My chief aim in writing this book is to unfold the truth. I have expounded truth as truth and error is error. The exposition of error in place of truth and of truth in place of error does not constitute the unfolding of truth.
To speak of, write about, and believe in a thing as it is, constitutes truth. He that is prejudiced tries to prove that even his error is the truth, while the truth of his religions opponent is the error. He cannot, therefore, know what the true religion is. Hence it is the bounden duty of truthful and learned men to unfold this right nature of truth and error before all men in their writings and speeches and then to leave them free to judge what promotes their welfare and what is prejudicial to their interests and to embrace what is true and reject what is false.
This will lead to the happiness of the people at large. Though the human souls possess the capacity for ascertaining the truth, yet through self-interest, obstinacy, wrong-headedness, ignorance and the like, it is led to renounce truth and incline towards untruth. We have freed ourselves from these influences while writing this book. It is not our object to hurt anyone's susceptibilities or to injure anyone. On the other hand, our aim is to further the advancement and advance the well-being
to help (all) humankind in the attainment of what is right, and to enable them to accept the truth and reject falsehood. In our opinion, there is no other way of elevating the human race.
All errors or omissions, typographical or otherwise, on being pointed out to us, will be rectified, but no heed will be paid to anything that is said or written through prejudice with the object of unnecessarily criticizing this book. Of course, any suggestions made by persons actuated with the spirit of furthering the welfare of humanity, on being found good, will be most acceptable.
There are undoubtedly many learned men among the followers of every religion. Should they free themselves from prejudice, accept the universal truths, that is those truths that are to be found alike in all religions and are of universal application-, reject all things in which the various religions differ and treat each other lovingly, it will be greatly to the advantage of the world, for it cannot be denied that differences among the learned create bad blood among the ignorant masses. This leads to the multiplication of all sorts of sorrows and sufferings and destroys human happiness.
This evil, which is so dear to the heart of the selfish, has hurled mankind into the deepest depths of misery. Whoever tries to do anything with the object of benefiting mankind is opposed by selfish people and various kinds of obstacles are thrown away. But finding solace in the belief that ultimately truth must conquer and not error and that it is the path of rectitude alone that men and women of learning and piety have always trodden, true teachers never become indifferent to the promotion of public good and never give up the promulgation of truth.
It is our firm belief that everything calculated to the advancement of knowledge and righteousness is like poison, to begin with but like nectar in the end. We have kept all this in view while writing this book. Let all those who read or hear it being read keep an open mind, enter into the spirit of the author and form an independent opinion.
The author has taken no sides in the way of jarring creeds.
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We have incorporated into this book whatever is true in all religions and in harmony with their highest teachings but have refuted whatever is false in them. We have exposed to the view of men learned for otherwise - all evil practices whether resorted to secretly or openly. This will help our readers to discuss
religious questions in a spirit of love and embrace the one true religion. Though we were born in Aryavarta (India) and still live in it, yet just as we do not defend the evil doctrines and practice of the religions prevailing in our own country, on the other hand, expose them properl in like manner we deal with alien religions.
We treat the foreigners in the same way as we treat our own countrymen in recognition of our common humanity. It behooves all the rest to act likewise. Had we taken the side of oyne of the prevailing religions of India; we would have but followed (blindly) the example of sectarians who extol, defend and preach their own religion and decry, refute and check the progress of other creeds. In our opinion, however, such things are beneath the dignity of man.
Should a man act like an animal, which if strong, oppresses the weak and even puts them to death, he is more an animal than a man. He alone can fitly be called a man who is strong protects the weak. He that injures others in order to gain his selfish ends can only be called a big animal.
A detailed statement of the contents of chapters dealing with religions other than Vedic.
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In the first eleven chapters, we have chiefly dealt with the religions of the people of Aryavarta (India). We believe in the religion that has been expounded in the first to 10th chapters as it is in harmony with the Vedic teachings, but we disbelieve in the false teachings of the Puranas (which are of a recent origin) the Tantras and the like books which we have condemned (in the 11th chapter).
In the twelfth chapter we have discussed the Charvaka faith aw well as the Jain and the Buddhist religions. The Charvaka greatly resembles the Jain and the Buddhist religions in being an atheistic creed and in many other respects.
It has greatly declined in our day but it is the most atheistic of all; hence it is absolutely necessary to check its activity. If nothing be done to eradicate false ideas and practices, disastrous consequences are sure to follow. The Buddhist and the Jain religions are also dealt with along the Charvaka in the twelfth Chapter and we have set forth their points of agreement and of difference with one other. The reader should consult that Chapter for further information on the subject. In our criticism of the
Page v ~ Four Sutra books:-
Buddhis religion we have quoted the most ancient and authentic books of the Buddhists, such as Dipavansha, Baudhamata Sahgraha and Sarvadarshana Sangraha, etc.
~ Eleven Angas (Limbs):-
- Avaashyaka Sutra
- Vishesha Avashyaka Sutra
- Daha Vaikalika Sutra
- Pakshika Sutra.
