On Jagadguru Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa,the most famous exponent of the Kāmarūpa school of Dharmaśāstra

On Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa’s life:Gleanings from his own works

Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa,the most famous exponent of the Kāmarūpa school of Dharmaśāstra is,in the tradition of many Sanskrit authors,quite rectinent on his personal life. However he mentions the following details

  • Dāyakaumudī:He was born at a place in the Southern part of the Lauhitya(Brahmaputra)
  • He was in a large part taught by his father(the benedictory verse of the Śrāddhakaumudī)
  • He was a smārta devotee of Nārāyaṇa and pays obeisances to Śiva,Durgā and Sūrya also. This last bit can be gleaned from the Daśakarmakaumudī where the term ‘śrīvāsudevamārādhya…’ is used.
  • He mentions in the end of his Śuddhikaumudī that he accomplished this work in 1534 śakābda(1612 CE)
  • In the colophon to his Grahaṇakaumudī he mentions that he was patronized by Lakṣmīnārāyaṇa of Kāmarūpa.

Siddhāntavāgīśa’s life:Gleanings from other sources

  • Bṛhatrājavaṃśāvalī states that Cilārāya the brother of Naranārāyaṇa brought Puruṣottama Vidyāvāgīśa(the author of the grammatical work Ratnamālā) and Pītāmbara from Gauḍa
  • He was also said to be a court poet of Naranārāyaṇa and probably served in the court of Balinārāyaṇa as well.
  • Maṇgaladair Buranji introduces him as the Dīkṣāguru of the king of Daraṇga,who donated a large amount of property in his province and his descendants still live there.
  • Nagendranath Vasu in his Social History of Kamarupa states that his kaumudīs were followed by the kings,citing the Bṛhatrājavaṃśāvalī,which noted that those who violated the rules and regulations of society as laid down for the various varṇas and āśramas of human society and life by Jagadguru Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa were punished by the king.

Works of Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa

He is traditionally said to have composed 18 kaumudīs(digests of smṛtiśāstra),which are listed popularly as;

  • Daṇḍakaumudī
  • Pretakaumudī
  • Vṛṣotsargakaumudī
  • Pramāṇakaumudī
  • Śrāddhakaumudī
  • Durgotsavakaumudī
  • Ekādaśīkaumudī
  • Śuddhikaumudī
  • Pratiṣṭhākaumudī
  • Saṃkalpakaumudī
  • Prāyaścittakaumudī
  • Tīrthakaumudī
  • Pañcadīkṣākaumudī
  • Sambandhakaumudī
  • Tithikaumudī
  • Dāyakaumudī
  • Ācārakaumudī

Hiramoni Goswami(on whose introduction this article is based) cites Taranath Goswami’s list as follows

  • Dāyakaumudī
  • Śrāddhakaumudī
  • Malamāsakaumudī
  • Nirṇayakaumudī
  • Sambandhakaumudī
  • Tattvakaumudī
  • Āhnikakaumudī
  • Vivādakaumudī
  • Aśaucakaumudī
  • Tithikaumudī
  • Pretakaumudī
  • Śuddhikaumudī
  • Pañcayajñakaumudī
  • Dīkṣakaumudī
  • Janmāṣṭamīkaumudī
  • Vṛṣotsargakaumudī
  • Saṃskārakaumudī

Hiramoni Goswami also cites Ghanakanta Sarma’s list of Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa’s kaumudīs which runs into 28

  • Dāyakaumudī
  • Śrāddhakaumudī
  • Malamāsakaumudī
  • Nirṇayakaumudī
  • Sambandhakaumudī
  • Tattvakaumudī
  • Āhnikakaumudī
  • Vivādakaumudī
  • Aśaucakaumudī
  • Tithikaumudī
  • Pretakaumudī
  • Śuddhikaumudī
  • Pañcayajñakaumudī
  • Vṛṣotsargakaumudī
  • Dīkṣākaumudī
  • Janmāṣṭamīkaumudī
  • Saṃkrāntikaumudī
  • Daśakarmakaumudī
  • Tīrthakaumudī
  • Pramāṇakaumudī
  • Patrakaumudī
  • Prāyaścittakaumudī
  • Jyotiṣkaumudī
  • Daṇḍakaumudī
  • Divyakaumudī
  • Sākṣyakaumudī
  • Vyavahārakaumudī
  • Kṛtyakaumudī

Some other works of his that are unpublished amongst digests are Grahaṇakaumudī,etc.(apparently the recently published Śivarātrikaumudī is a part of Durgotsavakaumudī:oral communication). He also is credited with writing commentaries on Vācaspati Miśra’s Dvaitanirṇaya(Dvaitanirṇayadīpikā) and on the tantric digest Śāradātīlaka(Guḍārthaprakāśikā). Very few of his works have been published in print.

