YOGASON - the ethical discipline










THE BUDDHA  in English 

(Published in Bulletin 'May 2010' of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture,


Please watch a 5 minute extract from my YOGASON FILM

( Per la narrazione del film in italiano vedi testo: La Vita e La Yoga )





  IL BUDDHA in Italiano


Yoga-Una Scienza Psicofisica






  SEE A VIDEO CLIP of DEDICATION, THANKS TO PEOPLE who helped me to make the film YOGASON and NOTES for Yoga beginners.


        YOGASON by Amit Ray


The stream of time has been carrying my life afloat along its self created course dancing with almost a perfect mixture of joys & sorrows, good & bad, ups and downs. Let the music of the rolling stream with its often bouts of rainbow notes never stop until it immerses itself in the vast quietness of the only TRUTH.

Amit Ray is a graduate mechanical engineer from Jadavpur University, India. Before coming to Italy in 2010, worked and lived in Switzerland for 17 years. Left India in 1975 to take up a position in England and lived in various countries in Europe & M.E. He comes from a family of long history in philosophy, Vedic and Western. 

His great grand father was a philosopher, a Pundit specialized in Naya Shastra (Logic), one of the six systems of Indian philosophy - in 1919 was awarded the highest educational honour (MAHAMAHOPADHYAYA) - knighted by the then British Gov .

His father was a professor of Logic and Western Philosophy and author of books on SYMBOLIC LOGIC and METALOGIC (Theory of Logic) and Director & Secretary of Education, Tripura

His sister is the head of the department of logic and western philosophy, Dumdum Motijhil College, Calcutta University.



YOGASON has a great message:

 A message of a beautiful and healthy body -   A message for the uplifting of the mind


PEOPLE who helped me




English, French & German




Contributed by Mitra Ray, 

lecturer in Philosophy, Calcutta University, India


YOGASON is not a part of any religious organization. Spiritual guidance is by Swami Amarananda of the Vedantique Centre, Geneva, Switzerland


Life & Yoga

Leben und Yoga

La Vie et le Yoga

La Vita e La Yoga



By Amit Ray


Vedic philosophers said more than 3000 years ago:

“Understanding or intelligence is the driver of the chariot of the body, driven by the horses of the senses, which are controlled by the reins of the mind.”





Dreitausend Jahre altem Zitat der wedischen Philosophen:


"Verstehen oder Verstand ist der Lenker des Wagens Körper, gezogen von den Pferden Sinnen, die von dem Geschirr Geist im Zaum gehalten werden."





En citant les philosophes védiques qui affirmèrent il y a plus de 3000 ans :


« La compréhension ou l’intelligence est le cocher sur le char du corps,Conduit par les chevaux des sensqui sont contrôlés par les rênes de l’esprit »










TRADEMARK YOGASON - the ethical discipline is registered in Switzerland, The European Union.










International Yoga Centers Directory







This site is dedicated to my late beloved father, Indra Kumar Ray (15 Dec 1915 - 08 May 1999), a professor of philosophy and logic, author of books on symbolic logic, Metalogic and psychology. 

He was the grandson of a logician and philosopher, late Baikunthanath Tarkabhusan Ray, who in 1919 was awarded the highest educational honour (Mahamahopadhyaya) by the then British Government.




Before I write  what my father told us, let me say a few words as I knew him.

In his life, philosophy was his religion and his gods were the western philosophers, from Plato to Kant to Russell, Russell being his most favourite. He never gave us any traditional religious training, though we went through all the rituals, which according to him were nothing but natural things to do as we were born in that environment. 


When I was 17 years old he gave a book called "Skeptical Essays" by the English Philosopher Bertrand Russell and asked me to read it.  Thus, he planted in me the seed of a tree of philosophy that over the years has changed my view of this world in a way that it is not bound by any restrictions in life.


In 1990, on the 14th of July, when I was on holiday in India, he introduced me to Indian Philosophy for the first time in my life by presenting a book "INDIAN PHILOSOPHY" VOLUME 1 BY RADHAKRISHNAN.





