Article

WHY SHOULD 'SATYARTH PRAKASH' BE STUDIED?

‘Satyarth Prakash’ is the master piece of the writings of Maharishi Swami Dyanand, who founded the institution named ’Arya Smaj’. Swami Dyanand was the first person in the modern era, who advocated the questioning spirit to know a thing as he realized the importance of logic in imbibing the spirit of a thing. In this direction, we must find out the logical answers to the questions- why did Swamiji write this book? What was the need to write this book? For obtaining answers to such questions, we must look at the background of making of this great master-piece. Around, 1850, when Swamiji left his home and went from one place to another in order to quench his thirst for ‘truth’, two major events took place in the international arena. First event was the immediate success in England of the theory of ‘socialism’ propounded by Karlmarx. Second event was invitation to Prof. Maxmuller by the University of Oxford for translation of Rigved in English towards facilitation of spread of Christianity in India. Indians had great respect for their sacred books-the vedas. Englishmen wanted someone to find out the shortcomings of the scriptures named vedas so that by telling out the shortcomings, faith of the Indians over their sacred vedas could be crumbled and teachings of the Christianity could be placed in the gap, so generated.

Karlmarx wanted this world to bring forth an institution, wherein there is total lack of favourtism of any sort. He wanted such an institution not to have any link, whatsoever, with God and religion. Karlmarx was of the view that it is because of God & religion that there is no equality in the society. As such, Karlmarx and his followers wanted to make a society where there is no God or His representative, no religion, no sacred book & the like. This was the first school of thought.

Unlike Karlmarx, Maxmuller was not a communist but a staunch Christian. Though, he liked Sanskrit, he did not have love for vedic culture. He did not find anything in whole of the vedic literature, which could be called better than the teachings of the Christianity.  He translated Rigved in English for fulfilling his objective of spread of Christianity in India. He wanted to bring out the shortcomings of the vedas so that Indians could know that vedic culture did not have anything worthwhile. The reason behind invitation of Prof. Maxmuller by British Govt. for translation of Rigved in English was to increase the political effect of Englishmen in India and thereby to establish the roots of the British Empire in India. This was the second school of thought of that time.

Besides these two schools of thoughts, certain people of India only, were trying for the spread of Islam by criticizing the Hindu religion. Though, some Hindus tried to give replies to these criticisms, they didn’t have a solid base to defend their philosophy. Also, at that time, western culture started penetrating Indian society at a good speed. Inventions of steam engine, rail, telegram etc. affected Indian life-style greatly.

In such backgrounds, Swami Dayanand entered the field. Swami Dayanand did not take birth in Europe, He did not know languages like English, Urdu, Pharsi etc. He had all his education in Sanskrit language. At that time, Sanskrit was considered a dead language and its study was done by the fellows, out of some sort of attachment towards this language without any thought of progressiveness. After coming of Islamic emperors, people of India started studying ‘Arabi’ & ‘Pharsi’ as all the Govt. work was carried in these languages. Deep study of Sanskrit literature was restricted to very limited centres. General public of India had lost its link with Sanskrit language. This language was resorted to only while carrying out certain religious rituals like marriage, cremation etc. After great ‘tapasaya’ of almost twenty years, Swami Dayanand realized that it was ‘vedic dharm’ only, which could conquer the onslaughts of ‘communism’, ‘Christianity’ & ‘Islam’ by bringing forth the truth of vedas before the Indian society.

Though, Christianity advanced in India because of wrong translation of Rigved done by Maxmuller but its spread was hurdled a lot by the truth of the vedas. Arya Smaj (Arya Smaj was founded by Swami Dayanand with the objective of spread of teachings of the vedas) told the people that it is possible to do away with ‘God’ but it is not possible to leave God and be moral at the same time.

 

MAKING OF ‘SATAYARTH PRAKASH’

‘Satayarth Prakash’ is a great book written by Swami Dayanand in Hindi, to pen down his thoughts. Writing of this book in Hindi, when mother tongue of Swami Dayanand was Gujrati language (Swami Dayanand was native of a small state of India named Gujrat), too, had an objective. Despite existence of many regional languages, 3\4 people of India can understand Hindi. Had this book been written in a regional language, not many people could have been benefitted by its thoughts For Hindi language, Swami Dayanand used the term ‘Arya language’. This term helped a lot in increasing the stature of this language. Previously, Swami Dayanand did not know Hindi. When Mr. Keshav of Brahamosmaj requested Swami Dayanand to use people’s language to reach out to them, Swami Dayanand, considering appropriateness of this suggestion, penned down his thoughts in the book ‘Satayarth Prakash’ in Hindi.

