On Hotee Vidyalankar and other learned brAhmaNa ladies

Copying from Halley Gowami because some things deserve a more permanent media than a Facebook post


” Some ladies recieved higher education and managed to rise to great hieghts ! Amongst such rare women , Hotee Vidyalankar , Hotu Vidyalankar , Anandamayee Devi (1752 — 1772) and Priyamvada Devi (16th cent–17th cent) stands out .
Hotee Vidyalankar was the most famous of them all . Born to ‘kulin’ brahmin family she was a widow from childhood . She became an authority on Sanskrit grammer , poetry , Smriti , Navya-nyay and established her own ‘chatuspathi’ ( centers of higher learning ) at Varanasi ! Brahman Pandits bestowed her with the title of Vidyalankar . She died at an advanced age in the year 1810 .

Hotu Vidyalankar’s real name was Rupamanjari . She was not a brahmin , but her father , Narayan Das noticed her exceptional intellgence and sent her at the ‘chatuspaathi’ of a brahmin pandit . There Rupamanjari mastered Ayurved , Grammer and other branches of studies . Her fame spread far and wide and students used to come from far off places to learn or get opinions on Ayurved , charak samhita and grammer . Ayurvedic doctors of the age used to consult her on matters of medicine ! Rupamanjari never married and kept her head shaven with a ‘shikha’ ( Chuda / tuft of hair ) and dressed as a man . She died 100 years of age at 1875 . ”

Someone in the comments mentions that Narayan Sanyal wrote a book রূপমঞ্জরী on haTI vidyAla~Nkara.


On swacchata and śauca

(Note:This is not against the Swacch Bharat program or against technologies for public sanitation,etc)

By reducing the component of cleanliness to only just toilets,clean public,etc,one is likely to miss out the other dimensions of śuci.

Just what does this term śauca mean?

śauca means purity at not just the individual level,but at a particular environment and communal and familial level.It is not just physical purity(avoidance of bacteria),but of the surroundings,the body,the sukṣma dēha and the general atmosphere around.

And this is not really separable from our deities(that śloka apavitraḥ pavitrō vā sarvāvasthāṃ gatō’pi vā । yaḥ smarētpuṇḍarīkākṣaṃ sa bāhyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ ॥ comes to my mind). And it does make sense. Purity and the deva,who is the very embodiment of an āgāmika(deva specific or smārta) temple,are inseparable. It is only with keeping Nārāyaṇa at the centre,as noted in that verse,does one realize the fullest import of what śuci means,and not through secularized stuff,which runs contrary to Hindu frameworks and ideologies).


Gṛhastha life and vedānta (focusing on Advaita here)




This thread and the succeeding comments made me remember the small notes from an orthodox sannyāsin and a friend of mine,and I am putting them in a jumbled form here.

So,in orthodox circles,there are three commentaries on the Gītā that are famous.

  1. Ādi Śaṅkara’s commentary-corresponds to śravana
  2. Madhusudanasarasvatī’s commentary-corresponds to manana
  3. Shankarananda’s commentary-corresponds to nidhidhyānsana(and these are studied in that order).

So, Śaṅkarānanda in his commentary on the 3rd chapter of the Gita states that a brāhmaṇa should not renounce until he has fulfilled the three ṛṇas(debts).

  1. Deva-ṛṇa(debt to the devas) by performing yāgas as laid out in the śruti
  2. Ṛṣirṇa(debt to the ṛṣis) by doing vedādhyayanam of svaśākhā and other vedas
  3. Pitṛ ṛṇa(debt to the forefathers) by begetting a child legitimately [and obviously raising him/her properly and so on and so forth]

As a note:On asking that friend,he suggested(for caturthas),the ṛṇas would be discharged as

  1. Deva-ṛṇa-worship devas through the paddhatis available(paurāṇika/tāntrika)
  2. Ṛṣirṇa-propagate vedāṇgas/itihāsa/tantra
  3. Pitṛ ṛṇa-same as the one for dvijas

(Note:This doesn’t mean that brāhmaṇas/other dvijas cannot pass on tāntrika/itihāsa/other lore)

So,the tradition already has the solution within itself,and it needs to be revitalized.


