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Bhagavan Das on Family Tradition and Sex and The Primal and Ideal State of Man and Woman

A Theosophist on the primal and ideal state and relationship between man and woman, wife and husband, God, Nature and Humanity.

WHO WAS BHAGAVAN DAS – INTRODUCTION

Dr. Bhagavan Das (1869-1958) was an Indian Theosophist, a scholar of Sanskrit and Hindi, and educator who served as General Secretary of the Indian Section of the Theosophical Society and as Secretary of the Central Hindu College in Banares. Bhagavan Das was a prominent figure in Indian public life, in education and social reform. It seems, Bhagavan Das was attempting to systematize or compile a work that will demonstrate the essential unity of all religions, i.e., a Universal Religion, authoritative and authentic to educate India. He mentions the creation of text-books from his writings. Bhagavan Das disagreed with Besant and Leadbeater’s Krishnamurti project. “After hearing a speech given by Annie Besant he joined The Theosophical Society in 1894. He collaborated with Mrs. Besant in many initiatives, but strongly opposed her exhaltation of Jiddu Krishnamurti as the World Teacher, and particularly the way in which participation in the Order of the Star in the East was promoted in Central Hindu University” (THEOS. BHAGAVAN DAS).

THE ESSENTIAL UNITY OF ALL RELIGIONS (1932): REVERENCE FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS, ELDERS.

Part I. pp. 288-292

Commandments to honor the teacher, the father, and the mother above all others, are also to be found in the forefront of the scriptures of all religions. Injunctions to love children are out needed; the mere fact that the younger generation lives and grows, is ample proof that Nature herself inevitably and successfully compels the older generation to foster it.

Parental affection, like water, necessarily flows down the slopes of time, from the older to younger generation. Of course, there are exceptions, in the shape of monsters who devour their own offspring. They only prove the rule. Even wolf and tiger and serpent mothers always foster their young, though the fathers sometimes kill and eat them. Filial affection, on the other hand, being, by law of nature, unavoidably selfish in the beginning, requires some persuasion and labour to ascend upwards. Hence the injunctions, specially laid upon the younger, to honor the elder. Parental, particularly maternal, affection is naturally so strong that it does not need to be strengthened by the scriptures. Even so, Vaidika Dharma makes it a Duty to rear up progeny virtuously. How the parental feeling, which makes even the animal mothers fight with sublimely reckless heroism in defence of their young, makes even the gentle Christ indignant, may be seen in this:

Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones
that believe in Me, it is better for him that a mill-stone
were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea. (B.)

Shankar-acharya sings:

“The travail that the parents undergo, 
To make life for their children possible–
Hundreds of years of service may not make
Adequate recompense for it at all.” 

Filial devotion and respect for elders are the very foundation of an unselfish life. (C., Analects.)

Moses and Christ say:

Honor thy father and thy mother. (B.)

Muhammad says: 

Serve and revere the parents. Heaven is spread
Beneath the feet of mothers everywhere.
God sayeth: Be ye grateful unto Me,
And to your parents e’en as unto Me.
Remember with what pain and fainting-fits
Your mother bore you nine months in her womb,
And then with dire travail did bring you forth,
And nourished you with her own milk for years.

Very truly, very wisely, does the Prophet declare thus. The sweetest, most holy, most benignant names of Allah, God, are Ar-Rahman, the Beneficent, Ar-Razzaq, the Nourisher, Al-Ghaffar, the Forgiving. Who more rahman, razzaq, ghaffar to the child than the mother? Where the mother-heart is, there is Godhead; where Godhead is, there is heaven. Therefore:

Where’er the mother’s foot doth tread, 
There surely heaven lies outspread.

The Veda says:

Let thy preceptor and thy father be,
And let thy mother be, above them all,
Thy gods and guardian angels in thine heart;
So keep unbroken thou, from age to age,
The line of life in noble progeny.

The image of the mother, enshrined in the heart of the son and the daughter, will effectively prevent that heart from erring into the ways of vice and sin, and will guard it from many dangers due to weaknesses and temptations. The generation that does not cherish, in its heart, honor and gratitude towards its older generation, is not likely to make itself worthy of being honored by its own younger generation; and the whole nation will thus lose continuity between past and present and future, and degenerate and decay rapidly. Sat-sanga, vrddha-seva, keeping near to the virtuous, the experienced, the aged, and pondering carefully and reverently over their conversations and their ways, is more lovingly educative and useful than the study of many books.

The company of wise, experienced,
Virtuous and loving elders is, indeed,
A rampart of protection for the young. (S.)

Wise company will make thee also wise;
From vicious friends thou canst but gather vice.