Though, this book contains explanation to many philosophical truths, it remains very very beneficial for general people too. This book consists of two parts. In the first part, besides giving logical explanation to many general beliefs of the Hindus, many philosophical truths regarding behaviour of man from inception of his life till end have been given. In the second part, it has been shown that how many religions / sects / beliefs, which exist in this country whether they (sects etc.) have taken birth in this country or abroad are away from logic (logic is a tool of science). In the end, swamiji has mentioned his beliefs and disbeliefs. In the introduction to this book, swamiji has written, “My very objective of writing this book is to bring forth real meanings of the true & false things, as truth means to speak, write and believe all the objects as they are i.e. to establish true things as ‘true’ and false things as ‘false’. A biased person concentrates himself in establishing false things of his own religion / sect / belief to be true and true things of another religion / sect / belief to be false. As such, a biased person can never know the truth. It is the duty of the learned fellows to bring forth the truth before the public through their speeches and writings. After that, it is upto the general public to grasp the truth out of that in accordance with their intellects. Every soul is capable of knowing the truth & untruth but because of his stubbornness, unknowledge & prejudice towards his particular beliefs, he fails to accept the truth and bends towards falsehood. Such things are absent in this book. Since, true teachings are the only source for development of mankind, this book contains only those things, knowing of which can enable a person to accept the truth and to leave the untruth. The purpose of this work is not to hurt & harm anyone.”

In the first part of this book i.e. in the first ten chapters, swamiji has advocated different vedic principles. From second to fifth chapters, swamiji explained as to how vedic princilples relate to man’s development from his birth till death. In the second part of this book, which comprises four chapters, swamiji has given a bird’s eye view of the principles of other religions / sects / beliefs, which are different from vedic dharm but exist in India. Hindu dharm is a mixture of unlike-things. When we talk of Hindu dharm, we do not mean specific principles. As such, it is very difficult, rather, impossible to define it logically. It does not have one worship-able deity, one method of worshipping, uniform rituals & uniform principles. Both animal killer and animal-saviour get fitted within the ambit of Hindu dharm. No doubt, such a plight is because of the unknowledge (opposite of knowledge) of the principles enshrined in the vedas. Now, somehow, the natives of this country are called ‘Hindus’. This book aims at telling of the true dharm of mankind as per vedas. Though, the truth of the vedas is not for any particular race or creed but people of this country, who believed the words of the vedas to be their dharm for lakhs of years, needed this truth to be unveiled. Because of spread of unpopularity of vedas among masses, there developed many sects with in the Hindu religion, having their beliefs opposite to those of vedas. In the eleventh chapter of this book, swamiji has shown that how these sects are away from truth. In the twelfth chapter of this book, swamiji took up the religions namely Charvak, Jainism and Bodhism, which, though, originated in this country, but were against the vedic principles. . In the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of this book, swamiji analysed, in brief, Christianity and Islam respectively. Both of these religions exist in India. The purpose of criticising these religions was to show how these religions are away from truth. Swamiji believed that these religions could flourish only because of unknowledge of the real swaroop (nature) of dharm.

 

FIRST CHAPTER

Because of inclusion of a lot of Sanskrit grammar, first chapter appears a little bit boring. In fact, this chapter forms the basis for understanding the further chapters in their spirit.  That time, like today, many gods were worshipped by Hindus. These gods were said to be 33 crores in number, though, nowhere there is a mention of the names of these gods. Many names of gods like Shiv, Vishnu, Brahma, Laxmi, Sarasavati etc. happen to be there in vedas also. On these basis, worshippers of these gods claimed their rituals to be in consonance with vedas. Swami Dayanand, for the first time, gave logical explanation of these names of gods supported by their grammatical roots. He answered the questions like who are gods, do they live at earth or somewhere out of earth (heaven) & do these gods refer to God or is God  different from gods? He established that use of the words like Shiv, Vishnu, Brahma, Laxmi, Sarasavati etc. in vedas refer to different qualities or attributes of the one God and these names do not mean different gods. Further, he proved that it is very much possible to explain a single thing by different words, where, these words refer to different qualities of the same thing. Because of unknowledge of this fact, Hindus created many gods and this became the basis of their idol worship.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-As God has many attributes, His names, too, are many.

-Personal name of God is AUM.

-Meaning of the word should be taken depending upon the context.

-That person is called great, who is great in his attributes, actions & nature. God is the greatest of all such great persons. There is & will be no one at par with God.

 

SECOND CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has given the vedic thoughts on education of children. Swamiji was of the view that education of a child starts months before his coming into the world. Personality of a child, besides owning his individuality, is very much affected by the bodily & mental health of his parents. As such, swamiji has written as to what sort of things should be eaten by the parents and what sort of thinking & behavioural pattern should be of the parents.

There are many wrong notions prevalent in the Indian society regarding birth of a child, which need be replaced by true ones. One such notion is- making of ‘janam patri (horoscope)’ of the child by the ‘future-tellers’ and on the basis of such ‘janam patri’, to make estimates of the future of the child. This type of thinking of the parents has increased the importance of future-tellers, who make money by playing with the feelings of the parents through making multi-colored ‘janam patri’ of the new born babies.

Besides these, there are wrong notions regarding ‘bhut’ & ‘pret’ in the Indian society, because of which, in many cases, when children are suffering from certain diseases, they are handed over to the persons claiming cures from ‘bhut’ & ‘pret’ instead of proper medication. Many children die because this type of notion of the parents. Accordingly, swamiji has advised the parents to beware of such selfish & money minded people.

