Front Cover
 Title Page

Group Title: fundamental unity of Indian thought ..
Title: The fundamental unity of Indian thought ..
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075634/00001
 Material Information
Title: The fundamental unity of Indian thought ..
Physical Description: 1 p. l., 178-193 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Rattray, Alexander Aitken, 1905-
Publication Date: 1946
Copyright Date: 1946
Subject: Religion -- India   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Alexander Aitken Rattray.
General Note: Part of thesis (Ph. D.)-- University of Chicago, 1943.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00075634
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 12390910
lccn - a 46003365

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
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        Page 187
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Full Text



tTbe U1niversitV of Cbicago




JUNE, 1943





No one can read Indian literature without becoming aware
that in spite of apparently irreconcilable differences the varie-
gated systems of religion have a great many things in common. All
use a common fund of philosophical terms and illustrations; there
is a more or less uniform system of logic; nearly all the systems
include in their epistemology knowledge acquired in supra-conscious
states, and the Sutra-writers seem to have had access to a common
stock of aphorisms and meanings.
More important still the goal of all religions is ulti-
mately the same--Escape from the Wheel of Samssra, the surfeit of
immortality engendered by the linkage into a rigidly unbreakable
determinism of the twin concepts of Karma and Transmigration.
The methods of securing this Release differ radically, but once
again common factors are involved in the process of obtaining
Redemption, and Ahims', Yoga, and Asceticism appear in varying de-
gree in all systems alike--astika or nrstika, idealistic or the-
istio, in the Vedanta as in the sectarian forms of Hinduism.
Most scholars are agreed that some underlying unity does
exist, but they are in radical disagreement as to exactly what
such unity consists of, what the chief factors in shaping it have
been, and what the exact process was which finally produced the
pattern we now have. One reason for this marked divergence of
opinion has certainly been the absence of any one consistent
methodology--something scarcely to be wondered at when we realize
that a strictly scientific methodology in the field of the reli-
gious sciences is a comparatively recent development. The result
of this lack, however, has been unwarranted speculation offered
as "explanations" of the many problems in this field. Typical
has been the endeavour to explain the "Weltschmerz" which so
quickly replaced the characteristic Vedic optimism and turned the
face of the Indian away from this world to seek elsewhere for
Reality. Thus Gough supposed the Dravidian influence to have



been relatively slight, basing his claims on a description of the
aborigines as savages of a low cultural sort whose influence must
have been largely confined to the fringes of the dominant and
superior Aryan civilization. The later excavations at Mohenjo-
daro as presented by Sir John Marshall have entirely destroyed any
such theory.
Other writers have betrayed a manifest bias. Indian
writers have consistently described the recurrence of sex elements
in their religion as "degenerations" from high philosophic doc-
trines, occurring relatively late in tfe literature, and being in
fact a kind of devolution at a late date in the development. This
sort of bias ignores both the cultural interaction and its his-
tory, and makes the origin of a sect synonymous with its philo-
sophical justification in the literature. It actually reverses
the true process in which a social group attains sufficient im-
portance to demand recognition within the orthodox pale and se-
cures intellectual status through its apologists who effect the
necessary philosophical rapprochement.
Some Western scholars, notably Deussen and the German
Idealists, sought to unify Indian thought on the basis of an orig-
inal idealism. Still others have accepted the interpretation of
the Indian Vedintists who claim that Sankara represented the ter-
minus of a logical development rooted in the Vedas, which provided
a fundamental unity against which "orthodoxy" all other positions
must be contrasted. This position is also that of all the astika
sects of whatever description, monistic idealist or theistic, a
position they maintain against the rest with all the fervour of
the Arminian-Predestinarian controversialists of last century
Christian writers like Sidney Cave have generally found
themselves in agreement with the monistic idealism of the Vedanta,
since for them too Religion was best defined as the effort of the
soul of man to find unity with the great Over-soul of the Universe--
but the sex-fertility cults were as taboo to such as the Canaanite
sex worship was to the priests of Jaweh. Conversely Western apolo-
gists for the Siktas such as Arthur Avalon, Sir John Woodroffe,
have sought to show that behind the crude sex symbolism lay the
high philosophic goal of union of the human soul with the Creator
of the Universe, Brahman, again ignoring the historical develop-