Twelve Upangas (Sublims):-
- Acharanga Sutra
- Sugadanga Sutra
- Thaananga Sutra
- Samavayanga Sutra
- Bhagvati Sutra
- Jnatadharma Katha Sutra
- Upasakadasha Sutra
- Antagada Dasha Sutra
- Anuttarovavai Sutra
- Vipaaka Sutra
- Prashnavyakarana Sutra
~ Five Kalpa Sutras:-
- Upavai Sutra
- Rayapseni Sutra
- Jivabhigama Sutra
- Pannavana Sutra
- Jambudwipapannati Sutra
- Chandapannati Sutra
- Surapannati Sutra
- Niriyavali Sutra
- Kepyiya Sutra
- Kapabarhisaya Sutra
- Puppyyia Sutras
- papyachuliya Sutra
- Uttaradhayana Sutra
- Nishitha Sutra
- Kalpa Sutra
- Vyavahara Sutra
- ~ Jitakalpa Sutra
~ Ten Payanna Sutras:-
- Mahabnishithav Rihadvachana
- Mahanishithala ghuvachana Sutra
- Madhyamavachana Sutra
- Pindianirukti Sutra
- Ougha nirukti Sutra
- Paryushana Sutra
Page vi ~ Four Panchangas:-
- Chatussarna Sutra
- Panchakhans Sutra
- Tadulavaiyalika Sutra
- Bhaktiparijnana Sutra
- Mahapratyaknyana Sutra
- Chandavijaya Stura
- Ganivijanya Sutra
- Marana Samadhi Sutra
- Devendarstamana Sutra
- Sansar Sutra
- Nandi Sutra and Yogoddhara Sutra are also regarded as authentic.
These four constitute what are called Avayasas (parts).All the books (mentioned under the above headings) are original.
- Translations of the above books
- Nirukti (Etymological explanations) of the above-mentioned books
- Charani (Poetical expositions)
- Bhashya (Commentaries).
The Dhundia sect does not believe in the Avayasas. There are many other books besides the above that is believed in by the Jains. Their religion is discussed in detail in the twelfth chapter.
There are million of repetitions in the Jain books. It should be borne in mind that some of the Jains are in the habit of disavowing books that fall into the hands of non-Jains or are published. They are, not at all, justified in doing so since books that are believed in by some, though repudiated by others, cannot be said to be unauthentic. Of course a book that is not believed in by any Jaini nor has even been unauthentic, but they're not a single book (referred to by us in our criticism) which is not believed in by some Jains at least; hence our criticism of Jain book will hold good for him who believes in that particular book.
But there are many Jains who though they really believe in a book repudiate it in public controversy. The Jains hide their books from non-Jains and do not let others see them, because they are full of absurdities to such an extent that no Jaini could ever answer nay objections urged against them. The best answer, however, that one could give to an objection raised against false belief is to give it up.
How to judge the spirit of an author's teaching.
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In the thirteenth chapter, we have discussed Christianity. Its followers believe the Bible to be their Holy Book. For further information, the reader is requested to consult the said chapter. Muhammadanism has been dealt with in the fourteenth chapter. Its followers hold the Q'uran to be their sacred book. The reader is advised to consult this chapter for detailed information on the subject. Then we have given a brief summary of the teachings of the Vedic religion. Whosoever will read this book with a biased mind will fail to understand what the author's aim (in writing this book) is,
There are four elements necessary to convey a complete sense of a passage, viz:-
There are many people who, through bigotry and wrong-headedness, misconstrue the meaning of the author. The sectaries are the greatest sinners in this respect because their intellect is wrapped by bigotry. Just as we have studied the Jain and Buddhist scriptures, the Puranas, the Bible and the Q'uran with an unbiased mind and have accepted what is good in them and rejected what is false and endeavor for the betterment of all mankind, it behooves all good men to do likewise.
- Akankasha consists in entering the spirit of the speaker or the author.
- Yogyata in the fitness of compatibility of sense. For instance, when it is said "water irrigates" there is nothing absurd in the mutual connection between the objects signified by the words.
- Asatti consists in regarding or speaking words in proper sequence, i.e., without detaching them from their context.
- Tatparya is to give the same meaning to the words of a writer or a speaker which he intended that they should convey..
We have but very briefly pointed out the defects of these religions. The perusal of this book will help men to sift truth from error and to embrace the former and renounce the latter. It does not become wise men to mislead people. The ignorant are sure to misinterpret what we say, but if the willing will realize what our aim is in writing this book, we shall consider our labor amply rewarded.
We place this work before all men ins the hope that they will embrace the truth and make our labor fruitful. We consider it the first and foremost duty of every man to proclaim the truth without fear or favor. May the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Supreme Spirit Who is the true personification of Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss through His grace diffuse this spirit and give it permanence. A word to true seekers of truth
(Swami) DAYANANDA SARASWATI
Udeypur, 1939 Vikram,
Bhadarpud Shukula Paksh