Cycles of Time and the History of Root Races

by Prof. Asiananda

Part 1

Two Aberrations in the unbroken Indic Civilizational Convergence

The Fundamental Unity of the subcontinent I believe is as much enduring and eternal as the beginninglessness and endlessness of its Civilization. Mother India embraces all her children as she has embraced the Aryans and the Dravidians; such a fusion was definitely also under way between Hinduism and Islam, ergo also between-them-both and the West progressively under the Raj; it was consummating under the Mughals after Akbar the Great and his successors; Akbar's great grandson Dara Shikoh was as much a syncretic Indian as say Nehru was one source of the Indo -European studies was the Upanishads Dara Shikoh translated to Persian which reached Paris in 1775 giving Western scholars clue about the inter- connectedness of Avestha and Sanskrit, elaborated further below - but Shah Jahan's succession went not to his favourite and chose DARA but to the fanatical Aurangzeb whose re-islamization put the clock back by centuries to the early Sultanate times. This was a historical regression that destroyed much of the promise and fulfilment of the seven centuries of Indo-Islamic civilizational cycle [elaborated in my Post-vedic Megacycle] and represents a fundamental reversal of the converging trend of Indian history and its fundamental unity. And an equally gigantic reversal or regression " the second aberration " was to repeat when the nineteenth century consensus of the Raj and its method of constitutional evolution which the Congress upheld till the coming of the Gandhian era was reversed, the Gandhi-Jinnah personality conflict was blown up to be the nationality conflict, and the possibly glorious Indo-British civilizational cycle ended in such bitterness, bloodshed and partition of what would t ruly have emerged the subcontinental home, the Commonwealth of South Asia, the Indo-Islamic-Western civilizational convergence of history.

A thousand years of enslavement under the Muslim and British rule has so deeply wounded the Hindu psyche that it has still not stopped bleeding. But we should not fail to differentiate their ruling principle: the first the Muslim left no other option but to be converted or be enslaved/killed, the other the Brit was bound by his belief: that all men are created equal. He upheld the idea of Freedom, equality, impartiality of justice, the values of humanism and liberalism vindicating in such a way the he co-founded the Indian National Congress and elected an Indian in the House of Commons as early as 1892! with a free and sovereign British constituency voting for him in majority. The difference is gigantic: Islam ruled on the right of its conquest and the right of enslaving the conquered, the Brit also ruled India on the same right but subconsciously and consciously recognized the sacredness and ancient glory of a fallen civilization and wanted to rule it as a trust reposed on them to be given back in due time. They certainly treated Indians as collaborators and participants not as the enslaved and victimised and saw the purpose of British rule as preparing the Indians for the same freedom which was theirs and is inalienable to every human. The Indian side gratefully accepted, the Raj by and large was an enterprise of consensus of the rulers and the ruled until the Gandhian era. If Gandhi had gone with his non-cooperation against say Aurangzeb he would forthwith have been hanged and put to show at Chadni Chowk! Gandhi succeeded because the British sympathies were with him, i.e. India's Freedom; what they did in 1942 after Quit India at the worst hour of their history and when the Japanese army stood at the Indian border, they could have done to Gandhi and our Freedom movement also in 1920 and 1930! India the Brit unconditionally admitted had a moral right to her Freedom; this was totally out of question for the Muslim to admit: this is what fundamentally differentiates the Islamic and British periods of Indian history.

Gandhi simply made capital out of this civility: non-violence was but a strategy that ensured his supremacy of the Congress, he knew the imperative of driving the Brits out and gaining India's freedom on "the right of conquest", as was finally tried in 1942 at the Quit India, and miserably failed. India's freedom is not re-conquered, it was what the Brits left behind in their goodness, and the partition was a result; if we are not willing to honestly analyse and sort out historical truths, we will have to create alibis like the "myth of the Aryan invasion theory" in the act of self-justification. It is a prima facie fact that the unity of India and its constitution functions on the legacy left behind by the Brits, until they pulled out they spoke alone of a "United India", partition was voted in by Congress on 3 June 1947.

