The Church and the Christian authorities always had the obsession of conversion in their mind since Christianity was formulated, about 300 years after so-called birth of Jesus. Such conversion was usually through plunders and pillages. The barbaric, missionary crusaders, after conquering the indigenous population, would trash their faith, culture and traditions as heathen or pagan, and then pretend to civilize them by enforcing conversion. But sometimes they would use other tactics that varied from clever deceptions to blatant embezzlements.
Jomo Kenyatta, first President of independent Kenya, had aptly summarized the strategy, “When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, we had the Bible in our hand, and they had the land.”
Needless to say, the same processes are going now in various pockets of India, blessed by the Catholic Chief of the ruling political party. See here and here.
Here are two simple writings out of perhaps several dozens available to suggest that Jesus born on Christmas Day is a major hoax..
Few people realize that the origins of a form of Christmas was pagan & celebrated in Europe long before anyone there had heard of Jesus Christ.
No one knows what day Jesus Christ was born on. From the biblical description, most historians believe that his birth probably occurred in September, approximately six months after Passover. One thing they agree on is that it is very unlikely that Jesus was born in December, since the bible records shepherds tending their sheep in the fields on that night. This is quite unlikely to have happened during a cold Judean winter. So why do we celebrate Christ’s birthday as Christmas, on December the 25th?
The answer lies in the pagan origins of Christmas. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast.
In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated many years before the birth of Christ. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. In January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. The festival season was marked by much merrymaking. It is in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the Christmas tradition of caroling was born.
In northern Europe, many other traditions that we now consider part of Christian worship were begun long before the participants had ever heard of Christ. The pagans of northern Europe celebrated the their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year.
Huge Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means “wheel,” the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility ritual. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods.
The tree is the one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were often brought into homes during the harsh winters as a reminder to inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding their sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshipping huge trees.
In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.
Christmas (Christ-Mass) as we know it today, most historians agree, began in Germany, though Catholics and Lutherans still disagree about which church celebrated it first. The earliest record of an evergreen being decorated in a Christian celebration was in 1521 in the Alsace region of Germany. A prominent Lutheran minister of the day cried blasphemy: “Better that they should look to the true tree of life, Christ.”
The controversy continues even today in some fundamentalist sects.
Ancient Origins of Christmas Traditions
From Feasting to Gift Giving, Santa Claus to Mistletoe
The modern version of Christmas is an amalgam of many pagan traditions from early civilizations, especially that of the ancient Romans.
Christmas, at least in most of the Western world, is easily the most anticipated celebration of the year. In modern times, the holiday is associated with decorated trees and gaily lighted houses, get-togethers with family and friends, feasts and parties, and of course weeks or months of shopping for the perfect gifts. Among some Christians, the holiday is celebrated as marking the birth of Jesus Christ, and entails masses, hymns, and other religious observation. But what most Westerners recognize as Christmas has a very long history, one that originated in pre-Christian rites and rituals.
The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, has been commemorated by ritual probably since neolithic times. By the modern calendar, the date of the solstice falls around December 21st; ancient peoples, noticing the sun appeared not to move for three days before its re-ascent into the northern sky and the lengthening of days, celebrated the solstice — from the Latin meaning “sun stands still” — as a sort of rebirth of the sun. Many cultures recognized the event as a sort of birthday for their particular gods — the Egyptian sun god Horus, for example, was purported to have been born on December 25th. In fact, the ancient Romans, from the year 274, celebrated the festival of Sol Invictus, the “birthday of the unconquered sun,” on December 25. The Christian Church did not fix the date of Christmas at December 25th until the fourth century, and the celebration was not actually called Christmas until the ninth century. Prior to that, it was simply known as the Midwinter Feast, and celebrated as a combination of Saturnalia and the Norse Yule Festival.
Gifts, Feasting and Santa Claus
The ancient Romans are also responsible for most of the merrymaking associated with the modern version of Christmas. Saturnalia, a week-long festival celebrating the dedication of the temple of Saturn, featured feasting, drinking, slaves switching places with kings, and gift giving. The festival was immensely popular, and as Christianity overtook the Roman Empire, it added its own customs to the already existing pagan traditions to ease conversion. This blending of myths may also be responsible for the figure of Santa Claus, whose origins are believed to lie in the Norman Lord of Misrule, a red-robed character who oversaw the festivities of Saturnalia, mixed with the Christian St. Nicholas, patron saint of children.
Christmas Trees and Mistletoe
The earliest recorded instance of a lit tree being erected to celebrate Christmas dates from 16th century Germany, in particular to a church in Strasbourg in 1539. But the veneration of evergreen trees as a symbol of fertility and rebirth dates back to pagan times. Likewise, the custom of hanging mistletoe is pagan in origin; the Druids considered it a sacred plant, and Vikings hung it on the doors of their houses as a welcome. Kissing under the mistletoe is thought to be associated with Saturnalia and with ancient Roman marriage rites.
It may seem hard to imagine in modern times, when the trappings of Christmas are nearly inescapable, but until quite recently the celebration was frowned upon for the very reason that it was considered a pagan practice. In 17th century England, Oliver Cromwell ordered his soldiers to tear down holiday decorations, and when the Puritans first came to America, they prohibited Christmas for its distasteful associations. The Christmas we know today was only declared a national public holiday in 1836.
Sunday, December 19, 2010 – with Anthony Wile
The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Armstrong.
Introduction: Jeffrey Armstrong is an award-winning author of numerous books on Vedic knowledge including his recent book: Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, Ancient Wisdom for a New World. He is a philosopher, practitioner and teacher of the Vedas for the past 40 years. He has degrees in Psychology, History & Comparative Religions, and Literature and had a successful career as an executive in Silicon Valley before turning to teaching full time. Jeffrey Armstrong (Kavindra Rishi) is the founder of VASA – Vedic Academy of Sciences & Arts in Vancouver Canada. His work aims at promoting higher education in the Vedic sciences, showing their roots in Veda and Vedanta, taking an integrated approach with the different Vedic disciplines. As the Vice President and International Media Coordinator for the Vedic Friends Association (VFA), Jeffrey Armstrong is a global advocate for the Sanatana Dharma Culture.
Daily Bell: Give us some background, where did you grow up?
Jeffrey Armstrong: I am one of those people that people often ask: How did you do all that in one life? I was born in Detroit, Michigan and by the time I was 13 I had become more interested than anyone I knew in questions such as: Who are we? Why are we here? What is life? I was a philosopher in the making, but I sure wasn’t surrounded by many others in the suburbs of Detroit. Eventually, everything I did became directed toward answering these questions.
Daily Bell: Did you focus on these issues in college?
Jeffrey Armstrong: I went off to university and spent five years working on a double major, one in psychology and one in creative writing, literature, and poetry. During that time – which was also the 60s – I was intensely involved in social developments and what was going on in the world and the experiences of the time. From that I was led, in almost every subject that I entered into, toward India. It is my opinion that if one studies most any modern subject with real diligence, they will be led, as I was, to India. India has the largest simultaneously scientific and spiritual ‘library’ known to exist.
