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#1372 - March 25, 2008 03:59 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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CONTENTS

1. Variety in Matter

2. States of Matter

3. A fourth state: Plasma

4. A Fifth State of Matter: BEC

5. Ultimate entities

6. Conservation of matter

7. Christianity's Anti Jewish Past

8. Untouchability and Caste in China

9. On religious conversions

10. Conversion: Hindu Mode

11. Conversion: its range and variety

12. Shiva, Shivaa and Shivalingam

13. Puranas - extent

14. Vedic past of pre-islamic Arabia

15. Christianity's Destruction of African religions and cultures

16. I am provoked to write this/Organiser

17. Judeo-Christian history: A mini sketch

18. Chief Seattle's Treaty Oration (1854)

19. Ancient Chinese Literature

20. Hungry Ghosts' Festival/Chilling encounters and hungry ghosts

21. On Governance & Free Speech - Duke of Shao to King Li-Wang

22. Sacrifices in Ancient Cultures

23. Omar Khayyam on Islamic Clerics

24. Enlightenment of Muslims by Swami Rama Tirtha

25. Origin of Metals - Ramayana

26. Great Sayings

27. Muslims are the Neo-Zoroastrians!

28. Contradictions in the Koran

29. Organ Transplant & Animal Sacrifices in Hindu Shastras

30. Ramayana Protocole Diplomatique

31. Tamil Women Through the ages

32. The God Project: Hinduism as Open-Source Faith

33. Stephen Hawkings big bang gaps

34. More notes on the teachings of the Quran

35. Understanding Islam (France with Islamic conquerors)

36. Reflections on the Gita

37. Metaphysics - Universals and Particulars - their distinction

38. Metaphysics - The fundamental ontology of western philosophy

39. Life is an unbroken continuous chain - the demarcator for 'life' and 'soul'

40. Rethinking "Out of Africa"















.

.

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Variety in Matter


Metaboli panton gluku:

Variety is sweet in all things. -EURIPEDES

There is abundant variety in matter. There is sand and stone, water and
wood, mud, mica, and more. People have known this variety in substances since
time immemorial. But it was only in the 19th century that William Prout
formulated the principle that any given substance has the same proportion of
constituent elements.

As if nature has not done enough, human ingenuity has concocted more
substances in laboratories and factories: from pliable plastics and deadly
dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane to countless other. We synthesize materials
to relieve pain, cure ailments, make better floors, and satisfy a thousand other
needs and greed. Over the years, analytical chemists in labs all over the world
have identified and catalogued not a few hundred or thousand, but more than 34
million different compounds.

Couldn't the world have been made with just one substance? Yes, but how
dreadfully boring it would be! In fact, initially there was matter of but one
kind: hydrogen. The world was then a tenuous sea of spread-out hydrogen: no
stars or planets then. In billions of years, other substances and structures
were formed from primordial hydrogen.

How this happened is more thrilling than the dnouement in any novel, but that
is a different story. As experiencing beings, we may thank God (or whatever
made all this happen) for the endless variety of matter. The staggering range of
things adds to terra nostra immeasurable charm and beauty.

Every manifestation of matter behaves differently, or as we read in
science texts, has its own unique properties. These tend to change under
changing external conditions. The same substance may be solid ice, liquid water,
or tenuous vapor, depending on its temperature. Materials may be hard or soft,
rough or smooth, conducting or not conducting of heat and electricity. They may
be green or red or of some other color: on and on one can go describing them.
These are just some of their physical properties.

There is also richness in their chemical properties: how they burn and
transform, how they store up or spill out energy when they combine or break up,
how they interact with other materials or stay aloof, and so on. These too have
been studied and listed in great detail. It took years and decades and centuries
to investigate, categorize, and formulate the chemical properties of the
thousands of substances we see and make.

The ability and propensity of substances for chemical change is what keeps our
nook in the universe picturesque, panoramic, and throbbing with life. If the
planet's conditions inhibited chemical transformation for whatever reason,
everything would be frozen stiff in a permanence that would endure for ever
maybe, but it would all be inert and unchanging, cold-desert-like and dismal
as in the Arctic freeze or in the silent darkness of distant Pluto which is a
lifeless dungeon as far as we can reckon.

There is both mystery and magnificence in every chunk of matter, be it a
particle of dust, a delicious fruit, a mountain or the moon. The next time we
see or hold a hunk of matter, let us remember that matter is as wondrous in its
variety as human thought itself.

V. V. Raman
March 10, 2008


Edited by webmaster (December 22, 2012 10:48 AM)

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#1373 - March 25, 2008 04:00 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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States of Matter


O! that this too too solid flesh would melt,

Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew... SHAKESPEARE
(Hamlet)

Water and rocks, soil and minerals, oceans, lakes, and much more are
splashed all over our planet. There is also an invisible layer of air which is
carried along by the earth in its cruise around the sun.

All matter we know here below is either sturdy solid, flowing liquid, or
tenuous gas. These are the ordinarily observed states of matter. Matter in each
of these states has specific properties in regards to its ability to stay put
where placed, to run and flow wherever it can, or to expand itself into all
available volume.

As we raise the temperature of a solid, it becomes tender, and eventually
melts into the liquid state. When the temperature of a liquid is steadily
increased, there comes a point when it begins to vaporize. The phenomenon is
readily observed when ice turns to water, and water to steam.

Solidity or fluidity is an indication of how tightly its ultimate
constituents are bound to one another. If they are held together in tight holds,
they merely shiver about their fixed positions, like branches of trees in breeze
or wind, but they can't break away from their mutual hold. As we heat the solid,
we are feeding in more and more energy: it is as if the breeze turns into a more
powerful wind, and then the strong hold is weakened to a rope-like link, with
far greater freedom for the molecules to drift. So we get the liquid phase. And
finally, at sufficiently high temperatures, even the weak links are broken off:
every molecule becomes totally independent of every other, buzzing away every
which way, bouncing off here and there from the atoms and molecules it
encounters until a hard wall pushes it back into the container wherein it
begins to meander helter-skelter once again.

Aside from solids, liquids, and gases, there is granular matter: sand, powder,
and soot belong to this category. Granular matter has found numerous
applications in industry. Its physics has also been studied extensively.

The classification of the state (phase) of a substance into solid, liquid, and
gas is appropriate for simple systems, but new possibilities arise with more
than one substance. As with human societies, with more than one group, new
things can happen. In societies these may be good or bad. With matter, these
may be interesting or uninteresting.

Thus, there are systems which consist of solids and liquids, liquids and gases,
gases and solids. When a solid is completely dissolved in a liquid we get a
solution. When carbon particles (solid) are suspended in air (gas) we get
smoke. When liquid droplets are suspended in air (gas) we get an air-solution,
technically called aerosol. Sometimes the particles in an aerosol, whether
water-droplets or dust, carry micro-organisms: bacteria or viruses. Such
combinations are referred to as bio-aerosols. Unhealthy and toxic particulate
matter suspended in air constitutes air-pollution.

These are examples of colloidal systems wherein one kind of matter in one state
is distributed uniformly in another kind. That which is distributed is the
dispersed phase, and that in which the matter is dispersed is called the
continuous phase. Many common substances, such as fog, paint, and mayonnaise,
are colloidal systems. Butter, jelly, and ruby glass are also colloids. Milk and
blood, though pure liquids to all appearances, are in fact colloids.

Our bodies (like of many other organisms) needs matter in the solid state
(for subsisting as an integral entity), liquids for its cellular activities and
blood-stream, and the gaseous state for vital breath. How efficiently and
conveniently the world is constructed!

V. V. Raman
March 12, 2008.

PS
the philosopher Kanaada (meaning the eater of atoms) propounded a science called
vaisheshika which can be called the "doctrine of atoms". >

This is very true.
So did Jaina thinkers, Greek thinkers, and Chinese thinkers.

That's why I had said: "Ancient thinkers gave much thought to it. "
This has given rise to claims that the ancient Hindus/Greeks/Jains, etc. knew
about atoms.

But it is important to understand that the ancient notions of which were
based on pure speculation have nothing in common with the atom discovered and
studied by modern science, except for the word. Even there, only the Greek word
means unbreakable. The word was re-introduced in early 19th century by
the chemist John Dalton who also (mistakenly) thought like the ancients that the
atom cannot be broken down any further.


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited March 25, 2008).]

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#1374 - March 25, 2008 04:02 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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A fourth state: Plasma


Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines. - SHAKESPEARE (Sonnets: I.18)

Let's think of what will happen if a gas were heated to ever increasing
temperatures. At the core of matter are atoms which consist of electrically
charged nuclei around which the yet smaller electrons are whirling. At
enormously high temperatures the atoms of which matter is made will be stripped
of their orbiting electrons. Matter will be turned to nuclei in stark nudity,
becoming an insufferably hot concentration of mass, gory like a creature that
has been skinned, impossible to touch or even be placed in a container, for in
its voracious heat it will vaporize all that comes to its vicinity.

Ordinarily, we find matter as solid, liquid, or gas. There is also a
fourth state of matter to which all matter is transformed when raised to
incredibly high temperatures. We call this plasma. Plasma is not as common on
earth. Since pure plasma is unimaginably hot, where can Nature hold such matter
save in the wilderness of empty space, far away from ordinary material
concentrations?

One would have thought that plasma was more the exception than the rule.
But no, Nature has fooled us again! Once it was believed that stars were
essentially burning gases. Now we know that much of the matter in the universe -
at least of the visible kind we have observed thus far - is more plasma than
plain. Stars are where the action really is. It is in their core that most
matter is concentrated. Stars are massive beyond comprehension. Interstellar
dust, planets and other rocky blobs are anomalies: cooler states of matter
where, sometimes, life can evolve, flowers blossom, and minds think..

The scientific spirit will not be content with the mere knowledge that
there is plasma out there. Why not create some right here below? We get
fleeting glimpses of plasma when a lightning flashes and the northern nights
illumine the sky, for these are in fact manifestations of ordinary matter turned
plasma. Human ingenuity has succeeded in making plasma of the stellar variety
too: for that is what obtains in the heart of a hydrogen bomb, and in
laboratories that explore how one may tap nuclear fusion for human needs. They
are awesome, threatening, and wrought with potential disaster, those horrible
hydrogen bombs. But, in the context of physics and human ingenuity, we may look
upon one of those ignitions as a momentary mini-star right here on earth! Never
before in all of cosmic history - as far as we know - has nuclear fusion
occurred in a region that is not in the entrails of a star! No small achievement
for humankind!

We have also concocted weaker plasmas for more immediate use: these are
gases from whose atoms, not all, but just a couple of electrons have been
stripped. We call them ionized gases. They were already used in the 19th
century, long before they were recognized as such. In a so-called fluorescent
lamps, for example, the electrons in the mercury atoms are stripped, not by
heating the gas to high temperatures, but through electrical voltage. The
stripped mercury atoms constitute a plasma. They radiate ultraviolet light which
is absorbed by a fluorescent material coated in the inner surface. This material
re-radiates the absorbed energy as visible might.

In the last decade of the 20th century, plasmas have come to play a major
role in some industries: aerospace, biomedical, steel, and electronics. 240 high
intensity light bulbs, each of 175-watt power, can be replaced by two sulfur
plasma lamps which provide four times as much light. "Precision
plasma-processing" is part of a new technological revolution. Again and again,
every bit of knowledge about the world enables us to manipulate it to our
advantage. Science is exopotent knowledge.

V. V. Raman
March 17, 2008

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#1375 - March 25, 2008 04:05 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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A Fifth State of Matter: BEC


The first three states of matter - solid, liquid, and gas - are what we
ordinarily observe. Plasma we had observed as in the auroras and in the sun,
without recognizing it as such. Now there is also a fifth state of matter, whose
potential existence was surmised via the powerful instrument of mathematical
theory.

It happened this way: In the early 1920s, the theoretical physicist Satyendra
Nath Bose (living in Dacca, now Bangladesh) who had read Max Planck's quantum
theory in the original and translated Einstein's paper on general relativity
from German into English, developed a theory in which the photons of
Planck-Einstein were treated like the molecules of a gas. But they were subject
to a statistics altogether different from that of ordinary gas molecules. He
sent his elegant paper on the subject to Einstein who was so impressed by the
insight it contained and the path it opened up that he translated it into German
right away and had it published. [Never before or since have translations been
so scientifically reciprocated.] The statistics derived by Bose eventually came
to be called Bose-Einstein statistics. It turns out that photons aren't the only
particles which obey this. All such fundamental particles are now called bosons.

Einstein extended Bose's statistics to atoms and molecules also. It followed
from his analysis that if the temperature of certain substances were extremely
low, their atoms and molecules would get entangled in certain remarkable ways,
and would then be in a state that would correspond to none of the states of
matter we know. This fifth state has come to be called Bose-Einstein Condensate
or BEC.


BEC is not like frozen ice or even frozen air. It is of an altogether different
category. In that state, the atoms lose practically all their energy,
maintaining barely their zero-point energy. In that super-lethargic atomic
condition something strange happens. The component atoms of the BEC combine to
form a coherent wave: a sort of locked in state in which they lose their
individual identity . They can never be in this state at even a few degrees
higher. It is as if they are so frightened in the freeze they hold on tightly to
one another.

There was one difficulty in verifying this idea. While BEC was shown to be an
incontrovertible theoretical possibility, for this to occur the temperature of
the material should be unimaginably low. So low, in fact, that it is extremely
difficult, if not impossible, to reach it. It is far easier to heat things up
than to cool them down.

So it took seventy years, more theory, and inventions like the laser and
sophisticated cryogenics before one could produce BEC. It was like reaching the
distant peak of a very high mountain. At last, in one experiment in the
mid-1990s sodium atoms were confined in a magnetic trap and cooled to near
absolute-zero. Other experimenters used atoms of rubidium. The resulting BEC
was split into two coherent waves which were then made to interfere. It is from
pictures of these interference patterns that the existence of BEC was
established. This was an extraordinary experimental achievement. The three
physicists who had worked on the problem shared the 2001 Nobel Prize for it:
Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman, and Wolfgng Ketterle.

Thus, at the two extremes of temperature - way too hot and close to absolute
zero - familiar matter becomes very different. Its state is surely not an
intrinsic property. It changes with external conditions as our moods do. We talk
of someone being solid as a rock, being one with the flow, or just air-headed.
These metaphorical phases also change with external conditions.

Of what use is BEC? It is too early to say, but this is not the sort of question
that normally interests physicists. They leave it to engineers and
technologists.

V. V. Raman
March 19, 2008

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#1376 - March 25, 2008 04:06 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Ultimate entities


And in the lowest deep a lower deep...opens wide.... - JOHN MILTON

As noted earlier, atoms have structure and components. The recognition of
the composite nature of atoms was yet another intellectual triumph of the
twentieth century. The ancient views of the ultimate indivisible entities of
matter were altogether different. The Indian thinker Kanda, for example,
imagined four types of atoms corresponding to earth, water, fire, and air, and
attributed qualities of taste, smell, color, and touch to them. The Greek
atomist Democritus (who coined the word atom) pictured the soul as being made of
aromatic atoms. We must admire the ancient thinkers for their reflections and
penetrating insights, but it would be neither fair to them nor factually
correct to indentify interesting speculative ideas of a by-gone age with modern
views. The latter were arrived at through entirely different methodologies. In
fact, the idea of the atom that emerged in the twentieth century is totally
different from what eighteenth and nineteenth century chemists imagined, and it
is no disrespect to them to recognize this.

In the last century, human ingenuity managed to penetrate into the deepest core
of matter through empirical methods, and unravel the marvels that are
continually occurring in the invisible substratum of perceived reality. We will
glimpse into the wonders of the microcosm later. Here let us simply note that
atoms consist of electrical charges of the two kinds, and that they are dynamic
and spectacular in how they behave. The structure of the atom has an uncanny
resemblance to the solar system where planets orbit around a central star:
Within the atom minute electrons are whirling around massive nuclei. The
simplest atom, that of the most common element hydrogen, consists of a single
very light negatively charged electron orbiting around a much heavier positively
charged proton. In a carbon atom six electrons are circling a nucleus made up of
six protons and six neutrons. Paraphrasing poet Blake, we see a world in a
grain of atom!

If the atom is cuttable, so are some of its components. Probing into matter may
be compared to peeling an onion: As each layer is stripped off, what remains
seems to have more layers still. Physics will not give up until the last dot of
perceived reality is spotted. So we have gone deeper and deeper, armed with the
flashlights of elaborate instruments and mighty mathematics, to uncover the
ultimate bricks of the material world.

As per our current picture, the material world is constructed of three
principal kinds of point-mass concentrations. These bear the names quarks,
leptons, and field particles. In each category there are quite a few. Now think
of this wonder of wonders! The hardy tangible stuff of the material universe
emerges from infinitesimally small point-like material concentrations, not
unlike a canvas by Seurat on which tiny dabs create magnificent sceneries.

How these quarks, leptons, and field particles interact is what determines
the nature of perceived reality. They are responsible for the way the world
behaves on our scale and on any. They are the ultimate puppeteers, as it were,
the most fundamental of all fundamental particles, for it is to them that we
trace every aspect of the physical world.

This worldview is a great revelation, a profound secret about perceived
reality. Yet, like the luxurious life of multi-millionaires, it is the talk and
truth of but a privileged few: maybe a few thousand in a population of six
billion and more. The rest of the human race may never have heard of quarks or
leptons, or perhaps done so in TV specials or in write ups in popular
magazines. But most people give a hoot for all this, if only because it does
not touch them in any meaningful way.

V. V. Raman
March 21, 2008

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#1377 - March 29, 2008 08:54 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Conservation of matter


It is sufficiently clear that all things are changed, and nothing really
perishes, and that the sum of matter remains absolutely the same. - FRANCIS
BACON (17th century)

When the magician pulls out a rabbit from an empty hat, we instinctively
feel he has fooled us. A Vedic hymn wonders about the universe being created out
of nothing. Lucretius echoed the idea when he said Nil posse creari De nilo:
Nothing can be created out of nothing. When the trickster makes the card
disappear, we say it is prestidigitation because we know that nothing can vanish
into nothing. Even little children and some animals are aware of this.

But we also know that a brand new rabbit can come out of mother rabbit.
And a piece of candle seems to disappear altogether, not by the waving of a
magician's hand, but by slow and steady burning. In all such cases, chemical
transformations have occurred.

There is a deeper level at which the non-vanishing aspect of tangible
matter has been confirmed: the quantitative. Matter changes form, but not in
quantity. Thus, if we have wood and air in a sealed enclosure, and the wood is
somehow lit, at the end of the process when all that is left in the container
are ash, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other gases, we will find that
the enclosure plus its contents weigh precisely the same after as before the
burning. This is a principle of fundamental importance in the physical world:
the quantitative equivalent of the "nothing from or into nothing" principle of
common sense. We refer to it as the law of conservation of matter. In the words
of its first published formulator, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, "in every
operation, there is an equal quantity of matter before and after the operation."

We may note here a convention in the world of science. The Russian
poet-scientist Mikhail Lomonosov had stated the principle of matter conservation
in 1748: some fifty years before Lavoisier. A couple of others had also done
that. But Lavoisier first published it in an internationally known journal. So
he gets the credit for it.

This significant truth about matter transformation could not have been
grasped before precision weighing was introduced as part of the scientific
investigation of chemical reactions in the 18th century. The result did not
come about by discussing the question only conceptually, since for ages people
had imagined even from not so carefully considered experiments that bodies gain
or lose weight as a result of chemical reactions. One doesn't always recognize
the role that measuring instruments play in the advancement of science.

Matter-conservation law is in many ways one of the most important laws of
Nature. It seems obvious, for it says something more than what common sense
says: that things cannot simply disappear, not even from thin air. What the law
says is that in all the complex chemical transformations that incessantly occur,
the exact amount of matter (total mass) remains unaffected to the mast milligram
and less. Without the quantitative criterion, the law is nothing profound in
content. But with it, it reveals an astounding precision in changes that occur.
In crude analogy, it would be like saying that if we change dollars into pesos
or rupees into dinars, the net monetary worth will not be affected a wee-bit.
No currency is superior or less valuable. Their values with respect to a gold
standard will remain unaffected by change from one currency to another.

Like many scientific insights, the principle of matter conservation also
gave place to a more refined version: After all, a good deal of scientific
progress consists in improving or replacing the views of past generations with
the acquisition of new knowledge and insights. Shaking long-held beliefs is part
of playing the game of science.

V. V. Raman
March 28, 2008

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#1378 - April 07, 2008 09:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Christianity's Anti Jewish Past

(Adapted)

The World Council of Churches (WCC) recently received favorable coverage in a section of India's English media which hailed it as a liberal Christian organization that opposes war and proselytism. Hans Ucko, a head of the WCC, while apparently denouncing conversions through the use of force or inducements, advocated “the mission of God, to which the church as well as people of other religious traditions may be called to participate.” In other words, he preferred conversions by other means.

A primer on the history of the WCC which is closely linked to the Holocaust during which Hitler annihilated six million Jews is in order.

The Nazi system was the culmination of 2,000 years of Christian anti-Semitism. As Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Laureate, aptly stated, “the Nazi system did not arise in a void but had its roots deep in a tradition that prophesied it, prepared for it, and brought it to maturity. That tradition was inseparable from the past of Christian, civilized Europe.” The New Testament alone, as Professor Norman Beck has shown, has 450 anti-Semitic verses. Jesus himself ushered in religious anti-Semitism when he infamously called the Jews “a brood of vipers” and “the children of the Devil.” In a milieu where Christianity gained political ascendancy, the church expanded this false stereotyping with an ****nal of anti-Semitic rhetoric and declared all generations of Jews sinful. This resulted in centuries of persecution, ghettoization, and Inquisition of the Jews. In the 16th century, Martin Luther of the Protestant schism whipped up Christian frenzy by urging his followers to ethnic cleanse and kill the Jews and to burn the Jewish schools and synagogues.

The Church, since the promulgation of the acts of the Council of Elvira (~300 CE), has portrayed the Jews as "the enemies of the Heavenly Majesty. [3]" Christian teachings falsely demonize the Jews as "Christ-killers," "Children of the Devil," "Brood of vipers," etc., and pronounce all future generations of the Jews guilty of killing Christ [4]. The Christian Bible declares, "The Devil is the father of the Jews. [5]" Church fathers have demonized the Jews as cannibals that ate their own children [6]. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215 CE) decreed that the Jew be ghettoized and forced to wear the Jewish dress, conical hat, and the Jew badge - usually a yellow circle, symbolic of the Jew as betrayer of Christ for 'gold,' an image that fused religious and economic anti-Semitism [7]. Intensely persecuted, especially during the infamous Inquisitions, some Jews converted to Christianity. Even that would not remove the 'stigma' of having been a Jew. Pope Gregory I warned that ?a Jew returns to his faith like a dog to his vomit. [8].

The Nazis hired more than a thousand Christian chaplains to serve in the German armed forces and reprinted Christian literature. Hitler wanted to setup a unified Christian church of Germany. He declared that he had drawn his inspiration from the church in his persecution of the Jews. The Nazi songs and hate literature that targeted the Jews derived their material from Christian scriptures – often verbatim. One such was the popular German hate song, “The Devil is the father of Jews,” which comes from John 8:44.

