Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

[We shall be glad to review books in all Indian languages and in English, French, and German. Books for review should reach the office at least SIX WEEKS in advance of the day of publication of the Journal.]

A Pageant of Asia: A Study of Three Civilizations, By Kenneth Saunders, Litt. D. (Cambridge). (Price 21sh. Oxford University Press.)

If the Orient is being dominated by western methods and inventions, in return the Occident is slowly being permeated by the subtle influences of the East. The attention drawn to the literature of India by Sir William Jones, in the time of the East India Company, has resulted in opening the doors of the East so that something of its light has poured westwards. It was with a brilliant intuition that Schopenhauer, eighty years ago, prophesied that the teachings of the Upanishads would permeate all western philosophic thought, just as the teachings of the Christ permeated and finally substituted the teachings of Greece and Rome.

For the last sixty years, one of the greatest influences in this work has been the Theosophical Society, which drew the attention of the cultured of Europe and America to the message of Hinduism and Buddhism. This work received a dramatic setting at the Parliament of Religions at Chicago, when Swami Vivekananda in his picturesque robes and with virile eloquence explained the teachings of the Vedanta. Steadily an interest has been aroused in all things of India, and not only among the cultured but also to some extent among the uncultured. The United States, and now South America, are being flooded with literature on ‘Yoga.’ These modern revelations on Yoga are always aimed at the western temperament, which is desirous of seeing results in terms of dollars and cents. It is, however, characteristic of the misunderstanding of certain aspects of the East that the word ‘fakir’ is used in America (pronounced ‘faker’) to mean a fraud and humbug.

In a more restricted way, but not the less subtle, has been the interest among a few in the West in the subtle teachings of China and Japan. These countries have had objects of Art of a size which could be transported to the West, in a way that has scarcely been possible except with a few of the great Art creations of India. The military growth of Japan has of course been one element in drawing attention to the Far East, but also not the less has been the spectacle of the 400 millions of China slowly organising themselves to be a nation on the western model, with armies, navies, and aircraft.

This being the general situation in the cultural world as between the West and the East, many writers have taken up the vast task of explaining the East to the West. Numerous are today the manuals on Eastern religions and philosophy. But it is rarely that an author of such fine attainments as Dr. Saunders takes up the work. He has dwelt in India, China and Japan, to inform himself directly of their cultures, and evidently he knows both Chinese and Japanese, though not seemingly Sanskrit. His work is a volume of 452 pages, and is divided into three Sections: (1) India; (2) China; (3) Japan. His aim is to make as complete a cultural survey as possible of these three Sections of the Orient, and to explain their significance to European readers. The book is beautifully illustrated with some of the finest specimens of art productions of these countries. At the end of each Section Dr. Saunders prints extracts from typical writers so as to give a general idea of the culture of the age which he has described.

In each Section the author surveys rapidly epoch by epoch the various changes which took place in the field of religious thought and artistic creation. His book, therefore, is in many ways a miniature encyclopaedia of these particular subjects. But it is just because of that the general reader will probably find a certain difficulty in not being able to ‘see the wood for the trees.’ If the book were not quite so full of detail, perhaps one would not be so dazzled by the numbers of embodiments of religious and artistic thought presented to the gaze of the reader.

To a reader in India, there is naturally little that is new in the Section on India. If anything, this is the least satisfactory part of the book. Dr. Saunders has a deep admiration for the gospel of Buddhism, but on the whole he has not been able to penetrate to the inner spirit of Hinduism, either as represented in the Upanishads or in the various cults which embody Hinduism to the popular mind. But the Sections on China and Japan are full of penetration and bring those two countries very near to one’s imagination.

This work is a very valuable one, and should be in every representative library. It is particularly useful for students, and indeed it gives the impression that it has been specially prepared for them according to the regular methods well known to American University Courses. The book has such a brilliant thesis and is so full of fascinating material that one wishes that Dr. Saunders would write another smaller, and eliminate the details concerning the developments of religion, art and philosophy which are useful to the student but are apt to confuse the general reader.

Were one inclined, or had the space necessary, one could fill pages with quotations from the book, with brilliant extracts from ancient writers which Dr. Saunders has gathered together, and with his comments upon them.


 Tiruparuttikunram and its TemPles.–By T. N. Ramachandran, M.A. (Bulletin of the Madras Government Museum. Printed by the Superintendent, Government Press, Madras. Price Rs. 11-4 as.)

