Vanity thought #1693. Duties

A couple of days ago Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu wrote a very nice article on the subject of rights as seen from both Vedic and modern perspective. I’m still in awe of his previous idea about speech even though I forgot the exact term he used to call it.

In short, spoken words have different power depending on the situation and qualification of the speaker. When a judge says “I sentence you to prison” it actually makes things happen while we may curse anyone we want without any effect whatsoever. He approached this concept from within western philosophical framework and extended it to the power of a pure devotee speaking on Bhāgavatam.

It makes a lot of sense but it’s also an example of how my brain can’t retain information anymore, just the gist of it. I’ve heard this presentation several times as he made it a staple of his Bhāgavatam lectures and still the details escape me. Anyway, for the speech to acquire potency it must be pronounced by a person of authority and rely on “power vested in me” by other people or institutions. That’s what makes judge a judge rather than any ordinary person running off his mouth. When judge says something the institution makes it happen and people are either released or detained accordingly.

Likewise, in order to make the words of Bhāgavatam into reality they must be spoken by a person of authority, carrying powers vested in him by Kṛṣṇa Himself. Only then the spiritual import of commonly remembered ślokas can be fully revealed in the heart of the listeners.

This analogy does not touch on qualification of the hearers but mahā-bhāgavata devotees said to be able to infuse absolutely anyone with transcendental realization anyway. Lord Caitanya made even animals to join His kīrtana while He was traveling through a forest, for example.

If I remember more of that presentation I’d probably write about it again, today I wanted to talk about rights and duties.

Just as with power of speech, Ravindra Svarupa takes western philosophical ideas and extends them as universal principles evident in our Vedic literature. Normally, we don’t have a concept of rights in our philosophy but, as it turns out, it’s not our fault but rather common misunderstanding by the westerners of what rights actually mean.

Ravindra Svarupa says that he came across a book by Simone Weil and quotes a couple of passages from it. You can either read them in his Dandavats article or check wikipedia. I’ve never heard of Simone Weil so if someone rejects her assertions on philosophical grounds I would have nothing to say in her defense but within our own framework it makes a lot of sense. I would also add that she was interested in upaniṣads and Bhagavad Gītā, not only in leftist politics, and that she died possibly as a result of personal austerities, her desire to defeat the urges of her tongue.

She was also into Christian mysticism and the book we take quotes from has been written after her personal meetings with Jesus so relying on her authority in debates with atheists might not add much value to our points but, as I said, it makes a lot of sense. I don’t want to wade into a philosophical debate on the subject of human rights, it’s a very extensive topic covered by great many philosophers and I have no idea how Simone Weil fits there at all so all of this is mostly for our internal consumption.

Anyway, according to wikipedia “Weil asserts that obligations are more fundamental than rights, as a right is only meaningful insofar as others fulfil their obligation to respect it.” She says a lot more on the issue but this the central point relevant to us. We don’t have rights – we have other people being obliged to do something. If they are not obliged then our rights do no exist.

I don’t think this assertion is controversial and I don’t foresee easy arguments against it but it offers a completely different perspective on how we should approach the subject of human rights that is simply not present in modern discourse, and they talk about rights a lot.

Everybody talks about rights from the perspective of “I”, completely oblivious that “my” rights are a function of others. They say “I have the right to..” without realizing that what they actually mean “you must..”. If someone says he has the right to free speech, for example, what it actually means is that he demands that other people do not react to it. Or, to be specific, he demands that other people react only in a certain way and cannot react in the way he doesn’t approve.

Most people would include at least “please” with demands like that but to human rights campaigners “please” does not exist. More thoughtful people would consider if the request for a specific reaction is reasonable and whether it’s not too much of a burden for the other party but social justice warriors are oblivious of inconveniences to others, it just doesn’t occur to them at all.