This apparently inescapable bias, present in both Western
and Indian writers, makes it hard to apply a rigorous method to
the materials, something which is rendered still more difficult
by the notorious inexactness of Indian chronology, thus allowing
those bent.on exploiting a bias altogether too much latitude. In
spite of these handicaps it should still be possible to make an
objective and scientific evaluation of the development of Indian
thought--if for no other reason than the fact that it is fairly
easy to gauge the bias of the Indian writers, who usually make no
attempt to conceal their religious affiliations or philosophic
a prioris, while the Western Idealists are obvious, as are the
conscious or unconscious apologists for Christian or Western values
and the Western apologists for Indian sects like Mrs. Stevenson
or Arthor Avalon. In every case, as one Indian scholar has very
succinctly put it, "a bias recognized is a bias sterillized."
Thus, although the fact of a fundamental unity of Indian
thought has been tacitly agreed to by a majority of orientalists,
yet none has come to the study with a consistently scientific and
unbiassed methodological approach--although until this has been
attempted no true perspective of the religious and philosophical
development of Indian thought is possible. Such an objective
study, moreover, would be a genuine contribution to our knowledge
of Indian development, and such is the task which has been at-
tempted in this thesis. From as objective an appraisal of the
facts as it has been possible to make, the endeavour has been made
to show that the seemingly separate and independent Indian systems
are really members of a larger whole, the product of social pres-
sure and interaction between the religious ideas of the Aryan and
those of the aboriginal or pre-Aryan inhabitants of the land.
This introduces the question of just what ideas the Dravidians
were responsible for and how the introduction of these was ef-
It has been shown clearly how the Aryan religion, a na-
ture worship centered in a high sky-god and guaranteeing the
values of a hunting, semi-nomadic culture, was superimposed upon
an agricultural culture whose religion was one of the Mediter-
ranean fertility and mother-goddess type. In such a situation
the overwhelming tendency would be for the newcomers to take over
without significant change the rituals and cult practices and use
these to secure the new values which his own gods were impotent

to provide. And since, in addition, the remains excavated at
Mohenjo-daro ard Harappa conclusively demonstrate that the culture
of the pre-Arysn population of India was on a much higher level
than that of their conquerors, this tendency would be furthered
by the preponderant mass of the Dravidian peoples inculcating a
social pressure which would make eventual assimilation inevitable.
This has actually been the history of Indian culture--the
record of a continuing and progressive modification of the super-
imposed Aryan culture by that of the native population, marked by
the constant entrance of non-Aryan groups into Hindu society. It
is a process quite similar to the trend manifested by Greek reli-
gion, where the two strata of Homeric and pre-Homeric religion
are still clearly discernible, although only a few deities of
Aryan origin survived the process of interaction--notably Bestia
and the great Zeus himself. In India, however, the assimilating
process was furthered by the eclecticism of the Hindu priests who
made the criteria of orthodoxy the willingness to acknowledge the
supremacy of the Brahmin priest and do the "Dharma," the religio-
social-political organization of the group, comparable to the
Chinese "Li," which enfolded the individual from birth until death
and gave him whatever security he had. This was augmented by the
sacrificial system addressed to the various gods, which guaranteed
the values of the religious idea] and added a compensatory exist-
ence in another world.
There is little doubt that the Aryans had scarcely settled
down in the Punjab before much the same process of interaction as
that which took place in Greece commenced. Some of the Aryan Gods
lost their usefulness while others attained to new prominence be-
cause of the new climatic and changed environmental factors~, and
so Varuna, the high ethical sky-god of the Aryans yields his place
to Indra, and the Asuras yield place to the Devas. A Pantheon
similar to tha~ of the Greek religion might have emerged at length,
but instead the rise of the sacrifice to the point of becoming a
Theurgy depressed both Gods and men in status and elevated the
priests themselves into the position of "Human Gods" because of
their control of the sacrifice. It is Jaweh and the Baalim all
over again, the struggle of the ethical Varuna of the semi-nomads
against the techniques of a sacrificial fertility religion--and
Varuna is defeated.
The entrance of these various elements into the Aryan reli-

