Ram Swarup

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
If there is sufficient aspiration, invoking, and soliciting, there is no doubt that even Gods apparently lost could come back again. They are there all the time. For nothing that has any truth in it can be destroyed. It merely goes out of manifestation; but it could reappear under propitious circumstances. So could the old Gods come to life again in response to new summons.
Buddha and Buddhism form an intimate part of Hindu consciousness. Buddha was a Hindu. Buddhism is Hindu in its origin and development, in its art and architecture, iconography, language, beliefs, psychology, names, nomenclature, religious vows and spiritual discipline. Hinduism is not all Buddhism, but Buddhism forms part of the ethos which is essentially Hindu.
Not long ago, all the copies of the Hindi edition of my book, Understanding Islam Through Hadis, were confiscated by the police. ... The civil liberties wallahs, otherwise a vocal lot, have been eloquently silent on this and similar bans. But then they are active only in certain preferred directions, on behalf of certain preferred sections and for the benefit of certain preferred ideas.
No one has ever refuted him on facts, but many have sought to smear him and his writing. They have thereby transmuted the work from mere scholarship into warning. ... The forfeiture is exactly the sort of thing which had landed us where we are: where intellectual inquiry is shut out; where our traditions are not examined, and reassessed; and where as a consequence there is no dialogue. It is exactly the sort of thing too which foments reaction. (...)"Freedom of expression which is legitimate and constitutionally protected," it [the Supreme Court] declared last year, "cannot be held to ransom by an intolerant group or people." To curtail it in the face of threats of demonstrations and processions or threats of violence "would amount," the Court said, "to the negation of the rule of law and surrender to blackmail and intimidation. - Arun Shourie
Our response should be three fold. First, whenever an attempt such as this from quarters such as Mr. Shahabuddin is made to stifle free speech, to kill even scholarly inquiry, we must go out of our way and immediately obtain the book....
Secondly, whenever the intimidators prevail and such a book actually comes to be banned large numbers should take to reprinting it, photocopying it, to circulating it, and discussing its contents.
The third thing is more necessary, and in the long run will be the complete answer to the intimidators. As long as scholars like Mr. Swarup are few, intimidators can bully weak governments into shutting them one by one. But what will they do if 1,000, scholars are to do work of the same order? This is the way to deal with intimidators. Let 1,000 scholars carry on work Mr. Swarup has pioneered. ~ Arun Shourie
Banning this book would send a signal that the present establishment will do what it can to prevent Hinduism from rising up, from regaining self-confidence, from facing the challenge of hostile ideologies. ~ Koenraad Elst
European Imperialism and European Christianity were twins. It is difficult to say whether the flag followed the cross or the cross followed the flag. ~ Ram Swarup
In Western thought, the body holds the soul; in Indian thought, the soul holds the body. ~ Ram Swarup

Ram Swarup (12 October, 1920 - 26 December, 1998) was an independent Hindu philosopher and author.



Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism (1958, revised 1984)[edit]

  • "Buddhism is returning home to India after a long exile of a thousand years and, like the proverbial prodigal son, is being received with open arms. Religious tolerance of the average Hindu partly explains the warm reception. But a more important reason is the fact that Buddha and Buddhism form an intimate part of Hindu consciousness. Buddha was a Hindu. Buddhism is Hindu in its origin and development, in its art and architecture, iconography, language, beliefs, psychology, names, nomenclature, religious vows and spiritual discipline....Hinduism is not all Buddhism, but Buddhism forms part of the ethos which is essentially Hindu"


  • The fact is that the truth of harmony and human brotherhood derives not from an absorbed trance but from an awakened prajñâ or wisdom; and its validity depends not on any dramatic ecstatic visions but it belongs to man’s deeper vision and even to his natural reason unspoilt by theologies of exclusiveness.
    • Ram Swarup: Ramakrishna Mission, p.13. (1986)
  • The scriptures of Semitic inspiration are hortative, admonitory; they urge, they prove, they enjoin, they warn, they even enforce. There is a note of feverishness in them. But the atmosphere of the Hindu scriptures is unhurried, relaxed and expositional. The first variety seem to goad you; the second one to lead you step by step... There are other differences as well. Christianity and Islam are religions of faith; Hinduism and Its powerful offshoot, Buddhism, are religions of Prajna, wisdom. The former deal with Intensifies of feelings, the latter aim at awakening the mind. The former have been religions of piety with a strong tendency to deny reason. The latter are religions of 'understanding', giving due place to reason though it will have to be purified and separated from the dross of desire before It becomes an instrument of a higher life. In Hinduism, faith is rendered by the world shradha, that which lies hidden in the recession of the heart; so, faith means faith in the hidden truths of the soul, faith in the unrealised possibilities of the mind.
    • Shri Ram Swarup's chapter, 'Hinduism vis-a-vis Christianity and Islam', in Politics of Conversion edited by Devendra Swarup (Deendayal Research Institute, New Delhi: 1986) [1]
  • But foreign should not be defined in geographical terms. Then it would have no meaning except territorial or tribal patriotism. To me that alone is foreign which is foreign to truth, foreign to Atman.
    • Ram Swarup quoted in : Sita Ram Goel. How I Became a Hindu (1982, enlarged 1993) ISBN 81-85990-05-0 (ch. 7) [2]
  • Indian spirituality, proclaimed that the true Godhead was beyond number and count; that it had many manifestations which did not exclude or repel each other but included each other, and went together in friendship; that it was approached in different ways and through many symbols; that it resided in the hearts of its devotees. Here there were no chosen people, no exclusive prophethoods, no privileged churches and fraternities and ummas. The message was subversive of all religions based on exclusive claims.
    • Ram Swarup, introduction to Mohammed and the Rise of Islam by D.S. Margoliouth, New Delhi, Reprint, 1985 and 1995, p. xix.
  • "Hindus learn to look at themselves through borrowed eyes. The two approaches, that of self-discovery and creative response and that of self-alienation and imitation, were both inherited from the immediate history of the freedom struggle, though they derive their strength from the deeper sources in the psyche....For one, the problem is of helping the society to find its roots, for the other to remake it in the image of a chosen pattern. The one serves; the other manipulates....[The first approach] once formed a powerful current, and the freedom struggle was waged under its auspices. But increasingly its hold became weak, and in our own times it seems to have lost altogether....Some see in this change a triumph of Nehru over Gandhi....Nehru represented, in his own way, the response of a defeated nation trying to restore its self-respect and self-confidence through self-repudiation and identification with the ways of the victors. The approach was not altogether unjustified at one time. It had its compulsions and it also had a survival value for us. But its increasing influence can mean no good to us. We, however, believe that deeper Indian nationalism, which is also in harmony with deeper internationalism, may be weak just now, but it has the seed-power and it is bound to come up again under propitious circumstances"
    • Cultural Self-Alienation and Some Problems Hinduism Faces, 1987, p. 4-5
  • A fateful thing has been happening. The East is waking up from its slumber. The wisdom of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism is becoming available to the world. Already, it is having a transforming effect on the minds of the people, particularly in countries where there is freedom to seek and express. Dogmas are under a cloud; claims on behalf of Last Prophethood and Only Sonship, hitherto enforced through great intellectual conditioning, brow-beating, and the big stick, are becoming unacceptable. Religions of proxy are in retreat. More and more men and women now seek authentic experience. Borrowed creed will not do. Men and women are ceasing to be obedient believers and are becoming seekers. They no longer want to be anybody’s sheep, now that they know they can be their own shepherds. An external authority, even when it is called God in certain scriptures, threatening and promising alternately, is increasingly making less and less impression; people now realize that Godhead is their own true, secret status and they seek it in the depth of their own being. All this is in keeping with the wisdom of the East.
    • Introduction to Mohammed and the Rise of Islam by D.S. Margoliouth, Voice of India reprint, New Delhi, 1985, pp. xvii-xviii. 10Ibid., pp. xix-xx.
  • Mother Teresa is a true daughter of the Church in having her mind and heart closed to the religions of the countries of her labour, even adoption. Sometime back, some European Vedantists learning that she was at the Vatican went there to pay their respects. She rebuked them for "betraying Christ". Let me clarify the point a little further by bringing in Sister Nivedita. She is a lady Hindus are proud of. She helped India by helping it to rediscover itself. No higher service could be rendered to a nation in the grip of self-forgetfulness. She stood for national justice for India and she helped us by giving us national pride. This explains why Sister Nivedita is Hindu India's hero. This also explains why Western nations shower praise and money on Mother Teresa while Sister Nivedita remained unsung in the West and there were no contributions from that quarter even for her purely humanitarian work, like education and child care and relief work which she did with no less dedication, sympathy and loving care.
    • Quoted from Catholic Ashrams by S.R. Goel, Appendix V. 1988
  • “Perhaps a creed is best known by what it does when it holds political sway.”
    • Quoted from S.R. Goel, History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996), Ch.20 1989
  • A religious minority is a law unto itself. The institutions run by it enjoy protection both from their staff as well as from the Government. Their properties are safe and their management secure from Government intervention, very unlike institutions run by Hindus which enjoy no such protection and which are subject to all kinds of interference from a Government which takes pride in being ‘secular’, and which has developed aversion of secularity informed by anti-Hindu animus. The Indian Express reports ( 28/29 January, ’86 ) that the famous temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh has been ordered to pay rupees twenty crores as tax on the “sales” of prasadam since 1975! The Aurangzebi spirit is very much alive. Favoured treatment and discriminatory taxes have been used by Governments in the past to promote particular culture-groups and destroy others.
    • Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.
  • The current ideology of religious harmony emphasizes similarity—different religions are harmonious because they say the same thing; The older doctrine of multiple paths lays stress on their diversity—these paths are valid because they serve genuine different needs and answer to different natures. In short, they serve humanity not by being the same but by being different.
    • Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.
  • As regards Ramakrishna’s “practice of Islam and Christianity” of which the Mission makes so much, it finds no mention in the Gospel, the earliest and most authentic account of Ramakrishna’s thoughts and experiences in his own words. In this work we find that though Ramakrishna reminisces often about his experiences and God-filled states, there is hardly a word about his so-called practice of Islam and Christianity.... It also seems that the practice of Islam and Christianity made a less than deep impression on Ramakrishna, for subsequently he does not mention on his own initiative either Muhammad or the Koran, neither Jesus nor the Bible. Not even once! Nor did he draw from” his practice such excessive and indiscriminate conclusions as Mission monks now do.
    • Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.
  • The Semitic religions are not religions in the Eastern sense of the term. Their thrust is towards outward expansion, not towards inward exploration. In fact, in the Eastern sense, they are not spiritualities, but are what Marx calls ideologies, tailored for political expansion and imperialist aggression. The two systems —Eastern and Semitic— differ widely in their outlook, perspective and approach. The former speaks in the language of Self or Atma, the latter in the language of external Gods; the former speaks of the Law, the rita, the inner, spiritual and moral law of being and action, the latter speak of Commandments of an external being. The two differ also in their concept of the deity. The god of Semitic religions is “jealous”; he can brook no other gods. He is the sole Lord of the world; therefore, he marches at the head of an army of believers to lay claim to his domain. Those who oppose him are rebels.
    • Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.
  • With government money comes government control” is an axiom in any country. But the situation in India is unique with regard to minority religions. Under Article 30 of the constitution, “minority” religions are allowed to run educational institutions free from government control, but remain equally eligible for government funding as are institutions run by members of the “majority” religion. For the purposes of the constitution, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs are considered “Hindus” and hence part of the majority religion. Effectively the provision applies only to Muslims, Christians, and anyone who can get themselves declared a minority religion. One strange consequence of this is that the Vira Saivites of South India successfully argued earlier this century for minority status...
    • Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.

