Category Archives: Rishi Dayanand

The Autobiography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati

It was in a Brahmin family of the Oudichya caste in a town belonging to the Raja of Morwee,in the province of kathiawar,that in the year of Samvat,1881,(1924 A. D.) I,now known as Dayanand Saraswati,was born.If I have from the first refrained from giving the names of my father and of the town in which my family resides, it is because I have been prevented from doing so by my duty. Had any of my relatives heard again of me, they would have sought me out. And then, once more fau to face with them, it would have become incumbent upon me to follow them home. I would have to touch money serve them, and attend to their winhea . And thus the holy work of the Reform, to which I have wedded my whole life, would have irretrievably suffered through my forced withdrawal from it.

 

Education

 

I was hardly five years of age when I began to study the Devanagari characters, and my parents and all the elders commenced training me in the ways and practices of my caste and family; making me learn by rote the long series of religious hymns, mantras, stanzas and commentaries. I was eight when I was invested with the sared Brahminical cord (triple thread ) , and taught gayatri sandhya with its practices, as abo Yajur Veda Sanhita preceded by the study of the Rudradhyaya. As my family belonged to the Shiva sect, their greatest aim was to get me initiated into its religious my steries; and thus I was early taught to worship the uncouth piece of clay representing Shivs’s emblem,known as the Parthiwa Lingam.But as there is a good deal of fasting and various hardships connected with this worship, and on the other hand I had the habit of taking early meals, my mother, fearing for my health opposed my daily practicing of it. My father sternly insisted upon its necessity, and this question finally became a source

of everlasting quarrels between them. Meanwhile I studied the Sanskrit grammar, learned the Vedas by heart and accompanied my father to the shrines, temples, and places of Shiva worship. His conversation ran invariably upon one topic; the highest devotion and reverence must be paid to Shiva, his worship being the most divine of all religions .I went on thus till I had reached my fourteenth year, when having learned by heart the whole of the Yajur Veda Sanhita, parts of other Vedas, of the Shabda

Rupavali and the grammar,my studies were completed.

 

Vigil

 

As my father’s was a banking house and he held moreover the office-hereditary

in my family -of a Jamadar, we were far from being poor, and things, so far, had gone very pleasantly. Wherever there was a Shiva puran to be read and explained, there my father was sure to take me along with him; and finally, unmindful of my mother’s remonstrance’s ,he imperatively demanded that I should begin practicing Parthiwa Puja. When the great day of gloom and fasting-called  Shivaratree-had arrived, this day following on the 13th of Vadi of Magh. My father regardless of the protest that my

strength might fail, commanded me to fast, adding that I had to be initiated on that night, into the sacred legend, and participate in that night’s long vigil in the temple of Shiva. Accordingly, I followed him along with other young men, who accompanied their parents. This vigil is divided into four parts, called prahars, consisting of three hours each. Having completed my task, namely, having set up for the first two prahars till the hour of midnight, I remarked that the Pujaris, or temple disservants and some of the

lay devotees, after having left the inner temple, had fallen asleep outside. Having been taught for years that by sleeping on that particular night, the worshipper lost all the good effect of his devotion, I tried to  refrain from drowsiness by bathing my eyes now and then with cold water. But my father was less fortunate. Unable to resist fatigue, he was the first to fall asleep, leaving me to watch alone. Reflections on Idolatry Thoughts upon thoughts crowded upon me, and one question arose after the other in my disturbed mind. Is it possible,-I asked myself- that this semblance of man, the idol of a personal God that I see bestriding his bull before me, and who, according to all religious accounts, walks about, eats, sleep s and drinks; who can hold a trident in this hands, beat upon his dumroo(drum); and pronounce curses upon men,-is it possible that he can be the Mahadeva, the great Deity, the same that is invoked as the Lord of Kailash, the Supreme Being and the Divine hero of all the stories we read of him in his Purans (Scriptures)? Unable to resist such thoughts any longer, I awoke my father, abruptly asking him to enlighten me to tell me whether this hideous emblem of Shiva in the temple was identical with the Mahadeva(GreatGod) of the scriptures, or something else.”Why do you ask it?” said my father. “Because, I answered, “I feel it impossible to reconcile the idea of an Omnipotent, living God, with this idol, which allows the mice to run over its body, and thus suffers its image tobe polluted without the slightest protest.” Then my father tried to explain to me that this stone representation of the Mahadeva of Kailash, having been consecrated by the holy Brahmins , became, in consequence, the God himself, and is worshipped as such; adding that as Shiva cannot be perceived personalty in this KaliYug the age of mental darkness, – we hence have the idol in which the Mahadeva of Kailash is worshipped by his votaries ;this kind of worship is pleasing to the great Deity as much as if , instead of the emblem , he were there himself . But the explanation fell short of satisfying me . I could not , young as I was, help suspecting misinterpretation and sophistry in all this . Feeling fain with hunger and fatigue , I begged to be allowed to go home . My father consented to it , and sent me away with a

sepoy , only reiterating once more his command that I should not eat . But when, once at home , I had, told my mother of my hunger , she fed me with sweetmeats , and I fell into a profound sleep. In the morning , decision my father returned and learned that I had broken my fast , he felt very angry . the tried to impress me with the enormity of my sin; but do what he could , I could not bring myself to believe that idol and Mahadeva were one and the same God , and therefore , could not comprehend why I should be made to fast for and worship the former. I had, however, to conceal my lack of faith, and bring forward as an excuse for abstaining from regular worship my ordinary study which really left me little or rather no time for anything else. In this I was strongly supported by my mother, and even by my uncle, who pleaded my cause so well that my father had to yield at last and allow me to devote my whole attention to my studies. In consequence of this, I extended them to “Nighantu”, “Nirukta ” “Purvamimansa”” , and other shastras

, as well as to “karmakand” or the ritual

 

 

Renunciation .

 

There were besides myself in the family two younger sisters and two brother, the youngest of whom was born when I was already sixteen . On one memorable night , as we were attending a nauteh festival at the house of a friend , a servant was dispatched after us from home , with the terrible news that my sister , a girl of fourteen , had been just taken ill with a mortal disease . Notwithstanding every medical assistance, my poor siter expired within four ghatikas after we had returned . It was my first bereavement, and the shock my heart received was great . while friend and relatives were sobbing and lamenting around me , I stood like one petrified , and plunged in a profound reverie . It resulted in a series of long and sad meditions upon the instability of human life . ‘Not ‘one of the beings that ever lived in this world could escape the cold

hand of death -I thought : I , too , may be snatched away at any time and die . whither , then shall I turn for an expedient to alleviate this human misery ,connected with our death bed ; where shall I find the assurance of , and means of attaining muktee , the final bliss ? It was there and then , that I came to the determination that I must find it , cost whatever it may , and thus save myself from the untold miseries of the dying moment of an unbeliever . The ultimate result of such meditations was to make me violently break and for our with the mummeries of external mortification and penances and the more to appreciate the inward efforts of the soul. But I kept my determination secret, and allowed no one to fathom my innermost thoughts. I was just eighteen then. Soon after, an uncle a very learned man and full of divine qualities,-one who had shown for  the greatest tenderness, and whose favourite I had been from my birth, expired also; his death leaving me in a state of utter dejection. and with a still profounder conviction settled in my mind that three was nothing worth living for or caring for in a worldly life.

 

Obstacles

Although I had never allowed my parents to perceive what was the real state of my mind, yet I had been imprudent enough to confess to friends how repulsive seemed to me even the idea of a married life. This was reported to my parents, and they immediately determined that I should be betrothed at once and the marriage

solemnity performed as soon as I should be twenty.

Having discover their intention, I did my utmost to thwart their plans. I caused my friends to intercede on my behalf, and they pleaded my cause so earnestly wilk my father that he promised to postpone my betrothal till the end of that year. I then began entreating him to send me to Benares, where I might complete my knowledge of Sanskrit grammar, and study astronomy and physics, until I had attained a full proficiency in these difficult sciences. But this time it was my mother who violently opposed my wishes. She declared that I should not go to Benares, as whatever I might feel inclined to study, could be learned at home as well as abroad ; that I knew enough as it was, and had to be married anyhow before the coming year; as young people through an excess of learning were apt to become too liberal and free sometimes in their ideas. I had no better success in that matter with my father. I for on the contrary no sooner had reiterated the favor begged of him, and asked that

 

 

my betrothal should be postponed until I had returned from Benares a scholar, proficient in arts and sciences, that my mother declared that in such a case she would not consent even to wait till the end of the year, but would see that my marriage was celebrated immediately. Perceiving, at last, that my persistence only made things worse, I desisted, and declared my self satisfied with being allowed to pursue my studies at home, provided I was allowed to go to an old friend, a learned pandit, who resided about six miles from our town in a village belonging to our jamadaree.Thither then, with my parent’s sanction, I proceeded, and placing myself under his tuition, continued for some time quietly with my study. But while there, I was again forced into a confession of the insurmountable aversion I had for marriage. This went home again. I was summoned back at once, and found upon returning that everything had been prepared for my marriage ceremony. I had entered upon my twenty-first year, and

so had no more excuses to offer. I now fully realized that I would neither lae allowed to pursue my studies any longer nor would my parents ever make themselves consenting parties to my celibacy. It was when driven to the last extremity that I resolved to place an eternal barrier between myself and marriage.

 

Flight

 

On an evening of the year samvant 1903, without letting any one this time into my confidence, I secretly left my home, as I hoped for ever. passing the first night in the vicinity of a village about eight miles from my home, I arose three hours before dawn, and before night had again set in. I had walked over thirty miles, carefully avoiding the public thoroughfare, villages, and localities, in which I might have been recognized. These precautions proved useful to me, as on the tired day after i had absconded, I learned from a government officer that a large party of men, including many horsemen were diligently roving about in search of a young man from the town of-who had fled from his home. I hastened further on to meet with other adventures. A party of begging Brahmins had kindly relieved me of all the money I had with me, and made me part even with my gold and silver ornaments, rings, bracelets, and other jewels, on  the plea that the more I gave away in charities, the more my self-denial would benefit me in the after-life. Thus, having parted with all I had, I hastend on to the place of residence of a learned scholar, a man named LaLa Bhagat, of whom I had much heard on my way from wandering sanyasis and Bairagees (religious mendicants). He lived in the town of Sayals, where I met with a Brahmachari who advised me to join at once their holy order, which I did. Joining the holy Order After initiating me into his order and conferring upon me the name of shuddha chaitanya, he made me exchange my clothes for the dress worn by them-areddish-yellow garment. From thence and in this new attire, I proceeded to the small principality of Kouthakangda situated near Ahmedabad, where , to my misfortune, I met with a bairagi a resident of a village in the vicinity of my native

town, and who was well acquainted with my family. His astonishment was as great as my perplexity. Having naturally enquired how I came to be there, and in such an attire, and learned of my desire to travel and see the world, he ridiculed my dress and blamed me for leaving my home for such an object. In my embarrassments he succeeded in getting himself informed of my future intentions.

I told him of my desire to join in the Mella of kartik, which was to be held that year at Siddhpore, and that I was on my way to it. Having parted with him, i proceeded immediately to that place, and took my abode in the temple of Mahadeva at Neelkantha, where dandi Swami and other Brahmacharis, already resided. For a time, i enjoyed their society unmolested visiting a number of learned scholars and professors of divinity who had come to the mella, and associating with a number of holy men.

 

Severance of Family Tie

 

Meanwhile the Bairagi whom I had met at Kouthakangda, had proved treacherous. He had despatched a letter to my family, informing them of my intentions and pointing to my whereabouts. In consequence of this, my father had come down to Siddhpore with his Sepoys, traced me step by step in the mella, learning something of me wherever I had sat among the learned pandits, and finally, one fine morning appeared suddenly before me. His wrath was terrible to behold. He reproached me violently, accusing me of bringing an eternal disgrace upon his family. No sooner had I met his glance, though knowing well that there would be no use in trying to resist him, I suddenly made up my mind how to act. Falling at his feet with joined hands, I entreated him in supplicating

tones to appease his anger. J had left the home through bad advice, I said; I felt miserable, and was just on the point of returning home, when he had prividentially

arrived; and now was willing to follow him home again. Notwith standing such humility, in a fit of rage he tore my yellow robe into shred, snatched at my tumba, and, wresting it violently from my hand, flung it far away; pouring upon my head at the same time a volley of bitter reproaches and going so far as to call me a matricide. Regardless of my promises to follow him, he gave me in the charge of his Sepoys, commanding them to watch me night and day, and never leave me out of their sight, for a moment.