gion corresponds fairly well with the tempo of their advance from
the Punjab to the banks of the Ganges. There is no asceticism,
yoga, ahimsa, refusal of life or pessimism, no temples, shrines,
images, sacred places or the like, no philosophic speculation con-
cerning the origin of things, the problem of suffering or the
fate of the wicked, seen in the big-Veda (excepting the later
tenth book) probably the only book originating outside of Brahma-
land and the Ganges area. The 4ig was probably collected in the
first place in reaction to the presence of the alien Gods of the
land, and it portrays the simple nature worship and ethical rell-
gion of a "Yea-saying," life-loving people. There is little sign
of the idea of retribution in this religion whose gods are as
simple and human as their worshippers. In the later tenth book
of the gig, however, speculation begins, and progressively the
scriptures begin to show the entrance of non-Aryan elements and
ideas, until in the Atharva-Veda and the Brihmanas a sacrificial
religion of rite and spell, non-ethical and mechanical in opera-
tion develops, administered by the priests now all powerful
through their control of the sacrificial techniques.
This degradation of the Gods coincides with the search
for an Absolute and with the introduction of the ideas of Karma
and Transmigration. Asceticism and the yoga experience defined
the nature of this Absolute and the nature also of the human soul,
thus giving rise to the famous Atman-Brahman equation which was
held to be the answer to the pessimism and world-refusal engen-
dered by the linkage of Karma and Transmigration into a rigid
determinism. Reality was held to be the Absolute, and the corol-
lary to this was the doctrine of the unreality of the world which
was now Maya--a lesser level of reality. The goal of religion
had now become escape from the chains of Rebirth--world refusal
and world flight. Thus at one stroke the Sacrifice and all this-
worldly values were done away with, theoretically speaking. But
the Brahmins did not accept deposition nor abdicate. Instead
they merely superimposed the new religious goal upon the old sac-
rificial system, making this the ideal to which all the rest was
a necessary prelude. In this they were supported by the realistic
this-worldliness of the masses, who perforce had to remain in the
world and seek the security of the "Dharma" with its sacrificial
reinforcement and theistic guarantees. So great was this pressure
that eventually even the intellectuals and philosophers had to

make some concession to it, and this was done by the great Safikara
through his doctrine of Kramamukti, which gave salvation on the
empirical side of his system by devotion to Isvara, the Lower Brah-
man. This provided a method whereby the priests could effect a
juncture with the theism of the non-Aryan groups as well as with
that of their own people. Brahman was by definition ineffable,
and so any God could be regarded as a "Broken Light" of Him, and
Devotion (Bhakti) could give Release. True! ultimately salvation
presupposed the teaching cf Jiana which was therefore still the
Higher Way, but practically its effect was to confer salvation by
the old theistic approach, and, of course the Gods could still
confer this-worldly benefits-which were really worthless, since
all was M&ya. This left things much as they were, with the Brah-
mins still in effective control.
It has therefore been clearly demonstrated that it was
the continual penetration of the Aryan religion by these Dravidian
ideas which changed the whole outlook and orientation of the
Aryan, and we have seen how the Brahmin priest retained control,
and how his eclectic attitude was perhaps the greatest single fac-
tor in facilitating the introduction of ever more reinforcements
of these non-Aryan ideas because of his willingness to grant rec-
ognition to whatever group was powerful enough to challenge his
self-interest as the inevitable process of interaction and assimi-
lation proceeded. Another factor in the process was the nature
of Hinduism itself which was "What the Hindu did," and not what he
believed--the "Dharma" as over against a creed. Hence there was
no difference between political and religious movements, or be-
tween philosophy and theology. The common man sought the theistic
guarantee of the social values enshrined in the "Dharma," the
philosopher escape from this world--both were utilitarian systems,
for the intellectual sought union with the Absolute as a means to
an end--union was not an end in itself, and it followed logically
that salvation might be obtained by other means in systems which
had no God or Soul. This fact and the nature of the Hindu abso-
lute, which gave countenance to any God, and the Brahmin eclecti-
cism referred to above, produced an "Orthodoxy" which rested but
lightly upon the "Authori'ty" of the Vedas, and because of the many
variable factors present in any attempt to interpret "Authority,"
the line between Astika and Nastika systems was but finely drawn
in consequence, and the conflux of all these tendencies and factors