The World As Revelation: Names of Gods (1980)[edit]

  • The Hindu pantheon has changed to some extent but the old Gods are still active and are still understood though under modified names. Hindu India has a sense of continuity with its past which other nations, that changed their religions at some later stage, lack. It is also known that the Hindu religion preserves many old layers and forms. Therefore, its study may link us not only with its own past forms but also with the religious consciousness, intuitions and forms that prevailed in the past in Europe, in Greece, in Rome, in many Scandinavian and Baltic countries, amongst Germanic and Slavic peoples and also in several countries of the Middle East. In short, the study may reveal a fundamental form of spiritual consciousness which is wider than its Hindu expression.
  • The Vedic approach is perhaps the best. It gives unity without sacrificing diversity. In fact, it gives a deeper unity and a deeper diversity beyond the power of ordinary monotheism and polytheism. It is one with the yogic and the mystic approach... In this deeper approach, the distinction is not between a true One God and false Many Gods; it is between a true way of worship and a false way of worship. Wherever there is sincerity, truth and self-giving in worship, that worship goes to the true altar by whatever name we may designate it and in whatever way we may conceive it. But if it is not desireless, if it has ego, falsehood, conceit and deceit in it, then it is unavailing though it may be offered to the most true God, theologically speaking.
  • And yet the birth of Many Gods will not herald the death of One God; on the other hand, it will enrich and deepen our understanding of both. For One God and Many Gods are spiritually one. (...) A purely monotheistic unity fails to represent the living unity of the Spirit and expresses merely the intellect's love of the uniform and the general. Similarly, purely polytheistic Gods without any principle of unity amongst them lose their inner coherence. (...) Monotheism is not saved by polytheism, nor polytheism by monotheism, but both are saved by going deep into the life of the soul. (...) Depending on the cultures in which they were born, mystics have given monotheistic as well as polytheistic renderings and interpretations of their inner life and experiences.
  • If there is sufficient aspiration, invoking, and soliciting, there is no doubt that even Gods apparently lost could come back again. They are there all the time. For nothing that has any truth in it can be destroyed. It merely goes out of manifestation; but it could reappear under propitious circumstances. So could the old Gods come to life again in response to new summons.
  • Whenever the mind thinks of anything, it also invokes its corresponding form. The form has an essential sound or name attached to it. In fact, according to these seers, all phenomenal existence is nama-rupa, names and forms. Of these two, names are even more important than forms. An object is merely an outer expression, a material representation of the more internal and essential nama.
  • But the meaning of a word does not reside in this last, visible part.... Indeed, in this status, it is the cause of the world, jagannidanam, and is Brahman Itself.
  • Take, for example, the word 'orgy'. Once it had a deep meaning. The word is derived from the Gk. orgion, a sacred act or rite. It was the name of acts of secret worship practised by the initiates, just like mystery rites. ... But when these Gods fell before the new, rising Christian God, the word acquired a new meaning...
  • Samkhya tells us that it is not the eyes that see but it is the seeing that creates the eyes

Understanding Islam Through Hadis (1983)[edit]

  • It takes more than an invading army or crusaders or a demolition squad with sledge-hammers to establish the domain of Truth… Similarly, it is not that easy to get over ‘falsehood’… True spiritual demolition involves the demolition of desire-gods and ego-gods, the demolition of the false gods that reside in conceited theologies, in pretentious revelations and fond belief…


  • The new self-styled social justice intellectuals and parties do not want an India without castes, they want castes without dharma.
    • Ram Swarup: “Logic behind Perversion of Caste”, Indian Express, 13-9-1996.
  • For example in Pakistan, as recently as October 31, 1991, all the five judges of the Highest Islamic Court ruled that the punishment for defiling the Rasul was death and not life imprisonment as the prevailing penal law provided. But in countries like India where the Shariat law no longer prevails, but where Muslim opinion counts, any critical discussion of the Prophet and Islam is regarded as lacking in good taste. It is unsecular, a great lapse from accepted ideological morality. Critical writings are as a rule edited out and even often banned.
    • Ram Swarup, Swords to sell a god, ( 16 June 1992 in The Telegraph) quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [3]
  • "Religious harmony is a desirable thing. But it takes two to play the game. Unfortunately such a sentiment holds a low position in Islamic theology."
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
  • Pagan renaissance is overdue. It is necessary for Europe to heal its psyche. Under Christianity, Europe learned to reject its ancestors, its past, which cannot be good for its future also. Europe became sick because it tore apart from its own heritage, it had to deny its very roots. If Europe is to be healed spiritually, it must recover its spiritual past--at least, it should not hold it in such dishonor.... For self-recovery, these countries have to revive their old gods. But this is a task which cannot be done mechanically. They have to recapture the consciousness which expressed itself in the language of many gods... In my book, The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods, I spoke of a new kind of pilgrimage: a return to the time of the Gods. Meanwhile, European scholars can do a lot. They should write a history of Europe from the Pagan point of view, which would show how profoundly persecuted Paganism was. They should compile a directory of Pagan temples destroyed, Pagan groves and sacred spots desecrated. European Pagans should also revive some of these sites as their places of pilgrimage.
    • Interview in the June, 1996, issue of Antaios, [4]
  • I must say that the Pagan movement will have a lot to do. The opposing forces are very powerful, and they have a long tradition of using force and repression. But I believe that a new spirit is rising and once the Pagans begin to speak, they are going to be heard.
  • Fundamentalism is not accidental but essential to Islam. It is inherent in those religious ideologies which are built on a narrow spiritual vision, have a limited psychic base, and which emphasise dogma and personalities, other than experience and impersonal truth. Islam's fundamentalism is rooted in its theology, its founder and his practices. It means that it will also have to be fought there. But this point is ill understood and, therefore, the struggle is at the best of times phoney war.
    • Ram Swarup, Swords to sell a god, ( 16 June 1992 in The Telegraph) quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [5]
  • Having proved its value, the politics of taunts and accusations continues unabated. Those who benefit by it have merely to hurl the epithet ‘communal’, and there is a panic all around and the accused try to establish their secular credentials by the only way they know - by denouncing Hinduism. All this has led to competitive minorityism, selective communalism, the politics of out-musliming the Muslims and Hindu-bashing. But this politics is already getting discredited and yielding opposite results. It is awakening the Hindus and it is making them realize that the whole lot is rotten and that they should now take things in their own hands.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.
  • Indeed, we are face to face with a strange kind of Sikhism. The Sikh Gurus had worked and fought for the resurgence of Hinduism but now we are told that this resurgence is precisely the cause of Sikh uneasiness. Guru Govind Singh started sending Sikh Gyanis to Varanasi to learn Sanskrit and to study the Epics, the Puranas and other classics to understand the Adi Granth itself, but the neo-Akali ideologues find Sanskrit and these classics objectionable. Maharaja Ranjit Singh banned cow-killing in his kingdom and a hundred Sikhs were blown to smithereens by the British because they stood for cow-protection, but now it is an anathema to secularist Akali scholars. The fact is that it is not the old Sikhism of the Gurus but a new version of it which has been taking shape under the impact of very different ideological and political forces that we are meeting. This neo-Akalism is a child of self-alienation and spiritual illiteracy and it, is at odd not only with Hinduism but for that very reason with Sikhism itself.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.
  • Like any other imperialism, Muslim and British Imperialisms also created a class of mercenaries and compradores - and here I am talking of intellectual mercenaries; they created a collaborationist tradition or school which endured even after the rulers had left. Marxist historians, for example, belong to the school of Hindu munshis whom the Mughal kings employed to eulogize their rule and their religion, and who wrote servilely to flatter their patrons and whose writings failed to reflect even remotely the feelings, fears, hopes and yearnings of their own subject fellow brothers.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.
  • In Mongolia has been discovered a mass grave containing the remains of thousands of Buddhist monks liquidated by a former communist regime. An 83-old man, once head of an extermination squad, admitted that he personally put 15,724 to death. 1197-at-Nalanda was repeated not by invading Muslim armies but by local communist revolutionaries and social transformers.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.
  • Therefore, the Hindus and Sikhs, the minorities in the new Muslim homeland, were not to be suffered to stay there. This “minorityism”, the name for Hindus and Sikhs, was “the major enemy of the Milltat,” as Rehmat Ali, one of the early League leaders and intellectuals and coiner of the word Pakistan, said. According to its original conception, Pakistan itself was to be larger than it turned out to be; it was to include Kashmir, Assam and Bengal in the East and Hyderabad and Malabar in the South and many independent Muslim states within the rest of the Indian territory. India, or whatever remained of India, was itself to be considered Dinia, an important Islamic concept.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.
  • The above discussion shows why the Pope regards the New Age Movement with hostility. He regards it as an old enemy. If it derives from old Gnosticism... then it is easy to understand this hostility. The Movement is subversive of Christianity – its ideas, its externality, its exclusiveness, its authoritarianism.... All this shows that the Movement has a great responsibility to shoulder and a great role to play - an old role in a new context. To play it adequately and honourably, it has to become more conscious of its inspiration, its underlying ideas and philosophy; it has to become aware of its lost Pagan ancestry, its Eastern links and its common spiritual heritage.
    • Pope John Paul II on Eastern religions and yoga: A Hindu-Buddhist rejoinder. 1995
  • He also deals with the role of Marxism is recent negationist efforts: "Marxists have taken to rewriting Indian history on a large scale and it has meant its systematic falsification... The Marxists' contempt for India, particularly the India of religion, culture and philosophy, is deep and theoretically fortified. It exceeds the contempt ever shown by the most die-hard imperialists... Marx ruled out self-rule for India altogether and in this matter gave her no choice... Marxism idealizes old imperialisms and prepares a people for a new one. Its moving power is deep-rooted self-alienation and its greatest ally is cultural and spiritual illiteracy... No true history of India is possible without countering their philosophy, ideas and influence."
    • Ram Swarup, quoted from Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. 1992.

