Rituals vs Bhakti: The False Dichotomy

Note: This is addressed to the modern educated Hindu who believes that Hindu religion is religion where anything goes, and there are no rules or restrictions. Hence they contend that their point of view is as valid, if not more, as that of a practicing Hindu who comes from a traditional background. I write this as someone who had the misfortune of being such a modern educated Hindu at some point in my life, who espoused similar views. Fortunately, course correction occurred in my case through serendipitous meetings with  Shishtas from the various sampradayas whose outlook towards these things made me go back and learn more about my own sampradaya.

Often when reminded of the protocols and the care with which one should approach the Devas, we often see the modern Hindu at the receiving end retort, “Oh, but God won’t mind all that as long as my heart is pure”. Then he/she will go on to narrate a couple of stories from Puranas to prove his/her point. Popular examples being that of the hunter Kannappa (Kannan) who offered meat to Shiva, or that of Rama accepting half-eaten berries from Shabari. If that person has read the Gita, then they will go on to cite the Yogeshwara himself who has proclaimed, “patraḿ puṣpaḿ phalaḿ toyaḿ  yo me bhaktyā prayacchati tad ahaḿ bhakty-upahṛtam aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ” . Meaning “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” This line of thinking is quite prevalent among the Hindus who want to be modern for most part, but want to be attached to the faith of their birth, and want to dictate terms in the matters of faith.

The problem with this line of thinking is the false dichotomy that one sets up between the protocols with respect to treating the Devas that we have inherited from the tradition, and the mental attitude of the worshiper. By protocols, I am referring to cleanliness (Kaya, Vacha, Manasa); Presentation (dressing in proper attire, learning to recite the mantras and shlokas correctly, learning to perform the ritual actions correctly) and  lifestyle (that includes inculcating a certain discipline in life that is necessary for abstaining from certain forms of Kama that are against the Vishesha Dharma as prescribed by that Sampradaya). It is my firm belief borne out of my interactions with the Shishtas as well as my personal experience that both – the external observances, and Bhakti – are essential to worship the Devatas and obtain their bountiful blessings. Please allow me to to explain this point through an example.

Consider a situation where you are on your way for a very important meeting in your life. It might pertain to your career or even personal life (say meeting your prospective in-laws).  Imagine that the results of this meeting, whether positive or negative, will be life altering for you. Now despite having belief in your own abilities, you will do certain other things that you have been asked to do for this meeting, such as, dressing up appropriately for the meeting, reaching the venue before time, behaving yourself while at the venue and so on. When it is time for you to make your case in the meeting, you will have the presence of mind to use the apposite words, and persuade the one whom you are meeting to understand your point of view. The outcome of the meeting is beyond your control, but still you will ensure that you do everything correctly so as to increase the possibility of getting a favorable outcome.

Now suppose you are aware that the person whom you will be meeting already knows about you, everything that you have to say, and probably has already made up their mind. Even if it makes you feel a little bit relaxed, would you let that that result in any carelessness on your part in the meeting? Even when you know that the person whom you will be meeting is benevolent, would you, in that case, take the meeting for granted ?

Replace the important person whom you are meeting with the Devata whom you are approaching for worship. Replace the belief in your own abilities with the feeling of Bhakti that you have in your heart. Now ask yourself if you will disregard the proper protocols of worship of this very powerful entity just because you feel that the purity of your Bhakti alone is sufficient? Would you not agree that ignoring the proper protocols of worship that have been passed down by the tradition through which you came to know of this particular Devata is akin to taking the meeting for granted?

Please note that there are always a small number of blessed people, who will be fortunate to obtain the darshana of the Devata and also instructions from Them on how They would like to be worshipped. Those are the very exceptional cases and this article isn’t about them. Great Bhaktas such as Kannappa, Shabari belong to this category of exceptional people. If you have had such an experience, kindly ignore this article. However, for the vast majority of us who got to know of the Devata through some tradition, the appropriate way to approach the Devas is by adhering to the protocols laid down by that tradition. Now those who quip “Advaita says that everything is Brahman, bro. We should be striving to realize that and not get bogged down by tradition”, do remember that even the great Shankara Bhagavatpada advises us that if we have to choose between a someone who is a Shrotriya and another person who is a Brahmanishta, it is better to choose the former.  The reason being, for those who aren’t enlightened already, following the tradition that has been tested and fine-tuned by thousands of years of time is a much safer bet than following someone blindly because they claim to be enlightened. Whatever manner they attained enlightenment might have worked for them, but there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone.