spelled ever more rapid syncretism, and assimilation of the Aryan
religion and culture.
In the Atharva-Veda, therefore, we have the presence of
rite and spell of a purely mechanical and unethical type, and the
identification there of many of the Gods of the land with Aryan
deities. The Atharva and Yajur-Vedas mirror the advance from the
Punjab to the Ganges where in Brahmaland, the home of the Brahmini-
cal culture, the thinly-spread Aryans were in the closest and most
intimate contact with the non-Aryan culture and people. Here the
intrusion of cult forms and ideas is reflected in the literature
in the changing attitude towards Woman, the Cow and the Sudra.
Here too the Siva cult enters Hinduism, and with it comes much
sex and fertility ritual, the Lingam as a cult object, the cult
of female deities, temples, images and sacred places. Here too
Karma and Transmigration enter and give rise to that speculation
which later on culminated in the Weltschmerz we have been discuss-
ing, and which gave rise to Escape as the new religious goal. The
entry and reinforcement of these ideas in Sruti marks the entry
into Hinduism of groups whose dominant characteristics were couched
in terms of asceticism, Yoga, Bhakti, and so on, and whose beliefs
had to come to terms with the current Hindu philosophy--a task
which their apologists easily performed. This task was a vital
one, for the dominant stress of any group cannot be arbitrarily
discarded since it rests on the value quest and hopes of the peo-
ple themselves--it can only be restated in terms of the new reli-
gious climate and ideal. Thus the literature does not represent a
unilateral development or unified philosophy, growing from within
by means of resident forces, but rather it represents an unsystem-
atic agglomeration of materials and unrelated theories. This is
true of the Vedas themselves but especially so of the Upanisads,
the natural repository of such materials. These later were not
therefore an articulated system, as many have sought to declare,
but are instead the grouping of the diverse elements of this
syncretistic process, without much regard for historical order,
around a common nucleus--the quest for an Absolute.
It is hardly to be wondered at, therefore, that diverse
systems could find common rootage in materials of this description,
and that these represent no more than the attempt by the apolo-
gists of the various schools or groups to systematize this mass
of scripture in the interests of their own particular teachings.

Thus the erection of a system was conditioned by the attempt to
take in as much of this "Scripture" as was possible, and also by
the fact that there were two predominant strands manifest in this
material--the idealistic and the realistic. The attempt to build
a system was also hampered by the tendency of ancient teachings,
belonging to an earlier era, suddenly to assert their time-hallowed
rights and demand recognition in the system now a-building. The
tenuous nature of "Authority," due to the many variable factors
implicit in it, was no bar to the freedom of the system-builder,
while, as we have seen, "Orthodoxy" encouraged such syncretism
rather than hindered it. But no maker of a system, or commentator,
however able and untrammelled he might be, could from the very na-
ture of things ever hope to include all the diverse Upanisadic
material, or systematize the diverse trends, or give equal weight
and similar treatment to all the texts of Sruti; and none could
legitimately lay claim to being the custodian of a pure and un-
corrupt "Doctrine of the Upanisads," or claim to be the "Essential
Teaching of the Upanisads," although many in effect did so.
It is from such sectarians that the chief opposition to
the point of view which regards Indian thought as the product of
a socially conditioned interaction between Aryan and pre-Aryan
religious ideas comes. The Indian Vedintist regards Sankara as
the terminal point on a line of evolution which began with
Yajiavalkhya and continued through Badarayana to Saikara, who is
therefore the exponent of the "true" teaching of the Upanisads,
which have, therefore, an "Essential Doctrine." The Western Abso-
lute Idealists, such as Paul Deussen, claim that the Upanisads to
a very real extent foreshadow Plato and Kant, and that there exists
a "True" "Doctrine of the Upanisads," containing "a definite doc-
trine of Idealism which is variously broken down by realistic in-
trusions and accommodations to common sense." As regards the lat-
ter position our findings for the reasons advanced must be in ac-
cord with Keith's dictum that any such position "is one which is
contrary to all probability and reason." Deussen's position is
untenable and merely a "Tour de Force."
As to the point of view of the Vedantists our examination
of Badarayana's Sutras and Sankara's Bhashya shows essential dif-
ferences, Badarayana being closer to Ransinuja and the Bhagavadas
than to Sankara. These differences were shown to be due to the
unsystematic character of the Upanisadic material and their divi-