Hindu View of Christianity and Islam (1992)[edit]

  • The story of Islam is no different. Prophetic Islam is inimical to mystic ideas. In the beginning, some Sufis courted martyrdom, but eventually they bought peace and safety by surrendering to Prophetic Islam. There have been some outstanding Sufis, but by arid large the Sufi movement has been part of a larger aggressive apparatus, just like Christian Missions of Imperialism. Though Islam persecuted "infidels", destroyed their temples, enslaved and looted them, we find no Sufis protesting. In fact. they were often beneficiaries of this vandalism. "In many cases there is no doubt that the shrine of a ·Muslim saint marks the site of some local cult which was practised on the spot long before the introduction of Islam," says Thomas Arnold making it look quite normal and harmless. Mu'in aI-Din Chishtl's dargah at Ajmer is one such shrine built on the ruins of an old Hindu temple. The saint had also got the present of a Hindu princess, part of thebooty captured by a Muslim General, Malik Khitab, when he attacked the neighbouring pagan land. Sufi saints often took full part in Islamic jihad.
  • Their record has been matched only recently by Communism, considered a Christian heresy by thinkers like Bertrand Russell. In China, the communist regime destroyed half a million Buddhist shrines. (Were the Buddhists there also in the habit of hoarding their gold in their shrines, thus attracting communist expropriatory justice and getting them destroyed in the process? Or was it a rare example of an act purely motivated by an ideology? Probably Stalinist historians of the JNU would like to explain.)
  • They also found that their old religion was part of a larger religious system which once prevailed in other parts 'of the world as well. Nigel Pennick, author and thinker, found great similarity between old European Paganism and Hinduism. He said that Hinduism represented the Eastern expression of this universal tradition and foresaw the possibility that Hindus might come to accept Europe's Pagans as a European branch of Hinduism. Prudence Jones, the spokesperson for the U.K. Pagan Federation, said the same things. She observed that all the world's indigenous and ethnic religions have three features in common: they are nature-venerating, seeing nature as a manifestation of Divinity; secondly, they are polytheistic and recognize many Gods, many Manifestations; the third feature is that they all recognize the Goddess, the female aspect of Divinity as well as the male. She showed how European Paganism was similar to Hinduism, Shintoism, and the North American tradition. She thought that apart from doctrinal similarity, it would be useful for the European Pagans to be affiliated with a world Hindu organization which would give them legal protection - remember, that Paganism in Europe is still a heresy and it has no legal rights and protection. She emphasized that European Pagan religion is the native, indigenous religion of Europe, and religions with doctrines like Christianity came later.
  • We also said that what is true of Europe is also true of Africa and South America. The countries of these continents have recently gained political freedom, but it has done little to help them to regain their spiritual identity. If they wish to rise in a deeper sense, they must recover their soul, their Gods, their roots in their own psyche. If they need any change, and there is no doubt they do, it must come from within themselves as a part of their own experience. They have to make the .best use of their own psychic and spiritual gifts. They cannot nse through imported deities, saviours and prophets.
  • Indeed. there is a whole section in the Old Testament which does not square with its dominant ideas. The Proverbs, to my mind the best part of the Bible, represents a non-Mosaic tradition. In its spirit, it is very different from the Pentateuch and the Prophets; its ethics is high; it represents a very different spiritual tradition, the tradition of Self-knowledge. Its teaching is mostly, anonymous; it has also a woman teacher... rather an exception in the Bible...
  • History moves in strange ways.
  • Vyasa, the great commentator of Yogadadana, does somewhat better. He tells us that mind has five habitual states or planes (bhumis): mudha (dull or inert), kshipta (restless, or probably it is samkshipta and means contracted), vikshipta (scattered), ekagra (one-pointed), and niruddha (stopped). He makes a further pregnant statement that samlidhi is natural to mind and it can take place on all bhamis (sarvabhauma); but he adds a warning that the samlidhis of the first three bhUmis are non-yogic and only the samlidhis of the last two bhUmis are yogic. Only the yogic samlidhi leads to spiritual development.
  • Muslims had destroyed and looted the temples. The British did not do that but they took over a good deal of the temple lands as a 'revenue measure'; they did not use the word 'confiscation' and, in fact, converted some of these lands into 'monetary remuneration'. As a result, according to the Government of India's own comprehensive study beginning in 1962 and lasting for over ten years, the ten thousand five hundred and odd temples of Tamilnadu have a total annual income of only rupees twenty-seven million, from all their moveable and immoveable properties I Over 5,000 temples have only an annual income of Rs.500/- each! There is almost no money for the pujas, and the priests also hardly get anything. The only people who get proper remunerations are the Government functionaries employed to overseer the working of the temples. The 14,000 priests in Madhya Pradesh got five naya paisa per month at the time of Independence; now they get six naya paisa according to the Madhya Pradesh Pujaris Mahasangh!
  • The Sufism that survived and even prospered was tame and promised to subserve prophetism. Some great Sufi poets like Rumi and Attar convey a wrong impression of Islamic Sufism in general; they have been its show-pieces, not its representative figures. Mainstream Sufism has been represented by its silsilas like the Naqshbandiyya, Qadiriyya, Chishtiyya, Dervish, Marabout, Ribat, etc. They had no independent ideology of their own and they only served the spiritual-intellectual categories (manisha) of prophetic Islam; in fact, they became its most willing spokesmen. They never questioned its dogmas, not even its barbaric ideas about the kafirs, the jihad, the zimmis, the dar al-harb. There is nothing to show that they ever spoke against Islamic wars and oppression. On the other hand, as their history shows they were part and parcel of Islamic Imperialism, its enthusiastic sappers and miners and also its beneficiaries. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Dervish and Sufis have fought against the unbelievers in time of war. The devotees have accompanied the Shaikh or Murshid or Pir to the threatened frontiers. ... In India, the sufis have been an important limb of Islamic Imperialism and expansion.
  • All this was obvious enough at the time even though it was not always put forward exactly in this form and in this language. Schlegel found India "the home of universal religion, the cradle of the noblest human race." J.C. Herder asked the question: "All the peoples of Europe, where are they from?" And he answered: "From Asia." Schopenhauer thought that India was the "fatherland of mankind," and he expressed the hope that European peoples "who stemmed from Asia ... would re-attain the holy religions of their home." All this however changed under a growing consciousness of Imperial power and Euro-centricity. New theories reflected new power realities and new Imperial needs. Aryan dispersion from a common centre was retained, but its direction was changed and it became the theory of the Aryan invasion of India. The theory was meant to justify and to help the British Imperialism. The theory has little intellectual respectability left, but it has not lost its political usefulness and it is quite popular with the representatives of preceding Imperialisms and their Hindu apologists.
  • As we go further into humanity's past and study its great spiritual cultures, the need for Vedanta becomes still greater. There is no other way of understanding them except through a living culture which is also as ancient as they. Take Egypt, for example. We have happily found plenty of texts bearing on its religion, but the oral traditions through which its spiritual knowledge was transmitted was lost. Therefore, bare texts do not make a meaning as literalists have found. To understand them, "it is necessary that we tum to the Vedanta ... because the Upanishads provide the purest metaphysics available to us from the primordial past," as Arthur Versluis, the author of The Egyptian Mysteries, says. He himself followed this method and he found that the study of Vedanta "in-fills" Egyptian studies. His labour resulted in an illuminating study of Egypt's ancient religious tradition.


Meditations. Yogas, Gods, Religions (2000)[edit]

