Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Reliving the Portuguese Terror in Goa

Taken from Rediff special (http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/sep/19spec2.htm).

In an interview with rediff India Abroad novelist Richard Zimler pointed out that the 'Goa Inquisition was merciless, cruel'
Published in Britain by Constable & Robinson and in America and Canada by Dell in July 2005, this is an excerpt from Zimler's novel, Guardian of the Dawn, set during the Inquisition in Goa.

At this point in the novel, the narrator -- a young boy named Tiago -- is living with his Portuguese-Jewish father and younger sister, Sofia, just outside Goan territory. Tiago's Indian mother has recently died and it is the beloved family cook, Nupi, who helps him overcome his grief.

After the wet nurse left, our house suddenly became too large and cold for me. All its comforting corners seemed to harden, and its doors seemed to be forever waiting for a visitor who would never come. For weeks at a time I trudged around from room to room thinking I was now an intruder. I even hated my bed, and the down pillows that had made a rocky coastline when I played at naval battles on my sheets, and the shady alcove on the north side of Papa's library where I read my books when everywhere else was too hot. I got it into my head that I wanted a staircase and a second floor added to the house. I no longer remember why. Maybe I needed a new place to start over.

One afternoon, after Papa refused to build a staircase for me once again, Nupi led me crying into her kitchen. When I explained what was wrong, she ordered me to sit."What for?" I asked.

"Will you ever just do what I say without making a fuss?"

She'd made a batch of steaming dal for herself and spooned some with her old iron ladle onto a banana leaf for me, then gave herself a smaller portion. She moved her ancient wooden stool up to the table we'd recently given a new coat of bright yellow paint and instructed me to do the same with the cane chair behind her broom. "You want me to eat with you?" I asked. She looked around, then peered over my shoulder. She even upturned her large cauldron, which had a wedge of black soap hiding underneath. "I don't see anyone else here," she said, "so you're my only choice."
For the first time in our lives we ate together. A white hibiscus flower from our garden peeked over the rim of the cracked earthenware jar between us. "Flowers are good," she announced to me when I touched it. I came to learn that this was an essential postulate in her guidebook to life. "And your mother would want to know you're eating well," she added.

As we ate our dal, Nupi kicked my bare foot now and again to make me look up, since I tended to get lost in thought of late. She told me I mustn't leave over a single lentil or she'd report me to my father, which was an attempt at humour, since she was always saying Papa was too easy on me. When I didn't smile, she gave me a serious look and said I was to eat with her in the kitchen whenever I was feeling bad. "You mean it?" I asked.

"I never joke about food," she replied, which was true enough.

I sometimes think that Nupi's simple offer that day saved my life, because I did eat with her -- and often -- over the coming years. And I have always associated the taste of her dal on that first occasion with the kind of love that never fails to act in time of need. Sofia told me much later that she did, too, and I would guess that Nupi invited my sister to eat with her on occasions I don't even know about.
I wish I had done something in return for our old cook that day -- had collected a basket of the violet-coloured orchids we called cat's whiskers for her shrine to Ganesha or simply hugged her. I didn't yet realize that all she really prayed for -- and what she most wanted in life -- was that my sister and I would not die young. But that, of course, was a guarantee -- and gift -- that no one could give her.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

கண்டவைகளும் காணப்போவதும்

உலகெல்லாம் பரவிய உன்மத்தத்தின் பிரமையில் மக்கள் கல்லுக்குப் பாலூட்டிக்கொண்டிருந்தார்கள்.

வருடம் ஒரு முறை இவர்கள் படைக்கும் கொழுக்கட்டைகளின் அஜீரணத்தில் அவதிப்படும் பிள்ளையாருக்கு பேதி மருந்து கொடுத்தது போல் பிள்ளையார் சிலைகளின் எண்ணெய் பிசுக்கில் கலங்களாய் தேங்கிக் கிடந்தது பால். நம்பிக்கை எனும் ஏவலில் கட்டுண்டு மனிதர்கள் அனைவரும் பால் குடிப்பதைப் பார்க்க கோவில்களில் கூடியிருந்தனர். இவர்களில் பலர் பகுத்தறிவு பேசும் பத்திரிக்கையாளர்கள், தொழிலதிபர்கள், நீதிபதிகள் மற்றும் ஆசிரியர்கள். வேதாந்தத்திற்கு வியாக்கியானங்கள் செய்யும் பிரபலமானவர்கள் பலர் கேள்வி கேட்ட பத்திரிக்கையாளர்களிடம் சொன்னார்கள், "கடவுள் தன்னை இப்படி வெளிப்படுத்த விரும்புகிறார். இது உண்மை என நம்பத்தான் வேண்டும்." பத்திரிக்கைகள் இதை பிரசுரித்துத் தங்கள் கடமையைச் செய்தன. ஆனால் அவர்? வழக்கம்போல தன் உணர்தலின் அடிப்படையில் அவரது பதில். கேள்வி கேட்ட அன்பர்களிடம் இவ்வாறு கூறினார். "எத்தனையோ குழந்தைகள் ஒரு வேளை உணவில்லாமல் வாடுகின்றன. தாய்ப்பால் தவிர வேறு பால் இருக்கின்றது என்பது தெரியாமல் பல குழந்தைகள் வளர்கின்றன. இங்கே இவர்கள் கொட்டி வீணாக்கும் பாலை அவர்களுக்குகெல்லாம் கொடுத்தால் பிள்ளையார் உண்மையில் இவர்களை ஆசிர்வதிப்பார்." பரபரப்பைத் தூண்டாததால் இவரது இந்த கருத்து பத்திரிக்கைகளில் வரவில்லை.

* * இந்திராகாந்தியின் பெயரில் அமைந்த பெரு மதிப்பு வாய்ந்த பட்டத்தை முதன் முதலில் அவருக்கு வணங்கி அரசாங்கம் பெருமை பட்டுக்கொண்டது. இவருக்குப் பின் அந்த பட்டம் பெற்றவர்களெல்லாம் சொல்லிக் கொண்டார்கள், "அவருக்குக் கொடுத்த பட்டத்தை எனக்குக் கொடுத்திருக்கிறார்கள்".

* * UNESCO அவரை உலகம் முழுவதுமான இந்திய கலாச்சார தூதுவர் என அடையாளம் கண்டு சந்தோஷப்பட்டது.

** டெல்லிக்கு பலர் காவடியெடுத்துக்கொண்டு பாராளுமன்ற தாழ்வாரங்களில் தரகர்களைக் கொஞ்சிக்கொண்டிருந்த போது, ஏழெட்டு முறை பத்மபூஷன் விருது இவரது வாசலில் ஏமாற்றத்தோடு கௌரவத்தைத் தேடி காத்துக்கிடந்தது. பெரிய பெரிய தலைவர்கள் வேண்டியும் வற்புறுத்தியும் அவர் அதை மறுத்துவிட்டார். அவருக்கு வேறு முக்கியமான வேலைகள் இருந்தன.

* * அவர் அந்தப் பணியாளருக்கு செயல் முறையில் விளக்கிக்கொண்டிருந்தார். "இதோ பார்! இப்படித்தான் கக்கூஸை சுத்தம் செய்ய வேண்டும்". அப்போது அவர் உலகமெங்கும் பரவியிருக்கும் அந்த சேவை அமைப்பின் மிகப்பெரிய தலைவர். அவர் என்றுமே முக்கியமான வேலைகளைச் செய்யாமல் இருந்ததில்லை.

* * அவருடைய பேச்சினைக் கேட்பதற்க்காக தங்களுடைய முக்கியமான வேலைகளையெல்லாம் விட்டுவிட்டு நாட்டின் பெரிய தலைவர்கள் காத்திருந்தனர். அவர்களில் இந்திராகாந்தியும் ஒருவர்.

** "அய்யா! இதை எழுத இப்போது நான் வெட்கப்படுகிறேன். கல்லூரி கலாச்சாரமாக கருதப்பட்ட பல கீழான விஷயங்களை நான் முன்னின்று நடத்திவந்தவன். நான் பேருந்தில் பயணச்சீட்டு வாங்கியதேயில்லை. அதைச்செய்யும் மற்ற மாணவர்களைக் கேலி செய்வதும் அவர்களை இதுபோல் கீழான செயல் செய்யும்போதும் பாராட்டிக்கொண்டிருந்தேன். ஆனால், அன்று உங்கள் சொற்பொழிவைக் கேட்டபின்னால் இது போன்ற செயல்களைச் செய்ய வெட்கப் படுகிறேன். குற்ற உணர்வு என்னைக் கொல்கிறது. என்னால் பெரியதாக வேறெதுவும் செய்ய முடியாது. ஆனால், ஒரு நல்ல மனிதனாக வாழ்வது ரொம்ப சந்தோஷமாக இருக்கிறது." அவருக்கு வந்த கடிதங்களில் ஒன்று.