The British who ruled India were motley opposing groups as it was in democracies the world over now. The East India Company cared for nothing but the returns of its profit, the Parliament resisted and ruled that the company possessions in India belonged not to the merchants but to the Crown, and subjected the Company under numerous Charter Acts and India Acts beginning with the 1773 Regulating Acts and 1883 Pitts India Acts; in India itself the interests of the Orientalists, the Evangelists, the Utilitarians, the Administrators who toed the Whig or Tory lines clashed. The Company was anti-christian and anti-missionary, the late eighteenth century administrators who were inclined to an Indian way of life and often had Indian mistresses, were swayed by Orientalism; William Jones pioneered the founding of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (1784) and Governor General Wellesley the Fort William College (1800) for promoting education in native languages and legal systems. It was out of the sheer logic and compulsions of the 1832 Reform Bills and the Slavery Emancipation Acts passed in the British Parliament and the reformist campaigns of the leading Indians of the time like Raja Ram Mohan Roy that India was also pushed on to the same reform course. Accordingly Macaulay's famous Minutes on Education that opted for English language for India and his equally erudite and enduring "Indian Penal Code" that abolished the separate legal jurisdictions for Hindus Muslims and Westerns laying the foundations for the common citizenship later became the law of the land. Though the abolition of the Shariah and Persian which were the relics of the Muslim rule favoured the Hindus and neglected the social status and income chances of the Muslims, both the communities continued to live in peace as can be seen from the acceptance of the Muslim ruler by the Andhra people (Hyderabad), Hindu ruler by the Kashmiri Muslims Nepalese etc. It is true that the Muslims were not spontaneously attracted to the Congress at its founding, but it must be remembered that the Muslim League was founded not as a direct reaction to Congress but in countervailing the Hindu agitation to the 1905 Bengal partition in which Muslims generally perceived a sense of security and balancing of their lost position. Again, a high watermark of Hindu-Muslim reconciliation was achieved with the signing of the 1916 Lucknow Pact under the patronage of the great Lokmanya Tilak, but then the whole national course was derailed when Gandhi took up the discredited course of the Sultan of Turkey and captured the Congress leadership through the backdoor under the banner of Khilafat and the money and street power provided by the fanaticised ulema backed Islamist wing of the Indian Muslims under the leadership of the Ali Brothers.

In 1920 it was the life and death struggle of the survival of Islam's Khalifah an office that unified both its Crown and Umma since the Prophet's days. Not the Arabs who were fighting to come out of the Turkish rule and even claiming the Caliph's office for themselves, not even the Turks who wanted get rid of the Ottoman trappings and become a republic for themselves, which Kemal Pasha was soon to do by abolishing both the offices of the Emperor and the Caliph, but alone the Indian Muslims were there to rise in a Jihad in defence of the Ottoman emperor the Khalifah! The action route was one of destroying the British rule in the subcontinent! Of course the Amir of Afghanistan would march on British India backed by the "Exile Government of India in Kabul" coinciding with a revolutionary uprising on the Indian side, the Third Anglo-Afghan War that began 1 May 1919 was this ingenious plan! Jallianwala Baugh uprising happened just a fortnight before this on 13 April. Naturally, Gandhiji was offered to lead this Khilafat movement, he not only accepted it but promised to secure Independence within one year, strictly before 31 December 1921! None of the Congress leaders could grasp the wisdom of this Gandhian step, but Gandhi was so convinced about his captainship of the Khilafat that he was simply ready to go it alone, of course with the backing of the Ali brothers in company of the ulema and the street power and money power they were able to instantaneously organize on this emotive issue in jihadi pitch. Gandhi emerged as the new Congress leader, mass leader, Gandhian era was born, but what happened to the traditional Congress leaders who were generally pro-western liberals and chamber room politicians?

Of the pre-Gandhian Congress triumvirate leadership, Tilak died the night before the Khilafat-Non-cooperation was launched, Jinnah revolted and broke away, Annie Besant withdrew to her ashram like Sri Aurobindo and Tagore; and after it was clear that Gandhi could not deliver Freedom before 31 December 1921, Malavia Lajpat Rai et al veered to form the Hindu Mahasabha; liberals like Surendranath Banerjea, Sapruet al formed the Liberal Party of India, Motilal Nehru CR Das et al formed the Swarajist Party, and Gandhi himself, after he was to be charge sheeted for deception and betrayal, saved face by turning to his khadi and village uplifting work in which he remained until the end of that decade. This Gandhian reversal of the 35-year long Congress politics may not have been an aberration and regression as spectacular as the Aurangzeb one, but it reversed the constitutional reform process which had the sanction of more than a century of consensus of the rulers and the ruled under the Raj and if partition and its havoc and what was to follow since then is also considered, is it not an aberration any less?

