Western Indologists: A Study in Motives
By Purohit Bhagavan Dutt (with minor additions by authors of "Review of Beef in Ancient India")
Interest Of Europeans In Bharatavarsha And Its Ancient
Result Of That Interest
Primary Reason: Jewish And Christian Bias
The Purpose Of Boden Chair Of Sanskrit In Oxford University
Prejudiced Sanskrit Professors
Most Bharatiya Scholars And Politicians Are Unaware Of This Bias
The battle of Plassey, fought in Samvat 1814, sealed the fate of India. Bengal came under the dominance of the British. In Samvat 1840, William Jones was appointed Chief Justice in the British settlement of Fort William. He translated into English the celebrated play "Shakuntala" of the renowned poet Kalidasa (Circa 4th cent. B. V.) in Samvat 1846, and the Code of Manu in Samvat 1851, the year in which he died. After him, his younger associate, Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke, wrote an article 'On the Vedas' in Samvat 1862.
In the Vikram year 1875, August Wilhelm von Schlegel was appointed the first professor of Sanskrit in the Bonn University of Germany. Friedrich Schlegel was his brother. He wrote in 1865 V. a work entitled 'Upon the languages and Wisdom of the Hindus'.1 Both brothers evinced great love for Sanskrit. Another Sanskritist Herr Wilhelm von Humboldt became the collaborator of August Schlegel whose edition of the Bhagavad Gita directed his attention to its study. In Samvat 1884 he wrote to a friend saying: 'It is perhaps the deepest and loftiest thing the world has to show'. At that very time Arthur Schopenhauer (1845-1917 V.), a great German philosopher, happened to read the Latin translation of the Upanishads (1858-1859 V.), done by a French writer Anquetil du Perron (1788-1862 V.) from the Persian translation of prince Dara Shikoh (1722 V.), named as Sirre-Akbar - the great secret. He was so impressed by their philosophy that he called them 'the production of the highest human wisdom' and considered them to contain almost superhuman conceptions.3 The study of the Upanishads was a source of great inspiration and means of comfort to his soul, and writing about it he says, 'It is the most satisfying and elevating reading (with the exception of the original text) which is possible in the world;' it has been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death."4 It is well-known that the book 'Oupnekhat' (Upanishad) always lay open on his table and he invariably studied it before retiring to rest. He called the opening up of Sanskrit literature 'the greatest gift of our century', and predicted that the philosophy and knowledge of the Upanishads would becomes the cherished faith of the West.
Such writings attracted the German scholars more and more to the study of Sanskrit, and many of them began to hold Bharatiya culture in great esteem. Prof. Winternitz has described their reverence and enthusiasm in the following words:
"When Indian literature became first known in the West, people were inclined to ascribe a hoary age to every literature work hailing from India. They used to look upon India as something like the cradle of mankind, or at least of human civilisation."5
This impression was natural and spontaneous. It was based on truth and had no element of bias. The historical facts that were handed down by the sages of Bharatavarsha were based on true and unbroken traditions. Their philosophical doctrines delved deep into the source and mysteries of life and propounded principles of eternal value. When the people of the West came to know of them for the first time, many unbigoted scholars were highly impressed by their marvelous accuracy and profound wisdom and being uninfluenced by any considerations of colour or creed they were generous in their acclamations. This enthusiastic applause of the honest people of Christian lands created a flutter in the dovecotes of Jewry and Christian missionaries, who were as ignorant of the real import of their own Scriptures and traditions as those of Bharatavarsha and followed only the dictates of dogmatic Pauline Christianity which had made them intolerant of all other faiths.6
The correctness of our conclusion can be judged from the following observation of Heinrich Zimmer: "He (Schopenhauer) was the first among the Western people to speak of this in an incomparable manner - in that great cloudburst of European-Christian atmosphere."7
How revengeful are dogmatic Christians and Jews on those who do not hold opinions similar to their own, is amply illustrated by the fate of Robertson Smith (1846-94 A.D.), the author of 'The Religion of the Semites'. and a professor of Hebrew in the Free Church College, Aberdeen. The punishment he got for the frank and fearless expression of his scientific researches is well recorded by Lewis Spence in the following words:
"The heterodox character of an encyclopaedia article on the Bible led to his prosecution for heresy, of which charge, however, he was acquitted. But a further article upon 'Hebrew Language and Literature' in the Encyclopaedia Brittannica (1880) led to his removal from the professoriate of the College."8
The ancient Jews were descendants of the Aryas. Their beliefs were the same of those of Aryas. The Primeval Man, whom they called Adam, was Brahma, the originator of mankind. The Hebrew name is derived from 'Atma-Bhu", one of the epithets of Brahma. In the beginning of Creation 'Brahma gave names to all objects and beings',9 and so did Adam according to Jewish tradition; 'and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof'.10 In later times the Jews forgot their ancient history and ancestry and became narrow in their outlook. They considered themselves to be the oldest of all races.11 But in 1654 A.D. Archbishop Usher of Ireland firmly announced that his study of Scripture had proved that creation took place in the year 4004 B.C. So from the end of the seventeenth century, this chronology was accepted by the Europeans and they came to believe that Adam was created 4004 years before Christ.12
Hence a majority of the modern Jews and the dogmatic Christians and especially many professors of Sanskrit found it hard to reconcile themselves to the view that any race or civilisation could be older than the date of Adam accepted by them. They resented the hoary antiquity ascribed by their broad-minded brother scholars to the literature and civilisation of Bharatavarsha and much more to the origin of man. Referring to this deep-rooted prejudice, A.S. Sayce writes: "But as far as man was concerned, his history was still limited by the dates in the margin of our Bibles. Even today the old idea of his recent appearance still prevails in quarters where we should least expect to find it and so-called critical historians still occupy themselves in endeavouring to reduce the dates of his earlier history... To a generation which had been brought up to believe that in 4004 B.C. or thereabout the world was being created, the idea man himself went back to 100,000 years ago was both incredible and inconceivable."13
Ample evidence can be adduced to prove the existence of this inveterate prejudice but the above quotation from a great anthropologist would suffice for our purpose.