All such type of shortcomings generate because of lack of proper education. Education aims at removing unknowledge (lack of knowledge) from the society. As such, swamiji has written that it is the duty of the ruler to arrange for proper education of the children and the parents, who do not make necessary provisions for education of their children should be penalized.

In the view of the swamiji, education of sons and daughters should be same.

 

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

- Child, whose parents are religious is very fortunate.

-All the celestial bodies including the Sun etc. are non-living like this Earth. These cannot do anything except giving light etc.

-‘Janam (birth)-patr (paper)’ should be named as ‘shok (grief)-patr’. Because when a child takes birth, every one becomes happy but this happiness gets converted into grief on listening about the effects of celestial bodies on the future of the child based on his ‘janam-patr’.

-Can anybody save one from death, laws of God and principles of ‘karmphal’ philosophy?

-The teachers & parents, who scold, criticise & beat their children or pupils for their betterment are actually their well-wishers in the true sense and the teachers & parents, who yield to all the demands of their children & pupils out of attachment destroy their future.

-To make their children physically & mentally strong, to make them good citizens and to educate them well is the only duty & dharm of parents.

-Parents & teachers should always give their children & pupils truthful teachings only. They should also advise them to imbibe their truthful qualities & behaviour and at the same time discard their untruthful qualities & behaviour.

 

THIRD CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji mentioned the sequence in which education should be imparted. Vedas divide lifespan of man (assuming life of man to be 100 years) into four parts-each part consisting of 25 years. In the first part of life i.e, up to 25 years of life, called as ‘brahamcharya ashram’, one should concentrate wholly on obtaining education, generally of spirituality and specifically of the field, in which one wants to go in the future. Swamiji has a given an exhaustive list of the books, studying of which should be avoided. Instead of vedas, those books of Sanskrit were taught to the children, which were full of untruth. Considering education to be a great mean to achieve the ultimate goal, swamiji has advised that one should leave or be indifferent to the books, which contain unnecessary information.

In those times, only those children, whose parents were financially weak enough to afford English schools, were sent to Sanskrit schools with the main objective of getting free food & books. Why to expect increase of pride of Sanskrit from such students? Sanskrit was considered a dead language. It did not have any relation with the day to day life of people. Scholars of Sanskrit language were considered fools. Such sort of mentality among people helped western cultures to get established in India and Indian youth, because of absence of knowledge of vedic culture, became mental slaves of western cultures, which, soon, gripped their bodies too.

In this chapter, swamiji tried to break these shackles and showed the greatness of vedic culture. It should not be considered that swamiji was against modern inventions but he told the people that inventions of ‘Aryas’ were really great. Today, people are proud of their learnedness and consider ancient cultures to be backward. Swamiji changed this thinking and established that ancient vedic culture was not a thing to be looked down upon. There is a mention of aeroplanes, ships etc. in ancient Indian literature. Swamiji was of the view that individual’s mental development is the base of his all sorts of developments. As such, he laid great emphasis on education.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-It is the main task of the parents, teachers & relatives to make their children wear the ornaments of true education.

-As the impurities of elements like gold etc. are destroyed by fire, in the same way, impurities of ‘Man’ & senses are destroyed by the practice of ‘pranayam’ (grossly, pranayam may be referred to breathing exercises).

-To study the books written by rishis is like finding valuable pearls in each dive.

-We should study the books written by rishis for the reason that these person were very learned, knowledgeable and soul-realisers.

-A person, who does not believe in vedas, is called atheist.

-If a man or woman is learned but his / her spouse is unkowledgeable, then there can never be happiness between them.

-It is the duty of the king to see that every boy and girl of his kingdom follows the rules of brahamcharya and gets true education.

-Out of donation of the items like food, water, clothing, gold, pearls etc., the donation of knowledge of vedas is supreme.

-‘Yam’ is divided into five parts, namely, ‘ahinsa’ (leaving ill-will), ‘satya’ (to think, speak & act truthfully), ‘astey’ (not to sreal through ‘Man’ or senses), ‘brahamcharya’ (control of sexual senses), & ‘aprigrah (not to pile up things)

-‘Niyam’, also, is divided into five parts, namely, shouch (physical & mental cleanliness), ‘santosh’ (contentment), ‘tap’ (cheerfully bearing the problems coming on the path of righteousness), ‘swadhaya’ (study of both spiritual and physical sciences) & ‘ishwarpranidhan’ (surrendering every possession & every act to God).   

-One, who follows ‘niyam’ leaving the practice of all the parts of ‘yam’, cannot progress.

 

FOURTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has given education regarding second part of life i.e, from 25 years to 50 years, called as ‘grihasatha ashram’ (married life). He has talked of the duties of the persons entering this ashram. As we have been brought up by our parents, in the same way, we, too, are indebted to take care of our children. We are duty bound, on coming of our turn, to give the society the best of our heirs as its members. Children act as a link between past and future. The best way to make a good future is to fill all the best qualities of our forefathers into our children.