Lest one should think that the Catholic Church alone is culpable of anti-Semitism, the Protestant Church has been as much anti-Semitic. After all, every denomination derives its religiously justified anti-Semitism from the Christian Bible. Erasmus, who influenced Martin Luther, infamously declared: "If it is part of a good Christian to detest the Jews, then we are all good Christians. [9]'

Martin Luther was initially kind towards the Jews as he attempted to convert them. Once his attempts failed, he wrote the most vicious anti-Semitic tract: On the Jews and their Lies. In that tract, Luther justified the terrible sufferings of the Jews over 1, 400 years in exile and chastised them for not learning their lesson [10]. Luther urged Christians to burn the Jewish synagogues and expel the Jews [11]. He held that the Jewish misfortune is proof of Christian truth and Jewish error from scripture [12]. Luther called the Jews ?bloodhounds [13] and argued that Christians are at fault in ?not slaying the Jews. [14]

Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, writes of the Holocaust:
"All the killers were Christians. The Nazi system was the consequence of a movement of ideas and followed a strict logic; it did not arise in a void but had its roots deep in a tradition that prophesied it, prepared for it, and brought it to maturity. That tradition was inseparable from the past of Christian, civilized Europe. [15]"

Wiesel's words are not rhetorical. It is evident that the Nazi hatred for the Jews is the culmination of the anti-Semitism intrinsic to the Christian Bible. The Nazis reprinted Luther's hate-filled anti-Semitic text, On the Jews and their lies. The editor of the 1936 Munich edition approvingly claimed that On the Jews and their lies was the ?****nal from which antisemitism had drawn its weapons. [16]? Hitler aptly told the Christian bishops who met him in the aftermath of the 1933 laws that he was merely putting into effect what Christianity preached and practised for 2,000 years [17].

The Nazis illustrated educational handbook for children carried the hate-filled poem, "The father of the Jews is the Devil," a theme which, as I showed earlier, first occurs in the New Testament [18].

The Holocaust was the inevitable culmination of two millennia of anti-Semitic propaganda and hate mongering. In the concentration camps, the Nazis taunted their Jewish victims earmarked for death with the question, “What is your Christian name?” to which sometimes the defenseless Jews defiantly retorted, as poignantly recaptured in the movie Escape from Sobibor, “I have no Christian name. Do you have a Jewish name?”

Churches of every stripe – Protestant, Evangelical, Russian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic – eagerly participated in the Holocaust when they actively turned the defenseless Jews over to the Nazis or when the clergy themselves massacred the Jews. Some of those murderers such as Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac are being proclaimed saints today. After the Second World War ended, the Roman Catholic church pronounced Hitler a beloved son of god. As Mark Aarons and John Loftus (Unholy Trinity – the Vatican, the Nazis, and the Swiss banks) have shown, the Vatican also setup the notorious Ratline to guide the Nazi fugitives to safe houses in the Christian strongholds of Argentina and South Africa.

It is with this shameful legacy that the WCC is connected. Daniel Goldhagen (Hitler's willing executioners – ordinary Germans and the Holocaust) shows that in 1933 Bishop Otto Dibelius of the Evangelical Church in Germany blamed the Jews for the “corrosion of civilization.” Otto Dibelius advocated prohibiting Jewish immigration into Germany and called for the “peaceable, bloodless deaths of all Jews still left in Germany.” In 1965, Dibelius was elected the president of the WCC. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, only a Nazi church could have elected a person that called for the destruction of the Jews as its president.

This election also proved that WCC's public posturing since 1948 calling for the end of anti-Semitism is a dishonest facade to merely whitewash its anti-Semitic past. This suspicion is further confirmed when one notices that the WCC continues to advocate the antisemitic passages of the New Testament as well as is made up of the very churches that partnered with Hitler in the genocide of the Jews.

The media unhesitatingly branded the Hindutva movement fascist even though there has never been any connection between Hindutva and the Nazis, and when in fact Hindutva groups have been ardent supporters of the Jews and Israel just as Hindus have always been the only defenders of the Jews throughout the entire Jewish history. Why would the same media hail a Nazi church? Is it merely because the journalists are completely ignorant of the history of the Holocaust? Is there something more sinister?

It is well known that the USA government actively contributes to the evangelization of India under the guise of faith based initiative. Christian churches have collectively launched Project Joshua, and have devised pin code-wise tactics to convert all Indians to Christianity. Government reports show that the USA channeled at least 2,500 crore rupees into India in 2005-2006 alone through Christian missionary organizations. A substantial part of this funding is controlled by powerful groups such as Worldvision which are partners of the Nazi church WCC.

The favorable coverage accorded the WCC is paralleled by the positive coverage Worldvision receives in India's English media. This usually translates into more funding for these organizations from the MNCs as well as Indian corporate houses, most of whom might be unaware of WCC's Nazi past. It is also paralleled by the organized campaigns of the church to ban the Da Vinci Code and more recently to suppress the telecast of the documentary on the most exciting archaeological discovery, The Lost Tomb of Jesus.

Have some journalists abandoned all ethics to turn themselves into propagandists for Nazi church? Is it merely a coincidence that the evangelical groups increasingly control India's English media while Nazi churches receive favorable coverage and archaeological discoveries that militate against Christian claims are hushed up?

Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based, orthodox, practising, agnostic Hindu. His articles were part of the recently published anthologies Invading The Sacred – An Analysis Of Hinduism Studies In America (Rupa, 2007) and Expressions Of Christianity (Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan, 2006).


http://truthbeknown.com/fitnareview.html

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#1379 - April 09, 2008 12:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Untouchability and Caste in China


"Untouchables" long existed in China in the form of various groups of jianmin
"lowly people". They were clearly separated from regular, "good households"
(liangmin) in official population registers. Their exact components varied from
place to place. But most were in such universal "untouchable" professions as
entertainers, undertakers, prostitutes, professional beggars, garbage
collectors, etc. Some groups had fancy stories about their origin not unlike
that of Roma people/Gypsies (re. the nails to be used to crucify Jesus). Those
lowly people were forbidden to marry with "good households". Nor were they
allowed to go to school and to participate in civil service examinations.

From 1723 on, Emperor Yongzheng (reign 1723-1734) issued repeated edicts
abolishing such "lowly households" in government population registers. Two
particular remarks can be made here:

1. It took a "barbarian" Manchu emperor to legally abolish "untouchability" that
had existed in China for centuries.

2. Emperor Yongzheng's decision was inspired by the Buddhist maxim that "all
lives were created equal," a notion that came from the Indian subcontinent among
all places.

Naturally, Qing legal actions could not eliminate many or perhaps most of those
"lowly people" who continued to engage in their traditional professions. For
instance, in Shaoxing (Zhejiang province), even on the eve of the Cultural
Revolution, many undertakers still came from traditional "duomin" families.

A somewhat meek point is that, because China's "lowly people" almost never
engaged in farming (which in Confucian ideology was the second most respectful
profession), untouchability in premodern China represented a very small and
mostly urban social component.

However, under Mao the Great Helmsman, there emerged two modern, hereditary
neo-caste systems in China. The first was economic and de jure, namely the
strict rural/urban residence system (hukou). The second was political and de
facto, based on each family or individual's "class origin." While the political
caste system was smashed by Deng Xiaoping, the hukou system remains the biggest
social injustice in China today.

Sanping

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#1380 - May 18, 2008 03:17 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
On religious conversions


Most people are born and brought up in a specific religion, including atheism.
But for various reasons some people voluntarily change, or are being effectively
persuaded to change, the religion of their birth and upbringing. Such a change
in one's religious affiliation constitutes religious conversion. Proselytizing
is the dedicated effort to persuade others to embrace one's own religion. Today
the major religions whose active wings are engaged in proselytizing are
Buddhism, (various sects of) Christianity, Islam, and the Baha'i faith: all
these religions trace their origins to specific historical founders.

Among the many dimensions of religions, two are primary: One relates to God,
Truth, Heaven, and such other elusive things. The other tells us how to attain
these.

Two conditions are necessary for the emergence of any religion. First, a
charismatic personage who proclaims his/her vision of God, Truth, Heaven and
such, and points the way to reach those. Sometimes, it could be a group of such
personages, as with Hinduism. Next, some people should be so taken and inspired
by those proclamations that they set out to propagate them to the less fortunate
(?) ones who have not heard the original message. Without these propagators,
religions would have died with their originators.

The process of propagating ranges from teaching and preaching to coercion and
combat, with much in between. The motivation of proselytizers is often to share
the good fortune that they are convinced they have had in accepting the higher
truths through which they themselves have been saved or been promised
redemption. They want others to reach that same blessed state of Truth and
celestial certainty. They feel they owe it to their God to spread His word far
and wide. The recipients of these new Truths may be either drawn to the new
light flashed on them, or they may be offended that the preachers are implying
that the religion of the yet-to-be-converted is somehow inferior. So most
conversion efforts meet with some resistance, at least initially.

But all through history, one way or another, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and
the Baha'i faith have successfully spread to lands far from where they
originated.

Then again, conversion could mean different things for different religions and
in different contexts. In Christianity, for example, it may mean the acceptance
of Christ as the only savior. But in a deeper sense, it could also mean the
explicit rejection of sin and commitment to lead a life of righteousness, as
framed in the Christian worldview. Islam believes that we are all born Muslims,
and anyone can revert to it by simply taking a creedal pledge (the shahadah). In
olden days, when this reversal did not occur, there were sometimes harsh ways to
bring it about. Now, with all the talk of human rights and media exposure,
painful modes of dragging people to the Truth are no longer in favor.

In our own times, the goal of conversion is not just to bring the light of this
religion or that to people supposedly in the dark, but to increase numbers in
societies where one religion may not as yet be the majority. The quest for God
is blended with voting potential.

Historically, in times and places where large numbers of people are drawn into
the framework of reason, rationality, and science, faith in traditional
religions tend to weaken. With more mass education the situation becomes even
worse. This why in Western Europe and North America (where science has had its
maximum impact on the populace) mainstream Christianity is losing hold. Also,
liberal thinkers in free societies tend to decry their own religion and defend
those of the minorities. This provokes a reaction in defenders of the local
traditional religion, leading to what is sometimes described, perhaps unfairly,
as religious fundamentalism in democratic societies.

V. V. Raman
May 13, 2008



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#1381 - May 18, 2008 03:26 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Conversion: Hindu Mode


For many long centuries now, Hindus have not practiced any form of conversion
like the other world religions have been doing. Rather, they have been targets
of conversion. Because of this, it is often said that a unique feature of
Hinduism is that it does not engage in converting other peoples to its own fold.
But this statement needs to be clarified. It is true that during the past few
centuries Hindus have not been going around the world, forcing others to become
Hindus. Yet, if we trace the roots of the religion to Vedic utterances in
ancient Northern India, then we cannot explain its gradual spread to the rest of
India without invoking the notion of conversion of some kind or another. The
sacred history of Agasthya - a Vedic sage-poet - to the effect that he brought
Tamil Vedic wisdom to the people of the south, as Parasurama did to Kerala,
suggests that Sanskritic culture penetrated into South India through learned
propagators.

Unlike in other proselytizing religions, however, Hinduism does not seem to have
spread by asking people to abandon their local beliefs, but rather by enriching
them with Vedic visions and myths, and including their symbols within the Hindu
world. Thus Pan-Indian Hinduism acquired aspects of ancient Dravidian culture.
What was unique in this approach is that it respected what one encountered while
gradually transforming local beliefs into the Hindu framework, and
incorporating them into an expanding Hindu culture.

It was by this process of slow assimilation that the whole of India became Hindu
in culture: by which one means that the trimurtis (Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma)
and their consorts, the epic deities Rama-Sita and Radha-Krishna, the chanting
of Vedic mantras, and the like, became aspects of a pan-Indian Indic culture to
which we are all heirs.

Then again, in the classical age, Hindu visions, worldviews, and epics spread
way beyond the shores of India into many regions of Southeast Asia. Though not
many peoples there profess Hinduism explicitly like the people of Bali, the
vestiges of ancient Hindu names and symbols on Non-Hindu peoples may still be
seen, even in the Philippines and Borneo. In the lore of the Balinese people, it
was sage Markandeya who brought Hinduism to Bali, as Saint Boniface brought
Christianity to Germany and Saint Columba to Scotland. When one considers Hindu
sculptures, names and legends in Thailand and Burma, Vietnam and Kampuchea, it
is hard to subscribe to the thesis that Hinduism never converted Non-Hindus. But
the conversion was more cultural and aesthetic than doctrinal, and never with
the sword or the spill of blood.

Since the late 19th century, thanks to Swami Vivekananda, Hinduism also launched
a conversion process à la Christianity through the Ramakrishna mission, and
like institutions. Here again, the goal is not to convert people to Hindu
doctrines, or initiate them into iconic deities and rituals, much less to
inflict the puranas on them, but to draw people to a spiritual framework of
religious life which often includes non-sectarian meditation, yogic disciplines,
broad philosophical perspectives, etc. These have far greater appeal to
sophisticated Non-Hindus than the anachronistic aspects of traditional Hinduism.
On the other hand, movements like the Hare-Krishna attract the more
bhakti-oriented Non-Hindus.

Many Hindus believe that only good karma alone can result in Hindu birth. Some
still have difficulty accepting Africans, Caucasians, and others as bona-fide
Hindus. Those who voluntarily become Hindus usually don't care. In this regard
they are better Hindus than xenophobic born-Hindus. Perhaps in the decades to
come, a reformed Hinduism, cleansed of jarring exclusivist constraints and
celebrating a rich lore, will attract more people to itself, away from the
monodostic (single-path) doctrine of spiritual fulfillment that fetters many
religious systems.

< Surely, in all their wisdom, the Sages would have, at least in their hearts,
known that all men and women are created equal and are truly equal in the sight
of god. It will perhaps remain a grate mystery why they chose to take that other
direction? >

It is a mystery only if we regard them those sages as superhuman beings who must
have known everything. This, I fear, is the image that most people (of all
religions) have of the founding fathers of their religion.

If, however, we view them as extraordinarily intelligent, insightful, and keen
minds who reflected in grand ways, but who were still only human beings
conditioned by the worldviews and thought-currents of the age, this is no
surprise at all.

The ideas of men and women being equal in the eyes of God and of all humans
being equal in the eyes of the Law are not as ancient as some people would like
to believe.

It is only when we impose our current knowledge, worldviews, and awakenings on
people who lived three millennia ago (and assume they were all divine) that some
of their obviously untenable positions become mysterious.

V. V. Raman
May 15, 2008

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#1382 - May 18, 2008 03:27 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Conversion: its range and variety


When we hear the word conversion, we tend to think of religion or perhaps
currency. But more generally, any significant change in opinion, belief,
practice or worldview may be called conversion. Some types of conversion may be
less dramatic than religious conversion in their open declaration, but can be no
less significant in the long run for cultural and social history, and for
individuals also. [In science the word is used in other meanings.]

Consider the idea of the flat earth and other now obsolete worldviews that were
once regarded as the truth by our distant ancestors. Not many in our generation
subscribe to these. Or again, consider the rigid rules of race purity, class
superiority, and endogamy to which some people no longer attach the same
importance that previous generations did. Or even the adoption of a democratic
governmental framework in lieu of systems in which feudal lords and maharajas
rule the land. These are also examples of conversion.

Or again, in the transformation that occurs in the mind of a growing individual
as a result of schooling, not only is ignorance replaced by knowledge, but
many previous impressions are significantly re-formed. In this sense, any mental
training, be it in a religious or a secular setting, is a mode of conversion.
When the conversion is from darkness to light, from misinformation to valid
knowledge, from hurtful tendencies to caring values, it is good education. When
it tends to stifle the inquiring mind into meek submission to truths that can't
be questioned or critiqued because they are supposed to rest on the alleged
sanctity of a source, or with threats to one's safety here on earth and in the
hereafter, that too is a kind of conversion: indoctrination. When religious
indoctrination injects frenzy for one's own and contempt for other groups, it is
religious conversion of the worst sort: fanaticism.

When India changed from local languages and Sanskrit to English as a medium of
education, she was converted in important ways for the good and for the bad.
When countries began to teach post-Copernican astronomy, physics and biology in
schools, and accept the technology that follows from these, that was mass
intellectual conversion. The inscription into law of freedom and equality for
all, the recognition of human dignity, allowing women higher education, and
giving them the right to vote: all these arose from the intellectual conversion
of the leaders of peoples and nations.

As with rock and soil, we are all gradually undergoing conversion, whether we
like it or not. It is impossible to live in the modern world without being
converted in recognizable or unrecognized modes, in conscious and unconscious
ways. Every book or article we read, every news item we watch or listen to,
every preacher we take seriously, affects our worldviews in ways slight and
subtle, or drastic and dramatic. We can thus be converted to alter our
worldviews and perspectives. People who switch political parties or the
candidate of their initial choice undergo conversion too.

We are, one and all, both enriched and burdened by the inputs we constantly
receive. Our minds can be expanded by good education, as they can become warped
by malicious propaganda. We can be enriched by the culture in which we grow
and the language in which we express ourselves. But we are also constrained, in
many pleasant and in some unhappy ways, by the religion and tradition, the
customs and practices into which we have been converted in our childhood or
later. We may learn to love, and also to hate, from the conversions we have
undergone.

V. V. Raman
May 18, 2008

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#1383 - June 11, 2008 12:39 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Shiva, Shivaa and Shivalingam

FACT, FICTION & PHILOSOPHY

Ask the Pandit: We go to the temple and worship Shiva-lingam with devotion to Lord Shiva but we hear at school that Shivalingam represents Shiva-phallus. Is this true? A British Hindu Teenager

Answer: No, Shivalingam is a characteristic symbol of the formless supreme being with explanation as hereunder. It was the European Indologists of the colonial era who inflicted this translation onto the Shaivite Hinduism whereas in South India you will find noble surnames ending with the word...lingham, to denote not a phallus but their peity to the indivisible God Shiva, Shivaa and Shivalingham.


Introduction

A view that Shivalinga represents phallus and Shiva bhakta (devotee) Hindus are phallus worshippers is increasingly gaining ground among the Indian intelligentsia. It has direct relationship with the spread of English education and corresponding erosion of knowledge of Sanskrit in India. Originally the Colonial Christian missionaries in the 19th century floated this idea to malign the Hindu religion altogether but of late, attempts have been made by the Hindu intelligensia to rationalise and even eulogise phallus worship due to their dependence now on the English language. Another fall-out of predominance of English language is that non-Hindus, Hindu apostates and anti-Hindu scholars, having sketchy knowledge of Hindu scriptures and no knowledge of Sanskrit are relied upon more than the true exponents of Hindu dharma (religion) or the genuine scholars of Hindu scriptures. Commonsense demands that in matters of a religious belief or practice, the ruling or interpretation of its teachers should have precedence. However, that is not so in the case of Hindu religion. The root cause of this blasphemous thought about the Shivalinga was the Christian missionaries but now is the English language rendering of the Sanskrit word, “linga”, as “penis’ or “phallus”.

Meaning of Shivalinga and Vedi

The oldest available Sanskrit text on the worship of Shivalinga is the Linga Purana, followed by the Shiva Mahapurana. Both were compiled, in the "present" form, during the great Gupta period of Indian history, from 4th to 7th century AD (as additions continued to be made up to the 10th century).The very first shloka of Section 2 of the Linga Purana, Part I, says: “The non-characterized (formless) one is the root of the characterized, (well formed) world. The manifest, characterized world, is called Prakriti (Nature), while the non-characterized, formless, one is called Shiva. Thus, the characterized one, namely, Prakriti (Nature) must be seen as the “linga”, meaning mark, of Lord Shiva.”

1. Shlokas 8 and 9 thereof further explain the theme: “As earlier said, Brahma Himself is the universe personified. Though non-characterized, He is the supreme lord. He is the seed (beej); He is the Womb (Yoni). And, the source of both of them is non-characterized Nirbeejo (Shiva). Thus, the Supreme Lord is both seed and womb and also the universe”.
[Incidentally a Yoni stone has been discovered near Allahabad dating back to c.14000 years.]

2. [Incidentally, in certain publications, like the English translation of the Linga Purana, published by M/s. Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi-Varanasi-Patna, under the title, “Ancient India’s Traditions & Mythology”, Vol.V, Section 2 of Part I, is shown as Section 3, because they have treated the Index also as a separate section.]
The above simile of seed and womb is also used in the Bhagvatgeeta, chap.14/3-4, where Lord Krishna says: “My womb is the great Brahma (Eternal,Cosmos); in it, I place the germ; thence cometh the birth of all beings, O Bharata (Arjuna). In all the wombs, where mortals are produced, O Arjuna, their principal base womb is the great Brahma, and I am their generating father.”

3. The Maitryopanishad, Prapathak 4, shlokas 1-2, explain how the word “yoni” meant the “source”. It says, fire, that does not get fuel is exhausted in its place of origin (yoni), so does mind calm down in its place of origin, when its passions get exhausted (in the absence of outside support)”.

4. According to Sanskrit dictionary, (Medini Koshakar), “Linga” means sign, (mark or characteristic), conjecture, a kind of Lord Shiva’s image, and rarely penis: the word is a neuter gender. In Sanskrit, the specific word for penis, is ‘shishna’ In the entire Sanskrit literature, especially in works on religion or spirituality, the word ‘linga’ has been used in the sense of a sign, a symbol, characteristic of something, and ‘yoni’ as source of origin. For example, the Brahmasutra,(Vedanta Darshan) says: “Aakaashastallingat”, (1.1.22), cosmos is the ‘linga’ (sign) of Brahma (Eternity). The Vaisheshik Darshan, (2.2.6), says, “Aparasminnaparam yugpat chiram kshipramiti kaal lingaani”, meaning, time’s ‘lingani’ (characteristics) are, before, after, together, swift, slow, in relation to somebody or something. If ‘linga’ wereto mean ‘penis’, how could ‘kaal’ (time) have five ‘penis’?The Brahmasutra (Vedanta Darshan) has used the word ‘linga’ 12 times and the Vaisheshik Darshan has used it 29 times. Every time, they have used it in the sense of formless God or a characteristic. The Upanishadas too have used it in the same sense.

In his well documented research work, Bharatiya Pratik Vidya, (Hindi), published by the Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parishad Patna, 1959, Dr. Janardan Misra has explained in great detail as to how, in their study of phallus worship, European scholars found out that in many countries of ancient Europe, (including England, Ireland, Greece), Egypt and Japan, certain people practiced witchcraft before the image of phallus: how some of them concluded that OSIRIS as God and ISIS as Goddess, worshipped by ancient Egyptians, were the corrupt forms of Hindus’ “ISHWAR” (God) and “ISHWARI” (Goddess): how two of the scholars assumed that the Hindus worshipped male and female sex organs. The question is, even if Shivalinga was mistaken as symbolising penis, following the vulgar meaning of ‘linga’, how the European (and even Indian) scholars got ‘vagina’ out of ‘vedi’ (pedestal) of Shivalinga. The only answer can be that once Shivalinga was assumed to mean Lord Shiva’s penis, the ‘vedi’ (pedestal) was automatically presumed to be vagina, being complementary to each other. It is noteworthy that in South India, the word ‘linga’ still continues to mean a mark or an indicator. Hence, many people there have their names like Ramalingam, Bhoothalingam, Mahalingam, or so. The Shivopanishad, 124, says: “Let it be understood that heart is the best abode of Lord Shiva. Hence, the Linga represents Him, that is ‘Omkar’, and the Vedi (Pedestal) represents the lotus like heart.”

Origin and philosophy

In the Shiva Mahapurana, chapter 5, shloka 10-11 of the first (Vidyeswari) Samhita, sage Suta tells a gathering of other sages: “(Lord) Shiva is the supreme God. So, He is called formless, nishkala (non-characterized), but at times He also takes form, so He is also called characterized”.6 In support, sage Nandikeshwara narrates the following episode: In the ancient (pre-historic) period, (Shvet Varah Kalpa), when the earth was submerged in water, a fierce fight ensued between Brahman and Vishnu on the question as to who of the two was superior. To teach them a lesson, the Supreme God (Lord Shiva) appeared between them in the form of a burning column (Shlokas, 27-28/Ibid).7 Emerging from the ocean, it rose on to go into the sky. A symbolic replica of that burning column is called Shivalinga, a mark of the formless God, Lord Shiva. A similar account is given in chapter 17, Part I of the Ling Purana. Seeing this huge burning column, both Brahma and Vishnu exclaimed with astonishment: “What is this most wonderful fiery column, imperceptible to senses? What is there below it and above it? Let us first find it out”, (chap. 7, shloka 13-14/Ibid).8 Thus, Brahma went upwards and Vishnu went downwards into the ocean to find out the reality of the new phenomenon. After long years, both of them returned to their original place. While Vishnu admitted his failure, Brahma falsely claimed that he had reached the summit. But, an Aaakashvani (celestial voice) exposed his lie for which he had to suffer the curse of Lord Shiva. Now, Brahma and Vishnu together prayed to the fiery column to reveal itself to them. In response, there was a big sound of ‘A U M’ – ‘A U M’. A little later, Vishnu saw AUM’s first syllable ‘A’ on the south of the column, syllable ‘U’ on the north, and syllable ‘M’ in the middle, denoting Brahma (god of creation), Rudra/Shiva (god of death or dissolution and regeneration) and Vishnu (god of maintenance, who keeps the world going), respectively.