From the level of consciousness mankind in general has achieved up to my time, my life may be considered a successful one. I also tried to do my duty as best as I could; I don't know what the psycho-analytical trappings in the subconscious were, and what impulses they sent. But consciousness is a continuum, and we do not know whether from a different or higher level, success in life will be judged in the same way.


But the analysis of duty reveals certain difficulties. Social duty, in many of its aspects, implies social inequality. If it is one's duty to help the needy, then elimination of poverty and disease, and universal education up to an adequate level, cannot be the social aim, for there must be some poverty, disease and illiteracy to enable some people to be virtuous. The point is delicate, and I may be called a cynic, but it remains to be decided whether poverty, disease and lack of education are ineliminable of necessity (e.g. the result of Karma in previous births, to which I am soon coming), to make social virtue possible.


If I may be allowed to imagine that with the knowledge and technology now at our disposal, and without the methods of politicization and criminalization by which our present rulers (even the Governor-General and the British officers in the days of Raj, called themselves "your most obedient servant" at least in paper) consolidate and aggravate these ills of society, while constantly professing to eliminate them, these ills have actually been eliminated, there will remain little social duty for an individual. The only duties that will still remain are rearing and nurturing the young and nursing the old and the sick, which may hardly be called virtues. Even if an urgency crops up or a call comes to rush in where an accident or mishap has taken place, it is the whole society, which will be acting through the individuals placed to provide immediate relief and do whatever is needful thereafter. Such action will be the social characteristic of the particular society, but hardly a social virtue.


I am not raising the question of individual virtue regarding which, I am afraid, there is little chance of unanimity, and which, I am equally afraid, is of little good to society, of which India itself is a glaring instance.


But aren't we moral beings, and don't we have moral values? Certainly yes, but moral values should be defined in a different way, not in terms of virtue, which smacks of the sense of APOORBO  of the MIMANGSA , but in terms of honest (which may include upright, kind, sympathetic, prompt, and the like) behaviour, characteristic of the stage when ills of society, which now plague it and make some people virtuous, are in the process of elimination. It is not for me to prescribe it, it will be of no avail. The whole society must prescribe it for itself, if it is to be at all effective. I cannot now imagine what the moral values will be like beyond this stage. Let us first cross this stage.


The Brahmins in India preached that men are divided into four Varnas, the Brahmins being of the highest Varna, and the duties of each lower Varna is to acknowledge the superiority of and serve the higher Varnas. This may have been done to ensure social stability at that time. But the times have changed, and the evil effects of the Varna theory cannot be worse than what we see in the socio-political field today. The theory propagated that if the lower Varnas do their duty appropriate to the Varna in which they are born, they will be born in a higher Varna in the next birth. Along with this goes the threat that their present birth in the lower Varna is due to some sin committed by them in their past birth(s), and if they do not virtuously perform the duties of the Varna of their present birth, they will be born in a lower Varna, and if their present Varna happens to be the lowest, as an animal.


This is the theory of Rebirth, a rationalization of the ancient tribal belief that the "spirit" in man may even pass over into animals after death. From this theory followed DASHABIDHA SAMSKAR for ensuring a secure means of livelihood for the Brahmins, for whom manual work was considered by Manu to be a moral lapse.


If my present birth in the particular Varna, with the social, economic and health conditions, intelligence, etc., is due to my Karma in previous births, to what Karma was my first birth due?


Sraddh (a Hindu ceremony) is said to be performed to help the deceased reach heaven and stay there longer. But if whither I shall go or what state I shall assume is determined by my Karma in my present and past births, how can Sraddh performed by another person help me? Where is heaven? Nobody knows. How is it? It is, of course, described in salacious details.


Some speak of higher levels of consciousness, some even of a highest level, from which the truth may be perceived. This is rather uncertain, for us, who are at the present level, hearsay, until in the course of evolution mankind in general achieves those higher levels gradually. But confound the philosophy which preaches that the highest level is for a favoured few, the rest being relegated to a succession of births and deaths.


I had thought over the matter since I had learned to think, say, for about sixty years, but found no solid argument in favour of the theory of rebirth in what has been stated in the Brahminical texts about it. As I grew in years, my doubts about its truth also grew stronger. I am now over eighty one, weak in body and mind, but my doubts did not relent. I, therefore, consider it proper now to state clearly that I don't believe in rebirth.