sion into idealistic and realistic types, and to the fact that
both men represented a definite tradition, while each had to make
purely subjective choices between the contradictory teachings
present within his own school. The study is convincing and illus-
trates the sheer futility of seeking for any innate or well-
articulated system inherent in the Upanisads. There is no such
"Doctrine of the Upanisads" that can be legitimately equated with
German Absolute Idealism, but any of the various systems can lay
as legitimate claim as the next to being "Orthodox."
To prove that this view of the relationship between the
various philosophical systems was the correct one, and that their
fundamental unity was of the kind we have postulated, namely that
each was a genuine product of the interaction of the factors we
have been considering, a reflection of the process of assimilation
in terms of the formative agents promoting and furthering that
process, an examination of several of the more prominent religious
systems was made beginning with the Samkhya. The results of that
study proved conclusively that the Samkhya, on the basis of its
treatment of the Upanishadic materials, had as genuine a claim to
represent that material as had the Vedanta of Sankara.
Sankara's system was found to be inconsistent in many
points--simply because no complete systematization was possible,
as we have already pointed out, and because his idealistic bias,
while it permitted him to appropriate easily and utilize freely
the materials of this nature in the Upanisads without obvious
straining, yet forced him to reinterpret and strain the realistic
and theistic materials in the interests of his system--although
these were as genuinely "Scriptural," and had at least equal va-
lidity with the idealistic texts. Sahkara also describes these
early materials as "accoimmdations" of higher truth (Idealism) to
man's limited understanding, just as Deussen did, an obvious "Tour
de Force." His concepts of Maya, Higher and Lower Brahman, and
so forth, are his own contribution necessitated by the exigencies
of his idealism, and, as Thibaut pointed out, foreign to Badarayana,
whose Sutras Sahkara claims to be commenting upon.
Kapila is guilty of exactly the same kind of thing. The
realistic materials he takes freely, but has to strain to accom-
modate the idealistic texts. The theories and lines of thought
he follows are present in the Upanisads, as are the realistic
tendencies which characterize his system. In all of his teaching