Now, as mortals, we are bound to make errors while worshiping the Devata. And yet, we come across several instances where the Devata has bestowed the boons that were sought by the worshiper. How should one understand this? Does it mean that it is ok to make errors? In my humble opinion, even in such  cases, the correct attitude would be to attribute it to the magnanimity of the Devata for choosing to overlook the errors on our part and bestowing their boons on us. By no means should this be taken to interpret that the Devas don’t mind errors. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it is possible to reconcile the spirit of Bhakti with the cavalier attitude of taking the Devas for granted (“Oh, but God is omni-benevolent, so they won’t hurt me as long as I have pure Bhakti”).

Finally, the statement of Krishna that he will be satisfied with “even a fruit, flower leaf or water” applies in the cases when there is absolutely no other accessible manner to worship the Devata, either due to ignorance, or out of penury. Ask yourself before giving this justification, is this true in your case ?

Often times, due to ignorance, we will not know the right way of worshiping the Devas. That is excusable. Many a times due to our own weakness we would not be able to follow the right way of worshiping the Devata. Perhaps, even that can be remedied. However, what is not acceptable is normalizing our ignorance or weakness by quoting shaastras out of context. If one indulges in that, then I would say that it is a fair game if practitioners from within the tradition humiliate them for this arrogant attitude of virtue signalling pure-bhakti, but not putting our skin in the game of ritual worship.

The Devas don’t like cheap signalling. And in this day when it is easy to indulge in precisely that, the insistence on “Baahya Deeksha” is an useful filter to separate those who are committed, and hence should have a greater say in the scheme of things, then those who are “just visiting”.


On the movie named Padmavat

A disclosure: I won’t be watching the movie Padmavat. Having seen how Bhansali botched up the Baji Rao movie by making villians out of Bajirao’s mother, his valiant brother, just so that his love story could be highlighted, which incidentally was small part of his otherwise remarkable life, both as a soldier and a tactician, I have come to believe that Bollywood doesn’t have the capability to portray Hindu itihasa in a sympathetic manner. Probably it is the the source of funds, which supposedly come from the underworld, that makes them do this. However, my personal take is that that the industry is dominated by virtue-signalling Dhimmis who want to cater to the Hindus who are alienating/alienated from their ethos and the ever growing Muslim Ummah.

I am writing this post after seeing an otherwise well-informed relative of mine share on our family Whatsapp group that Padmavat is a must-watch film. The arguments presented in the post below have already been expressed by other people such as @TheSignofFive elsewhere, in a more eloquent manner.

The worry that folks had when Sanjay Leela Bhansali expressed his intent to make a film on Padmavati, based on a poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, wasn’t that it would portray the Rajputs in a bad light. The subsequent demonstrations by the Karni Sena, the agitations led by the Mewar royal family would have ensured that anyway.

The worry, based on the casting of a popular actor in the role of the villain, was that the brutal tyrant Khilji (whose campaigns, especially to the south of India, resulted immense loss of life, destruction of temples, and paved the way for establishment of the Deccan Sultanate, remnant of which still survives in Hyderabad) would be portrayed as a tragic villain, one whom the audience would eventually feel sorry for.  The worry was that the purpose of the movie will be some sort of a “soft redemption” of the character of Alauddin Khilji.

Looks like that attempt has been a success.