The studies of Sanskrit continued and flourished in Europe and very rapidly the opinions and judgments of scholars also became warped by the influence of the inherent prejudice fanned by the clergy. From the Vikram year 1858 to 1897 Eugene Burnouf occupied the chair of Professor of Sanskrit in France. He had two German pupils Rudolph Roth and Max Muller, who later on made a name in European Sanskrit scholarship.
In Samvat 1890 Horace Hayman Wilson became the Boden Professor of Sanskrit in the Oxford University. His successor Prof. M. Monier-Williams has drawn the attention of scholars to the object of the establishment of that chair in the following words: "I must draw attention to the fact that I am only the second occupant of the Boden Chair, and that its Founder, Colonel Boden, stated most explicitly in his will (dated August 15, 1811 A.D.) that the special object of his munificent bequest was to promote the translation of Scriptures into Sanskrit; so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion."14
I. Prof. Wilson was a man of very noble disposition, but he had his obligations towards the motives of the founder of the Chair he occupied. He, therefore, wrote a book on 'The Religious and Philosophical System of the Hindus' and explaining the reason for writing it he says; "These lectures were written to help candidates for a prize of [Pounds]200-given by John Muir, a well-known old Haileybury man and great Sanskrit scholar, for the best refutation of the Hindu Religious System".15
From this quotation the learned readers can conclude to what extent the aim of European scholarship could be called scientific, how far the theories propounded by them could be free from partisanship and called reliable, and how true would be the picture of Bharatiya civilisation and culture drawn by them.
II. In the same spirit of prejudice the aforesaid scholar Rudolph Roth wrote his thesis 'Zur Literatur und Geschichte des Veda,'16 a dissertation on the Vedic literature and history. In 1909 V. was published his edition of the Nirukta of Yaska.17 He was too proud of his own learning and of the German genius. He asserted that by means of the German 'science' of philology Vedic mantras could be interpreted much better than with the help of Nirukta.18 Roth wrote many other things in this haughty vein.
III. The same pedantry is exhibited in the writings of W.D. Whitney who asserts; "The principles of the 'German School' are the only ones which can ever guide us to a true understanding of the Veda."19
IV. MAX MULLER: Max Muller was a fellow-student of Roth. Besides his teacher's stamp on him, Max Muller's interview with Lord Macaulay on the 28th December, 1855 A.D. also played a great part in his anti-Indian views. Max Muller had to sit silent for an hour while the historian poured out his diametrically opposite views and then dismissed his visitor who tried in vain to utter a simple word: "I went back to Oxford", writes Max Muller, "a sadder man and a wiser man."20
Max Muller's name became widely known to the people of Bharatavarsha for two reasons. Firstly, he was a voluminous writer and secondly his views were severely criticised by the great scholar and savant Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1881-1940 V.) in his public speeches and writings. The value of Max Muller's opinions, may be estimated from his following statements:
(1) "History seems to teach that the whole human race required a gradual education before, in the fullness of time, it could be admitted to the truths of Christianity. All the fallacies of human reason had to be exhausted, before the light of a high truth could meet with ready acceptance. The ancient religions of the world were but the milk of nature, which was in due time to be succeeded by the bread of life... 'The religion of Buddha has spread far beyond the limits of the Aryan world, and to our limited vision, it may seem to have retarded the advent of Christianity among a large portion of the human race. But in the sight of Him with whom a thousand years are but as one day, that religion, like the ancient religions of the world, may have but served to prepare the way of Christ, by helping through its very errors to strengthen and to deepen the ineradicable yearning of the human heart after the truth of God."21
(2) "Large number of Vedic hymns are childish in the extreme; tedious, low, commonplace."22
(3) "Nay, they (the Vedas) contain, by the side of simple, natural, childish thoughts, many ideas which to us sound modern, or secondary and tertiary."23
Such blasphemous reviling of the most ancient and highly scientific scripture of the world can come only from word of the mouth of a bigoted (not an honest) Christian, a low pagan or an impious atheist. Barring Christianity, Max Muller was bitterly antagonistic to every other religion which he regarded as heathen. His religious intolerance is borrowed from his bitter criticism of the view of the German scholar, Dr. Spiegel, that the Biblical theory of the creation of the world is borrowed from the ancient religion of the Persians or Iranians. Stung by this statement Max Muller writes: "A writer like Dr. Spiegel should know that he can expect no money; nay, he should himself wish for no mercy, but invite the heaviest artillery against the floating battery which he has launched in the troubled waters of Biblical criticism."24 (Strange to say that our History supports the truth of Dr. Spiegel's view to the extent that the Biblical statements were derived from Persian, Babylonian and Egypt ian scriptures, which according to the ancient history of the world, were in turn derived from Vedic sources.)
At another place the same devotee of the Western 'scientific' scholarship says: "If in spite of all this, many people, most expectant to judge, look forward with confidence to the conversion of the Parsis, it is because, in the most essential points, they have already, though unconsciously, approached as near as possible to the pure doctrine of Christianity. Let them but read Zend-Avesta, in which they profess to believe, and they will find that their faith is in longer the faith of the Yasna, the Vendidad and the Vispered. As historical relics, these works, if critically interpreted, will always retain a pre-eminent place in the great library of the ancient world. As oracles of religious faith, they are defunct and a mere anachronism in the age in which we live."25 Even a superficial reader can see the strain of Christian fanaticism running through these lines. If Bharatiya culture could exact occasional praise from the pen of a bigoted man like Max Muller, it was only due to its unrivaled greatness and superiority.