This very episode is narrated in greater detail by Brahma to his Manas (Intellectual) son, Narada, in chapters 6 to 10 of the 2nd (Rudra) Samhita’s first (Srishti) Khand, of the Shiva Mahapurana, relating to Creation. After first appearing in a non-characterized form of a fiery column, Lord Shiva assumed a characterised form and explained to Brahma and Vishnu how He Himself functions under three heads, namely, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, (chap.9, shloka 28). 9 Accordingly, Lord Shiva distributes the work of creation to Brahma, of sustenance of the world to Vishnu and of dissolution to Rudra. He also lets the Saraswati (Knowledge) part of His power (Uma) go to Brahma, the Lakshmi (beauty and wealth) part to Vishnu, and the Kali (strength) part to Rudra. Lastly, Lord Shiva directs Vishnu to always protect and remove the sufferings of the world, created by Brahma. He then directs both to work in close cooperation. Interestingly, Lord Shiva warns that, if a devotee of Rudra denigrates Vishnu, all his pious deeds shall go to waste. Having said so, Lord Shiva vanishes, (chap.10/shloka 36 Ibid).10 Soon after this, Brahma adds that “Vedi” (Pedestal) symbolises “Mahadevi”, meaning Uma or Parvati, (consort of Lord Shiva) and the “Linga” thereon symbolises Lord Shiva. It is called “Linga” because, after pralaya (total annihilation), the whole world gets absorbed in it, as the word ‘leen’ (in Sanskrit) means ‘absorption’, (chap. 10, Shloka 38/Ibid).11 ‘Vedi’, symbolising Mahadevi or Uma is obviously a later addition.

Concept of Ardhanareeshwara, (half-male, half-female god).

The above account, based on the original sources of the Linga Purana and the Shiva Mahapurana, shows a gradual march from the non-characterised (formless) God to three characterised functional gods, as off-shoots of the Supreme Lord (Shiva), namely, Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra (also called Shiva). With the passage of time, we find the emergence of the concept of Ardhnareeshwara (half-male and half-female god). The origin of this concept seems to be Brahma’s above mentioned assertion that the ‘Linga’ represented Shiva and the Vedi represented Mahadevi (female Deity). The connected story is given in chapters 2-3 of the Triteeya (Third) Shatarudra Samhita. It explains how, following Lord Shiva’s directive, Brahma started creating various subjects (through his mental faculty), in his own male form. But, he was sad to see that they did not multiply. He felt that there must be some way to make his creation multiply by itself, to be self-sustaining. In the process, he thought of procreation through a male-female combination, called “Maithuni Srishti”, (procreation through sexual co-habitation). The question arose, how to get the female partner? For it, Brahma needed help from the Supreme Lord, Shiva. Brahma did deep meditation (tapasya). Now, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a half-male and half-female body. Granting Brahma’s wish, the Lord separated His female part, the Supreme Power, called Uma or Shivaa. Brahma made his submission to goddess Shivaaa, “I have been creating all beings, but they are not multiplying, because I am unable to create the female partner: kindly help me. Please, be the daughter of my (intellectual) son, Daksha. Goddess Shivaa created another female body through the middle of her eye brows. On behest of Lord Shiva, this new female body (Jagdambika) agreed to become daughter of Daksha. Thus started the process of sexual procreation, (Maithuni Srishti). How Brahma directed his (intellectual) son Daksha to marry a beautiful girl and to start procreation, do tapasya (meditative sacrifice) to get Jagadamba as his daughter Sati, married her to Rudra (Shiva), etc., are narrated in other chapters. Incidentally, according to Rudra Samhita (Second), Shrishti Khand, chap.16, Brahma divided himself into two parts – half- male and half-female. The male part became Brahma’s son, named “Manu” and the female part became Brahma’s daughter named “Shatroopaa”. The two got married and started the process of procreation of the human race. So, Manu is considered the original father of mankind and the first law-giver. Both the above versions, (Lord Shiva’s appearance of Ardhanareeshwara and Brahma himself creating Manu and Shatroopa), are repeated in the Seventh, (Vayaveeya), Samhita, part I, chapters 15-17. All these episodes make it clear that the basic purpose is to narrate, in allegorical form, various theories relating to the creation of the universe, origin and evolution of life on earth, of the human race since its beginning as a unisexual body and its later development into bisexual one. These theories of evolution and development seem to have simultaneously given rise to poetic imagination of seeing every god with a female consort, namely, Brahma with Saraswati, Vishnu with Lakshmi, and Rudra (Shiva) with Parvati. This phenomenon also brought with it, multiplication of gods and goddesses.The common Hindu prayer to God is, “Twameva Mata cha Pita Twameva…” (You are the Mother, You are the Father…)

Conclusion

Coming back to the subject of origin of the concept of Shivalinga, let us recall that the burning column, as the first mark of the formless God, had arisen from the ocean. The ‘Vedi’ (Pedestal) of the image of that burning column, (Shivalinga), must necessarily be the mark, symbol or ‘Linga’ of the ocean. To call it Lord Shiva’s consort, Mahadevi (Uma or Parvati) is illogical. To say or think that the Shivalinga and the Vedi represent the male and female sex organs, respectively, is all the more absurd. Here is what the renowned (late) Swami Sivananda, founder of the famous ‘Divine Life Society’, has said in his book, “All About Hinduism”, (p.270): “Linga represents the formless Shiva – Shivalinga speaks to you in the unmistakable language of silence, ‘I am one without a second. I am formless….’ A Curious, passionate, impure foreigner of little understanding or intelligence says sarcastically, ‘Oh, the Hindus worship the phallus or sex-organ, ….’ Linga is only the outward symbol of the formless being, Lord Shiva, who is the indivisible, all-pervading, eternal, auspicious, ever-pure, immortal essence of this vast universe, who is the undying soul seated in the chamber of your heart, who is your Indweller, innermost Self or Atman and who is identical with the Supreme Brahman.”

[Incidentally, the Mahasivapurana is a huge compilation of seven Sections, called ‘Samhitas’. Each Samhita has 20 to 55 chapters. Some Samhitas are divided into Parts, called ‘Khandas’. There is a lot of repetition. With slight variation, the same episodes are repeated in other chapters or another Samhita. Many episodes describing the origin of minor ‘Lingas’ defy the very philosophy of the Shivalinga. Such episodes abound in later Samhitas. The European Indologists had their own ideas of the European paganism and Greek mythology which corrupted the original meaning into sometimes base translations. The Colonial Christian missionaries used the base translations to malign the heart of Hindu Dharma and as a result the confusion has become almost endemic at its core. Its removal is a gigantic task. Perhaps an apex Hindu religious body, adequately funded by rich Hindu religious endowments and donations from others, can undertake it by engaging true scholars on this work.]

(Ram Gopal)
(Author can be contacted at e-mail : ramgopal_94@yahoo.com )

References:

1. Alingo lingamoolam tu avyaktam lingamuchyate. Alingah Shiva ityukto lingo Shaivamiti smritam.(1). (Linga Purana, Part I, Section 2).
2. Yathavatkathitaashchaiva tasmaad-Brahma swayamjagat: Alingi Bhagvan Beeji, sa eva Parmeshwarah.(8) Beejam yonishcha nirbeejam, nirbeejo beejamuchyate; Beejyoni pradhananamatmakhya vartate twiha. (9). ( Ibid).
3. Mam yoni-r-mahad-Brahma tasmingarbham dadhamyaham: Sambhavah sarvabhootanam tato bhavati Bharata.(3) Sarvayonishu Kaunteya moortayah sambhavanti yah; Taasaam Brahma mahadyoni-r-aham beejpradah Pita.(4). (Geeta, chapter 14).
4. Yatha nireendano vanhi swa-yonishu-upshamyati; Tatha vrittikshaya chitta swa-yonishu-upshamyati. (Matraiyopanishad, Pra. 4, Shlokas 1-2)
5. Hridyantahkarnam jnyeyam Shivasyaayatanam param ; Hritpadmam vedica tatra Lingamonkaramishyate. (Shivopanishad , Shloka 124).
6. ShivaikoBrahmaroopatvannishkalahparikirtitah.(10).Roopitvaatsakalaastadvattasmaatasakanishkalah: Nishkalatvaanniraakaram lingam tasya samaagatam. (11). (Shiva Mahapurana, First (Vidyeshwari) Samhita, chap. 5)
7. Puraa Kaaley mahaakaaley prapanney lokavishrutey: Ayudhyatam mahaatmaanau Brahmaa-Vishnu parasparam. (27) Tayormaanam niraakartum tanmadyey Parmeshwarah, Nishkalastambharoopen swaroopam samdarshyat. (28). (Ibid)
8. Kimetad-adbhud-aakaaram-ityooscha parasparam;/ Ateendriyamidam stambham-agniroopam kimutthitam. (13) Asyordhvamapi cha-adhascha aavayorlakshmeya hi .(14). (Ibid, chap. 7 ).
9. Tridhaa bhinno hiam Vishno ! Brahma-Vishnu-Harakhyaya;/Sargrakshaalayagunair-nishkalo-aham sadaa Hare. (28). (Ibid, Second, (Rudra), Samhita, First, (Srishti), Khand, chap. 9 ).
10. Tatah sa Bhagwan-Shambhuh kripya Bhaktvatsalah: /Drishtya sampashyatoh sheeghram tattraivantardheeyat. (36). (Ibid, chap. 10)
11. Lingavedirmahaadevee lingam saakshaat-Maheshwarah smirk Layanaallingamityukta tattraiva nikhilam jagat. (38). (Ibid)


Ram Gopal Gupta

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#1384 - June 14, 2008 10:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Puranas


According to tradition, there are 18 Mahapuranas and 18 Upapuranas. Each Mahapurana lists eighteen canonical Puranas, but the contents of each list vary reflecting differences in time and place. The eighteen extant Mahapuranas are :

1. Agni Purana (15,400 verses)

2. Bhagavata Purana (18,000 verses). The most celebrated and popular of the Puranas. It is concerned with Vishnu Bhakti, telling of the exploits and deeds of Vishnu's Avataras. Its tenth canto (its longest) narrates the deeds of Krishna and, probably for the first time in Sanskrit, tells of his exploits as a child, a theme later elaborated by many Bhakti movements.

3. Bhavishya Purana (14,500 verses)

4. Brahma Purana (24,000 verses)

5. Brahmanda Purana (12,000 verses; includes Lalita Sahasranamam, a text millions of Hindus recite as prayer)

6. Brahmavaivarta Purana (18,000 verses)

7. Garuda Purana (19,000 verses)

8. Kurma Purana (17,000 verses)

9. Linga Purana (11,000 verses)

10. Markandeya Purana (9,000 verses; includes Devi Mahatmyam, an important text for Shaktas)

11. Matsya Purana (14,000 verses)

12. Narada Purana (25,000 verses)

13. Padma Purana (55,000 verses)

14. Skanda Purana (81,100 verses), probably the longest of all, containing parables, legends and stories, with multiple versions and rescensions. Many untraced quotes from a Purana are conveniently attributed to this Purana.

15. Vamana Purana (10,000 verses)

16. Varaha Purana (10,000 verses)

17. Vayu Purana (24,000 verses)

18. Vishnu Purana (23,000 verses)

In addition to the above 18 Puranas, we also have the Harivamsa Purana (16000 verses) and Shiva Purana (24000 verses).

There is also another traditional approach to the classification of Puranas. They have been classified with reference to the three aspects of Trimurti _ creation, preservation and destruction. Based on this approach, Mahapuranas can be classified as follows:

Brahma Puranas: Brahma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana,

Vishnu Puranas: Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Naradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana,Vamana Purana,Kurma Purana, Matsya Purana, Kalki Purana

Shiva Puranas: Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Vayu Purana


Traditionally, the Puranas are said to have been composed by the Sage Veda Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata epic. Vyasa in Sanskrit means `Divider,' and some scholars therefore take this simply as a term meaning `Editor'.

The Puranas also lay emphasis on keeping a record of genealogies. Thus the Vayu Purana says: `As seen by good people in the ancient times the suta's duty was to preserve the genealogies of gods, rishis and glorious kings and the traditions of great men.'

Apart from the 18 Mahapuranas, there are also 18 Upapuranas. They are: Sanat-kumara Purana, Narasimha Purana, Brihan-naradiya Purana, Siva-rahasya Purana, Durvasa Purana, Kapila Purana, Vamana Purana, Bhargava Purana, Varuna Purana, Kalika Purana, Samba Purana, Nandi Purana, Surya Purana, Parasara Purana, Vasishtha Purana, Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana, and Hamsa Purana.

Most of these Upapuranas have not been critically edited yet and are available mostly through devotional publications, in multiple versions and recensions. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana extols the virtues of the goddess Durga as the supreme being. It has become (along with the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana) a basic text for Devi worshipers.

Apart from Mahapuranas and Upapuranas, we also have Sthala Puranas and Kula Puranas.

The corpus of Sthala Puranas narrates the virtues and stories connected with a certain temple or shrine (the word `Sthala' means `Place' in Sanskrit). There are numerous Sthala Puranas, most written in vernaculars, some with Sanskrit versions as well. Most claim to have a Sanskrit origin, and some of the Sanskrit versions also appear in a Mahapurana or an Upapurana. Some Tamil Sthala Puranas have been researched by David Dean Shulman. Kula Puranas are mostly caste-focussed Puranas (the word `Kula' means `Family' or `Tribe' in Sanskrit). They deal with a caste's origin myth, stories and legends.

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#1385 - June 14, 2008 11:01 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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VEDIC PAST OF PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA


Term Kaba itself is a corruption of Sanskrit word Gabha (Garbha + Graha) which means Sanctum.

Some 'clippings' are forwarded from the article Vedic past of pre-Islamic Arabia

The people of pre-Islamic Arabia held Hinduism in great esteem as evidenced from the fact that they would endearingly call their most attractive and favourite daughters as Hinda and Saifi Hindi. The fact that Arabs regarded India as their spiritual and cultural motherland long before the damaging influence of Islam is corroborated by the following poem which mentions each one of the four Vedas by name: (The English translation is in black)

"Aya muwarekal araj yushaiya noha
minar HIND-e
Wa aradakallaha
manyonaifail jikaratun"

"Oh the divine land of HIND (India)
(how) very blessed art thou!
Because thou art the chosen
of God blessed with knowledge"

"Wahalatijali Yatun ainana sahabi
akha-atun jikra Wahajayhi yonajjalur
-rasu minal HINDATUN "

"That celestial knowledge which like
four lighthouses shone in such
brilliance - through the (utterances of)
Indian sages in fourfold abundance."

"Yakuloonallaha ya ahal araf alameen
kullahum
Fattabe-u jikaratul VEDA bukkun
malam yonajjaylatun"

"God enjoins on all humans,
follow with hands down
The path the Vedas with his divine
precept lay down."

"Wahowa alamus SAMA wal YAJUR
minallahay Tanajeelan
Fa-e-noma ya akhigo mutiabay-an
Yobassheriyona jatun"

"Bursting with (Divine) knowledge
are SAM &YAJUR bestowed on creation,
Hence brothers respect and
follow the Vedas, guides to salvation"

"Wa-isa nain huma RIG ATHAR nasayhin
Ka-a-Khuwatun
Wa asant Ala-udan wabowa masha -e-ratun"

"Two others, the Rig and Athar teach us
fraternity, Sheltering under their
lustre dispels darkness till eternity"

This poem was written by Labi-Bin-E- Akhtab-Bin-E-Turfa who lived in Arabia around 1850 B.C. That was 2300 years before Mohammed!!! This verse can be found in Sair- Ul-Okul which is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry. It was compiled in 1742 AD under order of the Turkish Sultan Salim.

That the Vedas were the religious scriptures to which the Arabs owed allegiance as early as 1800 B.C. proves not only the antiquity of the Vedas but also the existence of Indian rule over the entire region from the Indus to the Mediterranean, because it is a fact of history that the religion of the ruler is practised by his subjects.

Vedic culture was very much alive just before the birth of Muhammad. Again let's refer to the Sair-Ul-Okul. The following poem was written by Jirrham Bintoi who lived 165 years before the prophet Muhammed. It is in praise of India's great King Vikramaditya who had lived 500 years before Bintoi. (The English translation is in red).

"Itrasshaphai Santul
Bikramatul phehalameen Karimun
Bihillahaya Samiminela
Motakabbenaran Bihillaha
Yubee qaid min howa
Yaphakharu phajgal asari
nahans Osirim Bayjayholeen
Yaha sabdunya Kanateph natephi
bijihalin Atadari Bilala masaurateen
phakef Tasabahu. Kaunni eja majakaralhada
walhada Achimiman, burukan, Kad, Toluho
watastaru Bihillaha yakajibainana
baleykulle amarena
Phaheya jaunabil amaray Bikramatoon"

- (Sair-ul-Okul, Page 315)

"Fortunate are those who were born
during King Vikram's reign, he was
a noble generous, dutiful ruler devoted
to the welfare of his subjects. But at
that time, We Arabs oblivious of divinity
were lost in sensual pleasures. Plotting
& torture were rampant. The darkness of
ignorance had enveloped our country.
Like the lamb struggling for its life
in the cruel jaws of a wolf, we Arabs
were gripped by ignorance. The whole
country was enveloped in a darkness as
intense as on a New moon night. But the
present dawn & pleasant sunshine of
education is the result of the favor of
that noble king Vikram whose benevolence
did not lose sight of us foreigners as we
were. He spread his sacred culture amongst
us and sent scholars from his own land
whose brilliance shone like that of the sun
in our country. These scholars & preceptors
through whose benevolence we were once again
made aware of the presence of god, introduced
to his secret knowledge & put on the road to
truth, had come to our country to initiate us
in that culture & impart education."


Thus we can see that Vedic religion and culture were present in Pre-Islamic Arabia as early as 1850 B.C., and definitely present at the time of Mohammed's birth.

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#1386 - June 28, 2008 10:33 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Christianity's Destruction of African religions and cultures

http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=355&Itemid=36

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#1387 - July 10, 2008 12:54 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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http://indiasecular.wordpress.com/

I am provoked to write this

-M.S.N. Menon , Organiser


Yes. When I’m told that Hindus “live in darkness” I’m provoked.
I’m a Hindu, not the usual one, for I took the trouble to make a special study of human civilisations and religious atrocities. Naturally, I see religions in a different light. Not the way the “faithful” see them.

Religions are full of lies and false claims.

The Jews claimed they were “the chosen people of God.” Where did this delusion take them? To the worst persecution known to man! They remain the object of the longest hate in human history.

Take Christianity. What is its claim and what is the reality? It claims to have civilised Europe. In fact, it destroyed one of the greatest civilisations of man—the Greek civilisation.

Vassili Vassilevsky, one of the most stimulating authors of Greece, says: “It took us inheritors of a joyous paganistic culture, a long time to internalise the notion of ‘guilt’.
Even today we do not wholly accept the idea that the body is the source of evil.” And yet Jesus had said that the “Kingdom of God is within you.” Then, who put the Devil inside the Christian to torment them? The Organised Church.

And it also destroyed the Roman empire. One of the first acts of the Christians (that of Emperor Theodisius), when they came to power in Rome, was to order the destruction of the most splendid library in the temple of Serapis.

Obviously, the Church had no desire for enlightenment. The Hindus pray for light daily.
The Church converted the pagan temples into tombs, says W.E.H. Lecky, “for the adoration of the bones of the basest and most depraved of men among the Christian monks.” (History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe”, Vol.II)

And a Christian mob stripped and cut into pieces a gifted, virtuous and beautiful lady in Alexandria. What was her crime? That she was the leader of the Neo-Platonists!

The Roman empire had produced some of the great men in history like poets Horace and Virgil, historians like Livy and Polybius, philosophers like Epictetus and Plotinus, orators like Cicero, lawgivers like Cato. What did Christianity produce in the 1500 years of its dominance over Europe? Not one man of greatness! And almost every great man who was born in Europe after the Renaissance was outside the Church.

And the Roman empire spread the Hellenistic civilisation in half the world. What has the Christian empire to show?

It is the claim of the church that it made a major contribution to the growth of morality in Europe. In fact, it made little contribution. It called Descartes, father of moral philosophy, an atheist!
The Church gave its blessings to both capitalism and imperialism. And later to colonialism. Secretary of State Amery (UK) says that an active empire and an inactive Church cannot go together.

The Church had a big hand in slave trade. If there was a conscience problem, it helped to ease it by saying that the black man was the son of the Devil.

Denouncing the trade in black men, Lord Palmerston says: “If all crimes committed from creation down to the present day were added together, they would not exceed, I am sure, the guilt of the diabolic slave trade.” In America Lincoln had to fight a civil war to outlaw the trade. The Church was behind the rebel southern States.

According to the Church, the dark races were not required in God’s scheme of things.
The genocide of the Incas, Mayas and others has no parallel in human history. They were more civilised than the Europeans. “By millions upon millions” says Draper “whole races and nations were remorselessly cut off.

The Bishop of Chiape affirmed that more than 15 million were terminated in his time. From Mexico and Peru, a civilisation that might have educated Europe, was crushed out.” (Intellectual Development of Europe, Vol. II)

On Galileo’s incarceration, Draper writes: “What a spectacle! This venerable man, the most illustrious of his age, forced by the threat of death to deny the facts…treated with remorseless severity during the remaining ten years of his life….” In the dungeon.

There is nothing in human history as diabolic as the Inquisition. It was created by the Popes to perfect the “art” of torture of the apostates. I can only think of the gas chambers of the Nazis, which did away with six million Jews.

“What strikes me most in considering medieval torture is not so much this diabolic barbarity, which is impossible to exaggerate, as the extraordinary variety and what may be termed the artistic skills they displayed”. (Lecky)

What else can one expect from a religion which had thought of eternal hell fire as a punishment for even small wrongs of men!

What about Islam? Space compels me to make it a short review. In his book “In the path of Mahatma Gandhi”, George Catlin, the American philosopher, asks: “What has Islam to offer to compare with the philosophy of Vedanta and the Upanishads?” So much for its “Superiority” claim!

Be that as it may, what is the record of Islam’s atrocities? “The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history,” says Will Durant, the American historian.
The Muslims do not want to be reminded of their past. But it is necessary, says S.Bashiruddin, former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Ambedkar Open University. (See his ‘Deen and Dharma”).

He says: “Through the present generation of Muslims is not responsible for what has been done centuries ago, an awareness of such a legacy can sensitize the Muslim opinion leaders…”

With such a record of their past, I would like to know from Christian and Muslim brothers, in which way they are “superior” to the Hindus.

Do not tell me that your religious texts do not permit these things. This is an easy explanation. I don’t take it.

Men are judged by what they do, not by what they believe or by what is written in their scripture.

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#1388 - July 12, 2008 06:17 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=125&page=16

Judeo-Christian history: A mini sketch

By M.S.N. Menon

Half the humanity is guided by revelations. The rest, by logic and reasoning. One by blind faith, the other by reasoned faith.

All gods began as tribal deities. Yahweh was no exception. He was the warrior God of the Jews (Jehovah to Christians.) He drank human blood! But, over the years, he gave up blood, gave up killing and became an advocate of ahimsa (non-violence). Remarkable transformation? Yes.

The God of Noah was angry and punishing. The God of Job argued much. Micah rejected both the gods. He denounced blood sacrifice and asked the Jews to give it up. “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?,” he asked.