I then spent five years in a Yoga ashram, as a celibate monk, being trained in the knowledge and practices of India. At the end of that time I spent two years learning Vedic Astrology. In the west, Astrology is mostly considered entertainment but in India it is a very serious and rigorous science. Then I went back for another degree in History and Comparative Religion where I spent 3 more years and then a year of graduate work in South Asian studies at the University of Wisconsin. I also studied modern dance, various forms of martial arts, fencing, Chinese herbal studies and rode and trained horses for many years.
Starting in 1980 I began working in corporations in Silicon Valley. I first worked for Apple Computer as their Middle Eastern Sales Manager and then spent the next 7 years at the heart of the explosion of Silicon Valley, in various Executive Sales & Marketing positions. Finally, I decided I would prefer to work outside the corporation, as a consultant, rather than inside. So, I built a career for myself as a corporate motivational speaker and spent the next 10 years speaking to Fortune 500 companies around the world. That was my work until 14 years ago, when I made the commitment to be a full time spiritual teacher. During all these years, I have been an avid Mystical poet and have written over 1,600 poems describing the philosophy of India in modern English.
Daily Bell: How did you get interested in Indian culture and religion?
Jeffrey Armstrong: Religion is the wrong word to use for India’s teachings. Religion is a word that is more accurately applied to the Middle Eastern Abrahamic cultures. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions. The origin of the word religion, from the Latin, is re-legare (a legalistic system of rules given by God) or ‘bound by rules.’ Re = tied up or connected by, and ligion = legare = ligaments = to tie, bind or bandage. The usual idea is that the practitioner of a religion is bound up in rules or laws. This especially applies to the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, whereas the spiritual practices of India are called a Dharma Culture. The main difference is religions generally have one book of rules and stories whereas a Dharma culture has a library of spiritual and material knowledge aimed at understanding who we really are and how to properly use everything around us. The phrase Dharma Culture is a more accurate descriptor for India, as compared to the ‘Indian religion’ or ‘Hindu religion.’
At the core of the Abrahamic Religions is a set of rules given by God that we are told we must follow because a specific vision of God and His prophet said so. That is not the basis of the Vedic Spiritual Library of India. India does not have a single book or an authoritarian/disciplinarian God, it uses an entirely different approach to the question of who we are and it is certainly more philosophical than a Religion, but it also contains many other components. It has a library of self-actualizing sacred knowledge, rather than just one dogmatic book.
Daily Bell: What do you believe in and why? What application does it have to the West?
Jeffrey Armstrong: My lifelong effort has been to try to find things that are universally true rather than relatively true and I believe that the largest library of that information exists in India in spite of the fact that India is a very fragmented culture right now due in large part to 1200 years of violent colonization by outside invading forces. This library of knowledge stretches back for thousands and thousands of years and is, as far as I know, the largest repository of the universal truth that exists on our planet.
What we now call the West is the outgrowth of a tribal or city/state approach to living on the planet. This means if you take care of your tribe, you are seen as good. So, to all those tribes who were fighting against each other for thousands of years in a series of wars, that essentially meant that as long as the spoils of the wars were brought back and shared amongst the tribe, they were good. Alexander the Great was a prime example of this. He went out to rape, pillage and conquer, and was a monster to the rest of the world, but was considered great by his people, hence the name. He was really great at being a warmonger, and a rapist and a pillager. But he brought his people back the spoils of war. India, on the other hand, is the only culture of its size in the world that has never gone out and tried to spread its beliefs by war. In fact, it has consistently given shelter to anyone from any culture. So, to compare histories, the west is a competitive, war-based civilization and India has been a nurturing, cooperation-based civilization on an epic scale. I am involved in the process of practicing and transferring that cooperative culture of India to the war-based culture of the west at a crucial time when it is needed very much.
Daily Bell: Let us go back in time. How old is humankind?
Jeffrey Armstrong: This is one of the most striking things about India. Indians of pre-modern history calculated the age of the universe in trillions of years. This is also the culture that gave us zero, the numerals that we use – so-called Arabic have their roots in India – as do trigonometry and calculus, astronomical calculation and a view that says the universe is not only billions, but trillions of years in age and that we are eternal beings who are simply visiting the material world to have the experience of being here. So, the point is, India holds a massive cosmological view of us – and that humans have existed for trillions of years, in varying stages of existence. And further, over time humans will continue to populate the many universes again and again.
Daily Bell: You wrote a book about this. Can you explain?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The book I wrote is called: The Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, published by Atria/Beyond Words an imprint of Simon and Schuster. The word Avatar means the descent of the Transcendental Divine or Supreme Being to the Earth for the purpose of revealing things we need to know about both living here and the nature of the Transcendental itself. In other words, to inform us of that which is currently beyond our sight.
Daily Bell: Are there lost Indian cities under the sea?
Jeffrey Armstrong: There is at least one that was discovered in 2001 in the Bay of Cambay, which is off the west coast of India. In a routine, environmental scan of the bottom of the sea, a city was discovered which turns out to have the largest megalithic stones of any city in ancient times; artifacts were dated to about 10,000 years ago. This find hasn’t yet been recognized in mainstream intellectual and academic circles but is nonetheless a momentous discovery which I am sure will eventually contribute to the review of our current theories of the age of human civilization. The city sits in about 150 feet of water, which indicates it was built before the last melting of the polar ice caps, which most geologists date conservatively at about 12,000 years ago. It appears to have had a building format similar to the cities of Harappa and Mohendro Daro (3000-5000 BCE), which were previously thought to be the oldest cities of India (and located in what is now called Pakistan). But this underwater city off the coast of India suggests, conservatively, 15,000 years of sophisticated human history in India.
Daily Bell: Did the ancient Indians know how to fly and to build flying machines? Are there replicas of these machines on the tops of ancient temples?
Jeffrey Armstrong: On the latter question, I am not sure I have heard that there are replicas of the airplanes or Vimanas as they were referred to in the epic histories of India. But there are two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two epic poems that supposedly took place 5,000 years ago and over 1.2 million years ago in India, and the Ramayana actually begins with a scene in which a very sophisticated stolen airplane is being flown all over the Earth. Such ancient stories, thousands and thousands of years old, have no logical reason for talking about airplanes in any modern sense. Yet they do.
Daily Bell: Did this civilization possess nuclear weapons?
Jeffrey Armstrong: It did not possess nuclear weapons as we know them and there is no evidence that India cultivated radium or other atomic materials at all. There is reference to a particular kind of mantra-based weapon that was used along with bows and arrows and is called a “Brahmastra.” This weapon supposedly could release nuclear-like energy with pinpoint accuracy. So not exactly nuclear, but its use produces the same consequence of bringing an intensely powerful explosion to a targeted area: complete and fiery destruction. But in the epics there is nothing that resembles the nuclear reactors or nuclear contamination we see today. India is also unique in that, historically, none of their wars were fought with or against civilian populations. Even in the massive Mahabharata war, warriors fought warriors on a sequestered field of battle, leaving civilians untouched.
Daily Bell: Are there lost power sources and other ancient technologies that we could perhaps reclaim with enough study?
