of the Rejoinder from Mrs. Asha Swami, President,
addressed to the Editor, Hindustan Times, New
The Indian Cow - Article by Mr. D.N. Jha and the
Rejoinder dated 19th December, 2001 thereof
This refers to the articles "Paradox of the Indian
Cow" and "Mincing no words" published in your
newspapers of 17th and 18th December, 2001 written
by one Mr. D.N. Jha.
At the very outset, let me make it clear that
the cow is beyond caste, creed, religion or faith.
The cow has secured its respectful position in
our traditions and culture not at the mercy of
some body but because of its inherent strength,
scientific and economic virtues of Panchgavya
in the agrarian society. When the Indian scriptures
attach highest respect and value to the cow it
is not because they were Hindu fundamentalists.
The society then was divided into two types of
people namely Sur and Asur. The Islam, Christianity
and other religions are very recent. It is the
mind set of certain people who look everything
only through the colours of religion and caste.
problem is that earlier, the European distorted
our history and then denigrated our civilization
and culture. It is that legacy which is being
now carried through the pseudo intellectuals under
the European influence who are trying to impose
their viewpoint as the facts of our traditions
and culture. History is an event. The event can
never be resurrected. As such, history is always
a narration of the event and the narrator presents
his perception, his understanding of the events.
Therefore, different historians have written history
in a different way. And even all these perceptions
together can not said to be presenting the event
in their right social and environmental context.
It becomes all the more unfortunate when historians
start commenting on our Scriptures.
same is the case with the present articles. The
author by picking a few sutras here and there
has tried to derive and impose viewpoint that
cow killing and beef eating was a normal part
of our culture. I will take a few of such references
to comment. One such reference is that "verily
the cow is food". Now does it mean that the meat
of cow is food or it means that cow really is
the food giver to the mankind and to the nature.
It will depend on your perception. It is known
that cow milk is a low calorie, low cholesterol,
high immunity and high vitamin food. It is essential
to develop our mind, rejuvenation of cells and
builds up immunity. On the other hand, the cow
dung and urine restore and maintain the micro-nutrients
in the soil and thus are a good food for soil.
The other thing we have to keep in mind is that
every word has different meaning and the meaning
will depend in the context in which it is used.
The literary translation may at times be totally
out of place and, therefore, understanding and
appreciation of the context is very critical.
while referring to the law book of Manu, the author
is deriving only an inference that cow killing
was permitted. When cow killing did not have the
sanction of the society, then the question of
its putting together with other animals will not
arise. And this is what speaks of the perception
out of the context. When the author refers to
the welcome of the learned Brahmins with a big
ox, he only thinks that it is for eating. He is
not linking to the context that earlier the people
used to donate cows to the Brahmins and Rishis
and presenting a big ox was to help them to have
better breeds and was a gift to them. In the same
paragraph, the author says "perhaps beef eating
in certain sections of society was fairly common".
What this 'perhaps' means? Is he doubtful about
his own statement or he is just trying to impose
his viewpoint. The other reference by the author
is worship of Yamuna by Sita with cows. Does it
mean that Sita wanted to kill 1000 cows and throw
it in the Yamuna or does it mean that she intended
to purify the Yamuna with the milk of 1000 cows.
Even today, the milk is used for purification
and poured in Yamuna river. As regards therapeutic
use of beef, does it imply that beef eating was
the culture of earlier Indians. Even today, people
donate blood to save life. People donate organs.
Does it mean that we are taking the blood or flesh
of others. The author by such references has only
the articles by the author are full of ifs and
buts. The vedic era has never supported cow killing.
In fact in the vedic period, the nature was worshiped
and the cow being able of sustaining not only
the human but also the bio-diversity of the eco-system
that it was given the respectful place. I would
like to refer here to few of the references from
our scriptures to prove the point of view that
we were always against cow killing.
(Kand 75/5) says that it is only duffers who do
havan with animal parts. Yajurveda (19-20) says
that one who sacrifice animals attains only animal-hood
and preaches that do not kill animals and do not
kill cow. Rigveda (1-164-40) speaks for the worship
of cow for good luck and fortune. Rigveda (10-87-16)
call upon people to smolder the head of the person
who kills the cow. Atharavveda (Kand 12/5) prescribes
exemplary punishment for cow killing and talks
about protection and samvardhan of cow and its
progeny for agriculture. Brahmvavart Purana explain
in detail the importance of cow to our life and
nutritive value of its milk and ghee and lays
down the necessity of rearing a cow and says that
one will be healthy if he does not eat cow meat.
Vishnudharmottar Purana explain the capability
of the cow to clean and protect the environment.
Virtues of the cow are immense and all scriptures
bring out this fact and compare cow as encompassing
the whole universe. It is now for readers to decide
whether such a civilization of ours could reflect
the perceptions which the author is propagating.
purpose of writing this rejoinder is not to prove
that cow killing did not take place in the earlier
times. There were people who might be killing
cows and even eating beef. There are people even
to day who kill cow and eat beef. But does it
mean that it is the staple food of the Indian
society and that it reflects our culture and had
sanction of the law or tradition. Even today,
murders are committed, young girls are raped,
illegitimate children are born, female foeticide
takes place, brides are burnt for dowry. The idols
are stolen and sold. What I mean to say is that
so many activities take place which are against
the norms, traditions and laws. Still, these are
all documented events. Tomorrow when we write
history, will it be correct to infer that this
is what our society is today and such activities
are sanctioned or that these are only the aberrations.