After a millennia of enslavement under the Muslims and Christians it is understandable that the Gandhian course in 1920 was the natural gush of a wounded collective psyche, it does good to our collective soul to celebrate the anniversaries of Quit India and currently also the 150th anniversary of the "First War of Indian Independence" but we are presently six decades a way from the Gandhian century, it is indeed a time to objectively and justly evaluate our national past for the sake of Truth and for the sake of building up a collective national personality of India the Superpower, one of the two corner stones of the Asian century. Were not the Brits in 1920, who virtually acknowledged India's Independence by admitting her at the League of Nations as a sovereign entity, the Brits who in 1919 gave us a Government of India Acts providing for diarchy in the provinces and the majority of elected representation in the Central Legislative Assembly: were they unworthy of cooperation? Partition was nothing but the Muslims using the same weapon which Gandhi used against the Brits. So it is good at this distance of time to objectively evaluate the British period of Indian history which I believe is a way to heal our collective wounds as the Indic race which is but also the act of healing our partition wound and problems it has bequeathed to us. Alternatively we shall keep our blinds and harp on the so called Aryan invasion theory, which was not there and is no more the psychological projection of our deep very deep collective psychic wounds across a millennia. The Chinese worked the catharsis of their bitter Cultural Revolution by re-labelling it as the sheer Mao madness, all the dictators of the twentieth century have long been through the drainages, Gandhi of course was different, the moral dictator of Congress, Congress that claimed to have represented all India which in turn was represented by this one person, the "moral dictator". Partition that clipped both the wings of the subcontinent was the result of this firmly held pre-1947 myth. Not looking at it honestly is the most firmly established collective Indian taboo, if we fail to emulate the Chinese we might always continue to live under make- believes, of which Aryan invasion theory is only one manifestation.

The Aborted Hindu-Muslim-Western Convergence of History
It is not the purpose of this paper to upgrade one period of Indian history and downgrade the other. But how could it be forgotten that the enslavement of the Hindu during much of the Muslim period, the destruction of thousands of temples and the suppression of all forms of his self expression over the centuries, dehumanized the Hindu personality society and the great Hindu civilization in such a way that the Hindu identity and its sense of past was totally obliterated, Hindus as centuries passed totally forget their past, forgetting that they had a Chandragupta or Ashoka, forgetting that they had a vedic-vedantic-buddhistic inheritance, etc. Like Europe during the Dark Ages forgot that it had a Greco-Roman inheritance and its rediscovery of that past gave birth to the great European Renaissance, India was reconnected to her past by the British Orientalists, above all William Jones; that contact with the West was indeed Mother India's rebirth and Renaissance. If the seven centuries of Turko-Mongol savagery enslaved and utterly destroyed a great civilization, it was providential that the Brits came as redeemers as the great Victorian Indians of the early Congress believed, the civilization was unearthed from its graves and stupor of abject slavery and self-condemnation and self-negating superstitions that accrued on it over the centuries. It is a shame a travesty of truth if the post colonialist revisionist historiography equates the British period with conversion and Aryan invasion theory. If the Brits really wanted they could have done what the Muslims did, even more ferociously and atrociously on the conversion front, but the 2% of India's Christian population was what was there when the Brits came in! Europeans except the early Portuguese we know were anti-religion, the East India Company expressly forbid missionaries from its territory until 1813 when the Parliament in the Charter Act of that year earmarked an education fund and opened room for a restricted entry of the missionaries as part of the reformist and anti-slavery campaigns of great liberals like Edmund Burke, Wilberforce and Charles Grant. The post Napoleonic Britain now emerging as Pax Britannica was ready to take upon itself the "white man's burden" producing also this time a galaxy of great Orientalists, Evangelists, Utilitarians and Administrators, who were convinced that India should also be benefited from the great Reform Bills and Emancipation Proclamation of 1832 back at home.