 

Conversion to Vedant

 

But my determination was as firm as his own. I was bent on my purpose and closely watched for my opportunity of escaping. I found it on the same night. It was three in the morning ,and the sepoy, whose turn it was to watch me, believing me asleep fell asleep in his turn, All was still; and so softly rising and taking along with me a tumba full of water, I crept out and must have run over a mile before my absence was noticed. On my way, it espied a large tree, whose branches were overhanging the roof of a pagoda; on it I eagerly climbed, and, hiding myself among its thick foliage upon the dome, awaited what fate had in store me. About 4in the morning, I heard and saw through the apertures of the down, the sepoys enquiring after me. and making a diligent search for me inside as well as outside the temple. I held my breath and remained motionless, until

finally believing they were on the wrong track, my pursuers reluctantly retired. Fearing a new encounter, I remained concealed on the dome the whole day, and it was not till darkness, had again set in that, alighting, I fled in an opposite direction. More than ever I avoided the public thoroughfares, asking my way of people as rarely as I courel, unit had again reached Ahmedabad, whence I at once proceeded to Baroda. There I settled for some time; and at chetan Math (temple) I held several discoureses with Brahmanand and a number of Bramanand charis and Sanyasis upon the Vedant philosophy. It was Brahmchris and other holy men who established to my entire satisfaction that Brahm, the Deity, was no other than my own Self-my Ego, I am Brahm, a portion of Brahm ; Jiv (Soul) and Brahm, the deity being one and the same. Formerly, while studying Vedanta, I had come to this opinion to a certain extent, but now the

Important problem was solved and I gained the certainty that I was Brahm. Study of Vedant At baorda learning from a benares woman that a meeting of the most learned

scholars was to be held at a certain locality, I repaired thither at once; visiting a personage known as Satchidanand Paramhansa, with whom I was permitted to

discuss upon various scientific and metaphysical subjects. From him I learned

also, that there were a number of great Sanyasis and brahamacharis who resided

at chanoda kanyali. In consequence of this, I repaired to that place of sanctity on the Banks of the Nerbuddah, and there at last met for the first time with real Dikshits, or initiated Yogis, and such Sanyasis as Chidashrama and several other brahmacharis. After some discussion, I was place under the tuition of one Parmanand, and for several months ,studied “Vedantsar,” “Arya Harimihir Totak” Vedant paribhasa,” and other philosophical treatises. During this time, as a Brahmchari I had to prepare my own which proved a great impediment to my studies. To get rid of it, I therefore concluded to enter if possible into the 4th Order of the Sanyasis. Fearing, more over, to be known

under my own name, on account of my family’s pride and well aware that once

received in this order I was safe, I begged of a Dekkani pandit a, friend of mine, to intercede on my behalf with a Deiksheet-the most learned among them, that i might be initiated into that order at once. He refused, however, point blank to initiate me, urging my extreme youth. But I did not despair. Several months later, two holy men, a Swami and a Brahmachari, came from the Dekan, and took up their abode in a solitary, ruined building in the midst of a jungle, near Chanoda and about two miles distant from us. profoundly versed in the Vedant philosophy, my friend the Dekkaniy pandit, went to visit them, taking me along with him. A metaphysical discussion following brought them to

recognize in each other Diksheet of a vast learning. They informed us that they

had arrived from “Shringeri Math,” the principal convent of Shankaracharya, in  the south, and were on their way to Dwarka. To one of them Parnanand Saraswati, I got my Dekkani friend to recommend me particularly, and state, at the same of time. the object I was so desirous to attain and my difficulties. He told him  that I was a young  Brahmachari, who was very desirous to pursue his study in  metaphysics unimpeded; that I was quit free from any vice or bad habits for which fact he vouchsafed; and that, therefore, he believed me worthy of being accepted in this highest probation ary degree and initiated me into the 4th order of the Sanyasis; adding that thus I might be materially helped to free myself from all worldly obligations, and proceed untrammeled in the course of my metaphysical studies. But this Swami also declined at first. I was too young, he said. Besides, he was himself a Maharashtra, and so he advised me to appeal to a Gujrati Swami. It was only when fervently urged on by my friend, who reminded him that dekkani sanyasis can initiate even gowdas, and that there could extst no such objection in my case as I had been already accepted, and was one of the five Dravids that he consented. And on the third day following he consecrated me into the order, delivering unto me a Dand and naming me Dayanand Saraswati. By the order of my initiater and my proper desire. I had to lay aside the emblematical bamboo- the Dand, renouncing it for a while as the ceremonial performances connected with it, would only interfere with unimpeded progress of my studies.

 

TRAVELS Pursuit of Yoga

After the ceremony of initiation was over they left us, and proceeded to Dwarka, For some time I lived at Chanoda Kanyali as a simple Sanyasi. But upon hearing that at Vyasashram there lived a Swami. whom they called Yoganand, a man thoroughly versed in Yoga, to him I addressed myself as an humble student, and began learning from him the theory as well as some of the practical modes of the science of Yoga (or Yoga Vidya ) When my preliminary tuition was completed, I proceeded to Chhinour, as on the outskirts of this town lived Krishna Shastree, under whose guidance I perfected myself in the Sanskrit grammar. and returned to Chanoda where I remained for some time longer.

Meeting there to Yogis-Jwalanand Pooree and Shivanand giree. I practiced Yoga with them also, and we all three held together many a dissertation upon the exalted science of Yoga; until finally, by their advice, a month after their departure, I went to meet them in the temple of Doodheshwar, near Ahmedabad at which place they had promised to me the final secret and modes of attaining Yoga Vidya. They kept their promise, and it is to them that I am indebted for the acquirement of the practical portion of that great science. Still later, it was divulged to me that there were many far higher and more learned Yogis than those I had hitherto met yet not the highest still – who resided on the peaks of the mountain of Aboo, in Rajputana. Thither then I travelled again, to visit such noted places of sanctity as the Alvada Bhawance and cthers; encountering, at last, those whom I so eagerly sought for, on the Peak of Bhawance Giree. And learning from them various other systems and modes of Yoga.It was in the year of Samvant 1911,that I first joined in the Kumbh Mella at Hardwar, where so

many sages and divine philosophers meet, often unperceived, together. So long as the Mella congregation of pilgrims lasted. I kept practicing that science in the solitude of the jungle of Chandee; and after the pilgrims had separated, I transferred myself to Rishikesh, where sometime in the company of good and pure Yogis and Sanyasis, oftener alone, I continued in the study and practice of yago visit to tehri After Passing a certain time in solitude, on the Rishikesh, a Brahmachari and two mountain ascetics joined me, and weall three went to Tehri. The place was full of ascetics and Raj(Royal)Pandits-so called on account of their great learning.One of them invited me to come and have dinner with him at his house. At the apointed hour he sent a man to conduct me safely to his place, and both the brahmachari and myself followed the messenger. But what was our dismay upon entering the house , to first see a brahmin

preparing and cutting meat, and then , proceeding further into the interior apartments

, to find a large company of pandits seated with a pyramid of flesh, rump-steaks, and dressed-up heads of animals before them! the master of the house cordially invited me in; but, with a few brief words-begging them to proceed with their good work and not to disturb themselves on my account, I left the house and returned to my own quarters . A few minutes later the beef eating pandit was at my side praying me to return , and trying to excuse himself by saying that it was on my account that the sumptuous viands had been prepared! I then firmly declared to him that it was all useless. They were carnivorous, fIesh-eating men. and myself a strict vegetarian, who felt sickened

at the very sight of meat. If he would insist upon providing me with food. He might do so by sending me a few provisions of grain and vegetables which my Brahmachari would prepare for me. This he promised to do, and then very much confused retired.

 

WamMarg or Indian Bacchanalianism

Staying at Tehri for some time, I inquired of the same Pandit about some books and learned treatises I wanted to get for my instruction; what books and manuscripts could be procured at the place. And where. He mentioned some works on Sanskrit grammar, classics, lexicography’s, books on astrology and the Tantras -or ritualistic. Finding that the latter were the only ones unknown to me. I asked him to procure the same for me. There upon the learned man brought to me several works upon this subject. But no sooner had I opened them an my eye fell upon such an amount of incredible obscenities

mistranslations, misinterpretations of text, and absurdity, that I felt Perfectly horrified. In this Ritual ,I found that incest was permitted with mothers, daughters, and sisters (of the shomerker’s cast); as well as among the pariash of the outcastes-and worship was performed in nude state. Spirituous liquors, fish and all kinds of animal food, and Moodra (exhibition of indecent images)were allowed, from brahmin down to Mang, and it was explicitly stated that all those five things of which the name cooences with the nasalm as for instance, Madya(in- toxic ting liquor) Meen (fish) Mands (flesh) Moodra, and Maithoon (coition) were so many means for reaching muktee (Salvation)

. By actually reading the whole contents of the Tantras I fully assured myself of the craft and viciousness of the authors of this disgusting literature which is regarded as Religious I left the place and wentto Shreenagar. Visit to Religious Places Taking up my quarters at a temple on Kedar Ghat, I used these Tantras as weapons against the local pandits, whenever there was an opportunity for discussion. While there, I became acquainted with a Sadhoo, named Ganga Giri, who by day never left his mountain where he resided in a jungle. Our acquaintance resulted in friendship as I soon learned how entirely worthy he was of respect. While together, we discussed Yoga and other sacred subjects, and through close questioning and answering became fully and mutsually satisfied that we were fit for each other. So attractive was his society for me, that  I stayed over two months with him, It was only at the expiration of this time, and when autumn was setting in that I, with my companions, the Brahmaphari and the two ascetics, left. Kedar Ghat for other Places. We visited Rudra Prayag and other cities, until we reached the shrine of Agasta Munee. Further to the north, there is a mountain peak known as the Shivapoorce (town of shiva) where I spent the four months of the cold season; when finally parting from the Brahmachari and the two ascetics, I proceeded back to Kedar, this time alone and unimpeded in my intentions, and reached Gupta kashee.

 

Search of Yogis (Clairvoyants)

I stayed but a few days there, and went thence to the Triyugee Narayan shrine, visiting on my way Gowree Koond tank and the cave of Bheemgoopha. Returning in a few days to Kedar, my favorite place of residnce, I there finally rested a number of ascetic Bramin worshippers -called pandas, and the devotees of the Temple of Kedar of the Jangam sect, -keeping me company until my previous companions, the Bramhchari with his two ascetics returned. I closely watched their ceremonies and doings and observed all that was going on with a determined object of learning all that was to be known about these sects. But once that my object was fulfilled, I felt a strong desire to visit the surrounding

mountains, with their eternal ice and glaciers, in quest of those true ascetics I had heard of, but as yet had never met them. I was determined, come what might, to ascertain whether some of them did or did not live there as rumored. But the tremendous difficulties of this mountainous journey and the excessive cold forced me, unhappily to first make inquires among the hill tribes and learn what they knew of such men. Everywhere I encountered either a profound ignorance upon the subject or a ridiculous superstition. Having wandered in vain for about twenty days ,disheartened I set raced my steps as tonally as before, my companions who had at first accompanied me, halving left me two days after we had started through dread of the great cold. I then ascended the Tunganath Peak. There, I found a temple full of idols and officiating priests, and

hastened to descend the peak the same day. before me were two paths, one leading west and the other south-west. I chose at random that which led towards the jungle, and ascended it. Soon after the path led me into a dense jungle with rugged rocks and dried-up waterless brooks. The path stopped abruptly there. Seeing myself thus arrested, I had to make my choice to either climb up still higher or descend. reflecting what a height there was to the summit, the tremendous difficulties of climbing that rough and steep hill, and that the height would come before I could ascend it , I concluded that to reach the summit that night was an impossibility. with much difficulty , however , catching at the grass and the bushes, I succeeded in attaining the higher bank of the

nala (the dry brook), and standing on a rock, surveyed the environs I saw nothing but tormented hillocks, highland, and a dense pathless jungle covering the whole where, no man could pass, Meanwhile the sun was rapidly descending towards the horizon. Darkness would soon set in and then without water or any means for Kindling a fire, what would be my position in the dreary solitude of that jungle.

Temptation of Priest craft

By dint of tremendous exertions though, and after an acute suffering from thorns, which tore my clothes to shreds, wounded my whole body, and lamed my feet I managed to Eros the jungle, and at last reached the foot of the hill and found myself on the highway. All was darkness around and over me, and I had to pick my way at random trying only to keep to the road. Finally I reached a cluster of huts, and learning from the people that that road led to Okhee Math, I directed my steps towards that place and passed the night there. In the morning feeling sufficiently rested and refreshed I returned to the Gupta Kashee whence I started the next day on my northward journey. But that journey attracted me , and soon again I repaired to Okhee math, under the pretext of examining that hermitage and over serving the way of living of its inmates .

