gods. In the following, the Old Gods are represented by Wednesday, his accomplice Shadow Moon,  Easter.  The New Gods represented by the Media, Technical Boy (God of the Internet) and Mr World (God of Globalization). In Episode 8, which is the series finale, they have the following conversation.

Media (to Easter): You’re an old god new again. That’s what we offer. That’s what we represent. You feel you’ve been treated unfairly ?

Easter: I feel misrepresented in the media.

Media: Put a pillow over that feeling and bear down until it stops kicking. St. Nick took the same deal you did. The only reason why you are relevant today is because Easter is a Christian Holiday.

Easter (feeling insulted): Ha

Media: Its religious Darwinism. Adapt and Survive. What we have achieved together, you and I, is no small feat ; Now that we’re living in an atheist world.

Easter (Chuckles): Look  at you! Squawk the squawk.

Media: In your easter bonnet with all the frills upon it, you should be thrilled, overjoyed that anyone believes in anything that doesn’t have a screen anymore. What happens if they all decide that God doesn’t exist?

Wednesday (enters the frame): What if they decide God does exist ?

Media: Whose God ? They’re not all going to choose just one.

Wednesday: Well, it doesn’t matter. Plenty of worship to go around once worship gets redistributed.

Media: We are the distributors. The platform and the delivery mechanism. We control the story. We control the flow.

Technical Boy: We are the flow.

Wednesday: What you offer is existential crisis aversion. ‘Don’t look over there, look over here. Don’t listen to that, listen to this.’ You provide a product, an innovative distraction and you keep innovating it and you keep providing it. The beauty of what we (old gods) do is we only need inspire.

Technical Boy: Hmm.. You don’t have the juice. And don’t act like your fucking rent boy here (referring to Shadow Moon) is your disciple.  Here’s the thing: you’re old as fuck. Things are never going back to the way that they were. The times, they are a changing.  You. Can’t. Fight. Progress.

Wednesday: Then why are you here ? Why do I matter ?

Media (Pointing towards Easter): We’re here for her. We’re here for my friend. And you (Wednesday) don’t matter. Not really. Not anymore.  You could have, but…

Wednesday: People create Gods when they wonder why things happen. Do you know why things happen? Because Gods make them happen. You want to know how to make good things happen ? Be good to your God. You give a little.. You get a little. The simplicity of that bargain has always been appealing.  That’s why you are here. And that’s precisely why I matter!

Mr World: You only matter in matters of war. And there’s not going to be a war. We have the guns. We have the firepower. You have the swords and knives and hammers and stone axes. We fight, we win. We don’t fight, we win.

Technical Boy (to Wednesday): You die out either way.

Mr World. You (to Wednesday) are the passenger pigeons and thylacines. Nobody cares about you. It’s either going to be a bloodbath or we’ll wait you out and get the whole thing without a fuss. My message to you: Don’t fight.

What follows this is the following absolutely mind blowing scene where Mr. Wednesday reveals who he is

 

 

We are the Aryaputras

We are the Aryaputras.

The sons of the glorious Arya tribe.
Who roamed victorious the breadth of the earth
Owing to their sheer vigour and valour
On the wheels of their chariots
Drawn by the swift steeds
Which flew with the wind.

We are the Aryaputras.

We are the Greeks,  We are the Romans,
We are the Norsemen, We are the Persians,
We are the Hindus, We are the Slavs
We are the Balts, We are the Hittites

We are the Aryaputras.

We are the worshipers of the Mighty Thunder Gods
for it was Zeus, Thor, Indra who protected us,
who fought for us, who fought with us
against the Barbarian hordes.

We are the Aryaputras.

We are the the sons of the the Spear wielding Gods
whose love for knowledge knows no bounds,
whose healing powers are unmatched,
for it was Odin, Rudra and Apollo who blessed us with vigour.

We are the Aryaputras.

We are the makers of civilizations,
the creators of cultures,
the narrators of the stories,
inventors of technology.
Art flowed through us.
Our tongues sang the songs beckoning the Lady Dawn.
We played in the laps of Ushas and Ostara.

We are the Aryaputras.

All that inspires greatness was our creation.
We spread the world remaining as diverse as diversity of the universe.
We taught the world what life is,
for we were the children of the Immortals.

We are the Aryaputras.

We are the true heirs of  Indo European civilization,
Not the sons of the desert who are but false appropriators.
So, rise brothers, invoke your mighty Gods
For it is them, the sons of the desert fear the most.
Show them what the Flash of the lighting looks like
The heat of the Fire feels like
The Roar of the Wind sounds like,

We are the Aryaputras.

Invoke the mighty thunderer Indra
Invoke the Alfather Odin
Invoke the fair minded Athena,
Invoke the lustrous Dazbog
Invoke bountiful Ostara
For they haven’t failed our forefathers
And they won’t fail us, their sons.

For we are the Aryaputras.