Review of Samanya Dharma by Nithin Sridhar

Book title: Samanya Dharma

Author:Nithin Sridhar

This book gives a good introduction to dharma,and what dharmas are common to all humans,but specifically to those who are Hindus(since devotion to devas and gurus is definitely a part of some of its definitions,which are more expanded versions of the more concise definitions that don’t explicitly state it). It notes the seeds of these ideas in various shrutivAkyas and then nicely,in various places puts them as elucidated in various smR^itis and purANas,and notes their social benefit and usefulness/importance in yoga of all forms(pAta~njala,bhaktimArga,etc) and sAdhanA.

This is a book that is useful in educating Hindus about the basic dharma-s that they need to follow,especially in an era where certain classes of middle-class people do not have anything substantial to explain dharma beyond ‘way of life’ platitudes,and claiming ‘anything goes’ in Hinduism. All in all,a very good,neat little book that I would recommend to any Hindu(and in whatever language they know/speak).

 dharmaviduttamAbhyAm hariharAbhyAm namaH|

(Obeisances to Hari and Hara,the best of knowers of dharma)

On Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s so called universalism

It is often said that he said ‘joto mot toto poth'(As many faiths, so many paths). However,from reading Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita,one of the earliest unbiased records on his life,we find a more nuanced picture than the uncritical universalism a lot of people(secularists of Bengal,Ramakrishna mission monks themselves,etc).

He also says next after that

It’s like going to the Kali temple on different roads. Even so, some paths are pure, while others are dirty. One must take a pure path.cvama

Are paths like Islam or Christianity pure?No. Since they are explicitly vedaviruddha and brAhamaNaviruddha. As nArAyaNa utters in the kUrma purANa:na vedabAhye puruShe puNyalesho’ pi sha~Nkara(kUrma purANa 1.15.109). The kUrma also advises

 

So such paths would squarely fall in the domain of ‘impure’ paths,and by Ramakrishna’s standard,to be avoided for sAdhakas. Even in the domains of Astika sAdhanA,Ramakrishna himself was deprecatory of practices involving miThuna(though he did vAmAchAra sAdhana on a pa~nchamuNDi Asana). He again says

Narendra refers to the Tantrik sects of Ghoshpara, Panchanami and others. Thakur describes their practices and condemns them. He says, “They can’t follow spiritual practices correctly. They just satisfy sensual desires in the name of religion.”

….looking on a woman as one’s mistress, the attitude of a ‘hero,’ is beset with difficulties. Tarak’s father used to practice this rite. It is a very difficult path. It is impossible to maintain the correct spirit in this path.

Many of these people conduct themselves according to the Radha Tantra. They practise spiritual disciplines with the five basic elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether – through the use of excrement, urine, menstrual flow, and semen. It is a very dirty practice, like entering a home through the toilet.

 

…when you come across a wicked person, salute him from a distance. Chaitanya Deva did the same thing. He would restrain his spiritual feelings in the presence of those of a different nature. At Srivas’s home, he forced Srivas’s mother-in-law out of the room, dragging her by the hair.

Note the use of physical force to evict those averse to devotion.

His preferred path as noted elsehwere in the Kathamrita

The path of devotion enjoined by Narada is best suited to this age.

And he truly was an embodiment of that mArga. As seen from quotes like

It(Kashi) brings liberation[10], dear. But I don’t want liberation, I want only love and devotion for God

guNarahitam kAmanArahitam pratikShaNavardhamAnam,,,,says nArada in his sutras. A bhakta does not have even mokSha-kAma,what to speak of worldly kAmas.

I have seen so many faiths, so many paths. Now I don’t like them anymore – they just argue with each other.

This corresponds well with the sutras vAdo nAvalambayaH| and bAhulyAvakAshatvAdaniyatvAt| of the nArada bhakti sutras(The sAdhaka should not take to disputation,for it leads to endless arguments and no certain conclusion).

And when Ramakrishna spoke about ‘harmony between religions’ it was usually situations like this

This book contains beautiful stories of devotees. But the book is dogmatic. It runs down other beliefs.

Is someone who condemns even the mild sectarianism of the bhaktamAla is going to accept the sectarianism inherent in the Mosaic counter-religions exemplified by Islam,etc?

One holy book of the Vaishnavas is the Bhaktamala. It is a beautiful book. It contains nothing but stories about devotees. But it is one-sided. It goes so far in one place as to make the Divine Mother[5] adopt a Vishnu mantra.