Kapila follows the traditional patterns of Hindu thought, acknowl-
edges the "Authority" of Scripture, and claims "Orthodoxy" there-
fore. His system is the logical result of the realistic emphasis
of the Samkhya School, and, although it is atheistic, yet the goal
of Escape is attained through Idealism as in the Vedanta of Sahkara.
Thus both Vedanta and Samkhya are real products of the Upanisads,
equally "Orthodox" and representative of these, but neither can
claim to be the "Essential Teaching of the Upanisads."
Exactly the same results were attained by an examination
of Rimanuja's Sri-Bhashya. Rrmanuja has to keep the values of a
personal God, and he too represents an old and weighty tradition.
He too claims to teach only the "Truths" of the Upanisads, but he
rationalizes those idealistic texts which speak of an attribute-
less Absolute, while taking those which speak of qualities just
as they are. He finds the Brahma-Sutra easy to digest, since it
is definitely in line with his own school and tradition more so
than with that of Sankara--but his method is exactly similar to
that of the other Bhashya writers--frankly apologetic. His inter-
pretation of Sruti is conditioned by his a prioris as a sectarian,
and his Sri-Bhashya is largely an attack upon Sankara's Myri,
Higher and Lower Brahman, and Higher and Lower Knowledge. But
Ramanuja too can claim to be as much in accord with the Upanisads
as Sankara, Badarayana, Kapila, or the rest--although his system
cannot lay claim to being the "Essential Teaching" of the Upanisads
any more than these others can.
In all of these systems we have seen the many common fac-
tors as we went along. The illustrations, philosophic terminology,
the logic used, and the epistemology employed were common to all
the members, as were the philosophic trends and goal of the sects.
All claimed to be orthodox and to adhere to the authority of the
Vedas, but Jainism and Buddhism, which ostensibly are nastica sys-
tems, lying beyond the pale of orthodox religion, nevertheless
share these same common factors, and are in everything else on a
par with the astika systems. In the background of both the same
forces were operative, and although the Brahmins did not succeed
in drawing these groups within the pale, yet they did succeed in
effecting a real rapprochement with the Jains, and their syncretis-
tic methods largely neutralized the effectiveness of the Buddhist
teaching, so that when the Mohammedans destroyed their monasteries
Buddhism largely died out of India and became a missionary Salva-


tion-by-Faith technique in the farther East.
The predominant religious climate in the district in which
both Buddhism and Jainism arose was Asceticism, and this was re-
stated in terms of the Sarpkya philosophy so that in both a form or
derivative of this pre-Aryan asceticism became the key which ef-
fected release from Karma. In Jainism the S.mkhya influence shows
in the retention of the purusa, with this difference that now the
purusa can be affected by action, a necessity if some form of
Ascetic action was to effect Release from Samsara. The original
Buddhism developed one of the original underlying stresses of the
Samkhya to its logical end in the denial of the purusa as well as
the Supreme Atman, something which had to be done if Release was
to be had from the dissolution of the Skhfndas through an ascetic
discipline, even if it was a "Middle Way" between extremes. Thus
in both of these systems we see the Aryan pessimism, which was it-
self the result of this pre-Aryan asceticism, and which had given
rise to the new religious goal of Escape, being reinforced again
by this same ancient asceticism now offered anew as the effective
means of securing Release from the problem it had itself been
largely instrumental in creating.
Thus even the nastika systems share the same fundamental
unity of thought in which the others partake, and with them form
part of a larger whole. From this brief survey of the results of
an examination of the course of Indian religious development it
has been clearly and definitely shown that even if we are uncer-
tain as to the exact ethnic mixture which produced the Dravidian
or pre-Aryan stock, we can be certain that they had a high level
of culture and a well-developed religious system. This religion
was of the fertility type as the Mohenjo-daro excavations and the
parallels with the contemporary Mediterranean culture prove, and
at the same time it had also present in it elements of ascetic
and monastic morality such as are present in the Buddhist and
Jain Birth stories and in the Mahabhbrata and Pur ias. This may
be inferred from the total absence of all such elements in the
Rig-Veda, even as they are absent from Zoroaster's Gathas.
It is not at all necessary to derive this asceticism from
the Vedic literary materials, for from the absence of all indica-
tions of the ascetic mentality and even of philosophic speculation
from the early nine books of the Rig-Veda, this so un-Aryan out-
look must be presumed to have come from some more ancient source--