Let everybody be happy and in good health, "see the good", let none whosoever suffer. (A quote from Sanskrit literature).














H.E. Swami Prabhananda of The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, India 

for permitting me to quote from the book "The cultural Heritage of India" (6 volumes).


Mitra Ray My sister. Teaches philosophy at a college under the University of Calcutta, India. Kept a keen eye on the philosophical content, I wrote.
Dr. Asoke Bandopadhyaya My brother- in- law, who gave his all to see to it that the film was successfully completed in India.
Michele Lagorio My American friend. Teaches at the American School of Paris, who did the French narration in the film.

Rolf Bösch  


My Swiss friend, who did the German narration in the film.
Dr. Josette Chareyre My friend in France, who edited the French text of the leaflet.
Renate and Rolf Gehrig  My Swiss friends for editing the German text of the leaflet.
Priska and Joerg Meier My Swiss friends for editing the German text of the yogic instructions.
Maria Koefer My Spanish friend, who edited the Spanish text of the leaflet.
Francisco Rossi My friend in Italy for editing the Italian text of the leaflet.
Carmen-Manuela Rock My German friend - M.A. Physiotherapist, for her advice on yogic poses from the western point of view and for editing the German texts.
Paul Nelson My American friend, C.P.A for his continuous encouragement and advice on financial management.
Marc and Nadine Janssens My Belgian friends in France for their help, interest and encouragement.
Anne Nyth My Australian friend in Sweden for her encouragement in my project.

My family in India and UK and all my friends in Switzerland.









As a student of science I am inclined to physics and I have come to know that in modern physics intellectual debate and intense search are going on, on the question of some conscious energy behind the phenomenal world, which may be called GOD OR ONENESS. All these efforts are to search for or to find out an ultimate truth behind this Universe.


Last year I read a book called Mathematical Undecidability, Quantum Nonlocality and the Question of the Existence of God. I must admit that I did not really understand the book well due to lack of my knowledge in higher physics and higher mathematics. However, I did like some parts of some articles, and please let me quote a few lines from them.


One of the authors, Dr. Paul Pliska, whom I personally know, wrote in his article Nonlocality and the Principle of Free Experimentation

“ In today’s physics, in which quantum mechanics plays a decisive role, there is room for the human free will. This is an astonishing although natural connection between physics and metaphysics.”


As final remarks in this book, Dr. Alfred Driessen and Dr. Antoine Suarez wrote: 


One should bear in mind that science is not the only access to reality. The rich world of human feelings and thoughts as expressed, for example, in literature, art, humanities and also in conversations in daily life, provides alternative routes to reality in all its dimensions.


They also wrote, “Man with his intellectual effort is able to know the existence of an unobservable reality, which he already encounters deep in his heart.”


The classical physicists looked to the outer world to find the reality behind all phenomena. Modern Physics has added to the search for mysteries  of  the Universe as well as human consciousness.


The Vedic Philosophers looked inside themselves to find the truth underlying the phenomenal world and they realized that the Self or the Atma is the only ultimate reality, which is conscious in nature. All other reality, i.e. all phenomenal reality is only relative or conditional.


What is fascinating is that thousands of years ago what the Vedic thinkers searched and realized in their own way, now it appears that modern research on quantum mechanics

is approaching to a similar goal.


Our great poet, the Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, expressed this oneness beautifully in one of his poems,


"As shadow, as particles, my body fused with endless night, 

I came to rest at the altar of the stars.

Alone, amazed, I stared upwards with hands clasped and said,

“Sun, you have removed Your rays; show now your loveliest, kindliest form 

That I may see the Person who dwells in me as in you.” (Translated by William Radice)


As a person inclined to physics, I would fervently desire that physics and spirituality walk hand in hand, compliment each other’s intelligence.


Let us bring harmony to the extrospective nature by being introspective.


India is ever ready to extend her introspective hand to find together the reality, the oneness, the truth.