“Once I praised Vaishnavcharan a lot and asked Mathur Babu to invite him to his house. Mathur was very hospitable to him – silver plates for the refreshments. And what did Vaishnavcharan say to Mathur Babu but that without a Krishna mantra nothing would help! Now Mathur Babu is a devout worshiper of the Divine Mother of the Universe. His face reddened. I nudged Vaishnavcharan.

“I think you can find such things in the Srimad Bhagavata also. Such as that without a Krishna mantra it is as difficult to cross the ocean of the world as it is to try to cross a mighty ocean by holding a dog’s tail. All sects talk highly of their own sects alone.

“Shaktas also try to disparage Vaishnavas when they say, ‘Sri Krishna is the pilot of the river of the world; he alone can take one across.’ To this Shaktas reply, ‘Of course this is true. Will the supreme Mother, empress of the universe,[6] row one across Herself? She has engaged this Krishna to do the job.’” (All laugh.)

“What arrogance people show because of their beliefs! There are weavers in my village and in Shyambazar and other places, most of them Vaishnavas. They talk very big. They say, ‘Which Vishnu do they worship? The Vishnu who preserves! We don’t touch him.’ Or ‘Which Shiva? We accept Atmarama Shiva, the Atmarameshwar Shiva.’ One of them says, ‘Tell me which Hari you worship.’ Thereupon another says, ‘No, why should we? Let someone else answer.’ They work at weaving and talk so big.”

“Rati’s mother – the attendant of Rani Katyayani, a member of Vaishnavcharan’s group – was a bigoted Vaishnava. She used to visit here frequently. Her devotion for God was unusual. But as soon as she saw me eating Mother Kali’s prasad she ran away.

“He alone is a real person who has harmonized. Most people are single-minded. But I see all these as one. Shaktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists worship the same one Reality. He who is formless also has forms. All are only His different forms.

Brahman without attributes is my father, and God with form is my mother.

Whom shall I blame? Whom shall I worship? The pans of the scale are of equal weight.

“The Tantra also speaks of the same Being as the Vedas. The Puranas also speak of the same Being – Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. The Absolute belongs to the same as the phenomenal belongs.

“The Veda says, ‘Om Sat-chit-ananda Brahman.’ The Tantra says, ‘Om Sat-chit-ananda Shiva – Shiva only, only Shiva.’ The Purana says, ‘Om Sat-chit-ananda Krishna.’ The Vedas, the Puranas, and the Tantras talk of the same Sat-chit-ananda. And the Vaishnava scriptures also say that Krishna Himself has become Kali.”

His references to harmony were usually of this nature. Scarcely between even Bauddha upAsanA,let alone hostile counter-religions which seek to uproot our traditions. It points to an immense loss of common sense when Ramakrishna’s remarks are extended beyond their intent(ativyApti-dosha).

As for the alleged practice of Islam and Christianity,I have found no mention of any Christ-centred sAdhanA,and he only repeated Islamic mantras for a few days given by a certain Govind Rai. It’s extremely unseemly to ignore his central legacy(of that of a nAradIya style bhakta to devI bhava-tAriNI,disparaging vAma and other impure paths) and instead paint him as someone who was lacking in discrimination. Shri Ram Swarup deals with this issue better than I could in his book on this affair.

homa vidhAnaM for nitya homa

I am uploading a homa vidhAnam I use for daily homa: nitya homa vidhAnam

Also,the keshavAdi chaturviMshati mUrti and their corresponding shaktis are

1. keshava and shrIdevI
2. nArAyaNa and lakShmI
3. mAdhava and kamalA
4. govinda and padmA
5. viShnu and padminI
6. madhusUdana and kamalAlayA
7. trivikrama and ramA
8. vAmana and vR^iSAkapiH
9. shrIdhara and dhanyA
10. hR^iShIkesha and dhanyA
11. padmanAbha and yaj~nAmbA
12. dAmodara and indirA
13. saMkarShaNa and hiraNyA
14. vAsudeva and hariNI
15. pradyumna and satyA
16. aniruddha and nityA
17. puruShottama and AnandA
18. adhokShaja and Atmaj~nA
19. nArasiMha and sukhA
20. achyuta and sugandhA
21. janArdana and sundarI
22. upendra and vidyA
23. hari and sushIlA
24. shrIkR^iShNa and sulakShaNA

Sridevi and other stuff need not be pushed as normative queer icons

Trigger warning:Religion. You can frankly speaking,sod off if you are anti-religious and moan about whatever -ist or patriarch or whatever I am in your cubbyholes.

