FRENCH EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH AN EMPIRE IN INDIA. -A forgotten history chapter

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

FOR long the Dutch, French, and English trading Companies had been content to restrict themselves to commerce; their interests not travelling outside the  limits of their settlements along the sea coast. Their servants were merchants engaged in trade, drawing  but a poor salary. The English president of a factory such as Surat received ^500 a year, the head  merchants £40 a year after they had first served for five years as writers on a yearly salary of £10, and  then for three years as factors on ^”20 a year.

These merchants were for the most part unnoticed by the Mughal Emperors, though they were sometimes harassed by the native governors who ruled over the territories in the vicinity of their settlements. Neither the English nor Dutch ever dreamed of interfering in the internal politics of the country, or even of acquiring land more than sufficient for the defence and pro- tection of their trading stations.

The English settlement started at Madras in 1639, on land granted by the ruler at Chandragiri, gradually extended itself five miles along the coast and one mile inland. North and south of Madras from the river Kistna to Cape Comorin, the land was known as the Karnatik ruled by a native Governor or Nawab, subordinate to a Viceroy or Nizam of the south, who held his office direct from the Emperor at Delhi. Tanjore and Trichinopoli were under the charge of their native Rajas, or Chieftains, who were accountable to the Nawab.

In 1672 when the last native ruler of Bi’japur, Sher Khan Lodi, found himself in want of money, he borrowed it from the French, and, according to Oriental custom, gave them in return the right to collect the revenues arising from the district around Pondicherry. Here Francis Martin fortified his position, making it secure against the raids of wandering Marathas who in 1677 swept past Madras and pillaed the interven- ing villages.

In 1740 these Marathas to the number of ten thousand came swarming down on the south and slew the Nawab of the Karnatik. Safdar All, his successor, deemed it wise in the disturbed state of affairs to send his mother and family to the safe keeping of the French at Pondicherry — a precaution also adopted by Chanda Sahib, Raja of Trichinopoli, who sent there his wife and property.

The next year the Marathas, on their annual raid, carried off Chanda Sahib to their northern fortress of Satara, leaving one of their own leaders, Morari Rao, with fourteen thousand picked troops in charge of his territories. The Viceroy of the south, Nizam-ul-Mulk, drove out Morari Rao, and in place of Safdar All who had been assassinated, nominated in 1743, one Anwar-ud-Din, a soldier of fortune, to the governor- ship of the Karnatik.

When England became involved in war with France, on the death of Charles VI. of Austria, respecting the succession of Maria Theresa, the English ships appeared in 1745 off Pondicherry, then held by its new Governor, Joseph Francois Dupleix. Anwar-ud-Din, remembering the services rendered by the French to the former Governor of the Karnatik, and to Chanda Sahib, in protecting their families from the Marathas, at once came to the rescue and threatened vengence against the English unless their ships departed from before the factory of his friends and allies. The English ships sailed away, and on returning the next year found that the French Admiral La Bourdonnais had arrived from Madagascar with a fleet of nine ships having on board 3,342 men, including 720 blacks. After a fight at long range, lasting from four in the afternoon until seven in the evening, the English admiral deemed it advisable to retire to Ceylon, leaving the French fleet to sail for Madras, then held by some three hundred men, including two hundred so-called soldiers. The chief of Madras, Governor Morse, applied in vain to the native Governor of the Karnatik for protection. Forgetting the Eastern maxim that those seeking favours should not appear before kings or rulers with empty hands, his envoys carried no presents with them, nor did they bring, like the French, any record of services rendered in the past, so they returned to Madras with their mission unaccomplished. On September 18th the French batteries and ships opened fire, and Fort St. George sur- rendered on the 2 ist after having lost five men.

CAPTURE OF MADRAS.

Dupleix had promised the Governor of the Karnatik to hand over to him Madras when taken. Unfortu- nately the French Admiral La Bourdonnais had agreed to restore Madras to the English for the sum of .£421,666, payable in Europe in six months, and, as it was afterwards alleged, for a personal present of .£40,000 — a false charge of which he was acquitted by his own Government.

The quarrel between the French admiral and French general waged fierce and long, Dupleix striving with all the tenacity, skill, and finesse of which he was so perfect a master, to oppose La Bourdonnais and prevent Madras being restored to the English. In the midst of their disputes the annual monsoon storm burst, on the night of October 1 3th, and of the admiral’s eight ships four foundered, two were virtually destroyed, and two rendered un- seaworthy, while over twelve hundred of his men perished in the seas.

The plans of La Bourdonnais were wrecked. He hastened home to add his name to the long list of those whose fame and life have been sacrificed in their efforts to found their countries’ fortunes in the East. He was cast into the Bastile, where he lay for three years in solitary confinement, dying shortly after his release of a broken heart.

Dupleix was left with Madras to sell or to destroy. He tore the treaty of La Bourdonnais in pieces, and sent the English garrison in captivity to Pondicherry, a few daring spirits escaping to find a refuge in Fort St. David — a weak fortress twelve miles south of Pondicherry — garrisoned by a handful of soldiers, one hundred Europeans, and one hundred sepoys.

FRENCH SUCCESSES.

The Governor of the Karnatik was, however, determine:! that the French should not hold Madras. He advanced at the head of six thousand horse and three thousand foot to compel Dupleix to keep his promise, certain that the host he commanded was sufficient to drive all foes out of his territories.

For one hundred years the foreigners had been overlooked by the native rulers. As traders they had come and gone peacefully. If they dared to transgress the will of the Emperor or disobey the dictates of his Viceroy in the south, there were ten thousand native soldiers, foot and horse, for every foreign soldier then in India.

The rude awakening was now to come. Four hundred of the French garrison sallied out with two small field-pieces to meet the charge of the native cavalry. Slowly the French force opened out, and seventy of the foremost native troopers fell before the rapid fire of the French guns. The Nawab and his army turned and fled, leaving the French masters of the field without the loss of a single man.

The weakness of native troops, when not under the discipline and firm rule of European officers, had been shown by the Portuguese in 1 504, when Pacheco, with a little over one hundred Europeans and a few hundred native soldiers of the King of Cannanore, defeated the Zamorin of Calicut, driving back an army of fifty thousand with heavy loss. It was pointed out by Leibnitz to Louis XIV. ; it was known to Dupleix ;

it was afterward recognised by De Boigne when he counselled Scindia’s invincible Maratha infantry never to dare face the Company’s troops ; it was seen later by Baron Hiigel, who told Ranji’t Singh that the Sikhs would inevitably fall back defeated before the English battalions.

While the army of the Nawab halted on the banks of the Adyar river, wondering over its defeat, the brave but ill-fated Mons. Paradis marched forth against it from Pondicherry with two hundred and thirty Europeans and seven hundred sepoys. The French were now without guns, yet, rushing through the river, they drove the terror-stricken army before them, the pursuit continuing through the streets of St. Thome. Fresh troops from Madras appeared on the scene and completed the rout. Those left of the Nawab’s forces found refuge behind the walls of Arcot, whence they spread the tidings far and wide of the newly discovered power of the foreign traders.

There was none now to stay the advancing tide of French supremacy. The English entrenched at Fort St. David were but a few hundred in number, sup- ported by some hastily armed peons or servants.

There they held out, although the French advanced against them four times, until Rear- Admiral the Hon. E. Boscawen, who had arrived from England with fourteen hundred regular troops, joined the fleet of Admiral Griffin, and came to the rescue with thirty ships, of which thirteen were ships of war. The English were now in turn able to lay siege to Pondicherry ; but after an investment, lasting from September 6th to October 17th, during which they lost one thousand and sixty-five men, and the French but two hundred Europeans and fifty natives, the mon- soon storm burst and the fleet had to sail away, leaving Pondicherry safe in the hands of the French. By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle peace was restored, and, to the mortification of Dupleix, Madras was given back to the English in exchange for Cape St.Breton.

In 1748 the Viceroy of the south died, leaving the succession to his son Nasir Jang — a succession disputed by Muzaffar Jang, a grandson of Nizam-ul-Mulk. Dupleix again played his game with consummate skill. Throwing in his lot with Muzaffar Jang, who had been joined by the Marathas and Chanda Sahib, freed from his imprisonment at Satara, the combined army advanced against Anwar-ud-Din, Governor of the Karnatik.

At Ambur Anwar-ud-Din was shot through the head by a stray bullet, his army scattered, his son, Muhammad Ali’, escaping to Trichinopoli to seek the protection of the English. Chanda Sahib was immediately proclaimed at Arcot as Governor of the Karnatik, and the French were given as a reward for their aid eighty-one villages near Pondicherry.

Dupleix had succeeded at length in gaining political influence over the internal affairs of the south, standing forth as the friend and ally of the Viceroy, Muzaffar Jang, and the Nawab Chanda Sahib. The English, on the other hand, had cast in their lot with the two defeated candidates, Nasir Jang and Muhammad Ali Whichever side, French or English, would now succeed in successfully supporting their rival claimants might ultimately hope to reign supreme over the whole political affairs of the south of India.

The French quickly followed up their success by capturing, in the night-time, with the loss of but twentymen, the fortress of Gingi, a stronghold of Nasi’r Jang, always held to be impregnable — a success whichenabled them to induce most of the native troops to forsake the cause of Nasi’r Jang, who soon afterwardswas shot through the heart by one of his own allies.

Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib were at once, amid a scene of Oriental pomp, respectively installed Vice-roy of the South, and Governor of the Karnatik, Dupleix receiving in return the title of Commanderof Seven Hundred Horse and the right to coin money current all over the south.The French were now dictators over the affairs of the Karnatik, ruling in the name of Chanda Sahib.

As the new Viceroy Muzaffar Jang was being escorted by Mons. Bussy and three hundred Frenchsoldiers to his capital at Aurangabad he was attacked by some opposing native forces and slain, piercedby a javelin in the forehead. The position was at once retrieved by Bussy. Salabat Jang, a son ofNizam-ul-Mulk, was proclaimed Viceroy, Bussy remaining with his troops at Aurangabad to supportthe new administration.

The policy of Dupleix had succeeded beyond expectation ; the English were left without allies,their only friend, Muhammad All, aided by six hundred Englishmen, was closely besieged at Tri-chinopoli by nine hundred Frenchmen and the army of Chanda Sahib. The position seemedhopeless. There was, however, one Englishman forthcoming who, by his reckless daring, doggedtenacity, and stubborn perseverance, not only succeeded in thwarting the diplomatic ingenuity bywhich Dupleix had made the French influence supreme in the native states but in establishing, forthe first time, the prestige of the English in India. This man was the ill-fated Robert Clive.

 

 

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Ganesh – India’s God of Good Fortune

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

 

 

Ganesh, is one of the most popular and loved Gods in Hindu culture. Etymologically, ‘Ga’ symbolizes intellect (Buddhi),while ‘Na’ symbolizes wisdom (Vijanana), in addition to the fact that, in some parts of India, his consorts were Buddhi, Riddi (prosperity), and Siddhi (attainment), showed that he was the Master of Wisdom and Intellect. The Hindu title of respect Shri (Sanskrit: श्री;  śrī; also spelled Sri or Shree) is often added before his name.

The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words Ganna (gaṇa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha (īśa), meaning lord or master. The word gaṇa when associated with Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaṇas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva, Ganesha’s father.

Ganesh  is the Lord of Good Fortune who provides prosperity, fortune and success.  He is the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles of both material and spiritual kinds.  Interestingly, he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked.

FAMILY

Born as the son of Shiva the Destroyer and his consort Parvati, there are numerous stories in the Puranas (3rdth Century AD), which tell different stories of Ganesh’s birth.He is said to be created by both Shiva and Parvati, but there are stories where he may have been created by only Shiva, or by Parvati, or may have just been discovered by Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesha also has another brother called Skanda or Kartikeya, who is worshipped in South India as the older brother as the manifestation of courage, poise, and determination to do right. His lack of popularity in North India puts him down, literally, as the younger brother of Ganesha.

Ganesha’s marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories but the popularly held belief is that he was married just like the other prominent Gods of Hinduism. One lesser-known and unpopular pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried Brahamchari. This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India.] Another  pattern associates him with his consorts named Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); essentially, qualities personified as goddesses, and are Ganesha’s wives. He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: daşi).

Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Saraswati (corsort of Brahma) or Śarda (particularly in Maharashtra). He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the BBengalregion, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo.

The Shiva puran says that Ganesha had begotten two sons: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha(auspiciouness) and Lābha.] Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma the goddess of satisfaction

APPEARANCE

There exist a large number of legends, myths and stories relating to Ganesh and his appearance.   It is said that the goddess Parvati, wishing to bathe, created a boy and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom.  When her husband Shiva returned from one his interminable battles, he was denied access by Ganesh and killed the boy in a fit of petulant rage, striking his head off with his sword. Parvati was understandably upset and so to soothe her Shiva sent out his warriors to fetch the head of the first dead creature they found, which happened to be that of an elephant. The head was attached to the body of the boy and he was brought back to life  And because of his role as his mother’s doorkeeper, he is often placed facing doorways to keep out the unworthy.

One popular story about his broken tusk is that he broke it off himself in order to write down the  Aahabharat one of the world’s longest epic , as it was dictated to him by the sage Vyasa.  In the process of writing, Ganesh’s pen failed and so he snapped off his tusk as a replacement in order that the transcription not be interrupted.  Another version of the broken-tusk story is that his father Shiva decided to take a nap and asked Ganesh to guard him.  A proud Brahmin warrior named Parashuram came to visit Shiva but was stopped from waking him by Ganesh.  Parashuram was furious and fought with him, finally throwing his ax at his head. Ganesh stopped the ax with his tusk which broke, giving him the nickname Eka-danta, or “One Toothed.”

Another common icon associated with Ganesh is that of the snake.   Ganesha simply wrapped the serpent king Vasuki around his neck. Ganesh may also be portrayed using the snake as a sacred thread, aloft in both hands, coiled at his ankles or as a throne.  However, the best known story of all concerns Ganesh wrapping the snake around his stomach as a belt.  Ganesh went from house to house accepting offerings of sweet puddings.  Out on the road his mount the mouse stumbles, having seen a snake and become frightened, with the result that Ganesh tumbles off. His stomach bursts open and all the sweet puddings fall out.  Unwilling to leave them on the ground for all to see , Ganesh stuffs them back into his stomach and, catching hold of the snake, ties it around his belly.  The moon in the sky, on seeing this, has a hearty laugh at his expense. Annoyed, Ganesh pulls off one of his tusks and hurls it at the moon.  Once again, the symbology behind the mouse, snake, Ganesh’s belly and its relationship to the moon on his birthday is highly significant, his belly representing as it does the entire cosmos which is held together by the cosmic energy of the snake kundalini.

Upon Ganesha’s forehead may be a third eye  or the sectarian mark ( TILAKA), which consists of three horizontal lines.The Ganesha Purana prescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead. A distinct form of Ganesha called Bhalachandra (bhālacandra; “Moon on the Forehead”) includes that iconographic element.

Ganesha uses a mouse (shrew) in five of them, a lion in his incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation as Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as VighnarajaMohotkata uses a lion, Mayūreśvara uses a peacock, Dhumraketu uses a horse, and Gajananauses a mouse, in the four incarnations of Ganesha listed in the Ganesha Purana. Jain depictions of Ganesha show his vahana variously as a mouse, elephant, tortoise, ram, or peacock.[

Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse, shrew or rat. The rat began to appear as the principal vehicle in sculptures of Ganesha in central and western India during the 7th century; the rat was always placed close to his feet.

The mouse is interpreted in several ways.  "Many interpret Gaṇapati's mouse,  negatively; it symbolizes tamogunaas well as desire". it symbolizes those who wish to overcome desires and be less selfish. The rat is destructive and a menace to crops. The Sanskrit word mūṣaka (mouse) is derived from the root mūṣ(stealing, robbing). It was essential to subdue the rat as a destructive pest, a type of vighna (impediment) that needed to be overcome. According to this theory, showing Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as Vigneshvara (Lord of Obstacles) and gives evidence of his possible role as a folk grāma-devatā (village deity) who later rose to greater prominence. Rat is a symbol suggesting that Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most secret places

In South India and some parts of North India, Ganesha is known to be Brahmacharin, however, he still has his three consorts – Buddhi, Siddhi, and Riddhi in some myths.

The panchatyatana puja are known to represent the five aspects of God – the five elementsof Earth, Air, water, Fire and Ether. Ganesha is supposed to represent water, which is why is he associated with creation, according to Ganapatya belief and Hindu cosmology.

Since he is the ‘Lord of Beginnings’, every Hindu prayer and Tantric worship starts with a dedication to Ganesha, to please him into blessing and providing an easy path to glory. Ganeshais the Lord of all Creatures, the Lord of Success, and the Lord of Education, Knowledge and Wisdom. He has a rat as his vehicle, which, as legend goes, was actually a demon that Ganesha defeated by stomping upon him and transforming into a rat. Additionally, Ganesha is also the God of Intellect and Wisdom, the Destroyer of Selfishness and Pride. It is said that he is the personification of the elemental universe in all of its different forms and figures.

A patron of Letters and the Arts, he is often depicted as a dancing figure, surrounded by musicians to please and entertain his parents. He is also associated with the first chakra, the Muladhara Chakra, representing preservation, survival and health.

Ganesha was a non-Vedic, Dravidian God. Although a few references were made in the Rigveda (1500BC – 1000BC), to Ganesha’s character, to describe the power of Indra (and his being addressed to as Ganapati), healing nature of Indra’s friend Brahmanaspati and the fierce destructive nature of the Maruts, Ganesha himself wasn’t specifically named until the Puranas (3rd - 16th century AD), which is what allows us to tracback the extent of his popularity to early times. The confusion  between the different references to Brahmanspati and Ganesa is what led to the wisdom trait of Brahmanaspati to transfer onto the Ganesha we know now.

Those who go by this train of thought also firmly believe that Ganesha was originally amalevolent deity who later became benevolent as he became more prominent and his cult grew. Scholars also believe that Ganesha was a Non-Aryan God, who was originally a demon – he was even known as Vinayaka which means evil spirit – because of his constant associations with demons and other evil spirits like Sala,Katamkata, and Devayajana and other spirits mentioned in theYajnavalkya Smrti and Manava Grhyasutra

Ganesha additionally has four  evil types of spiritual representations of himself also known as Vinayakas, who are said to possess peopleand and bring bad luck, as mentioned in the Manava Grhyasutr Originally,Ganesha’s traits were portrayed as primitive and non-Aryan, but as time progressed, he was granted a few aspects of Krishna in the  Brahmavaivartta Purana (10th CenturyAD) to bring him up to the level of the other Gods.

Ganesha’s varied names prove him to be the head of Vinayakas (evil spirits) and Ganas. His references in the Puranas also show that Ganesha was originallya malevolent demon himself. His appointed role of the placer and remover of obstacles means that he puts problems in front of enemies of the gods, and remove them on behalf of the gods, to prevent over crowding in the heavens. Appointed byParvati, he is believed to create desires for wealth in people to divert them from the path of pilgrimage to heavens.

Known for his elephant head, Ganesha’s many names all correspond to what he is known for. While the name is used in North India, South India prefers to call him Ganapati, which means ‘Lord of the Hosts’ as he is the appointed head of Shiva’s regime of Ganas.

His other names Ekadanta or Pillaiyar  are derivedfrom his appearance of having only one tusk (both Danta and Pella mean tooth and tusk), having removed one of his tusks to write the epic Mahabharata (400 BCE - 400AD).

His other name Vignaharta is in reference to his Puranic title as the ‘Remover of Obstacles,’ although, originally, he was a malevolent deity known as Vignakarta asthe ‘Lord of the Obstacles’ as he was appointed by the Gods in the heavens to create hurdles for the people so that the heavens wouldn’t be over crowded. Ganesha, in this case, was originally a negative character around the 4th Century BCE, who soon turned good in the Puranic times (1st Century AD - 18th Century). Ganesha’s dual role of being the ‘Lord’ and ‘Remover’ of Obstacles shows the transformative nature of the deities’ different portrayal in different texts.

While there are myths saying that Shiva’s spirit gave birth to Ganesh, in the Vamana Purana(450–900 AD) and Matsya Purana (250–500 AD), Ganesh is Parvati’s creation. Whereas, a completely different school of belief is the popular Vaishnavite belief is that Ganesha is said to be Krishna’s incarnation.

As the times progressed, different medieval icons of Ganesha were developed. In the Ganapati Upanishad , Ganesha is called the ‘Supreme Self’, and 32different icons arose, to which different people pray to different icons according to what aspect they consider to have the most significance. The 32 forms of Ganesha are

  1. ,Dhvija Ganapati,
  2. Bala Ganapati,
  3. Bhakti Ganapati,
  4. Dhundi Ganapati,
  5. Durga Ganapati
  6. DvimukhaGanapati,
  7. Ekadanta Ganapati,
  8. Ekakshara Ganapati,
  9. Haridra Ganapati,
  10. 10.Heramba Ganapati,
  11. Kshipara Prasada Ganapati,
  12. KshipraGanapati,
  13. Lakshmi Ganapati,
  14. Maha Ganapati,
  15. Nritya Ganapati,
  16. Rinamochana Ganapati,
  17. Sankatahara Ganapati.
  18. Shakti Ganapati
  19. Siddhi Ganapati,
  20. Sinha Ganapati,
  21. .SrishtiGanapati,
  22. Taruna Ganapati,
  23. .Trimukha Ganapati,
  24. TryaksharaGanapati,
  25. .Ucchista Ganapati,
  26. Uddandta Ganapati,
  27. Urdhva Ganapati,
  28. Varada Ganapati,
  29. Vighna Ganapati,
  30. Vijaya Ganapati,
  31. .Vira Ganapati,
  32. Yoga Ganapati,

 

Out of these 32 forms, certain specific icons gained more popularity than the rest, based on what they depicted, provided and represented. Theyrose to such great extents that the 6 most popular icons of Ganesha lead to thedevelopment of six different sects in the Ganesha cult who each worshipped the 6different aspects of Maha, Haridra, Ucchista, Laxmi, Shakti and Heramba.

An interesting thing to note would be that a female form of Ganesha exists which is known as Vinayaki or Ganeshvari, an elephant headed Hindu goddess.Despite her mythology and iconography being undefined, she is a definite Matrika goddess, as a Brahmanical consort of Ganesha because of her elephant headed appearance.

Iconographically, Ganesha’s representations have changed drastically over the collective time. As mentioned before, the depictions of Ganesha have developed from a simple elephant in early depictions, to elephant headed figures in the Puranictimes, to the current Ganesha with his potbellied figure, four arms, and characteristic elephant head.

Shown in ornamental Brahmanical attire, Ganesha’s hair in put up in Kirit Mukuta, in a gold crown to show his divinity.

In most sculptures and paintings, he is portrayed as standing in Samapada posture or seated, although there are depictions of him dancing to show him in the act of entertaining his parents. Generally,he is depicted with four arms, each holding his characteristic attributes – his broken tusk in his lower right hand, a noose in the upper left hand, a bowl of modaks (a Maharashtrian sweet) in his lower left hand, and an axe or goad in the upper righthand.

In some modern depictions, the lower right hand doesn’t hold the tusk, but is in Abhay Mudra, providing protection to the devotee.

Each item has its own symbolic significance, however Ganesha’s attributes could change to include a water lily, rosary,or a spear.

Furthermore, each attribute of Ganesha has its own significant symbolism,which provides explanations to why and what Ganesha is known for. The noose indicates bondage of passions (which is also symbolized by his belt of a snake over his belly), and how he captures all the obstacles to remove them, while the axe represent  destruction and war.

If a goad replaces the axe, it represents control over one’s own emotions, and specifically to Ganesha – creates obstacles.

The broken tusk is a symbol of sacrifice and proves his patronage of arts and letters, because he had to purposely break off his own tusk to write the epic Mahabharata because it was dedicated to him by the sage Vyasa.

The bowl of modaks, or sometimes laddoos,shows how he has the ability to bestow prosperity upon his devotees.

His trunk is usually turned to his left, towards the bowl of sweets, showing his childish greed toadd a relatable and human touch to his name.

A popular belief of the Ganesh cult is that the four arms collectively show how Lord Ganesha is omnipresent in all directions, and the right side symbolizes reason while the left side symbolizes emotion, showing how he has control over mind and heart, together.

Another belief states that the four arms represent the mind, ego, intellect and conscience – attributes originalassociated with Brahma, whose title of the Creator is passed onto Ganesha for the Ganesha cult followers.

In the Ganapati Upanishad  (Mid-17th Century), Ganesha’s head symbolizes the soul (Atman), which is the most supreme of all of man’s reality, while his human body (Maya) symbolizes the earthly materialistic living of humans.   "The elephant head also symbolizes wisdom and understanding, traits commonly associated with elephants, while the human body shows that he feels human kindnessand compassion for others. According to the folktales, Ganesha’s big ears are supposedto advise people to listen more, small mouth is to talk less, and small eyes are to focus on small details. His fat belly, which gives rise to his name

Lambodara, signifies how man should be able to digest all the good and bad things in life.

Even the colour of the red/yellow attire worn by Ganesha holds meaning – Red symbolizing worldly activity and chaos, while yellow symbolizes peace, happiness and truth. In addition to representing control over passions, the snake around his belly also represents hisrestraint over all forms of energy.

The extent of his popularity has boosted him to be included in the Hindu pantheon, the Panchayatana Puja, consisted of the five main cults:

The Vishnu cult,

The Shiva cult,

The Shakti cult,

The Surya cult and

The Ganesha cult which started spreading in 6th Century AD and reached its peak prominence in the 9th Century AD.

The first and most popular sect of the Ganesha cult worshipped ‘the Great’Maha Ganesha, a red skinned, three eyed, ten armed figure carrying his broken tusk, a pomegranate, a club, Kama’s sugarcane bow, noose, blue lotus, a jewel box, a paddysprig, discus and a mace, which can all be seen in the picture above

, depicting this specific aspect. Accompanied by a white ‘Shakti’ on his left, he is the representation ofGanesha as the Supreme Being, and stands for happiness, prosperity and brilliance.

The Maha Ganapatyas believe that he existed before the Universe, created it, and willcontinue to live even after it has been destroyed.   "?

The second sect of the Ganapatyas are the Haridra Ganapatyas whoworship Haridra Ganapati (also known as Ratri Ganapati), whose picture can be seenabove

. Golden in color, dressed in yellow clothing, and sitting on an ornamentalgolden throne, the four armed and three eyed Haridra Ganapati, holds his tusk, amodak, a noose to bring his devotees forward and a goad to push them on.

Sanagala, Naveen.

Haridra Ganapati

The third sect is the Ucchista Ganapatyas who follow the deity of ‘Blessed Offerings’ and the ‘Tantric Guardian of Culture’, as pictured above.

Six armed and blue complexioned, he holds a vina, pomegranate, a paddy sprig, a blue lotus and arosary.

Accompanied by his consort, Ganesha has his trunk on her lap, and is oftenseen as an erotic form because of her often nude appearance. This particular aspect isworshipped when the devotee is in the sacrilegious state (Ucchista) state to get what isdesired.

The fourth sect is the Lakshmi Ganapatya sect which worships the Lakshmi Ganapati for his Intelligence and Accomplishment, as pictured above.

Commonly seen in pure white, in varada mudra – symbolizing boon giving, he holds agreen parrot – sign of intelligence, a sword, pomegranatae, noose, vase, goad, a creeper

and a jewel box in his eight arms. On his two sides, he is seen embracing his twoconsorts Buddhi and Siddi (Intelligence and Achievement).The fifth sect is the Heramba Ganapatya which worships the Herambaaspect for protecting the weak. This sect is particularly popular in Nepal, where theTantric worship of Ganesha is most popular. As seen above, he is depicted with fivefaces – four facing the four directions and one raised to the top, looking upwards - inwhite, riding a big lion to protect the weak.

His hands are in varada and abhay mudrato show protection and boon giving, while holding a rosary, noose, his tusk, a modak, a battle-axe and mallet. He is worshipped with Devi or Shakti as his consort, which arereincarnations of his mother Parvati.

Lastly, the sixth most popular sect of the Ganesha cult is the ShaktiGanapatyas which worship the aspect which combines the Maha, Urdhava, Ucchista,Lakshmi and Pingala aspects into one Tantric form

Eight armed and white, the Shakti Ganapati holds a parrot, a pomegranate, a lotus, a water vessel, a goldset with rubies, goad, noose. He embraces his consort Sakti on his left knee, and isknown for guarding the household. His right hand is in abhay mudra representing protection and hence, the Ganapatyas worship this aspect to bring peace and safety totheir households.

In terms of power, Ganesha was speculated to be the sole leader of the animal cult, because of his rat vahana’s possible nature of being an emblem of different Dravidian tribes, and because scholars see elephants as ‘determinants’ below anthropomorphic symbols of godly potential.

In some cases, he is also seen as the combined embodiment of Shiva and Vishnu, to symbolize the camaraderie between the two sects. In the Kusana age (140BC – 1BC), Vaishnavites and Shaivites believed thatthe two Gods were in Ganesha, as hypothesized by Shiva holding Vishnu’s emblem ona Kusanic coin. In the Mahabharata, Shiva is referred to as Ganesa, while Vishnu is called Ganesvara, which could suggest Shiva and Vishnu being alike, acting as inspirations for Ganesha’s creation.

The earliest representation of Ganesha was the sculpture elephant headedyakshas in ancient Mathura art, which are suspected to be prototypes of later Ganeshaiconographical representations in later periods.

Trying to trace the historical origins of this god, scholars believe that have traced the inception of the Ganesha cult to harvest season. The different attributes of Ganesha were critically analysed to search for meaning and connection to farming – the fast multiplying nature of his rat vahana symbolizes the fertility and fecundity of the lands, the name ‘Ekadanta’ representing ploughshare, the yellow colour of Ganesha which is characteristic to a corncob whichsignifies good harvest,

Ganesha being the ‘Mother of the Lands’ Ambika’s son in theTalavakara Upanishads (1200 – 500 BCE),  and Ganesha being in control of his ‘rat’vehicle, which is considered a pest in farming, all portray Ganesha as the Lord of the Harvest, which is logical as he was originally worshipped by the lower castes whoworked in such areas

In the Manusmriti (5th century BCE), the collective Ganesha cult was initially a Shudra cult because of the popularity among the lower castes and relevanceof the deity to their livelihood. The Ganapatyas, who mostly developed in the state ofMaharashtra. The main festival celebrated all around India to honour Ganesha isknown as Ganesh Chaturti, which is mainly celebrated in Andra Pradesh, Gujarat  Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. As the times changed and India got more and moreurbanized, the ‘Shudra’ majority of the Ganesha cult began to decrease, and more andmore people of higher power began to follow Ganesha, which is precisely the reasonwhy there are more temples dedicated to Ganesha than any other deity in India.

Essentially, the sculpture, now seen in the Mathura Museum, is divided into three horizontal sections: the first section has a fenced design, while the second section has five worshippers under six arches over their heads, while the five headed yakshas are below the worshippers in the most damaged third section. Varanasi, however, is a religious place filled with different Ganesha sculptural representations. The most popular sculptural representation is the Panch-Ganesha sculpture depicting 4Vinayakas and 1 elephant right in the middle. The 4 Vinayakas are replicas of each other, all seated in Lalitasana and carrying the typical Ganesha attributes of modaks, a battle-axe, etc., while the central elephant figure is standing.