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-25 at 6.39.21 AM

While Hindus can claim moral victory that they were able to get some scenes cut and get the name of the movie changed by a letter, in the end, Bhansali emerged as the winner for he has been successful in seeding in the minds of the millions of Hindus, who thanks to their secular education are already ignorant about Hindu History, the idea that that Khilji’s actions were an unfortunate result of his “louv failure”.  That it had nothing to do with the political ambitions motivated by his religion. Thus, the “mahaul” has been created for someone like Audrey Truschke (who wrote a book on redeeming Aurangazeb) to write a book making an even more bold claim that Alauddin  Khilji wasn’t so bad for the Hindus after all. After a decade or so, this book would be reference material for the next generation text books.

Why does all this matter ?

Let us put this in perspective. Can you imagine the possibility of a movie on Holocaust being released in Israel in which  the sufferings of the Jews while accurately portrayed, there is also an attempt to redeem the character of Hitler as a poor artist, whose failure in the art world forced him to seek validation in the society by forging a German grand narrative and that Holocaust involving Jews was an unfortunate result of this tragedy?


Well, this is why Israel, and the Jews will survive for another century. However, if things continue in the current manner, Hindus won’t see the next century.

That is why all this matters.

PS: Instead of giving the example of Jews and Hitler, I could have used the example of the Goan Inquisition and Xavier which is much closer home. But that’s of no use since Hindus, especially the GSBs, already throng to the church where the “remains” of Xavier are kept, and light candles there. 



The Darkening Age – Book review

A comprehensive account of the damage done to the Classical Age in Rome during the rise of Christianity. 



It is said that “Absolute power corrupts”. Hence the post-Roman era is typically called as the Dark ages, since it was the period when Christianity held absolute power, which resulted in widespread destruction and corruption of everything that it touched. However, what was it like when Christianity was struggling to acquire power ? What effect did it have during that time? These are the questions that Catherine Nixey’s new book titled “The Darkening Age” attempt to answer. And it sheds light on some of the facts hitherto brushed under the carpet by the historians who have told the story of the triumph of Christianity based on christian sources, and thus, presented the narrative of a decadent barbarian empire which was saved by Christianity. However, this was not the case.  The tale of Christianity acquiring power over Rome is one that brought considerable amount of sorrow to the classical world. Hence, “The Darkening Age” is an apt metaphor for those times.

Early on in the book, Nixey explores the motivation of the Christians to convert the Empire. Was it to provide a balm against the decadence, the corruption and the overindulgence present in the Roman empire with their multiple Gods, their silly myths, superstitious rituals, none of which could provide solace to the distressed population suffering from the raging plague and war? Though the later historians present the triumph of christiantiy in these terms, Nixey reveals a far more basic reason – From the point of view of the early Christians, Rome had to be Christianized in order to win the war between Good and Evil, between between God and Satan. Christians were the followers of God, while the Roman empire was the very house of Satan!

Nixey explores the obsession that early Christians had with demons. There were elaborate demonologies that delved deep into the classification of the demons based on their appearances, their powers and the manner in which they can be defeated. And most of these demons, wrote the christian writers, hung around like flies around the corpse on the statues of the Roman Gods – Jupiter, Aphrodite, Bacchus, Isis. It was demons who put the delusion of other religions into the minds of the humans, these writers wrote. Augustine wrote,  ‘All pagans were under the power of demons. Temples were built to demons, altars were setup to demons, priests ordained for the service of demons, sacrifices offered to demons, and ecstatic ravers were brought in as prophets for demons.’. In a classic  demonisation trope, Tertullian said that those who criticized Christianity were not speaking with a free mind , instead were attacking the Christians because they were under the control of Satan and his foot-soldiers. Demons were able to take possession of men’s souls and block up their hearts to stop them from believing in Christ. This was the justification for disrupting the Pagan modes of worships, for desecrating their temples, for defiling their altars, for these were not acts of intolerance, but  were some of the most virtuous things a man might do. The bible demanded it. Deuteronomy instructed, ” And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place”.