In this fine volume, handsomely printed and profusely illustrated, the author makes an exhaustive study of the temples at Tiruparuttikunram, identified with the ancient Jina-Kanchi, adjoining Conjeveram. The work indeed is much more than what its title promises, for, besides being a study of the temples from the standpoints of archaeology and art, it forms a valuable contribution to our knowledge of Jaina cosmology, iconography, mythology, hagiology etc. Thus not only scholars but all interested in India’s past, and not least the members of the great Jaina community, to many of whom even the names of these monuments of their religion must be but little known, owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mr. Ramachandran for this work. The monograph bears abundant evidence of patient research and painstaking labour. The descriptions of the temples with which the author is more immediately concerned are so thorough that they could scarcely be improved upon, and it would be but just praise to say that a more complete or better account of these venerable temples, which go to Pallava and Chola times could not have been produced. Of very great interest are the lucid descriptions of the numerous fresco paintings which though but seldom of high artistic quality nevertheless merit detailed study and are. moreover of great iconographic importance. We would commend especially to students of art history Plate XXII, No. 58, a dance scene, as one comparable with the highest achievements of the painters of Rajputana and of old Bengal.

We congratulate Dr. Gravely, the Superintendent of the Government Museum, Madras, on the high standard of research and scholarship which we have come to associate with the Bulletins of the Madras Museum, produced under his able editorship, and specially on the addition to the series of this fine piece of work by Mr. Ramachandran.


The Origin and Development of Religion in Vedic Literature.–By P. S. Deshmukh, M.A., D. Phil. (Oxford University Press, 1934. pp. xvi, 378. Rs. 15.)

We cordially welcome this interesting book of Dr. Deshmukh on the origin and development of religion in Vedic literature. This book represents the thesis prepared by him for the degree of D. Phil. of the Oxford University under the able guidance of the late Professor Macdonell and this is sufficient to vouch for its accuracy and precision. In the first of the four parts into which the work is divided, we find various definitions of religion set forth and discussed. The author refers to the definitions of Herder, D’ Alviella, Durkhein, Marret, Jevons, Max Muller, Tylor, Frazer, Jastrow, Menzies, Tiele, Jordan, Ladd, Galloway, Hopkins, Macdonell, Pratt, etc. The author then formulates his own definitions of religion–that it is a social institution with some principles enjoining certain beliefs, and maintaining certain rules of conduct based on such principles. The belief is with reference to the exisistence of some power or powers beyond and a sense of dependence on them. An approach to the connotation of the word religion may be made in the word dharma.

Several theories have been put forward regarding the origin of religion. The most noteworthy of such theories are–Fetishism of Brosses, Animism of Tylor, Ancestor worship of Spenser, Totemism of Jevons, and Magic theory of Frazer. The relation of some of these theories to the Indo-Europeans and Indo-Iranians and their religion is the subject of the next part. The author states in unambiguous language that, so far as Indo-Europeans are concerned, magic did not exist before the evolution of religion and at no stage did magic influence Indo-European religion. He also states clearly that the prayers that are found in the Rig Veda are not derived from charms of any type and that the priests were never magicians.

Through a process of philosophical induction the author arrives at the conclusion that belief in God, His worship, His qualities, etc., did exist in the Indo-European period. The Indo-Europeans were influenced by supernatural phenomena to a large extent, believed in them as beneficent to humanity and began to worship and propitiate them. This propitiation and worship assumed huge proportions when the Indian branch separated from the common Indo-European group, and the result was the hymns of the Rig Veda. Magic in its full-fledged form developed only later and this is represented on Indian soil by the Atharva Veda.

Regarding the original home of the Indo-Europeans the author, after referring to the theories of various scholars, regards parts of Europe and parts of Asia as the original home. It is more probable that the Indo-Europeans were autochthonous in the region extending from the Punjab to Persia, for in this region alone is found the earliest of the available remnants of Indo-European culture.

Dealing next with the religion of the Indo-Europeans, the author, mainly through the aid of the science of philology, infers the existence of Indo-European Gods like Dyes (Skt. Dyaus-pitar), Varuna, Mother Earth, God of Thunder, Sun, Moon, Dawn, Stars, Day and Night, Asvins, Fire, Wind, etc., and makes elaborate comments on them. Almost all the items of the religious beliefs of the Indian today go to the Indo-European period. Ancestor worship, fetish worship etc., are all traced to the Indo-European period.

