The Phallic World


B. Bhattacharya


Volume I


Munshiram Manoharlal

Publishers Pvt Ltd


यद् यद् कर्म करोमि तत् तद् अखिलम्सम्भो त्वदराधनम्




All my actions, oh Sambhu, are but offerings to Thee.



Preface to the Second Edition

Review by Dr. Suniti kumar Chatterji

Preface to the first Edition


List of Plates

Transliteration of Sanskrit World

Chapter 1


I. Religion and Fear.

II. The Cult of Fertility.

III. Religious Love and Hindu Catholicism.

IV. East-West: An Arrogant Volte-face.

V. The Tamils and Siva Evolution. References


1. Roots of Saivism.

11. Religion and Cult.

III. The Phallic World with the Antecedents.

IV. Sex and Religious Feruour.

V. The Birth of Gods. References.


I. Western Erotic Traditions.

II. The Indigenous Indians.

III. Sämkhya: Yoga: Vedanta.

IV. The Tamil.

V. Beginning of Abstract Thinking.

VI. The Mother.

VII. The Mother for the Latins.

VIII. The One Becoming Many.

IX. Forms of the Mother. References.


I. Religion and Philosophy.

II. The Antecedents of Sämkhya.

III. The Yoga.

IV. Vedänta: God and Theological Need

V. Monism and Dualism.

VI. Hindu Polytheism and Siva. References.


I. Historical Forces on the Move.

11. Emergence of Bhakti.

III. Bhakti and Love.

IV. Old Forms in New Religions. References.







Preface to the Second Edition

Saivism and the Phallic World is a formidable treatise by any standard. Many have favoured the tome as the only standard work on the treatment of Saivik thoughts. Readers and students have welcomed the book particularly be- cause of the broad canvas on which it has been laid, opening up vistas of comparative religious trends in history of mankind, specially drawing attention to the Siva and Tantra trends, in all types of human society, ancient and modern.

But for the public appreciation it has received a heavy and ponderous book like Saivism and the Phallic World would not have entered into a second edition. In fact the publishers have done the reading public a service by venturing into this project, after the book had disappeared from popular book-shops for over three years.

From the date it had been first published (1975) to date certain aspects dealt within the text called for some special brush ups. These have been included as Additional Notes. A typeset book of this size, inevitably, erred over certain print and other slips. The author as well as the publishers have taken great care in eliminating these errors, and redressing certain phraseologies for the sake of clarity and form. To this extent the present edition has become far more reliable.

The Index of the first edition had never been to an expected standard. This major deficiency has now been removed by adding a completely remodelled Index, on which the author himself has worked very hard. Dr. V.N.Chibbar deserves thanks for going through this part of the work very thoroughly, and arranging the index with scientific and intellectual precision.

One of the most valuable addition to this edition is the sponataneous review from the eminent savant and orientalist-linguist the Late Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, National Professor of Humanities, on this book. This review has been called 'spontaneous' becaue at the time of writing this review Dr. Chatterji and the author, who used to live in the West Indies (Trinidad), had not known each other. The later bonds were established between the two only through the medium of this book.

The author expresses his thanks to the publishers for undertaking this venture. As one of the leading publishers in India of Oriental treatises the house of Messrs. Munshiram Manoharlal is reputed internationally. Thanks are also due to my daughter Mrs. Atreyee Cordiero and my student-friend Shri Sunil Jha both of whom have been good enough to bear with the tantrums and idiosynorasies of an octogenarian perfectionist.


New Delhi                                                                  BRAJAMADHAVA BHATTACHARYA

16 February 1993




















Review by Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji

Saivism and the Phallic World, by Professor Brajamadhav Bhattacharya, published by the Oxford and I.B.H. Publishing Company, New Delhi, 1975, in two volumes, p. 1048.

This is a stupendous book, and in its compact 1048 and more pages written in forceful and most readable English is crammed a mass of information of quite an encyclopaedic extent on almost all matters dealing with religion, both popular and higher, philosophy, mysticism, history, ethonology and everything that has got a reference or a relevance to the human phenome- non. The author is remarkably qualified to handle such a vast amount of scientific and philosophical erudition. He is born in a Brahman family with all the heritage of traditional Brahmanical scholarship and ideology. He is a present-day Indian scholar of literature and has been teaching the subject for over quarter of a century. He has moreover been an ardent seeker after the Reality behind life, and in this matter he has not confined himself to formal philosophical and scientific enquiry but also has taken note, with the spirit of an humble enquirer along the lines suggested by mystic adepts, of the ritual and dogmatics, symbolistics and myth, folklore and traditions, and whatever has developed and has found a place in human culture in its manifold essay for arriving at the unseen and the unknown.

From its title, this book would appear to give a detailed exposition of one aspect of Hinduism, namely the worship of the Divinity through the concept of Siva, the Deity of destruction and regeneration, who represents not only the forces of creation, destruction and recreation but also typifies the action of the live forces in all existence. A look into the wonderfully diverse range of topics treated in this great book would seem to suggest that no aspect of life and creation which comes within the purview of religion and thought has been left untouched by the author, who seems to embrace everything in the wonderful sweep of his view. In the Mystic Mother Section of the first volume of his book, the author has brought the topic of fundamental importance in life and being which centers round Sex-the Lingam and the Yoni-the Creative forces through the polarities of the Father and the Mother which merge into each other, the Ardha-Nariswara or the Androgyne. All this inevitably leads through Bhakti or the Abandan of Faith and Love to the Divine Essence in its Nirguna and Saguna forms. The subject has been presented with uncommon knowledge and conviction, and this makes the book a source of serious and reflective reading of both high and profound unction.

In the second volume we have an exposition of the various aspects of Saivaism which according to the author's experience, forms the quintessence of Religion. In this volume, Professor Bhattacharya also gives an exposé of the significance of a number of Saiva myths and legends which are sometimes very little known to the domain or esoteric students of myths- of God and Goddesses and their doings, and they always bring to us startling suggestions and conclusions and give us food for fresh thought. In this and all other respects, the Saivism and the Phallic World is a unique scientific work, unrivalled in its field.

Sex is treated as a basic fact of life-as the Hindu idea is, it is one of the 4 Great Ends of Man's Existence (Chaturvarga, Purushartha), which are (1) Dharma a virtue in conforming in life to the Eternal Law of Being which holds in itself everything, (2) Artha or Wealth (which means everything that man seeks to acquire, excepting sin and evil), (3) Kama or Sex and Love (where a Man and Woman feel an attraction to each other and lean upon each other for continuing the race, for performing the duties in life, and for attainment of pleasure and happiness) and (4) Moksha or Liberation (from the bonds of Dharma, Artha and Kama, pondering upon the nature of the Supreme or the Reality). Sex is something holy, as holy as Nature or Life, and all Natural Religions recognise its value in life, the need to cultivate it as an essential thing in existence as leading to the Ultimate Reality. Repugnance to Sex is the result of a wrong attitude to life-and the deeper insight of the Phallic Cults offers the only corrective to these aberrations against sex. Here Professor Bhattacharya's book presents a common sense attitude to sex, as a part of Life and Expression.

One thing we notice in this book is the amazing extent of the author's range of studies, In that most important part of the book dealing with the Mother Goddess and the Phallic symbol in creation, we have an almost all- comprehensive treatises on the subject embracing the entire range of religious perception, imagination and experience. No religion, ancient and modern, and no king of popular belief which are exercising the mind and the action of men, has been left untouched, and one must say that one gets bewildered in the midst of this vast jungle of the sex eroticism which has joined forces with religious experience or mysticism. The author has two great languages at his finger-tips-Sanskrit, which he has inherited by tradition and the world of Sanskrit, as well as English. His mother-tongue is Bengali, and these two languages which he handles with such vitality, beauty and force, are, it is remarkable to consider, but acquired languages with him,languages which have almost become like one's inherited mother-tongue. That is why sometimes we find, in his case too, aliquando dromitat bonus Homerus-in his use of Sanskrit and Bengali a rare lapsus calami peeps through his most excellent, almost faultless writing.

I wish I had some more time to give to this vast literary and philosophical creation by Professor Bhattacharya as presented before us. He has been not only a teacher and an educationist, both in theory and practice, but he has been something far greater. He has been a preacher of Religion and the Good Life, of Mystic Understanding and Appreciation. He has taken up the task of guiding a whole section of people along the path of full living and thought in religion. For the last 25 years or more, the forlorn Hindu community settled in far away Guyana and Trinidad in the antipodes of India in the West Indies, religion have found in him a friend, philospher and guide, to help maintain in their souls a touch of the deathless culture and thought of India. This alone has been a work of primordial value, and Professor Bhattacharya unquestionably is a dedicated soul who has felt an inner urge to take up this life of a lay missionary, seeking to bring a spiritual uplift to the neglected children of India in far away America.

I only hope that inspite of the fact that his book might prove to be rather above the heads of the general run of his readers even when they are from India and are highly educated, it will remain a beacon-light of help and guidance for all and sundry. The present reviewer himself believes in at simple faith-the faith of an agnostic who is not an atheist-an agnostic with imagination, for whom a good deal of what passes as profundity and truth in mysticism, owing to his ignorance primarily, is just the blind faith of obscurantism. With this note of scepticism for a mass of mystico-devotional literature, which for the ordinary people would sound as a rigmarole, he still can offer his homage to the scholarship, the talent, the power of exposition and the wonderful all-inclusive erudition of the literary and philosophical genius, as well as worker for the uplift of man-the self-exiled Professor from India in Trinidad, Dr. Brajmadhav Bhattacharya.


National Professor of India in Humanities


16 Hindustan ParkCalcutta 700029






















Preface to the First Edition

Saivism and the Phallic World is more a book on comparative religion than one exclusively devoted to a remote subject such as Saivism appears to be. In fact, to deal with Saivism is to deal with Hinduism in all its aspects; and to deal with the vexed subject of the worship of sex-organs is to enter into the very complex arena of primitive religions, their traditional cultural forms. Tomes have been written on the latter, but the former has been remaining in the background. There are excellent books on Śaivism written by erudite Hindu scholars and devotees on exclusive aspects of Saivism. This book does not attempt to repeat the performances, neither to add to them.

It really attempts to make a sally into as charged a field of study as sex-worship and erotic frenzy presents; out of a hundred books referring to Śiva worship ninety-nine would equate Śiva, specially Linga worship, with the worship of sex, that is, with phallicism. Not non-Hindu writers alone, even Hindu scholars, specially the historically biased and anthropologically trained minds resort to the convenience of classifying Siva worship as a Sex worship. This is misguiding and erroneous. The truth in it subsists like water in natural milk, or spots in the sun. The sun is sun, milk, milk, because of qualities other than light or water respectively in them. In fact we call a sun a sun, and not think of the spots. In Saivism there lies a profundity that reaches sublimation. Not by sex alone could such a great theme survive through all the thousands of years of human cultural history.

This enquiry leads us to make a thorough study of the subject on the basis of comparative religion. This book has devoted itself to that end.

A book of this nature would be incomplete without the fundamental study of the basic Saivism proper. This has been done in several sections. The associated subjects like Bhakti (religion of adoration and love), the Great Mother and Tantra mysticism, and the metaphysical schools of Hindu thought have also been dealt with.

Because of the scanty resources available in Trinidad on the exceptional nature of the subject, it has not been possible to consult as many sources of reference as the topic would demand, or as the author would have liked to do. But on the whole more emphasis has been laid on the Sanskrit source books than on those secondary research works as the academic studies which reputed scholars have been bringing out from time to time.

Of course, there have been very commendable works done in the past. I regret much to have to say that under the circumstances described I was unable to make use of those great books. I was reminded of W. H. Prescott. He wrote his monumental works on Mexico and Peru without having any knowledge of Spanish, and without having any recourse to the basic records. This gave me courage to pursue in spite of my difficulties. I was lucky, at least, not to have the great historian's physical handicap. I decided not to give up. As far as possible, wherever I have referred to the works consulted, the books and the sources, have been gratefully acknowledged. A special list of References, chapterwise, has been added for this purpose.

A book of this size would have been rendered useless without a detailed Index. Attempt has not been spared to make the Index as complete as possible. It is hoped that readers do find the Index, together with the charts, the diagrams and the photographs, of some use to the proper under- standing of the text.

A number of students has willingly come forward to lighten the haras- sing job of compiling a book of this size. Their enthusiasm has proved to be of significant encouragement in pushing through this task. But the number is too large to mention individually. The author is indeed very happy to thank one and all of these young assistants. He would be failing in his duty, however, if he did not mention a few names in this connection only for the pleasure of associating these dedicated helpers with this book, which for some time had become a part of their individual life. Of these, the name of Mr. Sugrim Gangabissoon comes to the mind first of all. This very heavily committed public servant sacrificed week-ends for months in a row just to arrange the References and go through the entire work from the manuscript to the typing stage. He assisted with his entire family plus an eager and mutual friend, Mr. J. P. Ramsundar, a retired Principal of a Govt. school in Trinidad.

Typing proved to be an arduous task. Even commercial and professional typists found it hard to cope with this kind of manuscript loaded with Sanskrt technical terms. The subject itself proved to be too remote for them to ensure accuracy, and provide some intellectual response. But for the graceful and effective intervention, in this regard, of Mrs. Roberta Muir of the British High Commission, Trinidad, I am sure this book could have been delayed by another two years. Through her friendliness I was fortunate to have secured the valued assistance of Mrs. Claire Diffenthalar, who was responsible for the best part of the typing of manuscript at its penultimate stage. The final typing was professionally done through the financial assistance of a friend. But I record with gratitude the fact that but for the assistance received from Mrs. Muir and Mrs. Diffenthalar the manuscript would never have reached the finalform it did. Apart from these two great friends, I owe much to my humble neighbour Mr. Jawlapersad of Padmore Street who typed more than three chapters out of his friendly considerations. Mrs. Betty Raghunandan Singh, Miss Mohini Singh, Mr. Stanley Blanche Fraser, Mr. Krishna Phagoo, Mrs. Merle Sirju, Mr. Ramcharan and many others who have helped me in preparing the Index and going through the typed manuscript of the text deserve my grateful thanks.

I have the great pleasure of recording my sincere thanks to a team of young hearts but for whose timely appearance and active participation this book might not even see the light of day. I particularly mention Mr. Narine Lall, Mrs. Suruj N. Lall, Mrs Eunice Harbin and Miss Chand Bhagirathi to have taken a very bold step in putting me on the right track, and getting into the execution of what was a very difficult project.

Above all, I owe my sincere thanks to my life companion, my wife, but for whose quiet encouragement and unreserved care and attention, I am sure, I could not have achieved this formidable task.

In collecting the photographs used in this book, I am grateful to the technical assistance rendered by an adored family friend, Dr. A. De, whose skill in the job stems out of his profound respect for the art of photography. The printing of this book at a time when prices of paper and printing are sky-rocketing would have been impossible without the very generous assistance from a good and long-standing friend. It is a pity that I cannot render this altruistic soul a more specific homage than her genuine humility permits me to do.

Lastly, I thank the bunch of young workers at the Oxford & IBH Publishing Company who worked as a team to get this long and technical book printed in record time. I am particularly thankful to the quiet, efficient and dignified Mr. Mohan Primlani without whose sympathetic accommodation and effective steps the book could not have been published in four months. The credit for the presentation and manufacture of the volumes belong to Mr. M. L. Gidwani, Production Manager, who conducted the task of copy preparation and supervised complete production.



35, Padmore Street

San Fernando





















Often I have found my friends wonder at the title of the book Šaivism and the Phallic World.

These friends are not at all otherwise incapable of following intellectual, even abtruse and abstract subjects. They are generally, well-read, and extensively informed. They do understand Siva; they do understand Sex. But 'Saivism and the Phallic World',-what is that? the title appears to have them knocked out.

From this experience I could infer two lessons. One, this subject has to be introduced with great care and preparation. It does not appear to be much 'popular' as a subject, although Siva-worship is the most popular form of worship amongst the largest number of the people of India. But its popularity is only formal; the spirit behind the idea of Śiva, specially the understanding and appreciation of the rationale of Saivism is very rarely cared for.

But so far as Sex is concerned, well, of course every other person seems to be a past master in the subject; at least such is the popular claim. Good. But what about Phallicism? What is that? Adoration of the sex organs. It is shadily known, but is summarily rejected as an obnoxious hang-over from the days of the tribals and the primitives. To pay any sustained and studied attention to this is considered contrary to the run of decency and culture. At least such is, or appears to be, the accepted norm. The subject, though not an utter taboo, is almost always shoo-shooed. Siva is one of the many gods of the Hindus. His worship is a well-known feature. The orthodox and the fanatics indulge in the worship of the Lingam; Sex is also known, because, who pray, does not know it? But to worship that? Ugh: how embarrassing! So we shove it clean under the carpet, and try to look decent. What a burden this 'decency' is to the undercurrents of the mind!

The exposition of such subjects to the people, thus presents utmost difficulty to writers. It is much easier to teach the untaught; but to teach the self-taught is a formidable task. Subjects that people take to be quite familiar, and accept as a matter of fact, often lose their significance for the want of a methodical study and properly educated approach. The familiar is often taken for granted.

Religion is one of those social forms which we have taken for granted. Education of religious forms lacks both in method and thoroughness. Atits best it is handed over as an ancestral and cultural behest. Religious forms and rites are just there to be accepted. Questions are often unwelcome, resented, and even forbidden. Only three things matter: dogma, authority and unquestioned submission. Enquiry is taboo; enlightenment has to be awaited. Thus, religion, which confers the sublimest of liberation, itself suffers from the lack of it.

We could cite an entire range of subjects to illustrate our point. Well-informed as we claim to be, we neglect a good part of the most valuable heritage of our life and culture, because we happen to inherit them automatically, without much effort on our part. We fail to be convinced of those gains which we are made heir to, since the gains are not immediately recognisable, neither earned through personal labour.

It is not because there is something inherently wrong with the religious amongst us, or with religions as such, that these are resented by the intellectuals. This negative escapist attitudinous approach makes them take pride in remaining ignorant of a very highly attractive, and inescapably involving facet of the human society. This resentment, which has kept us defiantly away from a vitally important engagement of life, is bad enough; but what is worse is that more often than not we are grievously and unreasonably prejudiced about it. Religion has been one of the most inspiring subjects to millions of mankind from the dawn of human culture; it has crystallised society and social forms, and contributed much to the consolations of those mysteries from which the agonised soul of man has derived an unfailing and sustaining consolation, received an urge to live, obtained a fresh lease of hope.

In every country and climate religion has taken its special form. Like the sun, the moon, the stars, air, fire, water, soil, rivers, sex which have been universally adored, certain forms too have been universally adored and cherished. The idea of Siva evolved one such form, and is thus taken for granted, which is just an euphemism for being utterly neglected. Śiva is indeed a dear god. But when one mentions Saivism, upshoots a frown. What is that? How does it concern us? Śiva we like. He, a hail fellow well met, enjoys drugs, drinks, and dances, and runs about in the nude. Quite a liberated soul. Let him remain in the temples. Mother looks after his little needs. We too pay our attention to him when fate presses, or at our convenience on special days. The attitude does not differ from paying a visit to the doctor's chamber, or to the bank-manager. We have gods and gods; temples and temples. How do they concern any more? Then what is this Saivism? What is the point of making a study of it? Some gods are obviously understood. Some we do not, and dis- pose of as 'mysterious', 'esoteric', etc. We remain alien to our treasures, blind to our needs. We remain famished in spirit, and our hunger for fulfilment remains unsatiated. By victimising our faith, we ourselvesperish as victims of our ill-nursed ego. Modernism has given us the ennui of cynicism. Religiosity, by and large, is sneered at as a sign of backwardness, and acceptance of gods automatically exiles a person of taste from the haloed circle of progressive intellectuals. Actually our gods definitely suffer from a disfavour from the 'educated', whose only title to sneer at such knowledge springs from their ignorance of the subject.

These too take these ideas for granted. They view religion and religious establishments from a sociological and economic stand-point alone. Their dialectics spin around the uses or the misuses that certain individuals, or classes, have made of religiosity through self-styled authorities and diehard establishments through dogmatic pontifications, or fantastic reactions. Individuals and establishments have misused orders of society. They let loose malice, encouraged hatred, participated in blood-baths, ran hand in gloves with imperialistic designs, shared in denuding countries, peoples, cultures. They are still at it. The ways of sin are subtle and dark; those of virtue are tender and open as the gifts of the sun. Time has punished them by bringing in drastic retributions. But that which is essentially beneficial to the cultivation of peace cannot be abandoned through the misdeeds of a greedy force. We know certain forms of govern- ment to be bad. We have a right to change them, and have a good government. But for the sins of one pattern of government the institution of government cannot be done away with. To write off establishments for bringing in redress to the exploited and the suffering, the deluded and the handicapped is to create a dangerous vacuum. Such vacuums in history have at times ushered in, through the backdoor, such mystic rites and practices as have proved to be dearly dangerous to the mind and body of both individuals and cultures. Man will always need to follow a religion. If he rejects the old, a new religion will come up, and hold him under its spell. If old gods die, new gods will crop up. Even iconoclasts follow and shape a religion. Those who reject all religions, follow a zeal, and make themselves fanatical followers of a novel religion. Man cannot do without some faith that relates his inner personality with his outer existence.

The answer to this dilemma is to understand the necessity for the human soul of such a quiet parking place as religion, whereby the inner person in the man could wash, repair, iron out the dirts and the rumpled creezes of his own doubts, agonies and sufferings. Religion fulfills a spiritual need; form of government satisfies our material needs. The relation between material and spiritual needs is a mysterious one, beyond the ken of regimentation. It would be highly unfair, prejudicial and regressive to condemn an entire system, because of the criminal exploitation of a situation by some cynical individual. Bad priests corrupt good religions; as power corrupts the sense of equity, or bad teachers, goodstudents. It would be highly unfair to let 'gods' suffer because of such transgressing humans, and their petty foibles. Let men think to love, and love to think.

Where there is no love for the subject, there is no worship for an Idea. Any god, to be true and functional must first find place in the heart; and an Idea, to be functional must be fully understood and appreciated. When we love, or make love even with our opposite sex-partners, but lack in a full rapport or understanding, the love remains only skin-deep and functional, but fails to grow roots. Thus a merely educated approach to the understanding of the divine is, generally speaking, lack-lustre, lackadaisical and cynically disposed. God worship has become to these a part of superstition. We are, thus, trying to condemn a subject because of the fact that some indiscriminate self-seeking rogues have been misusing and exploiting a situation for personal gains and advantages. Are we justified in condemning medicine and the medical science because of the unscrupulous behaviour of some of the professional rogues who are a disgrace to a noble and important profession?

Apart from this lack of information, and what is more concerning, this cynical attitude of considering the familiar as not worthy of study and enquiry, the subject remains very remote to the common man who thinks that all that is sex is either obscene, or viciously exciting. This brings me to the second lesson I have learnt. The fact is that Sex is an unavoid- ably serious subject. In fact it is the most dominating power in life's progress and activities. This book I am writing, these lines I am typing on my machine, the joy I am deriving from a special turn of phrase which successfully projects my ideas, contribute to the healthy functioning of my libido which is so very important for my faith in life and living; and then through me it becomes so very important to those hundreds of persons who have to come in contact with me daily and nightly. My ego, my libido, my social identity and contribution are inextricably inter- twined. But we ignore the fact that all expressions are functions of this libido. Sex is a Power supreme; and the ancients had recognised it as the Lhadini-Sakti, the ecstatic power of the Mother; that mysterious chained reactions which generate, nurse and reproduce life and all that life functions through. To worship this power, to understand and love and bring homage to it is the birthright of the developed man, nay, if possible, of the developing man as well.

Since we do not care for the one as too familiar, or for the other as too embarrassing, the subject of the book remains unfamiliar. Unfamiliar, but not unnecessary. It is the most necessary subject. It is absolutely necessary for man to know what debts he owes to him-self, to the Life he enjoys, to the Life that surrounds him and keeps him covered from all sides: the life in the air, in the sky, in light, in rains, in the soil, in thewaves, in the rivers, in the greens, in colours, nay, even in fears and loves, in doubts and images, in dreams and aspirations, in all the aspects, all the facets of this most fantastic and splendid of miracles, the miracle of Life. We must know what we owe to it; what it owes to us; where is this commerce transacted, and what are the rules of the game. Could we remain blindfolded in the race of Life, and still hope to reach the appointed goal; or should we strive and prepare, and get ready to shape our own destiny and wrest the initiative from a merry-go-round, spun by some unseen power?

This is the challenge. This is the subject of this book. Saivism is the subject of understanding that Power which remains unmanifest in spirit and form, but expresses itself in the millions of aspects of life's manifestations. This Power of manifestation and dissolution is called Siva-Sakti, the Time, the Energy, the grand play of Communion- manifestation-maturity-disintegration-annihilation-turning again to flux, and coming to manifestation yet again. It is a complete circle; and this cyclic movement, within which has been preserved Life's well- being, is called Śiva. The ancient farmers had visualised this process in the life and death of a sheaf of barley; the sage visualises it in his meditation. The former founded religion and prayers, the latter gave us metaphysics and knowledge. To worship it, to bring homage to it, after understanding its ways and approaches, is Saivism.

This is the Siva that the Hindu has been adoring from times immemorial. Yogis have sat at its feet. Sages have sung of it; lovers have shaped it into form, and raised monuments of love around it; metaphysicians and psychologists have rationalised it, and tempered it with form, discipline, attitude and rites. This entire 'world' of Saivism is engaged to the research into the unfathomed depths of the Soul's hunger for a supreme delight. If reaching the top of the world is filled with excitement, and rewarded with glory, then it must be much more rewarding indeed to try to reach the apex of all human ideals, the Source of all Joy. This is Saivism, an adventure, and a fulfilment.

But Phallicism is different. It is the worship of the sex organs as organs, as instruments of a function which mysteriously draws the two opposite forces together and participates in an act which is supposed to contribute to the biological life its highest sensuous excitement and thrill. In many cases of living organisms this thrill is sought for and consummated at the cost of life itself. Such is its power and driving force. For achieving this thrill all life, animals, insects, birds, reptiles, risk supreme sacrifice. Danger does not deter; disease does not threaten; law does not stop the response to this call. The cruelest of punishments, the highest stakes of peace and tranquillity have been squandered for the achievement of this thrill through union.

What are the secrets of this Power? Like all mystery it has its magnetic magic influence over good sense. It spreads a net to confuse, confound and stake desperate bids. Yet it shapes, forms, creates. In order to use it properly one has to understand it; and then adore it in the way it has to be adored. This adoration of the mystery of the sex-power has been called by the anthropologists as phallic worship; and the science of understanding the secrets of this power, and of properly realising the extent and range of this power is called phallicism.

Attempt has been made in this book to make a comparative study of these two forces. The one is often mistaken for the other. It has been having for a very long time an extremely raw deal, which has to be set right. I do not know how far I have succeeded in setting this right; but I know that I have tried most sincerely and to the best of my limited ability. All I need, and would beg for is the reader's kind patience, and scholarly tolerance. If the reader's painstaking journey through the book renders him in anyway the abler to face these problems, and the general problem of life, I, as a fellow traveller, shall find my troubles amply rewarded. I seek the reader's co-operation.

The nature of the subject makes it essentially imperative that the treat- ment should follow the method of studying a course of comparative religion. The records of most of the human cultures had to be taken into account in order to discover some form of a common pattern along which the human world has faced these problems. There was no time when in human society the mystery of life was not found to be entirely fascinating, or when this fascination failed to draw a reciprocal tribute from grateful, but equally amazed souls. This is due to the yet unexplained sense of the mystical which in all sensitive minds works insistently. The world of mysticism is as old as the skies; and to this world of mysticism we are all being drawn inscrutably, inevitably even through the various forms of our religious differences. The future of religion has to find its maturity and finality in the realisation of that unbodied joy which mysticism nurses with care and profundity.

The primitive and the modern are knitted together by certain fundamental basic ties. All that is fundamental in spiritual realisation stands clear of the Time-dimension. Fundamental mystic wonder and enquiry transcends Time. From the dawn of human history the wonderment that is Life, that is Sex, has never ceased to demand man's absorbing interest. Worship is but an expression of that feeling of gratitude which the human soul bears to this abiding sense of mystery in the evolution of Life from Life. Worship is, as it were, an investment for hope and success, the two driving tonics which keep life on the run, despite its many failures and disappointments. It is a form of humble submission to forces of a higher order. If such is the case, to bring homage and tributeto this great Power of Life was, and is to be, accepted as a natural ex- pression of the natural Man. Through accepting this, Man elevates his inner personality, and achieves liberation, along with its sublime gift, namely, joy.

Later thinkers have reasoned into the human pattern of behaviour, and laid down metaphysical and psychological laws with a view to rationalise the unbroken consistency of that behaviour. The human society is as extensive and as varied as patterns of the life on earth are. This society in the course of its development has come under a variety of influences, e.g., climate, geography, food habits, etc. The influences and their differences have, to a very large extent, conducted the defences of the social forms and norms, which in their turn have influenced their pattern of worship. These forms differ as the climatic and other external influences do. This is the reason why when the human aspirations, de- mands, difficulties, challenges, etc. remain constant in all parts of the globe, the nature of religious forms, of spiritual doubts-in other words, of gods and goddesses, spirits and gnomes also differ. They do differ; but fundamentally the problems refer to the same inspirational modes: food and security. Human society is crowded with many gods, many religions, many forms of authority conducting the gods, and the mechanics of handling them. In spite of it all God is one, and that special feeling, best described as a craving for the ultimate in joy 'the devotion to some- thing afar' is also universal. Only the forms differ. A study into this anthropological characteristic of human behaviour which concerns the area of the spiritual, or the mystical, leads us to the fascinating and very rewarding study of comparative religion.

It was an unfortunate day when European conquistadors, and adventurers appeared on the other continents, and quickly brought to the blocks very ancient cultures under different excuses like religious expansion, cultural education, political emancipation, etc. The actual design was, however, undue criminal exploitation under the support of imperialism and capitalism. Religion was cited as one of the many justifications for this type of indiscriminate denudation of human and economic material. Those religions which did not conform to the ideals of the occupying forces were rejected, at times with the assistance of sword and fire; and derided with impunity, when necessary, with the help of pseudo-intellectual scholarship and faked authority. The theory of the superior race was yet another imperialistic projection. No one found it profitable to make enquiries into the spiritual greatness of these suffering cultures through a dispassionately just vision, which a student of comparative religion alone could achieve.

Days have changed. A host of scholars are today working on the subject of evaluating the contributions of the different religions which havesupplied to nations and cultures the spiritual food they needed. With the growth of the democratic rights of the people, with the rejection of the claims of the imperialistic orders of society, specially since the Second World War, this branch of human studies has restored to a very great degree that confidence in human mind which has made it possible for aliens to have respect for the creed of others. But for this latest adventure into the realms of philosophy, religion and anthropology, this work could neither have been dared, nor presented.

In making this study as complete as possible the author has tried his best to present similar facets of religious and metaphysical ideas appearing in sister cultures, whether ancient or modern. Starting from Sumer and Egypt our study has gone through the Greek and Roman times, covering in between the cultures that flourished in the Mediterranean and the Oriental regions. Of course, the Aryan and the Iranian cultures have finally emerged with a greater emphasis. This was so because the subject relates to the worship of the human organs, the source of Life, otherwise known as Phallicism. The Hindus adore Śiva as an Idea, a sublime source of spiritual and transcendental inspiration. But for certain external similarities the worship of the Hindu Idea of Śiva (Saivism) has been rudely identified with the primitive and the Oriental phallic worship. Although the different cultures and religions have been studied, the principal theme, that runs through it is a study of Saivism in contradistinction to Phallicism which runs through the whole of human history. This has brought us face to face with Tantric mysticism.

The subject is not at all an easy one. The sudden upsurge of a variety of books and writings dealing with sex-worship, and the worship of various types of god-forsaken aberrations muddles up further our attempt to keep our discussion clear of this mad popular hunt for excitements, miracle- men and instant liberation. We are itching for holding on to a justification for pursuing a ruinous way in the name of religion and scholarship. By its own genius and nature the subject has to be one which keeps away from saucy popularity. It not only encourages mysticism, but also faces the danger of falling into the trap of obscurantism. When we have to deal with such forms of spiritual practice as the Lamaic Tantra and the Hindu Mystical rites, we could hardly avoid being obscure to the uninitiated. While dealing with the basic rationale of Saivism and different forms, we had to deal with the Systems of Hindu Thought, and the Systems of Saivism. More often than not these abstract and subjective discussions face the charge of speculation. But one might concede that in the nature of the subject certain abstractions, both of language and form, were inevitable. These difficulties have not been particularly solved by the language difficulties of one whose mother tongue is not English, and who realises the bitter fact that English is not the most equipped language forconveying the highly metaphysical ideas and nuances of Hindu meta- physics. Most of the terms, the technical words, thus, have been left in their original Sanskrt form, although translations have been attempted.

With a view to making the presentation as authentic as possible direct references to source-books have been made. References have also been made to the scores of later authorities of scholars who have worked on the subject and allied ideas. Those who actually speak from experience use a simple and direct language. These are the persons whose language bear the stamp of authority. Their language cannot be compared with book-workers, and men of mere secondary knowledge. The flashes of experience which have from time to time graced the present author have however aided him immensely in daring to speak of things never spoken before, and in a manner which, so far, he has missed in most of the western authors, except a very few. But how little is that in comparison with the vast scope of the subject. Simplicity and directness are divine gifts of experience of the Supreme.

The subject itself was difficult: a comparison between Sex-worship, and the worship of Siva. In dealing with it I had to dive deep into the former, and contemplate and meditate on the latter. Whilst Śiva has been kind enough to guide me all the time with His Grace and Light, the study of the adoration of sex has again and again taken me into deeper and deeper waters. This is a quicksand-subject for any scholar to fall in. Once stepped into this mystical area, the enquirer finds himself engulfed by an unseen pull that sucks all his personal control until all Time-Space bearings are taken away. It is my considered advice to those who should ever attempt to dive into the unfathomable chimera of the subject of phallicism, who dare to be sported away by the hope-raising mirage of an otherwise ever-thirsty expanse of limitless mystery, to stay away from the captivating, ensnaring light-dances of the mystical White Goddess. The study of the adoration of Sex is a study that leads to the banks of the legendary Lethe, or to the cells of the shady Bedlam. The enlightenment men seek from the study of this captivating, engrossing, absorbing study makes him search till doomsday for the lost shell on the vast, howling shores of life.

For twelve years I have been in search of the answer. The riddle gets more confusing and more confused; yet the challenge bemuses, and even transcends all fears and risks. Both angels and fools become one in this stride. Twelve years of scouring through these subterranean mines have not made me the wiser. I have sojourned through Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Crete, Iran and the mountains of the Asia Minor and the Himalayas; I have known of the Sumerians, the Akkads and the Myceneans, the Phoenicians and the Phrygians; I have gone into the stranger realms of the mysticism of the African tribes and the Sufis, justto hit upon the answer why this fascination for the adoration of Sex, and why this quest for some sublime delight in the area of the Mind; why the quest for the Still Poise 'of the lamp's flame in a windless vista of the Spirit'?

In the course of this sojourn I have met with strange gods, goddesses and their stranger behaviours, as well as the rites that supposedly claim to assuage their destructive fury. I have met with such gods as Ba'al, Marduk, Atys, Adonis, Mithra, Zeus, Jehova, and such goddesses as Astarte, Kouretes, Isis, Cybele, Kali, Aphrodite, Diana, Tara, Esther, Sarasvati, Camunda and Chinnamasta. Many of these have been destroyed by human sword and fire, only to rise again from their ashes amongst other peoples, in other countries, and with other names. Gods that emerge from the mysterious ocean of cults prove their immortality by never dying, and by ever resurrecting themselves from their dead and cold tombs. We, perhaps, could establish a new religion as Pythagoras, or Calligula, or Julian or Mani did, and laugh at the old ones; but we are destined to confront the brutal discovery that no god is ever born without owning an ancestor before him. The latest of the religions has links with the oldest. This ultimately makes me aware of the rewarding truth that not only God is One, but Man is One too.

Throughout this book my mind was focussed but on a single point; but it had to cut through a wilderness of critical questions. The journey has not been an easy one. Whence was this Phallic? How did it captivate Man's sublime adoration? Was it an accident?-A matter of choice? -A natural expression?-A divinised mysticism?-An invention of rascality? A scandalous self-projection? Or, is it a natural expression of the most irresistible, instinctive and intimate urge of life of Man in particular? If the phallic has ever been divinised, in which form or forms did the divinity present itself, and with what rites? Did the divinity of old really indulge in Sex and Sex alone as in the Alexandrine temple of Aphrodite, on the shores of the sea at Paphos, or in the Babylonian Ziggurats of Marduk and Ba'al? Was the adored Sex-sacrifice based on and doused with orgiastic abuses? How far, then, were the temple- dancers in South India influenced by these Persian Gulf practices, and how far these 'virgins' survive in the vestal virgins of Rome, and the Christian nuns of today? Did the so-called sex abuses contribute to the disintegration of some of the ancient civilisations, or are the disintegrations traceable to entirely economic, social and political causes? Did the religion, known as Christianity which was born out of the ashes of the ancient religions and the Semetic indoctrinations, borrow from the old rites for keeping its hold on the masses? How much did it owe to Mithraism, Manichaeism and Buddhism? How came the later gods? Were the Hindu gods entirely Hindu? Did the process of the mysticDhyana alone produce the many gods, or were the gods projected by exist- ing gods destroyed by human hands? What made the gods travel from one culture to another and demand contrary types of homage?

Thus the origin of religions, their relations with cults, perpetuity of the cult-forms in religious rites had to be discussed before a step could be taken carefully into the hazardous area of the relation between phallicism, and the later growth of the sublime Idea of Saivism, which is a thing apart, as Man is from the Ape, as the cave paintings of Brittany are from the wonders of Valesquez, Matisse and A. N. Tagore.

The search for the roots of the phallic rites eventually guided me into the burning quest for a rationale, i.e. the spiritual, even an intellectual basis for finding out a relation between Matter and Energy, Power and Consciousness, Śiva and Sakti. I could feel that in finding out and establishing that relation it would be easier to find out the relation between the phallic and the Sublime; between the immediate Life-Force and the Sublime Spirit, which unseen behind all forces, moves without moving, comes nearer without changing places, loves without having to feel, and 'is' without having to be. It becomes a becoming when understood. It transcends Life when Realised. This transcendentalism of the Matter going into the search of the Spirit, of Joy into that of ecstasy, of the limits of sufficiency into that of the liberation, of the Infinite of the overflowing Immense, enraptures and binds, spells, charms and enslaves. No; no man should get entrapped into this snare of probing into the limits of the Sex-urge, the Limits of the Life-force, of the Lhädini, of the Libido,-the limits of this Fiery Lingam. It has been forbidden in the Sastras again and again.

I. I had first to probe into the earliest instincts of Man, such as Hunger, Fear and Self-protection, Sex and Propagation, Wonderment and Enquiry. I had to find out how the honour and the glory for having patterned the infant society of the Homo Sapiens into a Culture, and then into a civilisation must go to the females, the Woman, the Eternal Virgin, and not to the Man, the usurper, the tyrant and the selfish militant diplomat. I had to watch with amazement how the roots of the much glorified modern progress (sic) of society actually lay deep into the antiquities of the skill and sacrifices of the Mother, the Eternal Virgin.

II. It was she, who, out of the serious business of life's pains and pleasures, of life's needs and fulfilment imaged her own self; and it was but natural for her to image herself in the spirit and form of the female, the one who under the maddening heat and urge of seeking the seed of propagation is ever and ever in search of drawing the life-sap from the wandering, roaming, care-free male. She wanted the male to merge into her; die in her to be reborn. She loved and adored him only to drawhis life-sap, and hand the same life over to another cycle of birth and death. Nature, the Virgin, sought the germ of the Sun.

Cultures grew out of this homage; this imaged pattern. Monuments were raised; rituals prescribed; ritualists specially appointed; the death of the male in the female as an evolute of the laws of cosmic creation had to be adjudged, perceived and expounded against the trend of the ancient pagan religions and their modern and sophisticated counterparts. From this crude blunt life and its expression, adoration entered into the area of refined, sophisticated implications and interpretations.

Of these evolutes were later gods made. These gods were the necessary growths from the projections of the primitive human mind and its different aspirations. Nature-gods, totems, taboos, symbols, myths, sacrifices, religious processions, religious assemblages and celebrations evolved out of this. The mystic and cumbrous tracts left by these practices demanded further analysis. It was found that the initiative of the importance of power of both Sex and Life on the one hand, and of Good and Plenty on the other, propelled throughout the progress of the history of Man in every country, at every time, amongst every people and culture, modern or ancient.

Having thus taken ourselves through the crowd of the gods of the ancient people we gradually become aware of the fact that in the world of religious thinking and spiritual aspirations two postulates claim our attention the most. One, Man was in need of joy; and two, Man was also in need of food, protection and power for assuring security. In this search, he found that the Idea of having a Mother-deity, a Mother- spirit alone could fill up all that he sought as his emotional and practical fulfilment. There was a universal Mother. This Mother, the White Goddess, the Eternal Virgin, the Lion-riding Mountain-Maid became the central spiritual attraction to the millions of adorers who needed a support for raising, and thereby revealing, the innermost aspirations of their soul and body. This was the Mother.

III. The Mother has been universally adored, and mostly so in the Ancient East. Hundreds of expressions of the Mother in symbols, in terracottas, in statuettes and monoliths, myths and monuments, and above all mythical compilations of Tantras and Puranas of the nation are today available for study and scrutiny. In fact, no modern civilisation, no modern religion could claim a growth free entirely from these lores and myths of the Great Mother. Much of the rites associated with the Mother has been pushed back into the darkest of chambers of mysticism. Much of the chants and prayers today are shrouded in unintelligible mystic sounds. Much of the rites have been persisting under completely changed and misleading forms;-but the Mother continues uninterrupted. The tribes, the roving Aryans, the proto-austroloid natives of the oldworld, all had their own Mother: Umu, Ummu, Amma, Umā, Ambikā, Cybele, Kouretes, Astarte, Kali, Isis, Esther, Tara and Sarasvati.

From this came the half magical, half-mystical codes of ritualism known as Tantra, most or all of which are still found in the Atharva Veda. A rite, Factura, Kytyä, Kriya, Zauber, Tanyan meant to do something; to secure health to the body, or plenty to the fields, or ruins to adversaries. The Mother has been sustaining and preserving.

The Mother was accepted by the Aryans side by side with the Father- god Symbolic to this acceptance Fire, as a form of the Mother, was also accepted by the side of the Fire-god who sought only virgins. Around Fire a thousand myths arose. Schisms and counter-schisms set apart the history of cultural developments. One society alone sprung a hundred leaks; and the legends, to this day, preserve the glories and the incarcerations of those conflicts leading to a thousand struggles, not all of which were free from severe blood baths.

IV. Soon this paganism had to give way to systematised thinking; rationalisation had to be faced sooner or later. This has been the greatest achievement of what Karl Jasper calls the Axial Era. In China, Greece, India, even Arabia and Persia great metaphysicians and logicians, through the media of mathematics, logic, astronomy and metaphysics systematised man's attitude to the divine.

The Hindus called it the Laws of Insight, or Daršana Sastra. Hindu thinking as distinguished from the Aryan, or Vedic thinking organised around the 'six Systems'. These six Systems had to be studied and mastered, without which the polytheism of the Hindus would ever and ever remain a maze of confusion to all, inclusive of the Hindus themselves. India, where alone Hinduism is practised today without having to change its name or tenets, has been responsible for the propagation of these six Systems. Because the Hindu takes these Systems for granted, he does not, generally bother to come to any closer grips with the contents of the Systems. As a result the average Hindu accepts his many Gods as a multiplicity, with the same ease and relaxation as he faces the mounting population of his country. In the teeming tropics covered with primordial forests and cloud-brushing mountains, multiplicity of the one is accepted as a matter of course. Yet, the same thinking Hindu, on the other hand, based on these systems, accepts polytheism with a tongue in the cheek, keeping himself all the while fully alive to the dramas (Lila) of what these strange forms mean metaphysically and ritualistically. Hindu polytheism is an interesting subject, and has been separately studied even before the study of monotheism, and especially of Saivism.

We have started the study of polytheism with the Vedic gods. After this most essential study, we have tried to connect the Vedic gods with the Aryan gods in Greece, Rome and Egypt; we have also attempted to markout two clear divisions: (1) cultures and civilisations predominantly accept- ing the Mother, and practising, what has been termed in our study, Tantra, and (2) cultures and civilisations which accept a Father-god, principally practising such rites around the Fire, which has been called a Male god, and substantiates the virility of the Male. The incorporation of the fire- rites of the various peoples of the ancient world into the adoration of the Vedic fire is an engrossing study.

V. Then came the time when, in India, due to various factors the peoples from contiguous areas began to pour in large numbers, and settle. It became necessary for the homogeneous Vedic forms and non-Vedic cults to get organised before the inevitable law of syncretism operated, and pushed the age-sanctioned and sanctified Vedic forms to get almost completely lost. Out of this phenomenal movement of the large human cargo evolved the wonderful literature known as the Puranas; the sublime tradition known as Bhakti; and a supreme concept of a Godhead, the god of all the gods, Devadeva, Mahadeva, Šiva. Śaivism was the ultimate of that process which had started with the phallic and the tribal, with the Ganas and the Siddhas, fire and sacrifice, Tantra and Siddhanta, Vedic Homa and Tantric Abhicära. Peculiar to the glory of the accommodating spirit of the Indian mind the differing Systems were allowed to be superseded by enforced religions; many trends and many rites, some Vedic, some non-Vedic, continued to exist and wait their own destined extinction either as individual religions, or as one merged into the mainstream of Hinduism.

The philosophy of Bhakti gave way to the growth of Vaisnavism, Šaivism and the age-old Tantricism. To the mainstream of the Puranas the various lores, legends and rites brought their own tributes until the great stream of the Hindu thought ran vigorously through the Time honoured land of India. The system was known as the system of Vyasa, who had collected and compiled the scattered knowledge, known as the Vedas. It was a method to synthesise a scattering and scattered heritage. It was the Vyasa heritage, the Vedic heritage. The Puranas were its last attempts, and, as they proved to be, a very abiding attempt, for sustaining and crystallising the main Hindu body into one monolithic tower of strength. The immortal Bhagavat Gitä evolved out of this very method of compilation.

VI. As the second abiding gift of this synthesising method we received the Saiva Siddhantas, in which Vedantic Monism, Tantric Empiricism and mysticism, Vaisnava Bhakti, Jaina and Bauddha schisms (in favour of an experimentation with a godless formless code of good conduct, based on a moral living and a spiritual elevation) combine together. The Siddhantas, especially the Trika of Kashmir, charged with the Tantric nuances of mysticism, has remained a monument of the spiritof Hindu accommodation. The Saiva Siddhanta of the south of India on the other hand has accommodated the various factors which challenged the Southern life-rhythm over the centuries. It developed into an emo- tionally inspired system of dualistic monism, of which Love and Faith are accepted as the two principal wings. The study of this dualistic monism has remained an adorable and fascinating exercise for students of Hindu thoughts. Pure monism takes to the study of the theories of Pratyabhijña and Spanda, Advaita and Viiisfadvaita on the one hand, and of Sthala and Sakti on the other.

This is not all about Saivism. There are numerous other Minor sects of Tantra and Saivism, such as the Näthas, the Siddhas, the Maheśvaras, the Vaikhanasas and the Pasupatas. No study of Saivism could be deemed complete without these part-occult, part-mystic sects, mostly held in suspect by the orthodox. What we call Śaivism, in spite of its having very close, but obvious resemblances with the erotic and the phallic, has been in fact and practice, for the pious Hindus, a symbol of purism, of the ethereal sublimation of the idea of Saccidanandam of the Upanisads; and incidentally this has become the final abode of the conflicting rites of those aliens who from time to time had taken shelter in India. In Saivism we find the traces of the ancient religions of the countries and civilisations which flourished over fifty to sixty centuries around the Arabic part of the Indian Ocean, inclusive of the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the all important Mediterranean Sea. The study of Saivism, in this light, has thus compelled us to ransack partly, the history of human movements during these centuries, and the study of the myths and lores of all the gods and goddesses who came to live and die in the ancient, pagan, Greek and Roman worlds. Hinduism is the only religion into which these forgotten religions still find a place; and their mystic murmurs are still heard in the Tantric and Saivic practices and chants. Some of these charms and prayers have been appended.

VII. This has compelled us to dive into the myths. If attempt has been made to interpret these myths, it was only to illustrate the fact that the legends are but the wombs in which seeds of historical facts germinate and await the light of understanding. To connect myths with facts of history, as well as the deductions of metaphysics, is to reach the ultimate in scholarship. Distinguished scholars have attempted the task. Others shall yet come and continue doing it; for the field is vast; and life is too short for only one man to do it all. The little that has been at- tempted here might serve to inspire the inquirer to gain a peep into this yet undisturbed pyramid of lores, so that the wealth of the treasures could make a future Champollion accept the challenge of discovering it further and thoroughly.

VIII. Finally, I thought that a subject like Saivism calls for an insightinto the nature and ideals of Hindu art generally and of Hindu images in particular. The relation of the divine transcendental trance, the inducement of mind to get relaxed into cosmic expanse of Immensity and the thrill of the Time-Space converge into the image of Siva, together calls for the adoption of symbols, Mudras, Yantras, etc. which are held to be very purposive to the aim of concentration. In fact, all treatises on Yoga inclusive of Patanjali's famed Yoga Sutra, prescribe adoption of such images, within which the image of 'sound' has also been discussed. Sound as a cosmic expression gives us the mysticism of the Mantras, the chants, the prayers and the hymns. Music as a source of divine expression has been recommended in the classic Hindu books on the subject. Even the ancients and prehistoric cultures sang hymns.

We have attempted to explain the Siva icons, images and the Lingam in particular. We have given some data regarding the famous places of Šaivic pilgrimages, the Siva-sanctuaries, the details regarding the Saivic rites, and the significance of the objects, inclusive of the flora used for the Siva-worship. This covers the vexed subjects of Yogic trance and the use of drugs.

I am not sure how far I have been able to complete the task I had been called upon to undertake. I also do not know how far my researches would satisfy the scholars in the field who have produced more thorough works on sections of the subject. I have not seen so far any work which deals with this subject of a comparison of the Saiva philosophy with the phallicism practised by all cultures, Eastern or Western, specially the phallicism which has been so popular in the Orient of the ancient times, and the influence of which is still very prominently traceable to the practised religions of the West. Only the Hindus have contained that instinctively inspired strain within the bounds of rationality, and sub- limated the instinct through a religious practice of which Śiva is the Supreme Ideal godhead epitomising the monistic concept of Satyam, Sivam, Sundaram (the Real, the Still, the Beautiful). After all does not Šiva, the equaliser, the assimilator of the legends drink the poison of malice and greed which once had threatened the very existence of creation?












List of Plates

Plate 1. Phallic monoliths: Sidamo, southern Abyssinia (From "The Encyclopaedia Britannica", XIV edn., p. 304, pl. 1)

Plate 2. Carved monoliths: Cross river, southern Nigeria (Ibid., pl. 3)

Plate 3. Osiris taking the phallic oath (From "Phallic Worship" by George Ryley Scott, p. 315)

Plate 4. Jack of Hilton' (From Plot's "Natural History of Stafford- shire-1786")

Plate 5. Ceremonial worship of Priapus (From "Phallic Worship" by George Ryley Scott, pp. 128-29)

Plate 6. Three symbols illustrating phallic worship in ancient Egypt, and a phallic house-sign in Pompeii (Ibid., pp. 128-29)

Plate 7. Phallic monuments found in Scotland (From "Sexual Symbol- ism" by Knight and Wright, p. 23, pl. +, fig. 1)

Plate 8. (a) The Mudros from Phoenicia; (b) Muidhr of INIS-Murry; (c) Pillar-stone at the hill of Tara (From "Towers and Temples of Ancient Ireland" by Kene)

Plate 9. More ancient Irish Shelah-na-Gigs (From "Phallic Worship" by George Ryley Scott, pp. 207-208)

Plate 9A. Ancient Irish Shelah-na-Gigs (Ibid., pp. 207-208)

Plate 9B. Egyptian black Net (New York Museum)

Plate 10. Parasurameśvara Lingam: Gudimallam, polished sandstone, 1st century A.D. (From "History of Far Eastern Art" by Sherman E. Lee, p. 98, pl. 107)

Plate 11. Elephanta Śiva temple: Sanctuary of the Lingam (From "The Art of Indian Asia" by Zimmer, Vol. II, pl. 262)

Plate 12. Pasupati (?) figure: Indus Valley civilisation, 3000-1500 B.C. (Ibid., pl. 2a) (Cf. pl. 13)

Plate 13. God Cernunnos: He holds in one hand a torc (collar) (Pasa?) and in the other a ram-headed serpent; he is surroundedby various animals. Silver plaque from the Gundestrup bowl (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology", p. 224) (Cf. pl. 12)

Plate 14. Astarte, the naked Syrian goddess; part Aegean and part Asian (From "Lost Worlds", p. 316) (Cf. pl. 9B)

Plate 15. The Goddess Ishtar: Terracotta of Sumerian period, Louvre (Ibid., p. 57)

Plate 16. The Ephesian Artemis: An Ionian deity, confused as a Greek deity (Ibid., p. 110)

Plate 17. The goddess Ishtar, "The Lady of Battles' riding on a lion: On her headdress, she wears a star (Ibid., p. 63)

Plate 18. Figure probably of the priestess of the Great Mother of the Eastern Mediterranean, from the Palace Knossos, 1600 B.c. (Heraklion Museum): The serpents which she carries are age-old symbols of fertility (Ibid., p. 197)

Plate 19. Ivory statuette. Cave of Les Rideaux at Lespugue, Hte. Caronne connected with fertility magic (Ibid., p. 8)

Plate 20. Head of Demeter; with ten attributes: Sheaves of corn, poppies and snakes. Terracotta, Terme Museum, Rome (Ibid., P. 148)

Plate 21. Europa on the bull. Archaic metope of Selinus (From "Themis" by, Miss Harrison, p. 448)

Plate 22. Tellus Mater, with air and water: An earth goddess of fercundity. Here she is portrayed holding two children while fruit, flowers, plants and corn fill her lap and grow beside her (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology", p. 205) (Cf. Hindu Durga Dasabhujá image of Bengal)

Plate 23. Egyptian papyrus: 'Shu' creates the world by separating the sky goddess from the prostrate earthgod

Plate 24. Chinnamasta (Kangra, 18th century A.D.) illustrates the cycle of Life (creation) and Death as one process

Plate 25. Camunda: the Black Mother (Sculpture from Orissa, 11th century A.D.): The fiercest and most bloodthirsty form assumed by the Mother (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology", p. 322)

Plate 26. Amaravati (11th century A.D.): Adoration of a Stúpa by Nāgas (From "The Art of Indian Asia" by Zimmer, Vol. 11, pl. 79)

Plate 27. Marble Stúpa Amaravati (Late Andhra period, late 2ndcentury A.D., Govt. Museum, Madras) (From "History of Far Eastern Art" by Sherman E. Lee, p. 93)

Plate 28. Omphalos: A holy stone found as an evidence of phallic worship (From "Themis" by Miss Harrison, p. 398)

Plate 29. Omphalos: The height is to be noted, for this heralded the Roman custom of erecting such monuments around which public festivals were organised (Ibid.)

Plate 29A. The Code of Hammurabi

Plate 30. Typhon: His body was composed of coiled serpents and his wings blotted out the sun. Cf. legend of Garuda (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology", p. 91)

Plate 31. Khepri, the scarab-god: Before him he rolls the ball of the sun, pushing it into the Other World in the evening and over the horizon in the morning as the scarab beetle pushes before itself a ball of dung. As a symbol of continuity of Life and Creation, Khepri was the most popular symbol of veneration painted on walls, designed on ornaments, decorating crowns etc. (Ibid., p. 15)

Plate 32. Achaemenian fire altars, which still stand in a sanctuary near Cyrus's capital of Pasasdadae (Ibid., p. 310)

Plate 33. The Phoenicians Ishtar represented symbolically in this stele found at Dougga in Tunis, not far from the site of ancient Carthage (Ibid., p. 84)

Plate 34. Acadian Naram-Sin: Sargon's grandson Naram-Sin (Acadian Dynasty) took a title that had belonged to certain god-kings of the four quarters of the world-and was himself deified. A magnificent expression of his divinity in the pink sandstone stele below, on which, wearing the horned helmet of the gods, he stands over two foes as a third falls headlong and others plead for mercy. His men, follow him up the wooded mountain slope; but the king stands alone at the summit, close to the great gods whose stars appear overhead. An example of deification of mortals, victory of one faith over another, and portrayal of legends like Ba'al killing Aleyin. (From "Lost Worlds" by Davidson and Cottrell)

Plate 35. The seal of a bull (Ibid., p. 267)

Plate 36. Mithras sacrificing the bull (Mithraic altar, 2nd century B.C.): A god common to both Indian and Iranian Mythology though under somewhat different forms, Mithras was one of the great Persian gods. The immolation of the bull was regarded as symbolising a cosmic event, viz., sun overcoming the house of Taurusin the Zodiac (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mytho- logy", p. 316)

Plate 37. Ellora Kailasanatha (From "The Art of Indian Asia" by Zimmer, Vol. II, pl. 208)

Plate 38. Hari-Hara: Sandstone 6th century from Prei Krabas (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology", p. 361)

Plate 39. Śiva, King of dancers (From "The Art of Indian Asia" by Zimmer, Vol. II, pl. 2a)

Plate 40. Ellora Šiva Tripurantaka (Ibid., pl. 226)

Plate 41. Ardhanariivara: Sculpture from Ellora Caves, 7th century A.D. The curious composite figure, half man and half woman, represents Siva and his 'Sakti' (From "New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology", p. 371)












Transliteration of Sanskrt Words
































-pate, nay








































-Turin(as pronounced in Italian




-Stratham; Martha








-burn; horn





























Chapter One

Phallic Adoration


Religion and Fear

RELIGION, RIGHTLY understood, is a personal adventure to relate individuals to the cosmic; multiplicity to Unity; so that man could come nearer to man, form a peaceful society here, and attain blessedness. To be religious is to recognise the Divine or the Absolute in others, not in the human beings exclusively.

Good is its only aim; happiness (bliss) the only prize. No other aim, either of freedom from pain in this life, or of celestial success in the next, tempts the religious man. To be religious is to attain freedom from temptations-all temptations, even temptations of bliss. Life eternal is a Reality to him; to his resurrection is not merely a vague promise, but a definite possibility. He does not await an entry into the tomb to rise from it again. For him heaven is within himself, and is attainable right here. So his is a perpetual struggle to resurrect himself from within his inward conscience; to resurrect the paradise lost to outward temptation. To reach the depths of his potential individuality from the surface of his apparent and relative individuality is the one great adventure of the man of religion. For him his soul is the seat of his bliss. All religions seek the Soul. The Soul is the Bethlehem where the hope for Resurrection shines as a guiding star. All religions, following this or the other path, have to make a pilgrimage to this Bethlehem. The man of religion seeks his salvation in the redemption of his own soul. By so doing he becomes the universal man, a guide to the deluded. He becomes a Yogin.

In other words, religion, to be worthy of its ideal, must deny a fanaticapproach, which could only result from a failure to appreciate the other man's point of view to emphasise that the only way of attainment of perfect bliss, freedom, is the one known or practised by him. Blinded by igno rance, tutored on crude dogmas, our reason, the one apparatus of under- standing, gets blunted. Religion, as it is, has been deluded to the extent of incongruity, even perversity. When religion is blinded by ignorance, and armoured in dogmas it indeed becomes a formidable weapon in the hands of those who love power for the sake of power. Often in history the success of a religion has been measured in terms of material prosperity and splendour of showmanship; and more recently, by a show of numerical strength of masses branded with a set pattern. As a result, religiosity has suffered; and conventions and rites alone have goaded the bewildered into the trap-gate of fear and greed. To conquer fear has been the ideal of the Seeker. Religion admits of no fear. Love and fear cannot live together.

What is Love without feeling? What is philosophy without thinking? It is in religion that love and philosophy, feeling and thinking attain a happy, human union. The popularity of religion lies in hope. As long as man would be in need of hope, society would be in need of religion, in spite of the cynics, the sophists and the materialists.

As there are stages in human life, when religiosity is ignored due to intellectual cynicism, or giddying materialism, there is also a state when the blessing of a sense of proper values, of moral dimensions, dawn on the erstwhile errant. Then alone one could be said to have attained real manhood. A large majority of the matured devout of today have been the chauvinistic materialists of yesterday. To be religious is not to ignore life or matter necessarily. On the contrary, proper religiosity develops only with the correct evaluation and utilisation of life and all that succours it. All religions enjoin on the devout the duty of selfless involvement with life.

Even before man thought, man loved; even before man loved, man lived. Living, man knew, was mating; and mating, man knew, was living. Somewhere, the man who spends in mating also stores by it. Somewhere, spending and storing, Life and Death, is one process in different manifestations. Life has been the strongest enigma to man. The search for the key that could solve the riddle of life has seen many a Sphinx disappear in dust and yet the problem of life remains a problem unsolved. Religion has been one of the most fascinating and significant landmarks in civilisation's journey towards the achievement of the Spirit of Man. It has brought hope to the hopeless, light to the blind, courage to the down-trodden and discipline to the savage. In spite of the abysmal exploitation of man and materials perpetrated from ages immemorial by the guardians of the different churches in the name of religion andgod, religion still holds the faith of Man. No single idea so easily captivates the thoughts and imagination of mankind; no other single idea would so spontaneously gather the largest number of men, women and children under one banner as the idea of the church, of something beyond the common human which as a Power consoles, assimilates, pacifies, makes man bear pain and sufferings, betrayals and bereavement with some amount of compensating consolation. Life attracts and repays by its own charisma. There is a Power succouring this Life Force.

This kind of mental fortitude has not only permitted the church to flourish with undisturbed continuity under generations of priests, despite historical onslaughts and metaphysical challenges; but it has in fact also provoked from within the church itself a spirit of revolt, resulting in schisms. The more ancient a religion is, the more divided are its schismic diversions. Only dead religions have no schisms. Schisms are the indirect homage the scrupulous pay to the basic truth underlying a faith. No religion, which is old, has held its unitary family for a length of time. Generations pass on and the family continues to get divided and sub- divided. All religions of the world have this as a common feature. What is most amazing is the fact that despite the schisms, even despite the historical ups and downs, religion as an idea has been enjoying almost an uninterrupted continuity ever since the neolithic man harboured fear as his worst enemy, and attempted to counter it by currying favour with a Superior Power. Fear was regarded as a negative deterrent when facing this positive postulate. Fear, and struggle against fear, together, form the inevitable price for existence; physically, as well as spiritually. Even those religions which might be historically termed as more modern, are mere outgrowths from the older ones, much as the modern man is an outgrowth from his neolithic ancestor.

In the passage from the old gods of Life and Fear to the modern concepts of Soul, Salvation and Bliss, the religious man had to cover milestones of metaphysical researches from concepts of nature-gods to perfect monism; from worship and offerings, to contemplation and meditation. In the process, later findings superimposed older ideas, or at least, attempted to kill them, as did the later man to eliminate the neolithic man.

Ideas are harder to be destroyed than blood corpuscles. Modern man has grown out of the neolithic; but the neolithic features persist in subtle characteristics. The cave-love of man still lives within the bed- rooms of the urban elite. Similarly, the traits of older religions persist in later religions.

Each time religion attempted to secure its authority by rivetting new chains around the errant's feet, joining new links to the old ones, it discovered that, in the process, it has got more entangled and more miserably fettered. It got chained by its own chains. The victor aswell as the victim were ironically linked together. Traditions have been created, codified, enacted and enforced with a view to obliterating other traditions. Protestations have been made to rectify errors of orthodoxy. But all new rules in course of ages got petrified into dogmas, much in the same way as fossils are made. The followers of the revolutionist of the past tend to become more fanatic and more dogmatic than their forerunners.

Old traditions do not die. Traditions in human society, like instincts in human reflexes, persist beyond conduct or cure. They are of a tenuous nature. Those, apparently dead, persist unnoticed in the newer ones that really do not substitute the old, but only redress them. Until such times when fresh evidences rediscover the continuity of the old in the new, they are stamped with new names. But in traditions there is nothing new. This is natural and inevitable.

Faith is One. God is One. Truth is One. There never has been a new faith really. No new faith has ever appeared in history which has not borrowed from the old, or has not grown out of one. In the so-called new 'faiths' as in new brands of wine, flavours of course differ; but not the fundamentals. The differences are apparent because of different technical adjustments in apparatus, and other processes of commercial value. Ceremonial differences in ritualisms and rites leave the Oneness of God unruffled and unimpaired.

Fundamentally there being not many gods, there cannot be many religions; and there cannot be many churches because there cannot be many religions. What seems apparently divergent is fundamentally the same. In fact, it has got to be the same. Divergence of routes does not affect the fundamental point of arrival. Sooner or later all lines meet; all rivers reach an end; all lives merge into one Godhead.

Religion and Rites

The more materialistic our civilisation is tending to be, the more it is becoming conscious of the true nature of religion. In spite of materialism, hedonism has failed to progress; and more and more intellectuals are developing an awareness about the basic oneness of the religious matrix, and about the need for all human beings to approach this oneness in more or less a single body. Contrary to general belief our civilisation, getting colder and colder towards the popular, formal church-visiting religiosity, is becoming more and more concerned about the true nature of religion. The spirit of quiet submission to a cold acceptance is being substituted by another of active enquiry into the entire area that religiosity and religious institutions cover. The dimensional concept of religion is gaining in depth. Formal rigidity of theologicalprescriptions are being held before the researching insight of spiritual realisation. Enlightenment is actively being sought. God is being brought out of dark corners into the openness of nature. Religion's extroversion is receding before spiritual introversion. Expansiveness of the practice of liberty and freedom of thinking have helped man to demand an understanding of the god he follows. He does not say that he does not heed a guide. He does. He wants a Guru, a Monitor. But he is also fed up with the show-managers and the magistrates. Modern man is a religious rebel, but also a spiritual follower.

What then is the reason for the differences in religious institutions and schisms? The reason lies in the fact that no age tolerated its reform- ers; but the same people, at a later age, did not hesitate to accept them as prophets. Words of teachers, who had been castigated in their lifetime, were later on dogmatised. Tribes of Scribes and Pharisees across ages, found it profitable to engage themselves in impractical bickerings, each in the name of preserving truth in naked innocence. The same people hesitated to accept the words when the speakers were alive. Why does man reject the genuine and inflate the interpreters? Is it then a fact that prophecies are premature? That men of vision are born ahead of their times? Or is it true that without a professional hand- ling even Truth is destined to fail?

Every time Truth got bemuddled in superstitious ritualisms and sacramental complexities, a philosopher, a reformer, a missionary, a man of superhuman piety and energy, above all of courage, came to voice his protest and resurrect some mummified Truth. History recorded them as Avataras, Messiahs, Prophets or Pygambars. Indeed, they have been supermen, with superhuman power and dignity. Individual attempts in history, in different climes and at different times of crisis, at elucidating and propagating the same fundamental Truth, have been misconceived by laymen, most of whom, through ages, have been victims of superstitious beliefs, which had become parts of their nature.

Ideas are hard to be replaced. Superstitions and dogmas are easy grooves along which the mind of man moves, without ever realising its imprisoned state. The fact that it moves, leaves with it the false taste of progress and continuity, although such a state of apathy is contrary to awareness. This peculiar texture of human thought-process has been fully exploited by the cynical power-seeker, and the indiscriminate bully, who naturally pay greater care to the entrenched privileges and vested interests. Such interests pounce on opportunities which could be capitalised in favour of their stocks in trade. Thus even in the truthful pursuit of bringing out real facts, and divining thereby the real nature of the Godhead, deep-rooted professional interest have been known to play their sinister and reprobate roles. These malignant forces have beentrying to distort Truth for their own ends. Spiritualism was made to become a pawn for bartering in favour of material benefits. Bankruptcy in spirit is the result of age-long commercialising of man's craving for inner tranquillity.

No single class of humanity has been so much responsible for clouding the concept of God as the theological professionals. This is the reason why the scientific approach has been distinguished from the philosophic approach, and the philosophic, from the theological approach. Theology is supposed to be dogmatic. It reacts against anything scientifically progressive. Philosophy is supposed to be speculative. Although so-called science too develops an arrogant dislike for philosophy and theology. Science in the real sense must reach a Truth. Truth in its final and supreme reckoning must supersede reason and science.

Philosophy, to be worth its merit, must answer science and reasoning. To regard them as two processes, or wings in intellectual perception is a delusion. Since theology is unable to stand the searchlights of scientific or philosophical enquiry, it has been treated as a separate subject altogether. Not reason, but faith is the sheet-anchor of theology. And faith that pays scanty regard to reason degenerates into dogma, which by assuming a path of least resistance might serve some for a while, but which must provoke somehow, sometime, enquiry, challenge, rebellion and schism, one following the other. Thus faith as it were is a thing apart.

Philosophers and theologians are regarded to be two distinct classes. The former stands on strict laws of logic and science, the latter depends on dogmas, superstitions, faith and traditions. Philosophy thrives on enquiry, revolt and progress. Theology detests enquiry; frowns on originality and militates against progress. Philosophy reasons and con- templates; theology dogmatises and complies. In fact, every attempt made on behalf of intellectual emancipation of man from his theological slavery, every attempt made by science for leading the knowledge of matter from the unknown to the known, has had the misfortune of finding theologians dead-set against scientific enquiry. Reason and progress serve as the two wings provided to the Angel of Truth; theology clips those wings in the vain hope of taming Truth. The broad mind that sought God, degenerated into narrow rites that encouraged ignorance. Every- time the Man of God, the Son of Man, the Avatara, the Realised Messiah, tried to free spirit from form, to emancipate the imprisoned soul of man from dogmas to divinity, to resurrect heaven from within the man, every time his attempts have been thwarted, his path has been dogged, his voice has been stifled by superstition and dogma. Whenever the voice of Man has been raised against the dormant, lethargic, gross mind (tamas) whenever attempts have been made for raising such minds to the transcendent heights of spiritual sublimity (sattva), the process of that revival and resurrectionhas been cut short by intrigue, poison, murder or conspiracy. Few prophets in history died a natural death.

In spite of this conspiracy, Truth has prevailed. Man has been able to win freedom of thought despite the reprobates. The struggle has been a long, intensive and uninterrupted one. Along its path, the history of these differences or schisms have left behind ugly traces of evidences, which now provide food for thought of the scholar who finds in all dogmas, superstitions and rites, significant indications of a bloody social confrontation between the forces of the spirit and those of dehumanising matter. "Books in Stones" is indeed very true to the student of history, specially of archaeological history.

Historically viewed, the process of emergence of the sublime from the crude, of the metaphysical from the physical, of bliss from hell, of spirit from form, of discipline from dogma, has been almost the same as the process of the emergence of the superman from the cave man. It has been a slow and gradual process of development. The fact that it reaches its apex in one part of the world earlier or later than in another, is due to similar causes as made the civilised man in one part of the world appear earlier or later than in another.