This particular sculpture of Panca Ganesa is seen in many places – in carvings of the red sandstone shine replicain Laksmi Kunda, dated to around 900 AD, and in a Shiva temple at Jamaroli, Jaipur,dated to around 11th Century, and the Somesvara temple at Kirandu, around the sametime. Varanasi itself has at least four sculptures of the same variety, with two similarsculptures in Khadwaha in Madhya Pradesh. The four Vinayaks are said to representthe four directions (Diskshas), whereas collectively, the middle figure could also beseen as the ‘Lord of the Vinayakas’ because of its central and standing position.   "Outside India, the most famous Ganesha sculpture was in a Buddhist stupain Sri Lanka, dated to the 1st Century BC. Scholars theorize that it’s possibly due to thecontact between the Sri Lankan Buddhists and the Amaravati Buddhists in AndraPradesh. Ganesh became the Indian commercial traders’ primary deity, as he was theGod of New Beginnings. Hence, the more they travelled and more Indians migratedaway, the word of Ganesha spread to other parts of the world. In Afghanistan, theGanesh cult was easily embraced, as elephants were already considered sacred. We know from sculptures dated back to 531 AD, in Tibet and China, Ganesha was to beworshipped by Buddhists, who later brought it to the Japanese, where it was embraced by the Japanese Shingon School of Buddhism which developed a popular cult around two elephant headed figures in embrace.

Even though there is no specific area in which the Ganesha cult is most concentrated, since the deity’s popularity is said to have originated from Maharashtra, one of the most important places of Ganesha worship are the eight religious sites around Pune called the Ashtavinayaks (ashta (eight) and vinayaks (Vinayaka)). The eight temples are:

  • Ø BallaleshwarTemple,
  • Ø Chintamani Temple,
  • Ø Girijatmaj Temple,
  • Ø Mahaganapati Temple.
  • Ø Moreshwar Temple,
  • Ø Siddhivinayak Temple,
  • Ø Varadavinayak Temple,
  • Ø VighnaharTemple

In all eight temples, there are sculptures of Ganesha made out of a single rock, and are hence, said to be self manifested.

The most famous temple is the Moreshwar temple, closely followed by the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai.

These eight Ganesha temples, arranged together to form a circle around Pune, making Pune the direct center of the circle, which meant that in the 10th Century BC, when the Ganesha cult rose to prominence, Pune was the centre for Shastra and Sanskrit education because the eight temples guarded Pune’s spiritual and material power. Hence, Ganesha became the town’s deity –Gramadaivata itself.

In addition to places of worship, the festivals of worship are important as well. The most important festival of the Ganesha cult is the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi

, which is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, celebrating the birth ofGanesha. It’s observed between mid August to mid September, in the month of‘Bhadra’ and is celebrated for 10 days straight with lights, elaborate decorations,dancing, and then the final immersion of a giant statue of Ganesha on AnantaChaturdashi to symbolize the departing of the deity to go to his home of heavens.

Hymns from the Rig Veda (1500 BCE), and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad  (mid 17th Century) are chanted, while final offerings of coconuts and flowers are made to the deity for his blessings.

An interesting tradition to note about Ganesh Chaturthi is the superstition to not look at the moon. As the myth goes, one day, at night, Lord Ganesha was on his way back from a feast and was quite full. Suddenly, his rat vehicle stumbled over a snake, so Ganesha fell down and his stomach burst open and all the food spilled out. Ganesh dusted himself off, collected everything, put it back into himself, and used the snake as a belt to keep his stomach together, hoping no one saw. Unfortunately, the Moon, Chandra had seen everything from the sky and was laughing at the God.Ganesha got angry put a curse on her that she would no longer shine. A few days later, upset at the disrupted balance of light, the other Gods went to negotiate the terms ofGanesha’s curse on Chandra so that she may go back to normal, so Ganesha modifiedhis curse and allowed her to wax and wane. Therefore, all because of Chandra’s  laughter at Ganesha, people think it is inauspicious to look at the moon on Ganesh’s birthday, so that he remains on their side and brings them luck and good fortune.

In contrast to the Brahma cult which has now declined completely, the Ganesha cult is still going strong. One of the main reasons why the cult is still prominent is because its rise coincided with the escalation of tantric worship in other parts of India, in the post Gupta period, which further influenced each other in the worship.

The Ganapatyas worship Ganesha as the ultimate God, following the Ganapati Upanishad  (mid 17th Century) where Ganesha is praised as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the worlds. They believe that Ganesha is the Lord of the Five Elements, and that chanting ‘Om’ will please and placate him to provide them with blessings.

As mentioned earlier, the earliest representation of Ganesha was seen inancient Mathura art where a 5 headed elephant sculpture was discovered, dating backto around 4th Century AD. The damaged quality of the sculpture prevents us from knowing if it was a sculpture of the forms of Vinayakas or Gajasirsa Yakshas ,however, the elephant shaped heads are clearly in reference to Ganesha worship.

The symbol of ‘Om’, associated with Ganesha, is said to have been the inspiration for the creation of Ganesha as Parvati pictured two elephants mating when she saw the symbol, from which Ganesha was created. Since every mantra begins with ‘Om’ which is considered to be the seed of the universe, Ganesha is the rebirth of the entire cosmic universe.

However. apart from Vinayaki, Ganapatyas individually worship all other forms of Ganesha, focussing on some specific forms like the Ucchista Ganesha or the Urdhava Ganesha or the Lakshmi Ganesha, depending on what sort of blessing they hope to get. By following the tantric way of living, the Ganapatyas worship Ganesha asthe Supreme Lord, to ask for his help to purify things, rectify mistakes, sacrificethemselves or get his blessings before starting something new.

The canonical literature of Jainism does not mention the worship of Ganesha. However, Ganesha is worshipped by most Jains, for whom he appears to have taken over certain functions of the god of wealth, Kubera Jain ties with the trading community support the idea that Jainism took up Ganesha worship as a result of commercial connections. The earliest known Jain Ganesha statue dates to about the 9th century.[ A 15th-century Jain text lists procedures for the installation of Ganapati images. Images of Ganesha appear in the Jain temples of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The development of Ganesha is said to have originated from the worship of the elephant in the Kabul Valley in 4th Century BC ,while there is evidence that the elephant was even worshipped by the Vedic Aryans .The Ganesha cult developed comparatively late, some time in the post Gupta age (500-750 AD).

The Japanese form of Ganesha – Kangiten, late 18th-early 19th-century painting by Shorokuan Ekicho

Hindus migrated to Maritime Southeast Asia and took their culture, including Ganesha, with them. Statues of Ganesha are found throughout the region, often beside Shiva sanctuaries. The forms of Ganesha found in the Hindu art of JavaBali, and Borneo show specific regional influences.] The spread of Hindu culture throughout Southeast Asia established Ganesha worship in modified forms in Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. In Indochina, Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced side by side, and mutual influences can be seen in the iconography of Ganesha in the region. In Thailand, Cambodia, and among the Hindu classes of the Chams in Vietnam, Ganesha was mainly thought of as a remover of obstacles. Today in Buddhist Thailand, Ganesha is regarded as a remover of obstacles, the god of success.

Before the arrival of Islam, Afghanistan had close cultural ties with India, and the adoration of both Hindu and Buddhist deities was practiced. Examples of sculptures from the 5th to the 7th centuries have survived, suggesting that the worship of Ganesha.

Ganesha appears in Mahayana Buddhism, not only in the form of the Buddhist god Vināyaka, but also as a Hindu demon form with the same name. His image appears in Buddhist sculptures during the late Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown dancing. This form, called Nṛtta Ganapati, was popular in northern India, later adopted in Nepal, and then in Tibet In Nepal, the Hindu form of Ganesha, known as Heramba, is popular; he has five heads and rides a lion. Tibetan representations of Ganesha show ambivalent views of him A Tibetan rendering of Ganapati is tshogs bdag. In one Tibetan form, he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahakal,(Shiva) a popular Tibetan deity. Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, and sometimes dancing. Ganesha appears in China and Japan in forms that show distinct regional character. In northern China, the earliest known stone statue of Ganesha carries an inscription dated to 531. In Japan, where Ganesha is known as Kangiten, the Ganesha cult was first mentioned in 806.

In Indonesia, Ganesha was portrayed as almost demonic because it was heavily influenced by the Javanese Tantricism.

There is also evidence of an elephant headed god in Mexico, and sculptures dating back to early Aryan period, in Oxonian excavations in the United Kingdom.

In Cambodia and Vietnam, Ganesha is usually independently worshipped in his classical ‘Ganesha’ form, but if seen with Shiva, is referred to as Vinayaka.Central Asian Buddhists preferred to worship Ganesha by his Vinayaka form, while South East Asians followed the Hindu form. Essentially, Ganesha is the only Go far that has spread so far and has so many versions of itself related to other religionslike Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.

Within India itself, it is said that the Ganesha cult evolved from Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, the growth and development of the Ganesha cult hadthree booms of popularity which lead to the current widespread nature of the cult. Thefirst boom was the appropriation of Ganesha by the ruling classes. Hence, when the Peshwa clan overthrew the Marathi kings, they appropriated Ganesha to be their family emblem to promote themselves. By using Ganesha as their kuldaivata, they built numerous temples and built several traditions for Ganesha’s worship to bring significance to their name and to gain political power. Even currently, the traditions are still upheld in the Ashtavinayak sites in the name of Ganesha, as the Peshwas had almost made Ganesha the national deity of Maharashtra.

Originally, a non-brahmanical God, he was worshipped as a rural deity in Maharashtra, by the lower castes since he was an idol of the masses, representing what was exclusive to the lower castes He is also said to be one of the main reasons how and why animal worship popularized in India because of his therianthropomorphic appearance.

The second boom was when freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak was  released from prison and began using Ganesha to round up support. In 1893, helaunched the first ever Ganesh festival. There, in order to find some sortof support against the British, Tilak discovered relentless support in promotingGanesha to a higher stance. Not only did he achieve his goal of elevating Ganesha’s importance to the public, but the festival also constructed the present day taste in Marathi theatre. Other individuals also contributed in increasing the popularity of  Ganesha. Famous poet Ramadasa dedicated many of his poems and songs to Ganesha,which helped spread the word about Ganesha, in the 1600s.

The third and final boom was in 1990, when Pune’s political party leade rdecided to appropriate the festival of Ganesha Utsava to ‘Ganesha festival’ in anattempt to shape his career. While the locals had strong opinions about the change taking away the traditions and portraying the age old festival as something unnecessarily new and exotic, the globalizing effect of the modern world soon raised the popularity of Ganesh through word of mouth.

From here, the glory of Ganesha soon grew to other parts of India and then later spread to other Asian countries. Indian shrines dedicated to Ganesha exist everywhere – from Kanchipuram to Trichy, from Nagapattinam to Varanasi, from Mayurapuram to Tiruvanthapuram. Scholars have speculated that such shrines only exist in places where there could be a danger to life. Places with steep slopes, dense forests and deep rivers often have hundreds of pilgrims travelling to show their determination to worship the deity and prove their worth. Even in temples dedicated to other deities, a sculpture of Ganesha is placed outside as the protector of the entrance. The three most important pilgrimage sites in India are the Ganesh temple below the Hariparbat Hill near Srinagar, the Ganeshghati temple on a cliff along the Kishenganga river and the temple over the Lidar Lake in Ganeshbal.

GANESH IN VEDAS AND EPICS

As far as the reference of  Ganesh in Vedic and epic literature,the title “Leader of the group” (Sanskrit: gaṇapati) occurs twice in the Rig Veda. Equally clearly, the second passage refers to Indra, who is given the epithet ‘gaṇapati‘, translated “Lord of the companies (of the Maruts).” Ganapatya literature often quotes the Rigvedic verses to give Vedic respectability to Ganesha.

Two verses in texts belonging to , Maitrāyaṇīya Saṃhitā (2.9.1) and Taittirīya Āraṇyaka (10.1), appeal to a deity as “the tusked one” (Dantiḥ), “elephant-faced” (Hastimukha), and “with a curved trunk” (Vakratuṇḍa). These names are suggestive of Ganesha, and the 14th century commentator Savna explicitly establishes this identification. The description of Dantin, possessing a twisted trunk (vakratuṇḍa) and holding a corn-sheaf, a sugar cane, and a club, is so characteristic of the Puranic Ganapati that Heras says “we cannot resist to accept his full identification with this Vedic Dantin”.

Ganesha does not appear in the  literature that is dated to the Vedic period. A late interpolation to the epic  Mahabharata says that the sage Vyāsa asked Ganesha to serve as his scribe to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him.Story of Ganesha acting as the scribe occurs in 37 of the 59 manuscripts consulted during preparation of the critical edition. Ganesha’s association with mental agility and learning is one reason he is shown as scribe for Vyāsa‘s dictation of the Mahabharata in this interpolation.  The term vināyaka is found in some recensions of the Śāntiparva and Anuśāsanaparva that are regarded as interpolations.A reference to Vighnakartṛīṇām (“Creator of Obstacles”) in Vanaparva is also believed to be an interpolation and does not appear in the critical edition.

In Puranic period Stories about Ganesha often occur in the Puranic corpus references to Ganesha in the earlier Puranas, such as the Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas, are later interpolations made during the 7th to 10th centuries.

Ganesha’s rise to prominence was codified in the 9th century when he was formally included as one of the five primary deities of  Smartism. The 9th-century philosopher AdiShankar popularized the “worship of the five forms”  system among orthodox Brahmins of the Smarta tradition.] This worship practice invokes the five deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, and Surya.Adi Shankara instituted the tradition primarily to unite the principal deities of these five major sects on an equal status. This formalized the role of Ganesha as a complementary deity.

In Scriptures Ganesha was accepted as one of the five principal deities of Brahmanism, some Brahmins chose Ganesha as their principal deity. They developed the Ganapatya tradition, as seen in the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana.

The date of composition for the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana—and their dating relative to one another—has sparked academic debate. Both works were developed over time and contain age-layered strata. Anita Thapan reviews comment about dating and provide her own judgment. “It seems likely that the core of the Ganesha Purana appeared around the twelfth and thirteenth centuries”, she says, “but was later interpolated.”] Lawrence W. Preston considers the most reasonable date for the Ganesha Purana to be between 1100 and 1400, which coincides with the apparent age of the sacred sites mentioned by the text.

Ganesh Sahastranamais part of the Puranic literature, and is a litany of a thousand names and attributes of Ganesha. Each name in the sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different aspect of Ganesha. Versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama are found in the Ganesh purana.

One of the most important Sanskrit texts, that enjoys authority in Ganapatya tradition states John Grimes, is the Ganapati Atharvashirsa

In conclusion, as humble were the beginnings of this half human – half animal deity, it was the same humble beginnings that lead to the rise of such a massive following in current times, as without appealing to the lower parts of society, there would have been no way the Ganesha cult would have gotten to where it is today as one fifth of the Panchayatana Puja, affecting so many people all across the world

Collection of Ganesh Mantra

Vakratunda Ganesh Mantra

One of the most important and also one of the most common Ganpati Mantras, this is the Ganesh mantra for wealth, and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Riddhi (Hindu Goddess of Prosperity) and Goddess Siddhi (Hindu Goddess of spiritual enlightenment).

“Vakratunda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa ||”

Meaning :

Vakra – means one that is not straight.
Vakratunda – means curved trunk.
Mahakaya – means large body, if we see that in a more divine sense it means most powerful.
Suryakoti – means ‘Surya’ or sun and koti means crore.
Samprabha – means ‘prabha – aura, grandeur’ , ‘sama- like’.
Suryakoti samprabha – means whose aura is like light of crores of sun put together.
Nirvgnam – obstacle free.
Kurume – give me.
Deva – means God.
Sarva – means all.
Karyeshu -work.
Sarvada -always.

Full meaning : “Oh god with curved trunk, large body whose aura is like light of crores of sun, Please make my entire work obstacle free, forever.”

Ganesh Gayatri Mantra

In a fight with Guru Parashuram, he threw an axe at Lord Gajanan which was a gift to him by his father. So to honor this gift, Ganesha chose to bear the axe’s blow instead of destroying it. Ganesha thus lost one his tusk, but gained humility and modesty.

“Aum Ekadantaya Viddhamahe, Vakratundaya Dhimahi,
Tanno Danti Prachodayat

Meaning :

Ekadantaya – The one with the single tusked elephant tooth.
Viddhamahe – who is omnipresent.
Vakratundaya – Curved trunk.
Dhimahi – We meditate upon and pray for greater intellect.
Tanno Danti – We bow before the one with the single tusked elephant tooth.
Prachodayat – Illuminate our minds with wisdom.

Full meaning : “We pray to the one with the single-tusked elephant tooth who is omnipresent. We meditate upon and pray for greater intellect to the Lord with the curved, elephant-shaped trunk. We bow before the one with the single-tusked elephant tooth to illuminate our minds with wisdom.”

Ekadanta referring to one tusk in the elephant face means that God broke the duality and made us to have a complete one-pointed mind.

Ganesh Mool Mantra

The Ganesha Mool Mantra is also known as the Ganesha Beeja mantra or the Bija mantra. In Hindi, ‘Beej’ means seed – the source of everything in the universe. This powerful mantra combines several of the Ganpathi beeja mantras, especially the beeja or the seed sonic vibration associated with Lord Ganpati –Gam’.

“Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Glaum Gam Ganapataye Vara Varad Sarvajan janmay Vashamanaye Swaha Tatpurushaye Vidmahe Vakratundaye Dhimahi Tanno Danti Prachodyat Om Shantih Shantih Shantihi”

Meaning : The Ganesh Mool mantra is the most succinct and powerful Lord Ganesha mantra of all. This mantra celebrates the unique and divine form of God Ganpati (Ganesha) and his powers. The Ganesha Mool (root) Mantra, beginning with the incantation of ‘Om’ evokes positivity, purity, energy and the presence of Lord Ganpati in one’s life.

Basic Ganpati Mantra

“Om Gam Ganpataye Namah”

Meaning : It means bowing down to the Almighty Ganpati with all our existence and accepting all his great qualities in our self being.

Namavali Mantras

Lord Ganesha is known by his many names. All his names signify the meaning or qualities associated with him.

i. “Om Ganadhyakhsaya Namah”

Meaning : Ganadhyaksay – Gana means ‘a group’ and ‘Adhyaksh’ means ‘one who is leader of the group’.

ii. “Om Gajananaya Namah”

Meaning : Gajanan here means One who carries the elephant head. In Sanskrit, gaj means elephant. This Mantra says that if God can carry the elephant’s head to survive and fulfill his duties, even we should put aside our ego and live our lives dutifully.

iii. ”Om Vignanaashnay Namah”

Meaning : Ganpati is also worshiped to remove obstacles from one’s life. Here vigna means obstacles and nashnay means One who removes obstacles.

iv. “Om Lambodaraya Namah”

Meaning : Ganesha is known to love his food, and has a big, round belly. ‘Lambodar’ thus refers to him as a God who has a big belly.

v. “Om Sumukhaya Namah”

Meaning : Sumukh means ‘One with a pleasing face’. Lord Ganesha lost his head, and replaced it with that of an elephant’s. However, his good spirit and pure soul shone through even on his elephant face, and this made him look beautiful and calm.

vi. “Om Gajkarnikaya Namah”

Meaning : Gaj means Elephant and Karnikay means ears. With the elephant’s head and elephant ears, Ganesh was unable to listen to everything from all sources.

vii. “Om Vikataya Namah”

Meaning : Here ‘Vikat’ means ‘difficult’.

viii. ”Om Vinayakaya Namah”

Meaning : ‘Vinayaka’ is the name of Ganesha in the golden age. Vinayaka means ‘something under control’ and also means ‘the Lord of resolving problems’.

 

More Ganpati Stotra

The Rinn Harta Mantra

“Om Ganesh Rinnam Chhindhi Varenyam Hoong Namaah Phutt”

Meaning : ‘Rinn Harta’ is another name for Lord Ganesha and the English meaning of which is ‘The giver of wealth’. In Hindi, the meaning of Rinn harta or Rhinaharta is derived from the words ‘Rinn’ or ‘Rinnam’ meaning ‘debt’ and ‘harta’ meaning ‘remover’.

Siddhi Vinayak Mantra

The Siddhi Vinayak mantra is also one of the most important Ganesh mantras.

“Om Namo Siddhi Vinayakaya Sarva kaarya kartrey Sarva vighna prashamnay Sarvarjaya Vashyakarnaya Sarvajan Sarvastree Purush Aakarshanaya Shreeng Om Swaha.”

Meaning : The word ‘Siddhi Vinayak’ in Hindi means ‘the God of Achievement and Enlightenment’. The Mantra in English, therefore, means – “O Lord of Wisdom and Happiness, only you make every endeavor and everything possible; You are the remover of all obstacles and you have enchanted every being in the Universe, you are the Lord of all women and all men, amen.”

The Shaktivinayak Mantra

“Om Hreeng Greeng Hreeng”

Meaning : In Hindi, Shakti means power and Vinayak means ‘the Supreme master’.

 

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An Avatar – God Manifestation , as an incarnated being

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

 

 

The term avatar refers to a soul who has been freed from maya (delusion) and is sent by the will of God back into manifested existence to help others, like the founders of major world religions like Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Krishna.   Actually an avtar is born not to show us how great he was, but to give us hope that the state of consciousness he had attained, we too can attain. An avatar (from the Sanskrit avatāra: meaning “downcoming”) refers to a “descent” of the divine into the realm of material existence, usually for the purpose of protecting or restoring dharma (cosmic order, righteousness). .

.An Avatar is also called a Savior, that is a person who saves or rescues mankind from the danger of deterioration. When a savior appears on this Earth all are saved through his grace.In this aspect God manifests himself upon earth as an incarnated being. He lives amidst people, undergoes the same experiences as the earthly beings, distinguishes himself by his deeds and words and interacts with them as one of their own kind. Although an incarnated being lives amidst people and acts like them, he is not subject to the law of karma, nor bound by the limitations of nature. He may disguise his powers willingly, but not subject to the laws of Prakriti either. Through his actions and words, he personifies the highest ideals of mankind and serves as a role model for his devotees to follow

The term Avatara also mean  one who was descended. Avatar means those who descended to Earth from the Spiritual world for the establishment of Dharma, preservation of the human race. Avatar means the person who descends, as a fully or partially empowered incarnation of Divine Mother Adhiparasakthi, from the spiritual realm for a particular mission

An Avatar is also called a Messenger of Divine Mother because an Avatar transmits pure unselfish Divine Love from the Divine Mother to man and gives a taste of the unadulterated nectar of heavenly bliss to the arid souls scorched by the fire of worldliness. Avataris a fully freed soul incarnating directly from God on this physical planet or elsewhere. An Avatar fulfills a highly spiritual task in the name of God and returns to God after accomplishing his task. His Love for God and his creation is beyond description and imagination, his faith in God absolute as there is no difference between an Avatar and God.

Traditional Hindus believe an avatar to be a direct manifestation of God, rather than a re-incarnation or re-appearance on earth of a soul that has been liberated. This is somewhat analogous to the understanding that many Christians have of Jesus Christ, who they consider as having never been in human form before he was Jesus Christ. Avatar, is not that Divine Consciousness, which has never known imperfection, appears in human form to show us a reality completely alien to our own. Krishna, Jesus Christ, and all other avatars are not only manifestations of Spirit. They are descents also in the sense of knowing, from experience, what it is to be human beings who attained oneness with the Divine. Their example shows us our own divine potential.Krishna, who some Hindus consider to be a full incarnation (purna avatar) of Vishnu, stated to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that “You and I, Arjuna, have passed through many births. I know them all, even if you do not.” (Thus Krishna himself declared that he had incarnated previously.

The standard list of the Dasavatars bears striking resemblances to the modern scientific theory of Evolution. Matsya, the fish, represents life in water, and Kurma, the tortoise, represents the next stage, amphibianism (although technically, a tortoise is a reptile, not anamphibian). The third animal, the boar Varaha, marks the development of life upon land. Narasimha, the Man-Lion, represents the further development of mammals. Vamana, the dwarf, symbolizes the incomplete development of human beings, while Parashurama, the forest-dwelling hermit armed with an ax, connotes completion of the basic development of humankind, perhaps in the form of barbarism. Rama indicates humanity’s ability to effectively govern nations, while Krishna, allegedly an expert in the sixty-four fields of science and art, indicates advancement in culture and civilization. Buddha represents the further intellectual advancement of man, culminating in the realization of even greater spiritual truths.

Thus, the avatars represent the evolution of life and society with each epoch from Krita Yuga to Kali Yuga. This progression of animal life from the sea creature to the intellectually enlightened human is not incongruent with modern evolutionary theory. This connection gets particularly interesting when taking into considerations descriptions of Kalkin, who has sometimes been described as being a yantra-manava, or a “machine-man,” which could be interpreted to suggest the future development some sort of technologically enhanced human being which is as of yet unknown.

Many religions speak of a coming leader who will consummate the fulfillment of the divine will on earth. He will manifest in his person the righteousness and compassion of God. The Hebrew title Messiah – ‘Christ’ in Greek means ‘anointed one,’ that person who will be specially chosen by God for this mission and empowered to accomplish it . Religions call him by various names: Jews long for the promised Messiah; for Christians the Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth, who has already come and ascended to heaven but will reappear (perhaps in a new guise) at his Second Coming. Muslims also expect the second advent of Jesus, who will come as a Muslim Imam, and among Shiite Muslims there are variousexpectations of a future Imam Mahdi. Buddhist sutras prophesy the coming of the Maitreya Buddha; Vaishnavite Hindu scriptures prophesy the future descent of an avatar named Kalki; Zoroastrian scriptures prophesy the coming of the Saoshyant; and some Confucian texts speak of a future True Man who will finally bring peace to the world by perfectly instituting the Way of Confucius.”

For Hindus, the concept of avatar is associated mostly with Vishnu, who represents the aspect of God as preserver in the Hindu trimurti. The other two aspects of trimurti are Brahma as the creator and Shiva as the destroyer, or dissolver of creation. There are also avatars of other Hindu deities in the Puranas, including avatars of Shiva, Devi (or Divine Mother), and Ganesha. The Linga Purana describes twenty-eight avatars of Shiva. The Devi Bhagavata Purana tells of the avatars of Devi, and the Ganesha Purana describes the avatars of Ganesha.

As per the doctrines of our ancient Rishis of yore, there are sixteen rays or sixteen digits or sixteen planes of manifestation or sixteen expanding Kalas emanating from Adhiparasakthi, the Supreme Brahman. One ray is needed to maintain the animal kingdom. Two rays maintain the animal kingdom and five to eight rays are required for human beings. One can rise from savage to a higher spiritual status only according to the number of rays. For Avatars, nine to sixteen rays emanate from the Supreme Mother. Avatars are classified according to the number of rays. The different kinds of Avatars are as follows:

Purna Avatar
Amsa Avatar
Lila Avatar

Purna Avatar means full Avatar, in whom all sixteen rays are present. Lord Krishna was a Purna Avatar. There are also Amsa Avatars with partial incarnations. Sri Sankaracharya was an Amsa Avatar. Lord Rama was a Lila Avatar with fourteen rays. Ancient Rishis, modern philosophers, and theosophists mention seven rays, twelve rays and so on when they describe the stage of spiritual development of their Gurus, Spiritual Masters and Adepts.There is a decline of righteousness from the Satya Yuga, or Golden Age, to Treta Age, Dvapara Age and Kali Age respectively. In the Satya Age, Dharma, or righteousness, flourishes. In Treta Age the decline begins and becomes rapid in Dvapara Age. In Kali Age, the most evil of the ages, unrighteousness or Adharma prevails. In this age the God,  manifests Herself for the establishment of righteousness.

Types of incarnation/Avatars

The Hindu  Vishnuites classify the incarnations of God variously as direct and indirect, or major and minor or primary and secondary incarnations. In the former God descends into our plane either fully or partially, described as purnavataras and amsavataras respectively For the purpose of clarity and understanding, his main incarnations are called Vibhavas and his minor incarnations vibhavantaras. The major incarnations are ten in number and known as the ten incarnations (dasavataras) of Vishnu.

They are:

1. Matsyavatara.

In this incarnation In Hindu mythology, Matsya saved Manu Vaisvasta, the eventual creator of the human species, by rescuing him from tempestuous waters during a great flood which ravaged the primordial earth  by carrying his boat to the top of a mountain.

2. Kurmavatara.

In this incarnation, Vishnu assumed the form of a tortoise, the kurma. Kurma offered his broad shell so the mighty churning stick could be firmly set upon it. and held the Mandhara mountain from beneath as the gods and demons used it to churn the oceans for the sake of amrit, the elixir of life.

3. Varahavatara.

In this incarnation He assumed the form of a boar and slew a demon named Hiranyaksha Varaha  battled and defeated the demon Hiranyaksa beneath the cosmic ocean, then proceeded to rescue the earth goddess Prthivi from a watery grave by placing her on his tusk and swimming to the surface. when he carried away the goddess earth to the nether worlds.

4. Narasimhavatara.

In this incarnation He helped his young devotee Prahlada when he was tortured by his demon father, Hiranyakasipu for his intense devotion. Listening to the calls of his young devotee, He sprang out of the pillar of a building as Man¬Lion (Nara-Simha) and slew the demon.Narasimha used his status as neither fully human nor fully beast to defeat Hiranyaksipu, another oppressive demon who was invulnerable to both human beings and animals.

5. Vamanavatara.

In this incarnation Vishnu took birth as a dwarf to sl ay the demon Bali and restore the heavenly kingdom of Indra back to him. Vamana asked Bali for all the territory he could encompass in three strides. Bali gladly agreed,. Vamana assume his cosmic form as Vishnuand traverse the entire universe with his three steps. With one step he covered the whole earth. With another he covered the whole empyrean and with his third he pushed Bali’s head deep into the world.

6. Parashuramavatara.

In this incarnation He assumed the birth of a priestly warrior to exterminate the Kshatriyas who grew wicked and tyrannical and neglected their duties in upholding the dharma and protecting the people.. In a number of battles, Parashurama defeated the Kshatriyas, and restored the priority of the priestly caste, the Brahmins, who had been oppressed by their traditional underlings, the warriors.

7. Sri Ramavatara.

In this incarnation He took birth as the prince of Ayodhya to kill the demon Ravana who became invincible by virtue of the boons he got from Lord Siva and became a menace to the three worlds and their inhabitants. Rama, defeated Ravana and thereby freed the world from the demon’s clutches, instituting a reign of virtue and prosperity. This kingdom would serve as an ideal societal structure for rulers in every generation that followed.

8. Sri Krishnavatara.

The eighth incarnation, Krishna (meaning “dark colored” or “all attractive”), is the only avatar to have appeared in the Dwapara Yuga. During his appearance on earth, Krishna defeated the oppressive demon Kamsa while aiding the Pandava brothers to victory over their malevolent cousins, the Kauravas. This battle is recorded in the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, which is best known for a poem included within it, the Bhagavadgita, wherein Krishna elucidates the path of righteousness for Arjuna, a Pandava warrior.