* * தமிழகத்தில் இருந்துகொண்டு உலக முழுவதும் தங்கள் 'பார்சல் சர்விஸ்'களை செய்து கொண்டிருக்கும் அந்த குடும்பத்தினர் அவருக்கு மிக விலையுயர்ந்த கடிகாரத்தைப் பரிசாக வழங்கினர். அதில் தங்கத்தைத் தவிர வேறு எந்த உலோகமும் உபயோகப் படுத்தவில்லை. உள்ளங்கை அகல அந்த கடிகாரத்தில் சின்ன சின்ன ஸ்ப்ரிங்குகள் கூட தங்கத்தால் ஆனாது. அதை அந்த சேவை மையத்தில் புதிதாகச் சேர்ந்த ஒருவருக்குக் கொடுத்துவிட்டார்.

** சில சமயங்களில் அவர் நேர்மையற்றவராகயிருந்தார். அவரது உதவியாளருக்கு இவர் சொன்ன ஒரு விஷயம் ஆச்சரியமாக இருந்தது. "ஆனால், இந்த போர்வை மிக மிக விலையுயர்ந்தது." "see! அந்தப் பையன் நன்றாகப் படிக்கிற பையன். குளிர் காலத்தில் அவனுக்கு அது உபயோகமாக இருக்கும். அவனிடம் கொடுத்து விடு." "ஆனால், உங்களுக்கு இந்த போர்வையை பக்தியோடு கொடுத்தவர்கள் வாசலில் தான் நின்றுகொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள். அவர்களுக்கு முன்னால் இதை எப்படி அந்த பையனுக்குக் கொடுப்பது?" "அவர்களுக்கு ஏன் தெரிய வேண்டும்? இதை அவர்களுக்குத் தெரியாமல் அந்த பையனுக்குக் கொடுத்துவிடு" அந்த திருட்டுத்தனம் நடந்தது. அவரால் கல்வி பெறும் பல மாணவர்களில் ஒருவனான அந்தச் சிறுவனுக்கு இனி குளிர்காலங்கள் வேதனையான நாட்கள் இல்லை.

* * அவருடைய கருத்துகளைக்கேட்டு பல இளைஞர்கள் தங்கள் வாழ்க்கையை அற்பணித்துக்கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள். சிலர் வாழ்க்கை முழுவதையும் அற்பணிக்காவிட்டாலும், தங்களாலானவற்றை செய்துகொண்டிருக்கின்றனர். ஒரு வக்கில் சேரி வாழும் மக்களுக்கு மட்டுமே பணி செய்வது என்று குடும்பத்தோடு சேரியில் வாழ்கிறார். ஒரு மிகப்பெரிய மருத்துவர் மாணவர்களுக்கு நுழைவுத்தேர்வுகளுக்கு இலவசமாகப் பயிற்சியளித்துக்கொண்டிடுக்கிறார். இவரால் பலர் தற்போது டாக்டர்களாகவும் இஞ்சினியர்களாவும் உள்ளனர். இந்த மருத்துவர் திருமணம் செய்துகொள்ளவில்லை.

இந்த உலகம் விசித்திரமானது. உண்மையே வாழவைக்கும் என்று தெரிந்தும், பொய்மைகளின் பலத்திற்கு முன்னால் உண்மை உதவாது என்று தெரிந்துகொண்ட நடைபிணங்கள் வாழுமிடமிது. தங்களிடமிருக்கும் மதிப்பு மிகுந்த நவரத்தின நகைகளை பிணத்திற்குப்போட்டு பிணத்தின் நக அழுக்கைப் புசித்துப் பூஜிப்பதைக் கலாச்சாராமாக்கி விட்டார்களே உயர்ந்தவர்கள் எனப்படுகின்றனர். அல்லது கருணையின் வடிவமாக உலகமுழுவதும் பெயர் பெற்ற வேறு சிலர் இவர்களது கருணை தங்களது நம்பிக்கைகளை ஒத்துக்கொண்டவர்களுக்கு மட்டும் தான். இவர்களுக்கு நடுவில் 'தோட்டிச்சாமியர்கள்' என்று மற்ற சனாதனிகளால் வெறுக்கப்பட்ட அந்த குழுவில் தன்னை இணைத்துக்கொண்ட அவரது இயற்பெயர் சங்கரர்.

சங்கரர்கள் கேரளாவில்தான் அவதரிக்கிறார்கள். பரபரப்பையோ, ஓட்டுகளையோ பெற்றுத்தராத இவர் இறந்தது இந்த வருடம்(2005) ஏப்ரல் மாதம் 25ம் தேதி. இவரை உங்களுக்குத் தெரியாது. அது அவரது விருப்பமல்ல; அவரது விருப்பம் உறுதியான, நேர்மையான மனிதர்களை விளையவைப்பதே. அதுவே அவர் வாழ்வின் பயன். சுவாமி ரங்கநாதானந்தர் என்ற பெயரில் மறைந்த இவர், தன் வாழ்வை ராமகிருஷ்ண, விவேகானந்த கருத்துக்களுக்கே அர்ப்பணித்தவர். சாமியார்கள் என்றாலே ஆனந்த விகடனின் ஜோக்குகளில் ஒன்றாகிவிட்ட வெறும் நகல்களுக்கு நடுவில் உண்மைகளும் உலாவருகின்றனர். அடையாளம் காணமுடியாதது நம் பலவீனம். ஆனாலும், நீங்கள் இவரை மீண்டும் சில இடங்களில் சந்திக்க முடியும். அங்கே குழந்தைகளின் பசிக்குப்பாலுண்டு.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Myth of Aryan Invasion Theory

Following is the article written by David Frawley in "The India Times" David Frawley, a well-known Vedic scholar, runs the American Institute of Vedic Studies in santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also a famed Ayurveda doctor. Those interested in this subject may refer to his book "Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization".

The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India

By David Frawley

One of the main ideas used to interpret and generally devalue the ancient history of India is the theory of the Aryan invasion. According to this account, India was invaded and conquered by nomadic light-skinned Indo-European tribes from Central Asia around 1500-100 BC, who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark-skinned Dravidian civilization from which they took most of what later became Hindu culture. This so-called pre-Aryan civilization is said to be evidenced by the large urban ruins of what has been called the "Indus valley culture" (as most of its initial sites were on the Indus river). The war between the powers of light and darkness, a prevalent idea in ancient Aryan Vedic scriptures, was thus interpreted to refer to this war between light and dark skinned peoples. The Aryan invasion theory thus turned the "Vedas", the original scriptures of ancient India and the Indo-Aryans, into little more than primitive poems of uncivilized plunderers.

This idea totally foreign to the history of India, whether north or south has become almost an unquestioned truth in the interpretation of ancient history Today, after nearly all the reasons for its supposed validity have been refuted, even major Western scholars are at last beginning to call it in question.

In this article we will summarize the main points that have arisen. This is a complex subject that I have dealt with in depth in my book "Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization", for those interested in further examination of the subject.

The Indus valley culture was pronounced pre-Aryans for several reasons that were largely part of the cultural milieu of nineteenth century European thinking As scholars following Max Mullar had decided that the Aryans came into India around 1500 BC, since the Indus valley culture was earlier than this, they concluded that it had to be preAryan. Yet the rationale behind the late date for the Vedic culture given by Muller was totally speculative. Max Muller, like many of the Christian scholars of his era, believed in Biblical chronology. This placed the beginning of the world at 400 BC and the flood around 2500 BC. Assuming to those two dates, it became difficult to get the Aryans in India before 1500 BC.

Muller therefore assumed that the five layers of the four 'Vedas' & 'Upanishads' were each composed in 200 year periods before the Buddha at 500 BC. However, there are more changes of language in Vedic Sanskrit itself than there are in classical Sanskrit since Panini, also regarded as a figure of around 500 BC, or a period of 2500 years. Hence it is clear that each of these periods could have existed for any number of centuries and that the 200 year figure is totally arbitrary and is likely too short a figure.

It was assumed by these scholars many of whom were also Christian missionaries unsympathetic to the 'Vedas' that the Vedic culture was that of primitive nomads from Central Asia. Hence they could not have founded any urban culture like that of the Indus valley. The only basis for this was a rather questionable interpretation of the 'Rig Veda' that they made, ignoring the sophisticated nature of the culture presented within it.

Meanwhile, it was also pointed out that in the middle of the second millennium BC, a number of Indo-European invasions apparently occured in the Middle East, wherein Indo-European peoples the Hittites, Mit tani and Kassites conquered and ruled Mesopotamia for some centuries. An Aryan invasion of India would have been another version of this same movement of Indo-European peoples. On top of this, excavators of the Indus valley culture, like Wheeler, thought they found evidence of destruction of the culture by an outside invasion confirming this.
The Vedic culture was thus said to be that of primitive nomads who came out of Central Asia with their horse-drawn chariots and iron weapons and overthrew the cities of the more advanced Indus valley culture, with their superior battle tactics. It was pointed out that no horses, chariots or iron was discovered in Indus valley sites.

