Wednesday, September 07, 2005

India - The True India

I don’t believe in coincidences.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we find the reason immediately, sometimes after few hours, few days or months. In fact, I have seen the reason after several years. Maybe it all involves Karma.

I was a big fan of Bhagavad Gita. I have 3 books, translations by different people, on Bhagavad Gita. I have also downloaded, bookmarked several sites in Internet translation by different people. I’ve read all these in bits and pieces. But never was I able to complete the whole of any version.
I always used to wonder why!

I used to convince myself that maybe it’s too long and I have to split it into several sessions but was never able to do so.

Maybe I just found an answer for that too.

Bhagavad Gita.
The sound you hear when you say the above, is by itself so powerful.

The Bible of the Hindus.

The Truth is…
The Bhagavad Gita that we have now is NOT the original Bhagavad Gita.
In fact the original, written by Sage Vyasa, was called simply ‘Gita’.

That was the shocking revelation that I had recently.

The present day Bhagavad Gita has 700 verses.
The original Gita has 84 verses.
Yes, you heard it right.
Just 84 verses.

So what happened?

Around 800 A.D. , the original Gita was interpolated and ended up having 700 verses. The name was changed from Gita to Bhagavad Gita. The concept of one single Almighty God, or Supreme, Bhagavan, was introduced to Indian society.

Till then, before 800 A.D., Indians believed in God. But they believed in polytheism. They were also nature worshippers. They worshipped earth, stone, trees, rain, wind, fire, sun, moon etc.

One of my friend mentioned that evidence suggested that the civilizations in Harappa and Mohenjadaro worshipped Gods in idol form. Yes, that’s right. What happened in 800 A.D. was something unique.
One God, One Supreme Being, was introduced to India. This idea was mainly borrowed from Christianity and Islam.

The Mahabharata that we have now is also not the original.
The original epic had only 8,800 verses and its name was 'Jaya' (Victory). It was expanded to 24,000 verses and its name was changed to Jaya Bharata and then to Bharatetihas. At a much later time, the epic was expanded to 100,000 verses and got its present name, Mahabharata.

Upanishads suffered the same fate.

India before 800 A.D. according to the author, the Real India was this.

India prior to 800 A.D. produced philosophers and writers who accepted Man as the Supreme Being. They talked abut two main entities: Purusha (Man) and Prakriti (Nature). Change in these two entities occurs due to the ever-present and everlasting work of three Gunas-Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva. Ignorance, lack of proper knowledge and improper action cause dukha (sorrow or unhappiness). Man can liberate himself from dukha and attain sukha (happiness) by acquiring proper knowledge, mastering certain teachings, following certain practices, and by working according to the Samkhya-yoga theory of action.”

India was never conquered before 800 A.D.
Yes, there were some incursions at the border. Persian and Greek invaders came to India. But they were only able to conquer the borders. They were never able to make inroads into India and conquer it. They never crossed Sind, in present day Pakistan.

All this changed after 800 A.D.

The author adds…

The story of how Brahmans helped the invading Arabs in their conquest of Sind is a treacherous history. We get a very vivid account of the Arabs' incursions and their subsequent conquest of Sind through a book entitles Chachnamah, written by Ali Kufi (of Kufah, Syria) in 1216 A.D. The book was first translated into Persian from Arabic, and was translated into English by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg in 1900.

According to Chachnamah, Buddhism was the dominant religion in Sind during the seventh century A.D. There were Buddhist temples and monasteries located all over Sind. The Buddhists and Brahmans lived in amity. The various principalities and their rulers were under the king of Sind, Rai Sahira, a Kshatriya. This kingdom fell into the hands of his chief, Chach, who ruled for many years. After the death of Chach, his son, Dahar (Dahir) became king. It was during his reign that the Arabs conquered Sind.

The Arabs began invading portions of Sind during the 640s. According to the Chachnamah, during the reign of Caliph Umar (634-643) "an army of Islam was first sent out to different parts of Hind and Sind, to carry on religious war there." But every attack of the Arabs was thwarted, their forces destroyed, and the leader killed. Their condition changed abruptly, however, when they began receiving support from the Brahmans. The Brahmans had always occupied the high administrative posts before and after Chach. They began helping the Arabs by acting as their informers, by preaching a philosophy of surrender; by predicting victory of Islam and defeat of the local ruler; and by working as an advance-party of the invading Arabs. Let me give an example of how a Brahman's support to Arabs at Debal (a small principality in Sind) provided them with their victory in Sind.

The Arabs had invaded Debal in 711 A.D. under the command of Muhammad Kasim (also called Muhammed Ibin Qasim). They had fought for eight days without making any gains. Since Debal was a fortified city, the Arabs had encamped nearby and were waging war from their camps, without success.

In the heart of the city of Debal, there was a Buddhist temple with a high dome. On that dome, there was a high pole from which a huge flag was hoisted. This flag worked as a talisman (symbol). It meant that as long as the flag continued to be displayed, the people would be victorious. Inspired by this flag, the people and the army fought bravely, and for eight days the Arabs were held in check. On the ninth day of the battle, while the Arab army was besieging Debal, a surprising event happened.