In dealing with the Indo-Iranian religion the author, as is natural, has to rely on a comparison between the Rig Veda and the Avesta. The Rig Veda is undoubtedly the older of the two, and a comparison of the two reveals clearly the state of Indo-Iranian religion. Ahura Mazda, Hvar, Mithra, Baga, Apam Napat, Ariyaman, Veretraghna, Haoma, Thrita, Vivanhvant, Yima, etc., are some of the Indo-Iranian Divinities worthy of note and all of them have their parallels in the older Vedic pantheon.

In the part dealing with Vedic religion we find the author referring to the period to which Vedic literature is usually attributed by Orientalists like Max Muller, Macdonell, Keith etc. (1500 B. C.–1000 B. C.) He does not commit himself to any view, but seems inclined to fall in with the European Orientalists and reject the views of Tilak and Jacobi, who base their data on astronomical calculations (4000 B. C.). Arguing on similar lines the late Mr. B. V. Kamesvara Aiyar has demonstrated that the Satapatha Brahmana should have been composed about 2800 B. C., and his arguments have not been given the publicity they deserve. The Boghaz-koi inscription certainly takes the date of Vedic literature to a period long anterior to that assigned by Keith or Macdonell or Max Muller.

The civilisation as embodied in the Rig Veda is set forth in detail. The Vedic Gods and the place held by each in the Vedic pantheon are well set forth under the heads–Vedic Gods, Atmospheric Gods, Terrestrial Gods, and other Gods. The work is on the whole a valuable contribution to the study of Vedic religion and culture and we heartily congratulate the author on his excellent thesis.


Vijayanagara–Origin of the City and the Empire.–By N. Venkata Ramanayya, M.A., Ph.D. (Published by the University of Madras; Price Rs. 2 or 3 sh).

The book under review forms a brilliant addition to the recent literature on Vijayanagara. The author has dived deep into the vexed problem of the origin of the City and of the Empire of Vijayanagara and the results of his research are now embodied in the present volume.

Scholars are divided in their opinion regarding the origin of Vijayanagara, some holding it to be of Telugu origin, while others contend in favour of a Canarese origin. Veteran scholars like Dr. S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar have long been contending that the city of Vijayanagara was founded by the Hoysala ruler Ballala III, and the Kingdom of Vijayanagara

by the five brothers, Hari Hara I, Bukka I, Kampa, Marapa and Muddapa, who were originally in the service of the Hoysala king mentioned above. They state that he employed them to defend his northern frontier and to stem the new flood of the Bahamani invasions.

This theory has gained fresh support by the publication of ‘Beginnings of Vijayanagara History’ by the Rev. Father Heras. He goes a step further than his predecessors. He states that ‘Hari Hara I was enthroned at Vijayanagara by the old Hoysala monarch (Ballala III), as his own Mahamandaleswara in the north,’ and that ‘Kampa was placed in that responsible post (in the government of the fortified hill of Udayagiri in the Nellore district) by the same Vira Ballala (III).’

Though there were some scholars who opposed this theory, no systematic study of the problem was made to stress their point of view and to prove the truth of their contention that Vijayanagara was of Telugu origin, until the publication of ‘Kampili and Vijayanagara,’ some years , by the author of the work under review, which provoked much criticism in the press. The present work is the outcome of a further and more serious study of the same problem. In this, the author has successfully met all the criticisms leveled against the theory of the Telugu origin of Vijayanagara and has brought home the truth of his contention.

The supporters of the Canarese origin of Vijayanagara mainly take their stand on the statement of Ferishta, namely ‘Bilal Dew built a strong city upon the frontiers of his dominions and called it after his son Beeja, to which the word nuggur or city was added, so that it is now known by the name of Beejanuggur.’ To identify ‘Beejanuggur,’ mentioned in the aforesaid statement, with Vijayanagara the capital of Harihara I and Bukka, and to confirm their identification, they press into service the fact, known from inscriptions, of Bukka’s rule from Hosapattana (new city) in the Hoysala Nadu or country and the existence of a Hoysala inscription at Hampi (Vijayanagara). Thus they postulate that (1) ‘Beejanuggur,’ said to have been built by ‘Bilal Dew’ according to Ferishta is no other than Vijayanagara on the Tungabhadra, the seat of a mighty empire, (2) Hosapattana (new city) is the same as Vijayanagara, or in other words, Vijayanagara was also known as Hosapattana, because it was newly built by Ballala (III), (3) the founders of the Vijayanagara Empire–the five brothers–were employed by Ballala III to defend his northern frontier to stem the tide of the Bahamani invasions. Hence, they contend that Vijayanagara was of Canarese origin.