Virtue Signalling: Or how Hindus win the Battle while losing the War

Inspired by this article written by the Ācārya at Manasataramgini

It is clear that any form of “Modernism” aims at destroying the Hindu identity, albeit in a very subtle manner. Consider the following

  • Modernism tries to make a Hindu guilty of following “superstitious”, “wasteful”, “primitive” rituals.
  • It makes the Hindu feel ashamed of displaying religious signs such as the Tilak, Shikha, Mudra, Janeu, Kalava.
  • It will mock at the Hindu dresses be it the Dhoti, or the Saree only to be worn on “traditional” days. Formal implies western.
    • In fact they celebrate “Traditional Days” at workplace as some sort of a fancy-dress event to show how they “accommodate” you like a museum piece
  • Hindu food habits, especially reluctance to eat meat, more specifically certain kids of meat will be looked down as regressive.
  • A Hindu’s knowledge of scriptures, classics, the Sanskrit language will be met with scorn, often expecting you to express yourself in modern idioms.
  • The traditional Hindu forms of medicine will be called quackery, the traditional Hindu modes of social organization will be deemed oppressive.

One can list many more similar instances where Hindus & their ways are critically analysed only to be denounced within this framework which we shall call the modernity framework.

It is of utmost importance for a Hindu to note that the definition of what is right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable, sacred/profane is considered to be absolute and universal in this modernity-framework.  If one looks at it closely, these definitions are simply the old Christian definitions repackaged by dusting away the religious connotations and presented in secular terms. As a Hindu you or I have absolutely no say in these definitions which we are asked to accept as absolute and universal.

Thus, any efforts to defend our traditions or to provide justifications for our tradition using this modernity-framework are doomed to fail, just like the efforts of Yudhisthira who was gambling with the enemy on the enemy-turf, playing with a dice that was rigged against him. Of course, such efforts will be praised, and even encouraged, for the opponent knows very well that you can be tripped on a higher dimension every single time, even if the opponent concedes an occasional victory in the lower dimension.

A Hindu with a critical bent of mind would ask, why should the definition of what is right/wrong be universal and absolute, bereft of any context? After all, we come from a tradition that is rooted in Dharma which, in the words of Bhishma, is extremely subtle. Thus it is definitely not something which can be encoded in some finite number of commandments that is deemed to be applicable at all times. Coming from such a tradition, what makes the universal moral framework of modernity so appealing ?

Often times, one comes across Hindus, especially modern educated Hindus (henceforth referred to as MEH) who, enamored by this modernity-framework,  will spout utterly nonsensical statements such as “Oh, but don’t you know, Hinduism is the most scientific/liberal/rational/secular/gender-equal/<any other adjective approved under the framework of modernity> religion.” What typically follows this can be thus summarized:

  • MEH will  begin the game of cherry-picking quotes from from the Shruti, Smritis, and lives of Mahapurushas in order to justify the appellation of the chosen adjective to Hinduism.
  • The astute opponent, will respond by cherry-picking quotes from the self-same Shruti, Smriti, or lives of Mahapurushas, which contradict the MEH’s claim regarding the chosen adjective.
  • Voila! The opponent smirks at how the primitive Hindu  religion stands against that adjective.
  • MEH now on the backfoot, wanting to get back at the opponent, replicates the opponent’s strategy by quoting instances where even the opponent’s belief system fail to hold up to the ideals within the modernity-framework.
  • The opponent simply dismisses them saying that these instances are not the “essential features” of his belief system, but mumbles some sort of an apology on behalf of his belief system.
  • MEH feels that he has cornered the opponent. He again mirrors the opponent’s strategy and claims that the earlier examples quoted by the opponent are not the “essential features” of Hinduism.
    • Please note : This is why you find so many MEHs who claim that neither of Rituals, Sacred Texts, Food-habits, Social-structure, gender roles  are “essential features” of Hinduism.
  • So the opponent will ask the Hindu to define the “essential feature of Hinduism” .
  • MEH, feeling all smug that he can finally teach the opponent something that the latter doesn’t know, will claim that the essential feature of Hinduism is the Brahman – that nameless, formless, (and if I may add, for all practical purposes, a useless) entity which is the source of all, which is the common soul of all, and which most importantly will not contradict anything within the modernity-framework.
  • The opponent now congratulates MEH  on winning the debate.
  • While MEH feels elated on his victory, he fails to realize that
    • (a) He has tacitly approved the opponent to define what Hinduism in terms of “essential characteristics”!
    • (b) He just presented the opponent with a big fat stick to beat the Hindus on all the features which MEH has claimed are non-essential to Hinduism.
  • Thus, MEH is is now like that dog which can occasionally expect biscuits from the opponent for good behavior defined in (a) and forever be cowering in fear of the beating from the stick presented to the opponent in (b).

This great urge to win debates and score virtue-signalling points, rather than actually win, has been the undoing of the Hindus for several centuries now. This urge is beautifully described in our national epic where Yudhishtira foolishly offers to Duryodhana at the last stage of the great war the option of picking a weapon and opponent of his choice for a duel, and should Duryodhana win the duel, Yudhisthtira will forsake his claim to the throne of the Hasthinapura.

Yudhishtira fortunately had Krishna to chastise him for his stupidity. Who will chastise the modern educated Hindu ?