Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Dream of Vishnu (Part 2)


By Prashant Saxena

The Buddhist conception of nothingness today is grossly misunderstood. Many people ask that if the ultimate reality consists of nothingness or emptiness, then why even do anything? People prescribing to such point of view also state that it is all maya, then why should we even do any dharmic actions? Such people see futility in doing their righteous duties for the welfare of the society or dharma. It is similar to the situation of a shattered Arjun who found it useless to fight his enemies on the battlefield consisting of relatives and friends. The war of mahabharat should not be judged as a good war or a bad war but a dharmic war.

Is non-doing of one's own duties really futile? Is inaction same as renunciation of actions?
Inactions connote ceasing of all the actions whether it be for the welfare of the society or protecting a loved one, whereas renunciation of actions refer to the detachment from the fruits of actions. Attachment to the fruits of actions leads to misery, stress, anger and loss of intellect (BG, chapter 2 and 5). It is evident that a student who is attached to the results of an exam will spend more time thinking about the negative results, i.e pessimism, unable to work perfectly or without stress. An optimist might not study efficiently attached to the optimism. Whereas a realist, would ignore both i.e pessimism and optimism, and devote his time to perfectly execute his dharmic actions i.e to study without a faltering mind and without attachment to the result. Similarly, if an innocent woman is being harassed, then inaction would only prove the ignorance of a person in general, attachment to his beliefs and apathy to adharma. Actions based on fruitive results may sow seeds of mental weakness and thoughts of pain i.e if a person fights the oppressor. But it is only the action based on detachment i.e renunciation of action, which will allow the person to execute dharmic actions perfectly for the preservation of dharma.

Is inaction better for the soldiers at border or actions based on fruitive results and what kind of fruitive results as ultimately it is only destruction that happens when nations go to war. If it is inaction by the soldiers, then terrorists will keep exploiting their nation. Therefore, the soldiers have to prescribe to the dharmic kshatriya activities without any attachment to the fruits. This renunciation of action can be seen even in the highest orders of the cosmos.   

One who realizes the renunciation of action in activities and action in the renunciation of activities, he is spiritually intelligent among mankind, transcendentally situated a perfect performer of all actions. One whose every undertaking is devoid of motivation for fruitive desires and sense gratification and who has incinerated all activities in the fire of pure knowledge; the spiritually intelligent describe him as educated. After giving up attachment for fruitive results, always satisfied, indifferent to external phenomena; he in spite of being engaged in activities does not do anything at all.(BG 4.18-20)

The nature of the life giving Sun is to illuminate the skies and sacrifice its heat. The nature of trees is to purify the atmosphere, control the under ground water table and keep the soil healthy. Similarly, can it be said that the nature of the ultimate reality is to manifest from the high waters of the unmanifest? Can it be said that the manifestation, preservation and destruction of material play is also the nature of the ultimate reality? Will there be any manifestation or destruction if the ultimate reality renounces its nature or dharma, will there be any life left on earth if Sun stops its dharmic actions and will there be any purified air left if trees leave their own actions?

O Arjuna, in the spiritual worlds, the heavenly worlds and the material worlds there is no prescribed duty for Me; neither anything to be obtained or unobtained; yet still I am engaged in prescribed activities. O Arjuna if ever I would not engage in prescribed activities certainly all men would follow My path in all respects. If I cease to perform prescribed actions the inhabitants of all the worlds would be put into ruin and I would be the cause of unvirtuous population and would destroy all these living entities. O Arjuna, just as the ignorant act attached to activities; even so the wise being unattached should act desiring to benefit the welfare of the world. (BG 3.22-25)

Even if a person prescribes to the ordinary definition of "nothingness or emptiness", the concept of maya based on it concluding the world to be unreal and assume that all actions are futile and generalizes "inactions" to be better, then also he is ignorant of the fact that he is breathing and exhaling, his inner organs, like kidney, liver etc, working according to their own dharma and the various bacteria working for the utilization of food and preservation of the body. Thus, by ceasing activites even the bodily maintenance is not possible.

One cannot remain without engaging in activity at any time, even for a moment; certainly all living entities are helplessly compelled to action by the qualities endowed by material nature. Anyone who having controlled the five working sense organs remains thinking within the mind about sense objects, that foolish being is known as a hypocrite. But anyone who regulates the senses by the mind O Arjuna, begins the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness by the actions of the working sense organs without desire for results; he is superior.  You should perform your prescribed Vedic activities since actions are better than renouncing actions; by ceasing activity even your bodily maintenance will not possible. O Arjuna this whole world is bound by actions except for actions sacrificed unto the SupremeLord; being free from attachment perfectly engage in actions for the purpose of sacrifice. (BG 3.5-9)

Therefore, Maya does not infer that the world is “nothingness" or unreal, but an effect stemming out from the attachment and the three modes of nature. Today, the youngsters are attached to much name, fame and lust because of which they get upset and angry easily if their desires are not satisfied. Further, to get their desires fulfilled they often pretend to be someone that they are not which is  contrary to self-realization. It further leads to illusion and ignorance. Young girls can be found putting a lot of make up to beautify themselves and they are often attached to their beauty. They then find it depressing during the transition to old age.

Physically, we are growing every minute. The change is slow and unobservable. We are not the very same person who existed fifteen years ago. The image of our face, shape, weight, height etc all have changed. Chemically, we are losing millions of molecules per second in the form of breath (exhale), perspiration, excreta, urination, farts and intaking other molecules in the form of breath (inhale), drinking, eating etc. In brief, a person does not have the same set of molecules or atoms that he had a second ago. Mentally, our thoughts are changing too. What we were thinking a second ago is not the same. Mentally, we evolve and our knowledge increases every passing second.

So how can we be the same even in a seconds differentiation? Are our eyes deceiving us when we look into the mirror? If we get attached to our looks, then we are bound to suffer when we change or grow old. This suffering due to attachment and ignorance is the constant effect of Maya which is all around us and forever trying to control our mind.  It is only because of Maya that we are not able to understand the ultimate reality or the truth. We see the sun and we think it is the same. But the truth is that the sun is also fading out. It has spent 4 million years and only has another 4 million years to live after which it will convert into a nova or a supernova. It is releasing huge amount of hydrogen in the form of fusion reactions into helium. Therefore, chemically it is not the same any second. Physically it releases long chains of fires or the solar winds, its magnetic field keeps on changing. So again, is our perception deceiving us about the shape and size of the sun? Do we think we will be the same person after 20 years with the same strength, healing rate of the cells, quickness of the mind and the body? Do we think that change is sudden that we would grow fragile with white hair and brittle bones overnight?
Thus self realization and knowledge of ultimate reality can only be found through the weapon of detachment. (BG 7.3, 7.25, 3.37-39, 15.3-4)

Within this world the inverted form of this tree cannot be perceived, nor its beginning, nor its foundation; severing this strongly rooted in attachment banyan tree with the sharp weapon of detachment; thereafter go to the place where there is no return again by approaching the exclusive shelter, surrendering at the feet of the Supreme Lord; verily to the original, Ultimate Personality from whom the perpetual process emanates. Devoid of false ego and illusion, free from degraded association, perceptive of the eternal and the transitory, dissassociated from lust, completely liberated from the dualities identified as happiness and distress; the wise reach the imperishable shelter of the Supreme Lord. (BG 15.3-5)

References :


Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Dream of Vishnu (Part 1) - Shunyata or Infinity?

Shunyata or Infinity?

By Prashant Saxena

That man who uses the mind for reins and the knowledge for the driver, reaches the end of his road, the highest seat of Vishnu. Than the senses the objects of sense are higher; and higher than the objects of sense is the Mind; and higher than the Mind is the faculty of knowledge; and than that is the Great Self higher. And higher than the Great Self is the Unmanifest and higher than the Unmanifest is the Purusha: than the Purusha there is none higher: He is the culmination, He is the highest goal of the journey. (Katha Upanishad, Kena and other Upanishads, Page 115, 1.3.9-11)

A thought cannot be measured nor can it be known as to when it began. It can also be the effect of the remainder of all conditioning left in our unconscious, or it can be an intuitive thought, a natural inquiry into the nature and its working, or the whereabouts of a loved one. Where does this thought comes from, by whose will, why and when does the mind starts analyzing it because of which the senses which are also considered as divine or godly (e.g Prashna and Aitereya  Upanishad) work accordingly?
Eye cannot seize, speech cannot grasp Him, nor these other godheads; not by austerity can he be held nor by works: only when the inner being is purified by a glad serenity of knowledge, then indeed, meditating, one beholds the Spirit indivisible. (Manduka Upanishad, 3.1.8)

The ultimate reality or the dream of Vishnu is often equated to the mental faculty, where the individual consciousness reflects the essence of supreme consciousness just like the moon reflects the light of the sun.