Written by Amit Ray

©Amit Ray 2009 - 2013

(Published in the Bulletin of The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, May 2010)

The great people, like the wise, the brave, the politicians, etc, exercise their will over other people. They mould history according to their own design. During the period when Buddha was born, it was not difficult for him to occupy a small space in one corner of the history as a king of one of India’s innumerable small kingdoms. He could have become valorous, could have become a great victor, the students could have memorized his life story, depicted in a small chapter of the modern history included in the school curriculum, and then perhaps would have forgotten him.


But those who engage themselves in austere endeavour to advance the work for salvation of mankind, for completing the unfinished perfection of the human nature/spirit, for flourishing of the human mind, for bringing clarity to the obscured human consciousness behind the thick veil of imperfection enveloped by ego, take first their seat of all times on the great throne of the human hearts. We are not able to understand our incompleteness, we are unable to comprehend the facts of human nature, and our inability to attain a life of a finer quality until some fully enlightened person appears before us. Lord Buddha is foremost among those enlightened by their own profundity who appear age after age to guide the dejected, the deprived, and the stricken people.


“We find in Gautama the Buddha, in powerful combination, spiritual profundity, moral strength of the highest order and a discreet intellectual reserve. He is one of those rare spirits who bring to men a realization of their own divinity and make the spiritual life seem adventurous and attractive, so that they may go forth into the world with a new interest and a new joy at heart.” (The Dhammapada, P56, by Radhakrishnan)


The main feature of the Buddha’s message is here that he not only talked about benevolence but also about compassion. When at the end of his austerities and after long meditation he gave up asceticism, all of his companions left him, because they used to think that asceticism is the only criterion that a person is searching for the transcendental truth.


But Buddha, after attaining Sambodhi, full enlightenment, engaged himself in his work and untiringly continued his work until the last day of his life. He had universal compassion for all living creatures, whether human or animal. He said: “As a mother at the risk of her life watches over her only child, so let every one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.” We should always have love for all sentient beings and should not deviate from this path.



Many Pundits explained Buddha’s Nirvana concept as Shunyata i.e. nothingness or void. Lord Buddha preached practice of profound loving kindness to all creatures. We are not able to understand with ordinary intelligence how this loving kindness can be manifested through Nirvana. In order to bring about the universal compassion, extinction of one’s ego is absolutely necessary, but it does not amount to self-annihilation. Just to hear about self-annihilation, people would never have crowded to hear him.


“Nirvana is not the annihilation of the self, but only the extinguishing of selfhood in the ordinary acceptation of the term.”  (The essentials of Indian Philosophy, P73, by M. Hiriyanna)


And what a crowd! Most Indians became his followers in one thousand years. The great emperor Ashoka (304 BC -232 BC) alone built 84,000 Stupas  to preach Buddhism (A Stupa is a bell shaped monument to offer devotion). India became a land of pilgrimage; people of other lands were drawn to her through the words of the Buddha. Along the route that Huen Chang took to travel to India from China, the powerful kings bestowed upon him the honour and help only because he was a Buddhist; and this only tells us the extent of the influence of Buddha’s message in all the neighbouring countries. The message of truth reached across seas and mountains to Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Burma/Myanmar, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Persia and Egypt.


“The serenity and gentleness of his face, the beauty and dignity of his life, the earnestness and enthusiasm of his love, the wisdom and the eloquence of his message won the hearts of men and women alike.” Indian Philosophy, P349, by Radhakrishnan.


People painted frescoes of him in the dark caves of inaccessible mountains, built Stupas by carrying enormous blocks of stones to the top of steep snowy mountains, carved in hundreds of images around the Stupa, each a perfect specimen of the sculptor’s art, chiselled with loving care and infinite pains to pay homage to him. It is not enough to salute him only once a day, the saviour of all mankind of all times. The irresistible call, the victory call of the truth by the Supreme Man, who sacrificed his life for easing the difficulty in the progress of mankind, who had rent the veil of darkness, was thus announced in desert plains, on steep mountain tops, in solitary caves, in the Stupas.