At the time of swamiji, the institution of marriage had deformed a lot. Even the children of 3-4 years used to get married. Because of high mortality rate among children, the number of children, whose spouses had met with death, ran into crores. Such a practice affected not only the lives of these children but also the social health. Swamiji established through the evidences of vedas that marriage of children is a sin. The Hindus had the notion that the parents, who do not marry their daughters before the age of 12 years go to hell. Swamiji was very much against this practice. He advised that men before the age of 25 years and women before the age of 16 years should not be married. With certain conditions, he favoured the remarriages of men and women, whose spouses have died.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-If ‘in laws’ of a person reside at a far off place, then, it is better.

-For women, period between 16-24 years of age is good for marriage. For men, period between 25-48 years of age is good for marriage.

-In a family, where wife from her husband and husband from his wife remain happy, pleasure and peace stay forever.

-It is written in vedas that ‘brahmanas’ (highest category in a society) should marry only once.

-If there is no practice of marriage, then all the values of married life will get destroyed.

-Whosoever, speaks ill of married life, should be disrespected and whosoever, speaks well of married life, should be respected.

-It is good, if men and women choose their life-partners on their own. If marriage is arranged by the parents, even then, it should not be against the willingness or happiness of the concerned men and women. This way, minimum opposition is met and better children take birth.

-Out of the people, who have taken birth in a high category of the society, only those people should be considered in the high category, who behave with knowledge and detachment and those, who have taken birth in a lower category but act with knowledge and detachment should, also, be placed in the high category. Accordingly, if a person, who has taken birth in a high category of the society, acts or behaves with unknowledge and attachment should be considered in the lower category.

 

FIFTH CHAPTER

As per vedic varn system, the society is categorized into four segments namely brahamanas, kshatriyas, vaishayas, & shudras depending upon interests of its members. After categorizing the society as per varn system, vedas divided the life-span of man (assuming life-span of man to be hundred years) into four segments, called ashrams, of 25 years each namely, brahamcharya (in the first 25 years of life, everyone is required to obtain knowledge of God, soul & prakriti in general and specifically of the occupation he intends to carry in his later years), grihastha (from 25 years to 50 years of life, the persons eligible for marriage are required to lead a married life), vanprastha (after 50 years one is required to go to the forests and lead a life of non-attachment till the time, he is ready to go in the next ashram) & sanyas (The persons of this segment are required to dedicate rest of their lives in the quest of God). In this chapter, swamiji has mentioned about the duties of vanprastha ashram & sanyas ashram. No doubt, life of man is wrapped in attachment of world. Without this attachment, worldly affairs cannot exist. For development, man should have attachment but not attachment in isolation but attachment with knowledge. Grossly, we can say that generation of sacrificing spirit refers to generation of development of ‘attachment with knowledge’. In sanyas ashram, the sacrificing spirit reaches its peak. To run the world, both attachment and sacrificing spirit are needed i.e. in other words, we can say that our attachment with the world should not be such, which can force us to cling with the world. The presence of sacrificing spirit enables man not to have grief over death. In vanprastha ashram, one leaves his home and almost ends his family relations. Leaving home etc. are some of the methods for enhancing the sacrificing spirit.

            Certain wrong notions exist among the people in respect of these ashramas. Some people believe that all the persons should move from one ashram to the next in accordance with age. But these ashramas are like educational classes. As one is not authorised to move in the higher class until & unless, he has passed his lower class, in the same way one should not move in the higher ashram without getting eligibility for entering in that ashram. First ashram i.e. brahamcharya ashram is necessary for everyone. In the next ashram i.e. grihastha ashram, only those persons should enter, who are eligible to marry. In the next ashram i.e. vanprastha ashram, only those persons, who have been successful in learning the sacrificing spirit in the previous ashram. In vanprastha ashram, learning of this sacrificing spirit is improved further. In sanyas ashram, only those persons should enter, who have successfully developed in them the feeling of detachment in their previous ashramas. Some people raise the question that when grihastha ashram is an ashram for enjoyment of worldly affairs, then how can it be the preparation ground for vanprastha ashram i.e. sacrifice- ashram. Actually, there are lots of opportunities for development of sacrificing spirit in grihastha ashram. When one marries, he divides all his possessions with his wife. On begetting children, he shares his possessions with his children also. In vanprastha ashram, whole of the efforts are for improving this sacrificing spirit.

            Only that person should enter in sanyas ashram, who considers whole of this world as his family. He is concerned about the whole of the world & directs all his actions for the welfare of the whole universe. As it is a very difficult ashram, all are not allowed to enter it. Only the brahamanas should go in this ashram. Here, brahamanas mean the persons, who are very learned & whose behaviour is rich in ethics. Sanyasis (persons, who have moved into sanyas ashram) are equivalent to teachers. As in a school, the number of teachers is very less than the number of students, in the same way in a society, the number of sanyasis should be very less. It is seen that in a society, where the number of sanyasis is proportionately more, this condition becomes the reason of more unknowledge among sanyasis. As grihasthis (persons, who have moved into grihastha ashram) are duty bound to fulfil all the bodily requirements of sanyasis, sanyasis in such a condition lose their respect among grihasthis. These days, many criminals adopt the disguise of sanyasis in order to be at large from law. Also, many sanyasis are in the habit of taking drugs.     