Intelligent, reasonable, ‘ancestor-worship and hero-worship’ means the maintanence of high family-traditions. There Manu and Vyasa, translation the Veda, say:

Serve mother, father, teacher studiously;
If ye succeed in winning the applause
Of these three, ye have done all there’s to do,
And gained all that can be worthy to gain.
They the three worlds, the three life stages they,
They the three Vedas, the three Sacred Fires.
Than teacher, yea, the father hath more weight;
Yet in the educator-quality
And right to reverence, the mother doth
Exceed the father by a thousand times.

Bhagavan Das – (cont.) II., pp. 292-297

REVERENCE FOR PARENTS, TEACHERS, ELDERS.

“No cooler and more grateful shade is there,
From all the scorching heat and glare of life,
No refuge, no protection, yea, no love,
Greater than is found in that one word, ‘Mother.’
She’s named the d h a t r i ; j a n a n i, because
She ‘giveth birth’ to him ; and a m b a too,
Because she fondly ‘fostereth his limbs’
And makes them grow; and viras-suh also
Because she ever sweetly ‘cares’ for him,
‘Mother’ and ‘child’–two bodies, yet the same!” (Mbh.)

The sweetest and most familiar names, in every religion, for God are, Father in Heaven, Savita, Badi, Khaliq, Abba; for His Omnipotence, Mother-Nature, Loka-mata, Holy-Ghost, Imma (Hebrew). In the mythology of the dead Egyptian religion, the trinity was Kneph or Ammon, the Father, Neith or Muth, the Mother, and Phtah or Khons, the Son; also Osiris, Isis, Horus. The Trinity-in-Unity of every religion is the Primal Family of Purusha-Prakrti-Jiva, Brahma-Maya-Manushya, or Ishvara-Jagat-Jiva, (V.); Vahme-Gayetha-Daeva, (Z.); Father-Mother-Son, (B.); God-Nature-Man (Science). The noblest sermon that the Buddha preached, the Maha-Mangala-Sutta, ‘The Song of the Greatest Blessing,’ is a hymn to the happy family.

“To shun the erring vicious; serve the wise;
Honor the worthy; and do blameless deeds;
To wait on father-mother reverently;
And care all tenderly for wife and child;
Deny one-self; observe due continence;
See clear the truth of the Four Noble Truths–
Woe, Cause, Surcease, the Way to gain Surcease;
To govern daily life by all these truths,
And realise Nirvana at the end–
Such is the Blessed Life, the Blessed Life.”
(Buddha, Maha-Mangala-Sutta.)

“I am the Father-Mother of this world,
Spouse, Master, Ruler, Judge, Witness, Nurse, Friend,
Lover, Beloved, Abode, the only Goal
And Final Refuge, Place of Birth and Death,
I am (is) the Deathless Seed of All the World.”
(Bhagavad-Gita)

“He is the Father, Husband, Servant, Lord,
He is the Comrade–He is all to me.”
(Zoroaster, Gatha, 53.4.)

“Since Brahma did create all moving things,
They are all Brahma, Brahma’s progeny.”
(Mbh.)

“All creatures are the family of God;
And he the most beloved is of God
Who does most good unto His family.”
(H.)

The duty of loving fidelity between husband and wife, implicit in the relationship of Father-Mother; and the avoidance of adultery and all unlawful sex-relations; these are also expressly enjoined by all scriptures. The Bible says that husband and wife “are no more twain, but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together let no man put asunder.”

Manu ordains that “they shall perform all duties of life together, side by side, saha-dharma-chara, and be faithful to each other unto death and beyond”. The Quran commands that if a husband has more wives than one, he shall love all equally; “if thou canst not deal equitably and justly with each and all, thou shouldst take only one”. The Vedanta and Sankhya tell us that the Primal relationship is indeed the Conjugal Marital Relationship of God and His Nature, Purusha and Prakrti, Brahma and Maya, Zat and Sifat; (another aspect of which appears as Ab-i-Ulavi and Ummuhat-i-Sifli, the Celestial Fathers and the Terrene Mothers); and that all relationships, of paternity, maternity, filiety, fraternity, etc., and all spiritual affections and unselfishness are born from and subsequent to it.

“As is the husband’s quality of soul,
As, too, the nature and the circumstance
Of man’s and woman’s mating, such becomes
The wife’s soul-quality also. The rivers run
Into the sea, and make their waters salt;
Sea-waters rise and clasp the sunny air,
And from their brackishness turn into sweet.
As the strong serpent-charmer drags the snake,
Resisting, all-unwilling, from its hole
Into the light and air, so doth the wife,
Loving, devoted, clinging to her spouse,
Drag back the fallen man from hell itself,
One righteous aim of marriage is, no doubt,
To take joy in each other’s beauteousness;
But greater, higher, nobler far is this–
To know divine heartache and anxious joy
Of fatherhood and of sweet motherhood,
That they be fathers–were men fashioned men;
That they be mothers–were women made women.”
(Mhb.)

“Marriage has been enjoined because it helps
To save the pair from immoralities,
To shun the waste of vital healthful power,
And to save woman from degradedness.”
(H.)