Are these incidents to be emulated as our ideals.
There is one more thing which is called the sense
of guilt. When people commit sins, they react
in two ways - one is to accept the guilt and try
to atone it i.e. to do prayaschit. Then there
are others who try to justify their deeds and
this is what most of the law breakers do. It is,
therefore, not clear that when one speaks, in
what shape of mind his guilt is. It is not clear
what the author intends to justify or convey,
promote or propagate. Is it cow killing or it
is beef eating or slaughtering of animals and
whose interest are intended to be served is to
be judged by the readers.
is right that the cow protection movement did
not put the usefulness and virtues of cow to the
mankind in the forefront. This was assumed being
part of tradition. But the pseudo secularists
and the pseudo intellectuals presented the cow
protection as a Hindu movement. The cow does not
discriminate in giving its milk or other Panchgavya
on the basis of the gopalak being a Hindu or a
Muslim, a Pandit or a Kasai. It is also well-known
that beef is not a staple food of Indian Muslims.
On the other hand, beef is a regular food of Europeans
and it is this European mind set which is working
to create wedge between the two communities to
make themselves saleable outside.
is unfortunate that we are raising doubts and
questions about our knowledge and wisdom to market
the European economy. The knowledge which has
been practiced for thousands of years is being
questioned. The contribution of cow as a source
of healthy and nutritious food in the form of
milk, dahi, ghee and therapeutic use of cow urine
and dung in a number of ailments and the restoration
of micro-nutrients in the soil are being seen
as religious beliefs. It is the time that the
Central and the State Governments and other research
organisations come-forward to open research centers
to revalidate what has been given as a prescription
and is in practical use for thousands of years.
You can only pity the author when he says that
there are no temples for the holy and the sacred
cow. The scriptures at no point of time suggested
the cow to be worshiped as a white marble statue.
The place of cow is in our heart and mind because
the cow represents bio-diversity and is the protector
of the environment and the mankind. The cow is
to be worshiped and respected in its live form
as a benefactor.
the end, I would only suggest the readers to read
themselves the Vedas to find out what was the
thrust of vedic culture. If they have difficulty
in reading Vedas then they can even read the sixty-ninth
special eddition of Kalyan brought out by Geeta
Press, Gorakhpur on the cow. It has reference
to Vedas, Ramayana and Mahabharat and other scriptures
to tell you what these scriptures have talked
about the Indian cow.
VIEWS APPEARED IN VARIOUS DAILIES
ON SHRI D.N. JHA's ARTICLE " PARADOX OF THE INDIAN
JHA (Paradox of the Indian cow, December 17) referred
to a sentence from the Rig Veda which means "
Indra has special liking for bulls". 'Bull' is
the wrong meaning for the word vrishabh
used here. Its actual meaning in this context
is 'cloud'. So the actual sentence is; " Indra
has special liking of clouds". In the Puranas,
Indra is also known as the god of rain.
- AMIT DUA, DELHI
ARTICLE Paradox of the Indian cow by D.N. Jha
reveals his prejudices. In Rig Veda, the word
'bali' means offering, not killing, as
in Balivaishvadev which is a Vedic ritual
observed to offer food to celestial gods. Jha
seems to be unfamiliar with Vedic grammar. Even
Panini has defined 'goghn' as the
receiver, not the killer, of the cow. J.K.
DIGGING into the Vedas for beef, D.N. Jha (Paradox
of the Indian cow, December 17) seems to be oblivious
of the intricacies of Vedic language which is
an esoteric field. Wherever one finds gau
in Vedas, it does not invariably stand for cow.
If the author things cows were sacrificed in gomedh,
will he say that pitars were sacrificed
thousand years from now, scholars of Jha's caliber
might find the mention of hotdogs in 'ancient'
books and jump to the conclusion that dog meat
was the staple food of Americans and Europeans
in the 20th Century. We know Bombay duck is fish.
But if at some point of time, someone insists
on translating Bombay duck as a kind of duck,
truth will be casualty.
is need to avoid pitfalls while dealing with ancient
languages. While dealing with books like Manusmriti,
Jha is ignorant about the problem of interpolations.
New research in the field, such as the Manusmriti
edited and annotated by Surendra Kumar, is worth
going into. RAM VIR, FARIDABAD.
SPECIAL position that the cow enjoys in Hinduism
developed during the period of Lard Krishna. Cow
is sacred because Krishna himself was fond of
its milk. And, no other milk provides the nutritional
and other qualities that cow's milk provides.
question is not whether you like to eat cow's
meat; it concerns the special position of the
cow in Hinduism. This is a matter of faith, respect
and feelings. M.M. AGARWAL, DELHI
REJOINDER - The word of god. by B.D. Ukhul, Vice-President,
Arya Samaj, Janakipuri branch, Delhi
ARTICLE by D.N. Jha, Paradox of the Indian cow
(December 17) is most provocative since it directly
concerns the majority community of the country.