"All of a sudden, then, a Brahmin (Brahman) came forth from the garrison, and cried for mercy. He said, "May the just governor live long!" We have learnt from our science of the stars that the country of Sind will be conquered by the army of Islam, and the infidels will be put to flight. But be it known to you that the standard of the idol-house (temple) ,yonder, is a talisman. As long as that standard of that temple stands in its place, it is impossible for the fort to be taken by you. You must, therefore, try your best to blow off the dome of this temple, and break its flag-staff into pieces. Then only your success will be complete."

After hearing the secret of the temple, the commander of the Arab army, Muhammad Kasim, called his engineer, Jaubat Salmi, and offered him a reward for devising a means of blowing off the dome of the temple. The next day, the Arabs destroyed the dome and the flag of the temple. The fall of the flag meant the fall of the Debalese people.

After the dome was demolished, the Arab army entered the temple and the fort without a fight. The people surrendered, the idol in the temple was removed, and a mosque was established. The Arabs had won their first victory, and they now knew who their collaborators would be. As a result, when Muhammad Kasim marched from one place to another, he had easy victories. And finally, he was able to conquer all of Sind.

Though the Islamic invaders had been trying to expand their rule to other parts of India, they were vigorously resisted by rulers outside Sind. It took them about 200 years to finally expand into other parts of India. It took them another 300 years to capture the whole of northern and western India and a part of South India. The invaders, no doubt impressed by the strength of the resistance, looked to Indian culture and philosophy as the likely source of this strength. This power to resist sprang from the tradition of rational philosophy, which had taught Indians to act and fight for their rights. Unless a change was brought about which would weaken their resistance, Islamic faith and power could not subdue and defeat the Indians.”

Why did all this happen?
Why were the scriptures distorted?

According to the author, these happened for 2 reasons mainly.

The Brahmans wanted to maintain supremacy over the other castes and also have a major hold in the social and political front.
So they modified the scriptures, glorifying the caste system, increasing its rigidity in practice in the society.

They also wanted a concept of one single Almighty, one Supreme Being, to fight or resist the spread of other monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam. So Brahman, the Supreme Being was introduced. The concept of Heaven and Hell was also introduced.
Inaction was glorified. From Man being the Supreme Being, God became the Supreme Being. Man could only do what fate could dictate. This world was described as a place of suffering. Man’s only objective in life was just to be liberated from the cycles of birth and death and reach God in heaven.

So did they suceed in their effort?
Yes, sure they did.
The caste system is still followed in many parts of India rigidly.
The spread of Christianity and Islam was resisted successfully.

We saved our God, but we lost ourself.

This all happened after 800 A.D. .
The author points how Shankaracharya’s Advaita philosophy fueled this monotheistic phenomenon in the society.
India entered the Dark Age at that time.
For the next 1000 years, India was constantly under the attack/rule of foreigners. Indians did not have the attitude to fight the occupation.

The original teachings of Kapila, Patanjali, Buddha, Mahavira etc were distorted.

Our thought-pattern changed from philosophic and scientific one, towards more religious.

The True India was lost.


This concludes my Trilogy on India.

I have intentionally left out many facts which I learned from the book. It would definitely be not fair on my part, to say everything in the blog, when all the hard work of extensive research was put by the author.

I will be doing researches on a lot of things mentioned above.

I would strongly recommend my readers to read this book.
This may change your life, or it may not.
You may believe its contents or you may not.
But you sure will have lots of questions.
You sure will want to search for the facts yourself.

In my opinion, ‘The search for Truth begins with search for facts’.

The book :

The Gita As It Was - Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita
Phulgenda Sinha
ISBN : 0-8126-9024-9
ISBN : 0-8126-9025-7 (paperback)

Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi never believed in the originality of the present day Bhagavad Gita. Swami Vivekananda was in search of the original Gita (2 original copies are said to be in existence today, in Bali and Sri Lanka). Vivekananda was never able to find the original in his lifetime.

So what is the original Gita?
This is the original Gita.
(Translation by Phulgenda Sinha)

Where does this leave me?
I myself have critiqued many, who don’t believe in God but go to temple to pray.
Iam afraid I might become the one whom I feared.

Have I become the very thing that I dreaded the most?
Have I fallen on the dark side?
Am I Anakin Skywalker?
Or have I become Darth Vader?


DaldaDappa and Proud said...

very very interesting indeed... skimmed through... will definitely read all three more thoroughly and comment... but really good stuff... i knew something of the sort must have happened and it was a question I pondered... so great post! :D

vimal said...

I was shocked preethi. I was a big fan, follower of Bhagavad Gita. I remember several occassions where I was literally fighting in debates quoting stuff from Bhagavad Gita. I thought all our scriptures were original and Bible and Kuran borrowed from us.

Smyta said...

Wo! hmm...looks like u r some odd copyrighted version of a coded combo of A C T G(DNA)that reads-Copyrights(c) God 800 A.D.

Ada it is the flower that a bee gets attracted to first and then it knows a flower would have nectar.So goes for Bhagavad Gita and the 84 verse gita saar u r talkin abt.

God:-) If u know everything is nothing then u would know God is u!

Answers to ur questions r questions abt ur answers...:p

No strings attached etc.,(Oh chaos as said in Gita)

Smiles etc.,

PS: Nice post!

VJ said...

Thought Provoking,
Eye Opening...article!

Good One Dude!

Sunil Sharma said...

What is validity of this book? But one thing is true. It’s nice and sophisticated way of criticizing Brahmins.

vimal said...

It has nothing to do with criticizing Brahmins.
Actually many of my friends who are Brahmins read this post.

Please read the book for the validity.