“Buddhism succeeded so well because it was a religion of love, giving voice to all the inarticulate forces, which were working against the established order and the ceremonial religion, addressing itself to the poor, the lowly and the disinherited.” (Indian Philosophy, P 475, by Radhakrishnan)


“Buddhism is essentially psychology, logic and ethics, and not metaphysics.” 

Indian Philosophy, P353, by Radhakrishnan


Sacrifice is not just to disavow or giving away in charity; in order to achieve the big, it is necessary to sacrifice the little. During the flourishing of Buddhism and the subsequent time in India, the progress in arts, science, commerce and imperialistic power was never like any time before. This is because when man’s religion becomes alive, the progress is not bound by speculations regarding eschatology. That invigorated religion engages it in all kinds of great endeavours.


One cannot talk casually about universal compassion for all creatures. In the human world, we encounter usually lesser examples of such compassion. The sacrifice for the welfare of the offspring in the animal world is not unusual. The same form of sacrifice is found in groups of human beings as well as in bees, for example. Unparalleled loving kindness flows through love, compassion and innumerable little incidents, like as published in a newspaper, a female dog breast-feeding the young of a goat.


The Jataka stories tried to illustrate the virtue of universal compassion.

The feeling of amity is also present in some parts of the animal world. When this feeling of compassion is boundless, only then it becomes self-sacrifice; small sacrifices of material desires attain their fulfillment at that stage. Our effort, love, care for our biological group only is transcended at that point. In the abundance of universal compassion, we find the impartiality between the deserving and the undeserving, the spontaneity, the self-engaged relinquishment are the elements, which make a person, fit for Nirvana.


Compassion is the Buddhahood. Wherever there is compassion, there is Buddhahood.


Buddha said that seeking the only truth, valid for all times, all countries, for all people irrespective of caste and creed, poverty and affluence, is the duty of all - “The unending love is flowing in the world, invite it to your heart, cultivate immeasurable love and good-will towards all creatures, void of obstacles, hatred, and feud.”


Buddha advises us, the lay people, not to give up the world but to lead virtuous lives as householders and to promote the welfare of the community.


The Buddha advised his disciples to plant a tree every five years by his own hand and to look after it so that it grows properly. What a beautiful exercise to practise kindness! If today this advice were to be followed by all in the world, we would have avoided deforestation and through this process would have achieved economic prosperity as well; and moreover proper ecology could have been maintained.


His true greatness stands out clearer and brighter as the time passes, and even the sceptical-minded are turning to him with a more real appreciation, a deeper reverence and a true worship.


“He is one of those few heroes of humanity who have made epochs in the history of our race, with a message for other times as well as their own.” The Dhammapada, P57, by Radhakrishnan


“For the Buddha, Dharma or righteousness is the driving principle of the universe.” The Dhammapada, P42, by Radhakrishnan

“When we purify our heart by ethical training, when we focus the total energy of our consciousness on the deepest in us, we awaken the inherent divine possibilities, and suddenly a new experience occurs with clarity of insight and freedom of joy.” The Dhammapada, P43, by Radhakrishnan  


“Nirvana means annihilation of passion, hatred and delusion. It is the waning out of all evils – diminishing the vicious and the weak in man, which is the negative aspect of his positive advance in becoming. In its negative aspect, it means the removal of greed, ill will and dullness. In its positive aspect, it means mental illumination conceived as light, insight, and the state of feeling happiness, cool and calm and content, peace, safety and self-mastery. Objectively considered, it means truth, the highest good, a supreme opportunity, a regulated life, communion with the best.” The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol. 1, P547 by Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture 


Today, in this world of selfishness, greed, and jealousy, let us pray to the great compassionate Buddha to grant us a tiny bit of loving kindness so that we all become stronger in our spirit, so that our strength lies in mercy and compassion.













IL BUDDHA in Italiano






Da Amit Ray (Tradotto dall’inglese)           ©2010 - ©2013 Amit Ray

 Il presente articolo vuole commemorare un'occasione di lieto auspicio: il compleanno di Buddhadeva, che noi consideriamo l'uomo più grande sulla terra, per ricordarlo e rendergli il nostro omaggio.