MAX MULLER AND JACOLLIOT: The French scholar Louis Jacolliot, Chief Judge in Chandranagar, wrote a book called 'La Bible dans l'Inde' in Samvat 1926. Next year an English translation of it was also published. In that book all the main currents of thought in the world have been derived from the ancient Aryan thought. He has called Bharatavarsha 'the Cradle of Humanity'.26
'Land of ancient India! Cradle of Humanity, hail! Hail revered motherland whom centuries of brutal invasions have not yet buried under the dust of oblivion. Hail, Fatherland of faith, of love, of poetry and of science, may we hail a revival of thy past in our Western future.'
This book cut Max Muller to the quick and he said while reviewing it that 'the author seems to have been taken in by the Brahmins of India'.
MAX MULLER'S LETTER: Personal letters give a true picture of the writer's inner mind. A person expresses his inmost feelings in the letters which he writes to his intimate relations and friends. Such letters are very helpful in estimating his real nature and character. Fortunately, a collection called the 'Life and Letters of Frederick Max Muller' has been published in two volumes. A few extracts from those letters would suffice to expose the mind of the man who is held in great esteem in the West for his Sanskrit leaning and impartial judgment.
(a) In a letter of 1866 A.D. (1923 V.) he writes to his wife: 'This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India, ...it is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has spring from it during the last three thousand years.' (Vol. 1, Ch. XV, page 346).
(b) In another letter he writes to his son: 'Would you say that any one sacred book is superior to all others in the world? ...I say the New Testament, after that, I should place the Koran,27 which in its moral teachings, is hardly more than a later edition of the New Testament. Then would follow according to my opinion the Old Testament, the Southern Buddhist Tripitaka, the Tao-te-king of Laotze, the Kings of Confucius, the Veda and the Avesta.' (Vol. II, Ch. XXXII, page 339).
(c) On 16th December 1868 A.D. (Samvat 1925) he writes to Duke of Argyle, the Minister for India: 'The ancient religion of India is doomed and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?' (Vol. I, Ch. XVI, page 378.)
(d) On 29th January 1882 (Samvat 1939) he wrote to Sri Bairamji MALABARI: 'I wanted to tell... what the true historical value of this ancient religion is, as looked upon, not from a n exclusively European or Christian, but from a historical point of view. But discover in it 'steam engines and electricity and European philosophy and morality, and you deprive it of its true character.' (Vol. II, Ch XXV, pages 115-116.)
(e) Max Muller grew so insolent and audacious that he started to challenge Indians in a direct foolhardy manner. It is clear from a letter written by him to N.K. Majumdar: 'Tell me some of your chief difficulties that prevent you and your countrymen from openly following Christ, and when I write to you I shall do my best to explain how I and many who agree with me have met them and solved them... From my point of view, India, at least the best part of it, is already converted to Christianity. You want no persuasion to become a follower of Christ. Then make up your mind to work on yourself. Unite your flock - to hold them together and prevent them from straying. The bridge has been built for you by those who came before you. STEP BOLDLY FORWARD, it will break under you, and you will find many friends to welcome you on the other shore and among them none more delighted that your old friend and fellow labourer F. Max Muller.' (Vol. II, Ch. XXXIV, pages 415-416.)
Herein Max Muller claims to know 'the true historical value' of Vedic religion, but our history is going to expose the hollowness of the learning and scholarship which he and his colleagues boast of possessing.
V. WEBER'S BIAS: At the time when Max Muller was busy besmirching the glory of Bharatiya literature and religion in England, Albert Weber was devoting himself to the same ignominious task in Germany. We have already referred to the unstinted praise of the Bhagavad Gita by Humboldt. Weber could not tolerate this. He had the temerity to postulate that the Mahabharata and Gita were influenced by Christian thought. Mark what he writes: 'The peculiar colouring of the Krsna Sect, which pervades the whole book, is noteworthy: Christian legendary matter and other Western influences are unmistakably present...28
The view of Weber was strongly supported by two other Western scholars, Lorinser29 and E. Washburn Hopkin.30 Yet the view was so blatantly absurd that most of the professors in European universities did not accept it in spite of their Christian leanings. But the propagation of this wrong view played its mischief and was mainly responsible for the hesitation of the Western scholars (including the antagonists) to assign to the Mahabharata a date, earlier that the Christian era.
WEBER AND BANKIM CHANDRA: I am not alone in holding this view.