Jeffrey Armstrong: This is a question that is once again coming to light. For example, there is a recent though controversial book out called 1421: The Year China Discovered the World, by a British submarine captain, Gavin Menzies. Regardless, China and India had very sophisticated sea faring technology, which is now proven, and with that technology and with the many inventions that both cultures created, it is becoming more and more clear that there was an extensive technological culture at an earlier time period in history than generally thought, that was spread all over the planet. It is now considered very likely that China and India had the ability to circumnavigate the entire planet. The ships that were launched from China in 1423 were 300 feet long and double-hulled and could stay at sea for 300 days at a time. Menzies further suggests that many inventions attributed to Leonardo de Vinci were actually from a book that the Chinese brought to Italy in 1423 on a global, seafaring expedition. Either way, China and India and Egypt appear to have had sophisticated technologies for thousands and thousands of years before modern times. And for the record, it is also common historical knowledge that both Egypt and China acknowledge their debt to India as the oldest culture.
Daily Bell: How were the great stone blocks used by ancient builders moved from place to place?
Jeffrey Armstrong: This still remains a mystery. There are actually conjectures that this was done with so-called psychic ability and powerful sound vibrations called mantras, yet there is no proof of this theory. All that aside, so-called modern man constantly and profoundly underestimates the brilliance of so-called primitive man.
Daily Bell: What happened to this ancient civilization? Was it worldwide?
Jeffrey Armstrong: There is a lot of evidence that it was global and as I mentioned many were seafaring and using extremely accurate astronomical, heliocentric calculations for both Earth and celestial motions, indicating an understanding that the Sun is at the center of the solar system and that the Earth is round. Elliptical orbits were also calculated for all moving celestial bodies. The findings are remarkable. What India calculated thousands of years ago, for example the wobble of the Earth’s axis, which creates the movement called precession of the equinoxes – the slowly changing motion that completes one cycle every 25,920 years – has only recently been validated by modern science.
Was this knowledge given to them by divine beings as they claim? Was there inter-galactic travel? Did the people in India have contact with beings or knowledge from other planets? We don’t know, but what is certain is that they had mathematical/astronomical understanding that is extremely precise and agrees with many of the results of astronomy today. There is no other way to explain why India and these ancient cultures would have such precise knowledge other than the fact that they were in a period of impressive technology and culture beyond our present understanding.
Daily Bell: The modern Hindu spirituality is a reflection of this ancient civilization and its knowledge?
Jeffrey Armstrong: Reflection is probably a good word because India has been aggressively colonized for the last 1200 years. Some scholars have suggested that as many as 60 million people died in the process of both the Muslim and British colonization of India. Whatever the numbers, that a holocaust of this proportion hasn’t even been discussed in terms of history speaks for itself. But what is simultaneously amazing is that the culture of India is as intact as it is compared to what one would expect from such extreme abuse and what we usually see with other decimated indigenous groups all across the world.
Sixteenth century India has been described as the wealthiest country in the world, with the best universal educational system – all of which has obviously become seriously damaged. India of today does not accurately represent the ancient culture, but what is amazing is that the India of today, without funding or resources, has spread its knowledge around the world. Today, there are probably as many as 100 million people practicing aspects of yoga – not because India spent a lot of money trying to spread its culture, but because that knowledge is, I would say, innately desired and needed by people all over the world.
So, to look at current India and then ask if their deep cultural knowledge is useful for today is misguided and ignorant. Present day India is damaged badly by recent colonization, internally corrupt and in many ways ruled by foreign interests opposed to its basic culture. But if we look deeply into the storehouse of ancient knowledge that the original culture possessed, we will find a legacy profoundly useful for the world we live in today.
Daily Bell: Did ancient Indians consort with aliens and travel through time or to other dimensions?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The cosmology of India describes our universe as having fourteen parallel realities on multiple levels, all existing and intersecting within the material realm in which we are currently living.
One of those levels is called the Deva realm. The Deva realm is supposedly the home of the beings who actually conduct the laws of nature to which we are subject. This view of Divine helpers is much misunderstood as the so-called many gods or also as demi-gods, but in India they were never viewed as God, gods, demi-gods or in competition with God. They were, instead, viewed as souls (or more accurately atmas) like us, but living on another plane of material reality and performing specific jobs as administrators of the laws of nature. So, gods is the wrong word for many reasons, the main one being it implies ‘God,’ which is not an Indian word in the first place. These beings are called Devas, meaning beings who ‘work in the light’ assisting the Supreme Being by enforcing the laws of nature that allow the universe to function as it does.
Different yet similar to us, Devas are viewed in India, by analogy, much as someone who works in the passport department giving out visas. Devas give out the passports (enforcing the laws of Nature) and we are people using and receiving the passports (obeying the laws of Nature).
So as for the alien question, it was always the view in India that there are other dimensions of intelligent life in our universe who communicate with humans and that the Devas specifically are the intelligences operating behind the laws of Nature. But the Vedic culture wouldn’t have described these beings as aliens in the way we currently think of aliens, as coming from another planet in a metal ship, parking their ship (or crashing their ship in Roswell) et cetera. The Vedas describe infinitely multiple universes filled with many Earth-like and other diverse planets and many kinds of intelligent beings living in these other dimensions, some in contact with this realm.
The closest modern analogs are found in some of the theories of quantum physics, one being string theory, which suggests there are something like eleven parallel realities that are running simultaneously with ours. This idea in physics, of parallel realities crisscrossing, is undeniably reminiscent of the ancient teachings from India.
Finally, beyond these many material realms, the Vedas state that there is an eternal Transcendental realm or abode which, though non-material, makes periodic visits to our physical plane here on Earth. The Transcendental is not considered a material realm and thus represents yet another form of visitation that sometimes takes place. In the Vedas, these intentional visitations from the Transcendental are called Avatars – literally the descent of higher beings from the Transcendental to the material realms.
Daily Bell: How did such a powerful civilization perish and why?
Jeffrey Armstrong: By a definition given in the Vedas, everything within matter changes and is in flux, eternally. Specifically, younger, more physically vital cultures from the cold climates came in with a new power, technology and energy that was able to, let’s say, exploit the situation of a diverse and cooperative India that had also become somewhat corrupt and decrepit. Ancient India is probably the poster child for a diverse, complex, cooperative society that by this definition allowed a lot of bio-diversity. Ironically, that was actually a weakness when Europeans came in and wanted to conquer India, to rape and pillage her wealth or to religiously convert the population, as with Islam and Christianity. After all, might does not make right.
Daily Bell: We believe the West is afflicted by money power – a group of wealthy families that want to centralize control over the world and are causing misery. How does your philosophy account for this?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The philosophy of India is very clear. We human beings are here with the ability to utilize our free will and the spectrum is anywhere from enlightened to ‘endarkened.’ The enlightened end of the spectrum is where the laws of Nature reside, and is called the Deva view. The ‘endarkened’ view is the philosophy of the so-called Asuras, who are always against the enlightened way of being. We humans can choose to cooperate for the good of all and align ourselves with the Devic view or we can choose to be entirely selfish and only concerned for the personal gain and pleasure of a few. The dark Asuric choice brings fear, destruction, chaos, exploitation and is always imposed by a small uncaring minority, enslaving the masses and farming them like animals to steal their life energy. All the Vedic stories show this human potential for abuse of free will and the problems it can create.