Savages and their cave-man-type practices have not altogether been conditioned to civilisation yet. Savage practices, sentiments, instincts, even methods, still persist as much in the African, Mexican or Brazilian forests, as in London, Washington, Tokyo or New Delhi. From cave Iman to Man, from naked savagery to civilised savagery, evolution has been marching on and on, encouraged or disencouraged by geographical, historical, commercial and social factors. Civilisation as a process has not yet been able to establish a completely human society free from fear and coercion, hunger and disease. The promised millenium, the goal of human hope, has yet to be achieved. The civilised man of today is by no means the last word in Creation. No single religion, no single church today is the last or the only resort of the Divine. The present social world is passing through a period of struggle between simplicity and sophistication, craftsmanship and automation, proletariat structure of human commune and bourgeoise structure of sycophancy for the aristocracy of the eternal man against the temporary man.

Rites and Dogmatism

It is no use for any one church to point its fingers at another for practising rites smacking of superstition, animism of fetishism. Adoration of past practices is in human nature. It is easy, comfortable and safe to follow a cult and a dogma. Man is the last of changes, and changes last.

Traditions persist in church practices, stubbornly holding their ground,despite pretensions of progress and revolutions. Savagery-savage totems, heathen beliefs, pagan practices, persist in the 'noblest' of Churches, both in the East and the West. Modern Researches on fetishism, totems and taboos have conclusively proved the tenacious nature of these practices. Religions cannot exist without form, form without fetishes, and fetishes without dogmas. Underlying all religions, forms maintain an iron grip. They will continue to do so till life remains a riddle; religion remains empty; magic and rituals maintain a facade more impressive than the subtle nuances of the spirit of religion; and Fear and Mystery continue to play their psychological parts on the human nervous system,

History has on record that every new church, aided by the military might of monarchy, has again and again attempted to enforce reforms with a view to eradicating these practices. Millions of lives have been coldly put to the sword, to fire, to the inquisition, to the skull pyramids by authorities in power, who sincerely believed that in doing what they did, they would bring heaven to earth and light to the blind. Even the so- called peaceful spread of Buddhism has not been entirely free from this malignity. Religion itself could be another form of vanity; and like all vanities could spread vice and destruction.

For one thing, the trust of the zealots in the unfailing effectiveness of the method they used, kept their conscience otherwise free. If they acted as vandals, they did so gracefully, religiously, full of zealous sincerity. Even the most devout of them, persons like Queen Mary Tudor of England, Marie de Medici, Philip IV of Spain, Louis XV, Aurangzeb, whose personal lives had not been totally devoid of integrity, nobility, even piousness, have been known to sanction the most horrid killings in history in the pursuit of their 'holy' ends. In doing so, they sincerely desired to exter- minate savage, unholy, immoral, obscene traditions. There is a difference between divine love and religious love, between religious devotion and spiritual freedom.

Fanaticism has always allowed truth to be thrown into the background, and facts to be severely suppressed or mystified. The spirit of religiosity, something that is innate in man, as modesty, gratitude, fellow-feeling and sympathy, has suffered from bias and prejudice due to the broad side assault caused by fanaticism. Fairness of judgement suffers from prejudice. The basic shortcomings of any proselytising faith is psychological. It is always belaboured with complexes and neurotic implications leading to fanaticism. The most discussed postulate of the mystic adoration of the phallic system is a case in point.

To understand any single religion it is necessary to understand the sister religions. To understand religion it is necessary to understand its past. Understanding is the cure against fanaticism. No incident is an event in isolation, and no beginning began in isolation. Such abeginning-in-itself, isolated and exclusive, is God and God alone.

To understand Christianity one has to ask, "What was the religion of Jesus, or of John the Baptist? Why did the religion of Moses, or Abraham not suffice the need of the Jews, or of the same people, who yet later, embraced Islam? What was the religion of the Queen of Sheba, or of the people amongst whom Cain took shelter, or of the men to whom Jesus used to turn for discussion? Who were the Magi, and what religion did they follow? Why the basic treatise of the Hindu people is known as The Book of Man (Mänava-Dharma-Sastra)?"


The Cult of Fertility

No religion is complete in itself. All religions are traditionally linked to their past, to their environments and their social history. All religions are exposed to vital questionings: What is life? What is death? Why is life connected with food, and why cannot a person in isolation by himself or her-self create life? The questions of multiplying life and survival in the struggle for life are the parents of religions which discovered God. Man found God to be his complementary. Without God he found life insecure and mysterious. In religion he sought spiritual survival, freedom from uncertainty, liberation from worry.

His first need was food, and food's need was fertility. This made man directly view the phenomenon of fertility to be a great source of mystery. In going deep into this mystery man did not take much time to discover the relation of the earth's fertility to rain and to the sun. Earth (Female) and Sun (Male) have been the oldest of gods, not entirely given up i any of the religions known to man. The relation between the earth and the sun was projected through a sky-borne liquid-the rain (Generating fluid). Worship of fertility automatically projected the adoration of the procreative phenomenon.

The two counterparts that stood out tangibly in this phenomenon were, and continues to be, the phallus (Siina) and the vulva (Toni). Naturally they would adore these two as they adore the eye, the ear, the brain.

Fertility was the first mystery worshipped; and the similes of the 'sun- rain-earth' on the one hand, and 'man-semen-woman' on the other, imaged the copulatory act into a religious act worthy of veneration and adoration. The singing, dancing and what we know as orgiastic displaysare nothing but the imitative act of inducing the otherwise unconcerned sex-god to be erotically excited, and cast the valuable, life-giving spermato- zoa, the rain, on the gaping, thirsty earth, the womb. Man had to communicate somehow with the source of the mystery of such an important function as life, and life-giving food springing from earth. The only way man could communicate with the mysterious libido lay through a symbolic language, into which initiation had to be sought. This natural fact was made to be viewed as an obscene act because of prudish, hyprocrisy, leading to repression and suppression.

This they did. At first, they did this physically; in course of time by carving their representation, and then symbolically. The human act, as the bird, animal or reptile act, of copulating and discharging a fluid was symbolic of the great phenomenal cosmic act of the Sun and the Earth. Egyptian pyramids and Sumerian pyramids have yielded evidence in pictures and carvings of this phenomenal copulation of the Sun and the Earth. The Rg Veda sings of this conjugal relation existing in Nature. Human minds read in the natural mystery some key answer to their enquiry about the mystery of life.

Naturally the early devotees and mystics did not see anything but a joyous repetition of a divine process in the very necessary and healthy act of copulation. The question of regarding this as a sin, an act against god, or a fall, did not occur to them. And when great forces of arms and erudition spent their energy in injecting into the later minds the idea of transgressions and evil, sin and hell, through a barrage of anti-sex propaganda, man and woman in their secret naked simplicity of mind remained totally unconvinced. The propaganda succeeded only in driving at naturally legitimate right into a dark secreted corner, and the naked simplicity of the mental state of man was filled with such complexes as guilt, lie, fear, deception, etc, with the awesome physical and mental consequences which have been causing human individuals and human society immeasurable amount of grief and suffering. The modern religious man appears to be a diseased item compared to his prototype living in natural surroundings, and known as savages. Mental ailments, insomnia or hysteria, are conditions unknown to the 'superstitious' savage.

The ancients lived in a more open state. Their equation with God was based on naturality. If copulation was necessary and natural, it was also, in their estimation, adorable. If the spirit of fertility was to be adored and appeased, the best offering imaginable was copulating itself, on the spot; in this case on the fields. And they did it. In the temples of the fertility gods and goddesses, on the most important days, copulating pairs offered their joy and their prowess to the divine will. No shade of evil covered their will; no compunction shaded their mind. If menstruation was the sign of blossoming, like blossoms, the blood wasoffered to the fields, rivers, canals, deities. How could that blood be dirty or unholy if blossoms were not? Blood is the red blossom of the body- plant. If the sheathing of the corn was natural for harvest and seeding. an offering of life itself was called for propagating life. Human sacrifice symbolised frankly this shearing of harvest. The later ideas of sacrifice and Resurrection camouflaged the ancient frank offering of blood and flesh, of man, of animals, of birds, even of skin and limbs torn out of frenzied bodies like skin dissected from genitals, etc. as a customary offering for some religious sects. All these trace their origin from the simple, natural and open adoration of fertility by man. There was no secrecy to obstruct a straight relation of the individual with the cosmic, no obscurity to mystify a bold and virile fact of life that only prudishness could deny, or hypocrisy could cover.

Man worships God and remains subservient. But his nature rebels against it. He wants to equal God; he wants to replace God by becoming God, and then become omnipotent. Acquisition of Power is his motive. He plays the servile, because he desires to acquire. Thus he imagines the great red sun ejecting his hot long member, and casting his seed into the open vulva of the earth, God thereby holding the highest power through keeping to Himself the Secret of Life, a mystery. Were he to withhold his ejaculating favours, rivers would run dry; lands would perish; cattle would die and men would begin eating men. Life would end. God's power thus was equalised with the sexual vigour, and ability to impregnate Nature with Life's regeneration and multiplication through the processes of menstruation, ovulation and impregnation.

Judaism and Christianity are such cultic expressions of the endless pursuit by man to discover instant power and knowledge. Granted the first proposition that the vital forces of nature are controlled by an extraterrestrial intelligence, these religions are logical developments from the older, cruder, fertility cults. With the advance of technical proficiency the importance of religious ritual in influencing the weather and the crops grew less than attaining wisdom, and the acquiring of knowledge of the future. The Word, that seeped through the labia of the earth's womb became to the mystic of less importance than the Logos which he believed his religion enabled him to apprehend and enthuse him with divine omniscience. But the source was the same vital power of the universe.1

Universality of Phallicism

There is no faith known to man within which phallic traits could not be traced. Even those faiths which are frankly critical of phallicism, suffer from the legacies of their phallic past, as it is evidenced by certainfeatures of their rites and practices. Certain forms and figures which most religions adhere to in their day to day prayer meetings betray their ancient legacies. The very churches that destruct phallicism the most, retain within their folds such pagan hangovers as the Arc, the candle and the sacrament bread. Rites such as ablutions (oozoo) in a mosque, baptism and the ceremonial bathings (as the Hindus observe) have been critically commented on as being reminiscent of phallic cults. They have questioned the shape of the Buddhistic Caityas, of the Pagodas, Dagobas, Pyramids, etc. of the importance of trees in religious rites; of the palm leaf, the mistletoe, the Maypole, the sacred stones worshipped at the temples, churches as well as at Kaabaa and even of the forms of the sacrificial fire-pits. The snake of Moses, the concept of the Madonna, or even of the very Cross itself has not escaped scrutiny and remark. These observations often hurt, because of the implied jibe and frivolity. But evidencial facts and inferences thereof must be placed above emotional prejudice. Scholarship often hurts devotion; and when scholarship ceases to be impersonal and objective, the hurt caused infuriates. It disturbs that peace which religiosity is expected to foster. Unless we learn to face scholarship objectively, we deny to learn, to grow.

Phallicism as a cult has been almost a universal one. This is natural. Life paid an awesome regard to the forces of life. The primitive may be crude; but it is also real, honest; so that no sophistry could dis- regard it. "Nearly all ancient people worshipped sex, in some form and ritual, and not the lowest people, but the highest expressed their worship most completely. The sexual character and functions of primitive deities were in high regard, not through obscenity of mind, but through a passion for fertility in women and the earth." This is neither strange, nor indecent, nor reprehensive. Its suppression alone would make it so. Denial of the realities by the sophisticated make men suffer from repression. Three quarters of the ailments of the modern civilised man spring from repression. Modern life is neurotic. Spiritual advancement calls for frankness. To be spiritual is to be gripping the Realities of things. There is no room in spiritual progress for fraudulent cant and hypocritical decency. Religion, to be true, has to worship the Truth, irrespective of form; it does not commerce with equivocation or pretence.

If it is a shame to worship the phallic, it must be a greater shame to try to keep such a worship covertly away from public recognition, and yet perpetuate it. The primitive adoration of the phallic was not born of license; at least there is no evidence to accept it to be so. In the primitive society no euphemism or covert methods were used for bright-panelling an avaricious exploitation of human live-flesh in the name of social equality, spiritual emancipation, international fraternisation and ad- mission within the vaunted hall of civilisation. The claim, that ModernCivilisation and Christianity together have acted as an emancipating power amongst the people of the South Sea islands, Eskimos, Red Indians, Peruvians, Mexicans and the African aborigines, has been variously questioned by ethically inspired, economically aware and politically alert minds. Modern sophistry appears to have deprived us of the courage to be frankly open to ourselves. We have lost our paradise; and we play with our conscience, with strange hopes for redemption through interventions of the particular church we belong to. We denounce the primitive as being phallic; but we are the ones who pay homage to tycoons who amass their wealth from selling this 'abominable' sex. A society which sells sex cannot understand a society which adored and honoured it. Historians are emphatic on the point that adoration of the phallic is as old as the Bible, nay, as mother Eve. They also note the rarity of sex-crimes and perversions amongst the primitive societies.

Fear, Magic, Sex

Dr. Durant mentions the worship and sacrifice of the bull and the snake, and emphasises the implied sexual symbolism. He even says that the "snake in the garden of Eden is doubtless a phallic symbol representing sex as the origin of evil."3

Scattered all over the history of civilisation lies records of human endeavour and ingenuity to find a solution to the riddle of life. In doing so the primitive man found an enemy residing deep within his own consciousness. It was an enemy of darkening and depressing mien; it stopped him from daring uninhibitedly his conquest of life's subsistence, nay, Man faced the instinct of life's very existence. This enemy was fear. fear standing across his instincts of self-preservation and self-expression. Fear evoluted doubt, suspicion, lack of self-confidence. Religion, accord- ing to Dr. Frazer, draws its genesis from this instinct of fear. Magic, indeed, appears to have been the first of man's religion. Primitiveness and magic go hand in hand; magic and primitiveness are co-existent, even correlative, all over the primitive world. In fact modernity of thought is measured in direct proportion to freedom from fear. Hence courage is universally admired in civilised society. But one is tempted to ask, "Has man been really able to get himself totally free from atavistic fear?"

Magic has been regarded as the earliest religion of man; fear is his first inspiration; witchcraft his first sacramental prayer, and witches and sorcerers his first order of sacerdotal priests. The High priests of modern churches are what they are in replacement of these primitive prototypes; this partly explains why the priestly religions used to make a bonfire of their earlier prototypes namely the witches, with extreme thoroughnessand zeal. They could have been regarded as professional competitors, and had to be eliminated in professional interest, with a professional finesse.

But one stops and asks, "Have the magicians, the sorcerers, the witches been really eliminated, or have they been just reorientated and substituted?" A visit to any of the modern bookshops clearly directs the trend of a decadent society getting confused and lost in search of excitements which could afford it an escape from the curse of boredom and frustration. As in the decadent Greek and Roman societies, sex, mystery, magic and witchcraft are on the increase in ours too. Besides the variety of the awesome costumes that distinguish them from the 'average' man (from whom they feel themselves and mean themselves to be so much elevated and distinguished) the totems, symbols, taboos and cult appertinences of sorts persist, of course, cleverly disguised, as secrets of the tradition. Old values persist. They are only interpreted in mystified language of so-called wisdom. Nothing changes really in history except the flesh.

This chain of atavistic persistence, according to some, is nothing but illusory. But then, apart from the Real Absolute, all that is relative to life is illusory. These theorists do not agree that the feeling of transcendence, which is religion's chief hope and attraction, springs from the crude genesis of fear. Fear is according to them, only a reactive evolute for caution against indiscretion that might result in the loss of life. In other words fear is a built-in radardefence against dangers to life. Fear is but a necessary concomitant to the instinct of self-preservation, and it has nothing to do with the spiritual elevation to transcendentalism.

In the world of actual life such factors as ingress, egress, progress are evolving events, and in considering the progress of human history and culture such progressive changes persist and claim due recognition. Ob- jects of worship, despite apparent changes, persist in refusing to change entirely. Since fear had been dominating the forms of prayers, all prayers are raised by the helpless, the prostrate, the sycophant. All prayers ask for being "saved". God of Fear alone could save from the Anti-God, the cause of Fear. Hell and Fear are inseparably obsessive. Magic and chants, sorcery and cults, have been replaced by other gods and other forms. Forms of worship retain the fundamentals of magic cults. The Magi, the witch-doctors and the priests are linked in the same chain The garb, as the neolithic cave man, the savage and the modern man. the facial decorations, the awesome aspect of the magician, the noise, the flame, the smoke, of the charm and magic, the emphasis on mystification and secrecy persist as much as do the objects, instruments, icons, symbols and courses of stars and planets. Fundamentally, fear and magic fostered cults; cults turned into religion; religion demandedpriests; priests gave forms; forms induced veneration of objects; and most of these objects symbolised the mystery of life and death, particularly of fertility and phallicism.

The tenacity of the persistence of the old in the new could be observed from a closer survey of the objects used in the rites practised in different churches, even today.

The underlying meaning of some of the religious practices reveal strange truths when held in the crucible of close enquiry. Apart from ancient religions like Hinduism or Buddhism, which are living even now, more recent religions too, which have emerged in protest of the old, are not found without such items as the cross, the crescent, the sepulchre, the font, the candle, the bells, the Ark, the tripod, the shell, the conch, the breaking of the bread, the May-pole, the Christmas-tree, the hanging mistletoe, the sacerdotal stole, the pit, the hundred other snake-symbols, fish- symbols, stone-icons etc. All these, singly or together, are reminders of the lease phallicism holds on religions. The presence of these, their important association with rites, remind one of the fertility rites. These encourage historians to infer that religion is born of mystery; that all religions consider sex as a vital force; that religion is closely bounded to the limitations of the instincts of fear; and that religion hopes for the soul's emancipation, and gain the bliss of transcendence through the sublimation of the instincts of sex and fear. But the fact stands that repression does not assist in gaining spiritual freedom. Transcendental realisation is not obtainable through submissions to instincts. Sublimation is a process of spiritual discipline with the express purpose of obtaining a state of con- tented happiness-joy. Mystery and repression induce melancholy and morbidity.

The biochemistry of modern psychiatry has to say a good deal about the chemical reactions of fear, and of the induced psychic conditions of the human nerves. The timid need religions the most. True religions to be effective inject courage into a neurotically credulous mind. Religion binds human hopes together, as sex does the body, and fear does the mind. Timidity is an antethesis of Love.

But fear is a binding factor. Fear of annihilation through atomic weapons has been influencing nations in favour of a serious attempt for an international fraternisation. Fear against unknown forces of destructions builds up mysteriously the armour of superstition." Freedom from fear is spirit's irresistible quest. Priestly prayers and ceremonial offerings for the appeasement of spirits, evil or good, are still held in high regard. "Religion," says Goldberg, "may have its origin as humbly as in bribing off the pernicious soul of some rascal in the tribe."

The transposition of love in place of fear has been one of the noblest and sublimest transformations in religious history.

In love we seek seclusion; in fear, company. Religion of fear has been sectarian and awesome. An awesome god is not unknown in most of the religions. But the path that leads to the sublime peace of contentment and assurance lies along the laid out garden of confidence of love. It is a lonely path; a path of singleness; a path of courage. It is the loneliness of love. It is lonely at the peak; and the peak is lonely. The lonely alone could become universal. To be able to turn loneliness into blissful experience is the objective of transcendental quest. Prof. Whitehead meant it when he defined religion to be "what man does with his loneliness". From self-preservation to fear, from fear to magic, from magic to cult and religion, has indeed been a progress. But all this lacked the dimension of spiritual depth. Of that later. Meanwhile Fear was being trans- cended. The unique experience of feeling free of fear opened up man's vision to further achievements in the world of spirit. Man aspires to free himself from his past complexes. He hates to see his past holding him back. He is virtually concerned with Life itself, with living for the propagating of life. The Mystery of Life holds an obsessive impor- tance in the early history of man's quest for discovery of Life's "Source". It underlines all the symbolic rites and prayers of man, and it continues to hold its sway over man's spiritual development. To the homo sapiens fertility has been the most vital, and hence the supreme expression of energy. Thus the sex-motivated aspirations of Life continue to mould all types of religions. Taboo of sex and fertility, phallicism and mystery-rites has given us more complexes than necessary. In the garden of Eden, Nature reigned uncovered. And all religions have to recognise the fact that love calls for openness, and shuns secrets.

Universality of Sex-Symbols

The importance of phallicism becomes underlined from a study of the nature of the extent neolithic cave paintings, unearthed tribal dolls and toys, and other ritual symbols of figurative and iconic representations which are scattered all over as remains of bygone civilisations of the world. Phallic symbols persist to focus the psychic aspirations and aberrations of man. In creating these symbolic representations, in holding them, touching them in concrete shape and form, and bowing before them, much of man's suppressed emotions find response and release. Symbols are of high importance and significance in religion.

Because of this importance there are reasons to believe that direct physical and phallic facts such as generative organs, menstrual fluids, the 28-day cycles, and the act of copulation itself demanded adoration. Adoration of the phallic symbols, which replaced the living phallic in flesh and blood, was in itself a great progress towards man's freedom fromthe limited to the abstract. Fertility was the recognised Power; phallic forms only underlined its obvious source. But the real source was yet a mystery.

Early man conceived the creative force in nature as being two- fold-male and female; and evolved symbols for both sexes. There still are male and female symbols in the church, although their original meaning has been imposed by theological speculation. To primitive man fish was the symbol of the feminine. This fish is still a feminine symbol in the church.

Primitive man saw in the pillar, the column, the stately palm tree, a fitting symbol for the male, the active force. And the same palm in the Christian religion became suggestive of virility, of victory in the race of life. On Palm-Sunday, the triumphant entry of Christ with his followers into Jerusalem is still celebrated. On this day blessed palm leaves are distributed to the faithful; they are placed upon their door. To this day, agricultural people burn these same leaves and sprinkle the ashes over the fields to ensure fertility.

In all times the vine, so prolific in its fruit, has been symbolic of abundance in life, vitality and birth itself. For the Christian, the vine has been suggestive of the Fountain of Life in which the soul is reborn through communion with God. The ark, the classic symbol of the female principle of all times, is used everyday during the Mass in the form of the PYX, the holy receptacle for the body of Christ. The Cross, from time immemorial a symbol of the creative forces of union, was early brought into the symbolism of Christianity, where it was ever grown in importance. And the Christian, mindful only of its relation to his Saviour, does not see in it the symbol of the saving grace of generation.

The priest as he puts on his robes for the Sacrifice, is unaware that they are full of symbolic meaning. The flowing gown, the stole he wears around his neck, and the vestment, are all suggestive of similar symbolism in ancient pagan faiths. The vestment itself a symbol, bears upon it still others; there is the Cross both in front and in the back,' and from beneath the crosses extend the golden rays of the sun, in themselves suggestive of the great life- giving force in nature.

Mary is the greatest symbol of all. She is the Mystical Rose," the Spiritual Vessel, the tower of David,10 the Ark of the Covenant;11 the poor, the sick and the humble, find in her a source of comfort and aid. The new converts to the Christian church from the sensuous pagan world added the attributes to the concept of Mary. They saw in her figure familiar to them from their own beliefs. For in every pagan religion there was a virgin goddess, a Virgin Mother, whom the faithful worshipped.

Bertrand Russell also refers to the existence of a fertility cult that evolved into the glorious concept of the Virgin Mary indicating thereby that sex symbols persist uninterrupted in the most catholic churches,although the subject has been kept studiously well-guarded and covered.

The religions of Egypt and Babylonia, like other ancient religions were originally fertility cult. The earth was female, the sun Male 13 The bull gods were common. In Babylon, Istar, the Earth Goddess, was supreme amongst female divinities. Throughout Western Asia the Great Mother was worshipped under various names. When Greek colonists in Asia Minor found temples dedicated to her, they named her Artemis, and took over the existing cult. This is the origin of 'Diana of the Ephisians'. Christianity transformed her into Virgin Mary, and it was a Council of Ephesus that legitimated the title "Mother God" as applied to Our Lady.14

The doctrine of Immaculate Conception was accepted by the Chris- tian church as late as 1854.15 The history of the Christian church lays it bare how the cult of fertility has naturally been a co-runner with it. Fertility as a cult is an expression of Life's indebtedness to the divine power that be. No form of religion is an exception to this homage paid to the cult. It is humble to recognise the fact that faith in God is neither exceptional to any religion, nor is that faith ashamed at finding expressions in symbols, be it a cross, a fish, a lingam-yoni compact, or a Madonna. External forms do not make changes in an inner and abiding Truth. The greatest immorality is to hide. This leads to mystifications, and untruth, even to sorcery.

The abhorrence that the prude displays in associating sex, sex- symbols, sex-functions, sex-adoration as religious fetishes is considered to have its origin from psychological inaptitude. Psycho-analytical investigations have revealed amazing results in the field of so-called moral barriers. The abhorrence of post-Judaic churches of the West reflects a stoic reaction, a mental aberration, a form of dehumanisation. Such an attitude harbours a definite danger to a healthy growth of the under- standing of the inner man, to the realisation of the Spiritual Self. The vital role that sex plays in life leaves no room for doubt that it is natural and divinely planned. It is essential; it is perfect; it is inevitable and healthy.

Social laws propounded by man ensure a systematic functioning of the 'Family', and attempt some regularisation of sex impulses. The change from matriarchy to patriarchy necessitated a definite form of naming the offsprings by a patriarchal title. This replaced the earlier convention of using the mother's title in naming the new-born. Socially speaking, it had been a foolproof method of relating a progeny to its source of blood. A mother's relation to an offspring is obvious. With the growth of the patriarchal system, as paternify had to be more defined, maternity had to be well-guarded. The use of the womb, much beforethe use of the field, became an exclusive right. This necessitated two very significant impositions; one, the proprietorial possession of the female body; two, control of sex liberties through setting a system of 'moral' codes. These succeeded in introducing the curse of repression to the free life of a society. Repressions created in their turn a series of mental reservations, as formulating a religious system in which sex was associated with sin, uncleanliness, shame, inferiority and disability. Bitter pain has been sadistically associated with a so-called and imaginary punishment deservedly imposed for the 'Sin' of man.

This explains the tyranny of repression, taboo, shame, indecency, secrecy, impoliteness surrounding the natural world of sex. Modern attitude to sex has happily changed. Although the sudden discovery of personal emancipation from imposed moral restrictions has overshot the mark of natural usefulness of sex, and has resulted in some cases in excess of orgiastic outburst of the erotic, one could hope that with the passage of time the place of sex would find its natural norm. This could help in the resurrection of correct religiosity, which at present is faced with the danger of extinction.

What had hitherto been openly sex-adoration was suppressed into symbolic representations; and once the principle of symbolic representation of man's debt to the Divine was accepted, different people at different times adopted them in various forms and fetishes. Symbolisation of the natural became a vogue. The significant choices of such symbols were more or less determined by local conditions, social, economic, geographic, climatic and syncretic. Symbolism, like life, with its faculty for survival and its tendency for self-expression, is as universal a form, as a sense of Divine Power.

Emergence of the World of Symbols

The forms of these symbols have been numerous. Some of these, of course, are more subtle than others. Attempts are often made to classify the superior culture of a people on the basis of the so-called subtle or crude symbols in use. Mere nature of the symbols is not invariably indicative of the superiority of one culture over another. Advanced cultures have often been noticed to come under the spell of gods not so 'advanced' because of political reasons.

The acceptance of sex in a subtle form is really a secret homage paid to the natural instinct of man, namely to sex, which he regards as a benign power which contributes to the charm and durability of existence. The open free expression of joy having been stifled by the greed for lust, man had to run for a hiding; and this he did under the camouflage of symbols and mystic languages. He, of course, could not give up sex, and thespirit of sex adoration. It continued in secreted forms, symbolised rites, figurative icons and mystic language of symbolic import. Legends and lores were invented to have the eternal homage of Life to its Source stowed away under the dark cellars of roundabout heavens and hells, demons and gods, kings and fairies, princes and princesses, serpents and fish, witches and oracles.

Even the language of joy and ecstasy of the spiritually awakened, the spiritually united, the spiritually free, borrowed heavily from the language of erotic and sexual experience. The system of preserving the so-called decency of human expression of divine and spiritual experience actually had to accept the subterfuge of symbols, metaphors and poetical figures. Man has tried in vain to preserve morality and decency at the cost of truth and frankness. Angels were clipped of their wings, and suffered the drab life of the earthly manikin.

Let us take a glimpse at the life of the gods as they passed from Egypt and Sumeria to Greece and Rome, and then to the main systems of the "most holy" of the churches. Let us note that this obsession of preserving the morality of man at the cost of Truth and openness landed a an erstwhile great philosophical and metaphysical culture into the most confused of ritualistic forms which in their turn gave way to cults and occults, magics and sorceries.

Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Crete, Cyprus, Troy, Ionian Isles, Greece, Iran and Rome; in almost that order, the mightier in arms have over- whelmed the less mighty, and imposed on them their gods, and forced on the vanquished a supposedly superior culture. But we have observed before that in the stream of cultural continuity there is never a one-way commerce. In culture the victor is often found enmeshed in the subtle shackles of the vanquished, which they, in their pride and vainglory, so mightily criticise and condemn. For Greece, Troy and the Eastern ways were barbaric; and for the Imperial Rome, Greece and Egypt had been but nests of superstition and magic, loaded with useless gods. But Rome the victor of Anatolia, Byzentium Phrygia and Thrace became, by the time of Augustus, Caligula, Adrian, and Claudius, a forest of spiritual confusion where flourished Pythagorianism, Cybelline mysticisms, Mithra- ism and a hundred other Oriental cults. And out of these massive material rose that later giant Christianity, which carefully preserved most of the pagan traits and forms, most of the pagan celebrations and rituals, most of the pagan gods and goddesses, inclusive of the sex overtones and orgiastic propensities, blood, flesh, dance, virgin, holy weddings and ecstatic trances and ecstatic confessions of spiritual unions. Most of the descriptions of such unions do use the common and mundane sex language that the profane use. But under the sanction of the holy church these are accepted as symbolisingly sacred. Sanctification of the profane draws a protective halo over what would otherwise have been denounced as vulgar, indecent profanity.

This should be quite understandable. Anthropologically speaking syncretistic admixture of traits is an inevitable feature of the history of culture. Of course, the media for such syncretistic transference are and ought to be various, such as war, commerce, natural catastrophes, leading to large immigrations, and others. Of course, in effecting a syncretic social order, the society of magic men and of priests played a great part; so did the conquerors. The victors, as we have noted, always tried to impose their ways on the vanquished. It is not difficult to imagine that during this process of adjustment and accommodation of the faiths of alien people a certain amount of intellectual intercourse, too, did play its role. Culture seeps and percolates syncretically through cross sections of history. The record of man's capacity for narrowing distances of the mind through adoption and absorption is both fantastic and fascinating. Interchange of gods between cultures has an amazing history of its own.

In any case, it is interesting to study that these symbols are not only universal in character, but also pulsed with similar fetish-ardour. More or less, the same symbols have been found to have been adopted by a num- ber of people, and interpret similar ideas. In some cases this might have been co-incidental, but in most of the cases they were results of human contact and social influence. World in those days too appears to have been really limited and small, if not as small as Alexander had found it, for his own reasons.

Of the forms selected for such religious fervour, the cruder included, interalia, a tree, a grove, a bird, an animal, a dell, a river or a spring, as noted above. Secondary forms became symbolic and included images, icons, books, diagrams, strings of alphabets, scores of music, etc. From the ancient civilisations such as those of Sumeria, Babylon, Anatolia, Thrace, Egypt, Crete, Phrygia, Sicily and the Grecian isles, an almost uninterrupted flow of fertility symbols continue to crowd all our modern religions, spreading all over the old world. No religion is entirely new. The Semetics too exhibited the same trait although reformer after reformer unceasingly protested against the homage paid to symbols. Though they condemned symbols, in their turn, they too suggested their own symbols. Many of these, however, covertly it may be, were indirectly expressive of sex and sex alone. Through all changes and impositions, this single trait remained unchanged. It is amazing to observe how deep rooted is this desire to adore sex and fertility, how irresistible is its appeal. The peak, the pole, the tree, the mushroom, the deltas, the dells, the clifted forms of the earth; the combination of the furrow and the plough; of the earth, rain and the sun; the virile vigour in the bull, the stallion, the ram and the boar; the pine-cone and the cowrie-shells; and the scores of other similar natural unions told their own tale. Each of these assisted a mental impact of a physical fact, i.e., the importance of sex to life and procrea- tion. Mystic wonder is sublimity itself. Sex was a sublime fact.

To go contrary to this was impossible, unrealistic. Did Moses not try to stop the adoration of the orgy around the Golden Calf and hold to his serpent-staff? Did not Jesus attempt to change his church; but left the cross and the chalice in the process? Did not Hazrat Muhammed try to remove the adoration of all brazen images, and yet, ultimately, end with the symbolical stone-emblem in Mecca? How, otherwise, one explains his insistence on pilgrimage?

There must be something inherent in human nature for explaining mind's adherence to forms and symbols. There are various explanations for this. The most acceptable one observes that normal human thinking always avoids tension and disorder; it avoids disharmony and confusion. Mind has a preference for settling down to a point. Concentration leads to poise, and removes tension. That is why man meditates. Meditation gives freedom from a confusing state of the nerves, and from the resulting tension. Man, like an archer, cannot meditate on more than one point at a time. There may be a field of attention, but the field must, by a centripetal process, lead to a final single point. To be able to meditate is to concentrate the diffused mind to a point. This ensures peace, symbolically expressed through the mystic syllable (mantra) Om. With- out peace (anti) man is restless. He finds himself in a mad, mad world. As the target is well-marked as the bull's eye, so meditation becomes easier by concentration on a symbol which represents a thought process into an objectively crystallised expression. Man asks for it, as the myopic asks for glasses and the drowning seeks breath. Hence symbols are very natural to a meditative or spiritual life aspiring to attain Om, or peace.1 When actually a symbolic form is to be chosen for adoration the familiar offers an easier medium for concentration. The use for religious re- presentations lies in making a difficult mystic journey familiar and friendly, through laws of constant association. All adoration is emotional. All meditation is a projection of pure emotion, impersonal projection.

Psychologically speaking, this could be the reason why such forms. enjoy an obdurate persistence. Symbols are easily adopted. Religion and mysticism are spiritually interrelated; and the common man is afraid of disturbing the mysterious. It is as it were a spell cast. Such fear of the mysterious harbours a firmer hold on human consciousness than the effects of years of spiritual harangues. Spirit that rejuvenates and fortifies the soul, being basically an experience of the unknown and the un- discovered, man does not ordinarily dare tearing to shreds previous practices.

Therein lies the mystery of persistence of symbols as objects of spiritual adoration. Some of the symbols used are overtly frank and bold; some are covertly justified and secreted. The new dared not reject the old entirely. Even the most iconoclastic had to build on the old faith inclusive of cults. What the latter carried on, or had to carry on, changed their names and forms, and perhaps the ceremonies too. They became permanent parts of rituals in the form of symbols. Religious loyalties often find it impossible to eradicate altogether traditional sources of spiritual solace. In the shipping system through the ocean of consciousness the safe law of main- taining a chain of life-boats on the decks of the fastest liners cannot be given up. It is safe for long journey to keep room for traditional safeguards and assistance. A true navigator of the seas, appreciates the value of charts and maps, however old and obsolete.

Faith could never ignore tradition. Every religion has its secret brotherhood; the brotherhood of the initiate, the brotherhood of the novices, as different from the brotherhood of the elders, of the Eleusians and the inner circles. Much of this has persisted even to our present days in the name of mysticism. Fear, like life to spirit, as sex and hunger to body, is a primal incentive that goaded men to go in quest of the divine. God, the Father, appears often as a persecutor also; and man knows that a father too has to be appeased at times. He-man as he was, even Agamemnon had to sacrifice his own daughter for appeasing the Gods. What we call faith could spring from a sublimated form of fear in the sense that the more the faith, the less the fear. Absolute faith is absolute rid- dance from fear. The Absolute is Freedom itself.

Yet religions which aim at emancipation, become involved through forming symbols as though codifying rites and ceremonials. Those who dedicated their lives to change forms of religion, and arrest the attention of the devotee from the cultic practices of phallic adorations and the associated obscenities and abominations in their turn, fell victims to organising new symbols, new forms, often themselves phallistic. Despite changes, basically, symbolism perpetuates. As a matter of fact much of religion depends on subtle symbolism. God, in the sense of Samkhya and Yoga, as in the sense of Spinoza or Descartes, is nothing more than a perpetual symbol of power, will and creativity.

Let us take only one example to illustrate this point. All over the Christian world the orthodox church pays its greatest-importance to the ceremonial rite of the Eucharist. From times immemorial in almost all the great oriental religious celebration the principal form of this ritual consists in eating and drinking. These religions, originally matriarchal,1s indulged in human sacrifice. Cases of orgiastic dances over days ending with eating the flesh of the sacrificial victim, termed "tanist" by Dr. Graves, were not rare. These symbolised a fertility cult, that signified sowing, reaping and eating of the land-produce, which resurrected itself by reappearing for the next crop. This was physically enacted in the drama of love, dance orgy, killing and feast. Down the centuries, this ceremony underwent a great many changes. Because of the importance of this dramatic symbolism, it was responsible for many legends. Later the tanist citizen was replaced by a prisoner of war; a prisoner of war was replaced by a slave; a slave was replaced by a bull, by a lamb, by a fowl, and since Jesus and the Last Supper, by a bread. The eating of flesh and drinking of blood had been a very popular pagan ceremony. The mystery-cults of Eleusis, Sicily, Cyprus, etc., were known for such orgiastic ceremonies. Even now, in the ceremonials observed in these parts an overtone of orgy is still perceptible. The Bible refers to these practices, and condemn them. The Vedas too had instances of human sacrifice, animal sacrifice; the Aztecs and the Incas had it. But Jesus did not approve of this. He sublimated this in replacement of the sacrifice of hundreds of animals on the Passover Feast Day. Sacrifice of animals could not be eliminated by Muhammed. Jesus just meant to say, "If flesh and blood you must have for the consummation of your religious needs, well, I Jesus, I am going to offer myself as the victim for all times. Eat my flesh, my blood. Let this bread and wine suffice. When you partake of this, recall my sacrifice. But for God's sake stop this blood bath in the name of God and the Holy. Stop the paganism born of superstition. Those who in future follow me must accept the bread and wine offered on a Passover Day as flesh and blood of God's messenger on earth; and this is my new message." The mystery associated with flesh and blood would remain a mystery still in spite of the substitution. Jesus must have meant to substitute an old pagan practice, but a very strong practice, mystic, and transcendental, a practice that could not have been easily eradicated altogether without substantially damaging mysticism in religious forms. He tried to raise a religious practice to the level of spiritual sublimity.

It was quite expected in the tone and form of Jesus, the person, whom many doubt as having any intention of preaching a new religion, that he applied himself towards introducing some human qualities within the scholarly rigidities of a Rabbianic creed rather than towards establishing a new religion. Naturally, therefore, at a later stage when the early Christians devoted themselves to turning the teachings of Jesus to a Messianic creed they had to play much with the pagan forms and pagan practices. The introduction of the Eucharist and also of Marytheism keeps Christianity as a creed quite apart from Judaism. Christian Mass for instance, the Eucharist, the most solemn of Christianity's rites, the trans- fusion of the Spirit of Christ into the wine and bread, and turning them into blood and flesh, is but a continuation of the mystic religions of the Pagans of the Eastern countries. "Christianity became the last and the greatest of the mystery religions." Not before Cyril, the Bishop of Jeru-salem (350 A.D.), the idea of "trans-elementation" had entered the Church. It was not a novelty to regard Epiclesis, the Eastern form of communion, as a transforming miracle of blood and flesh. In the Eleusian rites, as well as in the Hindu Tantric and the Buddhist Mahāyāna rites, such flesh and blood communion are even now known. The Christian church adds dignity to this pagan rite by bringing in the idea of Logos. Cyril, Gregory, John of Damascus (769 A.D.) were responsible for turning the Communion into the sublime service it now has come to be. Similar sublimity is spiritually admissible and attainable in the Eastern Romanesque, Greek and Coptic churches, in the Lamaite and Tantric rituals. We have already referred to the introduction of the matriarchal Mary cult into the ministrations that Jesus had left for the world.

Spiritually it is possible for mysticism and sublimity to coexist with as much felicity and grace as it did at the time of Agamemnon, the Aztecs and the Incas, and as it does in Hindu Tantra and Lamaite rites. But there is a difference. It is not a difference in spirit, but a difference imposed by a historical attitude.

Wherever the Christian arms had penetrated, monarchies, with the assistance of the church and its priesthood, imposed on the vanquished the original blood sacrifice, only changed into the Eucharist. A pagan form was being introduced in other societies, even where the pagan blood sacrifices were never practised. It was done on the basis of a feast which Jesus had partaken of during the Passover. This illustrates how the law of syncretism gradually introduces alien forms and practices even in unwilling or antagonistic societies. Many more similar illustrations could be cited from Buddhistic, Islamic and Hindu practices. Śaivism itself holds a variety of alien traits.

This process of infiltration of one cult into another was not only due to a victor's imposition on the vanquished, as was the case of the halting spread of Islam in India, or that of Christianity in the new World; the vanquished too infiltrated often into the victor's creed, as the acceptance by the Romans of the Greek, as well as the Phrygian, Thrasian, Egyptian and Phoenician gods. The Orphean, or the Cybellian, or the Osirian cult was not a result of enforcement by Rome. The cults and the symbols had their own charms, and made an irresistible impact.

What appears to be symbolic today was once history. Symbols record past practices or events. Symbols are the silent historiographers of ancient forms now lost. Such elevation of events into admirable symbolisation is both natural and universal. Their forms change; but their spirit holds.

Suppression of the Matriarchal Society

In those ancient times of prehistory religions, and all that was attached to it as cults, had been under the managements of females. They as the leaders of society were the priestesses. The chief who conducted Divine Services was, therefore, a female; the Principal Deity was Female, the Mother, the Great Mother, the White Goddess, Sarasvati, the Divine Greek Demeter, the Hindu Dharitri, the Babylonian Mother, the Earth- Mother, the Lady of Fertility and Life.

The matriarchal system evolved naturally not only the Mother, but also the Mother symbols, the fertility symbols; and then their counterpart, the father symbols, the male symbols. For their appearance in the pantheon, these later male symbols could only recommend themselves as a counterpart of the Mother, a secondary functional aid subservient to the Mother, the Supreme. A matriarchal society favoured matriarchal divinities and matriarchal forms, signs, symbols. The Father-deity had to wait the pleasure of the Mother.

Today, as is found, this has changed. The matriarchal society has been suppressed by a patriarchal society. The change from matriarchy to patriarchy has not been smooth. Much bloodshed besmears this transition. The killing of Agememon, a Greek, by his wife Clytemnestra, a Thracian woman, with matriarchal traditions, and the consequent tragedy of the house of Atreus records just one of the many such transitional events from matriarchy to patriarchy through bloody murders and horrors. Hera was removed by Zeus, and many quarrels followed. The concept of the Great Sakti in Märkandeya Purana, or the legend of consorting Śiva with Uma, is uniquely narrated in a manner which goes to prove that the spiritual import of dividing the one into two actually proves that the two are but the phases of the one. Śakti divinities in the Tantra legends too, submit to the counterparts not without some blood- shed. In Christianity too Mary seriously threatened a come-back as the Mother Goddess by suppressing Joseph completely. Joseph's role was entirely obliterated by the concept of Immaculate Birth. And when Mary did come ultimately, she came as an adjunct of Jesus, and never in- dependently. In fact the chief difference between the different schools of Christianity lies in the importance of the role played by Maryism in the church forms and rites.

Neolithic matriarchal societies true to form, were devoted to female divinities. Soon matriarchal society was usurped by males. Naturally matriarchal divinities too changed places, goddesses giving way to gods (Hera to Zeus; Mary to Heavenly Father and Durga to Siva, Gayatri to Visnu). When tribal societies grew into well established civilisations, tribal divinities were replaced by newly formed and sophisticated gods. Ordered religions took over from magic, sorcery and rain invokers. These religious forms became more and more elaborate; the legends associated with the religions became more complex, and at times more mystical; the rites gained in showmanship and spectacular mass appeals; and the entire primitive process became organised, tyrannical and autocratic.

Time passed. The matriarchal heads became ease-loving and became tools in the hands of their erstwhile deputies. They were no longer deputies. The patriarchs developed into full-fledged royalties; and the institution of monarchy brought absolutism in its trail. The newly acquired public and private duties of the patriarch made claims on his time. He had to come to an understanding with the spiritual branch of his responsibilities, for which the females had been in charge. But the new monarchy established by the male military heads was not too eager to share with the females any more. They found their usefulness, and superiority; and they discovered the natural weaknesses of the child- bearing mother. They were confined to the home. Females were no longer trusted into confidence. But a drastic change interfered with safety and peace. A diplomatic arrangement had to be struck upon. Responsibilities had to be shared. Monarchy found religious duties too much an encroachment on royal living, at times, even too rigid. A substitute was created. Responsibilities of society were clearly defined into temporal and clerical functions. The monarch and the priest became two individuals. The functions of the two were well divided. Each paid homage to the other, as under mutual arrangements. But in reality the monarch wielded a greater power due to the logic of the sword. The priest at first resented this, but rarely challenged it openly. The female priestess was soon obliterated by the crafty male. But the female priestly gown still continues to be used in many cases. The Vestal virgins and the nuns are the remnants of the glory that was the female.

In the tribal days when the duties of the medical man and the leader of the tribe were retained into one hand, and when that hand had been a woman's hand, the actual form of worship was frankly phallic. A woman is more direct and realistic. Phallicism meant nothing ugly to her. So for the matriarch the great Goddess was the Earth, Dharitri, the prolific mother who produced. Life was maintained by the Mother. The concept of fatherhood was not taken to much account. Life's duty was to produce; and this was obviously done by the female. She delivered the 'goods'. That was the fact. Hence the female leadership. The matriarch was given absolute and constant loyalty. Fatherhood was casual, functional and of secondary importance. It suffered from a temporariness, and lacked certainty. Lovers the female had; lovers who came and went as did the bees and the seasons. These lovers were employed for mating, for assisting in the production of the next generation. The hearth goddess, the earth goddess and the third goddess who denoted the crone, the decaying old age, the superannuated mother, who ceased to produce anymore, were the respective three forms of the Mother.

(In the Hindu Pantheon the three aspects of the Mother are represented by Prthivi or Bhi-Laksmi and Kali or Camunda or Dhumavati, the last having crows flying around her as her favourite birds. The first, loves the peacock; the second, the owl, reminding of Juno and Minerva.)

The worship of the Great Mother calls for an exclusive chapter. Let it suffice to say here that the symbol that represented the Hearth was the white cone that illustrated the conical shape of ashes gathered in every hearth for the preservation of the precious fire. The great Delphic Mother had this white icon as her representation. This was called Omphalos, the word that gave us the word phalos, phallus; and all phallic worship that descended from this, referred really to the fire-function of the goddess. She became the Hellenic Selene: the Vedic Svaha, Arci, Sikha. But the other goddess, the Earth, was Nature's generative organ; her womb, the clefted field. It had its ebbs and flows of periodic moisture, her menstrual announcements. It needed germination. This called for a male counterpart. Hence the phallic symbols not only included the clefted womb, but also the erect phallus-like projections, imitating the male. These were taken for granted as precious facts without the least obsession for decency. The phallic in the ancients was not associated with any sense of guilt. Birth was a blessing, not a punishment. Life was happy. Seeding was a joy; not a sin.

Fertility cults predominated these societies, and the overtone of fertility will continue to predominate, as long as mankind shall stand in the necessity of growing food from the earth, and of seeking aid of the sun and the rain for that purpose. Race procreation and propagation needed males, as earth needed the Sun and the rain. Phallicism as a cult cannot be ignored. It might have grown as a cult, like life's growth from an amoeba; but it has far outgrown the amoeba-stage into a man, as the cult has grown into the deepest mystery-religions, and into the most out- standing rites and sacraments associated with the most sophisticated of the churches. Elimination of the phallic in its total entirety is neither possible, nor necessary, unless spirit is made to pay a greater regard to sophistry than to truth and fact. Frankness, innocence and truth are interdependent.

In all phallic cults, to start with, the female claimed the pride of place. Soon the society began to suspect a vague relation between the fact of mating and the fact of birth. Pregnancy and husbandry somehow were felt to be one single function; and as such the necessity of a male's role was valued higher. The male was chosen for this specific function; was called a companion of the Earth, who was regarded as the leading matriarch. But he played his role only as a temporary hand. After the duties of impregnation were completed, i.e. after the male had, in a way, actually died within the womb to be born out of the womb, he was sacrificed as a treasured gift to the Great Mother. This sacrifice made, good results are assured. This companion, the Tonist, without whose life blood there was not the least change of a continuity of life, was the focal point of the great sacrifice, which forms a sort of all religious vow. This sacrifice would be personal, or material, or a symbolic one. The male partner, for the month or for the year as the case may be, was chosen from a clan known to the chief matriarch, who was the priestess. In course of time emotional entanglements with the young Tanist made outright sacrifices difficult. The principal Tanist without offering the life of the selected male partner arranged for a substitute. Soon the Tanist would take advantage of the emotional entanglement, and prefer not only to live, but impose his own will to suppress that of the matriarch. He gradually succeeded in ousting her influence, and usurping leadership. The requirements of trusting for security against clan-feuds and military assignments, as well as of other heavy duties, encouraged the Tanist male to appropriate a superior role over the female counterpart, who was forced under emotional pressure to accept a minor role. As she did so, the female goddess, who had been hitherto held to be of importance, had to give way to the male gods. Because of an understandable similarity with the change of the matriarchal to a patriarchal society the chief god had to change from the Great Mother to "Our Father in Heaven". The Tanist became Jesus; and the Eucharist sublimated the flesh and blood of the victim of the sacrifice. The paganism of the Old Priestess persists in the Christian church which is still referred to as a 'female'...

War on the Gods

In order to appreciate fully the scope and extension of the phallic influence on all religions, a study of the influence of tribal cults on religions has to be made. But the student must bear in mind that such investigations have been rendered difficult by ages of systematic suppression of evidence of the universal Mother-cult. Later patriarchal trends have taken great care to suppress the matriarchal origin of sacrifices, and the importance of the female in the formation of society; because this suppression would ensure the male's tenure of leadership both in this world and in the next. But certain religions failed to suppress this fact as fast, and as thoroughly as others did. This raised differences between a tribe and a tribe, a people and a people, and should we say, between an interest and an interest. This kind of socio-economic considerations led to the so-called religious war. For dying in the cause of religion one has to offer one's self to principles and ideas; one has to be true to one's soul. Religious wars have been financed by the covetous, and led by fanatical militarists. God's battle cannot be carried on by hirelings.

Most wars are the results of commercial rivalries. Religion is only a pretext for human slaughter and social misery. Few in history like Alexander or Timur or Chenghiz, spread war for war's sake. Most wars had been fought for commercial reasons; for reasons of a nation's or an individual's overflowing greed. Some foolish wars were indeed caused for personal reasons; but the largest number of humanity was devastated because of so-called religious reasons; that is to say for estab- lishing patriarchal over matriarchal way of worship; of symbolic over realistic forms of worship. It is sad to contemplate that religion's most sustaining legacy to history and to mankind has been factual misery. Fanatics having taken advantage of religion as a pretext have allowed themselves to be played as pawns by vicious power-seekers. Neither God nor peace had been the real aim of these so-called religious wars. It is foolish to imagine that any God could be, or needs to be, established by a show of strength of the human arms.

Religious wars trace their origin to rival churches. Rivalry of churches is traced back to the rivalry between the matriarchally motivated and patriarchally motivated religions and societies. The Eastern and the Western Roman Empires, Philip's Macedonia and Olympia's Greece, fought on this score. The differences of these societies have been traced by scholars (Dr. Graves, Dr. Fisher, Havelock Ellis) to cults and phallic worship. The studious and persistent attempts on behalf of modern religions to outgrow this phallic past have not met with the desired success. The phallic traits are still traceable. These have not been given up, although these are denied again and again. It only shows that there is some amount of basic realism in what we call phallic, and vainly deride. It is more spiritual and honest to accept the phallic and understand the same, than to refuse to understand, ridicule and reject what through the centuries could not be suppressed. This appears to be the best way for accommodating contrary opinions and discover grounds for coexistence. Failing, the differences are bound to lead to more differences. Wars are bound to be admitted in a cowardly fashion into our own way of life. Social chaos could lead humanity to cynicism, apathy and disintegration. Religious differences shall always be exploited for commercial purposes and instigated by political interests, at times, also by personal greed.

Expansion of economic interest, carried on by force of arms was cunningly kept hidden under a pious desire of religious duty. Aurangzeb of India did it; the Crusaders tried it; we see this even today in the Christian and Buddhist Viet Nam. Gods and churches suffered from quick exchange of hands, during which many gods died; but ideas do not die. They are made of a more abiding and enduring stuff.

In making such desired changes effective against what they took for malpractices, such as heathenism, paganism, barbarism, kafir, the zealots of all faiths have adopted various methods of expressing their 'god-inspired' enthusiasm. The most outstanding of these methods has been force; the least practical of the methods was persuasion. Religion was used as a tool for aggrandisement. The really religious persuade.

Never before the spread of Buddhism had persuasion been adopted as a method of evangelism. Buddhism was not messianic. The method of Buddhistic approach followed the friendly policy of peace, content- ment and persuasion. According to this the ends, however pious, must also insist on the sanctity of the means. It outlawed haste and indiscre- tion, and accepted tolerance. Somehow in the Indian subcontinent spiritual tenets lived in the living of life itself. The people believed in living good, in order to make good. This was the noblest example set by the Buddha. Such a life rejected the use of violence, enforcement and brute-force for spreading enlightenment. Buddhism as a religion is least religious and most ethical.

History is littered with the debris of innocent lives ruined by zealots in their mad pursuit of erasing false gods, and of establishing the "true" religion. Again and again history has made compromise with this evil. The past and the present have melted into an inevitable future. What indeed was the final achievement? Did the reforms reform, really? All destructions over, the old Roman Fire continued to burn in the sacra- mental candle; the vestal virgins continued to pace the floors of the nunnery; the many-godded Roman priesthood carved niches around the church walls and turrets, and add hymns to forms, colours to robes, patterns to rites and continued to thrive flourishingly in terrible authority, along with their scores and scores of saints, and holy days in specially edited calendars and almanacs. Where gods feared to linger, angels and saints stepped in. Where love and faith were throttled, hate and power en- trenched dogmatism. Dogmas changed names and forms without get- ting changed. We all know that these changes were techniques to repaint a form of paganism, and give it a new facade, a novelty which was not so novel after all. Pagan rites continued to hold sway, covertly maintained by the so-called rights of the priests.

In the so-called subtler forms of the Church, where abstract ideas seek the intellectual support of monism, pagan overtones of totems, ceremonies and rituals are not entirely absent. There is no need to be, really. Instead of trying to exterminate them, and then fail, it is far healthier to recognise and understand them. There has been a basic need and this need has to be fully recognised. Rites provide the life-breath of religions. The obstinate persistence of these rites could be traced in such forms as the spiritual-marriage, the May-pole dance, and the Christian attitude of reverence towards the holy relics, inclusive of the Holy Prepuce.1 The cross, the ark and the concept of the Son of God provide further instances, as noted before, although in subtler forms. These are, after all, expressions of the mind-devout. Many have experienced transcendental experience through these means, and could do so, as Patanjali points out. It would be arbitrary to write them out as wrong. The fact is that man has been searching ever since an interpretation of the mystery of the Great Unknown. To be able to reach the sublime heights of ecstasy is his living challenge. He longs for himself a release; and to win for himself a heaven from within. He knew that he could achieve this only by eradicating fear, and transposing Love instead. 'Immortality' for the Hindus is unattainable without conquest over fear. This made them solve and conquer mystery with yogic application and love.


Religious Love and Hindu Catholicism

Fear and Love are contradictions. Love has to open the prison house of fear and emancipate the soul. Salvation is not for the weak, the timid or the oppressed. The courageous, the living and the gracious alone are free to reach heaven, the heaven that has been lost to fear and temptation, and could be certainly regained through Love and courage, 20

It is no use allocating the comparative usefulness of the different gods of the different churches, or of the different religious families. Fundamentally there is one God, one fear; one heaven, one hell; one liberation, one penalty. The world of Ideas finally crystallises into an indivisible unit. Immorality is one; Death is one. It is childish to try to measure the immeasurable with yardsticks formed out of this limited world of flesh. We all live in our respective glass-houses of ego. Looking through a false transparency, we fail to recognise the conservative and deluding nature of a tough ego, which indeed is our most formidable and stubborn enemy in achieving 'Bliss', or Paramanandam.

The substitution of the Fear of God by the Love of God gave to religious faiths a maturity hitherto unknown. Repression restricts growth. Infantile minds are incapable of the highest realisations. Cults became religions by overcoming fear; and by achieving Love.

Theoretically this appears to be the position. The attempt to secure love on the one hand, and repress sex on the other, subjected man to terrible complexes. "True Humanism tells us that there is something more in man than is apparent in his ordinary consciousness something which frames ideals and thoughts, a finer spiritual presence, which makes him dissatisfied with mere earthly pursuits. The one doctrine that has the longest intellectual ancestry is the belief that the ordinary condition of man is not his ultimate being, that he has in him a deeper self, call it breath or ghost, soul or spirit. In each being dwells a light which no power can extinguish, an immortal spirit, benign and tolerant, the silent witness in his heart. The greatest thinkers of the world unite in asking us to know the self."21

The imposition of the idea that sex is a sin, that sex organs are obsceni- ties, that procreation is a damnable instinct, gradually robbed the indivi- dual mind of the power of viewing uninhibitedly and philosophically a vital function of Nature, which was so necessary to Life and its propaga- tion. Sex became a social inhibition, a personal obsession. Innocence in Nature was replaced by a series of complexes. Sophistication and mental diseases became inseparable features of the civilised man. The idea is to educate, evaluate and sublimate the sex-instincts just as we devote ourselves to educate, evaluate and sublimate the other instincts- anger, hunger, greed, sleep, etc. Proper education and sublimation demand adoration and regard. In this way we shall reveal unto ourselves that love and sex, like light and fire, are inseparable. We cannot under- stand love in all its glory without appreciating the vital role that sex plays in the anatomy of love. Human mind became an abode of hallucinating horrors and nervous disabilities by projecting sex as an evil companion of Love.

This explains partially the illogical attitude that religion assumes by refusing to accept the adorable position which sex demands in playing the most vital role in Life Force. The very idea of sneering any adoration of sex is attitudinous sophistry, ridiculous hypocrisy. A sense of realism demands that sex should enjoy its proper role in life, and well taken care of in every respect. Sex education has to evolve out of sex adoration. Life must develop a healthy regard for sex.

Love has to be understood. Love has to be established. Of course, this includes the problem of disciplining the nature of man in preparation for the achievement of Bliss. The Kingdom of God is within you'. One must prepare oneself to hear what the Lord God speaks within'," An inner education has to be obtained; and this is impossible without outer control and discipline. Hence the adoration of sex; not rejection, not scorn, not repression; but adoration for understanding.

No one is worthy of heavenly comfort, unless they have diligently exercised themselves in holy comfort. If you desire heartful contrition, enter into your room, and shut out the clamour of the world, as it is written, 'commune with your own heart, and in your own chamber, and be still.' Within your cell you will discover what you will only too often lose abroad. In silence and quietness the devout soul makes progress; and learn the hidden mystery of the scriptures. For, the further she withdraws from the tumult of the world, the nearer she draws to her maker.... It is better to live in obscurity and to seek the salvation of his soul. than to neglect this ever to work miracles."

Our personal ego has been our chief obstruction against a true appre- ciation of the works and sayings of those who had been on the path of self- research, and who achieved realisation in their life.

Selfless love alone is the true killer of ego. Compassion is the sure alchemy suggested by the Buddha against the ills of the world. "He indeed is the supreme Yogi (self-realised) who in considering joy or sorrow takes into consideration the joy and sorrow of all beings as if each of them was his own self." This in short is the basis of fellow-feeling and uni- versal love that made spiritual living a sustaining and rewarding exercise for the least of the Hindus of India. "Love Him, Love Him," cries St. Augustine, "He made this world, and is not far off. He did not make it, and leave it, but all is from Him and in Him. Lo, where the sweetness of truth is, there is He. He dwells in the depth of the heart." Again the emphasis is on self-research, and finding the key to all problems from within." To dwell on the defects of others, to view the transgressions of others with a sour look, to assume a pedestal of holy-authority, is to cover oneself with that hard armour of ego through which the softness of the Mother's touch is never felt. Heaven to such appears as a polemic theory alone. "If you desire to know or learn anything to your advantage, then take delight in being unknown and unregarded. A true understanding and humble estimate of oneself is the highest and most valuable of all les- sons. To take no account of oneself, but always to think well and highly of others is the highest wisdom and perfection."

The test of a man divine is only one. Does he possess enough love? Does he have compassion? Does he bear the cross for the redemption of others? It is not learning and argument that finds the way to truth; but love and compassion for others, selfless and unreciprocative love." A man of true holiness says the Gitä, "puts away the taint of malevolance, and abides in the thought of harmlessness. With kindly thought for every living thing and creature he cleanses his heart of every taint of malevolence. Casting away sloth and torpor, he abides free from these. Conscious of illumination, mindful and self-possessed, he cleanses his heart from sloth and torpor. Abandoning flurry and worry unshaken he abides; inwardly calm in thought, he cleanses his heart of worry and flurry. He abandons wavering; and having passed wavering, so abides; no more a questioner of the how and why of things that are good, he cleanses his heart of wavering."20

Compare the Buddha with Thomas A. Kempis, "Those of whom the Eternal Word speaks are delivered from uncertainty. From one word proceed all things, and all Things tell of Him; it is He, the author of all things, who speaks to us. Without Him no one can understand or judge aright. But the man to whom all things are one, who refers everything to One, and who sees everything in One, is enabled to remain steadfast in heart, and abide at peace with God."

Complete discipline and rigorous cleansing of the ego alone leads to such a clear vision, which is not the exclusive property of ritualistic assumptions. Once this clear vision is gained, all differences appear to be aca- demical. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, appear different to those who have not troubled themselves in going deep into the matter of searching for the real truth. Academicians fight for ego and spite; theologians and priests argue on rites and sacraments, investitures and almanac. The man of God becomes the man of Love, and regards differences as expressions of folly. Truth is always the same. One has to see it. One could, if one cultivated love and compassion, sympathy and appreciation. Ego is blinding; dogma keeps us doubly blindfolded.

Bhagavat-Gita, speaking of the same Oneness that only the truly wise sees, insists, like St. Augustine, Thomas Kempis, or the Buddha, as follows:

He whose self is harmonised by Yoga sees the Self-abiding in all beings, and all beings abiding in the Self; everywhere he sees the same.

He who sees Me everywhere, and sees all in Me; I am not lost to him, nor is he lost to Me.

The Yogi who established in oneness, worships Me abiding in all beings lives in Me, howsoever he may be active."

The opinions of the realised have always been the same, despite differences of time, people and distance. Yet we continue with our differences. Where is the difference? And why? Differences in them- selves are not necessarily bad. There could be honest grounds for difference. Difference alone need not lead to conflicts. Mother and father, water and fire are different. But they are not conflicting. In order to live totally, one must live along with the differences. To practise such a living in itself calls for spiritual excellence. Differences giving rise to conflicts are due to human ego; and to what ego produces, chauvinism and jingoism. Most differences are deliberately cultivated as they aid the individual to dominate and exert his false superiority over others.

Really speaking, there does not exist any difference in spiritual realisa- tion. Realised men find themselves in a common company. Non- difference is the essence of Realisation. The processes and methods have, of course, differed, as food and clothing have, state-craft and agriculture have, as crops and mountains, rivers and natural products, languages and arts have. Such differences are local, and subject to time. They belong to history. Love for Oneness belongs to Eternity. Difference should be ignored by the Wise, who rise above it, and realise peace. God's creation is One, and it seeks indivisible peace. The method of force ap- plied again and again in history for the purpose of enforcing uniformity either in the name of a monarch, or in the name of a church, or in the name of superiority of race, or in the name of political ideology has only increased the scope of imperialism of one shape or another. No earthly imperialism could ever be abiding. Man has to love man, understand man, appreciate the basic concepts and problems of man, before man could be free from ego, and from the resulting imperialism.

Appreciation of an unfamiliar way of life and religion is a spiritual achievement gained through a noble cultivation of tolerance, sympathy and love. Elimination is no answer to a lack of understanding. In fact, vandalism in its true sense means indiscriminate elimination for lack of understanding. A passionate disregard for other's ways is contrary to a religious respect for toleration. Such toleration results from self- discipline. Toleration need not be confused with accommodation for compromise. All compromises are tissue-bound, and time-serving at the cost of principles. Toleration is the first step towards understanding; toleration rejects partially a sense of adamant ego. Toleration is an expression of relaxation; compromise is an expression of fear.

The practice of such toleration calls for vigilant self-discipline. Most religions enjoin the practice of self-discipline. From the earliest time the Vedic society enjoins the cultivation of self-discipline starting with the trainings of brahmacarya in the younger years, and culminating in sannydia in the last years of life. The ideal of Sins epitomises the sannyasi, a person of perfect sannyasa. Hence Hindu Šaivism is based on self-discipline without rigour, positive-living without sham or excess. Šaivism crystallises self-discipline. It is a mistaken view to regard Saivism to be contrary to discipline. In a sense, in its intimate and mystic application, Islam, Christianity or Buddhism is very close to the Saivistic tenets. A fanatic disregard for Saivism does not do credit to the spiritual toleration which is characteristic of religiosity. We understand before we accept; we accept before we assimilate; and we assimilate before we in Love feel as One. Through understanding alone, not through precipitate condemnation and elimination, could Love be secured and realised. Any action prompted by prejudice is bound to err, and suffer spiritually.

In order to understand and appreciate Saivism, the non-Hindu has to come out of the iron-jackets of dogma and prejudice. Critics of Hindu polytheism and idolatry have rarely studied the subject in the spirit in which the Hindus propose, accept and identify a mode of worship, spiritually the most edifying and fulfilling. Their neglect of the spirit and emphasis on the form, makes them commit a failure by omission and commission. The failure has engendered spite and scorn on the one hand, pride and intolerance on the other.

Such hatred and intolerance proceeds from a complex leading to a sense of guilt about sex. It is not the sense of guilt, suggested by Freud in the case of man, who feels 'expelled'; and in the case of woman, who feels to be the 'tempter'. A psychological pressure of a sense of guilt is not the best companion for a spiritual journey. Such a complex encourages to maintain a false-front. It keeps the spiritual man always on the defensive. He feels vulnerable to exposures, and prefers to be on the offensive. His spiritual aspirations get bogged down in complexes of his own creation. He suffers from a sense of inferiority, of incomplete- ness. He becomes more a Freudian sick, a Nietzschian mental-case than a spiritually emancipated Buddha, Śamkara, Caitanya or St. Francis. (Is it not a psychoanalytical problem of grave importance that ecstasy as a virtue has been gradually eliminated from the concept of saintliness in Christianity? The virtues of the early Christians are just remembered only as a part of past history. On the contrary the Sufis, the Confucians the Vaisnavas, the Saivas found in Ecstasy so much of Spiritual positiveness.A St. Theresa or a St. John on the Cross is by rarity so much a stranger to a self-enlightened joyous soul like Rabbia, Jalaluddin Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, Nanak, Meeräbäl, or Jñândeva. Saints like Eckhart, Joan of Arc, Bernadette were often condemned for their voluptuous claims on spirit.

The steady and sure of faith prove the amplitude and catholicity of godliness by a generous expansive liberalism about other views. Even amongst the Hindus there are many who fail to appreciate Śaivism in its proper perspective. Indeed there are Hindus who, due to their igno- rance, accept the Lingam physically, crudely, and feel too embarrassed to even discuss the subject. Thinking produced by a complex is often apologetic, and evil thinkers are doubly corrupted by a dogmatic faith which they want to hide. It leads to the silent and secret exercise of a faith which is regarded as evil. This theatrical attitude damages, rather than sustains the soul. This is profane. True devotion is not tainted with hoax.

In giving an account of Indian beliefs and practices, we who are foreigners, must place ourselves in the skin of the Hindu, and must look at their doctrine and ritual through their eyes, and not our own. It is difficult, I know, for most to do this; but until they can, their works lack real value. And this is why, despite their industry and learning, the account given by the Western authors of their Eastern beliefs so generally fail to give their true meaning. Many, I think, do not even make the attempt.

They look at the matter from the point of view of their own creed, or, (which is much the worse) racial prejudice may stand in the way of the admission of any excellence or superiority in a coloured people,32

Freedom from prejudice and credo reflects true liberalism, without which to talk of the good or bad points of one religion or another is not only presumptuous prudishness, but downright bad taste. Only the cheap of minds would waste time in indulging in speaking of the quarrels and squabbles of the faiths of fellow men. It is not enough to be only logical and scientific for evaluating the standard forms of any religion; such a religious analysis, to be spiritually true, must transcend reason. It is not enough just to know; knowledge must view first hand and realise. "God is not an intellectual idea or moral principle, but the deepest consciousness from whom ideas and rules derive. He is not a logical construction, but a perceived reality present in each of us, and giving to each of us the reality we possess." 33

In spite of the variety of philosophical schools in India, there is a basic characteristic common to all the seemingly differing Hindu thoughts. This puzzles the Westerner: Christian, Islamic or Judaic, although the basic monism of these creeds has transformed itself into many schismic differences, giving rise to different churches within the same general fold. If this is the case with more recent religions, the oldest creed of the Hindus could be expected to have a plurality of gods, ideas and interpretations. But basically a Hindu is a monist. Advaita- philosophy is based on monism. Maxmüller calls the Hindu a Zenotheist. A Hindu basically believes that there is within the human soul, a deeper and profounder niche which is the seat for the Sublime. A Hindu expects even in the most insignificant beings an inborn capacity for sublime heights. It is the purpose of all spiritual systems to reach it; even trans- cend it. It is in its essence uncreated, eternal, deathless and absolutely real. This unity of realisation is the Bliss of the Hindu. He wants to achieve it as an ideal through utilising the very functions of life. The early Christian saints, prior to the Byzantine period, were devoted to this soul-content of Christian practices. "Who knows his own nature, knows heaven," says Merrcius. St. Augustine voices a similar experience, "I went round the streets and squares of the city, seeking thee, and found thee not, because in vain I sought without for him who was within myself." "The wise sees the self in all, and all in the self," says the Gitä.