This is what Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, the well known Bengali scholar, has to say about Weber in his Krishnacharita, 4th chapter: 'The celebrated Weber was no doubt a scholar but I am inclined to think that it was an unfortunate moment for India when he began the study of Sanskrit. The descendants of the German savages of yesterday could not reconcile themselves to the ancient glory of India. It was therefore, their earnest effort to prove that the civilisation of India was comparatively of recent origin. They could not persuade themselves to believe that the Mahabharata was composed centuries before Christ was born'.31
WEBER AND GOLDSTUCKER: Weber and Boehtlingk prepared a dictionary of the Sanskrit language called the 'Sanskrit Worterbuch. Prof. Kuhn was also one of their assistants. Being mainly based on the wrong and imaginary principles of philology, the work is full of wrong meanings in many places and is, therefore, unreliable and misleading. It is a pity that so much labour was wasted on account of sheer prejudice. The dictionary was subject of severe criticism by Prof. Goldstucker which annoyed the two editors. Weber was so much upset that he stooped to use abusive language of the coarsest kind32 against Prof. Goldstucker. He said that the views of Prof. Goldstucker about the Worterbuch showed 'a perfect derangement of his mental faculties',33 since he did not reject the authority of the greatest Hindu scholars freely and easily. Replying to their undignified attacks Prof. Goldstucker exposed the conspiracy of Professors Roth, Boehtlingk, Weber and Kahn which they had formed to undermine the greatness of ancient Bharatavarsha. He wrote: 'It will, of course, be my duty to show, at the earliest opportunity, that Dr. Boehtlingk is incapable of understanding even easy rules of Panini, much less those of Katyayana and still less is he capable of making use of them in the understanding of Classical texts. The errors in his department of the Dictionary are so numerous... that it will fill every serious Sanskritist with dismay, when he calculates the mischievous influence which they must exercise on the study of Sanskrit philology'.34
He further remarks: '...that questions which ought to have been decided with the very utmost circumspection and which could not be decided without very laborious research have been trifled with in the Worterbuch in the most unwarranted manner.'35
Goldstucker was called upon by one of Boehtlingk's men not only to have respect for 'the editor of Panini...' (i.e. Boehtlingk) but even for the hidden reasons for foisting on the public his blunders of ever kind.36
We know that there were no other 'hidden reasons' than their Christian and Jewish bias which impelled them to suppress the correct information of the Hindu grammarians and underrate and vilify Aryan civilisation and culture, and at the same time to serve as tools of the British Government towards the same end.
Professor Kuhn, who 'gave his opinion on the Worterbuch' was 'an individual whose sole connection with Sanskrit studies consisted in handling Sanskrit books to those who could read them, a literary naught, wholly unknown, but assuming the airs of a quantity, because it had figures before it that prompted it on, a personage who, according to his own friends, was perfectly ignorant of Sanskrit'.37
Provoked by the unwarranted flouting of the authentic Hindu tradition, Professor Goldstucker was compelled to raise his 'feeble but solitary voice' against the coterie of mischievous propagandists masquerading under the garb of 'scientific' scholars. He concludes his laborious work with the following significant remarks: 'When I see that the most distinguished and most learned Hindu scholars and divines - the most valuable and sometimes the only source of all our knowledge of ancient India - are scorned in theory, mutilated in print, and, as consequence, set aside in the interpretation of Vaidik texts; ...when a clique of Sanskritists of this description vapours about giving us the sense of the Veda as it existed at the commencement of Hindu antiquity; ...when I consider that those whose words apparently derive weight and influence from the professional position they hold; ...then I hold that it would be a want of courage and a dereliction of duty, if I did not make a stand against these Saturnalia of Sanskrit Philology.38
VI. MONIER-WILLIAMS: who revealed the real object of the purpose of the establishment of the Boden chair, thus delivers himself: 'Brahmanism, therefore, must die out. In point of fact, false ideas on the most ordinary scientific subjects are so mixed up with its doctrines that the commonest education - the simplest lesson in geography - without the aid of Christianity must inevitably in the end sap its foundations.'39
'When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahmanism are encircled, undermined, and finally stormed by the soldiers of the cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete.'40
Therefore we are justified in drawing the conclusion that his book, 'The Study of Sanskrit in Relation to Missionary work in India' (1861 A.D. London) was written with the sole object of promoting Christianity and ousting Hinduism. Inspite of this some of our Indian Sanskrit scholars call these Europeans scholars, unbiased students of Sanskrit literature, whose sole aim has been to acquire knowledge for its own sake.
Again, expressing his deep rooted veneration for the Bible, Monier-Williams writes: '...the Bible, though a true revelation.'41
VII. RUDOLF HOERNLE: Rudolf Hoernle was the Principal of Queen's College, Banaras, in Samvat 1926. At that time Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who later on founded the Arya Samaja happened to reach Banaras for the first time for the propagation of his mission. Dr. Hoernle met Swami Dayananda on several occasions. He wrote an article42 on Swamiji from which the following extract is noteworthy, because it reveals the real intention of many European scholars who take to study of Sanskrit and ancient scriptures of Bharatavarsha. Hoernle says: '...he (Dayananda) may possibly convince the Hindus that their modern Hinduism is altogether in the opposition to the Vedas... If once they became thoroughly convinced of this radical error, they will no doubt abandon Hinduism at once... They cannot go back to the Vedic state; that is dead and gone, and will never revive; something more or less new must follow. We hope it may be Christianity,...'43
VIII RICHARD GARBE: was a German Sanskritist, who edited many Sanskrit works. Besides these, in 1914 he wrote a book for the missionaries, entitled 'Indien und das Christentum'. His religious bias is quite evident in the book.