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-The day, one gets the feeling of detachment in his mind, he should enter into sanyas ashram.

-One, who has not left bad behaviour, whose ‘Man’ is not at peace & who has not accepted the path of ‘yog’, cannot realise God even after entering sanyas ashram.

-Only that person, who is the greatest among the all the varnas or in other words only that person, who is learned, religious & thinks of the welfares of all is eligible to be a sanyasi.

-If a non-eligible person enters sanyas ashram, then not only he himself goes into darkness but also takes others alonwith him.

-Sanyasi is one, who inspires others to move on the path of righteousness by himself moving on that path.

 -One, who cannot leave sensual pleasures should not enter into sanyas ashram, but why should not one, who can control his senses, enter into sanyas ashram?

 

SIXTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has talked about the correct way of ‘ruling’ over a state. In the world, we find many types of rulings. At one place, king’s powers are limited, at another place, there is no king at all, still at some other places, the king has unlimited powers. Swamiji is in favour of a system, where powers of a king are limited by ‘dharm’. He cannot do whatever he wants. In this system, the ‘ruler’ is controlled by the ‘ruled’ and the ‘ruled’ are controlled by the ‘ruler’. For an ideal ‘rule’, swamiji has talked of three types of assemblies. Swamiji is of the view that ‘ruled’ is able to control the ‘ruler’ to the extent of his knowledge i.e. higher is the level of knowledge of the ‘ruled’, the better is the control over the ‘ruler’.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-‘Ruled’ follow the ‘ruler’. As such, the ruler and the concerned bureaucrats should never do any type of bad behaviour. But they should set examples to be followed by the ‘ruled’ by behaving perfectly in accordance with ‘dharm’.

-A kingdom progresses as long as its members behave in accordance with ‘dharm’ and it gets destroyed on becoming of its members unjust or unethical.

 

SEVENTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has mentioned about the attributes of God and the way of providing knowledge to mankind by God through vedas. Since, a thing is known by its attributes, only if there is unanimous understanding of the attributes of a thing, same meaning can be drawn from the name of that thing. But, in case of God, people fail to accept this rule. In almost all the religions of today existence of God is believed but, there happens to be no unanimity as to the attributes of God. In the absence of unanimity of the qualities or characteristics of God, the belief in God becomes meaningless and it has led to quarrels in religious forums. Swamiji, in this chapter, has clarified as to who are gods? , what do they mean? & what is the difference between gods & God? He believes God to be formless. In this respect, his view is different from that of all other sects. He has clearly mentioned that if God is accepted with a form, then a lot of difficulties will arise and it would be impossible to resolve them. Attributes of a formless thing can never appear in a thing with a form. The attribute of omnipresence could be there in God only if, He is considered formless. If God is accepted with a form, then His presence will have to be accepted at one particular place. Here, in this chapter, swamiji has resolved many issues concerning God. He has answered the questions like-is God with a form or formless? , is God all-powerful or not? , is God all-pervasive i.e. omnipresent or lives at a particular place? , can God assume form? , can any change occur in God? , is God kind or just or both?. Swamiji established through mantras of vedas that God is formless, unchangeable, without body, eternal & kind.

Today, poranic Hindus believe in incarnation of God. Swamiji has mentioned that by believing in incarnation of God, we have to accept that God, too, suffers all sorts of pains like souls. Moreover, why should God take birth? In poranic literature, we find the stories, wherein it has been shown that God had to take birth in a human body to do a certain task like killing of some bad person. Swamiji has established that when God is the creator of bodies of all persons, then He is more powerful than such persons. When He can create their bodies without taking birth, then why can He not destroy those bodies without taking birth?

Swamiji considers vedas to be words of God. In this chapter, swamiji has answered many queries regarding vedas like-what is ved? , when & how did they come into light? , how could non-giving of knowledge by God through vedas been unjust? , are they lighted every time on creation of universe? , who were bestowed with the vedas in the beginning? , why only particular persons leaving the others were bestowed with this knowledge? Though in poranic dharm, there is great respect for vedas but in their belief, all the Upanishads, all the Purans, Ramayan, Mahabharat etc. too are called vedas but swamiji mentioned that only the books named, Rigved, Yajurved, Atharv Ved & Samved are vedas.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-God is the most superior of all the gods for the reason that He is the creator, maintainer, destroyer, justice-doer and master of this whole universe.

-If God lives at one place, He cannot be omniscient, all-pervasive, creator, maintainer and destroyer of the universe.

-God is formless. Had He been with form, He would not have been omnipresent. Had He not been omnipresent, He would not have been omniscient.