The God of Jesus was a God of love, compassion and forgiveness, not of terror and blood sacrifice—a total contrast. In six centuries, Yahweh will become Allah and arm himself with a sword!

The Bible thus presents a succession of gods, each an improvement upon the previous one, marking an ethical ascent of both God and man to a nobler plane. But the Bible, as Bernard Shaw says, is a “jumble of superstitions and obsolete cosmology”. There was nothing in it that was not already in other faiths.

The Jews invented two myths: That only one religion could be true—their religion, and that they were the “chosen people” of God. They paid a heavy price for this hubris.

Christianity and Islam may have given up idolatry of God, but they have taken to the idolatry of books, which is worse. One can neither question what is in the books nor can one go beyond them.

The Romans opposed Christianity for three long centuries until Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of Rome. Till then only slaves were willing to become Christians. But once it became official, Christianity became intolerant of all other faiths, including Judaism. But, had it not been for St Paul, a Jew and scholar of Greek, Christianity would have remained a sect of Judaism. But in the process it was no more Christian; it became Pauline.

Jesus was a man of happy disposition. But the church made Christianity a doleful religion. After St Augustine, life became a “fleeting show on earth”, “beauty a snare, pleasure a temptation and abstinence a high virtue.” Rejection of life became the summum bonum of life. “If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, yea, and his own life, he cannot be my disciple,” announced St Augustine.

Under this great denunciatory impulse, all intellectual curiosity disappeared. Europe entered the Dark Age for almost a millennium. With that bigotry grew. Persecution grew. And brutality reached unheard of limits in human history under the inquisition. One Ennapius writes: “Whoever wore a black dress was invested with tyrannical powers.”

With the advent of the second millennium, Christianity was in conflict with Islam, another semitic religion of common ancestry. For four centuries Christian Europe waged a relentless war of attrition against Islam. Had it not been for the crusades, Islam could have overwhelmed Europe—even Asia. The power of Islam was finally broken by the Mongols.

All these brought about the Reformation. But the discovery of Greece had to wait till the Renaissance. With that, Europe changed forever. It came under Greek and Roman legacy. Renaissance and Reformation marked the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire and the birth of the new world of Copernicus and Columbus, of Luther and Calvin, of Galileo and Descartes.

But there was little change in the soul of the Christian. It remained in the mould set by Rome. It took part in the African slave trade and in the genocide of the Red Indians. Lord Palmerston called these atrocities the greatest crime in human history. No wonder, Nietzche, the philosopher, said: “The earth is a beautiful place, but it has a pox called man.”

This was followed by colonial conquests and colonial plunders. The church was an enthusiastic party to these. But the Age of Reason, which was spawned by the Renaissance, took its own course. It gave a major boost to the scientific advance of man.

Nietzche proclaimed the death of God. In a universe, which had no beginning and end, God cannot have a role, cried the critics. But in a world of economic oppression and despotism, the rulers need the support of religion. As Europe entered the industrial revolution, the Christian God was back in the church. But, now, the communists took up the challenge.

Wealth is a sign of blessing, the capitalists said. If so, the Christian God is indeed cruel. He has kept out half the humanity in poverty and squalor. Where is the Christian soul?

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#1389 - July 17, 2008 04:00 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Chief Seattle's Treaty Oration (1854)

In 1854, "The Great White Chief" in Washington made an offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a "reservation" for the Indian people.

Chief Seattle's reply, published here in full, to mark World Environment Day tomorrow, has been described as one of the most beautiful and profound statements on the environment ever made:

"In 1851 Seattle, chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington's Puget Sound, delivered what is considered to be one of the most beautiful and profound environmental statements ever made. The city of Seattle is named for the chief, whose speech was in response to a proposed treaty under which the Indians were persuaded to sell two million acres of land for $150,000." -- Buckminster Fuller in Critical Path.

.
THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

ALL SACRED

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.

The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man--all belong to the same family.
NOT EASY
So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.

He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

KINDNESS
The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father's graves behind, and he does not care.

He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care.

His father's grave, and his children's birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect's wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

PRECIOUS
The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath--the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.

Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.

ONE CONDITION
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.

I've seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.

For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

THE ASHES
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

We may be brothers after all.

We shall see.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white.

This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.

Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.

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#1390 - August 01, 2008 12:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Ancient Chinese Literature

For those of you who are remotely familiar with the Chinese culture, On the Waterfront is one of the four greatest classics of Chinese literature, the other three being The Journey West (featuring the great monkey god warrior), The Tale of the Three Kingdoms, and The Dream of the Red Chamber. Any modern-day Chinese who does not know an episode or two from these great works of art would not be considered culturally literate. Such a Chinese would not know what he misses in life!.

By the time I was in primary six in a Chinese school, I discovered the very mature writing of Lu Xin, arguably the most influential Chinese writer in the 20th century. He made some reference to Nietzsche, whom I was to study with a vengeance two decades later. Looking back with a suddenness with which a key turned in a lock, I now realise Lu Xin had jolted me into a primordial form of political discontent even at that tender young age. It was a sobering way of growing up.

In that Canadian university where I studied molecular biology, the liberal arts tradition there also allowed me to take a minor in English literature. It was a training exercise in speed reading. The professor would give us a list of 50 books or so covering all the major authors in the entire history of English literature, and we were supposed to have nodding acquaintance with these greatest creative geniuses in the world within the span of three months.

I could never finish Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and my battle with Middle English was lost forever. James Joyce proved to be another tough nut, and I wondered why they hailed him as arguably the most profound English writer in the 20th century.

Writer Unknown

Ancient Chinese Proverbs

- Behind every able man, there are always other able men.

- Teacher opens the door, but you must enter by yourself.

- A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.

- He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them.

- If your strength is small, don't carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don't give advice.

- A flawed diamond is better than a common stone that is perfect.

- Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

- If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, teach people.

- You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited August 01, 2008).]

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#1391 - August 08, 2008 05:06 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 401
Loc: Penang
Hungry Ghosts' Festival

Ancestor worship is a valid and important part of Hindu rituals as well as that of Taoism. It is primary in Taoism. As puja is to a Hindu, so is ancestor worship is to a Taoist.

In 1985, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was in Singapore, where I met him. It was the season of the Hungry Ghosts Festival, and from his hotel room he could see shops down below offering food on an offering table to ancestors and ghosts. As he recounted to me, at sunset he could see several apparitions or ghosts swooping down on the tables and smelling the food offerings, then soaring away and vanishing. Drawing the prana from the food is the way spirits (and gods) consume offerings of food and flowers.

Numerous persons known to me have also witnessed such ghosts. Well they are not really ghosts in the western hollywood sense. Those are 'disembodied beings', who live amongst us without our paths crossing, the dimensions of existence being different.

Another practice that the Hindus and Taoists share is the offerings of food, flowers and items through the fire ritual. The fire is the gateway between two worlds. It is the belief that what is offered into it reappears on the other side of the dimension in its astral form, and usable by the inhabitants there. Likewise the recipients there shower their gratitude and thanksgiving through the same fire, which is received here by passing the hands over the fire and absorbing its 'prana'. Or just gazing at the fire! One can absorb just by the 'look'. In such a way there is communication between the residents of the different worlds. This is the basis of all Hindu worship.

Pathma


Chilling encounters and hungry ghosts
Stanley Koh | Aug 8, 08 12:18pm

"The night was still. The moon was full, its light shining through the small window of the ‘kuti' (hut). Upon entering the hut, I saw a white figure lying on my mattress. The moonlight gently illuminated her face, long dark hair and flowing white dress. For a second, I thought it was an apparition but whatever it was, it floated upwards, moved to the corner of the room and vanished. That was when fear overwhelmed me."

This is the chilling encounter a Malaysian had with a female ghost when he was a Buddhist monk at the Wat Kiriwong Thai monastery, on the 15th day of the Chinese 7th lunar month in 1977. Studying meditation under spiritual guidance, he had spent two years in a hut located next to a cemetery.

This is not an isolated case. All over the world, within different cultures and religious faiths, there have been countless well-documented ghostly encounters. Yet, many people are still skeptical of the existence of ghosts. Some even consider supernatural matters taboo.

For thousands of years, the subject of life after death and related experiences of the human spirit continue to fascinate even the most skeptical of nay-sayers. Do ghosts really exist? Is there life after death? Why do they exist and where do they come from?

"As dusk fell, I was driving through a rubber estate and felt the need to relieve myself. I stopped my car and as I was doing what I needed to do, I saw a white apparition. A woman with a white dress floating from one tree to another. Instinctively, I fumbled in my pocket for my cell phone and snapped a shot as the white figure floated upwards and disappeared," narrated another man of his recent experience.

Last Friday, a Chinese mainstream newspaper highlighted an accident in Taman Connaught, saying the tragedy occurred on the first day of the Hungry Ghosts Festival.

The three-day "Yee Lan Seng Hui" (Hungry Ghosts Festival ceremony) is an annual event in which people make offerings to receive blessings of health and good luck throughout the year.

Pudu Traders and Hawkers Association President, Jeff Tan, who is also organising chairman of the event in Pudu this year said, "From years of participating in this ceremony, I find that those who are honest in their business dealings, always find that their lives are smooth throughout the year after participating in the ceremony.

"Believe it or not, I know of people who are dishonest in their businesses, finding themselves in deep trouble, encountering misfortune and even bankruptcy," Tan said.

Margaret Soong who is deputy treasurer of the association, agreed with Tan. "Life is smoother and business can be better despite an economic downturn. I've been participating in this ritual for more than 50 years."

The ceremony includes offering of food, burning of paper money and entertainment for ancestors and wandering souls who have no descendants to appease them. The event is also a demonstration of filial piety and compassion towards those in the nether world.

Appeasing wandering souls

hungry ghost festival 070808 02"Zhong Yuan Jie," (Feast for the Wandering Souls) has roots in the Buddhist festival of "Ullambana" and Daoist culture.

The Buddhist text, Ullamabana Sutra tells the story of Mahamaudgalyayana, chief disciple Gautama Buddha, who searched for his deceased mother during one of his meditation session after discovering she had been reborn in the realm of the hungry ghosts.

Despite being famous for his psychic powers, Mahamaudgalyayana could not feed his mother in hell and sought the Buddha's help. Buddha advised his chief disciple to gather monks from 10 directions to take part in a ritual. After offering food and other items to ancestors of 7 generations on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, Mahamaudgalyayana's mother ended her suffering and was reborn as a human being.

Today, this story is often performed as a Chinese opera stage-show during the festival. According to ChinaExpat.com, such ghost-related festivals are also being celebrated in other parts of the world - such as the ‘El Dia de los Muertos' festival in Mexico, the ‘Chugen' and ‘O-Bon' festivals in Japan and the ‘Vu Lan' festival in Vietnam.

According to the website, in Southern China, village folks put cooked chicken, meat and vegetables, rice, tea and fruits on their doorsteps during the Hungry Ghosts Festival. They also burn pieces of paper resembling currency notes in larger cities in eastern China, such as Shanghai and Hangzhou. Candles are lit along streets, and miniature paper boats and lanterns are released in rivers to direct wandering spirits.

During the 30-day festival, no auspicious events such as weddings, the launching of new businesses or moving house are carried out. Even today, parents advise their children against going out late at night, to avoid swimming and water sports and to drive carefully for fear of malicious spirits.

Streets in China are often deserted at night during the festival, as few dare leave their homes for fear of ghosts following them home.

Former Buddhist monk Sirinanda, who is well versed in Buddhism and Daoism explained, "People are so engrossed in their physical existence and material well-being that they either forget or become too comfortable, short-sighted or skeptical about everything else, particularly the other dimensions or realms of existence. They ignore the connectivity between ancestors and descendants, between the living and dead, between heaven and earth and the physical body and spirit.

"Most importantly, these people, especially unscrupulous politicians, forget that their existence is governed by divine or spiritual laws and morals and they spend their lives plundering and abusing their power without any moral investment in the spiritual bank," Sirinanda said. "Often, they will pay a heavy karmic price for their actions, and not necessarily after death."

It is pure coincidence that both the nomination and polling day for the (Malaysian) Permatang Pauh by-election should fall within the period of the Hungry Ghosts Festival. Nomination day is on the 16th of August, a day after the full moon and polling day is on the 26th of August, the right time for ‘Yin Guo Bao Ying', or ‘retribution of cause and effect of punitive justice'.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/opinions/87464

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#1392 - October 29, 2008 09:08 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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On Governance & Free Speech


"(We know that) An Emperor knows how to govern when poets are free to
make verses, people to act plays, historians to tell the truth,
ministers to give advice, the poor to grumble at taxes, students to
learn lessons aloud, workmen to praise their skill and seek work,
people to speak of anything, and old men to find fault with everything.

- An address by the Duke of Shao to King Li-Wang
of the Zhou dynasty in 845 BC.

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#1393 - March 26, 2009 03:14 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Sacrifices in Ancient Cultures

notes and reflections from the ramayana.

1. The ashvamedha was a yajña, a word that is loosely translated as a sacrifice.
A yajña is a ritualistic offering to the gods in a spirit of humility. It
involves the chanting of prescribed sacred verses from the scriptures. The
chanting of the magical verses is a means of establishing a link between the
individual self and the cosmic principle, between the manifest and the
unmanifest, between the spatio-temporal and the transcendent. Only those who
have been formally initiated into the spiritual discipline for the purpose may
conduct a yajña.

Professor Vidya Nivas Misra has pointed out that "Yajña came to have a meaning
which was simultaneously macrocosmic, in that it was equated with the creation
or re-creation of the universe, and microcosmic, in that it represented one's
concentrated meditative effort."

2. The Ashvamedha is one of the most elaborate sacrificial rituals which
ancient Hindu royalties performed for the purpose of obtaining male progeny.
In this sarga of the Balakanda, we see a detailed description of this
impressive ceremony. The Mahabharata also speaks of the Ashvamedha which
included, aside from the horrendous orgy of the mass slaughter of birds and
beasts, other complex, and some not very pleasant-sounding rites as well. It is
known that this sacrifice was performed, not simply by mythical monarchs, but in
historical times as well (Sunga period). Professor K. A. Nilakanta Sastri
(History of India, 1950) informs us that it was carried out by a Chola king as
late as in the 11th century CE.

3. Sacrifices are as ancient as civilization. Practically all cultures,
with very few exceptions, practiced one kind of sacrifice or another. Human
sacrifice, which sounds terrible to most people in our own times, was not that
uncommon either. In Polynesia and Tahiti, among the Aztecs and the Fiji
Islanders, in Judea, Greece and Rome, as much as in Dahomey and in India, pious
people have offered human blood to please the gods.

In ancient Athens, capital of Greece, it was usual to drag two persons
from an outcast group and stone them to death for the pleasure of the Almighty.
Imperial Rome had its rituals of human sacrifices too, but already in 97 BCE the
Romans passed a law forbidding this. But they continued the sacrifice of
animals. In the famous festival of the Saturnalia, for example, a hog, a sheep
and an ox used to be slaughtered with ritual chanting, their viscera would be
burnt in holy fire as gift to the gods, and the rest of the meat shared among
the priests and the populace. But few Western scholars try to give it all
symbolic interpretations, arguing that such things never existed in the culture
of their ancestor.

Anthropologists have given various explanations as to the origin of this
practice, but whatever our interpretation, the fact remains that many ancient
cultures have carried out the cold-blooded communal killing of man and beast
for the gratification of some invisible deity, not only without the slightest
tinge of pity or the vaguest notion that cruelty was being inflicted, but with
worshipful jubilance. The practice of decapitating non-violent animals to
appease deities, and consuming their entrails with religious fervor has not died
out in our age.

4. What is different in the Hindu context is that, unlike other cultures
where the framework of the past is recognized and accepted as such, here (since
the nineteenth century) some have tended to become sensitive to such references
in the records of the culture. Like Christian theologians who try to interpret
the six day creation in the Book of Genesis by a change in time-scale, Hindu
theologians and scholars present clever arguments to the effect that such
sacrifices never were actually performed, that the horse was merely a symbol for
something else, and that the whole thing was pure imagery and should not be
taken literally, because, they are convinced, Hindus (now or in the past) never
engaged in such cruelties. They make no comments on the animal sacrifices in
some Hindu temples that are offered even in the twenty-first century.

It may also be recalled here, as A. Guruge pointed out, that in some
recensions of the Ramayana, satya [truth] is mentioned as possessing greater
virtue than a thousand horse sacrifices. Clearly, these authors must have known
the stark reality and gruesomeness of animal sacrifices, and they saw matters
very differently.

5. In any event, before we judge too harshly these ancestral practices of
humankind, let us pause to recognize the horrors and murderous potentials of
modern weaponry and warfare, let alone the routine mass slaughter of animals
that take place every day and night to supply the butcher shops and dinner
plates of the world. This is not to condone the inhumanity implicit in
blood-letting in the name of God, but merely to remind ourselves that in
matters of compassion to the animal kingdom, we may not have made as much
progress as one might wish.

6 . The word sacrifice originally meant making something sacred, and
certainly the blood and body of the victims at the altar are believed to have
been transformed thus. However, the immediate goal of most sacrifices was
either to calm an enraged deity or to please it, and often to cajole
supernatural powers into doing something for the performer or the community.
This aspect of a sacrifice is explicit in the Ashvamedha. The object here was to
induce the gods to bless the royal family of Ayodhya with male progeny.

In crass terms this may seem to be no more than bribing the Almighty for
special favors: a view that is most natural and reasonable if we look into the
matter as external observers. However, this would a totally distorted view from
the perspective of the practicing culture. If we accept that our destinies are
managed by supernatural powers whose directives and decisions can alter them
at will; and that these powers have their own egos, if not needs, whose
satisfaction would cause favorable circumstances for us, then this course of
action becomes quite understandable.

7. We note that there are well defined number specifications of the posts.
Why 21 was taken as the required number of posts is not as important as the fact
that numerical rules were involved. It may be quite accidental that 6, which the
Pythagoreans regarded as the first perfect number, being equal to the sum of its
factors [6 = 1.2.3 = 1 + 2 + 3], is given important consideration here. The fact
that the total number of posts is subdivided into three [the number of factors
of the perfect number 6] sets of 1, 2, and 6 is also interesting. In any event,
here we have an instance of the conscious application of arithmetic in a
religious context.

8. Three queens representing the Kshatriya, the Vaishya and the Shudra
castes are made to touch the sacrificed horse. On the one hand this reveals that
even if most of the kings belonged to the Kshatriya caste, there were queens of
other castes as well. Clearly, the kings chose their consorts from other than
purely caste considerations. On the other hand, it also suggests that there was
an effort at universal representation in this national appeal to the gods. No
caste or creed, no age or profession, no economic or intellectual class, seems
to have been ignored in the conduct of the Ashvamedha.

9. We also see that, while religious rites and musical entertainment kept
the common people busy, scholars and intellectuals took part in debates and
discussions on philosophical themes. Schlegel, the Latin translator of the
Balakanda, was very impressed by this feature of Indian culture. He wrote: "This
public disputation in the assembly of Brahmans on the nature of things, and the
almost fraternal connection between theology and philosophy deserves some
notice; whereas the priests of some religions are generally but little inclined
to show favor to philosophers, nay, sometimes persecute them with the most
rancorous hatred..."

10. The gifts offered to the Brahmin priests illustrate what is Swami
Vivekananda once referred to as oriental hyperbole, when in a letter of thanks
to the Maharaja of Khetri he wrote that the depth of his gratitude would be
expressed only "If the Indian Ocean were an inkstand, the highest mountain of
the Himalaya the pen, the earth the scroll and time itself the writer." In such
descriptions the fantasy components of the epic become apparent. Here we find,
in Shakespeare's phrase, "three-pil'd hyperboles." The royal munificence is in
proportion to the might of the monarch. Anything less than these would fall
short of the kind of king Dasharatha was. It is from such episodes that we form
a picture of that fabulous emperor.

11. Finally, we may draw at least two symbolic messages from this episode:
First, we realize from reflecting upon the whole idea of Dasharatha's having to
perform such a magnificent sacrifice that there are in life certain things that
transcend purely material wealth and acquisitions. Dasharatha's longing for a
son represents our need things in life that no amount of riches and prosperity
can give. These cannot be achieved without making some sacrifice. What is more,
unless we learn to direct our thoughts towards the Supreme Spirit we cannot
attain such things.

Next, Dasharatha's eagerness to have a son is related to his desire to
continue his dynasty, the royal genealogy of the Ikshvakus. It was not to sport
with a child or to play the role of the father that the king wanted a son, but
rather to leave an heir so that the long line of the Solar Dynasty might not
come to an abrupt end. This is an expression of humankind's perennial search
for immortality. The only way in which immortality can be realized is through
the continuation of the species. In each of us throb genes that can trace their
codes to the earliest palpitations of life on the planet, going back to well
over three and a half billion years. Thus, immortality through progeny is
perhaps the most insightful and realistic answer to the thirst for immortality.
If one has a son that bears one's family name, that will be the closest in the
direction of individual immortality we can attain.

Then again, in a spiritual sense, we can achieve immortality by
affiliating ourselves with the eternal substratum of the universe. This calls
for the discovery of a relationship with the Cosmic Spirit. The Ashvamedha, with
all its extravagance, is a symbol of the grand step that is required of us in
our search for Brahman or spiritual immortality. Ultimately, the purpose of any
sacrificial ritual is to establish a link with the Cosmic principle.

V. V. Raman
March 25, 2009

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#1394 - July 27, 2009 11:23 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Online   content
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 401
Loc: Penang
Omar Khayyam on Islamic Clerics


Here are three poems by Omar Khayyam on muslim clerics.

And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secretâ€"and denied it me?
Well, well, what matters it? Believe that, too.

He describes them as maggot minded, and what he thinks of exclusivism.

'The temple I frequent is high
A Turkish vaulted dome - the sky
That spans the world with majesty
Not quite a Muslim is my creed
Nor quite a Giaour (disbeliever) my faith indeed
May startle some who hear me say
I'd give my pilgrim staff away
And sell my turban, for an hour
Of music in a fair one's bower
I'd sell the rosary for wine
Though holy names around it twine
And prayers the pious make so long
Are turned by me into joyous song
Or if a prayer I should repeat
It is at my beloved's feet'

He describes himself as an agnostic and hedonist who celebrates life,
and cares nothing of rituals.

"O ye men of gods,
We (the people) do much more work than you,
Even when we are inebriated,
We are still more intelligent than you
You drink red blood but we drink red grape
Let's be fair, which one of us is more immoral?"

He describes all religious clerics as lazy, stupid, bloodthirsty
killers, hypocrites and immoral.

Pathma

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#1395 - September 28, 2009 08:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 401
Loc: Penang
Enlightenment of Muslims by Swami Rama Tirtha

Swami Rama happened to be in Lucknow in 1905 when some Muslim Maulanas came to him to get enlightened on Hinduism and their own religion. What follows is a segment of Swami Rama's dialogue with them.

On their arrival they did Adabarz to which God-intoxicated Rama replied by Om. They wanted to know the meaning of Om. The truth was (he said) that a person can give to others only what he possesses and that Rama himself only possessed OM and that alone. That OM, which was Rama's sole possession, represented the non-duality of Vedanta. By pronouncing it properly the heart and mind are filled with peace, tranquility and bliss. You can feel the limitless ocean of power and energy within you. Rama then invited the Muslims to join him in chanting ‘om' three times, which they did and felt instant peace. Swami Rama went on to expound the special place of OM as a universal name of God, but the Muslims objected that they had never seen any mention of OM in their own holy scriptures and asked him (if what he said was true) whether he could quote any reference to OM in their Koran.