IX WINTERNITZ: The pride of the superiority of their own philosophy and religion and of the infallibility of their own conclusions has become so ingrained in the above-mentioned type of Western Sanskrit scholars that they feel no hesitation in giving expression to it brazen-facedly before the public. Reverent admiration of the philosophy of the Upanishads by Schopenhauer, often quoted by Bharatiya writers, ranked in the heart of the Europeans, and as late as A.D. 1925 Prof. Winternitz thought it incumbent on him to denounce the sincere and heartfelt views of Schopenhauer in the following words: 'Yet I believe, it is a wild exaggeration when Schopenhauer says that the teaching of the Upanishads represents 'the fruit of the highest human knowledge and wisdom' and contains 'almost superhuman conceptions the originators of which can hardly be regarded as mere mortals...'44
Not content with his invective against the Upanishads he had the audacity to deprecate even the greatness of the Vedas by saying: 'It is true, the authors of these hymns rise but extremely seldom to the exalted flights and deep fervour of, say, religious poetry of the Hebrews.'45
This vilification did not remain confined to Sanskrit scholars alone, but through them it percolated into the field of Science. Not knowing a word of the exact and multifarious scientific knowledge of the ancient Hindus, Sir William Cecil Dampier writes: 'Perhaps the paucity of Indian contribution to other sciences (the Philosophy and Medicine) may in part be due to the Hindu religion.46
The climax of hatred against Hinduism is seen in the highly mischievous and provoking remarks like the following even in popular literature:
(a) 'The curse of India is the Hindoo religion. More than two hundred million people believe a monkey mixture of mythology that is strangling the nation.' 'He who yearns for God in India soon loses his head as well as his heart.'47
(b) Prof. McKenzie, of Bombay finds the ethics of India defective, illogical and anti-social, lacking any philosophical foundation, nullified by abhorrent ideas of asceticism and ritual and altogether inferior to the 'higher spirituality' of Europe. He devotes most of his book 'Hindu Ethics' to upholding this thesis and comes to the triumphant conclusions that Hindu philosophical ideas, 'when logically applied leave no room for ethics'; and that they prevent the development of a strenuous moral life.'48
It is a matter of serious mistake on the part of a Government which is anxious to win the friendship and sympathy of Bharat to allow such heinous type of literature as Ripley's to be published. And again, it is a matter of regret that such books, whether published in India or abroad, are not taken notice of by our politicians and have not been banned by our National Government. Not only is our Government indifferent to the interdiction of such slanderous literature, but even our Universities not only prescribe but recommend for higher study books on Bharatiya history and culture written by foreign scholars who lose no opportunity of maligning our civilisation openly or in a very subtle way.
Remarks like those of McKenzie on the ethics of a country from whose Brahmanas the whole world learnt its morality and rules of conduct,49 are nothing short of blasphemy and national insult. The irony of the situation is that, instead of being condemned such persons receive recognition and honour from our educationists and political leaders.
We have sufficiently exposed the mentality of this type of Western scholars. They received enormous financial aid from their Governments and also from the British Government in India, which they freely used in writing articles, pamphlets and books propagating their reactionary views in a very subtle and disguised manner. It was their careful endeavour not to give themselves away and to mislead the world and the people of Bharatavarsha under the cloak of scholarship and impartiality. They might have pretty well succeeded in their work had not their apple-cart been upset by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who ruthlessly exposed their nefarious designs. Swamiji was a man of unique personality, indomitable courage, keen intellect and far-reaching vision and imagination. He had come in contact with many European scholars of his time. He had met George Buhler, Monier-Williams,50 Rudolf Hoernle, Thibaut and others who had worked the Christian zeal in the field of Sanskrit research. He was the first man whose penetrating eye could not fail to see through the ulterior motives of their research work, although the common run of people in Bharatavarsha and even most of the learned men in the employ of the Government here had permitted themselves to be deluded by their so-called profound scholarship, strict impartiality, scientific and liberal outlook. He gave a timely warning to the people of his country and to a great extent succeeded in saving them from the clutches of these pseudo-scholars and clandestine missionaries.
We have studied almost the entire literature produced by generations of Western scholars and have thoroughly examined it with an open mind. We have arrived at the conclusion that there is a definite tinge of Christian prejudice in the writings of most of these scholars, which is responsible for discrediting all that is great in Bharatavarsha. The ultimate aim of the writers seems to be the proselytization of the people of this land to Christianity by instilling into their head in a subtle manner the inferiority of their indigenous religion and culture.
But truth can never remain hidden for long. Now some modern scholars of Bharatavarsha have also begun to see to some extent, though not thoroughly, through the thin veneer of European scholarship, e.g.:
1. Prof. Rangacharya writes: 'Incalculable mischief has been done by almost all the English and American scholars in assuming arbitrarily the earliest dates for Egypt or Mesopotamia - dates going back to B.C. 5000 at least - and the latest possible dates for Ancient India on the ground that India borrowed from them.'51
2. Sri Nilakantha Shastri, the Head of History Department of Madras University, although a supporter of many untenable Western theories, had to write: 'What is this but a critique of Indian society and Indian history in the light of the nineteenth century prepossessions of Europe? This criticism was started by the English administration and European missionaries and has been nearly focused by the vast erudition of Lassen; the unfulfilled aspirations of Germany in the early nineteenth century, doubtless had their share in shaping the line of Lassen's thought.'52
3. Sri C. R. Krishnamacharlu, Ex-Epigraphist to the Government of India, having realised the ulterior motives of European writers, has expressed his views more strongly. He writes: 'These authors, coming as they do from nations of recent growth, and writing this history with motives other than cultural, which in some cases are apparently racial and prejudicial to the correct elucidation of the past history of India, cannot acquire testimony for historic veracity of cultural sympathy.'53
4. Prof. R. Subba Rao, M.A., L. T., in his Presidential Address, (Sectional), Sixteenth Session of Indian History Congress, Waltair, (29th December, 1953.) writes: 'Unfortunately, the historicity of Puranas and their testimony has been perverted by certain Western scholars who stated rather dogmatically that the historical age cannot go back beyond 2000 B.C., and that there is no need for fixing the Mahabharata war earlier than 1400 B.C. They accused the Brahmins of having raised their antiquity and questioned the authenticity of the Hindu astronomical works.'54
In short, the foregoing pages make it clear that it was this Christian and Judaic prejudice which:
(a) ...did not allow the real dates of ancient Bharatiya history to be accepted by the occidental scholars, who were always reluctant to give the Vedas a higher antiquity than the earliest portion of the Old Testament and place them beyond 2500 B.C.55
Even the school of Paul Deussen, A.W. Ryder and H. Zimmer, which followed Schopenhauer in the appreciation of ancient Indian intellect, but which did not work directly on chronology, could not throw off the burden of these extremely unscientific, fictitious dates.