The Indian epics are rife with classic conflicts involving those who care only for themselves, subvert the laws of nature, create artificial inorganic societies, cannibalize other living entities and make a few people very wealthy and powerful at the expense of large numbers of innocent people.
It is the Avatars who come to fight against these dark beings. So anything like a global world government or a single global power or technology that subverts a freedom-based and sustainable reality with a manufactured and degrading pseudo-reality is considered, in the Vedic way of thinking, as Asuric, or against the light, against truth and blind to the good of all. The likelihood of such groups being out there is considerable. They are only acting in their selfish interest and do not care if they cause harm to large numbers of people. Ironically, the Vedas make it very clear that massive so-called wealth is actually most efficiently and easily acquired by literally not caring at all about sucking the life-force out of people and the Earth.
Daily Bell: What is the fusion between “Western technology and Eastern wisdom [that] offers a revolutionary new vision for multiculturalism and responsible expansion?”
Jeffrey Armstrong: The most scientific language that exists on our planet is Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language has four thousand grammatical rules, making it more precise than either Greek or Latin. Sanskrit by its sheer specificity explains why the citizens of India have never made a wide distinction between material science and spiritual science. Sanskrit also helps explain how a so-called primitive, ignorant and Pagan people were able to so rapidly take over the IT industry. Behind Sanskrit is a temperament that is not against science but rather weds science and our spiritual nature together into a single important subject: Divine Intelligence. The key principal here is that the original culture of India thinks in the longest possible cycles and believes that we are not supposed to brutally exploit the resources of the planet, the non-renewable resources of the planet, let alone control or enslave people in the process. We are supposed to use our scientific and technological abilities to work in harmony with the laws of nature.
This is based on the belief that nature is intelligent, conscious, purposeful, and not random – and that the natural order of the universe is to be supported by us, not subverted by us. In the future, if we are fortunate, the technological capabilities that have now been developed will be wedded with a renewable idea of energy and we will stop exploiting the non-renewable energy resources of our planet and use our abilities to create a recycling, renewable and therefore a good-for-the-future way of living on the planet. Because right now, in so many ways, from energy to money, we are living as if there will be no future – and we will certainly leave a terrible mess for our children given what is being done. Regardless of what we see today, India’s teachings have always stood for a renewable and cooperative relationship with the resources of the universe and the freedom of individuals.
Daily Bell: You write of your views “this will help take our success beyond the present-day definitions of a profit-only marketplace.” How so?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The large corporation as we know and define it now generally has a financial responsibility (which encompasses most of its other responsibilities) to its Board of Directors, only to bring in profit. It has the rights of an individual with no moral responsibilities.
Corporations are still based on the colonial ethos that we can go out and harm the rest of the world as long as we bring the results back to our own country. These giant corporations become ‘too big to fail,’ are often deeply subsidized by taxpayer money, are products of the State in many nefarious ways and often have a revolving door of positions and lobbyists between themselves and government. Of course this isn’t good for the planet and it creates animosity among many groups. Given the immense powers of technology, this rape and pillage attitude will inevitably lead to more and more war, more destruction and misery, and more debt. It continues at a rapid pace right now with the corporate world trying to own more and more resources like, for instance, water, with the idea that individuals or corporations should be able to own non-renewable, life-sustaining resources, neither of which is acceptable morally, as history has shown and the Vedas have warned.
This robber baron mentality needs to be replaced by a new mentality. I call it the CCO and every corporation should have one – the Chief Conscience Officer. Why? Because as I said, and as it is said in the Vedas, massive wealth in the material world is most easily acquired via the exploitation of both resources and people – and is therefore always tempting to certain beings. Ideologies aside, without compassion and corporation, there is no well-being.
Daily Bell: What is the ancient Yoga philosophy and how does it teach valuable skills that are applicable to all areas of life?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The purpose of Yoga is two-fold. One is the purpose to live in harmony with the laws of nature. The second is to empower each individual spiritual being to be autonomous and ultimately to be able to fly their airplane, (their divine consciousness), back to the Transcendental realm from which they originally came. This leads to a political viewpoint that says our education should maximize as many human beings as possible to achieve their highest human potential and not put them in positions of bondage where they are degraded in any means whatsoever. The yogic ethos is that we should arrange life so that, as far as is possible, human beings are not degraded in consciousness by performing their work but have the greatest possible opportunity to remain conscious of their true, Divine Nature, which will lead them as far as possible in that direction. All of this, by definition, has to be accomplished without the use of intimidation, forced-conversion or coercion.
Daily Bell: You write, “The real treasures of the East weren’t jewels, spices or exotic perfumes – but the amazing treasure house of sacred and universal knowledge. This knowledge, increasingly validated by modern science, is now being embraced by leading edge corporations, professionals and leaders throughout the world.” What are some examples?
Jeffrey Armstrong: As I mentioned earlier, what is unique about the library of India is that it was recorded in the Sanskrit language, which has not degraded over time to any significant extent. This is unlike other religions and spiritual paths and bodies of knowledge that were written in languages which have often become obsolete or are no longer clearly understood. Thus, the treasure house of knowledge that I am talking about goes back accurately for thousands and thousands of years. The literature contains the precise understandings of the ancients and is still being transmitted by traditional teachers in India to the modern world.
It is well known that Greek advancements in knowledge have affected our world for a couple thousand years. Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, was the teacher of Plato. Socrates of course claims to have been enlightened by the teachings of Pythagoras who preceded him by 200 years. It is also historically known and should be remembered that Pythagoras studied in India; he was a vegetarian, virtually unheard of anywhere else, and learned the philosophy of India and taught it in Greece.
So if we are to accept the well-known saying in academia that western philosophy is simply footnotes to Plato, it is then logical to say that the knowledge of India has been leaking into our culture for thousands of years. That this is not understood is a shame because it’s both extremely exciting and a huge aspect of our human heritage. The Abrahamic religions, however, especially Islam and Christianity, have been very resistant to this idea because of their own institutional agendas. So knowledge from India that leaked in to other cultures has often remained either hidden or was simply incorporated into western thought without credit to India.
The so-called American ‘transcendentalists’ – Emerson and Thoreau et cetera – are one tiny example of this. Today – and for the last 100 years and perhaps especially the last 50 years – the influence of ancient India is being revealed in full force and clarity. As part of that knowledge are a number of things, including the empowerment of women as seen clearly in the view of a feminine as well as masculine Divine and the consciousness that the Earth is in very tangible ways a living entity described as Gaia, Bhumi (In Sanskrit) or Mother Earth.
The awareness of how we eat and how we live in our bodies is also vital to the Vedic philosophy and Yoga. It is also a viewpoint promoting bio-diversity both personally and sustainably. Firstly, individuals should never be coerced into a particular spiritual viewpoint. Secondly, we are living on a single organism, planet Earth, and it is in everyone’s best interest to cooperate with one another since we ultimately all breathe the same air and drink the same water. This is initially accomplished by developing a vision of ALL living beings as divine in nature.