-Praising God develops love for Him and inspires man to make his nature like God. Praying develops a feeling that there is a higher entity than souls. It generates enthusiasm and a feeling that there is a helper. Communion realises God.

-Knowing refers to understanding the things as they are.

-An uncivilized person cannot become learned on his own but can become learned on having a teacher. In the same way, if God had not taught the rishis, in the beginning of the universe and rishis had not further taught the same to their pupils, then man would have remained unknowledgeable.

 

EIGHTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has resolved a very philosophical question, which is not even mentioned in many sects. The question is- is God only the existent entity or are there other entities too, in addition to God? If, it is said that besides God, no other entity exists, then what to say of the things, which we experience in our day to day life. For example, is our own existence imaginary? If, it is taken to be true, then, without real existence how could our imaginary existence become possible and if our existence is imaginary, then what is the need of ‘dharm’? If there is only one entity named God, then the other entities must have originated from God or from nothing?

The concept of creation of the Suns, the Earth, other celestial bodies, air etc. out of nothing is very illogical. We cannot think of a tree without a seed, bread without flour etc. Even today, there are many things like clouds, minerals etc., which are made by God but all these things do not come out of nothing, though we are not able to see the things out of which, they are made. This way, we see in the world that every effect has a cause or reason. If we consider that other entities have originated from God, then, there is no logical answer as to why the other entities were created or what was the cause of their creation? If we consider God to be able to do anything i.e. creation of effect without a cause, then such a God happens to be a bundle of weaknesses.

In this chapter, swamiji has resolved the issues like what is this universe, why was the universe created, what is the end result of this universe etc.? If, we do not answer these questions, then we cannot justify the attributes of God. If an atheist asks for evidence of existence of God, then in an answer to this question, one will say that existence of God gets automatically proved by creation of universe. It is similar to the advocation that without carpenter, chair cannot be thought of. If entity of God would have been imaginary, then, how could existence of this universe been real.

Existence of universe is not imaginary but is very real. It has not been created accidentally. Actually, we use the word ‘accidental’, where we are unable to explain something. There are living as well as non-living things in the universe. Above, we have established that living things i.e. souls cannot be created by God. As for as, non-living things are considered, they are neither created by God nor by souls. When the word ‘creation’ is used with respect to this universe, then actually we mean ‘transformation’. By creation of world, we mean manifestation in the current form of previously present nature.  Matter or prakriti or nature is eternal. Manifestation of prakriti is called ‘creation of universe’ and non-manifestation of prakriti is called ‘dissolution of universe’

It is not one time act of God as is considered in other religions or sects. There is an unending chain of creation of universe and its dissolution. In other words, it is also said that flow of prakriti or nature is eternal. There is a definite purpose behind creation of universe and this purpose is welfare of souls.

Now, the question arises as to how it is possible that controller (God) as well as controlled (souls & prakriti) are beginningless & endless. ‘Controlling’ is in no way connected with ‘beginninglessness & endlessness’. The terms ‘beginningless & endless’ refer only to time. For ‘controlling’, two other things namely, power and knowledge are needed. Less powerful and less knowledgeable are controlled by more powerful and more knowledgeable. God is very very knowledgeable and very very powerful than souls and in this sense He is said to be ‘controller’ of souls. As regards prakriti or nature, it is completely knowledgeless and as such, it is partially controlled by souls and fully controlled by God.

Existence of everything refers to time, place and certain characteristics, it owns. As mentioned earlier, the terms ‘beginningless & endless’ refer only to time and not to characteristics. When we say that a tree exists, it automatically means that it exists in a particular period of time & at a particular place. A thing, which exists at no point of time & at no place is considered to be non-existent.

Prakriti and souls are objects of the act of ‘creation’ and not means of ‘creation’. This universe is created by God’s personal power. Prakriti is not anything outside God. As such, by accepting prakriti & souls to be beginningless & endless, God in no way becomes dependent on these (prakriti & souls). If we say that ‘A’ eats bread by his teeth, then ‘A’ is dependent on the teeth not on the bread, which is an ‘object’ of ‘A’s’ action.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

 -As natural characteristic of eyes is to see, similarly, God’s natural characteristic is to create world for providing innumerable things to souls for their welfare.

-As it is impossible to have vegetation without earth, to have rainfall without clouds etc., in the same way it is impossible to have effect without cause.

-The reason of making of a thing is said to be its ‘cause’, a thing, which is so produced is said to be the ‘effect’ and the thing responsible for bringing the change from ‘cause’ to ‘effect’ is called the ‘doer’.

 

NINTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has explained ‘bondage’ and ‘freedom from this bondage or mukti’.