(It’s primarily a reaction to this glorified blog that is a newspaper column: https://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/thank-you-sridevi-our-queer-icon/story-Oy6SST3RhHpSfrWSh9MZZM.html)

we saw the promise of a future where we wouldn’t lie about who we were and what we liked

All of that passes away. Though I wish I had someone in my arms,and someone who I could talk with/at-on the same level.

My queer icons are more off the beat than what activists would put forward. My icons would be the poet Raskhan,and the author Mishima. Only one muddled by activist babblings can not appreciate Mishima’s vīryam(a pale reflection of Samkarṣaṇa’s bala*),or the devotion that Raskhan put to Mādhava,which makes even every single shackle insignificant before long. It is that devotion which grants the freedom from every single shackle as easily as one breaks a rotting thread. And it’s this devotion which is in the very form of jñāna which is very rare to obtain. The yati who carries Lakṣmī’s husband in him has more freedom than any of us will ever have! (Need not even be a yati strictly speaking,Aghoremani Devi is a living testimony to that).

I do recognize that this path(and my inclinations) are not for everyone,though.Few would care,anyway. Maybe I am crazy.

*A reference to Saṃkarṣaṇa’s two predominating qualities amongst the vyūhas.

Pramathanath Mitra -a reminiscience and a lesson needed

So I decided to translate the article linked here,a reminiscence on a founder of the Anushilan Samiti for a friend[archived),and I am now putting this translation(paraphrased a bit here and there) here.

Sri Pramathnath Mitra,one of the supreme founding members of the Anushilan Samiti was an upAsaka of shakti and concerned himself with [physical] strength as well rigorously. He was one of the strongest men amongst Hindu Bengali society of that time. His sole aim was a martial(sAmarika sikShAya sikShita) cadre/race of Bengalis(jAti),and that is why the Anushilan Samiti and the Jugantar(the two fearsome militaristic revolutionary organizations set up and run by Bengali Hindus),from the very moment of its founding(prathama lagna thekei),were clothed with militarism and shakti-bodliy(daihik),mentally(mAnasik),and in character(chAriktrik). Before founding the Anushilan Samiti,in the daily The Bengali(which was edited by Surendranath Banerjee),he wrote an essay on the martial art of lathi khela,and spoke about the need to cultivate a fighting spirit amongst the youth of Bengal.He was a follower of Bankim,and he said this:

“The lathi is the national weapon of Bengal. A Bengalee lathial, properly trained, can with his single lathi keep a dozen of swordsmen at bay.

It is a healthy outdoor exercise. As an art of offence and defence it combines in itself the skill required, in the bayonet exercise and the sword exercise. It gives full play to the exercise of muscles. It necessitates the cultivation of the quickness of the eye and quickness of the movement of every limb, which is a very favourable growth of the resourcefulness, activity of the body, strength of muscle and sinew and keenness of the observation and above all, it inspires confidence in its possessor. It is a purely national art and inexpensive. We should be unwise if we allow it to die away from our midst”.

Even if it was a hundred years ago,what he said still remains a firm truth,and the aim of the Anushilan Samiti is yet unfulfilled[my personal note:Was actually subverted].The Bengali Hindus in 1947 were broken like the Jews,but yet they could not rise up like an Israel anew because they did not follow the path of their very strong/powerful predecessors due to their weakness,and didn’t even attempt to,and instead has gone being like a beggar(bhikhiri),at the expense of others.A beggar has no respect,and he is enjoyable by everyone(ie,everyone makes fun of him/pities him).

Bengali Hindu society has now become like a whore,who will sell off all that is dear to her(j~nAna,buddhi,vidyA,etc) for money(ie,the highest bidder). But she has to live. So,then,what to do?(here I’ve been literal-ish,but I am not able to convey the sense adequately).

If Bengali Hindu society is to survive,it must transform from an amiable-tempered society(sushIl samAj) to a martial society(sAmarik samAj).Let them suffer as many belts or firing squads by the mlecchas,who cares?Discipline and the fear factor should be instilled firmly into the Bengali mind…so…back to basics.

 

On the lakṣaṇa of ‘gauḥ’,setting aside pseudo-science

The lakṣaṇa of ‘gauḥ’ in Hindu tradition is to be determined by seeing what our pūrvācāryas have commented on this,and not on pseudoscientific nonsense like ‘desi cows are associated with gold nanoparticles’, ‘A2/A1 milk’,etc.

“gōḥ sāsnādimattvaṁ lakṣaṇam” has basically been the definition since the time of Pātañjali (of mahābhāṣya fame).