Then they say things like “people in … have no rights”, which would mean that governments in those countries have no obligations, which is nonsense. They reject monarchy outright, for example, but they do not consider obligations of a proper king to the citizenry. Ravindra Svarupa gives a few quotes from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to illustrate that Vedic kings had far more obligations then any modern democratic government which would mean Vedic citizens had more rights even though they had no democracy whatsoever.

In that regard, no modern democratic state guarantees jobs but it was an obligation of a Vedic king to make sure everyone who wanted work had a gainful occupation. Come to think of it, USSR had guaranteed employment and North Korea still does it, too, I think. Free healthcare and free education are other rights that were guaranteed in the socialist block and they have become common in Europe but not the US, though Bernie Sanders is busy changing American attitudes to it.

Interestingly, there was no free healthcare and free education in Vedic times but it doesn’t mean anyone was denied treatment or education. Ayur-Vedic treatment was herbal and so it was only a question of obtaining natural ingredients, and everyone had to pay guru dakṣiṇā at the end of their studies. That payment, however, was commensurate with one’s abilities and, again, it was king’s duty to make sure no one was poor and there were no entrance fees to start studying.

The relationship between rights and obligations is a complex one and it can’t be covered in one article or one blog post so I might continue with this subject some other time.

Vanity thought #1669. Elementary

I want to discuss the confusion with elements a bit more. Not because I know what the gross material elements mentioned in the śāstra are but because it’s an interesting subject for speculation.

Yesterday I said that they are not the same substances water, air, fire, and earth refer to now. Ether is a bit special because we have proven that it doesn’t exist. Question – if it doesn’t exist and is imperceptible, why did ancients ever mention it at all? With Greeks one could say they were speculating and invented it as a filler for the heavenly sky as opposed to air we find on Earth. For the medieval scientists we could say it was a mistaken theory that they thought could explain light travelling in vacuum and necessity for such substance was later rejected.

In both these cases our assumption is that ancients were speculating and trying to explain what they couldn’t reach with their senses on the basis of what was perceptible to them. Greeks loved to speculate, we know that, but they assigned ether to the realm of gods and assigned gods to preside over it. I don’t think we have the proof that ether was ever invented by men. Ether first makes its appearance in a book by Plato and the book is speculative, no doubt about that, but it talks about EXISTING concepts, not invents new ones, and it talks about the Creator.

To us it would mean that Plato was engaged in a philosophical speculation – trying to understand how God’s creation works rather than mental speculation of inventing his own stuff for the sake of his vanity. It doesn’t mean, at least to me, that he invented ether but tried to reconcile its a priori given existence with inadequate human perception. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness we are trying to do the same – take infallible words of śāstra and try to explain how our current perception fits.

So, the ether was always there, we just never knew what it was and it’s not our invention to fill gaps in our knowledge. Vedic sages are not known to invent stuff up either and they had nothing to do with Greeks, and yet they had existence of ether from the start.

We could argue whether Vedic version of creation is mythological or a God given record but that besides the point here, which is that gross material elements mentioned in śāstra are not the same things we call water, fire, air etc now. We don’t perceive ether and so we don’t use the word anymore but for the Vedic sages sensory perception was immaterial, the terms they were dealing with were coming from beyond their direct perception, too.

Nowadays by fire we mean fire but a better translation would probably be energy. Better does not mean the best, however. “Energy” to us an ever evolving concept and it evolves in the wrong direction, it’s just that at this point it probably is the closest to Vedic fire.

Yesterday I talked about the earth, how we can use the sense of touch to determine whether something is earth or not. Touch indicates the presence of air, however, not earth. Okay, we can also look at the thing and see whether it qualifies as earth, too, but seeing is the sense triggered by presence of fire, which gives shapes. Here how it is different from energy because we can’t see the energy. On the other hand, we know that energy does have shapes and we can draw energy fields, or even watch its shape through infrared camera.