Being believers in transmigration and immortal life, a Hindu has enough time in hand. He is not afraid to advance step by step from the known to the unknown, from the near to the distant, from the relative to the absolute, from gross to substance, from matter to spirit. For him there is no denial. He uses the word Unreal in a relative sense; he knows that the world is contained in One Reality. The Real is the One and the One is the Real. Besides that One Real all else is Unreality. Matured in such principles of thinking and believing, he has as much regard for the childish idol-lover, as for the sublime Yogi. In the light of One Reality these facts are mere shadow-plays. The light is One. He submits with composure to the many forms, fetishes and rituals, knowing fully well. that the road to the Absolute Reality is a Long one; naturally the wayside inns and caravan-serais are many, peopled with many travellers with strange garbs, tongues, smells and beliefs. This has given the Hindu his basic gift of tolerance and expansiveness, without which god-seeking becomes a tyrant's march to conquest on wheels of oppression, or the pundit's dry dialects beating its head on the threshold of intellect. Indeed such a philosophy is not reflective of passivity or inertia in the Hindu. He is simply the sage who has found realisation in meditation, and so "walks with inward glory crowned". He is at peace with the world.

The false emphasis on doing something, proving a point, making and winning a war, constructing amazing machines, attaining complex technological wonders, really appear to be against the background of Time, as childish and common, as flying a kite, baking a cake, following a marble, sucking a thumb, or building sand castles along the beach of existence. Treated as a limb of the huge society, having no other personal function, in a deeper sense, then falling into the march of the multi- tude, the Westernised and dehumanised man has been gradually disinte- grating within himself. He finds himself, even now "plunged to the depths in external things, class and nation, state and society. Man is treated as a part of the objective world and is not permitted to remain himself, have his inner own being."

The Hindu is different. He has time for others; others' thoughts, others' ideas, others' gods. He has many gods; and is not afraid to accommodate a few more if it helps others to enjoy a peaceful living within his society and state. This is how Hinduism has developed the strange faculty of accommodating such contrary ideologies as monism, pantheism and atheism. The Hindu-fold as it were, is ever-ready to grant asylum to any form of worship seeking escape from the onslaughts of tyranny and intolerance. Hinduism welcomes, but does not convert. Hospitability for the Hindus includes opening of the soul to strange ideas also.

He is not dismayed and put off by strange credos and practices. "Throughout the history of Indian religions, Hinduism and Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, the stress is more on the renewal of life, the attainment of the transcendental consciousness, than on the worship of a personal God, or gods, important as the latter is in theistic religions. Even today many religious people aim at attaining the type of consciousness in which the distinctions of subject and object are fused into an undivided state. In the state of ecstasy, of transcendental consciousness, the individual soul feels itself invaded by, and merged with an unfolding presence, exalted with a sense of having found what it always had sought "

He is not worried about the so-called differences of theological processes and rites. He wants to be certain that at the background of all these window-dressings, all those decorations, the bride within her naked heart nurses a warm love, intent on meeting her beloved, and achieve a trans- cendental union in a sublime consummation. A Hindu would collect good seed from any nursery; genuine gem from a rubbish heap. He is sure that as long as transcendental experience is the objective, nothing else matters; nothing else could deviate. We have Hindu lawgivers like Patanjali who recommends fraternisation with non-Hindu as long as the motive is the awakening of spiritual consciousness. With that as the goal, the paths do not very much matter. Baggage preparation, punctuality, routs all lose their utility once the goal is reached. When methods become more important than results, when instruments become more important than work, when maps become more important than the journey when dogma becomes more important than the underlying meaning of a symbol, then alone man loses the 'key' to which Jesus had referred when he said, "Woe unto you, lawyers, for ye have taken away the key of know- ledge; ye enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."

A Hindu is the most tolerant of the theists. For him God-mindedness is a stage; God-union is the goal. He recognises limitations and aspirations of the individual man. Therefore he accepts a legitimate and natural variety of scope. He recommends no stencilled method as a cure-all tablet for universal consumption. The emphasis which Indian religions pay on the understanding of the philosophy of theism has enabled Hinduism to practise a unique pattern of democracy in matters ecclesiastical; indoctrinated religions are incapable of advocating or adopting that pattern with half that ease. The spirit of Western democracy stands bewildered before its theological limitations. Europe's social organisations tend towards democracy; her economic structure persists in acquistive tyranny; her religious conscience still trembles under authoritarian and canonical scepter. Achievement of a democracy of conscience, secularisa- tion of society and politics is yet unthinkable to the Western mind. Regimentation of theological purport has smothered the evolution of philosophic purpose in the West. This enigmatic imbecility of con- science in an otherwise virile, and active people renders the image of the white man very suspicious to the Asian, for whom God is synonymous with Freedom, and God-love with sublime ecstasy. The Hindu is free to love God the way he likes to, without any external interference. Guidance, he welcomes. Regimentation, he detests.

In the Rg Veda, in the Upanisads, in the Bhagavad Gita, the freedom to worship God in the form that must appeal to one is permitted. Patanjali recommends adoption of an objective form as an aid to the realisation of Samadhi. Hindus hold that all paths lead to the summit.

Whosoever worships me in whichsoever form, I bestow grace unto him in that very form.37 Even those who are engaged in worshipping other Gods, are offering worship to Me, although their rites might differ. But they must be sincerely devoted to the gods they adore.

Even if one is extremely contrary in one's rites and methods, call one good and properly engaged, only if one is devoted to Me with single-mindedness,

The fact is that Hinduism is a way of life, a mode of thought that becomes a second nature. It is not so much its practices that are important, for they can be dispensed with; nor is it the church, for it has no priesthood, or at least no sacerdotal hierarchy. The important thing is to accept certain fundamental conceptions to acknowledge a certain spirituality, a term much abused in current parlance. For many Hindus it would be quite legitimate to take Jesus as Ista-Devata 'without even regarding Him as an avatara, so long as Indian traditions were acknowledged.

The Hindu is proud to acknowledge that he has not only understood other gods, but he has even tried to follow them. Gautama Buddha is worshipped within the Hindu pantheon. On the Gopuram of the South Indian temples, Jesus Christ brushes shoulders with Kṛṣṇa and Mahadeva. In Kashmir they pay homage to a tomb, where Muslim and Hindus collect en-mass every year, and which they know as the tomb of Christ Jesus. Kabir, a saint respected by all Hindus, was a Muslim; Nanak, the Sikh Saint, paid a visit to the Käbä in Mecca, and incorporated many of Islam's Vedantic tenets in the new creed which he offered to India. Both Nanak and Kabir have given hundreds of hymns for the Hindus to sing with their prayers.

Many devout missionaries have publicly acknowledged deeper and more genuine reverence for Christ and his teachings obtaining amongst the Hindus of India than amongst the modern Christians of Europe and America. In the name of the Pope millions of Hindus would gladly pay their tribute by attending his ministry; no such catholicity could ever be expected in the churches of the West. Ajmer, Patnã, Delhi, Agra and Secunderabad in India contain the tombs of great Muslim saints, and are revered by the Muslim-world. These tombs are regularly visited by numerous Hindus. It is a fact that the Hindu, because of his wide outlook and a Catholic definition of the divine aim, never falters to accept avariety of forms as long as he is sure about the oneness of the Spirit. Many of the Christian hymns, if appropriately translated into Indian languages, would undoubtedly be sung by devout Hindus in their temples without the least hesitation, and with the deepest of feelings. In God-feeling, God-love and God-communication, all men become one, and equal. Love is universal.

Such catholic outlook on religion has made the Hindu love variety and detest exclusiveness. This has made the Hindu accept one god in all souls, and yet, seemingly, burden the society with the 'caste' system. He burdens his temple altar with many idols, and is yet convinced of the Oneness of God. This apparent multiplicity does not cause the Hindu the mental disturbance it causes to the non-Hindu.

He burdens his society with castes and subcastes, and yet is convinced about the spiritual potentiality of an individual, as well as the spiritual equality of all beings. The last stage of the four Asramas that the Hindus are expected to follow is known as Sannyasa (Recluse). In that stage all castes are set aside, and Man as Man faces the challenge of attaining his real Self-hood. Proofs are not lacking that the Hindu caste system as practised today is more a social arbitrary imposition perpetuated by threats of embarrassing ostracisation, than a practice of any religious significance. Its spiritual significance has always been and shall always be there.

The caste system which the Hindu has lately been practising has really been thrust upon an intimidated society, which however had to live by the pitiable and suicidal predicament of existing by double standards. Such a mockery of the intention of the Sastras and Spiritual guide-lines had been forced upon by two historical forces.

Students of the Gita and the Visnu Purana (in fact most of the Puranas) know two things about the division of Varnas, now known as caste: (a) that human beings had been classified into four sections according to their Spiritual contents, or gunas, which are three, and not four. These are sattva (spirit); rajas (agitated impulse); and tamas (inertia; ignorance); in other words, light, heat and darkness, as the neo-Platonists would say, in the spirit of the being. In fact not only thumans, but the entire world of beings, any formed-matter with a name and a purpose are classified into the four classes, according to the degree of their attainment to the perfection of that being. As such Gods had castes; trees, rivers, animals, even metals and flames and motions have their caste, or warna divisions.

A grain of sand as much as a molecule, and an entire mountain-range have their respective varnas or castes. (b) Of the four asramas (stages of life pattern), that every Hindu is enjoined to pursue in life, the first is the period of judgement for the classification, and the guru classifies the child at the end of the pe- riod; the second is the period when according to the classification the per- son is expected to render his services to the society and to his self; in the third, everyone goes into a recluse, and retires in preparation of the final state. In a way he still retains his class-specialisations for the purpose of leading him on to the next stage. Socially he has rendered himself neutral as far as caste is concerned. The last state is that of sannyasa. And one of the necessary rules for sannyasa is to cast away the caste, and deem one above any classification. In this last stage a good Hindu has to grow above all classification.

A Genesis of the Caste System

This is the academic position. But for centuries the Hindu society has been carrying on the burden of a system of arbitrary division of the privileged and the under-privileged. It is not true to say that in the ancient Hindu Society Brahmins are not found to do the works of the Kṣatriya (From Drnoa, Parasurama and Krpa to Admiral Chatterji or General Choudhury all have been militarists), or of the Vaisyas, as is proved by the class of Brahmin landlords, merchants, engineers and doctors. Brahmin kings and even emperors have been known to Indian History. All the work of the Ksatriyas and Sûdras have been undertaken by the higher castes today, provided these fetched money, authority and position. We have instances of high caste Hindus entering into matrimonial rela- tions with non Hindus (marriages of Chandragupta Maurya, Aśoka, Bäppa Rao of the Rajputs, Jodhābãi, and many others) without any effect on their caste-position. There are many subcastes resulting from such alliances.

The fact was that the laws of bourgeoisie acquisitive society were in operation against the proletariat in the name of religion. It was used as a convenient excuse to maintain an artificial control over the working class by the aristocrats. In this arrangement the most privileged classes were the first two. The Brahmins who really should have stood against this moral turpitude and selfish and lavish exploitation, became gradually degenerated under constant threats on the one hand, and on the other hand because of the great temptation of a secured social position of living as sponges on society.

There were, of course, very many laudable and honoured exceptions. But almost invariably these of the unsullible character, who rose above the others because of their integrity, were condemned to poverty and neglect. It is amazing how despite centuries of royal and social neglect these Brahmins had preserved the tradition of learning and sacrifice, wisdom and judgement, integrity and the pride of profession. Herein we have to look for the sustaining spiritual values of Hinduism. Whereas other systems in history have been completely obliterated under the pressures of militarism and cupidity. The Hindu system has held out because of the sacrifice of a small band of people who staked much to preserve the precious little.

That was the first historical cause for this change from the original state of the Varna-Vyavastha (misguidingly called the caste system). There was another historical reason. We shall study later on in detail about the migrations of the millions of non-Hindus in this Hindu land only to be later absorbed within the body of Hinduism. In fact until Islam and Christianity, to be more precise, until these religions had entered India in a rough and riding tooth and claw character of con- querors, all the preceding immigrants, and their religions, were absorbed into Hinduism. It was at this stage, that is, the stage of this syncretic movements of races and peoples, that the social leaders found it necessary to 'classify' the races as they came.

It was not the restrictions of a prohibitory nature imposed by the native Hindus alone, these restrictions were almost self-imposed by those very peoples and races who had adopted India and the Hindu society as their motherland and their society. By assuming surnames, which described their source-stocks, they gave up the surnames prescribed by Manu for the four social classes, or varnas.

Thus the different peoples who came to India at different times under different conditions because of their own natural tendency of keeping intact an identity, held on to a particular class or caste. We shall study further on these migrations, and their influences on the Indian society and Hindu religion. But we here wish to draw attention of the reader to the fact that in spite of many reformers who tried, in the right royal Hindu scrip- tural way, to remove these man-imposed restrictions, which create classes of the under-privileged, as well as those of the proud and power-loving minority, the attempts of the reformers have remained unsuccessful.

As a matter of fact there has never been a time in Indian history, ever since the days Gautama Buddha and Mahavira and up to Tagore and Gandhi, when the Hindu society has been wanting in devoted spiritualists who condemned the artificial caste barriers. They attacked it culturally, socially, economically, politically, ethically and above all religiously.

But the effect has been very poor, because, of the many other reasons, the stubborn reluctance of the very castes who should have gained by this reform. Absurd as this might sound, it is a fact that there are more caste restrictions amongst the 'casteless', than amongst the caste-Hindus, The outcastes more rigorously cast out the caste-Hindus, than it is the other way. This kind of insistence to remain within one's own 'caste', despite handicaps, appears to be mostly due to the tradition of clanishness which became the heritage of the many group-migrations from various parts of the world at various times; and because all of them were eager to be known as the Hindus, which alone could have assured them of a permanent and effective clearance from being called an alien.

These divisions and counter divisions of an artificial and arbitrary society were unknown in Hinduism. During the pre-Buddha Vedic times caste-divisions appear to have been flexible on merit. How it became rigid is still any one's guess. The rigid caste-laws written in the sastras (law books) were almost invariably post Buddhist. The Santi and Anusāsana-parvams of the epic Mahabharata are known to have been later additions. If so, there must have been great demands for such significantly important additions. What caused this post-Buddhist Hindu society to suffer the change? Why did it accept it? I have a faint in- clination to believe this change to have been due to the sudden success of the Greek colonies in Parthia, Bactria, Persia, Mesopotamia, and Gändhär. Alexander's effective method of Hellenisation of the East through Greek insemination of Eastern wombs, 4 led to a complete metabolism of social balance. Mixture of blood, profession, economic status, political opinions became free, perverted, decontrolled and haphazard. An entire continent of people was passing through a syncretic metamorphosis. I have a strong feeling that this precedence in syncretistic change induced in India a proneness to and susceptibility for free mixtures of blood, and to the establishment of a patriarchally motivated line of fixed heredity. We know that up to the time of the Upanisads and Buddha it was not rare for a man to be known by a mother's name." The change from Vedic division of natural aptitude to a non-Vedic division of arbitrary heredity could be due to the Greek influence which had completely wrecked the great Iranian society of the Achaemenids and the Sassanids.

The Greek hatred for the Persian culture had almost become a neurotic obsession. The patriarchal steam-roller of father's domination through blood which had split the Greek society into patricians and plebs, nobles and slaves, freemen and war-prisoners, could not have left the Indian society alone, specially when the Greeks had settled in India first as con- querors, and then as colonists, and finally as citizens of India. The laws of matrimonial relations of the Hindus of this period says 'a girl may be taken from any and every clan;' but the rank in social caste system is determin- able by the caste in which a daughter might marry, i.e. if she marries in a higher caste, no gain (in caste position) accrues; but if she is married to a lower caste, the father and his family for ever "lose their caste-status" for the caste to which the daughter goes. All these indicate the nature of alien mixtures, and the corresponding restrictive laws. This certainly is no part of religion.

cf. Vasistha's marriage; Paraiara's birth; Visvamitra's promotion; Authorship of Aitareya Brahmana, etc.

Another fact has to be studied. Of the most popular gods that the modern Hindu worships under the leadership of the Vaisnavas the two, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa are, by caste, sons of Ksatriyas. This did not stop them to be worshipped by great Brahmanas like Rāmānuja, Madhava and Goswami Tulsidas. Of the saints that the Hindus worship and follow, there are many outcastes and low-castes. (Kubera was a low varna god; a Tvaşta was of a lower rank). Nanak, Kabir, Tukarām, Dādu, Mîräābāl, Raidās, Aurobindo, Vivekananda, why even Gandhi belonged to castes much lower than the Brahmins. Yet which one of the Brahmins in India today hesitates to pay homage to them. Haridas of Puri had been by birth Islamic; yet saint Caitanya, and following him the great Vaisnavas, adopted him as a. close kith and kin.

Hindu caste system is a problem to social reformers, a source of oppor- tunity to politicians; and a veritable labyrinthian maze to the community- workers of modern India. Like Dollar in the United States, Art in Paris, in ordinary discussions one could never escape the phenomenon of 'caste' in India. It is amazing that in India even the Muslims have their caste, and the Christians theirs. The system, therefore, is not entirely religious. It is historical and cultural. To the spiritualists caste has never posed any problem. The acid-test of true religion in India is to ascend above caste restrictions. Caste or no caste, in the world of Hindu spiri- tualism, honour is paid to merit, and no terrestrial pompous honour it ever means.

One might pertinently ask why at all there is in the Hindu society the system of caste? Why is there so much distinction, inequality, disability in this society, if Hinduism is half as catholic in practice as is being claimed by the author? Before answering that question, one would enquire, "Are inequality, disability, discrimination and similar other social scourges the characteristics of the Hindu society alone?" The vast Islamic world, the more vast world of Catholic Italy, Catholic Spain, Catholic Latin America, not to speak of the white-dominated coloured world, suffer more than the Hindu India, because of the same scourges of discrimination, disability and inequality in social, political and economic systems. What religion sanctions, the conductors of religion conveniently reject. It is in the manner of rejection that their cleverness attains a consummate finesse.

The answer has to be found in the economic system of a society. This system has given the poisons of serfdom, slavery, unpaid labour, underpaid labour, a gluttonous and blind taste for unearned income, and unbounded power. These have been the characteristics of any civilised society any- where. In fact these have been respected as the hall-mark of the aristocratic elite. Disabilities and inequalities for the benefit of the minority has been guardedly fostered in all societies at all times soon as man had passed the tribal state. Order, civilisation, culture and law, in fact most of those institutions which man brags about as special titles against savagery, have been attained by man at the cost of the liberty and equality of the vast majority. Neither the great Greeks, nor the splendid Romans were free from the vice of discrimination and exploitation..

Religion has not been the cause of spreading discrimination. A power- ful political or military system saw to it that the institutional religions were headed by such groups and individuals as would actively participate in the process of denudation of common wealth for the ruling few. The spiritualists always lived apart from these arrangements, and these were the forces who, despite great persecutions, kept the flame burning. Reli- gion and spiritualism hardly ever saw eye to eye because of this clever arrangement. A hundred forms of social disabilities, poverty, want, hunger and contumely have been the gift to posterity, side by side with wealth, profusion and gluttony of the most glorified age of human history of any land and any people. Before asking those questions to the Hindus, and to caste system let us question who or what sanctioned this kind of inequality, and condoned a system which reserves power in the hands of a few. In Hinduism caste system has only served as a special arm of that worldwide interest. Since everything in India is religiously motivated, even this system of exploitation became a part of religion. Other than that the system and the pattern is universal. Because in India religion and philosophy have remained almost coterminous, religionists again and again protested against the caste as it was in misuse.

What we now term as the caste system has been the diabolic use of a cogent and nationalistic spiritual idealism to classify the superman from other common people; to classify degrees of potentiality in the individuals. It had been a system of screening the talents of individuals. As a system it was motivated to meet the challenge of finding the appropriate trainees for the different branches of life's requirements.

Times have changed. Growth of communication, the new science and its fantastic discoveries, particularly the cynical destruction of age-old values by the two successive world wars, and the sinister interplay of power- politics, have, together, completely changed man's idea of religion and reli- gious contents. An in-depth search for new values and new dimensions has set aside all dogmas and all authoritarian displays of a Father-Oracle. With the reawakening of a spirit of rebellion, with the growth of educa- tion and political consciousness, superfluous impositions on the system are gradually being questioned, sifted, removed and penalised when- ever possible. This is the reason why, with a revolution of the basic tenets of Hindu Yoga and Vedanta systems, the frustrated world is being gradually attracted to understand this undying way of life. To live under an outmoded system is to prolong living with the dead. A historical misuse of a well-considered system of Guna-Karma is being rechecked, revalued and followed. The spiritual classification of human potentiality has been worked out, experimented and practised by the Hindus. Saiv- ism is its religious counterpart. Śaivism to a very considerable extent owes its popularity to being a protestant religion like Buddhism. Ghora, Rudra, Virupa, Aghora, Ugra, Vämä, Isana, as names of Śiva, indicate this angry protest.

Two wrongs do not make a right. It is no use to point out the defects of other religious forms as justification of similar defects in the Hindu system. But comparisons could make points clear. The historical dege- neration of a people is not something exclusive to the Hindus. The age of Hinduism alone causes it the embarrassment of pointing out to several periods of degenerations in the course of its very long history spread- ing easily over six to seven thousand years. This is no wonder. The real wonder is that it survives; the wonder is that it has not lost 'its cool'; and that it contains yet uncorrupted a philosophy of tranquil contentment and peace that transcends all that is in mere religion, and ascends from immemorial past in a steady unbroken stream.

But for record's sake let us check in comparison, the great Christian order, which is supposed to support and cultivate a classless casteless society of equality and love.

When did these laudable principles ever conduct the inflated Christian society? When in Europe did a Christian society of peace and content- ment find a place, for serious cultivation and promotion? If it ever did, it did so in Egypt, Anatolia and Greece; in Judea, Syria and Antioch. But the age of Philo, Origen, Arius, Boethius, Augustine, Cyril, Plotinus, died with them. With the destruction of the Roman Empire and the rise of feudalism, the peace of the Christian world was shattered under the pretext of the Crusades, which was supposed to be a series of religious wars. This bluff is still being perpetrated in Ireland, Viet Nam and the Near East, when the world knows that the real issue at stake is accummula- tion and monopoly of the commercial power guaranteed in the hands of a few at the cost of the many. The epic and tragic drama that is now being played in the vast area of Latin America, where Christianity and Christian- ity alone is supposed to be prevailing, shall one day come to light, and prove the hollowness of religion's claim as a harbinger of peace. Religion has been reduced to a plaything, a well-managed camouflage in the dirty hands of politics. What had so far been known as political empires have, of course, been liquidated in the name of sham republics; but the change of the names, instead of affecting adversely their erstwhile masters, has in fact brought the baby republics within the greedy grip of their squeezing holds. The multinational commercial interests are gradually spreading the tentacles of a financial empire, which gains its sinister strength from its being abstract and unobserved. The vicious and cynical disregard of any human value is gradually slowly, but inexorably and inevitably, swallowing away all human rights, inclusive of man's right to be at peace with himself. So much for religion in general, and Christian peace in particular.

Not only that Man is not free, in fact, Man and his future appear to be held at ransom by powers that seek above all their own commercial interests. The added strength that science and technology has put into their evil hands, make them bold enough to play on the destiny of the dumb millions of the world, who have not been engaged in anything criminal, except the desire to live in a society of equality and brotherhood. The vicious network of the multinational commercial houses actually accu- mulate profits and powers into the pockets of a few families. Again, these have not learnt the lesson of what is enough. These have forgotten the art of living in peace. The ever encroaching and suffocating tenta- cles of the interests of these commercial houses, like the arms of a blue octopus, are reducing humanity to face a terrible death, which augurs good for no one at all. What is more than 'enough' is of no use to any individual. To learn and know what is 'enough' is the greatest of all knowledge. Man in his history has never appeared to be so helpless and humiliated as under this terrifying crisis, which has been, very unfortunate- ly, by and large, a gift of the Western Christian society. But are we going to blame Christ or Christianity for this utter betrayal? Is this a lack of the way of Christ? Is this to be referred to any want in the religiosity of the Christian ethics? To do so would be a great mistake.

Naturally under such conditions ethical values would enjoy scant credi- bility. Religions and religious institutions would become hand-maid of power-politics. Racism, Jingoism, Chauvinism, would stab Truth, throttle human dignity, and condemn God's purity. Let us quote a few illustrations of the practical ethics of this supposedly classless, casteless Christian society, and their much-vaunted hands of 'justice'. Go and ask the Africans of Angola, Rhodesia and South Africa; the Red Indians, the Eskimos and the Ameriandians of the vast and advanced continent of the Americas; the Maories of New Zealand and the aborigines of Aus- tralia. Now let us look at the very house of the administrators of the Christian ethics. Was it not a national and local charisma that had split the robes of the Papal authority into two or three Papal heads at the same time? Was it not some mundane interests of authority that had sent the ministers of Christ's message to be clad in armours and lead an army? Was not a big commercial battle of Italian profit-making deli- berately camouflaged to pass for a religious war, and recorded as the great Crusades? Was it not a fact that the terror of Islamic persecutions of either of the Christians, or of the Jews much milder in comparison with the Christian treatment of the Jews and the Arabs? Or, worse still, the Chris- tian use of Christians? The golden age of the Jews flourished under an Islamic Government. Their worst days, over which they still weep, were governed by the most legal government of the Romans. Jew-baiting has been, and still is, a handy Christian game. If the Jew-world had succeeded in commanding some respect and regard from the Christian world today, it is entirely due to the tremendous commercial powers that the Jews have accumulated through centuries of very hard and consistent work.

The Greeks had within their social structure the virus of discrimination. The non-Greeks were automatically counted for 'barbarians'. Only a minority could enjoy the full benefits of the Greek citizenship. The European social structure was patterned on the Greek model, as passed on to our times by the Roman Empire. Therefore this virus of discrimina- tion persists. The Race-policy of the White world today is exposing the emptiness of their religious creed, which the white world strives hard to prove as their own. There is racism and class distinction at every step. The cause is neither religious, nor social. The actual cause of discriminat- ing the rights of man and man is to be ascribed to a deplorably lopsided economic system, which under the dynamism of a growing, mechanically operated commercial hunger has been affecting every nook and corner of the entire human society.

The spread of the commercial virus is total; and with that the spread of the virus of discrimination is also total; and along with this, one has to bear in mind that the cause is not religious. On the contrary, if there be any cure for this kind of crime, it is to be found in the inner philosophical understanding that a man has to arrive at within himself. Man has to face himself, and fathom his soul's bidding, and put his finger right on the cause of his personal ailment. He has to answer why is he not happy. He has to realise that the calling of Man is not to end here, alone. There is a vast area yet undiscovered where, though alone, man seems full... Man has to recognise himself in the Light of his destined Fullness. This is what actually the Hindu has been insisting on all the time. Calling him names for this or that social failing is to divert the point at issue. We are not Hindus, neither Christians, Muslims, Jews, or Buddhists; but we are children of Light, and the same Light coming from the same Source. That is what Saivism insists on. Śaivism has been the first of recorded" human admiration for the divine; it continues to be the most popular form of divine adoration all over the world; and it looks forward to a human family of free thinking, free moving, equal-living individuals dedicated to the all-pervading sense of 'Oneness', which alone is divine; which alone is Śiva.

The caste Hindu although born in caste, let us remember, still sets for himself the task of developing into a higher being in consciousness, a worthier self to be in full command of his conscious being. He is born in caste; but he is supposed to die out of it. He is enjoined by his laws to live the last quarter of his life out of the folds of caste. This shows the all inclusive and unique socio-spiritual arrangement of the caste, which is supposed to have little to do with his existing disabilities or handicaps which as the world over is the case, is a gift of a maladious economic system.

A fall from the ideals of life has its own price. It is dearly paid off by those who refuse to adhere to a well-laid social system. The corrupt Hindu society of today feels what it feels under the false spell of some age- honoured dogmas. But the caste system, the varna vyavastha, has some ideals. These ideals, pressurised from alien conquerors, suffered miserable humiliations. As a result, the society was kicked back into the shelter of conservatism; and conservatism ushered in rigidity and dogma; this in turn, stifled the living message of Hinduism. What was an independent Tapovana culture, succumbed to a feudalistic exploitation. With the new liberty now obtaining under a popular government and alerted by the Social Revolution of her Northern neighbours, a Renaissance of a neo- Hindu revivalism has taken effective aims at not only removing the caste system, but really at removing the entire economic system of patronising and fostering vested interests. Legal steps, and reorientation of public opinion and private beliefs have successfully removed some of those anti- quated social disabilities, such as casteist atrocities, which had been insti- tuted by the Middle-Ages-Monarchies, and their counterparts, the priestly audacious rulings derogatory to human values. Hindu philosophical principles are now being held in greater honour, than those Hindu social injustices which were once upon a time much in vogue. Most of those false pretences are now being legally and constitutionally eliminated.

The voice of Hindu India has never been checked by any supreme religious Bull. As a result the Hindu-system itself produced its most acidic critics. The dignity of Man was upheld by a series of reformers. The purity of the Love for Man was acclaimed as the purity of God. Organised protests against the theological tyranny of the Hindu Law- makers and social lords were heard from spiritual leaders whom the arms of the law dared not touch. Through the healthy protest of these move- ments, of which Śaiva-Bhakti (Adoration of Śiva) system was one, the clean breath of Life in God's equality subsisted. It derived its technique as well as spiritual support from a tradition.

Saivism as a Social-Weal

In raising the protestant voice of authority Brahmanas and Ksatriyas, as usual, took the lead. Let us mention some in recent years. Rājā Rammohan Roy, Maharşi Devendranath Tagore, Acārya Sivanath Sastri, Acarya Brahma-Vandhava, Dayananda Saraswati, Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghosh, M. K. Gandhi, Lokamanya Tilak, and many more. They knew what they were talking about. They quoted the Vedas, the Upanisads as traditions to support them. They set aside the ever changing Smrtis (Books on Hindu Law). They relied much on Saivism, and the Saiva tenets, specially because of its base in the ancient neolithic proto- austroloid society. It was the best means to assimilate the Caste and the non-Caste. It had found its support in Sämkhya and Vedanta; it used the best in Vaiseșika and Mimämsä. Śaivism unifies all the diverse elements in theology and philosophy, caste and creed, race and colour. This amazing heritage of Communion ennobles, as well as satisfies man's inner challenge to realise the supreme ecstasy of Self-Realisation.

A calm and simple dignity of an independent life, freedom of thought, a quiet place to meditate and his own liberty to sing of his own god in his own way, is the common Indian's ideal life. It is not Cato's stoicism; it is the fullness of Marcus Aurelius; the grandeur of Confucius; the divine status of the simple Christ. It is Krsna's way of living; Rama's choice of suffering; Buddha's treasure chest.

The happy Indian workers perspire and sing. This amazes the Italian road-builder in Canada, the Balkan miners in United States, who do not find in work anything to sing about. It is all a question of realization, and tension, a question of East and West. The one is simple; the other is grandiose. The one is objectively subjective; the other is subjectively objective. Ambition and competition like runaway horses are racing over dangerous precipices carrying excited Western minds from tension to tension, conflict to more conflict. The amount of sleeping pills consumed by the casteless but class-conscious modern society of the West earned millions for their manufacturers. But the commonest poor Indian enjoys a sound primitive sleep. His definition of ambition and incentive makes him seek the ways of more peace, less tension, good sleep and a broad smile. Indian poverty horrifies the West; Western tension scares the Indian.

I am reminded of the surprise of a holy man when he for the first time heard music coming out of a pocket radio set of an American. The happy millionaire wanted to make a gift of it to the holy man, as his ancestor had wanted to give away beads to a Manhattan-Indian.

The holy man, so approached for accepting a gift became still more surprised and laughed aloud. "I have no taste for toys," he remarked, "moreover I myself can sing. He who has joy, sings. Is not music an expression of emotion? He who himself sings does not need any machine to do it for him. Where is the point?" And he laughed again. That is the crux. He can. He is happy. Those who are not, like the cold and dead moon, must live under borrowed light and mirth.

But the West is determined to play kind; India, with an ancient nod, tolerates such youthful enthusiasm, and shares her sorrows and mis- fortunes as a chapter of wisdom and peace. Old India still loves to understand. "Beggars are the luckiest," says Samkara. "To live on simple alms; to live secluded from crowds; to remain free to pursue the ultimate Peace for Life; to travel along the path of abstinence; to be in meditation; to be able to stay by the roadside; to be undaunted by scanty clothes; to be able to let torn rags do; to be indifferent to ego; to be freed from pride; to enjoy the bliss of Peace; Ah, let all my desire concentrate on such a life of absolute ecstasy."4 As the sick come to the hospitals, the ailing society has to come to India, 'where knowledge is free; where the clear-stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert-sands of dead habits;""" and where even a prince takes to the roads in search of peace.


East-West: An Arrogant Volte-face

As a Hindu views the progress of life from this standpoint, other points appear to him as floating in historical time. He loves life; he is ready to strive for sufficiency; he would vote for a democracy that would provide him with work, his family with a home, his children with educa- tion, and his society, with a healthy living. Adoration of relaxation and conviction of Eternity makes a Hindu abhor impatience. He watches the speed and thoroughness of revolutionary socialism, but it becomes difficult for him to identify himself with it. If the non-Hindu selfish interest persists in oppression, the Hindu tradition is also well acquainted with a bloody solution of tyranny and group power. But he also knows that all this would attend only to his animal existence for which he is not prepared to barter away his spirit. The one reason why India, a socialis- tically awakened country, has found it hard so far to swallow communism in its entirety, which is its next door neighbour and friend, is because of the spiritual dumbness of communism. It is not a religious emptiness alone, mind you; it is a total and deliberate rejection of transcendental thinking. If by so doing India today has voted for physical death in preference to spiritual death, it is largely due to the influence of the Hindu- living on the Indian Subcontinent. If India has today voted for secularism it is largely due to the fact that India, at heart and in spirit, is traditionally Hindu.

Unity of nations cannot be achieved at an external level. Deprived of an internal spiritual way no organisational aptitude would be able to deliver the soul of man from the darkness that surrounds it. This dark- ness would remain hanging over humanity as long as man fails to see the basic truth of all religions, which is to realise a God above all gods. Spiritual experience must differ from individual to individual; but such differences do not differentiate, or fractionise God. God is One. The Hindu, instead of hating other faiths even political faiths, has always attempted to understand it; and the Hindu Puranas, to this day, hold ample evidence to show how every new concept of God and Spirit found echo in Hindu thought; how whenever the evil has become too possessive and oppressive, the Mother-Power has been invoked to destroy a system by force of arms, when required. Räma did it; Krsna did it. Yet basical- ly, the Hindu stand has been for understanding, toleration, coexistence.

There exists amongst the Hindu Upanisads (books on spiritual advice) such Upanisads as have been written on concepts of the Islamic Allah, or the Christian Holy Ghost and Jesus. This trend of Hinduism has been the gift of a tradition. It is a heritage. For thousands of years the word 'Hindu' has been regarded as synonymous with spiritual libera- lism, moral discipline and charitable hospitality. The Hindu regards a stranger as a god. He regards a new religion as an adventure into the realms of the Cosmic. He eagerly studies it, and tries to understand it to the extent that he could adopt its best parts.

But Europe in her arrogance does not admit that she can have need of Asia, whom for centuries she has trampled under foot, with- out once the suspicion stirring that she was playing the part of Alaric on the ruins of Rome. And India and China will finally vanquish Europe-a victory to the Soul.... I do not suggest that Europeans should embrace Asiatic faith. I would merely invite them to taste the delight of this rhythmic philosophy, this deep, slow breath of thought. From it they would learn those virtues which, above all others, the soul of Europe (and of America) needs today; tranquillity, patience, manly hope, unruffled joy, like a lamp in the windless place, that does not flicker.

We (the people of the West) do not fully realise the debt that Europe already owes to Asiatic force, for the discovery of Asia has hardly begun. The clear air of Asia is not merely a dream of the past. There is idealism, and there are idealists in modern India even amongst those who have been corrupted by half a century of squalid education. What is needed for the common civilisation of the world is the recognition of the common problems and to co-operate in their solution. If it be asked what inner riches India brings to aid the realisation of a civilisation of the world, then from the Indian stand-point the answer must be found in her religion and her philosophy, and her constant application of abstract theory to practical life.

The fact is that the West never tried to understand the East, which, eversince they had come in contact with, they were busy in undermining, exploiting and ridiculing. Ridicule is an easy technique for the exploiter to justify his misdeeds. In the process, Europe deliberately misjudged, and misrepresented India and Hinduism, which she never attempted to evaluate properly.

This is the reason why Hindu Saivism is so grievously misunderstood and deliberately misrepresented in the West. As a branch of theology Saivism has been erroneously equated with the Oriental phallic cults, and with the excesses these cults had indulged in. In equating Śaivism to those phallic forms, Europe's deluded fanatics deliberately raised a campaign of obscenity against the Śiva forms. The idea was to substitute Saivism by the Christian gospels through the cheap way of putting Saivism to ridicule.

These tactics have not, fortunately, succeeded. A range of Western academicians began to rediscover the East, specially India. The mis- placed enthusiasm of the interested missionaries in holding Śaivism to ridicule has been exposed by great Indologists and Orientalists.

Western scholars of comparative religions regard Hindusim as a 'venerable', rich, baffling and often surprising and frequently elusive tradition. The complexity of what is known as Hinduism really baffles the indoctrinated dogmatic minds of those who have been brought up in a canonically dictatorial form of religion, where transgression was punishable by life or property, or both. Even the 'after-life' stood, at times, in jeopardy. A superstitious idea of a personal God was inlaid with a terrorised acceptance of authority. Independence of conscience, liberty of rites were denounced more vehemently than Zionism in Nazi Germany. The history of the Jews under Christendom, or of the free- thinking Sufis under Islam, provides remarkable data to illustrate this point.

Canonical dogmatism was never the strong point of the Hindu tradition which was based on metaphysics. Western prejudice regards philosophy as inimical to religion. Such reactionary postulates stem from the fact that minds trained in clear and logical thinking often develop as challenges to dogma and authority. The Hindu tradition encouraged clear, logical thinking, as well as free, uninhibited questions. The entire text of the vast Upanisadic literature provides evidence to this claim. Naturally this almost immemorial tradition, growing under a free thinking licence from all teachers, developed into an edifice of bewildering complexity. The Western mind has been trained to adore formalism and order. An excess of regimentation injures the capacity of independent thinking.

Trained in the Doric and Corinthian styles of architecture, bound to the anatomical slavery to forms in sculpture, the Western mind felt lost in the labyrinth of spiritual abstractions and individualistic freedom of the Eastern mind. In the East, specially in the Hindu traditions, philoso- phy, or the science of metaphysical thinking, forms the very basis of a religious background. The Idea of God, in Hindu traditions, is both individualistic (and, therefore, often personal), and intimate. It is a subject-object, abstract form of reality, which inaugurates that transcen- dental realisation which every Hindu really seeks. The relation of philosophy and religion in Hinduism has been more elaborately dealt with in a later chapter. The Hindu refuses to reduce his spiritual libera- tion to be enclosed into a set pigeon-hole.

A good many of the earlier Western writers drew a sharp line between what was called philosophical Hinduism and popular Hinduism. Philosophical or sophisticated Hinduism was then pre- sented with a narrow reference to the dominant school associated with the mediaeval scholar-saint Samkara...which is described as monistic or pantheistic. In contrast popular Hinduism was seen as polytheistic, gathered around a superstitious respect for some of the many gods in the Hindu pantheon. Accompanying this hasty classification there was a special regard for the more philosophical systematic presentation of the Hindu thought to the comparative neglect of the poetic expression of the Hindu view of life which can be found in the great epics.

The study of comparative religions based on archaeology, linguistics and source books available through an array of excellent and scholarly translations have obliged scholars reassess the prejudicial views that attempted to give a favourable slant to Western occupations of Eastern countries. This revaluation is doing good to the understanding of all religions and, therefore, to the human duty of toleration of races and opinions. A great deal of harm caused by religious preachings has now got a chance to look forward to being healed up.

The study of comparative religion now recognises "with increasing knowledge of the many and various sources which have to be taken into account for anything approaching a more adequate understanding of the great, immensely diversified Hindu tradition that when it comes to Indian religion" scholars must look at it in terms of several religions into one, as trees make a wood, or tributaries a river. To call it Hindu religion in the concept of what religion means to the Christian world would be to misjudge the very permissive spirit of the Hindus who present completely opposed rites and views about the same things without ever feeling to be other than a Hindu. The permissiveness of the Hindus, in spite of all their experience of Islamic militantism, Christian cupidity and Western commerical imperialism, accepts Christ as a venerable Son of God, and Muhammed as a great leader of monistic realism. One has to be in India, live amongst the humblest society, in order to be convinced of and appreciate this broad, potent, vibrant and real permissiveness in thought.

The Hindus treasure their knowledge about Christ. Their regard for Christ permits them to feel relaxed about the missionaries, who are generally viewed in India with some degree of pity and with a great deal of suspicion. By toeing their line with the occupying power of the West they were commonly viewed as quislings, infiltrators, spies and traitors. This position kept them away as pariahs and untouchables. But Christ himself found places of honour in Hindu homes and temples. Ridicule is the easiest technique to make enemies of friends. Ridiculing sanctified ideas is the suicidal folly of an occupying force which aspires to win the heart of the people. It is a matter for great credit, and greater honour to the liberalism of Hindu ideals that in spite of all the foolish stratagems of the proselytising zeal of the Christian church, the rank and file of the Hindu society continue to honour Christ as a great Son of God. A Śai- vite's regard for monistic icon and caste-free society makes him view Islam with some degree of brotherhood. This is the reason how and why some great Islamic saints in Eastern India were also mystically attached to Tantra-rites.

Hinduism Receives Other Religions

This liberalism of Hindu ethics made it easier for other religions to secure asylum in the lands of the Hindus. The attitude of the Hindus to alien religious thoughts has always been one of curiosity and interest, rather than of criticism and intolerance. As such in the course of her history, India had to open her doors to many a religion. India as a leviathan, basking on the ocean, stretches over a great area, on either sides of which humanity buzzed in multitudes; and the routes of trade and commerce, of maritime communications, passed and repassed through its ports. Commerce is an effective ambassador for cultural intercom- munication, and acts wonderfully as a religious nursery. In the Greco- Oriental regions, from the Ionian isles (inclusive of Crete and Cyprus) to the Persian Gulf and Iran the entire region was sizzling with divinities and cults of a variety difficult to be conceived today against the powerful background of monistic Judaism and Islam. And India was naturally open to the influences of all these experiences over rites and rituals practised along the centuries of pagan dominance.

These religions must have influenced the lives and thoughts of India and her religions in the remotest past. In the Puranas, Hindu chronicles of kings and their times, we hear of strange lores, obsolete practices, unfamiliar rites and rituals, which speak of strange names and customs of stranger peoples and their gods. We hear in them, however dimly, the antique voices of the charms, hymns, mantras (mystic chants), of alien peoples and their gods.

Despite the fact that there existed in the south of India amongst the aborigines, like aborigines anywhere, strange phallic rites, the Tamils of the Deccan had evolved, for their own practice and benefit, a form of religion later to be identified with Saivism. The Tamil god Murugan's rites, for example, absorbed much of the Vedic Rudra-Rites into the Skanda or Subrahmanyam rituals (q.v.). The Southern hero Rāvana's fondness for these rites brought him face to face with the Northern hero Rama.53 Tamil Murugan rites and Rudra rites evolved around philoso- phical apprehension of the nature of Matter, Evolution of Life and of the progress of the purpose of Living. (In the 'Samkhya' system of philosophy, discussed later, Kapila deals with this trend of thought; and Kapila is supposed to be a sage who belonged to a Southern culture). It is claimed to have been the earliest form of religious thinking in India, even pre- Vedic. It is a fact that in the Vedas we find traces of a struggle between an indigenous way of life and thinking, and the Vedic way. Even the Puranas record anecdotes of the struggle that involved the establishment of the cultic supremacy of Śaivism over Vedism.

Transfiguration of Primitive Phallicism

Without getting into the highly controversial problem of the beginning of the Vedas one could easily refer to the primitive cults which existed before the Vedas. Whatever doubts had there been of the existence of a pre-Vedic culture in India have been removed by the discoveries of several pre-Vedic sites from Mohenjodaro to the Murshidabad finds. Rajputana, Narbada valley, Andhra and Lower Bengal have yielded similar sites.

It is, therefore, safe to assume that a primitive culture existed. The similarities between these and the Sumerian, Cretan, Aegian Phoenician and Eutrascan and Sicilian cultures still engage very active consideration of scholars. But all and sundry agree that the earliest cults of the primitive man was phallic. Phallic representations abound in Abyssinia, Somalia, and Egypt; Kenyan and Tanganyikan aborigines were quite familiar to phallic forms (see Plates 1, 2). Of course, phallic forms in more sophisticated and more elaborate rites engaged the mid-eastern ancient cultures. It is no wonder that the Indian subcontinent, specially the southern peninsular regions, where the Dravidian culture predominated before the period of the great Iranian and Egyptian migrations, These have to be linked to the primitive cults, the ritualistic mystery period of magic-religions. The wonder is that the cults and the forms which went out of popular acceptance, or which dug into the sub-social status, and continued as parts of heresy in other countries amongst other peoples, did not die in India; neither did the forms acquire any derisive treatment that could justify any clandestine existence.

This was due to the presence of a basic metaphysical view of life which developed in such a liberal religion as Saivism. Śiva and Sakti as the great Male-Female, Positive-Negative concept of creation and dissolution of the universe, transfigured with the symbolic representations that the phallicism of the primitive adored.

In order to appreciate the position one has to acquire an empathetic state, and feel in the skin of the Hindu whose concept of Life and Being is highly guided by what is known as the Samkhya philosophy, and its analysis of the relation between Matter, Form, Energy and Consciousness.

Saivism as a religious form embodies this metaphysical approach. Later this yogic analysis received the breath of emotion. Śiva became a personal God, and assumed a Father-image; and Sakti became his con- sort, and assumed a mother image. The emotive Bhakti-approach of dedicated and frenzied devotion turned the Southern form of Śaivism into the most popularly accepted religious practice. Even remotely no one ever felt it to be connected with the erotic excesses of the Egypto-Oriental religions of the Mediterranean stamp. Śaivism had evolutionised and sublimated the imported phallic trends into a sancti- fied, austere creed. The story of this transfiguration has been recorded in a thousand references and legends in the great Puranas which store the Hindu tradition.

Scholars are of the opinion that the original cults in peninsular India, where Tamils have been found to have lived, like cults anywhere, were predominantly phallic. But the worship of the Lingam, which is the most popular phallic symbol according to Western observers, is hardly traceable in Saivic worship before the first century of the Christian era. There is thus a distinct difference in time of the aboriginal phallic trends, and the Tamilian Šiva trends. It is not unlikely that the Saivic sophis- tication over the phallic tribalism was the result of some sort of syncretism with alien forms and faiths. "By the time the period opens, the main elements that constitute the religious Life in India have already made their entrance into popular faith. It is now a question of making alliances and settling precedence among the major gods" of the Vedic pantheon.

Dr. T. M. P. Mahadevan finds Saivism a dominant religion of India after the decay of Buddhism. In fact, according to him the appearance of the Pauranic gods in the Hindu pantheon was a reaction to replace the Hinayana Buddhism. An ancient Tamil God Muruga or Murgesh, as has been stated before, gradually occupies the state of the elaborate Saivic system. The association of Muruga with birds, such as cock or peacock, and the concept of the popular gods such as Gaṇeśa and Sub- rahmanyam, associated with bird and elephant, strongly indicate traits foreign to the strict Vedic ways. But the word Muruga indicating 'bird' also indicates Saivic rites. Murasinga, a town in Bihar, has been an ancient seat of Saivism and Mura was an asura subdued by Visnu. This is interpreted to mean that the Visņu people, the Aryanised people, suppressed and overcame the Mura (bird) people. It is there- fore clear that a number of popular Indian phallic cults challenged to coexist with the later Vedic gods, some Buddhist gods, and the gods of the Hindu pantheon. It took a very long time, however, to be so fused as to acquire the depths of the spiritual contents of the Hindu system, and become a part of it beyond any chance of detection. As the new synthetic process developed and thrived, the phallic content was entirely lost, although the forms remained. The bull, the snake, the lingam are the chief of these phallic emblems which cling to Śaivism. But for the insistent focal attention these receive from church-conscious missionaries, as reminders of phallicism, their phallic import has been totally forgotten across the run of the centuries. Sexual symbolism plays, even sub- consciously, no part in the Saivic rites of chastened discipline.

By and by the history of this fascinating syncretism, and the final conquest in India of metaphysics over theology, of thought over supersti- tion, shall have to be studied.

But at the moment it must be observed that the aboriginal phallic totems as found in the worship of Murugan, and the sophisticated Tamil Śaivism were, in the interest of synthesis, related to the Vedic Rudra. But the merger so related could not efface totally its nascent form for the simple reason that true religion and cults are rarely so compounded so as to deceive recognition of the identity. There was no reason to do so. No attempts were made in this regard. Cults, religion and philosophy, have their respective development,one quite independent of the other. Later interpretations might discover or read traces of possible correlation; but cults remain cults to the end; religions, religions; and, of course, metaphysics always survives in logical thinking as metaphysics. It is in the nature of religion to find metaphysics, or philosophy as unpalatable and disagreeable. Religion's basis is dogma, the arch-enemy of metaphysics. The common man likes to follow religion because of its simplicity of emotional appeal. It works as a counterpoise to tension, excitement, and as a break against complete despondence. The common man is too mundane to bother about abstractions of philosophy. The function of religion is to provide release.

Saivism of the Tamils was based on the philosophy of devotion. It has been handed down to posterity as 'Siddhanta', i.e., 'the spiritually adjudged summum bonum of the Truth about Reality'. In its fully deve- loped form the Siddhantas are pure metaphysics. The expressive and practising part of this metaphysical abstraction was Śaivism, traditionally regarded as a dharma, a basic way of life'. The Tamils accepted this as their 'way of life. So does the entire Hindu India. The Hindu Puranas confirm this, despite the interesting sectarian slants in the anti- Saivic Puranas.


The Tamils and Saiva Evolution

Modern researches on Tamil origins and developments reveal a great area over which Tamilism had held sway. Included in the great Tamil expansion falls such a wide area as the Urals, Carthage, the south of France (Marseilles) and of Spain, the eastern-most shores of the Mediterranean, Syria, the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Somalia. There are strong reasons to believe that between the Tamils and the so-called Phoenicians there existed a number of cultural affinities and similarities of which language and alphabets are not the least. The discovery of the archaeological finds of Sumer, and the Sumerian script and language, confirm and support the above view.

Tamil history records the presence of an aboriginal race coexisting with them in the south lands of the Deccan. Though they were negrids and aboriginals they too had a cult which was frankly and primitively phallic. These Drāviḍas are known to have had connections from the Sindh valley to the distant hills to the North of Orissa; but most of them lived in the forest and mountains of the Deccan. Their intimate relations with the Tamils make their history merge into the history of the Tamils. Unless one is very cautious in distinguishing with meticulous care, it is just likely, to take Dravidians for Tamils, and vice versa. But the aristocracy of the Tamil class-consciousness prefers to remain distinctively distinguished from primitive Dravidian trends.

The phallic trends in the Tamils and those in the Dravidas differed a good deal in details to be discussed later. But through the two strains of races and through their inter-communications with other Eastern neighbours, such as the Persians, the Babylonians, the Syrians, and the other Mediterranean cultures, traces of phallic practices of these areas seeped into the native culture of the Deccan. In this regard the Mediterranean, Babylonian and Iranian culture have to be scrutinised, before any similarity could be definitely traced.

Throughout the Orient, i.e., the Mediterranean regions and Meso- potamia, phallic propensity in religious observances reigned supreme. Although these rites used other names and forms, yet basically a frank and open preponderance in favour of the sex-motive inspired millions to this form. For centuries these mystic religions held the society in such charm, that to this day no form of church could claim to have fully done away with some of the favoured fetishes reminiscent of these ancient religions. The beginnings of these rites, these religions, and the ways. of their infiltrations into later forms of religion form an important part of the study of the phallic in Saivism as well as an intimate part of serious anthropological studies.

It has been a lamentable falling in European scholarship to have viewed the East and the Orient with the eye of the voluptuary and the depraved. In their first flux of imperial expansion, they vied with each other for finding a justification for their vulgar cupidity for grabbing land, power and wealth in the manner of the Spaniards in the New World. The church was employed to cover up, and even support this vandalism in the name of propagating the only true (!) religion.

As a result the reports, travelogues, annals and diaries, together with books on the subject projected more of eroticism than of mysticism. The Christian West had reason, thanks to these sensuous writings, to regard the East as a land of sex orgy and licentious voluptuousness. The smell of the harem and the heat of the Sati (which, J. L. Nehru says in Discovery of India, was not at all common or even popular) set a wave of indig- nant self-pity amongst the naked bathers of the European bath-houses and political gatherings. The translations of some Arabic, Persian and Sanskrt texts kept the pot of indignation of the high and mighty boiling. Then came a gentle shock. Max Müller's Sacred Books of the East turned this wheel. A reorientation led to revaluation, readjustments. After the two world wars Europe and her regenerated scholars started taking notice of the spiritual glory of the East.

It forms one of those chapters of human history that still escapes the scholars' probe, keeping itself hidden in the glooms of the mysterious past. Archaeological excavations have brought to light that in their earliest stages these civilisations practised these cults and religions; but the finds do not indicate any primitive crudity. These, as have been excavated so far, are often indicative of a highly sophisticated state of religion and culture; sophisticated, documented and elaborately formalised. "They were certainly in an advanced state of civilisation when they began to build their cities." As a result one has to imagine a much hoarier past for these (comparatively) advanced civilisations, a past for which we have surmises, inferences, but no direct reference, or evidence. The remotest past, alas! is not yet too much past. There is always a remoter past awaiting the excavator's, shovel and pike. Excavations are still going on. The last words lie yet mute in the embryo.

The traits in these ruins of the past in their tonal forms and theological contents remind of Indo-Aryan strains in several ways. Somehow the civilisations that flourished in the lands lying immediately to the West of the lower Indus and lower Tigris had to undergo catastrophic changes. Were they caused by possible tidal destructions? or by cataclasmic dis- orders? or by both? But the Tamilian strain in India persists without break, without disturbance, except for what the inevitable time-factor might have allowed to get faded. A study of the Tamils projects a per- petuity as tenacious as Time itself.

It goes without saying, therefore, that the Indo-Aryans had come into contact with these Oriental religions, as also did the Tamils; and much later, down a stretch possibly of several millenia, the Indo-Aryans and the Tamils got together in the Deccan, the Southern Peninsula of India. Those Oriental religions had to be quite powerful to have held the entire Greco-oriental regions under its spell for over centuries. In fact, their influences on later religions which developed in Arabia and Europe are still deeply marked. The oldest myths of the classical Europe echo the legends and gods of the oriental cultures.

The oriental religions housed many gods, goddesses, within their great temples attended by high or royal priests. They indulged in spectacular ceremonies, awe-inspiring forms and elaborate rites demand- ing a total participation from the people, irrespective of the high or the low. The impact of such a powerful religion of the neighbourly states must have been deeply felt by the Tamils. In any other part of the world, with any other people, the immediate reaction to such a surge would have been conservative obduracy. But the Indian Tamils tried to understand, analyse and make a place for the best of the past in the latest of the present. This was in keeping with a philosophical people whose religion was based on understanding and analysis, more than on dogmas or credos. They refused to take the reactionary stand of creat- ing a ghetto, or of suppressing the novel. Instead they attempted to synthesise its spirit, regularise its form, reject its rude depravities, civilise its crude practices, sublimate its instinct, make place for it within the happy comity of the native philosophy, and live with it as a reformed mode of theological variation.

The cataclasmic devastations brought about by history over the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Hittites, the Sumerians and the Persians had had their respective impact on India, for many of them, escaped to this land of friendliness and accommodation where their traditions and religions were respected and valued. The Sumerians eliminated by the Elamites and Amorites, were totally destroyed by the Assyrians; the Assyrians in their turn, by the Persians; and the Persians by Alexander. These Persians, followers of the great Zarathustra, came in millions to India; so came the Cylonese chased by the Arabs; the Abyssinians chased by the Egyptians; the Trojans chased by the Spartans and the Mycenians; the Christians chased by the Islamic hordes; the Jew chased by all of them at different times. The history of migrations from across the Arabian Sea to the Western coasts of India is a strange reading. We could thus imagine that the Babylonians, Assyrians, Sumerians and Phoenicians had to seek shelter in India during their distress. Most of these migrants are today indistinguishably intermixed with the blood, religion, form and language of the indigenous people. Traits of their intermixture survive in the languages that are spoken in these parts, as well as in some of the gods and goddesses they worship. Nonetheless this cultural adoption had been so poised, even and quietly accepted, that without a very close scrutiny the stitch-marks are no longer traceable. We have to progress with much caution. We shall see that although the highly phallic and crotic trends of the Orient had been admitted to the original Saiva philoso- phy of the Tamils, the basic virtue and logic of the great Śaivism did not allow the Western phallic forms to influence it. Saivism of the Deccan retained its pristine sanctity of form, purity of thought and perenniality of philosophy.

In the Hindu Purāņas this process of reorientation has been pictur- esquely described in a hundred battles and a thousand legends involving a merry mixture of races and a happy union of the peoples who accepted the basic tenets of the Vedic monism and Saivic concept of Oneness. These legends and battles have been described as the battles between the Devas and the Asuras. Šiva is found to have given the Vedic society a tough time; and the Siva-people and the Deva (Vişnu) people for a long while found themselves at loggerheads. That chapter is full of significant interest to the historian. The struggle was long and bitter. The record of the titanic struggle has been sculptored on a thousand images through- out the length and breadth of India, in her caves, mountain recesses, temples and village wells. Indian iconography details the struggle piece by piece. Many view the Samkara-Ramanuja debate on Monism and Qualified Monism reflective of the old debate of Śiva and Vişņu.

But the fact that glorifies the annals and traditions of Hinduism is that at the end of it all the Hindu tradition of synthesis and accommoda- tion emerges in its full glory. It is significant that when all other Oriental religions change their form as well as traces, when the powerful Oriental religions are today remembered only in the pages of ancient pre-history. Hinduism continues to progress without being affected by the changes of times. The amazing enduring quality of this religion must have some basic grandeur of truth in it for making it so scholastically accommodative and so sublimely universal. This is the story of the unique philosophy of Saivism, in which the Western mystic cults found a temperamental homogeneity. Mysticism and Saivism found a haven in Tantra, a special form of mysticism reminding of the mystic religion of the Greco-Orient. That form has to be studied with care and devotion. The subject de- mands it.


1. Allegro, John M. The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, p. viii.

2. Durant, Dr. Will. The Story of Civilisation, Vol. I, p. 61.

3. Ibid.

4. Goldberg, B. Z. The Sacred Fire.

5. The Sun, the moon and the fire glow out of fear....


6. Goldberg, op. cit., p. 24.

7. (a) Cf. Hindu ritualistic


जया मामग्रतः पातु विजया

पातु पृष्ठतः

-Märkandeya Candi Kavaca.

(b) Let Jaya protect the front and Vijaya protect the rear.

नमः पुरस्ताद्य पृष्ठतस्ते ।

Bow to Thee at the back,

Bow to Thee at the rear,


8. पद्मालया Lotus aboded

9. आधारभूता containing the spirit of steadiness.

21. Radhakrishnan, Dr. S. Eastern Religions and Western Thoughts. 22. Luke, XVII: 21.

23. Psalms, LXXXV: 8.

24.Kempis, Thomas, A. Imitation of Christ.

25. Bhagavat Gita, VI: 32.

26. Kempis, op. Cit.

Also Bhagavata Purana: तृणादपि नीचेन तरोरि सहिष्णुना अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः

God's praises are worthy to be chanted by those whose modesty makes them feel humbler than the grass; whose forbearance exceeds the fortitude and patience of a tree; and who could return insult and humiliation with regard and honour.

27.नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यः

न मेधया न बहुधा श्रुतेन ।।

The Soul is not attainable through mere learning, or intelligence, or by hearsay.

28. Buddha, Gautama. Dhamma- pada.

29. न लिंग धर्मकरणम् । Institutional insignia guaran- tees no religiosity.


(N.B. Linga here does not mean phallus. It means insignia, or mark. See also Ref. 20 above for the use of Linga in the same sense).

30.Gita Vi.

सर्वभूतस्यमात्मानं सर्वभूतानि चात्मनि ।

इछते योगमुक्तात्मा सर्वत्र समदर्शनः ॥

यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्व च मयि पश्यति ।

तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ।।

सर्वभूतस्थितं यो मां भजत्वेकत्वमास्थितः ।

सर्वथा वर्तमानोऽपि स योगी मयि वर्तते ॥

-Gita, VI: 29-31.

50. Shatir, Dr. R.L. The Hindu Traditions (The Study of Religions-Penguin), p. 34.

51. Ibid., p. 35.

52. Ibid., p. 35.

53. (i) Thapar, Dr. P. History of India (Pelican) Vol. I, p. 133.

(ii) Jansenists and Huguenots (Pelican).

54. Bhattacharya, Dr. H. D. "Minor Religious Sects" (History and Culture of the Indian People-Ramakrishna

Institute), Vol. IV.


10. शिखरवासिनी—The spirit of the Peak.

11. वेदमाता - The spirit that mothered the Vedas.

12. Goldberg. op. cit., p. 207.

13. It is intriguingly interesting to find similar terms in relation to the Sakti cult in Hinduism. The Rg Vedic bridal chant (I am the sky, and you are the earth) also speaks of similar views.

14. Russell, Bertrand. Hist. of Western Philosophy, p. 23.

15. Ibid.

16. Patanjali. Yoga Sutra, 1:27-28.

17. Ibid., I, 39.

18. Graves, Roberts. Greek Myths, p. 13.

19. Goldberg, op. cit., p. 67.

20. नायमात्मा बलहीनेन लभ्यः

न च प्रमादात् तपसो वायलिंगात् ।।

The soul is not attainable by one deprived of strength or mental faculties; nor is it attainable through asceticism alone; neither could heed- lessness attain it.

-Mundaka Upanisad, III: 2, 4.

32. Woodroffe, Sir John. Sakti and Sakta.

33. Radhakrishnan, op. cit., 24.

34.Ibid., p. 107.

35.Radhakrishnan. Recovery of Faith, p. 113.

36. Luke, II: 52.

37. Gitä, 7: 21.

38. Ibid., 9: 23.

39. Ibid., 9: 30.

40. Religions of Ancient India: (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan), pp. 51-56.

41. Gibbon, Edward. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Durant, op. cit., Vol. I.

42. Nehru, J. L. Discovery of India.

43.Chattopadhyaya, Tapan K. Hindu Ainé Vivaha (Bengali)

(Visva Bharati), p. 11.

44. स्त्री रत्नं दुष्कुलादपि

Accept a jewel of a girl even from an inferior source. -Canakya.

45. कौपीनवन्तः, खलु भाग्यवन्तः । -Sankaracārya.

46. Bharthari. Vairagyasatakam, 25

47.Tagore, R. N. Gitanjali.

48.Rolland, Romain. Introdu- ction to Dr. A. Coomaras- wamy's 'The Dance of Šiva".

49. Coomaraswamy, op. cit., pp.


55. Madhavan, Dr. T. M. P. "Saivism" (Ibid.).

56. Murgi-A fowl in Persian language; also used in Indian languages.

57. Lissener, Ivor. The Living Past (Penguin), p. 169.

58. A number of erotic treatises such as the Kamasutra, Anangaranga, The Scented Garden, Alf-Laila-e-Laila, Gita Govindam, etc.



Chapter Two

The Phallic Tradition, Gods

And The Ancients


Roots of Śaivism

THE EARLIEST form of human fancy developed an awe for Nature. The cave man regarded the ways of Nature as a mystery. As soon as man had time to notice of something beyond the ken of the immediate, he became increasingly aware of the sweetness of beauty, and of a type of rewarding and charming thrill which was not associated just with the satisfaction of the demands of the flesh. Eve's demand was impulsive. She just wanted to know more. She refused to be mystified by life. When there was none to go to for her satisfaction, she herself made the move the firstever significantly matriarchal move. She befriended the coiling serpent, plucked the apple, tasted it; and then, she, the woman inspired the man to be enough manlike to dare a discovery to the Un- known. This was not just the biological demand of the flesh, and auto- matic submission to some mechanical built-in super-device; just an effect of some periodical heat induced by some harmonic chain-reactions. It was something more. A Quest. A Challenge. A spiritual hunger consuming the body. What is Being? Whence is it? Why are we at all?  With her guidance matriarchy and culture began. Woman found her- self in the driver's seat.

The first father and mother must have found it very intriguing how the facts of pleasure and pain could be so intimately interlaced? How could the most rewarding self-expression be entirely victimised by such excruciating pain? How does the one split into two, and get involved in so absorbing, so engaging an experience? How could the mere presence of a manikin, a pitiable, helpless, ludicrous replica of life, electrify a situation charged with ennui, boredom and bother? How, or why, could a man's physical role, a painless temporary role, be of so much urgent importance to the phenomenal fact of propagating the one into many? The obviously meaningless is not so meaningless after all. The presence of a child makes everything flushed with meaning, beauty and purpose. But how? Why? There has to be an answer; a logic behind it all; a truth more sublime, more enduring. Man made it his business to grasp this mystery. In this dedicated search for a key to the Life- Mystery he had the woman as his guide and mistress. He wanted to grasp the great Unknown. He aspired to become a part of this mystery.

The first such man in the Vedas is Svayambhuva (the one who evolved, out of the Self-evolved principle, Svayam-bhu), and his firstever consort Satarupā (the female of a hundred forms). Literally, the names indi- cate the Being and the Forms. These two, according to the Vedas, fell for each other, and decided to carry on the function of peopling the earth. They were fascinated with Nature, with natural impulses, with life's propagation, with the urge to create, to multiply, to put to order the things that could create joy in Beauty, Form, Colour and Music.

But this joy, this fascination, was not total. They also noticed the flaw, the great gap, the chasm that cruelly divided the two areas of 'to be', and 'not to be'. Physical experience is functional and fractional, and therefore non-endurable. Now it is, now it is not. And what is more, it always faces a time after which it shall never be. Whilst this was so, desire would always be there; always. That was another mystery. Why the bodies are temporary, and desire ever-alive? Why Time is Eternity, and those in Time its victim? Why is good-bye the fate of all unions?

Then there was Death. Death, not in the ordinary sense of decay, degeneration and disintegration, but a complete fade-out, going out of existence, followed by the decaying life, lingering gradually, but inevitably; the withering flesh, losing its charm of youth, flow of warmth;- these, as experiences, had long since been tolerated and accepted. But the other kind of death; the sudden death of the new born; of the growing twaddling; of the lovingly young, through accidents, floods, disease and attacks. Such deaths created terror, made man look foolish, helpless. And the apparent unreasonableness of such a treatment, such a scheme of things, was felt to be out of line, out of joint. Man got suspicious of some lack of order; some miscalculation; some want of arrangement. This aggravated an unacceptable situation; and man wanted to know, to master, to control this hated, horrid, unknown power, an entirely un- certain antagonist whose spell was final.

These mysterious powers of nature, life and death, and the urge of these, had to have, they were sure, a source, a beginning, a Central Control somewhere. Urge for life's knowledge led to the search for the Divine. Divinity has a rude beginning, in mating, multiplying and separation. Life and the phallic were inseparable; both bristled with mystery. Divinity had a phallic start.

Man got fascinated by this mystery. Man got involved in it. It was a challenge; and automatically man moved to do something in answer to meet this challenge. Man needed a place; a firm hold on something as an answer to this challenge. The sifting, escaping, sliding, ever and ever receding mysteries of life and death had to be mastered through firmness, strength, power and assurance.

A superfluous observation of the everchanging faces of Nature made man conceive of its uncertainties. Yet, having observed the entire cycles of Nature, man was vaguely suspicious of some kind of firm cer- tainty behind the apparent uncertainties. Man conceived of the Life Force, of the Truth, of the Divine Unknown, as a two-faced benignity; Life and Death; Joy and Pain; Love and Fear. This was, of course, a mystifying position. Mysteries cause strain to nerves. Reflections and meditation relax the strain. Fear induces fear; but any prospect of assistance partially, mitigates a neurotic state. The very idea of a Super- Power which protects even while destroying was found to be helpful to life's uncertainties, and to the consequent strains of life. A Spirit, a Power, a Great Mother, a Supreme Lady of Love and Fury was conceived. Obedience, obeisance to such a power, was found to be both conciliatory and laudatory.

Such homage needed a form. Natural forms came most handy; the soil, the river, the rains, the mountain, the tree. These formed an obvious choice. Then came the thought of morals. Sense of transgression; sense of disobedience; sense of overlooking, neglecting, ignoring. These, they found, led to destruction and catastrophe; even to phenomenal changes. From this arose the idea of conciliating an angry power through atonement, sacrifice, offerings of valuable, endeared objects, the parting from which caused, to some extent, an equal and opposite pain. Pain for pain, a retaliatory offering: the inner meaning of sacrifice was expiation.

Man Makes His God

Such obeisance had to be made to something tangible; at some place held as 'the place', the god-house; the pilgrimage, the temple, the stone gods and stone houses; idols of stones; monolithic monuments; somatic, solid, coherent icons; representations of special forms;-these had to be found, erected, created, just to be adored and worshipped; to be had for leaning on to, when in suffering, for feeling safe, sound and guarded against the contrary forces of evil. It must be made of the most endurable material, stone. God, God-house, God-forms must be made of stone, they decided.

Neolithic worship took naturalistic forms. Even savages worshipped. In evolution of man's history and culture religion, and with religion, the forms of objects and ideas contained in the objects also evolved from crude to abstract, from stone forms to seances. Expressed love shaped itself into a thousand forms, colours and designs. So did the expressions of fear, homage, gratitude and sacrifice.

The Primitive clung to reality. From the primitive to the complex and sophisticated is a progress from forms to abstraction, from stones to meditation, from aplicas to icons and symbols. But underlying all sophistication the primitive lingers. Civilisation at the bottom is naked andlaw. The primitive is still there, only just hidden. It has only been pushed back. But within all men the primitive abides. (The Hindus call it tamas). It is erroneous to think that it has gone entirely out of our lives only because we do not have the means to detect. So, man discovered worship, as a source of confidence for fighting and facing life better.

The aboriginals in their simplicity instituted the first worship; in worship we maintain the aboriginal. It is no reflection on our ancestral purity. Our sentiments, obligations, experiences are easily tracked back to those primitive aboriginals whom we conceitedly try to spurn and look down upon due to the added vanity accumulated through generations of snobbery. In fact what we call the civilised human behaviour is but a series of decorated superstructure, burdened with superfluous oddities, patterned and shaped out of the basic plinth of essential honest primitive demands and reactions.

All which is primitive is also, to a great extent, primal. Hidden under primitiveness lies the beginnings of many of the later cultural sophistications of the human world. What we call Saivism today, has been related to the stone; but the spirit behind the stone-adoration, worship of stone as symbols of the mystery of life and death, has not always been phallic and phallic alone. Modern psychological interpretation of the use of the Lingam, and of the associated icons suffer grievously from mental pro- jections, and lack the support of objective thinking. All that is phallic has to be symbolic first; failing which there shall be nothing to distinguish the phallic from the erotic and the Bacchanalian.