9. Buddhavatara.

The identity of the ninth avatar is disputed. Normally, the Buddha is listed as the ninth avatar but sometimes Krishna’s brother Balaramais listed instead. For instance, the Bhagavata Purana claims that Balarama was the ninth incarnation.[2] However, traditionally it is the Buddha who fulfills this role as the ninth avatar, albeit it should also be noted that Buddhists do not accept this doctrine and deny that the Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Some scholars suggest that the absorption of the Buddha into the Vaisnavite theological framework was a polemic effort to mitigate the appeal of Buddhism among the Hindu masses.

10. Kalkyavatara

The tenth avatar, Kalkin (“Eternity” or “The Destroyer of foulness”) has set to arrive at the end of the Kali Yuga,. Due to his pending arrival, Kalki is the most mysterious of the avatars, though he is described as a rider upon a white horse wielding a comet-like sword. It is said that Kalki will bring the world to its end, rewarding the virtuous, while punishing the wicked.

Vibhavantaras,

the Minor Incarnations are partial or minor incarnations of God in which He imparted His knowledge, powers or qualities to several advanced Jivas, either directly or indirectly, for the benefit of the mankind. The list of minor incarnations of Vishnu is exhaustive. The following contains some of his most important vyuhantaras.

  • Dattatreya
  • Dhanvantari
  • Gopi¬Krishna
  • Hayagriva
  • Kapila
  • Mohini
  • Nara¬Narayana
  • Prsnigarbha
  • Rishabha.
  • Sri Varadaraja
  • Trivikrama
  • Visvakshena
  • Vyasa
  • Yajna

The Avatars of the Puranas

The Puranas list twenty-five avatars of Vishnu in total. In addition to the ten listed above, these avatars include the Catursana, the four sons of Brahma who are together considered one incarnation;

Narada, the traveling sage; Yajna, an incarnation within whom Vishnu temporarily assumed the role of Indra; Nara-Narayana, twin brothers; Kapila, the philosopher; Dattatreya, the combined avatar of theTrimurti);

  • Balarama, Krishna’s elder brother.
  • Dhanvantari, father of ayurveda;
  • Hamsa, the swan;
  • Hayagriva, a horse;
  • Mohini, a beautiful woman;
  • Prithu, monarch of the solar pantheon who introduced agriculture to humankind;
  • Prsnigarbha, creator of the planet known as Dhruvaloka;
  • Ramachandra, the king of Ayodhya;
  • Rishabha, father of King Bharata;
  • Vyasa, writer of the Vedas, and

In current times, the famous south Indian guru, Sathya Sai Baba (c. 1926-present), is believed by his devotees to be an avatar of Shiva,Shakti, and Krishna.

Some Hindus with an inclusivist outlook perceive the central figures of various non-Hindu religions to be avatars. Some of these religious figures include: Jesus (4 B.C.E.-c. 33 C.E.), the founder of Christianity, Zoroaster (a.k.a. Zarathustra), the founding prophet of Zoroastrianism, Mahavira (599-527 B.C.E.), promulgator of the tenets of Jainism, , as well as Bahá’u’lláh (1817–1892 C.E.) the founder-prophet of the Bahá’í Faith, who is believed to be Avatar.

 

 

 

 

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THE BIRTH OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India


Before the birth of the National Congress, a number of organisations were formed, but most of them had limited objectives .In order to draw the attention of the British public opinion towards the welfare of the Indians in 1866, Dadabhai Naroji established East Indian Association in London. Mahadeva Govinda Ranade formed the Madras Mahajana Sabha in 1881 and also the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha in 1867 for social reforms and national awakening. In 1885, the Bombay Presidency Association was formed under the leadership of persons like Feroz Shah Mehta, Badruddin Tayabji etc. with the aim of awakening national consciousness.

However, among all these organisations, the Indian Association established under the leadership of Surendra Nath Banerjee and Anand Mohan Bose, actively attempted to form a strong public opinion against the unjust policies of the British Government. It organised a number of peasant demonstrations demanding reduction of the rate of revenue. With a view of bringing representatives from all over India to a common platform, the Indian Association organised All-India National Conferences twice in 1883 and 1885. But the Indian public opinion could be organised and articulated only with the formation of Indian National Congress as a national forum.

A.O. Hume’s name shines like a star. His greatest contribution was his founding the Indian National Congress. Hume, the son of Joseph Hume, a prominent Scottish member of the House of Commons, was a brilliant civil service officer of the British Government, was loyal to his motherland and his government, but was equally sympathetic with the miserable predicament of Indians under the British regime. Hume was appointed Home Secretary  in 1870. Though the administration was taken over from the East India Company by the Queen herself, the situation  was moving from bad to worse. More taxations, more police atrocities, and the people continued to live in abject poverty and slavery. This was too much for A.O. Hume and in protest against the government’s administrative policies, he resigned from service and entered into a life of peace, But he had already entered into an endeavour towards the formation of a national organization for forming a bridge between the rulers and the ruled.

Some of the Indian national leaders such as Dadabhai Naoroji, C. S. Subrahmoniya Iyer, Surendranath Banerjea, Dewan Bahadur Raghunatha Rao and others held a meeting in Madras and discussed the possibility of forming a national organization. This culminated in the birth of the Indian National Congress.

Allan Octavian Hume, was instrumental in the formation of Indian National Congress. The first session of the All India Congress began on 28th December 1885 at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College. Eminent barrister of Calcutta, Mr. Woomesh Chandra Banerjee presided over it. Seventy two invited delegates from different parts of India assembled in this first session. Mr. Hume was elected as the first general secretary of the Indian National Congress.

In reality Indian National Congress was an English Product. It is an undisputed historical fact, that the idea of the Indian National Congress was a product of Lord Dufferin’s brain; that he suggested it to Mr. Hume to form an association which might function on the model of the opposition party of Britain, and that the latter undertook to work it out. Lord Dufferin welcomed the proposal as showing the desire of the Congress to work in complete harmony with the Government, but he saw many difficulties in accepting the proposal, and so the idea was abandoned. “None the less the first Congress was opened with the friendly sympathy of the highest authorities.”

Hume, a Lover of Liberty

It is obvious that when Lord Dufferin expected a political organisation to represent the best Indian opinion, it was far from his mind to suggest an organisation that would demand parliamentary government for India, or self-government even on colonial lines. What he evidently aimed at was a sort of an innocuous association which should serve more as a “safety valve” than as a genuine Nationalist organisation for national purposes. Mr. Hume may have meant more. He was a lover of liberty and wanted political liberty for India under the cages of the British crown. He was an English patriot and as such he wanted the continuance of British connection with India. He saw danger to British rule in discontent going underground, and one of his objects in establishing the Congress was to save British rule in Indiafrom an impending calamity of the gravest kind which he thought was threatening it at that time. In his reply to Sir Auckland Colvin,( Sir Auckland Colvin was the Lieutenant Governor of the then North Western Provinces (now the United Province of Agra and Oudh). he admitted that “a safety valve for the escape of great and growing forces generated by” British “connection, was urgently needed, and no more efficacious safety valve than” the “Congress movement could possibly be devised.” This correspondence between Sir Auckland Colvin, then Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces, and Mr. Hume, reveals the whole genesis of the Congress movement, and is so clear and illuminating that no student of Indian politics can afford to neglect it.

It leaves no doubt whatsoever that the immediate motive which underlay the idea of starting the Congress was to save the Empire from “the danger” that loomed ahead “tremendous in the immediate future,” “the misery of the masses acted on by the bitter resentment of individuals among the educated class.” In the words of Mr. Hume, “no choice was left to those who gave the primary impetus to the movement. The ferment, the creation of Western ideas, education, invention, and appliances, was at work with a rapidly increasing intensity, and it became of paramount importance to find for its products an overt and constitutional channel for discharge, instead of leaving them to fester as they had already commenced to do, under the surface.” Mr. Hume further adds that though “ in certain provinces and from certain points of view the movement was premature, yet from the most important point of view, the future maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire, the real question when the Congress started, was, not is it premature, but is it too late? will the country now accept it?” Indeed, by that test, the events have proved that the Indian National Congress has been a great success, and that either Mr. Hume’s reading of the political situation was exaggerated, or that his remedy has been amply justified.

Congress to Save British Empire from Danger

But one thing is clear, that the Congress was started more with the object of saving the British Empire from danger than with that of winning political liberty for India. The interests of the British Empire were primary and those of India only secondary, and no one can say that the Congress has not been true to that ideal. It might be said with justice and reason that the founders of the Indian National Congress considered the maintenance of British rule in India of vital importance to India herself, and therefore were anxious to do everything in their power, not only to save that rule from any danger that threatened it, but even to strengthen it ; that with them the redress of political grievances and the political advance of India was only a by-product and of secondary importance. If so, the Congress has been true to its ideal, and no one can find fault with it.

On the strength of an illuminating memorandum found among his papers, Hume’s biographer has stated the nature of the evidence that “convinced” Mr. Hume at the time (i. e. about 15 months before Lord Lytton left India) that the British were “in immediate danger of a terrible outbreak.” We will give it in Mr. Hume’s own words.

“I was shown seven large volumes (corresponding to a certain mode of dividing the country, excluding Burma, Assam, and some minor tracts) containing a vast number of entries; English abstracts or translations — longer or shorter — of vernacular reports or communications of one kind or another, all arranged according to districts (not identical with ours), sub-districts, sub-divisions, and the cities, towns and villages included in these. The number of these entries was enormous; there were said, at the time, to be communications from over thirty thousand different reporters. I did not count them, they seemed countless; but in regard to the towns and villages of one district of the Northwest Provinces with which I possess a peculiarly intimate acquaintance — a troublesome part of the country, no doubt — there were nearly three hundred entries, a good number of which I could partially verify, as to the names of the people, etc. “He mentions that he had the volumes in his possession only for about a week; into six of them he only dipped; but he closely examined one covering the greater portion of the Northwest Provinces, Oudh, Behar, parts of Bundelkund and parts of the Punjab; and so far as possible verified the entries referring to those districts with which he had special personal acquaintance. Many of the entries reported conversations between men of the lowest classes,( The quotations from Hume are taken out of W. Wedderburn’s Allan Octavian Hume, the parts enclosed in parenthesis are Wedderburn’s )  “ all going to show that these poor men were pervaded with a sense of the hopelessness of the existing state of affairs; that they were convinced that they would starve and die, and that they wanted to do something, and stand by each other, and that something meant violence,” (for innumerable entries referred to the secretion of old swords, spears and matchlocks, which would be ready when required. It was not supposed that the immediate result, in its initial stages, would be a revolt against the Government, or a revolt at all in the proper sense of the word. What was predicted was a sudden violent outbreak of sporadic crimes, murders of obnoxious persons, robbery of bankers, looting of bazaars). “ In the existing state of the lowest half-starving classes, it was considered that the first few crimes would be the signal for hundreds of similar ones, and for a general development of lawlessness, paralysing the authorities and the respectable classes. It was considered also, that everywhere the small bands would begin to coalesce into large ones, like drops of water on a leaf; that all the bad characters in the country would join, and that very soon after the bands obtained formidable proportions, a certain small number of the educated classes, at the time desperately, perhaps, unreasonably, bitter against the Government, would join the movement, assume here and there the lead, give the outbreak cohesion, and direct it as a national revolt.”

To this, Sir William Wedderburn adds further from his own personal knowledge : ‘ The forecast of trouble throughout India was in exact accordance with what actually occurred, under my own observation, in the Bombay Presidency, in connection with the Agrarian rising known as the Deccan riots. These began with sporadic gang robberies and attacks on the money lenders, until the bands of dacoits, combining together, became too strong for the police; and the whole military force at Poona, horse, foot, and artillery, had to take the field against them. Roaming through the jungle tracts of the Western Ghauts, these bands dispersed in the presence of military forces, only to reunite immediately at some convenient point ; and from the hill stations of Mahableshwar and Matheran we could at night see the light of their campfires in all directions. A leader from the more instructed class was found, calling himself Sivaji, the Second, who addressed challenges to the Government, offered a reward of 500 rupees for the head of H. E. Sir Richard Temple (then Governor of Bombay), and claimed to lead a national revolt upon the lines on which the Mahratta power had originally been founded.”

So in the words of these two leaders, the immediate motive of the Congress was to save the British Empire from this danger.

There is no doubt that the Congress was founded out of fear of a political out- break and only in the nature of a safety valve, we will quote the whole of it (or at least as much of it as is given in Mr. Hume’s biography). Addressing the graduates of the university, Mr. Hume said : ” Constituting, as you do, a large body of the most highly educated Indians, you should, in the natural order of things, constitute also the most important source of all mental, moral, social, and political progress in India. Whether in the individual or the nation, all vital progress must spring from within, and it is to you, her most cultured and enlightened minds, her most favoured sons, that your country must look for the initiative. In vain may aliens, like myself, love India and her children, as well as the most loving of these; in vain may they, for her and their good, give time and trouble, money and thought; in vain may they struggle and sacrifice; they may assist with advice and suggestions; they may place their experience, abilities and knowledge at the disposal of the workers, but they lack the essential of nationality, and the real work must ever be done by the people of the country themselves.” “Scattered individuals, however capable and however well meaning, are powerless singly. What is needed is union, organisation and a well defined line of action ; and to secure these an association is required, armed and organised with unusual care, having for its object to promote the mental, moral, social and political regeneration of the people of India. Our little army must be sui generis in discipline and equipment, and the question simply is, how many of you will prove to possess, in addition to your high scholastic attainments, the unselfishness, moral courage, self-control, and active spirit of benevolence which are essential in all who should enlist?”

Even truer and nobler are the sentiments in the final appeal which ended this letter and which runs thus: “ As I said before, you are the salt of the land. And if amongst even you, the elite, fifty men can not be found with sufficient power of self-sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative, and if needs be, devote the rest of their lives to the cause, then there is no hope for India. Her sons must and will remain mere humble and helpless instruments in the hands of foreign rulers, for ‘they who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.’ And if even the leaders of thought are all either such poor creatures, or so selfishly wedded to personal concerns, that they dare not or will not strike a blow for their country’s sake, then justly and rightly are they kept down and trampled on, for they deserve nothing better. Every nation secures precisely as good a government as it merits. If you, the picked men, the most highly educated of the nation, can not, scorning personal ease and selfish ends, make a resolute struggle to secure freedom for yourselves and your country, a more impartial administration, a larger share in the management of your own affairs, then we, your friends, are wrong, and our adversaries right ; then are Lord Ripon’s aspirations for your good, fruitless and visionary ; then, at present, at any rate, all hopes of progress are at an end, and India truly neither lacks nor deserves any  better government than she now enjoys. Only, if this be so, let us hear no more factious, peevish complaints that you are kept in leading strings, and treated like children, for you will have proved yourselves such. Men know how to act. Let there be no more complaints of Englishmen being preferred to you in all important offices, for if you lack that public spirit, that highest form of altruistic devotion that leads men to subordinate private ease to the public weal, that true patriotism that has made Englishmen what they are, then rightly are these preferred to you, and rightly and inevitably have they become your rulers. And rulers and taskmasters they must continue, let the yoke gall your shoulders ever so sorely, until you realize and stand prepared to act upon the eternal truth, whether in the case of individuals or nations, self-sacrifice and unselfishness are the only unfailing guides to freedom and happiness.”

Mr. Hume was too noble not to mean what he said, and the present writer has no doubt but that Mr. Hume was absolutely sincere in what he said. He had a passion for liberty. His heart bled at the sight of so much misery and poverty as prevailed in India, and which according to him was preventable by good government. He burned with indignation at the “cowardly” behavior of his countrymen towards Indians, and he could not help feeling ashamed at the way in which pledges given and  promises made were being ignored. He was an ardent student of history and knew full well that no government, whether national or foreign, had conceded to popular demands without pressure from below. In the case of an alien government, the chances were even still more meagre. He therefore wanted the Indians “to strike” for their liberty if they wanted it. The first step was to organise. So he advised organisation.

We  believe that men like Ranade, Tilak, Naoroji, W. C. Bonnerjea, Ajudhia Nath, and Tyabji, were only tools in the hands of the Britishers. No,  they were all true and good patriots. They loved their country and they started the Congress with the best of motives. It is possible that with some British sympathizers, the interests of the British Empire were primary, and they sided with the Congress because they believed that thereby they could best secure the Empire; but the writer of this book knows from personal experience how deeply the love of humanity and liberty is embedded in the hearts of some Britishers, and he is compelled to believe that at least some of those who showed their sympathy with the Congress were of that kind.

The Imperialist Junker and Jingo calls such men “Little Englanders,” but the truth is that their hearts are too big to be imperial. They believe in humanity, and in liberty being the birthright of every human being. In their eyes a tyrant, one who robs others of their liberty, one who bases his greatness on the exploitation of others, or deprives them of their rights by might or clever diplomacy, does not cease to be so by the fact of his being their countryman. They are patriots themselves and will shed the last drop of their blood in the defense of their liberty, and in the defense of their country’s liberty and independence, but their patriotism does not extend to the point of applauding their country’s robbing others of theirs. Yes, there are Britons who are sincere friends of the cause of liberty all over the globe. They deplore that their country should be ruling India at all, and if it were in their power, they would at once withdraw from India. Some of these sympathies with the Indian Nationalists in all sincerity, and have done so ever since the Indian National Congress was started, or even from before that time. It is no fault of theirs, if the Indian Nationalist Movement has not been such a success as they would have wished it to be, and if it has not been able to achieve anything very tangible. The fault is purely that of the Indians, and of the Indians alone, or of the circumstances.

First, political agitation did not start with the Congress. It had been started before and no attempt to suppress it had succeeded. Second, the distrust of political agitation in India was not greater in those days than it is now and has been during the life of the Congress. But if it be true that the movement could not have been started by an Indian or by the combined efforts of many Indians, all we can say is that that itself would be proof of its having been started before time and on wrong foundations.

The Indian leaders of the Congress have never fully realised the absolute truth of these principles and the result is the comparatively poor record of the Congress. In his original manifesto issued in 1883, Mr. Hume wanted fifty Indians “with sufficient power of self sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative and if needs be to devote the rest of their lives to the cause.”

Of course there were many times fifty men of that kind in the country, even then, who were devoting their lives to the service of their country, but not in the political line. It took the Congress and the country, by working on Congress lines, more than twenty years to produce fifty, many times fifty, such men to devote their lives to the political cause. But unfortunately these are neither in the Congress, nor of the Congress. Barring Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji and the late Mr. Gokhale, can be said to have devoted their lives, in the way Mr. Hume wanted them to do, to the Congress cause?. But very few of them have ever been active in the Congress or for the Congress. Within the same period many Indians have given away many hundreds of thousands of rupees, some the whole earnings of a lifetime, in aid of education or for other public or charitable purposes; but the Congress work has always languished for want of funds. The British Committee of the Indian National Congress, located in London, have never had sufficient money to do their work decently. The expenses of the British Committee have largely fallen on Sir William Wedderburn. He and Mr. Hume between them spent quite a fortune on the movement. No single Indian is said to have spent even a fraction of that. The question naturally arises,— why has it been so ? The answer is obvious. The movement did not appeal to the nation. The leaders lacked that faith which alone makes it possible to make great sacrifices for it.

In the early years of the Congress there was a great deal of enthusiasm for it among the English educated Indians. So long as no attempts were made to reach the masses and carry on the propaganda among the people, the officials expressed their sympathy with the movement. Lord Dufferin even invited the members as “distinguished visitors” to a garden party at Government House, Calcutta, when the Congress held its second session in that city in 1886. In 1887 the Governor of Madras paid a similar compliment to them at Madras,( These compliments have been renewed of late. The Congress held at Madras in 1914 was attended by the British Governor of the Presidency

The Congress Lacked Essentials of a National Movement

Ever since then the Congress has cared more for the opinion of the Government and the officials than for truth or for the interests of the country. Again the question arises, why ? And the reply is, because the leaders had neither sufficient political consciousness nor faith. They had certain political opinions, but not beliefs for which they were willing to suffer. They were prepared to urge the desirability of certain reforms in the government of the country, even at the risk of a certain amount of official displeasure, but they were not prepared to bear persecutions, or suffer for their cause. Either they did not know they had a cause, or they were wanting in that earnestness which makes men suffer for a cause. Or, to be charitable, they thought that the country was not prepared for an intense movement and considered it better to have something than nothing. They perhaps wanted to educate the country in political methods and bring about a political consolidation of all the national forces, before undertaking an intensified movement. But with the greatest possible respect for the founders of the Indian National Congress, or for those who a few years ago took up the control of the movement, we cannot help remarking that by their own conduct they showed that their movement lacked the essentials of a national movement.

A movement does not become national by the mere desire of its founders to make it so. It is a mistake to start a national political movement unless those who start it are prepared to make great sacrifices for it. A halting, half-hearted political movement depending on the sympathy and good will of the very class against whom it is directed, consulting their wishes at every step, with its founders or leaders trembling for their safety and keeping their purse strings tight, only doing as much as the authorities would allow and as would not interfere in any way with , their own personal interests and comforts and incomes, is from its very nature detrimental to real national interests. A political movement is mischievous in its effects if its leaders do not put a sufficient amount of earnestness into it to evoke great enthusiasm among their followers.

It is a fact that the English friends of the movement showed more earnestness than many of the Indian leaders. They spent their own money over it and they incurred the displeasure of their countrymen and the odium of being called traitors to their own country. Mr. Hume was “ in deadly earnest.” He started the movement with the good will of the authorities and waited for results for two years. When, however, he found that “ the platonic expressions of sympathy by the authorities were a mockery,” that nothing was done to lessen the “ misery of the masses” and to relieve their sufferings and redress their grievances, he decided to put more intensity into the movement. He undertook to instruct the Indian nation and rouse them to a sense of their right and to a sense of the wrong that was being done to them. In his opinion, “ the case was one of extreme urgency, for the deaths by famine and pestilence were counted not by tens of thousands or by hundreds of thousands, but by millions.” ( Mr. Hume’s biography by Sir William Wedderburn, p. 62. ) He concluded that “ in order to constrain the Government to move, the leaders of the Indian people must adopt measures of exceptional vigour, following the drastic methods pursued in England by Bright and Cobden in their great campaign on behalf of the people’s food.” So, like Cobden, Hume decided that since the attempt of the Congress leaders to instruct the Government had failed and since the Government had refused to be instructed by them, the next step was “ to instruct the nations, the great English nation in its island home, and also the far greater nation of this vast Indian continent, so that every Indian that breathes upon the sacred soil of this our motherland, shall become our comrade and coadjutor, our supporter and if need be our soldier, in the great war that we, like Cobden and his noble band, will wage for justice, for our liberties and our rights.” ( Mr. Hume’s biography by Sir W. W., p. 63.)

Hume’s Political Movement

Now these were noble words, pointing out the only political weapon that ever succeeds against autocratic governments. We are told by Mr. Hume’s biographer that “ in pursuance of such a propaganda in India, Mr. Hume set to work with his wonted energy, appealing for funds to all classes of the Indian community, distributing tracts, leaflets and pamphlets, sending out lecturers and calling meetings both in large towns and in country districts. Throughout the country over one thousand meetings were held, at many of which over five thousand persons were present, and arrangements were made for the distribution of half a million pamphlets, translations into twelve Indian languages being circulated of two remarkable pamphlets, showing by a parable the necessary evils of absentee state landlordism, however benevolent the intention.” ( Biography, p. 63.)

That was true political work, done with a real political insight. If it had been persevered in, the history of the Congress would have been different and perhaps the revolutionary party would never have been born or would have been born earlier. In either case the country would have been farther ahead in politics than it is now. What, however, actually happened was that the Government was at once moved to hostility. Lord Dufferin spoke of the Congress in terms of contempt “as the infinitesimal minority,” at a Calcutta dinner. Sir Auckland Colvin stirred up the Mohammedans, organised an Anti-Congress Association and denounced the Congress in no measured terms, as mischievous, disloyal, and much before the time.

Congress Overawed

Mr. Hume started to explain in an apologetic tone. It was at this time that he came out with the “safety valve” theory. The propaganda was at once abandoned, never to be resumed in the history of the movement. The movement in England failed for want of funds. The movement in India collapsed for want of perseverance, vigour and earnestness. Here again we are disposed to think that Mr. Hume’s subsequent conduct was influenced more by the fears and half heartedness of the Indian leaders than by his own judgment. If the Indian leaders had stuck to their guns and pushed on their propaganda, the country would have supplied funds and would have rallied round them. Perhaps there might have been a few riots and a few prosecutions. But that would have drawn the attention of the British public to Indian conditions more effectively than their twenty-eight years of half-hearted propaganda in England did. The political education of the people would have been more rapid and the movement would have gained such a strength as to make itself irresistible. It is possible, nay, probable, that the Government would have suppressed the movement. But that itself would have been a victory and a decided and effective step in the political education of the people.

No nation and no political party can ever be strong enough to make their voice effective, unless and until they put forward a sufficient amount of earnestness (not bluff) to convince their opponents that in case their demands are trifled with, the consequences might be serious to both parties. No political agitation need be started unless those who are engaged in it are prepared to back it by the power of the purse and the power of conviction.

Congress Agitation in England

The Congress overawed in 1888 and 1889, failed in both respects. So far as the first is concerned, why, that has been a theme of lamentation, appeals, and wailings from year to year. Friends in England, whether in or outside the British Committee, have lamented it in pathetic terms. The Congress agitation in England has never been effective. The Congress has had precious little influence on English public opinion, and although the British Committee of the Congress have had an office and an organ in London for the last 25 years or more, their influence in English politics has been almost nil. But for the generosity of Mr. Hume and Sir William Wedderburn, the Congress office in London might have been long ago closed. The leaders of the Congress have talked very much of their implicit faith in the English nation; they have held out hopes of our getting a redress of our wrongs if we could only inform the British people of the condition of things prevalent in India; yet the efforts they have put forward to achieve that end have been puerile and paltry. There is a party of Indian politicians who do not believe in agitation in England, but the leaders of the Congress and those who have controlled the organisation in the last 30 years do not profess to belong to that party. We shall now try to explain why this has been so.

Causes of Failure of the Congress

( 1 ) The movement was neither inspired by the people nor devised or planned by them. It was a movement not from within. No section of the Indian people identified themselves with it so completely as to feel that their existence as honourable men depended on its successful management. The movement was started by an Englishman, at the suggestion of an English pro-consul. The Indians, who professed to lead it, were either actually in government service or in professions allied to government service and created by the Government.They were patriotic enough to give a part of their time and energy to the movement, so long as it did not clash with their own interests, so long as they were not required to mar their careers for it, or so long as it did not demand heavy sacrifices from them.

(2). The movement lacked the essentials of a popular movement. The leaders were not in touch with the people. Perhaps they did not even want to come in touch with them. Their propaganda was confined to a few English-educated persons, was carried on in English and was meant for the ears of the authorities rather than for the people. The leaders always felt shy of the masses, made no efforts to reach them, and systematically discouraged the younger men from doing the same. Some of them have openly opposed efforts in this direction.

(3). The leaders failed to inspire enthusiasm among the people, either by their own failure to make sacrifices, or by the triviality of their sacrifices. Their ordinary life, their income, their prosperity, and their luxuries were in no way affected by the movement. There were only two exceptions to this, viz., Dadabhai Naoroji and Gokhale.

(4). The movement was neither confined to a select few, nor open to all. While the people were expected to add to the spectacular side of the show by their presence in large numbers, by crowded meetings, by cheers and applause, they were never given a hand in the movement. Differences of opinion were always discouraged and free discussion was never allowed.

(5). A national movement, demanding only a few concessions and not speaking of the liberties of the nation and of its ideals, is never an effective movement. It is at best an opportunist movement. It is mischievous in so far as it diverts attention from substantial nation building and character making. It brings fame without sacrifice. It opens opportunities for treacheries and hypocrisies. It enables some people to trade in the name of patriotism.

So this is the genesis of the Congress, and this alone is sufficient to condemn it in the eyes of the advanced Nationalists. There is no parallel to this in the history of the world. Who has ever heard of a movement for political liberty being initiated by a despotic government, which is foreign in its agency and foreign in its methods?

 

Reference-

LALA LAJPAT RAI: YOUNG INDIA-AN INTERPRETATION AND A HISTORY OF THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT FROM WITHIN

 

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Moslem Architecture in India- Mixture of Afghan style and Mogul style

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

India’s architectural heritage constituted ‘the greatest galaxy monuments in the world

Dr. Ernest Binfield Havell (1861-1934)

Dr. Ernest Binfield Havell, insisted that the Islamic architecture in India was influenced by the Hindus. ” Albiruni, the Arab historian, expressed his astonishment at and admiration for the work of Hindu builders. “Our people, he said, “when they see them, wonder at them and are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them.”

As the first Islamic monarchy in India, the Slave Dynasty (1206-1290), and all of its successors, the Khalji (1290-1320), the Tughluq (1320-1413), the Sayyid (1414-51), and the Lodi (1451-1526), consistently fixed Delhi as the capital.

The Islamic rule in India saw the introduction of many new elements in the building style also. Art of Delhi Sultanate was the process of absorption and Indianization of the techniques of art and architecture.  This was very much distinct from the already prevailing building style adopted in the construction of temples and other secular architecture. The main elements in the Islamic architecture is the introduction of arches and beams, and it is the arcuate style of construction while the traditional Indian building style is tabulate, using pillars and beams and lintels.

Qutb al-Din Aybak , who had subjugated northern India as the general of Muhammad of Gori in Afghanistan, established the first Islamic political regime of the Delhi Sultanate, the Slave Dynasty. He took the fortified town of Qila Rai Pithora, which had been constructed by the Hindu king, Prithvi Raj, settling it as his capital. Aybak dismantled twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples of to erect the Friday Mosque at the site of a Vishnu temple, reusing their components. The Qutab Mosque in Mehrauli district, which was at the starting point of development, was constructed from the components of dismantled Hindu and Jain temples using Indian traditional methods.

The mosque, later referred to as  Quwwat-al-Islam Mosque (meaning Might of Islam), had a narrow oblong worship room with five domes in a row and a large longitudinal courtyard surrounded by cloisters. The succeeding Sultan, Shams al-Din Iltutmish, enlarged it on the left and right sides, to four times its total extent, in 1230. Then, Khalji Sultan, Alah al-Din , enlarged it further to the right and on the opposite side of Kibla to the extent of ten times of the earliest stage.

What is peculiar in this mosque is that an enormous Screen of arches was later erected in front of the worship hall, the existing part of which reaches an impressive height of 15m with a thickness of 2.6m.  However, Indian masons did not know the structural system of true arches and domes and constructed the mosque with the pseudo manner of corbelled domes. As a result, a line of twenty domes, which added up to 225m, all collapsed in later years and were carried away as materials for new buildings. One of the earliest mausoleums, Iltutmish Tomb , has also lost its corbelled dome.

Beside the mosque stands a colossal intact Minaret called  Qutb Minar, the lower part of which was constructed by Aybak and the upper part by Iltutmish. It was part of a mosque begun at Old Delhi by Kutbu-d Din Aibak; it commemorated the victories of that bloody Sultan over the Hindus, and twenty-seven Hindu temples were dismembered to provide material for the mosque and the tower.  It remains the highest tower in India till this day, and its relief-carvings of foliage patterns and Arabic calligraphy are as excellent as those of the Iltutmish Tomb and the Screen of arches.