This was how the Aryan invasion theory formed and has remained since then. Though little has been discovered that confirms this theory, there has been much hesitancy to question it, much less to give it up.

Further excavations discovered horses not only in Indus Valley sites but also in pre-Indus sites. The use of the horse has thus been proven for the whole range of ancient Indian history. Evidence of the wheel, and an Indus seal showing a spoked wheel as used in chariots, has also been found, suggesting the usage of chariots.

Moreover, the whole idea of nomads with chariots has been challenged. Chariots are not the vehicles of nomads. Their usage occured only in ancient urban cultures with much flat land, of which the river plain of north India was the most suitable. Chariots are totally unsuitable for crossing mountains and deserts, as the so-called Aryan invasion required.

That the Vedic culture used iron & must hence date later than the introduction of iron around 1500 BC revolves around the meaning of the Vedic term "ayas", interpreted as iron. 'Ayas' in other Indo- European languages like Latin or German usually means copper, bronze or ore generally, not specially iron. There is no reason to insist that in such earlier Vedic times, 'ayas' meant iron, particularly since other metals are not mentioned in the 'Rig Veda' (except gold that is much more commonly referred to than ayas). Moreover, the 'Atharva Veda' and 'Yajur Veda' speak of different colors of 'ayas'(such as red & black), showing that it was a generic term. Hence it is clear that 'ayas' generally meant metal and not specifically iron.

Moreover, the enemies of the Vedic people in the 'Rig Veda' also use ayas, even for making their cities, as do the Vedic people themselves. Hence there is nothing in Vedic literture to show that either the Vedic culture was an ironbased culture or that there enemies were not.

The 'Rig Veda' describes its Gods as 'destroyers of cities'. This was used also to regard the Vedic as a primitive non-urban culture that destroys cities and urban civilization. However, there are also many verses in the 'Rig Veda' that speak of the Aryans as having having cities of their own and being protected by cities upto a hundred in number. Aryan Gods like Indra, Agni, Saraswati and the Adityas are praised as being like a city. Many ancient kings, including those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, had titles like destroyer or conquerer of cities. This does not turn them into nomads. Destruction of cities also happens in modern wars; this does not make those who do this nomads. Hence the idea of Vedic culture as destroying but not building the cities is based upon ignoring what the Vedas actually say about their own cities.

Further excavation revealed that the Indus Valley culture was not des- troyed by outside invasion, but according to internal causes and, most likely, floods. Most recently a new set of cities has been found in India (like the Dwaraka and Bet Dwaraka sites by S.R. Rao and the National Institute of Oceanography in India) which are intermidiate between those of the Indus culture and later ancient India as visited by the Greeks. This may eliminate the so-called dark age following the presumed Aryan invasion and shows a continuous urban occupation in India back to the beginning of the Indus culture.

The interpretation of the religion of the Indus Valley culture -made incidentlly by scholars such as Wheeler who were not religious scholars much less students of Hinduism was that its religion was different than the Vedic and more likely the later Shaivite religion. However, further excavations both in Indus Valley site in Gujarat, like Lothal, and those in Rajsthan, like Kalibangan show large number of fire altars like those used in the Vedic religion, along with bones of oxen, potsherds, shell jewelry and other items used in the rituals described in the 'Vedic Brahmanas'. Hence the Indus Valley culture evidences many Vedic practices that can not be merely coincidental. That some of its practices appeared non-Vedic to its excavators may also be attributed to their misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of Vedic and Hindu culture generally, wherein Vedism and Shaivism are the same basic tradition.

We must remember that ruins do not necessarily have one interpretation. Nor does the ability to discover ruins necessarily gives the ability to interpret them correctly.

The Vedic people were thought to have been a fair-skinned race like the Europeans owing to the Vedic idea of a war between light and darkness, and the Vedic people being presented as children of light or children of the sun. Yet this idea of a war between light and darkness exists in most ancient cultures, including the Persian and the Egyptian. Why don't we interpret their scriptures as a war between light and dark-skinned people? It is purely a poetic metaphor, not a cultural statement. Moreover, no real traces of such a race are found in India.

Anthropologists have observed that the present population of Gujarat is composed of more or less the same ethnic groups as are noticed at Lothal in 2000 BC. Similarly, the present population of the Punjab is said to be ethnically the same as the population of Harappa and Rupar 4000 years ago. Linguistically the present day population of Gujrat and Punjab belongs to the Indo-Aryan language speaking group. The only inference that can be drawn from the anthropological and linguistic evidences adduced above is that the Harappan population in the Indus Valley and Gujrat in 2000 BC was composed of two or more groups, the more dominent among them having very close ethnic affinities with the present day Indo-Aryan speaking population of India.

In other words there is no racial evidence of any such Indo-Aryan invasion of India but only of a continuity of the same group of people who traditionally considered themselves to be Aryans.
There are many points in fact that prove the Vedic nature of the Indus Valley culture. Further excavation has shown that the great majority of the sites of the Indus Valley culture were east, not west of Indus. In fact, the largest concentration of sites appears in an area of Punjab and Rajsthan near the dry banks of ancient Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers. The Vedic culture was said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers. The Saraswati is lauded as the main river (naditama) in the 'Rig Veda' & is the most frequently mentioned in the text. It is said to be a great flood and to be wide, even endless in size. Saraswati is said to be "pure in course from the mountains to the sea". Hence the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial hoemland.
The Saraswati, as modern land studies now reveal, was indeed one of the largest, if not the largest river in India. In early ancient and pre-historic times, it once drained the Sutlej, Yamuna and the Ganges, whose courses were much different than they are today. However, the Saraswati river went dry at the end of the Indus Valley culture and before the so-called Aryan invasion or before 1500 BC. In fact this may have caused the ending of the Indus culture. How could the Vedic Aryans know of this river and establish their culture on its banks if it dried up before they arrived? Indeed the Saraswati as described in the 'Rig Veda' appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture as in the Indus era it was already in decline.

Vedic and late Vedic texts also contain interesting astronomical lore. The Vedic calender was based upon astronomical sightings of the equinoxes and solstices. Such texts as 'Vedanga Jyotish' speak of a time when the vernal equinox was in the middle of the Nakshtra Aslesha (or about 23 degrees 20 minutes Cancer). This gives a date of 1300 BC. The 'Yajur Veda' and 'Atharva Veda' speak of the vernal equinox in the Krittikas (Pleiades; early Taurus) and the summer solstice (ayana) in Magha (early Leo). This gives a date about 2400 BC. Yet earlier eras are mentioned but these two have numerous references to substantiate them. They prove that the Vedic culture existed at these periods and already had a sophisticated system of astronomy. Such references were merely ignored or pronounced unintelligible by Western scholars because they yielded too early a date for the 'Vedas' than what they presumed, not because such references did not exist.

Vedic texts like 'Shatapatha Brahmana' and 'Aitereya Brahmana' that mention these astronomical references list a group of 11 Vedic Kings, including a number of figures of the 'Rig Veda', said to have conquered the region of India from 'sea to sea'. Lands of the Aryans are mentioned in them from Gandhara (Afganistan) in the west to Videha (Nepal) in the east, and south to Vidarbha (Maharashtra). Hence the Vedic people were in these regions by the Krittika equinox or before 2400 BC. These passages were also ignored by Western scholars and it was said by them that the 'Vedas' had no evidence of large empires in India in Vedic times. Hence a pattern of ignoring literary evidence or misinterpreting them to suit the Aryan invasion idea became prevalent, even to the point of changing the meaning of Vedic words to suit this theory.
According to this theory, the Vedic people were nomads in the Punjab, comming down from Central Asia. However, the 'Rig Veda' itself has nearly 100 references to ocean (samudra), as well as dozens of references to ships, and to rivers flowing in to the sea. Vedic ancestors like Manu, Turvasha, Yadu and Bhujyu are flood figures, saved from across the sea. The Vedic God of the sea, Varuna, is the father of many Vedic seers and seer families like Vasishta, Agastya and the Bhrigu seers. To preserve the Aryan invasion idea it was assumed that the Vedic (and later sanskrit) term for ocean, samudra, originally did not mean the ocean but any large body of water, especially the Indus river in Punjab. Here the clear meaning of a term in 'Rig Veda' and later times verified by rivers like Saraswati mentioned by name as flowing into the sea was altered to make the Aryan invasion theory fit. Yet if we look at the index to translation of the 'Rig Veda' by Griffith for example, who held to this idea that samudra didn't really mean the ocean, we find over 70 references to ocean or sea. If samudra does noe mean ocean why was it traslated as such? It is therefore without basis to locate Vedic kings in Central Asia far from any ocean or from the massive Saraswati river, which form the background of their land and the symbolism of their hymns.