It is paradoxical since its revered author is
a Brahmin as his surname suggests.
has stated that various varieties of meat, particularly
of cows and bulls, were a part of the cuisine
of early Indians and further indicated textual
evidence of beef-eating. He has said that the
Sangh parivar has turned its guns at historians,
instead of at Indian scholars. This is a misconception
since we Aryans believe in the Mundokupnishad
(3.1.6) - Satyamev Jayate nanritam - that
is, only the truth triumphs and not the false
hood. We are willing to argue and counter the
contrary opinion on the textual evidence.
Rig Veda and Atharv Veda, it would be revealed
that the conclusions drawn by Jha are based on
wrong interpretations since in Sanskrit a single
word has multiple meanings. We believe the Ved-mantras
to be truly Dev Vani (the word of god).
mention the word rishibh which means bull.
But it is also the name of an aushdhi (medicine).
It also means surya (sun) the Sanskrit
word mahisha means an animal and also denotes
padarth (substance) and vighn (obstacle).
The word Soma, besides an aushadhi, also
means aishvara (an elevated position).
conclusions based on literal meanings have misled
the early commentators and because of this we
should be open to correcting these misgivings.
In the light of correct meanings, the thesis in
the article will collapse under its own weight.
has singled out some hymns of the Vedas whose
misinterpretation has led to wrong conclusions.
I have come across ample textual evidence in the
Vedas where the cow has been glorified saying
it needs to be worshipped. The Vedas prescribe
punishment for the cow's butcher.
entire Sukta 28 of Mandal VI (eight
hymns) of Rig Veda is devoted to the glorification
of the cow; 28.3 states amitrah assam vyathih
n aaddharshti - enemy may not use any astra
(weapon) on cows; 28.4 states n sanskritam
upayanti to abhi - nobody should take them
to the slaughterhouse to kill them; 28.5 states
- gavah somyasaya prathamasya bhakhshah -
in the first ahuti (offering) of Somras,
only cow's milk is used.
glory of the domestic cow is revealed in the Rig
Veda hymn II. 35.7. It is also emphasised in Atharv
Veda (AV) hymns V.28.3; IV.21.6; IV.21.7; also
in the hymn XIX. 48.5 which directs us to protect
all animals. Refer the book Swadhyaya Sandoh
by Swami Vedanand Teerth, (pg 25-26
and 296, besides referring to the Vedic texts.
in its hymn I. 16.4 prescribes punishment to the
killer of the cow. Vedic rishis never allowed
such killings which Jha tries to prove b singling
out solitary references in Taittirya Brahmana,
Satapatha Brahmana. Even the name of Ajnavalk
and Valmiki Ramayana is referred to
fortify his claim. The entire thesis is based
on misinterpretations. B.D. Ukhul, The writer
REJOINDER / Sandha Jain
cow is the symbol of the Hindu community's perception
of divinity in all forms of life. One detects
ill motives behind the contention that Hindus
started worshipping cows only from the earl medieval
IS the most aggressive of the monocultures seeking
to decimate India's unique civilisation because
it has no core values of its own; it lacks a sense
of the sacred, and relies wholly on the vitality
of fiolence to achieve its ends. Yet, even by
the debased standards of Marxist discourse, D.N.Jha's
distasteful allegations about the cow as chow
in an historically undefined but pristine period
in the evolution of our dharmic tradition strikes
a new low (Paradox the Indian cow, HT, Dec 17-18).
claims to be an eminent historian; hence his persuasive
prattle about cow flesh constituting the haute
cuisine and dietetics of ancient India raises
critical questions about the use of oral traditions
to arrive at historical conclusions in the absence
of convincing corroborative evidence. Equally
significant is his selective (distorted) use of
scriptures to portray a false image of a community
that was spiritually awakened so far back in time.
is necessary to understand the distinctiveness
of the sanatan dharma (eternal, Indic tradition)
- a way of life based on the cosmic law (rta),
inspired by the ideal of universal welfare of
all beings, both human and other creatures. Its
inner dynamics are characterised by evolution,
because it grew on the banks of rivers where the
movement of waters is constant, sacred. As Prof.
Lokesh Chandra, scholar of Hinduism and Buddhism,
says, waters flow because of the banks the waters
would not flow but would slush into marshes. In
the spiritual universe, banks are our maryadas
(sense of the sacred, of limits).
dharma promotes realisation (sadhna) as oposed
to a fixed revelation; hence our samskaras vary
with time. The tradition accommodates a multiplicit
of perceptions at the highest levels of spiritual
perfection. The goal is to ennoble man (ud yaanam
te purusa, Rig Veda - RV); man apprehends God
and becomes Brahman.
Indic tradition also has the concept of yuga dharma
(dharma of an epoch), as humanity is an end, never
a means. In the Vedic age the cow was perceived
as supreme nurturer and Moter; auspicious qualities
were attributed to her. Thought originated in
cow was equated with wealth, and unlikely to be
killed symbolically on account of the belief that
if ou killed a cow you killed your prosperity.