  • I personally believe that India has much to learn from the Western culture but, I am afraid, very little from Western Christianity.... Wherever Christianity went, it carried fire and sword... The natives lost their body as well as their souls. Now most of these countries have regained their political freedom but they have not recovered their souls.
  • European Imperialism and European Christianity were twins. It is difficult to say whether the flag followed the cross or the cross followed the flag.
  • Great truths have to be seen and lived and revealed again and again.
  • In the Patanjali Yoga, five fundamental impurities are mentioned: avidya (nescience), asmita (ego), raga (attachment), dvesha (aversion), and abhinivesa (gross worldliness, craving).... They are klesas, very inadequately defined as defilements.... All that we have desired and thought have gone into making them. They are woven into the fabric of our emotions, desires, thoughts. They keep us bound down to a particular life-cycle. They are built up of samskaras, impressions accumulated over repeated births. (p. 31)
  • The Patanjala Yoga used the word klesa for the principle of impurity in the soul which keeps it in bondage.... Following Samkhya the Patanjala Yoga enumerates five klesas. IOn the descending order of subtlety and potency, they are avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha and abhinivesa... According to Samkhya philsophy, there are two principles: Purusha and Prakriti.... According to Samkhya even chitta (mind stuff) or buddhi (intelligence) is material and is Prakriti's first modification. It is also called mahat..... Chitta or buddhi thinks it is conscioiius or a seer, but it is only an instrument of seeing. This is called asmita klesa and gies rise to a false sense of personality.... How to conquer klesas is the cental problem of Yoga...(p. 76 ff.)
  • For liberation, one enters into another territory called nirvana-bhumi by the Buddhists and nirodha-bhumi by Patanjala Yoga. But between this and the previous stage there is an intermeditate ground, a no man's land. It is at the apex of samprjnata samadhi and at the beginning of asmaprajnata samadhi. ... Here by sustained practice of the Yoga of discrimination or viveka-khyati, which separates the seer from the seen and the instruments of seeing, Purusha is seen for the first time as separate from Prakriti.... When this knowledge arises, the asmita klesa is destroyed. ... But when the chitta or the buddhi knows that it merely reflects a light which belongs to someone othere than iteself, the spiritual man is born. The asmita klesa, known as the heart-knot in the Upanishads is destroyed.... But what we have called the intermediate no man's land above has a rough and ready sort of Buddhist analogue in its eighth samapatti: naivasamjna nasmajna, neither knowing nor unknowing. It means the samsara has ended but the nirvana has not begun; the mind has ended but the Self has not begun. What is called asamjna here is called asamprjnata in Patanjala Yoga.(p. 83 ff)
  • To the Yoga the hightest concept of God is that of a being who is free from all klesas, klesapramrishtah, but in actual practice in most cases we have God who is joined with klesas. (p. 86)
  • Prajna is knowledge but not all knowledge is prajna. Only spiritual knowledge is prajna. It destroys the illusion of a separtieve exstence. Klesas which were merely weakened by samadhi are completely burnt up by prajna. Prajna is liberating knowledge par excellence; it is also the knowledge which comes with liberatino. Prajna is Self-knowledge. (p. 90)
  • It is not that there are different Purushas to experience but the same Purusha is experienced differently at different levels. There is the experience of Divinity at the level of purified manas, but the same is also experienced at the level of buddhi. ... In the first, the experience is more particularised; in the second it puts on a more universal aspect. ... Manas particularizes; buddhi generalises. In the movement from manas to buddhi, spirituality rises from a spiritual experience to a spiritual truth. .... One need not grade the two experiences but one should try to understand the difference between them. At the level of purified mans, there is faith, joy, sonship, prophethood, inspired utterances, luminous visions, chosen destinies, unique roles.... (p. 101 ff)
  • In a way, none of these values were new but in the crucible of the Bhakti Movement they combined to crystallise in a new form and give rise to a new ethos. And under the influence of many great bhaktas and santas, they acquired a new urgency, a new poer. It made religion living for millions of people. Bhakti is now one of the greatest elements in Hindu religion. ....Hinduism has never been exclusively 'brahmanical'. It is particularly true of present-day Hinduism. It is the product of influences emanating from the humblest sources, and from most diverse circumstances. Kabir was a weaver; Raidas was a cobbler; .... (p 121 ff)
  • The Gita tells us that there are four kinds of people who take to God-life. Of them ,the afflicted (arta) are the very first ones. The rest in their order are the seekers of knowledge, the seekerse of truth as it is, and the seekers of wisdom. (p.180)
  • Behind the material, there is also a subtle world which itself emanates from a larger casual world.... In man the three worlds meet. In the ancient language of Hindus, man is a citizen of the three worlds: bhuh, bhuvah, swah. (p. 240)
  • It prescribes five daily sacrifices, pancha mahayajnas... The first yajna is Self-knowledge and self-study.. This is called bhrama-yajna... Daily reading of scriptures is its external aspect. The second yajna is pitri-yajna, offerting to one's ancestors... The third is deva-yajna, offering to Gods.... Deva-yajna is in reality an offering to our own higher nature, the secret Godhead within us. The fourth is bhutna-yajna, offering made to elements and all creatures... The last offering is called nri-yajna, which is an offering to men... (p. 242 ff)

On Hinduism (2000)[edit]