All the religions claim that one can be free from the bondage of birth & death by following their principles but these religions do not clearly mention as to what ‘mukti’ is. Generally, there is a notion that the persons, who attain ‘mukti’, go to heaven, and the persons, who do not attain ‘mukti’ go to a place called hell. In heaven which is a place separate from the place, where we live in, there is no pain & everything becomes available without any effort. Similarly, hell is a place, where the inhabitants have to undergo very very painful living. First of all, swamiji has mentioned that heaven & hell are not geographical places. He says that heaven is enjoyment of worldly pleasures and likewise hell is suffering from worldly pains. In every worldly pleasure, there is an element of pain, inherent in that pleasure and in every pain, there is some element of pleasure. But ‘mukti’ is such a condition, where there is no scope for any sort of pain. Whole of this thing can be understood through an example. There are three states of existence---awake-stage, dream-stage and dormant-stage. In the awake-stage, we enjoy both worldly pleasures and worldly pains as pleasure received from eating sweets and pain received from diseases. In the dream-stage, we are not directly linked with worldly objects but we enjoy pleasure & pain in this state because of memory. But in the dormant-stage, we enjoy pleasure only, without any shadow of pain. For example, after taking a deep sleep, we say that we have enjoyed the sleep. This pleasure is enjoyed by birds and animals too but for a short span of time i.e. during deep-sleep only. This pleasure is similar to that of ‘mukti’. This pleasure is not only absence of griefs but also has an existence of its own. ‘Mukti’ is not a miracle of any kind. All the prevalent religions have provided shortcuts for attaining ‘mukti’ instantaneously. Development of soul is very gradual. Leaving bad habits, acquiring good habits, going into appropriate environment & avoiding bad environment cannot be accomplished in a short span of time. This can be realized by taking the example of one’s own self. Even acquiring a little knowledge takes a lot of time & effort. A well-known modern scientist, Newton said, “Standing on the shore of a sea, I kept collecting the shells, whereas ocean of knowledge was in front of me but I could not have a dip in that”. Greatest knowledge of a learned fellow is the realization that he does not know anything. In these conditions, for attaining ‘mukti’ a number of human-births are required. For attaining ‘mukti’, one is required to clean various blots of his life, which have stained it from time to time, besides avoiding further blots. In this sequence, principle of rebirth, too, has been discussed.  

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-As cutting of root destroys a tree, in the same way, leaving sins destroys griefs.

 

TENTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has discussed general behaviour of man like what should be eaten, what should not be eaten, how one should behave with others etc. In this chapter, there is a mention of generally those bad habits, which were prevalent in Hindu society in that time. This chapter does not deal with any deep philosophical issues but many bad traditions have been talked of. Swamiji has mentioned that only healthy things should be eaten. Unhealthy things earned through rightful means and healthy things earned by unrighteous means should not be eaten. Taking of meat, whisky etc. have been discussed. In those times, Hindus used not to go in foreign countries for business etc. because of the notion that if Hindus take food, cooked by non-Hindus, they fall from their religion. Swamiji has mentioned that such a notion is wrong. He cited that history evidences that in olden times ‘aryas’ used to go to other countries for businesses. The only thing to be taken care of is cleanliness.

WORDS OF SWAMIJI

-It is wrong to say that Hindus (natives of Aryavartta) fall from their religion by going to other countries. If ethics like speaking the truth etc. are followed, then one does not fall from his religion, wherever he may stay but if ethics are not followed,then, one does fall from his 'dharm'  even while being in this country.

Generally, swamiji is criticised for speaking against other religions but in the first section of his book consisting of ten chapters, he has done nothing but shown the true ‘swaroop’ (nature) of vedic religion. Sects, prevalent in those times had covered the truth of vedic religion. As such, it became essential to talk of them too. The analytical criticism of other religions prevalent in Aryavartta has been done in the second section of this book, which comprises four chapters only.

 

ELEVENTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has criticised various sects developed in Aryavartta, which call themselves as Hindus. Because of existence of opposite beliefs in Hinduism, it is very difficult to define it. A person, who believes in God, vedas, castes, idol-worship is Hindu and a person, who does not believe in God, vedas, castes, idol-worship is also called Hindu. This happens because of non-knowledge of the basic concepts of Hinduism. In the first ten chapters, swamiji explained these basic concepts of Hinduism, enshrined in vedas. Here, swamiji discussed the beliefs prevalent in Hindus on the ground, which is the real base of Hinduism. For his purpose, he divided the Hindus on the basis of notions, prevalent in them.