The Vedas describe the cow as sinless and aghna
(which cannot or should not be murdered), and
prescribed severe punishments for those who killed
claims that the Rig Veda provides evidence of
beef-eating. While it is true that animals were
sacrificed to honour gods in the Vedic era, this
was usually the male ox, buffalo or goat. The
sacrifice was a special communit event and not
an act of individual consumerist eating.
calls Indra a tippler, with a special liking for
bulls. But if we look at the original Sanskrit
text of his first reference (RV, V. 29.7ab), along
with the translation by the British Sanskritist,
H.H. Wilson, based on the Bhasya of Sayanacarya,
we find that both verses speak of buffaloes (mahisha),
not bulls. RV VI.17.11 and VIII.12.8 mention buffaloes
(mahishamn). In RV X.27.2 and X.28.3 we find the
bull (vrishabham); while X.86.14 speaks of large
Jha has engaged in crude genetic engineering to
transform buffaloes into cows, and bulls into
cows. His articles take so man liberties with
truth that the entire Vedic Age appears as a debauched
revelry reminiscent of Caligula's Rome.
another Vedic deit who lives on in the daily jyot
in Hindu homes, has been projected as a lascivious
lover of animal food, including the flesh of horses,
bulls and cows. But these are not interchangeable
terms, and in Jha's references (RV VIII.43.11),
speaks of large bulls (ukshaannaya), while X.91.14
mentions God as one to whom "vigorous horses and
bulls and barren cows and sheep are consigned
as burnt offerings". Jha uses the same verse to
prove that cattle were killed for Soma (a drink
and a God), but the text only mentions somprishtaya,
" (Agni) whose back is sprinkled with Soma" (a
drink and a god), but the text only mentions somprishtaya,
"(Agni) whose back is sprinkled with Soma".
reliance on the Rig Veda to prove the cow's culinary
debut is thus dubious. Jha's sweeping references
to later-day Grhyasutras and Dharmasutras may
be dismissed, as these texts were prone to corrpution,
as noted by Bharat Ratna P.V. Kane. His contention
that the grammarian Panini used the word goghn
to mean "guest for whom a cow is slain" is false
and mischievous. Panini created a special sutra,
dashagoghnan sampradane (3/4/73), to establish
the rule that goghn will mean only the receiver
of a cow.
has not spared even Sita! The poor goddess is
mentioned as promising the Yamuna a thousand cows
and hundred jhars of wine when Ram accomplished
his vow; the suggestion being that the cows will
be sacrified. Valmiki states yakshetvam go sahasrena
sura ghatashen cha, which means a puja. There
is never a sacrifice for a river, and the cows
are to be gifted.
slaughter is held to be an important part of public
sacrifices like the vajapeya yagna. According
to German Saskritist, Hermann Oldenberg (Die Religion
des Veda), in the Vajapeya sacrifice, the priest
sprinkles the sacrificer with the sacrificial
measl mixed with water, milk and nutritive substances.
The horses smell the sacrificial meal, both before
and after the race, which is a part of this feast,
in order to get power and speed. The smoke emanating
from the sacrificial fire and aroma of the sacrifice
are effective carriers of the power of blessing
contained in the sacrifice.
course, we need not be dogmatic that there was
no cow killing in ancient India, but we can dismiss
Jha's contention that there is ambiguous archaeological
evidence in support of it. His assertion is false
that despite the Upanishadic exhortation to ahimsa,
a call supported by Buddha (accused of eating
beef and pork) and Mahavira, the cow could not
became sacred until the earl medieval period.
cow became scared and aghnya during the Rig Veda
period itself. It emerged as the vehicle of Shiva
and the special protectee of the cow-herd god,
Krishna. The virtues of its products - milk, curd,
ghee, dung and urine - have been extolled from
the time of the Vedas.
- Dr. D.N. Jha reveals his extreme prejudice and
misrepresentation of the Hindu religion in his
remarks on the 'Paradox of the Indian cow". He
refers to Rig Ved, Panini, Manusmriti and other
there is no such thing as sacrificing the bulls
and cows in the VIII Mandal, of the Rig Veda.
The word medh means "o conjoin" and bali means
"offering ", not the killing, as in the term Balivaishvedev
which is a Vedic ritual observed daily to offer
food to celestial Gods.
Panini has himself defined the meaning of the
word "goghn" as the " receiver of the cow" not
the killer of the cow.
appears that Prof. Jha is ignorant of the Vedic
grammer and has never been familiar with Ashtadhyayi
of Panini. He must have simply read the books
of Max Muller etc, and their followers who were
the derogators of Vedic culture, as promoted by
the British diplomats, which has deeply affected
the Hindu scholars and historians as welll. One
should know that Max Muller was amply rewarded
for a single sheet of derogatory translation of
interpolations of meat eating in the Manusmriti
and the Shatpath Brahman etc. are very obvious.