Vidyāraṇya similarly quotes Pātañjali thus

tathā cōktaṁ bhagavatā patañjalinā mahābhāṣyē – atha gaurityatra kaḥ śabdō yēnōcyaritēna sāsnāmāṅgūmakakudakhuraviṣāṇānāṁ saṁpratyayō bhavati saḥ śabdaḥ

So ,our ‘gauḥ’ is any breed of cow that is humped with horns,and with a dewlap and tail. And not about A1,A2(I don’t think the rājan bhadravarman of champa near Vietnam,who was a śrotiya and boasted of performing vaidika rituals could have checked for A1/A2 or gold nanoparticles).

I discussed with others (like Hariprasad),who noted that there is no strong reason to deny respect to cows of foreign breed since they are all of the same jāti,one can at best to say that there is tārātmy within breeds of cows and that foreign breeds of cows have less abhimāni devatā sannidhyam. Also,we have consumed their milk for whatever reasons,so not slaughtering them and taking care of them till their death should be our way of showing upakāra smaraṇam.

Defending the identity of yoga, Kumarila style( with homage to Ganganath Jha )

iti dattātreyayogaśāstre –

brāhmaṇaḥ śramaṇo’ vapy bauddho vāpy ārhato’thavā|kapāliko vā cārvākaḥ śraddhayā sahitaḥ sudhiḥ||yogābhyāsarato nityaṃ sarvasiddhimavāpnuyāt|

(Whether a Brahmin,an ascetic,a Jain or a Buddhist or a Kapālika or a Cārvāka materialist,the wise man who is endowed with faith and constantly devoted to the practice of yoga will obtain complete success)

“The statement that a brāhmaṇa, kapālika, bauddha and jaina can achieve success by yoga is to be understood thus. Surely, we cannot interpret kapālika, bauddhādi terms as referring to those who practice the tenets of that school in that entirety. For yoga emphasizes self-restraint and bhūtadayā in one’s acts and the kapālika, if he continues to practice the kapālika dharma fully, he will contravene these precepts of yoga and will not achieve success. Hence, it refers only to practices which are not in contradiction with the precepts of yoga and the dharma of the veda since the sūtrakāra of the yoga siddhānta (pātañjali) accepts veda as pramāṇa. Or, some understand that verse in this manner too, which is not really different from the previous meaning. The śramana and jaina; what they seek to achieve by torturing their bodies, the freedom from karma, they can achieve by practicing yoga. The kapālika, without resorting to any of the fierce acts prescribed for him, can attain union with rudra by practice of this yoga. The brāhmaṇa, unable to exhaust the repository of the vedas, by means of yoga with hiraṇyagarbha, attains the fruit of realizing the whole veda without doing all the karma in the Veda. This is what is meant by success. To each, his desired fruit is granted. In this way, there will be no contradiction. If it be argued that a kristu-panthin can practice yoga as he too wishes to attain Union with that deva, we reject it. A kristu-vādin cannot practice yoga as the devata he worships does not tolerate his pronouncing the names of other devas,let alone revering them. His mata is fundamentally a mata of dveṣa not kṛpā, let alone prema(even if it masquerades and sells itself as one such mata), as demonstrated by the vaiśya-cūḍāmaṇi and his beloved disciple, and the warnings of hypocrisy in the next verses apply to them in the context of our times most appropriately.The acceptance of pātañjali as ācārya, shraddhā in om(praṇava) as sacred sound, faith in the śruti and hiraṇyagarbha are all precluded for him. Hence, for him, there is no success in this path. If it be argued that the bauddha too rejects the veda, we reply that the bauddhas either have to accept that the Veda has limited application (they already do that to some extent in the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa in their vulgar Sanskrit “eṣa mantro mahābrahmā bodhisattvena … ābhicārukeṣu sarveṣu athavo* ceda paṭhyate ।”),and the pāñcarātrins and śaivas do not reject the Veda but merely state that their own śāstras are viśeṣa, or they have to renounce bauddham and accept the veda wholeheartedly. Thus, this argument too is rejected. Our original interpretation stands. What we said for the kristu-panthin, the same for the mahāmāda-panthin.”

If it be the second alternative, it is to be understood that the terms, ‘brāhmaṇa, bauddha, kapālika, etc’ in the shloka merely point to the status of the person at the time he is about to take up yoga. In the cases of bauddhakapālikādi, there is a renunciation of their formerly held beliefs. The bauddha, if he previously rejected the pramāṇatvam of the veda or ascribed sinful motives to the Veda, stops doing that when he takes up yoga. The kapālika gives up the idea that union with rudra is achieved by doing censureable acts. Hence, the śloka, of the second alternative is adopted, would mean that all persons, regardless of what doctrine they previously followed, would attain success when they take up yoga and act in accordance with the rules therein.

(Slightly modified with credits to @Ghorangirasa.)