To cite an example: the Babylonian couple who walked on a new- moon night to their newly turned field, and in adoration of the blessings of the White Goddess and the waxing fortnight, copulated in the open, and cast partly the seeds on the fresh-furrowed lands, was not exactly catering for that erotic sensation which we moderns seek in the night clubs of Monaco or Paris. The Jewish or the Islamic mother who holds her baby son or baby daughter before the clan-priest and celebrates the knifing of the portion of fore-skin or a bit of the clitoris, is quite innocent of any erotic motives. Similar nude ecstatic dances along the beaches of Cyprus or Alexandria did not mean to them any orgiastic perversions, as are associated with similar practices in the shadows of a high blue life. Those parents in Nineva or Siddon, Ur or Tyre, who awaited the bless- ings of the Moon Goddess on their virgin daughters, and who offered them for the grand ceremony of deflowering, could not have, and did not have, the least mental reservations about what they did, although the same could instigate other thoughts in our minds. The fact is that we in our diseased taste for erotic delights project ourselves into a free ancient society which we have lost. We are trying to look at history from our end. There is an obvious fallacy in doing this. In order to talk of the past cultures, and criticise them effectively, we are better advised to put ourselves into the skin of the primitive ancients.

Pre-historic icons discovered amongst other places, in Mohanjo- daro, have been interpreted both as primal form of the Siva-cult, as well as of the Phallic-cult, although the same Mohanjo-daro has revealed an athropomorphic seal which has been interpreted as Śiva's representa- tion (as Pasupati-Lord of the animals). It is debatable if either of the interpretations is finally accurate. But the basic fact that Man regarded certain facets of Nature as expressions of processes of procreation is undebatable. Rg Veda has a verse recitable by the bridegroom to the bride. It says: "I am the sky, and you are the earth... I shall cast seed unto thee, to mix with your juice, and so shall we procreate."" Amongst the papyruses recovered in the pyramids there is one which represents the Sky and the Earth engaged in the act of copulation. The beams of the sun were supposed to be the male-partner's penis; the rains and the dews were supposed to be his semen which the earth was supposed to absorb into her womb, and produce. The similes have one common feature. It is a picture of the fullness of abundance. Abundance of creative fulfilment, abundance of joy, abundance of expression. It evoked obvious joy-uninhibited joy, at the exuberant liveliness of Nature's prolific power. Not eroticism; not obscenity; but the final expression of the spirit underlying the flesh. It was a supreme release of life in store. Certain French idols, as well as Thracian toys of prehistoric excavations have yielded female figures with multiple breasts (see Plates 15, 16). The symbolism of life wrote poetry in stones. Stone was the medium of expression. Stone was life itself. Stone conveyed the message of faith and security in life. Stone conveyed a sense of firmness.

We have to realise that the worship of Siva Sthanu, Mrda, Bhuta) is the neolithic worship of the Eternal Real, the stone solid reality, the core of matter. It comes down to us from the oldest of times, and as a heritage forms to be one of man's noblest patrimony. Worshipping the stone- forms of the source of life is both, the most primal and the most universal, of religious forms coming down to us from man's earliest ancestors who first worshipped.

For a long time the worship of phallic forms remained popular. Even now phallic traces are maintained in many reformed churches. But in India, when the Vedic society continued to be exposed to non-Vedic cultures, particularly to the orgiastic ceremonial religions of Western Asia and North-Eastern Africa, this kind of phallicism was halted. The sublimated systems of Samkhya and Yoga, the monistic system of Vedanta were put into active support of evolving the Saiva System. In Saivism we find emotion and metaphysics delightfully synthesised. Śaivism attempted to redeem the primitive natural cult of stone, into something more sublime, more meaningful. It evolved out of a cult, a primitive expression of phallicism, a system of metaphysics of worship and adoration leading to great spiritual fervour. Attempts to elevate carnal facts to the level of sublime experience can be traced back to the earliest forms of human fancy as has been noted above. The fact is borne out through icons and images found in India, Egypt and elsewhere. Wherever the earliest traces of human homage to spirit has been discovered, it was found to be highly overtoned with sex and phallicism. Their development, however, has taken place along two defined schools of approach. Both tried to solve the mystery of life and death. Both served their purpose at their respective times in history. But there is no doubt that at its earliest stage Saivism was associated with aboriginal totems, as all forms of religions were. Totemism is the earliest religion; fear, the earliest inspiration; the magic-man (or the medicine-man), the earliest priest; and the cave and the grove, the earliest temple. It is the great fear that finds itself symbolised in the upraised thunderbolt, the all powerful menacing weapon of the super-god. "The whole world trembles in Brahman. Those who know that become immortal. Through Fear of Him. Agni (fire) burns; Sun gives heat; Indra (king of gods) and Vayu (wind), and Death, the fifth, speed on their way."

East-West Commerce

We are not concerned here with this aboriginal religion, except for the fact that Śaivism, which is exclusively based on a metaphysical system, and which is being practised by a society known for its high morals of life, and holiness of spirit, has absorbed the entire poison of erotic phallicism which overwhelmed the ancient societies of Assyria, Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Thrace and the Mediterranean.

Before the in-coming Aryans had overwhelmed from their northern regions, the southern peninsula of India, before the almost impenetrable central ranges of the Vindhyas had been overcome, there flourished in the indigenous South a civilisation worthy of its own merits. There are reasons to suppose that prior to the advent of the Aryans in India this peo- ple inhabited the whole subcontinent. There are strong grounds to accept that this civilisation had much deeper contact with the civilisations of Nineva and Tyre, Babylon and Troy, Crete and Accad, Egypt, the Red Sea: Iran and Sindh formed a regular mart for an eastern maritime commerce. Along this human sea, besides mercantile commerce, a steady communication of cultural and social commerce let flow a vibrant stream of human tides. History is not yet clear about the exact nature of relation these lands and peoples had amongst themselves; but a study of their life, society, costume, buildings, alphabets, totems suggest some bond of unbroken relationship existing between them. The shores around the great Arabian Sea, where navigation had been a matter of life and death, had always been buzzing with activities as well as ideas eversince history is known. Commerce for these civilisations appears to have been an uninterrupted concern.

It is well known that more or less trade was carried on between Greece and India from early times. After Egypt had become a Roman province, a more lively commercial intercourse sprang up between Rome and India, by way of Alexandria. A priori, it does not seem improbable that with the traffic of the merchandise there should be also an interchange of ideas. That communica- tion of thought from the Hindus to the Alexandrians did actually take place is evident from the fact that certain theologic and philosophic teachings of the Manichaeians, neo-Platonists, Gnostics show unmistakable likeness to Indian tenets."

But records recovered from the pyramids show that the same connec- tions between Greece and Egypt, and Egypt and India existed even much before the Greek conquest of Egypt.

The south of India had a large-scale maritime trade with the countries of the Arabian Sea, and Bay of Bengal, through the straits of Malacca to the China Sea, and Red Sea, Persian Gulf up to the markets and ports of Greece and Rome. Though Indians preferred to export merchandise through alien merchant ships, south Indians themselves had a variety of ships. The various ports, lists of merchandise, the code and norm of behaviour, recorded in the periplus maris erthrae (1st cent. A.D.) imply the heavy commerce that the Roman West enjoyed with India."

There could be no doubt whatsoever that this civilising exercise grew quite independent of the Aryan epoch, which came upon the peninsular India from somewhere outside. And when it came, it challenged the existing civilisations. The original inhabitants of the southern peninsula,

the Deccan, are known to us as Proto-Austroloids, or Dravids. They had their own life, manners, customs, civilisations, language, alphabets, gods and epics. So had the Aryans, the Sumerians, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Trojans, the Ionians, the Greeks and the Romans. But the indigenous Dravid system had developed quite apart from the Aryans to start with. This has been supported by mythical records and legends which we shall note later.

Side by side with these features of a separate culture, the Dravids had their Śaivism. This was based on a highly complex and involved system of thinking known as the Agamas.

The Agamas

These Agamas are said to be earlier than the Vedas. The dates of the Vedas being covered yet in darkness, those of the sources of the existing Agamas must surely have even earlier. The esoteric and ritual- istic parts of the Agamas are known as Tantra. A study of the Tantras reveals a strange universality of approach. These Tantras refer to practices that involve people from the farthest regions of Central Asia, China, Tibet, across the Himalayas, to the south up to Ceylon; and then in the east from Cambodia and the islands of the Pacific and East Indies to the Mediterranean regions of Sicily, Lybia, Egypt on the one hand, and Sumeria, Thales, Thebes, Ionia, Greece and Crete on the other. All these cultures had been under the influence of the mystic Tantra, which signifies a way of traditional worship to the generative force to power, a mother concept.

A strange mother goddess' reigning over and above a father god, strange acts of sacrifice, nocturnal worship, exposure to fertility symbols and behaviour, a powerful priestcraft, preponderance of magic, uses of blood, meat and drinks, and sacrifices offered to fire are some of the common features of this kind of worship. In Deccan, more or less, this phase of worship prevailed, particularly amongst the working class, and was known as Tantra and Agama, the latter being generally confined to a priestly class who projected thoughts contained in hymnals composed by saints.

This strain in a more or less primitive and crude state is still found current amongst the so-called tribal and working-class people of the south whose paleolithic hardiness and robustness proved to be too tough to be penetrated by Aryanised bourgeoise sophistry, which the higher class adopted, or the adoption of which conferred on a section of the people the distinction of the higher class. That this latter class was gradually augmented by the growing influx of immigrants has been accredited by historical researches and anthropological findings.

Most of those who migrated from the West sought refuge in the first three castes. The Citpāvana and the Maga Brahmin, and the Rajput are cit- able cases to the point.

The Agamas, strangely and significantly are explanations of spiritual quests given by Śiva to the 'Mother Deity'. Its opposite is Nigama, where- in the Mother deity explains questions posed by the Father.10 These texts find natural popularity amongst the traditional tribes and working classes; the higher classes maintain the purity of the texts with a peripheral exclusiveness.

Over and above this traditional growth from a tribal, paleolithic state to a sophisticated Agamic state, the growth of Saivism in the South of India bears deep similarities with the growth of the religions that flourished in an area known to the historian as Greco-Oriental regions. The gods and goddesses of this oriental region with their rites, their priestly practices, their social systems when fully viewed and studied, help much in revealing the inner outer texture of Saivism as practised in India, and the spirit- ual adoption of phallicism, which torn from its pristine simplicity and sincerity, had become the bane of the once powerful oriental people.


Of these Orientals the Phoenicians had been the oldest. Speaking of Phoenicians, Western historians always begin and end with the remark "is not known."la Dr. Lissener says that they were Semites, and immediately contradicts himself by saying that they developed the un- semitic love for the sea. Indeed the greatest achievements of the Phoeni- cians concerned the sea. They were astute merchants; and along with trade, they also carried enough means and skill for waging wars in case any country refused them trading opportunities. Thus they were a type of pirates who avoided piracy as long as given opportunity in trad- ing. The highest instance of this policy is found in the trading arrange- ments of the Phoenicians of Carthage. They had established a monopoly of all commerce by a kind of Navigation Act of their own ingenious pattern. Any country intending to trade with the northern sea-front of Africa had to arrive at the port of Carthage where they were offered extremely hospitable and advantageous treatment. In case they made the mistake of carrying their ships to any other part within the control of the Phoenician Empire, their goods were siezed, the cargo confiscated, and the entire crew thrown into the sea loaded with stones tied to their feet, 11 In their narrow galleys they covered the entire Mediterranean and beyond, up to the 'islands that produced tin' (England); they were supposed to have circumnavigated the African continent two thousand years before Vasco da Gama. "When Autumn came," says Herodotus, "they went ashore, sowed the land and waited for harvest, reaped the corn, and put to sea again." By some trick of an intuitive surmise, not entirely without some data for backing it, the present author ventures to suggest that the Bachs of the Pyrances along the coast of Biscay still bear a few stamps of these people. Marsailles, Sicily, Tunisia, Carthage, southern Spain still have the remnants of Phoenician traditions.

Who were they? They are claimed to be Semetic. But Semetics have never been known to be given to the sea much less to considered piracy. "The historian stands abashed before any question of origin; he must confess that he knows next to nothing about either the early or the late history of this ubiquitous, yet elusive people. We do not know whence they came, nor when; we are not certain that they were Semites." The theory of Semetic origin of Phoenicians is based on the evidence of Old Testament, where Sham, the legendary son of Noah, has been mentioned to have sired the Cannanites. This name pronounced as 'Kinnani' is found in the Amarna tablets (1400 B.C.) sent to the Egyptian courts. Here stops the Western scholars. Kinnani could be Cannanites; but Sham's single handed responsibility of raising a whole nation appears to be rather wishful.

Let us deal with the Phoenicians a little more. History is still being written about this amazing people for so many facets of life of which we are so proud. Bybles, their main port, has given to us the name 'paper' and 'book' from which we know 'bible' as a word meaning book and paper. Phoenician factories produced one of the most important commodities of those days, namely the red dye; red cloth and red wool dyed by the Phoenicians were in great demand in royal courts. The word Phoenician has been derived from phoinos meaning red. In Anatolia there is a 'red- river'; a sea is known as the 'red sea'; and the word 'red' and the colour red (as we shall have occasion to note later on) has some connection with Śaivism. The doubt arises then, "Have the Phoenicians been the exporters of Saivic rites and practices? Could these people and the Siva culture be got involved?" Herein lies the relevance of the oriental religions, and of the peoples of the Mediterranean sea-board to a study of Saivism.

As undisputed masters of the Mediterranean they manufactured articles of glass and metal, precious vases, weapons, and articles of jewellery. Grain, wine, cloth, lead, gold, iron, copper, cypress, ivory, wine from France, tin from England, they practically shanghaied all commerce inclusive of a kind of slave trade. There is a theory claiming that the Phoenicians were inhabitants of Cyprus, and Crete. But the same people controlled the islands of Melos and Rhodes. In fact, the entire Aegean was under their domination. Similar potteries and crafts connect the emite Phoenicians, Sumerians with the people of the Sindh-valley in India.

We have noted this already.

In the circumstances to call them mere Semetics, and say at the same time that their origin is not known is to be optimistically vague. Western historians, as a rule, are so prejudiced regarding making an Eastward search about origins of civilisations that they find the crossing of the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf, or indeed a venture along the Arabian Sea an awful exercise in futility. But this prejudicial suppression of actual know- ledge has fortunately taken a turn since the archaeological progress of excavation in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran and Crete. By and large oriental studies are increasingly being viewed in the new light shed by anthropology, comparative religion and linguistics.

We shall travel further East along the sea coasts for other types of civilisations bearing strong similarities with these characteristics. Copper, red dye, metallurgical propensity, skills in bronzes, jewellery and precious stones, skill in navigation, trade and commerce, and similarities of script, language and religious trends recall to mind the Tamils of the southern peninsula of India, one of the oldest land-structures on the earth.

Khmer and Sumer

These Tamils have been known to be the irresistible navigators of the turbulent Indian Ocean as well as of the Pacific. Their craft, which partially answers the description given of those of the Phoenicians, navi- gated the Eastern archipelago, Malaya, Kamboja (Cambodia), Campa (Indo- China) and Syama (Siam) which they colonised. Further east, the Pacific Islands have been known to have borne their aboriginal ways as well as some parts of their culture and their gods.

The name Sumer phonetically reminds one of the Sumeru of the Hindu myths; the opposite of Sumeru is Kumeru; the Sanskrt 'K' is pronounced as 'Kh' in these parts; Kumeru, therefore, should sound as Khumeru or Khmer, a place where ruins reminding one of the times and ziggurate of Marduk Amun-re, and Nebuchadnezzar have been discovered. The fact that the present Angkor Vat, Angkor Thom, Borrobudur lie about sixteen to seventeen millenia away from the ex- cavatory finds of Sumer and Assyria does not finally prove that the culture of Khmer or Campå had started and ended with these structures. Like all objects, these too had their antecedents and ancestors; and these must have emerged from further West.

The structures discovered so far, belong to the surface stratum alone. There have been no excavations yet. Serious excavations of these parts have yet to start. Although the two civilisations were separated by thousands of miles and thousands of years, culturally speaking, a distant affinity is traceable through the rough fabric of their art, religions and social customs. Anthropological characteristics too make the Khmer- people different from their immediate neighbours, the Mongolians. In both these areas similar sequence of events produced similar results.

A fertile land and industrial people created wealth; an emerging social order organized labour, skill and craftsmanship, channelled the economic potential of the country into relatively few hands. Pre-eminence was given, as always, to a highly complex religion in which the gods were worshipped through magic and ritual that only the educated and the powerful understood. The kings were venerated as incarnations of the gods; and they were accepted as such by millions of people, who wore out their lives in the endless labour of constructing and adoring their temples and their tombs.13

Henri Muhot, the French explorer, who discovered this lost glory of Mediaeval India, as established in Indo-China, stood astounded before these gigantic edifices that spoke of centuries of human culture (after the bare and monstrous pyramids) through their sculptural decorations and designs, through their planning and architectural skill, through their interpretative carvings of myths and legends; and he asked the people who still clung to their gods in that remote part of the world, "Who built them?" "They built themselves," was the penetrative answer the bewil- dered explorer received. To Muhot Angkor Vat and its surrounding ruins were far more grandiose than anything built in the heyday of Greek or Roman Art. "It is the work of the giants," replied another. But was it not the same reply that the people of Anuradhapur of Ceylon would give if asked about their buildings. Would not the people of Martand, give the same reply when asked about the great Sun-temple in Kashmir? Did not the Dorian Greeks give the same reply about the Mycene-ruins? "They built themselves."

A close study of the plans, of the sacrificial altars, of the motifs, of the legends, of the snakes, tridents, animals, bulls, deer, bells, demons, the deities themselves, of the forms of the rituals, of the days of processions and musical extravaganza of the sacrificial ceremonies, of the preponde- rance of the priestly orders, of the emphasis of the privileged nobles and the unprivileged masses, of fire, flowers and wine, of dedicated female devotees attached to the temples, of the esoteric practices mystically preserved for us through a carefully elaborated mystic literature (most of which are still closed books to the common man)-could probably help us in connecting these mysterious Phoenicians of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, with the Tamil Kannadas (Cannanites) of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the China-Sea and the distant Pacific. From Spain to Bali and Jävä these red people with a Mother goddess and a mystic ritual, with trade and navigation in their blood, held sway.

The similarities do not end here. There are further common grounds between the Phoenicians and the Tamils. The two are similar in many traits. Their language and modes of writing; their fondness for colours generally and of red and yellow in particular; their skill in metallurgy and medicine; their knowledge and taste for arts and astronomy, for medicine and magic, for polytheism and stone deities, for dances and sea life, for keenness in commercial transaction, and readiness to challenge armed might, for faith in polygamy and sex rituals, compel any scholar in favour of studying the two together for finding out a solution to this question of the Sumerians on the one hand and the Tamils on the other. Remarkably enough their noses, eyes and hair, their height, built and cranium favour this identification. We will have reasons to speak of the Sumerians again. A look at the great male and female figures as painted on the decorative frescoes found at Knossos, and another at the figures executed by the Tamils, the Bachs, the Tunisians prove the point.

The Agamas are the Vedas of the Tamils, and are supposed to predate the advent of the Aryan Vedas in the Tamil-land by several centuries. For a very long time the Agamas were even supposed to be anti-Veda. It took a very long time to synthesise the Agamas with the Vedas. The synthesis over, a scar was left. Śaivism, evolved as the fruit of this syn- thesis, appeared to have developed along two lines: the sama (left); and the dakşina (right), the former closely sticking to the earlier tradition of Tantra, which was more involved in mystic rites which included blood- sacrifices, drinking and female consorts. The Vämācāris were also known as Cinacāris, i.e., sects given to the Chinese Tantra forms. A pure form of Mahāyāna Śaivism flourished in Kashmir in the North. These would be dealt with at appropriate places.

Side by side with this distinction of Vama and Dakṣina Mārgas (ways) there occurs in the mythologies two more significant terms; Asura and Sura. We are acquainted with phrases like Ahura Mazda, Assu- rabahnipal, Assyria, Syria. These words signify a certain trend of life and culture developed along the interesting Greco-Oriental regions and Persia: the Medes and the Persians of the Greek language, and the Madhya Desa and Parsva Desa of the Sanskrt language. The Asuras attached themselves to a civilisation and culture devoted to material prosperity through trade and commerce. As opposed to these, the Aryans, who gave the name Iran to a country, appear to have been the Suras, who preferred to remain quite away from the urbanised materialism of these mercantile and warlike people. The Shah of Iran even today wears the title of the Chief of the Aryans'. Generally speaking the Asuras are found to favour the Vama-Way, and the Suras the Dakṣina- Way. In yet later years the popular opinions held the Vamācāri as Asura and the Daksiņācāris, Suras. Ravana of the Rāmāyaṇa fame, It is just possible that due to the later pre-occupation of the Vedic and Puranic legends with the Devas or the Suras, the chronicle of the Asuras got faded out. What we know of them is only available as the foils of the Vedic people.

The civilisation of Sumbha and Nigumbha or of Mahisa, or of Vänä as described in the Puranas appear to be of a very high order. Certainly the culture of Ravana's Lanka was very high. Yet before the predominance of the Deyas the Asura portion of the legends suffer obliteration. It could be that this neglect of Asuras, was responsible for the gradual decay of a sustained chronicle of the people known as Phoenicians. Their clashes with the Vedic people could have taken them to oceanic expan- sions of which we have spoken before.

This suspicion regarding the relation between Asuras and Phoenicians and Tamils is further increased by some geographical names and their significance in Saivism. Red is lohita, chivam, Siva, lohita, ranja, rakta, red-are words which waft mind towards Saivism on the one hand, Phoenicia and the Red Sea-Nile region on the other hand. The sus- picion deepens.

For the purpose of discussing Saivism it is not very necessary to finalise the question of whether the Tamils became the Phoenicians, or the Phoenicians became the Tamils, or whether this one borrowed from the other. The more important part of this research is to trace some simi- larities between these two peoples; and then to trace some similarities between their forms of temple-worship and the Agamic Śaiva worship of the Deccan. The Tamil Saiva worship must have influenced the Persian-gulf forms, and these forms must have also influenced the Tamil Saivism. Like commerce, cultures too tend to overflow their respective local boundaries. Whenever trade moves, peoples also move with them; and movement of ideas take place automatically. Could the Tamils in India be in any way related to these Red Phoenicians? Let us see.

Pre-Saivic Saivism

Prehistorical evidences show signs of life in the Indian subcontinent during the Second Inter-Glacial period between 400,000 and 200,000 B.G. But these do not offer anything substantial to construct even a vague idea of life of any significance. Remains of stone implements of later date indicate a very slow growth of some scratches of civilisation. It must have taken a very long period of time for civilisation to reach the stage as the Indus Valley civilisation established. Recent discoveries in India have unearthed the existence of several sites of this or sister civilisations throughout the length and breadth of coastal and river areas.

Archaeologists have referred to these finds in Sindh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Godavari, Orissa and Upper Bengal. Because of the suddenness of the maturity of this culture, which could not be traced along any defined growth from the previous cultures, scholars have been proffering various theories after theories. The Harappa script has not yet been read. But in 2500 B.C., which is the time assigned to the Harappa culture, the cities of Ur, Nineveh, Tyre, etc., the codes of Hammurabi (see Plate 29A) and Assurbanipal had been keeping civilisations buzzing in the land of the two rivers. Under no speculation this strata of civilisation that flourished between the western and eastern coasts of the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean could be called primitive. Skilled technicians who could plan from advanced cities to intricate jewellery, evidence of highly sophisticated city- life and highly developed maritime commerce leave no doubt about the evergrowing inter-communications between country and country, far flung, diverse, and linguistically different. Yet these nations were com- mon in many respects. Their picturesque epics, pantheon of divinities, urgency of literacy, moral codes, manner, dispositions, and attires, uses of art and designs on materials such as brick, metal, wood and ivory, indicate some common bond. In features, hair-styles, furniture and weapons; in hobbies games, arts and literature, various common traits could be traced. As the life of these so-called different peoples are studied together against the time-scale of history (3000 to 1100 n.c.) we hardly regard the Sumerian, the Hittites, the Babylonian, the Cretan, the Phrygian, the Mittani, the Assyrian civilisations as being 'very' different. There are startling similarities. Until the Mycenean culture was over- whelmed by the Dorians (1100 B.C.) this chain of events continued throughout the society living in the area between Crete and Thracia in the west, Egypt, and Somalia in the south-west, Caspian and Hindukush in the north, Ceylon in the south, and the Bay of Bengal in the cast.

The throb and pulsations of these diverse civilisations, when read along with the lack of definiteness about the original habits of such very important cultures as those of the Tamils, the Phoenicians, the Etruscans and the Cretans, bring into focus several facts:

(a) red, chivan, Siva, Phoene, lohita, Nila as words and their affinities;

(b) the adoration of the serpent and the bull, of the Moon Crescent; of the Moon goddess; of the Crone; of the White Goddess (see Plates 14, 33);

(c) the adoration of the Omphalos (see Plates 26, 27, 28, 29);

(d) the images of Dionysus and Priapus; Pan and Apollo (sec Plate 5);

(e) the adoration of the fertility motifs (see Plates 19, 20);

(f) the nocturnal and congregational prayers under sacerdotal guidance of spiritual leaders; etc., etc.

Together with all these, the scripts of these people and the material and method of their preservation, the image carved on the archaeological finds, tempt any scholar to pause and think if these could have been linked in their spiritual contents, as they had been in their artistic and cultural forms. The impact of such an overwhelming postulate, how- ever hypothetical it might appear at the moment, must cause some amount of surprise and thrill to a student of the history of phallicism, fertility and Saivism.

Hence the relevance of these historical stories.

Saivism Begins in India

When did Śaivism as Saivism, a distinct form of worship, appear in India? 3102 B.c. was the beginning of the Kali Yuga according to the Hindu Astronomical calculations. But the great epics, which were written according to conservative estimates between c. 10000-7000 B.G.14 relate substantially a type of culture noted above. We find references in the Mahabharata to Šiva and Saivism. But these are supposed to be interpolations. Saivism is supposed to have been crystallised as a sectarian form in the post Buddha India. Regular Saivic rites and Saivic treatises feature in and about 700 A.D.

But the Saivic figures and specially phallic figures have been dis- covered in the Harappan excavations; Tantric gods and goddesses have been found in the Sumerian, Hittite, Cretan and Abyssinian excavations. This leaves a period between 3000 B.C. and 700 A.D. unaccounted for in the mythological or scriptural texts available to us. And this should be the period during which the indigenous Saiva concept of the Indian Yogis and the phallic concepts of the West had come to a kind of confron- tation, until it died out in the West in the flames of its own excesses, but survived in India nursed by the sublime metaphysical postulates of her scholars and the spiritual declarations of her realised Yogis. Many traditions that had died elsewhere under the weight of materialistic pressures (Asura Dharma), survived in India because of her genius of subli- mating ideas into vibrant spiritual forms.

From 3000 n.c. (Harappa civilisation) to the post Buddha Tantricism of Vajrayana and Tara-worship the Greco-Orient area had been buzzing with activities and commerce. Since archaeological finds are throwing more and more light on the epics and the traditions, we could safely assume that the neolithic concept of phallicism gained from the advantage of a very long and steady evolution into elaborate Tantric rites.

In this process, according to local ways of life, within this area, the ethical concept of good living, and the metaphysical appeal for spiritual depth came into a conflict, which lasted over millenia.

The phallic concept of the Greco-Oriental divinities developed into orgies, with a preponderance of eroticism; but elsewhere, the same phallic concept, through an evolutionary process, gained spiritual depth. A metaphysical logic of understanding of high ethics and sublime aesthetics bloomed into a great form of spiritual adoration, namely, Śaivism. Šaivism at a certain primitive stage, of course, could be associated with phallicism in the manner as man is with the ape.

The two could be linked to a common matrix in phallicism, because, phallicism, as we have been arguing, has been man's primal homage to the wonder and mystery of life, the vibrant mystery of one life incarnated into many lives. But in their evoluting process the two took completely divergent views and attained different dimensions. The path of sophis- tication passes through the wilderness of conflicting opinions. Even in India, the same Śaivism, had to develop into several forms: the Spanda system of Kashmira Šaivism; the Saiva Siddhanta of the Southern San- gama-Tevaram Schools; and the Vira-Saivism of Vasava. There are other subsidiary branches of Saivism, like the Päśupatas, Näthas, and Käpälikas. Strictly speaking, these belong to Tantricism. But Tantri- cism and Saivism, as we shall note later, are mystically interrelated, because of the Samkhya and Yoga systems of thought.,

The tradition of this interrelation between the Śaivism of the pre- historic tribes and the ancient races, and between the phallic culture of old and the Śiva culture of later days, has claimed expositions through long episodes in the Mahabharata epic, as well as in the Purāṇa- chronicles.

In the Hindu myths and Purāņas references to these movements have been recorded through legends and anecdotes. These records, concern- ing the gods and rituals of the oriental religions, demand a close compa- rative study, which alone could establish the influence of oriental phallicism on Hindu Saivism. A close examination of these two sets of ritualistic religions could explain where Saivism and phallicism converge or diverge.

Such an exercise would reveal that whereas in the Deccan neolithic phallicism developed along spiritual lines, the oriental trends never lifted above the sensuous overtones and voluptuous practices. The aboriginal phallicism of the Deccan, like aboriginal religions all over, traces its ins- piration from the neolithic natural society of the Deccan. The Tamils, on the other hand, cultured the sublimated theology of Śiva, which later developed into a subtle subjective approach which established the presence of one Spirit in all matters. It spoke of a Supreme Principle acting through the dual concept of Matter and Energy.

But in the Greco-Oriental civilisations the same neolithic adherence to the phallic persisted in creating a motley of religious forms. Apparently, these religious rites were too virile and robust, too vigorous and exciting to be ignored. Through the ages some of these percolated into the Śiva temples. This is understandable. Being always in contact with the Indian coasts trends of Oriental sex-cults found echoes in the Tamil Saiva practices. Priestism often accommodates the demands of the common flock. Much of ritualistic priestism has to be window-dressing. In due course, we shall notice the features that record this conflict between the indigenous Saiva form, and the alien forms, attempting to pass as Šaivic rites. The conflict was a prolonged one. Naturally, the long struggle has left some scars on the Śiva-rites preserved through the ages.

The onset of the Aryans from the north intensified the conflict. Attempts were made by the Aryans to keep out the Deccanese (southerners) Śaivism as an unwelcome cult. Echoes of these attempts are heard in both whispers and crescendos in both the epics, and in the numberless dialogues on the subject, scattered all over the Puräņas. This, however, could not continue forever. Śaivism, as we shall see, later was reinter- preted in the light of the Vedas, and Śiva was accepted at the head of the celestial pantheon. In support of the former we have the evidence of the Upanisads, and of the systems of philosophy; in support of the latter we have the Puranas, Tantra and Veda became synthesised in what we know as Hinduism. There is a fundamental difference between cults and religion. In the light of this difference religion for the Hindus goes even deeper; and Saivism as a religion for the Hindus is not only an adorable and cherished concept, but it indeed supplies the very basis for an extremely relevant and forceful branch of Hindu metaphysics. Śaivism is a form of Hindu life. Saivism, asceticism and Sannyasa are sister concepts. It is not a cult; not to speak of a sex-cult. It was a regular religion. But what is religion?


Religion and Cult

The word religion has not yet been satisfactorily defined. But religion is most certainly the feature of a civilised life. Cult is more primitive. In fact, cult is the most primitive form of worship. All primitive people had their local, group, clannish or even individual cults. Even when great religions are being practised all over the world, no religion has ever been able to keep completely out of the shade of cults. As the scorn for and the fear of the reptile obstinately persists deep down man's urbanised blood, so does 'cult' persist even within the most sophisticated or complex religion. Cult is the gene around which religions flourish. Cults are the oldest, and the persistently surviving faith of mankind. Vast regions of land, and equally vast populations of mankind, inclusive of those who profess this or that religion, are secretly or overtly given to the calls of cult. Cult-priests are still going great guns covered under this or that robe. The Magi of old were of a priestly order; and they have given civilisation the word 'magic', where mystery holds the most fascinating role. It is easy to sense a lot of overtones of magic and superstition in most of the great ritualistic religions of today.

Religion, for Prof. Croce, was not an autonomous form of experience, He considered it to be based on 'philosophical immaturity'. In other words, the matured philosopher needs no religion, or grows out of it. This is a typical Western view of philosophy and religion. In the East, in India, philosophy is a system of thinking about the reality of the Absolute. And Dharma, or religion, is also the way towards achieving that realisation. The religion and the philosophy of the Hindus, from the Vedas to Vyasa, from Kapila to Samkara, from the Buddha to Rama- krishna and Aurobindo have been inseparable. Real philosophy and religion are related as much as laws of chemistry and physics are to the manufacture of fire-works. In other words, for Croce true philosophers, like the aeronautical physicists, occupy themselves with fundamental laws, when the religionists hypnotise themselves with the amusement of kite-flying.

This, however, is not the opinion of many philosophers. "Religion ,is not," says Dr. Radhakrishnan, "mere consciousness of value. There is in it a mystical element, an apprehension of the real and an enjoyment of it for its own sake which is absent in the moral consciousness." Hegel does not regard religion as a means of transcendental experience, but calls it 'a form of knowledge', a view which many, who have the experience, would not support. Mere knowledge is regarded as a very cheap acquisition by those who experience. "This once experienced, the sources of all emotions spring into a perennial flow, the knots of all doubts are undone, and all worldly responsibilities for making two ends meet arrive at an end," says the Upanisad." God is claimed by these as the spirit of man objectified. In other words, the idea that is God encompasses and ensures the sublimest majesty of ecstasy subjectified in  a sort of entire totality..

Scholars do not agree on what defines the word religion. What are its contents, implications, adjuncts or observances. It could be "the belief in spiritual beings;" but only belief does not constitute religion. It could be, "a propitiation or reconciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and human life;" but the idea suggests a kind of barter without which the great devotees would not dare approach their gods empty handed. The idea of propitiat ing a god is inherent in religion. If god is too slow, then there is magic whereby they could always meet a counter-god interested in doing a busi- ness deal. The idea is too commercially and materialistically motivated. But the primitive man was a lover of the mystic side of nature. He treated much of his religious being with awe and reverence, because of which E. Crawley says, "No other conception (than sacredness) will comprise the whole body of religious facts." Religion has been looked upon by man variously

as truth divinely revealed to him by his Maker; as mere super- stition; a projection of his subjective mind (signed trend). He may see religion as an innate tendency, the functioning of a special instinct, the interpretation advocated by Prof. E. D. Starbuch to the utter dismay of Dr. John B. Watson. Again, he may be psychologically more cautious, and instead of viewing it with a special innate tendency take it as an outgrowth of other instinctive reactions, such as the herd instinct, agreeing with Trotter; or the sex instinct, following Schrodder; or like McDougal, he may make religion the focal point of several instinctive tendencies, such as awe, admiration and reverence. He may agree with Thouless that religion is not so much a thing in itself-as a mode of living. This view makes it "the outlet supreme for man's all-instinctive craving, the expression of all the urges in his heart, a channel into which he may pour all that is burdening his soul."

By emphasising on instincts and ignoring fear and love, above all by ignoring the common aspect of rituals, all these definitions appear to be attitudinous, materialistic and behaviouristic. When a man fears god, and propitiates, he is religious; when a man fears man and propitiates, he is immoral. Why this double standard?

There is a bridge between this Western attitude, and the Eastern. This bridge is provided by the Western classics. There appears to be no word either in Greek or Latin conveying the sense of religion. The Greek word 'iepa' and the Latin 'sacra' mean 'sacred'. Essentially this appears to be the only word that fully describes the attitude of the subject towards the object, which he (the subject) accepts as worthy of a religious reverence. Further search into this 'sacredness' reveals the following aspects: it is sacred, forbidden, personal, mysterious, secret, potent, animate, and ancient. Secrecy and taboo, mana and magic, animism and tradition as aspects of religion are derived from primitive times, and primitive sources.

The Hindus, unlike the Romans and the Greeks, have no word for 'religion'. Dharma, the word they use, connotes principles, property of concepts, constitutes, "that which distinguishes a word from a word, an object from an object, an idea from an idea', the way of things, which includes life and society. Dharma could be the binding factor between thing and thing, atom and atom, world and world. Each unit has its Dharma, and units in synthesis, propagate, in turn, their separate Dharmas. Dharma is that which sustains and retains through the process of integration and disintegration. It never leaves the things, and things cannot leave it. (Guna, Karma, Varna and Dharma are technical words used in Hindu philo- sophy). It is the Dharma of fire to be hot, of snow to be cold, of sun to rise in the east, of the earth and the spheres to spin. It is Dharma for man to love and serve man.

The Dharma of the Hindus is thus a spiritual idea around which numerous rites and gods rotate in unison. In Dharma man and moral society is more important than God and Religion. But above the rites, away from them, is acara, personal behaviour and cleanliness; niyama, discipline; yama, self-control over the erring and runaway emotions leading to passions; mistha, dedicated application; bhakti, devotion. These but suggest some fundamental trainings for character-building which even empiricists might follow. A man trained in these could serve man more. This enables him to serve god. It is a dharmik approach towards an edu- cation and purification of the inner man, without which the purest of the pure, the abranam (flawless), the Juddham (unblemished), the asnäviram (unadulterated), the apapa-viddham (unpierced by defilement) cannot be realised. It is the 'positive' in which (like rivers in ocean) all 'negatives' get neutralised. This characterises the Hindu-Dharma's approach to reali- sation, which is more than just achieving Heaven. In fact, in the Gita and elsewhere, the idea of striving for mere Heaven has been ridiculed as a petty 'desire'. Dharma for the Hindu ultimately leads to the 'realisa- tion' of eternal peace; to a freedom from conflicts, freedom from desire. Religion to a Hindu is a subjective realisation, of which god is an objective content.

The Hindu Rites

This metaphysical explanation of Dharma does not, however, include the Hindu rites. An elaborate process of samskaras (sacraments) and yajñas (sacrificial rites) conduct the growth of the Hindu individual from a pre-natal stage of physical being, to the stage of final relinquishment of the body, and to the later stage of essential 'being' before fastening to another body. These, together with what he had gathered from a series of tradi- tions coming down to him, determine his atittude to his personal Dharma and to his social cbligations. These traditions, at times, expect him to get identified with the surrounding socio-spiritual circumstances, which include various rites, duties and observations. All this together consti-tutes the pantheon of Hindu ceremonies and rituals. Thus, in Hindu religious system and society one finds Dharma, and religion; primitive magic and animism, and yogic sublimity; polytheism, and atheism co- existing side by side as members of a family. The more individual Hindu believes in the three elementary injunctions: satyam vada (speak the truth); dharmam cara (Do your duty and stick to the principles); sadhyayat ma pramada (never get away from learning and teaching); the nearer to Hinduism he remains. Else he is a Hindu in name alone. He may, or may not believe in any or many gods. That is not as important as holding a father, a mother and a stranger in need of succour or shelter as living gods. The balance is the individual's choice of tradition, choice of emo- tion and choice of ritualistic formality. The Hindu spirit bathes in the joy of public observances, as in a stream of delight; but fails not to come to grips with his own quest when in seclusion. He searches himself in loneliness. In this, St. James with his emphasis on a serving man, i.e., living a life of dedicated action is much nearer to a Hindu. Faith, alone, is dead, if not accompanied by actual work. "What doth the Lord want of thee but do justly, and to love mercy," " says Micah. Buddhism is Hinduism as explained to the Hindus by a protestant sick of priestly ritualism.

Hindu religion is so much involved in life and living that for a Hindu godliness is a constant constituent of living. His entire life must be a living religion. He may or may not believe in caste; he may or may not eat beef; he may or may not be fascinated by totem, or debarred by taboo; he may or may not offer worship; he has his life; and the fore he must understand the purpose of life, and contribute to it by getting involved in it. Like the Christian mystic Teilhard de Chardin he asks "Under what form, and with what end in view, has the Creator given us, and still pre- serves in us, the gift of participated being?" A Hindu's whole life is dedicated to answer this perennial question. His life work is aimed at finding this. This he considers to be his 'worship'. This is his religion. Hindu religion is essentially spiritual. It is the unique distinction of Hinduism that in it religion and metaphysics have been closely interwoven.One could not be separated from the other. Because of this, Saivism is distinct from phallicism inasmuch as Saivism is basically spiritual. Śaivism draws its inspiration from getting the entire mass involved in a universal feeling of equality and peace. In this, it is quite non-Vedic.

Religious Experience and Prophets

All religions are enshrined in the experience of individuals, here, there, now, or lost in the hoary past. Some individual, at some time, had had the experience; and then attempt was made to share that experience with fellow beings. They spoke of it in a language at once simple and mystic; cryptic, yet attractive. The individual's life and experience alone was its greatest evidence and argument. Those who followed the individual did so not as a result of advocacy, or ministration, or insistence, or persuasion, but because of the open virtue of the life of the man, the noble example of his sacrifice and because of the fundamental goodly joy the man imparted through his very presence.

These were called the prophets; their messages were called scriptures; and their followers were called a sect, following a special type of religion. These in time acquired forms, rites, specialities and a hundred other restrictive laws which extended over the original joy-message, which had the virtue of directness. In course of time, when the original preceptor's person recedes further into history, a collection of his sayings, like a col- lection of recipes brought before a hungry man, appears to be not only useless, but unbearable. What he hungers for is the experience of joy, which a realised person conveys through his presence. He needs food, not recipes. He needs love, not grammar. The bill for the service becomes heavier than the value of the food. The touchstone of spirit gets lost in the wilderness of forms.

Religion provides man with the courage to put the human will in harmony with the divine will; it gives man the wise determination of ac- cepting suffering and pain with the same amount of profound gratitude as a gift of success and joy. Religion uplifts the human spirit out of the dominion of material desires, and wins for it the freedom of a purer and simpler region where joy abides without limitations and boundaries; where beginnings are synthesised with ends; where desire and fulfilment are but the rhythms of the same symphony. "The universe seems to be nearer to a great thought," says Sir James Jean, "than to a great machine." Mathematicians and physicists of the highest order speak of "some subjective reality" as the final goal for human motives and actions. The greatest man may make the largest of machines; but for the growth of a blade of grass he has to look for a mystic power. To search for it is to search for one's true religion. He is indeed a man of religion who knows the supremely courageous art of facing the truth.

Religion teaches man to come to an understanding with the deepest layers of his own being, and discover in each of them a special call for transcending to some other state beyond and above it. In this sense it is not so much a revelation as a discovery and a settlement. Some religions emphasise on the subject of the search; whilst others emphasise on the experience derived from the search. Those of the first category find their object of adoration and search outside them. Once found, they love to adore it with faith and constancy. Those of the second type are content to discover their objective within themselves, and consider the experience to be the sublimest end of life.

Essentially, sometime or the other, a Hindu has to settle with himself about this enthralling experience where personal identity gets merged in the universal identity. The 'universe', in this case, means to him the entire world of apprehension in its totality. He, humbly and devoutly, adopts his own God for this purpose; and strives with His benedictions. In adoring a God, the devotee's chief aim is a transformation into some- thing beatifically universal. This he calls liberation, freedom, salvation, a complete lack of attachment, so that nothing whatsoever could further exist beyond and outside the ken of his experience. His involvement being total his realisation also is total, and vice versa. "It is the quantitative repletion and the qualitative consummation of all things; it is the mys terious Pleroma, in which the substantial One and the created many fuse without confusion in a whole, which, without adding anything essential to God, will nevertheless be a sort of triumph and generalisation of being. Atmapratilaksanam mokşam: in liberation the self and the soul merge into one experience. In the chapter on bhakti this aspect of conver- gence of the adored has been more fully dealt with later. When Whitehead defines religion as the individual's concern in solitude, he means this aspect of bhakti.

When the bhakti-realiser talks of samipya (closeness); sälokya (sameness of abode); sayujya (oneness); säripya (sameness in presentation); he means that through the force of sheer steady engrossment in love for the One, through sheer devotion and service the devotee (bhakta) will feel close to the beloved; living within the same environment and status wherein lives his beloved; always feeling united to Him through mental changes, devoted actions and listening from Him and of Him, as well as talking of Him and Him alone; and lastly, ultimately feeling himself in the same skin of the beloved as one fully identified. This is a bhakta's goal. He feels what St. Theresa, or Pierre Teilhard de Chardin does.

What happened then? I could tell that, I should tell a secret indeed. But a moment came when the darkness of that ocean changed to light, the cold to warmth: when it swept to one great wave over the shores and frontiers of myself: when it bathed me, and I was renewed: when the room was filled with a presence and I knew I was not alone, that I never could be alone any more, that the universe beyond held no menace, for I was part of it, that in some way for which I had sought in vain so many years, I belonged, and because I belonged, I was no longer, 1, but something-different, which could never be afraid in the old ways, or cowardly with the old cowardice.

Says Teilhard de Chardin: "I shall go into this engagement in a reli- gious spirit, with all my soul, borne on by a single great impetus in which I am unable to distinguish where human emotions and adoration begins."

Similar songs are heard from the Indian sage Tagore:

You made me open in many flowers; rocked me in the cradle of many forms; hid me in death, and found me again in life.

I came, and your heart heaved; pain came to you and joy.

You touched me, and tingled into love.

But in my eyes there is a film of shame, and in my breast a flicker of pain; my face is veiled and I weep when I cannot see you.

Yet I know the endless thirst in your heart for a sight of me, the thirst that cries at my door, in the repeated knockings of sunrise,

And so on endlessly, from time to time, the souls of the spirits in agony have cried, in the joy of the union with the Supreme, a God, a Lover, a Christ, a Krsna, a Rama, a Laila, a Majnun, as all pagans must. Life lifts us all to paganism. Love is an object-subject relation. The deeper the level at which the encounter is realised, the more intense is the feeling of the universality of this Love." This Love begins when excite- ment ends.

Adoration begins when emotions end. The subjectivity of this feeling makes the object objective, as of one piece.

Such religions call upon guides and guidance. These have their prophets; and the books which contain records of their experiences are regimented into 'codes' and 'dogmas'; sacraments and rites. Sublime gives way to bathos.

Rites and Sacraments

Sacraments and rituals are, indeed, essential parts of religion, because without the rituals nothing tangible remains for the subjective feeling to adhere to; these provide 'the pegs for our ceremonial coats to hang on," as they say. Discipline is part of all training. Even the bride needs the make-up in preparation of her meeting with the beloved. What are rituals but the hundred and one gadgets and tricks on my-lady's toilet- table as she anxiously prepares herself to appear at her best for 'the moment? But at the meeting itself, the supreme moment expects innocent denudation, puris naturalibus, a luminous freedom from all restrictions and obstructions. Even the filmiest of dress, the remotest of secrets act as a set-back in union. The self-conscious cannot love.

Religion expects a lot of forms and rites, a host of regulations and observances, codes and dogma, pilgrimages and priests; but any religion that stops at these, fails to reach the end of all religions. A bad swimmer, even when in water, tries to keep close to the shore, never daring to swim out, for fear of being drowned. Does he, under these conditions, really enjoy the thrill of swimming? Without daring there is no achieving. Religion must ultimately train, and encourage, to dare out in the open of the vast ocean of cosmic consciousness.

Religion differs from cult to cult in its sophistication of arrangements; in its disciplined and defined stages of achievement; in its emphasis on a happy union of faith and empiricism; in its ethical ministrations, and above all, in its total dedication for realising beatitude. The emotional content of religion is closely associated with ethics, aesthetics, art, civilisation and culture.

It is not so with a cult, the basis of cult is secrecy, mystery, fear and unworldliness in the sense of the eerie, the magical, the primitive, the local, the tribal. Cults have their priestly order also; but this order, as we have noted, thrives on mystification and secrecy. In approach the cults are more crude, rude and physical. They attach themselves to the primal forces of nature and supernature. They are more earthly, and sublimation is not what they seek, but a kind of material gain, earthly prospect, security, assurance, some worldly fulfilment. The prayers of a cult, and its rites have an objective to achieve; and unlike religion where the objective could be a subjective thrill, it attaches itself to mundane interest, and tends to become cultish; any ritual that aspires to elevate itself universally for a general good, becomes, by its urge, religious. Cults are tribal and primitive in this narrow sense. These very cults become religions of the world by extending its narrower limits to a wider, expansive, universal system of thought. The distinction between a tribe and a civilised community is almost the same as between a cult and a religion. Cults are supposed to be degraded; but there is no religion within which the grains of cult and cult-practices have not been deftly inlaid, and cleverly covered up. Practised religions are mosaics of cult, magic and spiritual sublimation. Our regard for religions at the derision of cult is yet another expression of our incorrigible sophistry.

Saivism and Tamil Beginnings

Naturally, therefore, Śaivism as a religion, also has to be related to its primitive past; and this has to be phallic worship, in one form or the other. But the neolithic infancy of Śaivism, although cultic, was different in the sense that its earliest antecedents reveal its association with the Tamil urge for ecstasy and devotion. It offers the Tamils, a people distinguished from the aboriginals, a philosophical content. They liked to pattern their lives in one great urbanised tiara of grandly laid, skyscrapping, elaborate and splendid tower.

The Tamils thought of Śiva as a primal cause, from which creation emanated. The basic or primitive phallicism was metamorphosed through the straightforward devotional virtue of the Tamil approach. This is demonstrated by the metaphysical contents of the hymnal literature of the Tamils. Their concept of Siva is reflected through their age-old devotional hymnology, as well as through their ritualistic offerings. These offerings were not centred around a fiery pit, as are the rites originating from Vedic antecedents. These were centred around a stone or copper symbol placed in a pit, preferably made of copper or bronze, where water and flowers were offered. Discipline, reaching the strictness of asceticism, was enjoined on the worshippers, who generally, gathered in entire families. Ritualism was not allowed to cross the bounds of decency. Sacrifice, which is the foremost rite of Vedic prayers, was very rarely encouraged. Later attempts by the interested to incorporate sacrifice in Saivic rites met with the severest condemnation.

The concept of the earliest form of Saivism, as it was known to the South from pre-Vedic times, centred around the metaphysical ideas of Oneness, monotheism, as it is called. The One-in-Two and the Two-in-One con- cept was retained in the form of matter and energy as the primal cause and state of being. No matter is without energy; and energy must get itself expressed only through matter. It is gratifying to note that modern physics declares similar ideas regarding the nature of matter and energy.

All good emanates from this causation of the primal being. In the world of primal good there is not, and cannot be, any bad. For in the world of Siva there is no opposite, for there is nothing but the One, Šiva. Matter is not an opposite of energy as the moon is not the opposite of light.

Darkness is the absence of light, and not its contradiction. These are not two. The inadequacy of the human tongue makes more differ- ences, opposites, contrasts and contraries than should be necessary for the perception of the truth and the One.

The Truth and the nature of truth is unlimited; but the scope of lan- guage and expression is limited. It is obvious that in all human expressions there is bound to remain an unbridgeable gap. Apparent contradictions peep through this gap. All beings are essentially the crys- tallised effect of the five states of matter-cum-energy, known as Siva. Siva is Sakti and Sakti is Šiva, as is revealed in the primary material forms, in all causes of beings, atoms, molecules, gene, protoplasm, etc., all fall into this description. In each of these the existence of the Primal Five states has to be admitted, conceived. These five states, in subtle and gross forms, are smell or the earth, taste or water, form or fire, touch or air, sound or ether. These five in five (subtle in Gross) in their innate united state is Šiva, which is in itself an expression of Siva-Sakti. So the number Five is of special significance to Saivic rites. The Saivaite worships the subtle in the form, the dynamic in the static. Three, Five, Seven, Nine, as odd numbers are significantly important; and wherever the numbers Five, Three, Seven, Nine come, in esoteric significance, they have to submit their mainness to the Supreme Monism of the One, Siva. The oddity about these odds is that they all remind us of the One; the even remind us of the Duality.

The Saivic doctrine, which will be discussed fully in later chapters, ad- mitted Śiva to be the Supreme Reality. It has eight attributes; self-exis- tence, essential purity, intuitive wisdom, infinite intelligence, freedom from all bonds, infinite grace, omnipotence and infinite bliss. Šiva is beginningless, infinite, uncaused, free from failings, the all-knower, and the releaser from the bonds that fetter the individual soul. Śiva as Kala (Time) is changeless, although apparent changes appear to confuse the mind, which does not fully apprehend the totality of Siva. The material cause of the world has no consciousness, and cannot organise itself into what it is, without the instrumental cause; the material cause is the Prakyti (the five elements), and the instrumental cause Sakti (Energy or Vital). Karma alone has no value unless the same is invoked by the spiritual projection of human will. Such will alone, invoked by the inner spirit acts, and could act, for the liberation of the soul. Siva, is the first Cause, as well as the Effect; and Sakti is the second cause, but not the Effect. Between Siva and Sakti the total body of the universe, inclusive of man, is possessed of one and only one soul, and this is Siva, in whom the first and the second lay in an indivisible oneness. World is not identical with Šiva, but Siva is in the world like soul in body.

Siva is Time itself; that is, as Kala it is change itself, without changing. He acts through Sakti, the conscious energy, which does not end or change with the end or change of the body; but passing through the five stages remains itself unchanged effecting changes apparently of all material bodies. Once it is understood that this Sakti is but the reflex of Siva, it could be comprehended that the Absolute is Siva. This Absolute, the synthesised Šakti-Siva complex, the reality of metaphysics, is the Šiva of religion. Saivism has little to do with the Phallic that still receives adoration elsewhere. A commentary on Tamil Saivism, and its metaphysical structure, will find proper elaboration at a right place. But as Saivism eventually became identified with what is now known as Hinduism, it had to contain certain ideals, which have been held dear to the Hindu life. Saivism is a practising Dharma. It is no creed, or cult. Its morals are binding on the Hindu system. Essentially, Hindu- ism has to be lived. For a Hindu, religion is living. This is why, contrary to Western belief, Hindus believe religion and philosophy to be essentially two aspects of the same life. Hindus live their doctrines. Their whole life is offered as a prayer. Their life has to assume the sanctity of a sacrifice; their personal body is to be regarded as a temple of God; and Truth and Beauty, in Realisation, becomes their God.

A section of the Saiva devotees at a later date wore the Symbolic Śiva- lingam on their person to be reminded constantly of the fact that the body is the abode of the Supreme. Runs a Siva verse: "You are the Soul; Sakti, its Consciousness; attendants, the breath; and the temple, the body." These were the Lingayats, about whom we shall know more and more when we deal with the philosophy of Saivism. But this sect has been ridiculed spitefully again and again by Western writers, specially by the travellers and missionaries, whose authority to write on the subject lies in their blind adherence to sectarian pretensions alone. Greatness of a faith cannot be proved by ridiculing another.

The Guru and Experience

To the Western mind this kind of symbolism would appear inevitably to be associated with phallic cults, specially when unsupported with doctrinaire texts and prophetic authority. The Hindu mind turns contemptuously towards any indoctrinated standards of 'preached' religions, principally based on dogmas, specially when such religions discourage enquiry, rationality and substantiation. It must look forward to the analysis of the world of life and living, and synthesise the same with an individual's actions. Knowledge about the Reality of Life and Existence could never be a groping in the dark, a blind man's buff, a fatalistic resignation to the forces. The Hindu does not question God for an answer. He questions himself. It is his birth right. He does not question a book or an authority for the ultimate knowledge. Even the Guru has to explain, and answer quo vadis. Unless he does so, he is no Guru. Gurus in Hinduism have to be great metaphysicians, with this difference that in their case metaphysics is not merely academic dry discourses bereft of the 'life' of experience; but the Hindu Guru, who discourses on metaphysics, had to live his thoughts. He is not a walking dictionary; a bundle of theories; he is an authority. He is not the fount, but the drink itself. He is the wise man who 'knows'. Only then would he expect to lead his disciple to a blissful experience by helping him to 'live' it. Hinduism insists on experience. In order to understand the Hindu approach to god, guru, religion, image-worship, polytheism, rituals and the multitude of so-called paganistic proliferations, one has fully to understand the basic interrelation existing between a Hindu's religion and his philosophy. If philosophy liberates the mind in thinking, and gives it the grandeur of sublime liberalism, then the Hindu brings that gift of philosophy to bear on the religion he follows. And he follows that religion which suits his way of understanding philosophy.

Hindu philosophy has branched out into many schools of thought. Each system or school has attempted to reach the same Truth. The differences of their ways, instead of robbing the human mind of its essential unity, has given to it, and to civilisation, the treasures of variety, diversi- fication and expanse. Furthermore, it has added a rarer confidence in the realm of spiritual experience, namely, the fact that philosophical differences need not affect the concept of the divine. This is a fact with which the Hindus have learnt to live and grow. The Hindu could pick and choose his own way of thinking, and link his thought to a particular school or system. Similarly the Hindu, who bases his religion on some philosophy, could follow any way, any process, any God, any deity, any Guru, and yet remain a Hindu. All hazards, thinks the Hindu, are due to ignorance; all ignorance provides the bonds; and enlightenment alone releases the soul from the bond of ignorance. This chain of metaphysical argument makes the Hindu approach his God and religion through any deity, which but symbolises the truth for him. For him a deity is not God; for the deities are many, but God is One. But he certainly endeavours to realise the Divine, God, in the deity. One such is the concept of Siva where the lingam is the symbol, because it has no shape and no form necessarily.

It is God who is more worried to meet the devout soul, than the opposite. (cf. Tagore: p. 92 ante). Such a God has, like the soul of man taking a body-shape, has to assume a body. He shapes himself in the very form in which he is most sought. Śraddha makes the Spirit assume a form for the good of the devotee. Even Samkarācārya, and Buddha before him, dared not underrate the importance and efficacy of worship and devotion. The popular belief in gods has been respected by all true seers. The Supreme Godhead although inexpressible would not be so supreme in case He failed to take form. He does not fail the true heart. It is quite possible for Him to appear in forms. "Every surface derives its soil from the depths, even as every shadow reflects the nature of the sub-stance."stance." The Siva-form, the Śiva-image, too, is similarly inspired by the devotee's urge. And God bestows Grace, and manifests Himself to the devotee.

Saivism is thus essentially Hindu, though it is not entirely impossible that in the current Śiva rites foreign influences might have got mixed up through the ages. Such syncretic traces are generally accommodated, as has been the case with Tantra. The Agamas are Saivaite, and speak of Siva, the One; and the Tantra speaks of Siva and Sakti, the Two-in-One Mother-Father', concept. Tantra denotes a 'tradition' running through many peoples.


The Phallic World with the Antecedents

(a) Phallic-terms and Saivism

Together with Svetasvatara Upanisad the Agamas and Tantras are the earliest source for Saivism. A study of these in their proper perspectives shall be helpful in appreciating the differences between what is phallic, in the Western sense, and what is Saivic in the Hindu sense.

Great care has to be taken about following the language of these books. Language, which is an inadequate medium for expressing the Spirit, further suffers from translation. Translated words themselves work like traps, and keep understanding closed. Language has its own somatics and sonics, which project their own auto-suggestions. The same words could have different images in different languages. Words are meaningful only as far as they reflect ideas in other minds. The entire mechanism of sound-communication, as it makes an impact on the human mind, works through thought or idea-channels already grooved within the mind for ready-receptions. Until and unless we could become certain that communicating minds are carrying on a parlance in precisely the same word-pictures, the parties concerned could be holding talks without ever being able to communicate.

The mere phrase phallic worship pushes forward a world of dirt as it were. It is the result of centuries of prejudice and ignorance. Debased unrealistic ideas have been hammered into gullible minds through a range of books, lores, legends, ministration, taboos and tales of weird practices of so-called devilry. Minds so regimented could conceive of the phallic only in the sense of debauchery.

This was not entirely without some basis. The Oriental tradition of the Great Mother, of the White Goddess, together with the traditions of Cybelline rituals, Eleusian rituals, the dreaded Cretan, Mittani and Aphro- diterites had spread an awesome magic-spell over the subconscious of the centuries. The very name phallic disturbed simple minds, and created 'horrid' suggestions, Satyrs overcoming unpretentious virgins, Pans and Fawns, and similar legends have not helped much to drive away such weird images of sex atrocities by gods and demi-gods.

The Sanskrt words yoni, yantra or lingam, which (through inadequate translations) have caused equal confusion in Western minds, connote phallicism, though in physical application alone. The root meaning of the words are not physically motivated. These are terms which connote metaphysical abstractions, such as matrix, diagram and symbol respectively. Secondary meanings evolve such terms as womb or machine or index. In the Eastern mind these connotations are so fixed as do not project any physical image at all. In their root-sense they hardly project any sense of pervert eroticism.

The Tantric approach to worship of the Yoni, or of the Lingam is quite different from the Agamic way of worshipping Siva-Sakti or Siva- Parvati. The difference could be appreciated from the following list of words associated with the study of Tantra and Agama. Yoni-matrix or womb; Prakyti Nature; Ketra-field; Will-primal cause or urging ener- gy; Lingam Sign, index, or inertia; Bija-seed; Purusa-kşetri, or a plough- man, consciousness, material cause, witness, or abode. 'Lingam' involves the principles of lin destruction, and gam to march, 'to move on', in one.

There is no conveniently acceptable word for phallus in Sanskrt. The entirely physical 'penis' is not Linga, but upastha. The only other word, 'Sina' is a highly physical, purposive word, bereft of any spiritualism, charged with mere crude physicality, and significantly condemned in the Vedas in connection with spiritual worships. Hence to equate the phallic with the lingam would cause a much harmful misappropriation of conceptual veracity. It tantamounts motivated dishonesty, and deliberate intellectual deception.

It is, therefore, absolutely necessary to disabuse the mind of the pseudo- purist's sophistry and snobbery regarding the word Lingam in Sanskrt, or even the Phallic. A sociological enquiry into the nature and form of the spiritual content of Hindu phallicism calls for the cultivation of proper attitude, and the development of a proper perspective regarding the ideas, Lingam and Toni, which do not connote the phallus or the vulva, necessarily, and invariably.

Lingam and Yoni constitute abstract concepts. These together form the basis of Tantra, which recommends a mystic process for a metaphysical approach to the realisation of the Sublime Spiritual Bliss, of reaching the Source of Consciousness. It is terse, difficult, ascetically ordered, and admits of no charlatantism. Because of its highly involved nature, the Tantra-way has been termed as the Vira (courageous, bold) way. Agamic Saivism is, on the other hand, human, emotional, relaxed. Śiva, in Agamic Saivism is imaged as anthropomorphic; and the Great Mother is Uma or Amma, or Parvati (the maid of the mountains).

Yet the Agamic Saivism has been used also as a forest into which several strains of cultish practices and pagan rites found a safe haven. Tribal cults, neolithic symbols, stones, trees, cacti, mushrooms, hemp, phallistic totems, phallistic taboos, manas, all could be traced in it. To the open eye the evidence is glaring. But these exhibitive traits do not disturb the poised devotee and the Yogi. Their physical importance could be adjudged only through their abstracted continuity. Such transformation of the accommodated cults has rendered their presence beyond common recognition. Similar evidence relates man to the ape, moon to the earth, and the Peruvian Llama to the Arabian camel. Such academic facts leave our emotional reactions undisturbed. We cannot accept the dog as a wolf, or the panda as a bear despite zoological evidence in favour of such declarations.

(b) Svetasvatara and Saivism

On the recorded texts the Svetasvatara Upanisad for the first time enunciates Saivism. But this Saivism is of a kind different from the ancient Tantra. It is here that we meet for the first time the open liberal and all-embracing idea of Śiva, the over-lord. Deva of the devas, Mahadeva. This kind of Saivism has adopted, comforted and absorbed many other cults. The Śiva of the Svetasvatara Upanisad is the Siva of Hinduism. All forms of Saivism outside this basic Upanisad appear as cultish attempts and continue under false pretexts. We will see that such attempts have been systematically denounced. Cults have tried to sponge on Saivism, but Hindu concept of Saivism studiously condemned such attempts.

The Svetasvatara Upanisad, is as authentically related to Saivism as the Gita is to Vaisnavism. In it Śiva assumes the highest place amongst the Vedic gods. He is identified with the Eternal Absolute, the Supreme One from which all Beings emanate." Maheśvara (the Great God), Mahadeva (Supreme God), Devadeva (God of gods) are some of the honorifics that Šiva assumes in this Upanisad. Siva in Śvetāśvatara is now Isana, now Rudra, now Agni, one after the other. Later Pauranic writers worked on this theme: the theme of Siva's extending supremacy over the other important deities. A legend in the Vayu Puräna, describ- ing this theme narrates that the Lingam's adoration spreads all over the Universe; that even Visnu or Brahma (the other two Vedic deities) failed to fathom the ultimate of Siva. The limited scope of Vedic gods could not measure by their standards the cosmic grace of the Siva-idea. From a study of the root meanings of these familiar honorifics of Siva it appears that the Purana legends, the Agama emotive verses, and, the entire current of Siva-adoration had sprung out of the implications inherent in these words. It speaks very highly of the poetical and spiritual ingenuity of the inspired authors who were able to use the basic words, and spin them into such legends which conveyed the spiritual message of Saivism within the scope of the dramatic incidents of the legends so narrated. As for example; the gods confess that the only way of reaching Him lies through true austerity (tapas), and self-control of the severest type. This aspect of austerity has been described in the Purana-language through the legend of penance by virgin Umã for having Šiva as a consort. Thus the Svestasvatara Upanisad as a treatise could be regarded as a synthesis of the Agamic Southern trend and the Vedic acceptance. The very name Svetasvatara (the white mule) conjures up pictures of alien influence. This has to be further studied at a later stage.

Although traces of Saivic characteristics are not altogether absent in the Vedas, yet, it has to be acknowledged that Saivism, actually, has been, by and large, a Tamil creed, which must have, due to the fact of geo- graphical continguity, taken to account the Proto-Austroloid, Dravido- tribal fertility cults obtaining in the Deccan.

Tamils and the Deccan are inseparable. The Deccan was the chief habitat of the aboriginal austroloids. As such the Deccan had been from times immemorial an important home of phallic cults.

The Deccan tribes, like most tribals, worshipped principally the matriarchal idea of the Mother. The Tamils, on the contrary, who were not known to be of austric descent, favoured a Father God. Yet true to form, even while imposing the Father God idea, they had to com- promise and accept the Great Mother, Uma or Amma.

Uma or Amma, significantly, is not a Sanskrt word. The word has been traced by Dr. S. K. Chatterji to a similar Goddess in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Asia Minor countries."

But Siva, the Father-God, attained a superior position. In order to secure his place in the later literature, the abstract Siva concept was given an anthropomorphic form. Šiva, the father, together with Pärvati (the mount-maiden), the Mother, even managed to develop a family without having to undergo the biological process of actual begetting. Those who study this anthropomorphic metamorphosis in the light of the 'principles' of the Siva-Siddhanta, read in the Purana-expositions a poetical symbolism of the same system. But the Bhakti philosophy would rather accept the emotive Purana for its own delight, although the greatest ex- ponents of 'Bhakti' had received the subtlest message of the abstractions contained in Saiva-thinking, or in the exposition of the Saiva metaphysics.

(c) Saivic Channels

When we keep this in mind, we understand two things. One, that even at the legendary state, the abstract concept of Siva and Uma was not allowed to be violated; their family and sociological status was fondly indulged at a superfluous and inetaphorical level alone. Śiva has no 'father', 'mother', or 'family'; 'Uma' has a 'mountain' as her father, and Menaka or (Mena) as her mother. Her family includes Vidya, Kamala, Ganesa and Kartikeya (Subrahmanya). It also includes the Bull, the Lion, Jaya, Vijaya, Nandi and Bhṛngi.

It is interesting to remind here of a plaque of Tellus Matex discovered at Ara Pacis on Campus Martius (13-9 n.c.) of a mother deity answering quite closely to this family-picture of the Hindu Mother Goddess (see Plate 22). The presence of a bull, a lamb, a swan and water-animal confirms the Hindu Mother Durga's image.

Two, that despite the Tamil attempt to absorb the Mother-cult into the abstract Saivism, a distinct Mother-mysticism prevailed undisturbed. This was the Tantra, the 'thread', the 'traditional' cult of old. In this sense Tantra, the mystic way, was not Vedic. Śiva Agama, Śiva-legends, Šiva-epics, Siva lores, Šiva songs developed side by side with Nigama, an esoteric, ritualistic, system known as the Tantra. Tantra, the tradi- tional 'thread', has been coming down to get woven into the spiritual texture we now adore. Hindu Tantric literature and the Samkhya, Yoga as well as the Monistic Vedänta systems are today interwoven.

This is quite natural. Whenever a people has tried to win over another's faith and forms of worship, in the process, the one that spreads, has to absorb some parts of the existing belief and form. Any proselyt- ising faith has to accommodate prevailing ideas. Side by side with this idea of a Father-god, God of gods, the idea of a Mother Goddess played its persistent part. Together, they constitute the Agama-Tantra.

The above two together indicate the origin of Saivism as a definite school of spiritual quest in the Hindu mind.

Of the many forms which remind the Saivic devotee of the Father- god's relation with the matriarchal phallic cult, some are quite popular. Although their original significance has got faded through centuries of ritualistic acceptance. To the student of anthropology they assume a documentary importance. The symbolic diagrams, a triangle, a trident, a crescent, a Vajra" persist as esoteric symbols, as do the zoomorphic holy animals and reptiles, like the bull, the boar, the lion, the serpent, the beetle and the elephant. Šiva kills a tiger or an elephant and wears the skin. Elephant and tigers are favourites of the Mother. Father- God imposes his superiority. He favours the Bull, the Deer, the Serpent and tolerates the lion with the Mother who has such names as Värähi (Sow), Narasinght (Lion faced woman), and Bhramari (Beetle); or Šakini, Sakambhari, Yogini, Camunda-names that indicate non- Aryan connection. As and when we proceed, we shall see how the Greco-Oriental and the Mediterranean religions were related to these objective deities.

Phallic symbol, Father God, Mother Goddess, zoomorphic gods together with fertility as a cult, using such signs as a snake, a bull, a crescent, a trident etc., are found common in many a creed current in the orient, specially in lands close to the sea. It is imaginable that through commercial links the cults travelled over different lands. Port towns of the Near and Middle East hummed with the praises of these varied religious forms. The East-West commerce was both mercantile and cultural."

But there is a difference between the Phallic forms current in these lands, and the phallic symbols used in the Deccan. India appears to have studiously eschewed the frank phallic forms used for spiritual purposes.

"Of all the representations of the deity that India has imagined, these (lingam) are perhaps the least offensive to look at."

Sacred records reflect open abhorrence. But this very abhorrence also proves its presence.

Compared to the phallic symbols used in India, the phallicism of the Western cults is more exposed, vivid, and physical, and therefore repelling, (see Plates 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). This could be traced in the cults of Aphrodite and Artemis, Cybele and Demeter, Gaea and Athene. "The phallus, as a symbol of reproduction, appears in the rites of Demeter, Dionysus, Hermes, even of the classic Artemis. In classical sculpture and painting this emblem recurs with scandalous frequency." a popular celebration of Greece, ended with a great procession. In this Dionysia, procession phallic representation (not symbols) were ceremoniously carried in exhibitory gorgeousness. In the Island of Sicily exchange of re- presentations of phallus was held in greater awe and form than the modern exchanges of Christmas cards. The holy Christian Church tried to suppress this practice; but has had to put up with it through naively compromising devices. We shall have occasion to deal with the mysteries of the Eleusian cults, as well as those of Pythagorian, Cybelline, Dionysian and Aphroditic trends separately, and at length. We also refer to the Tantra 'Laya- Karma' as a mystic rite in the Glossary. But notice could be drawn here to the discovery in the jungles of Sidamo in Abyssinia of huge representa- tions of erect phallus, 14 to 16 feet in height and 6 to 8 feet in diameter (see Plate 1). To-date, in the Sicilian and South-Italian spring-fruit festivals, the predominance of physical phallus forms could not be checked even by the orthodox church. Did we not say before that cults are first to appear, and last to disappear from practised religions because these relate to Nature's vitality.

Adoration of reproductive organs turned into clay, metal or wax was so popular amongst the people of oriental-Europe inclusive of Greece and Italy, that the organ-representations were used as fetishes and amulets. The museums of Europe, and many of the walls of the churches are filled with such relics. Representations of mother gods with rows upon rows of exaggerated mammies, or of very generously blown up super-elephantine mammies (see Plate 16), or of spaciously amplified buttocks (see Plate 15) vie with priapic forms of lengths upon lengths of phallic forms. These are forms found about the Mediterranean countries where even fingers, toes and noses of the deities, have been made to represent the phallus, We have found them in pre-historic France, India and in the historical tunes of the countries lying in between.

The subject offers a tempting bait for over-simplifying a complex situation; but intellectual honesty and spiritual hygiene demands a more thorough treatment. It is indeed true that phallicism and Saivism could be linked, but only in the sense that Christianity could be to Mithraism, or Islam or Judaism to the cult of the Prepuce. To insist on such links is less than academic; it smacks of chauvinism, human spite and intolerance.

In contradistinction with this Greco-Oriental trend, found echoed in the Soma-Siddhanta for instance, Śaivism has been described as a part and parcel of the worship of Sakti, a mother concept. Dr. A. Barth in his 'Religions of India' has competently dealt with the fact that Śiva-Sakti concept is based on fundamental metaphysical thinking, and that it could not be treated as a mere cult. Dr. Barth is in no way singular in his view (cf. Woodrooffe, Coomaraswamy, Zimmer etc.).

The Siva-Sakti Concept: What it has to Give

The Siva-Sakti concept is based on what may be explained as (1) the theories of matter and energy, their interdependence and interrelation; (2) theories of atomic cohesion; (3) theories of cosmic principles featuring through material substances; and (4) the theories of the personal self conducting itself as a fraction of the Universal Soul. In this Śaivism attempts to synthesise the material with the spiritual; the derivatives with the trans-substantive and transcendative. Śaivism makes it absolutely incumbent upon those who reach the higher spiritual stage to recognise the natures of self, soul and consciousness; of matter and energy; of body and spirit; of self-realisation through meditation and Yoga, and of self-knowledge through practice and discipline. Unlike the aim of material profit as referred to in 'fertility cults', Śaivism proposes for itself spiritual emancipation. Unlike the orgiastic abandonment in phallic rituals, Saivism reposes austere discipline on the novices and anchorites from the very beginning. The riddle of life is its challenge, and to provide an answer to the aim of existence is its real goal. It elucidates the problems of life, growth, procreation, death, emancipation and beatification. It defines the requirements of rituals, worship, devotion, penances and rigours; and enjoins the practice of unfettered uninhibited family life. Saivism hits at an artificial society that discriminates and encourages false standards of status and privileges. It militates against class conscious- ness. It welcomes the proletariat mass to a realisation of oneness. It aims at a total good for a total society, not for the human alone, but for all forms of life. Its basic contribution to human thinking is eternal, in the sense that it fulfils its promise by realising one in all and all in one.

Judged apart from the Aryan concept of a select elite society, Śaivism was a socialising challenge. Although it enjoined its own rites, those rites were non-discriminatory and universal, simple and direct. These did not depend on the intervention of priests, neither required the devotee to go into costly and time-killing ritualistic details. The poorest of poor, even the most illiterate, enjoys the same right in this form of worship as the wise, the academic and the wealthy, provided the devotee cultivates piety and humility, devotion and discipline.

Tantra differs from Saivism in its emphasis on the Mother-Image. Sakti and Prakyti provide the 'power' and 'Nature' aspects of the world- phenomenon. This as the Matrix Power has been hailed all over the an- cient world of tribes, specially hill-tribes." It is claimed as the earliest of human submission to a divine Power. Saivism, also, is claimed to have a very ancient tradition. The former marks the matriarchal ascen- dancy; the latter, the patriarchal ascendancy. The tradition has been fairly well spread over the Asian continent. China, Tibet and the Cau- casian regions have provided a conventional home for Tantra. The Persian Plateau and the Indian subcontinent had been under the influence of a Father-image instead. Subsequently the two images got mixed up; and Siva and Sakti are united in a new form of Tantra. In the Puranas this has been referred to as the marriage between Siva and Parvati (the Mountain Goddess). Agama and Nigama both became the wings of Tantra which was the dominant religion of China, Tibet, Kashmir, Babylon, Aisa Minor and the vast Himalayan range. Even Buddhism had to be influenced by the spell of Tantra, and became known as the Mahayana.

Inevitably the modes and nuances of the 'marriage' of the Father and Mother images led to various schisms in the Siva-system as a whole. These were: Kashmir Saivism; Deccan Śaivism; and Vira Saivism. Besides these three principal systems there are some unorthodox systems principally owing their existence to cultish practices.

The history of Saivism is a fascinating study; so is a study of its absorb- ing philosophy. But the part that makes Saivism a noble and popular religious practice in India is its emphasis on simplicity of devotion, and simplicity of ritualistic requirements. In contrast with the Vedic practices, Saivism offered to the people a direct approach to spiritual fulfilment.

Unlike the aristocratic and proud Aryans the Saivas did not use butter in their ritualistic worship. They used the simple water; not the sacri- ficial pit red with flames, but the oblational pit, cool with water and fragrant with flowers; not the rituals chanted by the Brahmin specialists, but the devotional hymns recited by the devotees themselves; not the sacrifice tainted with blood and flesh, but by spiritual immolation, self- purification, austerity of personal discipline.

The Aryans, or the class-conscious conquerors, were not too kindly disposed towards this revolt, and a war of nerves ended with an open confrontation. A showdown was inevitable. The stories recording these episodes crowd the pages of the Puranas. This resulted in an acceptance of Saivism as a part of the Hindu life; moreover, Śiva was declared to be Deva-deva (God of gods), Mahadeva (the great god), Adi-deva (the most ancient of the gods, the Primal God).

The victory of a father-god over a mother-goddess, of Śiva over Sakti, of the proletarian mass over the aristocratic class did not take place without conflicts. It has been a long drawn bitter conflict. The (Aryan) Vedas and the (non-Aryan) Agamas were involved in this conflict. Remnants of destroyed towns, cities and human habitations have been discovered in the Indus Valley, Narmada valley, in the Gangetic valley of Bengal, as well as along the coast lands of the peninsula. At certain places, along the great rivers, not one, but layers of several cities one below the other, have been unearthed. The destruction of one type of culture by another type is evident.

From the legend of Daksa Prajapati, Jaratkaru, Šukrācārya, Astika to those of Kamsa, Väṇa, Ravana, Šišupāla, Jarasandha, legend after legend, the Puranas record the events of the conflict in which celebrated sages like Vasistha, Visvamitra, Dadhici, Pulastya, Parasurama, Balarama have been actors. New books, new Puranas, new Upanisads came to be written.

It was bound to be. Šaivism, which is a refined and sublimated form of the most ancient homage man had paid to the spirit of life, has to come into conflict with later sophisticated trends. The wonder is that Hinduism survives. It survives even after the spread of Buddhism, and against the waves of religions like Mithraism, Zoroastrianism and Manichacism. In fact, Śaivism drank deep in all of them and absorbed all of them, and survived by assimilation. Those religions which rejected and annihilated passed out into oblivion. Actually Saivism shone in its fullest glory after conquering all the faiths from Phallicism to Buddhism only after the era which gave its fundamental treatise, Svetasvatara Upanisad. The struggle became a thing of the past; and the theme of the struggle remained recorded in the Puranas.

Pan-Tantric Culture

But who were the parties? Who were the Vedic people, and who were the Agamic people? What was their respective range of influence? What were their respective modes of living, languages, religion? How could the two trends be distinctly recognised? Through what media?

This should lead us to probe into the extensive influence of those religions which affected almost all littoral civilisations from the shores of the China seas to those of the Mediterranean via the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The people who spread these different conflicting cultures from port to port in those ancient days must have had a developed system of both commerce and communication, especially, they must have had the uses of sea-worthy crafts. To be able to knit together Siam, Cambodia, Malaya, the East Indies, Burma, Ceylon on the one hand and Persia, Mesopotamia, Somalia, Arabia, Syria, Egypt, the Aegean archipelago and the Mediterranean isles on the other, must have been a great feat, specially when the advance had not been a military A study of these people as different from the Aryans, who did not have much care for any maritime skill, should prove rewarding. These were people who kept pace with the prevailing phallic cults of these lands, and at the same time maintained an identity of their own. They fused the Aryan-Vedic and the non-Vedic together. They developed their own system of metaphysics, which included a theory of creation. This was carried across the seas; and in time, this was coalesced with the Vedic System, despite the fact that it kept intact a nature of its own. New compasses had to be set for achieving this; new dimensions discovered; new gods created. This they apparently did. But greed and lust for power dealt a rough hand against pious and simple ideals. What religion tried to achieve, political adventurism put to the sword. Those power-stuffed empires have, in course of time, crumbled to dust; but the religious thoughts with their gods and their practices have survived through the aspiring zeal of humanity which seeks liberation of fleshly agonies through spiritual ecstasy.

Saivism, in course of years, and reacting against a variety of experiences developed into a number of systems (1) Agamas and Tantra; (2) Saiva Siddhanta; (3) Pasupatas and Käpälikas: (4) Jangamas or Lingayats; (5) Kashmira Trik Saivism; (6) Ajivakas; (7) Nathas; and (8) Siddhas. Some of these forms retain their primordial phallic traces, and attempt to practise them if required, even clandestinely. But these are the least followed, and the most derided even amongst the Hindus. Derided, but not rooted out. Perversions, refer to the psycho-analytical nature of certain sick individuals. Such cases are sociological problems, and have nothing to do with religion or philosophy.

These latter perversions were derided in orthodox Hinduism. It has been mentioned before. At times these outlandish rites are referred. to as Chin-Acara, or Paivacāra, which denote their non-Hindu origin. yaksa, kinnaras, lakas, daka, siddhas, pilacas, ganas, guhyakas, raksasas have been of non-Aryan non-Vedic descents. But today these are included in the general term Śaivism, and many of their questionable rites are mistaken for Śaivic rites. To give only two instances (1) 'Yogi', popularly pronounced 'Jogi' is a religious sect spread over North Bihar, Bengal, Assam and north-eastern Orissa, and maintain the Sannyasi image of the Saivaites, but who are not Ŝaivaites. Many of the followers even profess Islam. They claim to have no religion and no God. They only adore the Guru and the Traditions. They are followers of mystic Tantra rites. (2) In Punjab a sect dedicated to the Saint Sri Chand, son of Guru Nanak, the Founder of Sikhism, has its own following. These are called the Udasis. They consider Śri Chand as an incarnation of Śiva, but their rites are very mystic, and are contained within themselves, though Udasis form a strong spiritual sect, and are known as the Nagas (the nude mendicants). In orthodox Saivism these sects, though powerful, are considered schismic. Thus we have to distinguish between orthodox and unorthodox systems, and their interrelation with oriental religions. In the next chapter we shall try to take a bird's eye view of the oriental and classical religions, with the hope that the study of Saivic rites and phallic rites will become easier by such comparative methods adopted.


Sex and Religious Fervour

Our whole Western way of life is descended from civilisations which once flourished in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Central Asia, and the islands of the Aegean. Yet the span of time embraced by the advanced civilisations known to us is incredibly brief. Ten thousand years are like a day in the lifetime of human evolution We of today are not only burdened with the centuries of afflictions and everlasting mistakes of past millenia, but are also heirs to the discernment and knowledge which they brought in their train. We owe the brief happiness of what we call our existence to countless millions of men who returned to dust long ago,

A sense of security is a source of happiness. Religion is one of the expressions of this happiness. Since the beginning of human society, submission of human prayers to a power unseen has contributed to human existence a strange feeling of confidence and reliance. The words of prayers invoked spiritual fervour through centuries of intensive incanta- tions. Side by side with the most touching sacrifices or the most horrifying acts, sublime poetry of ecstatic magnitude and ethereal appeal has been composed for solemn music. Religion has played a part in broadening the scope of human contact both negatively and positively. So inextricably interwoven is religion with the life of ancient societies, that it would be sheer folly to attempt to write a history of religion without considering this human aspect. All past percolates into the trough of the present; and all present is intricately rooted into the past.

Significant landmarks of cultural progress of mankind are not shaped by military victories, or greedy expansions. Political ascendancy is both temporary and clusive. Victories of peace are of more enduring value to scholars than those of war. Real historical landmarks are rather provided by such events as invention of writing by the Sumerians, the composition of the craft in Egypt, of the system of democracy in Athens, the enactment of the codes of Hammurabi, the writing of the poems of Li T'ai Bo, formation of city-states in Greece, etc., etc. Apparently disconnected, the underlying cohesion between these aspects of social progress could scarcely be underrated, because these phenomenal achievements of civilisa- tions have knitted man more firmly together than individualistic race theo- ries with their respective claims of superiority, or egoistic adventurism of armoured might and barbarous brigandism. Such claims, in the perspective of the knowledge of these different achievements of mankind, appear rudimentary, frivolous and parochial. That which reflects cohesion brings man nearer. The more the discrimination, the more the feelings of difference. When perceived spiritually, religion too, instead of difference, instead of keeping human beings divided, could help them live in togetherness and amity. Failing this, the age-old bane of religion would assist the imperialists and fascists to tighten their nefarious grip firmer on a popular social progress by keeping man divided. Religion, which in reality is motivated for the satisfaction of inner hunger of man, has so far, unfortunately, acted in retardation of the ideals of society. A highly spiritual subject like religion had to suffer this humiliation mainly because it submitted itself to be manoeuvred by political interests. Reli- gion should never allow itself to become the handmaid of position, power or expediency.

A close study of all ancient religions reveal strange resemblances, especially in their ritualistic lust and licences. This closeness becomes obvious in some more details such as, priests, penances, congregational prayers, nocturnal rituals, fertility motives, adoration of procreation, etc. Their temple architecture, clerical organisation, nature of gods, goddesses, totems, taboos and symbols also reveal some closeness.

In ancient societies, as has been mentioned, the matriarchal chief was also the priestess. In her the ruler, the ruled, the worshipper, the worshipped all got fused. Gradually her monopoly was seized by the male. He in turn became independent of her; reduced her to a subser- vient status; and then established a male god, thus removing her pantheo- nic supremacy to a secondary position. The demands of state, and the temptations of a carnally sensuous life of ease and plenty, made the priest- king call for several women at a time. In this he did nothing new or objectionable. He did what the priestess had been accustomed doing.

As the matriarchal chief she had her choice of mates as she pleased. Due to such pressures of activity the king, who had taken over from the Chief Priestess, in his turn, appointed other agents for carrying out his magic rites or mystic duties. These agents became law-givers, and sub-priests. Each of them helped in holding the other's glamours up before an awe struck public. Between them, they collected administrative and religious revenues and privileges. They assumed supreme power in different fields. They victimised through a system the very people they were sup- posed to protect. This often led to rivalry and intrigue. Often in the ensuing feud the people were made to suffer and pay in blood. Royal palaces and retainers often were over-shadowed by the priestly palaces and priestly retainers. The most awesome, expensive and expansive architectural buildings, sculptural wonders, ancient or modern, known to men, are the religious ones. Religion became the dope of the poor, the hoax of the wealthy and religious fervour was misused for increasing social poverty and spiritual helplessness. Without having to be a Marxist anyone, who would take the trouble of making a research into the evolution of priesthood in religious administration, would have to conclude that the institution of religious administration willingly or otherwise has been assisting tyranny and autocratic oppression, thereby perpetuating both ignorance and poverty. The institution of privileges and monopoly were the sinister invention of this system.

Sex-Practices in Religions

Religion at its earliest stage selected numberless objects for veneration. These objects have been divided by scholars into five different groups; terrestrial, sexual, animal, human and divine. All religions have had at least one or all of these groupings; and all religions grow out of these groupings. Modern religions, which pretend to have completely eradicated these groupings, still obvertly maintain, and tacitly hold on to the nuances of these groupings in both spirit and form. They do not seem to express these; but there is no religion, not even Buddhism, which is completely free from the need of symbolic representations. Such symbols only succeed in containing truths within pseudo-mystic forms.

Mystification has been an ancient trade-secret of magic, rites and religious observances. There is always a section in religious practices which remains a secret.

Societies which through centuries have come to refuse, out of a sense of purity and decency, to accept sex as something vital and totally un- avoidable in life, would be shocked to learn the cultural significance of some of the practices they continue to adhere to even now. There is no chance that these could be discontinued, as most of these have become parts of social and religious traditions. When prudishness becomes a religion, religion becomes really prudish.

To cite just one example: which of us would give up decorating our lady of choice with a wedding ring? Yet which of us would not be startled to learn that insertion of the finger into the golden circlet conveys a symbolic message to the bride of things to come? Some of our most cherished, age-honoured, unsuspectedly innocent, often beautiful and aesthetic rituals startlingly reveal the most realistic sex practices. The traditions of circumcision is a case in point. What is at the basis of the sacrifice of the prepuce? To adduce medical reasons to this practice ap- pears to be puerile. The Babylonian ceremony of the prepuce, for instance, persist in the non-paganic messianic religions like Judaism and Islam. The tradition is a reminder of the earlier rituals of Istar, of the offering of man's genitals torn either by himself in an orgiastic frenzy, or by bacchiac maenads, who maddened by their religious fervour tore the young male from limb to limb as a sacrifice. The sacrifice meant and included even partaking the blood and the flesh of the victim. Today the circumcised infant has no knowledge of the orgiastic past; and his parents, or his society, would not feel too proud to associate, what they regard as a deeply holy and atavistically spiritual rite, with the tradition of a hated pagan sex orgy, or sex sacrifice.

The bride's first kiss is reserved for the Justice of Peace. This innocent privilege really is the remnant of a ritual the nature of which revealed, would upset many a mother, or the J. P. himself. The privilege of de- flowering the virgin had been the monopoly of the pagan priest in many oriental religions. This atrocity of an all powerful priest was successfully challenged and largely done away with. Yet the echoes of this sex monopoly is being symbolically carried on through the first kiss, that the delighted J. P. claims from the happy bride.

Whilst these crude forms, mentioned by scholars like Knight, Fraser, Ryly-Scott, Graves, Goldberg, Allegro, Freud, Russell, etc., shock the sensitive prude of a 'decent' society, there are other subtler forms through which the overtone of the past orgiastic traditions are being sublimely preserved. Evolution is a growth and development in the Time-machine, and to stare at the past becomes often an embarrassing challenge.

Spiritual Marriage

The phenomenon of Spiritual Love itself, for instance, has its sexual overtones. Psycho-analysis chose to refer it to repressed sex. Some of the words used by persons like Kabir, Mirabai, Jalaluddin Rumi, St. Catherine, St. Gertrude, St. Bernard, St. Theresa and above all St. John on the Cross reveal the basis for such observations. St. Catherine's mysti-cal marriage with Christ is described by her in verbal details. She found herself in the arms of her heavenly lover who gave her a nuptial ring. "Oh my love," asks the fervent Marie d'Incarnacion, "when shall I embrace you? Have you no pity on the torments I suffer?" Her spiritual love came rather late, actually after sex experience, because she was married at eighteen, and was left a widow. Habba of Kashmir speaks in ecstatic language about her Love experiences in her spiritual life. Her songs resonate witdh a thrilling language of deep experience which a spiritual consummation alone could inflame.

Here is St. Theresa's experience in her own language.

The voice of the Well-Beloved caused in the Soul such transports that she is consumed by desire, and yet does not know what to ask because she sees clearly that her Lord 's with her. What pain could she have? And for what happiness could she wish? To this I do not know what to answer; but that of which I am certain is that the pain penetrates down to the very bottom of the bowels spouse withdraws. and that it seems that they have been torn away when the heavenly I felt that he took them with it, and left me utterly consumed. The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease.... Through- out the day and night I went about in a Mind of stupor.... I should experience raptures so deep that I could not resist them.

Bernini's depiction of this thrill in his famous marble of the Ecstasy of St. Theresa (Cornaro Chapel, Rome) transcends all language.

Suzo in his autobiography speaks of this intense experience. More frank is the language of St. Bernard.

He gives her the kiss asked. of which the fullness of breasts is witness. For so great is the efficacy of the holy kiss, that the Bride on receiving it conceives, the swelling breasts rich with milk being the evidence.

Says St. John on the Cross:

Upon my flowery breast,

Wholly for him, and save himself none,

There did I give sweet rest

To my beloved one....

When the first morning air

Blew from his tower, and waved his locks aside,

His hand with gentle care,

Did wound me in the side,

And in my body all my senses died.

There is an emotional basis for such love. Spiritual Love could be emotional; and the language might assume what we recognise as sexual of the exactness of sex-language. characteristics, Saints and their experiences do not have to avoid the use than sanctity itself. Truth, they hold, is more sanctified The necessity and practicality of the use of sex- language and sex-images in spiritual experience is a subject by itself.

But this, it may be noted, is thoroughly in the tradition of Apollo, Isis Aphrodite, Venus, Athene, Demeter, Ishtar and Astarte. The frank approach to the mysteries of life was greeted with ecstatic language before. In the world of the Saints too, all over the world it is greeted. Only in the dogmatic rituals of religious forms these are taboo. There, in God's house, the traditions are preserved in symbols and mystic rites. There in God's house secrecy is preserved in the name of decency; but the most indecent act on spiritualism is to hide.

Truth could not be immodest; it could only be innocent. That is what the saints think. Common man hides. To hide is to sin. We impose taboos to have our sins balmed and preserved as mummies. In the name of shame and modesty man has been entertaining secrecy about mysteries. Such mysteries enslave our conscience, and drive us into the doom of subconscious guilt. So practised, religion, instead of freeing us, could only make us feel morbid. The old fear of the Magic Man, of the Priest, of the Monarch has been atavistically operating through church rites and social customs. An entire phase of human life lies tabooed. Sex taboos appear to announce that the use that man makes of a woman, or vice versa, for the fact of procreation, is ugly and filthy. Sex, it appears to say, is ungodly. The ungodliest thing is to attempt to improve what is God's. The duty of procreation is god-given.

The vital act of procreation is neither filthy, nor shameful. It of course demands privacy. All intimacy demands the security of duality against plurality. In intimate moments diversion becomes disturbance, Total attention brooks no third. Exposure of emotional excesses under- rates the value of the emotion, and corrupts personal joy by the cheap- ness of exhibitionism. Like a poet writing poetry, a painter engaged on a canvas, a musician composing his notes, an actor figuring his role and recit- ing his lines, the creator has to create joy in flesh, and flesh in joy, from within the self (Anandanugata-Samadhi). In fact in the actual act of a creative embrace the male and the female must forget totally their different identity.

It is not for the love of a husband that husband is dear; but for the love of the Soul in the husband that husband is dear.

It is not for the love of a wife that wife is dear; but

for the love of the Soul in the wife that wife is dear.

For where there seems to be a duality, there one sees another, one feels another's perfume, one thinks of another, knows another. But when all has become Spirit, one's own Self, how and whom could one see? How and whom could one hear? How and of whom could one feel the perfume? How and to whom could one speak?

The essence of spiritualism is contained in the flask of the body. The body and its nature cannot be kept at bay by a negativising asceticism. To allow the body to function, and adore it, is not always erotic. The phallic and the erotic are not the same. The mystic sources of Spiritual Love spring from the body of which Sex is a vital force. We call the source mystic. By our own sense of guilt we have tabooed them as mystic. In reality the ancients did not think so.

"Call no man your father on earth; for One is your Father, which is in heaven," (John, VI: 6, 3). This from John, it is thought, supports the taboo on sex. But John's language was spiritual; and should have been understood symbolically, or metaphorically. Then it would mean different, real and practical. Then John, would sound as echoeing the truth of Brhadaranyaka

When the human father thus evicts him as seed into the womb, it is really the Sun that evicts him as seed into the womb.... Thence he is born, after that seed, that breath.

John, read in the above light, means something more real, more sensible, more coherent. He accepts the germinal effectiveness of the sun, and the sun's relation to the biologic life cycle.

The Sun, its biologic influence on the mechanism of procreation has been lauded again and again by the ancients. Even Jesus had been often regarded as the human replica of the Sun's function.

Both the Semetic and the Greek word for Christ or 'the annointed', or the 'smeared one' came from the Sumerian term for semen, or the resinous saps mash and slem. The Semetic languages furthermore, combined both the Sumerian words into ', (Genitalis) which variously means a steward, a priest, an angel, a prostitute. An independently derived form came to be used for the greatest copulator of all, the sun, (Hebrew Shemesh) whose fiery glans every evening plunged glowing into the open vulva of earth, and in the morning came forth like a bridegroom from his marriage chamber."

The relation of the sun-image with the phallic function of the mush- room, of the mushroom image with the Christ and the Church, of "the man child born of the virgin womb" and later sacrificed to be eaten, is as old as the hills." In this light John's meaning of the psalm XXX: 19.5 becomes clear.

Aristotle in his Physics 11: 2 says, "Man and the Sun generate Man," a view supported by Rúmi in his Mathnawi I: 3775-779. "When the time comes for the embryo to receive the vital spirit, and the Sun becomes its helper. This embryo is brought into movement by the Sun.... By which way did it become connected with the womb with the beauteous sun? By the hidden way that is remote from our sense perception." in spite of the advanced state of the medical science the mystery of 'Life' is a mystery still. The explanation, mysticism offers, has to be accepted or contradicted only when one finds oneself in the skin of the mystic, and not otherwise.

The Mystery of Coitus

"We see that philosophers as well as religious literature of old made the subject of procreation not only one of joy, eulogy and encouragement, but gave the entire process a status of spiritual elevation and social accept-ance. Sex in the ancient days, as we have seen, was no taboo. By making it taboo, civilisation, specially spiritualism and public morals have not gained. Religious phallicism suffers from taboo because of the failure of the church to accept a great fact with truthful equanimity. Sun, the source of all light and knowledge, had been connected with this, and Jesus himself was connected to the sun. The Christian church before Rome's intervention was both realistic and honest.

Nothing was hidden. Nothing was mystified. Sun was accepted as the source of the vital powers, the source of Sakti. Sunday in the Hindu calendar is an important day. On this day, specially, sun worship is enjoined with offerings of 'doob grass, and of 'hibiscus' flower. In shape and form the bloomed hibiscus fully represents the erect penis set in the open vulva. Besides this the medical value of hibiscus on the womb, activisation and fertilising of the ovaries has always been honoured in the Indian treatises. Hibiscus bud taken in pasted form is an ovaric tonic. Similarly the haemostatis effect of the juice of doob on blood is marvellous. Other flowers, such as Atasi and Aparajita specified for sun-worship refer invariably to their drug-effect on the ovarian cycle. Marigold is one such so is the famous 'sunflower'.

...The first Christian missionaries had conducted themselves with scrupulous courtesy towards the devotees of the pagan Sun- cult, with whom they had much mystical doctrines in common. Celtic and pre-Celtic gods and goddesses became Christian saints- for instance, St. Brigit, whose perpetual sacred fire was kept alight at Kildare until the time of Henry VIII.

The Vedas never attempted to treat copulation under any shade of secrecy; neither was it regarded as unholy. The Vedic approach to human copulation is one of sanctified homage to life. The Vedic nuptial prayers which are recited in every Hindu marriage are both bold and practical. Phallic taboos offer little answers to life's problems. Problems start with taboos.

Garbhadhana-Rites (Rites for Insemination)

The groom and the bride are preparing to meet for the first coitus. They take good care of eating healthy and vitalising special food, prepared under special care. Then together they invoke the Spirit of the Virgin to leave the virgin bride's company, and engage herself in protecting other virgins, this one having reached her matured destination. (Virginal inhibitions for the bride in her nuptial chamber would prove embarrassing, and create unhappiness. Hence the special prayer for an uninhibited night). The Buddhist canonical literature very clearly says that man and woman alone cannot create; intercourse alone cannot impregnate. Father and mother is just one factor. The mother's menstrual flow and the egg. together, provides the second factor. There is yet a third factor. The presence of a spiritual influence, of a Gandharva, as the Canon says. Tibetan Book of the Dead also meations the presence of this third factor, a spiritual presence, and calls it will or the power of the primary cause. (St. John calls it the Father in Heaven; Brhadaranyaka, Aristotle, Jalāl- uddin Rumi call it the 'Sun'. Tantra calls it will).

This 'third factor', about which the Tibetan Book of the Dead is so emphatic, has been accepted, hinted and projected in another system which evolved in ancient Iran. This system is known as the Dahara and Arciradi, both of which find mention in the Upanisads. Dahara speaks of the nature of the Abode of Cosmic consciousness, and Arciradi elaborates on the life after death. Yogis always connect the Tibetan Tantricism with the Arciradi system. In the present context, along with what in the Upanisad is known as madhu-vidya, the systems too tend definitely towards Tantric practices.

Woman, verily, O Gautama is the (sacrificial) fire; of these the sexual organ is the fuel, what invites is the smoke, the vulva is the What is done inside is the coals, the pleasure the sparks. flame. In this fire the gods offer (the libation of) semen; from this offering arises the foetus. For this (reason) indeed, in the fifth oblations water comes to be called man.

How close was this Upanisad mysticism regarding esoteric significance of sexual practices to Tantra could be adjudged from a description of Tibetan Tantricism and its defence by one of the most celebrated Tibetan scholars of modern times. The Tibetan icons and Sakti images are known for their frank, vigorous and highly posturous figures which at times stir sentiments with awe and fear. Disgust, somehow or other, does not actually descsribe the emotive impact experienced, and most certainly the figures fail to touch the least eroticism which such stylised frankness is supposed to evoke. In this regard these Tantra-figures of Tibet are unique. The life-mystery of procreation has been set at a very highly motivated spiritual key by this Tantric system, to which many of the initiates have paid high homage.

Far from being magical or even mystical, Tantricism is essentially pragmatic, and it seeks a pragmatic explanation for all phenomenon. As for the assertion that it is a perverted doctrine that is contrived to permit unlicensed indulgence into sexual and other kinds of debauchery, this can only be said by those who have no knowledge of Tantricism. There are many in Tibet who dis- approve of Tantra, and my own Gelukpa, or Yellow Hat, sect forbids its public practice. But that is not because we do not believe the Tantras are a holy and truly spiritual path, it is because we believe that this path is too dangerous, and following the teachings of the Buddha, we try to concern ourselves with humanity as a whole, not with the very few adepts for whom the tantras are suit- able. Sexual union in particular is considered as the greatest creative act possible in this material world, and it is thought of as embodying the whole principle of creativity. To this the Tibetan Lama school of Tantricism have added the dual principle of pre- servation and destruction. The appropriate rites, to the un- initiated, read as though the participants were expected to indulge not only in sexual activity, but also in an orgy of Elood. In almost any temple one may see the sacred figures of deities, male and female, locked in sexual embrace; and further, they and other deities may be represented in either a peaceful or fierce aspect. The images symbolise the principles involved, and help the mind to concentrate on the principles, not to induce the body activity. The rites are performed with similar symbolism, and long before the novice is introduced to them he is expected to attain complete mastery over his physical impulses. Any thought that the rites implied license to indulge in sexual activity, or to commit actual blood sacrifices, would be considered to be the greatest heresy. The power of sex cannot be denied, even by the most prudish, for they too were born by its power. The Tantras try to grasp the basic principle involved and so arrive speedily at a true under- standing of the nature of being.

Tantricism is based on Yogic practice, and the slightest know- ledge of Yoga is enough to demonstrate the extent of the self- discipline demanded; for Tantricism goes far beyond Yoga. It is probably the .nost severe self-discipline ever demanded of man in spiritual endeavour.

Just how severe is this could be illustrated by a peep into the nature of the actual practice. At a certain point Thubten Zigma Norbu permits us to have a little feel of the almost superhuman power hidden behind what we glibly call and know as sexual act.

Gyalwo Rinpoche has been a celebrated Lama of the highest order whose love-poems, popularly known to have been addressed for a female partner in his spiritual life, are still sung in Tibetan homes. The following passage written in justification of his sexual practices gives us an insight into the Tibetan attitude to Tantra, its practices, and the great expecta- tions that inspire the initiates for adopting this way.

It seems most possible that the Young Tsangyang was initiated into Tantric practices which involve physical, rather than mental, sexual intercourse with women. There are various degrees of this, all of which rest in the belief that semen is possessed of a vital force that is both physical and spiritual. By correct expenditure of the physical, the spiritual force can be released for the further elevation of the adept.

The correct practice may involve the withholding of the semen just as it is about to be ejected, or else it may be ejected and drawn back again, a practice that can only be achieved after many years of physical training. In the latter case, according to some teach- ings, the male sperm may draw back with it the female ova, fur- ther enriching the practitioner though at the expense of the female who is carefully chosen, and who, in turn, may draw into herself something of the male element, and transform it likewise into spiri- tual, rather than physical, energy.

This energy is drawn upward, as if along the spinal column, until it reaches a point at the base of the neck; when it reaches this point the practitioner reaches a state of higher awareness.

This awareness could reward him with unusual powers of hearing, seeing and doing things which, naturally, appear to the common man as miraculous. Lompon Rinpoche is perhaps the most celebrated Lama of Tibet whose miracles have remained as all-time wonders for the Tibetans to quote as illustrative of Tantric powers. In accordance with the Tantric school of thinking the severest Tantric training had won for him the powers of materialisation and dematerialisation. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had similar powers. Lompon Rinpoche, an adept at Tantric power acquired through long practices, could create images through gestures of special significance. He went into trances, and as master of will 'created' material bodies subject to physical laws.

It was in this way that he brought water from (solid) rock, and stopped the sun from setting. There are even certain Tantric rites that demand such accomplishment, though they are not per-fermed for display, but only as a necessary part of self-training and discipline. Such a rite is rolang, in which a corpse is temporarily revived in order to effect a transfer of power. (The Hindus are fully aware of an incident in the life of the great Samkarācārya when he had been forced to adopt this particular method for ex- plaining certain mysteries to Mandana Misra's wife Ubhaya-Bharati, a very learned lady-Author's comment.).... This is plainly different from the Chod rite, in which all the dreadful imagery is confirmed to the mental world of the adept.

Tibetan Tantricism could clearly be called, thus, phallically perverted. But the study of Tantra, when done with care and discretion, has had great scholars to declare that Yogic power has a means of breaking through the mystery of the material world, and reach, and survive in a world of psychical consciousness when the powers of materialisation and de- materialisation appear to be as easy and automatic as the action of the winks of eyes. Tantric powers leading to an ascendancy over supra- consciousness and cosmic communications observe all physical acts as inspired by the same breath of the Supreme Power. In their sight there is no distinction between low or high. Sex to them is not something different from Will or Energy, and no limb is exclusively designed for sinning or causing a fall in status. With the Mind-machine controlled, body- machine is but a reflexive dead matter subject to will. Sex is seen as something bad by the very products of sex who as consummate escapists avoid a probe into the power of sex as they cannot dare a breakthrough the awful demands this power makes on their otherwise weak nerves.

Compare the bold language of the Vedic people when they celebrate the coupling of the male and the female in a sublimated ceremony known as wedlock (vivaha). The couple is brought face to face with a solemn duty of life, where they are called upon to function one of the vital roles that the very privilege of living a life has imposed on them.

Compared to the above passage on Tibetan Tantric rites the Vedic system does not appear to be less vigorous, or realistic. Here's the Vedic prayer for the nuptial rites.

Then he embraces her (saying), I am the vital breath, you are speech; you are speech, and I am the vital breath. I am the Saman and you are the Rg. I am the heaven, and you are the earth. Come, let us strive together, let us mix semen that we have children.

Then he spreads apart her thighs (saying), "Spread yourself apart, Heaven and Earth." After having inserted the member in her, after having joined mouth to mouth, he strokes her three times, as the hair lies (covering body with body as if each hair of one body covered by each of the other) saying, "Let Visnu (sun) make the womb prepared. Let Tvastr (Divine Artisan) (corresponds to Hephaistos) shape the various forms. Let Prajapati (the spirit- Lord of procreation, i.e., fertility in the sperm) pour in. Let Dhâtr (Demeter) place the sperm for you (in such order as the embryo does not get displaced). O Sinibali (the new moon's unseen first phase, which though not seen, yet is the start of a beautiful form) give the seed; give the seed, oh dame. (N.B. In this ancient text 'moon' is a female. In later Puranas she is a 'male', sun's brother. Compare Dr. Grave's theories on the myths of 'moon', Hyperion and Male). Let the two Asvins (corresponds to Demeters-twin-Castor and Pollux), crowned with lotus wreaths, place the seed. The two Asvins churn out a flame with the (two) sticks of gold. It is such a germ we beg of you to be brought forth in the tenth month. As the earth contains the germ of fire (heat) and as the heaven is pregnant with the storm, as the air is the germ of quarters, even so I place a germ in you." 57

Nothing is secret, nothing is taboo. The treatment is frank, open, practical. 'Dharma' is a way of life with the Hindus. The Hindu lives, as has been again and again said before, his Dharma; and whatever is 'life' is his Dharma. No part of Dharma needs be mystified, secreted or held indecent. This is life; not what is known as phallic.

Yet the taboos restrict man to be what he is. Because of the self-made taboos man lives in a world of mental repression. As a result we enjoin strictures against promiscuity, which we seek in the name of religious gatherings; we forbid discussions on sex, yet indulge in smutty books, and trade in more smutty motion pictures; we cloak our act of life in mysterious darkness, and explain to our own children the mystery of birth by telling them misleading tales about some storks, etc. Thus a double standard has been imposed by our own double-living; we suffer from split-personal- ity, and we feel proud of a society which is sick from end to end.

Religion has lost its frankness. God has lost the Vedic simplicity. Artifice has deprived all our prayers of an essential directness of contact. We have imposed other values, human and ungodly, to our objective of self-knowledge. We have placed fear above love, and tact above truth. We have taken Truth into the dark, by banishing Light from it. We crowd our altars with icons and forms which we do not understand. We accept a host of symbols in place of a simple Truth. We are afraid of exposure. We confuse love with lust; Life with Sex; Phallic with Erotic; emotion with sentiment; Soul with Self. We have to reeducate ourselves to bear in mind that the more we live in an imaginary world, the more our chance of facing the realities recedes. We do not get emancipation from religion; what we do get is God-love from the rituals associated with religion; we get just mystified. We hide ourselves, behind the mysteries, and lose the essence; eventually, also the peace, that is truly ours.

The mysteries which gave us the forest of symbols are avidly main- tained by us, although we protest against Saivism being phallic. Śaivism was the bold attempt to swallow all the poison of the churning orgiastic religions of the East and West, of the Aryans and the non-Aryans. This is told in the form of a mythological legend, discussed later; this is evident from some of the names given to Śiva. Šiva has been described to have swallowed all the poison raised as an overflowing vitriolic froth from a catastrophic quarrel between two opinions about the best way of achieving immortality. The quarrel threatened to destroy the entire creation. Siva stood in the breach; and drank off the ensuing bitterness. He saved creation. Saivism is the synthetic answer between two extremes of spiritualism and eroticism, asceticism and materialism. Saivism is realistic. Its phallicism, mostly and generally, is an imposition projected by a prejudiced mind too accustomed to phallic motifs.

To a very large extent there is a good ground for believing that this legendary record described a true but critical phase of human civilisation. The naked Siva, the uninhibited, the unsocial, unsophisticated alone could, by His simple Love and Grace save the complex situation created by man and his endless trickery of creating mysteries around broad truths of life. He was Asutosa, the benevolent; Pramathesa, Lord of the non- Aryan tribes fond of music and happy living.

The known divinities of the Vedas (as of all primitive cults), the obvious forces of Nature, were symbolically accepted as gods. These stood as the frank expressions of Man's desire and their satisfying agencies. The Sun, the Earth and the Rains had vital parts to play in providing food for the hungry, food and plenty gave health; health assisted procrea- tion, and so on. Every aspect of nature was divine and sweet. Life was divine and sweet. But with the craving for lust of power this simple atti- tude to Love and God became corrupted. Divinities became more so- phisticated; rites became more mysterious; and prayers became more specialised. Priests invented mystery, symbolism, rituals and dogmas, and gained in Power. We shall now examine these gods.


The Birth of Gods

1. Nature Gods-Symbols and Totems

Of the gods man worship, understandably, aspects of nature demanded the first homage. The Vedic gods set a pattern in these regards. As the Vedic gods became popular amongst many of the ancient religions, we examine the popularity of these nature gods from end to end of the earth. This was not due to evangelical propagation, it was perfectly natural to worship nature.

The Moon and the Sun, as gods, had naturally the foremost preference. The Moon probably, having been found to have influence on the tides, on vegetation, was regarded to have immense influence on menstruation, and consequently on fertility, whether of the womb or of the soil. Mens- truating females in many parts of the world were studiously kept out of the way, so that spiritual influence might not be transmitted through them for causing unforeseen disaster to crops, New or Full-Moon days were not considered propitious for casting seed; and the humans, in many parts of the world, avoid casting seed in womb on these days (and nights). Of course the Earth was the great Mother, the goddess who gave men the most primal of its means of survival. Food, next in order, has to be dependent on rain (water, rivers and the ocean). Its abstract form, the cloud, was symbolised to have penetrating powers. Jupiter or Zeus pene- trated too in the form of a cloud reputed to have similar powers. He was often worshipped as one god in two aspects, rain and beams. It was one of the first conscious attempts in favour of finding One God becoming many.

Agni (Ignus), the fire-god, with its symbol of Aries-the ram (easy for sacrifice, and later for roastings) was the next in kin, and regarded as the best mundane representation of the Sun. The veneration of fire had posed some trouble, inasmuch as the people stood divided in splitting their loyalties between the Sun and the Fire. Die-hards have been the fathers of schisms; and the conservatives assist most in damaging conservation by spurning calls for change. But the supremacy of the Sun has hardly been tarnished. From the fields of Ireland to the palaces of the Emperor of Japan, from the Incas of Peru to the Nordic Eskimos and Scandinavians, Sun as a vigorous symbol and a distributor and promoter of health, joviality, virility, vigour and power has been honoured, deified and sung. We may call this superstition; but superstitions die hard; and the most advanced of us nurse superstitious practices without ever realising how we thrive on superstitions. Civilisation has advanced through the ex- clusiveness of a superior minority, who enjoys its fruits to the exclusion of the majority of the underprivileged who shall continue to harbour their loyalties to the gods that give them food, power, and the basic means of livelihood. The uneducated, and the unprivileged worship these gods, and follow superstition with the same nerve and energy as the privileged and the 'educated' worship money, and refuse to admit of its superstitious value. Money is the most civilised form of superstitions. The power of money stands above all other powers.

The Sky, and the stars later on, which were adored as divinities of old, stood their grounds as the Heaven, and the Angels. The highest God amongst (a) the Mongols was Tengri, the sky; (b) the Chinese was Tl, the sky; (c) the Vedics was Dyaupitar, the sky; (d) the Greeks, was Zeus, the sky; and (e) the Persians, was Ahura, the sky. The Egyptians as well as the Bg Veda conceived the Earth and the Sky as in eternal mating, producing between them all lives that this earth is populated with Egyptian archaeology has revealed a number of frescoes and friezes describing the copulation between Geb (the earth god) and Net (the sky goddess), and the interference by Ra (see Plate 23). A 12th cent. (n.c.) papyrus of Tamenice (21st dynasty) illustrates this belief in a multi-coloured picture.

The next stage, therefore, saw the adoration of all the three in one single family-unit of Sky-Sun-Earth combination. Thus in deifications, objects such as trees, springs, rivers, mountains, fields laden with corn, even an earthquake began to be venerated. This accounts for the veneration which the Oriental group of religions pay to the Mother-image of the Earth. Almost, everywhere the Earth was the great Mother. Our language, which is often the precipitate of our primitive or unconscious beliefs, suggest to this day a kinship between matter (material) and mother (matter). The Sanskrt verb root 'Vas' relates to Vastu (matter) and Vara (Home), 'Vasavi is Earth; Vasu is spirit of earth turned to material wealth, such as metals and jewels. (b) Parthies and Pethich have the same root. Ishtar and Cybele, Demeter and Ceres, Aphrodite, Venus, (Dharity and Laksmi, Bhuvaneivari and Kamala) and Freya were comparatively late forms of the ancient goddesses of the earth whose fertility constitute the bounty of the fields.

This importance of the Mother, however, did not continue long without change. With the growth of society, protection from mass attacks became an important part for survival; and the leadership of the males in this struggle limited the scope of the leadership of the females. This gave the males the opportunity to improve their position. Being considered more useful, and more valuable to family-units, females were being taken as prisoners of war, in preference to the males. Gradually the females were reduced to a secondary state of partners. The beginnings of the patriarchal leadership were being laid down. What we take as ornaments, bangles, bracelets and necklaces, though golden and be- jewelled, are but the remnants of what had been chains, with which the victors, the males, secured their war-spoils the females. The Mother- goddesses, at first shown as superior mates of the Father-gods, later on lost their right to the male usurpers. Instead of the all pervading of Mother the primitive and the Pagan religions, a religion of Father, Pater, Jupiter, God emerged. Patriarchy was coming into being.

Despite this emergence, the miracle of fertility and growth continued to fascinate man. No matter what they won, in a special area life owed subsistence and continuity to females. Men could not bear children. Only females did. The role that the male seed played in propagation was still unknown. Man never ceased to wonder how the females became the secret monopolists of the mystery of propagation.

Nearly all ancient peoples worshipped sex in some form of ritual, and not the lowest people, but the highest, expressed their worship most completely. We shall find such worship in Egypt and India; Babylonia and Assyria; Greece and Rome. The sexual characters and functions of primitive deities were held in high regard, not through any obscenity of mind, but through a passion for fertility in women and in the Earth."

Again we note, sex or sex-act was adored as a mystery; and was never abhorred as a taboo. Tantra of the old traditions maintain this very attitude. Tantra worships the Source of the Mystery in Life.

Symbolism is an effective esoteric language. For the cultivation of spirit of rather mundane and practical minds this language proves useful. Crude frankness is always kept removed in preference. Symbolic representations, which have the advantages of precision, concentration, secrecy, mystery and esoteric significance have always been preferred to a crude language of committal and depiction. Symbols are objective shortcuts to subjective adoration. The faculty of their acquisition eli- minates the difficulty of the actual possession of a physical partner in mystic rites. Some of the symbols were taken from animal life, like the bull, the snake, the fish, the pig, the shell, the ram and the tortoise. Thus started the phase of adoration of animal worship, and the beginnings of totem. From the lizard, the beetle and the centepede to the elephant there is hardly any animal which has not been worshipped by some people somewhere on this earth. The same could be said of the fowls. Totem- ism has given to civilisation its sacred animals. Animals like the bull and the boar have been worshipped sometime or the other in the countries near or about the Mediterranean. The Alexandrians, the Greeks, the Levantese still lay a great store as much by star gazing as by watching movements of birds, snakes, worms, and even sands. As a result we find that whereas some people do not eat certain meats of animals for one assumed reason, some others do not eat the meat of another for some other reason. Deep within, both such taboos are related to totemism.

Tribes are still related to one another by totems. Tribes are often referred to by the names of animals and birds which formed their totems. Thus we have the bird-people, the monkey-people, the bear-people, the fish-people, the elephant-people, the tiger-people and so on. Often, as in the Hindu epics, and in the Greek epics, we meet with the great civilised 'Monkeys' who speak and read and write; and 'mermaids' who sing and love and enchant; and the half-horse-half-man Gandharvas as experts give lessons in music and prowess; (Archilles was tutored by a half-man-horse being) and the Sphinx, the Cimera, the Dragon, the Unicorn successfully take part in the human world. The dove, the fish and the sheep of Christianity are nothing but remnant of totem adoration. We have seen that the 'blood and flesh' statement of Jesus at 'the last supper' signified the existence of a current practice of partaking of blood and flesh as a religious rite. The Mass has a pagan past.

Thus the original Mother gave way to the Father image. Even in symbolic form the fact persists. The church is the Womb, the Mother, the Nave; and Jesus is the Male inside. Here too the male has ousted the female. This led to a Father-Mother image, and family concept. Sex became a matter for enquiry, mystery adoration. The Nave, the Sanctuary, the Chalice, the Rosary, the Font, the Arc, still continue to be Mysterious and remote to the commoner. Only the Reverend Father is in custody of the Mystery. The productivity of nature was traced to a fecundity of the Earth as penetrated by the virile Sun which pours his vitals into her wombs in the form of rain. The imitation of this mysterious power of the deities, the adorers offered coitus as sacrificial compliments. Pregnancy on the one hand, and usefulness in building a domesticated society on the other, increased the value of the females as war prisoners. Whereas the captive females would produce slaves to fight future wars, the enemies would run short of wombs to plant future fodder for carrying on their battles. It was an effective move. The adoration soon took symbolic forms. Special birds, reptiles and animals were chosen for sex- symbolism, and adored. This adoration led to totemical importance of certain animals and other creatures as worthy of worship. The totems became the taboos.

The transition of nature-gods to human-gods had to pass through the stage of animal-gods and zoomorphic gods. Further, the worship of the Menes, another strata for veneration, passing from the region of the living to the region of the dead came little later. Magic rites, vegetation-rites gave place to festivals of licences conducted by a privileged class which held the secrets and the rights of interpreting the mysteries of these rites and licences. These rites and licences together formed the bulk of the Oriental religions whose gods and rites we are about to describe now, with the hope that the Saivic rites, mistaken as phallic, are better understood in the light of, and in contrast to, these pagan forms.

2. Reverence to the Mystery of Birth

Craving for a child is the oldest of all cravings, ranging perhaps only next to the craving for food. It is not so much the pleasure of the sex act, neither for favours to seek more enduring virile powers, that made men to worship the sex symbols. Man sought sex as animal instinct; man worshipped sex for Life. A desire for multiplying worked as a pious projection of the will to live even after death. Indirectly it satisfied the hope of immortality. The joy of procreation was sought for a far more sublime purpose than for mere carnal pleasures of debauchery. Man dies in body alone; but he continues to live spiritually in his progeny. The harvested crop dies when unshelled; but life lives within seeds to be sprouted next summer; the day dies in the nights; but are born again with the advent of the dawn; and the stars carry the seeds of light until the new day is up again. Pagan poetry is replete with this theme. Night is the womb of light; autumn of spring; and death of life.

And the theme had to play in the human drama. Religion gave a wide and effective scope for the dramatisation of this theme through its myths. Most of the myths contain the secret aspirations of the subjectivity of man; and in the myths, the historicity of events are often garbed in the light of the wishful and the heroic. This most ancient and tender theme runs through almost all the religions of the ancient world, down to our own day. The emotive theme of Resurrection of 'the Coming of the Lord', and of 'the Final-Day Judgement', express our desire to re-live, and see on earth the Millenium of our dreams achieved. The sacrifice of the Christ on the Cross as we have noted is in accordance with a tradition. This tradition, contained in Mithraism, in the cults of Ishtar, Isis, Artemis, Aphrodite and Venus, weilded one of the strongest influences which had overwhelmed the peoples of the world. Do we not hear echoes of the same cult in the sacrifical rites of the Incas of Peru and the Aztecs of Mexico?

For the increase of fertility, therefore, man could do anything. Man submitted to Magic in the interest of sex. Mass sublimated sex as a divine offering to fertility, to Life. Its popularity was only next to the fear from disease. Sex and disease, together with the temptation of overcoming an enemy, supply to magic the most secular of motives.

In the month of May villagers in England choose a king and a queen for a public wedding, so that from the consummation of their love the har- vest might gather a filling strength. In all carnivals, all over the paganic Christian society they still chose the king and the queen. The message of this selection is obvious. The nights that emerge out of the carnival are dedicated to festivity coupling, i.e., offering the act of sex-mating as the highest gift to a fertility God, such as Priapus, Pan, or his spiritual replica, Christ himself. Children born of these holy nights were 'holy' children, held in much regard in Greece and Rome. Man has been known to have fried and powdered the genitals of a full grown man, and strewn it over his field with the hope of increasing its fertility. Public consum- mation of marital rights on the fields is supposed to add to the fertility of the fields. So the sprinkling of the fields with sacrifical blood, even of human blood, has been regarded almost on all parts of the world as sure guarantee for ensuring good harvest,

Harvesting festivals, or festivals of sowing, amongst many peoples and tribes sanction free licence to promiscuity for days, because men and women seriously believed that, like men and women, the plants too are fond of the sexual play and enjoyments. "Not only is full sexual licence permitted to the neophites, and indeed in most cases enjoined, but any visitor attending the festival is encouraged to indulge in licentiousness. Prostitution is freely indulged in, and adultery is not viewed with any sense of heinousness, on account of the surroundings. No man attending the festival is allowed to have intercourse with his wife." Although this statement from Reverend H. Rowley refers to the Bantus, the learned reverend, with a little effort could have discovered that similar social customs characterised many of the religions of the Near Eastern regions, Mediterranean countries and isles, stretching as far as Spain. Bacchanalia of Greece, Saturnalia of Rome, Fete des Fous in France, May Day and Mardi Gras carnivals are not the only instances. We have instances in comparatively modern times from England, France, Italy and Norway where superstitions regarding May-Pole dances still are found to play active parts in the daily lives of the grass-root people. Such trends and beliefs perpetuate a tradition which holds even now immeasurable in- fluence over the people of the ancient and prehistoric times. Christian Europe, Communist China, Hindu India, Islamic Syria, Iraq or Persia, black Africa, Catholic America, the tribal world-all venerate this aspect of nature in one or another form. This type of erotic veneration in the name of pantheistic deities has been traditional to every single religion known to man, past or present. Religions long dead have never- theless bequeathed the tradition to later times. In this context a study of the ancient religions of the Orient, and of the Mediterranean civilisations would be very rewarding in our understanding the actual nature, form and content of Saivism and Saiva-philosophy. The most astute of the Tantra- scholars and Tantric Yogis feel that Tantra or esoteric mysticism, or Saivism is universally followed for spiritual joy and power. They feel that Mysticism or Saivism is the future religion of man.

The ancient religions are many. Their forms and rites are many. Dr. Graves says that the forms continue to exist in the Christian church too,

Yet in certain things surprising similarities draw our attention. Of these similarities there is one which unmistakably and invariably offers a common source of inspiration to all the religions; it is the homage that life pays to sex. For bringing this homage effectively home, promiscuity, orgy, wine, nocturnal rites, dances have played their parts as adjuncts and corollaries. The main theme has been sex. In course of time excesses flood out the spirit; debauchery creep in, and settle. Spiritualism plays a secondary role. The importance of these religions  was never realised until recently when Champollion, Wooley, Gotha and others excavated a lot of informations from Sumer.

3. Sumer

The Sumerians worshipped the sun and considered the sun a wheel of the god Shamash, the light of the gods. Apsu (Water), Enlil and Ninlil (Air), Nusku (fire), Ea, Sin, Anu, son of Anshar and Kishar, were some of the many gods of Sumer. But Marduk, son of Ea and Apsu (both of which mean water) was the greatest of the gods. This god in later times, as we shall note, shall rule Assyria.

Originally, it seems, the gods preferred human flesh. But as human morality improved they had to be content with animals. The lamb is the substitute for humanity; he hath given up a lamb for his life. Another legend narrated how the gods had created man happy by his free will; he had sinned, and been punished with a flood, from which but one man, Tagtug, the weaver, had survived. Tagtug forfeited longevity and health by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree,

Anu, the father of gods, was worshipped at Uruk along with Inanna, or Innin, the Mother Goddess of heaven, who as Ishtar, in later years almost monopolised all worship and reverence due to all other gods and goddesses. To the Sumerians, too, at the start, female deities had been of greater significance.

And why not? Was not the Earth female; or, Inanna the womb, giving birth to everything which dwells in holy habitation with living creatures? Who were these living creatures?

We know from much later Babylonian religious texts that such 'sacred marriages' did take place usually on New Year's Day, when a priest and priestess, representing a god and goddess, mounted to the sacred chamber of the topmost level of the Ziggurat, and there consummated the sexual act, as a result of which the fertility of the land was to be renewed. Such customs are well known among the ancient civilisations, and after the ceremony the principal participants are usually sacrificed,"

The imposing sanctuary of Bel rose like a pyramid above the city in a series of sight towers and stories, one on top of the other. On the highest tower,...there stood a spacious temple; and in the temple a great bed..... seen; no human being passed the night there, save and except a In the temple no image was to be single woman whom according to the Chaldean priests, the god chose from among all the women of Babylon. deity himself came into the temple at night, and slept in the great They said that the bed; and the woman as a consort of the god might have no inter- course of the mortal man."7

We see the start of the temple-prostitution, a feature of the Ancient Orient, as owned by all the scholars, ancient or modern, on the subject. This system, prevailed as part of sacred marriage, over classical Greece and Rome, as well as over the area where these cultures dominated along with their gods. Diana, Ceres, Bacchus and Artemis have been the great partners in this drama. According to the testimony of Cleres in the wood of Nemi sacred unions took place in the interest of fertility. Sacred marriages grew into a dominant feature in pagan Europe, and till now, in the Catholic church the system continues without any change."

Many of the mediaeval-clergy not only connived at popular paganism, but actively embraced it; the Queen of Heaven and her son are now decisively quit of the orgiastic rites once performed in their honour,

It will not be proper to close the topic of sexual propensity in the temple-traditions of Sumer without quoting yet another author.

It was, however, she (Ishtar)

Who roused amorous desires in all creatures.

As soon as she withdrew her influence:

The bull refuses to cover the cow,

The ass no longer approaches the she ass,

\In the street the man

No longer approaches the maid servant,"

Sacred prostitution formed part of their cult, and whenshe descend- ed to earth she was accompanied by courtesans, harlots strumpets. Her holy city Erech, was called "The Town of Sacred Courtesans'. Estar herself, however, was called 'courtesan of the gods' and she was the first to inspire the desire which she inspired. Her lovers were legions, and she was chosen of them from all walks of life. But woe to him who Ishtar had honoured. The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals enslaved by her love lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by them or later do- mesticated by them....

Even for the gods Estar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz. Ishtar was overcome with grief, and burst into lamentation over her dead lover. In such a way later Aphrodite was to bewail the death of Adonis.

Alcestis had to wail the death of Admetus; Savitri had to wail the death of Satyavan; Pururava wailed the passing away of Ureali; Siva had to wail the death of Sati. Keats refers to such wails of princes and knights in his La Belle Dame Sans Merci.

No oriental religion could be studied in isolation. None of these legends died without leaving echoes. As we shall proceed with the legends of the other Oriental religions, and as we shall come to the myths of the Greeks and the Romans, we shall discover how this strain of the legend of Ishtar flows continually, like the river Ganges in India, changing its name from place to place, from people to people, from age to age, from myths to myths. The remarkable part of this myth is that, according to many scholars it persists within the central legend of the story of Christ, in the virgin birth, in the Annunciation, in epic that surrounds that Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the promise of perpetual life.

In the Hindu myths it has been twice reflected: once in the myth of Savitri; and again in the myth of Siva's dance with Sati's corpse.

"Tarà is the power of Hiranyagarbha (the eternal golden embryo), the primal cosmic matrix from where the world issues forth. Life in its germinal state burns in the agony of hunger." Tärä is hungry; ever-hungry. Nothing exists but without devouring something else. "Union is intensified through disunion." This double force that inte- grates through disintegration in the language of Empedocles is a

Two-fold tale.... At one time

The one grew from the many. Yet again

Division was, the many from the one -

And these things never cease.

But change for ever.

At one time all are joined, and all is love,

And next they fly asunder, and all is strife.

Survival of the Universe depends on Death or Decay as much as on love, a fact amply illustrated in the rites of sacrifical death of man, animal and bird. The power of the golden embryo survives in the fire of hunger that consumes matter for forming matter. This pure hunger for love and devouring at the same time is Târă. Târă and star both mean the luminous body that glows in the dark void; but etymologically Tard means 'that which leads to the other shore'; leads ignorance to knowledge, and darkness to light. And Lalita Upallyāna (A Buddhist treatise) says "Buddha alone, the destroyer of darkness (of ignorance) knows the way of my (Tara) worship; none else." But Acara Tantra says that in China alone is Tantra (Tara) fully known and practised.

Thus the concept of the great 'Love-in-Death and Death-in-Love' goddess, of the Reaper-Eater-Grower, has been universal on the old world from China to Crete and Sicily. Esthar, Ishtar, Iis or Inana has been a continuous Mother-tradition which will be later dealt with in a separate chapter on Power or Sakti, the Mother Goddess. The worship of the Great Mother and of her consorting alter-ego, in the form of different deities, continues in the Western churches despite the political destruction of the pagan societies. Seen in this light it is not difficult to appreciate the contents quoted from Gyalwo Rinpoche and Lompon Rinpoche before.

This Ishtar or Târâ was fond of lust in life, as well as lust in death.

The omophagia or Eating-of-Raw-Flesh was a rite not confined to the Kouretic initiation of Bacchae. We meet it again in the Thracean worship of Dionysus. The Bacchae (in Crete, Thrace and Macedon) recount their rites and sing of the

Joy of the quick red fountains,

The blood of the hill-goat torn."

She continues in the Christian mysticism, in the Christian churches. The Geion,-King Arthur legend of Arthur's death for coming back again, and the story of the three queens carrying him away, is a Christianised version of the Orphian Sacrifice and Resurrection. Malory had been a Nordic Teuton; his version of the Arthur tales, like the legends of the Grimm brothers, was to be covered with the mysteries the Teutons were so fond of.

The Tärä-hunger, Tärä-lust, Tärä-Resurrection, Tärä-fire are preserved in the Great Mother cult obvertly maintained within the churches.

St. Brigit...retained her original fire-feast.... On the evening of February 1st.... She was greeted in the Hymn of Broccan as 'Mother of my Sovereign', and in the hymn of Ultan-as Mother of Jesus (She had once been mother of Dayda). In the Book of Lismore she is named: "The Prophetess of Christ, the Ocean of the South, the Mary of Goidels. Exactly the same thing had happened in Greece and Italy, where the Goddess Venus became St. Venere, Goddess Artemis, the St. Artemidos; the Gods Mercury and Diony- sus, Sts. Mercourios and Dionysius; the Sun-God Helios, St. Elias,77

We will meet with the Sumerian traditions of Istar, Anu, Inanna and temple-vigils in discussing the subject of schisms in Saivism.

Sumer's Antiquity: In our study of Saivism the people of Babylon, Sumer and Egypt (Misr) prove to be of great significance to us.  ButSumer has not yet revealed its earliest. On the basis of what has been so far discovered, it would be unfair to term the civilisation of Sumer as primitive or prehistoric. What the labours of Botta, Rawlinson, Wooley, Layard and others have revealed to us prove to be of great value in our reading of the Hindu Purana traditions, and specially, in our study of Saivism, and other images that the Hindus adore and worship to this day. Hence for such a study our watchwords are care and caution; objectivity and patience. Sumer and Babylon, on the basis of their temple rites as described by travellers and sundry other records, have been cheeringly painted by the interested who wanted to deride paganism, as to be the hot-bed of a lurid culture of debauch, perversion and immorality. To nurse this idea about Sumer would be contrary to facts. In order to take a more complete view of this culture, or these cultures, one has to take into account certain other facts now available to us, uninfluenced by those religion-peddlers whose chief organisational stock-in-trade has been a blasphemous, puerile campaign of calumny and slander.

Sumer enjoyed in full measure a highly moral civilisation and a well organised state policy. In his history of Sumer (History Begins at Sumer 1956) Kramer lists the following firsts:

1. The first schools.

2. The first case of apple polishing.

3. The first case of juvenile delinquency.

4. The first 'war of nerves".

5. The first bi-cameral congress.

6. The first historian.

7. The first case of tax-reduction.

8. The first Moses; Law codes.

9. The first legal precedent.

10. The first pharmacopoeia.

11. The first farmer's almanac.

12. The first experiment in 'shade tree gardening'.

13. Man's first cosmogony and cosmology.

14. The first moral ideals.

15. The first Job.

16. The first proverbs and sayings.

17.The first Animal Fables.

18. The first literary debates.

19. The first Biblical parallels.

20. The first 'Noah'.

21. The Epic Literature: Man's first Heroic Age.

22. The first tale of Resurrection.

23. The first 'St. George'.

24. Tales of Gilgamesh: The first case of literary borrowings.

25. The first love song.

26. The first literary catalogue.

27. World's Peace and Harmony: Man's first Golden Age.

And further firsts are still in the coming, because the picks have increased in number; more scientific investigators and scholarly diggers are at it. The process has only been started. All that has been revealed so far unfold the story of a well-developed and sophisticated society. The dusts have yet to disgorge the history of the primitiveness of man; the remains of the first strata of earth have yet to be revealed. The earliest in man might have been found out; but man's earliest has yet to be found out and connected.

This requires, first of all, freedom; intellectual freedom, scholarly freedom, political freedom, financial freedom; freedom from prejudice, local prejudice, religious prejudice and scholarly and academic prejudice which have been doing the utmost harm to the resurrection and re- habilitation of truth..

We have seen in connection with the Sumerian gods that no historian is yet ready to admit who the Sumerians were. But most admit that their antiquity is laid yet somewhere else, and not exactly where Sumer or Sumeria is. There must have been a hereditary abode where the beginnings of the Sumerian script had been started. "They (Sumerians) appear settled in this (Coast of the Persian gulf) territory from the intelligence we have of them, and their own tradition of a fabulous antiquity gives no hint of another home."

Apart from what Will Durant speaks in the above lines, the following from C. Leonard Wooley (Digging up the Past) confirms civilisations indebtedness to Sumer. "If human effort is to be judged merely by its attainment, then the Sumerians, with due allowance made for date and circumstance, must be accorded a very honourable, though not a pre-eminent place; if by effects of human history, they merit higher rank. Their civilisation, lighting up a world still plunged in primitive barbarism, was in the nature of a first cause. We have out-grown the phase, when all the arts were traced to Greece, and Greece was thought to have sprung, like Pallas, full-grown from the brain of the Olympian Zeus; we learnt how the flower of genius drew its sap from Lydians and Hittites, from Phoenicia and Crete, from Babylon and Egypt. But the roots go further back; behind all this lies Sumer."""

The admission of a historian's failure may be read along with other admissions of like sort. "We know exactly what race they belonged to, but we do not know very much about their history.... The Phoenicians' ancestors were the Semites, and belonged to the Cannanites of whom the Bible speaks (nothing)." At once the same author contradicts him- self, "If the Phoenicians were really Semites, it is remarkable that they ever developed such an un-Semetic love for the sea."

"Of the history of the Sumerians we know nothing," says Helmolt, "who the Sumerians were, how they originated, is still a mystery, in spite of the archaeologists' endeavour to trace their origins to the mountains of Persia and central Turkey. But one fact is certain; they were not Semetic." (Note the downright contradictions that confuse.)

The Greek historian Herodotus had never heard of the Sumerians "The Sumerians did not arrive in Mesopotamia...until 3500 B.c. (According to their own records they had a history going back twelve hundred centuries more.) But, of course, it is quite possible that these early settlers had previously lived for thousands upon thousands of years in other cradles of civilisation." As we notice, civilisation moved from East to West, we could assume that these Sumerians (a) were earlier residents of further East; and (b) because they were not Mongoloids, they had to come from the southern part of the Indian peninsula, an autochthon of civilisa- tion, this part of the Asian land mass being one of the oldest land masses of the earth.

Despite much research we cannot say of what race the Sume- rians were, nor by what route they came to Sumeria. Perhaps they came from Caucasus or Armenia; perhaps, as the legends say, they sailed in from the Persian Gulf (but from where across the Gulf?), from Egypt? or elsewhere (how vague) and slowly made their own way up the river. We do not know.

(The comments within the brackets are the Author's.)

Berosus of Babylon (250 B.c.) in his history knew a "legendary" Sumeria (1). He mentions their craft in the following words, "All the things that make for amelioration of life were bequeathed to man by Oannes, and since that time no other inventions have been made." What he calls 'Oannes' became Sumeria because Oppert called these 'hypothetical' people Sumerians,

Who were the Phoenicians, "Who have so often been spoken in these pages, whose ships sailed every sea, whose merchants bargained in every port? The historian is abashed before any question of origin; he must confess that he knows next to nothing about either the early or the later history of this ubiquitous, yet, elusive people; we do not know whence they came, how, when. "s We are not certain that they were Semites (see contradiction with previous quotation); and as to the date of their arrival on the Mediterranean they themselves are quoted by Herodotus as to have descended from ancestors who had migrated from beyond the seas through the Persian Gulf 'twenty-eight centuries back'. They were called Phoenix, the red people. Was it because they looked coppery tan, or because they were manufacturers of dyes, specially of red? (Yet, these sea-faring people have been, as we have noted, related by historians to the Mongolians).

Prejudices of race, religion and a false sense of superiority work as moles that cover a historian's eye. History to be factual must be objective and frank. Pliny has been condemned as being always 'Greek' in his history. But so are Macaulay and Froude, English; Gibbon, a Catholic; and Wells, a socialist. Even the most renowned 'Christian' historian, or 'White' historian, has failed to come out of either his church, or his skin for writing a history of evidential facts without the drawbacks of exaggera- tions, understatements or downright mis-statements. A new trend is in sight. A fresh wind blows An army of younger scholars is busy taking a closer look at the problems.

The Blanks of History. Like the histories of the Sumerians and Phoeni- cians another case of 'unknown' history refers to the Etruscans. " still debate who the Etruscans were, and when and whence they came .... Pedants love to disprove the accepted.... Most Greek and Roman historians took it for granted that the Etruscans had come from Asia Minor. Many elements in their religion, dress and art suggest an Asiatic origin...."

Durant makes a frank statement that goes deep into a historian's mind, and makes him think afresh if what we call 'classical' was not really 'modern' compared to the heritage that went into shaping and moulding the cultures of Greece and Rome.

Of the six thousand years of written history more than half of civi- lised history concerns the people in Western Asia, and obliquely to Egypt in part. From this (theatre of teaming human popula- tion) our own European and American (sic) culture derive by a continuous succession through the mediation of Crete and Greece and Rome-The "Aryans" did not establish any civilisation; they took it from Babylonia and Egypt (A conjecture when nothing of Sumer and Babylon is known yet). Greece did not begin civilisa- tion; it inherited far more civilisation than it began; it was the spoiled heir of three millenium of arts and sciences brought to its cities from the Near East by the fortunes of trade and war."

Substract from Greek what belonged to Mycenean, Egyptian, Cretan and the Ionian Isles and Asia Minor, what Greek culture remains?

So after more than 1500 years, the material elements of Sumerian civilisation perished, though its culture was transmitted through the cuneiform tablets, first to Babylonians, thence to Assyrians and Persian, and eventually to the Greeks, and to us.

Sumeria was to Babylonia, and Babylonia to Syria what Crete was to Greece, and Greece was to Rome: the first created civilisa- tion, and the second developed it to its height; the third inherited it, protected it, added little to it and transmitted it as a dying gift to the encompassing and victorious barbarians."

These 'barbarian'-ways had the last laugh. But all this could have been truly and honestly stated with regard to the history of Greece, Rome, and even that of later Europe, where the Vandals, Goths, and Hüns reduced traditions and cultures to a common pulp. Out of that awesome flux, evolved a mutually distrustful aggressive culture loaded with prejudice and suspicion.

Darkness over Europe. Ever since the Hans and the Goths took over the driving seat of European political life, despite the Imperial attempt to fasten and foist a superficial unity of 'Christian' life, no European province of people has trusted its sister province. Napoleon's idea of a 'Nationless' Europe did not survive his own time. The idealism of unity was beset with two nagging handicaps which have been gnawing at the very soul of Europe. Both these could be related to two arrogant and arbitrary points. Both of them appear to be examples of deep seated prejudice. Both of them attempted to cover their respective want of logic and perspective by a heated expression of pugnacity, a natural inclination for mutual recrimination born of mistrust.

These two points are: (a) an anti-Roman mistrust of the Northern and Asian races settled in Europe; (b) so-called religious and cultural distractions. Jew-baiting has been just one of the common pastimes of these people. But both these have blissfully been set aside by a third force of modern economical interest growing out of the super-industrialised areas of Europe. Not religion, not internationalism, but a much stronger, much forceful, much materialistic impetus and urge has compelled the modern European culture to appear as a united body. Otherwise they are as divided by their material interest as they always have been. The stage-managed and theatrical multi-nation organisations such as UNO, SEATO, NATO, Warsaw Pact are inspired to protect only one interest. Not religion, not culture, not even Man, but commercial interest and commercial interest alone. The spectre of capitalistic industrialisation has now united the society of entire mankind into two groups, the industrialised and the non-industrialised. Those who want to gain by commerce are bound together by their narrow self-interest against those who have to labour and produce, and then pay for that commercial output. The independent growth of the latter is a threat to the interests of the former. Thus what was European culture has been completely set aside by the new threat of commercial culture. The 'barbarian' culture in Europe had sown the seeds of mutual distrust of the so-called 'nations'; that 'national' or 'cultural' mistrust, today, has grown into the cynicism of the few industrialist, and commerce-motivated political bullies, against an entire mass of popular opinion challenging it. Religion, and its hold on Europe, ever since the Roman times, has been very thin except for the years when a strong Inquisition, and an Imperial Pontificating arm kept the popular free opinion slavishly intimidated. Spiritualism had died out. The light of the soul had gone out. The Dark Age gave birth to a darker age.

Europe was cast into a century of gloom. Man lost faith in himself, in his essential growth, advance or even in survival. A dark age hovered. The feeble attempts of Christianity, together with the image of a Central Pontifical Empire alone remained as the dark remnant of a past monolithic order. This so-called religious power strove to retrieve the human material of Europe from receding into a state of boorish cynicism and fatricidal wars. A study of the social conditions of Europe from the third to the eleventh century reveals disconcerting facts, which had studi- ously been kept as secrets on grounds of profane traditions. Europe and Europe's degenerate society needed the panacea of Christ, and His minis- trations of Love. Whilst this Christianity was 'used' through a Pontifical order and tyranny, spiritual Europe covertly maintained those pagan tradi- tions which had a strange mystic esoteric hold on the orthodox mind. Europe, to accept Christ, has to accept Love, and understand Spirit more than Form. The true religion of central, Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, is still influenced by the mystic past which was brought to her by the Nordic Goths, Hûns, Mongols, and those gypsies who still function in Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania and Andulasia.

Europe needs Love, Europe needs it even now. For all these centuries of Christianity a religion essentially of peace, has not been able to teach Europe the intrinsic value of peace for the healthy growth of a brotherly human society. What Satan failed to achieve, what all the painted hell- horrors of the Middle Ages could not do, industrialisation and technology alone have succeeded in achieving. Industralisation and technology were to have been gifts and boons to the labouring and suffering man. Instead a greedy competitive, dog-eat-dog society commercialised all human emotions. Human brain power invented and introduced severely disruptive ideologies which instigated competitive trade, national pride and interest to an extent which was bound to foster the poison of expansiveness. As its irresistible correlate, almost naturally, an urge for domination has entered the area. Like blood thirsty gladiators, the nations, one behind the other, vie with each other in destructiveness; and another chapter in the history of man appears doomed to be submerged into an era of Dark Age. Once it had happened in Babylon then it happened in Constantinople and Rome; and a third dark age threatens human culture for want of Love. Jerusalem is yet to be discovered by Europe.

All this is what Europe has brought about, single-handed. There was a time when Vandals and Goths paved the way for ushering the voice of the Christ; then the ancient Christians dared Europe's wrath, and at their personal peril attempted to lift a generation up. Now, despite Christianity, an age of neo-Goths and neo-Vandals, have engaged themselves in rampaging the European society in the name of commerce, peace and uniformity. What it has really achieved so far is that in the name of commerce it has embraced competition; in the name of peace, it has secured a military order; in the name of uniformity, it has pushed forward alignment. Europe has lost peace again; and the concomitant restlessness and fever is being spread by Europe throughout the human world under the deadly threat of nuclear weapons, bacterial and chemical warfare. Nothing has upset human good intentions so thoroughly as splitting the atom, and stepping on the Moon

But no such barbarians destroyed the civilisations of the Orient In this regard Dr. Durant's analogy appears to face a challenge. Europe's Roman-holiday was brought to dust by the irresistible youth of the Hans, and the Vandals; but the great Assyrio-Persian Empire was not destroyed by non-civilisation.

It was destroyed by cultured Greece; by a scourge of Greece, called Great by Europe, Alexander. This egotist, sick of mind, in attempting to image himself in the glory of the Persians, and bathe himself with the balm of divinity, debauched and died without having the energy of even naming a successor, much less of organising his indiscriminate conquests into an organised whole. He who fails to put himself to order cannot put to order his time, much less posterity. Compared to this scourge, the organisation of Genghis or Timur, stood the test of history longer and more creditably. None but Alexander realised that Greece had nothing superior to offer to the Orient of the time; trade, commerce, metallurgy, skill, morals, medicine, science, astronomy, religion, nothing whatsoever, this Macedonian had to offer to the East as superior to what contemporary Syria, Egypt, Sumer, Babylon, Persia or India had. One has just to picture how he treated the women of the house of Darius to realise the depressed and immoral impact he brought to the people whose civilisation, law and order, morals and trustworthiness was a model for millions Asia gave to distressed Europe Christ Jesus as an ambassador of Eternal Peace and Love; Europe, since the days of sending Alexander, has been keeping up the traditions of the aggressive evangelist, and of the greedy conquistador with its hollow ministrations, unsupported by acts of love, charity and unselfish dealings.

The Jews in history have been the least oppressive and the most oppressed of nations. Many would not remember it now that these Semetic people, tied to their land and labour, peaceful and moral, religious and unassuming, were forced to live by usuary thanks only to Papal bulls. Through the steady incarcerations of the early Christian atrocities, and through the political disabilities imposed on them by so- called Christian monarchs in the name of religion, the Jews were forced to relinquish labour, land and trade. Usuary remained their only form of survival, outside of slavery leading to extermination. From the days of the Pharao to Hitler, Jews have remained pawns of fascists and imperialists. Hence they became bankers and real estate dealers. They are not usurers by choice. Usuary had been once condemnable; and Jews were the supposed scourge of the Christian society; today as bankers they are the most protected of peoples in the commercial world. All crimes could be condoned when done by a gangster force. Ethical judgment in commerce has changed the value of ethics. The Semites were great traders, and their skill in navigation was not ordinary. Until Muhammed, their religion was almost a mosaic of fascinating creeds and mystic practices, leading to a great super Father-Image. Their merchandise kept ports from Calicut and Surat to Sidon, Paphos and Memphis busy. Canneh, Aden, Basra, Tyre, Ninevah and Babylon were world markets, buzzing with their wares and wealth; and crammed with their ideas and opinions. Little was then heard of Tunis, Carthage, Brindisium, Rome or Caesarea.

Were they cousins of the Phoenicians, because they were not 'red'? They did not belong to the country of the palms. No one could say with. certainty that the Phoenicians and the Semites were the same people. On the contrary we have learnt from the evidence of Herodotus that their ancestors came from somewhere beyond the Persian Gulf, and the city of Tyre was founded by those ancestors; and this happened twenty-eight to thirty centuries before Christ! It is no longer a surmise. The date is corroborated through archaeological evidence. But the greatest catch in this amazing story lies in the fact that even these thirty centuries before when these 'foreigners' did settle in Mesopotamia, and founded' Tyre and Ninevah, even then they displayed a high degree of civilisation. The final strata of this culture still awaits the touch of shovels and pick-axes.

Sem, Semite, Soma could refer to the same root. Soma is a very special rite in the Vedas. The word also means the Moon, which could mean the Moon-people. Vijñana Bhiksu in commenting on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali makes it abundantly clear that the words Moon and Sun, as used in the context of the Yogic and mythological statements, denote people and not the planets so named (Vijñāna Bhiksu: Yoga Sutra). The Somas and the Devas had had to fight a bitter battle (Tarakamaya) on determining their respective rights on Budha or Mercury. The Indra and the Brhaspati-people laid their claims; and the Somas, assisted by the Sivas, the Bhrgus and Sukras resisted. Those who had the know- ledge of the Soma drink claimed the secrets of Mercury also. These latter, the Soma-Šivas were past masters in metallurgy, medicine, astrology and allied crafts, It makes us suspect some relation between these peoples. Scholars will yet have to trace out if such relations between the Semites, Jews, Phoenicians and Jews could be established. The point is moot. If the almost atavistic hatred amongst these people carried on to this day is en- tirely commercially based, or it has some religious and cultural bias also, may yet be found out.

Who, then, were they? Where was their home? Certainly some- where away from the Persian Gulf, from a country approachable by sea, and within a colonising distance from the mouths of the Euphratis and Tigris. They could not be the Aryans, for they were a navigating kind. They kept low before the horsemen. Where in the Indian Ocean area could this country be situated? Iran? Iran was approachable by land much more easily than by sea. The western coast of the Indian peninsula? There are evidences of the buried cities along the Indus, the Narmada, the Godavari, up to the lower reaches of the Ganges. But it is sure that the Sumerians (or the Syrians, or the Assyrians), who recall the Semetics were quite different from the original Semetics. Through centuries of close living, some closeness of their languages and manners might create for the historian an impression of similarities; but originally the red Phoenicians and the Syrians appear to have belonged to some other country. Old Herodotus nods in favour of this. There are some other ancient records-Berosus of Babylon and Socrates of Athens.

Gods of Sumer, and their religions are so similar. Phoenicia had many Gods. The chief deity of Byblos was a goddess Be'alat (the Lady of Byblos). She could have been the same goddess as the Egyptian Hathor, venerated on the banks of the Nile. (Ishtar, Astarte-Militta, Asherst-the Mother Goddess of no compare). The god with a human body and a lion's head is Ra, father of Ruti. A fourth divinity is Hay Tau, a prototype of Adonis, and adopted by the Egyptians as Osiris. Osiris and Hay Tau of Nega, a suburb of Byblos, perhaps, were honoured by the Egyptians as the names of both are found recorded in the Pyramids. Until the end of paganism a traditional story persisted throughout this region, a tradition respected by all Semetics, that the great God El, the Father of Years, lived near the confluence of the two rivers and the sea. He was known as Bull, Bull-El, Ba'al, the greatest God of Assyria. Ba'al Shapon, Lord of the North, Lord of Lebanon.

Underneath this name the real name of the god lay hidden. The real name was to have been revealed only to the initiate. His voice sounded like the clouds; he weilded thunderbolts, and he dispensed rain; (Parjanya, Indra and Jupiter of some other myths). His mother was Ashebat, who was also his consort. The aspect of a mother-consort again is peculiar to the myths of the Orient. Mot was yet another God, god of harvest; he was the son of El. This Mot, the son, and the god of harvest, was sacrificed for the pleasure of the Consort-Mother, and then was revived to life again.

The strain of a virgin-mother and Resurrection persists.

The strain is not accidental. There is nothing accidental in the chain of history except natural catastrophe under which all evidences lie low. The Jewish lores are not without the echoes of these strange gods. "The God of the Jew might have been invisible, but his religion was founded on civilisations thousands of years old. The ark of the Covenant is reminis cent of the portable houses of the Nile valley gods. A breath of magic wafted across from Egypt. The flood, and a belief in numerolgy remind us of Babylon. The Babylonian god Gilgamesh becomes Nimrod, and the winged bulls of the Assyrians gave the Hebrews (later the Christians) their cherubim. The legend of Paradise is reminiscent of Persia. We can recognise the Phoenician and Cannanite god Ba'al in the names of Saul's sons: Eshbaa, and Meribaa. The Syrian philistines who probably hailed from Crete, regarded the dove as divine, and we rediscover the fish, which was worshipped at Askalon, in the story of Jonah. The Semetic Armenian revered the 'Mother of the Living', called 'Khavua' from the name (Hava in Arabic), 'Eva', appears to be derived.

Most of the rivers in Phoenicia had divine names, and were connected with the gods of the springs, Aleyin. Aleyin rode the clouds and com- manded the seven and the eight; Asherat of the Sea was the mother of the gods and the wife of Ba'al. Every year the gods Aleyin and Mot have to have a fight. This is a fight between the vegetation-god and the water, cultivation and the flood a point of perpetual agony in Meso- potamia. Mot is vanquished, and Aleyin is established on his own; and the event is celebrated. But then Ba'al and Aleyin fight, in which Ba'al had the advantage, but he fell like a bull (see Plate 34). The story goes on. Aleyin also dies and the Mother of the gods bear one body to the underworld and another to the Northern mountains.

Sex and Blood. Ba'al and Baralat are the chief two deities of the Phoeni- cians. Ba'al is the god, and Baralat is the goddess. In the land of their adoration no one uttered their real name, as the Israelites do not utter the name of their God. The Ball of Tyre was originally a solar God. But the most significant story of the mythology of the Phoenicians is the story of Adonis.

Adonis was born of a tree. His mother had turned herself to a tree. He was the direct descendant of Nega; and he replaced the vegetation gods of Aleyin and Mot (of Uragit poems) to Adonis. She entrusted him, secured in a box, to the goddess of the underworld, Persephone. Perse- phone, unable, like any woman, to resist curiosity, secretly opened the box,

and was charmed at once by the great beauty of the youth. She decided to have youth for herself, and refused to give him up. Dispute arose. The Lord of the gods decided that the youth shall divide his time of the year between the two goddesses. The same story makes Adonis fond of hunting. Aphrodite falls deeply in love with the young hunter. Adonis gets killed by a wild boar. The grief of Aphrodite has made many poets sing of this celestial romance.

In Byblos, in Phoenicia, the cult of Adonis was the most popular cult, and it occasioned the most hilarious and riotous festivals. Each city had its Chief God, Lord Ba'al; the God of fertility and plenty. Astarte was the Greek name for the Phoenician goddess Istar; at some places she was worshipped as a chaste woman, not inclined to marriage at all; at other places sex and sex alone could be offered to her; girls were proud to offer their virginity at the altar of this Astarte. This amorous wanton is a parallel to Aphrodite, and Ashtar Milita. The similarities here get close; " Ishtar had loved Tammuz, so Astarte had loved Adonis, whose death through the thrust of the tusk of a boar was annually mourned at Byblos and Paphos with wailing and beating of the breast. Luckily Adonis rose from the dead as often as he died.

But it was to the terrible God Moloch to whom the Phoenicians offered living children. So intense and deep-seated was this urgency that when the Romans had attacked for the final destruction of Carthage, the Carthegians offered thousands of their noblest children as sacrifice, an act that the Romans had to repeat when Rome was similarly threatened. Sicily and Carthage, Babylon and Athens, might be chronologically and geographically distant, but in the holocaust of a religious feast all horizons shrink, and old gods howl, for expatiation through bathing in blood streams. Religion and superstition, superstition and cult are close neighbours and as close neighbours they become the unacknowledged agents of syncretic continuity. In the Mahabharata we hear of a village under the spell of a demon by the name of Baka (Bacchus, Baccus, ancestor of Moloch?) whose liking for human flesh was brought to a close by Bhima. Similar suppression of blood feasting cannibal rites is associated with feast of Hercules and Ulysses.

Thus in Syria we find Phoenicia repeated. Damascus and Babylon resemble in their glories and their horrors; in their morals and in their immorals; in their trades and in their passions.

Religious prostitution flourished throughout this region. Fertility was the chief deity, regarded as the Mother, the Great Mother. Her sexual commerce with her lover was the great incitement to all living things to go for the free creed of fertilising whatever was worthy of being fertilised. The unfertilised was barren, the cursed of the society. What today would be called orgies was as simple a rite of calling the spirit for self-abandonment, offering the body for flagellation and dismemberment, not to speak of disfigurement; carrying the soul to the utmost state of pain and joy, and pouring all for the Goddess of fertility, without whose favour Life would reach a dead-end. Such fervour bordered on madness, and formed the annual feature for such cities as Heirapolis of later days.

About this time of vernal equinox this festival of Astarte of Syria, Cybele of Phrygia, seeped down history, seeped down centuries, to re- appear as Bacchanalis in Greece, and as Saturnalie in Rome. (May Pole, All Fool's Day, or the Holi or Charak rites of India could never compare with these). Castrated, as well as naturally eunuch priests danc- ed nude at times; and of the eunuchs many had made an offering of their members in frenzied moments of abandonment; actually sometimes they themselves, and at times their male and female co-revellers, tore apart the genitals, and made a supreme sacrifice by offering them as special treats. These, of course, were to become the most celebrated priests in times to come. The dancers who were not carried off to that extreme limit, stopped at clashing, and beating themselves, crying, howling and merging into trances. In Persia and the Medes, generally, among the Semetics, sacrificing a part of the male member is still regarded as a vital doctrinaire function of the devout; and acts such as slashing, impairing, injuring self-chastising still receives the highest approbation as marks of ascetic self-denial and spiritual joy of pain to the people in Egypt, Sudan and Libya. Sir Richard Burton has a special tablet written on these prac tices. Echoes of such practices are found amongst certain religious sects in Sudan, in East Africa, amongst some Abyssinian and Somalian tribes, amongst the Nubians, and some of the sects in India generally grouped under Saivic followers, but in fact belonging to mystically inspired small groups tucked away from the main stream of Saivism. The Kanphattas, the Udaris, the Nathas, the Jogis, the Nagas, the Päiupatas, still practise on themselves such flagellations and physical tortures. The Shias during the Muharram lamentations undergo in open processional demonstrations similar tortures. Official lamentators are hired to augment funeral wailings and breast-beatings in areas influenced by Egyp tian and Syrian cultures. A strain of these rites is noticeable in this way under the Saivic umbrella even amongst the vast beach-party of Hindu rites, but the hard core of Hindu Saivism actually keeps itself a away from such exhibitions in and exorcism of erotic propensities. The rites connected with Ishtar, Inanna, Nana or Adonis go further.

When night came, and the darkness thickened, the tomb of Adonis was opened. A consecrated and ritualistically sacrificed youth was brought sacramentally to life; and an announcement made, in public to the devout that the dead had arisen; and the priest assured that all the devouts, so dead would be brought back to life again.

Emphasising on the influence of the Aphrodite cult, a very modern ob- server considers her as a living symbol in Cyprus, where Christianity of a sort abounds. "...the meaning of Aphrodite legend," the book claims, "had been misinterpreted by the historians."

She was a symbol…not of licence and seriousness, but of the dual nature of man-the proposition which lay at the heart of the ancient religions from which she had been derived....She belonged to a world of innocence outside the scope of the barren sensualities which are ascribed to her cult. She was an Indian.

The last sentence, as a tradition in Cyprus, holds significantly a key. A world of mysticism,regarding the attitude towards phallicism as opposed to Saivism, is explained by the last sentence-"She was an Indian." And because she was an Indian, therefore "She belonged to a world of innocence outside the scope of the barren sensualities," which bother the interpretations given by historians as well as the orthodox church. Durrell, who knew Cypriot traditional lores so well, knew what he was referring to.

Driving this point home the author continues:

Here in Cyprus one is aware, as in no other place, that Christianity is but a brilliant mosaic of half-truths. It is perhaps based upon some elaborate misunderstanding of the original message which the long boats of Asoka brought from the East (italics author's), a message grasped for a while in Syria and Phoenicia, but soon lost in the gabblings of the scholastics and the mystagogues, shivered into a million bright pieces under the fanaticism and self-seeking religious gymnasts. Here and there a moving spirit like Julian apprehends that the vital kernel had been lost, he did not know what; but for the most part the muddy river ran on, swallowing the rainbow.

And that rainbow-was what Gibbon called paganism, but what Durrell frowns at, and senses to be a frank, vital, realism of approach to supernature. He connects this with India, Phoenicia and Syria, and refers its regeneration in Julian's time when Julian "made a voluntary offering of his reason to Jupiter and Apollo... to the honour of Cybele, the mother of the gods, who required from her effeminate priests the bloody sacrifice so rashly performed by the madness of the Phrygian boy. The pious emperor condescends to relate the voyage of the goddess from the shores of Peragamus to the mouth of the Tiber." Gibbon condemns Julian for his addition to age-old Asian religions where there was bloody sacrifice, the most licentious scepticism, Greek occultism, and freedom of interpretation of even the most licentious practices in the name of devotion. "The Lascivious form of a naked Venus was tortured into a discovery of some moral precept, of some physical truth; and the castration of Atys explained the revolution of the sun between the tropics...."

Ba'al, Marduk, Priapas, Atys and Adonis along with Cybele, Aphrodite, Demeter, Astarte and Isis, actually never left these shores. These continued, and through mysterious ways, continued to hold their vigorous sway in the strange mysteries of later-day religious rites and contents. Who could deny that the ancient assurances continue to flow to this day with undiminished vigour, and unquestioned assurance from a million priestly throats; and many more millions of the devout shed pious tears in exception of a divine resurrection. Change is so difficult a glory to claim for the mortals, who are eternally in search of an escape, offered by the easiest of exercises, namely, religious dogmas, and superstitious rituals.

Yet Man is not a creature so easily deceived. Self-deception casts its shadows forward; and the vainest of the mortals has to cringe before the shadows he casts. Side by side with vanglorious religious rites there are truly devout, the exclusively sublime free thinkers, the seedlings of future philosophy, whose function it is to rummage and explore their inner being, and bring peace and consolation through a silent and quiet devotion. True religion is the reflection of spiritual sublimity. Spiritual- ism redeems religions from becoming occultism.

However few, some of the holy men recognised a general divinity; and meditated on that divinity in silent awe and devotion, keeping themselves far from this madding crowd. They worshipped El or Ellu, the religious and spiritual antecedent of the Elahim of the Jews. But in the hilarity of paganism, and excitement of international orgies, devo- tion to abstractions was hardly regarded worthy of serious notice.

The excitement spread over other quarters. We have spoken of the Moon-deity, Astarte, the Aphrodite and Venus of later legends, and of the Sun deity, Ba'al. But the Ba'al of Syria, like Marduk, was a blood- thirsty deity. Astarte was fond of living-blood, streaming-blood, from warm bodies. Men and women ran amock and berserk through religious frenzy to pour this blood to their beloved Mother; sacrificial blood, spurting from lives killed, whose flesh could be eaten later on, thereby, they thought, they put a portion of the God himself within the body. (Jesus knew this ritual very well when he was assuring his associates of the drinking of 'his' Blood and of the eating of 'his' Flesh.)

After the manner of the Phoenicians many mothers easily offered their children as sacrifices. Colchis was a priest; and Agememnon was a creature of his own times. The story of Abraham and Isaac tells the same tale. Abraham's hands are held, and Isaac is replaced by a lamb; but the altar has to be covered with blood. And it was. Fire was lit high, and living sacrifices were offered. At times, ceremonially, sacri-fices were expected to take the 'Fire Bath', and pass through the fire. Mesha, king of Moab, sacrificed by fire his eldest son; and on achieving the end, out of gratification, held a prayer of thanksgiving by having seven thousand Israelites slaughtered. Hinduism records the echoes too. In the Vedas we read the famous story of Sunahkepa's sacrifice; Naciketa's sacrifice; and of the sacrifices of the kings Ambariga, Somaka, Karna and Ahi and Mahi-Ravanas in the Puranas. The concept of the Mother Power as Chinna-Masta, Matangi, Dhumavati, Camunda, etc., established the blood-thirsty aspect of the same holy Mother who is also the Benign Protector. Jews were forbidden 'to make their children pass through the fire'. Obviously they would not have been forbidden, unless the practice prevailed. Ritualistic practices once prevailing, continue to prevail, although away from the indoctrined platforms, and flourish in the darkness of mystery-cults and mystic-rites. Failing this, they would still persist, with just ceremonial eye-wash changes of the facade alone. Thus, they no longer tear off their members, and become eunuchs; but they do sacrifice their fore-skins in ceremonial circumcision. "Through- out this region," writes Dr. Durant, "from the Sumerian days when the Amorites roamed the plains of Amurru (c.a. 2800 B.c.) to the times when the Jews fell with divine wrath upon the Cannanites, and Sargon of Assyria, and Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem (597 8.c.) the valley of the Jordan was drenched periodically with patricidal blood, and many Lords of Hosts rejoiced."'"

It is in the face of the hardest of trials that man's faith is best adjudged. The sternest of reformative societies challenged by a mortal menace has been known to have become revivalists. The evidence of this is found in the history of the Carthagian wars when both Carthage and Rome sacrificed a whole generation of children and babies with the hope of expiating their wrongs to their ancient gods, whom they had once re- jected. Every Protestant movement has been accused by later times as revivalists; as every socialistic movement has been accused later of revisionalism. Similarly, every imperialistic war, even when victorious, has pushed ahead the forces of democracy. In history of civilisation, recession of thinking and culture, if at all enforced, is only a temporary illusion. Deep within all changes man's weakness for rites and cults, man's propensity for blind faith, looms unnoticed, until a grave situation, threatens a mortal challenge of thorough annihilation, and brings the latent forces back to the surface for a reappraisal." Fear attests religious sympathies the most. Threat of extinction stoops to a compromise.

4. Babylon

As in Sumerian, so in Babylonian religion too similar patterns could be closely followed up. So open and uninhibited became the urge of this religious appeal in Babylon that in the world of the day the very name Babylon conjured up lurid and lewd images; and the women of Babylon symbolised free erotic dispensations; and all this proceeded from a religious belief, religious practice, and a custom intently associated with all that devout holiness and sacrifice could mean in man. At the back of this mode of interpretation of the divine grace and dispensation stood the solid array of a very formidable priesthood, in which combined the responsibili ties of the welfare of mankind both in this life as well as in the next. The kings of Babylon at a later stage combined in their role the double functions of secular and religious machinery. (We shall see that in the Tamil Deccan of India this characteristic of combining secular and religious responsibilities in the person of the King, assisted by a minister- priest used to prevail. In fact, the high respect that Brahmanism enjoys to this day in the Deccan is largely due to the influence the priests held over the reigning monarch. Hereditary Brahmanism, so well established in the Hindu Puranas, and Manu Samhita was not a social imperative in the Vedic times. Man was then judged by spiritual attainments and inner distinctions. Classification of human material had not reached the castification of social commandments.) Monarchism and priestism had a heyday in Babylon where priests had been the real monarchs. In fact, "It was fated that the merchants should make Babylon, and that priests should enjoy it." When Cyprus finally attacked Babylon, the anti- clericals actually opened the gates, and welcomed a more virile people to replace a degenerated epicurean lot of effeminates.

The gods and goddesses of Babylon are just the continuation of those described under Sumeria, only with certain changes of names. The king was the representative of the great God Marduk, the bull or buffalo headed God, the ancestor of the Minotaur or of Minos of Crete, who was specially fond of virgins. He belonged to a class of legend found all over the Greek, Arabian and Indian myths. In the Hindu myths we hear of Mahişăsura of the Märkandeya Purana, who sought the virgin of the rocks, and met with his destruction; so did the Asuras Šumbha and Ni-sumbha of the same Purana, by seeking another virgin of the rocks. Compare the legends of Bakasura (Mahabharata), and Vrsäsura (Bhaga- vatam). The similarities of these legends, are disquietingly familiar to the student of myths and legends. In the Sakti-system all Tantras meet; and in Tantra meets the cross-currents of international spiritual mysticism.

Superstitions, priests and processions-these three words could cover almost entirely-the Babylonian approach to religion and life. Nowhere has life been so meticulously conducted by the signs and portents outside the individual. So great was the Babylonian's care for the movements of the stars that an entire science of almanac and astrology was developed and standardised. Priesthood subsisted on this, and held sway over the people. Fate was the all-powerful factor in life, to which the entire society submitted. Birds and their movements; calls from lizards, cock crows, intestines of sacrificial animals, directions towards which sacrificial flames blew, cats, dogs, sneezings, wailings, what not and what not, every- thing was detailed and set out with Newtonic alacrity, and guided towards one and only one purpose, to read man's future, to foretell, to prophecy. Witchcraft and sorcery were not very far from such attitudes in the mind. And the priests flourished; and shared their distinct ad- vantage with the kings. The priest of Babylon, like the Mediaeval Popes, were its commercial tycoons, money-lenders, real estate holders; and their power and property was envied even by Babylon's kings. Later, kings of power having noted this special advantage, took over from the foretelling priests the responsibilities of the headship, leaving to them only the spiritual part, which allowed them to foretell without having to share the burden of property. In this regard the Popes of Rome used to enjoy a distinct advantage over the Caesars.

This social system prevailed from age to age, civilisation to civilisation; this sharing of power between the magicians, priests, sorcerers, soothsayers on the one hand, and the conquerors, rulers, kings and emperors on the other. Some magic, whether black or white, flourished along the coasts of both the Arabian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

The priestly origin of Kingship was politely demonstrated and accepted at the procession of Marduk in Babylonia where the entire land belonged to Marduk. Thus the King was only a representative, a viceroy of the God Marduk; and any rebellion was to be regarded as a 'colossal impiety'. (Ownership of lands and real estates by temple deities poses a great problem for the socialistic government of India.) At the yearly festival the King accepted the crown from the priest, the crown of Marduk, to act as the God's viceroy. Those who know about Chandragupta Maurya and Harsa, those who have witnessed the processional progress of the great temple priest of the Hindu Deccan along with their deities riding on silver chariots, those who have observed the Corpus Christi procession of the custodian of the Vatican and other Catholic churches, those who have seen the gorgeous procession of the great Mahants (religious heads) of the Hindu orders during the 'Kumbha' fair, would appreciate that the Babylonian way of life, particularly of the fabulous priestly life, had left a brilliant tradition for a kind of spiritualists to follow. A great priestly state, with a splendid temple as the central hub of life, an extensive family of god's handy for any and every purpose, and a multitude of teeming population wallowing in fatalistic misery and inti- midating servility provided the most fitting backdrop for a marvellous polytheism flourishing along with necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery, paede- rasty, prostitution and magic.

Superstition is the most fertile womb for delivering gods. There were as many as 65,000 gods in Babylon. The chief of these, however, were: Anu, the firmament; Shamash, the sun; Nannar, the moon and Bel or Ba'al, the earth. Of course, these remind us of the gods of Sumer. In Babylon all these gods gradually gave way to the great sun god Marduk, the Bel Marduk, who together with Ishtar formed the pair of father and mother deities supreme in the life of the Babylonians. (Mrdaka is a god mentioned in certain types of Hindu Yajñas, specially those done under Atharva Veda. Mrdaka is one of the names of Śiva.)

Localised deities as proprietors. In India even today towns are found dedicated to a ruling deity. In prayers Hindus still pay homage to the Sthana-Devata (the deity of the town). In the deep south even a few years back some ruling princes were supposed to be ruling their states as 'viceroys' of the presiding deity whose temple, sometimes, was as large and spacious as a palace, and where resided the chief priest whose position was in no way inferior to the 'viceroy'.

The similarities do not end here. Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian traits could be traced into the life, food, rites, architecture and social structures of the people. The gods and the myths retain disquieting records of some form of clashes in the hoary past. Such clashes were centred round conflicts which, because of their supposedly astronomical nature, remind of Babylonian and Sumerian traits. The most noted, and the most prolonged of these conflicts is known in the Rg Veda as (Tarakamaya) the Wars of the planets, later known in the Purana-myths as the war of the Devas with Taraka, the demon. Taraka (planet, star) reminds of Tärä, Sitärä, Esther: of the Assyrian-people, who were the Taraka-people. The fight was known to have taken place between the Suras and Asuras. There are grounds to believe that the Assyrians and the Asuras could be the same people. Kyttika, the constellation is the same as the Pleiades formed of six stars whose rites inaugurate the season of winter planting, 100 Uma as the Mother Sasthi offers six pairs of breasts for Kartika or the young bachelor (Kumāra) to suck. A goddess having many breasts and offering sucks was not unknown in Babylon.

In a later chapter we shall deal with the cult of Kartika more ela- borately. The legend of Taraka, the planet-people, will also be narrated later. But the Taraka rites refer to a Kumara, a young bachelor, beloved of the stars, who fought against the Asuras as a general of the Devas. He was born of the Mountain Maid (Parvati) known as Uma (Ammā) from a Union with Siva. But the Great Mother did not bear him in her Womb. Birth came as a defiance against not only of Taraka, but also against the indiscretions of Agni, i.e., some kind of fire-cult. He is the much adored Subrahmanyam or Kartikeya of the Saivas of the South India. He is the one who dominates the 'fowls', and reminds by so doing the zoomorphic bird-gods of Babylon, Egypt and particularly Assyria.

Do we see the connection between the Hindu virgin goddess Kanya Kumari, the Christian Virgin, and Istarte? Ashtarte? Ashtoreth? Ishtar? Isis? Ishi and Tarà of Tantra? Isäni of the Puranas? How could we escape, specially as we study the legends attached to these different deities? Flourishing in different climes, amongst different peoples, at different times, the far-off legends reverberate familiar echoes. The chants, the rites, the emphasis on blood-sacrifice, on the concept of resurrection, and the uses of symbolic sex-icons favour a substantiation.

Virgins and Temple-Prostitutes. The chants and the hymns of the Babylonians and the Sumerians could be the prototype for the later hymns of David, the great hymns of the Tamilian devotional sect. Some authorities believe firmly that these hymns did provide the form and the inspiration of the great hymns of the Old Testament,

These chants make Ishtar a deity in whom the virtues of the Egyptian Isis, the Grecian Aphrodite and the Roman Venus could be traced. But she also presided over the interesting custom which made Babylon the most notorious land of erotic extravaganza. She combined in her the double virtues of bounteous motherhood of Demeter, and the erotic abandonment of Aphrodite. "She was the goddess of war, as well as of love; of prostitutes as well as of mothers; she called herself a passionate courtesan; she was represented sometimes as a bearded bi-sexual deity, sometimes a nude female offering her breasts to suck; and though her worshippers repeatedly addressed her as the Virgin, the Holy Virgin, the Virgin Mother, this merely meant that her amours were free from all taints of wedlock." (Dr. Durant could have added the name of the Hindu Kumari, the Sikhi-Vahand, the Bird-riding lady of Tantra).

We get from Herodotus a glimpse of the sacrificial customs followed in Babylon for the appeasement and adoration of this supreme deity.

Every native woman is obliged, once in her life, to sit in the temple of Venus and have intercourse with some stranger. And many disdaining to mix with the rest, being proud on account of their wealth, come in covered carriages, and take up their stations at the temple with a train of numerous servants attending them. But the far greater part do this; many sit down in the temple of Venus wearing a crown of cord round their heads; some are continually coming in, some are going out. Passages marked out in straight lines lead in every direction through the women, along which strangers pass and make their choice, when a woman has seated herself she must not return home till some person has thrown a piece of silver into her lap, and lain with her outside the temple. He who throws the silver must say thus: I beseech the Goddess Mylitta to favour thee; for the Assyrians call Venus Mylitta. The silver may be ever so small, she will not reject it, inasmuch as it is not lawful for her to do so, for such silver is accounted as sacred. The woman follows the first man that throws, and refuses none. But when she has had intercourse, and absolved herself from obligation to the Goddess, she returns home; and after that time however great a sum you might give her, you will not gain possession of her. Those that are endowed with beauty and symmetry of shape are soon set free but the deformed are detained a long time, from inability to satisfy the law, for some for a space of three or four years,

Was this jus-prime-noctis a relic of some primitive suspension of disbelief against a taboo concerning the shedding of blood, particularly vaginal blood, dreaded all over the world as accursed, as Dr. Frazer suggests? Was this sacrifice to the goddess as simple as it appears to be? Or was this profanation an indirect security that condoned licence enjoyed by temple priests? In other words, what had such sex-promiscuity to do with spiritual consummation, and abstract realisation of divine grace?

We shall never know. Mystic realisations are beyond the scope of just cold words, specially when such words are read torn from their appropriate atmosphere, mental orb and necessary initiation. All we have is evidence. All we have is names of authorities regarded and respected for their spiritual powers. Whereas Durant, Frazer, Jacques Abtiube Dulaure, Ryley-Scott and others have been viewing the subject from the points of view of a social historian, or an anthropologist, it is clear that this point of view, by itself, is not only inadequate, but positively perverting and harmful, because it does not encourage the full under standing that such a spiritual subject calls for. Except by minds which are spiritually far more equipped and trained than those of mere scholars, (for a subject of spiritualism calls for such inner experience as scholarship by itself cannot bestow) it is quite impossible for the inexperienced to judge it, specially by external features alone. Writing of poetry is an expression of experience; the critics of poetry, however competent, have not the experience of writing it. The joy of creative experience is unique. When we consult the evidence of the spiritualists themselves, specially of such spiritualists as have been held in high esteem, such as Lama Lompon Rinpoche, Lama Jsangyang Gyatso, Lama Gyalwa Rinpoche, Swami Visuddhananda, Sarvananda Agamvägis, etc., we are bound to pause and think, in spite of the noxious fact that much charlatantism is indulged under the cover of spiritual practices. Life's mystery would mislead quite a number. The mystery is revealed, if at all, only to a lucky few.

Cannibalistic Rites. We shall never know the deepest secrets that shroud the Orphic horrors of sex, blood, wine and meat (inclusive of human meat); but we know this to have been honoured throughout the ancient civilised world according to Dr. Graves, Dr. Frazer, Dr. Durant and a host of others. Slaying a male human victim,10s and distributing his flesh amongst the votaries, and scattering the entrails, blood and powdered genitals as fertilizer, even partaking of it as a guarantee for assimilating its property, has been a time-sanctioned fertility ritual; and despite all Christian ministrations, and the age-old enactment of Constantine against sex orgies, "Even in modern Europe the figure of Death is sometime torn to pieces, and the fragments are then buried in the grounds to make the crops grow."10 Reports of ritualistic murders, even mass murders, continue bobbing up to the surface of the newspapers of Europe and America. In the post world war free society these cases appear to have grown, in frequency.

The tradition of Orphic practices of sex, lust and sacrifices of a victim, later replaced by a lamb, ("The lamb as a substitute for a man; the lamb he gives for his life."),107 had spread over a very vast area, vaster than we, today, in our narrow nationalistic and sectarian vision, could ever imagine. This is the area of our investigations; the area where the four-fifths of mankind lived; the area of the Mediterranean sea and the Indian Ocean, the area that covered the three continents, the area from which all religions sprang, the birth place of all our gods.

We can follow this tradition of limbing apart the victim in the story of Romulus, the first king of Rome, who was cut into pieces by the senators.

The traditional date of the death, the seventh day of July, was celebrated with certain curious rites. Again, a Greek legend told how Renthous, king of Thebes, and Licurgus, king of Thracian Edonians, opposed the vine-god Dionysus, and how the impious monarchs were rent to pieces, the one by frenzied Bacchanals, the other by horses. These Greek traditions could well be distorted reminiscences of the custom of sacrificing human beings, and specially divine kings, in the character of Dionysus, as god, who resembled Osiris in many points, and was said like him to have been torn limb from limb. We are told that in Chios men were rent to pieces as a sacrifice to Dionysus; and since they died the same death as their god, it is reasonable to suppose that they personated him. The story that the Thracian Orpheus was similarly torn limb from limb during the Bacchanals seems to indicate that he too perished in the character of the gods whose death he died. It is significant that the Thracian Licurgus, king of the Edonians, is said to have been put to death in order that the ground, which had ceased to be fruitful, might regain its fertility,

In his conquest of Mexico Prescott gives detailed description of human victim slain at the altar of the Sun God by the Aztecs. The only difference between the Eastern and the Western versions of this blood ritual appears. to be the absence of the sex Bacchanal in the 'brutes' of the Americas Ritualism was the very life-rhythm of the Babylonian worship; and devotion turned out to be worship of rituals and devotion to rituals; and life as such was entirely disenchanted about morality and ethics. A good man was not so important in society as an expert in sacrificial ritualism. Gods demanded sacrifices and shows; demonstrative adoration was not the primary duty of the single devotee, of the entire populace to supply the demands. Nothing was more important than the rites, the priests and his sacrifices. Lord Marduk and Lady Ishtar demanded sacrifice of blood, virginity, adornments, jewellery, but above all processions, bacchan- als, dramatisations of death and resurrection. (Note the subsequent Safi reactions against the excess of forms, Sufism a mystic product of the same land, shuns rites.)

For the public processions, at times, dramatic floats were arranged on chariots; representations of the gods and goddesses which were carried along for dramatic demonstrations seem to have, been modelled on smaller scales. From this practice came the custom of symbolic representations, because after the processions, the iconic deities or their images became too holy to be destroyed. Amulets and talismans were made of these relics which guarded over the destinies of the lucky who had them, or wore them on their persons. (Relic-adoration ran through Buddhism, Catholic- ism to our days.)

A Babylonian Myth. But the most interesting part of this drama of death and resurrection is contained in the subject matter in the myth itself.

When there was nothing as 'above', and nothing as 'below, there was Apsu (water) and Taimat (chaos); they 'mingled their waters', and Goddess Taimat as chaos attempted to confuse and destroy all, when Marduk slew her, and tore her into pieces; these he hung above and below; and the sky and the earth came into being. (In later myths we shall see that Uranus and Gaea, mother and son shall unite to produce creation, and of course the twelve Titans shall marry amongst themselves as brothers and sisters to assist creation and people the earth. No wonder that the Greeks of Egypt had taken recourse to this method when they wanted to contain the hagemony within their own race in Egypt.)

Marduk's blood, the blood of the slain, and the Mesopotamian clay, supplied the raw material for the manufacture of 'men', who later on so misbehaved that the disgusted god sent a flood, and destroyed the men. This was an action to be regretted later, as the greedy gods realised that without the aids of the men, the dainty food of the sacrificial fires would not be forthcoming. Hence they saved a pair by building an ark. It survived the flood, and the pair was safely perched on the peak of Nisir. A dove was sent out to reconnoitre; and land being in sight Shamash-naphistim, who thus survived, offered sacrifice, and the gods felt satisfied again.

In the Sumerian version of this story Ishtar and Tammuz are described as brother and sister; so is in the Hindu version, Manu and Satarupā. (They were, according to Aitareya Brähmana, Father and Daughter, though in a mystic scene and creation was incestuous. They were, according to Satapatha Brahmana, and Manu Samhita, brother and sister -incestuous again.) But the Babylonian version was most daring still, Ishtar, in the Babylonian story was at times a sister, and at times, a mother. But why bother? Did not the same trend percolate throughout later myths in the forms of Demeter, Persephone, Venus, Adonis and many more such? Satarâpă and Manu, Daksa and Aditi, Brahma and Sarasvati? Yama and Yamf?

Listen to this one as described by Dr. Durant:

Tammuz, son of the great god Ea is a shepherd pasturing his flock under the great tree Erida, when Ishtar, always insatiable, falls in love with him and chooses him to be the spouse of her youth. But Tammuz, like Adonis, is gored to death by a wild boar, and des- cends like all the dead into the subterranean hades, which the Baby- lonians called Aralu, and over which they set, as ruler, Ishtar's jealous sister Ereshkigal.

Ishtar casts aside her dignified exclusiveness, follows Tammuz to Aralu and prostrates herself before an unrelenting sister's wrath. Then comes the most symbolic part of this mystic myth, and one of the most beautiful pictures in mystic literature. "I weep for the men who have left their wives," says Ishtar and continues to plead before the gates of Aralu; "I weep for the wives torn from the embrace of their husbands... But none but the nude can enter the gates. That is what the tablets command.

Therefore at each successive gate through which Ishtar must pass, the keeper divests her of some garment or ornament: first her gown ther her earrings, then her neclace, then the ornaments from her bosom, then her many jewelled girdle, then the spangles from her hands and feet, and lastly her loin cloth, and Ishtar, protesting, gracefully yields,

Of course, her sister Ereshkigal (means in Sumerian, 'love and copulate for mixing juices') having confronted this unadorned beauty without compare felt a smarting kick of jealous wrath, and sent through the beautiful body a hundred afflictions. Meanwhile on earth arts famished, love languished, vegetations withered.

We have seen exactly similar conditions flourishing in Sumer; and we shall observe conditions prevailing in the legends of Older Homer too.

(Do we recall Demeter, Prosperpine and Pluto? Do we recall Alcestis? Adonis? The Orphic cults?")

Of course Ereshkigal has to release her; and she does. But Ishtar is firm. She is not going without Tammuz, her lover. She wins. The seven gates are crossed by the lovers. Love wins over death, as it would in the legend of Savitri (The Spirit of the Sun) and Satyavan (The Spirit of Truth) recorded in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Symbolised Immortality. The involved symbolism has been times and again skilfully explained by scholars and Yogis. Śri Aurobindo has a whole poem, a great one, on the theme of Savitri. But to the people, for whom these legends were written, those dramatis personae, actually lived and died, and sincerely believed to live again. So real and ardent, so vivid and urgent, were these characters to them that millions over the centuries lived and died for them. Poets have sung of them; playwrites have composed plays. For thousands of years tears have been shed in sympathy with the rise and fall of these immortal characters. Such is the power of symbolism. Symbols crystallise, as the lamp does the Sun, the never-withering sentiments that make Man seek the mystery of the Eternal. The story of death and life told and retold in the form of the revival of the dead, enters even the latest of the times when millions speak, believe and fight for the Resurrection of the Lord, of the One who came back from the world of the dead, of the Lord who rose from the dead. Some legends, in this way, we cast away as legends and un-history; yet some others we cling to as faith, history and fact. From Time to Time the cosmic rhythm of Faith carries the same tale. Some we interpret as symbolism, some we reject as paganism. And old Time laughs. Truth blushes. Faith keeps quiet.

But, again, we find the Babylonians entrenched in the faith of personal immortality, which is quite a different matter from resurrection. They believed in Aralu, the land of the dead, cold, shivering, disintegrating with deadly torments, inclusive of leprosy; but a land which just acts as a re- formatory, a purgatory. This idea of immortality too, gave the corollary- idea of the lands of the dead, the world of the Pitrs, of the Menes, where await the spirit of the ancestors for their release through the good acts and sacrifices of their progenies. The pre-natal life had to relate some- where the post-natal life for making the Life cycle complete. Thales, Thebes, Greece, the Ionic isles, Egypt all were under the influence of this idea of immortality and transmigration in some form or the other. The Chinese and the Japanese too believed in this. The Hindu does. After all no faith is solitary; and no religion speaks for itself alone. In religion man realises his spiritual growth to maturity. Besides the grand symbol- ism of Life in Death, Death in Life that the legend bears as the throb in its heart, it suggests the sublime poetical truth about the relentless pursuit of Life, that running through the awning arches of cold death, seeks and ever seeks Love. Nothing is so real, so poignant, so thrilling with ardour and sympathy as the urge with which Love pursues Death, and stands naked before the Almighty-Cold, Almighty-Time. The very urgency was transformed by the Beauty of its sheer lonely sincerity. Life continues through Death.

And all this is not mere poetry. We shall see, when the time comes, in a later chapter, how through the system of Yoga, the science of Realising the Power that runs behind all motion in all the aspects of this Universe, and all Universes, through a dedicated course of meditation. The Realised speaks of the human consciousness; of how the self passes through the six stages until it meets the last, seventh state, where the Source, the Great Power, the Effulgent Purusa, the Self, the all pervading, all-effulgent Ocean of Consciousness envelops the naked self, denuded of all limits and bonds, of all descriptions and decorations, of all that could be added or subtracted. Saivism subsists on the two systems of Yoga and Samkhya. Hence the relevance of these legends to the principal subject matter of this book. The element of paganism in Saivism is but formal and superfluous.

There are stories of yet other peoples and of other civilisations to be unfolded in the course of reviewing the continuous stream of the religious adoration of a Mother Goddess whose veneration could be involved through blood sacrifices, sex offerings and forms of promiscuity. These are different peoples with different languages and different cultural values; these are people who fought for their respective political, religious and commercial interests. But underneath all their differences this emphasis on blood and sex, and the presence of a Mother-image in their respective religions persists. And all these together, had been what is known as, Pagan religions, that flourished in the Levant, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea; and of which Aegean, Ionian, Greek and Roman myths are the grandchildren. There are good grounds to believe that all religions are protestant outgrowths of former religions, which yet live within the new religions, hid behind various rituals and symbols, as our ancestors still stir in their caves right within our blood, and within the desires that colour and warm that blood. This is so, not because of the anthropological reasons alone, but also because spiritually the inner contents of Paganism have been inviolably sacred and true, irresistible and unique.

In the course of our special study of rites and symbols of Saivism we shall discover how deep does the past dovetail into the present; how the Siva-Sakti-Tantra, aware of the materialistic rites, proves itself to be the only pragmatic way to liberation and peace. It sought no worldly power for personal utility. It sought peace on earth and joy for the Self.

Like a Chinese box our times are bedded layer by layer into the past.

Early religions are not too early to claim links with the modern ones. However, startling it may be, the pick-axes and shovels of archaeology have brought home the truth to us that our modern ways of thought and administration are not so modern after all.

5. Crete

The island of Crete is a stepping stone from Asia to Europe. Was this the very cradle of the phallic grandeur that in the East had reached the spiritual transfiguration of Saiva transcendentalism? Even fifty years back no one would have suspected this rather barren island to have contained, like the embyro of Mäyädevi, Devakit, or Mary of Nazareth?, so rich a treasure of antiquity as changed the cultural identity of the then civilised world. All along, Crete had been lumped together with the Greek civilisation because of the myths of Homer. These myths had been recorded at least four or five hundred years after the incidents they describe. Modern mythologists read sense in these myths; and their recastings of history, together with finds of excavations, have confirmed old Homer's depictions as basically factual. Poets have remained suspects to historians. But new facts are being disgorged. Picks and shovels are engaged in writing history. Myths are breathing life; and traditions are yielding meaningful cultural heritage.

Indian myths mention an island of Artha (Crete) where Bulls are totems, and where the Axe (Paraiu) enjoys the honoured symbol of the waxing and waning of the Moon, which is an accepted Divinity of the Mother cult.

Homer speaks of sacrifice of bull in this Island. Athenians too had adopted a bull sacrifice, 'murder of the ox', bouphonia, fully described by Frazer: "The Ox was regarded not merely as a victim offered to a god, but is itself a sacred creature, the slaughter of which is a sacrilege, or murder." Varro says that in Attica slaughter of ox was regarded as a crime, as in the Hindu India since Manu.111 But the Hindus regard making the gift of a Bull (Vrsotsarga) a great rite for propitiating the dead.

These characteristics of the Minoan civilisation of Crete strongly suggest Saiva characteristics of a particular type. Names such as Crete, Knossos and Phaistos (cities in Crete) echo such Purana-names as Krtha, or Kiauna (A sea-girt-city, or place).

Relation between the Bull-ritual of Crete and Attica and Hindu India could be traced from such rites as the Vrgotsarga and Gomedha of Vedic India. Frescoes of the palace of Knossos reveal great scenes of the bull ritual. A Knossos seal pictures a Bull at a ritualistic platform (It conforms to the description given by Frazer of bull sacrifice referred to above). Another seal, a gem (Minoan) describes a goddess on a lion,

Mothers of Gautama Buddha; † Vasudeva Krana; Jesus Christ.

fully answering to the description of Śiva's consort Parvati (Maid of the Mount) Singha-Vahini, (Mother riding on a lion). Some seals of the Indus- valley Culture remind these seals of Crete both in their subjects, and in their artistic designs.

We have already noted the Indian mythological traditions112 speaking about an island, Krtha. We shall now take a closer look at some of these Purana-details, and compare the two sets of myths. In the Indian myths bulls were held in regard; and parafa (axe) was an accepted insignia. The stylized axe of the double blades signified the waxing and waning of the moon. Spiritually this conveyed the metaphysical phenomenon of integration and disintegration. The creed of this island of Krtha had been the same as was followed by Ṛsi Bhrgu. He was associated with astronomy and astrology. Rama of Ayodhya, an Aryan, came into a clash with a descendant of Bhrgu whose name was Rama of the axe, or Paraku-Rama. There is an interesting legend associated with this Axe-Rama's clinging to the Axe, and his avenging the misdeeds of the Aryan kings who had humiliated his father and his creed. It was most probably symbolic of a fight between the Father creed and Mother creed. The incident merits further probe. At the moment we shall restrict our study to this island of Crete and to Krtha of the Indian myths.

That the island of Crete was the seat of an independent and homo- geneous civilisation and culture has been accepted only in recent times. In 1936 Sir Arthur Evans wrote his splendid six volume on the archaeo- logical finds in Crete. Since then a link between the Asian and the European civilisations has been regarded as an enigmatic possibility. Europe's legitimate pride in Greece prevented its scholars to acknowledge any debts of Greece to Asia or Oriental cultures. By and by the prejudice is being blown up. The antecedents of the Bible as revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls and of the Greek culture, as revealed in the Oriental cultures, are no longer doubted. Scholarly prejudice is a type of intellectual servility leading to a great deal of false chauvinism and imperialistic obduracy. Fortunately the latest studies in comparative religion have done a good deal in eliminating this prejudicial approach.

A Comparative Date Chart. The layers and layers of finds, now revealed, span between them a period of 10,000 years of human history. Let us pause and try to measure the immensity of this archaeological discovery in the light of some of our 'knowledge' which, through making grooves into our thought-machine, has rendered us useless in receiving new knowledge, and accepting them in their immensely vast context. Our faiths are victims of our intellectual commitments. It seems blissfully more con- venient to cling to given traditions, than to embrace new challenges. Ease is a fascinatingly honeyed exercise. The siege of Troy which was an Asian city, and which had been culturally and materially far advanced than anything known to Europe at that time acted as the beginning of what was later to be known as Greek culture. Let us consider the dates with the hope of vivifying this vastness.

1. Seige of Troy-Circa 1200 B.C.

2. Herodotus, Europe's earliest historian-484-425 B.C.

3. Thucydides, historian of Athens 455 B.C.

Compare this with some dates in Indian history:

1. Indus Valley civilisation-3000 B.C. Circa.

2. Indian expedition of Antiochus III, King of Syria-2068 B.C.

3. Worship of Vedic deities in Mittani and Mithraism-1375 B.c. Circa.

4. Invasion by Cirus of (The Achemanian of Persia) Kapisa-558 B.C.

5. The Buddha's death-544 B.C.

6. Invasion of India by Alexander-327 B.C.

7. Asoka the Great-273-232 B.C.

A comparative estimate of these dates, together with the dates of the Egyptian monarchies, which are the most settled of these dates, shall fix our minds particularly on the period 2500 B.c. to 1200 B.C. when throughout the middle East, or throughout the so-called Oriental regions washed by the Arabian sea, Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, a great stream of cultural communication flowed steadily, and involved the Madhya Desa (the Medes), and the Madhya Sagara, (the Mediterranean Sea).

In considering the traditions of the civilisations that flourished in and around Greece, the European scholars, for reasons best known to them- selves often appear to fight shy of crossing over the sandy deserts of the East, and of progressing towards the Indus and the Kavery valleys. The umbilican gyrations of that ancient cultural world must have been agitating some central location away from these places where the earliest strata of civilisations are recognisable far in advance of a paleolithic culture. The origins of this culture must be located away from Egypt, Mediterranean or even the Medes. But historians doggedly attempt to contain this gradual development of so finished a culture within the borders of the European East.

The obliqueness of such prejudice springs from a superstitious emphasis on the so-called classics of the West, the Old Testament, Homer, Thucydides and Hesiod. A rigid adherence to these texts alone has narrowed vision, and handicapped scholarship. Facts had got subverted by a lack of freedom in studying comparative myths and rituals. Recent finds, in archaeology, however, have shocked truth back to its place; and history is being reconstructed in the light of the latest facts. Yet, inferences are hard to be worked upon, and believed.

Scholars may do better by accepting that the modern trend of archaeo- logy really has been augered not by the so-called academicians, and scholars, but by the uninitiated, and hence, unprejudiced and open-minded adventurers who, having no scholarly bonds to keep them in check, just leaped ahead of scholarly prejudices. Wickenmann, Schliemann, Evans, Champollion, Carter, R. D. Banerji, Rawlinson, Smith, Wooley, Botha and a host of others had attempted with courage what the academicians would rather have allowed to rest with Homer, and Moses, and at the state of Noah-Flood-Dove-Fish legends.

History owes to a stumbling shepherd and an accidental interceder, the amazing discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which, despite the opinions of scholars, are still being obdurately resisted by interested parties to be accepted as the earliest known documents that connect the Essines to the ministration of John the Baptist, and the baptising sects of Jesus Christ. It is difficult for the dogmatist to come in the open, out of prejudiced chambers, and air the facts. Nothing is more dangerous to historical research as creating a stone-fence around academic premises, and then living within it. Believing in myths is less injurious to scholarship than building myths and living in them.

Now, there are no myths clinging to Crete. Or, it is more correct to say, now the myths cling around Crete more closely. Good old Homer's Minos, Ariadne and Theseus are all now coming into their own. But of that later on, and gradually. The myth has to be spelled out. Of all the myths this Cretan episode is the one that shall have to be re-read in the light of the Eastern myths, specially the Vedic and Hindu myths. Like Dr. Graves in his great work the White Goddess, or like Jane Ellen. Harrison in her work Themis, the stories of Minos, Minotaur and the Minoan cultures have to be studied against the light of its interpretative contents of comparative mythologies. Some future Hindu Dr. Graves shall have to undertake the difficult, but absorbing task of interpretating the Hindu myths in the light of the creeds and cults.

The civilisation of Crete, which draws its essence from the rich and varied culture of the third millennium n.c., the starting points of which are no longer traceable in the islands, was distinct from Egypt or Baby- lonia. Its highest stage was reached when the twelfth dynasty in Egypt was ruling. At its third, and the last stage, due to some sudden cataclasm, it was burnt down and totally destroyed. The ruins which were found out by Schliemann and Evans, evidence a civilisation contemporaneous with the eighteen Egyptian dynasty. The Minoan civilisation had in this way three periods. Crete forms thus a natural link with cyprus, between Asia, Europe and Africa. Consequently, it appears to be just fitting that the virgin Europa was carried away by the legendary Bull to this very island; and she was destined 'to marry' and get 'settled' here. Europa

The Birth of Gods 161

got 'married' to the 'Bull-creed', and 'settled' with the new situation. From her progenies Greece was to benefit later; and again, from her close association with the Bull (an incident that was brought about by the peeved god of the Sea, Poseidon), she mothered a monstrous creature, a new cult. That new cult had to be destroyed by a Greek hero with the help of a practising female of the Island. It is a very significant legend.

"The legendary palaces of Knossos lie beneath my feet", exclaimed Schliemann, standing on a mound he was not destined to buy and unearth. This Knossos was the city where King Minos ruled. Who was this Minos? (Manyu in Sanskrt is an epithet of Siva, and Agni). There have been more than one Minos. But for our purpose they could be treated as one, the Minos-tradition. Zeus, that prolific gallant, who spread Hellenism over a wide area by planting seeds of both faith and culture, by 'impregnating' the females of the land, or by influencing the Mother Goddesses, carried the damsel Europa over to the lovely island of Crete, and the resulting children were Rhadamanthis and Sarpedon (Rudra-Mathana, Sarpada- hana??) Zeus himself was born, not in Greece, but in Cyprus. So the Cypriot Zeus carried Europa over to Crete and begot two children. In the meanwhile Europa was married to the king of Crete, Asterius. Asterius adopted the children. Poseidon was another god who was enamoured of the same Europa, who however did not much fancy the old, matted, fierce sea-god. He, displeased, cursed Europa to a madness of accepting a bull instead; and the result was another child, who, although known to the world as the son of Asterius, really turned out to be a monster, a human with a bull's head. (Clear indication of a cult.) He was the famous Minotaur, (Mino-Minos; Taur-Taurus, the bull, i.e., the Bull-cult of Minos). (Manyu-s-Pati or Siva). This Minotaur, the monster, wanted to be pacified only through the offerings of human flesh, specially of maidens and of youths. After Greece was subjugated by the king of Crete, the Cretans forced the Greeks to send them seven youths and seven lasses every year (seven is a holy number in mystic cult) as sacrifice to Minotaur. Theseus the hero of Greece, offered himself as a sacrifice; and promised to kill the Minotaur, and save Greece from this humiliation. This he did. (Europa, once involved in the erotically inspired mystic blood rites of Cybele, Apollo and the Bull, wanted her spiritual freedom. She accepted Mithraism.)

The outrages of the Minotaur having become too oppressive, the Cretan monarch forced the Athenian captive-engineer Daedalus to construct the famous Labyrinth, in which the Minotaur was kept captive. The maze of the Labyrinth prevented the monster to reach out and spread his terror. As soon as Theseus reached Crete, the Princess Ariadne fell in love with him. She divulged the secret of the Labyrinth to her beloved, and by pairing a shock of locks from her father's forehead, by handing over a ball of thread to Theseus for guidance through the maze of the Labyrinth, and by giving out certain other 'secrets' she let down her own people, so that after the monster was destroyed (the cult is destroyed), Theseus could easily marry her. This he did; but he took care not to carry as wife to Athens so dangerous a woman (a Mother-cult) who could betray her own people to an enemy. She was left back in an island.

We are not interested with the legend of Theseus. But Crete interests -Crete and the religion of Crete. We see that in Crete the European influence came into a close association with the sacrificial worship, and with the Bull-worship. There was a Bull totem in Crete. There was human sacrifice in Crete. The pure European faiths and culture got mixed up with the Eastern faiths and culture in Crete. But the Bull-culture, the Bull-myth was not peculiar to Crete alone. Of that by and by.

According to Dr. W. G. de Burgh anthropological deities were un- known in the Cretan faith. It was under the Ptolemies of Egypt that

the habit of deifying the ruler became habitual. The old Egyptian Kings had been worshipped as incarnations of Ammon (Re). Even Alexander had been worshipped as God during his life. The practice quickly spread, e.g., among the Seleucids. In origin it was Hellenic, rather than Oriental. The Olympian religions, as we have seen, conceived the gods anthropomorphically, in a manner alien to the religions of the East.

Alexander took it from Egypt to the East, turned himself into a deity; the Seleucids continued it; and the Romans inherited it through Mithradates. The Seleucids gave it to the Parthians; from them the Kushanas; thence the Buddhists who deified the Bodhisattvas. Hindu deities were in the offing by then. Not Siva. Hindu Rama and Kṛṣṇa, though human beings, are worshipped as gods.

Dr. Lissener interprets the legend in a manner which again brings him to the same conclusion, that the Athenians, due to the sacrifices that Crete demanded, and due to the importance of the Bull-motif, avenged them- selves by destroying the Cretan culture altogether; and this victory of the Athenian over the Cretan culture is contained in the Minotaur myth.

Before his departure Heracles was magnificently honoured by the natives, and wishing to show his gratitude to the Cretans he cleansed the island of the wild beasts which infested it. This deed he accomplished for the glory of the Island, which, the myths relate, was both the birth place and the early home of Zeus.

This early anecdote, again, shows how there prevailed a type of creed in the island which ran contrary to the original Zeus (Mittani), or Jupiter, or Dyau-Pitr (of the Rg Veda and Zend Avesta) creed, and engaged itself with the animal cult of the Medes, and how Heracles (the Heracles-cult, the Sun-cult), attempted the superimposition of the sacrificial rites by a more refined deification.

Crete was the island of Europa's conversion and impregnation. Europa started a seeded carrier of culture from here. Here was Zeus himself born, Zeus who begot Aphrodite, and impregnated Europa. It is significant to remember that Aphrodite was born in Cyprus, another island near Crete. The Mother-Goddess and the Father-God vied for prominence in this way at the junction of the three cultures, Asian, African (Egyptian) and Athenian (or European). The excuse for this contract was commerce, and the means were provided by the human agencies, which flowed interminably, from times immemorial, through the Persian Gulf to the territories of the Red Sea water front, and beyond, to the Mediterranean.

"The Cretans were a Mediterranean race," writes Lissener, "they were a sea-fearing people and maintained commercial relations with Egypt, the Near East, and all the members with the Aegean and Mediterranean communities as far as Italy and Spain." There could never arise a "sudden" and "unconnected" race in Crete. A 'Cretan-race' is an 'enforced' race. In reality, a race connotes more expansive and more thorough implication than could be contained in a small island like Crete. The Cretans are more a people than a 'race'.

The Cretans, as we know them, must have had antecedents; and the antecedents, according to the description supplied, remind one of the Phoenicians, who were known for their commercial prowess and adven- turous audacity. But it appears that due to a long history of isolation and insularity, these island-reserves added some novel features in the nature of their religion, which had been basically a Mother-cult. This could have been due to its connections with the Ionian isles and Anatolia. Through the centuries this cult had undergone some more changes, and was struggling to survive against the onslaughts of the powerful Father- cult of the Athenians. The shyness of the European historians to link these trends of the Mediterranean countries with countries to the further East is inexplicable. Or, is it explicable? It was a misfortune of historical research that European expansionism in the East had coincided with the oriental researches of European historians, who were to have supported the imperialistic theory of a 'superior white race'. "In the course of the third millenium there rose in the island of Crete a rich and varied civilisation, which spread in the Levant, over the islands with later off-shoots in North Syria, Sicily and the Western Mediterranean, and led to intercourse with Palestine and Egypt. It has been called Minoan after Minos (Satamanyuh?), the law-giver and friend of Zeus (Indra), 117 of Greek tradition, the memory of whose sovereignty of the seas has been preserved in the pages of Thucydides. The race that inhabited Crete in pre-Hellenic times was not Asiatic but Mediterranean (Italics author's), but belonging, in all probability to the dark, long-headed, short and slender stock that had its original home in North Africa. Crete is the natural link between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and became in time the centre of a powerful commercial and maritime empire."

That the ancient Greeks owed much of their cultural excellence to the non-Greeks, namely, Cretans, whoever they were, is evidenced by the same details. They owed their law to Licurgus; their engineering wonders to Daedalus, and above all their religion to Zeus. These were essentially Cretan personalities. Yet, scholars call the Cretans 'Mediterra- nean' and 'not Asiatic'.

To the open-minded, the phrase not Asiatic but Mediterranean has a very reserved meaning, because the entire Eastern sea-board of the Mediterra- nean, from the Suez to the Black-Sea, 'is Asian' (if not Asiatic). If we reject this sea-board as being Asian, what else could mean Mediterranean? Such confusions are born of prejudicial preconceptions that breed as mental fungus, and render clear thinking impossible. Yet some historians suffer it. Is it because of their nationalistic and racialistic chauvinism?

"...the dark, long headed, short and slender stock" referred to above, again, does not speak of the Egyptians, or of the Semetic Arabs. Who were they? Obviously the entire region referred to, could now, after the discoveries made in Akkad, Syria, Assyria, Anatolia and Sumer, be linked with the race that had the highest maritime skill before the Romans and the Scandinavians, namely the Phoenicians, about whose real origin, again the European scholars feel unfortunately shaky, for they cannot be placed anywhere in Europe, that their sculptures, potteries, ornaments, cults, alphabets, maritime propensities could link these so-called different 'races' together, is being stubbornly denied and shoved aside. The admitted marginal differences are obvious; but these could have been the after- effects of changes which are inevitably due to geographical and time factors.

But the Mother-cults infuse the inevitable links. Besides the cult itself there is a string of fringe similarities which make one think: the matri- archal structure of their society, the forms of female dressing, exhibitionism of the female form, particularly of the inflated breast, the use of accessories of toilettes and the styles of the coiffures, the offerings of flesh, hymen, even genitals of men and bulls, ceremonial coitus, the influence of the priest-monarchs and of the priests, the importance of the fertility motif, the uses of astrological charts, and charms, esoteric chants and magical rites, the influence of the animal totems, the sculptural and mural themes, specially the potteries, together, across the centuries, reflect on a number of maritime cultures of the ancient world as of one link and class. The Thracian, the Trojan and the Anatolian traditions have to be regarded as of a piece. From Bul(1)-garia to Crete, Sicily, Spain, a Bull motivated culture prevailed so strongly that even today the same Bull-trend conti- nues in concealed forms, in art and life, as ritualistic forms of sacerdotal celebrations. The 600 clay tablets dug up accidentally by the American archaeologist Carl N. Belgen, at Pylos, together with the finds of clay tablets by the English, Alan Wace, in the 'House of the Wine merchant at Mycenee' (1300-1200 B.C.) only emphasise the point raised here. They are similar; and these similarities speak, on more than one count of a popular cultural link between the Bull of Knossos, the Bull of the Syrians and the Bull-fight of Spain. We are interested in the Bull because Śiva is identified as 'the Bull-badged' (Vrsabha-dhvaja) God of gods; and because we trace the Bull motif directly up to the Indus Valley civilisation.

The Cretan Mother. The Cretan's most sacred deity was the Mother Goddess, Rhea. This name is used in the same pronunciation in the Puranas of the Hindus where an Asura, half-buffalo and half-man, was destroyed by a Mother Goddess, one of whose names is Hri (Tuam Śri Tuam Is-sari Tram Hri),11 The goddess was always portrayed in accompani- ment with a male deity, both in the child and maturer forms.

A Mother Goddess has to play the roles of the Madonna, Artemis, Gaea, Athene, Aphrodite and Venus at times. The Courtesan Goddess and the Fertility Goddess and the Mother Goddess are only emotional variations of the same motif, Mother, the Power, of whom we shall know in greater detail in a later chapter. We shall also learn that in Hindu Saivism, as Prakyti, the same feminine principle as the positive force becomes the inseparable consort, the alter-ego, of the Male counterpart Śiva, in whom togetherness becomes sublimely unique.