There are various stages of meditation. The first stage is encountered with innumerable and uncontrollable thoughts. There is a sense of "I" and thoughts of people e.g the loved ones or the society in general associated with emotions like hate, anger etc. The mind seems restless and thoughts uncontrollable even for a few seconds. Some may be associated with pleasant and some with bad memories. The unpleasant memories or a mind full of material attachment might lead to depression. 

For the being who has conquered the mind; that beings mind is the best of friends; but for one whose mind is uncontrolled, that very mind acts as the worst of enemies. (Bhagvad Gita, 6.6)

As a person practices more and more, he becomes a detached witness to these thoughts. He experiences the thoughts, pleasant or unpleasant, but remains unwavered and detached from those thoughts. The final stage of meditation is experienced when a person is free from any thoughts and witnesses a blank, a void like state where the thoughts cease to exist. This stage is encountered with the disappearance of "I", where a person dissolves into that detached state of bliss experiencing a formless universe, without any shape, name, gender, space, time etc.

Is there any measure of that state, any depth, height or a frame of reference? Can we measure where it starts from or where it ends? It seems infinite if we analyze it through the framework of our logical mind and yet from the same approach it also looks "empty" i.e an infinite void. It cannot be called as existence as no singular thought can be experienced in that state, or in simple words nothing seems to be existing, nor can it be called as non-existence as the state itself is an experience!  

In that final state of meditation or thoughtless state of awareness, a thought may enter by its own nature e.g an idea to teach, which can then multiply into many thoughts e.g how to teach, what to teach with the content etc. It is similar to the unmanifest and unborn ultimate reality called bhraman manifesting itself into various forms animate and inanimate which ultimately dissolve back into it or the waves rising from the ocean and dissolving back into it. Thus, what we call as born, i.e thoughts or bodily shape, is a brief period of manifest from the unmanifest and back to the unmanifest. (Refer BG 8.18-21).  The body or the creatures rise (born) from food and energy or the infinite and unending universe, use it to sustain their temporary form on earth and become food and energy or dissolve into the same universe during their end.

The whole Universe, like an ocean, consists of such temporary waves, i.e human body, stars, galaxies etc, which rise and merge back into the same reality. It is the senses because of which the mind is able to differentiate and categorize, because of which we are able to perceive shapes, colors, forms, fragrances, taste, space, time etc. Are these waves apart from the ocean? Are these manifestation apart from the unmanifest or a part of the same unmanifest or the ultimate reality that the sages speak of?

“Form is emptiness; emptiness is form” - Buddhism

The nature of the ultimate reality has expounded by different people differently. The western material science uses tools which are nothing but an extension of the material senses. Can the boundary of the universe be identified? If yes, then what is beyond that boundary? Where did it come from? If it indeed has some boundary, then the universe must be having a definite shape or a form. Does that mean that the universe is itself rotating or revolving around something higher? Such questioning can go recursively and infinitely, which again means that the nature of the ultimate reality is infinite just like the final state of meditation. Similarly, in ancient times, some followed Saankhya and some Yoga to experience the ultimate reality. But do they give a different experience of the same ultimate reality?

Immature persons say that ‘Saankhya’ and ‘Yoga’ are different; but the wise do not. A person who perfectly follows one attains the result of both. That very state which is attained by the followers of ‘Saankhya’ is also attained by the followers of ‘Yoga’. One who sees ‘Saankhya’ and ‘Yoga’ to be one and the same, sees truly. (BG 5.4-5)

Sri Aurobindo writes
"The great Upanishads are written round one body of ancient knowledge; but they approach it from different sides. Into the great kingdom of the Brahmavidya each enters by its own gates, follows its own path or detour, aims at its own point of arrival. The Isha Upanishad and the Kena are both concerned with the same grand problem, the winning of the state of Immortality, the relations of the divine, all-ruling, all-possessing Brahman to the world and to the human consciousness, the means of passing out of our present state of divided self, ignorance and suffering into the unity, the truth, the divine beatitude. As the Isha closes with the aspiration towards the supreme felicity, so the Kena closes with the definition of Brahman as the Delight and the injunction to worship and seek after That as the Delight. Nevertheless there is a variation in the starting-point, even in the standpoint, a certain sensible divergence in the attitude." (Kena and Other Upanishads)

Therefore, the nature of the ultimate reality can only be arrived at through devotion in knowing its nature and detachment from materialism or mental conditioning. Thus, what the Buddhists call as Shunyata, the Vedic cannon describe it as the unmanifest, unborn, omnipresent,  unnameable, featureless, genderless etc. Both imply completeness or perfection.
The Upanishads express it in the form of riddles :

He who is neither inward-wise, nor outward-wise, nor both inward and outward wise, nor wisdom self-gathered, nor possessed of wisdom, nor unpossessed of wisdom, He Who is unseen and incommunicable, unseizable, featureless, unthinkable, and unnameable, Whose essentiality is awareness of the Self in its single existence, in Whom all phenomena dissolve, Who is Calm, Who is Good, Who is the One than Whom there is no other, Him they deem the fourth; He is the Self, He is the object of Knowledge. (Mandoukya Upanishad, Kena and other Upanishads, Page 194)

That Wise One is not born, neither does he die; he came not from anywhere, neither is he anyone; he is unborn, he is everlasting, he is ancient and sempiternal, he is not slain in the slaying of the body. (Katha Upanishad, Kena and other Upanishads, Page 112)

Not woman is He, nor man either, nor yet sexless; but whatsoever body He take, that confineth & preserveth Him. (Svetasvatara Upanishad, 5.10)

But, is it appropriate to call the concept of shunyata as "nothingness"? The ancient sages call this ultimate reality as omnipresent, omniscient, perfect, immutable etc. One may ask, how can something higher come from something lesser or how can perfect come from imperfect?

Sri Aurobindo writes,
‘Nothing can arise from Nothing. Asat, nothingness, is a creation of our mind; where it cannot see or conceive, where its object is something beyond its grasp, too much beyond to give even the sense of a vague intangibility, then it cries out, "Here there is nothing." Out of its own incapacity it has created the conception of a zero. But what in truth is this zero? It is an incalculable Infinite... Our sense by its incapacity has invented darkness. In truth there is nothing but Light, only it is a power of light either above or below our poor human vision's limited range.' Sri Aurobindo, The Web of Yoga, Centenary Edition, Vol. 17, p. 48

Therefore, the concept of "nothingness" or “ordinary emptiness”, to represent ultimate reality, is logically flawed as it would negate the very meaning of "omnipresent, omniscient". A comparable example would be energy. It is present everywhere and can change from one form to another e.g kinetic energy to potential energy, solar energy to electrical etc, but we cannot say it is "nothing". Therefore, the buddhist conception of shunyata cannot be mapped to "nothingness" as it distorts the whole understanding. Nothingness cannot manifest to “something". Only an omnipresent, immutable, unborn, unmanifest reality is capable of taking any form or manifestation and to accommodate both manifest and unmanifest aspects of the cosmos.

Frifjof Capra writes, “In spite of using terms like empty and void, the Eastern sages make it clear that they do not mean ordinary emptiness when they talk about Brahman, Sunyata or Tao, but, on the contrary, a Void which has an infinite creative potential. Thus, the Void of the Eastern mystics can easily be compared to the quantum field of subatomic physics. Like the quantum field, it gives birth to an infinite variety of forms which it sustains and, eventually, reabsorbs.”