One of the latest archeological ideas is that the Vedic culture is evidenced by Painted Grey Ware pottery in north India, which apears to date around 1000 BC and comes from the same region between the Ganges and Yamuna as later Vedic culture is related to. It is thought to be an inferior grade of pottery and to be associated with the use of iron that the 'Vedas' are thought to mention. However it is associated with a pig and rice culture, not the cow and barley culture of the 'Vedas'. Moreover it is now found to be an organic development of indegenous pottery, not an introduction of invaders.
Painted Grey Ware culture represents an indigenous cultural development and does not reflect any cultural intrusion from the West i.e. an Indo-Aryan invasion. Therefore, there is no archeological evidence corroborating the fact of an Indo-Aryan invasion.

In addition, the Aryans in the Middle East, most notably the Hittites, have now been found to have been in that region atleast as early as 2200 BC, wherein they are already mentioned. Hence the idea of an Aryan invasion into the Middle East has been pushed back some centuries, though the evidence so far is that the people of the mountain regions of the Middle East were Indo-Europeans as far as recorded history can prove.

The Aryan Kassites of the ancient Middle East worshipped Vedic Gods like Surya and the Maruts, as well as one named Himalaya. The Aryan Hittites and Mittani signed a treaty with the name of the Vedic Gods Indra, Mitra, Varuna and Nasatyas around 1400 BC. The Hittites have a treatise on chariot racing written in almost pure Sanskrit. The IndoEuropeans of the ancient Middle East thus spoke Indo-Aryan, not Indo-Iranian languages and thereby show a Vedic culture in that region of the world as well.

The Indus Valley culture had a form of writing, as evidenced by numerous seals found in the ruins. It was also assumed to be non-Vedic and probably Dravidian, though this was never proved. Now it has been shown that the majority of the late Indus signs are identical with those of later Hindu Brahmi and that there is an organic development between the two scripts. Prevalent models now suggest an Indo-European base for that language.

It was also assumed that the Indus Valley culture derived its civilization from the Middle East, probably Sumeria, as antecedents for it were not found in India. Recent French excavations at Mehrgarh have shown that all the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture can be found within the subcontinent and going back before 6000 BC.

In short, some Western scholars are beginning to reject the Aryan invasion or any outside origin for Hindu civilization.

Current archeological data do not support the existence of an Indo Aryan or European invasion into South Asia at any time in the preor protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural development from prehistoric to historic periods. The early Vedic literature describes not a human invasion into the area, but a fundamental restructuring of indigenous society. The Indo-Aryan invasion as an academic concept in 18th and 19th century Europe reflected the cultural milieu of the period. Linguistic data were used to validate the concept that in turn was used to interpret archeological and anthropological data.

In other words, Vedic literature was interpreted on the assumption that there was an Aryan invasion. Then archeological evidence was interpreted by the same assumption. And both interpretations were then used to justify each other. It is nothing but a tautology, an exercise in circular thinking that only proves that if assuming something is true, it is found to be true!
Another modern Western scholar, Colin Renfrew, places the IndoEuropeans in Greece as early as 6000 BC. He also suggests such a possible early date for their entry into India.

As far as I can see there is nothing in the Hymns of the 'Rig Veda' which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking population was intrusive to the area: this comes rather from a historical assumption of the 'comming of the Indo-Europeans.

When Wheeler speaks of 'the Aryan invasion of the land of the 7 rivers, the Punjab', he has no warrenty at all, so far as I can see. If one checks the dozen references in the 'Rig Veda' to the 7 rivers, there is nothing in them that to me implies invasion: the land of the 7 rivers is the land of the 'Rig Veda', the scene of action. Nor is it implied that the inhabitants of the walled cities (including the Dasyus) were any more aboriginal than the Aryans themselves.

Despite Wheeler's comments, it is difficult to see what is particularly non-Aryan about the Indus Valley civilization. Hence Renfrew suggests that the Indus Valley civilization was in fact Indo-Aryan even prior to the Indus Valley era:

This hypothesis that early Indo-European languages were spoken in North India with Pakistan and on the Iranian plateau at the 6th millennium BC has the merit of harmonizing symmetrically with the theory for the origin of the IndoEuropean languages in Europe. It also emphasizes the continuity in the Indus Valley and adjacent areas from the early neolithic through to the floruit of the Indus Valley civilization.

This is not to say that such scholars appreciate or understand the 'Vedas' their work leaves much to be desired in this respect but that it is clear that the whole edifice built around the Aryan invasion is beginning to tumble on all sides. In addition, it does not mean that the 'Rig Veda' dates from the Indus Valley era. The Indus Valley culture resembles that of the 'Yajur Veda' and the reflect the pre-Indus period in India, when the Saraswati river was more prominent.

The acceptance of such views would create a revolution in our view of history as shattering as that in science caused by Einstein's theory of relativity. It would make ancient India perhaps the oldest, largest and most central of ancient cultures. It would mean that the Vedic literary record already the largest and oldest of the ancient world even at a 1500 BC date would be the record of teachings some centuries or thousands of years before that. It would mean that the 'Vedas' are our most authentic record of the ancient world. It would also tend to validate the Vedic view that the Indo-Europeans and other Aryan peoples were migrants from India, not that the Indo-Aryans were invaders into India. Moreover, it would affirm the Hindu tradition that the Dravidians were early offshoots of the Vedic people through the seer Agastya, and not unaryan peoples.

In closing, it is important to examine the social and political implications of the Aryan invasion idea:

First, it served to divide India into a northern Aryan and southern Dravidian culture which were made hostile to each other. This kept the Hindus divided and is still a source of social tension.
Second, it gave the British an excuse in their conquest of India. They could claim to be doing only what the Aryan ancestors of the Hindus had previously done millennia ago.
Third, it served to make Vedic culture later than and possibly derived from Middle Eastern cultures. With the proximity and relationship of the latter with the Bible and Christianity, this kept the Hindu religion as a sidelight to the development of religion and civilization to the West.
Fourth, it allowed the sciences of India to be given a Greek basis, as any Vedic basis was largely disqualified by the primitive nature of the Vedic culture.

This discredited not only the 'Vedas' but the genealogies of the 'Puranas' and their long list of the kings before the Buddha or Krishna were left without any historical basis. The 'Mahabharata', instead of a civil war in which all the main kings of India participated as it is described, became a local skirmish among petty princes that was later exaggerated by poets. In short, it discredited the most of the Hindu tradition and almost all its ancient literature. It turned its scriptures and sages into fantacies and exaggerations.

This served a social, political and economical purpose of domination, proving the superiority of Western culture and religion. It made the Hindus feel that their culture was not the great thing that their sages and ancestors had said it was. It made Hindus feel ashamed of their culture that its basis was neither historical nor scientific. It made them feel that the main line of civilization was developed first in the Middle East and then in Europe and that the culture of India was peripheral and secondary to the real development of world culture.

Such a view is not good scholarship or archeology but merely cultural imperialism. The Western Vedic scholars did in the intellectual spehere what the British army did in the political realm discredit, divide and conquer the Hindus. In short, the compelling reasons for the Aryan invasion theory were neither literary nor archeological but political and religious that is to say, not scholarship but prejudice. Such prejudice may not have been intentional but deep-seated political and religious views easily cloud and blur our thinking.

It is unfortunate that this this approach has not been questioned more, particularly by Hindus. Even though Indian Vedic scholars like Dayananda saraswati, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Arobindo rejected it, most Hindus today passively accept it. They allow Western, generally Christian, scholars to interpret their history for them and quite naturally Hinduism is kept in a reduced role. Many Hindus still accept, read or even honor the translations of the 'Vedas' done by such Christian missionary scholars as Max Muller, Griffith, MonierWilliams and H. H. Wilson. Would modern Christians accept an interpretation of the Bible or Biblical history done by Hindus aimed at converting them to Hinduism? Universities in India also use the Western history books and Western Vedic translations that propound such views that denigrate their own culture and country.

The modern Western academic world is sensitive to critisms of cultural and social biases. For scholars to take a stand against this biased interpretation of the 'Vedas' would indeed cause a reexamination of many of these historical ideas that can not stand objective scrutiny. But if Hindu scholars are silent or passively accept the misinterpretation of their own culture, it will undoubtly continue, but they will have no one to blame but themselves. It is not an issue to be taken lightly, because how a culture is defined historically creates the perspective from which it is viewed in the modern social and intellectual context. Tolerance is not in allowing a false view of one's own culture and religion to be propagated without question. That is merely self-betrayal.