Dr. Graves is more categorical in this view, "Ancient Europe had no gods." Then whereform did the gods come? What was the source? He considers that the ancient religions in Europe came from the distant North and 'the East'. A study of Greek mythology should begin with a consideration of what political and religious systems in Europe existed before the arrival of Aryan invaders from the distant North and East. "The whole neolithic Europe," he thinks, "worshipped the cultish Mother."

The Delphic Omphalos-Icon, the Navi of the Sakti, the naval-boss, is just a white iconic image, a form which is spread throughout the matri- archally motivated societies. This icon took the form of the mound of white ashes, which helped the preservation of the holy fire without letting it go out. This conical heap-form has been confused as a phallic re- presentation. (Yet another case of self-projection of the obsessed. Had they had to preserve fire within ashes, as is done in these sanctuaries, they would realise that for preservation of fire in ashes the cone is the most effective shape.)

The celestial symbols of the goddess was the moon, as well as the sun, says Graves.... The three phases of the moon had given the idea of the three forms of the goddess, with the three defined powers as revealed through the cycle of life. Mother earth germinating in plants, blooming and fruiting before dying for the year, again provides another three forms of the goddess. "She could later be conceived as yet another triad: the maiden of the upper air; the nymph of the earth, or sea; and the crone of the underworld-typified respectively by Selene, Aphrodite and Hacate." This, Dr. Graves thinks, gave rise to the mystic number three and the more mystic, magical, number nine, i.e., Three times Three.

The importance of the position of the priestess-monarch faded with the realisation of the importance of the role that the male seed played in the functional performance of coitus.

The triad referred to above by Dr. Graves conforms to the triad in the Sakti cult of the Hindus, which goes as follows:

Greek selene

Vedic Brahmani

Pauranic kumara (maid)

Tantric kaumari sakti

Rides Mayura Vahana (fowl)



Ruvati (Matured)

Kausiki (parvati)

Simha-vahini (Lion)


Isani or Rudrani

Vraddha (Crone)

Camunda Dhumavati

Sava-vahana (corpse)

The twenty-eight days of the menstrual-cycle, meaning a month, fixed the original idea of the lunar cycle of a month. Raka, the full moon, and the Kuhů, the new moon, together make up the matrilineal month. Thirteen such months could make a year, with one month kept completely out of any ritual, being the month of the year's menstrual taboo, a fact that is still borne out by the Hindu observance of the festival (in the reverse sense of doing nothing) of Amburaci, when 'the Mother' menstruates (as in the Assam shrine of Kamakhya), and as had the tradition in many of the mystic shrines of the Levant and Greece.

Unfortunately the past of Crete will not speak direct to us yet, as its script still awaits to be deciphered. More unfortunately we know of them from others, some their enemies, some friends, and some, like Homer, who spoke of them at least 2000 years after, because between 5000 and 4000 B.c. migratory people came to settle there. They did not belong originally to Crete. "It does seem almost certain that most of the early migrants came from the East." To such observation we have to add some other facts: (a) the powerful Caucasian people known as the Hittites had similar potteries and scripts; (b) that Egyptian courts received embassies from Crete; and (c) evidence of potteries establish Eastern connections stretching as far as Bengal. Cretan stone vessels introduced a new style in other Mediterranean countries. "Sinclair Hood suggests that at this time (2200 n.c.) there was a mass migration of people from Anatolia down the coast of Syria and Palestine towards Egypt, and in the resultant disturbances refugees crossed over to Crete and other Aegean islands." This explains eminence of the Trojan civilisation over Greece; and of the emergence of the seven savants of Greece from out of the Aegean isles which had always enjoyed the reputation of a wiser and an intellectually more advanced life than obtained on the mainland. To the Greeks the East had always been more 'enlightened'. Fashions, architecture, pottery, physical appearances, and above all certain regional characteristics relate the Cretans inescapably to the strange Phoenicians whose navigatory and commercial expansiveness carry them easily to the Babylonian, Iranian, Somalian and Ceylonese ports.

But to go back to the Mother Goddess. She was a queen of the animals, and of the mountains. A feminine Palupati, a Jagaddhatri, a Manasa, a Laksmi or a Parvati. This was an earth goddess; a fertility goddess. The Bull was the most treasured animal. Sacrificing a Bull was regarded as the highest form of sacrifice. The trident (Tri-Sal) was the most popular religious sign. The snake, the bull, the trident, the sacri- fice and fire-pits, all these together, together with a mother-goddess, living in compact with a Poseidon-like father figure, suggest inevitably the popularity of a form of religion which was akin to Saivism. It was the religion of the Deccanese from times immemorial. In the twentieth book of Homer we come across the line "in bulls does the earth shake in delight," the earth-shaker being Poseidon, the Sea-God. Šiva was Tripura-Hara, Pinaki, Rudra the fierce one who shook the worlds by his cries and yells. The skill of these people in dye, metals, specially in copper, bronze and gold, and pottery indicates strongly that these Cretans, the Phoenicians. and the Tamils have to have somewhere some affinity, historical or cultural, or both. All these people cultivate a taste for mammoth buildings, and lived in a close-knit unit known as a fortified city. Their taste for urbanity is remarkably similar; their attitude to women, remarkably frank.

"But the evidence is never monumental. Unlike their contemporaries in Egypt and Mesopotamia the Cretans built no great temples, and they raised no large statues of their deities," because most of their prayers, sacrifices, as of any awed by the supernatural, were carried on in the open, and around fire-pits, where a sacrificial platform alone represented the only structural dedication, 124 But we are forced to conclude that in considering the evolution and progress of iconism, phallicism and Lingam- worship (Saivism, that is) Anatolia, Sumeria and Babylon, Crete and Thrace, have some secret yet to be revealed. Symptomatically Crete or the isle of Artha, the home of the Bull, the birthplace of the god of the gods (Deva-Deva or Mahadeva), of the people with the Axe and the Trident (as their religious symbols) could not be quite different from the people who adored Šiva, the Mahadeva, the Trisula-pant, the Sula-pāņi, the crescent-crested. (Šaši-Sekhara), the Axe-weilding, (Parasu-hasta), the serpent-loving and Kettle-drum-beating consort of the Mountain Maiden. who loved sacrifice in blood and fire, and who, as the consort of Pasupati, was herself fond of all animals, whose king was the lion.

6. Iran

A. SUMERIANS IN IRAN. The Persian antiquities reveal much more. The antiquities of Iran or Persia are continuous and varied; and these appertain to regions which maintained closer contacts with the Indian subcontinent. The Persian Gulf and the Red Sea were but the arms of the same Arabian sea across which a sturdy people raced in building ships whose sails were impregnated by the Magic Westerlies so much spoken of in the old documents.

The Story of this particular region of the world runs as far back as 7000 to 6000 B.c. The region (North Persia, Western Turkestan and the Arabian peninsula) was not as arid as it is today. Traces of a buzzing civilisation, now being gradually unearthed confirm a continuous com- merce of men, material and mind between the Deccan peninsula and the Mediterranean through the Red Sea and the Gulf. This civilisation, depicted through their customs, utensils, city-architecture and linguistic performance, was in every respect far above the barbaric, which, a few decades back Western historians would have led us to believe. Between the Euphratis and the Tigris, which in those days had different mouths, the Sumerians built their first cities. The Bible refers to their lost cities built along the Mediterranean coast. Between the millenia that had swallowed so many and so much, the Sumerians must have undergone changes of their own names, and must have changed their habitats too, proving thereby their cultural and military superiority, their migratory propensities. Such a feature would be quite in consonance with our ideas regarding the Sumerians or Phoenicians, whichever one prefers to call them.

"These Sumerian people appear to have been a brownish people with prominent noses." Their writings, left on dried bricks, have been deciphered. They had city-states, the city being built around a Ziggerot, or Mandir, or Temple, the people living their life around the temple with customs and rituals of the temple intermingled with their daily life. "Its God and its priest-king claimed an authority from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea." The Sumerian writing helped develop the formation of alphabets. The way it spread, indicates the influence of Sumeria in Egypt, Greece and the Levant. Writing developed the idea of the Empire through the silent presence of the Emperor as borne out by his seal, a feature highly developed in the city states between Tyre, Nineva, Asur, Ur and Harappa, leading up to the mouth of the Narmada, Kavery, Godavari and the Ganges.

The Phoenicians, about whom we have spoken, and we shall know further, had been some of the first sea-going peoples, and their ships grew into big galleys. We have noted already that there has never been found a correct racial distinction between the various people referred by us as Semetic, the Phoenicians, the Syrians, the Minoans, and the Egyptians. This region had seen so many empires to rise and fall that any surmise on the distinctive features of their cultures and their racial features has remained an almost constant battling ground for scholars. And this confusion stands more confused by a peculiar similarity existing between the cune-formic tablets of clay, the pictorial papyrus and frescoes, and the mystically dumb and artistically eloquent bead, stone and metal seals invariably accompanied by the figures of some animal, bird, or both compact in one. This language unspoken mystifies all theories. But their love for buildings, splendour, sports and a full-life is common to all; equally common were their basic religious traits, ceremonial observances and legends. They were experts in the arts of turning metals to human and artistic use, and as builders of communications over the seas and lands they show redoubtable skill. It is the discovery of their skill in these departments that has blown up the theory of the 'Roman-arch' (Gothic- art or 'Classic-lines"). That art, that arch and those lines have now been traced to antecedents away from European soil. (The underground arch in Mohenjo-daro for instance.)

It is, therefore, impossible not to link them, despite their wars, differ- ences, enmities and other bickerings; they belonged to a common set of people, much as the four sets of cards in one pack belong to one pack. Of all types of feuds blood-feuds could be the worst. Ask Agamemnon about it, or the Kauravas.

But the arteries of these civilisations are spread along the routes of communications between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, the Nile and the Euphrates, the Gulf and the Deccan and Ceylon.

The stories of the Bible run closely parallel to the Babylonian legends until Abraham. This 'Semite' patriarch was the leader of a nomadic peo- ple near 1600 a.c.17 The Cannanites could not penetrate into the strange Philistines the Phoenicians who ruled the land. They could only depend on the goodwill of these strange-people without which their life could be endangered. The Great David and Solomon appreciated the position, and learnt to live in amity. It was only through their wise decision to live at peace with their superiors that they could lead their people to the heights of splendour and glory. "It was based on a close alliance with the Phoeni- cian City of Tyre whose King Hiram seems to have been a man of very great intelligence and enterprise. He wished to secure a trade route to the Red Sea through the Hebrew Hill-Country. Normally Phoenician trade passed through the Red Sea via Egypt; but Egypt was in a state of profound disorder at this time.... A very considerable trade passed northwards and southwards through Jerusalem."128 (There is also a South Indian city named Salem. There are other places in the Deccan with 'Salem' as a part of the name.)

Because of the exaggerated notions that people have of Saul, David, Solomon and others a correct, proportionate, factual appreciation of these kings (local rulers of city states, really), becomes impossible when compared with contemporary monarchs under whose benign grace and patronage they existed as buffers. "Solomon's temple, if one works out the measurements, would go inside a small suburban church."129 After Hiram's death, Egypt became powerful, and the glory of Judah fell. The people who lived between Syria, Assyria and Babylon, fell to mutual wars, by 721 B.C. Israel was swept away by Assyria.

This captivity educated and civilised them, "The people who came back to Jerusalem at the command of Cyrus (the Emperor of the Medes) were a very different people in spirit and knowledge from those who had gone into captivity. They had learned civilisation." Inevitably, again the question poses itself for an answer: Who were these Phoeni- cians? These Assyrians? Who were they to have kept the Israelites of Judea, the Jews, so fully under their sway? We have seen how the history about this wonderful people is hesitant, if not silent. Historians, to make matters worse, refuse to cross the Arabian sea, and make a search. They refuse to go into the Päli and Sanskrt traditions.

Yet these people, the Phoenicians, survived the Aryan onslaughts. By the 3rd Century n.c. they succeeded in putting almost the entire 'Semetic' people out of cognisable existence, except the Jews. The Jews themselves were sent back in chains to build back the city of Jerusalem. "It is not so much the Jews who made the Bible, as the Bible which made the Jews" is a remark which calls for deep consideration. For 2500 years these people suffered oppression. But after these years the Jews appear to rise out of the ashes of the Phoenicians. "After the fall of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, and the Spanish-Phoenician cities, the Phoenicians suddenly vanish from history; and as suddenly we find, not simply in Jerusalem but in Spain, Africa, Egypt, Arabia, the East, wherever the Phoenicians had set their feet, communities of Jews" have come into being. It is in this way that the seeds of the Sumerians and Egyptians spread along history. The People vanished. The book remained. And from the book the people appear to come back again.

The commerce of the Syrian ports with that of the Arabian Sea coasts through the Red Sea and Egypt was thus the chief interest of the Phoeni- cian kings, and the Assyrian kings. continuity of cults of Aphrodite, Marduk Astarte, Ba'al, Dionysus and Or- This commerce preserved the pheus-a cult in which several characteristics, later known as phallicism in general, displayed prominently. We have already noted them in the course of our Cretan chapter.

Rev. Dr. George Albert Cooke in his article on Phoenicia, contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (14th Edition) calls the Phoenicians as "an early off-shoot of the Semetic stock", and again refers them to its Cannanite Branch. But he says again, "the Phoenicians themselves believed that they had migrated from an Eastern shore." This is most confusing. Obviously the beliefs of the Phoenician are based on the Phoenician documents. Why these documents should be ignored, and why they should be connected with Shem, the eldest of the twelve sons of Noah, as has been done in that article, is not at all understandable.

The Tamil characteristics of Saivism, we have noted, have important similarities with the Phoenician and Assyrian temple civilisations. Even today the temple towns of South India, and the temple civilisations of Campa, Kamboj of the Mekong Valley culture, echo these similarities in unmistakable nuances, crescendos, overtures and symphonies. It calls for a lot of research for coming to definite conclusions. But echoes do murmur. The very structural similarities between the pyramids of Egypt, the temple-palaces of Ninevah, Assur, Tyre, Sidon, Nimrud, Ur, Babylon, and between the Seals of Assyria, Sumer, Akkad, Mohenjo- daro, Harappa, Kalibanyan and Lothal are very striking. Such similari- ties are found in other areas of artistic expressions as well, such as the several art-styles, and motifs discovered over the area, the metallurgic characteristics of the craft of these peoples, the popularity of zoomorphic gods and of animal totems found recorded on the finds. "The megalithic culture of South India has close similarities with the neolithic cultures of the Mediterranean." The South Indian peninsula was thus becoming more and more important as a land where the commerce of East and West met. Soon it would gain even greater importance when the Aryan culture too would mix with this.

Between modern Somalia and Abyssinia on the one hand and Iran on the other, Phoenician ships merrily rolled with fantastic merchandise for the ports of Aalana, Arsinda, Cylsma; Eridu, Ur, Babylon (Behů- valam?), Eritrea (Aitréya?), Sudan (Siv-dhäm?), Dibuti (Jiva-Bhûti?), Aden (Ady-an?), Muscot (Makshi-Kshetra?), Bandar, Om-an, Bushire (Bahusri?) Malaya, Java, Sumatra. Campă and Šakadvipa. From the Eastern archipelago to the Suez (Śiva-väsa?) and Babylon (Bahû- valam) these ships churned the ocean, and maintained a flourishing con- tact with Päriva (Persia) and Madhya-Desas (Medas), particularly well. The names Iran and Persia definitely remind scholars of the land of the Aryans and of the Päriva-Desa of the Puranas.

On one of the bas-reliefs on the stairways of the great palace of Darius at Parsepolis (Pärsva-nagara?) is carved a stately and sedate lion attacking a terrified bull on whose hind parts the king of the beasts has already planted his royal jaws. This is the end of the Bull-cult, from where the Lion-cult took over. The Lion is associated with Aryans and Mithraism. It is the first of the signs of the Zodiac, and an eternal enemy of Taurus, the Bull. The Babylonian, Sumerian and Cretan epics were giving way to an altogether different epic, Jaya, of which the Mahabharata is but a fragment. The Puranas too were the outcome of the same tradi- tion. Then came other epics, the Talmud and the Old Testament. But in the carvings at Parsepolis one finds the first traces of these. The carvings are at certain places symbolic. In later Asokan pillars the sign of the bull and the sign of the lion would figure more triumphantly, and more logically. In the Sun-temple of Konarak the elephant (Buddhism- Hinayana) was being subdued by the Lion (Buddhistic Tantra Maha- yana).

The myths of Iran could be divided easily into two parts: the first relates in Mithraism; and the second to Zarathustra's Zend Avesta (Zoro- astrianism). The last of the Zoroastrians are now settled in India, and are known as the fire-worshipping Parsees, people from Persia, or Päriva Desa or Iran. 14 These had migrated over the centuries from the entire Persian empire harassed and exiled by religious wars and catastrophes. The Greek invasion and Islamic onslaughts are two of the most recent catastrophes from which these religious people sought refuge in India, about 2000 years back.

B. MITHRAISM. No discussion of true Iranian culture could be complete without a treatment of Mithraism and of the Zend Avesta and Zarathustra. The influence of these two religious movements both on Europe and Asia has been profound.

Mithraism traces its origin to the earliest of times, and with the spread of the Persian Empire the spread of Mithraism has been both pronounced and extensive. There is hardly any part of the civilised world which was not affected by Mithraism. Mithraism's spell continued up to the later days of the Roman Empire, where under different pretexts Mithraic cults and practices persisted side by side with the Orphic, Manichaeic and Cybelline cults. Some scholars believe that many of the (Bahusri?) Malaya, Java, Sumatra. Campă and Šakadvipa. From the Eastern archipelago to the Suez (Śiva-väsa?) and Babylon (Bahû- valam) these ships churned the ocean, and maintained a flourishing con- tact with Päriva (Persia) and Madhya-Desas (Medas), particularly well. The names Iran and Persia definitely remind scholars of the land of the Aryans and of the Päriva-Desa of the Puranas.

On one of the bas-reliefs on the stairways of the great palace of Darius at Parsepolis (Pärsva-nagara?) is carved a stately and sedate lion attacking a terrified bull on whose hind parts the king of the beasts has already planted his royal jaws. This is the end of the Bull-cult, from where the Lion-cult took over. The Lion is associated with Aryans and Mithraism. It is the first of the signs of the Zodiac, and an eternal enemy of Taurus, the Bull. The Babylonian, Sumerian and Cretan epics were giving way to an altogether different epic, Jaya, of which the Mahabharata is but a fragment. The Puranas too were the outcome of the same tradi- tion. Then came other epics, the Talmud and the Old Testament. But in the carvings at Parsepolis one finds the first traces of these. The carvings are at certain places symbolic. In later Asokan pillars the sign of the bull and the sign of the lion would figure more triumphantly, and more logically. In the Sun-temple of Konarak the elephant (Buddhism- Hinayana) was being subdued by the Lion (Buddhistic Tantra Maha- yana).

The myths of Iran could be divided easily into two parts: the first relates in Mithraism; and the second to Zarathustra's Zend Avesta (Zoro- astrianism). The last of the Zoroastrians are now settled in India, and are known as the fire-worshipping Parsees, people from Persia, or Päriva Desa or Iran. 14 These had migrated over the centuries from the entire Persian empire harassed and exiled by religious wars and catastrophes. The Greek invasion and Islamic onslaughts are two of the most recent catastrophes from which these religious people sought refuge in India, about 2000 years back.

B. MITHRAISM. No discussion of true Iranian culture could be complete without a treatment of Mithraism and of the Zend Avesta and Zarathustra. The influence of these two religious movements both on Europe and Asia has been profound.

Mithraism traces its origin to the earliest of times, and with the spread of the Persian Empire the spread of Mithraism has been both pronounced and extensive. There is hardly any part of the civilised world which was not affected by Mithraism. Mithraism's spell continued up to the later days of the Roman Empire, where under different pretexts Mithraic cults and practices persisted side by side with the Orphic, Manichaeic and Cybelline cults. Some scholars believe that many of the so-called Christian practices owe their origin to these Mithraic days. The Immaculate Conception, Nativity and Resurrection after a sacrificial and temporary change of life. Mithraism like the cult of the Great Mother has been one of the most celebrated blossomings of the Mysteries of Old. If the Great Mother has been the greatest gift of the matriarchal society to world-culture, the greatest gift of the patriarchal society has been. Mithraism, the father-image of the Sun on a bull; as Mithra. The zodiac and the Sun were the foundations of those Magi who, as the famous. sages from the East played so great a part of the birth of the son of Mary and Joseph. The same Magi, or the Maga-Brähmaṇas would introduce the Sun-temples and Sun-images in India, as Varaha Mihira (505-87) would say.

Dr. Durant says, "History is a book that must be started from the middle." Opinions are divided. They were of Indo-Aryan trainings and ways. And in all probability they had moved towards Western Asia from their happy habitat along the heavenly Caspian shores. This happened prior to a thousand years before Christ, five hundred before the Buddha, and eight hundred before the battle of Issus. At Ecabatana (Ekavartmana) their king Deioces (Deväsisa) founded his capital modern. Hamadan (Soma-Adhwan?), and started the dynasty known as the mighty dynasty of the Median (Madhya) kings, of whom Cyazeres (the Yaksa-s We are not Akşi-s and Ayuh-s of the Indian Puranas) was the first. concerned here with the historical part of this dynasty; but the religion they brought along with them resembled a fertility cult, attached to the worship of the Sun, and given to an elaborate system of priestcraft. This was the beginning of the end of the Mother cult. The cities built were centred around a temple life; and the most influential social codes emanated from the priests, the Magi, most of whose powers bordered on magic and sorcery.

In tracing the Mythological antecedents, and in discovering the secrets of the interrelation between cults and cults, between names, forms and ways, between gods, totems, rituals and other ecclesiastical phantasma- goria, it is of utmost importance to study this question of gradual migration of people, or ideas. A nation, or the religious forms of a nation, may be pushed by another nation, by an onslaught, which might inflict on the victim a cult, or a God. One of our most serious scholars on this subject, in an imaginary dialogue between the Syrian Theophilus and the Roman Paulus postulates, ... a constant emigration in ancient times, of tribes inhabiting the southern coasts of the Black Sea, a process that has indeed ceased only in the last century or two.... Every hundred years or so the fertile coastal land grew over-populated, and one tribe or another was necessarily sent away to seek fortune and make room for the rest. Or it may be that they were forced to move by pressure from the East, when wandering

 hordes from the plains of the Asia broke through the Caspian gates of the Caucasus mountains. Of these tribes some took the route southwards across Asia Minor, and ventured through Syria, and as far as Egypt. We have the authority of Herodotus for this; and some took route west- wards across the Bosphorous and Thrace and into Greece, Italy and Gaul, and even, as I say, to Spain and Portugal. Some struggled south-east- wards into Chaldea into the Taurus mountains; some moved northwards into the Western shores of the Black Sea and then followed the Danube to Istria, continuing their march across Europe"...and Dr. Graves points out to this postulate about the motive of the migrations with a view to drawing the historian's attention, not to victories of empire and power, but to quieter, and more enduring victories of religious forms and culture. Similar views have been voiced by Wells. The great Phoeni- cians, as Semetics, according to him overwhelmed the civilisation for Gibralter to the China Seas. Keeping in mind the commercial ex- pansions referred to before, and the military adventures, it is not difficult to imagine how the myths of the East travelled and circulated throughout the Mediterranean world as far as Europe. Thanks to the victories of Pompeii in the Eastern front, as well as in Carthage, the Cappadocian shows taken from the Asian frontiers to Tunisian coasts carried with them the great cult of Mithra, a cult which was cultivated by Pythagoras and the followers of the saintly Appolnius of Tyana.

What was the cult; and what were its chief features?

Iran or Eran was the plateau inhabited by the Aryans who "without doubt came from southern Russia." But another opinion claims that the Medes who destroyed Assyria drew their origin from a people known as Amadai; Madai; Medes. "As Indo-Europeans they had probably come into Western Asia about a thousand years before Christ from the shores of the Caspian Sea.... The Medes appear to have wandered through the regions of Bokhara and Samarkand and to have migrated farther South.

The Medes gave to Persia their language, the Aryan language, a system of alphabets consisting of thirty-six characters and their extremely brave and conscientious code of social manners. All in all they were given to a faith which gave them and guided them through good conduct, fellow feeling, and the two great gifts of the truly civilised, kindness even to the vanquished, and appreciation of good qualites in others.

This is the people that brought Mithraism with them. These patri- archal herdsmen "worshipped an Indo-Aryan male trinity of Mittani of Asia Minor still remembered in 1400 n.c. subsequently called Zeus, Posei- don and Hades." This later Zeus, as we have noted in the section on Crete, was 'born' in Csete before he could have affairs with maidens all over the Iberian Peninsula and the Ionean Isles for the purpose of propagation of his worship, the worship of the Zeus, God of Gods, and Jupiter of the Romans. It was an attempt to propagate a Father-God idea by vanquishing a Maiden-Goddess.

This paternal god was but the descendant of the Great Man-God Mithra, a Sun God, a He-God, and God that for the first time challenged the supremacy of the Mother Goddess. And quite understandably the cult of Mithra, in contradistinction with the sex-motivated and orgiastic Mother cult, remained for a very long time a moral and almost ascetic cult. Its totem was the Bull, which he killed, and whose blood alone gave him satisfaction. Bull worship and the Marduk cult had to be terminated. (Agni or fire is called both meda and iikki in Vedic rites; and one of the names of Siva is Mydaka.)

Mithra. The Mithra legend, at least the original legend and its trend, has been lost in the later Roman and Pythagorian Labyrinth of magical cults. From the extant sculptures alone the original pure legend could be reconstructed. The marvel of his being born from a rock was witnessed by some shepherds alone; they brought gifts and adored him; he covered his nudity with fig leaves, and partook of the figs for quelling his hunger. Dr. Graves and Dr. Frazer read in this 'figmentation' signs for further mystifi- cation, as the proverbial fig tree represents both fertility and immortality, the first through its many seeds, and the second through its five pointed leaf, a mystic sign of fire, dear to the Mother Goddess. The very first of his victories should have been the Sun, with whom, instead, he patches up so great a friendship that ever after he shared the chariot of the great Sun, Helios Apollo. In a later chapter on Hindu myths we shall have occasion to note that there are three different sets of myths regarding this challenge against the Sun on the part of infants born of celestial power. Case one refers to Mahavira, son of Anjana and the celestial Zephyr. He became a devotee of the Sun, whom he served in the form of Rama. Case two, referred to the twin birds Garuda and Arun. The latter became a charioteer of the Sun; whilst the former became the chariot of the Sun in the form of Visnu; the third case referred to two brothers, again birds, Jatayu and Sampāti. Both became devotees of the Sun.

After his encounter with the Sun, Mithra killed the Bull (see Plate 36) the Taurus. Now that the bull was killed, he, with the Sun, could get into the winter solstice, the time for planting, growing and harvesting. Having killed the bull created by Ormazd, he killed the raven sent by the Sun. Through this act the Earth and the Heaven came into closer contact. Thus Mithra was responsible for Life on the Earth. Ahriman, his antagonist tried to spoil his creation by a drought but he undid his evil-design by hitting at a rock, and causing a stream to spring out, and thus save the earth from destruction. Then Ahriman sent a deluge; and Mithra fought it by getting pairs of lives saved in an arc. Drought and water failed; next came Fire; but yet nothing availed because the creatures were protected by Mithra. His work achieved, he was gloriously carried away in the brilliant chariot of the Sun to the region of the immortals by the side of the great Ormuzd.

This basic myth has undergone various changes down the course of the classic centuries before and after Christ; and in the process has contributed a part or the whole of the story to other religions. Such is the character of myths. They do not die because of their in-depth qualities. There has not yet been any new religion completely untouched by an old myth. The myth of Mithra lives in Hindu Myths in the name of Mihira, a name of the Sun or Visnu.

"True myths," says Dr. Graves, "can be defined as the reduction to narrative shorthand of ritual mime performed on public festivals."

Greek myths, and therefore most part of the European myths, are but what was imported from Crete, Egypt, Palestine, Phrygia, Babylon, India, the typical land area that lay between the huge land masses of Asia and Europe. In translating myths from their primitive language forms to nationally acceptable prose forms the greatest importance has to be paid to the original root-forms of names, linguistic specialities, tribal origin of myths, geographical environments, natural hazards, and incidental influences from similar myths of other countries and other peoples. A study of Greek mythology without a knowledge of the Asian mythologies and vice versa is an experience in futility.

The basic myth of Mithraism came to Egypt; and took up a mystic form. In the Roman world it got mixed up with the cult of Cybele, and became a highly specialised esoteric cult, to get entrance into which one had to practise severe rigours, known as the seven-degree-rigours. From the one extreme of being the most ascetic rites known to mankind Mithra- ism swung to the other extreme or orgies, sacrifices and blood baths. The cults of Cybele and Attis, Apollo and Aphrodite got mixed up with the original Mithraism. These facets of later Mithraism shall be dealt with in the respective sections on Egypt and Rome. Such studies reveal facts which take even seasoned scholars by surprise. The cult of Dionysus was one such which surprised Dr. Graves, who had to entertain 'second thoughts"141 about it. The cult of Amanita muscaria, a mushroom, is present in most phallic cults, which get addicted to drugs for inducing the hallucinating effect of trance. In studying Saivism we shall note the place of drugs, specially of Dhatúra and Marijuana, and traceable to the Dyonisian cult. Turkey, which was a seat of this cult is still a known exporter of marijuana.

A highly specialised priesthood sprung up from this kind of Mithraism. The shepherd-messengers who had witnessed the emergence of Mithra, and had brought gifts to the first of the Gods, devised the system of adoring Mithra through laying out sacrificial and ritualistic codes which made some particular tribe of the Medes specialised in performing the adoration of Mithras through their gifts of the special knowledge. This vested a right on them which even the kings of Persia could not deny. They formed themselves into a priestly brotherhood known as the Magi, the wisemen, similar to the Brāhmaṇas of the Vedic rites, who wielded so much power that even politically it became unwise to ignore them. In the mountain- ous regions of Azerbaijan, a town so much extolled in the later epic of Shähnämä, in the Rustum legends, the Magi maintained a holy family of experts, who succeeded in keeping Mithraism for over centuries in its purest form. It continued in its original purity to subsist in the East, despite the onslaughts of the Parthians, the Greeks, the Scythians and the Islamic invasions and conversion. It maintained its original purity amongst the Parsees. It found place in changed form even in the myths of the Puranas because of its almost ascetic morals. The dates of those Purāņas support the plausibility of such admittance.

It might prove of interest to some that in the northern area of Iran, Azerbaijan, Ecabatana, or Hamadan, along the Elburzrange, the Mithraic cults are still observed in a pure form. Under new names, as off-shoots of Islam, the spiritual core of Mithraism continued to influence the life and thoughts of the Sufi-mystics, Bahais and Ahmadias.

C. ZARATHUSTRA. The original Mithraism was further purified by a Magi, a priest of priests, a great wise man, who rose in Persia. His name was Zarathustra, again a man covered with legends, but leaving behind the reality of a book, the Zend Avesta. Besides the teachings of Gautama Buddha civilisation of mankind does not know of a greater, more moral and simpler code of religio-social ethics based on pure reason and commonsense than what has been recorded in Zend Avesta, the book of Zarathustra. Greeks, like the Chinese, were master-craftsmen in reconstructing spelling of Eastern names to suit their tongues and alphabets. They spelt the name as Zoroaster. Of him we shall speak later.

To those who are well versed in the ancient Vedic language Mazda- ism, the religion of Zend Avesta, is nothing but Rg Veda on a different key. Although they are different books; and although Rg Veda is much more complex and elaborate, a comparative study of the two, specially of the gods and their rituals, leaves no doubt whatsoever that the peoples of the Zend, and the people of the Vedas, were, if not the same, at least very closely associated. Both were Aryans in origin, practice and culture. The Mittani records of Bogaz Koi show presence of the Rg Vedic gods amongst the people of the Medes and Persia.

The religion of classical Persia is very complex. The Assyro-Babylo- nian beliefs appear to have got syncretised with the Aryan faith, and the Vedic strains; but the constant changes that such syncretisations had to undergo during the course of the different monarchies must have created correlated complexes. In spite of everything, the basic emphasis on purity and morals in the Persian sacerdotal life was so insistent that, irrespective of the changes, the voices of Zarathustra prevailed. The people remained basically moral and elevated. This was the influence of the sublime personal conduct of Zarathustra himself.

Their chief rites embraced the cult of Fire. The grandeur and purity of this noble cult could even today be felt by visiting the Achaemedian Fire altars uncovered near Cyrus's capital of Pasargadae (6th cent. B.c.) (see Plate 32). No change has changed this direct ovation to Fire as the supreme God that proved vital to Life. Fire was not used as a medium for casting offerings, but Fire itself was the deity worshipped.

Preservation of Fire gave some of the Persian and the Sassanian kings the title Bratakara, (Vratakära?). The fire maker was known as the Magi, Herb-Red; the Fire-Chief. The actual ritual of fire was known as Homa (offerings in Fire), which included the making, offering and drinking of the juice of the divine herb Soma. Brahmanism in India still pays the same importance to Homa as Havana; although the preparation of Soma is no longer known. Thus the cult of fire as practised in ancient Persia or Iran, i.e. the land of the Aryans, inevitably recall the practice of the Parsees of India of today, as well as of the Vedic rites of the Brähmaņas, The rite of Homa, the divine ambrossia, the drink of the gods, of im- mortality in Aryans (i.e. Brāhmaṇical), Haoma or Soma was made of a mythical personage who could declare of himself in the following language: "Vivasvän was the first mortal in the corporeal world who prepared me. The fate which was imputed to him, and the grace he was awarded, were to have for a son Yima, the splendid, the good shepherd, the most glorious of those who were born, the sole mortal possessor of the solar eye, and because of his power to render men and beasts non-mortal, water and plants exempt from drying up, so that man could consume food preserved from all evil spells. In the kingdom of the potentate there was neither cold nor heat, old age nor death, nor envy which is the work of devas (demons)."

Vivasván is a Vedic personage; Vaivasvat his son too was a personage. His son was Manu the first Man. And homa, or Yajña started from him: this what the Vedas had to say. And this Vivasvän had a son Yama, a daughter Yami, and the two weilded great powers of justice and fairplay all over the living world. Thus we see the interrelation existing between the Persian Zend Avesta and the Rg Veda.

In the Cappadocian inscription found in Mittani (Bogaz Koi) a list of gods include complete Rg Vedic and Iranian deities; Mitra-Varuna, Indra, Nasatyas. Fourteen hundred years before Christ the people of Mittani of the upper Euphratis signed a bond of treaty with the Hittites under the name of these gods which naturally had been respected by both. A natural inference forces itself that there must have been a consistent link between the people of Anatolia, the Hittites, the people of Mittani, the Iranians and the Aryans of India, and this contact was traceable even four- teen hundred years before Christ. It is in the light of this continuity that we have to discuss Hinduism, Vedism, and our chief subject of enquiry, which could never be treated as an isolated phallic cult. Dionysus, Mithra, Bacchus one after the other had established a tradition, a forceful traditional cult. Saivism appears to have absorbed all of them into its pure sublimity.

Of course, the Pre-Zarathustra religion of Mithra was not forgotten. Mithra remained a great god; and animal sacrifices were made to him. In essence he was Light. Chaldean astrology influenced the veneration of the following: (1) Hvare-Khshaeta (Barhişmanta of the Vedas, meaning the Sun); (2) Mah (the Moon: Candra-Mä of the Vedas). Candra is a name of the Moon in Vedas; but another name retains Mah or Ma as a suffix to Candra and coins the word Candra-Mã meaning the Moon); Anahita the planet Venus; (4) Tishtriya, the Dog star (Tvasta or Tavasty of the Vedas); (5) Ape (water), clearly the Mesopotamian Apsu and the Vedic Apas.

A reading of the Rg Veda Suktas makes the relation between the Diony- sus, Mithra, Candra, and Haoma (or Soma) story with Tvaştr, and his daughters an evident case of similar trends. In a later chapter we shall note how in the Tärakamaya or the War of the Planets (Battle between astrological 'star' people and the 'Sun' people) Atharvan, Atri, Angiras and a group of the Rsis (Magi) upheld the section which adored Siva. Saivism again became the shelter for the quarrelling parties. Siva drank the poison of a cultural ill-feeling, and brought all the age-old differences under the protection of the Great Mother, Sakti, who gave all equal rights, and equal spiritual opportunities.

But the Achaemenian kings gave the highest position to Mazda, the King of kings, who appealed less to the naturalistic gods, and projected the royal monarchical ascendance of the highest divinity. Mazda is etymologically associated with Medhya in Sanskrt, meaning sacrificial offering of meat (mead); also with Medha (Sanskrt), meaning Intellection and Memory; also with Mada (Sanskrit) meaning Ego or Intoxication. In any case scholars are willing to connect Mazda with some Vedic divin- ity. Ahura Mazda in this way connects the great god of the Asuras, the Asuras of the Vedas, with the Vedic Mada, Medha and Asura. It reveals a partition of the ways of one branch of the Aryans from another branch.

Ahura Mazda has been honoured with many bas-reliefs and many

formal representations; but scholars consider that he belongs more to metaphysics than to any physical representation. Like the law of eternal varieties of Descartes the universal law of Ahura Mazda known as Asha was a pure and divine spiritual law, free of all human weaknesses, and quite unlike the vedic laws.

And arose Zarathustra. He reconciled the Magi with the kings; Mithra with Mazda. Zarathustra's date according to Parsee traditions is 660-583 n.c., and his religion became orthodox in Persia much later, at least seven to eight centuries later. It goes to the great credit of Zarathustra's philosophy that for eight centuries his teachings had been kept astir and alive without any seemingly secular force to protect it; and after eight centuries it had become a royal and influential religion.

The life of Zarathustra is a life replete with wonders and miracles. He was born to laughter, and not to cries as ordinary mortals are born. He lived a normal life and married. But from here on, his life and that of the Buddha have similarities. He left his home in search of wisdom from the wisest of men. To love and serve both destitute men and animals was held by him to be the highest mission of life. He offered his prayers to Fire which he liked to tend. Like Moses he went to a mountain and kept silence for seven years. There he experienced a revelation. From Vahu-mana (the Spirit of Mind and Wisdom: Atma-Jñäna as the Vedists would have termed it) he received his 'Experience'. A static Transfigura- tion made him believe that he had confronted Ahura Mazda Himself on the banks of the river Daiti (Azerbaijan in modern Geography). His wanderings took him to the eastern frontiers as far as Afghanistan. His extreme piety made him a great friend of man and beast, and a great master of things pertaining to earth, metal, plants and water. Angra Manyuu (or Agra Manyu meaning 'the foremost of anger and resentment', 'the envious destroyer', like Mara in the case of the Buddha), attempted to create 'trouble' for him by tempting him, in vain, as usual. Unsuccessful at the confront ation, Angra Manyu then broke through the North. He wanted to save the Asuras (another branch of the Devas, the Demons, the antigods), who were being fast eradicated by Zarathustra. But in spite of Angra Manyu's agitations, the cult of the Asuras, i.e., of the Assyrians, melted before the high moral preachings of Zarathustra. This indicates the gradual transformation of the bloody mysterious erotic oriental cults into a pious moral sustaining religion. Religion gained in spiritual depth. Ahura Mazda weilded the mortar and the cup (the words of the Avesta); and Angra Manyu was vanquished. We shall see the mortar and the same cup as Müşala-Udükhala and Ajyasthäll in the hands of Siva, the tamer of Yajñas. Later on, with the conversion of Vishtaspa, king of Välhika (Modern Balkh), to Zoroastrianism, all the countries from Greece to India came to be influenced by the teachings of the Zend Avesta.

D. MITHRAISM AND MANICHAEISM. After the conquest of the Western parts of Asia by Rome the remnants of Mithraism had entered the main society of Rome and flourished as a mystic cult. Nero himself had come under its spell. A new Mithraism, influenced by the concepts of the Egyptian Isis and the Greek Cybeles, grew into a Pythagorian cult. But side by side with this recensional Mithraism another cult came into vogue, and became the most serious challenger to Christianity. Today's Chris- tianity contains within its fold the remnants of the cults of the Essenes, Attis, Mithra and Mani with the serious and moral tone of Zarathustra and Gautama Buddha. In form and spirit, in lores and legends, in traditions and observances, in ceremonies and sacerdotal responsibilities Christianity, specially the church, appear to owe much to these ancestors for its forms and dogmas, In fact, it is truer to say that the Christianity, as we know it to- day, is a logical growth of the ancient pagan religions. It was neither a protestant, nor a reformist phase. It is a natural state in a cycle of spiri- tual maturity, as fruits are of flowers, and seeds of fruits.

At the beginning of the Sassanian era in the reign of Sapor I (242 A.D.) Mani, a native of Babylonia, that meeting ground of the ancient anti- quities of the Southern India and Western Asia, of Buddhism and the Minoan Bull and Aphroditic cults, combined the Mazadian dualism with the gnostic tradition of the early Christians, specially of John the Baptist, and the Mandaeans of the Lower Euphrates. Mani assumed an interest- ing stand; and the Christian church having become alarmed at the growth of Manichaeism, denounced it as heretic. Mani declared his apostolate, and presented himself as the Christ-come-back. He was strictly Pauline in his metaphysics, thereby establishing a well-ordered hierarchy. The most praiseworthy part of this sect was its adherence to Zarathustra's noble simplicity; to the asceticism of Mithraism and of the Pythagorian sect; as well as to the compassion of the Buddha. The Mani- cult was, like the Cathar group of the Christian faith, highly regarded and praised for its continence and discipline; and one could imagine how spectacularly and tellingly this quiet and seriously ascetic cult could have influenced a civilisation tired and disgusted of the excesses and degenera- tions of the decaying Roman hedonism.

"Mani of Ctesiphon proclaimed himself a Messian sent upon earth by the True God to reform the religious and moral life of mankind. Borrow- ing from the Zend, Mithraism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Gnosticism Mani divided the world into rival realms of Darkness and Light; the earth be- longed to the kingdom of Darkness, and Satan had created man. Never- theless the angels of God had surreptitiously introduced some elements of light into humanity-mind, intelligence and reason. Even woman, says Mani, has in her some sparks of Light, but woman, as Satan's master- piece, is the chief agent for tempting man to sin. If a man will refrain from sex, idolatry and sorcery, and lead an ascetic life, of vegetarianism and fasting, the elements of light in him will overcome his Satanic impulses, and lead him, like a kindly light, to salvation. After thirty years of successful preaching Mani was crucified at the suggestion of a Magian clergy, and his skin, stuffed with straw, was hung from one of Susa's gates."144

Another crucifixion. Another Oriental attempt to purify the deeds of man. And Islam was yet to be. The reaction against the excesses of the materialistic sacerdotal Magi-culture, of the erotic mysticism soaked in blood and wine, of the absolute disregard of the downtrodden by the worldly successful, of the grave immoral and corrupt system of crushing human voice and dignity, rings through the entire passage quoted above. Mani, like the Buddha, like Moses, like the Christ himself, rose against the excesses of a priestly privileged class which, in the name of God, ruled over the material destinies of nations already brought down to its lowest pass through ages of wars, lootage, pillage and carnage with, almost always, the connivance of the priests. Buddha's was regarded as an anti Brah- manic revolt; and the Brähmanas outlawed him, and called Buddhism a heresy. Zarathustra's was a revolt against the Magi; and Christ's was against the money-grabbers. In all these cases, inclusive of Mani, it was the same privileged class that had extended its political arm to strike, in the name of law, the ruthless blow for eliminating the popular opposition. They did it in the name of law and order, which only protected the interest of the high and mighty. But Martyrdom carried Manichaeism to a frenzied height; and it continued, without abating at all, even within the Christian church until the onslaught of Islam, and Genghis Khan. Christianity and Saivism of the Vira order of Vasava, claim precepts which Mani appeared to have attempted to put into practice, and resurrect spiri- tualism from a dominant priestism. We see that these attempts failed. The mundane in man seeks the immediate. Senses of possessiveness and power-lust always polarise the spiritual and the Satanic. The built-in craving for self-promotion undid all Mani's attempts.

We have so far patiently followed the histories of the different religious trends that characterised the Oriental-Regions from the times of prehistoric past to the times of Islam. The range covered had been as long as 3200 years. Of these the early Helladic years (2700-2100 B,c.) covered the early Minoan period and the period of the III dynasties of the Old King- dom in Egypt; when in Mesopotamia the early dynasties of Kish, Erch, Ur, Gudes and Zariku, and Ilushma of Assyria ruled.

The Middle and the late Helladic, Mycenian dynasties covered a period of 700 years (2000-1300 B.c.). This early, middle and late Mycenian period covered the reigns in Egypt of the XI to XVIII dynasties ending with Tutenkhaman. The empire of the Assyrian kings are still under investigations.

The earliest Assyrian Empire, historically ascertainable, started with 1380 B.c. when the Doric migrations had started in Greece, and when Ramesis II ruled Egypt. The Greek antiquities and Homer start in 800 n.c. This was contemporaneous with the XXI, XXII, XXIII, and XXIV dynasties of the Third Interlude in Egypt. It covers in Babylon the rule of Nebucchadnezzar; and a very significant period is covered by the dynasty of the sea-country, or the dynasty of Bassa.

The Bassus born of water spread a civilisation, which formed as the name suggests, a contact between countries across the seas. In Assyria during this period ruled Assurnasirpal, Tiglath Paila, Sargon, Senacherib, Essarhaddon and Assurbanipal. The Greeks had started their Persian wars; Thermopolae was about to be fought. Hesiod had finished his history; and Solon's great administration had just ended.

These cultures, these gods, these trends, this sweep of contiguous history are of immense significance to the development and growth of Hindu Saivism.

Relevance of Antiquities to Saivism. We have spent long over our study of the different religions of the Ancient World. Its relevance to our subject has to be realised against the background of (a) the constant rise and falls of the different cultures; suggesting (b) perpetually fluid situation regarding wholesale migrations in favour of finding a safer place; (c) the intense commercial activity which brought human frontiers closer and made spiritual frontiers more and more involved; and lastly, (d) the migration of gods and goddesses and ritualistic forms from one people to another, and one country to another. As and when we shall be studying Saivism in its different forms we shall discover that the ancient indigenous idea of Siva, besides absorbing the proto-austroloid phallicism of the tribes, also absorbed a number of other traits which happened to build up legends and traditions of an anthropomorphic Siva-lore having close parallelisms to some of the Greco-Oriental tales and gods. The two way trade had two-way movements of gods and their legends. Greco-Oriental phallicism and fertility-images, powerful as they were, failed to disturb the continuity of the poise and quietitude of the Hindu Saiva-metaphysics. A few external scars, left permanently as reminders of this battle, did not succeed in changing the inner texture of Hindu Saivism.

The great age of Athens is found to coincide with the extension of the Persian empire over the entire Arabian peninsula and Egypt. This was the period when Cyrus I and II, Cambyses and Xaraxes are found ruling: and when Alexander is about to meet Darius III at Issus. By 330 m.c. the marvellous Hellenistic age could be said to have come to an end, bringing down with it the more marvellous glories of the fabulous Orient.

It is against this background that we propose to consider the gradual development of Saivism, as is known and practised today.

Antiquity of Saivism. Saivism in India had been 'flourishing' in 6th cent. a.c. (800 is Homer; 776 is the First Olympiad; and 480 is Thermo- polae); and the traditions of Saivism, i.e., the Tamilian Siddhantas, must have been in practice from 'times immemorial'. In fact, so far in Indian history no time has been known when Śiva-adoration was not practised.

The Vedas have references to Rudra and Siśnadeva; the Sukla Yajurveda has references to Siva worship and adoration; according to Sir John Marshall the people of Mohenjo-daro (c. 3000 B.c.) adored the Pasupati form of Śiva; the Svetasvatara Upanisad, the Satapatha Brah- mana and the Kausitaki Brāhmaṇa mention clearly Śiva worship. Ipura, a Vedic god has fought, according to the Yaj-Veda, his antagonists, the breakers of sacrificial vessels, at (or on the banks of) the Hararûpiya a city or a river, identified as Harappa, where Siva as well as phallic gods were worshipped. The people at Harappa lacked either the pure Vedic or the general Aryan characteristics.

All this carries the Śiva worship back to prehistoric times, although most of the canonical literature of Śaivism has grown within the active period between 1000 B.C. and 400 A.D. and most of this is found in a language much later than the Vedic Sanskrt.

This makes the study of the real Saivism an intensely interesting subject, particularly in the light of an integrational movement. The Tattiriya Samhita, Aitareya Brāhmaṇa and specially the Atharva Veda stand out as critical records of a period of Hindu life when the orthodox class was struggling against the admission of heterogeneous religions within the fold of pure Aryanism. We have placed enough facts to believe that a mass of people had been under a constant pressure to seek shelter in India. The outcome of this struggle has been far-reaching. A new Trinity grew up; a new way of worship, admitting of polytheism, magic and sorcery, priesthood and hereditary priestism and an attempt to re- introduce the Mother-cult came into evidence. Inclusion and assimilation of the native residents within the Aryan circle became irresistible. were being absorbed into the vast population of the land at a tremendous Aryans rate. Foreign-immigrants were being absorbed at a high rate. Social rhythm, religious tenets, and the gods had to undergo deep changes. This process of holding the gates of Aryanism open to the non-Aryans was carried through the Treta Yuga by Rama of Ayodhya, and through the Dväpara Yuga by Krsna of Dväraka. By denying this process of liberal admission of other peoples and other beliefs Hinduism, in contra- distinction with Aryanism, became at a later date inflexible like cast iron, both rigid, and brittle.

Before we come to the analysis of this aspect of Saivism, namely, its genius of receiving other trends and assimilating them into Hinduism, we shall finally take a glimpse of the last days of the Roman glory when due to foreign influx, and due to the extensive communications of a far flung empire, the metropolitan was raided by scores of cults and religious trends. We had occasion to refer to this feature before; now we take a closer look. The basic hold of democratic rights on the Roman mind, and the natural inclination of a materially prosperous and sceptic people to experiment with many religions, permitted all the eastern religious trends to lump up the Roman society into a jelly of libertinism. We shall study at a glance this theatre where many gods of many lands held their respective court, scene after scene, till the curtain was rung down by Alaric. Taking the Medes as the mid-point of a land-mass both the peninsulas of Italy and India became, as it were, receptacles where all these religions found their ultimate home. Whereas in Rome it let loose an age of susperstition, dogma and mystery, in India it came face to face with Sämkhya rationalisa- tion. The former under the garb of Christianity retained the mysteries and the dogmas. The latter followed into Saivic doctrines, survived as a challenge to the orthodox domination of the Vedas. Rome succumbed. India held on.

7. Rome

In Rome proper, religion and beliefs enjoyed a perfect holiday. The empire which like a leviathan stretched far and wide over the three continents brought to its metropolis a babel of tongues and a cross section of the ethnic patterns of the homo sapiens. Some came as political agents, some as job-seekers, some as artisans, some as fortune hunters; but most as traders from the far-flung corners and markets of curiosities and essentials of the empire. Quite a large part of the popula- tion, comprised of slaves, brought from different markets, and brought from various victories over various peoples, had in their tuin been enslaving the ideas of the degenerate Roman Bourgeoisie, who feared to lose, and of the desperate Roman proletariat, who having nothing to lose, adventured into novel ideas. To such, desperate remedies for boosting up a cynically morbid spirit, as were offered by practices of superstition, cult, magic and mysteries were welcome. The spirit of Rome became a play-thing in the hands of the soothsayers. The words of the soothsayers added fillip to the sagging courage of the bourgeosie, as well as to the greedy expectations of the proletariat.

No doubt in this cosmopolitan Rome the different faiths of the earth churned like re-agents in a crucible. With the freedom that the politicians of Rome preached, citizens were allowed to peruse their own faiths as long as these did not actively interfere with the traditional religion which the Romans had received from the Greeks. The only addition that they had made to the pagan gods of Greece was the custom of raising individuals of the mortal world to the status of divinity. Amongst these, Rome enlisted not only emperors and great matrons, but also concubines, courtesans and in one case even a horse.

Since the time of Carthagian Rome the most honoured and honourable of the Romans were active followers of stoicism. The aristocracy as well as the ruling class appeared to the religiously devout as a form of decency. Rome indulged in religion, but practised philosophy, specially stoicism. And by the time the materialistic civilisation of imperial aggrandisements and plenty had reached its apex, the very weight of the success was bending it down with a dropsy effected by excess. This crushing success of materialistic prosperity turned devotion into cynicism; traditions into banality, and decency into mediocrity. Roman forms had reached the road's end; and a change of direction was inevitable. Deprived of originality and genius, it took to depravity and degradation. The change began to corrode and destroy. Along with the pagan gods even philosophers were being torn down. Names of alien gods and cults were on the lips of all. Rome's demise in spirit is a testimony to the fact that no religion could consist entirely on either imperial design or on dismal fatalism. Religion of eternal merit draws its spirit from philosophy, as from a universal faith in man's destiny with eternity. But Rome was superstitious. Soothsayers and fortune-tellers had a much more telling effect on credulity than logic, ethics or psychology. The people in tension cannot be at peace with themselves; and because they cannot be at peace with themselves, they cannot leave others in peace. Hedonism and materialism have to find militarism as a bad companion. Superstition thrives amongs: children of chance; and these Romans given to a life of perpetually imperialistic military idealism, fanned by a hypnotic spell of considering themselves as the chosen race of God, a superior race, were entirely in the hands of the god of chance. So inborn and sincere was the hold of superstition on Roman life that in the Punic wars both Carthage and Rome found themselves prostrated before a soothsaying group of religious men who demanded sacrifice of tens of thousands of their children.

Phallic Rites. Sacrifice of lives in atonement of unrequited crimes was in the Roman civilisation a common practice. The forum in every city. as the centre of life, contained the temples of most of the pagan deities: Jupiter at one, and Apollo on the other. The simple incident of a good- bye supper had to be mystified and stylised to make room for the mystic cult of 'PIX', an old Sumerian tradition. Persia's Mithra, Persia's Mani, and Persia's Mother continue to dominate the dogmas, the rites, the ceremonials and the deities or saints of the Catholic Christian church of Rome and Avignon, Byzentium and Cyprus.

Rome's life, inclusive of religion, had ancestral connection with Greece and further East, through Greece.

Despite Periclean scepticism, the common people could never give up their faith in religion. The common mind was not interested in the high minded Hellenistic philosophy, which at no time could be the property and solace of the worry-torn common man. What was philo- sophy to the intellectuals, was religion to the plebs. In a society like the Greeks, the plebs, the slaves, the ones deprived from citizenship, far out- numbered the aristocrats. Religion contained the one last promise of the fulfilment of this trodden human hope. Homer was taken literally as true; the after-life was taken to be a reality; and sacrifices meant for them regular investments in a worthwhile bank. In case of non-fulfilment, despite the sacrifices, therefore, some kind of justification had to be sponsored. This vacuum was filled in by fatalism, a belief in laissez-faire in settling an individual's score with the unseen power, a strange way of equating action with destiny. Much of it was Greek in merit; much of it was weakness due to the want of a sense of reality in the analytical approach in the direction of the divine. Such a society would naturally pay a premium on priests, magicians, sooth-sayers and fortune-tellers.

The influence of the Egypto-Babylonian astrology also cast its spell on the Roman image. The charms of the Eleusian mysteries, the singu- larity and prestige of the Pythagorian doctrines, the extremely virile and forceful cults of Orpheus, spread like wild fire all over the Mediterranean coast; but the chief abode of the magic cults in the Roman world was Sicily. Mithraism and Stoicism are as different as plebians and aristocrats. And as even aristocratic births must assume the same channels and processes as those of the plebians, underneath all high pretences, even the Roman aristocracy, succumbed, as to a superstition, to the idea that in motherliness and blood-shedding for birth of new life all are equal; When types of religion ac- in pain did all pay the debts of the Mother. commodate the elite and the elect, in rejection of the accepted balance of a society, the rejects evolve their own gods and torms which express the aspirations of the trodden. Even the hungry must dream. Mithraism filled in this hunger for spirit. In Hinduism such plebian gods exist as Ganesa, Hanumana (Mahavira), Siva and the great Mother of the Mountains, the white Virgin, Uma-Haimavati, Gauri. The gods of the plebians became more powerful, more popular, and more profitable to priests.

Because of its accumulated wealth and power, the influence of the clergy continued to grow. The clergy enjoyed all powers over the society, mostly via the females, who hungered for home-safety at any price. The influence of the clergy on the women of the empire resulted in the spiritual conquest of Rome more by superstition than by philosophy; more by here- sy, than by metaphysics; more by bedside or hearth-side deities than by Whatever was true of the select Rome, was true of the pulpits and mass plebian Rome. It was a moral decay a-la-mode; a complex of bed-room- propriety and cabaret-impropriety.

The cults of Tammuz, of Adonais, of Dionysus infused into the minds of the people the ideas and ideals of a youthful sacrifice, a great death, and following that sacrificial death, a noble resurrection. Any religion in order to gain a hold on the people of Rome, of the world under the Roman influence, had to build around this background for its survival, and had to contain most of it under strange dogmas which Jesus would be surprised to own as his. Much of it was contributed by Paul. The Christian church had been once based on the plebian grief. The idea of a youthful sacrifice followed by a resurrecting hope had been in vogue centuries before Christ. There was nothing new to it. In fact, nothing new could have ousted it.

Together with, and side by side with this idea of the ideal youth making a sacrifice of himself for the good of man, another stream of idea, as noted, came to influence the spiritual world of Rome. This was the age-old adherence to a great Mother-Goddess. We know this to have been highly developed as a form of Oriental Paganism, in which figured such deities as Tammuz, Adonais and Dionysus. The worship of the Cappa- docian goddess Mã (Amma, Uma) quickly spread all over the Italian and Ionian peninsula. The priest of Mã have added a word to the English language. Because they lived in a Fanum (temple), they were known as fanatics. The frenzied dances they danced, during which they slashed and mutilated themselves, shed blood, and made frantic noises with loud beatings of drums and other noisy instruments. The excitement so caused added a special emotive purpose to the word fanatic. They loved mutila- tion, blood, noise, and declared themselves in communion with god; and in the frenzied state pronounced orders as gods do; and demanded obe- dience as gods alone could demand.

Everyday new deities were born in the Roman world. Each ruler vied with his predecessors to populate the altar with new gods. Modern canonisation is just a changed form of the old Roman practice of deifying the human beings. Like Lydia, Thrace, Phrygia and distant Babylon, the whole of North Africa and contiguous countries accepted the cult of the Mother. "Christian fathers were shocked to find so many parallels between their own religion and Mithraism."

The great goddess was Cybele, Nostra Dominica (our Lady). She was carried in a great procession (as is often done even now under other names and pretences) after days and nights of spiritual orgies. During the ceremonies wine and blood flowed in abundance, and openly and publicly men emasculated themselves in religious frenzy by tearing limbs, even vital limbs, considered to be of the utmost use and attraction to the females. Even saintly soul like Origen succumbed to this,147 Then the priests cried, "Take courage, O mystics, the god is saved; and for you also will come salvation." Resurrection had taken place.

Durant says that the mysticism that entered the Christian cult of sacri- fice, blood and flesh (Eucharist) retains Hindu and Pythagorian in- fluence.149 We do not entirely agree with Durant.

Like Cybele and Attis in Thrace and Syria, the Mediterranean peoples also adored Isis and Osiris. Isis was represented holding a newly reborn Osiris in her hand. The Roman mass cried, "We have found Osiris again; Osiris resurrected in the arms of Isis, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea." The religion of Isis was followed in Egypt, Greece, and at later times in Sicily, Italy and in all parts of the empire, inclusive of the Germanic north, and Gaullish West. Even in London a temple of Isis has been unearthed.

The association of the spirit of the sow, and the taboo of pig, with the Eleusian Mysteries, founded by Eumolphus, has been obliquely preserved in Western and Eastern legends. The Tantra literature accepts the wor- ship of the spirit of the great Mother in the Sow as Varahi. In the rites which included purification, fast, penances there was provision for drama-plays too. The subject of the play invariably referred to Demeter, Persephone, Artemis, Cynthia, Delia, Luna, Phoebe, Selene, even Hecate on the one hand and Adonis, Endymion, Boar-hunt, death on the other. Then to the mysteries of bringing the dead to life brings in the climax.

It is easy to send into this pattern virgin worship, fertility cult, the cultic worship of the spirit of the Boar overcoming the moon-cult (Luna, Selene, Phoebe, Venus, Aphrodite-all suggest full moon), the worship of a un- sullied youth-god represented by fowls, peacocks, etc., being absorbed by Mother-worship and the final explanation of circumcision and its mysteries which Zehora covenanted with Abraham.

Polarisation of Mystic Religions

Now for the similarities of some of these features in Hinduism, we find that Siva absorbed the Moon Goddess, and held her forever as a mark on his head; that the virgin Uma, Amma, (Esther) won over Śiva; that the fowl-riding youthful god Skanda (the Wailer), the Fire Born (Agni- bhů), the Mystic Cave-dweller (Guha) was adopted by the Mother, as her child, because he was born of the 'seed' of Siva. The myths retain hoary facts about the mysteries of ancient religions passing into the new. Saivism, Tantra, the Mother-Adoration and the Christian-Eucharist appear thus to be one of a piece. In Tantra all spiritual endeavours appear to have polarised. What is Mithraic is also Orphic, Dionysian, Cybelline, Saivic and Tantric.

Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. The Greek mind, dying, came to a transmigrated life in the theology and liturgy of the church; the Greek language, having reigned for centuries over philosophy, became the vehicle for Christian literature and ritual; the Greek mysteries passed down into the impressive mystery of the Mass. Other pagan cultures contributed to the syncretist result.

Christianity's indebtedness to paganism enlists inter alia the following: the adoration of the Madonna-image (Egypt); mysticism (Eleusian) in Christian creed; monasticism (Buddhist-Stoics); worship of the Great Mother (Phrygia); the cult of Dionysus (Helas) along with crucifixion and resurrection; the dualism of Satan and God (Persia); the presence of Dark and Light forces; and the idea of the Eucharistic Man (Mithraism). "Christianity was the last great creation of the pagan world."

The pagan temples had been regularly attended by young virgins without whose tender hands the virile god Mithra, or the amorous goddesses of the sea, would not accept any offering. A high pontiff was the sole guide and preceptor of these virgins. Sacrifices were made daily, and daily the altars were bathed in blood, and the worshippers partook of the consecrated bread and wine, and rang bells in order to signify a successful end of a complete ritual.

Mithraism and Christian Morals

The basis of Mithraism, as already noted, was an insistence of high morality. Despite a compulsory training of strictest celibacy, the temptation of promiscuity entailed great restraint. A fall meant a disaster, in which case strict punishments were administered to the defaulters.

Does not Mithraism sound so close to what we accept as Christianity? The Christian fathers themselves felt more than surprised when they were to confront these inconvenient facts of history. There is one point to be strictly noticed, however. What has been so far discussed, relate only to the rites of the Christian church, and, partly, to the nativity of Jesus, a controversial subject, the end of which has not been seen yet. But, besides the rites, and the legends affecting the birth of Jesus, the ministrations of Jesus remain unique and independent of these cults. Why, then, the two sets of rites are so similar is an open question. Perhaps they were accommodated, and a compromise was made to make the old live withinthe folds of the new. The church elders try to explain this as stratagems of Satan. Dr. Durant cautiously says, "Perhaps both absorbed the idea current in the religious air of the East." The East has always been too 'airy' for clerical history. The nativity, the Virgin, the Mother, the Sacrifice, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Eucharist, the Mass-all had their immediate predecessors. In the ritualistic orders and forms of the sacramental killing of the bull, which was performed for the purpose of expatiation and atonement, the devout experienced clear psychadellic visions that brought into focus the nuances of mysticism. But the Hindu Saiva stops here; and distinguishes between the pure Samkhyan Saivism, Vedantic Saivism, Trik Saivism on the one hand, and the Saivism of the Kapalas, the Aghoras, the Pasupatas and the Vamas on the other. The Mother-cult, the Eleusian mysteries and the Tantras form just the other branch of the same pagan forms of the Medes and Egypt. Of these later on, in the Mother and Siva all Tantras or rituals meet. Why not so? Is not Tantra after all a tradition?

The Mysteries

The 'Mysteries' in which the people of the Mediterranean were so much involved, actually were Cybelline in their origin, and as such belonged to the Parthian and Thessalian tradition. They had strictly canonised codes and courses of stages through which the initiate had to pass. Rigour was of the essence; and, at least at its initial stage, no one doubted its purity of purpose. Devouts, only of the stoutest determination and dedicated resolve, were admitted to the circle of the inner votaries. The ceremonials were conducted at five states: (1) Purification; (2) Sacrifice; (3) Initiation; (4) Revelation; and (5) Regeneration. The initiate had to take the initiation in a naked state, stand in a pit, and be bathed with the blood of the sacrificial animal, in most cases, a bull. The genitals, placed in the sacrificial vessel, were ceremonially offered to the deity, and the devotees partook of it later,143

That was Cybelline rite. And the Mithraic rites were not much different. If the Cybelline were somewhat loose in their rigours, the Mithraic ones were highly suited to the Stoic Rome, specially when the affluent Rome bored with its own success, was acquiring a spirit of cynical nonchalance which characterises any materialistic society at its decadence. Rigourousness was, as it were, a reaction against gay abandon and pro- fligacy. Rome was getting tired of itself. The rites were known as Taurobolium14 (urga-utsarga or bull sacrifice) (see Plate 35).

The cult of Isis also required the initiate to follow strict codes. Here too the number of the rites limited itself to the same five. But the five here were: (1) Fasting; (2) Continence; (3) Prayer; (4) Immersion in holy water; and (5) the Final trance, Samadhi. Intimate records of the rites have been preserved; and some of the contemporaries speak highly of the ecstatic experience resulting from the observance of the rites. At Eleusis there were arrangements of confession of sin. 144 The sacrificial animal was, in this case, a pig, in the place of the Mithraic bull. At the Feast of Demeter plays representing the resurrection of Persephone were per- formed; and the priest assured the congregation of a rebirth into an eternal life. The tenets included such ideas as rebirth; soul's imprisonment releas- ed through a succession of lives, each one expatiating the sins and the short- comings of the impurities of actions and desires of previous ones. The released soul finally unites with Dionysus in an ecstatic merging of the two into one.

The ideas and rites cannot but remind the scholar of the influence of the Tantra tenets, transmitted, perhaps, through the preachings and prac- tice of Pythagoras. Communal feasts were featured most prominently in these cults. Blood flowed freely (Except in the case of the strict Pytha- gorians, as is the case with the later post-Buddha Vaisnavas). The sacri- fice of the bull, particularly, was considered to be very holy indeed. The food so consumed, by some mysterious process, was taken to be a medium of communion with god. Again, the idea of god-eating has been raising its obstinate head. When one eats the god, one feels the spirit of God to be inside one. Thereafter one cannot dare do wrong again.

Yer this was not all. The Romans were extremely susceptible to the trends and traits that reminded them of the stretch of their empire. The credulity of a peasant-military society, insecure about their future, and depending for the best part of their living and employment on foreign wars, made them hunger for any knowledge of the future. Life itself was a gamble; and like gamblers they sought of oracles, and entrails of sacrificial animals and a hundred other types of fortune tellings. No public place in the Mediterranean Rome was free from these hordes. The Orphic, Hermic, Pythagorian and Cybelline oracles and secret 'writ- ings' were sought by millions. Talisman, kavaca, charms, specially written mystic words, alphabet sounds, diagrams enjoyed a field-day of trade.

A Roman temple of Isis or Cybele has to be described; and it were best described as the nerve centre of the community, and of the city it adorned. The life of the city actually radiated around the temple. Those acquainted with the description of the temple that Herod the Great had built, and Titus had destroyed, would know that the builders of such a temple had to bear in mind as much the relaxation of the public, as the adoration of the deity. A decadent and frustrated people hardly thinks of a father god. They want to weep. They want a shoulder to rest their brows on. For such a purpose not the father but the mother is more handy and reliable. These temples were, therefore, dedicated to Cybele and Isis, and the votaries include a majority of the weeping sex. No wonder that Christ and Christianity, in order to be accepted by the Roman world, had to pass through the dependable mother-concept that Mary and the Madonna offered. Whether this Mary has to be worshipped in the Virgin form, or in the Mother form, became another subject of controversy. It brought about a schism. The Mediterranean and Thracian church, given to the Great Mother, preferred the Mother form of Mary, the pregnant Mother, the Mother and the child; Rome, reacting against its own Cybellian excesses, opted for the Virgin, the Kumari-Kanya form of the Hindus. Rome went for forms of an imperialistic court- hierarchy, and of sophisticated etiquette, with elaborate mundane and empirical devices; but the Eastern church lived within the Greek spiritual content and Eleusian mysteries. The tradition from Thales and Socrates to Pythagoras could not just be wiped out. John was on the latter's side; Paul on the former's.

In all this exercise the Oriental mind percolating through the thousands of the Ionian isles is persistently noticeable. The Oriental religions reached the peninsula of Greece; from there, to Rome, and through Rome to that vast part of the world which had been dominated once by the Semetic Syrians and to some extent by the Nordic. These Semetic Syrians, or, and Phoenicians are closely mixed up in the still undetermined hoary past. It is clear that the influence of oriental religions on the religion of Europe is undeniable, though very often ignored, if not altogether denied. Attempts to suppress this have damaged the very cause they were supposed to serve. Truth is the pivot of an honest religion. Therefore it would be worthwhile now to enquire into the religious life of India during this period under discussion namely, 1200 n.c. to 400 A.D., roughly a period of 1600 years. To call it smoothly Vedic is to side track the complexes to which the spiritual life of India had been exposed.

Influence of Phallicism on Modern Religions

The influence of primitive phallicism on later religions has been traced by all scholars of comparative religion. No religion, worth the name, is at all free from the primal life-force of sex, and its brutely real phallic form. This is as true today as it had been in the hoary past of the cave- society of man. This is as true of the most sophisticated religion of today, as it had been of the nature-religions of the fertility worshipper. Religion assumes the empirical form of rituals, and the spiritual form of metaphysi- cal probe into the infiniteness of man's capacity to enjoy the realisation of the limitless. The intensity of the transcendental delight almost isolates the subjectivity of the enjoyer; a description of his personal experience, or its admission in language, appears to the uninitiated as unrealistic as the Pythagorian theorem could be to the Maori hut-builder. There are indications in the ecstatic utterances of the Buddha, Jesus, St. Augustine, Aurobindo or Ramana Maharsi that in the innermost recesses of their personal being they had not only discovered the fountain head of eternal delight, but had also discovered the clues to arrive at it at will. The clusive reality of their transcendental experience remains mostly-beyond the understanding of the common man. When Aurobindo says in the essay of the Human Cycle that, "Religious forms and systems become effete and corrupt and have to be destroyed," religions concerning the spirit of man enters the forbidding area of mysticism. Yet to Aurobindo, or to his likes, this presented no mysticism at all. He warns,

But in its endeavour to get rid of the superstition and ignorance which have attached themselves to religious forms and symbols, intellectual reason unenlightened by spiritual knowledge tends to deny, and in so far as it can, to destroy, the truth and the experience which was contained in them.