Chapter 1. Sanatana Dharma - Anusmriti and Anudhyayana
  • As it saw in the Self all Godly attributes, it saw in Gods the truth and powers of the Self; indeed, it taught that one who worships a God as other than himself becomes his sacrificial animal, his draught-animal. He is driven and ridden by him.
  • Hindu dharma reverenced women; therefore, it had no difficulty in conceiving Goddesses. Hindus also learnt to give their women the honour they gave to their deities. Hindu lawgivers taught that women must be honoured by their fathers, brothers, husbands and brothers-in-law, who desire their own welfare; that Gods are pleased where women are honoured, but where they are not honoured sacred rites yield no rewards.
  • A country cannot be defeated politically unless it is defeated culturally. Our alien rulers knew that they could not conquer India without conquering Hinduism - cultural India's name at its deepest and highest, and the principle of its identity, continuity and reawakening. Therefore Hinduism became an object of their special attack. Physical attack was supplemented by ideological attack. They began to interpret for us our history, our religion, our culture and ourselves. We learnt to look at us through their eyes.... The long period created an atmosphere of mental slavery and imitation. It created a class of people Hindu in their names and by birth but anti-Hindu in orientation, sympathy and loyalty. They knew all the bad things and nothing good about Hinduism. Hindu dharma is now being subverted from within. Anti-Hindu Hindus are very important today; they rule the roost; they write our histories, they define our nation; they control the media, the academia, the politics, the higher administration and higher courts. They are now working as clients of those forces who are planning to revive their old Imperialism... During this period our minds became soft. We became escapists; we wanted to avoid conflict at any cost, even conflict and controversy of ideas, even when this controversy was necessary. We developed an escape-route. We called it "synthesis". We said all religions, all scriptures, all prophets preach the same things. It was intellectual surrender, and our enemies saw it that way; they concluded that we are amenable to anything, that we would clutch at any false hope or idea to avoid a struggle, and that we would do nothing to defend ourselves. Therefore, they have become even more aggressive. It also shows that we have lost spiritual discrimination (viveka), and would entertain any falsehood; this is prajñâ-dosha, drishti-dosha, and it cannot be good for our survival in the long run. People first fall into delusion before they fall into misfortune.
Chapter 2. Cultural Self-Alienation Among the Hindus (first published in The Times of India, July 2-4, 1987)
  • Some see in this change a triumph of Nehru over Gandhi. They, of course, do not mean Nehru as a person for Nehru was merely a symbol and he represented, in his own way, a typical response, the response of a defeated nation trying to restore its self-respect and self-confidence through self-repudiation and identification with the ways of the victors. The approach was not altogether unjustified at one time. It had its compulsions and it had also a survival value for us. But its increasing influence can mean no good to us.
  • Hindus temples have been under unprecedented attack for a thousand years. They suffered desecration, destruction, confiscation of their property and iniquitous taxation under the Muslim rulers. Under the British, the more physical methods ceased but fiscal methods were adopted for undermining "heathenism". A large part of the land and properties of the temples were taken away under all kinds of pretexts. After independence, the temples have fared no better. Their properties have not been restored to them and they continue to exist in deepening poverty. In the South where there are still many noble structures left, the temples are under the control of a Government which takes pride in being "secular", and whose secularity is thoroughly anti-Hindu in orientation.
Chapter 3. Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism (first published in 1958)
  • Hinduism is like a great reservoir of water from which many streams take their rise and to which they again repair after passing through many strange and fair lands. It is a great, creative matrix giving birth to many beautiful and living forms. Itself a historical, it has given birth to many sects and branches with interesting, chequered histories. Paying sole allegiance to the Guide within seated in the cave of the heart, it has put forward from time to time many teachers and sages of incomparable power and vision, incarnating the very Gods above and within.
  • In order to qualify for Government grants, Shanti Niketan, the famous institution found by the great Rabindra Nath Tagore, the poet of the soul's Godward aspiration and a great representative of undying India, had to give up its Upanishadic motto: satyam, Sivam, sundaram. These figures represent the deepest and loftiest that spirituality has conceived about man, his aspirations and destiny, his hopes and possibilities. But to the modern secular ears of the present-day rulers, these terms sound communal and antiquated.
4. Indo-European Encounter, An Indian Perspective
  • But even if we take the Vedas to be history, we must apply a chosen criterion consistently and not pick and choose according to our convenience. In a Rg verse (7.6.3) which speaks of the foolish, the faithless, the rudely-speaking, the niggardly, of men without belief, sacrifice and worship (nyakritu, grathina, mRdhra-vâc, paNi, aSraddha, avriddha, ayajña), we are also told that "Far, far away has Agni chased those dasyus, and, in the east, has turned the godless westward", a direction which is just the opposite of what the Orientalists have been telling us - not eastward and southward but westward. Why neglect this testimony?
  • For example, Apollonius of Tyna, the great sage of the Greek world who is reputed to have come to India to meet its sages, is mentioned just to be told that his biography by Philostratus is "legendry". There is nothing improbable in a saint of the Greek world visiting India, but even if the biography is legendry, it is known to have been written by 220 AD, and even as a legend it is a good witness and tells us where India stood in the estimation of Greek sages and philosophers of an early date. It tells us that the Pythagoreans of Greece and the Naked Philosophers of Egypt had derived their doctrines from the "Wise men of India".
  • Professor Halbfass follows a scholar's methodology in determining the extent of Indo-Greek contact. He is determined to find a document, some written mention, some journey relating to this contact before he would admit it, but by their very nature such evidences can only be very rare considering the time that has lapsed and the changes that have been wrought. But if Professor Halbfass had followed a more inward method or criterion of looking at Greek literature, he would have easily found plentiful evidence of a living Indo-Greek contact, particularly at the deeper level of the spirit. Both shared a common spiritual approach; both intuited man and his world in the same way; both expressed their spiritual intuition in the language of Gods; both taught âtma-vâda, and the theory of Two Selves and Two Ways; both taught the theory of karma, rebirth and moksha. In fact, the Greece of Pythagoras, Plato and Plotinus has more in common with Hindu India than with Christian Europe.
5. Development in Huxley's Thought, Hindu-Buddhist Influences
  • In Western thought, the body holds the soul; in Indian thought, the soul holds the body.
  • The fact is that Christian art failed at a deeper level. It failed not in execution but in conception and vision, and this failure was at bottom failure of Christian theology in which mysticism is rudimentary and peripheral. Christian theology has no concept of transcendence, non-attachment, recollectedness, equality (samatâ), liberation (moksha), the vast (bhûmâ) and the infinite (ananta), compassion (kurunâ), of cosmic action emanating from restfulness at the centre; therefore, it felt no call to try to convey them in its art-forms. A deeper iconography needed the support of a deeper theology and vision. This explains why Christian art has no equivalents of Far Eastern Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as Huxley notices. The Eastern tradition was shaped by Hindu religious thinking and sensibility. Hindu art tried to portray the inner man: the Man behind the man, the Eye behind the eye, the Seeing behind the seeing, man's inner prânika or life-currents, the nodal points in his subtle body where the individual meets the cosmic. It portrayed man's inner physiognomy. .... But they portrayed the external man; there was no portrayal of the inner man, the luminous man, the transcendental man.
  • European soldiers, traders, missionaries - later on ably assisted by its colonial ideologies and scholars - opened up the East to the influences of the West. But Huxley belonged to that small group of European thinkers and seekers who opened up the West to the influence of the East - a more arduous task and in the long run perhaps more important too. He did not seek this role, it was merely a bye-product of his search for truth.
    Huxley was one of the finest products of Europe - of a new Europe seeking its old roots, of a Europe no longer satisfied with mere technology and science and rationality but seeking a new dimension of the spirit, a Europe self-critical and in search. He was also a profound student of Europe's various traditions, religious, literary and artistic, and he discusses them with great knowledge, insights, authority and intimacy. In his hands, cultural Europe becomes alive. A critical discussion of Europe by such a sympathetic insider is meant to help, to fecundate; it can do no harm but will only help Europe in its spiritual rediscovery. In opening up to India and China, it would merely be opening up to an ancient tradition which was lost by her but preserved and developed in India and China.
  • When Huxley accepted the spiritual view of life, his opposition to monotheism remained and in fact deepened. He could not be reconciled with the Christian God, the Father and a habitual whipping father too - the wholly other. He sees sadism in this God. In Island, a very late work, one of his character says: "Somebody ought to make a historical study of the relations between theology and corporal punishment in childhood. I have a theory that, wherever little boys and girls are systematically flagellated, the victims grow up to think of God as - 'Wholly Other'... A people's theology reflects the state of its children's bottoms. Look at the Hebrews - enthusiastic child-beaters. And so were all good Christians in the Age of Faith.8 Hence Jehovah, hence Original Sin and the infinitely offended Father of Roman and Protestant orthodoxy. Whereas among Buddhists and Hindus education has always been nonviolent. No laceration of little buttocks - therefore Tat tvam asi, thou art That, mind from Mind is not divided." Continuing he mentions Augustine and Martin Luther, as the "two most relentlessly flagellated bottoms in the whole history of Christian thought"; and how their flagellation-theology is carried to its logical conclusion by Calvin and others. "Major premise: God is Wholly Other. Minor premise: man is totally depraved. Conclusion: Do to your children's bottoms what was done to yours, what your Heavenly Father has been doing to the collective bottom of humanity ever since the Fall: whip, whip, whip!"
  • Therefore, he developed an ethical theory which had room both for instincts as well as the intellect. He said that man is not one but multiple; He is not one self, but a colony of selves. He must live all his selves and all his parts, and live them not moderately but fully.
  • Here one may also mention Huxley's idea of modern medicine. He says that it has marvellous antibiotics but absolutely no method for increasing resistance. Similarly, fantastic operations but nothing in the way of teaching people the way of going through life without having to be chopped up. Good for patching up when one is falling apart, but bad for keeping him healthy. And of course it knows nothing of integrated treatment as it knows nothing of integrated life. It knows nothing of the higher and positive consciousness and therefore there is no attempt to help a man to "open himself up to the life force or the Buddha nature".
  • Time Must Have A Stop, which belongs to this period, is probably his best novel and certainly the one which, as he himself says, he "most enjoyed doing".
  • He only quotes from Rabia, Bayazid, Abu Sa'id and Rumi who do not properly represent even the sufi silsilas, the mainstream Islamic Sufism.
  • Discussing the problem concretely, he finds that both in its spirit and deeper conceptualization, the Perennial Philosophy is opposed to and is also opposed by the so-called "revealed religions" which make salvation and God's truth dependent on a unique and single revelation in history, dependent on an authorized mediator, and makes it a privilege of a particular church or ummah. Perennial Philosophy recognizes no such historical fatality, no priviledged intermediaries, no surrogates, no authorized proxies. Spiritual life is a lawful process, not a lucky accident or piece of history, a happenstance. Salvation is man's assussured possession, not a chance windfall. God is not a pie in the sky who appeared from nowhere at a particular time and became operative in human affairs; he has been active from the beginning. The great spiritual life resides in the heart and its truths are open to all sincere seekers. Man has known, possessed and lived those truths long before "revealed religions" were heard of.
  • Huxley realizes his difficulty. He knows that mysticism is not native to Christianity and has been an uneasy implant from outside. In his Grey Eminence, he shows how through "neo-platonism and along with it, at several removes, the most valuable elements of Hindu religion, entered Christianity and became incorporated, as one of a number of oddly heterogeneous elements, into its scheme of thought and devotion".
  • E. Hermann says that the Neo-Platonic doctrine of via negativa "from Dionysius onwards took an Asiatic rather than a Greek from". She does not explain what its Greek form was and how it differed from its "Asiatic" (Indian) form.
  • In this lecture, Huxley also relates how mysticism acquired a "tolerated position" in Western Christianity by an early "pious fraud". About the sixth century, a Neoplatonic writer, a convert to Christianity, wrote a book on Mystical Theology under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, who was mistaken for one Dionysius who was the first disciple of St. Paul in Athens. Under this mistaken identity, the book was well received. In the ninth century, it was translated by John Scotus Erigena and thereafter it entered into the tradition of the Western Church. It was not until recent times that the fraud was recognized for what it was, but by then it was too late. Huxley says that "in one of the odd, ironical quirks of history, this curious bit of forgery played a very important and very beneficent part in the Western Christian tradition".
6. The Hindu View of Education
  • This aim is formulated with utmost brevity in the famous Gâyatrî Mantra which is daily recited by hundreds of thousands of people all over India. The Mantra prays for arousing, activating, animating and manifesting our mind and understanding. Several Upanishads begin with this prayer: "Make strong my limbs, my speech, my vitals, my eyes, my cars and other senses".
  • India's education had two aims, both organically linked. One was to strengthen our body and mind, our nerves and vitality. If the Indian teaching on this subject is followed faithfully, it ensures full, vigorous, healthy and long life. Similarly, it ensures health and unimpaired senses and a mind with undiminished powers. According to the Hindu Psychology, a man's mind and senses are powers of the soul. Therefore, they should be strengthened, widened, deepened, purified. "May I see and hear clearly and abundantly", is the repeated prayer in the, several Upanishads. Another variant of this prayer is: "May our eyes see the good, our ears hear the good." To see and hear and desire better, purer, finer and deeper is the first aim of Indian education. This means strengthening character, controlling desires and impulses, increasing powers of concentration and will. Not only this opens up our hidden powers, but this is even the basis of any fruitful life at all. If our senses and mind run their unbridled course, uninformed by any higher light, they will lead to self-destruction. But purified in the light of the soul, they become a blessing.
  • The ancient educational thinking also emphasized the importance of a certain atmosphere in which alone any worthwhile education is possible. First, there must be a complete rapport between the teacher and the taught. "May we study together. May God protect us both. May we never spite each other", that is the prayer of the teacher and the pupil with which several Upanishads open. There must be an atmosphere of serious inquiry, of hankering for truth for its own sake, of affection, deference, service and respect. Hindus believed that without this environment, no higher education is possible.
Chapter 7. Educational System During Pre-British Days
  • Tibet preserved as best as it could, what India was no longer in a position to do. For example, 4000 books belonging to the Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit literature were translated into Tibetan language. Today, about 3800 of them are no longer even known in India. They were so completely destroyed. The work of destruction was so complete. Today much of old India is found in neighbouring countries like Tibet and Siam and Cambodia; and India's old past history cannot be reconstructed except with their aid.
8. India and Greece
  • Apollonius believed that Egypt and Ethiopia derived their wisdom from India, and that the Naked Philosophers of Ethiopia were emigrants from India. He also believed that Pythagoras (about 500 BC) and his sect derived their philosophy from India.
  • Hindu thought also exerted a great influence on ancient Greek thought as M.E. Pococke shows in his India in Greece. It is believed that Pythagoras visited Indian and learnt the doctrine of transmigration and many ascetic practices from here. One meets many parallel ideas in the Upanishads and Plato. These similarities are not fortuitous but they emanated from a common deeper vision and life-philosophy. Apollonius the "wise man of Tyana", perhaps the greatest saint of the Hellenistic world, a contemporary of Jesus, visited the wise men of India and was highly satisfied. Later on, he also visited Ethiopia to meet her naked ascetics, who, he believed, had borrowed their spirituality from India. But, as he already suspected, he did not find them worthy pupils of India.
  • Pythagoras and Orphic mysteries stand very high in Greek religion and they have family likeness with Hinduism. Lecky in his History of European Morals quotes an old tradition in Greece that Pythagoras had himself come to India and learnt philosophy from the gymnosophists. It seems he believed in an "all-pervading soul" which is at least one important attribute of Hindu âtman. He believed in rebirth or transmigration; he taught and practised harmlessness or non-injury; chastity was the leading virtue of his school of thought; he taught silence; he taught that the end of man is to "become like God". Orphic mysteries taught release (lysis) from all material entanglements, which is close to moksha of the Hindus.
  • Pythagoras taught the doctrine of the witness, drashTâ of the Hindus. He said that life is like a gathering at the Olympic Games, where some come to buy and sell, others to play, but the best of them come to look on. This is just like the Upanishads' two birds on a tree, one eating its fruits and the other just looks on. It has reference to the witness self of the Upanishads, the kûTastha of the Gita. In higher Greek religion the doctrine of the life of a spectator holds a high place.
  • When we come to the period of recorded history, we find that India had intimate contacts with Greece which at this time was more a part of Asia than of Europe. Greek religion, philosophy and literature show lively Indian influences. India even at this time was known for its wisdom and many Greek philosophers like Democritus, Anaxarchus and Pyrrho visited India and according to Lucianus, the Goddess of philosophy first descended upon "the Indians, the mightiest nation upon the earth".
  • This new religious cast of mind was forging a new iron-curtain, a far more effective one than a physical one. The new mind that was taking over was incapable of understanding deeper things of the spirit; it understood dogmas and creeds; it dropped the law of karma, the theory of the Self. Antoninus, a neo-Platonist of the 4th century predicted that "a fabulous and formless darkness is about to tyrannize over all that is beautiful on earth" (Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 9.317).
  • Apollonius of Tyna (born c. 4 AD), the great saint of the Greek world, was a Pythogorian teacher, a great ascetic, a celebate, a vegetarian; he was against every form of cruelty to animals; he protested against gladiatorial shows. He was a great name throughout the Pagan world.
  • He visited India to meet its wise men. He met one Iarchus and was deeply satisfied. The latter asked him: "What knowledge do you think we have that you lack?" Apollonious replied: "It is my opinion that your ways are wiser and much more godly. But if I were to find among you nothing that I do not know, I would also have learned that there is nothing further for me to learn." Iarchus told him: "You, our visitor, have (already) a share of this wisdom, but yet not all of it." Then the teaching began but what it was and about its nature nothing is said. The biographer, however, relates many anecdotes and throws interesting sidelights. He tells us that in their very first meeting, Iarchus told Apollonius everything about him, his ancestry on his father's and mother's side, his journey and the people he met and talks he had with them. Apollonius was amazed. Iarchus also told him about Apollonius' nature and said: "We discern every kind of soul, and have countless clues to discover them." "Ask me whatever you like, since you have come among men who know everything," said the chief of the Indian wise men to his distinguished visitor. He in turn asked the Indians if they knew themselves, expecting them to be like the Greeks in thinking it is difficult to know oneself. But to his surprise, Iarchus replied: "We know everything because we begin by knowing ourselves. None of us would approach our kind of philosophy without knowing himself first." Apollonius had no difficulty in accepting this statement for it was also his own belief. He asked Iarchus what they thought they were, and the latter replied: "Gods." And why? "Because we are good men," Iarchus said (p. 80). Later on in his life when he used this doctrine before the Emperor of Rome when he was being tried for instigating treason, he also told him that Iarchus and Phraotes, the two Indians, "are the only humans whom I consider Gods and worthy of being called so".