"Atherva Veda" IX.5.4.
"Rig Veda" II.20.8 & IV.27.1.
"Rig Veda" VII.3.7; VII.15.14; VI.48.8; I.166.8; I.189.2; VII.95.1.
S.R. Rao, "Lothal and the Indus Valley Civilization", Asia Publishing House, Bombay, India, 1973, p. 37, 140 & 141.
Ibid, p. 158.
"Manu Samhita" II.17-18.
Note "Rig Veda" II.41.16; VI.61.8-13; I.3.12.
"Rig Veda" VII.95.2.
Studies from the post-graduate Research Institute of Deccan College, Pune, and the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhapur. Confirmed by use of MSS (multi-spectral scanner) and Landsat Satellite photography. Note MLBD Newsletter (Delhi, India: Motilal Banarasidass), Nov. 1989. Also Sriram Sathe, "Bharatiya Historiography", Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, Hyderabad, India, 1989, pp. 11-13.
"Vedanga Jyotisha of Lagadha", Indian National Science Academy, Delhi, India, 1985, pp 12-13.
"Aitareya Brahmana", VIII.21-23; "Shatapat Brahmana", XIII.5.4.
R. Griffith, "The Hymns of the Rig Veda", Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi, 1976.
J. Shaffer, "The Indo-Aryan invasions: Cultural Myth and Archeological Reality", from J. Lukas(Ed), 'The people of South Asia', New York, 1984, p. 85.
T. Burrow, "The Proto-Indoaryans", Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, No. 2, 1973, pp. 123-140.
G. R. Hunter, "The Script of Harappa and Mohenjodaro and its connection with other scripts", Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., London, 1934. J.E. Mitchiner, "Studies in the Indus Valley Inscriptions", Oxford & IBH, Delhi, India, 1978. Also the work of Subhash Kak as in "A Frequency Analysis of the Indus Script", Cryptologia, July 1988, Vol XII, No 3; "Indus Writing", The Mankind Quarterly, Vol 30, No 1 & 2, Fall/Winter 1989; and "On the Decipherment of the Indus Script A Preliminary Study of its connection with Brahmi", Indian Journal of History of Science, 22(1):51-62 (1987). Kak may be close to deciphering the Indus Valley script into a Sanskrit like or Vedic language.
J.F. Jarrige and R.H. Meadow, "The Antecedents of Civilization in the Indus Valley", Scientific American, August 1980.
C. Renfrew, "Archeology and Language", Cambridge University Press, New York, 1987.

Book Review - Christian Missionaries in India

Review of the book Christian Missionaries in India as appeared on http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/8172232705/qid%3D942799562/sr%3D1-5/104-6738593-3991921

Christian Missionaries in India, August 15, 2002

Reviewer: Dr. C. J. S. Wallia (Berkeley, California United States) - Reviewed by C. J. S. Wallia

Arun Shourie is India's leading writer on politics and history. He has been an economist with the World Bank, a consultant in the planning commision and the editor of Indian Express. Among the many honors and awards for his writings, noted for rigorous analysis and meticulous research, he has received the International Editor of the Year Award, the Dadabhai Naoroji Award, the Magsaysay Award, and the Astor Award.

In Missionaries in India: Continuities, Changes, Dilemmas, Arun Shourie focuses on the intentional misinterpretations of Hinduism by Christian missionaries. The book is based on an invited lecture, he gave at the 50th anniversary meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India in January 1994. The bishops got quite an earful! Nonetheless, to their great credit, Shourie notes, "the bishops, the senior clergy, and scholars gathered at Pune heard him politely with unwavering attention." He adds, "Had I urged the themes of this lecture to our 'secularists', they would have denounced them as 'communal', 'chauvinist-fascist' and, having labeled them, they would have exempted themselves from considering what was being said."

Shourie quotes from a recent issue of the Texas-based magazine Gospel for Asia: "The Indian sub-continent with one billion people, is a living example of what happens when Satan rules the entire culture... India is one vast purgatory in which millions of people .... are literally living a cosmic lie! Could Satan have devised a more perfect system for causing misery?"

Swami Vivekananda during his historic visit to the U.S., a hundred years earlier, wrote: "Part of the Sunday School education for children here consists in teaching them to hate everybody who is not a Christian, and the Hindus especially, so that, from their very childhood they may subscribe their pennies to the missions .... What is meant by those pictures in the school-books for children where the Hindu mother is painted as throwing her children to the crocodiles in the Ganga? The mother is black, but the baby is painted white, to arouse more sympathy and get more money. What is meant by those pictures which paint a man burning hisown wife at a stake with his own hands, so that she may become a ghost and torment the husband's enemy? .... If all India stands up, and takes all the mud that is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesmal part of that which you are doing to us."

Is this fair to the missionaries? one asks. What about the numerous schools, colleges, and hospitals the missionaries established in India? Did they have a hidden agenda? Yes, says Shourie quoting from Gandhiji's Collected Works. In Gandhiji's discussions with missionaries, they acknowledged that "the institutions and services are indeed incidental, that the aim is to gather a fuller harvest of converts for the Church."

Many of the missionaries who came to see Gandhiji had in his words "designs to convert" him to Christianity. "But what is your attitude to Jesus? the missionaries would always come around to asking Gandhiji. He was a great world teacher among others, Gandhiji would say But that he was the greatest, I cannot accept. He had not the compassion for instance of the Buddha, Gandhiji would recount.... The reverend gentlemen would retire with the imprecation, 'Mr. Gandhi... soon there will come a day when you will be judged, not in your righteousness, but in the righteousness of Jesus."'

In the central section of the book, "The Division of Labour"-- among the British administrators, missionaries, and European Indologists-- Shouire cites extensively from historical documents to establish that these three groups colluded in essential agreement that "India is a den of ignorance, inequity and falsehood; the principal cause of this state of affairs is Hinduism; Hinduism is kept going by the Brahmins; as the people are in such suffering, and also because Jesus in his parting words has bound us to do so, it is a duty to deliver them to Christianity; for this, it is Hinduism which has to be vanquished."

Macaulay's notorious minute instituting English as the medium of instruction in India, says Shourie, "was laced with utter contempt for India, in particular for Hinduism, for our languages and literature: of course, Macaulay did n6t know any of those languages... his ideas about Hinduism had been formed from the calumny of missionaries .... But the breezy, sweeping damnation-- even a century and a half later, the imperialist swagger takes one's breath away."
Shourie quotes, at considerable length, from the writings of two high-ranking nineteenth century British administrators, Richard Temple and Charles Treveylan. Richard Temple: "...the missions in India are doing a work which strengthens the imperial foundations of British power.. the results are fully commensurate with the expenditure." Trevelyan: "A generation is growing up which repudiates idols. A young Hindu, who had received a liberal English education, was forced by his family to attend the shrine of Kali, upon which he took off his cap to'Madam Kali,'made her a low bow, and hoped her ladyship was well."

Most of the European Indologists were far from being the objective scholars they pretended to be. The two most prominent Indologists were Max Muller and Monier-Williams, both committed to uprooting and destroying Hinduism.

Here's what Max Muller, the best-known European Indologist, wrote in a letter to his wife. "...I still have a lot of work to do... my translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of that religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3,000 years."

Monier-Williams, the second holder of the Boden chair of Sanskrit at Oxford University and whose Sanskrit-English dictionary is still used, wrote in its preface that "the Boden chair of Sanskrit was set up by Colonel Boden to promote the translation of Christian Scriptures into Sanskrit, so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion." He told the Missionary Congress held at Oxford on 2 May 1877, "The chief obstacle to the spread of Christianity in India is that these people are proud of their tradition and religion." His dictionary, he hoped, would enable the translation of the Bible into Sanskrit and "when the walls, of the mighty fortress of Brahminism are encircled, undermined, and finally stormed by the soldiers of the Cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete."

Looking at the cauldron of calumnies cooked up Christian missionaries, the imperialists, and the so-called objective scholars, makes the outrage expressed by Swami Vivekananda and Gandhiji entirely understandable. Gandhiji wrote: "If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytising.... it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth."

To present the point of view of the Church, Shourie has included a 50-page report distributed by the Catholic Bishops at the Conference. This report describes the four churches which make up the Church in India--the Syrian Christian communities in Kerala; the Padroado Church originating in Goa, the Tribal Churches in Central India and in the North East; and the Dalit Churches.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the intellectual history and cultural make-up of contemporary India.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Magic Teresa ?

Taken from rediffmail.

West Bengal rejects Mother Teresa's miracleM Chhaya in Kolkata The West Bengal government has rejected as ridiculous the Vatican's claim that Mother Teresa had miraculously cured a woman suffering from a tumour.

An inquiry ordered by the government has concluded that Monica Besra was cured of the ovarian tumour after months of medication, not by wearing a medallion with Mother Teresa's photograph.