the religious outlook of the aboriginal inhabitants. The Asceti-
cism of the Vedas which resulted in the Karma-Transmigration
determinism and the rise of the new religious ideal of Release,
was therefore a derivative of this non-Aryan religious ideal,
which was later on reinforced from the same source when the Hindu
eclecticism began to accept and justify large and powerful sects
of the non-Aryan population as they did.
The reason behind this eclecticism was the fact of social
pressure, steadily increasing as the process of interaction and
assimilation between the two groups went steadily on. It was
this sociological pressure which influenced the Brahmins who showed
a great willingness to accommodate themselves to new groups with
diverse religious ideals in order to retain their position of au-
thority and the perquisites of office.
In this aim they were assisted by the development of the
Hindu Absolute which permitted all Gods to be regarded as phases
of itself. For the rest identification of the new Gods with Vedic
deities and submission to the Brahmin priests was sufficient;.
Assisting the incorporation of new religious ideas was
the revolt against the growing power of the Brahmins, Ksbattriya
led, which coincided with the continuation of the speculative
trend manifested in the tenth book of the gig-Veda through Brah-
manas and Arapyakas to culminate in the determinism of the Up-
anisads, the ideal of Escape, the rise of the Absolute and its
equation to the Jiva of man, and the rise of the heretical sys-
tems. These soon were accepted by the Brahman eclecticism and
these diverse goals became "Orthodox." The other vital factor in
this process was the contact with the non-Aryan Gods and religious
concepts which increased as the Aryans advanced eastward and be-
came more thinly spread over the subject population until the ad-
vance was finally stopped along the banks of the Ganges. The
development of speculation coincides with this. It is very prob-
able that the Mantras of the gig-Veda were first collected in re-
sponse to the presence of the non-Aryan Gods and religion--the
speculation in the tenth book being a further indication of the
presence of alien ideas, and this speculation increases as the
eastward advance continues.
The Brahmins retained their authority by reason of their
eclecticism and talent for synthesis, and also because of the con-
nection between the Vedas, Caste, Karma and Transmigration, and

because they stayed close to the common folks who were interested
in a real life and its goods, real benefits from real Gods--and
these the Brahmins controlled through the sacrifice. Thus the
Brahmins were able to outlast nearly every new religious develop-
ment including the Jains and Buddhists who denied the authority
of the Vedas and were supposedly outside the pale of Hinduism.
This realistic theism, which influenced the development of
the various philosophic justifications claiming to be "Orthodox,"
was reinforced by the incoming non-Aryan cults who brought in a
theism which supported that of the Vedas. This Vedic theism devel-
oped through pantheism into the Vedic Absolute, which itself was
the object of devoted worship, and this trend forced Sankara to
evolve his Lower Brahman, Isvara, as an accommodation. The same
pressure conditioned the rise to power at this time of the Hindu
Trinity, Visnu, Siva and BrEhma, since Sankara's Isvara was not
entirely satisfying to the common folk. Each of these three was
equated with the Lower Brahman, but the apologists for theism gen-
erally identified them with the Supreme Brahman himself. This
was the reason for the appearance of Avatars of the Gods, who were
thus transcendentalized out of reach so that some such device was
necessary. Siva made use of his consort's Shikti for the same
end. Some of these philosophic justifications, Raminuja's for in-
stance, are in the interest of a non-Aryan group in process of
assimilation into Hinduism. Others reflect the Kshattriya in-
spired heretical development.
All such philosophies, however, are tied up to the Vedic
"Orthodoxy" and one is as valid as the next. Some may include
more of the materials than others but there is no "essential doc-
trine" innate in the Upanisads which could be used as a standard
to designate one system as the "True" Upanisadic doctrine as
over against another. This is so because the Upanisads are com-
pilations including diverse materials from different ages grouped
around a nucleus of central ideas. Generally speaking these mate-
rials fall roughly into two main classes, the theistic and realis-
tic materials and materials of a decidedly idealistic trend. In
addition an examination of the systems of Sankara, Kapila and
RPminuja shows each of these men as representing a definite tra-
dition or school of thought, recognized as authentic and in line
with the Upanisads. The interpretations they give make use of
the same materials, but each chooses the theistic or idealistic