There I had time to examine at leisure the doings of that famous and rich monastery , so full of pious pretence and a show of asceticism , The high priest (or chief Hermit ), called Mahant , tried hard to induce me to remain and live there with him becoming his disciple . He even held before me the prospect , which he thought quite dazzling , of inheriting some day his lacs of rupees , his splendor and power , and finally succeeding him in his Mahantship or supreme rank . I frankly answered him that had I ever craved any such riches  or glory , I would not have secretly left the house of my father , which was not less sumptuous or attractive than his monastery with all is riches . The object , which induced me to do away with all these worldly blessings , I added , “I find you neither strive for , nor possess the knowledge of . “He then enquired what

was that object for which I so strived . “that object , ” I answered , “is the secret knowledge , the vidya , or trlle erudition of a genuine yogi the mooktee , which is reached only by the purity of one’s soul , and certain attainments unattainable without it ; in the meanwhile , the performance of all the duties of man towards his fellow – men , and the elevation of humanity thereby . ” The Mahant remarked that it was very good , and asked me to remain with him for some time at least ; But I kept silent and returned no reply ; I had not yet found what I sought for . Rising on the following morning very early , I left this rich dwelling and went to Joshee math . there , in the company of Dakshnee or Maharashtra Shastrees and Sannyasis , the true ascetics of the 4th order ,

I rested for a while. Yogis at Joshi Math (Convent) At Joshee Math I met many Yogis and learned ascetic and, in a series of discussions, learnt more about Yoga-Vidya and parting with them went to Badrinarayan. The learned Rawaljee was at that time the chief priest of that temple; and I lived with him a few days, We held discussions upon the Vedas, and the “Darshanas,” Having enquired from him whether he knew of some

genuine Yogi in the neighborhood, I learnt, to my great regret, that there were none there at the time, but that he had heard that they were in the habit of visiting his temple at times. Then I resolved to make a thorough search for them throughout the country and especially in the hills, Further search of clairvoyoyants one morning at day break, I set on my journey; when, following along the foot of the mountains, i at last reached the banks of the Alaknanda river. I had no desire of crossing it, as I saw on its opposite bank the large village called “Mana.” Keeping, therefore, still to the foot of the hills, I directed my steps toward the jungle following the river course the hills and the road it self were thickly covered with snow and, with the greatest difficulty, I succeeded in reaching that spot where the Alaknanda is said to take its rise. But once there, finding myself surrounded by lofty hills on all sides, and being a stranger in the country, my progress, from that moment was greatly retarded. Very soon, the road ceased abruptly and I found no vestige of even a path. I was thus at a loss what to do next, but i determined finally to cross the river and enquire for my way. I was poorly and thinly clad, and the cold was intense and soon became into unbearable. Feeling hungry and thirsty, I tried to deceive my hunger by swallowing a piece of ice, but found no relief. I then began to ford the river. in some places it was very deep, in others shallow- not deeper than a cubit-but from eight to ten cubits wide. the river-bed was covered with small and fragmentary

bits of ice which wounded and cut my naked feet to bleed. very luckily the cold had quite benumbed them, and even large bleeding cracks left me insensible for a while, slipping on the ice more than once, I lost my footing and came nearly falling down and thus freezing to death on the spot .For should I have found myself prostrated on the ice , I realized that, benumbed as I was all over, I would find it very difficult to rise again. However, with great exertion, and after a terrible struggle, I managed to get safe enough on the other bank. Once there more dead than alive. I hastened to denude the whole upper part of my body; and, with all I had of clothes on me, to wrap my feet up to the knees and then exhausted, famished, unable to move. I stood waiting for help, and

knowing not whence it would come. At last, throwing a last look around me. I espied two hillmen, who came up and having greeted me with their “kashisamba” invited me to follow them to their home, where I would find food . Learning my trouble, they , moreover , promised to guide me to “sadpat” a very sacred place; but I refused their offers, for I could not walk, Not with standing their pressing invitation I remained firm and would not “take courage” ” and follow them as they wanted me; but, after telling them that I would rather die , refused even to listen to them. The idea had struck me that I had better return and prosecute my studies. The two men then left me and soon disappeared among the hills. Having rested, I proceeded on my way back. Stopping

for a few minutes at basudhara, a sacred bathing place, and passing by the neighborhood of managram, I reached badrinarayan at 8,o’ clock that evening.

Upon seeing me, the Rawaljee and his companions were much astonished and

enquired where I had been ever since the early morning . I then sincerely related

to them all that had happened to me. That night , after having restored my strength with a little food, I went to bed, but getting up early on the following morn, I took leave of the Rawaljee and set out on my journey back to Rampur. That evening. I reached the home of a hermit a great ascetic, and passed the night at his place. that man had the  reputation of one of the greatest sages living, and I had a long conversation with him upon religious subjects. More fortified than ever in my determination, I left him next morning, and after crossing hills, forests and having descended the chilkia ghattee, I arrived at last at rampur where I took up my quarters at the house of the celebrated ramgiri, so famous for the holiness and purity of his life. I found him a man of extraordinary habits. though. He never slept, but used to pass whole nights in holding conversations- very loud sometimes apparently with himself. Often, we heard loud

scream, then weeping, though there was no one in his room with him. Extremely surprised, I questioned his disciples and pupils and learnt from them that such was his habit, though no one could tell me what it meant. Seeking an interview with him, I learnt some time after, what it really was; and thus I was enable to get convinced that it was not true Yoga he practiced, but that he was only partially versed in it. it was not what I sought for.

Books on yoga and science

Leaving him I went to kasipur, and thence to Drona sagar, where I passed the whole winter. Thence again to Sambal through moradabad, when ,after crossing gurh mukteshwar I found myself again on the banks of the ganges. Besides other religions works. I had with me the “Shiva Sanhita” “Hat- pradipika” , “yoga-bij” and “Gherand sanhita”, which I used to study during my travels. some of these , books treated on the nari chalan and nari chakaras, (nervous system) giving very exhaustive descriptions of the same, which I could never grasp, and which finally made me doubt as to the correctness of these works. I had been for some time trying to remove my doubts, but had found as yet no opportunity. One day I chanced to meet a corpse floating down the river.

There was the opportunity and it remained with me to satisfy myself as to the correctness of the statements contained in the books about anatomy and man’s inner organs. Ridding myself of the books which I laid nearby and taking off my clothes, I resolutely entered the river and soon brought the dead body out and laid it on the shore. I then proceeded to cut it open with a large knife in the best manner I could. I took out and examined the kamal (the heart) and cutting it from the navel to the ribs, and a portion of the head and neck, I carefully examined and compared them with the descriptions in the books.

Finding they did not tally at all. I tore the books to pieces and threw them into the river after the corpse. from that time gradually I came to the conclusion that with the exception of the Vedas, upanishadas, patanjaly and sankhya, all other works upon science and Yoga were false. Having lingered for some time on the banks of the Ganga, I arrived next at Furrukhabad; when having passed sreenjeeram I was just interning Cawnpur by the road east of the canton went, the samvat year of 1912 (1855 A.C.) was completed.

 

Practice of Yoga

 

During the following five months, I visited many a place between Cawnpur and allahabad . In the beginning of Bhadrapad, I arrived at Mirzapur where I stopped for a month or so near the shine of Vindiachal Asooljee; and arriving at Benares in the early part of ashwin, I took my quarters in the cave ( At the confluence of the Buruna and the Ganges ) which then belonged to Bhumanand saraswati. There, I met with Kakaram, Rajaram and other Shastrees, But stopped there only twelve days and renewed my travels after what I sought for . It was at the shine of Durga-koho in chandalgarh, where I passed ten days. I left off eating rice altogether. And living but on milk I gave myself up entirely to the study of Yoga which I practiced night and day .

Frauds of Idolatry

Unfortunately, I got this time into the habit of using bhang, a strong narcotic leaf, and at times felt quite intoxicated with its effect. Once after leaving the temple, I come to a small village near Chandalgarh where by chance I met an attendant of mine of former days. On the other side of the village, and at some distance from it stood a shivalaya (A temple of shiva ) whither I proceeded to pass the night under its walks . While there under the influence of bhang. I fell fast a sleep and dreamed that night a strange dream. I thought I saw Mahadeo and his wife parvati. they where conversing together and I placing my clothes and books on its back, I sat and meditated; when suddenly happing to throw a look inside the stasue which was empty, I saw a man concealed inside . I extended my hand towards him, and must have terrified him, as jumping out of his hiding place, he took to his heels in the direction of the villege . then I crept into the statue in my turn and slept there for the rest of the night. In the morning and old womasn come and worshipped the Bull-god with myself inside . Iater on , she returned with offerings of “Gur” (molasses) and a pot of “Dahi” (curd milk ) which, making puja to me (whom she evidently mistook for the god himself ) she offered and desired me to

accept and eat. I did not disabuse her, but, being hungry . Ate it all . the curd being very sour proved a good antidote for the bhang and dispelled the sings of intoxication, which relieved me very much .

 

Forests of Nerbuddah

After this adventure, I continued my journey towards the hills and that place where the Nebuddah takes its rise. I never once asked my way, but went on travelling southward. Soon I found myself in a desolate spot covered thickly with jungles, with isolated huts appearing now and then among the bushes at irregular distances. At one of such places I drank a little milk and proceeded onward. But about half a mile farther, I came to a dead stop. The road had abruptly disappeared and there remained but the choice of narrow paths leading I knew not, where. I soon entered a dreary jungle of wild plum tree and very thick and huge grass with on signs of any path in it when suddenly I was faced

by a huge black bear. the beast growled ferociously, and rising on its hind legs, opened wide its mouth to devour me. I stood motionless for some time and then slowly raised my thin cane over him, and the bear ran away terrified. so loud was its roaring that the villagers whom I had just left, hearing it, ran to my assistance and soon appeared armed with large sticks and followed by their dogs. they tried hard to persuade me to return with them. If I proceeded any further, they said, I would have to encounter the greatest perils in the jungles which in those hills were the habitat of beats, buffaloes, elephants, tigers and other ferocious beasts. I asked them not to feel anxious for my safety, for I

was protected, I was anxious to see the sources of the Nerbuddah and would not change my mind for fear of any peril. Then seeing that their warnings were useless, they left me after having made me accept a stick- I immediately threw away.

Forest Life

On that day I travelled without stopping until it grew quite dusk. For many hours I had not perceived the slightest trace of human habitation around me. No village in the far off, not even a solitary hut, or a human being. But what my eyes met the most was a number of trees, twisted and broken, which had been uprooted by the wild elephants, and, felled by them to the ground further on I found myself in a dense and impenetrable jungle of plum trees and other prickly shrubs whence, at first I saw no means of  extricating myself. However, partly crawling on the belly, partly creeping on my knees, I conquered this new obstacle and after paying a heavy tribute with pieces of my clothes and even my own skin, bleeding and exhausted I got out of it. It had grown quite dark by

that time. but even this-if it impeded, did not arrest my progress onward, and I still proceeded. Until I found myself entirely hemmed in by lofty rocks and hills thickly grown over with a dense vegetation but with evident signs of being inhabited. Soon I perceived a few huts, surrounded by heaps of cowdung, a flock of goats grazing on the banks of a small stream of clear water and a few welcome lights glimmering between the crevices of the walls. Resolving to pass the night there, and go no further till the next morning, I took shelter at the foot of a large tree which overshadowed one of the huts. Having washed my bleeding feet my face and hands-in the stream, I had barely sat to tell my

prayers, when I was suddenly disturbed in my meditations by the loud sound of a tom-tom Shortly after, I saw a procession of men, woman and children, followed by their cows and goats emerging from the huts and preparing for a night religious festival. upon perceiving a stranger , they all gathering around me, and an old man came enquiring from whence I had appeared. I told them I had come from benares , and was on my pilgrimage to the Nerbudda sources,after which answer they all left me to my prayers and went further on . But in about half hour , came one of their headmen accompanied by two Hillman and sat by my side, He came as a delegate to invite me to their huts . but, as before, I refused the offer (for they were idolaters) He then ordered a large fire to be lit near me and appointed two men to watch over my safety the whole night.

Learning that I used milk for all food, the kind headmen asked for my “kamandalu” (a bowl) and brought it back to me full of milk, of which I drank a little that night. He then retired, leaving me under the protection of my two guards That night I soundly slept until dawn, when rising and having completed my devotions, I prepared myself for further events.” ( Here the auto biography ends. -T)

DAYANANDA AND ARYA SAMAJ – Romain Rolland

Indian religious thought raised a purely Indian Samaj against Keshab’s Brahmo Samaj and against all attempts at Westernization, even during his life-time, and at its head was a personality of the highest order, Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1883).