Ala al-Din commenced constructing the   Alai Minar on a twofold scale of the former Minaret in the largest courtyard in the course of the second expansion, but it was not completed, only leaving its basal part. At the new gate erected on this occasion, Alai Darwaza, Indian masons succeeded in erecting a true dome for the first time.

In the oldest courtyard stands an iron pillar 7.5m long (6.8m above ground), which is thought to have been produced by the king of Gupta Dynasty, Chandragupta II, in the 4th century. It was a Stambha (monumental pillar) dedicated to a Vishnu temple according to its inscription, and it seems to have been brought here before the Islamic conquest. This wrought iron pillar, with a Gupta-style capital on the top, is so highly refined that it has not suffered rust at all in spite of its exposure to the elements for 1,600 years.

The mosques from the Khalji onward, having acquired the techniques of Islamic architecture, were fundamentally of the arabian type with the plan of hypostyle oblong hall.  Mosques came to be surmounted symbolically with Persian-style domes as the main fashion, and it became the definitive form to arrange three domes continuously on a oblong worship hall, though still in an unrefined manner, such as with the Moth-ki Masjid from the Lodi Dynasty.In general the Sultans of Delhi were too busy with killing to have much time for architecture, and such buildings as they have left us are mostly the tombs that they raised during their own lifetime as reminders that even they would die. The best example of these is the mausoleum of Sher Shah at Sasseram, in Bihar.

It is true that the “Afghan” dynasty used Hindu artisans, copied Hindu themes, and even appropriated the pillars of Hindu temples, for their architectural purposes, and that many mosques were merely Hindu temples rebuilt for Moslem prayer; but this natural imitation passed quickly into a style.

The different religious beliefs are also reflected in the mode of construction and architectural styles. The Islamic style also incorporated many elements from the traditional Indian style and a compound style emanated. The introduction of decorative brackets, balconies, pendentive decorations, etc in the architecture is an example in this regard. The other distinguishing features of Indo-Islamic architecture are the utilisation of kiosks (chhatris), tall towers (minars) and half-domed double portals. As human worship and its representation are not allowed in Islam, the buildings and other edifices are generally decorated richly in geometrical and arabesque designs. These designs were carved on stone in low relief, cut on plaster, painted or inlaid. The use of lime as mortar was also a major element distinct from the traditional building style.

The final triumph of Indian architecture came under the Moguls. The tendency to unite the Mohammedan and the Hindu styles was fostered by the eclectic impartiality of Akbar; and the masterpieces that his artisans built for him wove Indian and Persian methods and motifs into an exquisite harmony symbolizing the frail merger of native and Moslem creeds in Akbar’s synthetic faith.

Islamic architecture was one of rapid capitulation to the superior indigenous art of India. Akbar was not the exception but the classic example. His wholesale adoption of Hindu styles and his patronage of Indian craftsmen marked the end of a brief experiment with non-Indian forms (Tughlak’s tomb for example), and the beginning of one of the greatest periods of purely Indian building.

The first monument of his reign, the tomb erected by him near Delhi for his father The Mausoleum of his father,  Humayun, was the first full-blown piece of Mughal architecture, which would determine the splendid style afterward, combining red sandstone and white marble. Its formation is such that in the center of a huge ‘Charbagh’ (four quartered garden) a large square platform is built, on which a mausoleum with identical facades for its four sides stands symbolically and is capped with a large dome of white marble. It was in India among the vast Islamic areas that this form of tomb architecture was especially loved and made great developments, there is a reason for that.

There is also evidence that the building known as Humayun’s Tomb is none other than a captured Lakshmi Temple. Abul Fazal says Humayun is buried in Sirhind. French writer G. Le Bon has published in his book The World of Ancient India (Publisher: Editions Minerva – Spain Date of Publication: 1974) a photo of marble footprints found in the building. He describes them as the footprints of Lord Vishnu. This is typical of a Vedic temple, to have the footprints of the main Divinity of the shrine. In this case, it is the husband of Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu.

As a reflection of this, for buildings in Fatehpur Sikri that he constructed as a new capital and his own mausoleum at Sikandra he seldom used arches and domes and deliberately used traditional posts and beams in spite of being Islamic architecture. A pavilion in Fatehpur Sikri protruding even stone slab eaves protecting against the rainy season looks as it were wooden structure. . A flight of steps leads up to an imposing portal in red sandstone, through whose lordly arch one passes into an enclosure filled with chef-d’oeuvres. The major building is a mosque, but the loveliest of the structures are the three pavilions for the Emperor’s favorite wives, and the marble tomb of his friend, Salim Chisti the sage; here the artists of India began to show that skill in embroidering stone. Historian Vincent Smith in his book Akbar the Great Moghul, says:

” It is surprising to find unmistakable Hindu features in the architecture of the tomb of a most zealous Musalman saint, but the whole structure suggests Hindu feeling and nobody can mistake the Hindu origin of the column and struts of the porch.”

He aggrandized the capital Agra, constructing the   Lal Qila (Red Fort) with red sandstone. He also promoted the union of Hindus and Muslims for the stabilization of the empire and applied this principle to architecture too.

As for Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandra, it became an unprecedented unique Islamic building, posts and beams which were stacked up like a four-storied junglegym as ‘Framework architecture’ on a high-rise platform. Its components are ‘Chatri’ (its etymology is ‘Chatra’ meaning an umbrella in Sanskrit); a turret with an apparently heavy roof supported with four columns. This came to be used as an ornamental element for all sorts of buildings.

Jehangir contributed little to the architectural history of his people.Shah Jehan made his name almost as bright as Akbar’s by his passion for beautiful building. He scattered money as lavishly among his artists.. Like the kings of northern Europe, he imported the surplus artists of Italy, and had them instruct his own carvers in that art of pietra dura (i.e., of inlaying marble with a mosaic of precious stones) which became one of the char- acteristic elements of Indian adornment during his reign.

Shah  Jehan was not a very religious soul, but two of the fairest mosques in India rose under his patronage: the Juma Masjid or Friday Mosque at Delhi, and the Moti Masj id or Pearl Mosque at Agra. Both at Delhi and at Agra Jehan built “forts” i.e., groups of royal edifices surrounded by a protective wall.

At Delhi he tore down with superior disdain the pink palaces of Akbar, and replaced them with structures which at their worst are a kind of marble confectionery, and at their best are the purest architectural beauty on the globe. Here is the luxurious Hall of Public Audience, with panels of Florentine mosaic on a black marble ground, and with ceilings, columns and arches carved into stone lacery of frail but incredible beauty. Here, too, is the Hall of Private Audience, whose ceiling is of silver and gold, whose columns are of filigree marble, whose arches are a pointed semicircle composed of smaller flowerlike semicircles, whose Peacock Throne became a legend for the world, and whose wall still bears in precious inlay the proud words of the Moslem poet: “If anywhere on earth there is a Paradise, it is here, it is here, it is here.”  The Delhi Fort originally contained fifty-two palaces, but only twenty-seven remain.

The Fort at Agra is in ruins, and we can only guess at its original magnificence. Here, amid many gardens, were the Pearl Mosque, the Gem Mosque, the halls of Public and Private Audience, the Throne Palace, the King’s Baths, the Hall of Mirrors, the palaces of Jehangir and of Shah Jehan, the Jasmine Palace of Nur Jehan, and that Jasmine Tower from which the captive emperor, Shah Jehan, looked over the Jumna upon the tomb that he had built for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

All the world knows that tomb by her shortened name as the Taj Mahal. Many an architect has rated it as the most perfect of all buildings standing on the earth today.It is said that three artists designed it: a Persian, Ustad Isa; an Italian, Gieronimo Veroneo; and a Frenchman, Austin dc Bordeaux.

The building is a complex figure of twelve sides, four of which are portals; a slender minaret rises at each corner, and the roof is a massive spired dome. The main entrance, once guarded with solid silver gates, is a maze of marble embroidery; inlaid in the wall in jeweled script are quotations from the Koran, one of which invites the “pure in heart” to enter “the gardens of Paradise.” The interior is simple; and perhaps it is just as well that native and European thieves cooperated in despoiling the tomb of its superabundant jewels, and of the golden railing, encrusted with precious stones, that once enclosed the sarcophagi of Jehan and his Queen. For Aurangzeb replaced the railing with an octagonal screen of almost transparent marble, carved into a miracle of alabaster lace; and it has seemed to some visitors that of all the minor and partial products of human art nothing has ever surpassed the beauty of this screen.

It was a sad error of Shah Jehan’s to make a fortress of these lovely palaces. When the British besieged Agra (1803) they inevitably turned their guns upon the Fort. Seeing the cannon-balls strike the Khass Mahal, or Hall of Private Audience, the Indians  surrendered, thinking beauty more precious than victory. A little later Warren Hastings tore up the bath of the palace to present it to George IV; and other portions of the structure were sold by Lord William Bcntinck to help the revenues of India.

Lord William Bentinck, one of the kindliest of the British governoxs of India, once thought of selling the Taj for $150,000 to a Hindu contractor, who believed that better use could be made of the material.  Since Lord Curzon’s administration the British Government of India has taken excellent care of these Mogul monuments. just as well that native and European thieves cooperated in despoiling the tomb of its superabundant jewels, and of the golden railing, encrusted with precious stones, that once enclosed the sarcophagi of Jehan and his Queen. For Aurangzeb replaced the railing with an octagonal screen of almost transparent marble, carved into a miracle of alabaster lace; and it has seemed to some visitors that of all the minor and partial products of human art nothing has ever surpassed the beauty of this screen.

The sixth emperor Aurangzeb was a misfortune for Mogul and Indian art. Dedicated fanatically to an exclusive religion, he saw in art nothing but idolatry and vanity. Already Shah Jehan had prohibited the erection of Hindu temples;”  Aurangzeb not only continued the ban, but gave so economical a support to Moslem building that it, too, languished under his reign. Indian art followed him to the grave.

Aurangzeb  did not like pomp; therefore his tomb  in Khurdabad is extremely simple without even a roof. The mighty  Badshahi Mosque(1674) in Lahore is the last one among the four great mosques of the Mughals. The mausoleum of Aurangzeb wife, Bibi-ka-Maqbara (1678), was modelled on the Taj Mahal but it can be seen that its size, proportion, and volition for ornamentation were diminishing.

After that, both state power and its art declined; there remains merely the mausoleum of Safdarjang in Delhi , and it would be gradually encroached upon by British colonial culture.

Hindu and Moslem architecture- A comparison

To evaluate Indian architecture in summary and retrospect we find in it two themes, masculine and feminine, Hindu and Mohammedan, about which the structural symphony revolves. As, in the most famous of symphonies, the startling hammer-strokes of the opening bars are shortly followed by a strain of infinite delicacy, so in Indian architecture the over- powering monuments of the Hindu genius at Bodh-Gaya, Bhuvaneshwara, Madura and Tanjore are followed by the grace and melody of the Mogul style at Fathpur-Sikri, Delhi and Agra; and the two themes mingle in a confused elaboration to the end.

It was said of the Moguls that they built like giants and finished liked jewellers; but this epigram might better have been applied to Indian architecture in general: the Hindus built like giants, and the Moguls ended like jewellers.

Hindu architecture impresses us in its mass, Mohammedan architecture in its detail; the first had the sublimity of strength, the other had the perfection of beauty; the Hindus had passion and fertility, the  Mohammedan had taste and self-restraint.

The Hindu covered his buildings with such exuberant statuary that one hesitates whether to class them as building or as sculpture; the Mohammedan abominated images, and confined himself to floral or geometrical decoration.

The Hindus were the Gothic sculptor-architects of India’s Middle Ages; the Moslems were the expatriated artists of the exotic Renaissance. All in all, the Hindu style reached greater heights, in proportion as sublimity excels loveliness; on second thought we perceive that Delhi Fort and the Taj Mahal, beside Angkor and Borobudur, are beautiful lyrics beside profound Dramas. One art is the graceful and partial expression of fortunate individuals, the other is the complete and powerful expression of a race.

Hence this little survey must conclude as it began, by confessing that none but a Hindu can quite appreciate the art of India, or write about it forgivably. To a European this popular art of profuse ornament and wild complexity will seem at times almost primitive and barbarous. Only a native believer can feel the majesty of the Hindu temples, for these were built to give not merely a form to beauty but a stimulus to piety and a pedestal to faith.

It is in these terms all Indian civilization as the expression of a “medieval” people to whom religion is profounder than science. In this piety lie the weakness and the strength of the Hindu: his superstition and his gentleness, his introversion and his insight, his backwardness and his depth, his weakness in war and his achievement in art. Doubtless his climate affected his religion, and cooperated with it to enfeeble him; therefore he yielded with fatalistic resignation to the Aryans, the Huns, the Moslems and the Europeans. History punished him for neglecting science. The old civilization of India is finished. It began to die when the British came.

References

  • CANDEE, HELEN: Angkor the Magnificent. New York, 1924
  • CHIROL, SIR VALENTINE: India. London, 1926.
  • GANGOLY, O. C.: Indian Architecture. Calcutta, n.d.
  • GANGOLY, O. C.: Art of Java. Calcutta, n.d.
  • HAVELL, E. B.: Ancient and Medieval Architecture of India. London, 1915.
  • HAVELL, E. B.: Ideals of Indian Art. New York, 1920.
  • HAVELL, E. B.: History of Aryan Rule in India. Harrap, London, n.d.
  • FRAZER, R. W.: Literary History of India. London, 1920.
  • FISCHER, OTTO: Die Kunst Indiens, Chinas und Japans. Berlin, 1928.
  • FERGUSON, J. G: Outlines of Chinese Art. University of Chicago, 1919.
  • FRGUSSON, JAS.: History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, 2V. London, 1910.
  • FERGUSSON, JAS.: History of Architecture in All Countries. 2V. London, 1874.
  • LORENZ, D. E.: The ‘Round the World Traveler. New York, 1927.
  • SMITH, A. H.: Chinese Characteristics. New York, 1894.
  • SMITH, G. ELLIOT: Human History. New York, 1929.
  • SMITH, W. ROBERTSON: The Religion of the Semites. New York, 1889.
  • SMiTH,V. A.: Asoka. Oxford, 1920.
  • Will Durant: Our Oriental Heritage. Simon and Schuster. New York 1954

 

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Plato- A Poet and Mystic, as well as a Philosopher

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India


Plato (Platon, “the broad shouldered”) was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophy.

Born: May 7, 427 BC, Classical Athens. The son of noble parents. According to report, he first studied music, poetry, painting, and philosophy with other masters and became a pupil of Socrates in 407, remaining with him until the latter’s death (399)  when he accompanied the sorrowing Socratics to Megara. His death occurred in 347 B.C. Plato was a poet and mystic, as well as a philosopher and dialectician combining, in a rare degree, great powers of logical analysis and abstract thought with wonderful poetic imagination and deep mystical feeling. His character was noble ; he was an aristocrat by birth and by temperament, an uncompromising idealist, hostile to everything base and vulgar.

It is practically uncertain that all Plato’s genuine works have come down to us. The lost works ascribed to him, such as the “Divisions” and the “Unwritten Doctrines”, are certainly not genuine. Of the thirty-six dialogues, some — the “Phaedrus”, “Protagoras”, “Phaedo”, “The Republic”, “The Banquet”, etc. — are undoubtedly genuine; others — e.g. the “Minos”, — may with equal certaintybe considered spurious; while still a third group — the “Ion”, “Greater Hippias”, and “First Alcibiades” — is of doubtful authenticity. In all his writings, Plato uses the dialogue with a skill never since equalled. That form permitted him to develop the Socratic method of question and answer.

Although Plato did not explicitly divide philosophy into logic, metaphysics (physics), and ethics (practical philosophy, including politics), he makes use of such a division in his works. Plato developed such a system

Division of philosophy

The different parts of philosophy are not distinguished by Plato with the same formal precision found in Aristotelean, and post-Aristotelean systems. We may, however, for convenience, distinguish:

  • Dialectic, the science of the Idea in itself; [including theory of knowledge],
  • Physics, the knowledge of the Idea as incorporated or incarnated in the world of phenomena, and
  • Ethics and Theory of the State, or the science of the Idea embodied in human conduct and human society.

The starting-point

Thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have traditionally been ascribed to Plato, though modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these. No one knows the exact order Plato’s dialogues were written in, nor the extent to which some might have been later revised and rewritten.

The immediate starting-point of Plato’s philosophical speculation was the Socratic teaching. In his attempt to define the conditions of knowledge so as to refute sophistic scepticism, Socrates had taught that the only true knowledge is a knowledge by means of concepts. The concept, he said, represents all the reality of a thing. As used by Socrates, this was merely a principle of knowledge. It was taken up by Plato as a principle of Being. If the concept represents all the reality of things, the reality must be something in the ideal order, not necessarily in the things themselves, but rather above them, in a world by itself. For the concept, therefore, Plato substitutes the Idea. He completes the work of Socrates by teaching that the objectively real Ideas are the foundation and justification of scientific knowledge.. The Platonic theory of Ideas is an attempt to solve this crucial question by a metaphysical compromise. The Eleatics, Plato said, are right in maintaining that reality does not change; for the ideas are immutable. Still, there is, as Heraclitus contended, change in the world of our experience, or, as Plato terms it, the world of phenomena. Plato, then, supposes a world of Ideas apart from the world of our experience, and immeasurably superior to it. He imagines that all human souls dwelt at one time in that higher world. When, therefore, we behold in the shadow-world around us a phenomenon or appearance of anything, the mind is moved to a remembrance of the Idea (of that same phenomenal thing) which it formerly contemplated. In its delight it wonders at the contrast, and by wonder is led to recall as perfectly as possible the intuition it enjoyed in a previous existence. This is the task of philosophy. Philosophy, therefore, consists in the effort to rise from the knowledge of phenomena, or appearances, to the noumena, or realities. Of all the ideas, however, the Idea of the beautiful shines out through the phenomenal veil more clearly than any other; hence the beginning of all philosophical activity is the love and admiration of the Beautiful.

Physics

The Idea, incorporated, so to speak, in the phenomenon is less real than the Idea in its own world, or than the Idea embodied in human conduct and human society. Physics, i.e., the knowledge of the Idea in phenomena, is, therefore, inferior in dignity and importance to Dialectic and Ethics. In fact, the world of phenomena has no scientific interest for Plato. The knowledge of it is not true knowledge, nor the source, but only the occasion of true knowledge. The phenomena stimulate our minds to a recollection of the intuition of Ideas, and with that intuition scientific knowledge begins. Moreover, Plato’s interest in nature is dominated by a teleological view of the world as animated with a World-Soul, which, conscious of its process, does all things for a useful purpose, or, rather, for “the best”, morally, intellectually, and aesthetically. This conviction is apparent especially in the Platonic account of the origin of the universe, contained in the “Timaeus”, although the details regarding the activity of the demiurgos and the created gods should not, perhaps, be taken seriously. Similarly, the account of the origin of the soul, in the same dialogue, is a combination of philosophy and myth, in which it is not easy to distinguish the one from the other. It is clear, however, that Plato holds the spiritual nature of the soul as against the materialistic Atomists, and that he believes the soul to have existed before its union with the body. The whole theory of Ideas, in so far, at least, as it is applied to human knowledge, presupposes the doctrine of pre-existence. “All knowledge is recollection” has no meaning except in the hypothesis of the soul’s pre-natal intuition of Ideas. It is equally incontrovertible that Plato held the soul to be immortal. His conviction on this point was as unshaken as Socrates’s. His attempt to ground that conviction on unassailable premises is, indeed, open to criticism, because his arguments rest either on the hypothesis of previous existence or on his general theory of Ideas. Nevertheless, the considerations which he offers in favour of immortality, in the “Phaedo”, have helped to strengthen all subsequent generations in the belief in a future life. His description of the future state of the soul is dominated by the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration. Here, again, the details are not to be taken as seriously as the main fact, and we can well imagine that the account of the soul condemned to return in the body of a fox or a wolf is introduced chiefly because it accentuates the doctrine of rewards and punishments, which is part of Plato’s ethical system. Before passing to his ethical doctrines it is necessary to indicate one other point of his psychology. The soul, Plato teaches, consists of three parts: the rational soul, which resides in the head; the irascible soul, the seat of courage, which resides in the heart; and the appetitive soul, the seat of desire, which resides in the abdomen. These are not three faculties of one soul, but three parts really distinct.

Epistemology

Many have interpreted Plato as stating—even having been the first to write—that knowledge is justified true belief, an influential view that informed future developments in epistemology. Plato argues that knowledge is distinguished from mere true belief by the knower having an “account” of the object of her or his true belief. Plato himself also identified problems with the justified true belief definition in the Theaetetus, concluding that justification (or an “account”) would require knowledge of differentiates, meaning that the definition of knowledge is circular .

Plato’s view that knowledge in this latter sense is acquired by recollection.

In several of Plato’s dialogues, the idea that knowledge is a matter of recollection, and not of learning, observation, or study. He maintains this view somewhat at his own expense, knowledge is not empirical, and that it comes from divine insight.

Plato is not content, however, with telling how true concepts and judgments may be obtained ; his chief object is to obtain them, to know reality in all its phases, physical, mental, and moral, to comprehend it in its unity and completeness. Indeed, it is plain to him that the knowledge-problem itself cannot be solved without an understanding of the nature of the world. To this end he develops a universal system, in the spirit of the teachings of the great thinker who became his ideal.

We shall, therefore, follow this order, in a general way, in our exposition of his thought, and begin with logic, or dialectics. Plato clearly understood the great importance of the problem of knowledge in the philosophy of his day. A thinker’s conception of the nature and origin of knowledge largely Dialectics ,  determined his attitude toward the engrossing questions of the age. If our propositions are derived from sense-perception and opinion, Plato argued, then the Sophists are quite right in their contention that there can be no genuine knowledge. Sense-perception does not reveal the true reality of things, but gives us mere appearance. Opinion may be true or false; as mere opinion it has no value whatever ; it is not knowledge, but rests on persuasion or feeling ; it does not know whether it is true or false, it cannot justify itself. Genuine knowledge is knowledge based on reasons, knowledge that knows itself as knowledge, knowledge that can authenticate itself. The great majority of men think without knowing why they think as they do, without having any grounds for their views. Ordinary virtue is no better off: it, too, rests on sense-perception and opinion; it is not conscious of its principles. Men do not know why they act as they do; they act instinctively, according to custom or habit, like ants, bees, and wasps; they act selfishly, for pleasure and profit, hence the masses are a great unconscious Sophist. The Sophist is wrong because he confuses appearance and reality, the pleasant and the good.

We must advance from sense-perception and opinion to genuine knowledge. This we cannot do unless we have a desire, or love of truth, the Eros, which is aroused by the contemplation of beautiful ideas: we pass from the contemplation of beauty to the contemplation of truth. The love of truth impels us to dialectics; it impels us to rise beyond sense-perception to the idea, to conceptual knowledge, from the particular to the universal. The dialectical method consists, first, in the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea, and second, in the division of the idea into species, that is, in the processes of generalization and classification. In this way alone can there be clear and consistent thinking; we pass from concept to concept, upward and downward, generalizing and particularizing, combining and dividing, synthesizing and analyzing, carving out concepts as a sculptor carves a beautiful figure out of a block of marble. Judgment expresses the relation of concepts to one another, articulates concept with concept, while the syllogism links judgment with judgment, in the process of reasoning. Dialectics is this art of thinking in concepts; concepts, and not sensations or images, constitute the essential object of thought. We cannot, for example, call a man just or unjust unless we have a notion, or concept, of justice, unless we know what justice is; when we know that, we can judge why a man is just or unjust.

Experience, then, is not the source of our notions; there is nothing in experience, in the world of sense, exactly corresponding to them, to the notions of truth, beauty, goodness, for example; no particular object is absolutely beautiful or good. We approach the sense-world with ideals or standards of the true, the beautiful, and the good. In addition to these notions, Plato came to regard mathematical concepts and certain logical notions, or categories, such as being and non-being, identity and difference, unity and plurality, as inborn, or a priori.

Conceptual knowledge, then, is the only genuine knowledge: that was the teaching of Socrates. Knowledge is the correspondence of thought and reality, or being: it must have an object. Hence, if the idea or notion is to have any value as knowledge, something real must correspond to it, there must, for instance, be pure, absolute beauty as such, realities must exist corresponding to our universal ideas. In other words, such ideas cannot be mere passing thoughts in men’s heads; the truths of mathematics, the ideals of beauty, truth, and goodness, must be real, must have independent existence. If the objects of our ideas were not real, our knowledge would not be knowledge; hence they must be real.

Plato found it necessary, in short, to appeal to metaphysics, to his world-view, for the proof of the validity of knowledge. Sense-knowledge, the kind the Sophist believed in, presents to us the passing, changing, particular, and accidental; hence it cannot be genuine knowledge: it does not tell the truth or get at the heart of reality. Conceptual knowledge reveals the universal, changeless, and essential element in things and is, therefore, true knowledge. Philosophy has for its aim knowledge of the universal, unchangeable, and eternal.

Doctrine of ideas: [Plato’s most original philosophical achievement.]

According to Plato, universals exist. Corresponding to the concept of horse, as example, there is a universal or ideal entity; it is the idea that is known in conceptual knowledge, reason

The variety of ideas or forms is endless: there are ideas of things, relations, qualities, actions and values…[these are some classes of ideas]: of tables and chairs; of smallness, greatness, likeness; of colors and tones; of health, rest and motion; of beauty, truth and goodness…The ideas or archetypes constitute a well-ordered world or rational cosmos; arranged in a connected, organic unity, a logical order subsumed under the highest idea: the Good

The Good, the supreme idea, the logos or cosmic purpose, the unity of pluralities, the source of all ideas…is also the truly real. The function of philosophy, by exercise of reason, is to understand this inner, interconnected order of the universe and to conceive its essence by logical thought

Outline of the doctrine:

[1] The forms, or ideas defined as objects corresponding to abstract concepts are real entities. The Platonic form is the reification or entificiation of the Socratic concept;

[2] There are a variety of forms;

[3] They belong to a realm of abstract entities, a “heaven of ideas”, separate from their concrete exemplification in time and space [the Platonic dualism];

[4] Form is archetype, particular: copy; form is superior: forms are real, particulars mere appearances;

[5]  Forms are neither mental – they exist independently of any knowing mind, even God’s – nor physical: yet real;

(6)[forms are non-temporal and non-spatial: eternal and immutable];

[7] They are logically connected in a “communicative” hierarchy in which the supreme form is the Good;

[8] Forms are apprehended by reason, not sense;

[9] The relation between a particular and a form which it exemplifies is “participation”; all particulars with a common predicate participate in the corresponding form; a particular may participate simultaneously in a plurality of forms or successively [in change] in a succession of forms

The Theory of Forms (or Theory of Ideas) typically refers to the belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only an “image” or “copy” of the real world. In some of Plato’s dialogues, this is expressed by Socrates, who spoke of forms in formulating a solution to the problem of universals. The forms, ,are archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties we feel and see around us, that can only be perceived by reason .In other words, Socrates was able to recognize two worlds: the apparent world, which constantly changes, and an unchanging and unseen world of forms, which may be the cause of what is apparent.

There are, then, two principles; we should say, mind and matter, of which mind is the true reality, the thing of most worth, that to which everything owes its form and essence, the principle of law and order in the universe; while the other element, matter, is secondary, a dull, irrational, recalcitrant force, the unwilling slave of mind, which somehow, but imperfectly, takes on the impress of mind. Form is the active cause, matter is the cooperative cause. It is both friend and foe, an auxiliary and an obstruction, the ground of physical and moral evil, of change and imperfection.

According to Plato the ideas or forms  are not mere thoughts in the minds of men or even in the mind of God  ; he conceives them as existing in and for themselves, they have the character of substantiality, they are substances ,real or substantial forms: the original, eternal transcendent archetypes of things, existing prior to things and apart from them ,independent of them, uninfluenced by the changes to which they are subject. The particular objects which we perceive are imperfect copies or reflections of these eternal patterns; particulars may come and particulars may go, but the idea or form goes on forever. Men may come and men may go, but the man-type, the human race, goes on forever. There are many objects or copies, but there is always only one idea of a class of things. There are numberless such independent forms, or ideas, nothing being too lowly or insignificant to have its idea: ideas of things, relations, qualities, actions ; ideas of tables and beds and chairs, of colour and tone ; of health, rest, and motion; of smallness, greatness, likeness; of beauty, truth, and goodness.

These ideas or archetypes, though numberless, are not disordered, like chaos; they constitute a well-ordered world, or rational cosmos .The ideal order forms an interrelated, connected organic unity, the ideas being arranged in logical order, and subsumed under the highest idea, the idea of the Good, which is the source of all the rest. This idea is supreme; beyond it there is no other. The truly real and the truly good are identical; the idea of the Good is the logos, the cosmic purpose. Unity, therefore, includes plurality; in the intelligible or ideal world there is no unity without plurality, and no plurality without unity.. The universe is conceived by Plato as a logical system of ideas: it forms an organic spiritual unity, governed by a universal purpose, the idea of the Good, and is, therefore, a rational moral whole. Its meaning cannot be grasped by the senses, which perceive only its imperfect and fleeting reflections and never rise to a vision of the perfect and abiding whole. It is the business of philosophy to understand its inner order and connection, to conceive its essence by logical thought.

The principle, of the Platonic ” matter,” forms the basis of the phenomenal world; as such it is the raw material upon which the forms are somehow impressed. It is perishable and unreal, imperfect, non-being whatever reality, form, or beauty the perceived world has, it owes to ideas. Some interpreters of Plato conceive this Platonic ‘ ‘ matter ‘ ‘ as space ; others as a formless, space-filling mass. Plato needs something besides the idea to account for our world of sense, or nature, which is not a mere illusion of the senses, but an order of lower rank than the changeless ideal realm. This substratum, untouched by the ideal principle, must be conceived as devoid of all qualities, formless, indefinable, and imperceptible. Nature owes its existence to the influence of the ideal world on non-being or matter: as a ray of light, passed through a prism, is broken into many rays, so the idea is broken into many objects by matter. The form- less something is non-being, not in the sense of being non-existent, but in the sense of having a lower order of existence: the term non-being expresses a judgment of value. The sensible world partakes of a measure of reality or being, in so far as it takes on form. Plato does not define more precisely the nature of the relation between the two realms ; but it is plain that the ideas are somehow responsible for all the reality things possess: they owe their being to the presence of ideas, to the participation of the latter in them. At the same time, non-being, the sub- stratum, is responsible for the diversity and imperfection of the many different objects bearing the same name.

In the Timaeus, Plato locates the parts of the soul within the human body: Reason is located in the head, spirit in the top third of the torso, and the appetite in the middle third of the torso, down to the navel.

Doctrine of immortality

Plato advocates a belief in the immortality of the soul, In the early transitional dialogue, the Meno, Plato has introduce the Orphic and Pythagorean idea that souls are immortal and existed before our births. All knowledge, he explains, is actually recollected from this prior existence. In perhaps the most famous passage in this dialogue, Socrates elicits recollection about geometry from one of Meno’s slaves

The part of the individual, which “knows” sense impression and opinion, is the body; the soul knows or has genuine knowledge or science. Because the soul possesses apprehension of ideas prior to its contact with the world: all knowledge is reminiscence and all learning is awakening.