T.B. Macaulay
Generations of Indian intellectuals have heaped opprobrium on TB Macaulay but why don't we remember that the Brits could have ruled India unchallenged for long if they let the Sharia law and Persian language continue? It is his Minutes and the Penal Code based on the equality of citizenship that has unified India and prepared it for the unfolding Indian (twenty-first) Century. His father, Zachary Macaulay, Governor of the then slave colony Liberia, along with Wilberforce was the leader of Britain's anti-slavery movement, Macaulay writes in his Autobiography how touched he was being transported in palanquin at his arrival in Madras in December 1833 to Coonoor by virtually "degenerated" mass of human beings, without any right or freedom in life, condemned by their karmas! On whom he was determined to repose their human dignity and equality that was their natural right. His so called "racial arrogance" of having said that all India's literature could be put in one little cup board has been repeated time without number by our "patriots", but was this not a time that India's classical past was still lying buried and waiting for the orientalists to unearth? Macaulay deserves to be remembered better than our Aryan invasion theories are ready to admit, the 12- member Public Instruction Committee that voted on his Minutes was divided 6:6, and the Minutes were adopted by Macaulay's casting vote! With that vote Britain will lose her Empire he said, but so shall she save an "Empire of the Idea' eternally which is today our worldwide inheritance. No Aryan invasion theory, but this "Empire of the Idea" is what is underlying it all. How it all happened was told by Max Mueller in the Introduction of his own Translations of the Upanishads, "In that [1775] year Anquetil Duperron, the famous traveller and discoverer of the Zend-Avesta, received one MS. of the Persian translation of the Upanishads [this was the world famous translation prepared by the Mughal Crown Prince Dara Shikoh], sent to him by M. Gentil, the French resident at the court of Shuja ud daula, and brought to France by M. Bernier. After receiving another MS., Anquetil Duperron collated the two, and translated the Persian translation into French (not published), and into Latin."


Schopenhauer
It was after seeing this the great German philosopher Schopenhauer wrote:
"In the whole world there is no study, except that of the originals, so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Oupnekhat. It has been the solace of my life; it will be the solace of my death!"

The late eighteenth century European mind was outgrowing its straight-jacketing rationalism bequeathed by the Age of Enlightenment. Spinoza, Leibniz, Jakob Boehme were back on the philosophical agenda with mystical intuition and inner experience, Vico and Herder speculated on "universal history", Kant wrote his last Treatise on Ewige Frieden, the American and French Revolutions put the individual at the centre, the heroic vision of human Progress now heralded the age of Romanticism. As Reason gave way to this Romantic mood, language as the medium of self-expression emerged at the centre of human reality, it was becoming clear after comparing the structures of Greek Latin Celtic Germanics that there should have been a common Indo-European root language, Zend-Avesta that now arrived as the medium of the Dara Shikoh Upanishads confirmed this, and William Jones's studies of the Sanskrit and the newly translated Bhagavat Gita, and such other Hindu scriptures and legal codes more than re-confirmed and consolidated the conclusions. Comparative Philology was becoming a very prestigious subject in European universities, more so in Germany, soon also in the United States, almost as prestigious as the study of particle physics today!; like the quantum cosmos the particle physics point to, here was evolving an "Indo-European cosmos" giving new speculative material and angles to European and human reality. The maximum prestige was now going to India, Sanskrit seemed to be closest to the original Indo-European, conjuncture was now made about an "Indo-Aryan Race" that should have been its original speakers. The Vedic Aryans were seen as its most original exemplar. But where could have been the real roots: somewhere central Asia? Caucuses? Around the Black Sea? Could it be India?

Early German Sanskritists, notably Friedrich Schlegel, were willing to tip that status on India, "Indo-Germanic" as against Indo- European or Indo-Aryan language family also came to vogue; as Eurasian migratory movements were scrutinized, it was apparent that pre-historic, proto-historic and historic times had to be included; here the living Germanic historical memory was of the Voelkerwaenderung of the first millennium CE. Battle of the Teutoburg Forest of 9 CE stopping the Roman expansion at the Rhine and Visigoth conquest of the West Roman Empire(476 CE) indicated a Germanic migratory movement southwards from Scandinavia and/or westward movement from Central Asia. Obviously the Vedic Indo-Aryans were an Indo-European people as Sanskrit proved, but evidently of migratory movement millennia before. The issue was not race but scholarship, the orientalists simply were not willing to break their heads speculating on the racial issues, their concerns were alone the research contributing to reconstruct reality as it ought to be.