Manusmriti strictly admonishes meat eating and
tells that these people involved in the selling,
buying, cooking, serving and the eating meat are
sinners (5/48.51). I would like to suggest that
Dr. Jha study " The True History and The Religion
of India" by Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, which
is a concise encyclopedia of authentic truth of
Hindu culture and religion. J.K. Beniwal, E-300
Greater Kailash-I, NEW DELHI - 110 048.
OVER UNDERSTANDING OF THE VEDAS
Myth of the Holy Cow by D.N.Jha published by
Verso, London, 2002 is the most damaging book
in its contents since the sole intention of
the author has been to prove that all ancient
Hindu scriptures particularly the Vedas and
Shatpath Brahmana etc.uphold beef-eating and
this has been the way of life of the Aryans
who were our ancestors since the term Hindu
came to be introduced much later. The author
has cited references from the Vedas, Brahmanas,
Upnishads etc. to prove his thesis which perhaps
he chose to be the sole mission of his life
even though he comes from a Brahamin family
and he has dedicated his so called prestigious
book to his kin in Rajrani (a symbol of motherhood).
Aryans revered cow as a mother and it is really
an irony that a son of Bharat has taken immense
pains to prove something which is far from truth
and also it injures the sentiments of millions
of Hindus and in order to demolish his thesis
an effort is being hereby made to trace each
and every reference cited by him in the book
and reveal the truth and nothing but the truth.
To commence with, citations quoted from the
Rgveda are being dealt with beginning from the
very first Mandala of Rigveda.
It is beyond any doubt that the conclusions
drawn by Mr. Jha are based on wrong interpretations
and the misleading commentaries by the western
scholars and also the works of Indian scholars
who got patronage of the British rulers. Role
of such scholars and their mission to erase
our heritage was under a well planned scheme
to mould the Indian mind into the western thought
and culture and create conditions to cast off
our past. Their mission was to spread Christianity
and the major players were Macauley and Max
Muller and their correspondence and writings*
will substantiate this submission. Hereby it
will also be revealed that these western scholars
could not derive the right and intended spirit
of our ancient Rishis and have erred immensely.
In the realm of the Vedic interpretation, we
owe debt to Swami Dayanand Saraswati(1825-1883),
the founder of Aryasamaj who took us back to
the Vedas. His commentaries were based on the
Nighantu and Yaska's Nirukta and he thought
deep and delved deep to arrive at the rightful
adhyatmik and yogic spirit of the mantras. The
opinion of a great saint-philosopher Sri Aurobindo
Ghosh will be the most pertinent to quote in
this regard."In the matter of Vedic interpretation
I am convinced that whatever may be the final
complete interpretation, Dayananda will be honoured
as the first discoverer of the right clues.
Amidst the chaos and obscurity of old ignorance
and age long misunderstanding his was the eye
of direct vision that pierced to the truth and
fastened on that which was essential. He had
found the keys of the doors that time had closed
and rent asunder the seals of the imprisoned
fountains". AT THIS STAGE IT IS DESIRABLE
THAT WE APPROACH THIS IMPORTANT ASPECT TO ENDORSE
AND ACCEPT THE RIGHTFUL INTERPRETAIONS INSTEAD
OF CLINGING TO DEFECTIVE LITERAL TRANSLATIONS
OF THE VEDAS WHICH ARE REVELATIONS BY THE ALMIGHTY
GOD WHO BLESSED US WITH THIS DIVINE KNOWLEDGE
TO GUIDE OUR PATH SINCE THE VEDIC REVELATION
WAS SYNCHRONOUS WITH MAN'S FIRST APPEARANCE
ON EARTH. How can our creator prescribe offerings
of his own creatures? After independence, this
aspect should have received due attention but
it is sad that this remained untapped and even
the Sanskrit language came under cloud when
a Rajya Sabha nominated Christian member Frank
Anthony introduced a bill to drop this sacred
language from the eighth schedule of languages
enshrined in the Indian constitution in 1977.
There is no doubt that some Western scholars
did an appreciable job to introduce the Vedas
to the outside world which inspired the scholars
to learn Sanskrit to benefit from the treasure
of wisdom of Vedic Rishis but unfortunately,
it followed a wrong path without application
of their inner mind or intellect as was done
by the devoted disciple of Swami Virajanand
who was actually blind of eyes but he imparted
such vision and deep knowledge to Dayanand that
he clung to the soul and spirit of the Vedas
and it is our bounden duty to follow this path
to understand the sacred words of God which
can never be wrong and are ever infallible.
In the context of the commentary/translation
of the Vedas by Max Muller, it will be relevant
to point out the opinion of Mr. Boulanger, the
editor of Russian edition of The Sacred Books
of the East Series as follows:
"What struck me in Max Mullar's translation
was a lot of absurdities, obscene passages and
a lot of what
is not lucid".
"As far as I can grab the teaching of the
Vedas, it is so sublime that I would look upon
it as a crime on my part, if the Russian public
becomes acquainted with it through the medium
of a confused and distorted translation, thus
not deriving for its soul that benefit which
this teaching should give to the people".
In his book 'Vedic Hymns', Max Muller himself
says "My translation of the Vedas is conjectural".