This man with the nature of a lion is one of those, whom Europe is too apt to forget when she

Judges India, but whom she will probably be forced to remember to her cost; for he was that rare combination, a thinker of action with a genius for leadership.

While all the religious leaders of whom we have already spoken and shall speak in the future were and are from Bengal. Dayananda came from quite a different land, the one which half a century later gave birth to Gandhi—the north-west coast of the Arabian Sea. He was born in Gujarat at Tankara (Morvi) in the State of Kathiawar of a rich family belonging to the highest grade of Brahamins no less versed in Vedic learning than in mundane affairs both political and commercial. His father took part in the government of the little native state. He was rigidly orthodox according to the letter of the law with a stern domineering character, and this last to his

sorrow he passed on to his son.

As a child Dayananda was, therefore, brought up under the strictest Brahmin rule, and at the age

of eight was invested with the Secred Thread and all the severe moral obligations entailed by this privilege rigorously enforced by his family.’ It seemed as if he was to become pillar of orthodoxy in his turn, but instead he became the Samson, who pulled down the pillars of the temple; a  striking example among a hundred others of the vanity of human effort, when it imagines that it is possible by a superimposed education to fashion the mind of the rising generation and so dispose of the future. The most certain result is revolt.

That of Dayananda is worth recording. When he was fourteen his father took him to the temple to celebrate the great festival of Shiva. He had to pass the night a strict fast in pious vigil and prayer. The rest of the faithful went to sleep. The young boy alone resisted its spell. Suddenly he saw a mouse nibbling the offerings to the God and running over Shiva’s body. It was enough. There is no doubt about moral revolt in the heart of a child. In a second his faith in

the idol was shattered for the rest of his life. He left the temple, went home alone through the night, and thenceforward refused to participate in the religious rites.

It marked the beginning of a terrible struggle between father and son. Both were of an unbending

and autocratic will, which barred the door to any mutual concession. At nineteen Dayananda ran

away from home to escape a forced marriage. He was caught and imprisoned. He fled again, this time for ever (1845). He never saw his father again. For fifteen years this son of a rich Brahmin,

despoiled of everything and subsisting on alms, wandered as a sadhu clad in the saffron robe along roads of India. Dayananda went in search of learned men, ascetics, studying here philosophy, there the Vedas, learning the theory and practice of the Yoga.

He visited almost all the holy places of India and took part in religious debates. He suffered, he braved fatigue, insult and danger. However, Dayananda remained far from the human masses through which he passed for the simple reason that he spoke nothing but Sanskrit throughout this period.

Dayananda did not see, did not wish to see, anything round him but superstition and ignorance, spiritual laxity, degrading prejudices and the millions of idols he abominated. At length about 1860 he found at Mathura an old Guru even more implacable than himself in this condemnation of all weakness and his hatred for superstition, a Sanyasi blind from infancy and from the age of eleven quite alone in the world, learned man, a terrible man Swami Virijananda Sarasvati. Dayananda put himself under his ‘discipline” which in its old literal seventeenth century sense scarred his flesh as well as his spirit.

Dayananda served this untamable and indomitable man for two and a half years as his pupil. It is,

therefore, mere justice to remember that his subsequent course of action was simply the fulfillment of the will of the stern blind man, whose surname he adopted, casting his own to oblivion. When they separated Virjananda extracted from him the promise that he would consecrate his life to the annihilation of the heresies that had crept into the Puranic faith, to reestablish the ancient religious methods of the age before Budha, and to disseminate the truth.

Dayananda immediately began to preach in Northern India, but unlike the benign men of God

who open all heaven before the eyes of their hearers, he was a hero of the Iliad or of the Gita with the athletic strength of Hercules,’ who thundered against all forms of thought other than his own, the only true one. He was so successful that in five years Northern India was completely changed. During these five years his life was attempted four or five times—sometimes by poison.

Once a fanatic threw a cobra at his face in the name of Shiva, but he caught it and crushed it. It

was impossible to get the better of him; for he possessed an unrivalled knowledge of Sanskrit and the Vedas, while the burning vehemence of his words brought his adversaries to naught. They likened him to a flood. Never since Sankara had such a prophet of Vedism appeared. The orthodox Brahmins, completely overwhelmed, appealed from him to Benares their Rome. Dayananda went there fearlessly, and undertook in November, 1869, a Homeric contest before millions of assailants, all eager to bring him to his knees, he argued for hours

together alone against three hundred pandits—the whole front line and the reserve of Hindu

orthodoxy) He proved that the Vedanta as practiced was diametrically opposed to the primitive Vedas.

He claimed that he was going back to the true word. They had not the patience to hear him out. He was hooted down and excommunicated. A void was created round him, but the echo of such combat in the style of the Mahabharata spread throughout the country, so that his name became famous over the whole of India. At Calcutta where he stayed from December

15, 1872 to April 15, 1873, Ramakrishna met him.

He was also cordially received by the Brahmo Samaj. Keshab and his people voluntarily shut their eyes to the differences existing between them; they saw in him a rough ally in their crusade against orthodox prejudices and the millions of Gods. But Dayananda was not a man to come to an understanding with religious philosophers imbued with Western ideas. His national Indian theism, its steel faith forged from the pure metal of the Vedas alone, had nothing in common with theirs, tinged as it was with modern doubt, which denied the infallibility of the Vedas and the doctrine of transmigration.’ He broke with them the richer for the encounter,2 for he owed them3 the very simple suggestion, whose practical value had not struck him before, that his propaganda would be of  little effect unless it was delivered in the language of the people. He went to Bombay, where shortly afterwards his sect, following the example of the Brahmo Samaj but with a better genius of organization proceeded to take root in the social life of India. On April 7, 1875 he founded at Bombay his first Arya Samaj, or Association of the Aryans of India, the pure Indians, the descendants of the old conquering-race of the Indus and the Ganges,

(These italic words express that the author is influenced by the speculated historical elements

which were imposed upon our history by foreigners.

Swamiji did not really take this view of Arya in any of his writings—Editor) and it was exactly in those districts that it took root most strongly. From 1877, the year when its principles were definitely laid down at Lahore, to 1883, Dayananda spread a close network over Northern India. Rajputana, Gujrat, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, and above all in the Punjab which remained his chosen land, practically the whole of India was affected. The only province where his influence failed to make itself felt was Madras. (He could not have the time and chance to preach his gospel in Madras—Editor) He felt, struck down in his prime, by an assassin. The concubine of a Maharajah, whom the stern prophet had denounced, poisoned him. He

died at Ajmer on October 30, 1883. But his work pursed its uninterrupted and triumphant course, from 40,000 in 1891 the number of its members rose to 1,01,000 in 1901, to 2,40,000 in 1911 and to 4,58,000 in 1921.1 Some of the most important Hindu personalities, politicians and Maharajahs belonged to it. Its spontaneous and impassioned success in contrast to the slight reverberations of Keshab’s Brahmo Samaj shows the degree to which Dayananda’s stern

teachings corresponded to the thought of his country and to the first stirrings of Indian nationalism, to which he contributed.

It may perhaps be useful to remind Europe of the reasons at the bottom of his national awakening, now in full flood. Westernization was going too far, and was not always revealed by its best side. Intellectually it had become rather frivolous attitude of mind, which did  away with the need for independence of thought, and transplanted young intelligences from their proper environments teaching them to despise the genius of their race. The instinct for self-preservation

revolted. Dayananda’s generation had watched, as he had done. Not without anxiety, suffering and irritation, the gradual infiltration into the veins of India of superficial European rationalism on the one hand, whose ironic arrogance understood nothing of the depths of the Indian spirit, and on the other hand, of a Christianity, which when it entered family life fulfilled only too well Christ’s prophecy he had come to bring division between father and son.

The enthusiastic reception accorded to the thunderous champion of the Vedas, a Vedist

belonging to a great race and penetrated with the sacred writings of ancient India and with her heroic spirit, is then easily explained. He alone hurled the defiance of India against her invaders.

 

Dayananda declared war on Christianity and his heavy massive sword cleft it as under with scant reference to the scope of exactitude of his blows. Nevertheless as Glasenapp rightly remarks,

they are of paramount interest for European Christianity of which ought to know what is the image of itself as presented by its Asiatic adversaries.

Dayananda had no greater regard for the Qoran and the Puranas, trampled underfoot the

body of Brahmin orthodoxy. He had no pity for any of his fellow countrymen, past or present, who had contributed in any way the thousands-year decadence of India, at one time the mistress of the world.’ He was a ruthless critic of all who, according to him, had falsified or profaned the true Vedic  religion.’ He was a Luther fighting against his own misled and misguided Church of Rome,’ and his first care was to throw open the wells of the holy books,

so that for the first time his people could come to them and drink for themselves. He translated and wrote commentaries on the Vedas in the vernacular— Its was in truth an epoch-making date for India when a Brahmin not only acknowledged that all human beings have the right to know the Vedas, whose study had been previously

prohibited by orthodox Brahmins, but insisted that their study and propaganda was the duty of every Arya

It is true that his translation was an interpretation, and that there is much to criticize with

regard to accuracy’ as well as with regard to the rigidity of the dogmas and principles he drew from the text, the absolute infallibility claimed for the one book, which according to him had emanated direct from the “Prehuman” or Superhuman Divinity, his denials from which there was no appeal, his implacable condemnations, his theism of action, his credo of battle,’ and finally his national God. But in default of outpourings of the heart and the calm sun of the spirit, bathing the nations of men and their Gods in its effulgence Dayananda transfused into the languid body of India his own formidable energy, his certainty, his lion’s blood.

His words rang with heroic power. He reminded the secular passivity of a people, too prone to bow to  fate, that the soul is free and that action is the generator of destiny. He set the example of a complete clearance of all the encumbering growth of privilege and prejudice by a series of hatchet blows. If _ his metaphysics were dry and obscure  his theology was narrow and in my opinion retrograde_,_ (The underlined only expresses the want of opportunity  and inability in contacting and penetrating the mystery of Dayananda’s Theology—Editor) his social activities and practices were of intrepid boldness, with regard to questions of fact he went further than the Ramakrishna Mission ventures to-day.

His creation, the Arya Samaj, postulates in principle equal justice for all men and all nations,

together with equality of the sexes. It repudiates a hereditary caste system, and only recognizes professions or guilds, suitable to the complementary aptitudes of men in society; religion was to have no part in these divisions but only the service of the state, which assesses the tasks to be performed. The state alone, if it considers it for the good of the

community, can raise or degrade a man from one caste to another by way of reward or punishment, Dayananda wished every man to have the opportunity to acquire as much knowledge as would enable him to raise himself in the social scale as high as he was able. Above all he would not tolerate the abominable injustice of the existence of the untouchables, and nobody has been a more ardent champion of their outraged rights. They were admitted to the Arya Samaj on the basis of equality; for the Aryas are not a caste. The Aryas are all men of superior principles; and the ‘Dasyus’ are they who lead a life of wickedness and sin.

Dayananda was no less generous and no less bold in his crusade to improve the condition of

women a deplorable one in India. He revolted against the abuses from which they suffered recalling that in the heroic age they occupied in the home and in society a position at least equal to men. They ought to have equal education according to him, and supreme control in marriage,’ for men and women, and though he regarded marriage as  indissoluble, he admitted the remarriage of widows and went so far as to envisage a temporary union for women as well as men for the purpose of having children, if none had resulted from marriage.

Lastly the Arya Samaj, whose eighth principle was ” to diffuse knowledge and dissipate ignorance” had played a great part in the education of India— especially in the Punjab and the United Province and it has founded a host of schools for girls and boys. Their laborious hives are grouped round two model establishments,’ The Dayanand Anglo—Vedic College of Lahore and the Gurukula of Kangri, national bulwarks of Hindu education, which seek

to resuscitate the energies of the race and to use at the same time the intellectual and technical conquests of the West. To these let us add philanthropic activities such as orphanages, workshops for boys and girls, homes for widows, and great works of social service at the

time of public calamities, famine etc.