References :
Kena and Other Upanishads By Sri Aurobindo
Tao Of Physics, By Frifof Capra

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Clouds Over Understanding of the Vedas - Part 2

A rejoinder to the book 'The Myth of the holy cow' by D.N.Jha

By B.D.Ukhul

This write-up demands an answer from Mr.D.N Jha for is representation that the Vedas sanctioned beef-eating and it is also an expression of intense feeling of millions of Hindus whose sentiments have been grossly injured by him. Each and every Hindu worships cow as his mother since it nourishes the human being from the very infant stage and all its products benefit the society at large. Our government should impose a ban on cow slaughter and it is also essential to remove the erroneous interpretations of the Vedic texts by encouraging their research and studies by the Sanskrit and Vedic scholars so that we can be proud of our heritage and uphold the flag of truth and nothing but the truth . It also appeals that gross errors in the history books should be rectified and our historians in company of Mr.Jha should also visualize the reality.
In view of the misleading derivations of Mr. Jha in his book 'The Myth of the holy cow', it was considered essential to repudiate his thesis. In this article the same subject is taken up and an effort is made to focus on all the references cited from the RgVeda by Mr.Jha to falsify his conclusions which have damaged the very spirit of the Vedic thought and seem to have been deliberately propagated to denigrate the Aryan heritage which followed the Vedic canons and later the term 'Hindu' could be designated to be the bearers of the flag of Aryan heritage. As a matter of fact the Vedas are the oldest segment of knowledge known to the mankind and at that time the society had no labels of any caste or creed. The presently known major religions all over the world were not in existence and thus the Vedic thought and philosophy did not concern any particular section of humanity but it was universal in its content and appeal. The only misfortune was that the interpretation of the Vedas got astray and the Western scholars also became prey to this in order to project Christianity and we, the inhabitants of Bharat (Aryavarta) ignored the study of our root language Sanskrit which the vested interests conspired to make a dead language and this led to the present situation where we have to struggle to justify ourselves and rather we are being made to defend the word of God.
Mr.Jha has stated on p.28 of his book that the term gau, meaning cow, in different declensions occurs 176 times in the Family Books of the Rgveda, and, the total number of occurances of cattle related terms in the text could be 700 and these figures are on the strength of authors like R.S.Sharma and Doris Srinivasan who engaged their scholarship on such counts only because they were not Sanskrit scholars. The terms rightly identified in this category are gopa, gopati, gavisti , gavyu, gavesana, gojata" etc. but he concludes that the Aryans believed in pastoral economy and this was inherited by them from their Indo-European past. It is a wrong notion and another controversial issue but here it would be sufficient to emphasize that the Aryans were not invaders but were the original inhabitants of this land and the Indian history was twisted by the western scholars to denigrate our heritage and present us in accordance with their design to rule over us and to propagate the superiority of their culture, language, race and religion. Unfortunately, Indian scholars also toed their line to enjoy their patronage and it is the need of the hour to have another close and dispassionate look at our history to restore the truth by falsifying the wrong deductions in vogue. Now the onus lies on us and the scholarship of our generation in the independent India.
It has been stated that like pastoralism, the Aryans brought from outside the practice of animal or cattle acrifice. In this regard it may be pertinent to draw attention to the Vedic hymn of Yajurveda (22.22) "Aa brahamana brahamnho... kalpatam" which is a prayer to God to bless our nation with illustrious and brave persons who should be capable of suppressing the enemies, expert in the art of archery and warfare and should have cows yielding milk in ample quantity, the oxen capable of bearing load and the speedy horses. Our women-folk should be all virtuous and capable of providing leadership. The clouds may shower timely rain and the vegetation should attain fruition. We should be able to achieve our goals and safeguard our achievements. The content of this hymn describes a manifesto of a welfare state and it infers that the pastoral economy was the original canon of the Aryan race itself.
Now to deal with the insinuation of the animal or cattle sacrifice in the Vedic texts the following is stated:
On p.32 of the book (ref.53), citing the RgVeda IV.18.13, it is stated that the entrails of a dog were cooked in a situation of extreme destitution.
T.V.(transliterated version) reads: avartya suna antrani pece na deveshu vivide marditaram apasyam jayam amahiyamanam adha me syeno madhv a jabhara
H.H. Wilson's translation of Bashya by Sayanacarya reads as follows:
"In the extreme destitution I have cooked the entails of a dog: I have not found a comforter among the gods: I have beheld my wife disrespected: then the falcon, (Indra), has brought to me sweet water".
In the english version of the Bhashya by Sw. Dayanand, it is stated that this hymn deals with the duties of a ruler and it is translated as follows:
"O king! I see you as one who provides protection from the mean person, who elopes with my disrespected wife like a falcon. Such a wicked person cannot achieve genuine knowledge from the enlightened persons. You must severe your connections from such a man". The purport of this verse is aptly summed up as "O king! You should destroy men and women of debaucherous nature after giving them severe punishment".
In the Hindi Bhashya by Sw.Dayanand, it is elaborated as follows:
O king! One who takes over my disrespected wife like a hawk who digests the non-usable body of a dog comprising of non-usable 'nadis' entrails should be punished…(The wicked man has been likened to a hawk or falcon who pounces on the dog's body and digests the same). The word 'pece' here means one who digests and not the one who cooks as per Wilson's version.
In the RgVeda Samhita with English translation by Swami Satya Prakash Sarasvati and Satyakam Vidyalankar, this hymn reads as follows:
"Finally the self, so lamented, in extreme destitution: What a shame to me that I have committed a hineous crime as if cooking the entails of a dog (having forgotten my Lord). I could find no comfort among Nature's material forces. Before my own eyes I have seen my wife, the beloved, disrespected. Then the enlightenment, in the form of falcon from heaven, comes down and brings the sweet water".
Manu, refers to a legend; Vamadeva, when oppressed with hunger, took for his meals the flesh of dogs, but who was not thus rendered impure; this he did for the preservation of his life. (Manu X.106)]
The above verse in no way supports consumption of dog's meat. Reference has been made to the RgVeda mantra V.29.7 (p.29, ref.18) to state that Agni roasted 300 buffaloes.
T.V. : sakha sakhye apacat tuyam agnir asya kratva mahisha tri satani tri sakam indro manushah saransi sutam pibad vritrahatyaya somam
Wilson has translated this as follows:
"To aid (the understanding of) his friend, Agni, the friend (of Indra) has quickly consumed three hundred buffaloes; and Indra, for destruction of Vrtra, has at once quaffed vessels of Soma offered by Manu".
Sw.Dayanand's rendering is as follows:
"The Agni (in the form of the fire/energy and sun) soon illuminates three worlds in the middle of the universe and drinks the water of the tanks (by drying it up), and for the slaying the clouds ripens Soma and other things that lead to prosperity in the long run (by increasing physical and mental strength). In the same manner, a friend by the power of his intellect or actions, protects three hundred big animals (cattle wealth) for the welfare of his friend". Purport of this hymn is that the sun manifests the gross objects that are above, below and in the middle. In the same manner, a king should manifest all good, bad and indifferent dealings and deal with all in a judicious manner.
Sw.Satya Praksh and Satyakam have rendered it as follows:
"As a friend to another friend, the cosmic fire ripens the sap of three hundred fields and forests of people, and the Sun works for the destruction of widespread darkness over the three regions, celestial, interspatial and terrestrial".
The comparison of the meaning will reveal that Wilson's translation stresses the roasting of buffaloes by Agni-the sun-god whereas it meant the evaporating effect of the sun which causes rains resulting in the prosperity. Sw.Dayanand has interpreted the phrase 'mahisa tri satani' to mean that it protects three hundred buffaloes or big animals.
The Rgveda hymn VI.16.47 has been cited by Jha to emphasize that 'oblations of food to the accompaniment of heart-felt hymns become like bulls , oxen and cows in sacrifice'(p.41,ref.135) on the strength of Mr.Kane.
T.V.: a te agna rica havir hrida tashtam bharamasi te te bhavantukshana rishabhaso vasa uta
It will be pertinent to quote its translated version by Wilson as follows:
"We offer to you, Agni, the oblation sanctified by the heart, and (identified) with the sacred verse may these vigorous bulls or the cows be (as such an oblation) to you".
Sw.Sataya Prakash and Satyakam have rendered it as follows:
"We offer to you, O Lord, the homage issuing forth from our hearts, and transmitted in the words of the Vedic verses. May the virile bulls, bullocks and cows be dear to you as your own".
Repeatedly, the error of literal translation causes damage to the spirit of the hymn since the context of the hymns 46 & 47 is as to whom the mankind should adore. But the hymn 'te te bhavantu uksna rsabhaso vasa uta' has been interpreted to mean: 'may these vigorous bulls or cows be for you'. Mr. Jha has drawn erroneous conclusion that bulls, oxen and cows are part of the food which is far from truth.
In the hymn of the RgVeda VI.17.11, Jha has inferred that Indra ate flesh of one hundred buffaloes (p.29,ref.17)
T.V.: vardhan yam visve marutah sajoshah pacac chatam mahishan indra tubhyam pusha vishnus trini saransi dhavan vritrahanam madiram ansum asmai
Its translation by Wilson reads as under:
"For you, Indra, whom all the Maruts, alike pleased, exalt, may Pusan and Visnu dress for you a hundred buffaloes, and to him may the three streams flow with the inebriating, foe-destroying Soma".
The English rendering of this hymn by Sw. Satya Prakash and Satyakam is as follows:
"O innerself, all the vital faculties of human body, with one accord, exalt you. Hundreds of great gifts are provided to you by all pervading and all sustaining vital breaths. May the three joy-giving streams of nectar flow to him for exhilaration and cure".
Dr. Krishan Lal, former Sanskrit Professor of University of Delhi has translated the word 'mahisha' as cloud and states that the phrase 'pachhtam mahisha indra tubhyam' in this hymn actually means magnification of hundreds of (many) clouds by the surya-the sungod. [Tankara Samachar dated July, 2002 at p.13].
The RgVeda hymn VIII.12.8(p.29,ref.19) has been cited to mean killing of a thousand buffaloes.
T.V.: yadi pravriddha satpate sahasram mahishan aghah ad it ta indriyam mahi pra vavridhe
The hymn has been translated by Wilson as follows:
"Great Indra, protector of the good, when you have slain thousands of mighty (foes), then your vast and special energy has been augmented".
In Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam's translation, it is rendered as follows:
"O powerful Lord of resplendence, the protector of truth, when you put an end to hundreds of evils, your resplendence grows beyond limits".
The hymn's translation by Wilson describes Indra as protector of the good and relates augmentation of energy by slaying thousands of mighty (foes) but Mr.Jha has restricted his vocabulary to mean it buffaloes. [This is only a literal translation or deliberate effort without caring for the context and spirit of the hymn]
The RgVeda hymn VIII.19.5 has been cited by Jha (p.41,ref.134) to state "a devout offering of praise or of a fuel stick or of cooked food was as good as a more, solemn sacrifice".
T.V.: yah samidha ya ahuti yo vedena dadasa marto agnaye yo namasa svadhvarah
Wilsons' translation of this hymn is "The man who has presented (worship) to Agni with fuel, with burnt offerings, with the Veda, with sacrificial food, and is diligent in pious rites".
Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam's interpretation reads as
"The mortal, who presents offering to the fire divine, with the fuel, with the oblations, with the chanting of Vedic lores, and with reverence".
Difference in rendering of the hymns reveals that the slant of Wilson's translation is towards the ritual of sacrifice and so he could not capture the spirit of the divine hymn.
Mr.Jha cites RgVeda's hymn VIII.43.11 to state that Indra's food is the ox and the barren cow (p.29, ref.22)
T.V.: ukshannaya vasannaya somaprishthaya vedhase Stomair vidhemagnaye
This hymn is translated by Wilson to read
"Let us adore with hymns Agni, the granter (of desires), the eater of the ox, the eater of the morrow on whose back the libation is poured"
Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam interpreted this hymn as
"Let us adore with hymns the fire-divine, who is fed on agricultural products, dairy products, and who bears the herbal plants on the back".
Jha quotes Rgveda X.16.4 (p.30,ref.26) to argue that for disposal of the dead a recourse is taken 'to the burning of a goat which is the share of Agni, and to use of the flesh of the cow to protect the body against the flame'
T.V.: ajo bhagas tapasa tam tapasva tam te socistapatu tam te areih yas te sivas tanvo jatavedas tabhir vahainam sukritam u lokam
Mr. Wilson's translation of this verse reads as follows:
"The unborn portion; burn that, Agni, with your heat; let your flame, your spleandour, consume it; with those glorious members which have given him, Jatavedas, bear him to the world (of the virtuous)".
The actual content of the hymn as per Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam's interpretation is as follows:
"O fire divine, let your radiant flame and your glowing splendour make the imperishable soul pure and bright, and with the auspicious body, which you provide to him, may you convey him to the region of the virtuous".
Verse of RgVeda X.16.7 is also cited by Mr.Jha supported by Keith to substantiate his theory regarding coverage of the dead body.
T.V.: agner varma pari gobhir vyayasva sam prornushva pivasa medasa canet tva dhrishnur harasa jarhrishano dadhrig vidhakshyan paryaukhayate
This has been translated by Wilson to read as follows:
"Enclose the mail of Agni with the (hide of the) cow; cover it with the fat and marrow: then will not (Agni), bold, exulting in his fierce heat, proud ,embrace you round about to consume you (to ashes)".
This verse is rendered to mean as follows by Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam:
"When the body is being entirely consumed (on the funeral pyre) with the flames brightened by butter, another body with new fat and new marrow is being provided (to the departed soul in a fresh womb). May not this bold fire, exulted in his fierce heat, and full of pride, embrace and consume your new body to ashes (which is being given to you elsewhere)".
RgVeda hymn X.27.2 has been cited(p.29,ref.16) regarding killing of a bull.
T.V.: yadid aham yudhaye samnayany adevayun tanva susujanan ama te tumram vrishabham pacani tivram sutam pancadasam ni shincam
It has been translated by Wilson to read "If I encounter in combat the undevout, resplendent in their bodies, then will I cook a vigorous bull for them, and will sprinkle (upon the fire) the exhilarating effused juice the fifteenfold (Soma)".
Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam render its interpretation to read "If I lead my friends to battle against the dark clouds of nescience, unfaithful but strong in physical strength, then having dispelled the darkness, I shall impel the furious and vigorous sun, and thereafter, sprinkle on the earth exhilarating peace of the full moonlight".
The term 'vrishabham' is translated by Wilson as bull but according to Mr.S.N.Shastri it is the strength which helps to shower grace on the praja i.e. people and the term 'pacani' does not mean that 'I cook' but instead it is 'I lead it to fruition or expansion or exaltation'
According to Mr.Jha, Indra is said to have eaten the flesh of bulls (p.29,ref.15) as per RgVeda hymn X.28.3
T.V.: adrina te mandina indra tuyan sunvanti soman pibasi tvam esham pacanti te vrishabhan atsi tesham prikshena yan maghavan huyamanah"
Mr.Wilson's translation of this hymn states as follows:
"(Vasukra speaks) Your worshippers express with the stone fast flowing exhilarating Soma-juices for you, you drink them; they roast bulls for you, you eat them, when you are invoked, Maghavan, to the sacrificial food".
Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam render its interpretation as follows:
"(Day speaks) O sovereign Lord, the worshippers express their devotion through exhilarating prayers and dedicated actions (just as herb juice pressed through stones); you accept them and drink; they cook the strengthening and joy-showering foods for you and when invoked, you accept their invocation".
Here again, the terms 'vrishabh' and 'pacanti' have done the damage as in the preceding hymn X.27.2
Mr.Jha has cited RgVeda X.68.3 (p.33, ref.64) to state that the killing of the kine to honour guests seems to have been prevalent from earlier times.
T.V.: sadhvarya atithinir ishira sparhah suvarna anavadyarupah brihaspatih parvatebhyo viturya nir ga upe yavam iva sthivibhyah
[the term 'atithinir' has been interpreted as 'cows fit for guests'
Mr.Wilson's translation reads as follows:
"Brhaspati brings unto (the gods), after extricating them from the mountains, the cows that are the yielders of pure (milk), ever in motion, the objects of search and desire, well coloured and of unexceptionable form, (as men bring) barley from the granaries".
Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam have translated this hymn as follows:
"The supreme sun first makes a search of cows (i.e. rays or the lost wisdom), and finds them hidden in the caves of mountains (i.e. behind the clouds); he recovers and extricates these (cows or rays) which furnish pure milk (or rays furnishing light), ever in motion, worthy of search, worth coveting, of splendid colours, and of exceptional forms. They are set free (from hiding) as barley from the granaries".
Atithinih means - ever in motion or constantly moving [atithini: satatam gachhanti- Sayan]
According to Shri Satyanand Shastri, Prof. Griffith has translated this hymn as follows:
"Brhaspati having won them from the mountains, strewed down, like barley out of the winnowing baskets; the vigorous, wandering cows who aid the pious, desired of all, of blameless form, well coloured".
Mr.Jha has again erred immensely to prove his stand.
RgVeda hymn X.85.13 has been cited by Jha (p.33, ref. 66) to point out that it refers to the slaughter of a cow on the occasion of marriage.
T.V.: suryaya vahatuh pragat savita yam avasrijat aghasu hanyante gavo rjunyoh pary nhyatc
It has been translated by Mr. Wilson as follows:
"Surya's bridal procession which Savita dispatched has advanced; the oxen are whipped along in the Magha (constellations); she is borne (to her husband's house) in the Arjuni (constellations)".
Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam's rendering is "The bridal procession of the Sun's daughter, which the divine mother creator dispatches, moves along; the oxen of the chariot are whipped along in the MAGHA constellations; she is taken to her husband's house in the ARJUNI (Phalguna) constellations".
RgVeda hymn X.86.14 has been singled out by Mr.Jha(p.21,ref.14) to underline the practice of eating beef.
T.V.: ukshno hi me pancadasa sakam pacanti vinsatim utaham admi piva id ubha kukshi prinanti me visvasmad indra uttarah
This hymn has been translated by Mr. Wilson as follows:
"(Indra speaks) The worshippers dress for me fifteen (and) twenty bulls: I eat them and (become) fat, they fill both sides of my belley; Indra is above all (the world)".
Sw. Satya Prakash and Satyakam interpret this verse as follows:
"(The Self speaks) The worshippers ripen for me fifteen and twenty matured showerers of blessings and thereafter I fill the spaces with essence on both sides of my form. The Self is supreme over all. [Fifteen= 10 Pranas (vital breaths) and 5 bhootas+Twenty= 5 tanmatras (colour,taste,sound,smell and touch)+ 5 elements+ 5 organs of sense+ 5 motor-organs]".
RgVeda hymn X.91.14 has been cited by Mr.Jha to illustrate that Indra's food is the ox and the barren cow etc. (p.30, refs.22-25).
T.V.: yasminn asvasa rishabhasa ukshano vasa mesha avasrishtasa ahutah kilalape somaprishthaya vedhase hrida matim janaye carum agnaye
This has been translated by Mr.Wilson as follows:
"I offer graceful praise with all my heart to Agni , the drinker of water, whose back is sprinkled with Soma, the ordainer (of the rite), to whom vigorous horses and bulls and barren cows and sheep are consigned as burnt offerings".
Translation by Sw.Satya Prakash and Satyakam reads as follows:
"I offer my words of appreciation with sincerity at my heart to the fire- divine, the absorber of water, to whom the oblations of herbal juices (mixed with curds) are offered and to whom every living being like vigorous horses, bulls, milching cows and barren ones, sheep and goat (and even men) are consigned after their death ( i.e. to the Kravya-agni, the cremating fire)".
It will be pertinent to add here that in his Hindi booklet entitled "Kya pracheen arya log mansahari the?", Shri Satyanand Shastri has dealt in detail some of the Vedic references cited by Mr.Jha and they are further capable of falsifying the interpretations deduced by the author of this derogatory book. To facilitate their consultation and close understanding, the following information is furnished:
RgVeda X.16.7 pp.17-20 RgVeda X.27.2 pp.20-21 RgVeda X.28.3 pp.21-23 RgVeda X.68.3 pp.29-30 RgVeda X.85.13pp.11-15 RgVeda X.86.14pp.26
The thesis of Mr.Jha through his book under scrutiny has also denigrated the Vedic deities namely, Agni,Indra, Pusan,Maruta, Mitra,Soma,Varuna,Visnu etc. by mentioning that they were fond of eating flesh of animals specially of the bulls, buffaloes , cows etc. Pages 29-30 of the book mention that Agni liked buffaloes, Indra had special liking for bulls, Pusan ate mush, Maruts, Mitra and Varuna liked cows etc. All these terms denote the various names of the God and indirectly Mr.Jha has tried to prove Him to be meat-eater .i.e the Creator Himself eating its own creation , a great PARADOX in itself. Mr.Jha could not comit a greater sin than this, he being descendent of the Brahamanic lineage has abused his scholarship and ran to London to get his book published to earn recognition from his patrons who wish to denigrate the Hindus and their heritage. It may be relevant to describe some of these deities in brief as follows:
Agni (from the root anchu which signifies gati and worship. Gati means to know, to move or go, to realize) denotes God, because He is all-knowledge,Omniscient and worthy of adoration, fit subject to be known, sought after and realized.
Indra (from Idi-power) is One who is all-powerful. [RgVeda II.12 describes various characteristics and functions of Indra]
Mitra (from nimid-to love) means God, because He loves all and is worthy of being loved by all.
Visnu (Vish-to pervade) is One who pervades all the universe, animate and inanimate. [Light of truth by Swami Dayanand Saraswati at pp.7-10]
Sri Aurobindo describes Agni as the seers' will and the Rgveda itself conceives of it as divine force lying latent in all minds,-the divine energy, that makes itself felt in all beings, - the factor which is responsible for transformation of the total consciousness of the human being. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, Agni represents "the flames of the will, the divine force bringing up in the soul".
While describing Indra, Aurobindo states "Indra, the puissant next, who is the power of pure Existence self-manifested as the Divine Mind. As Agni is one pole of Force instinct with knowledge that sends its current upward from earth to heaven, so Indra is the other pole of Light instinct with force which descends from heaven to earth. He comes down into world as the Hero with the shining horses and slays darkness and division with his lightnings, pours down the life-giving heavenly waters, finds in trace of bound, intuition lost or hidden illuminations, makes the Sun of Truth mount high in the heaven of our mentality".[Hymns to the Mystic Fire by Sri Aurobindo,1952 at p.xxxi]
Sri Aurobindo proclaims "Soma is the illumined Ananda that descends from above" and "Soma is the ambrosial wine of the Veda, the wine of delight or the wine of Immortality".[On the Veda by Sri Aurobindo,1956. p.349 & p.420].
The above is quoted only to give a glimpse of the magnanimity of some of the Vedic deities and what is their significance in the realm of Vedic thought and Mr.Jha and his supporters have stooped too low to abuse their scholarship to insult the tolerant Hindu beliefs by inflicting the heinous charge by describing the Aryans and their deities as beef-eaters. [Mr.Jha owes to account for his insinuations against Hindu deities according to the law of land]

Some references from the Vedas and Mahabharata which condemn the killing of cows:
AtharvaVeda I.16.4 Kill the killer of the cow with the bullet of lead. Atharva Veda III.30.1 You should impart love to each other as the non-killable cow does for its calf RgVeda VII.56.17 Punish the killer of the cow and the man. RgVeda VIII.101.15 Cow is pure, do not kill it. RgVeda X.10.87.16 Those who kill the 'Aghanya' the cow which is not to be killed according Vedic edicts, their heads should be chopped offBy B.D.Ukhul . [Translation of this verse in full in Sw. Satya Praksh 's version reads:"O fire divine, you may tear off the heads of the evil-spirited cannibal who lives on the flesh of men and who satisfies himself with the flesh of horses and cattle and who steals for himself the milk of milch-cow".] YajurVeda XIII.49 Do not kill the cow. YajurVeda XXX.18 Award death sentence to the killer of the cow. Mahabharata- Shantiparva 262.47 Cow is called 'aghanya' and thus non-killable.
Some examples of glorification of the cow in the Vedas:
AtharvVeda XI.1.34 states "dhenuh sadnam rayeenham" i.e. 'cow is the fountainhead of all the bounties'. The entire Sukta 28 of VIth Mandala of the RgVeda sings glory of the cow.(seven hymns alongwith their full text and Hindi translation could be seen in the book entitled "Gyan Ganga Sagar-Vol.II" at pp.100-103). RgVeda VI.28.3 states 'enemy may not use any astra i.e. weapon on cows' RgVeda VI.28.4 states 'no body should take them to butcherhouse to kill them' RgVeda VI.28.5 states 'milk of cow is used in the first offering (ahuti) to Soma' YajurVeda XXIII.48 states "Gostu matra n vidyate" i.e. Cow cannot be compared with anything.

Scriptures of Sikhism:
In Dashamgranth, Gurugovind Singhji prays to God as follows:
Yahi deh agya tark ko khapaun Goghat ka dukh jagat se mitaun Aas poornh karo tum hamari Mite kasht gauan chhoote khed bhari [He desired to remove the cow slaughter from the world and save them from any torture]
Aadigranthsahab states as follows:
Doodh katore garhve paani Kapila gaai namey duh aani [ It is in praise of the cow's milk]
Cow and Swami Dayanand Saraswati
Swami Dayanand was the first crusader against cow slaughter and his book 'Gokarunanidhi'[Ocean of mercy for the cow] is a living testimony which speaks of his inner feelings on the subject. It was written on 24th February, 1881. This treatise has three sections namely 1) Discussion of the essential principles 2) Rules and 3) Sub-rules. This stipulates constitution of a society for preservation and protection of the cows. Swamiji pleaded with the British officials to stop cow slaughter and personally met Col. Brooks, political agent of Rajasthan and Mr.Muir, Lt.Governor of N.W.P.(now Uttar Pradesh) to state that the cow was the backbone of the Indian economy and soul of its socio-cultural fabric. At the instance of Swamiji, Maharaja Sajjansingh of Udaipur and Maharaja Jaswantsingh of Jodhpur banned the long prevailing practice of slaughter of animals in their states. Swamiji even drafted an appeal that was to be submitted to the Queen Victoria duly signed by two crore Indians but this work was interrupted due to death of Swamiji in 1883. He deeply felt for the cow and waged a battle for its cause. His intense love for the cow cannot be described in words but his mission of banning cow slaughter was cut short by his death which needs to be accomplished.
Western Indologists, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and the Vedas
The Vedas in their true spirit were restored to this land By Swami Dayanand Saraswati who toiled hard to bring home the Vedic thought and its ideals in the face of great opposition and hazards by the society which was enveloped with evils like untouchability, lack of education of the women, plight of the widows, blind faiths and dominance of ignorant Brahamins who were more concerned with their bread and butter but were far away from the Vedas and Swamiji held the fort and gave us his luminous work in 'Satyarthprakash' and the Bhashya of the Vedas which conveyed their true meaning and spirit. He displayed remarkable fearlessness and applied the Vedic yardstick to all the prevailing sects, religions and faiths. In the 3rd principle of Aryasamaj's ten principles he stipulated that "The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. It is the paramount duty of all Aryans to read them to teach them (others) and to hear them read to recite them (others)". Regarding western Indologists, a revealing document entitled "Western Indologists: A study in motives" was written by an eminent Vedic scholar Shri Bhagavad Datta and published by Itihasa Prakashana Mandala in 1954. While quoting their designs at the behest of their masters, Shri Bhagvad Datta states as follows:
"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 Svami Dayananda Sarasvati, who ruthlessly exposed their nefarious designs. Svamiji was 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, Rudolf Hoernle, Thibaut and others who had worked with 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".
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya on Albert Weber, another German Indologist
"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 civilization of India was comparatively of recent origin. They could not persuade themselves to believe that the Mahabharata was composed centuries before Christ was born". [English translation of Hindi version of his work entitled "Krishan Charitra, 3rd parichhed"]
Jha is so much pre-occupied with the theme to prove his thesis that the mere occurance of the terms 'mahish' or'vrishabh' etc. appear to him to be the food of the Aryans and that too on the authority of the revered and sacred books of the Aryans who presently are represented and bear the nomenclature of 'Hindus' and this single term is now enough to stir the latest so called secular environment of India and is seen to be derogatory by most of the present political set-ups for the sake of votes. Even the word saffron is being maligned in their politics, which is the colour of renunciation or 'tyag' the very soul of the society which aims at peace and co-existence. It is beyond doubt that majority of the Muslims and Christians in India are only converts but their forefathers are from the same source i.e. the Aryans but it is very difficult to digest this reality when the politicians and fanatics are there to blind them. India has embraced all creeds and followers of different religions and it is their bounden duty to the country of their shelter and adoption to give their original inhabitants and also their ancestors due respect to their beliefs and faith and prove the worth of their salt to their motherland for all its bounties and at least follow the following edicts of the Vedas which are the prayers for one and all.
RgVeda X.191.1: T.V.: sam-sam id yuvase vrishann agne visvany arya a ilas pade sam idhyase sa no vasuny a bhara
"O adorable Lord, showerer of blessings, the supreme master, you are the universal unifying factor; you are enkindled in the heart of every one, i.e. at the seat of divine revelation. May you bring to us riches (of spirituality and prosperity)".
RgVeda X.191.2:
T.V.: sam gachadhvam sam vadadhvam sam vo manansi janatam deva bhagam yatha purve samjanana upasate
"May you move together, speak together in one voice; let your minds be of one accord; and like the ancient sages, may you enjoy your assigned share of fortune".
Author expresses his deep gratitude to Shri Bharat Bhushan Vidyalankar,C2A/90,Janakpuri for his guidance and encouragement to accomplish this task.
The author is former Librarian of the Indian National Science Academy,New Delhi and presently Up-pradhan of Aryasamaj,C Block,Janakpuri,New Delhi-110058.
Residential Address: C2A/58,Janakpuri,New Delhi-110058.Telephone ®25525128 E-mail

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Rgveda Samhita with English translation by Svami Satya Prakash Saraswati and Satyakam Vidyalankar.13 vols. Delhi,Veda Pratishthana,1987.
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[This article has also been published in the journal namely, “Vedic Science” in the issue dated July-Sept.Vol.4,No.3(20002) and is also placed on the website]

The Clouds Over Understanding of the Vedas - Part 1

By B.D.Ukhul

The Myth of the Holy Cow by D.N.Jha published by Verso, London, 2002 is the most damaging book in its contents since the sole intention of the author has been to prove that all ancient Hindu scriptures particularly the Vedas and Shatpath Brahmana etc. uphold beef-eating and this has been the way of life of the Aryans who were our ancestors since the term Hindu came to be introduced much later. The author has cited references from the Vedas, Brahmanas, Upnishads etc. to prove his thesis which perhaps he chose to be the sole mission of his life even though he comes from a Brahamin family and he has dedicated his so called prestigious book to his kin in Rajrani (a symbol of motherhood). Aryans revered cow as a mother and it is really an irony that a son of Bharat has taken immense pains to prove something which is far from truth and also it injures the sentiments of millions of Hindus and in order to demolish his thesis an effort is being hereby made to trace each and every reference cited by him in the book and reveal the truth and nothing but the truth. To commence with, citations quoted from the Rgveda are being dealt with beginning from the very first Mandala of Rigveda.

It is beyond any doubt that the conclusions drawn by Mr. Jha are based on wrong interpretations and the misleading commentaries by the western scholars and also the works of Indian scholars who got patronage of the British rulers. Role of such scholars and their mission to erase our heritage was under a well planned scheme to mould the Indian mind into the western thought and culture and create conditions to cast off our past. Their mission was to spread Christianity and the major players were Macauley and Max Muller and their correspondence and writings* will substantiate this submission. Hereby it will also be revealed that these western scholars could not derive the right and intended spirit of our ancient Rishis and have erred immensely. In the realm of the Vedic interpretation, we owe debt to Swami Dayanand Saraswati(1825-1883), the founder of Aryasamaj who took us back to the Vedas. His commentaries were based on the Nighantu and Yaska’s Nirukta and he thought deep and delved deep to arrive at the rightful adhyatmik and yogic spirit of the mantras. The opinion of a great saint-philosopher Sri Aurobindo Ghosh will be the most pertinent to quote in this regard. “In the matter of Vedic interpretation I am convinced that whatever may be the final complete interpretation, Dayananda will be honoured as the first discoverer of the right clues. Amidst the chaos and obscurity of old ignorance and age long misunderstanding his was the eye of direct vision that pierced to the truth and fastened on that which was essential. He had found the keys of the doors that time had closed and rent asunder the seals of the imprisoned fountains”. AT THIS STAGE IT IS DESIRABLE THAT WE APPROACH THIS IMPORTANT ASPECT TO ENDORSE AND ACCEPT THE RIGHTFUL INTERPRETAIONS INSTEAD OF CLINGING TO DEFECTIVE LITERAL TRANSLATIONS OF THE VEDAS WHICH ARE REVELATIONS BY THE ALMIGHTY GOD WHO BLESSED US WITH THIS DIVINE KNOWLEDGE TO GUIDE OUR PATH SINCE THE VEDIC REVELATION WAS SYNCHRONOUS WITH MAN’S FIRST APPEARANCE ON EARTH. How can our creator prescribe offerings of his own creatures? After independence, this aspect should have received due attention but it is sad that this remained untapped and even the Sanskrit language came under cloud when a Rajya Sabha nominated Christian member Frank Anthony introduced a bill to drop this sacred language from the eighth schedule of languages enshrined in the Indian constitution in 1977. There is no doubt that some Western scholars did an appreciable job to introduce the Vedas to the outside world which inspired the scholars to learn Sanskrit to benefit from the treasure of wisdom of Vedic Rishis but unfortunately, it followed a wrong path without application of their inner mind or intellect as was done by the devoted disciple of Swami Virajanand who was actually blind of eyes but he imparted such vision and deep knowledge to Dayanand that he clung to the soul and spirit of the Vedas and it is our bounden duty to follow this path to understand the sacred words of God which can never be wrong and are ever infallible.
In the context of the commentary/translation of the Vedas by Max Muller, it will be relevant to point out the opinion of Mr. Boulanger, the editor of Russian edition of The Sacred Books of the East Series as follows:
What struck me in Max Mullar’s translation was a lot of absurdities, obscene passages and a lot of what is not lucid”.
As far as I can grab the teaching of the Vedas, it is so sublime that I would look upon it as a crime on my part, if the Russian public becomes acquainted with it through the medium of a confused and distorted translation, thus not deriving for its soul that benefit which this teaching should give to the people”.
In his book ‘Vedic Hymns’, Max Muller himself says “My translation of the Vedas is conjectural”.
HEREUNDER the glaring difference in substance and the spirit of the cited Suktas 162 and 163 of the first Mandala of Rigveda is illustrated to establish that misinterpretation is at the root of this problem. Each Sukta has its risi and devata; risi depicts ‘drashta’ whereas devata depicts the subject matter which facilitates the understanding of the mantras under respective Sukta.
Sukta 162-
Name of risi Name of devata
Deerghatama Mitradyo Lingokta (As per Sw.Dayanand)
Deerghatama Ashav-stuti (As per translation of HH Wilson)

Sukta 163-
Name of risi Name of devata
Deerghatama Ashvo-agnirdevta (As per Sw.Dayanand)
Deerghatama Ribhuganh (As per translation of HH Wilson)

The above implies that both the Suktas are in glorification of the horse but our Western enthusiasts and Mr.Jha along with his Indian ideals have even ignored the very basic lead and gone for crucification of the spirit of mantras which is left to your esteemed judgement.

Sukta 162 has 22 mantras while Sukta 163 has 13 mantras. Mr. Jha states that in the ashvamedha(horse sacrifice),the most important of the Vedic public sacrifices,first referred to in the Rigveda in the afore-stated Suktas (p.31 of his book).

Sukta 162 in fact deals with the science of applying horse power (automation) of the fire pervading in the form of energy.

No mantra supports sacrifice of horses. Of course the first mantra has been translated by Max Muller in a wrong manner as follows:

May Mitra,Varuna,Aryaman,Ayush,Indra,the Lord of Ribhus and the Maruta not rebuke us because we shall proclaim at the sacrifice virtues of the swift horse sprung from the god”.(from History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature). Similarly H.H.Wilson in his translation based on the commentary of Sayanacarya states as follows:

Let neither Mitra nor Varuna,Aryaman,Ayu,Indra,Ribhukshin,nor the Maruts,censure us;when was proclaim in the sacrifice the virtues of the swift horse sprung from the gods”.

Transliterated version of this mantra is given below:
Ma no mitro varuno arymayurindro ribhuksha marutah parikhyan Yadvajino devajatasya sapteh pravakshyamo vidathe veeryani
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati in his Hindi commentary has rendered the translation as follows:
We the performers of yajna in all seasons (vidathe) in the battle field (yat) whose (vajinah) stormy (devajatasya) learned men and borne out of the divine virtues (sapte) of the horse (veeryani) unique performances (pravakshyamah) we shall describe (nah) the daring performances of our horses (mitrah) friend (varunah) sublime (aryama) the deliverer of justice (ayuh) the knower (indrah) the all-elivated or aishvaryavan (ribhuksha) intelligent and (marutah) priests (ma, pari,khyan) should never disregard these properties.

To easily grasp the spirit of mantra the following translation will be helpful.
We shall describe here the energy generating virtues of the powerful horses(planets),added with brilliant properties of the vigorous force of heat. The learned never dispute these properties.
There is vast difference in the above quoted translations.Obviously the wrong seeds were sown by Sayan and Mahidhar who were the ideals adopted by the western scholars, namely Max Muller, Griffith , Wilson etc. Sw.Dayanand Saraswati in his book “An Introduction to the Vedas” has adversely criticised on the commentaries of Sayan and Mahidhar in context of some of their interpretations of the Vedic hymns. They could be held responsile for the horrible and horried interpretations which suggest as if the Vedas were the texts to lay down the modes of sacrifices. Is it not a tragedy for the Dharamacharyas/Sanskrit scholars of this country that they also could not pursue the path shown by Dayanand and got bogged down only in the rituals of worship in the temples and no attention was paid to the sources of knowledge which were the guiding principles of Aryans, our worthy ancestors and sons of the mother India (Aryavrat) as the Vedas proclaimed man as ‘amritasya putras’ and we need to follow this path if we want to be proud of our heritage and hold our head high or otherwise we are going to be labelled with the legacy of butchers and animal killers who desired to please different gods by various sacrifices performed in the yajnas.

Eighth mantra of this Sukta is translated as follows:
The fleet of horses is controlled by holding of bridles and saddles placed thereon. To make them strong,the grass and cereals are fed to them. Likewise,the learned people control and regulate their power of senses and taking nourishing diet.

Wilson’s translation is as follows:
May the halter and the heel-ropes of the fleet courser, and the head-ropes, the girths, and any other (part of the harness); and the grass that has been put into his mouth; may all these be with you,(horse),amongst the gods. (THIS IS NOTHING BUT LITERAL AND MECHANICAL TRANSLATON BEREFT OF THE SUBSTANCE & SPIRIT OF THE MANTRA)

Ninth mantra again was again wrongly interpreted by Max Muller,Wilson and Griffith to translate the word ’kravishah’ as the flesh. It is an adjective of ‘ashvasya’ and derived from kramu-padavikshepe. Hence it means ‘ the pacing horse’ and not of the flesh. ‘shamituh’ has been translated by Prof. Max Muller and Wilson as of the immolator. Griffith has translated it as ‘of a slayer’. But etymologically ‘sam-alochne’ means ‘to look at’ (with love and peace) and should mean ‘ a person who looks at the living beings with love and peace and not slayer’.