Hinduism and monotheistic religions (2009)[edit]

  • Not long ago, all the copies of the Hindi edition of my book, Understanding Islam Through Hadis, were confiscated by the police. ... The civil liberties wallahs, otherwise a vocal lot, have been eloquently silent on this and similar bans. But then they are active only in certain preferred directions, on behalf of certain preferred sections and for the benefit of certain preferred ideas.
  • While I stayed at the Ashram, I spent many hours a day with Mira behn.... Even today at this distance, I remember her with great affection in my heart. ... She gave me the impression that she had found what she was looking for.
  • It should be obvious to anybody that the most vicious anti-RSS propaganda is at heart anti Hindu propaganda. So long as the RSS is identified with Hinduism in one form or another, it would invite this attack.... But while the enemies of the RSS have worked themselves up to a frenzied point and have whipped up their tirade, the propaganda itself is losing its appeal with the thinking people....
  • When Shourie's articles first appeared, they aroused great emotions and savage attacks. He quoted from the Bible and the Quran extensively on the question of co-existence. Many were shocked.... Shourie has called his book, Religion in Politics; someday he should bring out another book, Politics in Religion....The first book discusses politics complicated by religions factors; the second would discuss religions which are essentially political...
  • What Hindu India needs is not new a doctrine of religious harmony but to find out how to face the threat of intolerant religions. Blavatsky and Vivekananda were serious proponents of the doctrine of the harmony of religions but it did not prevent them from exploring the souls of intolerant religions and opposing them... But all such passages are being expunged... from his works by his followers, probably to make them conform to the new religion they have floated in his and Ramakrishna's name....
  • Dharampal is now perhaps the best authority on a most significant period of India's history....
  • Any conscientious scholar of the Adi Granth will be struck by the fact that both in its origin and development, in its soul and body, it belongs to a larger literature of a similar nature and ethos found all over India. And the common source of them all is the Upanishads, the Yogas, the Puranas and the Mahabharata. All the spiritual categories, approach, message, motif, images, metaphors and illustrative material derive from that source, and only the language is regional. But nothing is lost in the repetition and the message remains fresh and invigorating; in fact, it acquires a new confirmation as it is renewed in the lives of Godmen from generation and region to region. The Adi Granth reproduces hundreds of passages and phrases almost verbatim from the older scriptures.
  • These similarities were not accidental caused by a “Hindu environment”, as some post-Macauliffe Akali scholars try to explain. They arose because the Sikh Gurus were Hindus; they were brought up and nourished on Hindu scriptures; they were shaped by the Santtradition of their day which derived from the Upanishads and the Yogas and Sikh Gurus were Vaishnavas who remembered their God by the name of Hari or Rama or Govinda.Nanak alone used the word “Hari’ 630 times; in the Adi Granth, it occurs 8,300 times. Similarly, the word ‘Rama’ appears 2,500 times. Whether one understands these names in their more popular and Pauranik sense or in their more Upanishadic and Yogic meaning, in either case there is no escape from the traditional identity.
  • Not only does the Adi Granth reproduce hundreds of passages from the older scriptures but like the rest of the Sant literature it also follows the lead of the Upanishads and the Gita and the Yoga Vasishtha in all doctrinal points. Its theology and cosmology, its God View and world-view, its conception of deity and man and his salvation, its ethics, philosophy and praxis and Yoga – all derive from that source. It believes in Brahma-Vada, in Advaita, in Soham, in Maya, in Karma and Rebirth, in Mukti and Nirvana, in the Middle Path (in its Yogic sense), in the Backward Journey and the Reversed Current, in death-in-life, the Tenth Gate and the Fourth State. It prescribes the path of action, devotion and knowledge.
  • It is obvious from the foregoing discussion that Sikhism belongs to the mainstream of Hinduism in its theology and cosmology, in its fundamental vision of man, deity and the universe, in its spiritual doctrines and praxis.
  • We are also told that the Gurus repudiated pilgrimage to holy places. Is it true? Though as a “knower”, Nanak was above pilgrimage, yet he went on an extended pilgrimage, as his Udasis tell us, to Hardwar, Prayag, Varanasi, Gorkhmat (near Pilibhit), Ayodhya, Jagannatha Puri, Rameshwaram, Ujjain, Kurukshetra, Hinglaj, Gorakh-Hatri (a great Natha center near modern Peshawar). At Mathura, he visited Keshaav Rao Temple and bathed in the Yamuna.
  • To early European writers, it did not occur to regard Sikhism as different from Hinduism, an observation which agreed with the Sikhs’ own self-perception. The fashion to regard them as distinct belonged to the future of a more defined imperialist purpose.
  • It is indeed a strange sect of Islam which claims for itself a founder other than Muhammad and a scripture other than the Quran, and which does not mention the name of the Prophet even once in its scripture quite considerable in length.

Quotes about Ram Swarup[edit]