“Where there is happy union between
Husband and wife, there shall be harmony
Between the parents and the children all;
And sweet and generous affection too
Twixt brothers, sisters; all the family
Will be in happy state perpetually.
Loving example of one family
Will make the neighbourhood, nay, the whole state,
Loving; and courteous, from its courtesies.”
(C. THR., 263.)

“Men who raise families that remain in fidelity to tradition will end up with descendants ruling the world.”

E.H. LOONEY

The Chinese word for ‘culture’ or religion is chiao. It is derived from the word for ‘filial piety’, hsiao. Confucius says, in the Hsiao-king (Classic of Filial Piety):

“The gentle-man teaches filial piety in order that man may respect all those who are fathers in the world. He teaches brotherliness in the younger brother, in order that man may respect all those who are elder brothers in the world…Those who love and respect their parents dare not show hatred and rudeness to others…Filial piety is the basis of virtue, and the origin of culture. To do the right thing and walk according to the right morals, thus leaving a good name in posterity, in order to glorify one’s ancestors, is the culmination of filial piety.” (LIN YUTANG, My Country and My People, p. 171; pub: 1938.)

Recent western poets have also recognised that wise parenthood is the spiritual culmination and sweetest fruit of weddedness; through a horrible flood of brazen, screaming, shameless, naked, animal sexuality, and very unregulated contraception, and wish to avoid all parental responsibility while snatching all sorts of lawless sexual excitements and pleasures, seems to have burst in an overwhelming flood on the world, after the Great War of 1914-1918.

“Womanliness means only Motherhood;
All love begins and ends there–roams enough,
But, having run the circle, rests at ‘Home’.
(BROWNING.)

4 Comments »

  1. Interesting article. However, the James Kalb quote without any context and explanation makes no sense, also, everything on that quote is highly questionable, some sort of intellectual dishonesty, to be sincere.

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    • For my purposes, the quote fits. Bhagavan Das lived before the sexual revolution, but he observed some changes in society, which precedes it and does not think it is a good direction. He evidently displays a religious traditional view of the role of family, of man and wan, wife and father in contrast to modern views. Kalb is I believe, a traditionalist conservative, Catholic and intellectual critic of liberalism I knew using this quote may not sit well with those of more liberal-bent. All Wrath of Gnon quotes who creates these are trad-con quotes. The things Das emphasizes in this article are even today, treated as something unimportant and rigid, and in a negative sense. I thought it might appear too much for others reading, but still felt the quote fit in with the larger issue at hand. It is also part of my bias, which is why I agree with the quote except for the idea the only role of every woman is to be a wife or in the kitchen as I expressed here (theamericanminvra.com/theosophists-on-occult-nature-of-women-and-female-adepts). The context of Kalb’s quote surrounds the degeneration of the familial role and the suffocation of the masculine ideal and role, and the effects of feminism, which have critiqued these things. I’m glad you found it interesting.

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      • I don’t want to be an intruder in your blog complaining about your articles, I am fascinated by many of them. I hope you don’t mind me expressing some of my perceptions and even concerns. You seem to be a prolific writer and reader, and I being born into Theosophy, I found your blog an amazing source for theosophical and political content.

        Appears through my readings that you gravitate between neutral to more of a traditionalist point of view. First of all, I am not expecting to find anything else here. Second, my issue is with how you approach fascism and feminism. You are very mild on your criticism of fascism and ruthless on your aversion to feminism. On fascism you show admiration, you flirt with it in your writing, you advocate for its “pretty” rhetoric and concepts. More troublesome are your sources, being most of them Fascists. When talking about feminism your sources are traditionalists, conservatives, and I would guess some religious fundamentalists. It is unsettling how you talk so fondly of an ideology that led to catastrophic consequences to humanity, and on feminism and women’s movements that brought important positive changes for society – with all its issues – you lack credible sources.

        I read your article about Occult Nature of Women, and that introduction was problematic. What called my attention is the way you constructed the article and formulated your ideas. You begin by defending yourself and stating that you admire women. It reminds me of the saying, “I am not racist, some of my best friends are black.” In many instances, I have the subtle feeling that you don’t consider women equally. In the quote, “if there be a woman who aspires sincerely and devotedly, as many men have too, then in no way, should she be hindered along this path to Gnosis and Power.” I wonder why is that in question? In my mind it is obvious that women are equal to us, but when you write there is distrust. The way you see women seem outdated, and it can be seen in your writing. I have to admit, I should not be surprised by your way of thinking considering your heroes and scholars that you admire, except for the theosophists, of course.

        I don’t want to prolong this comment, I have no intention of creating discussions in someone else’s blog. Please, take it as a simple observation of what I have read so far.

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      • Oh no! I did not see you as an intruder. I just wanted to add abit more zest (stronger opinion) in contrast to modern views. I removed it in my second edit but put it back for that reason. I’ve no problem with your disagreement. Thanks.

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