As we know, the racialization of the Aryan theory played a vehement role in Germany since the founding of the Second German Empire (1871); with the pre-Germanic collective myths now asserting in the Christian present, the romantic heroism of the German historicism and Nietzsche's cult of the Superman, etc. playing central roles. Theosophy and Freemasonry flourished, and they postulated an Aryan Germanic past, and worshipped the Swastika or Hakenkreuz in preference of the Christian Cross - something which Hitler and the Nazis who were unified under Hakenkreuz (Swastika) were to take advantage to the hilt later. But this Germanic Aryan myth and racist mania of the twentieth century and the Vedic Indo-Aryans were seen as different as cheese and chalk, with their migratory movements setting them apart by millennia. The orientalists by and large remained untouched by this racial mania, though people by inclination may be more liberal or less on their colour convictions, the truth here must be seen as Max Mueller's unequivocal utterance:


Max Mueller


"I have declared again and again that if I say Aryans, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language in that sense, and in that sense only, do I say that even the blackest Hindus represent an earlier stage of Aryan speech and thought than the fairest Scandinavians...To me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a Brach cephalic grammar."

I have lived all my professional life in Europe, German has almost become my mother tongue, I have read in German philosophy European history and their British and Indian counterparts all my life, I have to yet to come across a German British or European school of thought provoking or advocating the "Aryan Invasion Theory" as projected by the revisionist post-colonialist Hindutva historiography in India, the only finger as far as I can see has been pointed against Max Mueller. But having read so much about him from various sources and knowing his personality and his times in and out and knowing how he was persecuted in his times as a "Hindu" and the enemy of the "Christian civilization", and how he in 1860 was denied the Boden Professorship at Oxford which went to the mediocre Monier Williams due to latter's stronger christian orientation, I can only attempt below a telegraphic summary of German Indology whose first Chair at the University of Bonn was instituted in 1818 and was known as the Benares on the Rhine. William Jones, Macaulay, Max Muelle etc were the authors of the "Empire of the Idea" that would have brought about, as I believe, a Hindu-Muslim-Western civilizational confluence in the Indian subcontinent in the promise and fulfilment of universal history which is the end human pilgrimage upon the sands of time.


Sir William Jones
Benares on the Rhine

Orientalism of course was born with William Jones and the founding of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (1884) and that of the Fort William College by Governor General Wellesley (1800); the latter was to be the study centre of Indian languages, legal and social systems, etc for the British administrators, which until Macaulay was invariably envisaged in vernacular lines. It was from here the first translation of the Bhagavat Gita by Sir Charles Wilkins with a Foreword by the then Governor General Warren Hastings shocked and enthralled the Western world releasing the tides of a second European Renaissance, the Oriental Renaissance, as Claus Schwab calls it. The rationalism of Enlightenment is now overwhelmed by a new mood of romanticism and Asiatic oriental expansiveness, in the time spirit was pulsating with a coming sense of the Universal History, which comes to expression in William Jones words that has an eternal ring to India's Sanskrit past:
"The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists."

With its pioneering role in the Zend-Avesthan studies, Paris was the "capital of nascent Indology" in the West, with Eugene Burnouf, Louis Matthieu Langles, Claude Fauriel being the first generation scholars during the last decade of the eighteenth century, who were lucky enough to have Alexander Hamilton, a Sanskrit scholar and employee of the East India Company, presently detained in Paris on the suspicion of being a spy (1803), England then being the arch enemy of the Napoleonic France. A leading German romantic poet, Friedrich von Schlegel also joined this group; from Hamilton he learned enough Sanskrit to translate excerpts from the Indian epics and the Laws of Manu, Schlegel producing his path breaking book for the Western mind, On the Language and Wisdom of the Indians: A Contribution to the Foundation of Antiquity (Uber die Sprache und Weisheit der Inder), in 1808, introducing to the questing European romantic mind a new understanding of God and other ways of spiritual knowing and experiences. Schlegal articulated in clearest terms (p.471):


Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel
"It cannot be denied that the early Indians possessed knowledge of the true God; all their writings are replete with sentiments and expressions, noble, clear, and severely grand; as deeply conceived and reverentially expressed as in any human language in which men have spoken of their God. . . The divine origin of man, as taught in Vedanta, is continually inculcated, to stimulate his efforts to return, to animate him in the struggle, and incite him to consider a reunion and reincorporating with Divinity as the one primary object of every action and reaction. Even the highest form of European philosophy, the idealism of reason as it is set forth by the Greek philosophers, seems, when compared to the bounteous light and force of oriental idealism, to be no more than a feeble Promethean spark within the full celestial splendour of the noonday sun, a thin flickering spark always on the point of burning out."
The first Chair for Sanskrit Studies was founded at the University of Bonn, right on the wide banks of the Rhine, which all through the nineteenth century were known as Benares on the Rhine. It was founded in 1818 with Friedrich's brother August Wilhelm Schlegal becoming its original holder; and such Chairs were soon replicated also in the other classical German Universities - Jena, Weimar, Heidelberg, Berlin, and Tuebingen - today numbering something like thirty. The many translations of Indian texts produced by the Asiatic Society at Calcutta were available to these German scholars. Charles Wilkins' translation of the Bhagavad-Gita had become a favourite book throughout Europe finding its widest audience in Germany. Apart from the series Indische Bibliothek ('Indian Library') from Bonn since 1820, August Wilhelm Schlegal translated Gita also in Latin (1823), which drew the attention of the great philosopher Hegel (1770--1831) and an equally great scholar diplomat/statesman and the then Minister of Education of Prussia,

Wilhelm von Humboldt
Wilhelm von Humboldt, (1767--1835). As part of his own Indo-European studies, Humboldt was already familiar with the Upanishads, the Manusmriti, Burnouf's extracts from the Padmapurana and all translated works of Wilkins and Colebrooke, so he was able to appreciate Gita's philosophy so well as to commend: "this episode of the Mahabharata is the most beautiful, nay, perhaps even the only true philosophical poem which we can find in all the literatures known to us," Humboldt chose Bhagavad-Gita for his 1826 Lecture at the Prussian Royal Academy of Sciences, which was followed up the next year elaborating the advaitic structure of Gita's philosophy and its great and timeless philosophic and poetic value. Some of the greatest of the German minds being Humboldt's peers and contemporaries - Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer in Philosophy and Goethe and Schiller in literature above all - this discovery of the classical and Vedic India was nothing short of a quantum revolution to the German mind, especially to the philosophical school of German Idealism. Romanticism, Nationalism, Patriotism, Historicism, Clausewitz and militarism, Bismarck and the Second German Empire were the result, the year was 1871 and the Second German Empire was proclaimed from Paris!

Equally influenced were also the greatest of England's romantic poets and novelists - Shelly, Wordsworth, Keats, Coleridge, down to their Edwardian and Georgian successors - Yates, Joyce, Virginia Wolf, Lawrence, Greene, Huxley, to name only the top. Late nineteenth century, Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) was mysteriously drawn to mystic India. In 1885, exactly one hundred years after Sir Wilkins' English translation and publication of the Bhagavad Gita, Sir Arnold's blank verse translation of the sacred scripture appeared as The Song Celestial building bridge for the great Mahatma Gandhi to his own roots, as he notes in his Autobiography:
"Towards the end of my second year in England I came across two Theosophists---brothers and both unmarried. They talked to me about the Gita. They were reading Sir Edwin Arnold's translation---The Song Celestial---and they invited me to read the original with them. I felt ashamed, as I had read the divine poem neither in Sanskrit nor in Gujarati [Gandhi's mother tongue]. I was constrained to tell them that I had not read the Gita, but that I would gladly read it with them, and that though my knowledge of Sanskrit was meagre, still I hoped to be able to understand the original to the extent of telling where the translation failed to bring out the meaning... The book struck me as one of priceless worth. The impression has ever since been growing on me with the result that I regard it today as the book par excellence for the knowledge of Truth."

Alone a specialist in American Transcendentalism could perhaps estimate the impact of this discovery of India on the nineteenth century America, the bridge was built by no one lesser than Ram Mohan Roy himself as part of his association with the Unitarian Church, both while he was in India and in England (1830-33); Unitarians deny the christian doctrine of Trinity and found in India's Vedantic Monism the God of their quest and of humanity's common search then now and all the time to come.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson, the leader of American Transcendentalism, emerged as the great interpreter, describing the romantic and spiritual mood of his time:
"In all nations there are minds which incline to dwell in the conception of the fundamental Unity. The raptures of prayer and ecstasy of devotion lose all being in one Being. This tendency finds its highest expression in the religious writings of the East, and chiefly in the Indian Scriptures, in the Vedas, the Bhagavat Gita and the Vishnu Purana. These writings contain little else than this idea, and they rise to pure and sublime strains in celebrating it." According to Swami Vivekananda, Emerson's greatest source of inspiration was: "this book, the [Bhagavad] Gita. He went to see Carlyle, and Carlyle made him a present of the Gita; and that little book is responsible for the Concord [Transcendental] Movement. All the broad movements in America, in one way or other, are indebted to the Concord party." There are hundreds and thousands of names and books available in any library or on the internet on the phenomenon of American Transcendentalism, so we need remember here alone Henry Thoreau who most of his life lived in the Emerson household and was perhaps more imbibed by India's spirit and influenced Gandhi with his ideas of 'Passive Resistance' no less than Martin Luther King was influenced by Gandhi in his non-violent struggle for the US civil rights movement of the 1960s. The depth of what Thoreau imbibed comes out in this oft quoted passed from Walden:
"In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! There I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water---jug. I meet his servant come to draw water his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges."