The Vatican has accepted Besra's recovery as a miracle by the Albania-born nun, and is all set to beatify her, a major step forward in ordaining her as a saint.

The government's inquiry, which ended on Friday, was headed by South Dinajpur Additional District Magistrate Goutam Ghosh.

Ghosh and Arun Sarkar, an official of the Harirampur block, interviewed villagers, doctors, and members of the Besra family before concluding that any talk of a miracle in the woman's cure was baseless.

"Monica Besra's tumour was cured purely by medical science. She received continuous anti-tubercular treatment and went through all the necessary curative processes. So any talk of her case being beyond the comprehension of medical science is baseless," Ghosh told reporters on Saturday.

The state government was forced to order an inquiry into the claims of miracle after doctors and rationalists raised a hue and cry against it.

Doctors who treated Besra have even alleged that representatives of the Roman Catholic Church had tried to tempt them into saying that Mother Teresa's miracle had cured the tribal woman, a mother of two.

Besra's husband Sekhu Murmu has also rejected claims that his wife was cured by a miracle.
But the state's government's inquiry report is not expected to influence the decision of the Vatican to attribute the case to a miracle performed by Mother Teresa. The findings may, at best, be viewed as a blemish in the process of canonizing a person who spent a lifetime serving the poor and the dying.

Mother Teresa is the fourteenth person from India to be considered for sainthood.

Behind the Bible Fraud

Taken from http://www.rense.com/general66/hide.htm

When I first spoke to a close Christian friend of mine about the publishing of Tony Bushby's The Bible Fraud, her reaction was one that many Christians have expressed, and one that made me aghast. She didn't want the book available because it would "persuade them away from the Bible and the word of God." Further discussions with her and many other Christians around the world about The Bible Fraud all result in the Bible being quoted as the ultimate reference for the apparent "words of God," and therefore the basis for their arguments. The problem lies in that they believe the Bible is infallible.

If we examine the oldest known Bible to date, the "Sinai Bible" housed in the British Museum (I believe that, during his many years of research, Tony had a private viewing of this priceless book), we find a staggering 14,800 differences from today's Bible and yet it still remains the word of God?

As Tony points out, the history of our 'genuine' Bibles is a convoluted one. Firstly we cannot be sure that we have the full version as it was originally intended. In 1415 the Church of Rome took an extraordinary step to destroy all knowledge of two second century Jewish books that it said contained the true name of Jesus Christ. The Antipope Benedict XIII firstly singled out for condemnation a secret Latin treatise called "Mar Yesu" and then issued instructions to destroy all copies of the book of Elxai. The Rabbinic fraternity once held the destroyed manuscripts with great reverence for they were comprehensive original records reporting the life of Rabbi Jesus.
Later, Pope Alexander VI ordered all copies of the Talmud destroyed, with the Spanish Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada (1420-98) responsible for the elimination of 6,000 volumes at Salamanca alone.

Solomon Romano (1554) also burnt many thousands of Hebrew scrolls and, in 1559, every Hebrew book in the city of Prague was confiscated. The mass destruction of Jewish books included hundreds of copies of the Old Testament and caused the irretrievable loss of many original handwritten documents.

The oldest text of the Old Testament that survived, before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls" was said to be the Bodleian Codex (Oxford), which was dated to circa 1100 AD. In an attempt by the church to remove damaging Rabbinic information about Jesus Christ from the face of the earth, the Inquisition burnt 12,000 volumes of the Talmud.

In 1607, forty-seven men (some records say fifty four) took two years and nine months to re-write the Bible and make it ready for press. It was, by the order of King James, issued with a set of personal 'rules' the translators were to follow. Upon its completion in 1609, it was handed over to the King James for his final approval. However, "It was self evident that James was not competent to check their work and edit it, so he passed the manuscripts onto the greatest genius of all time... Sir Francis Bacon"

The first English language manuscripts of the Bible remained in Bacon's possession for nearly a year. During that time ... "he hammered the various styles of the translators into the unity, rhythm, and music of Shakespearean prose, wrote the prefaces and created the whole scheme of the Authorized Version. At the completion of the editing, King James ordered a 'dedication to the King' to be drawn up and included in the opening pages. He also wanted the phrase 'Appointed to be read in the churches' to appear on the title page.

The King James Bible is considered by many today to be the 'original' Bible and therefore 'genuine' and all later revisions simply counterfeits forged by 'higher critics'. Others think the King James Bible is 'authentic' and 'authorized' and presents the original words of the authors as translated into English from the 'original' Greek texts. However, as Tony points out, the 'original' Greek text was not written until around the mid fourth century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first bibles written. What was written in the 'original originals' is quite unknown. It is important to remember that the words 'authorized' and 'original', as applied to the Bible do not mean 'genuine', 'authentic' or 'true'.

By the early third century, it became well noted that a problem was occurring . politics! In 251AD, the number of Presbyter's (roving orator or priest) writings had increased dramatically and bitter arguments raged between opposing factions about their conflicting stories. According to Presbyter Albius Theodoret (circa 255), there were "more than two hundred" variant gospels in use in his time. In 313, groups of Presbyters and Biscops (Bishops) violently clashed over the variations in their writings and "altar was set against altar" in competing for an audience and territory.

When Emperor Constantine conquered the East in 324, he sent his Spanish religious advisor, Osius of Cordoba, to Alexandria with letters to several Biscops exhorting them to make peace among their own. But the mission failed and Constantine, probably at the suggestions of Osius, then issued a decree commanding all Presbyters and their subordinates "be mounted on asses, mules and horses belonging to the public and travel to the city of Nicaea" in the Roman province of Bithymia, the country of Asia. The Presbyters were instructed by the Emperor to bring with them the manuscripts from which they orated to the rabble (that's us!) "wrapped and bound in leather".

Constantine saw in this developing system of belief the opportunity to make a combined state religion and protect it by law. The first general church council was thus convened and the year was 325.

On 21 June, the day of the Summer Solstice, (and under those cult conditions) a total of 2048 "presbyters, deacons, sub-deacons, acolytes and exorcists" gathered at Nicaea to decide what Christianity really was, what it would be, what writings were to be used and who was to be it's God.

Ancient church evidence established that a new 'god' was to be approved by the Roman Emperor and an earlier attempt (circa 210) to deify either Judas Khrestus or his twin brother Rabbi Jesus (or somebody else) had been 'declined'. Therefore, as late as 325, the Christian religion did not have an official god.

After a long and bitter debate, a vote was finally taken and it was with a majority show of hands that Judas Khrestus and Rabbi Jesus both became God (161votes for and 157 votes against). The Emperor effectively joined elements of the two individual life stories of the twin brothers into a singular creation. The doctrine of the Celtic / British church of the west was democratically attached to the Presbyters stories of the east.

A deification ceremony was then performed 'Apotheosis'. Thus the deified ones were then called 'saviours' and looked upon as gods. Temples, altars, and images with attributes of divinity were then erected and public holidays proclaimed on their birthdays.

Following the original example set by the deification of Caesar, their funerals were dramatized as the scene of their resurrection and immortality. All these godly attributes passed as a legal right to Emperor Constantine's new deity, Jesus Christ.

The Emperor then instructed Bishop Eusebius to compile a uniform collection of new writings "bound together as one" using the stories from the large collection of Presbyters as his reference source. Eusebius was to arrange for the production of "fifty sumptuous copies ... to be written on parchment in a legible manner, and in a convenient portable form, by professional scribes thoroughly accomplished in the art". This was the first mention of finished copies of a Christian 'New Testament' in the history of mankind.

As one can imagine, to condense the real life of the Jesus Christ, the Church and His teachings with supporting evidence into a short article is very difficult. It is therefore wise for those who wish to have supportable evidence to read and study Tony Bushby's epic work, The Bible Fraud, along with it's detailed blood lines (family trees) and over 869 references. (see www.thebiblefraud.com)

However, attempting to summarize what Tony has written..... in 325 AD, the first Christian council was called at Nicaea to bring the stories of twin brothers, Jesus 'the Rabbi' and Judas Khrestus into one deity that we now know as Jesus Christ. Tony says they were not born of virgin birth but to Nabatean Arab Mariamne Herod (now known as the Virgin Mary) and fathered by Tiberius ben Panthera, a Roman Centurion. The brothers were raised in the Essene community and became Khrists of their faith. Rabbi Jesus later was initiated in Egypt at the highest of levels similar to the 33rd degree of Freemasonry of which many Prime ministers and Presidents around the world today are members. He then later married three wives, one of whom we know as a Mary Magdalene, a Druidic Princess, stole the Torah from the temple and moved to Lud, now London.