The soul has contemplated eternal ideas and only like can know like .

it cannot be produced by composition or destroyed by disintegration,

As the source of its own motion, the soul is eternal [a survival of atomistic conceptions] [first cause argument, perhaps]…and various other metaphysical arguments.

From the superiority and dignity of the soul: it must survive the body; a variation: everything is destroyed by its “connatural” evil; the evils of the soul its worst vices: injustice, etc. do not destroy the soul – hence its indestructibility.

The theory of knowledge has shown us that there are three kinds of knowledge, sense-perception, opinion, and genuine knowledge or Science. This division influences Plato’s psychology. In sensation  and opinion the soul is dependent on the body; in so far as it beholds the pure world of ideas, it is pure reason. The bodily part is, therefore, an impediment to knowledge, from which the soul must free itself in order to behold truth in its purity. The copies of the pure ideas, as they exist in the phenomenal world, merely incite the rational soul to think; sensation provokes ideas, it does not produce them. Hence, the soul must somehow possess ideas prior to its contact with the world of experience. Plato teaches that the soul has viewed such ideas before, but has forgotten them ; the imperfect copies of ideas in the world of sense bring back its past, remind it, as it were, of what it has seen before: all knowledge is reminiscence and all learning a reawakening. Hence, the soul must have existed before its union with a body.

In the early dialogues, Plato’s Socrates is an intellectualist—that is, he claims that people always act in the way they believe is best for them .Hence, all wrongdoing reflects some cognitive error. But in the middle period, Plato conceives of the soul as having three parts:

1.            A rational part (the part that loves truth, which should rule over the other parts of the soul through the use of reason),

2.            A spirited part (which loves honour and victory), and

3.            An appetitive part (which desires food, drink, and sex),

Justice will be that condition of the soul in which each of these three parts “does its own work,” and does not interfere in the workings of the other parts . When these three inward principles are in tune, each doing its proper work, the man is just. The just and honorable course is that which a man pursues in this frame of mind ; he has the ethical attitude when he is wise and brave and temperate, when he has harmonized his soul. Such a man would not repudiate a deposit, commit sacrilege or theft, be false to friends, be a traitor to his country, or commit similar misdeeds.

The human soul, then, is, in part, pure reason , and this rational part is its characteristic phase. It enters a body, and there is added to it a mortal and irrational part, which fits it for existence in the sense-world.The union with the body is a hindrance to the intellectual aspirations of the soul, to knowledge ; the presence of impulses and desires is a hindrance to the ethical supremacy of reason, which reason itself must seek to overcome, as Plato shows in his ethics. A soul that has contemplated the pure eternal ideas must, in part at least, be like these ideas, pure and eternal; for only like can know like. The doctrine of reminiscence proves the pre-existence and continued existence of the soul. Other proofs of immortality are: the simplicity of the soul: whatever is simple cannot be decomposed ; and its life or spontaneity : such a principle of activity cannot be destroyed; life cannot become death .

The pure rational soul, which was created by the Demiurge, once inhabited a star. But it became possessed with a desire for the world of sense and was in closed in a material body as in a prison. In case it succeeds in overcoming the lower side of its nature, it will return to its star, otherwise it will sink lower and lower, passing through the bodies of different animals (transmigration of souls). If the soul had resisted desire in its celestial life, it would have continued to occupy itself, in a transcendent existence, with the contemplation of ideas. As it is, it is condemned to pass through a stage of purification.

The doctrine of the “Eros.

An important phase of Plato’s psychology is the doctrine of the “Eros. Just as sense-perception arouses in the soul the remembrance of pure ideas, or Truth, so the perception of sensuous beauty, which arouses sense-love, also arouses in the soul the memory of ideal Beauty contemplated in its former existence. This recollection arouses yearning for the higher life, the world of pure ideas. Sensuous love and the yearning for the beautiful and the good are one and the same impulse ; in yearning for eternal values, the soul yearns for immortality. The sensuous impulse seeks the continued existence of the species; the higher forms of the impulse are the craving for fame, the impulse to create science, art, and human institutions. These impulses are another evidence of the immortality of the soul, for what the soul desires must be attainable.

The universe is, at bottom, a rational universe: a spiritual system. Objects of sense, the material phenomena around us, are mere fleeting shadows of eternal and never-changing ideas; they cannot endure and have no worth. Only that which endures is real and has value: reason alone has absolute worth and is the highest good. Hence, the rational part of man is the true part, and his ideal must be to cultivate reason, the immortal side of his soul. The body and the senses are not the true part; indeed, the body is the prison-house of the soul, a fetter, deliverance from which is the final goal of the spirit. ” There- fore we ought to fly away from earth as quickly as we can, and to fly away is to become like God.” The release of the soul from the body and the contemplation of the beautiful world of ideas, that is the ultimate end of life.

In the meanwhile the soul, with its reason, its spirited part, and its appetites, is enclosed in its dungeon and has its problems to solve. The rational part is wise and has to exercise fore- thought on behalf of the entire soul : hence, its essential function is to command. The Individual is wise in whom reason rules over the other impulses of the soul,

The ideal, therefore, is a well-ordered soul, one in which the higher functions rule the lower, one which exercises the virtues of wisdom ,courage . self-control ,and justice . A life of reason, which means a life of virtue, is the highest good. Happiness attends such a life ; the just man is after all the happy man. Pleasure, however, is not an end in itself, it is not the highest factor in the life of the soul, but the lowest.

The God/ Demiurge

Plato attempts to explain the origin of nature in his Timaus, a work that reminds one of the early Pre-Socratic philosophies. Like a human artist or workman, the Demiurge or Creator fashions the world after the pattern of the ideal world; guided by the idea of the Good, he forms as perfect a universe as it is possible for him to form, hampered, as he is, by the principle of matter.

The Demiurge or Creator [more an architect than a creator] fashions the world out of matter in the patterns of the ideal world…The four factors in creation enumerated in Timmaeus are

[1] the Demiurge or God: the active principle or dynamic cause of the world;

[2] the pattern as archetype of the world;

[3] the receptacle: the locus and matrix of creation; matter; brute fact; source of indeterminacy and evil; and

[4] the form of the Good

Plato’s cosmology, garbed in myth: an attempt to identify the causes in [and creation of] the actual world [interpretation]

The influence of Plato’s doctrine of ideas, and cosmology is enormous – upon Aristotle: the four causes of Aristotle are the four factors in Plato’s cosmology.

The Demiurge is not really a creator, but an architect ; the two principles, mind and matter, are already in existence: a being is needed who will bring them together. In order to realize his purpose, he endows the world, which is composed of the four material elements, earth, air, fire, water, with soul and life. This world-soul he compounds of the indivisible and divisible, of identity and change, of mind and matter (the four elements), in order that it may know the ideal and perceive the corporeal. It has its own original motion, which is the cause of all motion; in moving itself it also moves bodies; it is diffused throughout the world and is the cause of the beauty, order, and harmony in the world: this is the image of God, a visible God. The world-soul is the intermediary between the world of ideas and the world of phenomena. It is the cause of all law, mathematical relations, harmony, order, uniformity, life, mind, and knowledge: it moves according to fixed laws of its nature, causing the distribution of matter in the heavenly spheres, as well as their motion. Besides the world-soul, the Creator created souls or gods for the planets (which he arranged according to the Pythagorean system of harmony) and rational human souls, leaving it to the lower gods to create animals and the irrational part of the human soul. Everything has been made for man, plants to nourish him, and animal-bodies to serve as habitations for fallen souls.

Therefore, in Plato’s cosmology many gods, to none of whom he definitely ascribes personality, perhaps because he took this for granted, conceiving them in analogy with the human soul: the Idea of the Good, the total world of ideas, the Demiurge, the world-soul, the planetary souls, and the gods of the popular religion.

In these dialogues, we also find Socrates represented as holding certain religious beliefs, such as:

The gods are completely wise and good .Ever since his childhood Socrates has experienced a certain “divine something” which consists in a “voice” ,or “sign” that opposes him when he is about to do something wrong

Various forms of divination can allow human beings to come to recognize the will of the gods .Poets and rhapsodies are able to write and do the wonderful things they write and do, not from knowledge or expertise, but from some kind of divine inspiration. The same can be said of diviners and seers, although they do seem to have some kind of expertise—perhaps only some technique by which to put them in a state of appropriate receptivity to the divine

No one really knows what happens after death, but it is reasonable to think that death is not an evil; there may be an afterlife, in which the souls of the good are rewarded, and the souls of the wicked are punished

Plato on Gender Discrimination and Family

Plato fought against the discrimination of women. At that time women in Greece were not considered the same as men so they were not given education since they were staying home caring for children. For him, women had to be given the same education as men. He believed that differences between sexes are not relevant in constructing a society. He thought that females and males have got the same right of receiving education from the state since the interest of the state is paramount and the kind of education which will produce good men will also produce good women. . He was totally against gender and religious discrimination and proposed that education should be provided to all without any discrimination i.e. without considering race, sex or religion.

Following the mistreatment of women in Greece, education for women raised questions; but to overcome this problem Plato says, “natural gifts are to be found in both sexes …”. So, women and children were supposed to be sent to school for education and not just to stay home.

Moreover, to support this issue Plato asked: are dogs divided into hes and shes, or do they both share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs? Or do we entrust to the males the entire and exclusive care of the flock, while we leave the females at home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling the puppies is labor enough for them? “No” he said, “they share alike; the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and the females weaker”.

So, women have got the same duties as men, and in order to fulfill their duties they must have the same nurture and education.

Plato believed that women are equal to men and that, although some women are physically smaller or weak, some women are physically equal to men therefore those women who are physically strong should be allowed to learn the same skills that men do. In his book Republic Plato describes how male and female receive the same education and be given the same duties in society as given to the male member. These people are the ones who will be in charge his republic which would be an ideal society, where philosophers are kings. In other words, who know what is good for the people and for the mankind and take their decisions based on that knowledge.

The only difference noted between men and women is physical function, i.e. one begets, the other bears children. Apart from physical function, all can perform the same functions. Therefore, in order to perform all these duties, education was necessary for them so that society could get best values from both men and women. But this idea was revolutionary to Greek women, since in Greece they were staying home and took care of babies.

However, Plato recognized also some differences in intelligence and talents; so it was suggested to have different schools for those who have got special talents, i.e. he advocated an educational system, which would distinguish and identify rulers, soldiers and the populace.

Plato does not suggest separate curriculum for women. Women should also be educated in music and gymnastics as well as the art of war. He says that women and girls should undergo the same gymnastic and military exercises as men and boys.

Plato also emphases on women education, he consider the same kind of education for women. Women should the same physical and educational training; they should know the art of war. The main aim of Plato was that each member of the society should undertake his work and responsibilities.

The ideal society is a family:

  • Plato opposes monogamy,
  • private property,
  • recommends for the two upper castes – who are to be supported by workers – communism and common possession of wives and children…

Plato recommends:

  • eugenic supervision of marriages and births,
  • exposure of weak children,
  • compulsory state education, education of women for war and government,
  • censorship

Plato: Stages of Education

The state is an educational institution, the instrument of civilization; its foundation must be the highest kind of knowledge which is philosophy. The education of the children of higher classes will follow a definite plan:

  • identical for the sexes during the first twenty years:
  • myths selected for ethical, gymnastics for body and spirit;
  • poetry, music –harmony, beauty, proportion and philosophical thought;
  • reading, writing; mathematics which tends to draw the mind from the concrete and sensuous to the abstract and real.

At 20, superior young men will be selected and shall integrate their learning.

At 30, those who show greatest ability in studies, military officers, etc., will study dialectic for five years. Then they will be put to test as soldiers, militias and in subordinate civic offices. Starting at the age of fifty, the demonstrably worthy will study philosophy until their turns come to administer the offices for their country’s sake

Plato’s model of education

Plato’s model of education can be called “functionalist”: a model designed to produce competent adults to meet the needs of the state.

First stage:

Plato believed that education began from the age of seven and before this child should stay with their mothers for moral education and genders should be allowed to plays with each other.

Plato was of the opinion that for the first 10 years, there should be predominantly physical education. In other words, every school must have a gymnasium and a playground in order to develop the physique and health of children and make them resistant to any disease.

Apart from this physical education, Plato also recommended music to bring about certain refinement in their character and lent grace and health to the soul and the body. Plato also prescribed subjects such as mathematics, history and science.

Second stage

This stage is till the age of seventeen. The content of education comprises Gymnastics, literature, music elementary mathematics. Gymnastics is essential for the physical and mental growth. Music is chosen as the medium of education, an avenue for the spiritual growth,  and ideas are the contents of education for this stage. After the age of six years both girls and boys should be separated and boys should play with boys and girls with girls and they should be taught the use of different arms to both sexes. This stage goes up to the age of seventeen years

Third stage

This stage is till the age of twenty. This stage is meant for cadet ship and is related to physical and military training. The youth are bought into the stage of battle in this age. After the age of seventeen years the youth should be brought to battle filed to learn real life experiences.

Fourth stage

The four stages start at the age of twenty-five to thirty years and in this age,  they get the training of Mathematical calculation and last for another ten years, after the completion the selected one’s are admitted in the study of dialect. Here students undergo mathematical training preparatory to dialectic

Plato has highlighted the qualities needed for an individual to enter higher education. He proclaimed that preference should be given to the surest, bravest, fairest and those who have the natural gifts to facilitate their education.

Fifth stage

This age is from ages thirty to thirty-five. Plato restricted the study of dialectic to this age because he felt that an individual should be mature enough to carry on the study in dialectic, especially about ultimate principles of reality.

Six stage

This age is from thirty five to fifty years, when according to Plato, an individual is ready as a philosopher or ruler, to return to practical life to take command in war and hold such offices of state as befits him. After reaching 50 one should spend the life in contemplation of “the Good” their chief pursuit should be philosophy and should participate in politics, and rule for the good of the people as a matter of their duty.

Plato Concept of Education

Plato gave immense importance to education. In his treatise ”The republic”, Plato has dealt with education in details.

According to Plato- Education the initial acquisition of virtue by the child, when the feelings of pleasure and affection, pain and hatred, that well up in his soul are channeled in the right courses before he can understand the reason why… education, then is a matter of correctly disciplined feelings of pleasure and pain .

Apart from this definition, Plato sees education as “… to ensure that the habit and aspirations of the old generation are transmitted to the younger- and then presumably to the next one after that”.

However, according to Plato, education is a matter of conversion. i.e. a complete turn around from the world of appearances to the world of the reality. ‘The conversion of the souls’, says Plato, ‘is not to put the power of sight in the soul’s eye, which already has it, but to insure that, instead of looking in the wrong direction, it is turned the way it ought to be’ .

Plato’s philosophy of education aims at preparing learners for future life. The objective of education is to turn the soul towards light. Plato once stated that the main function of education is not to put knowledge into the soul, but to bring out the latent talents in the soul by directing it towards the right objects. This explanation of Plato on education highlights his object of education and guides the readers in proper direction to unfold the ramifications of his theory of education.

In “Laws’ he says repeatedly:
“Education is the first and the fairest thing that the best of men can ever have”.
According to Plato the aim of education is the welfare of both the safety of the society and the food of individual. He was of the opinion that education should develop the sense of ideas in people in whom the ability is there, and should purpose and direct each one through the guidance of philosophers for the performance of those works which fits them naturally to perform

Plato presented his philosophy of education in his Republic. The basic theme of education is inquiry is justice. The basic question around which the dialog revolves is , ” what is the meaning of justice.” Socrates defines justice through establishing an analogy between society and individual.

The highest goal of education, Plato believed, is the knowledge of Good; to nurture a man to a better human being it is not merely an awareness of particular benefits and pleasures,

Plato discussed the selection of students together with examinations of the student. According to Plato, a child must take an examination that would determine whether or not to pursue higher education at the age of 20. Those who failed in the examination were asked to take up activities in communities such as businessmen, clerks, workers, farmers and the like.

These selections were in accordance with the age and stage to which these students were admitted. In Greece, pupils were being accepted in the first level at the age of six. Plato emphasized that education must start early. In Greece, boys and girls were being separated. As Plato says, “ when the boys and girls have reached the age of six, the sexes should be separated; boys should spend their days with boys and girls with girls.”. Boys and girls were being taught the same things separately, but the spirit in which they were taught, differed because boys were destined to be soldiers, while girls would become mothers of families, they would only be called upon in an emergency to defend the state.

In the learning process, both Plato wished practical work to be included. For example Plato insisted that those who want to be good builders or good husbandman should learn practically their work. Plato emphasised this point in this way:

…I insist that a man who intends to be good at a particular occupation must practice it from childhood: both at work and at play he must be surrounded by the special ‘tools of the trade’. For instance a man who intends to be a good farmer must play at farming, and the man who is to be a builder must spend his play time building toy houses. Plato considered the role of tradition in learning. it is through tradition that one learns or knows about the history of his/her society.

In the case of formal education Plato emphasised the role of teachers. Plato thought that the role or the function of teachers is to communicate a subject matter to the pupils. Teachers are those who know the subject matter. He emphasised that teachers should have enthusiasm, they should have a spirit of helping students, and good behaviour, treat students with equality and friendship.He  believed that students learn many things from their teachers, not only what teachers teach, but also social behaviour through the example shown by their teachers.

In another place he writes “Do not then train youths by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

The Platonic approach to education comprises the following aspects: sciences and arts, which were to be communicated by teachers to their pupils; moral virtue, necessary to teacher and students, and finally political institutions, which were connected with the learning process.

Plato prescribed a general type of curriculum prevailing in Greece at that time. The curriculum for the early training, that occupied first seventeen years of life, was comprised of music and gymnastics. The word music was used in a much broader sense than we use it today. It included poetry, drama, history, oratory and music in its more limited sense.

Plato ,  define different stages for the organization and curriculum; named three stages of education: reading and writing as the first stage; second stage: physical education; and the third stage: secondary or literary education.

Plato’s   Method  of Instruction- The Dialectical Method

Plato is in favor of education in a free atmosphere without any compulsion or check. Plato doesn’t write treatises, but writes in an indirect way, encouraging the reader to ask questions and think for himself. But, like his teacher Socrates, Plato is often happy to play role of observer rather than a preacher. Plato says all elements of instruction should be presented to the mind in childhood, nor how ever, under any notion of forcing . He says that , ” it is better for a learner to be a free man and not to a slave in the acquisition of knowledge.” According to Plato knowledge which is acquired under compulsion detains no hold on the minds of the bearers. Plato believed that there was no compulsion in teaching and it should be more of an amusement.

The teacher must know his or her subject, but as a true philosopher he or she also knows that the limits of their knowledge. It is here that we see the power of dialogue – the joint exploration of a subject – ‘knowledge will not come from teaching but from questioning’.

In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided.

Dialectics is this art of thinking in concepts; concepts, and not sensations or images, constitute the essential object of thought. We cannot, for example, call a man just or unjust unless we have a notion, or concept, of justice, unless we know what justice is; when we know that, we can judge why a man is just or unjust’

This method was introduced probably either late in the middle period or in the transition to the late period, but was increasingly important in the late period. In the early period dialogues, as we have said, the mode of philosophizing was refutative question-and-answer (called the “Socratic method”). Although the middle period dialogues continue to show Socrates asking questions, the questioning in these dialogues becomes much more overtly leading and didactic. In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided.

This is to be understood as synonymous not with logic but with metaphysics. It signifies the science of the Idea, the science of reality, science in the only true sense of the word. For the ideas are the only realities in the world. We observe, for instance, just actions, and we know that some men are just. But both in the actions and in the persons designated as just there exist many imperfections; they are only partly just. In the world above us there exits justice, absolute, perfect, unmixed with injustice, eternal, unchangeable, immortal. This is the Idea of justice. Similarly, in that world above us there exist the Ideas of greatness, goodness, beauty, wisdom, etc. and not only these, but also the Ideas of concrete material objects such as the Idea of man, the idea of horse, the Idea of trees, etc. In a word, the world of Ideas is a counterpart of the world of our experience, or rather, the latter is a feeble imitation of the former. The ideas are the prototypes, the phenomena are typeset. In the allegory of the cave (Republic, VII, 514 d) a race of men are described as chained in a fixed position in a cavern, able to look only at the wall in front of them. When an animal, e.g. a horse, passes in front of the cave, they, beholding the shadow on the wall, imagine it to be a reality, and while in prison they know of no other reality. When they are released and go into the light they are dazzled, but when they succeed in distinguishing a horse among the objects around them, their first impulse is to take that for a shadow of the being which they saw on the wall. The prisoners are “like ourselves”, says Plato. The world of our experience, which we take to be real, is only a shadow world. The real world is the world of Ideas, which we reach, not by sense-knowledge, but by intuitive contemplation. The Ideas are participated by the phenomena; but how this participation takes place, and in what sense the phenomena are imitations of the Ideas, Plato does not fully explain; at most he invokes a negative principle, sometimes called “Platonic Matter”, to account for the falling-off of the phenomena from the perfection of the Idea. The limitating principle is the cause of all defects, decay, and change in the world around us. The just man, for instance, falls short of absolute justice (the Idea of Justice), because in men the Idea of justice is fragmented, debased, and reduced by the principle of limitation. Towards the end of his life, Plato leaned more and more towards the Pythagorean number-theory, and, in the “Timaeus” especially, he is inclined to interpret the Ideas in terms of mathematics

The role of dialectic in Plato’s thought is contested but there are two main interpretations; a type of reasoning and a method of intuition.  Simon Blackburn adopts the first, saying that Plato’s dialectic is “the process of eliciting the truth by means of questions aimed at opening out what is already implicitly known, or at exposing the contradictions and muddles of an opponent’s position.” Karl Popper, claims that dialectic is the art of intuition for “visualizing the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man’s everyday world of appearances.”

The dialectical method consists, first, in the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea, and second, in the division of the idea into species, that is, in the processes of generalization and classification. In this way alone can there be clear and consistent thinking; we pass from concept to concept, upward and downward, generalizing and particularizing, combining and dividing, synthesizing and analyzing, carving out concepts as a sculptor carves a beautiful figure out of a block of marble. Judgment expresses the relation of concepts to one another, articulates concept with concept, while the syllogism links judgment with judgment, in the process of reasoning.

Theory of the State

Plato’s Republic is an ideal of a perfect state, the dream of a kingdom of God on earth. It is frequently spoken of as Utopian.

Plato’s theory of the State, which is given in the Republic, is based on his ethics .

Plato took for granted that the highest good of man, subjectively considered, is happiness (eudaimonia). Objectively, the highest good of man is the absolutely highest good in general, Goodness itself, or God. The means by which this highest good is to be attained is the practice of virtue and the acquisition of wisdom. So far as the body hinders these pursuits it should be brought into subjection. Here, however, asceticism should be moderated in the interests of harmony and symmetry — Plato never went the length of condemning matter and the human body in particular, as the source of all evil — for wealth, health, art, and innocent pleasures are means of attaining happiness, though not indispensable, as virtue is. Virtue is order, harmony, the health of the soul; vice is disorder, discord, disease. The State is, for Plato, the highest embodiment of the Idea. It should have for its aim the establishment and cultivation of virtue. The reason of this is that man, even in the savage condition, could, indeed, attain virtue. In order, however, that virtue may be established systematically and cease to be a matter of chance or haphazard, education is necessary, and without a social organization education is impossible. In his “Republic” he sketches an ideal state, a polity which should exist if rulers and subjects would devote themselves, as they ought, to the cultivation of wisdom. The ideal state is modeled on the individual soul. It consists of three orders: rulers (corresponding to the reasonable soul), producers (corresponding to desire), and warriors (corresponding to courage). The characteristic virtue of the producers is thrift, that of the soldiers bravery, and that of the rulers wisdom. Since philosophy is the love of wisdom, it is to be the dominant power in the state: “Unless philosophers become rulers or rulers become true and thorough students of philosophy, there shall be no end to the troubles of states and of humanity” which is only another way of saying that those who govern should be distinguished by qualities which are distinctly intellectual. Plato is an advocate of State absolutism, such as existed in his time in Sparta. The State, he maintains, exercises unlimited power. Neither private property nor family institutions have any place in the Platonic state. The children belong to the state as soon as they are born, and should be taken in charge by the State from the beginning, for the purpose of education. They should be educated by officials appointed by the State, and, according to the measure of ability, which they exhibit, they are to be assigned by the State to the order of producers, to that of warriors, or to the governing class.

Plato’s philosophical views had many societal implications, especially on the idea of an ideal state or government. Plato, through the words of Socrates, asserts that societies have a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite/spirit/reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite/spirit/reason are analogous to the castes of society.

•             Productive (Workers) — the labourers, carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc. These correspond to the “appetite” part of the soul.

•             Protective (Warriors or Guardians) — those who are adventurous, strong and brave; in the armed forces. These correspond to the “spirit” part of the soul.

•             Governing (Rulers or Philosopher Kings) — those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community. These correspond to the “reason” part of the soul and are very few.

The allegory of the cave (often said by scholars to represent Plato’s own epistemology and metaphysics) is intimately connected to his political ideology (often said to also be Plato’s own), that only people who have climbed out of the cave and cast their eyes on a vision of goodness are fit to rule. Socrates claims that the enlightened men of society must be forced from their divine contemplations and be compelled to run the city according to their lofty insights. Thus is born the idea of the “philosopher-king”, the wise person who accepts the power thrust upon him by the people who are wise enough to choose a good master. This is the main thesis of Socrates in the Republic, that the most wisdom the masses can muster is the wise choice of a ruler.

Plato describes these “philosopher kings” as “those who love the sight of truth” (Republic 475c) and supports the idea with the analogy of a captain and his ship or a doctor and his medicine. According to him, sailing and health are not things that everyone is qualified to practice by nature. A large part of the Republic then addresses how the educational system should be set up to produce these philosopher kings.

The State should be organized like the universe at large and the individual virtuous soul; that is, reason should rule in it. There are as many classes in society as there are functions of the soul, and the relations of these classes to each other should correspond to those obtaining in a healthy soul. Those who have received philosophical training represent reason and ought to be the ruling class; the warrior class represent the spirited element or will : their task is defense ; the agriculturists, and merchants represent the lower appetites, and have as function the production of material goods. Justice is reality in a State in which each class, the industrial, military, guardian, does its own work and sticks to its own business. State is temperate and brave and wise in consequence of certain affections and conditions of these same classes.

The ideal society forms a complete unity, one large family; hence, Plato opposes private property and monogamous marriage, and recommends, for the two upper castes (who are to be supported by the workers), communism and the common possession of wives and children. Among his other recommendations are supervision of marriages and births (eugenics), exposure of weak children, compulsory state education, education of women for war and government, censorship of works of art and literature.

In his later work, the Laws, Plato greatly modifies his political theory. A good State should have, besides reason or insight, freedom and friendship. All citizens should be free and have a share in the government ; they are to be landowners, while all trade and commerce should be given over to serfs and foreigners. The family is restored to its natural position. Knowledge is not everything : there are other motives of virtuous conduct, e.g., pleasure and friendship, pain and hate. Virtue, however, remains the ideal, and the education of the moral will the goal.

Wherein it concerns states and rulers, Plato has made interesting arguments. For instance he asks which is better—a bad democracy or a country reigned by a tyrant. He argues that it is better to be ruled by a bad tyrant, than be a bad democracy (since here all the people are now responsible for such actions, rather than one individual committing many bad deeds.) This is emphasized within the Republic as Plato describes the event of mutiny on board a ship. Plato suggests the ships crew to be in line with the democratic rule of many and the captain, although inhibited through ailments, the tyrant. Plato’s description of this event is parallel to that of democracy within the state and the inherent problems that arise.

There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.-Plato

REFERANCES:

BUSSELL, The School of Plato (London, 1896);

FOUILLEE, La philosophie de Platon (Paris, 1892);

GROTE, Plato and the Other Companions of Socrates (London, 1885);

HUIT, La vie et l’oeuvre de Platon (Paris, 1893);

HUIT, Le platonisme à Byzance et en Italie à la fin du moyen-âge(Brussels, 1894); articles in Annales de philosophie chretienne, new series, XX-XXII;

JOWETT, The Dialogues of Plato (Oxford, 1871; 3rd ed., New York, 1892).

LUTOSLAWSKI, Origin and Growth of Plato’s Logic (London, 1897). For history of Platonism cf.

PATER, Plato and Platonism (London, 1893);

TAROZZI, La tradizione platonica nel medio evo (Trani Vecchi, 1892).

TURNER, History of Philosophy (Boston, 1903); 93 s.q.;

WINDEBLAND, Platon (Stuttgart, 1901);

ZELLER, Plato and the Older Academy, tr. ALLEYNE AND GOODWIN (London, 1888);

 

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Philosophy [fi-los-uh-fee] – Love for Wisdom

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,


In most languages there are words that are translated into English as ‘philosophy’ — in European languages, those words often share the same Greek roots as the English word. The activities to which such words refer have a history shared with philosophy, but at some point after Kant there was a parting of the ways. The activities referred to by `philosophy’ are different in various ways from the activities referred to by words like `philosophie’, `Philosophie’, `filosofia’, etc.

The derivation of the word “philosophy” from the Greek is suggested by the following words and word-fragments.

  • philo—love of, affinity for, liking of
  • philander—to engage in love affairs frivolously
  • philanthropy—love of mankind in general
  • philately—postage stamps hobby
  • phile—(as in “anglophile”) one having a love for
  • philology—having a liking for words
  • sophos—wisdom
  • sophist—lit. one who loves knowledge
  • sophomore—wise and moros—foolish; i.e. one who thinks he knows many things
  • sophisticated—one who is knowledgeable

Defining  Philosophy

In fact, it is virtually impossible to give one universally accepted definition of philosophy. All philosophers will not agree even upon some general formal characteristics, for instance that philosophy is a discursive activity of our intellect. Widely circulated definitions of philosophy are either too general or too one-sided to be considered as anything better than useful hints about the character of philosophical thinking. In that respect philosophy is a unique discipline.

.            A suggested definition for our beginning study is as follows.

Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study.              From a psychological point of view, philosophy is an attitude, an approach, or a calling to answer or to ask, or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems .

There is, perhaps, no one single sense of the word “philosophy.” Eventually many writers abandon the attempt to define philosophy and, instead, turn to the kinds of things philosophers do.

Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection.

There are certain difficulties in defining the philosophy in a universally accepted way. These may be summarized as;

History:  Philosophy changes historically both in respect to its content and its character.. Thus we cannot find a definition of philosophy that would be both essential and sensitive to its historical variety.

Subject Matter:  Philosophy does not have any specific subject matter and hence cannot be defined with regard to any particular area of investigation. It may deal with every dimension of human life and can raise questions in any field of Hence trying to tie philosophy exclusively to one or any specific sphere would be an unjustified limitation of its reach.

Questioning . Philosophy pursues questions rather than answers.. It is not an exaggeration to say that a philosopher is someone who can make a riddle out of any answer. Hence philosophy cannot be defined with recourse to some accepted tenets, beliefs and established class of propositions.