(b) ...gave rise to the two interrelated diseases of Western Indologists; firstly the disease of myth, mythical and mythology, according to which Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, Parvat, Narada, Kashyapa, Pururavas, Vasishta and a host of other ancient sages have been declared as mythical. Nobody ever tried to understand their true historical character apprehending that the dates of Bharatiya history would go to very ancient periods; and secondly, as a corollary to the above, the disease of 'attribution' and 'ascription', under which the works of these and other sages have been declared to be written by some very late anonymous persons who are said to have ascribed or attributed them to those 'mythical' sages.
(c) ...brought to the fore-front, the most fanciful and groundless theory of the migration of the Aryans into India, according to which the very existence of Manu, the first Crowned King of Bharat, Egypt etc., Ikshvaku, Manu's glorious son; Bharata Chakravarti, the glorious son of Shakuntala; Bhagiratha, who changed the course of the Ganga; Kuru, after whom the sacred sacrificial land is called Kurukshetra; Rama, the son of Dasharatha and a number of other kings is being totally denied.
(d) ...was responsible for the altogether wrong translations of Vaidika (Vedic) works, and misrepresentation of the Vaidika culture.
(e) ...did not allow the acceptance of Sanskrit, as being the mother language of at least the Indo-European group; as at first very ably propounded by Franz Bopp, and often mentioned by ancient Indian authors.
We are not sorry for all this, for, nothing better could be expected from such biased foreign pioneers of Sanskrit studies.
With these brief remarks we earnestly pray that the light of truth may dawn on every thinking and learned man of Bharatavarsha, so that in these days of political and individual freedom he may shake off the yoke of intellectual slavery of the West." (Pt. Bhagavan Dutt. A Review Of "Beef In Ancient India", pages 17-38.)
"Through astronomy, geography and geology, go though to all the different countries of the world under the sun. Mayest thou attain through good preaching to statesmanship and artisanship, through medical science obtain knowledge of all medicinal plants, through hydrostatics learn the different uses of water, through electricity understand the working of ever-lustrous lightning. Carry out instructions willingly..."(Yajur Veda 6:21.)(Stephen Knapp. 1986. The Secret Teachings of the Vedas, p. 26.)
"O royal skilled engineer, construct sea-boats, propelled on water by our experts, and airplanes, moving and flying upward, after the clouds that reside in the mid-region, that fly as the boats move on the sea, that fly high over and below the watery clouds. Be thou, thereby, prosperous in this world created by the Omnipresent God, and flier in both air and lightning." (Yajur Veda 10:19.)(Stephen Knapp. 1986. The Secret Teachings of the Vedas, p. 26.)
"The Atomic Energy fissions the ninety-nine elements, covering its path by the bombardments of neutrons without let of hindrance. Desirous of stalking the head, i.e., the chief part of the swift power, hidden in the mass of molecular adjustments of the elements, this atomic energy approaches it in the very act of fissioning it by the above-noted bombardments. Herein verily the scientist know the similar hidden striking force of the ray of the sun working in the orbit of the moon." (Arthava Veda, 20:41:1-3.)(Stephen Knapp. 1986. The Secret Teachings of the Vedas, p. 26.)
It may be asked, how were the Vedas established? What were their origins? What is their history? How were they divided and why does it seem that there are different paths to choose from within the Vedas?
First of all there are two ways to answer these questions: one is to consider the theories presented by some of the contemporary scholars and historians in regard to when the Vedas appeared, and the second way is to consider the traditional account as presented in the Vedic literature itself.
Many modern historians held the idea that it was the Aryans who invaded India in the second millennium B.C. that were the founders of the Indian culture and Vedic traditions. They say that the Aryans came from somewhere near the southern part of Russia bringing their Vedic rituals and customs with them.
This theory, however, does not hold as much weight as it used to. For example, the culture of the Indus valley, where the Aryans are said to have invaded, flourished between 3500 and 2500 B.C. The two main cities were Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. Many finds have come from the archaeological excavations from Harappa which give evidence to suggest that many aspects of later Hinduism were already a part of the early Indus valley culture. Such things have been found as images of yogis sitting in meditation, as well as many figures of a god similar to Lord Shiva. Evidence has also been found to suggest that temple worship played a major role in daily life, which is what the Veda has prescribed as the process for attaining the greatest amount of spiritual advancement for people of that time.
Keeping in mind that the Indus valley enveloped a vast area and the cultural traits of that society continued to serve for a long time, then how could the pre-Aryan language of the Indus valley people, which is not known today, die out without leaving any trace of its existence? Maybe there actually wasn't any pre-Aryan language. And if not, if this is where the Aryan invaders were supposed to have appeared when they brought their Vedic culture with them, maybe there really wasn't any Aryan invasion, not at least the way some scholars seem to think.
Furthermore, most scholars agree that the earliest Vedic hymns seem to belong to a pre-1500 B.C. date, which means it was not necessarily invaders to had brought Vedic culture with them, since at least the oldest Vedic books, if not most of them, were already in existence by the time any invaders arrived.
Let's consider another point using nothing more than our common sense. It is generally accepted that Lord Buddha appeared about 2,500 years ago, and we know that Lord Buddha preached against the Vedas. So the Vedas had to have been existing at that time, otherwise how could he preach against them? In fact the reason why he no longer accepted the Vedas was because many of the leading Vedic followers were no longer truly following them, but were abusing them. And any student of history knows that abuse of something takes place after there is a flourishing. So if the deterioration had reached such an extreme 2,500 years ago that people embraced Buddha's teachings, then clearly such gradual degeneration had been going on for many hundreds of years. Since the Vedas were a highly developed form of philosophy, it would indicate that they must have been in existence and quite widespread several thousand years before that. Therefore we can easily understand how old the Vedas must be.
Considering the above mentioned points, it is safe to say at this time that the migration and the homes of the Vedic people, or where and when the Vedas originally appeared, can not be proved archaeologically. Furthermore, let us not forget that it was the British Sanskritists and educators in India, during the 1700 and 1800's, who first portrayed Vedic literature and culture as something barbaric, inferior and recent. They formed estimated dates on when different Vedic books were written according to such things as the contents of the books and style of writing. But it should be pointed out that even the Vedic tradition describes that once the Vedic knowledge had been divided and the different volumes were written, they were handed down to sages who became expert in the content of that portion of the Vedic knowledge who then continued to hand it down to others who formed sub branches of it. Thus it may look like the Vedas gradually evolved as if they had been influenced and changed by many authors over a long period of time, but actually that is not necessarily the case.
We also have to remember that for many years the Vedic literature was written on palm leaves and would have to be copied when they wrote out or when other copies were wanted. Down through the years as other copies were repeatedly made, certain conventional modifications of the script would have taken place making some scholars think their origin was more recent. But in the case of the Bhagavat Purana, the Sanskrit text still contained the archaic form of writing, verifying its antiquity. Nonetheless, the English scholars said the author of the Purana must have purposely used the archaic script to make people think it was older than it was. Why the English proposed this sort of theory in an attempt to disqualify its ancient origins simply shows how biased they were against the Vedic literature.
The cultural prejudice was the result of deliberate undermining with the disguised intention of asserting the superiority of their own Christian-based values and outlook, as well as the perpetuation of colonial rule. This intention actually played a prominent role in the reason why they wanted the Sanskrit texts interpreted into English and to have their Christian scripture interpreted into Sanskrit. And many of the notable professors at the time had the audacity to consider themselves to be better authorities on their questionable interpretations of the Vedas than the Indian scholars.
In any case, the attempts to belittle the Vedic literature made only a minor impact. In fact by interpreting such texts, many of the notable writers and poets in the West, as mentioned in the previous chapter (chapter two of "The secret Teachings of the Vedas), were allowed to see what lofty views of the world the Vedic literature held and were indeed very impressed and influenced by them.
So where did the Vedas come from? Though modern historians may offer their many changing theories about how the Vedas were compiled and where they originated, we can see that this is their attempt to find an oversimplified key to understanding Vedic thought, or to even discredit the value of the Vedas. But they must admit that they are still unsure of their theories and lack detailed evidence for many of their opinions. In fact most historians today feel that any accurately recorded history only goes back to around 600 B.C., and prior to this period all events and stories related in the scriptures are simply imaginary myths and legends. This reflects and extremely narrow-minded way of looking at things. Many Vedic authorities and self-realised sages in the past have accepted the stories, as found in the Mahabharata and Puranas, to be factual, and have also attained lofty states of consciousness by following the Vedic instructions for spiritual perfection. Therefore, the best way to understand the history of how the Vedas were formed is to simply let the Vedic literature speak for itself." (Stephen Knapp. 1986. The Secret Teachings of the Vedas. Chapter three, p. 28-30.)
It was February 1835, a time when the British were striving to take control of the whole of India. Lord Macaulay, a historian and a politician, made a historical speech in the British Parliament, commonly referred to as The Minutes, which struck a blow at the centuries old system of Indian education. His words were to this effect:
"It will hardly be disputed, I suppose, that the department of literature in which the Eastern writers stand highest is poetry. And I certainly never met with any orientalist who ventured to maintain that the Arabic and Sanscrit poetry could be compared to that of the great European nations. But when we pass from works of imagination to works in which facts are recorded and general principles investigated, the superiority of the Europeans becomes absolutely immeasurable. It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England."
"How then stands the case? We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must teach them some foreign language. The claims of our own language it is hardly necessary to recapitulate. It stands pre-eminent even among the languages of the West." (...)
"To sum up what I have said. I think it clear that we are not fettered by the Act of Parliament of 1813, that we are not fettered by any pledge expressed or implied, that we are free to employ our funds as we choose, that we ought to employ them in teaching what is best worth knowing, that English is better worth knowing than Sanscrit or Arabic, that the natives are desirous to be taught English, and are not desirous to be taught Sanscrit or Arabic, that neither as the languages of law nor as the languages of religion have the Sanscrit and Arabic any peculiar claim to our encouragement, that it is possible to make natives of this country thoroughly good English scholars, and that to this end our efforts ought to be directed.
"In one point I fully agree with the gentlemen to whose general views I am opposed. I feel with them that it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, -a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population."
1 In this book he 'derives the Indo-Germanic family from India'. See 'A Literary History of India', by R.W. Frazer, London, p. 5, note 2, third impression, 1915.
2 Quoted in 'A History of Indian Literature' by M. Winternitz, English translation, Vol. I., p. 20 (1927 A.D.).
3 Ibid. p. 266.
4 Ibid. p. 267. Also see, New Indian Antiquity, Vol. 1, No. 1. April 1938. p. 59, article of Heinrich Zimmer. The translation is, 'the consolation of his old age.' The original of this quotation is in Parerga et Paralipomena, Vol. II, p. 427, 1851.
5 Lectures in Calcutta University, August, 1923, printed in 1925 at as 'Some Problems of Indian Literature,' p. 3.
6 Intolerance was inherent in all the Semitic faiths and was responsible for the crusades, jihads, and the institution of the inquisition.
A century before the time of Schopenhauer, Voltaire also fell a victim to the wrath of the clergy. He wrote an essay on the Morals and the Spirit of the Nations, which offended everybody because it told the truth. It spoke highly of the ancient cultures of India, China and Persia and relegated Judea and Christendom to a relatively inferior position. How could then he be forgiven for 'so unpatriotic a revelation'? He was exiled for a second time by the French Government. (vide 'The Story of Philosophy', by Will Durant, p. 241.)