Rama replied gently:‘Please listen to what is now being said. In the very beginning of your Koran,at the top, are three letters, alif (A), lam (L) and mim(M). Can any of you or any learned Mulawi of Islam explain what these three letters mean?' The Moslems replied that this was a secret which Allah had kept to himself. Swami Rama laughed heartily at this remark and said: ‘When God has revealed the entire Koran for the benefit of mankind, as the Muslims claim, it is very strange that he has kept its very heading a secret. No. It is not so.If you, the Muslims who put full faith in the Koran do not know the secret of the letters A, L, M, Rama will tell you what they signify. Alif, lam andmim are nothing but alif (A), wao (O) and mim (M),that is, AOM or OM.'

The Muslims objected that the letter L is not the same as the letter O, but Swami Rama pointed out to them that in Arabic grammar L is pronounced O when it falls between a vowel anda consonant, as in the names Shamsuddin, which is written Shamsaldin, or Nizamuddin, which is written Nizamaldin. The letter lam (L) becomessilent and gives the sound of the Arabic letter pesh (O or U). Therefore ALM is no secret; it is clearly and unambiguously OM and nothing but OM. It is Kufra, heretical or a sin, to blame God for keeping it a secret.

Swami Rama went on to point out to them with great love that Islam literally means ‘religion of peace', but that instead of preaching love for God seated in the heart of each man and the brotherhood of all men, the so-called leaders of Islam, on account of their superficial knowledge or ignorance, had injected a spirit of hatred and alienation into the hearts of the ignorant Muslims. As a result, the history of the Muslims testified to the fact that thousands of non-Muslims had been butchered in wholesale massacres in the name of Islam. Instead of teaching mankind how to live in peace with others, Islam had earned a bad name for itself in world history by spreading its religion by tyranny, oppression and despotism. This was because of the selfishness, love of personal gain and narrow outlook of the Muslim autocrats, intoxicated with their own domination and conquest in the name of Islam. It was all due to the wrong interpretation of the words ‘Kufra' and ‘Kafir'.

Dear friends, [he said], the meaning of Kufra [sin or heresy] is to hide. What? To hide the truth or reality is Kufra, and he who hides the truth is Kafir [infidel]. But how does a Kafir hide the truth? He hides it behind the curtain of his Khudi or ego, which has its roots in selfishness. In other words the person who asserts his ego or selfishness as against truth is a Kafir. And what is this truth? Truth is that which remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. But truth or reality is only one. It is only God who is immortal, eternal and imperishable. Therefore the person who does not implement this truth in daily life and who instead lays stress on his ego or selfishness in his worldly dealings is as if hiding God,the truth, behind the curtain of his egoism. In other words, he remains unconcerned with God, as if there is no God for him. By such an attitude he commits Kufra and deserves to be called a Kafir.

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#1396 - October 22, 2009 08:40 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Origin of Metals - Ramayana


"While Shiva and Um were thus back to their austerities," continued
Vishvmitra, "the minor gods, along with Indra and Agni went to Brahm in hopes
of getting a commander-in-chief for their armies. They all prostrated before
Brahm and reported, 'Oh Brahm, after we tried to obtain a commander from
Shiva, he went back to His retreat with his consort Um to resume His ascetic
life. We beseech you to do the needful for our welfare.'

"To this the great Brahm replied, 'Prvat's curse on you cannot be erased.
But here is the celestial Gang. Through her, Agni will cause the birth of an
all-powerful son, and he will be your commander. Gang will take him as her own
son, and Um will be much upset by this.' The godlings were pleased with this
answer. They then went to the great mineral-rich peak Kailsa and there asked
Agni to produce a son worthy of becoming their chief. 'Pray, inject Shiva's seed
in Himavan's daughter Gang,' they pleaded. The God of Fire thereupon approached
Gang and asked her to accept Shiva's seed for this purpose. Now Gang took on
an ethereal form. At the sight of her exquisite beauty, the seed melted on all
sides. Agni then impregnated her veins with the molten seed.

"Gang was now aglow with Shiva's seed, and she thus spoke to Agni: 'It is
beyond me, oh glittering Lord, to bear this seed that has been intensified by
your powers.' And then Agni replied: 'If that be so, you may release it on this
side of the Himlayan range.' Gang took this counsel and discharged from her
veins that most glorious seed of Shiva. Emerging as it did from Gang (the grand
daughter of the Golden Mount Meru), it glittered as pure molten gold. Parts of
it fell on earth and became incomparable gold and silver. Its heat was so
intense that even substances at a distance were transformed into copper and
iron. Its dross became tin and lead. It was thus that Shiva's seed, upon
descending here below, turned into a variety of metals. It was when the seed
ultimately reached the earth that the entire forest glowed with splendor and
became gold.

"Then the gods, including Indra, brought forth a boy and the Krittikas, the
celestial females. Realizing their role in this context, the Krittikas began to
suckle the babe at once. The gods now declared they knew for sure that he would
be revered in all the worlds. Upon hearing this, the Krittikas bathed the
youngster who had trickled out of Gang's womb, and called him Skanda. Skanda
took on six heads and sucked from the breasts of the six ladies. Thus nourished,
he soon became a mighty leader and commander of the celestial forces."

Names and Terms

Krttikeya: is often depicted as riding on a peacock and holding a spear. In
the Tamil country (where he is also known as Murugan (Murukan), and his consort
is Valli), he is worshipped by the followers of Shiva. There is a magnificent
temple for Murugan at Pazhani. Murugan is an inauspicious deity in some parts of
India. Some other names of Krttikeya are Subrahmanya, Svmintha, Guha, Velan,
and Kandoji.

Skanada: is another widely used name by which Murugan is worshipped. Once
demonic qualities used to be attributed to him. One meaning of this name is, One
who flowed out, for he emerged from Shiva directly. The name is believed by some
scholars to be related to the Indian name for the Greek warrior Alexander:
Sikandar. But this may be a spurious etymology. A collection of ancient verses
and episodes is known as Skanda Purna, which is one of the longest of the
Purnas. It contains the famous Kshi Knda which has an elaborate description
of the ancient Shiva temples of Vrnasi.

V. V. Raman
October 21, 2009

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#1397 - December 07, 2009 10:59 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 401
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Great Sayings


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. - Lao Tzu

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed. - Buddha

Indeed, intolerance is essential only to monotheism; an only God is by nature a jealous God who will not allow another to live. On the other hand, polytheistic gods are naturally tolerant; they live and let live. In the first place, they gladly tolerate their colleagues, the gods of the same religion, and this tolerance is afterwards extended even to foreign gods who are, accordingly, hospitably received and later admitted, in some cases, even to an equality of rights…. Thus it is only the monotheistic religions that furnish us with the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, courts for trying heretics, and also with that of iconoclasm, the destruction of the images of foreign gods, the demolition of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi that had looked at the sun for three thousand years; all just because their jealous God had said "Thou shalt make no graven image," and so on." - Schopenhauer

On Virtue
"Rage, envy, greed and harsh words avoided, is virtue." ~ Kural: 35

On Compassion and Vegetarianism
"How can one know compassion?
If he fattens on other's flesh?" ~ Kural: 251

Comment: if one were to ask what is religion, we would have to answer that it is 'compassion, compassion, compassion'. But the door to compassion to closed if one were not a vegetarian. Hence a non vegetarian would not know religion.

On Useless wealth:
"He is poor though a millionaire
Who neither gives nor spends." ~ Kural: 1005

On sinners and Punishments
"Punish a sinner by paling him
With a good deed, and then forget." ~ Kural: 314


Prophet Muhammad - "Do not ask for any high office, for if you are given it after asking, you will be left to discharge it yourself; if you are given it without asking you will be helped to discharge it."

Prophet Muhammad - "None of you really has faith unless he desires for his neighbor what he desires for himself."

Prophet Muhammad - "'What is Islam?' someone asked. Muhammad said, 'Purity of speech and charity.'"

Prophet Muhammad - "Do you know what sappeth the foundations of Islam and ruineth it? The errors of the learned destroy it, and the disputations of the hypocrite, and the orders of kings who have lost the road."

Prophet Muhammad - "The greatest enemies of God are those who are entered into Islam, and do acts of infidelity, and who without cause, shed the blood of man."

Prophet Muhammad - "God is not merciful to him who is not kind to mankind."

Prophet Muhammad - "That person is not of us who inviteth others to aid him in oppression; and he is not of us who fighteth for his tribe in injustice; and he is not of us who dieth in assisting his tribe in tyranny."

Prophet Muhammad - "Verily your deeds will be brought back to you, as if you yourself were the creator of your own punishment."

Prophet Muhammad - "Adhere to truth, for truth leads to good deeds and good deeds leads him who does them to paradise. Falsehood is wickedness and wickedness leads to hell."

Prophet Muhammad - "There are three signs of a hypocrite: when he speaks he speaks lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is trusted he betrays his trust."


Pathma

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#1398 - December 07, 2009 10:59 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 401
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Muslims are the Neo-Zoroastrians!


Here are some very interesting pictures of an ancient kaabah from pre Islamic Zoroastrian Iran. Please visit the following website:

http://www.cais-soas.com

and see for yourselves a few other pictures of ancient Zoroastrian kaabah.

What is very interesting is that in the Pre Islamic Persian language they use the word 'kabaeh' for their temples. Not only do these pictures prove clearly that the kaabah is not an original concept but it is an invention of the Zoroastrian people. The name kaabah (with an 'h' or 'ha' at the end) is actually from the Persian word 'kabeh' or 'kabaeh'.

Zoroaster Shrines
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/Kaba_zartosht.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Achaemenid/Naqsh_e_Rostam/
kabeh_zartosht5.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Achaemenid/Naqsh_e_Rostam/
kabeh_zartosht3.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/kabeh_zartosht1.jpg

Kabah-i Zardusht layout plan
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/naqsh_rustam.gif

See the Kabah in the hilltop landscape
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/naqs-e_rostam.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/naqshe_rostam02.jpg

Main page
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/virtual_museum/achaemenid/Sites/naqshe_rostam.htm

The kaaba (temple) resembles the Hindu mulastanam (garbhagriha) without the main mandapam. Fire was lit in the kaaba but it does not have murthis like the Hindu temples.

Pathma

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#1399 - December 07, 2009 11:00 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 401
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CONTRADICTIONS IN THE KORAN


For reference to the holy Qur'an online you can go to this website.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/reference.html


Qur'an 2:21 Allah created the mankind; they should worship Him.

Contradiction: Qur'an 3:97, Qur'an 35:15 say Allah does not need mankind and the jinns; He is free of all want.


Qur'an 2:29 Allah created the earth (first) then He perfected the seven firmaments (heavens); He has the perfect knowledge of all things. (This verse indicates that Allah started creation by creating earth, and then He made heaven into seven heavens. This is how building usually starts, with the lower floors first and then the top floors-ibn Kathir).

Contradiction: Qur'an 79:27-30 says Allah created the heavens first.


Qur'an 2:34 All the angels bowed to Adam, except Iblis. He was haughty and a disbeliever.

Contradiction: Qur'an 16:49 says every creature in the heavens and in earth prostrates to Allah.


Qur'an 2:35 Allah forbade Adam and his wife to approach the tree of knowledge. (Allah spoke directly to Adam-ibn Kathir.)

Contradiction: Qur'an 42:51 says Allah never speaks directly to a human; He speaks either from behind a veil or through a messenger.


Qur'an 2:37 Adam learned the words of inspiration from Allah. Adam was the first Muslim.

Contradiction: 2:131 says Abraham was the first Muslim.
Contradiction: 6:14 says Muhammad was the first Muslim.
Contradiction: 7:143 says Moses was the first Muslim.
Contradiction: 26:51 says some Egyptians were the first Muslims.


Qur'an 2:38 Allah ordered Adam and his wife to descend on earth, and to preach on people whatever message they received from Allah.

Contradiction: In verse 20:123, before sending Adam on earth, Allah told him humans on earth would be enemies of one another. This means there were already people on earth when Adam descended on it. So Adam was not the first human created by Allah.


Qur'an 2:47 Allah blesses the Children of Israel more than other believers; He has preferred them above all beings.

Contradiction: 3:33-34 says Allah preferred Adam, Noah, the house of Abraham, and the house of Imran above all beings.


Qur'an 2:50 Allah parted the sea (Red sea); saved the Children of Israel (i.e., Moses' people), and drowned Pharaoh in front of the eyes of the Children of Israel.

Contradiction: 10:90 says Pharaoh submitted to Islam.
Contradiction: 10:92 says Allah saved Pharaoh.


Qur'an 2:51 When Moses went to keep his appointment with Allah for forty days, his people reverted to worshipping a cow during his absence.

Contradiction: Qur'an7:142 says Moses' appointment with Allah was for forty nights.
Qur'an 2:52Despite thir sins of idolatry, Allah forgave the people of Moses.
Contradiction: Qur'an2:63 says Allah raised the Mount Sinai above the Children of Israel and threatened them to submit to Him.
Contradiction: Qur'an 7:152 says Allah punished them.


Qur'an 2:58 Then Allah asked the people of Moses to humbly enter a city (Jerusalem or Jericho-ibn Kathir) through its gate so that they could find all the provisions they needed for their sustenance.

Contradiction: Allah says in 7:137 that He let Moses' people inherit the land east and west, that is, the land of greater Syria.


Qur'an 2:62 Muslims/Jews/Christians/Sabians-anyone who believes in Allah and the last Day and does a righteous deed will get rewards.

Contradiction: 9:17 says unbelievers will go to hell.
Contradiction: 3:85 Allah says He only accepts Islam.
Contradiction: 4:150-151 says Allah will severely punish those who deny Allah and Muhammad and those who separate Allah from His messengers.
Contradiction: 5:33 Allah commands Muslims to crucify or behead those who criticize Islam and Muhammad or do not convert to Islam.


Qur'an 2:79 Those Jews wrote their Book with their own hands, and faked that as the Book from Allah, Allah curses them.

Contradiction: 6:34 and 6:115 say none has the power to change the words of Allah.


Qur'an 2:106 Whatever verses Allah abrogates or causes Muhammad to forget, He replaces them with similar or better verses (Muhammad did forget some Qur'anic verses).

Contradiction: Qur'an 6:34, Qur'an 6:115 say none can change the words in the Qur'an.


Qur'an 2:107 The dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah; there is no protector besides Him.

Contradiction: 13:11, 41:31, 50:17-18, and 82:10: Allah says angels are our protectors and guards.
Contradiction: 5:55 says Allah's messengers are our protectors.


Qur'an 2:116 The Christians belief that Allah had begotten a son is untrue; Allah possesses everything in heavens and on earth, everything worships Him.

Contradiction: 3:180, 15:23, 19:40, 19:79-80, 21:89, 28:58: say Allah inherits from infidels/other creatures.


Qur'an 2:117 Allah creates instantly, by decree; He says `Be' and it is.

Contradiction: 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59: says six days of creation.
Contradiction: 41:9-12 says eight days of creation.
Contradiction: 6:101 says Allah could not create a son for himself because He does not have a consort (a wife or a concubine).


Qur'an 2:139 The Islamic, the Jewish and the Christian Allah is the same Allah, do not argue on this. Allah will reward each group according to their deeds.

Contradiction: 9:30 says Jews and Christians are idolaters.
Contradiction: 3:118, 58:14 and 60:13: say not to be friendly with unbelievers, including Jews and the Christians.


Qur'an 2:148 Every nation has a qibla; Allah has given each group of people a law and a way of life.

Contradiction: 25:51 says if willed, Allah could have sent messengers to every nation to instill fear; but He didn't.


Qur'an 2:167 Those who plead for another chance, Allah will disown them and send them to hell to dwell there forever.

Contradiction: 6:128 says as long as Allah wishes, and not forever.


Qur'an 2:185 As a guide to mankind, Allah sent the Qur'an in the month of Ramadan (the ENTIRE Qur'an).

Contradiction: 17:106, 25:32: says Allah sent the Qur'an in stages.


Qur'an 2:219 Wines and gambling are Satan's handiwork-there are some good in it but also great sins.

Contradiction: 47:15 and 83:25 says Allah will serve Satan's handiwork, wine, in Islamic Paradise.


Qur'an 2:221 Do not marry idolatresses until they believe. A believing slave woman is better than a non-believing free woman; do not get your girls married to unbelievers until they (the unbelievers) convert to Islam.

Contradiction: 9:30 says the Jews and the Christians are idolaters, but Allah allows Muslim men to marry their women without converting to Islam.


Qur'an 2:253 Some apostles (messengers) are above others; to some of them Allah spoke (i.e., Allah has graded His messengers, He had spoken directly to a few of them); to Jesus, Allah gave clear signs and the Holy Spirit.

Contradiction: 4:152 He makes no distinctions among prophets.


Qur'an 2:254 Unbelievers (non-Muslims) are the real wrong-doers; they will have no intercession on the last day.

Contradiction: 2:255 says Allah might appoint intercessor for anyone He wishes, including some unbelievers.


Qur'an 2:259 Allah caused a man to sleep for a century, then raised him up, and questioned the man how long he thought had been in sleep (in this verse Allah is directly speaking with an ordinary person, not a prophet).

Contradiction: 42:51 says Allah speaks only through a veil or through a messenger.


Pathma

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#1400 - December 12, 2009 11:45 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Organ Transplant & Animal Sacrifices in Hindu Shastras


1. The idea of an organ transplant may be new to modern science. But it
had been spoken of in Hindu mythology millennia ago. According to the
Brahmâvaivarta Purâna, for example, Ganesha received his elephantine face by
this process: When the head of Pârvatî's infant rolled off because of a curse
from Shani, to console a wailing Pârvatî, Vishnu flew on his Garuda, decapitated
an elephant which was peacefully sleeping on the banks of River Pushpabhadra,
and transfixed it on Ganesha. In the present episode of the Ramayana we find
another record of such an operation: the testicles of a ram are transplanted
into Indra.

It is intriguing that the poet mentions such a possibility, and it is
difficult to surmise what could have been meant by such an occurrence. Was it
perhaps meant to convey, considering the visibly large size of these organs of
the ram, that Indra had shown himself to be excessively lascivious? Or was it
merely suggesting that Indra's behavior in this regard had been like that of an
animal?

In passing, we may recall that in Hittite mythology the God Anu was
castrated by his son. This is repeated in Greek mythology where Uranus (who
was, like Indra, the God of the skies) was also castrated (by his son Cronus).
Correspondingly, in Roman mythology the sky-god Caelus was also castrated (by
this son Saturn).

2. It would appear from this episode that animal sacrifices to the gods,
especially of castrated rams, were not uncommon in those times. It must be
recalled that in many ancient cultures animals were offered to the gods (i.e.
slaughtered in a ritualistic manner). The Roman criobolium, for example, used
to be a festival in which rams were sacrificed to the Great Mother. Such
sacrifices were/are sometimes to appease the deities, sometimes in gratitude for
something received, sometimes to get something more difficult to grab than a
helpless beast, and always for the people to eat. In most instances, the
sacrificial animal was male.

3. A recent Associated Press (November 29, 2009) news report from what
used to be the only Hindu nation in the world (Nepal) said: “A Hindu festival in
which hundreds of thousands of animals are expected to be sacrificed will go
ahead as scheduled in southern Nepal despite protests, organizers said Friday.
The Gadhimai festival, celebrated every five years, is attended by many Hindus
from India as well as Nepal. More than 200,000 buffaloes, pigs, goats, chickens
and pigeons are expected to be slaughtered this year on Nov. 24 and 25.”
Fortunately, many awakened Hindus protested this project, calling it barbaric.
As long as there are Hindus who recognize the absurdities and evils in some
ancient practices of their religion, there is hope for its achieving a more
enlightened state. Indeed, this may be said of all religions of the human
family. In the absence of a growing number of such people religions can only
stagnate, regress, and even become dangerous to the rest of the world.

4. The ram has a special place in mythologies. It is the first zodiacal
signs (Aries or Mesha Râsi). In puranic imagery, the vehicle of the Vedic deity
Agni is a ram (meshavâhana). In Greek mythology Khrysomallus was a flying ram
with golden-fleece. We read in the Old Testament that God commanded Abraham to
sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. And when the founder of the three great
world-faiths was about to do just that, an angel appeared and gave Abraham a ram
which was substituted for the son. It is in remembrance of this event in the
mythology of the Abrahamic faiths that to this day Muslim slaughter rams (or
equivalent creatures) on their feast day of Eid. Oh, the power and impact of
ancient tales!

Customarily, one does not sacrifice a castrated animal to God, because
such an animal is not complete. “You must not offer to the Lord an animal whose
testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut,” it says explicitly in Leviticus.
Yet, one reads in a Ruling (17) of the Udhiyah (animal sacrifice) of the Islamic
tradition: “The castrated animal can suffice because the Prophet Muhammad
observed Eid sacrifice with two castrated rams.”

5. Ahalyâ's resurrection is a grand event. All heaven rejoices when the
presence of Rama brings Ahalyâ back to life and glory. The episode conveys the
idea that there is something wonderful when a repentant sinner is restituted.
We are reminded of what it says in St. Luke: "Joy shall be in heaven over one
sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need
no repentance." But here we are not even dealing with an ordinary sinner.
Rather, this is the case of a very noble and righteous woman whom circumstances
had drawn to an unworthy deed. We are moved to even greater exhilaration when we
witness such a person being restored back to normal life after payment of a
penalty, though not exactly just.

Why does Rama have to come for Ahalyâ's release? Perhaps what is suggested
is that our own penance and pains are not enough for our redemption. That subtle
and inscrutable element called God's grace is essential for this.

6. In popular narratives of the Ahalyâ episode it is often said that she
had been turned into a stone. However, in the Balakanda of Valmiki we read that
she was turned to ash. In other renderings of the epic, such as the Adhyatma
Ramayanam, Kamba Ramayanam, and Ramacharitramanas she is turned into a stone.
This imagery has caught the general imagination largely because of these works
which became very popular.

V. V. Raman
December 11, 2009

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#1401 - December 25, 2009 09:51 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Ramayana Protocole Diplomatique

References and Notes

1. In our own times, nations conduct business on the basis of certain
accepted norms of behavior, governed by what is called the protocole
diplomatique. This "code of international politeness" was very much in vogue in
the ancient world also. We have already noted in sarga 19 and in other contexts
the extreme politeness in conversations between kings and rishis. It is clear
from these scenes in the Râmâyana that inquiries after the guest's welfare,
interest in the success of his undertakings, etc. were expected in such
interactions. Indeed, there were elaborate rules of etiquette in the greeting
of individuals according to their rank, caste, etc., and even different modes of
salutations.

All this implies a very sophisticated level of culture. After all, these
are niceties of human behavior. A society that is struggling for its survival or
one in which the finer aspects of civilization have not evolved cannot afford to
have conventions based on pleasing manners and charming gestures.

2. We note here the enormous value placed on hospitality. All guests had
to be treated to some food and drink, but the most important of all was water.
Again and again water is mentioned as an offering. This idea, understandable in
a tropical country, has permeated Hindu society so profoundly that to this day
there is hardly a Hindu home where a visitor can leave without taking at least a
sip of water.

We also see that Vishvâmitra refuses to accept the invitation many times
before finally agreeing. This too is a characteristic of Hindu hospitality.
While the host insists, the guests should decline. This exchange must continue a
few times before the host wins.

To a superficial observer, this may seem to be a frivolous exercise. But a
little reflection will show that it embodies a commendable principle: The host
must be willing to put in some exertion on behalf of the guest, while the
latter, very aware of this fact, should rather not have the guest go through
this. In other words, each party is expected to be interested in the other's
welfare. Indeed, this is the crux of all healthy interactions. Many situations
in the world, from interpersonal relations between husband and wife, or between
neighbors, to international confrontations would become much easier to handle,
and would be wrought with less strife, and more pleasantness and harmony if only
people learned to think in these terms.

3. In Vasishtha's instructions for the feast we see the Indian system of
taste classification. He orders that all the six tastes be included in the items
to be prepared. The ancient Chinese had five different tastes in their
classification: sour, bitter, sweet, astringent and salty. The Indian system
consisted of pungent, acidic, sweet, saline, bitter and alkaline. This principle
is followed to this day in certain formal and ceremonial dinners where each of
these tastes must be represented in the meal. Note that aside from masticating
and drinking, two other modes of taking food in are referred to here: licking
(lehya) and sucking (chosyena). In this framework honey is to be licked and the
mango pulp is to be sucked from the fruit.