Whilst these two limits of man's quest for reaching his ultimate purpose of life by overcoming the fear that life engenders are practically the two extremes, in between the two lies the area of the mysteries. The mysteries hold to a very high degree this element of 'fear'. It is through the exploita- tion and analysis of this fear, through putting this fear under a spiritual experimentation, that most of the ancient religions before Gautama Buddha came into being. Most of these religious experimentations were carried in the area of the Medes and Mediterranean, where, for various historical reasons, cultures rose and fell in rapid succession. Thus we have seen the rise of many gods, many forms; and we confront many kinds of theological explanations for the 'oriental' bizarre and unearthly practices. But basically two traditions held good: one, the Vedic traditions of realised truths written down in later years; and the tradition of relating sex to life and holding this to special adoration and worship.

But there is yet a third aspect of this mystic problem. It is essen- tially a social or sociological problem. Is religion selective or com- munistic? Does it create an artificial class of mystic snobs, as against the simple proletariat? Does the system of religion yet again act as an arm of enjoying the fruits of labour without having to labour, and help maintain a privileged class? Has the problem of the emancipation become hazardous and taxing because of the fraudulence and snobbery introduced into its actual practice?

The oppressed, like blocked water, fights its way out. It has to break into a release. The religiously oppressed too sought to come out of this impossible imposition of double-standards of theological laws and practices. This expressed itself in two ways: one, iconoclastic rebellion which smashed the institutions, forms and establishments of such reli- gious tyranny; and two, metaphysical rationalisation through further investigations in spirit. To do this, is to feel free. Even a slave can think; and his freedom within the area of his thought-world is unlimited. One who is really free, accepts a wilful slavery of duty.

Hindu Saivism is the product of this last process. It had to try for sublimating a tyrannical situation into an area of freedom of soul. By thinking, rationalising, feeling and communicating, this particular form of the Hindu religion has kept itself away from the Vedic class-cons- ciousness, and established a strong proletariat method of worship, where religiousity is no special privilege of a caste. The traits of the Oriental religions again and again attempted to taint this Šaivic freedom, and tried to encumber the simple form by imposing elaborate rites and forms; but basically Saivism retained its nature of tribal simplicity. Śiva remained the soul of man kept in bondage. Šiva meant emancipation hereafter to the soul. Siva's way represents a class struggle. Is there a class- struggle in religion?

There is. The study of the ancient religions has made it clear that the ruling class, under the aegis of the priestly community, helped grow a privileged 'religious' class, who as agents, worked between the common and the elite, the latter enjoying the fruits of labour of the former.

The answer to this was provided by Saivism. It was from the start a basic proto-austroloid concept rooted in accepting the elemental forms of matter, such as earth, water, fire, air and the universal atmosphere as objects worthy of veneration. It recognised the role of the mystery of procreation in maintaining the life-cycle. It also recognised the principles of creativity and the generative cycles in nature and man.

The sophisticated churchised society of man became crowded with sec- tarian law-givers; and these religious leaders confused simple facts by introducing complexes of ethics, and setting double-standards. The innate spiritual quest of man hungered for a divinity with the virtues of Contentment-Poise-Good (i.e., Sina), and of a total lack of the least sense of discrimination and distinction, and presence of the virtue of equality (i.e., Samkara). Such a divinity, they accepted, should be easy to please (Afutoga); and easier to be respected than all other man- made gods (Mahadeva; Devadeva). It was man's natural and primal de- mand of the spirit. In Saivism this quest found its eternal haven.

The phallic and the erotic have to be studied against this background of comparative estimate of Oriental, Western and Eastern forms of Phallicism. Only such a study could free minds of such inhibitions as restrict a free search and free conclusions. This demand of the soul must never be confused with demands of the body.

Once this is achieved, and achieved after a thorough study of the traditional, which has been uninterruptedly percolating into the religious thoughts of our own times, we are ready for studying those Hindu systems which attempt to rationalise the Sina-approach of the Hindu towards a divinity. The systems only expose the metaphysics of an existing mode of divination and adoration. Siva and Saivism given, then and then alone the systems came into being. Here lies the great antiquity of the Tantras and the Vedas.

We have, therefore, to study these Tantras and the Vedas and the Sys- tems of Saivism one by one. Of this study the great Tantra system comes first. Herein we receive our first initiation into the mysteries of the Great Mother, in whom the Father-concept merges only as a counter part, or consort.

Now to the Tantras and the Great Mother.


1. Brhadaranyaka Upanijad, VI, 4:20.

2. Papyrus of Tamenin, XI Dynasty, 1102-952 n.c.

3. Allegro-John, M. The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, p. VIII.

4. Ivory Statue etc. from a

Cave at Lespugne. The Ephusian Artemis, an Io- nian deity reproduced from p. 110 of "The New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology."

5. Katha Upanisad, 3:2: 3.

6. Nenges-Karl, H. The Drä-vido-Altaic Relationship, Journal of Tamil Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, Univ. of Kerala, India.

7. Cajorie, Dr. Florian, 4 History of Mathematics. (Mac- millan), pp. 17-18.

8. Thapar, Dr. P. A History of India, pp. 13-15.


(i) Rome Beyond the Im- perial Frontier, R. E.M. Wheeler;

(ii) Ancient India describ-ed by W. H. Schoff;

(iii) History of Indian Ship- ping, R. K. Mukhri,

12. Cottrell, Leonard. Lost Worlds, p. 316.

13. New Larousse Encyclopaedia of Mythology.

14. Majumdar, Roy Chow-dhury and Dutta. Advanced History of India. Tilak B. G. Bhagavat Gita Rahasya.

15. (i) Majumdar, Roy Chow- dhury and Dutta, op. cit.

(ii) Thapar, Dr. Promila. History of India.

(iii) Bhasham, Dr. History of India.

16. Radhakrishnan. An Idealist View of Life (George Allen Unwin), p. 88.

17. Mundaka Upanisad, 11, 2:9.

18. Taylor, Sir E. B. Primitive Culture.

19. Frazer, Sir J. G. The Golden Bough.

20. Crawley, E. The Tree of Life.

21. Goldberg, Prof. B. Z. The Sacred Fire.

22. Micah.

23. De Chardin, Pierre Teil- hard. Le Milieu Divine.

24. Jean, Sir James.

25. De Chardin. Ibid.

26. St. Paul. Corinthians, XII, 2:4.

27. De Chardin. Hymn of the Universe, 55.

28. Tagore, R. N. The Gitan- jali.

29. Compare in this connection -experiences of St. Augus- tine; St. Theresa; St. Bene- dict; Sheikh Saadi; Jalalud-din Rumi; Miräbäl; St. John on the Cross; Kabir, etc.

40. Durant. op. cit. III, pp. 178-9.

41. Compare Themis, Jane Harrison and White God- dess, Dr. Graves. Des Divinities Generatices, J. A. Dulaure, Sexual Symbolism, J. P. Knight and T. Right II.

42. Lissener Dr. Ivor. op. cit., Introductory Remarks.

43. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths (Introduction).

44. Life of St. Theresa, ch. 29.

45. Brhadaranyka Upanisad.

46. Jaiminiya Upanisad-Brahmana, XXVI, 145.

47. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths, I, pp. 114-219.

48. Allegro, J. N. op. cit., p. 60.

49. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths, I, p. 128.

50. Graves, Robert. The White Goddess, p. 143.

51. (a) Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, VI: 51; Ramayana-Valmiki, VII: 42.

52. Chandogya Upanisad, V1:3:7; V: 10; VIII, 1.

53. Ibid., 8 and 9. The passage from the Chandogya Upa- nizad is an evidence of the spiritual school. Brhada- ran yaka too has similar atti- tude.

54. Thubten. Jigme Norbe and C. Turnbull. Tibet (Pelican) pp. 167-8.

55. Ibid., pp. 290-91. Compare the sex life of great souls like Goethe and Tolstoy.

56. Ibid., p. 167.

84. Jastrow and Morris. Civilisa tion of Babylonia and Assyria, P. 101.

85. Durant, op. cit., III, p. 5.

86. Ibid., p. 116.

87. Cottrell, op. cit., p. 184.

88. Durant. op. cit., 1.

89. Lissener. Op. cit., 143.

90. Durant, op. cit., 1.

91. Durrel Augustine. Bitter Le mons, p. 171.

92. ibid.


94. Gibbon,Edward. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,XXIII.

95. Ibid.

96 Durant. op. cit., 1-297.

97. Ibid., Vol. III, pp. 60-65.

98. Cottrell. Lest Worlds, p. 262.

99. Graves, op. cit., pp. 187, 385.

100. Larousse, op. cit., pp. 8, 37, 110.

101. (a) Durant. op. cit., p. 235. (b) Cottrell, op. cit., pp. 149. 51.

102. Durant. op. cit., p. 235.

103. There have been cases nar- rated in the Mahabharata of very honoured ladies of blood who have mothered children from different male sources without having to lose virginity. (Menaka, Rambha, Kunti, Matsya- gandha, etc.).

These ladies themselves came from families and tra- ditions not always entirely conventional in the strict. social sense of the Aryans. Instances of children born out of conventional wedlock are numerous in the epic and the Puranas. Cl. Raya- iringa, Kausika, Jämbuka, Valmiki, Vyasa, Gautama, Vasistha, Agastya, etc. (These names are taken from a similar reference in Vajra-Sucikopanizad).

118. de Burg. op. cit., pp. 36-37.

119. The Markandeya Candi, ch. 1.

120. Graves, Robert. Greek Myths, pp. 14-15.

121. Ibid.

122. Davidson, Marshall B. Lost World, Leonard Cott-rell's article on 'Crete', P. 258.

123. Ibid., pp. 260-61.

124. Wells, H. G. A Short History of India (Pelican), p. 47.

125. Ibid., p. 48.

126. Ibid.

127. Cambridge Ancient History, III: 347. Durant, op. cit., 1: 307.

128. Wells, op. cit., p. 86.

129. Wells. op. cit., p. 87..

130. Ibid., p. 71.

131. Wells. op. cit.

132. Cooke, Dr. G. A. "Semetic Languages" contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th Edition.

133. Thapar, Dr. P. op. cit., p. 26.

134. Besides India where the Parsees number more than 100,000 there are Parsees in Fars, a Persian Province, and in small groups throughout Northern Persia, Ekabatana is still a home of queer religious sects who claim descent from quaint ancient traditions.

135. Graves. The White Goddess, p. 350.

136. Ourel, R. Mason and Morin, Louis, Larousse. op.

cit., pp. 309-319.

155. There are special Pilgrim- ages in the Hindu Calendar for confessionals; the most prominent of these has been one at Hinglaj, now in Baluchistan, in Pakistan. It was a Tantric centre of the Great Mother.

156. Isis: Iri is the Hindu God- dess, the alter-ego of Siva, whose similarity with Dicry- sus is remarkable.

157. Cybele-Sivali or Kali is the Dark Mystery Goddess of time, Sina's Counterpart, and worshipped all over the Siva-India.

158. Aurobindo. Human Cycle, p.177.


9. Graves, Robert. The White Goddess, Harrison, Jane Ellen, Themis.

10. आगतम् पंचवत्क्रत् गतं च गिरिजानने ।

मतं च वासुदेवस्य

तस्मादागममुच्यते ॥

It is known as Agama be- cause it 'comes' from Śiva and goes to (the ear of) the Hill-Maid; but the principle (contained) belongs to Vasudeva.

11. (a) Lissener, Dr. I. The Living Past, p. 109.

(b) Ibid.

(c) Durant, Dr. Story of

(d) Ibid.

30. Bhagavat Gita, IV, 27: 30.

(a) Allegro, Dr. Hohn M. The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross.

(b) Graves, Dr. Robert. The Greek Myths.

32. नैनमूर्द्ध न तिर्यचं न मध्ये न परिग्रहात् ।

न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति यस्य नाम, महद्-यशः ।।

Not above, not across, not in the middle has any one grasped Him. There is no likeness of Him whose name alone is Great Glory.

Svetasvatara Upanisad, IV: 19.

33. History of Indian Culture (R.K. 1.), Vol. I.

34. See diagrams Chapter 8.

35. (a) Those parts were known to the Greeks as Medes.

Observe Sanskrt equi-valents.

Medes, Madhya Desa. Persia, Parfoa Desa.

Iran-Arian or Aryan.

(b) See Cajorie, op. cit.

36. Barth, Dr. A. (Translated by J. Wood), Religions of India (Kegan Paul), p. 262.

37. Durant Will. The Story of Civilisation, III, p. 178.

38. Ivory statuesque from the cave at Les Pugne (Illustra- tion from p. 8 of Larousse, op. cit.).

39. Eleusian Artemis of Asia

Minor, Ibid. p. 110.

57. Brahadaranyaka Upanisad (Radhakrishnan).

58. Frazer, Dr. J. G. Golden Bough. (abridged Macmillan), p. 7.

59. Names of Hindu Tantra Goddesses inserted by au-thor for comparison.

60. Durant, op. cit., p. 60.

61. Ibid., p. 61

62. Allegro. op. cit.

63. Graves, Dr. R. Greek Myths.

64. Cf. Frazer, op. cit. I, pp. 124, 125.

65. Durant. op. cit., I, p. 129.

66. Cottrel, Leonard. The Land of Shinar, p. 109.

67. Frazer, op. cit., p. 187..

68. Ibid., pp. 186-187.

69. Ibid., pp. 186-187.

70. Durant, op. cit. I, p. 128.

71. Liturgical tablet found in Sumerian Ruins (quoted by Durant).

72. Guriaud, Dr. F. New Ency- clopaedia of Mythology. P. 58.

73. Danielou, Allen. Hindu Poly- theism, pp. 274-75.

74. Harrison, Jane A. Themis, P. 126.

75. Fragmentes. Empedocles, p. 17.

76. Harrison. "op. cit., p. 118.

77. Graves. Ibid., p. 143.

78. Berain, B. W. Gods, Graves and Scholars, p. 299.

78A. Durant, op. cit., 1, 294..

79. Lissener, op. cit., p. 105.

80. Cottrell. op. cit., p. 125.

81. Lissener, op. cit, p. 28.

82. Durant. op. cit., pp. 118-19.

83. Ibid., footnote.

104. Herodotus, 1, p. 199.

105. (a) Lissener, Dr. 1. The Living Paxt, pp. 33-35.

(b) Graves, The White God-dess, pp. 124-5.

106. Frazer, Dr. J. G. The Golden Bough, (abridged), p. 499.

107. Durant, op. cit., I, pp. 238-9.

108. Frazer, Dr. J. G. The Golden Bough, pp. 498-99.

109. Durant, op. cit., 1, pp. 238-9.

110. Ibid., p. 263.

111. Manu, X. 8: 108, 116.

112. Karma and Varaha Purana.

113. Sukra, a descendant of the Blagu-Angirasa is equivalent to the star Venus. As Aphrodite, she was born of Zeus, who is equivalent to Jupiter, or Brhaspati, or Angiras. Thus both Sukra and Venus are fathered by Angiras or Zeus. Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology, John Dawson.

114. The Mittani description records the names of Gods like Mitra and Varuna, equivalent to Apollo and Poseidon.

115. de Burg, Dr. W. G. Legacy of the Ancient World (Pelican). 195-96.

116. Diodorus Siculus, IV, 17.

117. Satamayakha, Satamanyu and

Indra are coterminous. 'Indra' was very friendly to Manyu or 'sacrifices'. Hindu Indra Hellenic Zeus.

137. Durant. Vol. I, p. 350.

138. Graves. The White Goddess, p. 62.

139. These events have their parallels in the three differ- ent Rg Vedic stories about Ravi and Arun; Indra and Vrtra, Manu and Min.

140. Graves. Greek Myths, p. 12.

141. Ibid., Foreword.

142. Vrata-Ritual and Kara Performer. Performers of rites.

Vratakara in Sanskrt.

Sarvada-Giver of everything.

143. Angra-could it have rela- tion with the Old Nordic word Angra? Ana', Old Nor- dic-Trouble; Narrow. (a) Durant. op cit., 1, 364. (b) Graves, Larousse. op. cit., p. 312.

144. Durant. op. cit., III, 603-6.

Rama of Ayodhya-admitted southern kings and Tribes to equality of social order. Krsna himself mar- ried into the tribe of Jam- (Bhima and Hi- dimba; Arjuna and Ulupi; Jaratkaru and Jaratkaru; Parasara and Matsya- gandha are all Aryan and non-Aryan Marriages. There are many more (See note, ante 82).

146. Durant, op. cit., Vol. III, p. 524.

147. Ibid., p. 615.

148. Ibid., p. 523.

149. Ibid., p. 525.

150. Halliday, W., Plutarch,

De Inside. Pagan Background of Early Christianity, p. 240.

151. Durant. op. cit., Vol. III, p. 595.

152. Later, on the significance of the 'Five', and the stages shall be noted while discus- sing Saivism proper.

153. Compare blood and flesh in connection with the Christian Communion. Was Jesus sub- stituting a horrid and grue- some practice by a calmer, neater and sublime one, and thereby glorifying an abomi- nable cult? Was he saying, "Give up using flesh and blood as you are used to do. These are crude. Love ani- mals. Love life. Our God calls for real sacrifice. Sac- rifice to alone, not to rejoice. Use simple unleavened bread as flesh; farm-brewed wine as blood. I am the lamb. I am the sacrifice. Use these as my blood, if blood thou must have; use this as the flesh, if flesh is a must for as solemn a rite." Was this what he meant? What else?

154. Tauro Bolium Tarus, The Bull or Vra (Sanskrt). Belium-Vali (Sanskrt) sac-Rifice of an animal. Amongst the Hindus Vrsa- utsarga has been an honour- ed rite for prayers, especially raised for the Peace of the Menes.










Chapter Three

The Mystic Mother

Western Erotic Traditions


THE BRIEF survey of the religious observances of the ancient orient has THE sufficiently revealed to us the dominating deities as well as the principal trends of the religious rites and doctrinaire canons that had influenced these ancient people. Similarities between these pagan religions, though separated by space and time, are clearly noticeable in spite of some superfluous differences. Most of these similarities relate to the character and conduct of the respective divinities, their forms, tastes and idiosyncra- sies. We have noted these religious practices in relation to no fewer than eight ancient nations spread over a period of about two thousand years of antiquity. Our attention has been drawn to trends excitingly involved in phallic observances, as well as in mystical rites. Orgiastic dances and processions, intemperate promiscuity, emasculating and hymenal sacrifices, sacerdotal fornications of virgins as a part of rites, matriarchal choice of offering womanhood as a form of pious gift, sacrifice of animal or at times even human lives, and treating the blood thereof as a sanctifying and elevating substance, flagellations, scourgings, etc. leading to death and to a hopeful resurrection, devotion to a fertility goddess, who inciden- tally, was an eternal 'Virgin', and earth-mother and the idea of a king- priest personality were some of the common features detectable inter alia amongst these nations. Categorically speaking, Sumer, Babylon, Syria, Phoenicia and even Greece and Sicily indulged in these traits. Differences, if any, related more or less only to certain ways and means. Babylon, Syria and Sumer, however, had earned a special distinction in notoriety in contemporary references and travellers' records.

Whereas these traits distinguished pagan religions of Western Asia, the East in comparison revealed more sober traits. Iran, for example, makes us aware of the traces of such a change in the train of sexually excit ing and neurotically hallucinating practices. We note, for instance, the strict disciplinary codes of Mithraism. Mithraic worship, as it had been in vogue in Iran of antiquity, involved a good deal of ascetic sanctity, and enjoined a forbidding code of punishment for relapse into excesses in contravention of the established disciplinary codes. Along with this trend flourished, in the same Iran, the great Zarathustrian religion whose high moral code almost vies with the Vedic, Buddhist and Confucian characteristics. The zenith of this pious trend was reached by Menichae ism. It is notable that all these religions grew amongst the people not far removed from what is now known as the Orient, and what is generally called as the Near-East or Western Asia. The phallic traits which adhere to Saivism could be traced to the area just described, that is the Middle-East. Its spiritual growth had directly very little to do with the Oriental phallic trend, except perhaps in its utmost attempt to resist the escalation of the powerful temptations of these Oriental religions.

Saivism, that we know today and call Hindu, traces its link with Rudra of the Vedas, and of the Svetasvatara Upanisad. It has been native to the Indian soil.

But the Indian subcontinent has always been open to all kinds of influences from the Western areas of the Arabian Sea. India had had deep and sustained commercial ties with the countries along the Arabian Sea. By inference and proximity, this influence included the Ionian Isles, and Greece proper, as these two were exposed to the ideas and thoughts of the Indian peninsula.!

(1) In discussing the social and spatial imagination in Indian architec- ture Mr. Mulk Raj Anand refers to the almost prehistoric relation bet- ween India and these areas.

(2) So does Dr. Horian Cajorie in his History of Mathematics. "A priori it does not seem improbable that with the traffic of the merchandise there should be also an interchange of ideas. That communication of thought from the Hindus, to the Alexandrians actually did take place is evident from the fact that certain theologic and philosophic teachings of the Manichacians, neo-Platonists, Gnostics show unmistakable likeness to Indian tenets "

(3) Excavations of Roman coins in the port towns of Southern India indicate a brisk and flourishing trade between the Far East, Mediterranean for nearly two hundred years during the fourth and fifth centuries. Alaric demanded for price, against sparing Rome from his wrath, three thousand pounds of Indian pepper.

(4) Batne in the Euphrates boasted of Indian wares in the market of its annual fair. China and Persia enjoyed great maritime commerce with the aid of Indian ports and Indian navy. Chinese missions coming to the cities of Western Asia booked their passages through Indian ships. Arabic annals are filled with the praises of Indian swords sold in the markets of Damascus and Baghdad. Modern Aden had been a centre of perfumeries from India.

The land and sea trade routes between Indian ports and the Oriental cities have thus been open for mutual trade from times immemorial. The Arabian Sea as a whole was the mare nastrum for the people of the Indian and Arabian peninsulas. Naturally the international cultural links so formed kept the peoples of this area in closer contact of ideas than could be easily expected and imagined nowadays.

Under the circumstances it would be wrong to presume that the power- ful religious trends that had swept over the Near-Eastern civilisations did not affect Indian thinking also. But it should be borne in mind that the religious life in India had been from the very beginning, based on virtuous living and pragmatic conduct. Indian life moved around a peaceful and contented family-unit. The religions of India accepted philosophy and metaphysics as the very foundation for a full and purposive living. Religiosity of the Indian mind, which adheres so much to a chain of rites and ceremonies, sacraments and festivals, has rarely succumbed to dog- matic doctrines. A religion that does not have to submit to doctrinaire authority needs to have to be fanatic, or to take recourse to atrocities of religious persecution. The mass mind depended more on wisdom than on learning, more on personal conscience than on primately 'bulls', more on peace than on dialectical dialogues, and finally, more on a harmony in diversity than on a forced order in compulsive uniformity.

As such the sensuous and erotically motivated religious feasts of the Orient could not find a ready haven in India, although the powerful trend of such religions did affect the thoughts of the peninsula. In the ultimate analysis of history these did leave indelible marks on the Indian system of life, thinking and worship. No nation could withstand the inroads of syncretical influences. These inevitable marks of foreign origin are trace- able like marks of old scars on a body that had to pass through many battles. A full study of the growth of Saivism must take into considera- tion these foreign traces and their influence on Hindu devotional forms. Then and then alone the primal bases of that Saivism, which has been one of sublimest treasures of the popular Indian spiritual life, shall have been revealed in its true perspective. In fact, despite the hard battle over these ancient centuries that Indian spiritualism had had to put up with these powerful foreign trends battering on the threshold of Indian culture, Indian Saivism has remained to this day a solid example of piety and devo-tion which in sublimity thought, purity of motive, and singular austerity of practices and rites, is hardly to be matched in world-spiritualism."

Chastening Effect of Eastern Religiosity

The process of chastening of objectionable foreign trends in religions is peculiarly characteristic of Hindu spirit of accommodation and tolerance. The more these alien forms attempted at getting a footing in Indian life, the more did they shed their sensuous emphasis, and erotic runaway excesses. The spiritual sensitiveness of a people bred on Vedic sublimity, Jainistic purism, Buddhistic realism, Vedäntic asceticism and Samkhya's analytical materialism, preserved the mystique of the Western Tantras of Delphi, Thebes, Paphos, the Nile and of Pythagoras, without bothering with the external rites, motifs and displays that had been a craze with a people made for excitement, exhibitionism and carnal excesses. They stored the grains and winnowed the chaff. Any materialistic advance often leads to spiritual decay. India too had had to pass through similar threats to her spiritualism. But even in material prosperity, somehow, India succeeded in keeping her values intact. The inroads of certain phallic trends that persist in the substrata in Hindu spiritual life reminds the student of history of these patches of Hindu material prosperity when alien trends made India a home. The new excitement allowed imbalance to enter and afford an excuse for spiritual degeneration. But, fortunately, conservative traditions ran deeper roots; and the millions, remaining poor, found peace and contentment in conservative traditional life. Conservatism is the armour of Achilles, that proves effective at a time of conflict.

It is indeed remarkable to observe that in their easterly movements

"It comes to my mind that two distinct festivals in India remind one of the inroad of these 'oriental-passions into the Indian cultural life. One of them is Holi or Phagwa. With its legend of Ram-Sacrifice in Fire (Plus sacrifice of new crop and burning of a crone) Holi distinctly reminds one of Babylonian traditions. It is remarkable that Falguni as a star is associated with Káma and Rati, Hindu coun- terparts of Cupid, Venus and Psyche, or Adonis and Venus. And this festival is observed in Falgun; the red colour is known as Falgu, and the festival is known as Fag or Fagua. But there is no mention of this in the Bhagavatam or Vişnu Puranam. It is the most erotic and most plebian of the Hindu festivals, and it continues over several days. The Fadjia' festival of Muharram, equally plebian, is accompanied with much band-playing, self-immolation, flagellation, inflictions of wounds on self, frenzied yells and rhythmic lamentations, reminding one of the proces- sions taken out at the death of Adonis in Egypt, Iraq and Babylon. It is observed amongst the Iranian version of Islam, the Shiah-s, who, significantly belong to the area of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Iran, firm seats for Adonis and Mithra cults, and for long traditional foes of the Arabs.

these Oriental mystic religions progressively assumed a more and more chaste and spiritual character. As if by some magical influence the orgi- astic observances were subdued to restraint. This could not be said about the Western progress of these Oriental faiths. The more these moved towards the West, from Iran to Thrace, from Thrace to Cappadocea, from Cappadocea to Greece, Crete, Rome and finally to Sicily, the more phallic and erotic became their forms. Mysticism has the capacity to suffer a shipload of hypocrisy and charlatantism.

Mithraism as practised in the Rome of Nero or Caligula was quite different from the Mithraism of the Iran of Artaxaraxes (250 B.C.). When Pythagoras wanted to introduce some sobering changes into the newly introduced Eastern cult of Mithraism, he was hunted down and chased until he sought escape in self-immolation. Christian practices in the West appear to lack at times in that depth of spiritualism with which the Eastern minority cherishes it.

Failure of the Church in Europe

Such metamorphosis of thought moots a cultural enquiry. Why must the spiritualism of the East get invariably carnalised in the Western forms of religion; and why does hedonism and materialism inevitably corrupt the religious practices of the West. It appears, as it were that the fateful legacy of the military ideals of Greece and Rome later evolved into a brute pride of Europe's nationalistic chauvinism. The pristine commercial leadership of Egypt, Venice, Florence and Rome led Europe to a delectable greed for power, and to an unquenchable hunger for material affluence. This selfish and narrow trend developed into a cynical philosophy of accumulation, with indiscriminate means of grab, loot, plunder, murder and rapine. The ideals of Vulcan, Nestor, Mars, or of Alexander, Sulla, Caesar and Augustus had supplanted the human ideals of Minerva or Gaeia, Socrates or Plato. The pride of race appears to The materialistic ideals of the West have deluged the love of man. remain materialistic to-date; and science and commerce have so far only succeeded in aiding and abetting that hedonism in the achievement of an obvious material success. Religion in the West, getting involved in politics, produced the virus of power; mysticism too, degenerated into sex and nocturnal seances; and the commercial arteries of the Mediterranean fed and built up Europe on the whole as one deluded self-eulogising community given to the baneful undertakings of colonialism and exploitation achieved through agressive militarism. In the dictionary of the West the word man as applied to Europe, appears to mean one thing; 'man' elsewhere means another; America atom-bombed Asia, not Europe. Deaths in Ireland react differently from deaths in Biafra, Vietnam or Bangladesh.

By denying peace out of Europe, peace in Europe has so far remained the most sought for commodity. Europe has no peace. Religion has failed a continent of men and centuries of mind. Religion as interpreted in the Western life, yielded no place whatsoever to philosophy; indeed, at times, a mystic tradition attempted a breakthrough; but it was studiously kept away by the orthodox, who often found it amusing to taunt, ostracise, even persecute a philosopher. Royal patronage of philosophers became fashionable sophistry after the great Protestant schism in Europe. Even in the heyday of Greek philosophy, philosophy and religion re- mained two different pursuits for both intellectuals and masses. The Christian church detests philosophers.

It is not true, however, to suggest that there has not been in the West any protest in favour of the true religious forms, or in favour of humanism and moral discipline. Throughout the history of the religious movements of the West, the cry for Reformation has been as insistent as the fires and swords of persecution have been busy. Reforms have tended to become reformatories; a swing to extreme asceticisms reached neuro-pathological dimensions to the disgust and hatred of the common populace. The form of simple love and mutual toleration remained unachieved under a man-dominated set of rules and regulations.

The fetish of 'Organisation' drew more zeal than the spirit of under- standing and accommodation. God and man were caught up in a maze of dialectics and dogmas. The harrowing persecution of the Jews by the Christians, of the reformists by the Orthodox church, of the Cathars by the Catholics, of the Bachhs by the Spanish Inquisition, beats any tale of cruelty in the East or West. Pride detests tolerance; and greed blinds reason. Religion has often been misused as a handful of dust thrown in the eyes of credulous innocence for the convenience of the greedy and the wealthy.

Sages of the spirit raised their voices in vain. Moses, Elijah, Eloysha, and Jesus; St. Francis, St. Augustine, St. Benedict and St. Catherine, Rolland, Russell, Schwitzer and Roerich; scores upon scores of thinkers, cried in vain for the establishment of true love and peace. But the plead- ings of the thinkers did not fit in with the Western concept of organisation. There were hardly any scope for personal spiritual growth. The cancer of cynicism and urbanity was caused, as has been noted, by a greed for material covetousness. To such, life is an existence for the body's comfort and delight. In its service, inescapably, an amassed personal wealth was needed. Whatever fetched money-selling slaves, selling girls, selling drugs, selling smut literature, degenerating films, keeping brothels, running gambling dens-became highly prized commercial enterprises. The money-loving organisational church preached platitudes, and con- doned immoral practices. It has been commercial tradition in the West to sell spiritual discretions for monetary profits.

Religion, like any other institution, was just an institution run by well- paid priests and their conclaves. As long as the devout shared his earnings with the church, the world would spin, and heaven could stay cool. Henry Morgan, the notorious pirate, fed the Jamaican Church with glittering gold. Church as such was just one of the wings of the grand Mammon-adoring social life. 'Good people' go to church; and by 'going' to church they suggest to belong to the good people. This was the accep- ted norm.

The members of the clerical organisation were no exceptions. Sacer- dotal moralism insisted on conformity to dogmas. Moralism's life began and ended within those dogmas. And the great lady, known as the church, lady like, demanded absolute submission to authority, which was indulgently granted by the practical wealthy, the cynical tyrant, as well as the pious humble, the poor, the humiliated. The church was an imposingly impersonal "she", suitably defiant of every tenet of ethics except her own dogmas, forms and interpretations. The challenging demands of sacerdotal moralism required rigid conformity to clerical rules. But to the people, most of the time, such demands ceased to be operative when compromises and adjustments could be purchased by the defaulting wealthy. It was a sad submission of personal and spiritual principles to hedonistic comforts and sensuous excesses. Civil norms of culture eulogised the life of a voluptuary, and idolised it in every possible way.

In contrast, spiritualism or moral values were scoffed at as intellectual aberrations of dreamers. Naturally, against this background, spiritualism wasted itself in the West. The sentence "It is easier for camel to pass through the eye of a needle," etc., holds good to this day; good for the individual, and good for a nation. Wealth and Christian principles are contradictions in spirit.

A sudden realisation of a spiritual vacuum has led men and women from time to time to cry for a change. The Christian faith in a 'second coming, (shared also by some Islamic sects) somehow succeeded in pushing such urges for a true spiritual fulfilment conveniently under the carpet. But the society at large watches with mute pain and despondence, the unseemly growth of cynical disregard for all codes of conduct, the decay of the individual's responsibility and moral discipline, the want of ethical content in our daily life. Arrogance, intolerance, partisanship, group and national interest leading to bigotry and fanaticism raise their ugly head, and mar the beauty of living, the rhythm of peace and contentment, which could be achieved only by cultivating a philosophically oriented integra- tion of personal life and mass life.

But despite the horror which such wreckless hedonism created, the people generally, beyond crying for a spiritual life of contentment and glory, has not been able to achieve much. Self-evaluation has been decaying atom by atom. The connection between religion and equity, love and peace, has rarely been in sight in the practical living of the life in the West. This has been the main tragedy of the great West, whose intellectual advance is as wonderful in its achievements of the matter, as it is deplorable in its failures of the spirit. The West avoided to live religion with that ease and simplicity, which makes religion a source for profound freedom and relaxation in the East. Legality of form and trends tends only to impose rigidity to power-packed institutions; obser- vances of form and trends, as parts of life, create traditions. Religion, as it has been understood in the West has been yet another bondage im- posed on man's spirit. Instead of encouraging freedom it has encouraged the wreckers of freedom. Religion which emancipates and removes dis- tinction, detests class. The metamorphosis of religion has been one of the baffling problems of the philosophic mind. Here lies the difference between religion and Dharma. Religion clings to dogmas, and dis- courages philosophy; Dharma discourages dogma and embraces phi- losophy. The irony of Western religions emerges from the apprehension of its philosophers. Religion enslaves; philosophy emancipates. Even the philosophy and dialectics of Marx when appreciated in depth, leads to a religious faith, with humanity as its only god.

The history of the Christian church is littered with the ashes of persecution. Devout souls, who had the honest courage to protest against the salvery of conscience to man-made rules in the name of God, faced gruesome ends in the hands of Christian pontifice acting through political interest.

The persecutions of Hess or Jerome had kept half the continent in a state of fervour. The Spanish doings in Holland, Mexico, Peru, and the entire southern part of the world, took time to be fully revealed in their excesses of barbarity. Similar had been the fate in Europe of the Cathars, the Fuggers, the Anapaptists, the Bachhs, and the Huguenots. Between 1300 and 1564 over two hundred years, unthinkable horrors were inflicted in Europe for the extermination of the Jews. Nazi Germany had only been taking advantage of a well-set tradition. Hitler was exploiting a situation well laid out by the Theodocian Code (439); Council of Orleans (518); Council of Avignon (1209); Council of Lateran (1215), etc; and by such monarchs as Louis VII, Phillip the Fair, Frede- rick II, Catherine the Great. Jews have been killed by the thousands over the long years of Christianity's progress. Today, Europe, in its efforts to atone for its antizionistic history, together with a Jew-influenced America, in the interest of bullion-peace, and commercial superiority, has succeeded through political means to turn the Arabs against the Jews; whom they favour for help. As a community, the Jews are the wealthiest. Basically, the policy is a continuation of the sinful practice of preserving one religion by destroying others through political obduracy and commer- cial interest.

Such horrors in the name of God and religion were by and large un- known in the Eastern religions. Islam has often been dubbed and accused for atrocities. But barring the Hun and Mongol people's advances barr- ing the military spread of the have-nots of Central Asia, Islam as Islam, compared to the Christian way of living has been much more civilised. According to Gibbon and Dr. Durant, by nature and practice, the Islamic East as against the Christian Europe of the time, proved to be more humane, civilised, chivalrous and trustworthy.

The Moslem powers, once tolerant of religious diversity, had been made intolerant by attacks....Moslem civilisation proved itself superior to the Christian in refinement, comfort, education and war.... It (The Crusade) had blunted its spirit by conquering not Moslem Jerusalem, but Christian Byzentium..., in general, the discovery by the Crusaders, that the followers of another faith could be as civilised humans and trustworthy as themselves, if not more so, must have set some minds adrift, and contributed to the weakening of orthodox belief.5

(Has not the much publicised horrors of the so-called Viet-Nam people back-fired in almost the same way, and convinced the Western public mind, through the facts revealed by the released prisoners, of the great injustice done to a simple people by a power-mad mass of aliens?)

The progress of religion through the West has more or less left a "Waste Land" bemoaned by T. S. Eliot awaiting, perhaps, a second coming. This may not be due to any inherent weakness of the Christian content of the religion followed. A lot could be said about the post-Roman philosophy of life in Europe, and about the post-Renaissance morals, which in fact, were responsible for the dehumanisation and de-spiritualisa- tion of the Christian faith. Eversince the rise of commercial houses in the Mediterranean sea, during the Roman and the Mediaeval period, commercial success has held the rise of spiritual success in the West at ransom. Since the 19th century colonialism got intensified with the scientific growth of mechanical and atomic power, greed for power for commercial superiority has become an obsession which completely eclipses the spirit of man. Spiritualism in Europe, since the Greeks, never be- came a way of life. Thus a materialist view of life, a false sense of nationalism and national pride, and glorification of urbanised living, with all its consequences, was more responsible for the growth of hedonistic cynicism, which corrodes the soul of the West despite the supreme teachings of Jesus.

In contrast, the Christians of the South East Asian countries, inclusive of those in India, are spiritually more sincere and religiously more devout. The influence of a Buddhist and Hindu social life has made them keep theirs on an even kneel. Buddhism is proverbially mild; so has been Hindusim. Thus Christianity in the East, even Islam, retained their respective spiritual content. Outside Arabia, India retains some of the most revered, and most frequented pilgrimages of the Islamic faith; and despite the much publicised riotous living in India, these pilgrimages of Islam, as those of Christianity, have never been molested. It has to be admitted to the credit of the East, and of Hinduism specially that whatever spiritual thought came to change it, got changed, because of the Hindu's catholicity.

The basis of religiosity is virtue; the basis of church is form. In any full, healthy, purposive and effective religion virtue, of course, super- sedes knowledge. The divine recognises virtue above knowledge. Virtuous ignorance is divine simplicity; knowledge lacking in virtue is mere pedantry, and could be horribly satanic.

Thus saints always revealed the same dimensions of Truth and Reality. The world of saints has amazingly remained a world of harmony and fullness. It is so because the Divine Realisation in itself is a binding force; it is an integrating spirit out of which has grown the best in the mystic. The best in any religion appears to enter the emancipated area of mysticism.

The materialistic philosophy of Saivism has ever and ever been living and growing in the closest neighbourhood of Mysticism. The very symbol of Saivism, the letter and sound 'AUM', is a mystic formula.

Tantra survives on mysticism. The Universal Mother, in Tantra, became mystically the consort of Śiva. She was the Mother; He was the Father. She was Prakrti; he was the Purusa. She was the Nada; He was the Bindu. She was the Sakti; He was the Siva. The two are 'two' like the food and its taste, the sight and the light; the air and the sound; fire and its heat; articulation and idea; word and meaning; 'the moon and the moonlight'; long before the Vedas were known, this concept of the Mother, a moving dynamic force behind the mute mystery of life, had been worshipped by a set of dark inhabitants of India. These were the Mother-worshipping Tantra adorers; the matriarchs.


The Indigenous Indians

The religion that was practised in India before 2500 B.C. was akin to something as revealed by the Sindh Valley civilisations. But this civilisa- tion was later on superimposed by the Vedic civilisation. There is, therefore, an understandable possibility of a rivalry between the two. This could either lead to occasional wars, and possible annihilation; or, to an integration of the two civilisations. Such syncretism would not be altogether unexpected in the presence of a persistent challenge from an indigenous civilisation continuing to exist side by side with that of the conquerors. Scholars are of the opinion that the Sindh Valley civilisa- tion was ousted by the Vedic people. Whilst this could be so, the Aryan civilisation did not all at once spread throughout the peninsula. 8 Continued traces of a pre-Aryan civilisation of the Harappan type have been discovered throughout the Indian peninsula. It is difficult to admit that the later Hindu civilisation had grown entirely out of the Vedas, without dominant links with the life they had been dominating. It would be a wilful indulgence in romantic wishfulness to claim that the Hinduism of the day is all Vedic and little Hindu; the fact could be just the opposite.

But who had been the actual natives of the peninsula and of the Gangetic valley? Whilst the Gangetic valley was coming into contact with Vedism, and while the indigenous people of the valley were being either absorbed into the fold, or chased away to the forests and to the hills, the Deccan itself remained for a long while free from the Aryan pressure. In an arresting study of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent on the basis of religion Dr. S. K. Chatterji em- phasises the great influence of the Tamils over the Siva concept so dear to the Indians. Šiva's admission as Rudra, as has already, been noted, was for the first time found recorded in Svetāśvatara Upanisad. This indicates strongly that Śiva was absorbed later in the Hindu pantheon.

Dr. S. S. Sarkar, lecturer in anthropology, in the University of Calcutta, employs the cephalic index in determining the racial disposition of the aboriginals in studying the incoming race movements in India. The highest percentage of the Indian inhabitants today comprises of the Doliocephalic and Mesocephalic people. These are the ones related to the Aryans.

The balance, generally called the austroloids, belong, more or less, to the strain of the Veddas of Ceylon, and the other strains bearing great similarities with the natives of Australia.11 The Veddas and the Indo-Aryans, through mutual contact, form more or less the major part of the population of the caste Hindus of the subcontinent. Sarkar quotes Buxton in support of his theory of the aboriginals being chased into the forest and hill regions of India. He further supports for a fact that amongst the higher castes of Deccan a great number came from the Iranian stock of Mesocephalic races. We had occasion to refer again and again to the periodical migrations from the Persian Gulf and Red Sea regions, forced by political and commercial upheavals.

On the basis of such anthropological and philological evidence, it is easy to confirm close and continuous contacts between Iran and India, existing even during the Vedic times. Were these contacts merely com- mercial or cultural? Commercial contacts are understandable. But there should be other weighty reasons for justifying a torrential mass exodus from Central Asia and Iran to the Indian peninsula. Without justifying such an exodus it would be gravely hypothetical to justify a gradual mixture of the races, with those characteristic conservative taboos which all minority immigrants love to impose on their people in a vain hope of race preservation. History speaks of vast human movements from the Central part of Asia during the 200 years preceding and following the Christian era.

Further back, the Vedas too suggest race movements resulting from wars between the Vedics and the non-Vedics. The Indus Valley exca- vations followed by similar excavations all over India exposes the remains of similar civilisation, and shows one, the existence over the entire sub- continent of a race different from the Aryans; and two, the sudden devas- tations that they had faced forcing them to abandon their hearths and homes. Lastly, the evidence of the language movements of the South also proves that Tamil as script was a sister of the Brahmi, but as a language was related to some languages current in the Red Sea regions.1 These reasons inevitably suggest a sudden exodus from the West and North of Asia to South, and this South involved the regions where the Sumerian and Iranian cultures had been colonised for some time. What could be the cause for this sudden and major exodus?

The earliest religious evidence in India based on Archaeological facts refer to the excavations at Mohenjo-daro, and to the sites of sister civilisa tion discovered at many other places, inclusive of the Deccan. But the Vedic evidence refers to an 'immemorial past'. Such a human move- ment could be even earlier than the Central Asian movement of the first century B.C. and A.D.; earlier than the Harappan civilisation too. The Vedic evidence confirms a probability. The Vedas refer to the long fight to the Devas with the non-Devas, a fact related by orientalists to the struggle for power between the Aryans of the North and the non- Aryan people of the coastal settlements. Besides a number of minor clashes, some based on personal feuds (such as Tvasta-Indra-Vytra; Hiranyakya-Hiranyekelipa-Prahlade-Virocana-Bali-Visa) there are two sectional wars involving the two sets of people. One is known as the 'War of the Ten Kings'; and the other as the 'War of the Planets'. Spiri- tual and astronomical explanations have been attempted to make the wars appear as allegorical or symbolic or both. But the very image of war proves the causes of clashes a thing of reality which had to have a historical basis. In the Mahabharata we find echoes of these wars which had taken place in times grown hoary with age.

The actual Vedic time, or the time of the Bharata War describing the struggle for power, must have been earlier than the date when the Vedas were 'compiled', or the Mahabharata was 'recorded'. According to Lassen, Dahman, Sorensen and Hopkins, the existing epic of the Mahabharata could not be dated prior to 400 B.c. The Ur-Mahabharata has 8000 stanzas. It could reasonably be imagined that most of the inter- polations were enforced by the changes in a dynamic society. One of these factors was clearly the advent and spread of Buddhism, and the subsequent cult of Ahimsa, which changed the thought patterns and living standards of the Vedic society. The syncretisation of the two, at the end of the Buddhist times, resulted in the growth of Vaisnavism, which so much reflects the personal and the emotional in man's dedication to the divine. An enthusiastic and passionate approach to gods brought within the limits of a family relation resulted in a religious fervour hitherto unknown.

Apart from Buddhism the rule of the foreign Kushans, and the incorporation of the forms and fancies of the Central Asian and Scythian life, as well as the influence of the Parthians and the Greeks of Gändhära and Bactria brought in other changes. The most remarkable of these changes was the introduction of sculptored images into Vedic and Buddhist life. A sudden upsurge of energy burst into construction of temples, and writing of a number of philosophical and religious treatises. For the first time Gods and Goddesses were established in the Purānas. The Mahabharata is filled with these efforts of mediation, recapitulation, re-interpretations and re-approachments. The symptoms of a cultural synthesis spreading over centuries are recorded in the body of the Maha- bharata. The Sakti and Mäheśvara cults are found and mentioned herein for the first time. If Harappa is traceable to the Sumerians, the Purana-Hinduism is traceable to Mithra, Maga, Gandhara and the Central Asian peoples.

The Early Siva Sources

Of course this view does not go unchallenged. But no one doubts the fact that the present form of the great epic has undergone many changes, and that the changes could not have been later than the Fifth century A.D. But the possibility of the changes are indicated within the latest rendition of the epic. By its own evidence the original Mahabharata itself was a part of the greater epic 'Jaya'; and Vyasa, its writer, had taught only a part of this Jaya to his disciples. Vaisampayana had recited it at the Naga-Sacrifice of Janmejaya. The latest recitation was done by Sauti in the Naimişa hermitage. It is remarkable, however, for purposes of our enquiry, "that the epic remained for sometime in the exclusive possession of the Bhargavas (Bhrgu-progenies) as their close literary preserve." The Bhargavas thus took from the Sûtas, the Bharata, and gave back the Mahabharata as the common property of all, which still retained its traditional association with Vyasa. Sukhtankar held the view that "all attempts to explain it (i.e., the Mahabharata) merely as an evolute of some hypothetical epic nucleus are examples of wasted ingenuity....Bhrgus," he added, "have, to all appearances, swallowed up the epic nucleus such as it was, and digested it completely; and it would be a hazardous venture now to reconstruct the lost Ksatriya ballad of love and war."

The contribution of the Bhrgus and their involvement in the formation of the most important treatises on post-Buddhist Hinduism is of special significance to the study of the growth and expansion of Saivism. The annals of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (pp. 1-76) contains a paper on the Bhrgus and the Bharata. We also learn that the writer and compiler of the Manu-Dharmasastra has been a Bhrgu, although Manu has been mentioned to have been its 'Dictator'. It is not therefore, un- expected that the Anusasana Parvam of the Mahabharata much of the Manu-Law has been incorporated.

All that has been said above happened within a period which Karl Jasper calls the Axial era, an era when throughout the ancient world there appeared, as if prompted by some unseen power, a galaxy of intellec- tuals who contributed to the human thought some of its greatest treasures. Simultaneously and independently in Greece, China and India, questions against traditional systems of thinking were being raised, and intellectual challenges had to be answered, thus setting quite new dimensions to known ideas and beliefs. This change particularly seethed within the vast region of Sumer, Babylon, Iran and contiguous civilisations. Greece too was disturbed. The challenges of the Macedonian youth ravishing through all the ancient civilisations, tested old faiths and forms. No wonder that at this time the Vedic life of India too had to recast its ideological tenets.

This emphasis on the ideological link of the ancient Vedic thoughts with the later Iranian and Phoenician thoughts has its own base. This base is traceable through the authorship of some of the post-Vedic treatises. These are the Mahabharata, the Manava-Dharmasastra and the heritage of the Bhrgus generally, but of Angirasa in particular. Angirasa has been one of the seven Prajapatis (patriarchs?) celebrated by Hindu astronomers, immortalised through the constellation of the seven stars, the Great Bear. Of this one has been Angirasa. He, together with his descendant Bhrgu, has been responsible for certain treatises since regarded as treasures of Hindu thought. The chief of these are the Manu Samhita, (which is the chief book on Hindu Code), the Mahabharata and the Astrological treatise known as the Bhrgu-samhita.

(Bhrgu had differences with the God Visnu, who had not paid the Rşi the homage due to him. Bhrgu was worshipper of Siva; Bhrgu's progeny was Rşi Sukra, himself a teacher to the enemies of the Devas, and a great partisan, whose power had to be challenged by Visnu himself. Bhrgu's disciple Parasurama opposed Rama who had to restrain the way of the anti-Vedic Rși. It is clear from such incidents that the sedate Vedic way of life had been receiving challenges brewing from within the Vedic traditions and peoples.)

The Vedic way of society and life was challenged by the revolutionary ideas of the Buddha. The incidents described in the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahabharata must have taken place much before the age of the Buddha. The epic was popular enough to have demanded continuous additions and alterations throughout a period of five to seven hundred years. From the epics as well as from the Upanisads and the Brahmanas the earlier Vedic life could be adjudged in full view. We see here a continuous process of struggle between the Vedic civilisation; and (a) an alien (the Dasyu) civilisation; and (b) an Asura (or Rākṣasa) civilisation that posed great threat to Yajña. One of these was non-Aryan; the other appears to be a schismic protestant break-away section of the Aryans. We notice Rudras being transformed into the later Śivas against the background of the struggles. The Vedic Rudra has not been given the same respect as the gods Indra, Varuna, Aśvini, Vayu, etc. The Rg Veda accepts Rudra very grudgingly, as a god of tears. He causes pain. Rudra appears to have been a taboo, as Rudra and Rudriyas are asked to get away from the Vedic Yajñas. In the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa Rudra has been mentioned only once in connection with a prayer that Rudra may keep himself away from the Yajñas. Rudra has not been given any share of the offerings in the fire. His share, as a god of tears, is allocated outside the residential quarters in or near the cremation grounds. He is as it were Theoi Apopompaioi (ignored deity) of the Vedas,

But in the epic Mahabharata the situation becomes different. There Šiva is not only mentioned respectfully, but the Pandavas are asked to appease him by special prayers. He is no longer the god of tears; he is the remover of tears, bestower of happiness. But it is very doubtful if at all these texts have not been apocryphal annexations. We find mention of Pasupati, a typical name which had brought out so much ire and scorn The Early Siva Sources 217 from the Aryan Vedic texts. The Vedas used pašu (animal) in sacrifices. Naturally, Pasupati the protector of animals, would stand in their way of life. Recitations to Siva's greatness in the epics indicate the great change Siva had undergone in the meanwhile in the post-Vedic society. But the Siva accepted by the new society does not appear to be quite the same plebian, cremation-ground-hugging Rudra Pasupati of Aitareya Brāhmaṇa. Rudra had been honourably admitted to the Deva pantheon as Mahadeva God of all the gods. Many legends have been related in the epics regarding the change of attitude to Siva.

Besides the Brahmanas and the Mahabharata, Śiva has also been mentioned in the Ramayana in connection with the Ravana-cult; and we see Rama in the Tuddha-Kandam paying homage to Siva. Scholars are very cautious about admitting these passages as being genuinely original. But the fact stands that necessity had forced these inclusions in the epics.

The book on which the Saiva philosophy leans most is the Svetāśvatara Upanisad. According to Dr. Radhakrishnan the date of this Upanisad should be between the 8th and 7th cent. B.c.14 But this Upanisad is clearly reflective of certain heretical controversies that had been disturbing the even rhythm of the society. According to Swami Ghanananda of the R. K. Vedānta Centre, London, the heresies that confronted the writer of the Śvetvasvatara Upanisad originated partly, from some Vedic schisms, partly from some Jainistic ideas. That at this stage within the Vedic circle itself heretical jarrings had been creating some disturbances, could be traced from such passages as: "There is no Indra" (Rg Veda VIII: 89.3); Rg Veda (II:12) refers to a current disbelief; the followers of the Veda have been described as "selfish prattling priests that go about self-deluded" (Rg Veda X: 82) "Such knowledge (Vedic) is fit for demons only; its reward would last so long as the sense pleasure lasted; it upsets sacred books, and should not be acquired." The hymn to faith (Rg Veda X: 151.5).... indirectly points to those whose faith must have declined, and who did not believe in gods, or in singing hymns to them.1 The Svetasvatara Upanisad itself tries its best, just as the Gita does, to reconcile conflicting ideas bordering atheism. But this is the first reference to Saivism in the ancient literature of the Hindus, and as such is of tremendous significance to this study.

The first of the Puranas in which Śaivism has been fully dealt with is the Vayu Purana. The word linga has been first used in the Svetasvatara Upanisad in the sense of mark or index.

Na tasya kascit patirasti loke

Na ceşită naiva ca tasya Lingam (VI: 9.)

"Of Him there is no master in the world; no ruler; nor is He (detectable by) any mark or sign... " "His form cannot be seen, none sees him with eyes; those who realise him as abiding in mind and heart become immortal. Some approach you in fear, and pronounce you as unborn. O Rudra, may your gracious aspect protect me ever and ever. (Ibid., IV: 20-21).

Along with 'Lingam', the word 'Yoni' too occurs many a time in this Upanisad; and every time the meaning of the word changes, never meaning at any time a phallic import.

Some Significant Dates in Migrations

The Minoan civilisation (3000 B.c.) with its knowledge of the uses of bronze and copper was in many ways similar to the civilisation of Sumer. And it also carried broad characteristics reminding of the civilisations that flourished in the pre-Aryan finds in Harappa. The first known settle- ment of Troy was 2870. After the fall of Troy bronze was found in Cyprus (1200 B.C.). The pressure of the Aryans in India was in full blast up to 1600 B.C. The Bharata war took place when the Aryans had been just settling and the Kali Yuga had not started. In 1375 B.C. Aryan deities are worshipped in Mittani. Immediately after (1100), the Achae- ans were taking hold of Greece, and Troy fell (1183). Greece was in real trouble. The Dorians were driving them out; and the Persians were pres- sing them from the East. This accounts for the great Greek migration to Ionia where Homer lived and wrote his epics (840 B.C.). The Vedas which had been known long before this date, but which could not be compiled until about this time gave way to the Brāhmaṇas and the Upanisads; between 900 and 800 B.c. the Indian epics, the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahabharata were being written in their original form. Thus the period, the first millenium B.C., specially its first half, had been intellectually a very significant time for the Aryans. It was this period (842-840 B.C.) which saw the rise of the Seven Wise Men of Greece.

What was the reason that despite this intellectual fervour, which denotes a comparative peaceful and prosperous time, a compelling exodus took place to force immigration in a large scale from the West to the East of the Arabian Sea? This must have been due to war and foreign attacks resulting in overwhelming defeats that endangered cultural heritage. Important families, and their standard bearers and camp- followers hurried out for covers amongst peoples and in a country already known to them.

Thus we watch over a great historical putsch. The Achaeans and Dorians were pushing the Greeks; the Assyrians were occupying Egypt and Iran; the immigrating Greeks from Anatolia and the Ionian isles were in their turn being chased by the Persians; and the Sumerian population hugging the coast lands of the Eastern Mediterranean had been seeking quieter place for settlement, away from the strange onrush from the Doric and Thracian North.

Such significant deviations could not be either ignored, or left to assumptions. Changes in traditions have causes; and the deeper and purer the traditions, the stronger and more persistent the causes. Rudra as Śiva is not found in the Vedas, Rudra of the Vedas, and Siva of the Purānas are admittedly two concepts. Further studies would reveal that even the Siva concept took two channels, one Siddhäntic, and the other Tantric. Before we come to discuss these changes, it would be relevant to make enquiries into the causes for the changes. This would require the student to dive into the dates and find out what had been happening in and out of the Vedic fold, in the contiguous areas of this cradle of cultures that called for such metamorphosis in religious traditions and thoughts.

Mention had been made of the Greeks before, those Greeks who after Alexander, had colonised in vast parts of Eastern and Central Asia. The clash between these Greeks and the locals, as well as with the Central Asian tribes and Tibeto-Mongolian hordes, were compelling causes that brought about changes into subsequent socio-religious thoughts and practices.


Samkhya Yoga: Vedanta

These movements must have, in course of centuries, not only dis- turbed the internal poise of the Indian life, but also brought many new ideas.

One of the most important ideas brought was the idea of the Great Mother Goddess, and the coordinate base of the great temple civilisation. The importance of Istar and Isis, of Marduk and Ba'al as deities, and of the practices associated with these, could not have been unknown to India. In the light of our knowledge about the contacts that prevailed, it was but natural that these gradually influenced the indigenous forms and patterns of worship.

The whole of India had not been Vedic. A majority of the people was under the influence of the tribal gods-the great Mother and her Consort. The whole of the Indian population did not comprise of the Aryans. We have noted that the majority belonged to the race marked by anthropologists as the Dravids, and by inference to the Tamils also.

The life and practices of these indigenous people of the subcontinent differed significantly from the Aryans. Side by side with the Vedic insurgence traces of non-Vedic thoughts are found blossoming in natural glory. By emphasising analysis as different from intuition this indigenous school reminds one of what was later known as the Samkhya system of Kapila, most probably a non-Aryan. (Kapila, like Patanjali of the Yoga system, is described as a dark person.)

Side by side with Samkhya, the Yoga philosophy also is regarded to be independent of the Vedas. Today both the Samkhya and Yoga sys- tems are rightfully regarded as genuine 'Hindu' systems. The archaeo- logical, literary and cultural evidence of the far South and Ceylon, of Campa and Java, show the importance that the Tamils paid to Kapila and Patanjali, the Rsis known as the founders of Samkhya and Yoga respectively. Samkhya speaks of the Great Prakrti and Purusa. Tantra accepts Prakrti as the Great Mother, Puruşa as Mahākāla, and Yoga followers accept Puruşa as Siva, the Great Yogi. These are today en- shrined as the treasured systems of Hindu life and thought. A real study of Saivism demands a study of Samkhya's Puruşa, Tantra's Mother, and Yoga's Siva. We propose to devote some time over this study, consi- dered essential for having a real insight into the subject of Saivism.

The Vedanta school of philosophy, the most valued of the Hindu systems of philosophy is not as ancient as the Samkhya or the Yoga. Whilst the Vedanta is the most adored of them all, because of its spiritual depth and intellectual, subtle refinement, the Samkhya's influence on the daily life of the Hindus is much more pronounced. The Samkhya supports the Hindu form of worship of the One in many forms. The Vedanta collects the multi-formed divinities into the singleness of Om or Brahman. Yoga comes next to Samkhya in popular appeal. The Hindu philosophy appeals to the non-Hindu chiefly through the Vedanta and the Yoga. But within India, Sämkhya is very popular. Both the Svetasvatara Upanisad and the Bhagavat Gitä are treatises written in favour of synthesising these apparently divergent systems.

Samkhya is supposed to be a materialist philosophy. The description is often resented by some. But this is true. In so far as Samkhya enquires into the Supreme Truth through the analysis of the world of mate- rial events, the description is meaningful. But it is not materialist in the sense as the Marxian dialectics are. Its subject is transcendentalism; but its approach is analytical. It carries its analysis to the final substance of matter only to declare that there is something beyond the mere objective apparancy of Matter. It changes form and acquires properties and distinctions due to the exercise of a mystic power. Thus a subjectivity is introduced into the origin and nature of objects, and their relation to Mind. It analyses the creative elements, and what we call 'nature' This very approach, which intellectually is Sämkhya, is theologically the basis of Prakrti, the Great Mother; and of Puruşa, her alter-ego, counter- part, Šiva. The traditions of Tantra is accepted into the Hindu fold through the presence of the Mother.

The Samkhya philosophy attempts to analyse the riddle of life, and the world within which life functions, through a classified analysis of the constitutes and evolutes of the world of Matter. It is primarily for this reason that this philosophy is called materialist. But it would be wrong to suppose that the Samkhya for this reason alone is a materialist philosophy, because finally it attempts to set aside the curtains of the mystery called 'Life' and hopes for achieving Happiness and Peace. It refers to the Divine only obtusely, accepting it as a way to describe the Eternity of Life and its function. Divinity as an authoritarian concept is absent in Sämkhya.

It contains and refers to the most ancient system of human thinking. Very strong reasons are forwarded in support of the view that Sämkhya as a system is older than the Vedas. At any rate it appears to be in- dependent of the Vedic. The Yoga system of Patanjali is closely correlated with this analytical materialism of Samkhya in which the Divine as a Person is absent; but the transcendence of Eternal Joy, as Impersonal, is present. Doubt and ignorance is sorrow; sorrow is caused by fear and uncertainty; an objective understanding through a process of analysis of the things that exist, is the best process of solving the riddle of life. Joy is the immediate achievement of this process; because eternal joy issues from complete understanding and knowledge, which alone drives doubts and fears.

Yoga' is a system that deals psychologically with the steps of the various strata of the mind, and of controlling them. The faculties of understanding and knowledge subsist on a perfect control over the mind. The entire philosophy of Yoga has been devoted to this single question: how to achieve full control over the mind. Yoga recognises the body only in its innate relation to the mind. One cannot survive meaningfully without the other. The one disturbed, the other is bound to be disturbed. The body is a fact. Its well-being could be emotionally described as 'to be a happy'. Happiness means and assumes a perfect state of the function- ing of the body-machine without the least disturbance, or complexity or resistance of the mind. All physical disturbances discharge toxins that disbalance metabolism in the endocrine system; the endocrine system is intricately, though imperceptibly, correlated with the nerves; and equi- poise in the system of the nerves control the balance of the personality; and personality is the sum total of emotional actions and reactions.

The Two Non-Aryan Systems

Thus the fitness of the body has been held by Yoga to be of the highest importance. Through an active participation in this system one attains divine bliss, a state of balanced joy. This joy is impersonally-personal, and is effortlessly contributory to the happiness of all. The Yoga system of Patanjali thus describes the methods and means of keeping the body fit as a prerequisite for keeping the mind fit. This system recognises the different strata of the mind. It recognises a system of seven strata of the human mind that pervades ultimately the cosmic and the universal mind. As such this ancient system probes very deep into the knowledge now known as psychology and psycho-analysis, which meets, really, the border- land of what Yoga commands.

It is not difficult to see how both the systems could be deplored, even derided as mystic lugubriousness on some vague abstractions. It has also been derided as 'speculative'. But the mystic remains mystic till un- ravelled; and who would deny that most of us live a life the meaning of which remains for us hidden in the shadows of a deep mystery. Most of us suffer from the absurd strain of this position, namely, that we are called upon to function in a life, the purpose of which remains a closed secret to us. To have it to function to the best satisfactory state of the body-machine is also regarded by some to be the first serious objective of life. Further investigations regarding quo vadis is considered by them as impractical polemics. But the mystery surrounds the mind, for the body has also a mind. The deeper this ignorance about this mystery, the deeper grows our unhappiness, which we want to strive to grasp, but find so elusive. As a result we want to forget; we want to drown our frustration in hasty actions, speed, drugs and excitement, which in its chain causes- the body to get more toxic, which in turn, increases our unhappiness. The world is unhappy due to its refusal to listen to this analytical pro- cess of gaining control over the mind, a process which we dub as being mystic, only to cover our innate incapacity and cowardice. Such deli- berate neglect could succeed up to a point; but who could be hiding from his own self?

There is reason to suppose that these two systems, Samkhya and Yoga, are atheistic and unorthodox. Both are significantly claimed as non- Vedic because of their complete independence of a sublime hypothesis, an Almighty Super Power and its Benign Influence. Both the systems shun from an inevitable submission to blind prayer, showy priests and complicated rituals. No wonder that many call the systems godless. At least they prescribe none. By a strange incidence at least two of the three authors were reputed to bear a skin darker than the fair-skinned Aryans! It is significant that the Marxian concept of materialism which had evolved a Marxian concept of Economic independence for all as equals in a productive society also base its revolutionary dialectics and militant methods quite clear of any divine intervention. Students of Samkhya and Yoga would neither be surprised by the Marxian theory of funda- mental social equilibrium, nor would they hesitate to accept the virtues of socialism. They too would be able to see through the virtues of the commune-based society of equal opportunities, and classlessness. In fact, both Sämkhya and Vedanta rationally advocate a society without class privileges. Classification of ideas for analysis of a subject does not condone classification of human society for purposes of distribution of privileges. The difference comes when Samkhya claims mental equipoise as imperative to mental peace, and personal happiness. Both Vedänta and Samkhya aim at obtaining a personal peace as means to serve mankind in any and every department. Both claim that economic equality and social classlessness achieved, something more is yet to be achieved; that is the conquest of happiness. But the two are so interrelated as the one cannot be dissociated from the other without causing injury to both.

Anyone known to the life-rhythm of such great leaders of mankind as Marx, Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Tse Tung, would admit their faith in profound peace and tranquillity in their personal life; their self-control and discipline, almost Sämkhyan self-dedication and active urgent pursuit, of which they have remained past masters amaze even their de- tractors. They looked death in the face, and fear had become their slave. To deny divinity, and fatalism is not so imbecile a defect of human character and human spirit as to deny the innate need of man to regard another as a man as absolutely one's own equal. This is the acid test of a Yogi.

But the society which the Vedic leaders had finally organised denied these fundamentals, and was emphatically insistent on classification, and superiority of a racial character, subtly implying thereby a right to special privileges. If required, the Vedic society would not hesitate to impose these privileges on another society even by force of arms. It projected a shocking contrast between the Vedic concept of life and society, and the Samkhyan concept of the Yogi. When the Vedic godsfight, they fight for retaining special powers, and imposing special rights, but when Siva fights, he does so to deny special rights, and bring in equality in defence of the proletariat.

The final controversy could be thus defined as a show-down between the theistic Vedas and the atheistic Samkhya and Yoga. And it is signi- ficant that the South of the Indian subcontinent has been claimed to be the original home of these two systems. The people amongst whom these systems evolved, and who fostered and nursed these systems were the Drávidas who made one cause in this regard with the Tamils. And by their internal evidence both the Samkhya and Yoga systems make it clear that the systems enunciated had been inherited as cultural heritage from ancient masters. The reference to Púrva Sari-s (past-masters), and to Gurus in the Agama texts signify that the two systems related to an even more antiquated tradition.

This antiquity is almost immemorial and impenetrable; and it could possibly predate Mohenjo-daro culture.

Therefore we have to conclude that a culture of antiquity more remote than that of the Aryan Veda, or Zend Avesta, had been in existence, independent of the Vedas. The beginnings of this culture are found traceable in South India and Kashmir.


The Tamils

The history of the Tamils, as far as it has been studied, hangs back to a past remoter than the Vedas and the Mohenjo-daro civilisation. The tradition that the Sämkhya system and the Yoga system are strictly speak- ing non-Aryan and non-Vedic in origin, also indicates the same conclu- sions that the two systems had their origin amongst the people who were the original inhabitants of the Southern peninsula, known as the Deccan,19 The people, known as the Veddas, and the Tamils, together, make up the major population except in the immigrants borne by the East-West trade- winds, 19

Who were these Tamils? The question is as open as the other ques tions already referred to in the previous chapter. The root word Tamil tends towards the s and Tamril. Tamra in Sanskṛt means copper, and Tamril means copperish, as Phoenicia means reddish; and together with the fact that the sea which connected these people with the Indian Ocean was known as the Red Sea, tempt the inference that the presence of the taint of red in Tamil, Red Sea and Phoenicia could hold a tale of significance. Is not Saivism connected with the word lohit, lauhitya, rohit, sona, all meaning red? The Saivas use vermillion as a special mark.

Could it be that the Tamils and the Phoenicians have been the same. people? There are various cultural similarities which include trade, metallurgical interests, experience in dyeing, shipping and maritime endeavours, urbanic tastes, genius for building ports, developing markets, planning cities, matriarchal social systems, etc. The commercial interests of these people extended to almost a monopoly of silk, spices, ivory, pearls and trades in metals and dyes. The similarities in social and religious institutions too are deeply engaging. For a proper investigation into this aspect of the question one has to have an objective disposition and complete mastery over such languages as Aramaic, Hebrew, Ancient Tamil and Phoenician. The key perhaps lies in the alphabets discovered in Sumer, Mesopotamia, Crete and Mohenjo-daro. Till these are deciphered, the amazing similarities of these red people who cover up the shores of the European, African and Indian oceans would remain to us one of the pro- foundest mysteries in human history.

Were the Tamils natives of the peninsula? None knows. But the name Tamilnadu or the land of the Tamils which denote the southernmost part of the Indian peninsula indicates that the Tamils considered this part to be their land of origin. But it is true that the Tamils had to come into clash with various aborigines of the hinterland. That there were more than one type of ethnic culture-groups living in this section of the huge peninsula has been accepted by almost all the anthropologists.

We have already mentioned the cranial inferences drawn by anthropologists in this regard. For further appreciation of this problem one has to bear in mind the topographical formation of this peninsula which is a plateau, steeply rising along the western border and gradually slanting towards the Eastern shores, carrying all waters of this shed from the West to the East. Except the two northernmost rivers of the Deccan plateau, the Narbada and the Tapti, which flow through rough ravines, the great rivers of the south, the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krsna and the Kavery flow into the Bay of Bengal to the East. The fertile river valleys are on this side. The Tamil civilisation hugs along the sea coast principal- ly, and avoids the hinterland, which, though rich in mineral, is mostly a forest-bound tract. These jungle-tracts have been abodes of tribes, and are still preserved in parts as perennial homes for these tribes. This analysis and description does not debar the natural mixtures of the peoples and their cultures which are the consequences of inevitable syncretism; but by and large, all historians and anthropologists seem to agree that in the Deccan peninsula the purely Tamil culture had to fend for itself against the indigenous tribal cultures.

The earliest gods of these indigenous people as of all indigenous people appeared to be nature-totems, and fertility divinities. The most popular form of gods in the south were stone rocks, river valleys, menacing animals like the serpent and the elephant, the tigers and the apes. The Tamils, on the contrary, evolved from out of the various forms, totems and nature- deities a sublimer concept of a god of oneness. This god had an abstract quality. He was popular as Sinan, th