“Philosophy,”Encyclopedia Britannica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911) Vol. 21defines “Philosophy … has no other subject matter than the nature of the real world, as that world lies around us in everyday life, and lies open to observers on every side. But if this is so, it may be asked what function can remain for philosophy when every portion of the field is already lotted out and enclosed by specialists? Philosophy claims to be the science of the whole; but, if we get the knowledge of the parts from the different sciences, what is there left for philosophy to tell us? To this it is sufficient to answer generally that the synthesis of the parts is something more than that detailed knowledge of the parts in separation which is gained by the man of science. It is with the ultimate synthesis that philosophy concerns itself; it has to show that the subject-matter which we are all dealing with in detail really is a whole, consisting of articulated members.”.

Eastern Thought, has different forms ranging from Taoism to Zen-Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation; despite some practically oriented strains (Confucianism), it is mostly intuitive, directed toward the Self and introspection; its insights come from our inwardness that needs to be emptied from all external influences; the Self is meditative, with ready made precepts for the resolution of all life problems; this is why so many self-help books draw on this tradition; Eastern sage is balanced, poised, silent; his/her prototype is the Buddha. The findings of Eastern wisdom are not fully communicable which prevents it from being entirely discoursive and argumentative.

Despite many deserved attempts to integrate Eastern thought (primarily Indian and Chinese) into Western intellectual tradition the differences are so huge that it is advisable not to apply the same term “philosophy” (itself of Western origin) to both.

The Source of Philosophy

Philosophy starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy arises from the workings of an inquisitive mind which is bewildered by seemingly common things or by those that appear to be entirely impractical. It emerges out of readiness to follow the call of human intellectual curiosity beyond common sense acquaintanceship with the world

Philosophy does not stay by pure bewilderment and amazement. Philosophers articulate their initial amazement by formulating questions (mostly what- and why-questions and what ought to be) that guide their curiosity toward comprehension of the problem. This does not mean that they seek a simple formula for all the puzzles of the world Philosophy aims at understanding and enlightenment rather than shorthand answers.

“The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be … the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education.”

Problem Areas of Philosophy

Today, most philosophers are actively concerned with life. THEY SEEK ANSWERS TO BASIC PROBLEMS. Thus we find that philosophers are doing as well as thinking, and it is their thinking which guides their doing .What they do is rooted in the search for answers to certain types of problems and the tentative answers they have formulated.

The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-

This way philosophy deals with three basic areas

.Area related with what aspect ,it is METAPHYSICS

.Area related with how aspect ,it is EPISTOMOLOGY,and

Area related with what ought to be aspect, it is AXIOLOGY.

(1)The problem  of reality is this; What is the nature of the universe in which we live? Or ,in the last analysis, what is real ? The branch of philosophy which deals with this problem is termed as METAPHYSICS

Questions Asked in Metaphysics are

What is out there?

What is reality?

Does Free Will exist?

Is there such a process as cause and effect?

Do abstract concepts (like numbers) really exist?

(2) The problem of knowledge is this; How does a man know what is real? That is to say, how do we come by our knowledge and how can we be sure it is true, not error or illusion? The area of philosophy which is devoted to solving this problem is termed as EPISTOMOLOGY.

Fundamental Problems in Epistemology are

What can we know?

How can we know it?

Why do we know some things, but not others?

How do we acquire knowledge?

Is knowledge possible?

Can knowledge be certain?

How can we differentiate truth from falsehood?

Why do we believe certain claims and not others?

(3 )The problem of value ,is this ;What are the important values which are to be desired in living? Are these values rooted in reality? And how can they be realized in our experience? The branch  of philosophy dealing with such questions are these is named AXIOLOGY . Axiology, then  is the subject area which tries to answer problems like these:

•How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?

•How do different kinds of value interrelate?

•Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?

•Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?

•What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

(4) Most closely related to epistemology, is another branch of philosophy which deals with the exact relating of ideas.This area of philosophy is commonly referred to as the science of LOGIC.

Metaphysics (Ontology):

(2) Metaphysics or Ontology (theory of reality): the inquiry into what is real as opposed to what is appearance, either conceived as that which the methods of science presuppose, or that with which the methods of science are concerned; the inquiry into the first principles of nature; the study of the most fundamental generalizations as to what exists. : the study of what is really real. Metaphysics deals with the so-called first principles of the natural order and “the ultimate generalizations available to the human intellect.” Specifically, ontology seeks to indentify and establish the relationships between the categories, if any, of the types of existent things

Metaphysics-Meta means above; this is the study of the nature of things above physics.(What comes after Physics) Metaphysics covers the kinds of things most people probably think of if asked what philosophy covers e.g. those ‘big questions’, such as, is there God, why are we here, what is the ultimate nature of the universe, and so on. Another important area of metaphysics is the nature of substance, that is, what is the universe really made of,

Metaphysics (derived from the Greek words “ta meta ta physika biblia”) – meaning ‘the book that follows the physics book’. It was the way students referred to a specific book in the works of Aristotle, and it was a book on First Philosophy. (The assumption that the word means “beyond physics” is misleading) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of “first principles” and “being” (ontology). In other words, Metaphysics is the study of the most general aspects of reality, such as substance, identity, the nature of the mind, and free will.

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. The name is derived from the Greek words, Meta which means beyond or after, and Physika which means physics. Aristotle, one of the most well-known philosophers, acknowledged Thales as the first known meta physician. The main branches of metaphysics are ontology, natural theology and universal science.

In Western philosophy, metaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality — what is it, why is it, and how are we can understand it. Some treat metaphysics as the study of “higher” reality or the “invisible” nature behind everything, but that isn’t true. It is, instead, the study of all of reality, visible and invisible; and what constitutes reality, natural and supernatural. Because most of the debates between atheists and theists involve disagreements over the nature of reality and the existence of anything supernatural, the debates are often disagreements over metaphysics.

In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. This assigns a sense to the Greek prefix meta which it did not originally have, but words do change over time. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation. For atheists, this sense of metaphysics is usually regarded as literally empty

Because atheists typically dismiss the existence of the supernatural, they may dismiss metaphysics as the pointless study of nothing. Because metaphysics is technically the study of all reality, and thus whether there is any supernatural element to it at all, in truth metaphysics is probably the most fundamental subject which irreligious atheists should focus on. Our ability to understand what reality is, what it is composed of, what “existence” means, etc., is fundamental to most of the disagreements between irreligious atheists and religious theists.

Some irreligious atheists, like logical positivists, have argued that the agenda of metaphysics is largely pointless and can’t accomplish anything. According to them, metaphysical statements cannot be either true or false — as a result, they don’t really carry any meaning and shouldn’t be given any serious consideration. There is some justification to this position, but it is unlikely to convince or impress religious theists for whom metaphysical claims constitute some of the most important parts of their lives. Thus the ability to address and critique such claims can be important.

The only thing all atheists have in common is disbelief in gods, so the only thing all atheist metaphysics will have in common is that reality doesn’t include any gods and isn’t divinely created. Despite that, most atheists in the West tend to adopt a materialistic perspective on reality. This means that they regard the nature of our reality and the universe as consisting of matter and energy. Everything is natural; nothing is supernatural. There are no supernatural beings, realms, or planes of existence. All cause and effect proceeds via natural laws.

Branches of Metaphysics:

Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science. Because of this, those are the three traditional branches of metaphysical inquiry.

Ontology is the branch of philosophy which deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are there, what are its properties, etc. The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.” Atheists generally believe that there is a single reality which is material and natural in nature.

Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc. Every religion has its own theology because its study of gods, if it includes any gods, will proceed from specific doctrines and traditions which vary from one religion to the next. Since atheists don’t accept the existence of any gods, they don’t accept that theology is the study of anything real. At most, it might be the study of what people think is real and atheist involvement in theology proceeds more from the perspective of a critical outsider rather than an involved member.

The branch of “universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc. For theists, the answer to this is almost always “god” and, moreover, they tend to argue that there can be no other possible answer. Some even go far as to argue that the existence of things like logic and the universe constitute evidence of the existence of their god

Metaphysics  Theories of the nature of reality-

A .Cosmology. Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development. It deals with the origin and structure of the universe. It accepts the principles of science and attempts to find the principles of existence ,in whatever form They may take.

Some considerations in cosmology are

a . Causality.

  • The nature of cause and effect relationship ,
  • The nature of time and
  • The nature of space..

There are two distinctive views in cosmology

Evolutionism .universe evolved by itself.

b. .Creationism. The universe came to be as the result of the working of a Creative cause or Personality.

B.The nature of man as one important aspect of Reality.The problem of essential nature of the self. There are no particular terms but there are divergent answers which can be identified with general viewpoints.

a. The self is a soul, a spiritual being. A principle of idealism and spiritual realism.

b. The self is essentially the same as the body. A principle of naturalism and physical realism

c. The self is a social-vocal phenomenon. A principle held especially by experimentalists

2. The problem of the relation of body and mind.

a. Interactionism. Mind and body are 2 different kind of reality, each of which can affect the other.

B. Parallelism. Mind and body are two different kinds of reality which do not and cannot affect each other. But in some unknown way, every mental event is paralleled by a corresponding physical event.

c. Epiphenomenalism. Mind is merely a function of the brain, an overtone accompanying bodily activity. It is an onlooker at events, never influencing them.

d. Double Aspect Theory. Mind and body are two aspects of a fundamental reality whose nature is unknown.

e. Emergence Theory. Mind is something new which has been produced by Nature in the evolutionary process, neither identical with body, parallel to it, nor wholly dependent upon it.

f. Spiritualism. (A definition common to most idealists and spiritual realists.) Mind is more fundamental than body. The relation of body and mind is better described as body depending upon mind, as compared to the common-sense description according to which mind depends upon body.

3. The problem of freedom

a. Determinism. Man is not free. All of his actions are determined by forces greater than he is.

b. Free Will. Man has the power of choice and is capable of genuine initiative.

c. There is a third alternative proposed especially by the experimentalists, for which there is no name. Man is neither free nor determined; but he can and does delay some of his responses long enough to reconstruct a total response, not completely automatic but not free, which does give a new direction to subsequent activity.

C. Conception of and about God.

1.Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit.

2.Deism. God exists quite apart from, and is disinterested in, the physical universe and human beings. But He created both and is the Author of all natural and moral law.

3.Pantheism. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical.

4.The conception of God as emerging, for which there is no common name. God is evolving with the cosmos; He is the end toward which it is moving, instead of the beginning from which it came.

5.Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. Thee is more than one God.

6.Theism. Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists.

D. Teleology. Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe.

1.Philosophies holding that the world is what it is because of chance, accident, or                blind mechanism are no teleological.

2.Philosophies holding that there has been purpose in the universe from its beginning, and /or purpose can be discerned in history, are teleological philosophies.

3.It may be that a special case must be made of the experimentalists again on this particular question, as they do not find purpose inherent in the cosmos but by purposeful activity seek to impose purpose upon it.

E. Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality.

1.Absolutism. Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable.

2.Relativism. Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.

F. Problems of quantity. Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, Apart from qualitative aspects.

1.Monism. Reality is unified. It is one. It is mind, or matter, or energy, or will but only one of these.

2.Dualism. Reality is two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil. Commonly, the antithesis is weighted, so that one of the two is considered more important and more enduring than the other.

3.Pluralism. Reality is many. Minds, things, materials, energies, laws, processes, etc., all may be considered equally real and to some degree independent of each other.

G. Ontology. The meaning of existence as such. To exist, to have being, means what?

1.Space-time or Nature as identical with existence. To exist means to occupy time and space, to be matter or physical energy. (e.g., naturalism and physical realism).

2.Spirit or God as identical with existence. To exist means to be Mind or Spirit, or to be dependent upon Mind or Spirit. (Especially true of idealism.)

3.Existence as a category which is not valid. This is held by those, especially the pragmatists, who insist that everything is flux or change and there is nothing which fits into the category of existence in any ultimate sense.

Epistemology

Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge.

A branch  of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge .theory of knowledge: the inquiry into what knowledge is, what can be known, and what lies beyond our understanding; the investigation into the origin, structure, methods, and validity of justification and knowledge; the study of the interrelation of reason, truth, and experience. Epistemology investigates the origin, structure, methods, and integrity of knowledge. The study of knowledge. In particular, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and limits of human knowledge

It deals with the definition of knowledge and its scope and limitations. It translates from Greek to mean ‘theory of knowledge’. It questions the meaning of knowledge, how we obtain knowledge, how much do we know and how do we have this knowledge? Some of the famous epistemologists are Descartes, Kant and Hume.

Kinds of knowledge

As Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. The study of epistemology focuses on our means for acquiring knowledge and how we can differentiate between truth and falsehood. knowledge can be acquired

Priori it is possible to know things before we have had experiences — this is known as a priori knowledge because priori means before. It includes  Independent of the knowledge of experience. Belonging to the mind prior to experience. This term is usually applied to principles or judgments whose validity is independent of sense data Knowledge which is self-evident. Principles which, when once understood, are recognized to  be true and do not require proof through observation, experience, or experiment.)

Posteriori: we can only know things after we have had the relevant experience — this is labeled a posteriori knowledge because posteriori means “after.”It includes  (Inductive thinking beginning with the data of experience opposed to a priori)Knowledge which is based upon experience and observation

Experimental knowledge- It is something to be put to work in experience as a function which carries experience forward satisfactorily.

The Theories of the nature of knowledge-The theories deals with the possibility of knowledge.

Agnosticism is the doctrine that holds tha one can not know the existence of anything beyond the phenomenon of experience, it may mean no more  than the suspension of judgment on ultimate questions because of insufficient evidence, or it may constitute a rejection of traditional religious tenets. The position that conclusive knowledge of ultimate reality is an impossibility.

Skepticism- Philosophical doubting of knowledge claims in various areas ,a challenge to accepted views in science ,morals, and religion. A questioning attitude toward the possibility of having any knowledge.

The affirmation of knowledge. The position that true knowledge of ultimate reality is possible,

The affirmation of functional knowledge. The position that knowledge is always fractional, never total , and functions in a present field or situation where it is needed, and that we can appropriate such fractional and functional knowledge.

The Instruments of Knowledge

Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Without some means of understanding how we acquire knowledge, how we rely upon our senses, and how we develop concepts in our minds, we have no coherent path for our thinking. A sound epistemology is necessary for the existence of sound thinking and reasoning — this is why so much philosophical literature can involve seemingly arcane discussions about the nature of knowledge.

Empiricism: knowledge is obtained through experience.The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained. Empiricism, , is more uniform in the sense that it denies that any form of rationalism is true or possible. Empiricists may disagree on just how we acquire knowledge through experience and in what sense our experiences give us access to outside reality; nevertheless, they all agree that knowledge about reality requires experience and interaction with reality

Rationalism: knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason.The position that reason is the chief source of knowledge. Rationalism is not a uniform position. Some rationalists will simply argue that some truths about reality can be discovered through pure reason and thought (examples include truths of mathematics, geometry and sometimes morality) while other truths do require experience. Other rationalists will go further and argue that all truths about reality must in some way be acquired through reason, normally because our sense organs are unable to directly experience outside reality at all.

Intuitionism-A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness .Direct or immediate knowledge of self , others ,or data.An internal, personal phenomenon.

Autoritarionism-The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority

Reveleation –T he position that  God presently reveals himself in the holy books or holy places. A communication of God,s will to man from some external source

Logic: Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is the same: to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference to allow one to distinguish good from bad arguments.

The study of the proper methods of thinking and reasoning. Logic languages, like Predicate Logic, promise to produce arguments which, if the premises are true, can only lead to true conclusions. Logic is slightly different than the other branches as it aims to suggest the correct ways of studying philosophy in general.

Logic is the science of exact thought. The .The systematic treatment of the relation of ideas. A study of methods distinguishing valid thinking   which is fallacious. : Among the branches of philosophy, logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions. It includes the system of statements and arguments. It is now divided into mathematical logic and philosophical logic. It tries to avoid the imaginary or assumptions without real logical proof.
A.Induction. Reasoning from particulars to a general conclusion.

B.Deduction. Reasoning from general principle to particulars included within the scope of that principle.

C.The syllogism. A form in which to cast deductive reasoning. It is comprised of three propositions : the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion.

D.Experimental reasoning or problem-solving. A form of reasoning, largely inductive but using deduction as well, which begins wigh a  problem observes all the data relating to the problem, formulates hypotheses and tests them to reach a workable solution of the problem.

E.Dialectic. A method of reasoning of reasoning in which the conflict or contrast of ideas is utilized as a means of detecting the truth. In hegel’s formulation of it there are three stages: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

Axiology: the Study of Value: the study of value; the investigation of its nature, criteria, and metaphysical status. More often than not, the term “value theory” is used instead of “axiology” in contemporary discussions even though the term “theory of value” is used with respect to the value or price of goods and services in economics. . The general theory of value. The nature of values, the different kinds of value, specific values worthy of possession

Axiology (theory of value): the inquiry into the nature, criteria, and metaphysical status of value. Axiology, in turn, is divided into two main parts: ethics and æsthetics.

Although the term “axiology” is not widely used outside of philosophy, the problems of axiology include

(1) how values are experienced,

(2) the kinds of value,

(3) the standards of value, and

(4) in what sense values can be said to exist.

A. The nature of value.

1.The interest theory. Values depend upon the interest of the person who enjoys them. Strictly speaking, they do not exist but are supported by the interest of the value.

2.The existence theory. Values have an existence in their own right which is independent of the valuer and his interest. Values are not qualities or essences without foundation in existence; they are essence plus existence.

3.The experimentalist theory. That is of value which yields a greater sense of happiness in the present and at the same time opens the way to further goods in future experiences.

4.The part whole theory. The key to realizing and enjoying value is the effective relating of parts to wholes.

B. Realms of value.

1. Ethics. : Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the “science (study) of morality”. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is “good” or “right.” The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy.

It is concerned with questions on morality and values and how they apply to various situations. It can be divided into the branches of meta-ethics, normative and applied ethics. Ethics seeks to understand the basis of morals, how they develop and how they are and should be followed. Famous works on ethics are by philosophers as early as Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche.

The study of values in human behavior or the study of moral problems: e.g., (1) the rightness and wrongness of actions, (2) the kinds of things which are good or desirable, and (3) whether actions are blameworthy or praiseworthy The nature of good and evil. The problems of conduct and ultimate objectives.

a. The worth of living.

1.Optimism. Existence is good. Life is worth living. Our outlook can be hopeful.

2.Pessimism. Existence is evil. Life is not worth the struggle; we should escape it by some means.

3.Meliorism. Conclusions as to the goodness or evil of existence cannot be made final. Human effort may improve the human situation. The final end cannot be assured, but we must face life, not escape it, applying all the effort and resource we can command.

B. The highest good or summum bonum. The end, aim, or objective of living which is above all other ends. In absolutist philosophies it is the ultimate end which by its nature cannot be a means to another end.

1.Hedonism. The highest good is pleasure. Hedonist ranging from the intense pleasure of the moment to highly refined and enduring pleasure or contentment. Utilitarianism is a form of hedonism having society as its frame of reference. According to it, the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the prime objective.

2.Perfectionism. The highest good is the perfection of the self, or self-realization. Perfection of the self, or self realization. Perfectionism may also have its social frame of reference, envisioning  and ideal social order as the ultimate objective of society.

C. The criteria of conduct. From one’s conception of the highest good there follow logically certain practical principles for everyday living. Some examples are

1.Kant’s maxim: act only on those principles which you are willing should become universal moral laws.

2.Spencer’s principal: action to be right must be conducive to self-preservation.

3.Dewey’s principle: discover the probable consequences of what you consider doing, by going through an imaginative rehearsal of the possibilities.

4.The religious principle: obey the will of God; commit yourself completely to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for yourself and the world.

D. The motivation of conduct. The kind and scope of the interests which guide conduct.

1.Egoism. The interests of self should be served by an individual’s actions.

2.Altruism. The interest of other or of the social group should be served by an individual’s actions. One realizes his won fullest selfhood in seeking the best interests of others.

3.Religious Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be possessed in worship, religious experience, and religious service.

4.Educational Values. The kind, nature and worth of values inherent in the educative process.

5.Social Values. The kind, nature and worth of values only realized in community and in the individual’s relation to society. Some more specific kinds of social values are the political and the economic

6.Utilitarian Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be realized in harmonious adjustment to or efficient control of the forces of the physical environment.

There are two main subdivisions of axiology: ethics and æsthetics.. Each of these subdivisions are briefly characterized below.

Aesthetics:The philosophy of art. Concerned with questions like why do we find certain things beautiful, what makes things great art, so on. the study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards of beauty and related concepts. Philosophy of art is concerned with judgments of sense, taste, and emotion.

Aesthetics deals with sense, perception and appreciation of beauty. It broadly includes everything to do with appreciating of art, culture and nature. It also examines how the perception of beauty is determined by taste and aesthetic judgment. The practice of defining, criticizing and appreciating art and art forms is based on aesthetics.

Aesthetics involves the conceptual problems associated with the describing the relationships among our feelings and senses with respect to the experience of art and nature .It is the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards concerning the nature of beauty and related concepts such as the tragic, the sublime, or the moving—especially in the arts; the analysis of the values of sensory experience and the associated feelings or attitudes in art and nature; the theories developed in les beaux arts.

Actually Aesthetics deals with the nature of the values which  are found in the feeling aspects of experience. The conscious search for the principles governing the creation and appreciation of beautiful things.

(b) Ethics: This is probably the most self-explanatory of all the branches. Concerned with such things as what is good/evil, is there such a thing as objective morals or are they created by us, or some other being, how we should live our lives, and so on.. Ethics involves the theoretical study of the moral valuation of human action—it’s not just concerned with the study of principles of conduct .It is the inquiry into the nature and concepts of morality, including the important problems of good, right, duty, virtue, and choice; the study of the principles of living well and doing well as a human being; the moral principles implicit in mores, religion, or philosophy.

Philosophy- Indian point of view

From the Indian viewpoint,  the word ‘philosophy’ suggests “observing and surveying”  the existence. In Sanskrit, the philosophy is referred to as  ‘darshana’.  The Sanskrit word ‘darshana’ has its root in the word ‘drs’ that means ‘to see’, ‘to look’ or ‘to view’. “Seeing” or “viewing” the reality and the facts of experience forms the basis of philosophy. Senses, mind and even consciousness are involved in this ‘seeing’. “Seeing” also encompasses “contemplation”. Seeing is not simply a sensory activity. ‘Seeing’ may primarily be a perceptual observation. But it may also concern the conceptual knowledge or an intuitional flash.  Thus ‘darshana‘ suggests vision. In other words, ‘darshana’ is a whole view revealed to the inner self, what we term as the soul or the spirit or the inner being.  Philosophy or ‘darshana’ is concerned with the vision of ‘truth and reality’.

This way while  Philoosophy is considered as Goal while in Indian context  Darshan is considered as m Means

All systems of Indian philosophy are ranged  in two categories:

Astika systems, which affirm, and Nastika systems.Indian philosophy, include both orthodox (astika) systems, namely, theNyayaVaisheshikaSamkhyaYoga, Purva-Mimamsa (orMimamsa), andVedanta schools of philosophy.

Nastika systems, which were chiefly those of the Charvakas, the Buddhists, and the Jains. But, strange to say, these systems were called Nastika, heterodox and nihilist, not because they questioned or denied the existence of God ,but because they questioned, denied or ignored the authority of the Vedas.

Each of these systems differs in one way or the other in terms of its concepts, phenomena, laws and dogmas. Each system has it’s own founder as well. It is important to know that the founders of these systems of philosophy are sages of the highest order that have devoted their lives for the study and propagation of philosophy..

Each darsana explains the origin of the world, its creation and transformation.

There are three different approaches that these darsanas follow:

1- Arambha vada- holds that the universe is created.

2- Parinama vada- holds that the universe is not created or destroyed but it only transforms. Particularly, it is transformation of the manifesting form of the immutable absolute.

3- Vivarta vada- holds that the Universe as it appears is but because of the limitation of observer and it appears so, because of Maya.

It becomes difficult, sometimes, to name a single founder or a promoter of a system. However, the following are widely acknowledged as proponents of the above systems: Gautama for Nyaya, Kanada for Vaisheshika, Patanjali for Yoga, Kapila for Samkhya, Jaimini for Purva-Mimamsaand Shamkara for Uttar-Mimamsa.

Charvakism is believed to have been promoted by Charvaka. Vardhamana Mahavira is acknowledged as the founder of Jainism and GautamaBuddha as the founder of Buddhism.

The common characteristics in Indian Philosophies:

The systems of Indian philosophies, with a singular exception of Charvakism, have certain common characteristics. Charvakism remarkably differs from other systems as it promotes materialism.

Brief outline of Shad-Darshan is given below:

1. NYAYA- by Sage Gautam

Logical Quest of Supreme, Phases of Creation, Science of Logical Reasoning

2.  VAISHESIKA – by Sage Kanad

Science of Logic, Futility of Maya, Vedic Atomic Theory

3. SANKHYA -  by Sage Kapil

Eliminate Physical and Mental Pains for receiving liberations, Nontheistic Dualism

4. YOGA – by Sage Patanjali

Practice of Meditation and Samadhi for Renunciation, Self Discipline for Self Realization

5. KARMA MIMANSA -  by Sage Jaimini

Poorv Mimamsa explaining the Vedas are eternal and Divine; Elevation Through the Performance of Duty

6.VEDANTA – by Sage VedVyas

Uttar Mimansa (Brahma Sutra) explaning the divine nature of Soul, Maya and Creation; Conclusion of edic Revelation

The six Darshan Shastras are divided in the groups of two each based on their closely related texts, such as Nyaya and Vaisheshika are closely allied to each other. The next twoSankhaya and Yoga are closed to each other, and finally the Poorva Mimamsa and Uttar Mimamsa are allied to each other.

THE CHARAVAKAS

Another pre-Buddhistic system of philosophy, the Charvaka, or the Lokayata, is one of the earliest materialistic schools of philosophy.The name Charvakais traced back to one Charvaka, supposed to have been one of the great teachers of the school. The other name, Lokayata, means “the view held by the common people,” “the system which has its base in the common, profane world,” “the art of sophistry,” and also “the philosophy that denies that there is any world other than this one.” Brihaspati probably was the founder of this

THE JAIN

Jainism, founded about the 6th century bce by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th in a succession of religious leaders known either as Tirthankaras(Saviours) or as Jinas (Conquerors), rejects the idea of God as the creator of the world but teaches the perfectibility of humanity, to be accomplished through the strictly moral and ascetic life.

BUDDHISM

Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, He came to be called “the Buddha,” which means “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. He taught that awakening comes through one’s own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas.

 

References

Broudy, Harry S., Building a Philosophy of Education. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961..

Butler, J.Donald, Four Philosophies and Their Practice in Education and Religion. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1957.

Cotter, A.C. ABC of Scholastic Philosophy. Weston, Massachusetts: Weston College Press, 1949

Frank Thilly, “A History of philosophy”, Central Publishing House, Allahabad.

John Dewey, “Reconstruction in Philosophy,” p-38. London, University of London Press Ltd. 1921.

Morries, Van Cleve, Philosophy and the American School. Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1961.

Rusk, R.R., “Philosophical Basis of Education” p-68, footnote, London, University of London Press, 1956.

Weber, Christian O., Basic Philosophies of Education. New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1960.

 

 

 

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Concept of Aims and Objectives of Education

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

Education is a purposeful and ethical activity and each activity as aspect has some aim before it. So, there is a close relationship between an activity and its aim.

An aim is a conscious purpose which we set before us, while   launching upon any activity. Just like that education is also unthinkable without aims. If there are no aims the educational process would not take place because an aim is a pre-determined goal which inspires the activity of education.

Aims act as basic directions while conducting a research or carrying out a project. It can be chunked into various objectives which help in reaching the aim easily. It has a long range perspective which reflects aspirations and ambition of the entity.

In the words of John Dewey “An aim is a foreseen end that gives direction to an activity or motivates behavior”.

Importance of Educational Aims

All our methods of teaching, our curriculum and our system of evaluation are shaped and molded according to our aim of education. It is the ignorance of right aims that has vitiated our educational system, its methods and its products, and has successfully resulted in the physical, intellectual and moral weaknesses of the race. There is a great necessity of aims in education because of the following reasons:

1.To direct efforts: Educational aims keep the teacher and the taught on the right track. They provide a line of action and guidance to the teachers. They give direction and zest to the work of the pupils. Educational aims help us to avoid wastage in time and energy.

2.To evaluate ourselves : The aim is a yard-stick with which we can measure our success and failure. They are necessary to assess the outcome of the educational process.

3.  To provide efficient  administration : Aims are necessary for efficient school administration and organization. They help the school authorities in organizing, equipping, and administering the school.

Factors determining Educational Aims

Many factors have been contributing and do contribute to the determining of educational aims. These factors touch every phase of human life that was, that is or what will be.

1.Factors associated with  Philosophy of life : Aims of education are always  influenced by the philosophy of life of the people of that country.

2. Factors associated with   Psychology : The aims of education should be according to the nature, needs, requirements, inspiration and interest of the learners.. The aims of education should relate knowledge with the activities of life.

3. Factors associated with  Socio-economic problem : Besides, political ideologies, the social economic problems of a country, determine the aims of education

4. Factors associated with  Political ideology : Political ideologies also help in determining the aims of education. The aims of education are fixed in accordance with the ideology of the state to uphold the right of state.

5. Factors associated with   exploration of knowledge : Education has also to give due consideration to the advancements in knowledge as for as the question of educational aims are concerned.

6. Factors associated with  Culture : It is the most important function of the education to develop and preserve the cultural heritage. The changing and developing pattern of cultural factors directly influence the aims of education.

Difference between Aim and Objective

The word aim is often misconstrued with objective, as they talk about what an individual or entity may want to achieve.

The following points are important, so far as the difference between aim and objective is concerned:

  • The term aim is described as the ultimate goal, which an individual or the entity strive to achieve. The objective is something a person/entity seeks to achieve, by continuously chasing it.
  • The aim of the entity reflects its long-term outcomes while its objectives indicate the short term targets of the entity. Aims are long term statement of purpose that may be achieved over a long period of time, say one or more years. Objectives are bound in a short and specified time say one teaching learning period or during teaching learning of one chapter.
  • Philosophy provides base to aims, while psychology provides base to objectives.
  • Aims are broader in sense. You may need to state a number of objectives to achieve one aim. In this sense objectives are narrower.
  • Aims relates with general direction or intent of an individual/ institution. Objectives are specific goal of an individual or institution.
  • Aim is a foreseen end. Objectives are influenced by aims The aim is related to the  mission and purpose whereas objectives are concerned with the achievements .
  • Aim answers the question, what is to be achieved? Unlike objective which answers, How it is to be achieved?
  • Aims are not time bound, i.e. there is no time frame within which the aim of the entity must be achieved as it is hard to say accurately, how much time it will take to achieve. On the other hand, objectives are always accompanied with a time frame, within which it must be achieved.
  • The most important difference between these two is on measurability. Aims may or may not be easily observable and measurable.

BLOOM’S  TAXONOMY  OF  EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

Bloom’  Benjamin’s  has  put  forward  a  taxonomy  of  educational objectives,  which  provides  a  practical  framework  within  which educational  objectives  could  be  organized  and  measured.  In his taxonomy Bloom  divided educational objectives into three domains.  These  are:

  1. Cognitive Domain  (Head oriented )
  2. Affective Domain ( Heart oriented )
  3. Psycho-motor Domain ( Hand oriented )

The Cognitive Domain

The  cognitive domain  involves  those  objectives  that  deal  with  the development of intellectual abilities and skills. These have to do with the mental abilities of the brain

 

Learning outcome in Cognitive Domain

The domain is categorized into six hierarchical levels , comprehension,  application,  analysis,  synthesis  and evaluation. These levels are of  hierarchical and increasing operational difficulties  that  achievement  of  a  higher  level  of  skill  assumes  the achievement of the previous levels. This implies that a higher level of skill could be achieved only if a certain amount of ability called for by the previous level has been achieved.

 

Knowledge Level

Knowledge or memory is the first, the lowest and the foundation for the development of higher order cognitive skills. It involves the recognition or  recall  of  previous  learned  information.   For  measurement purposes,  memory  or  knowledge  involves  bringing  to  mind  the appropriate material. This cognitive level emphasizes the psychological process of remembering. Knowledge is remembering or retrieving previously learned material.

Knowledge can also be classified into the following:-

i. Specifics (taxonomy, facts, definitions etc.)

ii. Ways and means of dealing with specifics (rules)

iii. Conventions (styles, symbols practices, allegories)

iv. Trends and sequences (order or sequence)

v. Classification and categories (classes, sets, divisions)

vi. Criteria (established facts and criteria)

vii. Techniques and procedures or Methodology.

viii. Universals and abstractions.

ix. Knowledge of principles and generalizations (laws, formulas)

x Knowledge of theories and structures (models, philosophies)

Comprehension Level

Comprehension is the ability to grasp or construct meaning from material. Comprehension is all about internalization of knowledge. It involvers making memory out of what is stored in the brain file. It is on this basis that what is stored inthe brain can be understood and translated, interpreted or extrapolated. It is only when you have known something that you can understand it.

Comprehension level is made up of the following:

i. Translation: which  involves  the  ability  to  understand  literal messages across communication forms, changing what is known from one form of communication to another e.g. from words to numbers,  graphs,  maps,  charts,  cartoons,  pictures,  formulas, symbols,  models, equations etc.

ii. Interpretation: which  goes  beyond  mere  literal  translation  to identification of inter-relationships among parts and components of communication and interpreting and relating these to the main components e.g. to interpret a chart or graph etc.

iii. Extrapolation: which involves the ability to draw implications and ability  to  identify  and continue  a  trend,  isolate  or  detect consequences, suggest possible meaning and estimate possible effect.

Application Level

As per the hierarchic nature of the instructional objectives  it is not possible to understand unless it is known..  It  also  means  that  one  cannot  apply  what  he/she  do  not understand.  The  use  of abstractions  in a  concrete  situation is  called application. These abstractions can be in the form of general ideas, rules, or procedures or generalized methods, technical terms, principles, ideas and theories which must be remembered, understood and applied. Understanding before correct application is an essentiality.

In application the learner uses what he knows to solve a new problem, or in a new situation. Application involves the ability to the learner to grasp exactly what the problem is all about and what generalization or principles are relevant, useful, or pertinent for its solution.  Application is the ability to use learned material, or to implement material in new and concrete situations.

Analysis Level

  • It is the breaking down of communication into its constituent parts or elements
  • It establish the relationship  between ideas expressed to be clear or explicit.
  • It is the ability to break down or distinguish the parts of material into its components.
  • Its organizational structure may be better understood.

The components here include:

i. Analysis  of Elements: which is  concerned with the  ability  to identify the underlying elements such as assumptions, hypothesis, conclusions,  views,  values,  arguments,  statements  etc  and  to determine the nature and functions of such elements?

ii. Analysis of Relationship: which involves trying to determine how the elements identified are related to each other? For instance, how does the evidence relate to the conclusion?

iii. Analysis  of  Organizational  principles: which  involves determining the principles or system of organization which holds the different elements and parts together? It involves finding the pattern, the structure, systematic arrangements, point of view, etc.

Synthesis Level

  • Contrary to analysis which involves breaking down of materials, communication, object etc,
  • In synthesis  building up or putting together elements is processed.
  • It is  concerned with the  ability  to put parts  of knowledge together to form a new knowledge.
  • In it parts, pieces and components in order to form a unique whole or to constitute a new form, plan, pattern or structure.
  • It  involves divergent  thinking.  It calls  for  imaginative,  original  and  creative thinking.
  • It calls for creative answers to problems and for the development of questioning mind, spirit of inquiry or inquisitive mind. It requires fluency of novel ideas and flexible mind.

 

Evaluation Level

  • It is  the  top most level in the  hierarchy.
  • Evaluation as a cognitive objective involves the learners’  ability  to  organize  his  thought  and  knowledge
  • It helps in  reaching  a logical and rational decision which is defendable.
  • It involves making a quantitative or qualitative judgment about a piece of communication, a procedure, a method, a proposal, a plan etc.
  • It is the ability to judge, check, and even critique the value of material for a given purpose.

 

Evaluation  is  the  most  complex  of  human  cognitive  behaviour.  It embodies  elements  of  the  other  five  categories.  (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis and synthesis)

.

Action Verbs in Cognitive Domain

OBJECTIVES ACTION VERBS
Knowledge Know, identify, relate, list, define, recall, memorize,  repeat, record, name, recognize, acquire

 

 

Understanding Restate, locate, report, recognize, explain, express, identify, discuss, describe, review, Infer, conclude, illustrate, interpret, draw, represent, and differentiate

 

Application Apply, relate, develop, translate, use, operate, organize, employ, restructure, interpret, demonstrate, illustrate, practice, calculate, show, exhibit,  dramatize
Analysis Analyze, categorize,  compare, , differentiate,    deduce, detect, discover, discriminate, dissect, examine, experiment, inquire, inspect, investigate, probe, scrutinize, Separate, survey

 

Synthesis Compose, produce, design,  assemble, create, prepare,  predict, modify, tell, plan,

Invent,  formulate,  collect, set up, generalize, , combine, relate, Propose,  develop,  arrange,  construct,  organize, originate, derive, write, propose

Evaluation Judge, assess, compare, evaluate, conclude,  measure, deduce, argue, decide,

Choose, rate, select, estimate, validate, consider, appraise,  value, criticize

 

 

Revised B.S.Bloom Taxonomy of Instructional Objectives

Anderson and Krathwohl  in the year 1995-2000 revised the taxonomy of instructional objectives previously propounded by Bloom. Anderson and Krathwohl’S Taxonomy

In 1956, Benjamin S. Bloom classified domains of human learning into three parts — cognitive (knowing; related to head), affective (feeling; related to heart), and psychomotor (doing; related to hand) as the educational objectives. Bloom’s taxonomy is a model of classification of thinking into multilevels in increasing order of complexities. As a result of this classification, a series of taxonomies was obtained in each domain that provided a means of expressing qualitatively different levels of thinking of learners.

In the following table are the two primary existing taxonomies of cognition. The one on the left, entitled Bloom’s, is based on the original work of Benjamin Bloom and others as they attempted in 1956 to define the functions of thought, coming to know, or cognition. This taxonomy is over 50 years old.

Table – Bloom vs. Anderson/Krathwohl.  Visual comparison of the two taxonomies

 

 

 

One of the things that clearly differentiates the new model from that of the 1956 original is that it lays out components nicely so they can be considered and used, and so cognitive processes as related to chosen instructional tasks can be easily documented and tracked. This feature has the potential to make teacher assessment, teacher self-assessment, and student assessment easier or clearer as usage patterns emerge.

The primary differences are not just in the listings or rewordings from nouns to verbs, or in the renaming of some of the components, or even in the repositioning of the last two categories. The major differences in the updated version is in the more useful and comprehensive additions of how the taxonomy intersects and acts upon different types and levels of knowledge — factual, conceptual, procedural and meta-cognitive.

 

Affective  Domain (feelings, emotions and behaviour, ie., attitude, or ’feel’)

Previously the educationists never encourage emotionalism  in education. They believe that intellectualism had  nothing to do with the learner’s interests, emotions or impulses. Today, they have acknowledge that the learner’s feelings and emotions are equally  important  in  education.  In the year 1975 Tanner and Tanner  insist that the primary goals of learning are affective. They are of the opinion that learners should not learn what is selected for them by others. This is because it amounts to imposition on the learners of other peoples values and purposes.

Krathwohl’s affective domain taxonomy is perhaps the best known of any of the affective taxonomies. “The taxonomy is ordered according to the principle of internalization. Internalization refers to the process whereby a person’s affect toward an object passes from a general awareness level to a point where the affect is ‘internalized’ and consistently guides or controls the person’s behavior .

The  function  of  the  affective  domain  in  the  instructional situation pertains to emotions, the passions, the dispositions, the moral and  the  aesthetic  sensibilities,  the  capacity  for  feeling,  concern, attachment or detachment, sympathy, empathy, and appreciation.

Affective domain is generally covert in behaviour. The educational objectives here vary from simple  attention  to  complex  and  internally  consistent  qualities  of character and conscience.

 

 

 

Affective domain has five hierarchical categories. You remember that the cognitive domain has six hierarchical levels. Specifically, the levels in affective domain fall into these levels:

 

Receiving

This is the lowest level of the learning outcomes in the affective domain. It means attending. It is the learner’s willingness to attend to a particular stimulus or his being sensitive to the existence of a given problem, event, condition or situation. The learner is sensitized to the existence of certain  phenomena; that is, that she/he be willing to receive or to attend to them.

Receiving has three sub-levels. These are:

Receiving

 

Awareness:
Willingness:
Controlled  or  selected  attention:

 

Awareness: which  involves  the  conscious  recognition  of  the existence  of  some  problems,  conditions,  situations,  events, phenomena etc. take for instance as a teacher, you come into your class while the students are making noise. You will notice that the atmosphere will change. This is because the students have become aware of your presence. They are merely aware.

ii. Willingness: This is the next stage which involves the ability to acknowledge the object, event, problem instead of ignoring or avoiding it. The students in your class kept quite because they noticed and acknowledged your presence. If they had ignored your presence they would continue to make noise in the class.

iii. Controlled  or  selected  attention: This  involves  the  learner selecting or choosing to pay attention to the situation, problem, event or phenomenon. When you teach in the class, the learner is aware of your saying or the points you are making. In that case hewill  deliberately  shut  off  messages  or  speeches  or  sounds  asnoises.  Receiving  in  a  classroom  situation  involves  getting, holding and directing the attention of the learners to whatever the teacher has to say in the class.

Responding

Here the learner responds to the event by participating. . Attends and  reacts to a particular phenomenon. He does not only attend, he also reacts by doing something. Active participation on the part of the learners.

Learning outcomes may emphasize:

  • Compliance in responding,
  • Willingness to respond,
  • Satisfaction in responding  (motivation).

Responding has three sub-levels too. These are:

  • Acquiescence in responding: which involves simple obedience orcompliance.
  • Willingness to respond: This involves voluntary responses to a given situation.
  • Satisfaction in response: if he is satisfied with the response he enjoys reacting to the type of situation.

Valuing

Valuing is related with the worth or value or benefit which a leaner attaches to a particular object, phenomenon ,behaviour or situation. This ranges from simple acceptance to the more  complex state of commitment  This ranges in degree from mere acceptance of value or a desire to improve group skills to a more complex level of commitment or an assumption of responsibility for the effective functioning of the group.

There are three sub-levels of valuing:

Valuing

 

Acceptance  of  a  value
Preference for a value
Commitment to a value

 

 

i. Acceptance  of  a  value: This  is  a  situation  where  the  learner believes  tentatively  in  a  proportion,  doctrine,  condition  or situation.

ii. Preference for a value: In this case the learner believes in the desirability or necessity of the condition, doctrine, proposition etc.  and  ignores  or  rejects  other  alternatives  and  deliberately  looks for other people views where the issues are controversial, so as to form his own opinion.

iii. Commitment to a value: In this stage the learner is convinced and fully  committed  to  the  doctrine,  principle  or  cause.  In consequence,  the  learner  internalizes  a  set  of  specific  values, which consistently manifest themselves in his event behaviour, attitudes and appreciation.

Organization

Here the learner starts to bring together different values as an organized system. He determines the interrelationships and establishes the order of priority by comparing, relating and synthesizing the values. He  then builds  a  consistent value  system by resolving any  possible conflicts between them. He has to organize the values into a system in order to decide which value to emphasis .Organizes values into priorities by contrasting different  values and, resolving conflicts between them, and creating an unique value system.  The emphasis is on comparing, relating, and synthesizing values.

There are two sub-levels of organization . These are:

i. Conceptualization of a Value

This involves the understanding of the relationship of abstract elements of a value to these already held or to new values which are gaining acceptance.

ii. Organization of Value System?

This  involves  the  development  of  a  complex  value  system,  which includes  those  values  that  cannot  be  compared  for  the  purpose  of making choices in order to promote public welfare, instead of the sheer aggrandizement of special personal interest.Recognizes the need for balance between freedom and responsible behavior.

Characterization by a Value or a Value Complex

Here the person acts  consistently in accordance with such values, beliefs or ideals that comprise his total philosophy or view of life. The behavior is pervasive, consistent, predictable, and  most importantly, characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives are  concerned with the student’s general patterns of adjustment  in personal, social,  emotional domain.

There are two levels Value Complex of :

i. Generalized set: This involves a situation where the orientation of the  individual  enables  him  to  reduce  to  order  a  complex environment and to act consistently and effectively in it. There may be room for the individual to revise his judgements and to change  his  behaviour  as  a  result  of  available  new  and  valid evidence.

ii. Characterization: In  this  case,  the  internalization  of  a  value system  is  such  that  the  individual  is  consistently  acting  in harmony with it. The value system regulates the individual’s personal and civil life according to a code of behaviour based on ethical principles.

Psychomotor domain (manual and physical skills, ie., skills, or ’do’)

Psychomotor objectives are those specific to discreet physical functions, reflex actions and interpretive movements. Traditionally, these types of objectives are concerned with the physically encoding of information, with movement and/or with activities where the gross and fine muscles are used for expressing or interpreting information or concepts. This area also refers to natural, autonomic responses or reflexes.

It means  that the  instructional  objectives make  performance  skills  more prominent. The psychomotor domain has to do with muscular activities.

 

 

 

 

The psychomotor domain includes physical and motor (or muscular) skills. Every act has a psychomotor component. In the learning situation there is again a progression from mere physical experience – seeing, touching, moving etc. – through the carrying out of complex skills under guidance, to the performance of skilled activities independently.

Psychomotor domain is sub divided into hierarchical levels. The six levels from simplest to most complex are:

(i)Reflex  movements

(ii)  Basic  Fundamental movements

(iii) Perceptual abilities

(iv) Physical abilities

(v) Skilled movements and

(vi) Non-discursive communication

Reflex Movements:

At the lowest level of the psychomotor domain is the reflex movements which  every  normal  human  being  should  be  able  to  make.

Reflex movements are defined as involuntary motor responses to stimuli. They form the basis for all behaviour involving movement of any kind.

Objectives at this level include reflexes that involve one segmental or reflexes of the spine and movements that may involve more than one segmented portion of the spine as inter-segmental reflexes (e.g., involuntary muscle contraction). These movements are involuntary being either present at birth or emerging through maturation.

Basic Fundamental Movements:

Objectives in this area refer to skills or movements or behaviors related to walking, running, jumping, pushing, pulling and manipulating. They are often components for more complex actions.

Basic fundamental movements are defined as those inherent body movement patterns, which build upon the foundation laid by reflex movements. They usually occur during the first year of life, and unfold rather than are taught or consciously acquired. These movements involve movement patterns which change a child from a stationary to an ambulatory learner.

There are three sub-categories at this stage. These are:

i. Locomotor movement: which involves movements of the body from place to place such as crawling, walking, leaping, jumping etc.

ii. Non-locomotor  movements: which  involves  body  movements that do not involve moving from one place to another. These include muscular movements, wriggling of the trunk, head and any other part of the body. They also include turning, twisting etc of the body.

iii.     Manipulative movements: which involves the use of the hands or limbs to move things to control things etc.

-Perceptual Abilities:

Objectives in this area should address skills related to kinesthetic (bodily movements), visual, auditory, tactile (touch), or coordination abilities as they are related to the ability of acquiring  information from the environment and react.

Perceptual abilities are really inseparable from motor movements. They help learners to interpret stimuli so that they can adjust to their environment. Superior motor activities depend upon the development of perception. They involve kinaesthetic discrimination, visual discrimination, auditory discrimination and co-ordinated abilities of eye and hand, eye and foot.

Perceptual abilities are concerned with the ability of the individuals to perceive and distinguish  things  using  the  senses.  Such  individuals  recognise  and compare  things  by  physically  tasting,  smelling,  seeing,  hearing  and touching.

-Physical Abilities:

Objectives in this area should be related to endurance, flexibility, agility, strength, reaction-response time or dexterity. Physical abilities are essential to efficient motor activity. They are concerned with the vigor of the person, and allow the individual to meet the demands placed upon him or her in and by the environment. These abilities fall in the area of health and physical education.

Skilled Movements:

Objectives in this area refer to skills and movements that must be learned for games, sports, dances, performances, or for the arts.

Skilled movements are defined as any efficiently performed complex movement. They require learning and should be based upon some adaptation of the inherent patterns of movement described in level number two above. This is a  higher  ability  than  the  physical  abilities.

There are three sub-levels of the skilled movements. These are:

  • Simple adaptive skills,
  • Compound adaptive skills
  • Complex adaptive skills.

Non-Discursive Communication:

Objectives in this area refer to expressive movements through posture, gestures, facial expressions, and/or creative movements like those in mime or ballet.  These movements refer to interpretative movements that communicate meaning without the aid of verbal commands or help. Non-discursive communication can be defined as comprising those behaviours which are involved in movement communication.

There are two sub-levels of the non-discursive communication. They are:

1-Expressive movement

2- Interpretive movement.

Comparative Impact on Bloom’s taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy has six tiers of learning arranged in a hierarchical way. For example, if a learner applies her knowledge, she has already crossed the previous two stages of learning . With a little change in the hierarchy, revised taxonomy has also six tiers of learning that are more explicit. One of the other significant changes is that revised Bloom’s taxonomy has two dimensions identified as the knowledge dimension (kind of knowledge to be learnt) and the cognitive process dimension whereas Bloom’s taxonomy has only one dimension.

The revised taxonomy is different in following ways –

 It is a shift from the noun to verb words.

 The word knowledge was considered inappropriate as a category of thinking and is replaced by remembering. Thinking is an active process and knowledge is the product of thinking. Knowledge is not viewed as a form of thinking.

 Comprehension is revised as understanding.

 Evaluating has replaced synthesis and creating has replaced evaluation. The word synthesis was not very communicative about the learning actions. Therefore, it is replaced by creating, i.e. putting the learnt things together in a novel way.

 The subcategories of the six categories are also in the form of verbs.

(ii) Structure: In Bloom’s taxonomy, one has to find some ways to cut across different subject areas as the nature and contents of each subject area are different. Based on the theory of cognitive psychology, Anderson and Krathwohl came up with four dimensions of knowledge. The intersection of the knowledge dimension and cognitive process dimensions gives

Knowledge

Factual knowledge: It is knowledge of facts, laws, definition, terminology, vocabulary, etc. of physical science.

Conceptual knowledge: It is knowledge of theory, generalisation and interrelation of different concepts in physical science.

Procedural knowledge: It is knowledge about scientific processes and inquiry. We come to know how to perform activities and experiments, how to use apparatus and materials for teaching- learning process,

Metacognitive knowledge: It is knowing about knowledge. It is about learner’s awareness about her own learning process and learning style.

(iii) Emphasis:

1. The revised taxonomy is more authentic tool for curriculum planning, developing materials for teaching-learning and assessment processes.

2. Bloom’s taxonomy was viewed as the tools best applied for earlier years of schooling. Anderson and Krathwohl taxonomy can easily be used for higher levels also. In this sense, it is broader in use.

3. Emphasis is more on the description of the subcategories of learning.

 

 

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THE CONCEPT OF DEVA AND NATURE SPIRITS

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

Scriptures of all kinds state ‘Thou shalt not worship graven images.’ But to have a picture or an image of some sacred, revered figure , is not necessarily to worship a graven image. The image reminds one of that which one can become provided one tries hard enough.

Similarly, a sacred picture or a sacred image to which one is attached can act as a very sound point of focus when one engages in meditation or contemplation. That is why some people have a personal Shrine at home with perhaps a photograph or an image or some  picture — it acts as a soothing influence which puts one into the right frame of mind

One can train one’s mind to think of the sacred object to the   exclusion of more mundane articles Sacred pictures or sacred images are acceptable and permissible provided they are used as reminders and not as objects of senseless worship.

ANGELS

Angel is a term popularly used to refer to a wide variety of beings, from dead humans now residing in the afterlife to God’s messengers, heralds and helpers in sustaining the universe.  An angel is part of a class of beings whose function is to foster, nurture and protect life and consciousness within the world. They are the gardeners of the interior life within all things. They assist us in remembering our oneness with the Sacred. They empower and nourish the evolution of spirit. Wherever consciousness is, there are angels.

There are many species of angels, including those who work exclusively with humanity. Among these are angels of nations, angels who overflight cities and towns, and angels who overflight organizations

Wherever consciousness is, there are angels.

In addition there are angels who assist activities, such as angels of healing, angels of protection, angels of sound and colour , and angels who overflight artistic endeavors. The latter are the beings known in classical times as the “muses”.

DEVA

Closely related to angels are devas. Indeed they may well be part of the same overall class of being but in this case focusing upon the non-human side of evolution and in particular upon the structural and formative energies and activities that help form the planet and which manifest as the laws of nature.

The devas and angels are very similar in appearance; deva, after all simply means “shining one” in Sanskrit, and this description could very easily apply to angels. They may be the same being, but with the “deva” being the non-human aspect and the “angel” being the side of their nature that engages with humanity. One being may fulfill a variety of functions.

However, on the whole a different energy signature or vibration from devas than I do from angels. The devas seem to me particularly aligned with the flow and circulation of life and vital energies, as well as being the architects and artisans of form. They are custodians and overseers of natural energies and forces, such as electricity..

A Deva is a Divine Being, one who is quite beyond the human state. Anyone who has attained to the necessary degree of enlightenment and purity, and is no longer on this Earth, could be a Deva. Nature Spirits and manmade thought for are not, and cannot ever be Devas of the human type, although naturally Nature Spirits and Animal Spirits have their own Group-Devas.

A deva in the metaphysics refers to any of the spiritual forces or beings behind nature., Devas represent a separate evolution to that of humanity.

There are numerous different types of devas with a population in the millions performing different functions on Earth to help the ecology function better. It is asserted they can be observed by those whose third eyes have been activated.

Devas are spirits usually invisible to the untrained human eye.

They are part of the Angelic Kingdom and are in direct service to the world of nature expressing themselves as one of the four elements.

The exist in the etheric world which penetrates out own. They can be seen or felt with our inner senses.

The Jews call them Shedim.

The Egyptians called them Afries.

Africans named them Yowahoos.

Persians called them Devs.

In addition, it is believed that there are millions of devas living inside the Sun, the indwelling solar deity of which Theosophists call the Solar Logos–these devas are called solar angels, or sometimes solar devas or solar spirits. Sometimes, it is believed, they visit Earth and can be observed, like other devas, by humans whose third eyes have been activated.

They are the overlords of the wild places, whereas as angels engage with civilization. That may, indeed, be their primary difference; that alone could account for the difference in feel and energy that I experience between them.

NATURE SPIRITS

Human beings are part of Nature, a fact we often overlook or forget, and as such, there are nature spirits “assigned” or related to us. Some of these work with our bodies, while others work with the products of our civilization. These are the spirits of our artifacts, the things we create and fashion from the materials we draw from nature. As human beings have advanced in this regard, becoming more and more technologically adept and transforming more and more of the natural world into forms and materials created by humanity, nature spirits have adapted  to keep up. In this way there has evolved a whole new class of “nature spirits” that might be called “techno-spirits.

Humans in their conceit and over-weening sense of superiority think that they alone have a soul. Humans think that only humans continue after life, after death, and into another life. Many of the ancient races worshipped Nature Spirits. They were not so far wrong because there are Nature Spirits, and they are quite as important as human spirits.

A human is a lump of protoplasm which has a soul or Over self which tells that lump of protoplasm how to operate, how to grow. In the same way trees have Nature Spirits, spirit-entities who look after that tree. Animals also have spirits, souls, if you like, and it does not at all follow that because an animal cannot talk English, or Spanish, or German, that the animal is ‘dumb.’ Many animals have characters in no way inferior to the best of humans!

In the astral world there are human entities doing their own particular job of work, and there are Nature Spirits, those who look after plants and the astral of animals. There are also elementals, but elementals we have already dealt with.

For your own evolution, then, remember that there are animal spirits growing and evolving on different lines from humans, admittedly, but in no way inferior to humans. They are distinct and quite separate lines ;humans never reincarnate as animals, animals never reincarnate as humans. They are quite, quite different lines of growth.

The comparison is often made that devas are the architects of nature while the nature spirits are the field workers and construction hands.

It’s an apt comparison, though perhaps a bit too human in its implications. The nature spirits are the transformers of life, taking the raw,intense subtle energies coming from the higher-order worlds and stepping them down into forms that can be appropriated and used by the subtle bodies of physical entities, mainly plants but animals as well. There are even “nature spirits” that attend to human beings, though we often call them “guardian angels”.

Nature spirit is really an umbrella term, a bit like saying animal or plant. It simply denotes a being that works with the spiritual and energetic side of nature. However, just as there are billions of different species of plants and animals on earth, so there are at least as many different kinds of “nature spirits.” In some ways, it’s a meaningless phrase because it’s so broad and all-encompassing.

In a manner of speaking, these kinds of nature spirits are analogous to bees, receiving the higher-order energies, digesting and assimilating them, and then producing from themselves an equivalent energy, like honey, which the plant can absorb within its vital subtle field.

A nature spirit is usually a being that is defined by a particular relationship with some specific form or function within the

natural environment of the earth.

A nature spirit is usually a being that is defined by a particular relationship with some specific form or function within the natural environment of the earth. By necessity, such beings, while their origin and fuller natures may be in the higher-order worlds, take form and work within the transitional realms and the subtle energy fields of the physical worlds. They tie themselves to specific landscapes and to geographical features such as rivers, and to species of plants and animals, and even to the individual plants themselves. The large maple trees in my backyard, for example have one or more nature spirits – in this case, maple tree spirits – associated with them.

In mythology, nature spirits, or deities are composed of etheric matter. Their job is to build and maintain the plant kingdom while working in conjunction with the devas and elementals. They are said to have been here since the beginning of time, have created the landscape of reality, which we return to for different reasons as guided.

The term nature deity typically refers to the concept of gods or goddesses in mythology associated with various perceived “forces of nature”.

They feature commonly in polytheistic religions, and may include characteristics of the mother goddess, Mother Nature or lord of the animals.

Adherents may literally consider such deities to be divine beings that control particular natural phenomena. An objective view understands these to be mythological personifications of particular phenomena, such that attach personal qualities such as character and name to such phenomena, and conversely illustrate conceptual persons (archetypes) as owning particular and powerful traits.

Most nature spirits, then, are incarnated into the earth in ways that many of their subtle counterparts in the higher-order worlds are not. They have a more intimate relationship with matter and form. If I think in a metaphor of circulation and blood flow within a human body, they are part of the transfer mechanism that delivers nutrients from the bloodstream to the individual cells and in turn bring the contributions of the cell back to the blood stream to be part of the larger whole of the body, as well as removing and eliminating waste products. Nature spirits are a vital, intimate, and “hands-on” part of the circulation of light and vital energies through the planetary body of Gaia.

NATURE DEVAS

There are three groups of Devas:

1. All elementals working with the etheric doubles of humankind and all elementals working with the etheric bodies of inanimate objects. The “violet devas” (evolve through feeling, education of humankind) are on an evolutionary path.

2. The elementals are on the evolutionary path their goal being to evolve into the deva kingdom with the violet color. . The fairies and elves–build and color the flowers–the elementals who work with the vegetables, fruits, and al the verdure that covers the earth’s surface. Also connected with this group-devas of magnetization that are connected to stones, talismans, and the sacred spots of the earth. There is one last groups of devas in this group that are found around the habitations of the masters who live on the earth.

3. Those in this group work with the elementals of the air and sea, the sylphs, the water fairies, and the devas who guard human beings.

NATURE SPIRITS

Pan is the God of the nature spirits. He is half man and half goat. The nature spirits are for the most part composed of etheric matter.

Their job is to build the plants. They channel the etheric forces they receive into physically constructing the particular plant patterns they are receiving from the devas. They are like the physical workers who carry out the architectural blueprints. They express great joy and delight in their work. They vary in size from a fraction of an inch to elves who are three to four feet tall.

FINDHORN

Findhorn is a spiritual community in Scotland. It was started by Peter and Eileen Caddy, Dorothy Maclean, and Lena Lamount

. Later David Spangler and Ogilvie Crombie  became involved. Each of these people had very special and unique talents— each channel something else. In the Findhorn material, the term refers to archetypal spiritual intelligences behind species, in other words the group soul of a species.

Some New Age sources use the term is used as a generic term to designate any being regarded as being composed of etheric matter—elementals

, nature spirits (including the various types of nature spirits such as fairies, ondines, etc.).

Eileen: Channeled God

Dorothy: the deva kingdom

David: being called Limitless Love and Light

Ogilvie: could see and talk to nature spirits

Peter: represented the human worker aspect of the group. He created the Findhorn garden. At one point he had cut back some of the bushes which upset the elves who told Ogilvie that they were leaving. Everyone was upset. After a ceremony and apology from Peter the elves agreed to stay.

THE ELEMENTAL KINGDOM

ELEMENTALS

. The basic concept of an elemental refers to the ancient idea of elements as fundamental building blocks of nature. In the system prevailing in the Classical world,

there were four elements: fire, earth, air, and water.

This paradigm was highly influential in Medieval natural philosophy, and Paracelsus evidently intended to draw a range of mythological Beingin to this paradigm by identifying

An elemental is a mythological being first appearing in the alchemical works of Paracelsus in the 16th century. Traditionally, there are four types:

Gnomes, earth elementals

Undines, water elementals

Sylphs, air elementals – clouds

Salamanders, fire elementals

The exact term for each type varies somewhat from source to source, though these four are now the most usual. Most of these beings are found in folklore as well as alchemy; their names are often used interchangeably with similar beings from folklore. The sylph, however, is rarely encountered outside of alchemical contexts and fan media.them as belonging to one of these four elemental types

There are four basic elements of nature:

Fire,

Air,

Earth,

Water.

Within each of the four elements are nature spirits that are the spiritual essence of that element. They are made up of etheric substance that is unique and specific to their particular element. They are living entities  oftentimes resembling humans in shape but inhabiting a world of their own.

The beings in the Elemental Kingdom work primarily on the mental plane and are known as “builders of form.” Their specialty is translating thought-forms into physical forms by transforming mental patterns into etheric and then physical patterns. Each of them is a specialist in creating some specific form whether it be an electron or interstellar space.