 Le grandi persone, come i saggi, i coraggiosi, i politici, ecc., esercitano la loro volontà su altre persone. Danno forma alla storia secondo il loro disegno. Nell’epoca in cui visse, per Buddha non era difficile occupare un piccolo angolo di storia come re di uno degli innumerevoli regni dell'India. Sarebbe potuto diventare un valoroso e un grande vincitore; gli studenti avrebbero potuto imparare a memoria la favola della sua vita, descritta in un piccolo capitolo di storia moderna del loro curriculum scolastico, per poi forse dimenticarlo.

 Ma coloro che si impegnano in uno sforzo austero per agevolare l'opera di salvazione dell'umanità, per completare l’incompiuta perfezione della natura o dello spirito umano, per la prosperità dell'umanità e per portare chiarezza nella coscienza umana, oscurata dal fitto velo dell'imperfezione avviluppata dall'ego, occupano innanzitutto un posto sul grande trono dei cuori umani, in qualsiasi epoca. Non siamo in grado di capire la nostra incompiutezza, né i fatti della natura umana, né la nostra incapacità di avere una vita migliore, fin quando persone completamente illuminate appaiono prima di noi. Il Signore Buddha è il primo tra coloro che sono illuminati dalla propria profondità e che appaiono, epoca dopo epoca, per guidare gli avviliti, gli svantaggiati e gli affranti.


 “In Gautama troviamo il Buddha, una potente combinazione di profondità spirituale, forza morale del più alto ordine e prudente riserva intellettuale. È uno di quei rari spiriti che portano gli uomini a prendere coscienza della loro stessa divinità e fanno sembrare la vita spirituale avventurosa e attraente, in modo da andare avanti nel mondo con un nuovo interesse e una nuova gioia nel cuore”.



La principale caratteristica del messaggio di Buddha è che non parlava solo di benevolenza, ma anche di compassione. Quando, dopo una serie di austerità e una lunga meditazione, egli abbandonò l'ascetismo, tutti i suoi compagni lo lasciarono, perché pensavano che l'ascetismo fosse l'unico criterio da ricercare per giungere alla verità trascendentale.

 Ma Buddha, dopo aver raggiunto il Sambodhi, la piena illuminazione, si dedicò alla sua opera e la proseguì incessantemente fino all'ultimo giorno di vita. Provava una compassione universale per tutte le creature viventi, umane o animali. Disse: “Come una madre veglia sul suo unico figlio, a costo della propria vita, così ognuno coltiverà un amore sconfinato per tutti gli esseri viventi”. Dovremmo sempre provare amore per tutti gli esseri dotati di senso, senza mai deviare da questo percorso.

 Molti Pandit spiegano il concetto di Nirvana per Buddha come Shunyata, ovvero il nulla o il vuoto. Il Signore Buddha ha predicato una profonda e amorevole gentilezza verso tutte le creature. Noi non siamo in grado di capire con la consueta intelligenza come questa amorevole gentilezza possa manifestarsi attraverso il Nirvana. Per arrivare alla compassione universale, l'estinzione dell’ego è assolutamente necessaria, ma non deve essere annichilimento del sé. Se avesse sentito parlare solo di annichilimento del sé, la gente non si sarebbe mai affollata per ascoltarlo.

 “Il Nirvana non è l'annichilimento del sé, ma solo l’annientamento dell’individualismo nell'ordinaria accezione del termine”.


 E che folla! La maggior parte degli indiani divenne sua seguace in un migliaio di anni. Il grande imperatore Ashoka (304 a.C. - 232 a.C.) costruì da solo 84.000 Stupa per predicare il Buddismo. L’India divenne meta di pellegrinaggio; persone da altre terre ne erano attratte per le parole del Buddha. Sul cammino che Huen Chang intraprese per raggiungere l’India dalla Cina, i potenti re gli concessero onori e aiuti soltanto perché era buddista; questo solo per mostrare la grande influenza del messaggio di Buddha in tutti i paesi confinanti. Il messaggio di verità attraversò mari e monti fino a raggiungere Sri Lanka, Cina, Giappone, Tibet, Mongolia, Birmania/Myanmar, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Persia ed Egitto.