HEREUNDER the glaring difference in substance
and the spirit of the cited Suktas 162 and 163
of the first Mandala of Rigveda is illustrated
to establish that misinterpretation is at the
root of this problem. Each Sukta has its risi
and devata; risi depicts 'drashta' whereas devata
depicts the subject matter
which facilitates the understanding of the mantras
under respective Sukta.
Sukta 162- Name of risi: Deerghatama Name of
devata:Mitradyo Lingokta (As per Sw.Dayanand):
Deerghatama :Ashav-stuti (As per translation
of HH Wilson)
Sukta 163- Name of risi: Deerghatama Name of
devata:Ashvo-agnirdevta(As per Sw.Dayanand):
Deerghatama:Ribhuganh (As per translation of
The above implies that both the Suktas are in
glorification of the horse but our Western enthusiasts
and Mr.Jha along with his Indian ideals have
even ignored the very basic lead and gone for
crucification of the spirit of mantras which
is left to your esteemed judgement.
Sukta 162 has 22 mantras while Sukta 163 has
13 mantras. Mr. Jha states that in the ashvamedha(horse
sacrifice),the most important of the Vedic public
sacrifices,first referred to in the Rigveda
in the afore-stated Suktas (p.31 of his book).
Sukta 162 in fact deals with the science of
applying horse power (automation) of the fire
pervading in the form of energy. No mantra supports
sacrifice of horses. Of course the first mantra
has been translated by Max Muller in a wrong
manner as follows:
Lord of Ribhus and the Maruta not rebuke us
because we shall proclaim at the sacrifice virtues
of the swift horse sprung from the god".(from
History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature). Similarly
H.H.Wilson in his translation based on the commentary
of Sayanacarya states as follows:
"Let neither Mitra nor Varuna,Aryaman,Ayu,Indra,Ribhukshin,nor
the Maruts,censure us;when was proclaim in the
sacrifice the virtues of the swift horse sprung
from the gods".
Transliterated version of this mantra is given
Ma no mitro varuno arymayurindro ribhuksha marutah
parikhyan Yadvajino devajatasya sapteh pravakshyamo
vidathe veeryani Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati
in his Hindi commentary has rendered the translation
We the performers of yajna in all seasons (vidathe)
in the battle field (yat) whose (vajinah) stormy
(devajatasya) learned men and borne out of the
divine virtues (sapte) of the horse (veeryani)
unique performances (pravakshyamah) we shall
describe (nah) the daring performances of our
horses (mitrah) friend (varunah) sublime (aryama)
the deliverer of justice (ayuh) the knower (indrah)
the all-elivated or aishvaryavan (ribhuksha)
intelligent and (marutah) priests (ma, pari,khyan)
should never disregard these properties. To
easily grasp the spirit of mantra the following
translation will be helpful. We shall describe
here the energy generating virtues of the powerful
horses(planets),added with brilliant properties
of the vigorous force of heat. The learned never
dispute these properties. There is vast difference
in the above quoted translations.Obviously the
wrong seeds were sown by Sayan and Mahidhar
who were the ideals adopted by the western scholars,
namely Max Muller, Griffith , Wilson etc. Sw.Dayanand
Saraswati in his book "An Introduction
to the Vedas" has adversely criticised
on the commentaries of Sayan and Mahidhar in
context of some of their interpretations of
the Vedic hymns. They could be held responsile
for the horrible and horried interpretations
which suggest as if the Vedas were the texts
to lay down the modes of sacrifices. Is it not
a tragedy for the Dharamacharyas/Sanskrit scholars
of this country that they also could not pursue
the path shown by Dayanand and got bogged down
only in the rituals of worship in the temples
and no attention was paid to the sources of
knowledge which were the guiding principles
of Aryans, our worthy ancestors and sons of
the mother India (Aryavrat) as the vedas proclaimed
man as 'amritasya putras' and we need to follow
this path if we want to be proud of our heritage
and hold our head high or otherwise we are going
to be labelled with the legacy of butchers and
animal killers who desired to please different
gods by various sacrifices performed in the
Eighth mantra of this Sukta is translated as
The fleet of horses is controlled by holding
of bridles and saddles placed thereon. To make
them strong,the grass and cereals are fed to
them. Likewise,the learned people control and
regulate their power of senses and taking nourishing
translation is as follows:
May the halter and the heel-ropes of the fleet
courser, and the head-ropes, the girths, and
any other (part of the harness); and the grass
that has been put into his mouth; may all these
be with you, (horse) ,amongst the gods. (THIS
IS NOTHING BUT LITERAL AND MECHANICAL TRANSLATON
BEREFT OF THE SUBSTANCE & SPIRIT OF THE
MANTRA) Ninth mantra again was again wrongly
interpreted by Max Muller,Wilson and Griffith
to translate the word 'kravishah' as the flesh.
It is an adjective of 'ashvasya' and derived
from kramu-padavikshepe. Hence it means ' the
pacing horse' and not of the flesh. 'shamituh'
has been translated by Prof. Max Muller and
Wilson as of the immolator. Griffith has translated
it as 'of a slayer'. But etymologically 'sam-alochne'
means 'to look at' (with love and peace) and
should mean ' a person who looks at the living
beings with love and peace and not slayer'.