This is the problem with our eyes – we can see presence of fire, or energy, but our eyes are grossly inadequate and we need to supplement them with instruments or with theories. Energy fields are invisible even in infrared. We have radio telescopes for other frequencies but still can’t perceive 95% of what makes up the universe – the dark matter. Our current state of eye extensions does not allow us to see it and we have no idea how to make it possible.

With the element of fire we can agree that its presence is indicated by presence of energy but we are still severely restricted from perceiving it even with the best instruments. We also have the matter-energy co-dependence from Einstein’s relativity so everything IS energy and fire must be all pervasive and simply takes different forms.

Air is more of a mystery to us because we can’t separate it from subsequent elements anymore, it doesn’t exist in its pure Vedic form. Śāstra says that air is movement introduced into ether, an appearance of the force. We can’t separate force from energy now, the time when we began to study the universe they were already inseparable. With relativity we can’t separate space from energy and matter either so we can’t separate either from the elements that followed, too, they came to us as a complete set.

Water is even more mysterious and the best I can come up with is that it’s gravity. Water binds things, afaik, and so gravity is the best fit, plus gravity is believed to be a force of its own because scientists haven’t been able to explain it on quantum level, to reduce it further – it’s just there and it follows its own laws.

The sense given to us to perceive water is taste and good luck with tasting gravity, it just doesn’t make sense. None of the relations between elements and senses makes sense if we try to explain the elements in modern scientific terms, we just have to live with it – there are no better explanations to what water is than the the Vedic one. We can’t explain it in our own scientific terms, it can’t be reduced to anything other than Vedic fire and air, for which we have no equivalents either.

As for the earth – in science we can take atoms, put them together in molecules, get these molecules together, and create earth in the form of rocks or crystals. That’s what “earth” is to atheists and that’s how they dismiss religious science based on scriptures. Well, according to Vedic science earth is already present in the universe and already all-pervasive. You don’t create it because it’s already there in all your ingredients. We can say that Vedic earth is probably the quarks scientists have been studying in quantum mechanics. Their quarks also have energy and they move – fire and air, and there’s probably water in there somehow, too.

The best we can come up with right now is theoretical equivalents for our Vedic elements – the concepts of space, force, movement, energy etc. It’s beyond me to speculate whether these concepts are properties of matter according to scientific understanding or they could be seen as fundamental to the existence of the universe – which is what śāstra says. What was created during Big Bang fore example? Space, force, energy etc or material elements with space and energy as only their properties. Looks no brainer to me but needs a proper scientific explanation.

Can the scientists explain evolution of force from space, energy from force, gravitation from energy, and quarks from gravitation? I don’t think so, but if they looked at it this way the can surely come with something interesting.

Our position is that we can’t wait for science to catch up and that this knowledge is immaterial to our spiritual needs which are best fulfilled by chanting, not by speculations. We don’t accept the typical proposition that we should wait until the science proves Vedas before taking up Vedic instructions as our life guide. I don’t like this whole idea that we should rely on what science says at all, but that’s a subject for another post.

Vanity thought #1668. Terminology

The very first thing when trying to explain “magic” of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam “scientifically” should probably be clarification of terms. Direct translation into modern languages is easy but in many cases it’s grossly inadequate because reality of our lives is different from theirs.

Some might object that reality doesn’t change significantly but we often don’t realize how many of our assumptions are influenced by ever changing external conditions. Nowadays, due to introduction of knives, forks, or even chopsticks, not having an overbite would be a medical condition but when people used only hands to eat their food it was the opposite and no one had an overbite at all.

Another example is bodily odor – the sweat gland responsible for it is often completely missing in certain nationalities and so when people of these different cultures meet they can have very surprising and often unpleasant discoveries about each other, most often blaming it on lack of proper hygiene while back at home some wear their odor with pride or maybe fight it with strong cologne or deodorants. In Japan, on the other hand, deodorants are hard to find because no one uses them ever.

I once read that teachers in Ireland were going on a strike because temperature in their classrooms has risen to 26 Celsius while in tropical countries people work outdoor in 40s and then set their air conditioners to 26 to cool off inside. That’s roughly 100 and 80 in Fahrenheit.