Among the many elements that make India’s colorful, variegated, and abundant
culture, her cuisine is to be reckoned as very important. There is not another
nation in the world where there is greater variety and originality, more color,
flavor, spices, ingredients and originality, and a wider spectrum of tastes
offered to the tongue than the plethora of concoctions that are created in
Indian kitchens.

(It may be mentioned in passing that actually our taste buds can detect only
four distinct tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The rest are combinations
of these.)

4. Vasishtha's miraculous cow Shabalâ emerged, according to the
Mahâbhârata, during the Churning of the Ocean for the production of amrita. This
wondrous animal, also known as Kâmadhenu, is among the best known members of
Hindu lore. This may be looked upon from two perspectives in the modern
framework. On the one hand, Kâmadhenu is a kind of super efficient robot which
could produce whatever the owner wanted, and in a very short time. On the other
hand, and this makes it fictitious within the framework of physics and
chemistry, it needed no matter or energy to produce anything. In other words, it
was not constrained by the laws of matter/energy conservation. That is precisely
why it was a miraculous animal.

To have an agent through which one can obtain in an instant anything and
everything one wants is a magnificent idea. This is as close to infinity as one
can get on the material plane. Once in a while, we all long for something like
this: one that can take us to any place we want in an instant; something that
can give us right away all the food and drink we desire; something that can
shower us with clothes and jewels, friends and servants, as and when we wish for
them. Shabalâ is such a principle.

5. We may recall here Amalthaea of Cretan mythology: He is pictured as a
goat on whose milk Zeus grew up. The divine Zeus is said to have broken its
horn. He then endowed it with the magical power to give all the food one would
desire, and gave it to Amalthaea. This was the famous horn of plenty, the
cornucopia which symbolized the source of bottomless abundance in Western
mythology where, Amalthaea is said to have become the star Capella.

5. The significance of Shabalâ may be that a spiritually evolved person
has at his command practically everything he may wish to have. His world is not
constrained by space and time, nor by the finiteness of matter and energy at his
immediate disposal. All he has to do is to exercise his thought, and what is
pictured becomes a reality. Shabalâ’s calf Nandini also became a,
all-wish-granting female cow.

V. V. Raman
December 22, 2009


COMMENT
This is best illustrated by Kalidasa in Kumarasambhavam.
The numerous gods presented themselves to greet Shiva on the occasion of his
marriage with Parvathi.
On their arrival Shiva received them by various modes according to the
importance of the guest;

Brahma by nodding of his head.
Vishnu by word.
Indra by a smile.
All Gods by his look.

P.K. Ramakrishnan

Wouldn't these greeting gestures suggest:
(1) Showing respect to one such as Brahma
(2) Treating Vishnu as an equal
(3) Greeting Indra as some one just below in rank
(4) And welcoming the gods in general as subordinates?

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited December 29, 2009).]

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#1402 - March 18, 2010 11:34 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 99
Loc: KL
Tamil Women Through the ages

V Gangadharan
http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Through+the+ages&artid=47PqJyL8gLE=&SectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&MainSectionID=wIcBMLGbUJI=&SectionName=rSY|6QYp3kQ=&SEO
First Published : 15 Mar 2010 04:45:00 AM IST

Bureaucrats

Would you believe that even about a thousand years ago, women in Tamil Nadu were in government service? The Thiruvaiyaru and Thirumazhaipadi inscriptions dating to the Chola era of the 11th century AD refer to ‘Adhikarichi’, a feminine term for an official and even records the name of a bureaucrat, ‘Araiyan Udayalar’.

S Ramachandran, historian and former epigraphist with the State archaeological department, says women officials of this cadre acted on behalf of the mighty Chola emperors, especially the queens, and were responsible for guiding the State on making land endowments.

Woman cop

Another Chola inscription, Eruthan Kunjaramalli Adhikarichi talks of a ‘woman official powerful enough to fight even an elephant’.

Malli is the feminine form of Mallan, a fighter, and Kunjaram refers to elephant. Ramachandran says the inscription confirms that the woman was an official, adding that she could have performed police duties.

Efficient rulers

Megasthenes (c. 350 BC-290 BCE), a Greek traveller in his ‘Indica’ heaps praise on a Pandya queen for dividing her kingdom into 360 parts for efficient revenue collection. The book records women donning many hats in ancient India, such as palace guards, king’s bodyguards and even spies.

Among women who demonstrated their administrative calibre besides being good rulers, the following are noteworthy:

Sembiyanmaadevi (11th century) of the Chola dynasty: A proven administrator and patron of arts

Queen Rudramba of the Kakatiya dynasty of Telangana (13th century) was a much feared ruler of her times, prompting even the Pandyas to refer to her as a ‘man in the robes of a woman’

Velunachiyar known for her never say die spirit.

She fought relentlessly to drive out the British

Rani Mangamma, a good ruler and planner. She gave special importance to roads, besides building facilities for travellers.

Counsellor

A close friend of king Athiyaman, the great Tamil bard Avvai performed the roles of a counsellor, minister and friend.

Secretary

An inscription found in Tiruvarur talks with awe about ‘Anukki-Paravai Nangai’, a woman secretary to King Rajendra Chola

Littérateurs

That women cutting across social strata excelled in arts and literature during the Sangam age about 2000 years ago in the Tamil country is common knowledge.

Some of the well known names are: Kakkaipadiniyar, Nakkannaiyar, Narpasalayar and Kuramagal Ilaeyini.

Military

Pandyas (1st century AD) are famous for employing Yavana (Greek-Roman) women to guard military camps.

Freedom of religion

Women enjoyed absolute freedom of religion. While Pandya king Nindraseer Nedumaran (7th century AD) was a Jain, her wife Mangayarkarasi was a staunch Saivaite.

Missionary work

An inscription found in Kazhugumalai talks of Pattini Kurathi, a Jain nun of the 9th century AD who was renowned for her missionary work. She is believed to have worked in many areas, including religion and education.

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#1403 - June 05, 2010 10:26 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Online   content
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 401
Loc: Penang
A perspective on Hinduism but the writer has ignored the tamil and agamic literature which is equally hoary, prevedic and extent as the sanskrit literature, thus presenting only a partial view, typical of most European Indologists. We cannot get a true understanding of Hinduism and its essences without consulting the Sacred Tamil literature and their Sumerian beginnings.This article presents a picture of Hinduism as Metatheism as opposed to the Monotheism of Islam and Christianity, and is a valid view. webmaster.


The God Project: Hinduism as Open-Source Faith

by Josh Schrei
Marketing Director, Strategist, Producer, Writer, Critic, Activist.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-schrei/the-god-project-hinduism_b_486099.html

Trying to explain the core beliefs of "Hinduism" to an interested observer can be challenging to say the least. Its often stated that the word "Hinduism" itself is a total misnomer, as it basically refers to the sum total of spiritual and religious thought and practice that has taken place on the Indian subcontinent over the past 5,000 years. And lets just say it's been a busy 5,000 years.

The sheer volume of spiritual literature and doctrine, the number of distinct gods worshiped (over 30 million, according to some sources), the breadth of distinct philosophies and practices that have emerged, and the total transformation over time of many of the core Indic teachings and beliefs can be disconcerting to those raised in monotheistic cultures, as we are used to each faith bringing with it a defined set of beliefs that -- with the exception of some denominational rifts over the centuries -- stay pretty much consistent over time.

However, the key point of differentiation between Hinduism and these other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. The key differentiation is that "Hinduism" is Open Source and most other faiths are Closed Source.

"Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software's source code."

If we consider god, the concept of god, the practices that lead one to god, and the ideas, thoughts and philosophies around the nature of the human mind the source code, then India has been the place where the doors have been thrown wide open and the coders have been given free reign to craft, invent, reinvent, refine, imagine, and re-imagine to the point that literally every variety of the spiritual and cognitive experience has been explored, celebrated, and documented.

Atheists and goddess worshipers, heretics who've sought god through booze, sex, and meat, ash covered hermits, dualists and non-dualists, nihilists and hedonists, poets and singers, students and saints, children and outcasts ... all have contributed their lines of code to the Hindu string.

The results of India's God Project -- as I like to refer to Hinduism -- have been absolutely staggering. The body of knowledge -- scientific, faith-based, and experience-based -- that has been accrued on the nature of mind, consciousness, and human behavior, and the number of practical methods that have been specifically identified to work with ones own mind are without compare. The Sanskrit language itself contains a massive lexicon of words -- far more than any other historic or modern language -- that deal specifically with states of mental cognition, perception, awareness, and behavioral psychology.

At the heart of the Indic source code are the Vedas, which immediately establish the primacy of inquiry in Indic thought. In the Rig Veda, the oldest of all Hindu texts (and possibly the oldest of all spiritual texts on the planet), God, or Prajapati, is summarized as one big mysterious question and we the people are basically invited to answer it.

"Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?"

While the god of the Old Testament was shouting command(ment)s, Prajapati was asking: "Who am I?"

Since opening the floodgates on the divine question, Indic thought has followed a glorious evolutionary arc from shamanism, nature worship and sacrifice through sublime and complex theories on mental cognition, the nature of consciousness, and quantum physics.

Through tracing the subcontinents relationship with the deities of the Vedas, we can trace the course of Indic thought over the centuries. One of the first things we notice is that not only does the people's relationship to god change over the centuries, the gods themselves change. Shiva, for example, appears in the vedas as Rudra, the howler, god of storms, still something of a lesser deity. Reappearing over the centuries as Bhairava -- he who inspires fear -- Pashupati, lord of beasts, the god of yogis, and the destroyer, Shiva finally, by the 9th century, achieves status in Kashmir as the fundamental energetic building block of the entire universe. Neat trick.

But as much as the gods change and the evolution of Indic thought leads us to increasingly modern and post-modern views of the nature of reality, the old Vedic codes still remain front and center. One of Hinduism's defining factors is that the historic view of god, the nature worship and shamanism, never went away, so that god as currently worshiped exists simultaneously as symbol and archetype as well as literal embodiment. That Shiva, for instance, could simultaneously be the light of ultimate consciousness and an ash-smeared madman who frequents cremation grounds is a delight to us spiritual anarchists, while mind numbing to most western Theologists.

Western and Middle Eastern monotheistic faiths have simply not allowed such liberal interpretation of their God. They continue to exist as closed source systems.

"Generally, [closed source] means only the binaries of a computer program are distributed and the license provides no access to the program's source code. The source code of such programs might be regarded as a trade secret of the company."

One of the defining facts of Christian history is that access to God has been viewed -- as in most closed source systems -- as a trade secret. The ability to reinterpret the bible, or the teachings of Christ, or the Old Testament, or to challenge the basic fundamental authority of the church has been nonexistent for most of the church's history. Those who dared to do so were quite often killed.

In Indic thought, there is no trade secret. The foundation of yoga is that the key to god, or the macrocosm, or the absolute ... lies within the individual and can be accessed through a certain set of practices. It's a beautifully simple but ultimately profound concept that has been allowed to flourish unchecked for millennia. The process of discovering and re-imagining the divine is in your hands. The God Project.

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#1426 - November 18, 2010 02:45 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Online   content
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 401
Loc: Penang
These are the latest in cosmogenesis theories and partly empirically verified, making all previous genesis theories especially in religious texts, redundant. These are not armchair gazing and hypothesizing, but theories backed by hundreds of pages of mathematical formulas and studies of stars, light, color spectrums, black holes etc. At any given time there are only about 20 individuals on the planet who may be studying these theories. Most of the rest of the scientists don't know but only read the books published by these few individuals. It takes years to study just one theory - one has to go through hundreds of pages of calculations. Therefore most don't bother with it as they do not have the resources, grants and facilites to undertake such studies.

These western theories on cosmogenesis deals with time, space, matter, anti-matter, positrons, dark energy, dark matter, 11 dimensions of existence and parallel universes - all in a multiverse. It does NOT admit to the existence of souls (consciousness) or god. Their theory deals only with the physical, the matter and mind. This is where we differ. (Our own now redundant version is the 31 tattvas, and the myths that goes with creation.)

This Big Bang theory says the there was an explosion 13.7 billion years ago in the nothingness and the universe was created. This took place in 10 to the power of (-34) seconds. It means the unfoldment of time-space and expansion of the universe took place in less than a trillionth of a second. IOW, spontaneous and immediate, faster than light.

We can accept these western theories of creation of the physical universe as it is 'proven'. Except that we go further and talk of souls and god. We are also talking of other inner worlds - antarloka and sivaloka. Now these are 'not physical', but astral and spiritual world and hence it is not covered by these western theories. Our lokas are not their parallel universes. Parallel universes are still physical, of matter, but in another dimension.

We speak of our 3 dimensional world, plus, the 4th dimension astral world (antarloka), plus the 5th dimension spiritual world (sivaloka) The western theory speaks of the same 3 dimensions within space-time, plus 8 more dimensions that covers parallel universes.

Naturally, it is shown that the physical world has a beginning, and therefore it is not eternal, not a Reality.

Pathma

Here is more on the theory:

Stephen Hawkings big bang gaps


Cosmologists are agreed that the universe began with a big bang 13.7 billion years ago. People naturally want to know what caused it. A simple answer is nothing: not because there was a mysterious state of nothing before the big bang, but because time itself began then - that is, there was no time before the big bang. The idea is by no means new. In the fifth century, St Augustine of Hippo wrote that the universe was created with time and not in time.

Religious people often feel tricked by this logic. They envisage a miracle-working God dwelling within the stream of time for all eternity and then, for some inscrutable reason, making a universe (perhaps in a spectacular explosion) at a specific moment in history.

That was not Augustines God, who transcended both space and time. Nor is it the God favoured by many contemporary theologians. In fact, they long ago coined a term for it - god-of-the-gaps - to deride the idea that when science leaves something out of account, then God should be invoked to plug the gap. The origin of life and the origin of consciousness are favourite loci for a god-of-the-gaps, but the origin of the universe is the perennial big gap.

In his new book, Stephen Hawking reiterates that there is no big gap in the scientific account of the big bang. The laws of physics can explain, he says, how a universe of space, time and matter could emerge spontaneously, without the need for God. And most cosmologists agree: we dont need a god-of-the-gaps to make the big bang go bang. It can happen as part of a natural process. A much tougher problem now looms, however. What is the source of those ingenious laws that enable a universe to pop into being from nothing? Traditionally, scientists have supposed that the laws of physics were simply imprinted on the universe at its birth, like a makers mark. As to their origin, well, that was left unexplained.

In recent years, cosmologists have shifted position somewhat. If the origin of the universe was a law rather than a supernatural event, then the same laws could presumably operate to bring other universes into being. The favoured view now, and the one that Mr. Hawking shares, is that there were in fact many bangs, scattered through space and time, and many universes emerging therefrom, all perfectly naturally. The entire assemblage goes by the name of the multiverse.

Our universe is just one infinitesimal component amid this vast - probably infinite - multiverse, that itself had no origin in time. So according to this new cosmological theory, there was something before the big bang after all - a region of the multiverse pregnant with universe-sprouting potential. (Pathma: this is what we would refer to as the transcendent Parasivam, where the elements of the universe before creation is encapsulated within it.)

A refinement of the multiverse scenario is that each new universe comes complete with its very own laws - or bylaws, to use the apt description of the cosmologist Martin Rees. Go to another universe, and you would find different bylaws applying. An appealing feature of variegated bylaws is that they explain why our particular universe is uncannily bio-friendly; change our bylaws just a little bit and life would probably be impossible. The fact that we observe a universe fine-tuned for life is then no surprise: the more numerous bio-hostile universes are sterile and so go unseen.

So is that the end of the story? Can the multiverse provide a complete and closed account of all physical existence? Not quite. The multiverse comes with a lot of baggage, such as an overarching space and time to host all those bangs, a universe-generating mechanism to trigger them, physical fields to populate the universes with material stuff, and a selection of forces to make things happen. Cosmologists embrace these features by envisaging sweeping meta-laws that pervade the multiverse and spawn specific bylaws on a universe-by-universe basis. The meta-laws themselves remain unexplained - eternal, immutable transcendent entities that just happen to exist and must simply be accepted as given. In that respect the meta-laws have a similar status to an unexplained transcendent god. (Pathma: what did I tell you!)

According to folklore the French physicist Pierre Laplace, when asked by Napoleon where God fitted into his mathematical account of the universe, replied: I had no need of that hypothesis. Although cosmology has advanced enormously since the time of Laplace, the situation remains the same: there is no compelling need for a supernatural being or prime mover to start the universe off. But when it comes to the laws that explain the big bang, we are in murkier waters.

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2010
http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/article613773.ece

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#1430 - February 09, 2011 04:20 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Online   content
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 401
Loc: Penang
More notes on the teachings of the Quran

1. The Quran nowhere mandates the establishment of an Islamic State. The word dawlah which means state in Arabic isnt used in the Quran at all. Rather, the Quran talks about the ummah of mankind as one ummah. (2/213)

2. The Quran talks about the purification of ones service for God (deeni-khaalis) and mentions establishing justice intimately with this concept (7/29). It never states that an Islamic State is necessary before establishing justice in society.

3. The Quran is unsparing in its criticisms of empires that were destroyed. In 46/35, it contrasts the system of the messengers with that of the disobedient stating that only the systems of the disobedient would be destroyed. Doesnt this show that the numerous Islamic states before were disobedient? How can they be Islamic states if they did not follow the way of the messengers?

4. Dealing in Pigs
In Islam, the eating of swine is forbidden. This is clearly demonstrated in many verses of the Quran. Among others this includes: 5:3, 6:145, 16:114-115; 2:168-169, 3:93-94, 6:119, 10:59; 5:90-91. My research has failed to find any evidence that suggest that the religion do not allow muslims to be standing next to, or to look at, or to smell a pig. There is no prohibition of looking at, or standing next to one. In fact I have yet to find anywhere in the Quran that prevent Muslims from rearing it.

5. Many names of God
Say: Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between. - Surah 17 verse 110

6. Many paths and religions to God
And unto you have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which God has revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which has come to you. For each of you We have appointed a way (syratan) and an open road. Had God willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He has given you. So vie one with another in good works. Unto God you will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ.

7. God established many religions; do not dispute
Surah 22 verse 67:
To every people have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do invite to your Lord: for you are most assuredly on the right way

8. God judges all religionists
Those who believe (in the Quran), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things. Surah 22-verse 17

8. Respecting privacy, avoid suspicion and prying
49:12 O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

"Do not enter other houses except yours without first asking permission and saluting the inmates. If you are asked to go away, turn back. That is proper for you" (Surah An-Nur 24:27, 28).

9. God sent messengers and prophets to all communities
Unto every one of you We have appointed a (different) law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community; but (He willed it otherwise) in order to test you by means of what He has given you. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ. (Qurn 5:4 8)

a)And there is no nation wherein a warner has not come(35:24)

b) For every people a guide has been provided(13:7)

c) Do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in the most kindly mannerunless it be such of them as are set on evil doingand say: We believe in that which has been bestowed upon us, as well as that has been bestowed upon you: for our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that we all surrender ourselves(29:46)

d) And to Allh belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the Face of Allh (and He is High above, over His Throne). Surely! Allh is All-Sufficient for His creatures needs, All-Knowing (2:115)

e) 35:24
Verily We have sent thee (Muhammad) in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and as a warner:
And there never was a people without a warner having lived among them (in the past).

Comment: It is clear that in all lands and in all times, the people have had a prophet from the same God.

f) Al Jinn 18 And all places of worship belong to allah; so call not on anyone beside Allah.

10. No islamic state
There is no such thing as a islamic nation, or islamic laws. It has no basis in the quran, says the largest muslim organisation in the world. The idea of the Caliphate, or Islamic state, has no basis in the Koran or the Hadiths, the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, a major Indonesian Muslim association announced over the weekend.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20071105.@01

No such thing as an Islamic State - Nadlatul Ulama, Indonesia
http://old.thejakartapost.com/...071105.@01

Indonesia: Treason to implement Shariah laws
http://www.worldfutures.info/News/Latest/Indonesia-Treason-to-implement-Shariah-\laws.html

11. Fundamental islamic concept
Amal Makruf Nahi Munkar - UPHOLD THE TRUTH, OPPOSE EVIL

Oppression is worse than murder[Quran 2:191,2:193,2:217]

Social justice for all. Because of the obligatory charity (Zakat), no one will go hungry or un-sheltered (2:215, 70:24-25, 107:1-7).

12. Definition of Muslim
2:177 "Righteousness does not consist in whether you face towards the East or the West. The righteous man is he ..who gives away his wealth to kinsfolk, to orphans, to the destitute, to the traveler in need and to beggars and for the redemption of captives. who is true to his promises. Such are the true believers and who guard against evil."

Comment: Got that? Those who don't perform these duties are the kafirs.

13. Forgive unbelievers
45.14 Tell those who believe to forgive those who hope not for the days of Allah; in order that He may requite folk what they used to earn.

14. On differences of Opinion & judgements - God decides, not man
Whatever it be wherein ye differ, the decision thereof is with God: such is God my Lord: In Him I trust, and to Him I turn - 42.10

Shall I seek as my Lord other than God, when He is the Cherisher of all things? Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is towards God. He will tell you the truth of the things in which you disputed - Surah 6 verse 164 of the Holy Quran.

Tell those who believe, to forgive those who do not look forward to the Days of God. It is for Him to recompense each people according to what they have earned - Surah 45 verse 14 of the Holy Quran.

O God! Creator of the heavens and the earth! Knower of all that is hidden and open! it is You Who will judge between Your servants in those matters about which they have differed.- Surah 39 verse 46 of the Holy Quran.

Is not God the most equitable of all judges? - Surah 95 verse 8 of the Holy Quran.

22. 68 & 69 If they do wrangle with you, say God knows best what you are doing. God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning your differences.

15. God is equal to all
And in no wise covet those things in which God Has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask God of His bounty. For God has full knowledge of all things - Surah 4 verse 32 of the Holy Quran.

16. Only adults can marry
The Qur'an ties up adulthood with marriage unambiguously. Adulthood is the first prerequisite for marriage' whether male or female (4:6). Suras 6:153 and 17:34 prohibit even touching the wealth and property of minors. The Qur'an terms marriage as "Meethaqan Ghaleedha" (a most solemn pledge) (4:21). How can minors enter into a solemn pledge and covenant! How can minors give consent which is an absolute condition for marriage according to the Qur'an? (4:19)

17. On Food
5.93 Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate, if they fear God and believe and do righteous good deeds, and again fear God and believe, and once again fear God and do good deeds with perfection. And God loves the good-doers.

5:4, They consult you concerning what is lawful for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what trained dogs and falcons catch for you." You train them according to GOD's teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention GOD's name thereupon. You shall observe GOD. GOD is most efficient in reckoning.

18. On Kafir
Those who cause mischief in the land (defined in Quran as the opposite of the states of security and balanced beauty) are known in Quran by title kafireen (2/8-20), the very same word Muslims use to derogate others but ironically fail to notice when they actually fit the definition themselves.

19. Abstaining (saum or Ta. maunam), and not fasting
19:26 Eat and drink, and be happy. When you see anyone, say, `I have made a SAUM of silence; I am not talking today to anyone.
The Arabic Quran translates as saying SAUMAN which means self discipline, self restraint, and NOT abstaining from food. SAUM or restrain by not speaking to anyone. Hence the word SAUM does not refer automatically to NOT EATING. In this verse Mary was told to eat and drink and also to SAUM.
20. Allah is the name of a pagan God
To refute the Muhammadan (Arab religionist) assertion that Allah is GOD, the reader should be made aware of the following. Allah is NOT GOD; Allah is only the NAME of a god. Allah was the name of the supreme pagan god of the Ka'ba centuries before the Quran. In Quran, GOD is called ILAH, not Allah. There are numerous verses in different Suras that prove this point.

2:163; 3:18, 216; 4:87; 6:39, 102, 206; 7:65, 73, 85, 158, 159; 9:31, 129; 11: 14, 50, 61, 84; 13: 27, 30; 16:2; 20: 8, 14, 98; 23:3, 32; 24:25; 27:26; 28:70, 88; 35:3; 38:65; 40: 3, 62, 65; 44:8; 47:19; 64:13; 73:9.

2:163 - And your god [ilahakum] is one god [ilahan wahid] ; there is no god [ilah] but He [hooa] Most Gracious Most Merciful [al Rahman al Rahim].

3:18 - There is no god [Ilah] but He: that is the witness of Allah [Allah] His angels and those endued with knowledge standing firm on justice. There is no god [ilah] but He the Exalted in Power the Wise.

27:26 "Allah [Allah]! there is no god [Ilah] but He! Lord of the Throne Supreme!"

First Pillar of the Arab Religion:"There is no god [ilah] worthy of worship except ALLAH [Allah] and Muhammad is his messenger". "La Ilah [god] Illa' [except] Allah, wa [and] Muhammad Rasool' [messenger of] Allah"

This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful of the Arab Religion pronounces. This is the first stage of the corruption by the Arabs.

Contrary to all the deliberate falsifications by Muhammadan scholars, as can be seen from the Arabic of the Shahada, and other numerous Quranic verses, Allah is NOT GOD but the NAME of a god, just like Jehovah, Zeus, Venus, etc are names of pagan gods and goddesses in the Greek and Roman pantheon, so was the name Allah who was the supreme deity of the pagan Ka'ba pantheon. Muhammad's pagan father, after all, was called Abd Allah [Slave of Allah], long before Muhammad's 'revelations'.

21. Intoxicants (no forbidding of intoxicants except during prayer)
There is no verse in the Quran which says that alchoholic beverages (khamr) are haram. In fact the word haram does not appear anywhere in the Quran with the word khamr. This is a fact. Instead the Quran tells the believers do not approach your solat when you are intoxicated.
The word for intoxicated here is sukkaara. Hence people should not become intoxicated (from beer, wine, drugs, opium, singing, dancing, going into trance after zikir, etc). Do not lose control of your senses willingly.
The Quran also says that we can extract intoxicants (sakkaran) and good provisions from pressing fruits of the date palms and grapes.
16:67 And from the fruits of date palms and grapes you produce intoxicants (sakkaran), as well as good provisions. This should be proof for people who understand (li qaumin yaqiloon).
So the qaumin yaqiloon or people who understand will undertand that from grapes and date palms we get sakkaran (intoxicants).
Nowhere in the Quran are there any verses which prescribe any type of punishment for those who may drink alchohol.
22. What Price A Great Nation
A nation that upholds God's laws is guaranteed prominence among the nations of the world, victory, prosperity, and happiness (10:62-64, 16:97, 24:55, 41:30-31). On the other hand, a nation that violates God's laws incurs a miserable life (20:124). A nation that upholds God's laws is guaranteed to be a great nation. This is not a mere idealistic dream; since God is in full control (10:61), His guarantees and promises are done. A nation that upholds God's laws is characterized by:

1. Maximum freedom for the people - freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom to travel, and freedom of economy (2:256, 10:99, 88:21-22).

2. Guaranteed human rights for all the people, regardless of their race, color, creed, social status, financial situation, or political affiliation (5:8, 49:13).

3. Prosperity for all the people. God's economic system is based on constant circulation of wealth, no usury, and productive investment. Non-productive economy such as gambling, lottery, and high interest loans are not permitted (2:275-7, 59:7).

4. Social justice for all. Because of the obligatory charity (Zakat), no one will go hungry or un-sheltered (2:215, 70:24-25, 107:1-7).

5. A political system that is based on unanimous consensus. Through mutual consultation and freedom of expression, one side of any given issue convinces all participants in the discussion. The end result is a unanimous agreement, not the opinion of a 51% majority rammed down the throat of the 49% minority (42:3).

Clearly muslim nations today are not great nations, or upholding god's laws.

23. Karma
42.30 Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because on the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness.

30.41 Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the evil) that the hands of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil).

24. Lawful and Unlawful Food
What does the Quran say?
Surah 5:96 "All creatures you hunt from the sea are made lawful for you to eat (Uhilla lakum soy-du albahri)" Soy-du means "things you hunt"

The Quran is very simple about what sort of food is halal or lawful to be eaten. Here is the Quran:

They consult you concerning what is halal (lawful) for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what dogs catch for you." You train them according to GOD's teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention GOD's name thereupon. You shall observe GOD. GOD is most efficient in reckoning. Surah 5:4

Even what the dogs catch for you is halal to be eaten. Surely when dogs catch animals for us, the dogs use their teeth to bite and tear apart the animal. Even that is halal to eat.

Then the Quran is also clear about what sort of food is haram. Here it is:

"Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the lahma al khinzir (carcasses, dead rotting meat, road kill), and that on which has been invoked the name of other than God; that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, God is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." Surah 5:3

Please note that there is no mention of pork. For too long the whole islamic world have been under the mistaken impression that pork is haram (forbidden) to muslims. Clearly the Quran does not say so.

25. What is haram (forbidden/injunct)?
Surah 6:151 Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.

1. haram is to equate God with anything else
2. haram is being not good and caring to one's parents.
3. haram to kill one's children (due to poverty).
4. haram to kill any soul openly or in secret, except by way of law and justice.

Only 4 actions are haram; no mention of any other things like pigs, pork, dogs, etc. It is absolutely haram to kill. Period! Clearly the muslim world is misguided.

Pathmarajah


Edited by Pathmarajah (February 11, 2011 03:07 PM)

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#1434 - February 22, 2011 09:26 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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It details the struggle of France with Islamic conquerors. This struggle bridges the medieval and the modern age. It shows why France went to Algeria. Its really about France and Islam.

Understanding Islam

http://bastiat.net/en/cercle/meetings/Understanding_Islam.htm



When one analyses societies that have been shaped by an ideology, it is important to look closely at the ideology, because that is what enforces itself in the end, and eventually changes society. This holds good for Islam. What matters is its ideology and not the way in which it is embodied in different countries. The wars between France and Islam are an example. We always speak of Poitiers : "the Muslims were defeated at Poitiers and they left". We are more or less consciously comparing it to other battles, for instance the battle of Vouill, in 507 : Clovis defeated the Visigoths and Aquitaine became French. That is not at all what happened with Islam.

The Muslims entered what was then France in 714. They seized Narbonne, which became their base for the next 40 years, and carried out methodical raids. They ravaged the Languedoc region from 714 to 725, destroyed Nmes in 725 and devastated the right bank of the Rhone as far north as Sens.

In 721, a Muslim army of 100,000 soldiers laid siege to Toulouse, defended by Eudes, the duke of Aquitaine. Charles Martel sent troops to help Eudes. After six months' siege, the latter made a sally and crushed the Muslim army, which retreated in disarray to Spain and lost 80,000 soldiers in the campaign. Little is said of the battle of Toulouse because Eudes was a Merovingian. The Capetians were in the process of becoming kings of France and didn't fancy recognizing a Merovingian victory.

The Muslims concluded that it was dangerous to attack France from the eastern end of the Pyrenees, and they conducted their fresh attacks from the western end of the chain. 15,000 Muslim horsemen took and destroyed Bordeaux, then the Loire region, laid siege to Poitiers, and were finally stopped by Charles Martel and Eudes twenty kilometres north of Poitiers in 732. The surviving Muslims broke up into small bands and continued to ravage Aquitaine. Fresh soldiers would join them from time to time to take part in the looting. Those bands were eventually eradicated only in 808, by Charlemagne.

The ravages in the east went on until, in 737, Charles Martel went south with a powerful army, successively regained possession of Avignon, Nmes, Maguelone, Agde, Bziers, and laid siege to Narbonne. A Saxon attack on the north of France compelled Charles Martel to leave the region. Eventually, in 759, Ppin le Bref regained possession of Narbonne and crushed the invaders definitively.

The latter broke up into small bands, as they had done in the west, and continued to devastate the country, notably by deporting the men to turn them into castrated slaves, and the women to introduce them into North African harems, where they were used to give birth to Muslims. The bastion of these bands was at Fraxinetum, the present-day La Garde-Freinet. An area of about 10,000 square kilometres, in the Maures massif, was totally depopulated.

In 972, the Muslim bands captured Mayeul, the Abbot of Cluny, on the road to Mount Geneva. The event created an immense stir. Guillaume II, count of Provence, spent 9 years conducting a sort of electoral campaign in order to motivate the inhabitants of Provence, then, from 983 onwards, methodically hunted down all the Muslim bands, small or large. In 990, the last of them were destroyed. They had devastated France for two centuries.

Muslim pressure did not cease for all that. It was exerted over the following 250 years by raids carried out from the sea. The men who were captured were taken to castration camps in Corsica, then deported to the forced labour prisons of Dr al Islam, and the women of nubile age to the harems. The Muslim pirates' lairs were in Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, on the coasts of Spain and of North Africa. Toulon was completely destroyed in 1178 and 1197, the population massacred or deported, the town left deserted.

Finally, the Muslims having been driven from Corsica, Sicily, Sardinia, from southern Italy and northern Spain, the attacks on French soil ceased but they continued at sea. It was not until 1830, that France, exasperated by the exactions, made up its mind to go to Algeria in order to definitively destroy the last bastions of the Muslim pirates

What is striking is that between the years 714, the first incursion, and 1830, the final crushing of the Barbary pirates, there elapsed over a millennium. Now no political organisation lasts for a thousand years. How then was that endless war kept going for so long?

The active principle of the war was the same as that of the war waged by the Spaniards on their own soil, and which also lasted over one thousand years : ideology. Only an ideology is lasting enough to give rise, century after century, to that sort of inexpiable war. That is why, if you wish to understand Islam, you must study its ideology and not conduct an almost ethnological study of the different varieties of Islam. I repeat : its ideology; because, for Muslim scholars, Islam is Dn, Dunya, Daoula, i.e. religion, society, state. Khomeiny used to say that 90% of Islamic rules are to do with civil society, and that, in an Islamic library, 90% of the books deal with society and the state, and only 10% with private morals and man's relationship with God. The problem with Islam is not religion, it is the civil part of the ideology.

Islam is founded on the same structure as political totalitarian machines. The most well known are the total socialisms of the 20th century, but if we delve deep into history, the Akkad dynasties, ancient China, the Incas etc. were totalitarian machines that have a certain number of elements in common with Islam. To show up these elements, one only has to compare the main features of total socialisms with those of Islam.

Islam, like soviet socialism, is founded on a dual basis : on the one hand the ideological foundation, and on the other the imposition of that ideology through armed force. The combination of the two is characteristic. The earliest person to speak of this was Sima Qian, one of the greatest intellectuals in China, a historian, who was also prime minister. As an intellectual and as prime minister, he was perfectly acquainted with a system based both on ideology and on violence. In his letter to Jen An, which dates back to 91 B.C., he explains that, in such a system, there can be only two solutions :

physical death : you oppose the system and in that case you are killed

spiritual death : you pretend to believe in the ideology, and in that case you wear a mask.


Thus, according to Sima Qian, in a system founded both on force and on ideology, one can choose only between physical death and spiritual death.

That is precisely the structure of Islam, founded both on ideology and on the use of armed force. I have already spoken of violence towards the exterior. One must add to that the interior violence that is exerted on the 'dhimmis'. The term 'dhimmis' refers to peoples conquered by the Muslim armies, who lose all their political rights and the greater part of their civil rights, and who become foreigners in their own country. They are driven to extinction by a combination of methods.

Throughout antiquity, and right up until the second half of the 19th century, there were fluctuations in population due either to famines, or to epidemics, or to wars. After each decline, the population would increase again until it reached its equilibrium, that is, the maximum number of people who could live on the land considering the agricultural techniques available. The Muslims built new towns, Oran, Cordoba, Cairo, etc. while slaughtering or deporting the local populations, and peopling the towns with Arabs either from the Hedjaz region or from Syria. At first, these immigrants were few in number. In North Africa there were 5 million Berbers. About 200,000 Arab-Muslims were brought in and established in areas that had been depopulated to that end. The immigrant population grew to the maximum number tolerated by the agricultural production of the occupied areas, they then cut up the remaining land into strips that were depopulated one by one and given over to the expansion of the Arab-Muslims. Each successive strip was small enough not to stir up a general revolt, but sufficient for the Arab-Muslims never to reach their demographic equilibrium, and to be able to continue their growth.

{Boiled frog syndrome}

Alongside localized massacres in order to invade new areas, a fall in the birth rate was deliberately brought about among non-Muslims. The latter, the 'dhimmis', had to wear a round yellow badge on dark clothes. They could use only donkeys, lowly mounts, camels and horses, noble mounts, being reserved for Muslims. Donkeys could only be mounted with a pack and not a saddle, in the country and not in town. Dhimmis' houses had to be smaller in size than those of Muslims. Many other provisions of a similar nature destroyed the dignity of dhimmis and lessened their self-confidence, whence a drop in their birth rate and their progressive extinction.

The fall in the birth rate, massacres and conversions under coercion were the means which, in invaded countries, gradually brought about what Bat Ye'or calls a demographic reversal. There were 200,000 Muslims to 5 million Berbers at the start of the Muslim invasion. After 8 wars, and three centuries of the above methods being applied, there were 1% Berbers left in Tunisia, 10% in Algeria, where they were driven into Kabylia, about 35 to 40% in Morocco, where they were driven into the Atlas and Riff regions, each time infertile mountainous lands.

It is a general phenomenon. Thus the Turkish population, initially 100% Christian, had fallen to 30% Christian by 1900, and is 0.2% Christian today.

{We have the similar example of Pakistan today}

The methods referred to above compel the inhabitants of invaded countries either to become Muslims or to disappear. In addition, within the Muslim populations themselves, the ideology imposes a certain type of society.

The first Islamic principle is the primacy of the collectivity, or 'Ouma'. In that word, the radical 'oum' means the mother and 'ouma' means that Muslims should be to Islam as children are to their mother. The primacy of the collectivity is the opposite of what goes on in our present-day societies. Our view is that society is at the service of each person to help him or her to develop. The collectivist view is that each person is at the service of the collectivity to establish its power. That is one of the elements common to total socialism and Islam.

The second principle is the foundation of morals. A Russian dissident said : what is morally right is what those in power declare to be right at present (it may change tomorrow, and morals will change tomorrow). Islam means "submission" and Muslim "a submissive person". Many Muslim intellectuals will tell you that it is only a question of submission to God. But if you read the Koran, you will see that it says twenty or so times "obey God, obey the prophet" and once "obey the prophet" (without adding God). But there is no verse that says only "obey God". Again it says "obey God, obey his prophet, and those in authority", that is to say the caliph and his representatives. The caliph is Allah's deputy, one must obey him, and his representatives, as one obeys God. Submission is the basis of Muslim morals and it is also an element common to all totalitarian systems.

Yet another principle is the combat against anything that develops the ego. One of the first factors that develop the ego is affectivity. You are aware of some of the rules governing the statute of Muslim women, in particular polygamy. A man may have four wives, but a woman may not have four husbands. That is not all. A man may have as many concubines as he wants, as long as they are not the wives of another Muslim. If a woman has a lover, no matter whether he is a Muslim or not, she will be stoned to death. In a court of law, it takes two women to have the same weight as one man. When it comes to inheritance, a woman has only a half share. A husband may repudiate his wife but a wife may not repudiate her husband.

The Muslim ideology is founded on the Koran, and on the hadiths, the words or acts of Mohammed. There are a million and a half of them. It would have taken him 600 years to utter them. Everybody knows, including Muslims, that most of the hadiths are apocryphal. There are, however, six compilations, containing 20,000 hadiths in all, that are held to be assuredly authentic. Among those books there is one, compiled by the scholar Bukhari, that is considered to be particularly sure. The Koran and the compilation by Bukhari are the only two books on which a Muslim can lay his hand to take an oath.

In the above compilation, Mohammed explains : "You know that women can give only a semi-testimony in a court of law, well, that is because of the inferiority of their intelligence". He says that he had a vision of Hell. There were principally women there. He also says that there have been perfect men in history, but no perfect women. Or again, taking up the Bible story in which Eve is supposed to have been created from one of Adam's ribs, "woman was made from a rib, she is bent like a rib; if you try to straighten her, you will break her, so let her remain crooked and take your pleasure from her as from a crooked thing". The conclusion is the Sunnite definition of marriage : "marriage is the contract by which one acquires a woman's genital organs with the intention of taking pleasure from them".

In such an ideology, it is difficult to respect a woman and to build a relationship of marital love. It may happen from time to time, because men are not always completely subject to ideology, but there is massive social pressure to prevent it. The destruction of affectivity and respect in the relationship between husband and wife is destructive of the ego, both for the man and for the woman.

Isn't it odd that only Shah Jehan built a massive muqbara for his wife(Taj Mahal) while we dont know where the other Moghul women were buried?}

In total socialisms, the destruction of affectivity was achieved through the encouragement of denunciation. Anybody could inform against anybody. You could trust neither your spouse, nor your parents, nor your children, nor your friends. Soviet socialists had made a hero of Pavel Morozof, a boy of 14 who had denounced his father for protecting kulaks who had been condemned to death. The father died in the Gulag. Even today, in Moscow, the building where the Komsomols hold their meetings is called Morozof palace. These mutual denunciations give rise to a system that destroys all mutual trust, which leads to the death of affectivity.

The combat against affectivity was complemented, in the early years of soviet socialism, by an attack on marriage &#65533;" which did not last very long, but which was extremely violent. In the flats built during the twenties, there was no kitchen so that people would be forced to have their meals in common. In fact, they preferred to use Primus stoves so that they could have their meals as a family all the same.

Islam destroys affectivity by humiliating women, total socialisms do it by encouraging denunciation and hampering married life; the means are a little different, but the result is the same.

Another means of destroying the ego is the combat against intelligence. The way in which the contradictions in the Koran are dealt with shows the methods at work in Islam. For example, a surah that Muslims are always quoting (verse 257 of surah 2) : "No constraint in religion" is in contradiction with another verse, known as the verse of the sword : "Massacre all heretics". Mohammed had been asked how it was that two surahs that had come from Allah could contradict each other. The answer is in surah 2, verse 100, and in surah 16, verses 104 and 105, which say that Allah is the master of the Koran; he does as he pleases with it. When he replaces one verse by another, the newer one is better. And those who consider Mohammed to be a falsifier will go to Hell. The Koran is like a packet of circulars, the most recent of which cancels and replaces the previous ones on the same subject. Thereby, all the moderate verses are cancelled by the violent ones, which came later. In that case, the contradiction is settled, through a process whose validity may be questioned, but in other cases the contradiction is deliberately maintained.

A certain number of examples are given by the vice-chancellor of Al Azhar university in Cairo, the largest Muslim university. There are taxes levied on the rich to provide money for the poor, and to conduct wars of conquest. Wealth is determined according to the number of animals. If you own five camels or more, you have to pay tax. But you don't pay any for herds of horses, even if they comprise several thousand animals.

When a woman has her period, she has the right to fast, but not to pray. Yet prayer is more important than fasting.

When a thief commits a petty theft, he has his hand cut off, because it was the instrument of his fault, but they do not punish a rapist or an adulterer by cutting off you-know-what.


There is a whole series of contradictions of this kind. The vice-chancellor of Al Azhar explains that this is deliberate. It is to show that Allah is not bound by logic. Nor is he bound by morals. If he had said that one should lie, then lying would be good.

Tabari, one of the greatest exegetes of the Koran, explains that anyone who approaches the Koran with his or her intelligence, and who is in the right, is nevertheless at fault : no one has the right to be right.

Islam rejects novelty, which it calls 'bida'. Characteristically, the word means both what is new, and the moral fault consisting in doing or thinking something new. This outlook renders progress impossible, especially in economy, with the result that most Muslim countries experience great poverty. 57 States belong to the Conference of Islamic States. Their standard of living is 22 times lower than in Europe. Of these 57 States, 8 are oil-producing and 3 are only partially Muslim : Turkey, which has been trying to be a secular country for 80 years, Lebanon, where the population is 45% Christian, and Malaysia, where 28% of the population is Chinese and 7% Indian. Those three countries are six times richer than the others. If you exclude the oil-producing States and the partially Muslim States, the rest, that is, nearly one thousand million people, have a standard of living 35 times lower than that of Europeans. At such a degree it really means something. The fundamental reason is the totalitarian nature of Islam, destructive of the ego.

Countries under total socialism have experienced the same poverty, for the same reason : damaged egos can no longer be creative, whether in economics, in the intellectual or artistic sphere, or in any field whatsoever.

I have had discussions with many Muslims and have explained to them that one cannot be a Muslim and a Frenchman at the same time. If you are a Muslim, you say that woman is inferior, if you are French, you say she is equal. I have received the same answer umpteen times : according to one hadith, Paradise is under the feet of mothers, so women have a particular dignity which compensates their inferiority. I would retort that this point of view reduces women to their reproductive function. Furthermore, in that case, maiden girls, sterile women or women married to sterile men, have no dignity.

The above argument made no impact. On the other hand, another would leave Muslim women and girls without an answer and very troubled : the French conception of relationships between men and women is equality, the Islamic conception is female inferiority compensated by a special dignity. The woman who chooses equality is French, she who chooses compensated inferiority is not, even if compensated inferiority suits her personally.

In fact, 95% of those with whom I have debated believe themselves to be Muslim men or women, but they are not. In all important matters they have made their choice, and their choice is to be French and not Muslim. When you ask a girl, even wearing a veil to assert her identity, "Do you fancy having 3 co-wives?", she will answer passionately, "Oh! Out of the question!"

"Do you fancy your husband bringing concubines home?"

"Out of the question!"

"Do you consider it normal that, as the Koran says, if your husband suspects you of thinking of disobeying, he has the right to beat you?"

"Out of the question!"

In France, you have the right to think what you like, and to change your convictions if you feel like it. In Islam (surah 4, verse 91), a person who ceases to be a Muslim must be put to death. The first time I said that in a talk, a Muslim got up and shouted, "That's not true!" Now I take a copy of the Koran to talks, and show people the verse. And they say to me, "Well, we don't accept that".

"So you're not Muslims, you're French!"

"Eh, no, I am a Muslim, but I take some and leave some".

"If you say that in Egypt, or elsewhere in Dr al Islam, at best you'll go to prison, at worst you'll be killed by your neighbour. You can choose to reject part of the Koran because you live in France, where you have French and not Muslim rights. Since you make use of those rights, you have chosen to be French, you are not a Muslim any more".

Each time you take a point on which the opposition between the French and Muslim views is irreducible, you find that all the women and most of the men are in fact French and not Muslim.

I do not believe Islam can last very long in the modern world. I am told it has lasted 14 centuries, and that it will continue. In 1980 people also said, "Communism has lasted 70 years, it will go on". Then in 1989, Mitterand, who was an excellent seismograph of public opinion, said, 5 weeks before the fall of the Berlin wall, "The reunification of Germany is neither for this generation nor for this century". He had seen nothing coming, despite his political sensibility, because the violence of the repression in countries under total socialism dissimulated the loss in conviction of their inhabitants. Islam exerts the same repression against dissident opinions, which gives rise to the same dissimulation, but that does not prevent minds from secretly evolving.

As I was able to see in Lebanon and in Kabylia, there are three factors on which the modern world is radically opposed to the Muslim world, and those three factors will eventually bring about its downfall :

Freedom. Freedom to defend one's opinion, to change one's mind. Muslims are demanding it more and more. As they are in danger every time they demand it in a Muslim country, they do not do so very often, but the yearning is stronger and stronger.

Rationality. The Koran, according to Muslims, was written by Allah before the founding of the world, in Arabic because Allah spoke Arabic with the angels. Now Arabic has only existed for 2,000 years while the creation of the world goes back 14 billion years. Confronted with that sort of improbability, a Muslim, even moderately cultivated, will answer, "We can't believe that!"