Walt Whitman
Books have yet to be written to exploring the metaphor and mystique of "Vishnu the White Whale" in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, which we just skip here to come to the crowning of American Transcendentalism in Walt Whitman's, Passage to India. Published in 1870 we see in it verily our today's internet world and the prophecy of utter certitude that Christopher Columbus who made his westward voyage from the European shores in 1492 and stays midway till today in the external continent of America is bound to reach out to his original destination of the Indies, the internal continent of Mother India. Who ever can fathom the profundity of this Whitman passage:
Passage to India! Lo, soul! Seest thou not God's purpose from the first? The earth to be spann'd, connected by net-work, The people to become brothers and sisters, The races, neighbours, to marry and be given in marriage, The oceans to be cross'd, the distant brought near, The lands to be welded together.


H.H. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967
This I think was the 'Passage to India' the Hippy generation of the late 1960s wanted to have crossed, which in turn brought H.H. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and countless other Gurus to the American shores, the planetary Aquarian new consciousness of the Postmodern New Age sets the tone of the times, the Quantum Physics is coming of age, and linking backwards the passage the Orientalists and Indologists began with William Jones and Warren Hastings and Wilkins to the 'Dance of Siva' of the Fritzjof Capra generation verily is the "Passage to India" Whitman promised. The web life, the Field underlying matter and the breathe of the Atman are all one and the same, the choice of the twentieth century is invariably between the Terminator or the Quantum Brahman, America that is the symbol of the New World and Mother India that is the symbol of the timeless and eternal Vedic Cosmos must join hands, Columbus must complete his onward voyages to the predestined Indies, the inner continent of the ultimate Truth and humanity.


Franz Bopp, (1791 - 1867)
Now to come back to Benares on the Rhine. Franz Bopp Uber das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache in Vergleichung mit jenem der griechischen, lateinischen, persischen und germanischen Sprachen (On the Conjugation System of Sanskrit in comparison with that of Greek, Latin, Persian and Germanic), then a decade later1827 saw Bopp's magnum opus, Ausfuhrliches Lehrgebaude der Sanskritsprache, (The Completed Architectonics of the Sanskrit Language) consummating in his six part Comparative Grammar of Sanskrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic and German, Berlin, 1833, 1835, 1842, 1847, 1849, 1852). It was Bopp, alongwith Hermann Brockhaus, the founder of the great German Encyclopaedia of that name, who introduced Max Mueller to Sanskrit, with Max Mueller taking up now the challenge of exploring the religious cosmos of Vedic India, whose end product is the immortal compilation of his 50-volume SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST.

If Macaulay made his condescending remark that a little cup board could store all the Hindu books, Max Mueller showed the Sacred Books of the East in itself makes up a whole library. Max Mueller had in this venture the collaboration of the Queen Victoria and the British Royal House, One of the famous students at the University of Bonn when Sanskrit came to vogue there was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, later to be the husband of Queen Victoria. It has become by now clear what a sense of reverence and holiness the Benares on the Rhine imprinted on the early generation of Indologists and Orientalists, Prince Albert with his personal association with the University of Bonn was no different, it was the personal concern both of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert until his death in 1861 to inspire the British administrators on the spot in India to control their attributed "racist superiority" and treat India not as a conquered land but as a trust, and treat it as a wise and noble civilization whose people has had but a temporary fall.