It wasn’t that the Christians didn’t face any ideological resistance. Though for the first century there is no mention of Christianity in any of the Roman works, perhaps because the Romans dismissed them as yet another weird cult, in 170 CE, the Philosopher Celsus wrote a scathing criticism of the Christian religion in his “On the True Doctrine”. He noticed that not only were the early Christians ignorant, but they paraded their ignorance as a badge of honor. He also said that they would seek out the  foolish, dishonorable, and stupid, and only slaves, women and little children and “dripped honeyed intellectual poison into uneducated ears”. Neither were the Christians the first to make fantastic claims, nor were they right in their claims, for there were numerous cults, which made such illogical claims. However, it is interesting to note that in the refutations of such supernatural claims, the case of Simon the Magus for example, Christian writers didn’t refute the ability of opponents to perform miracles, but merely their divine right to do so. So in the case of someone like Simon the Magus,  they insisted that his powers were not from God, but, ‘by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him’!

The other trope that was used by the Christians to irritate the Romans and recruit more members into their cult was the trope of Martyrdom. There were legitimate cases where Christians suffered atrocities under the hands of Roman emperors – example Nero in 64CE, Decian in 250 CE, Valerian in 257 CE and the great persecution in 303 CE. However, the Martyrdom stories of Christianity seem to make it as if the Christians were hounded for their belief when in most cases they were punished for disrupting law and order and their stubbornness in the court of law. Nixey quotes many historians of such as Keith Hopkins, Candida Moss who have critically analyzed the myth of martyrdom. If anything, the Roman governors were very kind, who gave ample opportunities to the Christians to escape punishment. They were clueless as to why these Christians would seek martyrdom, ignoring the pleas of their families, ignoring the glorious life that was there for them. Why would anyone reject the beautiful life and beg for death, they wondered. It becomes clear, that martyrdom was a sure shot way for many who were nobodies in the Roman society to be recognized, celebrated and immortalized. Martyrdom was bestowed even upon those people who were killed in minor skirmishes with the Pagans, when as a part of the mob, they ventured to destroy Pagan temples! There were suicidal cults such as Circumcellions who yearned martyrdom!  While the Romans were incredibly tolerant with the stubborn Christians for centuries, when the latter usurped power, they wasted no time in passing laws to abolish the Roman practice of their religion.

The power came to the Christian hands when in 312CE, Constantine converted to Christianity. Following his conversion, the church started being  paid vast sums of money. Constantine was able to obtain these funds from destroying the statues of the pagans, and recovering the precious metals to be found there. Constantine also carted away some of the precious sculptures to his new city Constantinople where he would display them as a mark of Christian victory over the superstitious Pagans. Encouraged by these acts of the emperor, a flourishing business for plundered arts began and Christians started taking the risk of confronting the demons to salvage good art that can be sold for a hefty sum of money. The tolerance of the Christians ,or the lack thereof, can be seen from the fact that during the time of Constantine’s conversion, the total number of Christians in the empire were not more than 10% of the total population. However, within a hundred years, there weren’t more than 10% Pagans. Thus, while Roman “persecution” of the Christians left it vigorous enough that it took control of an empire and ruled for over a millennia,  by the time the Christian persecutions had finished, an entire religious system had been all but wiped from the face of the earth! Nixey words, “For those who wish to be intolerant, monotheism provides very powerful weapons” are quite apt here.

In the rest of the book, Nixey documents the destruction that this cult resulted in of the Classical world. This includes the destruction of countless temples (eg: The temple of Serapis in Alexandria in 392CE), murder of intellectuals (eg: Hypatia of Alexandria in 415 CE), burning of books, vandalization of art, sculpture. Chapter 8 titled  How to destroy a demon” provides ample amount of evidences of iconoclasm and the methods adopted to achieve them. There were laws which, in order to snub the pagans, declared that the portions of the destroyed temples were to be used to repair roads, bridges and aqueducts. The motivation for partial dis-figuration of statues seems to come from the Jewish tract Avodah Zarah as per which in order to properly mutilate a statue (to drive the demon out of them), one should be “cutting off the tip of the ear, or nose or finger, by battering it –even though bulk of it is not diminished — it is desecrated.” One cannot help but find similarities to the destruction of the temples in India at the hands of the Muslims, which resulted in the chipped noses and broken limbs of the statues therein. Thus, there seems to be a method in this iconoclasm madness which has been passed on as a heirloom from one Abrahamic religion to the next. 