materials which best suit his system and proceeds to incorporate
the materials of the other tradition by a process of rationalizing
and dialectic.
After the Brahmins had adopted the goal of Release all
systems had to follow suit, but often it is merely a formal ac-
knowledgment--the old religious ideal being retained and advanced
anew as the key to Release in accord with the new demands. Thus
the sects representing non-Aryan elements in process of assimila-
tion import Bhakti, Devotion, which becomes in Ramanuja's justi-
fication synonymous with Knowledge and the new means by which Re-
lease is obtained. Yoga, which is non-Aryan but penetrates into
every system, itself becomes the technique in the system of that
name by which Release is obtained, and in all systems it functions
as a means to that end. The whole idealistic situation is itself
based as much upon Yoga as upon Karma and Transmigration. Yoga
and Asceticism equated with Bhakti enable these ancient techniques
to become the key to release even in theistic systems where Devo-
tion to a personal God is theoretically the key. The Ngstika sys-
tems of Jaina and Buddhist make Asceticism itself the key to Re-
lease and their philosophic justification is made in terms of the
ancient Samkya philosophy, as one might expect from movements
originated by Kshattriyas. Although the S.mkya is atheistic and
realistic it gives Release through idealism, but neither Buddhism
nor Jainism is idealistic.
In the Siktas, Saivite, Vaishnavite and Buddhist Tantras
the other element of India's pre-Aryan religion, the fertility
mother-goddess and sex element appears. This recrudence occurs
quite late in the religious development but is pre-Aryan in origin.
This aspect too is given philosophic justification and again Es-
cape is mediated by these age-old techniques, again tied up with
Yoga, Mintras and magical spells--the same techniques which appear
in the Atharva-Veda as importations from the aboriginal inhabit-
ants, the Atharva itself being composed in "Brahmaland" where the
interaction between Aryan and non-Aryan was perhaps greatest-
Indian religion can be described therefore as a process
of interaction between the non-Aryan or Dravidian peoples and the
superimposed Aryan culture in which the latter was constantly
modified by the former in a manner comparable to the development
in Greece. Thus the apparently variegated and dissimilar patterns
of Indian Religio-Philosophic sects are merely the coloured pat-

terns picked out of the basic warp and woof. For in this process
the Aryans were practically assimilated and their rather high
type of religion was submerged and all but destroyed without trace
by the non-Aryan religious concepts, which, in the long run,
proved to be the more powerful. Therefore the basic soul of In-
dia, the fundamental religious conceptions upon which all these
superstructures are raised, and upon which they all depend, are
Asceticism and its derivatives--Yoga, Ahimsi, Equanimity, Austeri-
ties, Self-abasement and world refusal--and with these Theism and
Devotion to personal Gods, male and female, Karma and Transmigra-
tion, Mintras, Yantras, Spells and Sex-Fertility worship. From
these as a background all the later forms of Indian Religion have
evolved by a purely sociological process of natural development,
conditioned by the various factors we have been describing.
Modern Indian religion still preserves all of these funda-
mental beliefs together with a leavening of Mohammedan, Christian
and Parsee influence. They still exert a very great pressure up-
on the masses of the common people and to some extent upon the
intellectuals who are thej.r apologists. Karma and Transmigration
and the goal of Release from the eternal spinning of the Wheel of
Samsara are still relatively unchallenged concepts which the
modern Indian, like his confrbre of the sixth century B.C., still
accepts without any significant hesitation. The naked ascetic
is still the Holy Man par excellence and world denial is still
the hall-mark of the truly religious. Yet underneath all of this
the common man in India as elsewhere is mainly concerned with the
values of living, which are his real concern and goal in spite
of the superstructure that has been raised upon this simple and
basic religion by his intellectual leaders. But the masses have
never turned their backs upon this world as their leaders have,
and to this day they seek the good life in a bettering world--
only the bettering has been laid upon the shoulders of the Gods
and Bodhisattvas, while the Indian has for the greater part taken
refuge in the enfolding Caste system which guarantees him what
little security he has, and has done so for nearly three-thousand
years. Encased in this suit of protective armor he has shut out
a little insecurity, but he has also shut himself into a rigid
prison which has effectively isolated him from Change. Today
events are on the march and everywhere the world's religions are
coming face to face with Crisis to a degree utterly unknown in


previous eras of their history. In this India is beginning to
share, and, for the first time in her long history, she is feel-
ing the impact of changes occurring outside her own borders which
are forcing her to lay aside her long apathy and become interested
in other religions and their efforts to adjust themselves to Cri-
sis and orient themselves to a new conception of the nature of re-
ligion and its task in a modern world.

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