Elementals range in size from smaller than an electron to vaster than galactic space. Like the angels, elemental beings begin their evolution small in size and increase their size as they evolve. The elementals serving on planet Earth materialize whatever they pick up from the thoughts and feelings of mankind. This relationship was intended to facilitate the remanifestation of “heaven on Earth.”

They take their orders from the devas.

They do not remain individualized as humans are. These beings are animated by the thought power of the lower angels and so are thought forms of sorts.

They may be etheric thoughts forms, yet they have etheric flesh, blood, and bones. They live, propagate off spring, eat, talk, act, and sleep.

They cannot be destroyed be frosser material elements such as fire, air, earth, and water because they are etheric in nature. they are not immortal. When their work is finished they are absorbed back into the ocean of spirit. They do live a very long time–300 to 1,000 years.

They have the power to change their size and appearance almost at will. They cannot, however, change elements.

EARTH GNOMES

The nature spirits of the Earth are called Gnomes

.Subgroups:

Brownies

Dryads

Durdalis

Earth Spirits

Evles

Hamadryads

Pans

Pygmies

Sylvestres

Satyrs

FIRE SALAMANDERS

The salamanders are the spirit of fire. Without these beings, fire cannot exist. You cannot light a match without a salamander’s being present.

There are many families of salamanders, differing in size, appearance, and dignity. Some people have seen them as small balls of light, but most commonly they are perceived as being lizard-like in shape and about a foot or more in length.

The salamanders are considered the strongest and most powerful of all the elementals. Their ruler is a magnificent flaming being called Djin.

Those who have seen him say that he is terrible, yet awe-inspiring in appearance.

Salamanders have the ability to extend their size or diminish it, as needed. If you ever need to light a campfire in the wilderness, call to the salamanders and they will help you.

It has also been said that salamanders (and the other elemental beings) can be mischievous at times. For example, a fiery temper and inharmonious conditions in a person’s home can cause these beings to make trouble. They are like children in that they don’t fully understand the results of their actions. They are greatly affected, as are all nature spirits, by human humankind’s thinking.

AIR SYLPHS

The sylphs are the air spirits. Their element has the highest vibratory rate of the four (beside earth, fire, water). They live hundreds of years, often reaching one thousand and never seeming to get old. They are said to live on the tops of mountains. The leader of the sylphs is a being called Paralda who is said to dwell on the highest mountain of Earth.

Sylphs often assume human form but only for short periods of time. The vary in size from being as large as a human to being much smaller.

They are volatile and changeable. The winds are their particular vehicle. The work through the gases and ethers of the Earth and are kindly toward humans. They are usually seen with wings, looking like cherubs or fairies. Because of their connection to air, which is associated with the mental aspect, one of their functions is to help humans receive inspiration. The sylphs are drawn to theose who use their minds, particularly those on creative arts.

WATER UNDINES

The undines are the elemental beings that compose water. They are able to control, to a great degree, the course and function of the water element. Etheric in nature, they exist within the water itself and this is why they can’t be seen with the normal physical vision. These beings are beautiful to look at and are very graceful. They are often seen riding the waves of the ocean. They can also be found in rocky pools and in marshlands. They are clothed in a shimmery substance looking like water but shinning with all the colors of the sea, with green predominating. The concept of the mermaid is connected with these elemental beings.

The undines also work with the plants that grow under the water and with the motion of water. Some undines inhabit waterfalls, others live in rivers and lakes. Every fountain has its nymph. Every ocean has its oceanids. The undines closely resemble humans in appearance and size, except for those inhabiting smaller streams and ponds. The undines often live in coral caves under the ocean or on the shores of lakes or banks of rivers. Smaller undines live under lily pads.

The undines work with the vital essences and liquids of plants, animals, and human beings. They are present in everything containing water. There are many families of undines, as the chart indicates. The ruler of the undines is a being called Necksa. The undines love, serve, and honor her unceasingly.

They are emotional beings, very friendly and open to being of service to human beings.

The smaller undines are often seen as winged beings that people have mistakenly called fairies. Those winged beings are seen near flowers that grow in watery areas. They have gossamer wings and gossamer clothing

.Subgroups:

Limoniades

Mermaids

Naiads

Oceanid

Oreads

Potamides

Sea Maids

Water Spirits

GEOPATHIC STRESS AND THE ELEMENTALS

“Geopathic stress” may be defined as developing bodily imbalance or illness, due to lines of harmful energies which radiate from the earth. Earth acupuncture is the process used to neutralize these fields.

Geopathic stress has been found to be the common factor in many serious and minor illnesses and psychological conditions, especially those conditions in which the immune system is severely compromised. Cardiovascular deficiency, attention deficit disorder, immune deficiency disorders, chronic fatigue, and can–r, are samples of chronic geopathic stress influence. Some lesser effects of influence are chronic body pains, headaches, sudden signs of physical aging, irritability, and restless sleep. It is also a common factor in cases of infertility and miscarriages, learning difficulties, behavioral problems and neurological disabilities in children.

When treating patients who continue to be effected by earth radiation during periods of sleep or work, response to treatment tends to be slow or uneventful, however when their home or work place is neutralized, the geopathic stress conditions resolve themselves and the body begins to heal. There are four lines of geopathic energy which can be detected and neutralized: The Hartmann Grids and Geopathic Zones adversely effect

the cellular structure of living organisms. Interference Zones and Personal Zones effect one’s emotions and objectives.

Personal Zones may also effect one’s physical health. Hartmann Grids were discovered in 1950 by a German medical doctor, Ernst Hartmann. The lines form a grid around the earth, running north to south and east to west, and extend to a height of 60 – 600 feet. The north-south lines appear approximately every 6 feet 6 inches and the east-west lines appear approximately every 8 feet 2 inches. According to Dr. Hartmann, the worst place that a person can sleep or work is over a Hartmann knot, where two Hartmann lines cross, as harmful radiation is intensified at this juncture. Geopathic Zones have a range of influence from 2 to 200 feet, and reach a height of 600 to 30,000 feet.

Their direction is random and may be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. When natural radiation rises through the earth, its wavelength is distorted by weak electromagnetic fields emanating from subterranean  running water, mineral concentrations, fault lines and underground cavities. These distorted fields of radiation are harmful to living organisms, and produce the geopathic zones. It is not uncommon to find them parallel to, or imposed upon the Hartmann Grids. Geopathic zones can also be man made. These would include electromagnetic fields which emanate from such structures as high tension, or satellite towers, electrical street poles, or fuse boxes.

Personal Zones are also random in direction, with a variable range of influence and height. These zones produce energies that uniquely effect an individual  on a personal level. Simply stated, they produce an energy that grates on the energy of any given person, producing a chronic subtly annoying and irritating effect. Animals are also affected by these zones.

Interference Lines, as with Personal Zones, are random in direction, with a variable range of influence and height, and produce an energy which interferes with one’s personal goals. Interference lines were only discovered several months ago, and I can attest to the power of their negative influence, and the quick and incredible positive changes that occurred when they were neutralized. I strongly recommend that one’s house be checked for Interference lines if one has a home-based business which seems to be hindered in some way, or feels that “something” is blocking one’s goals.

Neutralization of all geopathic lines is first accomplished by discovering the lines through dowsing. After finding the direction of flowand center of the line, we bury copper wire perpendicular to its center. This blocks the line, causing the energies to dome over the structure being neutralized.the structure.

A deva is an intelligent energy that works in conjunction with the elementals, but more in a overseeing capacity. The devas do not create form, but are responsible for the activities of the form builders. Where an elemental may have responsibility over a pine seed, the overseeing deva may have responsibility for the entire Pine forest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SHIVA -THE UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED ETERNAL GOD OF FERTILITY

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

 

During the pre vedic period some ancient cults of Saivism were in vogue in the Indian subcontinent. We have references to believe that Shiva or his aspects were worshipped by some ancient communities outside India in far away places such as the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia and Europe. According to some the name Shiva is of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chivan or Shivan meaning red color. Sambhu, another name of Lord Shiva, also said to have been of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chembu, or Chempu or Sembu, meaning copper or red metal.

According to some the phallic symbol of Shiva is of Austric origin and so is the name linga.SHIVA-  This is a word with many meanings. In the Hindu trinity of Gods it means the God who dissolves us from the Earth, the power called the destroyer which releases humans from the earth-body. It is a ‘God’venerated by Yogis who seek release from the flesh.We have three forms, which is birth, life, and death.

There is a ‘God’ which determines when we shall beborn. There is a ‘God’ which supervises us during life,and there is a ‘God’ (Shiva) which gives us release

Actually LINGA  is a sign representing God Shiva, but it is also used to indicate a phallic symbol.Since the beginning of civilization  the peoples of the Earth had the most interesting task of populating the Earth as quickly as they could. Iit is that the priests, who thought that the more subjects they had the more powerthey would have, made an order and called it a Divine Order. The order was to the effect that everyone should be fruitful and multiply. People had great hordes of  children because that strengthened individual tribes,and the bigger the tribe, the more powerful it became.

So, under the ‘Divine Instruction’ of the priests the warriors of the big tribes invaded small tribes and killedoff the men and captured the women so that these women could be used for making more little tribesmen, who then could go out and capture more and more small tribes. .

The male organ, or a representation of it, thus became an object of great worship, and in various partsof the world even  today such stone pillars are regarded with awe and veneration. It is an amusing fact that the cupolas and minarets of mosques and temples, and thespires of Christian churches, were of phallic-symbolorigin.

In  Harappans culture a powerful class of priests, drawing authority from their role asintermediary between the populace and gods, dominated society. Promoting fertility was a paramount concern. The most prominent deity depicted was a fierce-faced naked male with ahorned head. The concern with fertility was demonstrated by numerous naked female figures (devis, or mother-goddesses, and sacred animals—especially bulls), and phallic-shaped objects.

Megasthanese noted the worship of Shiva in his book Indika. He thought that the deity whom Indians worshipped was Dionysus, a Greek god who had some affinity with Shiva.

From Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, we understand that images of Shiva were in use probably for religious worship.Shiva ( Siva) as we know him today was unknown to the Vedic people. They knew a form of Shiva who was different from the Shiva who was worshipped elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent. They worshipped a deity who personified their fears and anxieties in an unfamiliar territory surrounded byhostile tribes and an unfavorable nature.

Interesting fact about Kabba is that it has been in existence way before the birth of Islam. In the Pre-Islamic Era, it was a holy site for the various Bedouin tribes of the area. Few historian even today believes that .

As in the headquarters of Christianity (namely the Vatican in Rome) at the headquarters of Islam too (namely in the Kaaba temple in Mecca city of Saudi Arabia) the ancient Hindu Shiva Linga may still be seen.

This cylindrical stone, rendered immovable for security by being fixed in the outer corner of a wall, is the object of reverence of all Muslims. Here Muslims still continue the seven perambulations

in the age old Hindu style except that they move anti-clockwise. White silver foil shrouds the stone. The oval uncovered central portion gives the pilgrims an idea of how the stone looks. Syrians had once carried away the stone as a war trophy and kept it for 22 years.When we study the ancient Celtic gods like Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos we cannot miss some similarities between them and Shiva. Some scholars also find parallels between the Tantric practices of Saivism and the magical-religious practices of Shamanism of the Mexican, American Indian, Inuit, and Australian Aboriginal peoples. It is possible that the similarities might be due to the fact that the religious beliefs of ancient cultures emerged mainly from the fertility rites and the father god and mother god traditions of prehistoric times.

In Ireland, a very, very old land indeed, there are what are called ‘the round towers.’ These towers,cylindrical, and sometimes taller than a church tower, had a rounded top. They were phallic symbols, symbols of fertility, symbols that one must not forget that the more numerous a nation the stronger it became, and themore easily it could conquer lesser nations.

As the Irish became converted to Christianity they found a fresh use for their phallic-symbol roundtowers ; they used to climb up a special staircase inside the tower and peer out from the top so that they could see if invaders were coming to steal things from their  lands or to capture people to use as slaves. The roundtowers were very useful for keeping watch for the predatory English, who looked upon hunting the Irish as almost a national sport. Naturally enough, the Irish looked upon such ‘sport’ with considerable disfavour.While on the subject it might be worth mentioning that in addition to the phallic symbol of the male organ there are also phallic symbols of the female organ. In  female organ !

Prior to his integration into Vedic religion, Lord Shiva was worshipped mainly outside the Vedic society by people with whom they were not very familiar. Even today we find Lord Shiva being exceptionally popular among many ancient tribes of India such as the Chenchus and the Malavans who live in the remote areas of South India and consider Shiva not only as a hunter and a forest deity but also as the ancestor of their tribes.

The integration of Shiva into Vedic religion took place over a long period of time probably as a result of the coming together of diverse groups of people speaking different languages and practicing different religious traditions The vedic people originally frowned upon the practice of the worship of Shiva lingas but subsequently integrated the practice into a Vedic religion.

Shiva In The Vedic Texts

Shiva is mentioned in the Rigveda in three hymns as the fearful and vengeful Rudra. He is described as the god of sickness, disease, death, destruction and calamity. For the Vedic people his very name fear . They believed that the best way to avoid trouble was by seeking protection from himself through appeasement because only Rudra would save them from the wrath of Rudra. So they implored him not to harm anyone, not to hurt pregnancies, not to vilify the dead and not to slay their heroes in the war.The Satarudriya invocation in the Yajurveda is perhaps the most discussed and analyzed hymn. It is part of an invocation offered to the god Agni to avert his wrath and pacify him after he transforms himself into Rudra. The hymn depicts him both as terrifying and pleasing. The prayer is offered to Rudra to bring health and prosperity to the people as a divine physician and also to save them from his own wrath.

the Satarudriya hymn was probably part of several invocations adapted from the prevailing Saiva literature into the Vedas or probably part of a much longer hymn most of which was lost to us.

We find in the Atharvaveda more references to this God than in the Rigveda, suggestive of his growing popularity. Rudra is implored not to harm the cattle and the people. In the Atharvaveda as well as the Yajurveda, Shiva is addressed variously as Sarva, Bhava, Nilakantha, Pasupathi, Nilagriva, Sitkantha and Sobhya. While these names are presumed to be his epithets,

The Satapatha Brahmana mentions eight names of Rudra. In one place he is mentioned as Rudra- Shiva. In some cases he is also identified with Agni

In the Svetasvatara Upanishad Lord Shiva was elevated to the status of Brahman, by the sage who composed it, after he had a vision of Lord Shiva as the Absolute and Supreme Brahman. He is described as the god who wields the power of maya or delusion by which he controls the world. He is also the indweller (antaratman) of all Brhajjabala Upanishad and Bhasmajabala Upanishad are other minor Saiva Upanishads dealing with some important concepts and aspects of worship of Shiva.

Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas

Shiva is mentioned in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In the Ramayana he is described as Sitikantha, Mahadeva, Rudra, Trayambaka, Pasupathi and ShankaraThe demon king Ravana is described as a great devotee of Lord Shiva and the Ramayana itself as a narration by Shiva to Parvathi. Anjaneya, who was instrumental in finding Sita and destroying many demons, is the son or an aspect of Shiva only, born under strange circumstances as a part of the plan associated with the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Sri Rama.

In the Mahabharata we find more detailed references to Lord Shiva in several chapters. In the Anusasana Parva, we are told how Lord Krishna was initiated by Lord Shiva into Shiva bhakti or devotion to Shiva. In the Santhi Parvan the narration goes on to show that both Hari and Hara are the same.

In the Puranas we find in some of the Puranas deal exclusively with Shiva and Saivism. They are categorized as Shiva Puranas. The Shiva Puranas describe Shiva as the highest and Supreme Being and other gods and divinities subordinate to him as a part of his vast creation. Vayu Purana is considered to be one of the oldest of the Shiva Puranas, composed probably around 2nd Century BC. Other important Shiva Puranas are the Matsya Purana, the Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Purana, Linga Purana, Vamana Purana and of course the Shiva Purana.

Saivism In The Vedic Times

During the pre vedic period some ancient cults of Saivism were in vogue in the Indian subcontinent.

We have references to believe that Shiva or his aspects were worshipped by some ancient communities outside India

in far away places such as the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia and Europe. According to some the name Shiva is of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chivan or Shivan meaning red color. Sambhu, another name of Lord Shiva, also said to have been of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chembu, or Chempu or Sembu, meaning copper or red metal. According to some the phallic symbol of Shiva is of Austric origin and so is the name linga.

When we study the ancient Celtic gods like Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos we cannot miss some similarities between them and Shiva. Some scholars also find parallels between the Tantric practices of Saivism and the magical-religious practices of Shamanism of the Mexican, American Indian, Inuit, and Australian Aboriginal peoples. It is possible that the similarities might be due to the fact that the religious beliefs of ancient cultures emerged mainly from the fertility rites and the father god and mother god traditions of prehistoric times.

According to some scholars, Shaktism, Samkhya, Yoga and Tantrism were not new concepts that developed in the post Vedic India, but very ancient traditions which were subsequently revived and integrated into the religious life of the subcontinent. Some of these beliefs and practices of Saivism gradually found their way into Brahmanism and Buddhism. Many magical rituals, fertility rites and left-hand techniques and practices of Shaktism and Tantricism aimed to cultivate detachment and gain control over the senses and the mind, were incorporated with some variations into Brahmanism and subsequently into Vajrayana Buddhism. The mentally unsettling and provocative imagery of Tantricism found it way into Vajrayaana Buddhism.

During the Vedic period Shiva was worshipped mostly by non Vedic tribes, such as the Sibis who lived on the fringes of the Vedic society and were hardly understood by vedic people. The Mahabharata mentions the name of Pasupathas, one of the most ancient and secretive sects of Saivism. Kapalikas, Kalamukhas were other prominent sects of Saivism in ancient India. Followers of the Ajivika sect were also probably worshippers of Lord Shiva.

The Satavahanas ruled a vast territory in the south for over 400 years in the post Mauryan era. They patronized vedic religion and worshipped many gods including Shiva and Skanda. They worshipped Shiva under such popular names as Shiva, Mahadeva, Bhava and Bhutapala. They also worshipped his vehicle Nandi and his son Skanda both as individual deities and in association with Shiva. Some of the foreign dynasities who established their rule in the Indian subcontinent such as the Sakas, the Pahlavas and the Kushanas often turned to Saivism. The Kushanas worshipped many native and foreign deities including Shiva and Skanda. Kadhaphises II of the was a follower of Shiva. His successor Kanishka was a worshipper of Shiva and Skanda. In the later part of his life, he converted to Buddhism.

The Barashivas ruled parts of central and northern India from about 2nd Century AD. They were also known in history as the Nagas. The Bharashiva reestablished Hindu traditions. They were great devotees of Lord Shiva, a tradition that was continued later by Vakatakas and the Guptas.

Saivism rose to prominence during the Gupta period. IInscriptions belonging to their period show that they also worshipped Lord Shiva, Skanda and Parvathi. Ujjain rose to prominence as an important Saivite center. Many sacred texts of Saivism were composed during this period, which included Agamas, Tantras and Puranas connected with Lord Shiva and the Mother Goddess.

Saivism continued to flourish during the post Gupta period despite the fact that many rulers like Harshavardhana continued to patronize Buddhism. There were however some pockets of Hindu influence such as as the Chandelas of Bundelkhand (9th century AD) who built 30 or so temples of Shiva and other deities at Khajuraho. During the same period else where also Rajput rulers built many temples in honor of Shiva and Shakti.

In the south the Chalukyas, the Pallavas and the Cholas built many temples in honor of Shiva. Worth mentioning are the cave temple of Shiva at Badami, the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi and the Briahdiswara temple at Tanjore. The Pallva kings witnessed the development of Saiva literature of the Tamils. It was also the period during which the bhakti movement became popular in the south. Sundaramurthy lived during this period and worked for the reformation of many Saiva traditions. Kanchi became a prominent center of religious education to which royal families sent their children. The Cholas were also great devotees of Shiva. They built many temples in his honor. They were instrumental in the creation of greater Hindu civilization that extended beyond the Indian subcontinent to Cambodia and adjoining territories.

The Nayanars

The Nayanars of south lived between 6th and 8th Century AD. They were poet saints who spread the awareness of Shiva and Saivism expressing their intense love and devotion by visiting various parts of the country and singing devotional songs in public at holy places, temples and pilgrim centers. Saiva literature records the names of 63 Nayanars, a few of whom were women. They came from different backgrounds, from the highest to the lowest strata of society, including the caste of untouchables. The most prominent Nayanaras are considered to be Appar, Sambanthar and Sundarar. In 11th century Nambi Andar Nambi composed Tirumurai, in which he recorded the lives of all the 63 saints. It has immense historical and spiritual value and considered as an important text of Saiva canon.

The Growth of the Sectarian Movements

Between 9th and 13th centuries, a new movment now known as Kashmiri Saivism grew into prominence. It gained popularity in parts of northern India, especially Kashmir, because of the teachings and compositions of eminent personalities like Vasugupta, Somananda, Utpaladeva, Abhinavagupta and Kshemaraja. Kashmiri Saivism follows Advaita or the philosophy of monism . It regards Shiva as the Supreme Lord and the only reality by realizing whom people are liberated for ever from their state of bondage to identity, delusion and karma. With its emphasis on master (guru) and disciple relationship, awakening of kundalini energy and the teaching of Pratyabhigna or realization of Shiva as one’s hidden self, Kashmiri Saivism caught the attention of many including some Buddhists and Muslims during the medieval period.

Saiva Siddhanta was another school of Saivism that grew into prominence in southern India. It was inspired by the compositions of the Nayanars and others like Manikkavachakar, author of the famous Tiruvachakam (10th century) and Mekyandar the composer of Shivajnanabodhanam (13th century). Saiva Siddhanta school follows dvaita or dualism. It regards Shiva as the Supreme Lord of all but acknowledges a marked distinction between the Supreme Self and the individual selves. According to it, when individual selves are liberated from the bonds of karma, egoism and delusion they do not merge with Shiva. They attain the same consciousness as Shiva and continue to remain as free souls for ever.

In the 13th century another school of Saivism, known as Virasaiva movement rose to prominence in Karnataka. It was influenced by the bhakti movement that swept across the country during the medieval period. It was initiated by the legendary religious leader Basavanna, who was not just a religious leader but a social reformer also.

Gorakshanatha school of Saivism is the most esoteric of all schools of Saivism. It lays heavy emphasis on magical religious rituals of tantric nature verging on the supernatural. They are kept mostly secret from the general public and revealed only to the chosen few.Also known as Natha yoga sect , it was said to have been founded originally by Matsyendranatha and brought to prominence by Gorakshanath who lived in 12the century

1. The Mool (Main) Mantra of Lord Shiva is a five syllable mantra, known as panchakshri mantra. It is believed that the chanters are bowing to themselves, as the Lord Shiva is considered as the ultimate reality.

OM Namah Shivaya

Meaning: I bow to Shiva.

 

2. Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is the greatest Mantra for Lord Shiva found in Rig Veda.

OM. Tryambakam yajamahe
Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan
Mrityor mukshiya mamritat

3. Shree Shiva- Parvati Stuti is the mantra which praises Lord with his consort Parvati.

Karpoor Gauram Karunnaavataram Sansaar Saaram
Bhujgendra Haaram.
Sadaa Vasantam Hridyaarvrinde
Bhavam Bhavaani Sahitam Namaami.

Meaning: I Bow to Bhavani as well as to Lord Shiva who is white as camphor, who is compassion incarnate, who is the essence of the world, who wears a garland of a large snake and who always dwells in the lotus like hearts of his devotees.

 

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4a. Shree Rudraashtak Stotram is the eight fold hymn recited by Brahma to please Shiva. This mantra can be used by anyone to get the blessing from the Lord Shiva.

Namaam-Iisham-Iishaana Nirvaanna-Ruupam
Vibhum Vyaapakam Brahma-Veda-Svaruupam
Nijam Nirgunnam Nirvikalpam Niriiham
Cidaakaasham-Aakaasha-Vaasam Bhaje-[A]ham

Meaning: I Salute the Lord Ishana. It is the Form that represents the state of the highest Nirvana. This is the form that manifests the essence He is pervading everywhere and The Lord embodies the Highest Knowledge of Brahman present in the core of the Vedas. He who remains absorbed in His own self which is beyond the three Gunas. Beyond any change and Manifoldness, and which is free from any movement. I worship Ishana, who abides in the spiritual sky.

4b.

Niraakaaram-Ongkara-Muulam Turiiyam
Giraa-Jnyaana-Go-[A]tiitam-Iisham Giriisham
Karaalam Mahaakaala-Kaalam Krpaalam
Gunna-[A]agaara-Samsaara-Paaram Nato-[A]ham

Meaning: I bow to the supreme Lord who is the formless source of “OM” The Self of All, transcending all conditions and states. Beyond speech, He understands the sense perception. Awe-full, but gracious, the ruler of Kailash, Devourer of Death, the immortal abode of all virtues.

4c.

Tussaara-Adri-Samkaasha-Gauram Gabhiram
Mano-Bhuuta-Kotti-Prabhaa-Shrii Shariiram
Sphuran-Mauli-Kallolinii Caaru-Ganggaa
Lasad-Bhaala-Baale[a-I]ndu Kanntthe Bhujanggaa

Meaning: I offer salutations to Sri Rudra, Who is shining white resembling a mountain of snow; and He resides deep in the mind in Millions of Rays of Splendor, which expresses His Auspicious Body. Over whose Head, the Beautiful Ganga Throbs and Surges forth towards the Worlds. The newly risen moon shines in His forehead spreading its rays and His Neck adorns the beautiful Serpents.

4d.

Calat-Kunnddalam Bhruu-Sunetram Vishaalam
Prasanna-[A]ananam Niila-Kannttham Dayaalam
Mrga-Adhiisha-Carma-Ambaram Munndda-Maalam
Priyam Shangkaram Sarva-Naatham Bhajaami

Meaning: The beloved Lord of All, with shimmering pendants hanging from his ears, Beautiful eyebrows and large eyes, Full of Mercy with a cheerful countenance and a blue speck on his throat. I Worship Him Who is Beloved of His Devotees, Who is Shankara, the Lord of All.

4e.

Pracannddam Prakrssttam Pragalbham Pare[a-Ii]sham
Akhannddam Ajam Bhaanu-Kotti-Prakaasham
Tryah-Shuula-Nirmuulanam Shuula-Paannim
Bhaje[a-A]ham Bhavaanii-Patim Bhaava-Gamyam

Meaning: I worship Shankara, Bhavani’s husband. I owe to the fierce, exalted, luminous and the supreme Lord Shiva. Indivisible, unborn and radiant with the glory of a million suns; Who, holding a trident, tears out the root of the three-fold suffering, And who is reached only through Love.

4f.

Kalaatiita-Kalyaanna Kalpa-Anta-Kaarii
Sadaa Sajjana-[A]ananda-Daataa Pura-Arii
Cid-Aananda-Samdoha Moha-Apahaarii
Prasiida Prasiida Prabho Manmatha-Arii

Meaning: Salutations to Sri Rudra, Whose Auspicious Nature are Beyond the Elements of the gross material world and He who Brings an end to the cycle of creation when all gross elements are dissolved. He is the one who always give to the wise men and is the destroyer of Adharma. By Taking Away the Great Delusion, He plunges the prepared Soul in the Fullness of Cidananda (the Bliss of Brahman or Pure Consciousness). O, the signifying Destroyer of Manmatha; Please be Gracious to me; Please be Gracious to me, O Lord.

4g.

Na Yaavad Umaa-Naatha-Paada-Aravindam
Bhajanti-Iha Loke Pare Vaa Naraannaam
Na Taavat-Sukham Shaanti Santaapa-Naasham
Prasiida Prabho Sarva-Bhuuta-Adhi-Vaasam

Meaning: Oh Lord of Uma, so long as you are not worshiped, there is no happiness, peace or freedom from suffering in this world or the next. You who dwell in the hearts of all living beings, and in whom all beings have their existence, Have mercy on me, Lord.

4h.

Na Jaanaami Yogam Japam Naiva Puujaam
Natoham Sadaa Sarvadaa Shambhu-Tubhyam
Jaraa-Janma-Duhkhau-[A]gha Taatapyamaanam
Prabho Paahi Aapanna-Maam-Iisha Shambho

Meaning: O my lord, I do Not Know how to perform Yoga, Japa or Puja. I always at All Times only Bow down to You, O Shambhu. Please protect me from the Sorrows of Birth and Old Age, as well as from the sins which lead to Sufferings. Please protect me O Lord from Afflictions; protect me O My Lord Shambhu.

Rudraastak Midam Proktam. Vipreyn haratoshyey,
Yey pathanti paraa bhaktayaa. Teyshaam Shambhu Praseedati.

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5a. Lingashtakam Mantra is one of the main mantras of Lord Shiva.

Brahma Muraari Surarchita Lingam
Nirmala Bhaashita Sobhitha Lingam
Janmaja Dhukha Vinaasaha Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, which is worshiped by BrahmaVishnu and other Gods. It is pure and resplendent, and destroys sorrows arising out of birth and death.

5b.

Devamuni Pravaraarchita Lingam
Kaama Dahana Karunaakara Lingam
Ravana Darpa Vinaasaha Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, which is worshiped by great sages and devas (God). He is the destroyer of Kama, Linga, the compassionate, and which destroyed the pride of Ravana.

5b.

Sarva Sugandha Sulepitha Lingam
Buddhi Vivaardhana Kaarana Lingam
Siddha Suraasura Vandhitha Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, which is well anointed with all fragrances, leads to growth of wisdom. It is worshiped by sages, devas and asuras (Demons).

5c.

Kanaga Mahaamani Bhooshitha Lingam
Panipati Veshthitha Sobitha Lingam
Daksha Suyajna Vinaasana Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam, Which is decorated with Gold and other Precious Gems, which is adorned with the Best of the Serpents Wrapped around it, and which destroyed the Grand Sacrifice of Daksha. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam.

Click to view this Natural River Lingam & Marble Yoni

5d.

Kunkuma Chandhana Lehpitha Lingam
Pankaja Haara Susobhitha Lingam
Devaganarchita sevita lingam bhavairbhaktirevacha lingam
Dinakarakoti prabhakara lingam tatpranamami sadasivalingam

Meaning: I salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam Which is anointed with Saffron and Sandal Paste, which is Beautifully Decorated with Garlands of Lotuses, and which destroys the accumulated Sins. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam.

5e.

Astadalopari vestithalingam sarvasmudva karanalingam
Astadaridra vinasana lingam tatpranamami sadasivalingam
Suruguru suravara poojita lingam surapushpa sadarchita lingam
Paramapadam paramatmakalingam tatpranamami sadasivalingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, Which is enveloped with eight-fold petals, which is the cause of all creation, and which destroys eight types of poverty. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam Which is Worshiped by the Preceptor of Gods and the Best of the Gods, which is Always Worshiped by the Flowers from the Celestial Garden, Which is Superior than the Best and which is the Greatest. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Linga.

5f.

Lingastakam punyam ya pathecchivasanndhu
sivaloka mavapnoti sivena sahamodithe

Whoever Recites this Lingasthakam near Shiva, Will Attain the Abode of Shiva and enjoy His Bliss

 

 

 

 

 

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