Maybe these are not very good examples overall but I just wanted to demonstrate that our perception of what is “normal” can vary greatly even now, what to speak of “normal” in previous yugas. People can grow 10 cm taller in only a couple of hundred years, imagine if they kept growing for a couple of thousand. The only conditions necessary are better food and less diseases, which depend on climate as much as on human practice of medicine. I’m not going to discuss why the skeletons of these giants are missing from our fossil record here, maybe some other time.

When “normal” reality changes so greatly we shouldn’t try to see ancient people through our prism. We just can’t see the same things anymore because they no longer exists and so we use our poor substitutes which seem real to us but would probably not be recognized by the ancients themselves.

We don’t believe in yoga siddhis, for example, because no one has them in our society. Well no one practices celibacy in our society either and that’s the primary condition for developing “supernatural” abilities. Another example is that no one can see God anymore and therefore we assume that it was true in Vedic times, too. When Vedic sages wrote about demigods appearing on certain occasions we can’t believe it either. Conditions for demigods to grace us with their presence are still the same and we use the same words but their meanings are different now.

The place needs to be pure, for example. We can clean it up, get a guy with a mop in and scrub it, and disinfect it, too, but that won’t be “pure” by Vedic standards. They probably won’t consider anything plastic as pure in principle and they would require purity from people being present, too. We can send everyone to take a shower but that won’t be enough because demigods require internal purity, ie freedom from lust, and that we can’t provide. It just doesn’t exist anymore. Anyone who has ever eaten unoffered food, let alone meat, would contaminate the place with his gluttony, too.

We can’t even imagine what a really pure assembly place would look like even though we still use the same words. They mean different things to us from what they meant in Vedic times.

For scientific discussion specifically we should highlight the difference in meaning of fire, water, air, earth etc – gross material elements. We assume that ancients used these words just like we do – because they didn’t know what water or earth was made of. For them these elements were prime building materials – take some earth, meaning clay, shape it, put it into fire, and get a pot. Primitives! We can’t even begin to think that these words meant something completely different in Vedic terminology.

Take “earth”, for example. How do we expect to differentiate it from water? By touch, of course. Earth is more or less solid, just put your hand on the substance and you’d know whether it’s “earth” or liquid. In Vedic times, however, earth was associated with smell. If it smells, it’s earth, while touch was a symptom of air. What what?

We are clearly talking about different things here, not common clay and water. We don’t grant the ancients the ability to analyze the matter differently from us. We think that the only way to understand common water, earth, etc is to find their chemical composition and this again forces us to see the world in a very restricted way without even realizing it.

We can’t imagine ancients to make scientific progress using their weird classification, we think that we have the monopoly on honest scientific inquiry while they were hopelessly corrupt and invoked gods to mask their ignorance all the time. That’s another common stereotype, probably completely without merit. We can’t even think about ancients advancing in their scientific understanding on their terms, our brains are not wired for that, there’s a societal pressure, and no one honestly tried it, even for fun. The fact that people even in India can’t pursue yoga anymore doesn’t help either. Even if there are successful yogis there they won’t be mixing with us, the modern people, and so they can’t be studied in laboratories. They’d avoid our atheistic mentality like a plague, and they should be very good at it, too – due to the same yogic powers.

What I mean is that they’d practice mind control where mind means something different from what it means to us. They would practice control of their senses where senses mean something different from what they mean to us. How can we withdraw the sense of smell, for example? Or the sense of sight? We completely lack the ability and so we don’t believe it’s possible for yogis either. That’s just projection of our own limitations and it’s unscientific but often that is all the modern science can offer on this subject.

Vanity thought #325. Sanskrit as the mother of all tongues

Is it or is it not? Status of Sanskrit is one of the most contentious issues in the debate between Western and Indian scholars.

Two hundred years ago, when Sanskrit was first introduced to Europe, it won many admirers and had no contestants for the position of the original language of the humanity. Things have changed, dramatically.