“La serenità e la gentilezza del suo volto, la bellezza e la dignità della sua vita, la genuinità e l'entusiasmo del suo amore, la saggezza e l'eloquenza del suo messaggio conquistarono il cuore di uomini e donne in egual misura”.

 La gente dipinse suoi affreschi nelle grotte oscure di inaccessibili montagne, costruì Stupa trasportando enormi blocchi di pietra sulle ripide cime innevate, incise centinaia di immagini nei pressi dello Stupa. Tutti questi erano esemplari perfetti di arte scultorea, cesellati con amorevole cura e infinito dolore per rendergli il proprio omaggio. Non basta salutare solo una volta al giorno lui, il salvatore di tutti i tempi dell’intera umanità. Il richiamo irresistibile, il richiamo di vittoria della verità da parte dell'Uomo Supremo, che ha sacrificato la sua vita per alleviare le difficoltà nel progresso dell'umanità, e che aveva lacerato il velo di oscurità, fu quindi annunciato nelle piane desertiche, sulle cime delle montagne più scoscese, nelle grotte solitarie, negli Stupa.

 “Il Buddismo ebbe un tale successo perché era una religione d'amore, che dava voce a tutte le forze inarticolate e che lavorava contro l'ordine consolidato e la religione cerimoniale, rivolgendosi ai poveri, agli umili e ai diseredati”.

 “Il Buddismo è essenzialmente psicologia, logica ed etica, e non metafisica”.


Il sacrificio non è solo ripudiare o dare via a fini di carità; per raggiungere il grande, è necessario sacrificare il piccolo. In India, durante la diffusione del Buddismo e nell'era successiva, i progressi nell'arte, nella scienza e nel commercio e il potere imperialista toccarono livelli mai raggiunti in precedenza. Questo perché, quando la religione di un uomo diventa viva, il progresso non è vincolato dalle speculazioni che riguardano l'escatologia. La religione, rinvigorita, si innesca nei grandi sforzi di qualsiasi tipo.

 Non si può parlare casualmente di compassione universale per tutte le creature. Nel mondo umano, normalmente si incontrano esempi più piccoli di tale compassione. Nel mondo animale, il sacrificio per il bene del cucciolo non è raro. Nei gruppi di esseri umani si ritrova la stessa forma di sacrificio che si ritrova nelle api, per esempio. Un’amorevole e ineguagliabile gentilezza scorre attraverso l'amore, la compassione e tanti piccoli avvenimenti, come quello pubblicato da un giornale su una cagna che allattava un capretto.



I racconti degli Jataka cercavano di illustrare la virtù della compassione universale.

Il sentimento di amistà è presente anche in alcune parti del mondo animale. Quando il sentimento di compassione è sconfinato, solo allora diventa sacrificio del sé; in questa fase, i piccoli sacrifici di desideri materiali raggiungono il loro compimento. I nostri sforzi, l’amore, la cura per il nostro gruppo biologico vengono trascesi solo a questo punto. Nell’abbondanza della compassione universale, troviamo l'imparzialità tra il meritevole e l'immeritevole, la spontaneità e l'impegno volontario all’abbandono, elementi che rendono una persona idonea al Nirvana.

 La compassione è la Natura del Buddha. Dove vi è compassione, là è la Natura del Buddha.

 Buddha disse che cercare la verità unica, valida per tutte le epoche, i paesi e le persone, a prescindere dalla casta e dal credo o dalla povertà e dall’opulenza, è compito di tutti: “L’infinito amore scorre nel mondo: invitatelo nel vostro cuore, coltivate un incommensurabile amore e la benevolenza verso tutte le creature, senza ostacoli, odio né faide”.

 Buddha consiglia a noi, i laici, di non rinunciare al mondo, ma di condurre una vita come virtuosi padroni di casa, promuovendo il benessere della comunità.

 Il Buddha consigliò ai suoi discepoli di piantare di propria mano un albero ogni cinque anni e di curarlo per farlo crescere rigogliosamente. Che splendido esercizio di gentilezza! Se oggi il suo consiglio fosse seguito in tutto il mondo, avremmo evitato la deforestazione e, attraverso questo processo, avremmo anche raggiunto la prosperità economica; inoltre, sarebbe più facile rispettare l’ecologia.