  • In 1982, Ram Swarup (1920–1998) established Voice of India, a publishing house that over the next decades published a great deal of literature critical of Christianity in India. Though he shared Gandhi’s conception of religion and repeated many of Gandhi’s general criticisms of Christian proselytization, Swarup did so with more bombast and sarcasm than the frank but generally civil Mahatma. In addition, while Gandhi regularly criticized Christians’ obsession with conversion, he frequently spoke admirably of Christ and of Christian ethics. Swarup would have none of it...
    • Chad Baumann in : Knut A. Jacobsen (editor) - Routledge Handbook of South Asian Religions (2020, Routledge) - 255 ff
  • Gandhi can be credited with having established and/​or popularized many of the basic arguments against conversion to Christianity, but it was Ram Swarup who brought those arguments back to life at the end of the twentieth century. In 1982, Swarup established a publishing house, Voice of India, which has since then published a significant amount of literature in defense of Hinduism, including many of the texts referenced in this chapter. One of the stated goals of Voice of India, according to Swarup, was to “show to its own people that Hinduism is not that bad and other religions not so wonderful as they are painted by their theologians and televangelists”. With Voice of India’s publication of his own Hinduism vis-​à-​vis Christianity and Islam, Swarup inspired a new generation of anti-​Christian critics, as we will see in the next section on Sita Ram Goel. Though many of his arguments may have been Gandhi’s originally, the assertive, orotund, and confrontational style was distinctly Swarup’s, and the influence of that style can be felt in the writings of nearly all the other authors profiled in this chapter.
    • Chad Baumann, quoted from [Routledge Handbooks in Religion] Chad M. Bauman, Michelle Voss Roberts - The Routledge Handbook of Hindu-Christian Relations (2020, Routledge) 142 ff
  • The importance of Sitaram Goel's and Ram Swarup's work can hardly be over-estimated. There is no doubt that future textbooks on comparative religion as well as those on Indian political and intellectual history will devote crucial chapters to their analysis. They are the first to give a first-hand Pagan reply to the versions of history and "science of religion" imposed by the monotheist world- conquerors, both at the level of historical fact (e.g. Sitaram Goel's "History of Hindu-Christian Encounters") and of fundamental doctrine (e.g. Ram Swarup's "Hinduism vis-a-vis Christianity and Islam"), both in terms of the specific Hindu experience (e.g. Sitaram Goel's "Hindu Society under Siege") and of a more generalized theory of religion free from prophetic-monotheistic bias (e.g. Ram Swarup's "The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods", a ground-breaking statement of Pagan doctrine).
    • Elst K. Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam. 1992. also in Elst K.: India's only communalist A short biography of Sita Ram Goel
  • Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel were witnesses to the untiring aggression against Hinduism by Christian missionaries, they deemed Christianity a serious problem, and so they took aim at Christianity. Not some mysterious force behind Christianity, but Christianity itself. They adopted the typically modern rejection of Christianity as exemplified by Bertrand Russell's book Why I Am Not a Christian. Their criticism focused mainly on three points: (1) the irrational basis of Christian theology; (2) the largely fabricated basis of early Christianity's sacred history as related in the New Testament; (3) the intolerant and inhumane record of Christianity in history. This has nothing whatsoever to do with "postmodernism" but is purely and consistently the modern approach to the Christian belief system and Church, in the footstep of the criticisms developed by Western secularists since the 18th century... The next one among the errors in this paragraph: Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel wrote in defence of Hinduism, never of "Hindutva".
    • Return of the Swastika, Koenraad Elst: chapter 3. Hinduism, Environmentalism and the Nazi Bogey, A Preliminary Reply by Dr. Koenraad Elst to Ms. Meera Nanda.
  • In sharp contrast with the repetitive-nationalistic and Indocentric approach of Golwalkar and the RSS, Goel and Shourie (and Ram Swarup before them) have developed a historical and philosophical critique of Christianity and Islam that has universal validity. It is part of continuum with Western and other foreign critiques of the said religions. .... Of course, the approach pioneered by Ram Swarup is “hard-line” in the sense that it is not susceptible to change under the impact of changing political configurations. The BJP and RSS may decide one day that they need to build bridges with padres and mullahs, but that doesn’t alter the truth status of the latter’s belief systems. The Voice of India approach is unflinching in the same sense in which logic is sharper than diplomacy, or uprightness is tougher than compromise, or a diamond is hardier than mud.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • In the long run, Ram Swarup will probably prove to have been the most influential Hindu thinker in the second half of the 20th century. He has, at any rate, been a crucial influence on most other Hindu Revivalist authors of the last two decades.
    • Koenraad Elst in Hinduism Today, April 1999 [6]
  • Conversely, banning this book would send a signal that the present establishment will do what it can to prevent Hinduism from rising up, from regaining self-confidence, from facing the challenge of hostile ideologies.
    • Elst, K. In Freedom of expression - Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) ISBN 81-85990-55-7
  • Perhaps the most revealing story of a book banning concerns Ram Swarup's Understanding Islam through Hadis.... A crowd of people gathered around the binders' shop. They demanded the entire stock of the objectionable book to be handed over for burning, otherwise they would set the place itself on fire. The police was called. They made no attempt to disperse the crowd. Instead they summoned and arrested the printer and the publisher, and they made sure that everyone got an eyeful of the arrest show.... the Delhi administration has had two meetings in 1988-89, to consider whether the book was objectionable. Twice it was cleared. But the pressure for banning it was kept up. ... The Jama'at as well as other Muslim groups, and personalities close to the Janata Dal (either faction), have sought a ban on Ram Swarup's book. In September 1990, a court ruled that the book was unobjectionable. But the pressure continued. And come December 1990, a third meeting of Delhi administration officials revoked the two earlier decisions, and issued a ban on the book.
    • Koenraad Elst. Ayodhya and after: issues before Hindu society. 1991. Ch. 12. [7]
  • In March 1991, Ram Swarup's book "Understanding Islam through Hadis" was banned, after the Hindi version had already been banned in 1990.... According to the fundamentalist party Jamaat-i Islami the book contained "distortion and slander", and as an example of this slanderous distortion, it mentions this passage: "Mohammed saw Zaynab in half-naked condition, and he fell in love with her". With this revelation, the fundamentalists managed to get some agitation going, and the book was banned.
    • Elst, Koenraad, Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. 1992 [8]
  • The global Hindu magazine Hinduism Today has described Ram Swarup as "perhaps Hinduism's most cogent analyst." The Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, spoke of him as "a representative of India's rishi tradition in the modern age." ... He was a Hindu thinker of the first order, comparable to the many great Hindu thinkers of previous centuries. ... Ram Swarup, probably better than any other modern thinker, puts Hinduism into its proper perspective so that we can understand its foundation and its motivation.... Such people need to read Ram Swarup to really know what they are dealing with in what is called Hinduism. ... Ram Swarup unfolds this Sanatana Dharma with both a panoramic vision and a pinpoint accuracy so that it comes alive to the reader as an internal force of consciousness and light.
    For those who really want to understand the heart and soul of Hindu Dharma, the work of Ram Swarup is perhaps the best place to start. His expression is lucid, modern and concise, but firmly rooted in ancient traditions and a yogic understanding. He is aware of the many misconceptions and systematically works to remove them to arrive at the underlying truth that is helpful to all.
    For those who want to understand the Hindu religion as a whole, Ram Swarup's work is perhaps the best available guide. He is not speaking in terms of any particular guru or sampradâya but about the essence of the entire tradition, which pervades all of its multifarious manifestations. He is going back to an older, perhaps more rigorous but more honest presentation of this greater tradition which is beyond time and person, and which stands fearless in itself, not bowing down to any inferior creeds.
    • David Frawley, Preface, in Ram Swarup (2000). On Hinduism: Reviews and reflections. [9]
  • Ram Swarup is probably the most important and cogent writer on Hinduism in the last half of the twentieth century.
  • Though he never had an organization, a mission or an ashram and preferred to remain in the background, Ram Swarup nevertheless became one of the dominant figures in modern Hindu thought. He brought an important new point of view into the Hindu renaissance of the past two centuries which can move it in a new positive direction. He not only wrote about Hinduism in the India context but relative to the world as a whole and the major movements and ideologies of our times. He articulated a Hindu point of view in a clear, succinct, cogent and comprehensive manner that makes it compelling for all those who have an open mind and an inner vision. Ram Swarup represents the deeper response of the Hindu mind to the critical cultural and religious challenges of today. His work has had a strong impact in India already but its main impact is likely to be for the future, for generations yet to come, as he was a thinker ahead of his time. His impact in the West, though crucial in regard to a number of individual thinkers, is yet to come and may prove more significant. Starting with his main disciple and colleague Sitaram Goel, he has inspired a whole group of thinkers and writers East and West, who are disseminating his ideas and inspirations in various ways.
    • David Frawley, foreword to : Ram Swarup, Hinduism and Monotheistic Religions (2015)
  • Ram Swarup was the perfect link between Hindu Renaissance and renascent Paganism in the West and elsewhere. Thanks to his remarkable culture, to his generosity and sense of humor, Ram Swarup was more than a link. He was a Pontifex, as we say in Latin, a man throwing bridges over different rivers. ...He was an ally for all serious Pagan circles. He received me in Delhi like a son, gave me courage and strong advice and answered so many of my questions with such patience, such generosity. Like a real prince, he introduced me to some remarkable people. In a word, he "converted" me to India. Last but not least, he gave me my first lessons of Sanatana Dharma, not the tradition you read of in books, but authentic experience. How to thank such a man? Let us be faithful to this great figure of the Vedic Renaissance!
    • A Farewell to Shri Ram Swarup Christopher Gerard, Antaios, Society for Polytheistic Studies [10] See also [11]
  • I would like to pay tribute to Ram Swarup, a man of great importance to our Indian brothers as a sage of the Vedic renaissance, but also to me personally as a young European whom he welcomed so kindly. To our Indian brethren I have nothing to teach about this remarkable man who played such an essential part in defending and explaining the Tradition... Your Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee rightly said that he was "a representative of India's rishi tradition in the modern age". As for me, I can never adequately express my debt to Ram Swarup whom I first met three years ago... It was Ram Swarup who gave me my first lessons in Sanatana Dharma. He encouraged me on the difficult path of rediscovering my identity which had been repressed first by the imprint of centuries of Christianity then with the stamp of materialism. It was he who, on the last occasion we met and when the time came to say goodbye, was able to find the right words to encourage and advise me to practice mental yoga so as to face up to a hostile or at the least an indifferent world. His friendship was both deep and dispassionate, and for this his influence was all the more striking. I have dwelt on these very personal considerations to show you how important this man was and remains for all those who strive for the restoration of the Dharma. Ram Swarup is an example to be followed, a true spiritual guide.
  • I could see that his seeking had taken a decisive turn towards a deeper direction. He [Ram Swarup] was as awake to the social, political and cultural scene in India as ever before. But this vigil had now acquired an entirely new dimension. Political, social and cultural movements were no more clashes or congregations of external forces and intellectual ideas; they had become projections of psychic situations in which the members of a society chose to stay. His judgments had now acquired a depth which I frequently found it difficult to fathom.
  • Ram Swarup was feeling disturbed. He had no doubt that Hindu society was in for great trouble. He had been studying the scriptures of Islam and Christianity during the past several years, and had gone deep into their most orthodox sources. He had come up with the conclusion that they were not religions but cruel and intolerant ideologies like Communism and Nazism. The spread of these ideologies in India, he said, was fraught with fearful consequences for whatever had survived of Hindu society and culture in the only Hindu homeland.