India for the Western scholars and great minds of this time was but the Benares on the Rhine, it was not to be a pagan country so people could be converted and brought under Rome or Canterbury. It is such a shame that the post colonialist revisionist Hindu revivalist scholars throw on Max Mueller such opprobrium and conversion charges citing some piece of letter he must apparently have written to his wife, fully taking that out of context - which paradoxically is the same letter which his opponents cite to prove the anti-Christ in this great scholar and lover of human heritage. He obviously wanted to see Hinduism reformed - liberating it from its fatalism, its derailed sense of the Karma that condemned such a vast chunk of social bottom to such inhumanity and brutality, he was horrified with such evil customs as the sati, child marriage, illiteracy, inequality, that repressed society and denied any chance of life to millions. But such reforms are also what Rammohun, Vidyasagar, Ranade, Phule, Gokhale and everyone else wanted. As a human being, he openly confessed his Christianity, its faith and traditions, he was a Lutheran by confession, but this brought him to no conflict in embracing the Truth he found in the Vedas and the Upanishads, the Truth of the Brahman that is the indwelling force and spirit in the potential divinity of every human being. Let alone the reader decide if Max Mueller could have been capable of the Aryan Invasion Theory he is charged with after reading his sentiments for the country and people he loved as expressed by himself:
"If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of the Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life...again I should point to India."

Indians certainly owe a gratitude to this early generation of Orientalists and Indologists. They connected her to her infinite past and heritage, which was broken and forgotten during the 700 years of the Muslim enslavement of the Hindu civilization; equally we have to be grateful to the great first generation evangelists like William Carey, Alexander Duff, Charles Grant, who certainly were not after conversion, but came to serve Indian people driven by the best motive of humanist secular and brotherly solidarity born out of deeply convinced christian inspiration and charity. There is prima facie evidence that the Christian population in India did not grow even by a per cent in spite of the one and a half centuries of British rule, how could we throw conversion mud on these men, when we have there the clear comparison of India's experience of the Islamic rule? These were mostly the men who enriched our regional languages by codifying their grammars and creating their early dictionaries: Carey (Bengali), Henry-Martyn (Hindustani), De Nobili (Sanskrit), Bulcke (Hindi), Gundert (Malayalam) Beschi and Pope (Tamil), Cladwell (Dravidian) Kittel (Kannada), Reibero (Konkani) - this is just a very partial list, and can be extended by scores by including other languages dialects above all tribal studies. These men who gave their lives in the total dedication of their work I believe were driven by the same urge and motivation as was the case with the Schlegals Emerson or the Humboldt's, they all served the same ideals of civilization and human spirit which the Vedas Upanishads and the Gita uphold, so do all the other racio-relgio-civilizational inheritances of man. This certainly was the spirit and worldview of the Raj which the British Crown took over in 1958 under Queen Victoria's pledge:
"...We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none be in anywise favoured, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their religious faith or observances, but that all alike shall enjoy the equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us that they abstain from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure...And it is our further will that, so far as may be, our subjects, of whatever race or creed, be freely and impartially admitted to offices in our service, the duties of which they may be qualified, by their education, ability, and integrity, duly to discharge."
It was on the legitimacy of this declaration that Gandhi Jinnah Savarkar et al could become equally-treated and dignified law students in London, men like Dadabhai Naoroji was raised to the House of Commons with majority British vote from the Finsbury constituency defeating his white opponent; the Empire was open for Indian emigration to Africa, West Indies, East Indies, Oceania, and the rule of the Raj after the 1858 Government of India Acts were being progressively indianized through the decennial Council Acts since 1861 all converging in the Government of India Acts 1909 and 1919 when the free India was admitted as a sovereign member of the League of Nations with independent delegation and voting rights, and more than half places was provided to elected representatives in the then envisaged Parliament under the 1919 Acts. In 1920, with the World War I behind, India was certainly being launched on the road of independence. The Indo British period could certainly have ended in a greater goodwill and cooperation as the Hindu-Muslim-Western civilizational confluence. The Brits may very well have been 'exploiters, racialist and arrogant' but going by the example of the nineteenth century orientalists, indologists, evangelists, and the great liberals we know civilization is a great act of give and take, and that it is to serve the spirit of man which is but one.

I have now covered much terrain but I wonder if we could ever detect the proponents and perpetrators of the so called "Aryan Invasion Theory". I for one could not, and I do not believe there ever was one. If the postcolonialist historiography wants to project one for itself, it is part of individual freedom and plurality of opinion that are sanctioned in democracies. If some people wanted to believe that Aryans originated in India and migrated westward spreading the world over, they are free to do so and are perfectly within their rights in democracies, the only caution that is called for is the dangers of erroneous collective perception: remember what happened to the Aryan theories of the Nazi Germany!
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