I have said enough about this Sanyasi with the soul of a leader, to show how great an uplifted of

the peoples he was in fact the most vigorous force of the immediate and present action in India at the moment of the rebirth and reawakening of the national consciousness. His Arya Samaj whether he wished it or not prepared the way in 1905 for the revolt of Bengal. He was one of the most ardent prophets of reconstruction and of national organization. I feel that it was he who kept the vigil; his purpose in life was action and its object his nation. For a people lacking the vision of wider horizon, the accomplishment of the action and the creation of nation might perhaps be enough. But not for India— before her will still lie the universe.

l MEET DAYANAND

swamiji in sabha

l MEET DAYANAND

WRITER – SWAMI SHRADDHANAND

l was born a new when l first saw Swami Dayanand  Saraswati. I found some faith arose in me. His luster and brilliance amazed me and arrested attention. They overwhelmed me when I saw Rev. T. J.Scott and other Europeans sitting there with great interest. Swamiji had spoken scarcely for 10 minutes when I began to think. “It is surprising to see a Sanskrit pandit speaking so much of sense that astonishes even an educated man.” The subject was ‘OM’. The memories of that day are ever green in my heart. it was the effect of the Rishi’s influence that made even an atheist like me feel the pleasure in my soul‘s happiness.

Rishi’s Durbar: – It was announced that the following day’s lecture would be held in the Town Hall. Swamiji said in a clear tone that he would be ready at the appointed time it a conveyance would be made available to him.

My father was all attentive as long as the lectures were on conventional subjects like Namaste, Pope, jainee. Keerani, Korani (Salutation. jainism, Christianity. Mohamadanism). When he began to speak In strong terms against idolatry and the Avataras my interest increased and my father’s interest waned. He discontinued attending Swamiji’s lectures and in his place deputed a policeman to do bandobast duty. It had become a daily duty with me till the 24th August to go to Begum Park every evening after food. From two to three in the evening there was the Rishi’s Durbar and mine was invariably the first Namaskar to be offered to him. Questions and answers followed, and I used to enjoy them. After the assembly had dispersed the Acharya would leave the Park. I would at once go straight to the Town Hall in my wagonette. Till after Swami Dayanand had disappeared from my sight I would not return home. I was so immersed in his figure in happiness.

Discussion: with Scott.—Then discussions took place on the 26th, 27th and 29th August with the Rev. T. I. Scott on Rebirth. Incarnation and Forgiveness for sins without reaping their result. The first two days’ discussions were in writing. On the third day I had pneumonia and was prevented from attending. Afterwards l could not see Swamiji. l was so impressed with one of his acts that it still passes before my eyesight.

Spying the Swamji’s Activities.—l found Swamiji leaving always his abode after answering the calls of nature with a Langoti at about three in the morning and returning only after sun-rise. I was anxious to find out his activities and was determined to follow him at once. An editor of a newspaper also accompanied me in my attempt. Punctually at three in the morning the Acharya left his abode and we followed him from behind. After having slowly waited a quarter of a mile he began to walk so swiftly that even a swift-paced young man like myself found it difficult to follow him. Near a junction of three roads we missed him. So our first attempt was unsuccessful. On the next night we were awake from 2-30. We wanted to run away at the sight of that Rudramurti (fire-figure). He was walking swiftly and we were running behind him. The Bania editor was gasping and running after me. After covering a distance of half a mile that Rudramurti halted at a wide open place and walked slowly towards a piple tree. On reaching it he sat underneath for an hour and a half in Samadhi. I was not able to see whether he was doing Pranayam or not. But as soon as he sat down it was Samadhi. After rising he shook his body twice and then made his way to the temporary Ashram.

An Incident.—At a Saturday’s meeting it was announced that the following day’s lecture would begin an hour earlier. The Acharya made it perfectly clear that if the conveyance was to be sent to him an hour earlier he would reach the place of lecture in time. On Sunday afternoon people began to gather two hours earlier. The hall was full but the Acharya was not to be seen. Half an hour had passed after the appointed time and still the noise of the carriage was not to be heard. After three quarters of an hour the majestic figure of Dayanand was seen. Before prayer he said. “I was ready at the time but the conveyance did not come. Waiting for long. l started walking. Gentlemen it is not my fault. it is the fault of the children’s children not keeping to their promises.” Perhaps this referred to his host.

Swami Dayanandji was then staying as the guest of Seth Lakshmi Narayan. He was-the Treasurer to the Government and was then considered at Bareilly to be a millionaire.

Denunciation —Swamiji was condemning all the absurdities and the impossibilities of the Puranas. Among those present there were the Rev. T. J. Scott, Edward the Commissioner. Reid the Collector, about fifty other Europeans and many others. His speech on the Panch Pandava’s marriage. Draupadi’s polyandry. Tara and Mandodnri touched the Dharmic element in the audience to the quick. They were never tired, as the lecturer was rich in wit and humor. The Europeans who attended were reveling in joy and merriment.

The Acharya said: “So much for Purana leela. New let us go to the Kirani Ieela- Christian leela. By saying how the Virgin’s conception took place. they are polluting the spotless eternal Paramatman, With such sins they are not ashamed themselves. The face of the collector and the commissioner turned at once red and the Acharya continued examining Christianity with the same vigour till the end.

The following day the Commissioner sent for “Mr.  Lakshminarayan and said, “Make the Swami understand that he should not so play with fire. We Christians are civilised and do not get infuriated at the heat of discussion. But if orthodox Hindus and Muslims get heated your Swami’s lecture shall be stopped.” Having promised to convey this message to Swamiji the Treasurer returned. But he wanted this to be conveyed to Swamiji by someone else, himself not being bold enough to do that.

The Avatar-When l found none stood up. I volunteered and informed Swamiji that the cashier was anxious to speak to Swamiji something about a matter for which the Commissioner had sent for him. Poor man the cashier was helpless. He was either scratching his head or hanging down his head. After five minutes of surprise. Swamiji said, “You are not accustomed to do work at the appointed time. You do not realize the value of time. My time is precious. Speak out your mind.” Then the cashier, in stammering tones. said with great difficulty, “Maharajah, what if you are not so violent in your language? It is no good displeasing the Englishmen. it is better—” so on and so forth. Swamiji at once Joined him, “Why are you so nervous? You have wasted even this time. Perhaps the Saheb would have given you to understand that I am harsh and my lectures would be stopped. Either may happen. Why bother? l am not a man-eater to kill you. Why not you tell me plainly what he said ? Why did you waste so much time?'” At this a faithful Pauranic Hindu onlooker said, “Look at the Avatar! He reads others‘minds.”

Dayanandij’s Answer-—how can that day’s lecture be forgotten? I have heard the best of speeches. but the one which fell from Acharya‘s mouth in simple words so thrilled the audience that I can find no equal to it. That day’s lecture was on Atma Swaroopa, and all Europeans of the place except Rev. T.J. Scott were present. Having prefaced his day’s discourse on the might of truth. Swamiji proceeded; “People ask us not to speak the truth less the Collector would get angry, the Commissioner would get displeased and the Governor’s wrath would descend upon us. Even kings and rulers may get displeased. Why should we desist from truth? ‘Then he explained the unique feature of an Alma alter quoting a sloka which means this: “Weapons cannot pierce him, fires cannot burn him, waters cannot drench him and winds cannot move him.

“Then he continued in a roaring voice. “Body is ephemeral and it is waste to do Adharma in protecting it. Whoever wishes to do contrary to this puts an end to his soul.” Casting a glance all around Swamiji exclaimed in a stentorian voice, “Show me the hero who can destroy my soul. So long as you are not able to get one such hero in this world I am not even inclined to think whether l can dodge truth.”The whole audience was calmed into silence and the falling of at pin could be heard then.

Dayanandji meets Mr Scott.-—After the lecture, Rishi Dayanand enquired about the Rev. T. J. Scott and said. “Sincere Scott is not to be seen today”. The missionary was so regular in attendance and was so kind towards Swamiji that he liked him. Someone informed the Rishi that there was a lecture of the reverend gentleman in a chapel close by. On getting down the steps. The Rishi said. “Proceed. let us see the sincere Scott‘s church.” Followed by three to four hundred men. Swamiji went towards the church. The lecture was just then over and the congregation had not even dispersed, The Rev. Mr. Scott seeing Swamiji received him at the gate. Took him to the pulpit and requested him to speak. Swamiji spoke in harsh terms about human worship for about twenty minutes.

 

The Cashier Redeemed.—-Now about Swamiji‘s other activities. Having known that the cashier had connections with an ill-famed woman. Swamiji asked him his caste. The cashier replied. “What am I to tell you. Who judges one‘s caste from his character, conduct and disposition?”  Swamiji said that as there was Varna, he could tell his caste by birth. He said he was a Kathri, Then the Swamiji asked as in what caste a son of a Kathri by a public woman would belong to. The cashier hung down his head in shame. Swamiji said, “I am not criticising any particular individual. I am speaking the truth”. Afterwards the cashier separated from her and sent her away. One small incident and I shall close this.

Discussion on God‘s Existence. — Apart from his being a great Vedic scholar. Rishi Dayanand was an erudite logician. As I was it confirmed atheist l spoke to Rishi Dayanand against the necessity of God’s existence. Within five minutes’ talk I was silenced. Then I said “Swamiji, your logic is irresistible and, you have no doubt silenced me but you have not shown me the necessity for the existence of God.”My second attempt to question him shared the same fate. After great Preparation I again approached him a third time. Even then my arguments were completely shattered. Then l said. “You are famous for your analytical powers and you have silenced me but you have not shown me the necessity for the existence of‘God.” Laughing at this the Rishi said. “Your questions and my answers are pure and simple mental feats. When can l promise to give you faith in the existence of God? You will have faith when the Almighty is pleased to make you faithful”. I remember his having quoted this: “Not by speech, not byknowledge, not by hearing can He be seen. He manifests to those to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself.”

 

Builder of Unity – Rishi Dayanand Saraswati – Romain Rolland

romin rolland qutoe

Builder of Unity –  Rishi Dayanand Saraswati

-By Romain Rolland

Indian religious thought raised  a purely Indian Samaj against Keshab’s Brahmo Samaj and against all attempt at Westernization even during lifetime, and its head was a personality of the highest order, Dayanand Saraswati.

This man with the nature of a lion is one of those, whom Europe is too apt to forget when she judges India, but whom she will probably be forced to remember to her cost; for he was that rare combination, a thinker of action with a genius for leadership like Vivekanand after him.

 

While all the religious leaders of whom we have already spoken and shall speak in the future were and are from Bengal, Dayanand came from quite a different land, the one which half a century later gave birth to Gandhi – the north-west coast of the Arabian Sea. He was born in Gujrat at Tankara (Morvi) in the State of Kathiawar of a rich family belonging to the highest grade of Brahmins no less versed in Vedic learning than in mundane affairs both political and commercial. His father took part in the government of the little native state. He was rigidly orthodox according to the letter of the law with a stern domineering character, and this last to his sorrow he passed on to his son.

As a child Dayanand was therefore brought up under the strictest Brahmin rule, and at the age of eight was invested with the Sacred Thread and all the severe moral obligations entailed by this privilege rigorously enforced by his family. It seemed as if he was to become a pillar of orthodoxy in his turn, but instead he became the Samson, who pulled down the pillars of the temple; a striking example among a hundred others of the vanity of human effort, when it imagines that it is possible by a superimposed education to fashion the mind of the rising generation and so dispose of the future. The most certain results is revolt.

That of Dayanand is worth recording. When he was fourteen his father took him to the temple to celebrate the great festival of Shiva. He had to pass the night after a strict fast in pious vigil and prayer. The rest of the faithful went to sleep. The young boy alone resisted its spell. Suddenly he saw a rat nibbling the offerings to the God and running over Shiva’s body. It was enough. There is no doubt a but moral revolt in the heart of a child. In a second his faith in the idol was shattered for the rest of his life. He left the temple. Went home along through the night, and thenceforward refused to participate in the religious rites.

It marked the beginning of a terrible struggle between father and son. Both were of an unbending and autocratic will, which barred the door to any mutual concession. At nineteen Dayanand ran away from home to escape from a forced marriage. He was caught and imprisoned. He fled again, this time for ever.(1845). He never saw his father again.

For fifteen years this son of a rich Brahmin, despoiled of everything and subsisting on alms, wandered as a sadhu clad in the saffron robe along the roads of India.This agins seems like a first edition of Vivekanand’s life and his pilgrimage as young man over the length and breath of Hindustan Like him   Dayanand went in search of learned men, ascetics, studying here philosophy, there the Vedas, learning the theory and practice of the Yoga. He visited almost all the holy places of India and took part in religious debates.