Finally, it is a bio-diverse vision that both creates and supports an open Internet, considered by many technological idealists to be one of the great hopes of our planet trying to find a way to know and cooperate with each other instead of being in a competitive and destructive relationship. If we can keep the Internet open, then that is one of the key places where bio-diverse ideas in a potentially open and cooperative environment can meet and are meeting.
This interview, for example, with less than mainstream ideas, could be distributed in a short time to millions of eager listeners who hope that this is possible. That positive and idealistic ethos also lives in some corporations, more each day – of course, not all of them are robber barons. Indeed, there are so many negative invisible and unseen forces that exist in the background for the purpose of manipulating our economy, our private lives, our food source and what is defined as medicine and so forth. For those invisible forces to be brought out into the open requires communication environments that allow for that possibility. This publication is an example and there are many others. Monopolies are dangerous in government, corporations and ideas. The saying in Sanskrit is, ‘Satyam eva jayate- the truth will always eventually prevail’.
Daily Bell: You write, “We are all becoming global citizens. The next evolutionary step requires us to blend the advances of modern science with the time-honored secrets of ancient wisdom to create a sustainable and successful future throughout the world. Does this involve one-world governance as well? Who governs?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The answer to that again, in clear English, straight from the Vedas, is NOTHING COULD BE WORSE THAN A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. Extreme centralization – a single, domineering and autocratic control-based system is entirely antithetical to the Vedic way of thinking. We need regional wisdom at every level in order to interact successfully and cooperatively with the laws of nature, the environment and individual local needs as they are playing out in a given area. Regional and bio-diverse management combined with a global awareness of ourselves as part of the universe, as part of a larger planetary perspective, is the ideal. The goal of government is to serve, not to create a bureaucracy that is a burden on everyone and helps create a group of robber barons who serve only themselves, under some false flag of so-called freedom.
Daily Bell: You write, “According to Yoga philosophy there are a few easily recognizable body-types that determine many of our specific behavior patterns. Every professional will benefit from learning how to recognize these important body types. Once you’ve learned the body types, you’ll know who you’re talking to and how to communicate with them effectively.” What are these body types?
Jeffrey Armstrong: These body types are the basis of the practical everyday lifestyle science of the culture of India. It is rooted in the notion of universal elements, just as our modern science has divided matter into the atomic periodic table of elements. The problem is we can’t see those minute atomic elements in our day-to-day life, even though we are composed of them. In ancient times there was (and still is) a more practical approach using the table of the five visible elements of nature. These elements are earth, water, fire, air and space, and they are visible to everyone using their perceptive senses.
Everything is composed of these five ingredients, which are present in a specific ratio in all of our bodies. That proportionality or ratio can be translated to mean that each one of us has a certain body ‘type’ and that body is our vehicle. Each vehicle has a particular nature that is best suited for particular functions. I have described this in some detail in my book: ‘God/Goddess the Astrologer, Soul, Karma, and Reincarnation: How we continually create our own destiny’.
We as individuals are empowered by understanding what particular kind of body we are inhabiting, just as we need to know the make and model of our car in order to maintain it properly. This then forms the basis of the preventive, healing and organic science that is called Ayurvedic Medicine. Ayurveda, or the science of the life force, is based on knowing our nature and then using the natural remedies and foods that enhance and balance that nature. Because we all have a physical nature that is knowable, this knowing allows us to cooperate with Mother Nature, of whom we are a part. Conversely, not knowing our specific body type causes needless friction and damage to our bodies and minds and ultimately obscures a relatively easy understanding of each other’s particular physical and mental nature and needs.
Daily Bell: These would be called the 3 Doshas?
Jeffrey Armstrong: Yes these would be the 3 Doshas, which give rise to the 10 basic body types. This means the particular mix of the five elements, in other words the characteristic design elements of each person’s body/mind complex. We could also call this the recognizable form of one’s underlying genetic structure. As an example, if you had a Maserati and took it to a mechanic who said: ‘Sure, I can repair your car, all cars are all the same’, you would never believe him. It’s a bad diagnosis, and currently there are a startling number of medical conditions in hospitals that are actually doctor or pharmaceutically induced. One of the reasons is an unnecessary ignorance of the Ayurvedic body types, which means modern physicians simply do not know the make and model of their patient’s body. For this reason, modern allopathic medicine, which is undeniably brilliant in repairing serious trauma, is not preventive. Combining that ignorance with Big Pharma and their excessive and relentless use of chemical-based pharmaceutical medicines instead of using either nothing or, when needed, safe, organic herbs, causes a great deal of suffering and unnecessary environmental damage. Ayurveda says: ‘Live according to your body type,’ let organic, nutritious food be your medicine and use pure herbal remedies as far as possible. Then allopathic and pharmaceutical medicines and surgery will become what they should be, remarkable last resorts.
Daily Bell: What are the “Vedas” and Vedic values?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Veda means ‘to see’, and gave us our modern word, video. Its root is ‘vid’, and from that comes, wit, meaning ‘knowledge’ or ‘what we know,’ so Veda, first of all means the knowledge that we need in order to exist and fulfill our purpose for existing. That knowledge is considered to be eternal and to co-exist with both this world and with the eternal Transcendental world. A student of the Veda, or the study of the knowledge of India, would be studying a library of knowledge. There is not one, single dogmatic book, which takes precedence over the others. To be a student of the Veda then, is to be a student of a library of knowledge concerned with all subjects that support a sacred lifestyle and our true spiritual nature. That library has been passed down from antiquity and is thought by practitioners to have emanated from the Divine mind of the Supreme Being. It is the many ‘users manuals’ for the material world.
Daily Bell: What was the vision of the Hindu Vedic Sages?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Hindu came about when the people of Persia were describing the people on the other side of the Sindhu (Indus) River (India). They could not pronounce the river’s name properly, saying the ‘s’ as an ‘h’ and thus they called the people on the other side the Hindus. Technically, Hindu is now used as a word to describe the whole culture of India but it is more specifically a generic term meaning all of those people who probably are taking some inspiration from the Veda – so card – carrying Hindus would really also be card – carrying members of the Vedic library. But that doesn’t tell us – which books within the library an individual favors. This choosing within the library is why there is such diversity in the Hindu Dharma or culture, and consequently confusion over what a ‘Hindu” is or believes. The Sanskrit word dharma means learning the essential nature of everything, including your true self-nature, and then using it all accordingly. Knowing your own nature and the nature of everything and using it according to its Divinely intended purpose, is the basis and goal of the Vedic Hindu Dharma Culture.
Daily Bell: Expand on the word Avatar and the relevance of the original Avatars of India for today’s world?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The word Avatar is two Sanskrit words: ‘ava‘ which means to descend and ‘tara‘ which means to heal, restore or replenish. The concept of ‘Avatar’ is different than that of a Prophet. The Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered Prophetic religions, meaning a human acted as a mouthpiece for some version of the Supreme Being. Moses and Mohammed are considered prophets, not Avatars. Even Jesus, by strict definition, is not an Avatar. Avatar means the actual appearance in a bodily form here on earth of the Supreme Reality, the Supreme Being, variously called God, Allah, Jehovah, etc. Those are some of the names that the Middle Eastern tribes have used for this Ultimate Being. In India that Being has thousands of names but is ultimately called ‘Bhagavan‘, which means the “Person of the Supreme Being, the One who has all the possible Divine qualities.”