The author of the present volume has effectively replied to all these contentions. First, he proves to the hilt, with the aid of epigraphical evidence, that the territory of Ballala III never extended to the Bellary district and that the Hoysalas lost their hold on that district long before the accession to the throne of Ballala III, even during the rule of his grandfather, Someswara (A.D. 1233–1292). Hence the contention that Ballala III built the city of Vijayanagara can no longer be upheld. The author admits the existence of a Hoysala inscription at Hampi and Bukka’s rule from Hosapattana; but he points out that the inscription at Hampi belongs to Someswara but not to Ballala III. In the light of the aforesaid facts, the identification of Hosapattana with Vijayanagara and the theories built up on the strength of that identification fall to the ground. It does not require much thought to refute the

argument regarding the employment of the five brothers by Ballala III to defend his northern frontier and stem the tide of the Bahamani invasion, for Ballala III died in A. D. 1342; the Bahamani kingdom came into existence only in 1347, five years after the death of Ballala III. Even the rebellion of Krishna Naik, in connection with which ‘Bilal Dew’ was said to have built the city of ‘Beejanuggur,’ was dated 1344 by Ferishta himself. Thus, it appears ludicrous to state that the five brothers were employed by Ballala III to defend his northern frontier and stem the tide of Bahamani invasions.

Besides fully refuting all the points advanced in support of the theory of the Canarese origin, the author adduces some more evidence–internal, from inscriptions–in support of his theory. He compares the administrative system of the early Vijayanagara Kings with that of the Kakatiyas of Warangal and shows that some features were common to both systems. The administrative divisions of ‘Sthala,’ Rajya’ and ‘Nayankara’ that were in vogue in the Vijayanagara Kingdom are not at all met with either in the Seuna or Hoysala Kingdoms. Besides this, the crest of the Vijayanagara Kings is more or less akin to that of the Kakatiyas. Thus it is shown that the founders of Vijayanagara were either directly or indirectly connected with the Telugu Kings of the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal and that Vijayanagara was of Telugu origin.

The author determines the extent and boundaries of the Hoysala Desa. He proves by tables that it denotes ‘a tract of country well within the boundaries of the present Mysore state’ and identifies Hosapattana with a village of the same name, situated ‘on an island in the Hemavati river in the Krishnarajapeta taluka of the Mysore district.’

The book is divided into two parts; the first deals with the origin of the City and the other part with the origin of the Empire. While trying to show that the Kingdom of Ballala III never extended into the Bellary district, the author takes the opportunity to give a more or less exhaustive account of his military campaigns, which cover the period of his whole reign, besides reviewing minutely the relations between the Hoysalas and the Seunas of Devagiri from the time of Ballala II. In the same way, in the chapter on the early Vijayanagara Kings and the Telugu country, the author reviews the political condition of the Telugu country, after the fall of the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Thus we get a cursory history of the Kingdoms of Warangal, Rachakonda and Kondavidu for the first time in English.

The five appendices at the end of the book enhance its value. Specially noteworthy is the note on Doravadi. It is particularly interesting for more than one reason. It was the place of residence of Mummadi Singayanayaka. Besides that, Hampi is known from inscriptions to have been included in Doravadi-nadu. The author’s successful location of both Doravadi and Doravadi-nadu, deals a death blow to the identification of Hosapattana with Vijayanagara, more or less the bone of the theory of the Canarese origin.

Thus the whole book bears the impress of the author’s extensive and laborious study and is of immense interest.