Twelfth mantra emphasizes on the qualities of
the warrior and its translation is as follows:
They who crave for the meat of a horse and declare
the horse fit to be killed should be exterminated.
Those who keep the fast horse well trained and
disciplined deserve to be praised by us for
the strength of their character and perseverance.
(IT CLEARLY DEMOLISHES THE THESIS OF JHA AND
PROVES THAT HE HAS MERELY QUOTED CITATIONS AND
HARDLY CARED TO LOOK AT THE ACTUAL TEXT BUT
INSPIRED BY THE FOLLOWING TRANSLATION OF WILSON):
"Let their exertions be for our good who
watch the cooking of the horse; who say, it
is fragrant; therefore give us some: who solicit
the flesh of the horse as alms". (WHAT
AN IMMENSE DAMAGE TO THE SPIRIT OF THE MANTRA).
Mantras 13 to 19 deal with the theme of horse
or automation power while 20 to 22 are devoted
to the benefits of Yoga exercises and an ideal
This Sukta deals with various attributes of
learned person, agni, science & technology.
There are references to the horse to illustrate
its unique qualities of its immense energy likened
to agni (fire), intelligence, bravery and inbuilt
attributes which are at par with those of the
men of wisdom. Perusal of some mantras will
bring home this point.
First mantra includes or rather ends with 'arvan'
and this word denotes as per Yv 29.12 vigyanvan
athva ashvaiv veguvan vidvan=O learned person
active like the horse.
Second mantra includes the term 'surat ashvam'
which means the fast moving agni i.e the fire
which enables a speedy locomotion.
Third mantra includes the term 'adityah arvan'
and here it means the sun which is all pervading.
'arvan'means sarvatrapraptah=pervading all.
This term was wrongly translated by Prof. Wilson
, Griffith and others, while both admit in the
notes that Yama means Agni, Aditya-Sun and Trita-Vayu.
How can horse be identified with Agni (fire)
sun and the air etc.none has cared to justify.
To take 'arva' for agni, there is the clear
authority of the Taittiriya Brahmana.(I.36,4).
Fourth mantra includes the word 'arvan' where
it is used to mean the learned and wise people.
Eighth mantra includes the word 'arvan' through
which the mighty and active person has been
likened to the horse who bears such characteristics.
Ninth mantra includes the word 'arvantam' which
means vegavantam agnim ashvam=the rapid horse
in the form of Agni (fire, electricity etc.)
Tenth mantra includes the word 'ashva' where
it means the bright swift horses in the form
of fire, air, water etc.
Eleventh mantra includes the word 'arvan' and
the following translation of this mantra will
endorse our stand that the unique qualities
of the horse are emphasized in Sukta-163:
"O brave person! You are active like a
horse, your body is like a swift vehicle, your
mind is like the wind in motion. Your sublime
actions are initiated from the proper use of
fire and electricity. These are spread in all
directions like the hoary creatures in the forests".
One can see that this mantra is in praise of
highly skilled technicians.
Wilson's translation reads as follows:
"Your body, horse, is made for motion ,
your mind is rapid (in intention ) as the wind:
the hairs (of your mane) are tossed in manifold
directions; and spread beautiful in the forests".(ANOTHER
Twelfth mantra includes the term 'vajyarva'
which means agni swift(vegavan) like a horse
and here in this mantra use of agni is highlighted.
Thirteenth and the last mantra of this Sukta
contains the word 'arvan' where it means agnyadashvan=
horses in the form of fire, electricity etc.
ASVAMEDHA has been translated as horse sacrifice
as referred above by Jha and the conclusions
drawn accordingly and this has been the root
cause of varied wrong interpretations and in
order to illustrate its scope and meaning the
following is stated:
At the sight of words 'asvamedha,gomedha,purushmedha,ajmedha'
there is a general tendency to interpret it
to denote as hinsa/sacrifice/killing. 'medha'
word's verb or dhatu is 'medhri'. 'medhrisangame
hinsayam cha' i.e. to enhance pure intellect
, to inculcate love and integration among the
people and also hinsa i.e killing (this dhatu
conveys these three meanings).But it does not
always mean killing or sacrifice and in Sanskrit
no literal translation will do where a particular
word carries varied meanings and it has to
be applied judiciously and thoughtfully keeping
in view the context of the text. The words 'purushmedha'
and 'nriyajna' are synonyms. In manusmriti the
word 'nriyajna' has been defined as'nriyajnoatithipoojanam'
(manusmriti -3.70) it means the pooja or honour
of the guests. If we take the meaning of the
root 'medhri' as sangamanarth it will come to
be interpreted as to organize the people for
virtuous deeds or to enhance the love and equanimity
among them i.e. it would be 'nriyajna'or 'purushmedh'.
It may be pertinent to mention here that 'nrimedha'
is a rishi of some vedic hymns of Samveda. It
can never mean the one who kills or sacrifices
the human beings. Consequently, the terms followed
by medha always do not signify killing/sacrifice
and therefore the interpretations made by the
Western scholars are utterly wrong and unacceptable.