According to the historical record of India, that Supreme Being has come to Earth twice, and these visits or descents are described in detail in the two longest poems that exist on our planet, both written in Sanskrit. The Ramayana (24,000 verses) and the Mahabharata (100,000 verses), are the two great Avatar epics of India. The well-known Vedic text, the Bhagavad Gita is 700 verses taken from the Mahabharata, wherein Bhagavan Krishna explains in summary all the key spiritual teachings of the Vedic library.
The descent of the Supreme Being, aka, GOD, to Earth, takes place with a large group of friends, to teach the purpose of our existence, to fight the previously mentioned Asuras who, indeed, were trying to make a repressive and destructive ‘one world’ government, at the expense of sustainability, compassion and individual freedom.
Daily Bell: Perhaps they ought to visit again. Is the world heading toward collapse? What will be the outcome?
Jeffrey Armstrong: It is inevitable that we are headed toward some kind of collapse or major contraction because we are violating the primary law, even of modern science, which is the law of entropy. The two laws of thermodynamics – that matter is neither created nor destroyed and always going from a higher to lower state of energy – were initially described in the Vedas as the laws of Nature, and were called ‘The Gunas.’ The Gunas are a description of the cyclic states and processes of matter.
The point is, as long as we are simply extracting energy from the world around us and not replenishing or giving back or finding balance, then we are inevitably creating a world that is headed for collapse, population imbalance and exploitation. We are doing this through factory-farming animals, by factory farming the land. We are doing it by not recycling correctly, by not replenishing the growth and vegetation of the planet. We are doing it by an exploitation-only attitude in economics, by a currency and a monetary system that is not rooted in real, sustainable value, by the manipulation of human beings at the most fundamental level in their real estate, their property, their resources, the water they drink, etc.
Because exploitation and the irresponsible use of power is the fastest way to acquire wealth at the expense of others, the Vedic culture says that anyone who has great power has great responsibility and is accountable to use that power for the well-being of everyone. This idea is clearly not being exercised sufficiently on the planet. This process is based on the ancient Vedic principle of Karma – that every action has an equal and opposite reaction both with matter and in the moral actions of humans. I describe this in depth in my book ‘Karma – The Ancient Science of Cause and Effect‘. The resources of the Earth are meant for the good of all, they do not truly or ultimately belong to anyone – as even death reminds us. So right now, we are on a crash course with destiny and the karmic laws of nature as a result of our incorrect attitude toward Mother Earth. We are stealing the future and wealth (and therefore freedom) of our children and their children by our actions in the present, and leaving them a pile of waste and debt as our legacy, instead of protecting their future.
Daily Bell: Why is ancient Hindu knowledge being suppressed, if it is?
Jeffrey Armstrong: The honesty of the Hindu knowledge is that we are accountable to, to put it colloquially, Mother Nature, who is Divinely intelligent. The world that we live in, however, is really being controlled by a variety of interests that are negatively polarized. In my opinion, the knowledge of India has been and is still being repressed so that certain interests can continue colonizing both India and the planet, and to prevent it being a viable alternative to more aggressive religious and political worldviews.
The deeply spiritual, cooperative message of the Hindu Vedic Dharma Culture would shine light on the various selfish and harmful activities of the powerful interests who are harming the world. The rapid spread of Yoga in recent years shows that previous attitudes of repressing information are not nearly as effective in our current world of global communication. Freedom of speech is a crucial right to defend at this dangerous moment in history.
Daily Bell: Why does the modern power elite not want the world to know about ancient Hindu civilization?
Jeffrey Armstrong: At the crux of both of the epics and of the Avatar’s descent to Earth is the message that anyone who has power has responsibility. This is the one message that those who are abusing power do not want to hear. The concept of stewardship had its home in India. Anyone who was a ruler in India had the responsibility of caring for every living entity. The intentional degradation of human beings for personal gain is simply wrong – despite its effectiveness as a means of rapidly acquiring wealth.
It is written that many of the greatest kings and queens and dynasties in India had a rule; that before they ate a meal, they would ring a bell. The bell meant if you are hungry, we have a kitchen open where you can come and eat. We are going to eat now, but we will not eat if you are hungry. Why? Not because of ideology, but because massive wealth and power is generally acquired on the backs of others. So, I would challenge any leaders of the world to ring a bell in your country and if no one is hungry, unsafe or uncared for, then you can have your dinner. You should listen carefully to what the Avatars and honorable ancient leaders have said is your responsibility as a so-called leader.
Daily Bell: Recommend some books and websites for further study, please.
Jeffrey Armstrong: Too many to mention, but if you go to my website, http://www.jeffreyarmstrong.com, I have made a list of useful people and sites, and I have personally given many lectures on these topics which reader’s can request. There are numerous sources of information on India and her ancient culture but the genuine teachers of her wisdom should all lead you back to the Vedic Library, grounding their opinions in that ancient wisdom.
Daily Bell: What is next for you? Where do you go from here?
Jeffrey Armstrong: Well, my goal is to reach a billion people with this knowledge that pushes for individual autonomy and empowerment in the most positive sense of those terms. I believe that a real problem is that good people who have good intentions often do not have the knowledge-tools necessary to give them a scope of vision and daily empowerment that will help them to implement the goodness and greatness that’s inside of them.
Even though the journey of life is cyclic and eternal, I believe we are here today at a sort of tipping point and that this point will be turned positively by autonomous and knowledgeable individuals who use their eternal free will to choose a universal view that is for the good of all. We don’t need more ignorant armies, better weapons or sadly victimized civilian populations. We need a large body of informed and compassionate citizens from diverse cultures and viewpoints. Humans, through non-violent enlightenment on many levels and subjects, can change the world. I am ever hopeful that this is possible. We do NOT need more technology, we need smarter technology and a less-is-more attitude (less debt, less waste, less violence) to build a sustainable future.
Daily Bell: Anything else you want to mention?
Jeffrey Armstrong: I always like to stress the importance of broadening the scope of one’s thinking to envision the idea that all the living entities on our planet have a right to be here, learning and growing happily. Be a philosopher and poet. Become broad-minded. Be local but don’t live in a small bubble of reality ignoring the larger world. Inform yourself. Try not to become a Darwinian human, believing only in the survival of the so-called strong or well-armed, try to become a feeling being, an empathic human feeling the pain of others and helping them where you can, to heal.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘the Supreme Being has provided enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.’ Certainly we know that not everyone will have the same amount as everyone else but surely a world can be built in which more people instead of less people have enough, and our children have a future not oppressed by waste, debt, propaganda and tyranny. The Hindu Vedic Dharma says that exploring ‘Inner Space‘ is much more important than exploring ‘Outer Space‘, while always hoping that all may be fed, protected and find peace within and in the world. Hari Om! May this knowledge bless all.
Daily Bell: Thank you for sharing your time so graciously. It has been most interesting.
Jeffrey Armstrong: Thank you for the opportunity.