As linguistics and linguistic paleontology grew into mature sciences and as archaeologists discovered hundreds of new sites with remains of ancient civilizations Sanskrit was asked to scoot and give the first place to so called Proto-Indo-European language, PIE. The birthplace of this PIE, the Urheimat, is not agreed upon but it’s clearly not in India anymore. Turkey, Ukraine, Southern Russia, Macedonia – nowhere even close.

Western scientists believe that Sanskrit evolved from this PIE when it was brought to India by Aryans, this argument ties the whole issue to the larger Aryan Invasion Theory, AIT, vs Out of India, OIT, debate.

Indian scientists have none of it and insist on the old (by Western standards) idea that all other languages have evolved from Sanskrit and there was no other, PIE, source.

At this point I should clarify that there are plenty of Indian scholars who support Aryan Invasion Theory so it’s not a strict West vs India divide. On the other hand there are very few Westerners who give any credit to Out of India school and this fact leads me to conclusion that the entire OIT movement is motivated by nationalism rather than by search for truth.

What should be our position, as devotees, in this war? The first reaction is to support OIT, of course, but something tells me that this decision is also motivated by the mode of passion, the desire to prove ourselves right, and as such it has nothing to do with serving the Lord.

Once we give in to this desire and delve into the arguments for and against both sides we expose ourselves to the influence of maya and face the danger of being deeply entangled in imperfect, faulty, and full of errors world of empiric science.

Here are some dangers not far beneath the surface – how will we explain undisputed fact that Sanskrit has been evolving? Language of Ramayana and language of Rig Veda is not the same, language before Panini and after is not the same – it clearly changes through time, how can we call it “divine”?

The name itself, Sanskrit, means “perfect” or “complete”, and it implies that there were other, inferior languages, too. What is their place in our view of the world?

I bet answering these questions within confines of the science and linguistics and still sticking to our guns would be incredibly difficult if not impossible. Evolution of Sanskrit is accepted by both sides, sometimes it serves our own ends, too, like when someone accused Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura of forging Chaitanya Upanishad it was a Sanskrit scholar who pointed out that the language of the book puts it in the times of Atharva Veda and is very difficult to fake, especially comparing to Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s own use of Sanskrit.

Anyway, let’s see what we get if we stick to our version of history. Perhaps Sanskrit was the language of the world, and even the language of the entire universe, but was it the Sanskrit as we know it now? What if it was even called differently in those days? It is also not unthinkable that it was the language of the rituals and worship, not of everyday communications on mundane topics.

Nowadays scholars in both camps acknowledge the existence of Prakrit – vernacular dialects, not nearly as refined as Sanskrit itself. The existing evidence of various versions of Prakrit, however, make them relatively young, but then what is the evidence of the language spoken thousands of years ago? There was no written system then, you can’t discover words at the bottom of some ancient burials, they don’t leave footprints.

It is not unthinkable that Prakrit was the predominant language in the ancient times for everyday things while people had to study Sanskrit mantras that could be used to temple worship, or warfare or any of the marvelous things that existed in Vedic times. The whole idea of those mantras was that they were not available to everyone and if someone knew how to build a flying castle they would put him in Srimad Bhagavatam or other Puranas.

So we have that. Then there’s the effect of Kali Yuga that means that “Sanskrit” of the previous age became forgotten. On this point we can ask the scientists to adjust their theories for the language deterioration. They assume that languages only evolve, from primitive to sophisticated, but 5th to 3rd millennium BC should have been the opposite of that, and not only in India, Kali Yuga hit the rest of the world probably a lot harder.

In these conditions it was Sanskrit that should have been lost faster while Prakrit should have been more resistant, and, perhaps, even showed the signs of evolution, in line with the growth of modes of ignorance and passion.