  1. There is a notion among certain Hindus that ‘dharm’ changes with the period i.e. a practice, which was said to be dharm in 'satyug' (time is divided in satyug, tretayug, dwaperyug and kalyug) is not dharm in 'kalyug'. Swamiji says that dharm, which are practices like speaking the truth, doing service to the needy, avoiding bad habits etc. cannot be dependent on time and place and accordingly, what was dharm in 'satyug' will remain dharm in 'tretayug', 'dwaperyug' and 'kalyug' also.
  2. Incarnation- Swamiji establishes that God is formless, changeless & without a body. In support of his view, he has given word-evidences of vedas. Some people believe that since God is all powerful, he may or may not assume form or body. This notion has developed for not understanding the actual meaning of the term ‘all-powerful’. Changefulness of a thing is a mark of its weakness. If a thing changes for some internal reasons, then we will have to accept that there is some sort of weakness or incompleteness in that thing, because of which ‘change’ became necessary. If the change is for some external reasons, then we will have to accept that there is some external entity, which is more powerful than that thing.
  3. Idol-worship-As God is formless, there cannot be any picture, sculpture etc. of God. Idols of gods are totally imaginary and came into existence for not understanding the meaning of ‘gods’.
  4. ‘Peers’ & Graves-In various times, there existed many sacred souls (called ‘Peers’ in Islam), who spread morals among people and saved the people from many bad habits & tendencies but after death of these great souls, people started worshipping their graves or memorials (smadhis). Many sects originated in the names of these great souls.
  5. Brahamosmaj-Followers of Brahamosmaj were generally literate persons but they did not have any respect for this country & its culture. This organisation piled up good principles of many religions and prepared a bunch of flowers. Swamiji was against such a thought pattern. Flowers of the bouquet are plucked from their plants, finishing the very relationship of theirs with the roots. Swamiji was in favour of accepting the flowers with their respective roots only.
  6. Nationalism- Swamiji considered gratefulness to be the base of dharm. A person, who is not grateful to his nation and does not serve his motherland cannot be expected to serve the universe. Service to the motherland is a definite step towards service of the world.
  7. History of India-There is a general notion among certain people that India has always been ruled by foreigners or foreign countries. But in the end of this chapter, swamiji proved this notion wrong by giving a long history mentioning the names of the kings & period of their ‘rules’.

 

TWELFTH CHAPTER

In this chapter, swamiji has criticised three more religions, which developed in Aryavartta like Hindu religion, but, which are not counted in Hindu religion. Out of them, one is Charvak. Charvak’s beliefs are-there is no God, there is no need of accepting God & life originate in this universe by mixing of one element with the other. The followers of this religion believe that as alcohol produces sedative effect, in the same way, when different elements of prakriti combine with one another, life originates. These people, although very less in numbers do not believe in souls & God. They are of the view that as long as one lives, he should arrange for maximum of his pleasures in one way or the other, since, after death, one loses his existence forever. This can be called atheism.

Morals need a strong base like existence of souls & God. It is a fact that simple day to day affairs cannot be accomplished without a certain degree of ethics. All the worldly affairs will come to a halt if people behave untruthfully in their matters. For example, let’s consider a case of hiring a rickshaw. In this simple case of our day to day affair, hire charges fixed are adhered to by both the parties without any hitch. These simple ethics are nothing but a part of dharm. As such, we can say that individuals cannot live without accepting the existence of God. 

2          Bodh Religion- This religion does not believe in God and His words. Though, this religion took birth on this land but today, the number of its followers in India is very less. In Myanmar, Thailand, China etc. we find the existence of this religion. As such, Swamiji has given only a glimpse of the principles of this religion.

3          Jain Religion-Both Bodh religion and Jain religion took birth in India almost at the same time. Like Bodh religion, this religion, too, does not believe in God and His words. This religion has not moved out of this land like Bodh religion but its followers in India are very few. The followers of this religion do not make available their literature to the persons of other religions. The base of Jain religion is considered to be ‘Ahinsa’ (not bringing pain to anyone). Actually ‘ahinsa’ refers to not giving pain to others and also not allowing others to give pain to oneself. Vedic concept of ahinsa is creating an atmosphere, wherein no one intends to give pain to others. But punishing the guilty is not considered against ‘ahinsa’ in vedic culture. Taking incomplete meaning of the term ‘ahinsa’ has been one of the major causes of deterioration of Hindus. With respect to Jain religion, too, Swamiji has given only a glimpse of the principles of this religion. 

 

THIRTEENTH & FOURTEENTH CHAPTER

In these chapters, swamiji has criticised Islam and Christianity, which were not born in Aryavartta. For centuries, these religions have criticised vedic religion. Though, these religions could not secure much ground in India but their influence is evident in political & cultural fields. Unlike the followers of Bodh & Jain religions, the life style of the followers of these religions is very different from that of Indians. Christians used their political power and deceitfulness to convert Hindus in their religion. In this direction, they gained certain success in south India. But despite their herculean efforts, number of Christians in India is not too much.

            In thirteenth chapter, swamiji has criticised Islam and in fourteenth chapter, swamiji has criticised Christianity in a symbolic way. He has discussed certain portions of Bible and Kuran. The persons, who will compare the principles of these religions with that of vedic religion will be able to know the truth. Swamiji’s purpose was only to stop the flow of these religions and to provide the Hindus, the base of their own religion. He believed that only vedic dharm can meet the condition of trueness in all times & places. Swamiji wanted to throw light on many philosophical & non- philosophical principles of vedic dharm by writing this book so as to enable man to know the ultimate truth.

            In the end of this book, swamiji has written his beliefs and non-beliefs. A reader understands the book better, if he is able to know the ultimate views of the writer on the different concepts, discussed at large in the book.

-Thoughts of Gangaprasad Upadhaya