7 New Indian Antiquary, April 1938, p. 67.
8 'An Introduction to Mythology,' New York. (Date of publication not indicated in the book.)
9 Manu-smriti, I.21.
10 Genesis, II.10.
11 "...that the Jewish race is by far the oldest of all these" Fragments of Megasthenes, p. 103.
12 "Archbishop Usher's famed chronology, which so long dominated the ideas of man..." Historians' History of the World, Vol. I, p. 626, 1908. Duncan Macnaughton in his "A Scheme of Egyptian Chronology', London, 1932, writes:
"It is strange to see that Wilkinson place Menes (or Manu the first King of Egypt) as low as 2320, but it is to be remembered that in 1836 English-speaking scholars were still under the hypnotic influence of Usher's Biblical Chronology. The dates printed in the Bible were regards as sacred, and it was positively wicked to disregard them." (p. 6.)
13 'Antiquity of Civilized Man,' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 60, July-December, 1930.
14 'Sanskrit-English Dictionary' by Sir M. Monier-Williams, Preface, p. IX, 1899.
15 "Eminent Orientalists," Madras, p. 72.
16 English translation published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1847.
17 A treatise on etymology and semantics.
18 It would be interesting here to point out that in the introduction of his edition of Nirukta, Roth has given a wrong interpretation of a passage of Aitareya Brahmana, which has invited a derisive comment from Goldstucker (cf. Panini, p. 198).
19 American Or. Soc. Proc., Oct., 1867.
20 Life and Letters of Max Muller, Vol. I, Ch. IX, p. 171.
21 History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 32, 1860.
22 'Chips from a German Workshop', second edition, 1866, p. 27.
23 'India, What can it teach us', Lecture IV, p. 118, 1882.
24 "Chips from a German Workshop", Genesis and the Zend Avesta, p. 147.
25 Ibid. The Modern Parsis, p. 180. To write about an unconscious approach of an anterior to the doctrines of a posterior faith can only become a person of 'scientific' mind like that of Max Muller. How repugnant to a biased Christian mind is the idea of Christianity borrowing anything from another ancient religion even when the similarity is so striking! And these very so-called unbiased pedagogues have not hesitated to attribute to Bharatiya literature a Greek borrowing on the flimsiest excuse, i.e., where the similarity is not at all obvious but is strained.
26 Cf quotation from Winternitz after 3rd para from the beginning of this chapter. Probably Winternitz refers to Jacolliot.
27 A clear indication of Anglo-Muslim alliance worked out by the English bureaucrats and later evident in a work like the Cambridge History of India and a hoard of other works.
It is also evident in the works of the French author Garcin de Tassy, Les Anteurs Hindoustanis et leurs ouvrages 2nd., Paris 1868 and Histoire de la literature Hindoustainic, 3 vols, 2nd ed., Paris 1870-71.
28 'The History of Sanskrit Literature' Popular ed. 1914, p. 189, footnote; of also p. 300, foot-note.
29 He also wrote an article, 'Die Bhagavad Gita' in Samvat 1926.
30 'India, Old and New', New York, 1902, p. 146. Also cf. his Religions of India, p. 429, Boston, 1895.
31 An English translation from Bengali version.
32 'Paninian. His Place in Sanskrit Literature'. Allahabad Edition, p. 200, 1914.
33 Ibid. p. 200.
34 Ibid. p. 195.
35 Ibid. p. 197.
36 Ibid. p. 203.
37 Ibid. p. 203.
38 Ibid. pp. 204-205.
39 Modern India and the Indians, by M. Williams, third ed. 1879, p. 261.
40 Ibid. p. 262.
41 Indian Wisdom, p. 143.
42 The Christian Intelligence, Calcutta, March 1870, p. 79.
43 A.F.R.H. quoted in 'The Arya Samaj' by Lajpat Rai, 1932, p. 42.
44 Some Problems of Indian Literature, Calcutta 1925, p. 61.
45 History of Indian Literature, p. 79, 1927.
46 A History of Science, 4th edition, p. 8. Cambridge University Press, 1948.
47 Ripley's 'Believe it or Not', Part I., p. 14, 26th edition Pocket-books Inc. New York.
48 Vide 'Ethics of India' by E.W. Hopkins, Preface, pp. x and xi, New Haven, 1924.
49 Manu, II. 20.
50 Monier Williams himself writes of his meeting: 'Dayananda Saraswati,... I made his acquaintance at Bombay in 1876, and was much struck by his fine countenance and figure. There I heard him preach an eloquent discourse on the religious development of the Aryan race. He began by repeating a hymn to Varuna (IV. 16) preceded by the syllable Om - prolating the vowel in deep sonorous tones'. Brahmanism and Hinduism. M. Williams, 4th ed. 1891, p. 529.
'In one of my interviews with him, I asked him for his definition of religion. He replied in Sanskrit: Religion (Dharm) is a true and just, views (nyayah) (logic) and the abandonment of all prejudice and partiality (pasupatasahityam) - that is to say, it is an impartial inquiry into the truth by means of the senses and two other instruments of knowledge (praman), reason and revelation.' Ibid. (p. 530).
51 History of Pre-Musulman India, Vol. II, Vedic India, Part I. 1937 A.D., p. 145.
52 All India Oriental Conference, December 1941, Part II., p. 64, printed in 1946.
53 'The Cradle of Indian History', p. 3, Adyar Library, Madras, 1947.
54 J.A.H.R.S., Vol. XX, p. 187.
55 Cf A.L. Basham: 'Few European scholars would agree with professor Altekar (p. 19) that the Rigveda dates from 2500 B.C.' (J.R.A.S., 1950. A.d., parts 3-4, p. 202.)
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