Tony believes the reason Jesus stole the Torah was that he said it contained "a very special secret", which he was going to reveal that secret to the world. He was stoned to death and the Torah taken from him before he could.

The elder brother, Judas Khrestus, with his "Khrestian" followers conspired to take the throne of Rome, his royal birthright, and was captured, tried, and was sentenced to be crucified. (The "Khrestians" and the Essenic army, the Nazarenes, would today be likened to terrorists.) At the trial, Judas exercised his royal birthright to have a replacement in Simon of Cyrene (Luke 23:41) and then was sold as a slave to live out his days as a carpenter in India.

Rabbi Jesus spent a considerable amount of time at the Palace of the British in Rome and sometime around 48 AD, he left for Egypt to pursue his greatest esoteric goal. The spiritual knowledge from his secret education in the Essene and Druid movements was soon to be elevated to the highest level possible - initiation into the innermost rite of the Egyptian temples.
It was probable that Rabbi Jesus' earlier initiation into both the Essene and Druid schools played a major part in his acceptance into the Egyptian school. The Druids could claim a very early origin and the essence of their wisdom was also that of the Essenes. In the case of the Essenes, it is possible to show that their movement was specifically established to preserve secret information, for they knew and used the sacred writing of the Initiates. The full meaning of the point being made by Bushby is that in the case of all Secret Schools, the inner and ultimate Mystery was revealed only to a High Initiate.

Those who were initiated into the Ancient mysteries took a solemn oath never to reveal what had passed within the sacred walls. Every year only a comparatively few Egyptian initiations were conducted, and the number of persons who knew their secrets was never at any time large. The initiations always took place with the onset of darkness and the candidate was entranced for periods of varying length, depending upon the level of the degree for which he had entered.

The first initiatory step involved a forty-day procedure that basically involved purification, not only in physical form, but dissolving all tendencies to evil thoughts, purifying the mind as well. It appears that he would have fasted, alternatively on vegetables, juices and very special herbal concoctions.

The New Testament recorded that this happened to Rabbi Jesus who "was led into the desert.... and he fasted forty days and forty nights" (Matt. 4:1-2).

This trial period involved more than just fasting. During the forty days and nights' ordeal, Tony says the candidate was required to study astronomical charts to supplement his skills in astronomy and memorize charts of the heavens. They were also given a particular ritual from which to memorize certain passwords, secret signs and handclasps, skills that are still practiced to this day in Freemasonry.

These initiations were not limited to Egypt. The ancient civilizations inherited these Mysteries from a remote antiquity and they constituted part of a primitive revelation from the gods to the human race. Almost every people of pre-Christian times possessed its institution and tradition of the mysteries. The Romans, the Druids of Britain, the Greeks, the Cretans, the Syrians, the Hindus, the Persians, the Maya and the American Indians, among others, had corresponding temples and rites with a system of graduated illuminations for the initiates.

The modern world knows little of these ancient rites yet they were conducted in a huge variety of buildings the world over.

The 'Towers' that are found throughout the East in Asia were directly connected with the Mystery-initiations. The candidates for initiation were placed in them for three days and three nights, whenever there was no temple with a subterranean crypt close at hand.
In this aspect of the initiatory procedure, Tony points out a direct Gospel parallel with Rabbi Jesus saying, "After three days I shall rise again", for he knew the finishing process he was to undertake would take three days being a symbol of the period of time required to complete a condition of development. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts speak of an initiate as 'twice-born', and he was permitted to add to his name the words 'he who has renewed his life', so that on some ancient tomb-inscriptions archaeologists still discover these phases descriptive of the spiritual status of the deceased person.

So little did the later Gospel writers understand the initiatory process that they never perceived they were developing a story that included a Rabbi's (and Arch Druid of Britain) experience in an Egyptian Mystery School.

St Austin (c. 380) asserted that it was generally known in church circles that Rabbi Jesus had been initiated in Egypt, and that "he wrote books concerning magic". In the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Jews brought the same accusation before Pontius Pilate, "Did we not tell you he was a magician?" Celsus (c. 178) spoke of the same charge. In the Clementine Recognitions, the accusation was brought against Rabbi Jesus that he did not perform any miracles but practiced magic and carried about with him the figure of a seated skeleton.

Jewish tradition invariably asserted that Rabbi Jesus learned 'magic' in Egypt. Bushby says the kernel of this persistent accusation may perhaps be reduced to the simple historical element that Rabbi Jesus went to Egypt and returned with far wider and more enlightened views than those of his former religious associates.

Now, I'm sure that many of you are having trouble grasping some of the ideas presented in this article and I congratulate you on taking the effort to read this far. We all need to demand our local Church, the Church scholars, theologians and media make an open examination of the evidence compiled in Tony Bushby's The Bible Fraud. It may rattle some core beliefs but what is more important to you . the truth or what sits comfortably because it's what you've known all you life?

I leave you with a quote from one of the conspirators

"How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us." Pope Leo X (1513-1521)

Article first published in New Dawn Magazine No 71, March 2002
CommentAlton Raines6-21-5

While few, even Roman Catholics, would argue that there have indeed been both Popes of questionable, if not evident rancor to the faith and to morals in history, likewise few would argue that there have been upheavals of church politics of every variety imaginable in 1800+ years, some of which has effected church function and even doctrine to this day. An imperfect church hierarchy does not ipso facto mean everything about the Lord Jesus Christ or the Bible is a lie or fabrication!

The foundation stone of Bushby's erratic, nonsensically woven tale of two Jesii is conjecture and wild imagination, at best, having a remarkably embarrassing lack of evidence and/or reference materials for any given statement or postulation. This is typical of the current rash of De-Christers who are dead set on confounding the issues surrounding who Jesus/Y'shua of Nazareth "really" was and locking that element into centuries of both real and unsubstantiated accounts of church malfeasance (some authentic, most invented, almost all irrelevant to the issue of Biblical veracity). Most such disastrous doctrinal defects wound up in 'catechisms', not holy scripture (though sadly, some to this day regard the two as equal)

"How well we know what a profitable superstition this fable of Christ has been for us." Pope Leo X (1513-1521) is a quote tossed around like a hacky-sack, but it cannot be substantiated in the least! Most research finds this quote, or a variation of it, attributed to a Carmelite who converted to protestantism named John Bale (1495-1563), a playwrite, who swore to inflict as much damage upon the Roman church as possible, and in so doing, placed this quote in the mouth of Leo X in his own writings, as represented in 'The Pageant Of The Popes,' pages 179-180 of Vol. 2 (an 1835 reprint in 2 volumes) which was a satirical piece believed to be one of many Bale productions to defame Leo X. It was written even then, regarding this peculiar excerpt, this story "has been repeated by three or four hundred different writers, without any authority whatsoever, except that of the author above referred to."

That quote aside, even if there were a pope that made such a statement, who was secretly a heretic knowing dark secrets, it by no means alters the consistent and substantial course of reasonable historic analysis which has been conducted through the centuries regarding the life, person, passion and truth of Jesus Christ, give or take a few Renaissance influences and peculiar doctrinal stances of various Christians sects down through the years, the core recognition of the essential story of Christ is backed by extant manuscripts (more than 12,000!) which literally stack neck high, whereas for often blindly accepted sources and resources of detractors and enemies of the veracity of scripture, there exists either no or little empirical data by which to authenticate. The means of properly examining both Biblical and Historic truth has been turned completely upside down. Say something enough, repeat it on enough websites, and it becomes
part of the fabric of "truth."

One of the key arguments posed by the De-Christers is that the earliest known writings about the life of Christ appear far too late to be accepted as valid or accurate. They are, of course, ignoring a key reality of that time which was the oral tradition, which then far outweighed writing (Plato called writing "third hand from the truth").

Few could own or possess a Septuagint (A Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, the "Bible" of that day) or even a proper Torah (A scroll of parchment containing the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, used in a synagogue during services) in the time of Jesus; this was something only the wealthy acquired, sometimes owning only one book of the collection as every copy was painstakingly reproduced by scribes, by hand, and under the most stringent of conditions and observations, with endless proofing -- one mar or mistake would bring an entire scroll into the fire and the scribe would begin again.

But memorization and reciting of the words was the active means of distribution of the Word of God ((often times set to memory in song. Few of us can remember the full preamble to the Constitution of the United States, but almost any of us can remember verbatim the words to our favorite song), and following the death and resurrection of Christ, the 'Great Commission' of the Lord to the Apostles, to "go into all the world, teaching every creature the gospel (good news), baptizing them.." came to pass, and historical records of these teachings are replete throughout Asia Minor, evidenced by the tens of thousands of churches established upon Jesus Christ as God's only Son and Savior of mankind -- some still standing to this day or uncovered from the ruins of time and war, even as far east as India.