Like him He suffered, he braved fatigue, insult and danger and this contact with the body of his fatherland lasted four time longer than Vivekanand’s experience. In the contradiction of the later, however, Dayanand remained far from the human masses through which he passed, for the simple reason that he spoke nothing but Sanskrit throughout this period.He was indeed what Vivekanand would have been if he had not encountered Ramkrishna and if his high aristocratic and puritan pride had not been curbed by the indulgent kindness and the rare spirit of comprehension of his most human of Gurus.  Dayanand did not see, did not wish to see, anything round him but superstition and ignorance, spirituality, degrading prejudices and the millions of idols he abominated. At length about 1860 he found at Mathura an old Guru even more implacable than himself in his condemnation of all weakness and his hatred of superstition, a Sanyasin blind from infancy and from the age of eleven quite alone in the world, a learned man, a terrible man, Swami Virjanand Saraswati. Dayanad put himself under his “discipline” which in its old literal seventeenth century sense scarred his flesh as well as his spirit. Dayanand served this untamable and indomitable man for two and half years as his pupil. It is therefore mere justice to remember that his subsequent course of action was simple the fulfillment of the will of the stern blind man, whose surname he adopted, casting his own to oblivion. When they separated, Virjanand extracted from him the promise that he would consecrate his life to the annihilation of the heresies that had crept into the Puranic faith, to re-establish the ancient religious methods of the age before Buddha, and to disseminate the truth.

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Dayanand immediately began to preach in Northern India, but unlike the benign men of God who open all heaven before the eyes of their hearers, he was a hero of the Iliad or of the Gita with the athletic strength of a Hercules, who thundered against all forms of thought other than his own, the only true one. He was so successful that in five years. Northern India was completely changed. During these five years his life was attempted four or five times – some times by poison. Once a fanatic threw a cobra at his face in the name of Shiva, but he caught and crushed it. It was impossible to get the better of him; for he possessed an unrivalled knowledge of Sanskrit and the Vedas, while the burning vehemence of his words brought his adversaries to naught. They likened him to a flood. Never since Sankara had such a prophet of Vedism appearedThe orthodox Brahmins, completely overwhelmed, appealed from him to Benares, their Rome. Dayanand went there fearlessly, and undertook in November, 1869, a Homeric contest before millions of assailants, all eager to bring him to his knees, he argued for hours together alone against three hundred pandits – the whole front line and the reserve of Hindu orthodox.He proved that the Vedanta as practiced was diametrically opposed to the primitive Vedas. He claimed that he was going back to the true word. They had not the patience to hear him. He was hooted down and excommunicated. A void was created round him, but the echo of such a combat in the style of the Mahabharat spread throughout the country, so that his name became famous over the whole of India.

At Calcutta, where he stayed from December 15, 1872 to April 15, 1873 Ramakrishna met him. He was also cordially received by the Brahmo Samaj. Keshab and his people voluntarily shut their eyes to the differences existing between them; they saw in him a rough ally in their crusade against orthodox prejudices and the million of gods. But Dayanand was not a man to come to an understanding with religious philosophers imbued with Western ideas. His national Indian theism, its steel faith forged from the pure metal of the Vedas alone, had nothing in common with theirs, tinged as it was with modern doubt, which denied the infallibility of the Vedas and the doctrine of transmigration. He broke with them, the richer for the encountered, for he owed them the very simple suggestion, whose practical value had not struck him before, that his propaganda would be of little effect unless it was delivered in the language of the people.

He went to Bombay, where shortly afterwards his sect, following the example of the Brahmo Samaj, but with a better genius of organization, proceeded to take root in the social life of India. On April 10, 1875, he founded at Bombay his first Arya Samaj, or Association of the Aryans of India the pure Indians, the descendents of the old conquering race of Indus and the Ganges. And it was exactly in the thoes district that it took root most strongly. From 1877 the year when its principles were definitely laid down at Lahore to 1883, Daynand spread a close network over Northern India, Rajputana, Gujraat and the United Province of Agra and Oudh and above all in the Punjab, which remained his chosen land. Practically whole of India was affected. The only province where his influence failed to make itself felt was Madras.

He fell, struck down in his prime, by an assassin. The concubine of a Maharajah, whom the stern prophet had denounced, poisoned him. He died at Ajmer on October 30, 1883. But his work pursued its uninterrupted and triumphant course.

But his work pursued its uninterrupted and triumphant course. From 40000 in 1891 the number of its member rose to 100000 in 1901 to 243000 in 1911, and to 468000 in 1921. Some of the most important personalities politicians Maharajas belonged to it. Its spontaneous and impassioned success in contrast to the slight reverberation of keshab’s Brahmo Samaj, shows the degree to which Dayanand’s stern teachings corresponded to the though of his country and to first stirring of Indian Nationalism to which he contributed.

It may perhaps be useful to remind Europe of the reasons at the bottom of his national awakening, now in full flood.

Westernisation was going too far, and was not always revealed by its best side. Intellectually it had become rather a frivolous attitude of mind, which did away with the need for independence of thought, and transplanted young intelligence from their proper environment, teaching them to despise the genius of their race. The instinct for self-reservation revolted, Dayanand’s generation had watched, as he had done, not without anxiety, suffering, and irritation, the gradual infiltration into the veins of India of superficial European rationalism on the one hand, whose ironic arrogance understood nothing to the depths of the Indian spirit, and on the other hand, of a Christianity, which when it entered family life fulfilled only too well Christ’s prophecy he had come to bring division between father and son……………

It is certainly not for us to depreciate Christian influences. I am a catholic by birth, and as such have known the taste of Christ’s blood and enjoyed the storehouse of profound life, reveled in the books and in the lives of great Christians, although I am outside all exclusive forms of church and religion. Hence I do not dream of subordinating such a faith to any other faith whatsoever; when the soul had reached a certain pitch- acumen mentis. – it can go no further. Unfortunately the religion of one country does not always work upon Alien races through its best elements. Too often question of human pride are intermingled with the desire of earthly conquest, and, provided victory is attained, the view is too often held that the end justifies the means. I will go further and say that, even in its highest presentation, it is very rare that one religion takes possession of the spirit of another race in  its deepest essence at the final pitch of the soul, of which I have just spoken. It does so rather by aspects, very significant no doubt but secondary in importance. Those of us, who have pored over the wonderful system of Christian metaphysics and sounded their depth, know what infinite spaces they offer to the soaring wings of the spirit and that the Divine Cosmos they present of the Being and the Love cleaving to Him, is no whit less vast or less sublime than the conception of the  Vedantic infinite but if a Keshab was an exception among his people. And it would seem that Christianity very rarely manifested to Hindus under this aspect. It is presented to them rather as a code of ethics, of practical action, as a love in action, if such a term is permissible and though it is very important aspect, is  not greatest. It is remarkable fact that the most notable conversations have taken place in the ranks of active and energetic personalities rather than in those of deep spiritual contemplation of men capable of heroic flights of soul.

Whether it is turn or not, and it provides ample theme for discussions, it is a historic fact that when Dayanand’s mind was in process of being formed, the highest religious spirit of India had been so weakened that the religious spirit of India Europe threatened to extinguish its feeble flame without the satisfaction of substituting its own. The Brahmo samaj was troubled by it, but was itself willy nilly stamped with Western Christianity. Ram Mohan Roy’s starting point had been protestant Unitarianism . Devendranath although he denied it, had not strength to prevent its intrusion into the samaj when he yielded the ascendency to Keshab, already three parts given over to it. As early as 1880 one of the Keshav’s critics could say that “those who believe in him have lost the name of theist, because they lean more and more towards Christianity. However precisely the position of the third Brahmo samaj had been defined as against Indian Christianity. Indian public opinion could feel no confidence in a church undermined by two successive schisms   within the space of half a century and threatened as we have seen during the next half century with complete absorption in Christianity.

The enthusiastic reception accorded to the thunderous champion of the Vedas, a Vedist belonging to a great race and penetrated with the sacred writings of ancient India and with her heroic spirit, is then easily explained. He alone hurled the defiance of India against her invaders. Dayanand declared war on Christianity and his heavy massive sword cleft it asunder with scant reference to the scope or exactitude of his blows. He put it to the test of vengeful,  unjust and injurious criticism, which fastened upon each separate verses of Bible and was blind and deaf to its real, its religious and even its literal meaning. His slashing commentary reminiscent of Voltaire and his dictionnaire  philosophique, have unfortunately remained the arsenal for the spiteful anti – Christianity  of certain modern Hindus. Nevertheless, as Glasenapp rightly remarks, they are of paramount interest for European Chriatianity of which ought to know what is the image of itself as presented by its Asiatic adversaries.

Dayanand had no greater regard for the Koran and the Puranas, trampled underfoot the body of Brahmin orthodoxy. He had no pity for any of his fellow country-men, past or present, who had contributed in any way to the thousand-year decadence of India, at one time the mistress of the world. He was a ruthless critic of all who, according to him, had falsified or profaned the true Vedic religion. He was a Luther fighting against his own misled and misguided Church of Rome; and his first care was to throw open the wells of the holy books, so that for the first time his people could come to them and drink for themselves. He translated and wrote commentaries on the Vedas in the vernacular – it was in truth an epoch-making date for India when a Brahmin not only acknowledged that all human beings have the right to know the Vedas, whose study had been previously prohibited by orthodox Brahmins, but insisted that their study and propaganda was the duty of every Arya.

It is true that his translation was an interpretation, and that there is much to criticize with regard to accuracy as well as with regard to the rigidity of the dogmas and principles he drew from the text, the absolute infallibility claimed for the one book, which according to him had emanated direct from the “Prehuman” or Superhuman Divinity, his denials from which there was no appeal, his implacable condemnations, his theism of action, his credo of battle, and finally his national God.

But in default of outpourings of the heart and the calm sun of the spirit, bathing the nations of men and their Gods in its effulgence, – in default of the warm poetry radiating from the entire being of a Ramkrishna or the grandiose poetic style of Vivekanda Dayanand transfused into the languid body of India his own formidable energy, his certainty, his lion’s blood, His words rang with heroic power. He reminded the secular passivity of a people, too prone to bow to fate, that the soul is free and that action is the generator of destiny. He set the example of a complete clearance of all the encumbering growth of privilege and prejudice by a series of hatchet blows. If his metaphysics were dry and obscure, if his theology was narrow and in my opinion retrograde, his social activities and practices were of intrepid boldness. With regard to questions of fact he went further than the Brahmo Samaj, and even further than the Ramkrishna Mission ventures to-day..

His creation; the Arya Samaj, postulates in principle equal justice for all men and all nations, together with equality of the sexes. It repudiates a hereditary caste system, and only recognizes professions or guilds, suitable to the complementary aptitudes of men in society; religion was to have no part in these divisions but only the service of the state, which assesses the tasks to be performed. The state alone, if it considers it fort he good of the community, can raise or degraded a man from one caste to another by way of reward or punishment.

Dayanand wished every man to have the opportunity to acquire as much knowledge as would enable him to raise himself in the social scale a high as he was able. Above all he would not tolerate the abominable injustice of the existence of the untouchables, and nobody has been a more ardent champion of their outrage rights. They were admitted to the Arya Samj on a basis of equality; for the Aryas are not a caste.” The Aryas are all men of superior principles; and the ‘Dasyus’ are they who lead a life of wickedness and sin.”

Dayanand was no less generous and no less bold in his crusade to improve the condition of women a deplorable one in India. He revolted against the abuses from which they suffered, recalling that in the heroic age they occupied in the home and in society a position at least equal to men. They ought to have equal education, according to him, and supreme control in marriage, over household matters including the finances.

Dayanand in fact claimed equal rights in marriage for men and women, and though he regarded marriage as indissoluble, he admitted the remarriage of widows and went so far as to envisage a temporary union for women as well as men for the purpose of having children, if none had resulted from marriage.

Lastly the Arya Samaj, whose eighth principle was “to diffuse knowledge and dissipate ignorance,” has played a great part in the education of India –
especially in the Punjab and the United Province – & it has founded a host of schools for girls and boys. Their laborious hives are grouped round two model establishments. The Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College of Lahore and the Gurukula of Kangri, national bulwarks of Hindu education, which seek to resuscitate the energies of the race – and to use at the same time the intellectual and technical conquests of the West.

To these let us add philanthropic activities, such as orphanages, workshops for boys and girls, homes for widows, and great works of social service at the time of public calamities famine, etc.

I have said enough about this Sanyasin with the soul of a leader, to show how great an uplifter of the people, he was – in fact the most vigorous force of the immediate and present actin in India at the moment of the rebirth and reawakening of the national consciousness. His Arya Samaj whether he wished it or not, prepared the way in 1905 for the revolt of Bengal. He was one of the most ardent prophets of reconstruction and of rational organization.

I feel that it was he who kept the Vigil; but his strength was also his weakness. His purpose in life was action and its object his nation. For a people
lacking the vision of wider horizon, the accomplishment of the action and the creation of the ration might perhaps be enough. But not for India – before her will still lie the universe .

 

Is God formless or embodied?

god formless or embodied

Is God formless or embodied?

 Q – If God be formless, this world created by Him should also be formless, just as in the case of other living beings, such as men, – children have bodies like their parents. Had they been formless, their children would have been the same. A.- What a childish question! We have already stated that God is not the material cause of the universe. He is only its efficient cause. It is prakriti and paramanus – the premordial elementary matter and atoms, – which are less subtle than God, that are the material cause of the world. They are not altogether formless but are subtler than other material objects, while less subtle as compared to God.

11. If God be formless, this world created by Him should also be formless A.-No; because that which does not exist (in any form) cannot be called into existence. It is absolutely impossible. It is as much as impossible for an effect to be produced without its cause as the story of a man, who would brag in the following way, to be true. “I saw a man and a woman being married whose mothers never bore any children. They had boys made of human horns, and wore garlands of ethereal flowers. They bathed in the water of mirage and lived in a town of angels where it rained without clouds, and cereals and vegetables grew without any soil, etc.,” or ” I had neither father nor mother and yet came into being. I have no tongue in my mouth and lo! I can speak. There was no snake in the hole and yet one came out of it. I was nowhere, nor were these people, and yet we are all here.” Only lunatics can believe and say such things.

Cannot God create an effect without cause?

Q. If there can be no effect without a cause, what is the cause of the first cause then?

A.- Whatsoever is an absolute cause, can ever be an effect of another, but that which is the cause of one and the effect of another is called a relative cause. Take an example. The earth is the cause of a house but an effect of liquids (Liquids are the causes of solids as they precede them in the order of formation. The earth is solid), but the first cause, prakriti (matter) has no other cause, viz., it is beginningless or eternal. Says the Saankhya Darshana, 1: 67 “The first having no cause is the cause of all effects.” Every effect must have three causes before it comes into existence; just as before a piece of cloth can be made, it must have three things – the weaver, the thread and machinery, in the same way the creation of the world pre-supposes the existence of God, the prakriti, the souls, time and space which are all uncreated and eternal. There would be no world if even one ot them were absent.

The various objections of atheists are answered below:

 If there can be no effect without a cause, what is the cause of the first cause then

Q-    Shoonya (nought or nothing) is the one true reality. In the beginning there was nothing but nothing, and nothing will survive in the end; because whatever now exists will cease to exist and become nothing

A.- The ether, an invisible substance (such a prakriti), the space and a point are also called nothing. It is inanimate and all things invisibly exist in it. Lines are made up of points, while circle, squares, etc., are made of lines. Thus has God, by the might of His creative power, evolved the earth, mountains and objects of all other shapes and forms out of a point or nebula – nothing. Besides, He who knows nothing cannot be nothing. [Hence shoonya (nothing) does not here mean nothing put a point or a nebula.]

Can something come out of nothing?

 Q. Something can come out of nothing , just as a seed does not germinate and send forth a sprout until it is split, but when you break a seed an look into it, you do not find any sprout in it. It is clear then that the sprout comes out of nothing.

A.- That which splits a seed before it germinates, must have already been present in the ee, otherwise what causes the see to split? Nor would it have come out had it not been there.

Do we sow what we reap?

Q. It is not true ‘As you sow so shall you reap,’ Many an act is seen that does not bear fruit; therefore it is right it infer that it entirely rest with God to punish or reward a man for his deeds. It absolutely depends upon His wish.

A.- If it were so, why does not God reward or punish a man for deeds he has never done? It follows, therefore, that God gives every man his due according to the nature of his deeds. God does not reward or punish men according to the caprice of his Will. On the other hand, He makes a man reap only what he has sown

Can effects can be produced without a cause?

Q. Effects can be produced without a cause just as the sharp thorns of Acacia Arabica spring out of the branches that are not at all sharp and pointed but are soft and smooth. It is clear from this illustration, therefore, that in the beginning of Creation all material objects and bodies of living beings come into being without (first) cause.

A.- Whatever a thing springs from, is its cause. Thorns do not come out of nothing. They come out of a thorny tree, therefore, that tree is their cause. Hence the world was not created without a cause.

Q. All things have been created and are liable to decay. They are all ephemeral. The Neo-Vedantis put forward objections like this, because they say, “Thousands of books support the doctrine that Brahma alone is the true reality., the world is a delusion and the soul is not distinct from Brahma (God). All else is unreal.”

A.- All can not be unreal if the fact of their being unreal is real.

Q. Even the fact of their being unreal is unreal. Just as fire not only burns other things and thus destroys them, but is itself destroyed after others have been destroyed.

A.- That which is perceptible by the senses cannot be unreal or nothing, nor can the extremely subtle matter – the material cause of the world – be unreal or perishable. The Neo-Vedantis hold Brahma as the (material) cause of the universe; He – the cause – being real, the world – the effect – cannot be unreal. If it were said that the material world is only a material conception and, therefore, unreal like the objects seen in a dream or life a piece of rope seen in the dark and mistaken for a snake, it cannot be true; because a conception or an idea is something abstract which cannot remain apart from the noumenon wherein it resides.

When one that conceives (viz., the soul) is real, the conception cannot be unreal, otherwise you will have to admit that the soul is also unreal. You cannot see a thing in a dream unless you have seen or heard of it in the wakeful state, in other words, when the various objects of this world come in contact without senses, they give rise to percepts called knowledge by direct cognition – which leave impressions on our souls, it is these impressions which are recalled by, and become vivid to the soul in dreams. If it be possible for a man to dream of things of which he has had no impressions in his mind, a man born blind, should dream of colours which is not the case. It follows, therefore, that in the mind are retained impressions and ideas of external things that exist in the outside world. And just as external things continue to exist even after a man ceases to have any consciousness of them as in sound sleep, so does prakriti- the material cause of the world – continue to exist ever after Dissolution.

 Why not believe that the external things seen in the wakeful state is unreal?

Q- As the external objects pass out of our consciousness in slumber and those seen in a dream in the state of profound sleep, i.e., perish as far as we are concerned, in the same way why not believe that the external things seen in the wakeful state are also unreal?

A.- No, we cannot believe that; because both in slumber and profound sleep the external objects only pass out of our consciousness. They do not cease to exist, just as different things lying behind us are simply invisible to us but are there, and have not ceased to exist. Therefore, what we have said before, that God , the soul and the prakriti – the material cause – are real entities, is alone true.

If the five states of matter is eternal why isn’t the world eternal?

Q. The five bhuts – five states of matter as Prithivi (solids), Apah (liquid) etc., – being eternal, the whole world is eternal or imperishable.

A.- No, it is not true; because if all those objects, the cause of whose formation or disintegration is seen every day, be eternal, the whole material visible world with all such perishable things as the bodies of men and animals, houses, and their furniture and the like would be eternal, which is absurd. Therefore, the effects can never be eternal.

Are all things distinct from each other?

Q. All things are distinct from each other, There is no unity in them. Whatever we see precludes another.

A.-The whole exists in its parts. Time, ether, space, God, and Order and Genus, though separate entities, are yet common to all. There is nothing that can exist separate from or without them. Hence all these are not separate from each other, though they are different by nature. Thus there is unity in variety.

Q. All things exclude each other, and are therefore non-existent, just as a cow is not a horse, nor is a horse a cow. Therefore, both the horse and the cow are non-existent. Similarly, all things are as if non-existent.

A.- Though it is true that the ‘relation of one thing excluding others does exist in all things, but a thing does not exclude itself. For example, a cow is not a horse, nor is a horse a cow; but a cow as a cow and a horse as a horse do exist. If things were non-existent how could you ever speak of this Itretaraabhaava relation i.e., ‘the relation of one thing excluding others from itself’. [Hence the world and things contained therein do exist. They are not non-existent.

There can be no creator.

Q. The world comes into being by virtue of the fact that it is in the nature of things to combine together and produce different things. Just as maggots are produced the coming together of food, moisture and by decomposition setting in; or as vegetables begin to grow when the seed, water, and soil are brought together under favourable conditions; or as the wind blowing on the sea is the cause of waves that in turn produce merchaum, which mixed with turmeric, lime and lemon juice forms what is called concrete, so does this world come into being by virtue of the natural properties of the elements. There is no Creator.

A.-If formation be the natural property of matter, there would be no dissolution or disintegration; and if you say that disintegration is also a natural property of matter, there could then be no formation. But if you say that both formation and disintegration are the natural properties of matter, there could then be neither formation nor disintegration. If you say that an efficient agent is the cause of the creation and dissolution of the world, it must be other than and distinct from the objects that are subject to formation and disintegration.

If formation and disintegration be the natural properties of matter, they may happen at any and every moment. Besides, if there is no Maker and the world came into being by virtue of the natural properties inherent in matter, why do not other earths, suns and moons come into existence near our earth? Moreover, whatever now grows or comes into being, does so by virtue of the combination of different substances – made by God. Just as plants grow wherever the water soil and the seed come in contact under favourable conditions, and not otherwise; in the same way in the manufacture of concrete its components such as turmeric, lime, lemon juice and merchaum do not come together by themselves, but are mixed up together by some one, nor dot hey produce concrete unless mixed in their right proportion. Similarly, the prakriti and atoms, until they are properly combined by God with the requisite knowledge and skill, cannot by themselves produce anything. It follows, therefore, that the world did not come into being by itself, i.e., by virtue of the natural properties of matter, but was created by God.

It was never created nor shall it ever perish.

Q. This world has had no Creator, nor is there one at present, nor, shall there ever be one. It has been eternally existing as such. It was never created nor shall it ever perish.

A.- No action or thing – which is the product of action – can ever come into existence without an agent. All objects to this world such as the earth, are subject to the processes of formation, that is, are the product of definite combination. They can never be eternal, because a thing which is the product of combination can never exist after its component parts come as under. If you do not believe it, take the hardest rock or a diamond or a piece of steel and smash it into pieces, melt or roast it and see for yourself if it is composed of separate particles, called molecules and atoms, or not. If it is, then surely a time will come when those molecules will come apart.

Can the highly exalted soul become God?

Q. There is not Eternal God, on the other hand a highly exalted soul, that by the practice of yoga attains such power as the control of atoms, etc., and omniscience, becomes God.

A.- Had there been not Eternal God, the Creator of the universe, Who would have made the bodies, the sense organs and all objects of this world, the very support and means of subsistence of the yogi, by means of which he comes to possess such wonderful powers? Without their help no one can endeavour to accomplish anything. The endeavour being impossible how could he have acquired those wonderful powers? Whatsoever efforts a man may make, whatsoever means he may employ, whatsoever powers he may acquire, he can never equal God in His natural – in contradistinction to the soul’s acquired – Everlasting or Eternal powers which are infinite and manifold; because, the knowledge of the soul, even if it were to go on improving till eternity, will still remain finite and his powers limited. Its power and knowledge can never become infinite. Mark, no yogi has ever been able to subvert the laws of nature as ordained by God, nor ever shall. God – the Eternal Seer – possessed of wonderful powers has ordained that eyes shall be the organs of sight, and ears the organs of hearing. The human soul can never become God.

In different cycles of Creation does God make the universe of a uniform or a different

Q. In different cycles of Creation does God make the universe of a uniform or a different character?

A.- Just as it is now, so was it in the past, so will it be in the future. It is said in the Veda, “Just as God created the sun, the earth, the moon , the electricity, the atmosphere in the previous cycles, so has He done in the present and so will He do in the future.” RIG VEDA 10: 190, 3. God’s works, being free from error or flaw, are always of uniform character. It is only the works of one who is finite and whose knowledge is subject to increase or decrease that can be erroneous or faulty, not those of God.

How can the punishment, that God inflicts on the soul, reform it

atharvaveda 1

 How can the punishment, that God inflicts on the soul, reform it

 

 

 

Q. How can the punishment, that God inflicts on the soul, reform it..

 

… when it cannot remember its past; because the punishment could prevent it from committing any further sins only if it were to know that such and such a punishment was meted out to it for such and such a sin.

 

A.~ How many kinds of knowledge do you believe in?

 

Q. Eight kinds, such as knowledge through direct cognition, through Inference, through analogy, etc.

 

A.~ Why can you not then infer the existence of the previous life of the soul form seeing different peple born and brought up under different conditions in this world such as affluence and poverty, happiness and misery, talent and idiocy, etc. Suppose a physician and a layman are taken ill. The physician at once finds out the cause that brought on the disease on him, while the layman cannot; because the former has studied Medical Science while the latter has not. But even the layman knows this much that he must have violated some law of nature – dietetic or sanitary, etc., – to bring on the disease, such as fever. Similarly, why can you not infer the pre-existence of the soul by observing people afflicted with pain and suffering, or endowed with pleasures or joys of this world in unequal proportions – results of their actions not in the present life? If you refuse to believe in the pre-existence of the soul, how do you think it to be consistent with the justice of God to bless some with riches, power, and talent, etc., while afflict others with poverty, suffering, idiocy and the like without their having done anything – good or evil – in their previous lives to deserve them? God can be just only when He gives the soul pleasure or pain according to its good or evil deeds done in its previous lives.