We should also remember that our history goes back a lot further than 5,000 years ago, we are talking of the civilization that is millions years old. Sounds incredible by the rules of modern science but what do they know about past? They have on average one or two human skeleton remains for each thousand of years of the entire Earth’s history of humankind. If they missed that civilization, what are the chances they find the language that was used there?

That’s another warning for us not to get to close with “scientific arguments”. We are not meant to be together, at some point we either have to draw the line or start compromising our faith in the words of the guru and shastra.

I have couple of very radical, even outrageous ideas on the subject of ancient Sanskrit but they have to wait for another day.

Vanity thought #320. Book review

I’ve read four chapters of Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture by Stephen Knapp so far and it turned out much worse than I expected.

It’s poorly edited, in one place there is a lenghty, 200 word long quote appearing twice in the same chapter supporting the same idea and with only one page in between. It’s not even proofread properly and some sentences are totally mangled up, losing all sense in the process.

The book itself in general is senseless, too and so far I fail to grasp its intent and meaning. I want to believe what author is trying to prove but he doesn’t mention any spiritual authority of his ideas (which would be convincing enough for me), he relies on common logic and reasoning instead and fails miserably.

Everything you know about history of India and the western world need to be thrown away. The author does use familiar words, names, places and dates but he doesn’t even try to reconcile himself neither with standard textbook knowledge nor with the flow of his own arguments.

I don’t even know how to pose clarifying questions there because that would imply that there’s some common ground on which things can be made clear. I wish there was such ground, I wish that everything he said was somehow logical and rational, but, as it stands, it requires a willful suspension of disbelief, as they say.

Consider this – the author spends a great deal of space proving that worship of Krishna existed long long time ago, he mentions Greek converts and sites the famous Heliodor’s Column and several other inscriptions, he mentions Greek ambassadors to India but then, in one incredible leap of logic, puts the Mauriya empire during which all of those things had happened a thousand years earlier in history and stresses that it is a mistake to think otherwise.

I can’t just shift Greek history, Alexander the Great and all that followed, a thousand years earlier in the past. I don’t know how the author does it and I don’t know how to ask about it politely.

Or take this example – he tells us that Greeks were descendants of Maharaja Yayati, and I have no problem with that, but if between Yayati and ancient Greece there was Lord Ramachandra and he lived eighteen million years ago I don’t know how I could stretch Greek history that far back. They are ancient but not that ancient.

This just doesn’t make any sense.

Some chapters are pretty solid, for example on timing of Krishna’s pastimes and the war of Kurukshetra or description of Vedic advances in mathematics while others are extremely disappointing.

No one in the western world believes that Sanskrit is the origin of all other languages anymore. The author sites plenty of quotes from great western scholars but they all lived hundreds of years ago, well before linguistics have become a proper science and no one believed in Sanskrit as the mother language since Nazi Germany.

Modern scientists are probably wrong in this regard but they are pretty unanimous and this is what is considered common, textbook knowledge reflected in all modern encyclopedias. I wish that the author proved them wrong but he simply ignores their existence. It’s like stepping in a totally different world, as I said, it sounds familiar but it has not relation to the reality outside the book.

The fact that he lifts entire paragraphs word for word from Internet blogs without any attribution doesn’t help either.

This is how I read it, btw – find something contentious and try to see what other people say on the same subject elsewhere. This makes it a great learning tool, this is also how I found an example of blatant plagiarism.

This is how I finally learned why there are huge discrepancies in timing the life of Shankaracharya, but I couldn’t bring myself to research how Lord Buddha was placed a 1500 years earlier than he appeared according to every other source. The author didn’t bother to support his date and I can’t be bothered to research how he came to this conclusion.

Speaking of support – the book offers plenty of references for every chapter but they all turn out to be Indian scholars with not a single westerner among them, apart from one dude who converted to Hinduism forty years ago.

Bottom line – I don’t know what to make of this book, I don’t know what’s its purpose. Is it a propaganda tool to brainwash anyone who doesn’t know anything about history? I hope not. Is the author aware of these shortcomings and ignores them or purpose or is he living in the blissful state of ignorance?