Finally, after centuries of (western) deception, at least some people are talking sense. It must be disappointing for those who believe that “the British civilized us” and that perhaps include our esteemed Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh.
One reason why our education syllabus needs to be rewritten so that our children start knowing the truth from the beginning.
But then, if it is pre-Islamic, Hindu (or Vedic) glories, our secular historians are not much excited and our government believe that such truth is a threat to ‘communal harmony’.
Robin Bradley Kar
University of Illinois College of Law
October 18, 2010
Western Law and Western Civilization are often said to be parts of a distinctive tradition, which differentiates them from their counterparts in the “East,” and explains many of their special capacities and characteristics. On one common version of this story, as propounded by legal scholars such as Harold Berman, Western Civilization begins with a return to the texts of three more primordial traditions: those of ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel. The basic story that Western Civilization finds its origins in ancient Greek, Roman and Hebrew culture is, however, so familiar and so pervasive that it has rarely – until recently – been questioned in the West.
There is nevertheless a deep sense in which this story is incomplete, and even potentially misleading. This article – along with its sequels – argues that if we are genuinely interested in understanding our origins, in a way that will shed light on why the West has exhibited such distinctive capacities for large-scale human civilization and the rule of law, then the story we commonly tell ourselves starts abruptly in the middle, and leaves out some of the most formative (and potentially transformative) dimensions of the truth. Western Law and Western Civilization are not just the outgrowths of three particularly creative cultures, which straddled the transition from human prehistory into human history, and developed in either Southeastern Europe or the Near East. Rather, the West is descended from a much deeper cultural tradition, which extends all the way back to some of our first human forays out of hunter-gatherer modes of subsistence and into settled agricultural living. The tradition in question began not in Greece, Rome, or Israel, however, but rather in the Indus Valley – which is a region that spans the Northwestern portions of the Indian subcontinent. Our failure to know this about ourselves has limited our self-understanding in critical respects, and has prevented us from realizing useful aspects of our traditions – including, in some cases, aspects that make them work so well for large-scale human civilization.
In addition to arguing for this thesis, this article addresses some of its implications for the (1) legal origins literature, (2) comparative law, and (3) the promotion of development and the rule of law.
A perfect electoral system existed, inscriptions found in Uthiramerur reveal.
Photos: S. Thanthoni
OUTSTANDING DOCUMENT: The mantapa of the Vaikuntaperumal temple.
It may be hard to believe that nearly 1,100 years ago, a village had a perfect electoral system and a written Constitution prescribing the mode of elections. It was inscribed on the walls of the village assembly (grama sabha mandapa), which was a rectangular structure made of granite slabs. “This inscription, dated around 920 A.D. in the reign of Parantaka Chola, is an outstanding document in the history of India,” says Dr. R. Nagaswamy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, referring to Uthiramerur in Chingleput district.
“It is a veritable written Constitution of the village assembly that functioned 1,000 years ago,” Dr. Nagaswamy says in his book, “Uthiramerur, the Historic Village in Tamil Nadu.” The book, in both Tamil and English, has been published by the Tamil Arts Academy, Chennai.
Dr. Nagaswamy says: “It [the inscription] gives astonishing details about the constitution of wards, the qualification of candidates standing for elections, the disqualification norms, the mode of election, the constitution of committees with elected members, the functions of [those] committees, the power to remove the wrong-doer, etc…”
And that is not all. “On the walls of the mandapa are inscribed a variety of secular transactions of the village, dealing with administrative, judicial, commercial, agricultural, transportation and irrigation regulations, as administered by the then village assembly, giving a vivid picture of the efficient administration of the village society in the bygone ages.” The villagers even had the right to recall the elected representatives if they failed in their duty!
It has a 1,250-year history
Uthiramerur has a 1,250-year history. It is situated in Kanchipuram district, about 90 km from Chennai. The Pallava king Nandivarman II established it around 750 A.D. It did exist earlier as a brahmin settlement. It was ruled by the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Sambuvarayars, the Vijayanagara Rayas and the Nayaks. It has three important temples, the Sundara Varadaraja Perumal temple, the Subramanya temple and the Kailasanatha temple. Plans are under way for the conservation and restoration of the Kailasanatha temple, which is in ruins.
All the three temples have numerous inscriptions — those of the great Raja Raja Chola (985-1015 A.D.), his able son, Rajendra Chola and the Vijayanagar emperor Krishnadeva Raya. Both Rajendra Chola and Krishnadeva Raya visited Uthiramerur.
Uthiramerur, built as per the canons of the agama texts, has the village assembly mandapa exactly at the centre and all the temples are oriented with reference to the mandapa.
R. Vasanthakalyani, Chief Epigraphist-cum-Instructor and R. Sivanandam, epigraphist, both belonging to the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, said that while village assemblies might have existed prior to the period of Parantaka Chola, it was during his period that the village administration was honed into a perfect system through elections. “About 1,100 years ago, during the period of Paranataka Chola, Uthiramerur had an elected village panchayat system, which was a step ahead of the modern day democratic system,” she said.
According to Dr. Sivanandam, there were several places in Tamil Nadu where inscriptions are available on temple walls about the prevalence of village assemblies. These villages included Manur near Tirunelveli, Tiruninravur near Chennai, Manimangalam near Tambaram, Dadasamudram near Kanchipuram, Sithamalli and Thalaignayiru near Thanjavur, Jambai near Tirukovilur and Ponnamaravathy near Pudukottai. “But it is at Uthiramerur on the walls of the village assembly (mandapa) itself, that we have the earliest inscriptions with complete information about how the elected village assembly functioned,” said Dr. Sivanandam. It is learnt that the entire village, including the infants, had to be present at the village assembly mandapa at Uthiramerur when the elections were held, pointed out Vasanthakalyani. Only the sick and those who had gone on a pilgrimage were exempt.
The Tamil inscriptions elaborate on the election procedure followed several centuries ago.
There were committees for the maintenance of irrigation tanks, roads, to provide relief during drought, testing of gold and so on. Sivanandam himself has written a book in Tamil called, “The Archaeological Handbook of Kanchipuram district,” (published by the Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology in 2008) in which he says the original sabha mandapa’s superstructure was made of timber and bricks. After the superstructure collapsed and only the base of the mandapa made of granite slabs remained, Kulotunga Chola I built a Vishnu temple on the base towards the end of the 11th century.
The village sabha mandapa, with its invaluable inscriptions, is now called Vaikuntaperumal temple. Dr. Nagaswamy says: “The village assembly of Uttaramerur drafted the Constitution for the elections. The salient features were as follows: the village was divided into 30 wards, one representative elected for each. Specific qualifications were prescribed for those who wanted to contest. The essential criteria were age limit, possession of immovable property and minimum educational qualification. Those who wanted to be elected should be above 35 years of age and below 70…”
Only those who owned land, that attracted tax, could contest. Another interesting stipulation, according to Dr. Nagaswamy, was that such owners should have possessed a house built on legally-owned site (not on public poromboke). A person serving in any of the committees could not contest again for the next three terms, each term lasting a year. Elected members, who suffered disqualification, were those who accepted bribes, misappropriated others’ property, committed incest or acted against public interest.