Affectivity. Among the Kabyles, there are many conversions : about 5,000 per year. They are converted by the American Baptists. I asked several converts, "Why did you become Christian?". The answer wasn't what I expected at all. Freedom, that was secondary. Rationality hardly bothered them for they were not great intellectuals. The decisive factor for them was affectivity. The Baptists organise prayer meetings, Muslims come along to have a look, and they are taken by the affectivity that reigns in those meetings, between men, between women, between men and women. From what they say, at Muslim gatherings there is comradeship, solidarity, but not the sort of affective warmth they find amongst Christians.

Affectivity is one of the foundations of the Western World. Today 50% of marriages break up. One has the impression that the institution is falling apart. It is exactly the opposite. For centuries marriage was based on the desire to have descendants and on social convenience. When there was affection or love between the spouses, it was all the better. Today, the ideal is marital love. If love is not there, the couple separates. That is radically incompatible with Islam. The idea of marriage founded on personal choice and on marital love is incompatible with the woman's place in Islam. That is the strongest pressure at work on Islam.

In Lebanon and in Kabylia at least, Islam finds itself in the position in which communism found itself in 1970.
I'm going to tell you an anecdote. My wife, the founder, director and chief editor of a music magazine, had been invited to Poland along with 200 French journalists. During a grand cocktail party, one of the ministers present told her, in quite good French, that she was an abominable capitalist and that she ought to be in the Gulag. "Besides, you'll be there before long because the Soviet army can reach Brest in ten days". Two minutes later another minister said to her, "Don't think Poles are stupid. My colleague is the only communist amongst us. All the others are ministers because it's pleasanter to be a minister than something else, but none of them believes in communism. We know perfectly well that communism doesn't work". I was very surprised that communist ministers should speak so freely to journalists and I calculated that the system was ripe for collapse. It was holding out because of the administrative structures whose interest was to make the system last, but no one believed in it any more.

Islam today is in a similar position. Its internal mental structure is caving in. At any rate in Kabylia and in Lebanon. And I don't think the political organisation can survive the downfall of its ideology for very long.

Today, Islam versus the Western World is like the fable of the clay pot against the iron pot, it has met more than its match : let us look at what those who are neither Muslims nor from the West are doing, that is to say the Indians, the Chinese, the Japanese etc. I remember going to a concert about ten years ago, in Berlin. The pianist was Japanese and wore a black western-style dress. The conductor was Chinese and wore "tails". I have never, anywhere on earth, seen a Chinese, Japanese or Indian person don a turban and a jellabah and intone an Islamic chant. Nowadays, if you go to any country that is neither Islamic nor of the West and look at the architecture in the towns, at the town planning, at the methods applied in economy, at science, at technology and even at marriage, everything comes from the West. When Eugnie de Montijo married Napoleon III, she wore a white dress. All the Parisian girls copied her, French girls copied the Parisians, European girls copied the French. Now the whole world gets married in a white dress.

As a whole, countries that are neither Islamic nor of the West, that is over 4 billion inhabitants, have adopted Western ways. Islam has but a very weak power of conversion : it converts about one million people a year, essentially in black Africa, whereas the different variants of Christendom convert 10 million every year, essentially in the southern hemisphere. When it comes to freedom, rationality, and especially affectivity, Islam has no capacity of assimilation into the modern world. Moreover, Islam has been frozen for over a thousand years, whereas, at the instance of the West, the world today is experiencing the most rapid evolution in its history.

Islam has another weakness that is even more deadly : the way in which it was developed is beginning to become known. People commonly believe that the history of the development of Islam and Mohammed's biography are quite well known. That is not the case at all.

In the region where Islam developed, all the original documents, covering over two centuries, have disappeared. The biography of Mohammed was written 220 years after his death, under the orders of a caliph. The hadiths were written down between 250 and 300 years after the death of Mohammed. The Koran was replaced several times, notably by general Hajjj, in 692, sixty years after the death of Mohammed, with the destruction of previous copies.

Islam in its early years extended over the Middle East, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, the most civilised region in the world at the time. It had libraries, scribes' workshops, universities. It is absolutely unnatural that all the original documents should have disappeared. That can only be explained by a deliberate and methodical intervention by the political authorities.

A comparison with France at the same period is significant. At that time there was no library, nor university, nor scribes' workshop, nor bookshop in France. Yet those holding political power in France, Clothaire II and Dagobert I, left their traces in many a written document, and it is even more the case with their immediate successors, Ppin de Heristal, Charles Martel, Ppin le Bref, Charlemagne. The prominent religious figures were bishops, Saint Ouen of Rouen, Saint Omer of Throuane, Saint Csaire of Arles, Sidouane Apollinaire of Clermont, Saint Grgoire of Tours, Saint Lger of Autun, Saint Eloi of Noyon, etcThey are well known.

Mohammed was both a political and religious figure. Why did no original document about him remain, unless it was to cover up a story that was very different from that told by Muslim scholars? As a famous specialist on Islam, Harald Motzki, says, either one makes a critical study of the sources of Islam and one does not write a history, or one does not make a critical study of the sources and one can write "stories". Alfred-Louis de Prmare, professor at the university of Aix-en-Provence, a historian of the Arab-Islamic world, and a lecturer at the Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim world, adds, "Any biography of the prophet of Islam has as much value as a novel that one hopes is historical".

Over the past ten years, the work of a number of researchers has made it possible to uncover texts written in Georgian, Armenian, Aramaic, Syriac, Hebrew or Coptic, that give information (a few sentences in books of several hundred pages) on what the Islam of the origins was. The discoveries are surprising : Mohammed was never a Muslim, for the words Muslim and Islam appeared sixty years after the death of Mohammed. His first companions called themselves the 'Magrayes', a Syro-Aramaic term meaning emigrants. Their holy language was Syro-Aramaic, not Arabic. Mohammed was not born in Mecca, for the work of Patricia Crone, a specialist on Islam who teaches at Princeton and Cambridge, has shown that the town was founded around 670, forty years after the death of Mohammed.

Islam as we know it today is a fabrication by the caliphs, invented to serve as an ideology for the empire that Mohammed's companions had started building, and that his successors developed. Mohammed's religion was Nazareism, a Judeo-Christian sect born in the Middle-East. Nazareism could not serve as a binding agent for the empire they were setting up, on the one hand because it was not Arabic, while the Arab conquerors wanted a religion that would justify their pre-eminence over all other Muslims, on the other hand because Nazareism anticipated the return of Christ, who would come and take command of the Nazarene armies to conquer the world by force. Since that had not happened, Nazareism had to be replaced by a religion that made no false prophecies. The construction of the new religion out of material drawn from the earlier one and the obliteration of all trace of the earlier religion went on for over two centuries. Hence the destruction of all written evidence of what had happened, and the construction by the caliphs in power of a sacred book in Arabic, an Arab prophet, and an Arab history that could be used as a basis for their ideology.

The enormous number of researchers in every field in the modern world, the use of new techniques in exegesis, archaeology, epigraphy, etc., the discovery of ancient, non-Muslim texts on the development of Islam, dating from 10 to 30 years after the event, and not from over 200 like the Islamic documents - all the above are leading people to question everything they thought they knew about the development of Islam. It is unlikely that the Islamic religion and ideology will be able to withstand the destruction of their historical foundations by modern science.

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#1498 - February 03, 2012 11:04 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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Reflections on the Gita

2. atra &#347;&#363;r&#257; mahe&#7779;v&#257;s&#257; bh&#299;m&#257;rjunasam&#257; yudhi.
There are heroes, mighty bowmen,
The likes of Bhima and Arjuna are in contest.

These are the opening lines for a full description of the battle scene in which able fighters on both sides, armed with a variety of weapons are confronting one another, ready for the eruption of the historic battle. When one reads the list of names of eminent kings and valiant men of stature who were present, it is difficult to imagine that these are but concocted names. There is something very authentic and historical in all this, especially when we see a name like the King of Kshi who was there.

Battle-myths are as ancient as epics The Sumerian epic Gilgamesh is about a king who is so dedicated to wars that the gods send Enkidu to fight him. The Latin poet Virgils Aeneid deals with the Homeric Trojan war. Here we find the idea that some day Rome would conquer all nations, and there would be no more wars. Virgil wanted to establish that Rome-rajya by inspiring his people. You, Roman, he wrote, Remember, these are your arts: To rule nations, and to impose the ways of peace, to spare the humble and to war down the proud.

The Classic Japanese epic Heike Monogatori narrates the fights between two clans for the full control of the country. Here we read: The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind. This reminds us of the satyameva jayate principle.

The medieval English epic Beowulf narrates the conflict between Swedes and Geats caused by claims of water. Indeed,
the storm of their strife, were seen afar,
how folk against folk the fight had wakened.

The Mahabharata War is etched in the Indic cultural psyche, as the Trojan War of Homers Iliad is in the Greek mind. Most ancient Greeks believed that the war was as historical as we take take the Kurukshetra war to be. Later generations began to doubt this. In the late nineteenth century some archeological finds in Turkey were interpreted as the region of ancient Troy. Whether the pin-pointing of an area is proof that the Trojan War actually occurred is a matter of deep conviction more than for scholarly debates. The general consensus seems to be that some conflict of the kind described in the Iliad probably took place. But as to whether the characters like Helen and Menelaus, Paris and Agamemnon once lived in flesh and blood is not as incontrovertibly established..

Be that as it may, to me these details suggest that in any conflict situation there are protagonists on both sides. Each side is convinced it is for the righteous cause. Ideally, and in all myths and movies, there is a just and happy-ending in which the good ones ultimately triumph. There have been instances where the righteous have not won.
But it has also happened many times that the righteous cause has not been the winner. In the meanwhile, however, competing values and perspectives keep playing out their role. This phase may last longer than the victory celebrations by the winning side. During this time, countless innocents suffer and perish. Right now in our own times, bloody conflicts: ideological,
economic, political, societal, and more are going on all over the world, Sometimes it is difficult even for an objective outsider to determine who is right and who is wrong.

The imagery in the Gita of mighty forces facing each other is a powerful portrayal of this not infrequent human condition, both in the metaphorical sense of forces for good and evil within oneself held in tension, and at the real-world level of groups and nations staring at each other with bitterness and readiness to unleash a battle.
Bhima, Arjuna, Bhishma and Drona and all the rest strike me as so many names for the countless opposing convictions that are always tossing us in the chaos and confusion that is the human predicament. The linking of dharmashastra and Kurukshetra is a powerful metaphor for this. Never in all of human history, save in the imaginary utopias of great and inspiring poets, has there been a world, or a country, where peace and righteousness reigned supreme. This is not to say that we must not aspire for this, but rather it is to remind ourselves that confronting such oppositions is part of being human.

V.V. Raman

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#1500 - March 26, 2012 02:55 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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Metaphysics - Universals and Particulars - their distinction.


Plato's theory of Forms and Aristotle's Substances have been reconceptualised by modern philosophers as Universals and Particulars.

This is the fundamental ontology of modern western philosophy as to 'what exists'. It is not a single theory as there are several views of Universals and several on Particulars too, and how exactly are they related, if at all they are.

Universals are innumerable abstract entities*, ideas or concepts. They are intangibles, and do not have physicality. All things that exist, partake of some abstract entities, or to put in another way, abstract entities are instantiated in all things that exist. All things that exist are called Particulars. Instantiation is the fundamental tie that binds Universals to Particulars.

A universal is an entity that is instantiated in particular things. A Universal is what particular things have - qualities. Two oranges share the qualities of being round, orange coloured and taste. Round, orange color and the taste are universals.

Examples of Universals are space, time, universal human values and emotions like love and justice, mathematics and numbers, forces that govern the world like gravity, our experiences held in memory, - none of these we can touch or hold, but can only be known by the intellect. It is embedded in existence. Since these abstract entities subsist over time, they exist. There are type universals, property universals and relation universals.

All objects that exist in the world, made of matter, tangible, concrete, that can be touched or held, are Particulars. The elements, humans, plant and animal kingdom are objects. Objects, (or Particulars) have qualities or properties. We know an object by its properties.

An apple is round and sweet. Roundness and sweetness are its qualities, and are Universals. These properties are instantiated or inherent in a group or class. Based on properties we are able to classify different objects - as same (qualitative identity), or identical, a type, tokens of the same type, or resemblance, or a class of objects. Relativity of identity is the basis of the notion of properties. There are three theories on properties: Universals, Nominalism and Tropes.

Universals and Particulars are a two-realm theory - an attempt to take an inventory of existence and categorise it.

As a test, if we were to ask a class of students as to whether mind, thoughts, ideas, reason, memory, dreams, illusions, space, time, gravity, love, justice, taste, number, mathematics, matter, elements, humans, plants, animals and objects, exists, the answer would a unanimous yes. As it is universally self evident, indisputable and needs no further investigation, we can say it is an axiomatic truth.

And if we ask the class whether these 'things' can be categorised in a simple and reasonable manner, an immediate answer would be two classes, consisting of abstract entities (mind stuff), and matter (particulars or objects) with properties. These properties of objects relate to Universals.

The distinction between Universals and Particulars is that Universals are abstract entities which can exist wholly in different spatio-temporal locations at the same time, whereas Particulars are objects with properties which instantiate these Universals.

Not all philosophers agree on Universals and Particulars. Some say both exist. Others say only Particulars exist. Today, broadly we could call the former the Realists and the latter the Nominalists, for whom Particulars can be objects or abstract, who have properties but which are not Universals with strict identity.

Universals are supposed to be outside time and space, transcendent, and Particulars are within time and space, inherent or immanent. That is the standard view. In my view Universals (must) have spatio-temporality or are connected to it, for nothing can exist outside spatio-temporality, or there is nothing we can say about it.

* http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Universal_%28metaphysics%29

Pathmarajah Nagalingam

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#1501 - March 26, 2012 02:58 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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Metaphysics - The fundamental ontology of western philosophy

What is there? Let us take an inventory of what things are there in this world.

Observability should not be a criteria in determining if something exists or not. Empirical presence isn't a firm sign of existence. Neither is empirical absence a firm sign of non-existence!

Colour is light. Light bounces off a surface and our eyes only see the light that were bounced off. It is the shape and texture of the surfaces that determines how much of light is bounced off, and which part of the spectrum that we see, therefore, bouncing light cannot be a property of an object.

There is also light that is beyond the visible spectrum. It is radiowaves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, electromagnetism - all of which we do not see. These are unperceived entities. Some birds and bees can see ultraviolet light. Our vision is limited to a specific spectrum band, and we are not seeing the totality of light bounced off a surface. In this sense we are only seeing a part of the picture.

Input from sense organs reaches the mind, and it is up to the mind to make sense of it. Mind is independent of sight and the other sense organs but rarely does the mind challenge the perceptions. We are hard wired to see the world this way, like the elevator is hard wired to go up and down freely.

Our senses gives us an illusion. And the mind cannot think independently of the senses. Except perhaps numbers and maths. Darkness, holes, shadows, reflections, colours, the blue sky, numbers, maths mind, memory, dreams, and logic - all of these exist only in the mind. These are mind dependent abstract entities or mental entities. They exist because the mind gives us these perceptions through senses. Take away humans and these entities cease to exist. Abstract entities subsist, because of man.

A tree that falls in the forest and no one sees or hears it, is an unperceived truth. History, in other words, the past, is an unperceived truth and it exists in the mass mind. Unperceived entities are also a part of abstract entities.

Matter (mass) exists, albeit as charged particles, even though the perception of matter is relative to the perceiver. We are too large (and distant), therefore we perceive what is largely space and charged particles as matter. For the mite, the world is not perceived.

The chair, the tree, the hill, the ship, the animals, air, water, are still there with a shape, size and texture. Like all things made of matter they have spatio-temporality and are called concrete entities.

While there is no full agreement among scholars, western philosophy generally classifies existence as consisting of concrete entities and abstract entities in its inventory-taking of 'what is there'. So what we have is existence consisting of a mind dependent abstract entities (idealism) and mind independent concrete entities (realism).

But that is not reality, as these entities are subject to relativity, change and temporality. Reality must be something else, permanent, changeless and axiomatic, perhaps an unperceived truth, that is changeless or timeless. Since all of existence is subject to time and change, none of this can be reality.

Causation, Determinism and Motion - factors governing the relationship of ontological entities

The world is governed by causality. All motion and change is due to this law. Events happen due to causes. There are no exceptions to this principle. It is a universal.

Normally there are two 'unrelated' events; a cause followed by an effect - two separate events, one event putting in motion the second event, in a sequence. In each case for the subsequent state of affairs to exist, it was necessary for the precedent to have existed. In other cases, the cause and effect are related in a one seamless event, like cooking a meal. The cook and the raw vegetables are the efficient and material cause, and the cooked food is the effect. But the cooking is a one event.

In the past when this law of causality was not fully understood, causes were attributed to supernatural forces - the elephant in the room, gods must be angry, evil, miracles, etc - the root cause of all superstitions! Once this law of causation came to be fully understood, the space for ignorance and superstitions shrunk.

We are born defined and limited by our DNA. The place and time of our birth, parents, family values, environment, our education - all of these we have little control over, and it shapes us. We are conditioned. This 'shaping' cultivates desires in us, leading to intentions, leading to actions. What gave rise to the desire and intention? Experiences, implanted the desire. That desire eventually gave rise to intentions. That led to decision making. We have a very narrow band of choices in real life and we operate our free choices within this narrow band. This is called Compatibilism - free will compatible with determinism.

But neuroscience says our decision making is guided by our subconscious mind - there is a deterministic mechanism at work in the subconscious which 'guides' the conscious mind to make that predetermined decision. Meaning free will is a delusion. "We are not the author of our thoughts and actions," says the neuroscientist Sam Harris. Our choices depends on prior causes.

But altruism is a part of the 'selfish' survival instinct for the perpetuation of the species, 'the greater good'. But we have also seen many times in our own lives and that of others where, out of compassion, we have been altruistic for no rhyme or reason. We have no need of selfishness for survival, or to perpetuate our species as we are already seven billion strong. This 'true' altruism has no causation except selfless compassion. It is inherent in humans and animals, making it a universal. This altruism breaks, provides an exception, to the determinism rule as there is no causality, which is a prerequisite. If such, then there is free will and there are limits or exceptions to determinism.

But rather than say we have free will, libertarianism, it would be better to say determinism is not absolute as there are exceptions to the rule.

In space and time

Inthe fabric of space time, time is relevant only with motion. And for motion, you require mass/energy, or concrete entities governed by causality.

For there to be motion, the movement from A to B, from t1 to t2, requires space and time. If there was no time, there can be no motion and the world will be static, 3-dimensional, which we perceive is not. Time and space are perceived because motion exists.

We can only measure space and time in relation to objects. If the world was emptied of all matter, there will be no objects and no motion, and space and time would appear to 'not exist' as there is no way to perceive it. Which means space and time must be related to matter. Space and time may very well be there, but it would be an Unperceived Truth.

There are divided opinions though on whether time and space are realities; nevertheless it is perceived just as abstract and concrete entities. Thus, concrete entities and abstract entities exist in time and space, and that is the fundamental ontology of western philosophy.

Pathmarajah Nagalingam

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#1505 - August 12, 2012 06:36 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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Life is an unbroken continuous chain

All life is perpetuated by cell division. It means life has been one long
continuous link - from single cell organisms to plant life to animal life. All
life is connected. A cell is a living organism, and it is intelligent.

A sperm is a single cell organism with 23 chromosomes. Launched in to the womb
it feeds on the nutrients in the uterus and propels itself to meet the female
egg. It knows what to do. The female egg is also a living organism with 23
chromosomes. The sperm and the egg fuses together to form a single cell embryo
with 46 chromosomes. The embryo is intelligent and knows what to do; it starts
the process of cell division until a foetus is formed, then a full baby. There
is nothing in the world as intelligent as an embryo.

And just how did the sperm know that there are nutrients in the uterus when it
has never been there before?

Does the sperm, or the egg, have a soul? Do all 20 million sperms have an
individual soul? Or is it soulless? When the sperm and egg fuse to become an
embryo, do two souls become one? What about the embryo in the petri dish on the
table? Does it have a soul? What about the embryo kept frozen at -60degrees C?
Does it have a soul when in the freezer? What about twin embryos in the womb; do
they have two souls? Then what happens when the twin embryos fuse together again
to form a single embryo, as it sometimes does happen? Do two souls become one?

When does the soul enter the embryo - at 8 weeks? Or at the moment of birth as
some shastras say?

Why introduce the concept of soul when the sperm, egg and embryo is already an
intelligent living being? What is the soul introducing into the embryo or fetus,
when it is already a living and very intelligent being with the dna doing
everything? What is the role of a soul then? Just a passive inhabitant? An
experiencer? Why introduce a concept of soul when it is not necessary to explain
life (Occam's Razor).

Religions have no answer to these questions by science, which is rocking its
ontological foundations. These are questions for the biologist and Hindu
philosophers.

We need a biologist to confirm that a single cell organism is
already a living thing, is aware, responds to stimuli, has no brain but
chromosomes which does the same function, and a will to survive and accomplish its
mission.

We must keep in mind that the ancients, Buddha, Tirumular, Shankara and
Meykandar had no idea of cells, bacteria, that life perpetuates itself with
division of cells, chromosomes and dna, and that we share much of our dna with
animals (we share 50% of our dna with worms) and some with plants. They had no
idea that we are a walking living ecosystem with a billion bacteria on and in
our bodies. Are these living bacteria souls too? Each time we wash our hands or
take a bath we conduct a genocide of a million.

What is the demarcator for 'life' and 'soul'.

Would the ancients have said the same things if they had the information we have
today?

But it makes great sense to say that there is, and always have been, only one
life in this universe, and that, that life constantly divides itself into many
and inhabits plants, animals and humans. If this is the case, then you and me
are the same life that inhabits all species, and we are four billion years old,
making us 'eternal'. This would also be more in accordance with neuroscience,
which has no room for soul.

Pathma

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#1507 - September 18, 2012 12:44 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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Rethinking "Out of Africa"

Here's a somewhat simple representation of my current thinking now about human evolution over the last two million years:

We've got the lineage of the hobbit, 'Homo floresiensis' (in quotation marks because its human status in not yet clear), perhaps diverging more than two million years ago, evolving in isolation in southeast Asia, and apparently going extinct about 17,000 years ago.

We've got Homo erectus, most likely originating in Africa, giving rise to lineages which continue in the Far East in China and Java, but which eventually go extinct. In Europe, it perhaps gave rise to the species Homo antecessor, "Pioneer Man," known from the site of Atapuerca in Spain. Again, going extinct.

In the western part of the Old World, we get the development of a new species, Homo heidelbergensis, present in Europe, Asia and Africa. We knew heidelbergensis had gone two ways, to modern humans and the Neanderthals. But we now know because of the Denisovans that actually heidelbergensis went three waysin fact the Denisovans seem to represent an off-shoot of the Neanderthal lineage.

North of the Mediterranean, heidelbergensis gave rise to the Neanderthals, over in the Far East, it gave rise to the Denisovans. In Africa heidelbergensis evolved into modern humans, who eventually spread from Africa about 60,000 years ago, but as I mentioned, there's evidence that heidelbergensis populations carried on in Africa for a period of time. But we now know that the Neanderthals and the Denisovans did not go genetically extinct. They went physically extinct, but their genes were input into modern humans, perhaps in western Asia in the case of the Neanderthals. And then a smaller group of modern humans picked up DNA from the Denisovans in south east Asia.

We end up with quite a complex story, with even some of this ancient DNA coming back into modern humans within Africa. So our evolutionary story is mostly, but not absolutely, a Recent African Origin.

CHRISTOPHER STRINGER is one of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists. He is a founder and most powerful advocate of the leading theory concerning our evolution: Recent African Origin or "Out of Africa". He has worked at The Natural History Museum, London since 1973, is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and currently leads the large and successful Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB), His most recent book is The Origin of Our Species (titled Lone Survivors in the US).

http://www.edge.org/conversation/rethinking-out-of-africa

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