Maybe it will become clearer as I read on.

P.S. I’ve read reviews of his earlier books and some of them are pretty damning, what’s worse, they site it as a worst example of pseudo science and group him with our established ISKCON scientists like Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson. I don’t know how damaging it is to their work, maybe the book has some potential benefits that outweigh the negatives. I’m completely at a loss here.

Vanity thought #319. Book preview

As soon as I heard that the new book by Stephen Knapp, Advancements of Ancient India’s Vedic Culture, came out I went out and bought it. Went out as in went to Amazon, mind you.

Stephen Knapp is a household name on the Internet if one searches for any kind of Hare Krishna related stuff and I’ve seen quite a few of articles on a very odd looking, circa 1990, website at stephen-knapp.com to make a guess at what this new book will be like and it makes me a bit weary.

I have no doubts in authenticity of his ideas and conclusions but from what I’ve seen so far his argumentation could be very problematic. It is one thing to declare the supremacy of the Vedic civilization, it’s quite another to rely on findings of the modern science to prove it.

When people like me are presented with “scientific” proof of our version of history we tend to embrace it wholeheartedly and without reservations. This is not a bad thing in itself, as we are eager to confirm the teachings of Lord Chaitanya and our acharyas but, on the other hand, it might feel our hearts with false hope.

There’s nothing wrong with believing that India was a cradle of civilization but there could be a problem when we present this theory to outsiders. Some of them might want to believe us and so they are our primary target but if they find out that our argumentation is shaky at best, when they find out that our “scientific” arguments can’t stand any kind of test, what should we tell them then? Sorry, we tried to lie to you but it was in your best interests?

Now, I won’t go as far as to say that ideas presented in this book are lies but I have a feeling that Stephen Knapp accepted them unconditionally just because they agreed with his/our preconceived notions, without giving them a thorough testing.

These arguments largely come from the works of scientists that come across as not much more than Hindu nationalists trying to sound clever.

We know that westerners were prejudiced against Indian culture and we understand that all their research was done through the prism of their prejudice. Likewise, we should also admit that Indian scientists are equally prejudiced against the findings of the westerners and so they would frame their ideas in such a way as to always contradict the old English masters, truth be damned.

Right now the Indians seem to support our own, handed down the parampara version of history and so we gladly use their arguments ourselves but this situation is not going to last simply because we, as a spiritual movement, have nothing to do with Hindu nationalism. We are brought together for a brief moment like straws in a whirlpool and we are bound to part ways sooner or later.

A hundred years ago Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati didn’t have much use for Hindu nationalists, why should we hitch our wagon to their horse now? We can acknowledge their contribution but we should never, under any circumstances, get ourselves into any kind of indebted position. We should never ever support any of their notions just because they have supported some of ours.

Just a couple of weeks ago I argued that we shouldn’t be too concerned that the modern science find most of our views of Vedic history plain wrong, I argued that we can easily fit our version into their time frame. Now comes this book that will probably try to move their time frame to fit ours better. Fine, but beware that this new science is not going to get the nod of approval from the old science, ever.

We might feel temporarily relieved that, for example, Vedic people indeed introduced Sanskrit to the mankind but this will last only as long as we don’t meet any opposition, and the opposition to Sanskrit being the primary language of this planet is very, very formidable.

I shouldn’t go into any details now, before reading the book, I’m just airing my concerns. Maybe the book turns our a lot better than I assume and I will be forced to eat the humble pie. That would serve me well, I want to prove myself wrong and so get a compelling reason to seek mercy of a vaishnava. As I said earlier – by hook or by crook, getting attention of the Lord or His devotees is the most important thing in one’s entire life, doesn’t really matter how it happens.

If I need to strip down and shake my privates at Narada Muni in exchange for getting his blessing to be born in Vrindavana and meet Krishna Himself I should never miss this chance. Strange, isn’t it?