The book also discusses how the literary style of the classical world was appropriated by the Christians such as Jerome and Augustine for the service of Christianity so that the Roman elite could be converted and, more importantly, retained within the fold of Christianity. When some lay Christians accused Jerome of indulging in secular works, he supposedly retorted saying, Deuteronomy allowed a captive woman to be taken as a wife once her head was shaved, her eyebrows and hair cut off and nails pared. Thus, admiring the fairness of the form of the secular wisdom, I desire to make this captive my handmaid a matron of True Israel. Once I shave off all that is dead be that idolatry, pleasure, error or lust, I take her to myself clean and pure and beget by her servants for the Lord of Sabaoth”. This was the justification of what Rajiv Malhotra refers to as Digestion in his writings.

The book ends with the tale of Damascius the aging philosopher, who is forced to flee Athens, and shut down the Academy due to the laws of Justinian passed in 529 CE which forbade  “… the teaching of any doctrine by those who labor under the insanity of paganism so that they may not corrupt the souls of their disciples. thus highlighting another critical aspect of the Christian rule – the use of law to curb the Pagans way of life. My ancestors from Goa had experienced a taste of this during the Portuguese rule where such laws made it difficult for a Hindus to practice their religion. The only options left before them were to either flee Goa leaving behind all their property and start afresh, or to convert. And even when converted, they would be viewed with suspicion and had to live under the terror of the inquisition.

Thus, the Triumph of Christianity and the destruction of Paganism is not a happy tale. On the contrary, it is a very sad one. The remaining works from the classical age, the literature, the defaced sculptures act as mute witnesses to this sad story.  The loss of the classical world cannot be described. This becomes evident in Chapter 11 where Nixey quotes E A Judge asking, “What difference did it make to Rome to have been converted?” and answers that though cannot know for certain, something did change.  As a post-christian author she focuses on the profound change in our attitudes towards food and sex due to Christianity compared to that in the Roman times where these were aspects of Kama, to be indulged in without giving in to excess. However the Christian view of both of these was evil, and hence had to be shunned as much as possible.

I agree with the Nixey that our attitudes towards these have drastically been impacted by Christianity. However, there are more important things  which she could have spoken about in this chapter, but fails to. This silence perhaps answer eloquently what difference it made to Rome to have been converted. The interactions that the Romans had with the Divine, their Mythology, their Sacred arts, the ability to sacralize life, the ability to view science, arts, rituals within the common framework of things that can produce Vidya — these things aren’t even spoken about, or even considered worthy of lament. This outlook that the Romans had is not unlike the Hindu outlook, where a learned person was equally at home performing rituals to the Devas while indulging in highly abstract mathematical/computational work, and be able to describe these in through ornate poetic language. There was no fake distinction between Science, Art, Rituals that we see even in the post-christian world. Life was one unified whole where pursuit of the three Purusharthas was simultaneously sought for. While Renaissance was able to revive science & art, these were still garbed in the Christian clothing. Further, Renaissance wasn’t able to revive the Pagan religion, despite the fact that it indulged in the fruits of the Pagan religion.

Thus, the inability to understand western culture on its own terms is biggest difference that conversion of Rome has resulted in. And due to the predatory nature of Christianity, aided by colonization & later on globalization, this attitude has spread all over the world. The effects of this can be seen among the Modern Educated Hindus (MEH) whose worldview is shaped by the prevalent western discourse, and hence, they are unable to evaluate their own culture in a sympathetic manner.

I would highly recommend this book to every Hindu who will see a glimpse of his own civilization in the classical Rome suffering at the hands of Christianity. The motives, methods & madness of the followers of this cult is similar to the other cults whose acts brought much suffering to our Hindu ancestors. The use of the legal framework to subjugate the Pagans, the deceptions, the subversion of their culture, art, science – these are things that a keen observer can identify happening in our country even to this date.

To understand how the madness of Religion of Love began, do read this book.



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.


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.


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 ||