Also,what Bajirao did would be quite inappropriate from an Advaitin’s point of view. Śrīdharasvāmīn in his gloss on the very first śloka states

‘iha khalu sakalavanditacaraṇaḥ paramakāruṇuko bhagavān devakīnandanastattvajñānavijṛmbhita-śokamohavibhraṃśita-vivekatayā nijadharmaparityāga-pūrvakaparadharmābhisandhinamarjunaṃ dharmajñānarahasyopadeśaplavena tasmācchokamohasāgaraāduddhāraḥ|..’


A short summary(with emphasis on the bolded words would be that the ever-worshippable Śrī Kṛṣṇa rescued Arjuna from the sea of sorrow and delusion,under whose influence he was about to give up his own svadharma(of a warrior and ruler) and take up another’s dharma(that of an ascetic) by imparting to him, jṇānarahasyopadeśa. The Peshva had committed that same mistake Arjuna had done(maybe due to a different cause),and could hardly be said to be upholding vedantic ideals.

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.


Confusing the sthūla and the sūkṣma

Many Hindus,as a friend noted,have a tendency to confuse the sthūla with the sūkṣma even in matters of directions of narrative weaving and geopolitics when it comes to narratives of our history,and the core reasons behind them. A particular example is the tendency to freak out on any suggestion that Aryans migrated to India(never mind that the seeing of the mantras of the śruti occurred all within the Indian subcontinent,which no one can deny). Of course,the (understandable) reason for the uneasiness with this is that it is used as a stick to beat Hindus with,calling them murderous Nazis,invaders,racial bigots(or some form of that) from the very beginning of their existence(or theses that extend in that direction). Most of them do not notice that even if OIT was proved beyond any doubt,the direction of the narratives purveyed by mlecchas and those who imbibe their ideologies would not change one bit at all. They will still continue to either blame brahmins or the entire society. Two examples in case would be DD Kosambi,who(along,or despite,or because of his belief in the fact that Indo-Iranians came from outside),noted about the genesis of brahmins

It seems that Kosambi was a little uncertain about the origin of the brahmanas, but he firmly and consistently held that they originally belonged to non-Aryan cultures and were very probably drawn from the Indus valley priests.[1]

None of this prevented him from calling the intellectual production of āstika brahmins and everyone else like that of a mistletoe,which was beautiful but parasitic.

Or Hegel,who held an Out of India theory,but whose descriptions of Hindu philosophy are a manual on how to misinterpret and misunderstand Indian philosophy.

What needs to be needed is a properly oriented narrative,regardless of whether it is established that the descendants of Indo-Iranians/Indo-Aryans populated India or the Indian subcontinent was the Urheimat of the Indo-Europeans.


Christian hypocrisy


[Archived on Internet Archive and archive.is].


They do this the same to Hindus,and invent secular justifications for this by funding various malafide NGOs and other places.(To see them in action, see @by2kaafi on Twitter). Here it is the same case of the Mosaic distinction being turned onto other groups seen as ‘less Christian’. However,since we are outrightly not monotheists,the distinctions of all the children of Abraham will always be against us.


Opportunities that we will be missing

This opinion piece by Umar Khalid(note: I consider communist modes,philosophy and praxis to be easier to analyze when you note their intellectual heritage and not assume that these philosophies are true and universal).

Hope that Hindu organizations do something to help displaced tribals to be closer to the Hindu mainstream,lest they be suckered in by the śavārādhakas or the rudhiradhvajin-s. Some sort of economic-cum-social arrangement,with a religious(dharma-centred) cement with a closely linked network of jātis each functioning like a particular cog,with minimal exploitation. So that the damage on both sides is minimized.

Otherwise,we know our future…

Similar things have been said by better people than me.


Also,as my friend SV remarked,the role of Hindu nationalist organizations in protecting and saving these traditions(let alone helping them spread) have been dismal(which is one of the greatest limitations of gharwapsi programmes),instead using them only as a means to an end(while it should be the reverse).

This and its parent cults should be battled at all  levels-from the lowest physical levels to the intellectual and spiritual levels. Sita Ram Goel wrote his analysis of Chinese communism from Kolkata, but it was Bal Thackeray’s followers who drove out the rudhiradhvajin-s from Mumbai(and the memory of Shivaji and his successors was still fresh in the public there), while Kolkata fell to them.