Twelfth mantra emphasizes on the qualities of the warrior and its translation is as follows:

They who crave for the meat of a horse and declare the horse fit to be killed should be exterminated. Those who keep the fast horse well trained and disciplined deserve to be praised by us for the strength of their character and perseverance. (IT CLEARLY DEMOLISHES THE THESIS OF JHA AND PROVES THAT HE HAS MERELY QUOTED CITATIONS AND HARDLY CARED TO LOOK AT THE ACTUAL TEXT BUT INSPIRED BY THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION OF WILSON):

Let their exertions be for our good who watch the cooking of the horse; who say, it is fragrant; therefore give us some: who solicit the flesh of the horse as alms”. (WHAT AN IMMENSE DAMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF THE MANTRA).

Mantras 13 to 19 deal with the theme of horse or automation power while 20 to 22 are devoted to the benefits of Yoga exercises and an ideal life.

Sukta 163
This Sukta deals with various attributes of learned person, agni, science & technology. There are references to the horse to illustrate its unique qualities of its immense energy likened to agni (fire), intelligence, bravery and inbuilt attributes which are at par with those of the men of wisdom. Perusal of some mantras will bring home this point.

First mantra includes or rather ends with ‘arvan’ and this word denotes as per Yv 29.12 vigyanvan athva ashvaiv veguvan vidvan=O learned person active like the horse.
Second mantra includes the term ‘surat ashvam’ which means the fast moving agni i.e the fire which enables a speedy locomotion.
Third mantra includes the term ‘adityah arvan’ and here it means the sun which is all pervading. ‘arvan’means sarvatrapraptah=pervading all. This term was wrongly translated by Prof. Wilson , Griffith and others, while both admit in the notes that Yama means Agni, Aditya-Sun and Trita-Vayu. How can horse be identified with Agni (fire) sun and the air etc.none has cared to justify. To take ‘arva’ for agni, there is the clear authority of the Taittiriya Brahmana.(I.36,4).
Fourth mantra includes the word ‘arvan’ where it is used to mean the learned and wise people.
Eighth mantra includes the word ‘arvan’ through which the mighty and active person has been likened to the horse who bears such characteristics.
Ninth mantra includes the word ‘arvantam’ which means vegavantam agnim ashvam=the rapid horse in the form of Agni (fire, electricity etc.)
Tenth mantra includes the word ‘ashva’ where it means the bright swift horses in the form of fire, air, water etc.
Eleventh mantra includes the word ‘arvan’ and the following translation of this mantra will endorse our stand that the unique qualities of the horse are emphasized in Sukta-163:
O brave person! You are active like a horse, your body is like a swift vehicle, your mind is like the wind in motion. Your sublime actions are initiated from the proper use of fire and electricity. These are spread in all directions like the hoary creatures in the forests”. One can see that this mantra is in praise of highly skilled technicians.

Wilson’s translation reads as follows:
Your body, horse, is made for motion , your mind is rapid (in intention ) as the wind: the hairs (of your mane) are tossed in manifold directions; and spread beautiful in the forests”.(ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF MECHANICAL TRANSLATION)

Twelfth mantra includes the term ’vajyarva’ which means agni swift(vegavan) like a horse and here in this mantra use of agni is highlighted.
Thirteenth and the last mantra of this Sukta contains the word ‘arvan’ where it means agnyadashvan= horses in the form of fire, electricity etc.
ASVAMEDHA has been translated as horse sacrifice as referred above by Jha and the conclusions drawn accordingly and this has been the root cause of varied wrong interpretations and in order to illustrate its scope and meaning the following is stated:

At the sight of words ‘asvamedha,gomedha,purushmedha,ajmedha’ there ia general tendency to interpret it to denote as hinsa/sacrifice/killing. ‘medha’ word’s verb or dhatu is ‘medhri’. ‘medhrisangame hinsayam cha’ i.e. to enhance pure intellect , to inculcate love and integration among the people and also hinsa i.e killing (this dhatu conveys these three meanings).But it does not always mean killing or sacrifice and in Sanskrit no literal translation will do where a particular word carries varied meanings and it has to be applied judiciously and thoughtfully keeping in view the context of the text. The words ‘purushmedha’ and ‘nriyajna’ are synonyms. In manusmriti the word ‘nriyajna’ has been defined as’nriyajnoatithipoojanam’ (manusmriti -3.70) it means the pooja or honour of the guests. If we take the meaning of the root ‘medhri’ as sangamanarth it will come to be interpreted as to organize the people for virtuous deeds or to enhance the love and equanimity among them i.e. it would be ‘nriyajna’or ‘purushmedh’. It may be pertinent to mention here that ‘nrimedha’ is a rishi of some vedic hymns of Samveda. It can never mean the one who kills or sacrifices the human beings. Consequently, the terms followed by medha always do not signify killing/sacrifice and therefore the interpretations made by the Western scholars are utterly wrong and unacceptable.
In Shatpath Brahmana (13.1.6) it is stated “Rashtram va asvamedhah” i.e. Asvamedha means to manage or run the affairs of the rashtra (country) in a befitting manner.
In the Shantiparva of Mahabharata (3.336) there is mention of asvamedha of the king Vasu in which numerous rishis and learned men participated.In this context it is clearly mentioned “n tatra pashughato-abhoot” i.e. there was no killing of any animal. Further in this Parva at 3.327, the following is stated in context with ‘ajamedh’:
Ajairyajneshu yashtavyamiti vai vaidiki shruti Ajasanjnani beejani chhaganno hantumarhatha Naishah dharmah satam devah yatra vadhyeta vai pashuh
It means that whenever it is stated to use aja for performance of yajna, it means the seeds called ‘aja’ have to be used. Here it does not mean a goat. It is not proper to kill goats and it does not behove the virtuous people to indulge in killing of the animals.
Sw.Dayanand Saraswati in his book “An introduction to the Vedas” at p.448-449 states that God is Jamadagni i.e. Ashvamedha. An empire is like a horse and the subjects like other inferior animals. As other animals,the strength, so the subjects are weaker than the state assembly. The glory and splendour of an empire consists in wealth,gold etc. and in administration of justice”.(Shatpath Brahmana: XIII.2.2.14-17) It is further stated that God’s name is Ashva also,because , He pervades the whole universe (Ashva comes from the root ‘Ash’ which means to pervade).
The above derivations call for our cautious approach and take upon ourselves the task of removing the mist caused by misinterpretations to see the truth which can be one and only one and feel proud of our heritage.

(The author expresses his gratitude to Shri Bharat Bhushan Vidyalankar for his guidance,encouragement and valuable suggestions in compilation of the write-up)

Dayanand Saraswati. An introduction to the Vedas ; translated from the original Sanskrit by Ghasi Ram. 3rd edn. Delhi,Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha,1998.
Bharat Bhushan Vidyalankar. Vedon ke sambandh men bharant dharnayen -mss. Delhi,2002. 11pp.
Rgveda Samhita with English translation by Swami Satya Prakash Sarasvati and Satyakam Vidyalankar. Delhi,Veda Pratishthana,1977.
The Rigveda with Maharishi Dayanda Saraswati’s Commentary. Translated into English by Acharya Dharam Dev Vidya Martanda. Delhi,Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha,1974.
Rgveda: Hindi Bhashya -pratham mandal by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. Delhi,Sarvdeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha,1972.
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Vidyanand Saraswati. Aaryon ka aadi desh aur unki sabhyata. Delhi,Arya Prakashan,2002

ANNEXURE: The synopsis on the jacket of the book entitled ‘The myth of the holy cow’ by D.N.Jha reads as follows: “The growth of religious fundamentalism in India is symbolized by the existence of a BJP government committed to the Hindutva. There is growing pressure to declare the cow a sacred, national animal and to ban its slaughter. The Myth of the Holy Cow is an illuminating response to this crazed confessionalism. It challenges obscurantist views on the sanctity of the cow in Hindu tradition and Culture. Dwijendra Narayan Jha, a leading Indian historian, argues that beef eating played an important part in the cuisine of ancient India, long before the birth of Islam. It was very much a feature of the approved Brahamanical and Buddhist diet. The evidence he produces from a variety of religious and secular texts is compelling. His opponents, including the current government of India and the fundamentalist groups backing it, have demanded that the book should be ritually burned in public. It has already been banned by the Hyderabad Civil Court and the author’s life has been threatened”.

[This article has also been published in the journal namely, “Vedic Science” in the issue dated July-Sept.Vol.4,No.3(20002) and is also placed on the website]