Some points in the book require further consideration. These may be stated here. (1) C.P. No.5 of 1919–20 and the existence of Vema’s inscriptions at Tripurantakam lead us to believe that the Srisaila country was under Vemareddi at first but not under Hari Hara, as stated on page 94; (2) Unless and until some fresh evidence is adduced, Barni’s statement, that Harihara was first a follower of Islam (P. 96), cannot be accepted as gospel truth. (3) Caution is needed when it is said that Gengu Salar of Kalubarga, who burnt the ‘gopura’ of Belur was a son of Bukka I–the ardent disciple of Vidyaranya and the protector of the four castes; (4) There is no reliable evidence to show that Vinukonda was the first capital of Vema (P. 124); (5) the authorities cited for the statement that Vinukonda-sima passed into the hands of Bukka I some time before 1352 are V. R. III, Kl 56 and 58 i.e., List of Ins. Ced. Dts, which is not an authoritative work. There are many inaccuracies in this list. The date given, in the inscription cited from that list, is Saka 1274, Paridhavi. The cyclic year Paridhavi tallies with 1294 Saka but not with 1274. Hence it can be contended that Vinukonda-sima was under Vema, till some time after 1352 A.D. (6) The identification of the author that Bukkaraya Vodayalu of the Gozalavidu inscription (N. D. 1., II Kg., 7) of A. D. 1314 is the same as Bukka, the grandfather of Harihara I, cannot be conclusively accepted, until that inscription is clearly edited. (7) In our opinion, the damaged inscription (N.D. 1., II, Kr. 28), cited by the author to show that Prataparudra II lived until 1330 A.D., does not really belong to that king, inasmuch as the phrases ‘Karnatakabavadiswa aripratapa Sri Virapratapa’ occur there-in. In no inscription of Prataparudra, as far as we have perused, are these terms found. ‘Karnatakabavadiswa aripratapa’ must be a misreading. Perhaps it should be ‘Karnatakalubarigiswara pratapa,’ which was a title of the Gajapatis of Orissa. Hence it may be one of their inscriptions. (8) The statement that Anapota captured Warangal, Bhuvanagiri and Singapura from Kapaya Nayaka sometime before 1369 A.D. requires further elucidation in view of the statement made by the Muhammadan historians that Allauddin Hasan Bahaman Shah wrested Bhuvanagiri from Kapaya Nayaka, some time before his (Sultan’s) death in 1358. (9) A.D. 1360 is not the latest date of Kapaya Nayaka, the king of Warangal (as stated in the table on page 174) but that of Koppula Kapaya Nayaka.

The above points in no way diminish the value of the work under review. We gladly recommend the book to everyone interested in the history of Vijayanagara.


Recent Essays and Writings–By Jawaharlal Nehru (The Kitabistan, Allahabad, Price Re. 1-8-0).

I am not a politician by choice; forces stronger than me have driven me to this field, and it may be that I have yet to learn the ways of politicians,’ says Jawaharlal Nehru in one of these papers. Nor is the Pandit a writer by choice; it may be also that he has yet to learn the ways of writers; but forces stronger than him must have moved him to write with such cold and passionless brilliance. The Pandit is well-known as the prophet of Indian youth, but it is rare to come upon a prophet who can think out and argue so ably. It is because he sticks to his relentless logic that he sees no escape from his own ruthless sacrifices. There is no pettiness or vulgarity about his patriotism; it is broadbased on culture as well as Communism; and he writes throughout with a relish for history and political science. Communism and Fascism are battling for supremacy, and Communism must win sooner or later. He advocates a Constituent Assembly because it will pass the lead to the masses. The Hindu Mahasabha and other communal organisations must go, as far as they are communal, anti-national and reactionary. He accepts non-violence as a necessity as well as on principle; but non-violence to him is no infallible creed, and he would prefer freedom with violence to subjection with non-violence. He protests in vain against those little corners of Hell, called prisons and penitentiaries. His tribute to Mr. M. N. Roy is charming and generous. It is, however, clear that the Pandit does not suffer from too much charm. ‘A Window in Prison’ is typical of his scintillating satire. The British Empire, the sundried bureaucrat, Sir Malcolm Hailey, or the prison Superintendent, are victims of his mockery which is Voltairean and sometimes vulturish. Whither India? he asks, and answers: ‘To the great human goal of social and economic equality, to the ending of all exploitation of nation by nation and class by class, to national freedom within the framework of an international co-operative socialist world federation.’ India suffers today from its mob of namby-pamby prophets. But Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi are the most powerful publicists among our rarer prophets. Their styles, like their personalities, are distinguished by sincerity and power–Gandhi all pity and pathos and self-exploration, Nehru all contempt and indignation and uncompromising clarity of vision. Pandit Jawaharlal writes like the voice of tremendous world-forces, so clearly and inevitably, without frizzles, without fancies. He is the most ardent of our patriots; but he, it is clear, is no mere twentieth century Plato or Oriental Karl Marx. He is so dignified, so purposeful, so downright. He is nearer Lenin.


Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: