Brahmanism has been labelled as an insult all thanks to decades of propaganda which still cannot hide the divinity that underlies the word's origins.
Debtanu grew up in a Bengali Brahman household listening to stories of the French Revolution and Europe from his maternal grandfather. One of the very first novels he read was Gorky's 'Mother' which romanticized the Russian Revolution. An avid Marxist in school, he became a free market radical in college because of disenchantment. He became interested in Indian thought having read the Classics after passing out. He not only believes that Indian Civilization should be preserved but that it can hold a mirror to the current Western Civilization where it has never been hit; its philosophy of materialism. His interest lies in Biology, Evolution, Economics, and Politics. You can follow him at @parshu_rama.
A country founded by religious zealots who believed in One God. Does this sound like your India? If not, then you are thoroughly mistaken. Or rather our Establishment was successful in selling you a lie. The lie that India is a mystical, strange and dark place and the only thing we have in common is the Constitution adopted in 1950.
This Constitution is profoundly adharmic. It serves only the needs of Establishment Hindus and oppresses, suppresses (and bench-presses) common Hindus and also other minorities who believe in that One God (but have lost their way) and other minorities who might be in pseudo-denial of Him but accepts things like Ṛta as the cause of Maya (Anekantavad) and a non-living absolution (Boddhisatva, Kevalagnana in place of Moksha). Thus, for these minorities, there might not be One God, but there is One Supreme Truth.
If we are to revolt against this Constitution, we must have an alternate vision of India. Nothing unites India more than the fact that we worship One God. Through a series of articles, I want to show that all “Gods” that we worship are the same and invariably comes to us from the religious zealots who founded our religion and the land of Bharata.
It would be worthwhile to note that if you feel uncomfortable with the word zealot, lets take a moment to congratulate ourselves for their God gifted foresight and knowledge that even after 1000 years of continuing persecution, this flame reduces to die down but rather sets fire to the comfy chair of a “People’s Chief Minister” who had to now arrest more than 2000 working class Proletariats lest they unleash a revolution.
There is another pertinent reason why this needs to be done. We are in midst of a Culture War. Among an assortment of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Atheism (inclusive of Secularism), the odd one out is not Atheism but Hinduism. Hinduism not only believes in One God but that he exists, among us, right now.
All Abrahamic religions believe that God has forsaken or exiled them. Atheism catches up to them (tired from taxes to the Church and persecution) and says ‘There was no God in the first place’. Secularism was the cute compromise that said let’s survive in the present and leave God to the confines of the private.
On the other hand, Vedas do not describe Histories like the Torah or the Old Testament, it describes the ever-present Nature (the realm of Chaos), Brahman (its cause) and most importantly Dharma (how to SURVIVE). It is not necessary we worship him, it is supremely necessary we UNDERSTAND him. He is the cause of Ṛta or the dynamic fluctuations we see all around us.
Ṛta is like a skipping rope that requires one to jump at the right time, which is Dharma. The guna is called Satva. Tamas is when the person doesn’t jump. He invariably falters. Rajas is when the person tries to perpetually stay afloat using the shoulders of others. Sooner or later, he incurs the wrath of those who faltered because of him and they make sure he falters too.
Thus, this work is a feeble attempt to describe Him as done in the Vedas and then map it unto the Puranas which are more popular.
1. The Supreme Divine; Brahman
Chandogya Upanishad (6.2.1) uses this word
“He is One without any second.”
Sveteshvara Upanishad goes even further.
4.9 says: न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति
“There is no likeness of Him.”
4.20 says: न सन्दृशे तिष्ठति रूपमस्य
न चक्षुषा पश्यति कश्चनैनम्
Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya; na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.
"His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye."
6.9 says: न चास्य कश्चिज्जनिता न चाधिपः
Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.
"Of Him there are neither parents nor lord."
(The translations are from Radhakrishnan’s book on Principal Upanishads.)
Don’t these verses look delightful compared to the Abrahamic idea of God? Yet, what is delight for an Abrahamic is a nightmare for a Vedic seer as he now must explain the formless to the lamest of the lame who seeks God.
God in our tradition had a name, Brahman (“The first Cause”) and thus when the lamest of the lame understood Him through this Vedic seer, he became so obsessed with Brahman and our seer that they became indistinguishable to him. So, the explainer of the Vedas themselves became or came to be called ‘Brahman’.
Around 4000 BC, when Newton and most Creationists (including the temple destroying Supreme Court of a country which keepeth the Sabbath) predict the world came to existence, our ancestors were composing hymns in praise of this One Supreme Being. This intellectual revolution was laying the foundation of Bharat.
Rig-Veda (1.164.46) says
इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्यः स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान |
एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहुः ||
They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān.
To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.
[Figure 1: All Gods actually manifestation of One]
Once this becomes clear, the story of Bharata proceeds like a charm.
As our civilization progressed, new tribes invaded, new merchants settled, new teachers came in to teach their ideas. Sooner rather than later, they found that the God they brought from their erstwhile Home was only a face or phase of this One Supreme Being. They thus decided to make this sacred country their new Home and be with Him forever.
Geographies change, rivers shift courses, deserts become green grass fields, earlier green field become barren, barren land become deserts, yet the idea of Brahman is like an invisible Banyan tree that oversees Geography. People see through His Maya, relocate and flourish again.
Political set-ups change, Ganas become Sanghas, Janas become Janapadas, problems become manifold, old wise mantris die, Rajas are cast out and their cruel sons become the new Raja, Brahman acts like an invisible Krishna guiding weak Arjuna on the path of Dharma. The Patel of the grama, the Uparaja, Senapatis see through his Maya as a test of their skill sets and ousts incumbents or politically breaks free from their domain.
As geographies and politics change, economics of the region changes multiple times faster. Agriculture deteriorates, taxation levels change. People realize that Artha is not everything and eventually change occupations and find their way.
Nobody in India except Him was the sovereign. Such was His sovereignty that long before Kim Jongs came into the picture, Indians kept pata-chitraas and moorthis representing Him in their bedrooms and his priests were given more regard than the Raja who protected them politically.
It should not then be any problem to understand why the Establishment has a problem with the word “Brahmanism”. It represents their worst fear; an alternate idea of India, an India that does not involve the Constitution they so carefully built to continue our colonization. Population, Geography, Political Structure, and Sovereignty are key markers for any modern Nation State and all involve Brahman from whom stems Dharma.
They thus say Brahmanism is anything and everything associated with the caste system. They know we will hate this word as it now describes something negative. It could have been called Panditism, Purohitism, Acharyaism but it is not. The Establishment knows its Post Structuralism very well. They thus create an impression using this word to pollute it so that the alternate vision of our motherland is destroyed. It would seem that the Brute Brown Sahibs are the only thing holding India back from falling apart (the lie Company sold to our ancestors but Stalin actually did to the Non-Russian nations inside USSR).
Further, the idea of Hinduism as a coherent religion is rubbished. Hindu children are fed that there is a lack of internal consistency and that dominion of others is paramount.
2. Ma Saraswati and the multiple faces of God
Ma Saraswati ‘was’ not a river. She was a Nadi. A Nadi has prana, atman, and Shakti while a river is a European word for morose water geography along a bank. It was she who taught our ancestors the Vedas. As a Nadi, she was so transparent that our ancestors could see all the secrets of the Universe through her. When people think of her, most people think of her as Diti, bound in Earth and divided from the realm of the cosmos.
Where is the Aditi? How is it related to Kashyapa?
A careful reading of Vedas tells us that our forefathers did not wait for Protestant Christians to alight from missionary ships to teach them Science.
Rig-veda (1.32.10) says of Shakti of water and its journey onwards.
अतिष्ठन्तीनामनिवेशनानां काष्ठानां मध्ये निहितंशरीरम |
वर्त्रस्य निण्यं वि चरन्त्यापो दीर्घं तम आशयदिन्द्रशत्रुः ||
Rolled in the midst of never-ceasing currents flowing without a rest forever onward.
The waters bear off Vṛtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.
Where did the waters come from? Just two verses before Rig-veda (1.32.08) says
नदं न भिन्नममुया शयानं मनो रुहाणा अति यन्त्यापः |
याश्चिद वर्त्रो महिना पर्यतिष्ठत तासामहिः पत्सुतःशीर्बभूव ||
There as he lies like a bank-bursting river, the waters taking courage flow above him.
The Dragon lies beneath the feet of torrents which Vṛtra with his greatness had encompassed.
Even before, Rig-veda (1.23.17-18) says how the Sun collects water so that the quench of cows can be satisfied
अमूर्या उप सूर्ये याभिर्वा सूर्यः सह |
ता नो हिन्वन्त्वध्वरम ||
अपो देवीरुप हवये यत्र गावः पिबन्ति नः |
सिन्दुभ्यः कर्त्वं हविः ||
May Waters gathered near the Sun, and those wherewith the Sun is joined,
Speed forth this sacrifice of ours.
I call the Waters, Goddesses, wherein our cattle quench their thirst;
Oblations to the Streams be given.
Rig-veda (5.54.02) explains that water is ever present along with wind and it can come off with flash while Rig-veda (5.55.05) explains how the water ended up with the wind in the first place.
पर वो मरुतस तविषा उदन्यवो वयोव्र्धो अश्वयुजः परिज्रयः |
सं विद्युता दधति वाशति तरितः सवरन्त्य आपो ऽवना परिज्रयः ||
O Maruts, rich in water, strengtheners of life are your strong bands with harnessed steeds, that wander far.
Trita roars out at him who aims the lightning-flash. The waters sweeping round are thundering on their way.
Rig-veda (5.55.05) says
उद ईरयथा मरुतः समुद्रतो यूयं वर्ष्टिं वर्षयथा पुरीषिणः |
न वो दस्रा उप दस्यन्ति धेनवः शुभं याताम अनु रथा अव्र्त्सत ||
O Maruts, from the Ocean ye uplift the rain, and fraught with vaporous moisture pour the torrents down.
Never, ye Wonder-Workers, are your Milch-kine dry. Their cars moved onward as they went to victory.
The Saraswati Nadi is thus no Nadi in the conventional use of the term. She showed how Surya, Maruts, Indra and Agni are related.
Agni is also Chitta or the atman that is present in every cattle that drank from the stream, in every man who ate the fruits of the hydro-cycle. Agni was invoked in every yagna done by her banks, where her own fruits were fed to please all the faces of Brahman we invoked here. The term ‘Bharata’ means upholder of fire.
So, as our forefathers understood that these four are related and that they might be faces of the same Brahman, a map was constructed to help their young ones understand and reach him.
This is not at all Swastika. This is Suwastika which is used by Shakta Brahmins to reach our father. Sons of Saraswati who trace the Nadi invariable recognize their father as the person who they see most while they themselves sit on her lap. The trio of Surya-Indra-Agni and Surya-Indra-Vayu was the precursor to the modern trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh that a common Hindu can easily relate to.
In the Vedas, to show that He is One, they use the term Brahma to describe what we call “Brahman”. Naturally, thus Brahma had four heads to signify the four partners in keeping the flow of Saraswati intact.
तवाग्ने होत्रं तव पोत्रं रत्वियं तव नेष्ट्रं तवमग्निद रतायतः |
तव परशास्त्रं तवमध्वरीयसि बरह्मा चासि गर्हपतिश्च नो दमे |
Thine is the Herald's task and Cleanser's duly timed; Leader art thou, and Kindler for the pious man.
Thou art Director, thou the ministering Priest: thou art the Brahman, Lord, and Master in our home.
This is not at all the only incantation in reverence of our Father. In fact, the Rig Veda is rife with salutations to Him in different names and forms simply to let us know that they are one and the same. By taking different forms, they perform different functions at different times of the day and year.
Coming back to Ma Saraswati, she invariably becomes Shakti, the mover of the Nadi. She revolves around the one true husband she knows, the one supreme consciousness that makes it all happen. Shakti, however, gets a different name in Brahmanical jargon. She creates Maya as water from rainfall all around us, the navigation of the Nadi, the growing of fruits, quenching the thirst of humans and cattle. Cattles are happy, they give milk and reproduce to the satisfaction of the householder. In other words, she creates a material incentive structure that cloaks her husband, preventing the children; us, from finding the One True Father they had.
In search of Father, people get hungry, they search for food and fall unto Maya. As they eat and grow, they feel the urge to reproduce and sooner he or she is responsible for a batch of children. In the process, he or she has forgotten the first motive of every child born, to know who their ‘real’ mother and father is.
Actually, she does that on purpose. If people are told the solution in advance, what is the use of playing the puzzle? If people copiously look at the answers at the end of the mathematics workbook, will they derive any satisfaction which they could have by solving it themselves? Also, if everything is known beforehand, the world will become a boring place. There would be no thrill with people when they find good food, earn a good sum or find a very attractive partner. The whole point why Brahman divides into one true consciousness and a steady circular stream of Shakti is so that they can avoid boredom. Truth is, there is no eternal hellfire. Conversely, there is no eternal bliss either. Anything that has the word eternal in front of it reeks of boredom. People do not like sameness every day of their life at all.
As she delivers us from boredom, we call her “Mahamaya”.
She becomes the very essence of ‘Prakriti’
Thus, our Vedic forefathers called her ‘Aditi’
Rig-Veda (10.72.4-5) reads
अदितेर्दक्षोजायत दक्षाद वदितिः परि ||
अदितिर्ह्यजनिष्ट दक्ष या दुहिता तव |
तां देवान्वजायन्त भद्रा अम्र्तबन्धवः ||
Dakṣa was born of Aditi, and Aditi was Dakṣa's Child.
For Aditi, O Dakṣa, she who is thy Daughter, was brought forth.
After her were the blessed Gods born sharers of immortal life.
Daksha here is in reference to Brahma as Dyaus-pitar, the primal cause.
Figure 2: How Saraswati became Aditi, mother of Gods and Consort of Brahma]
Most people do not understand that speaking of the divine, the Aditi our Vedic forefathers worshipped is still being worshipped in this India, right now, not as the Puranic Aditi but as Adi-shakti; the primordial energy or mover of all. However, as Marut dropped out and Surya-Indra-Agni trio morphed into Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh, Adi-shakti became Mother of all three.
[Figure 3: Aditi morphs into Adi-Shakti in Puranas]
[Figure 4; Adi Shakti herself splits into Shakti]
Even the Puranic Aditi needs some mention. In both the Shiva Purana and Bhagwata Purana, she is shown to be a wife of sage Kashyapa while having a sister wife in Diti. Puranas do not treat Indra and the different Vedic faces of the Brahman (like Agni, Marut) as a divinity but as a fallible anthropomorphic entity along with his brothers, more akin to royalty.
In all probability as Puranic revivalist fathers and mothers used this to show how Brahma (as the Kashyapa or progenitor of all) gave birth to all but only the handful understands the cyclical nature of life (Aditi or Adi-shakti as bringer of gifts) versus how most understand material gifts as unconnected to movements within the land, ocean, and sky (Diti or bound, divided).
3. What is Kathenotheism?
Worshipping Faces of One supreme entity, One by One. Max Mueller coined this term, to describe what he understood from reading the Vedas. Hinduism might have 33 crore Gods but they all invariably are faces of the same stem Brahman. Everybody performs circumambulation of the Garva-Griha of a temple. When one does that, one invariably comes across the different faces of the Brahman inside the temple. Elders prescribed that to us to let us mentally take the pilgrimage sitting on the lap of Ma Saraswati as she travels through the cosmos and the face of the Brahman changes at every step.
[Figure 5; Kathenotheism, First Step to Reach Nirguna Brahman]
The road to Nirguna Brahman is necessary not so much for spirituality as much as for the task at hand, to unify the realm of Bharata and show a common unbroken lineage of practiced divinity since the Rig-Vedic Age. Once this is achieved, one can easily see how Rig-Vedic deities recited to invite Gods are the same Gods worshipped all over India right now.
4. The story of Ma Saraswati in Puranas
Alas, like all Maya comes to an end, so does Ma Saraswati as a Nadi. Even after she changed courses, got distributed and eventually all those tributaries dried up, she starts her Leela all over again. Remember how she transformed from Sati to Parvati? Our mother thus becomes Ma Ganga, the gift to Bhagiratha brought to Earth on the advice of Kapil Muni. Kapil Muni who? The giver of Samkhya Darshan, the undistinguishable duality between ‘Purusha’ and ‘Prakriti’ or the divine Chaitanya and Shakti/Mahamaya herself.
Usually, the retelling of Narada Purana is interpreted as Shiva (Kailashnath) taking up the responsibility of accepting Ganga into the realm of humans. The trees and forests are interpreted as his matted hair that absorbs probable cloudbursts converting them into minute streams as they form the Ganga.
However, that Shiva is worshipped as Dakshinamurthy, or giver of knowledge and the Sun spends time in the South picking up the Ganga into its fold is the untold part. The Nataraja who dances over Andhakasura is also the Akash lingam, the controller of Space. As Sivasurya, the Sun rays become His matted hair, having been composed of a spectrum of wavelengths and another cycle starts where Ma Ganga travels from the dark realm to the land where descendants of Bhagiratha still live. In her trajectory through India, she is invariably worshipped as the consort of Vishwanath, the presiding deity of the entire world.
Not surprisingly, Ganga is found to be associated with Brahma as the waters of his kamandal, with Narayana as the waters which wash her feet, and also with Shiva who helped bring her here. Vaishnavites worship Surya as Surya Narayana and thus the evaporation of Ganga from the oceans become the symbolic washing of the Lord’s feet by our mother herself. The melt of glacial waters of the Himalayas may have been the reason Puranic revivalist compared her with the first waters, that of Brahma’s kamandal that helped fertilize the Earth and generate life on it.