  • It was not long before I was visited by officers of the Crimes Department, and not only from Delhi. I was accused of causing communal discord, and threatening the peace of the land. I was arrested, and ordered to seek bail. The Station House Officer in Delhi who locked me up for twenty four hours, was mighty pleased with his performance. He boasted loudly that he had prevented a big street riot in Delhi. He invited me to accompany him and see for myself the missiles which the local Muslims had piled up on the roofs of their houses, apart from the firearms inside. When I asked him why he had not got the missiles removed and the firearms flushed out, he snarled, "Address your question to the big bosses of the political parties. I am only a small fry trying to earn my daily bread."
    I had been arrested in the classic case of Ram Swarup's documented study, "Understanding Islam through Hadis: Religious Faith or Fanaticism?"... There had been loud talk in the book market at Delhi that this book was going to be banned... A Muslim mob had materialized outside the binder's shop, and threatened to burn down the establishment. The Station House Officer, I had mentioned, had appeared on the scene in a matter of minutes, and carried away all the sheets as well as the binder. In the next few hours I had been picked up. ... The Delhi Administration issued a notification in November, 1991, stating that the Hindi translation will stand banned whenever it is published. In March 1992, the same Administration banned the English original also.
    • Goel, S.R., How I became a Hindu (1982) [14]
  • I had reprinted in 1983 Ram Swarup's Understanding Islam Through Hadis, which A. Ghosh (Houston, Texas) had got published in the U.S.A. in 1982. A bookseller informed me that he had seen this book among those which were being examined by the Home Department of the Delhi Administration, and may be banned. ... I was at my home when I received a phone call from my office that the SHO of Hauz Kazi Police Station in Old Delhi had arrested the binder, and taken away the whole lot of translation copies which were still unbound. I rushed to the office...Soon after we reached the Police Station, he shouted at me, "Who are you? What have you done? A big riot was about to break out." I told him that I was nobody, and did not understand the accusation. He barked, "Muslims are excited. They have heaps of bricks and stones piled up on the roofs of their houses, and firearms within. They can set the city on fire whenever they want". I asked him why the police had allowed them to collect and keep the arsenal. He snarled, "put this question to your leaders, I am only a poor policeman trying to feed my family". I kept quiet....I may add that though the criminal cases against the publisher and printer of both publications were dismissed, the publications themselves remain banned.... In 1993, the Dariyaganj Police Station was out to repeat the performance by the Hauz Kazi Police Station when Syed Shahabuddin wrote a letter to P.M. Sayeed, Minister of State, Government of India requiring a ban on Ram Swarup's Hindu View of Christianity and Islam. A policeman came to our office and took away a copy of the book. He returned next day, and said, "The police cannot judge the book on its own. There should be some government department which performs the duty." Our office informed him about the Press Advisor of the Delhi Administration. In fact, our office telephoned the Press Advisor's office in the policeman's Presence. The office said that the book may be sent to them by the Police Station. The policeman went away. He, however returned again next day, and said, "Our SHO wants to see either Ram Swarup or Sita Ram Goel. One of them should go and meet him at 4 o'clock in the afternoon tomorrow." I could smell the mischief immediately. I went into hiding, advised Ram Swarup to do the same, and asked Alok Kumar to get us anticipatory bail... Then came Arun Shourie's piece, How should we respond? in his syndicated column appealing to Hindus to defy the ban if imposed. The police took no further step.
    • S.R.Goel, Preface, in Goel, Sita Ram (ed.) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy.
  • The same pattern was repeated in the case of the Hindi translation of Ram Swarup's Understanding Islam Through Hadis. ... Radiance, a Weekly published by the Jamaat-e-Islami from Delhi, had raised hell in its issue of 17-23 June, 1990. "Most portions of the book are concoctions and distortions as well as defamatory and derogatory to the Holy Prophet", it wrote. It went on to quote passages from the translation without informing the readers that all of them are found in the orthodox collections of Hadis as well as the pious biographies of the Prophet! It depended on the ignorance of the common Muslim and ascribed those passages to the writer, Ram Swarup! ... But what happened on 27th November 1990 was the most surprising event in the history of this case. A notification of the Delhi Administration announced that the Hindi translation, Hadîs ke Mâdhyama se Islâm kâ Addhyana had been banned and all its copies stood confiscated as soon as published. There was not the hint of a reference that the same Administration had screened the book not once but twice, over a period of three years, cleared it as unobjectionable, and got dismissed the case registered against the publisher and the printer. Come March 1991 and the English original of the book was also banned by the same Administration, without taking into account the fact that this book had been in print and circulation in India for eight years and that the Administration itself had found it unobjectionable after having scrutinized it for months soon after it was published. Strange are the ways of Secularism in India!
    • Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [15] Ch. 6
  • He "had no use for any conventional morality or code of manners and could see clearly how they were mostly used to put the other fellow in the wrong."
    • S.R. Goel:How I became a Hindu. ch.4
  • Ram Swarup, now in his seventies, is a scholar of the first rank.... Today, anyone reading those critiques would characterise them as prophetic. But thirty years ago so noxious was the intellectual climate in India that all he got was abuse, and ostracisation.... His work on Hinduism and on Islam and Christianity has been equally scholarly. And what is more pertinent to the point I want to urge, it has been equally prophetic. No one has ever refuted him on facts, but many have sought to smear him and his writing. They have thereby transmuted the work from mere scholarship into warning. ... The forfeiture is exactly the sort of thing which had landed us where we are: where intellectual inquiry is shut out; where our traditions are not examined, and reassessed; and where as a consequence there is no dialogue. It is exactly the sort of thing too which foments reaction. (...)"Freedom of expression which is legitimate and constitutionally protected," it [the Supreme Court] declared last year, "cannot be held to ransom by an intolerant group or people." To curtail it in the face of threats of demonstrations and processions or threats of violence "would amount," the Court said, "to the negation of the rule of law and surrender to blackmail and intimidation.
    • Arun Shourie: Fomenting Reaction. 8 November 1990. Quoted from: Freedom of expression – Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) [16]
    • Written in reaction to the banning of a book written by Ram Swarup and published by Voice of India. (Ram Swarup's Understanding Islam through Hadis)
  • Among the authors ... none is more distinguished than Mr. Ram Swarup. I have written about him earlier: Now about 75, he is one of the deepest thinkers I have come across. His work is foundational.
    • Arun Shourie: " How should we respond?", also in: Freedom of expression – Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) [17]
  • Late in the afternoon on November 15, a police official visited the office of the Voice of India, a publication house that has been publishing works of academic excellence. ... The policeman brought with him a letter that Mr. Shahabuddin had written to Minister of State for Home P.M. Sayeed. Dated August 20, it asked that the government have the book ["Hindu View of Christianity and Islam"] examined "from the point of view of banning it under the law of the land." "This book is blatantly offensive to the religious sensibilities of Muslims and Christians," Mr. Shahabuddin had written. ... It is not the law these people rely on. They rely on intimidation, It is exactly by tactics of this kind that an earlier book of Mr. Swarup - Understanding Islam Through Hadis - was put out of circulation, The English edition was published in 1982 in the US and reprinted in India in 1983. ...
    Our response should be three fold. First, whenever an attempt such as this from quarters such as Mr. Shahabuddin is made to stifle free speech, to kill even scholarly inquiry, we must go out of our way and immediately obtain the book....
    Secondly, whenever the intimidators prevail and such a book actually comes to be banned large numbers should take to reprinting it, photocopying it, to circulating it, and discussing its contents.
    The third thing is more necessary, and in the long run will be the complete answer to the intimidators. As long as scholars like Mr. Swarup are few, intimidators can bully weak governments into shutting them one by one. But what will they do if 1,000, scholars are to do work of the same order? This is the way to deal with intimidators. Let 1,000 scholars carry on work Mr. Swarup has pioneered.
    • Arun Shourie: " How should we respond?", also in: Freedom of expression – Secular Theocracy Versus Liberal Democracy (1998, edited by Sita Ram Goel) [18]
    • Written in reaction to the proposed banning of a book written by Ram Swarup and published by Voice of India. (Ram Swarup's Hindu View of Christianity and Islam)
  • Ram Swarup is perhaps the greatest Hindu intellectual of post-independent India.
    • V. Sundaram A fearless intellectual in Parasurama mould [19] [20]
  • We strongly condemn all recent attempts in India and abroad to prevent free inquiry into the history and the doctrines of religions... In particular, we condemn the attempt by Syed Shahabuddin to make the Indian authorities impose a ban on the book Hindu View of Christianity and Islam by Ram Swarup... We also condemn the pending ban on Ram Swarup's earlier publication Understanding Islam trough Hadis...
    • 18 November 1993, An appeal issued by leading intellectuals, Dr. Daya Krishna, Dr. Gopal Krishna, Sh. Nirmal Verma, Sh. Ratan Lal Gupta, etc.) Quoted in Ram Swarup, Hinduism and monotheistic religions (2009) p. 483. Also in [21]
  • The Jama'at-i Islami paper Radiance, on the front page of its June 17, 1990 issue, carried a big caption : "Is this book not objectionable?" Presenting some excerpts from Ram Swarup's book, it warned its readers :"Most parts of the book are concoctions and distortions as well as defamatory and derogatory to the Holy Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)".
    • Radiance, June 1990. About Ram Swarup's book 'Understanding Islam throgh Hadis'. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • Ram Swarup is one of those rare souls whose vision exceeds that of those around them, whose mind is so clear it can bring clarity to others. For us, the editorial staff at Hinduism Today, his writings were a treat - always bold, incisive, unapologetic, targeting strategic issues with uncanny precision. Our personal meetings with him and with his friend and student Sita Ram Goel were always a delight. His passionate intellect was incandescent and it was working in service to his deeper spirituality. If we could but hear him and heed him, our future would be as strong as our past.
    • Paramacharya Palaniswami (editor-in-chief of Hinduism Today), Ram Swarup (2009). Hinduism and Monotheistic Religions. Voice of India. pp. back flap. ISBN 978-81-85990-84-2. : Editor-in-Chief shows how many Hindus honor Ram Swarup and Sitaram Goel and their work.
  • What an irony it is. “These books are sacred’—that is the refrain about the Quran and the Hadis compilations. Until you reproduce them. Then the apologist exclaims, ‘But who reads them?’ Indeed, as happened in the case of Ram Swarup’s pioneering study, Understanding Islam through Hadis, then the demand is that the book reproducing them be banned!
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)
  • I read with great interest Sri Rain Swarup’s scholarly paper on the intimate connection, amounting almost to identity, between Buddhistic philosophy, and the Vedanta of the Upanishads.
    • Sri C. Rajagopalachari. Swarajya, dated May 21, 1966. Reproduced in On Hinduism, 2000, chapter 3.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about:
Modern Hindu writers 19th century to date
Religious writers Mirra AlfassaAnirvanAurobindoChinmoyEknath EaswaranNisargadatta MaharajRamana MaharshiMaharishi Mahesh YogiNarayana GuruSister NiveditaSrila PrabhupadaChinmayananda SaraswatiDayananda SaraswatiSivanandaRavi ShankarShraddhanandVivekanandaYogananda
Political writers AdvaniDeepakGandhiGautierGopalJainKishwarMunshiRadhakrishnanRaiRoySardaSastriSavarkarSenShourieShivaSinghTilakUpadhyayaVajpayee
Literary writers BankimGundappaIyengarRajagopalachariSethnaTagoreTripathi
Scholars AltekarBalagangadharaCoomaraswamyDaniélouDaninoDharampalFeuersteinFrawleyGoelJainKakKaneMukherjeeNakamuraRambachanRosenMalhotraSampathSchweigSwarup
Non-Hindus influenced by Hinduism BesantBlavatskyChopraCrowleyDassDeussenEliadeEliotElstEmersonGinsbergGuénonHarrisonHuxleyIsherwoodKrishnamurtiLynchMalrauxMillerMontessoriMüllerOlcottOppenheimerRoerichRollandSchopenhauerSchrödingerThoreauTolstoyVoltaireWattsWilberYeats