India – The Mother of Western Civilization
An open letter to Mr. Rahul Gandhi.
published in http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/An-open-letter-Mr-Rahul-Gandhi/blog-395.htm
Dear Mr. Rahul Gandhi,
We know that you are no ordinary person. We have been repeatedly made aware that you are India’s uncontested Prince, the future Prime Minister of India, the perceived messiah of the Congress Party, the leader who is supposed to take India to the future, the quiet revolutionary who, it is felt, will be the king.
Being a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family, you are almost automatically credited for any successes of the Congress party in recent times, which could be even remotely connected to you. This includes the recent 2009 Loksabha Election, despite rising suspicions of misuse of EVM machines used in the elections.
Thus it is no surprise that you are the darling of the Indian media. Hardly a day goes by when your statement or picture fail to adorn the news or electronic media. Your spending a night at a Dalit’s house draws huge acclaim. Yours breakfast break at a local restaurant kitty party easily brings delight to our media.
The recently selected Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, perhaps in deep gratitude, perhaps even before he took his oath, went overboard to promise to make you the Prime Minister in 2014, with total disregard to our democratic electoral system. To be fair, one has to mention that at least, on the records, you have declared that you are not interested in PM’s post right now. However one cannot blame the Andhra CM, since even our esteemed ‘Mr. Clean amidst all scams and dirts’, ever-loyal Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh, himself a selected PM, had without hesitance, declared “I’ll make way for Rahul whenever the party calls for it“.
Thus it is not unexpected that you will start to feel invincible and assume that you have the right to give opinions, meant to mesmerize the Indian public. Perhaps your confidence is further hyper inflated by the coterie of followers and adulators that surround you and the so-called huge or massive rallies, organized by your party for you and boosted by descriptions in great flair, by the media
For a person, thrust on to the limelight as an MP and the AICC secretary, by virtue of your sole qualification of carrying the ‘Nehru-Gandhi’ gene, it is almost comical when you want to change the system of dynastic politics. You are quick to remind us of the supreme sacrifice that your father and your grandmother have done for the country but there are many Indians who will remember them equally, if not more, for their roles in some of the darkest episodes of our country, like the Emergency, the anti-Sikh riots, the Bofors scandal or the Bhopal tragedy.
And I do not want to embarrass you by dragging the many blunders of India’s first Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, who proudly claimed to be the last Englishman to rule India, from the 1962 Indo China war to Kashmir to declining the permanent seat at UN security council.
You seem to insist that only the Congress party could unite the “two Hindustans”- one for the rich and the other for the poor. One would like to know, if you have any clue as to who can claim the most for the making the ‘two India’. By now, you must be aware of the recent report which says that post-independence (1947-2008), India lost 462 billion dollars through tax evasion, crime and corruption and that India’s underground economy has been estimated to account for 50 percent of the country’s GDP – 640 billion dollars at the end of 2008. Perhaps you meant something different when you said that only poor can take India ahead but it sounds like a justification as to why Indians have been ‘deliberately’ kept poor even after over six decades of Independence.
Isn’t it ironic that your party keeps on renewing the slogan for Garibi Hatao every few years?
True it is none of your fault, but history says that India was under the reign of your family directly for 37 of those 62 years in question. Perhaps you may be gloating at times, as to how cleverly, even now, your mother continues to be the de-facto ruler of the country, controlling a Shikhandi Prime Minister, despite scams like Commonwealth games, Adharsh, 2G Spectrum popping up almost regularly.
Don’t you think that it is actually us, the Indian people, who sacrificed so much to accept your family in the power for such a long time?
Being portrayed as a young leader (perhaps to cover up for your naivety), you are frequently reported to have urged the youth to join politics. Perhaps you expected the Indian youth will automatically be like the servile, Congress coterie that surrounds you, but I hope after the incidences in Darbhanga, Bihar and Ahmedabad, Gujarat, you will have some second thoughts before taking them for granted and insulting their intelligence with baseless and biased opinions.
That should be a lesson for you just like the one you had, after you had accused the Bihar Chief Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar for not doing enough for the development of Bihar. The voters of Bihar made it very clear that they do not agree with you.
The voters also did not like the Congress style of politics in Gujarat as the results from the repeated Assembly elections and the recent Municipality elections proved. True to the Congress heritage of vote bank politics, you had tried to woo minorities by comparing Narendra Modi with Mao Zedong. Your mom, Sonia, once did the same mistake with her infamous ‘merchant of death’ phrase and had to pay the price.
If the actual news of the recent elections ever reaches you, penetrating the clout of sycophants and the shield of SPG guards, you should be aware that even the minorities are fed up with Congress’ minority appeasement policies. In the Gujarat zilla panchayat and municipal elections, Muslims in large percentage voted for Modi’s party and out of 247 Muslim candidates fielded by BJP, 118 were victorious. The same was true in Bihar where there is evidence to suggest that Muslims have voted in favour of the BJP-JD(U) alliance which won 40 of 51 assembly segments in seven minority concentrated districts of Bihar. If you are wondering why the Muslims ‘betrayed’ your party, Mr. Gandhi, then you should also know that according to the report of the UPA-appointed Sachar Committee, the per capita income of Muslims in Gujarat was the highest in the country and Muslims in Gujarat have the best education and highest bank accounts as compared to their counterparts in other states.
“The Congress has done nothing to improve the lot of the Muslims….” was the frustration of the president of the United Muslim Front Mr. Abu Qaiser, of Bihar.
The same sentiment was echoed by Babi Sama, a Muslim, BJP-elect. “A stage has now been reached where the development oriented initiatives of Narendra Modi are drawing the Muslim community towards the party……. both Hindus and Muslims desire development. When they see it happening, people are likely to be drawn towards the party behind it”.
The Gujarat state did not win the prestigious 2010 United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) for ‘Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Public Service’ without its merit. Despite efforts of being censored by mainstream media, you can still see the list of acclaims that the state and its leader have got.
That should be the message for you and your party, Mr. Gandhi. For too long, Indians have been fooled. They have been kept hungry and illiterate so that they are dependent on crumbs offered by the government and political parties, for the price of their vote. For generations, they have been promised ‘roti, kapada aur makan’ before every elections, but they received nothing but injustice, humiliation and disdain after that. You have asked the youth to come and join and change politics. But politics cannot be done when one is not sure of even two square meals a day.
India today is rising despite the government and its politicians. Indians are asking questions and demanding answers. Globalization has opened their eyes – they understand what they deserve, identify much better as to who can give them that and do not hesitate to throw away the rests. Ask the Lalus and the Mulayams of recent times, and they will verify that.
So instead of depending on cheap gimmicks like spending tax payer’s money on frugality tours with your convoy or comparing the nationalistic RSS with the banned extremist outfit, SIMI or actually glorifying Mao by comparing him with Narendra Modi, please do some introspection.
Here is a word or advice from an aam aadmi. Stop depending on the projection and protection by the Indian media for your success since the media has lost all its credibility. Instead connect directly to the public. Learn from the experience of your mom when she realized, albeit the wrong way, that ‘public sab jaanti hai’.
So do you want to start on some real developmental work on your own? How about starting from a small municipality ward in Amethi area?