[Figure 6; The course of Ma Ganga through Kashi]
As Baba Vishwanath, the Adi-Purush oversees the entire course of the Ganges that looks like as if the Adi-Purush is dancing and the Rta as the effect that falls on the Universe. As he performs the Tandava nritya, things are created and destroyed. Wise men die and their knowledge of Brahman ends right there, Maya cloaks the Brahman. However, new babies are born and are intelligent enough so that they learn the Vedas to help others in their journey through life.
Life is called Samsara (wandering along with Shakti/Time). Samskriti is when it is made perfect (by Vedic rites). As Agni is the mouth of the Adi-Purush, He therefore gladly accepts all poison of the Universe. At Kashi, he thus proceeds to feed the dead body of the deceased and get the Universe easily rid of all things polluting. Sometimes, Aghori sadhus follow suit in reverence. Shakti is ever-present there. As a true Hindu patriarchal woman, she eats what is left on her husband’s plate. The remains from the ashes are thus immersed in the Ganga where she is ever-present. As Adi-shakti, she would eventually breathe life into these ashes and these materials would be converted back to life. Yet,
All living things will die.
All non-living things will be destroyed and rebuilt, as in transformed.
Whatever one has seen, felt, heard, tasted, smelt shall cease to exist and be transformed.
All this is Maya. What shall remain ever-present is the Brahman. And by making him the custodian of this realm, our forefathers have made one of the finest political choices ever. His invisibility becomes his greatest weapon. The Abrahamic can’t even see Him, how will the Mlechcha destroy what he cannot see? And yet, as everything is Maya but He is not, by knowing Him fully well, making Him our anchor, our civilization has been made the most robust in the world.
It was also the most charming of all and yet these Brown Sahibs have managed to reduce it to a binary, that of the suave western educated elite like him who knows everything and the have-nots who must blindly follow. Oliver Twists' who protest become Hindutvavadi, uncultured, unpalatable.
Yet, what I wanted to show was that unlike the Christian God, our Brahman has not forsaken us. Shakti is still flowing through energy cycles, Brahma is creating things as we speak. Shiva is still keeping his promise of making the Ganga flow through the three worlds, making her Triloka-Patha-Gamini, washing our ashes as we are related to Bhagirath. Shiva also drinks all the poison in the world, destroying everything that He as Narayana did not save so that they could be recycled again and He as Brahma can make new things.
In response to Him, our Milords only have Secular Constitutional Morality. While the Vedas have never been amended (in fact young are trained to chant with perfection), our Constitution has seen more than 1.5 amendments per year since operation. While the Vedas have a proven track record of keeping the flame alive for more than 8000 years now, the Constitution has a proven track record of overseeing Hindu massacres. Starting from the birth pangs of it when Bengalis and Punjabis had to land as paupers, this Constitution also made sure that a genocide of Kashmiris could occur inside India and nobody would be punished. Neither prevention nor any cure.
State handlers who are paid out of Hindu tax money inspected Hindu charred bodies in Godhra and pronounced that it was an accident, not a planned attack. Not glorifying or brushing aside 2002, but if Hindus have to riot instead of being satisfied by State intervention every time they are attacked, something is not wrong with Hindus, something is wrong with the Constitution itself. Those who defend the Constitution and sing hymns in praise of it are the same ones who benefit from the exploitative structure. India grows rich, Bharat stays poor. Yet, this India shamelessly comes back to police Bharat on how to eat, talk, visit temples. If we are to leave behind to our children a Bharat where they will not have to riot to get their Natural Justice, we must build a Hindu-Rashtra. If we are to build a Hindu Rashtra, we must know the One. The One true God around whom our Society was built.
Upanishads; Radhakrishnan, S - 1953 The Principal Upanisads. London: Allan and Unwin.
Rig-Vedas; (By Ralph T. Griffith) http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rvsan/index.htm
Picture Credits (All pictures are edited)
Figure 1; Brahman https://in.pinterest.com/pin/584342120372587467/Sun, Fire, Lightning (ClipArt)
Figure 2; How Aditi became Saraswati
Aditi; By Unknown - Saraswati Mahal Library Collection, Tanjorehttp://www.kamat.com/kalranga/mythology/5922.htm, Public Domain,
Figure 3; Aditi morphs into Adi-Shakti in the Puranas
Shiva (Kailashnath); https://mbtskoudsalg.com/explore/forest-clipart-mountains/
Varanasi on map; https://twitter.com/subhashkak1/media