 

Q. The belief in the unity of birth is not inconsistent with the justice of God. He is like a Sovereign Ruler, whatsoever he does is just. He may also be likened to a gardener who implants trees big and small in his grove, some he trims, others he cuts down, others still he protects (from wind and cattle, etc.), improves and multiples. One can do whatever one likes with one/s own. In like manner, God can do whatever He likes (with His world). There is no one above Him who could punish Him or whom He should fear.

 

A.~ God always desires justice and acts justly, therefore, it is that he is Great and worthy of our homage and adoration. He would not be God if He acted unjustly. A gardener who plants trees aimlessly or promenades or other places, cuts down trees that do not require cutting, multiplies those that are fit to be multiplied, and does not multiply those that are suitable for multiplying, is worthy of blame.

 

In like manner would God be blameworthy were He to act without a reasonable cause. It is absolutely necessary for God to act justly, because He is pure and just by nature. Should He act like a madman? He would even be beneath a good judge of this world, and would no longer be honored. Does not a judge, in this world, who punishes the innocent and awards honor t those who have done nothing to deserve it, merit blame and forfeit his honor? God never does anything that is unjust. He, therefore, fears none.

 

God has pre-ordained all. He gives one or acts by one whatsoever He had determined before-hand to give or do.

 

A.~ His determination is always in accordance with the actions of the soul. Should it be otherwise, He would be unjust and guilty.

 

All men have the same amount of misery and happiness. .

 

The great have great cares, whilst the small have small troubles and cares. A rich merchant, for instance, has a law suit, of say 100,000 rupees, in a Court of law. He leaves his house in a palanquin (borne on the shoulders of men) for the Court on a very hot day. The ignorant, when they see him thus passing through a street, cry out “Behold the might of virtue land vice. One is comfortably sitting in the palanquin, whilst the others are bearing him on their shoulders bare-footed with a burning ground underneath and a scorching sun over head.” But the wise know that as the Court is drawing nigh, the anxiety of the merchant, his doubts and fears are increasing, while the palanquin bearers are getting easier at the prospect of being soon relieved from their burden

 

When at last they get to the court, the merchant thinks of going hither and thither. He soliloquizes thus “Shall I go to see by counsel or shall I see the clerk of the Court first? Shall I win or lose to-day? Oh! I wish I knew what was going to happen” and so on. The palanquin bearers, on the other hand, chat together, smoke, feel happy, and enjoy their siesta. If the merchant wins, he feels a bit happy, if he loses, he sinks into the depths of misery, whilst the palanquin bearers are affected neither one way nor the other.

 

They remain just as they were before the case was decided. Similarly, when a king lays himself down on his beautiful and soft bed, he does not go to sleep quicker than a labourer who falls asleep as soon as he stretches himself on uneven earth covered with stones and pebbles. The same is true of all other conditions seemingly unequal.

 

A.~ Only the ignorant can believe that all are equally happy or miserable. If a rich merchant and apalanquin bearer were asked to change their places with one another, the merchant would never like to become a palanquin bearer, while the latter would simply jump at the offer. Had they been equally happy or miserable, the merchant would never have refused to change his place with the palanquiin bearer, nor, would the latter have liked to become a rich merchant.

 

Behold the difference between the happiness and misery of the different people! One soul comes into the womb of the queen of a great righteous and learned king, whilst another in that of the wife of a poor miserable grass-cutter. One is happy and well-cared for in every way since the day of its conception, whilst the other suffers in a hundred different ways. When one is born, he is bathed with pure fragrant water, and his cord is carefully cut. He is properly fed and cared for. When he is hungry, he is given milk mixed with sugar and other necessary ingredients in proper proportions. There are servants to wait upon him, toys for him to play with, conveyances to take him out to pretty and healthy places. He is well-loved, and is happy. The other is born in a jungle, where not even water is to be had to wash him. When he is hungry and wants milk, he slapped on the face instead, cries most pitifully, but no one attends to him and so on.

 

The infliction of suffering or the awarding of happiness to souls, without their having previously done acts – sinful or virtuous – to deserve it, would disgrace God. Besides, if we suffer or enjoy here in this world without having previously done anything – sinful or virtuous – our going to Hell or Heaven after d4ath ought not to be dependent on our deeds done in this life, because just as God has given us pleasure or pain her without our having previously done sinful or virtuous deeds, so would He send some of us to Hell, others to Heaven just according to His pleasure.

 

Why should men then practice virtue. (If this logic be accepted) all would become wicked and lead sinful lives; because it is doubtful if virtue will bear any fruit. It all rests with God. He would do just as it would please Him. No one will thus fear sin which will consequently multiply, whilst virtue will decay. It follows therefore that the present birth of the soul is in accordance with its deeds – sinful and virtuous – in the past, whilst the future will be determined by its present and past modes of life – righteous or unrighteous.

 

 

 

GOD AND THE VEDA

vedas

GOD AND THE VEDA

 

They are atheists and of weak intellect, ad continually remain sunk in the depths of misery and pain who do not believe in, know, and commune with, Him who is Resplendent, All-glorious, All-Holy, All-knowledge, sustainer of the sun, the earth and other planets, Who pervades all like ether, is the Lord of all and is above all devatas. It is by the knowledge and contemplation of God alone that all men attain true happiness.” RIG VEDA: I, 164, 39.

 

Q- There are more Gods than one mentioned in the Vedas. Do you believe this or not?

 

A.~ No, we do not; as nowhere in all the four Vedas there is written anything that could go to show that there are more gods than one. On the other hand, it is clearly said in many places that there is only one God.

 

Q. What is meant by the mention of various devatas (Gods) in the Vedas then?

 

A.~Whatsoever or whosoever possesses useful and brilliant qualities is called a devata, as the earth for instance; but it is nowhere said that it is God or is the object of our adoration. Even in the above mantra it is said that He, who is the sustainer of all devatas, is the adorable God, and is worthy of of being sought after, They are greatly mistaken who take the word “devata” to mean God.

 

He is called devata of devatas – the greatest of all devatas, – because He aloneis the author of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution of the Universe, the Great Judge and Lord of all. The Vedic text “The Lord of all of all, the Ruler of the universe, the Sustainer of all holds all things by means of thiry-three devatas” has been explained as follows in the fourteenth chapter of the Shatpatha Brahman:-

 

1. Heated cosmic bodies

 

2. Planets

 

3. Atmosphere

 

4. Super-terrestial space

 

5. Suns

 

6. Says of ethereal space

 

7. Satellities

 

8. Stars

 

 

 

These eight are called Vasus, because they are abode of all that lives, moves or exists. The eleven Rudras are the ten pranas – nervauric forces – enlivening the human body and the eleventh is the human spirit.

 

These are called Rudras because when they desert the body, it becomes dead and the relations of the deceased, consequently, begin to weep. The twelve months of a year are called Adityas, as they cause the lapse of the term of existence of each object or being. The (all-pervading) electricity is called Indra, as it is productive of great force. Yajna (assembly for the purposes of teaching and learning) is called Prajapati because it benefits mankind by the purification of air, water, rain and vegetables and because it aids the development of various arts, and because in it the honour is accorded to the learned and the wise.

 

These thirty-three aforesaid entities are called devatas by birtue of posssessing useful properties and qualities. Being Lord of all and greater than all, the Supreme Being is called the thirty-fourth Devata who alone is to be worshipped. The same thing is written on the other Shastras. Had people consulted these books, they would not have fallen into this error, viz., the believe that there are more gods than one mentioned in the Vedas.

 

“By One Supreme Ruler is this universe pervaded, eve every world in the whole circle of nature, He is the true God. Know Him, O man! and covet not unjustly the wealth of any creature existing. Renounce all that is unjust and enjoy pure delight – true spiritual happiness – by the practice of justice and righteousness which is another name for true religion.YAJUR VEDA 40:1

 

“God teaches in the Veda “I, O men, lived before the whole universe came into being, I am Lord of all, I am the eternal cause of the whole creation. I am the source and giver of all wealth. Let all men look up to me alone as children do to their parents. I have appointed different foods and drinks for all creatures to give them sustenance so that they may live in happiness.” RIG VEDA 10: 48, 5.

 

” I am God Almighty, I am the Light of the world like the sun. Neither defeat, nor death, can ever approach me. I am the controller of the universe, know me alone as the Creator of all. Strive ye diligently for the acquisition of power and wealth such ( as true knowledge). Ask ye of me. May ye never lose my friendship. I give true knowledge, which is real wealth, unto men who are truthful. I am the revealer of Vedas which declare my true nature. It is through the Vedas that I advance the knowledge of all. I am the prompter of the good and true. I reward those who devote themselves to the good of humanity. I am the cause, I am the support of all that exists in this universe. May ye never turn away from me. May ye never accept another God in my place, nor worship him.” RIG VEDA, 10:48, 5.

 

“God, O men existed in the beginning of the Creation. He is the Creator, Support and Sustainer of the sun and other luminous worlds, He was the Lord of the past Creation. He is the Lord of the present. He will be the Lord of the unborn universe. He created the whole world, and he sustains it. He is Eternal Bliss. May ye all praise and adore Him as we do.” YAJUR VEDA, 13:4

 

Q. How can you prove His existence?

 

A.~ By the evidences of direct cognition, Inference, Testimony and History.

 

Q. But there can be no evidence of direct cognition, with regard to God?

 

A.~ “The knowledge which is the result of the direct contact of the five senses – optic, auditory, olfactory, gustatory and tactile – and of the mind, with light, sound , smell, taste and touch; with feelings of pleasure and pain truth and untruth is called direct cognition But this knowledge must  be free from error and doubt”. Niyaya Shastra 1,4.

 

On reflection it will be clear that it is only attributes that can be known through the senses and the mind, not substances, in which those qualities inhere. As for example, we are cognizant of a solid substance when it gives rise to the sensations of touch, smell, etc., by coming in contact without four senses, such as the tactile sense, and the senses with the mind, and the latter with the soul; similarly we are cognizant of the existence of God by observing such qualities as design and intelligence in this world.

 

Besides, instantly the soul directs the mind and the latter directs the senses to the pursuit of a certain object either good – such as acts that promote public welfare – or bad such as theft, they all incline to the desired object and at that very moment, feelings of fear, shame , and distrust arise in the self consciousness if the action be sinful, and those of fearlessness, courage, and satisfaction of felicity, if it be good; these feelings are prompted not by the human soul, but by the Divine Spirit.

 

Lastly when the soul, freed from all impurities, devotes itself to the contemplation and realization of God through Yoga, it becomes cognizant of both – itself and the Divine Spirit. When we can be directly cognizant of the existence of God how can there be any doubt. His existence by inference and other evidence, because the cause is inferred from its effects.

 

Q. Is God All-pervading or does He reside in some particular locality?

 

A.- He is All-pervading. If He were localized to some particular place, He could never be Omniscient, Inward Regular of all, Universal Controller, Creator of all, Sustainer of all and the Cause fo resolution of all things into their elements, as it is impossible for the doer to do anything in place where he is not.

 

Q. Is God Just as well as Merciful

 

A.~ Yes, he is both.

 

Q. These two attributes are opposed to each other, since Justice consists in giving a person the just amount of pleasure or pain – neither more nor less – according to the nature of his deeds, while mercy consisted in letting the offender go unpunished. How could He be both merciful and just at the same time?

 

A.- Justice and mercy differ only in name. The object served by justice is the same as accomplished by mercy. Now the object of infliction punishment through justice is to prevent people from committing crimes and thereby enable them to be freed from pain and misery. What is the object of mercy but to rid people of misery? Your definitions of justice and mercy are not correct, because the infliction of just punishment in exact accordance with the amount of crime is called justice.

 

If the offender be not punished, mercy will be destroyed, for suffering one such criminal, a a robber, to go unpunished amounts to giving pain to thousands of righteous and law-abiding people. What mercy can ther be, the, in allowing one man to go unpunished and making others suffer? It will be an act of mercy indeed to that robber to keep him in prison and thereby prevent him from further commission of crimes. It will also be an act of mercy to thousands of other people to rid them of that robber or dacoit by putting him to death of keeping him in prison.