They 'preached' the Gospel. But Bushby would have readers believe that it wasn't until the Counsel of Nicea in 325 AD -- three generations later -- that "Christians" knew who to worship or had formulated any real doctrine whatsoever! He depicts it as a mad shambles of wild myths interwoven by a conspiratorial counsel, when in fact, the counsel was called to settle reasonable disputes of very deep intellectual, theological and rational inquiry (such as the nature of Christ, incarnate, man and God, etc) and to codify a creed and an authorized position. This was a bad thing? Only to those who have already determined that Jesus was a fraud and the Apostles were twelve of the most addle brained lunatics to have ever suffered the tortures of the damned for a myth!

Bushby would have readers believe the entire ordeal was a mad dash to 'concoct' a god. And yet, for more than three hundred years, adherents to the Gospel message as delivered by the Apostles far and wide, had established churches, with minor differences in function, ritual and doctrine, and worshiped and recognized Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of the Living God and Savior of the world. One need only glance through the writings of Paul's epistles (letters) to the churches in the New Testament to see everything was not perfect from church to church; far from it -- and he personally exhausted himself traveling from one established church to another, properly aligning them in the original tenets of the faith.

As he wrote, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Cor. 2:1).
The Bible Fraud is just that. A fraud.

Revisiting the Wounds

The Rediff Interview/Novelist Richard ZimerSeptember 14, 2005


Richard Zimler's novel, Guardian of the Dawn, documents the little-known Portuguese Inquisition in India, in 16th century Goa. He points out that, apart from their laws and religion, the Portuguese also imported and enforced their infamous methods of interrogation to subdue troublemakers.

Zimler has won numerous awards for his work, including a 1994 US National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and 1998 Herodotus Award for best historical novel. The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon was picked as 1998 Book of the Year by British critics, while Hunting Midnight has been nominated for the 2005 IMPAC Literary Award. Together with Guardian of the Dawn, these novels comprise the 'Sephardic Cycle' -- a group of interrelated but independent novels about different branches of a Portuguese Jewish family.

Intrigued by his novel, as well as his reasons for writing it, Senior Features Editor Lindsay Pereira decided to ask him a few questions.

You were born in New York and went on to study comparative religion. Why the decision to write about the Portuguese inquisition in Goa -- a whole other world?

About 15 years ago, while doing research for my first novel, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, I discovered that the Portuguese exported the Inquisition to Goa in the sixteenth century, and that many Indian Hindus were tortured and burnt at the stake for continuing to practice their religion. Muslim Indians were generally murdered right away or made to flee Goan territory.
I couldn't use that information for my novel but decided, a few years later, to do more research into that time of fundamentalist religious persecution. I discovered that historians consider the Goa Inquisition the most merciless and cruel ever developed. It was a machinery of death. A large number of Hindus were first converted and then persecuted from 1560 all the way to 1812!

Over that period of 252 years, any man, woman, or child living in Goa could be arrested and tortured for simply whispering a prayer or keeping a small idol at home. Many Hindus -- and some former Jews, as well -- languished in special Inquisitional prisons, some for four, five, or six years at a time.

I was horrified to learn about this, of course. And I was shocked that my friends in Portugal knew nothing about it. The Portuguese tend to think of Goa as the glorious capital of the spice trade, and they believe -- erroneously -- that people of different ethnic backgrounds lived there in tolerance and tranquillity. They know nothing about the terror that the Portuguese brought to India. They know nothing of how their fundamentalist religious leaders made so many suffer.
What were you trying to do with this cycle of novels? Did you set out, initially, to merely inform your audience about that period in history?

I always set out first to tell a good, captivating story. No reader is interested in a bland historical text. People want to enjoy a novel -- and find beauty, mystery, cruelty, love, tenderness and poetry inside it.

Within that story, I do try to recreate the world as it once was.

In the case of Guardian of the Dawn, I want readers to feel as if they are living in Goa at that time. I want them to see the cobblestone streets of the city and the masts of ships in the harbour, to smell the coconut oil and spices in the air, to hear calls of flower-sellers in the marketplace. I want them to feel the cold shadow of the Inquisitional palace falling over their lives.

In my cycle of novels, I have written about different branches and generations of the Zarco family, a single Portuguese-Jewish family. These novels are not sequels; they can be read in any order. But I've tried to create a parallel universe in which readers can find subtle connections between the different books and between the different generations.

To me, this is very realistic because we all know, for instance, that there are subtle connections between what our great-grandparents did and what we are doing.

The research involved in Guardian of the Dawn is obviously immense. Could you tell me a little about the kind of preparatory work you had to put in?

To write the book, I tried to read everything I could about daily life on the west coast of India -- more specifically, in and around Goa -- at the end of the sixteenth century. The Internet has made that sort of research much easier than it used to be, and I was able to order books about everything from traditional medical practices -- including recipes for specific ailments -- to animals and plants indigenous to that region.

When I write a novel, I want to get all the details right, so this is very important. Of course, it was also vital for me to know as much as I could about Hinduism and Catholicism. As you mentioned, I studied Comparative Religion at university, so this was pretty easy. One of the main characters in the novel is a Jain, which is a religion I have always been curious about, so I read three or four books about Jainism as well. It was wonderful to be able to learn a bit about Jain belief and practice. Writing is always a great opportunity for me to keep learning.
Tiago Zarco is a character you manage to strongly empathise with. Where did he come from?

Was there factual data on someone he was actually based upon?

Yes, he's someone I really like -- and for whom I feel a strong empathy. He's a good man who is changed by his suffering and who decides to take revenge on the people who have hurt him and his family. But I did not base him on a real person. I think, in a way, he was born of my previous two novels, because I tried to make him someone who could fit into the Zarco family and yet be fully developed as an individual. With Tiago, I tried to ask the question -- how far can we bend our own moral code to fight evil?

In other words, can we use deception and even violence to try to destroy a cruel system of fundamentalist religious fervour like the Inquisition?

Re-examining the Inquisition seems apt, more so at a time like this when religious fanaticism is changing the world in ways unknown to us. What do you, as an author, believe we ought to take away from a study of it? I couldn't agree with you more, and that is one of the reasons I wrote Guardian of the Dawn. Put simply, I think we all need to be alert to the intolerance in our societies and in ourselves. We ought to maintain government and religion completely separate -- such a separation is the only guarantee we have of freedom of expression. We ought to learn from the ancient Asian tradition, which is to respect the religious beliefs of others and not impose our own Gods on them.

Did you visit Goa at any point? If not, what did you base your descriptions of the state upon?

No, I decided not to go to Goa, because I didn't want any images from modern Goa to infiltrate into the novel. I didn't want to risk inadvertently putting something from today into it. So I based my descriptions on other areas of the world I've visited that have similar flora and fauna -- Thailand, for instance. Also, I read all I could about the city so that my descriptions of the buildings, for instance, would be accurate. I then used my imagination, which is the most important thing for a writer. I now have a landscape in my head that is Goa -- and the surrounding region -- in 1600. I don't know how it developed. It's almost magical.
Portugal, today, is still a country deeply steeped in a Catholic tradition.

Do you think people are aware of the Inquisition and what it meant back then? Would they look at this as a re-opening of old wounds?

No, few people here know anything about the Inquisition. Many of them would rather not examine what their ancestors did, both in Portugal and its colonies. But others are very curious about what they didn't learn in school about their own history. Yes, in a sense I am opening old wounds. But I think it's important to do that. I think that we need to face the bad things we do -- both individually and as a society. In general, the Portuguese have been very receptive to my books.

Guardian of the Dawn has been a Number One bestseller here, for instance. A great many readers tell me I have opened a door to a part of their history they know nothing about. I'm proud of that. And I'm proud of having made it possible for Indians and Jews who were persecuted and imprisoned to 'speak' to modern readers through this novel. I think that's important because I don't want their suffering -- and their heroism -- to be forgotten.

As an author -- more specifically, an author devoted to history -- you have a unique perspective on the past. As a journalist, how important is examining the past to you?

As a journalist, it's important, because I think we can change the world by exposing past injustices. By writing about atrocities, we can change policy and avoid future wars. We can get war criminals punished. We can help people win fundamental human rights. Unfortunately, so much journalism is superficial and stupid that there is little room left for important articles.

Do you plan, in future, to base your work on other periods, or religious themes? Or do you plan to break away from the genre of historical fiction?

I have written a new novel that has just come out in England called The Search for Sana, which is about two women -- one Palestinian, one Israeli -- who grew up in Haifa together in the 1950s. It's about how their friendship is destroyed by political events that lead to tragedy for one of them. I am now working on a novel set in Berlin in the 1930s, in which one of the main characters will be a member of the Zarco family. So this will bring the cycle up to the 20th century. Where I will go from there is anyone's guess.

Don't miss the exclusive extract from Richard Zimler's novel, Guardian of the Dawn, to be published on rediff India Abroad next week!