In Shatpath Brahmana (13.1.6) it is stated "Rashtramva
asvamedhah" i.e. Asvamedha means to manage
or run the affairs of the rashtra (country)
in a befitting manner.
In the Shantiparva of Mahabharata (3.336) there
is mention of asvamedha of the king Vasu in
which numerous rishis and learned men participated.In
this context it is clearly mentioned "n
tatra pashughato-abhoot" i.e. there was
no killing of any animal. Further in this Parva
at 3.327, the following is stated in context
Ajairyajneshu yashtavyamiti vai vaidiki shruti
Ajasanjnani beejani chhaganno hantumarhatha
Naishah dharmah satam devah yatra vadhyeta vai
pashuh It means that whenever it is stated to
use aja for performance of yajna, it means the
seeds called 'aja' have to be used. Here it
does not mean a goat. It is
not proper to kill goats and it does not behove
the virtuous people to indulge in killing of
Sw.Dayanand Saraswati in his book "An introduction
to the Vedas" at p.448-449 states that
God is Jamadagni i.e. Ashvamedha. An empire
is like a horse and the subjects like other
inferior animals. As other animals,the strength,
so the subjects are weaker than the state assembly.
The glory and splendour of an empire consists
in wealth,gold etc. and in administration of
justice".(Shatpath Brahmana: XIII.2.2.14-17)
It is further stated that God's name is Ashva
also,because , He pervades the whole universe
(Ashva comes from the root 'Ash' which means
The above derivations call for our cautious
approach and take upon ourselves the task of
removing the mist caused by misinterpretations
to see the truth which can be one and only one
and feel proud of our heritage.
Rakshabandhan: 7th Bhadrapada, 2059
(To be continued)
(The author expresses his gratitude to Shri
Bharat Bhushan Vidyalankar for his guidance,encouragement
and valuable suggestions in compilation of the
* It was February, 1835 , a time when the British
were striving to take control of the whole of
Macaulay, a historian and a politician, made
a historical speech in the British Parliament,
commonly referred to as The Minutes, which struck
a blow at the centuries old system of Indian
education. His words
were to this effect: I have travelled across
the length and breadth of India and I have not
seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief.
Such wealth I have seen in this country, such
high moral values, people of such calibre, that
I do not think we would ever conquer this country,
unless we break the very backbone of this nation
, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage,
and , therefore, I propose that we replace her
old and ancient education system, her culture,
for if the Indians think that all that is foreign
and English is good and greater than their own
,they will lose their self-esteem, their native
self-culture and they will become what we want
them, a truly dominated nation.
(Source:The Awakening Ray,Vol.4 No.5, The Gnostic
Centre) Reproduced in Niti issue of April,2002
p.10- a periodic publication of Bharat Vikas
Dayanand Saraswati. An introduction to the Vedas
; translated from the original Sanskrit by Ghasi
3rd edn. Delhi,Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha,1998.
Bharat Bhushan Vidyalankar. Vedon ke sambandh
men bharant dharnayen -mss. Delhi,2002. 11pp.
Rgveda Samhita with English translation by Swami
Satya Prakash Sarasvati and Satyakam Vidyalankar.
The Rigveda with Maharishi Dayanda Saraswati's
Commentary. Translated into English by Acharya
Dharam Dev Vidya Martanda. Delhi,Sarvadeshik
Arya Pratinidhi Sabha,1974.
Rgveda: Hindi Bhashya -pratham mandal by Maharishi
Dayanand Saraswati. Delhi,Sarvdeshik Arya
Rgveda Samhita:Sanskrit text,English translation
and notes according to translation of H.H.Wilson
and Bhasya of Sayanacarya edited and revised
with exhaustive introduction and notes by Ravi
Prakash Arya and K.L.Joshi. Delhi,Parimal Publications,1997.
Vidyanand Saraswati. Aaryon ka aadi desh aur
unki sabhyata. Delhi,Arya Prakashan,2002
Author is a former Librarian of Indian National
Science Academy,New Delhi
Presently up-pradhan of Aryasamaj , C Block,
Postal Address: C2A/58, Janakpuri, New Delhi-110058.
The synopsis on the jacket of the book entitled
'The myth of the holy cow' by D.N.Jha reads
"The growth of religious fundamentalism
in India is symbolized by the existence of a
BJP government committed to the Hindutva. There
is growing pressure to declare the cow a sacred,
national animal and to ban its slaughter. The
Myth of the Holy Cow is an illuminating response
to this crazed confessionalism.
It challenges obscurantist views on the sanctity
of the cow in Hindu tradition and Culture. Dwijendra
Narayan Jha, a leading Indian historian, argues
that beef eating played an important part in
the cuisine of ancient India, long before the
birth of Islam. It was very much a feature of
the approved Brahamanical and Buddhist diet.
The evidence he produces from a variety of religious
and secular texts is compelling. His opponents,
including the current government of India and
the fundamentalist groups backing it, have demanded
that the book should be ritually burned in public.
It has already been banned by the Hyderabad
Civil Court and the author's life has been threatened".
is grateful to everyone for the contributions