La sua vera grandezza emerge più chiara e luminosa con il passare del tempo e anche i più scettici si rivolgono a lui con un apprezzamento più reale, una più profonda riverenza e una vera adorazione.

“È uno dei pochi eroi dell'umanità ad aver fatto epoca nella storia della nostra razza, con un messaggio per gli altri tempi così come per i suoi”.

Per il Buddha, il Dharma o la rettitudine è il principio guida dell'universo”. “Quando purifichiamo il nostro cuore con un esercizio etico, quando concentriamo la totale energia della nostra coscienza sulla parte più profonda di noi, risvegliamo le possibilità divine insite in noi e improvvisamente viviamo una nuova esperienza con la chiarezza dell’introspezione e la libertà della gioia”.

 “Nirvana significa annichilimento della passione, dell'odio e delle errate convinzioni. È il declino di tutti i mali, la diminuzione del vizio e delle debolezze dell'uomo, che sono aspetti negativi della sua avanzata positiva in divenire. Nel suo aspetto negativo, significa eliminazione dell'avidità, della malevolenza e della ottusità. Nel suo aspetto positivo, significa illuminazione mentale concepita come luce, introspezione e stato di felicità, freddezza, calma e contentezza, pace, sicurezza e padronanza di sé. Se considerato obiettivamente, significa verità, il bene più alto, opportunità suprema, vita regolata, comunione con il meglio”.


Oggi, in un mondo di egoismo, avidità e gelosia, preghiamo affinché il grande e

compassionevole Buddha ci conceda un piccolo assaggio di amorevole gentilezza, affinché

tutti noi diventiamo più forti nello spirito e la nostra forza risieda nella misericordia e nella



BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI –  (In Buddha cerco il mio rifugio)






















WHILE both philosophies seek THE TRUTH:

The Western thinkers try to reach The Truth by using only the intellect or intelligence.

Whereas in India, The Truth is sought with one's whole being.

Western philosophers are satisfied by intellectually understanding The Truth.

In India, The Truth has to be perceived, realized through one's whole being and life.

So the West establishes a difference between practice (equivalent to religion) and understanding (philosophy).

In Indian philosophy, there is no such difference; and philosophy and religion are the same. The Truth is pursued through both practice and understanding; The Truth has to be realized.

In the West, a philosopher may be considered very much advanced intellectually irrespective of his personal life.

That would not be possible in India where one seeks The Truth through both intelligence and a pure life.









The answer is at the bottom of this article.


We, Indians including foreigners, are acquainted with the word HINDU, which is used as a religious faith in India. But what is Gangu? This word does not really exist in the sense that the word Hindu does. I have coined it. But both these words come from the names of two rivers, INDUS and GANGA (The Ganges). They have nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

The river Indus from where the word HINDU was derived is now in Pakistan territory. None other than the archaeologists talk about it. The people living today by the sides of the River Indus are not called Hindus.

The more important river in India is now the Ganga (the Ganges), probably more spiritually relevant in India today. Should we not be instead called GANGU?

I always wanted to know ‘HOW’ and most importantly ‘WHY’ the word HINDU was given such a prominence over the sacred words like Dharma, Vedas, Upanisads, Vedanta, etc. when our Philosophy of the Vedas, the Upanisads and the six systems of the different schools of thought (the Vaisheshika, the Nyaya, the Samkhya, the Yoga, the Mimamsa, and the Vedanta) never mentioned the word Hindu. I also found Buddhism and Jainism did not use this word.

It seems to me that no one including all the academics in India and even the Indologists abroad is interested to know why our religion is called HINDU.  The word has just been accepted without any question.

Our religion is in fact called Dharma. The word Hindu was added later. There is no English equivalent of Dharma. Dharma differs from all other institutional religions. Probably DUTY could be the most appropriate English word. Dharma as a concept is very wide and comprehensive. Literally it means, “What holds together”. The great Indian Epic Mahabharata (600 BC) says: “Never create for others a situation which when created for yourself, is considered unfavourable by you.” This is in brief the essence of Dharma. The term Dharma is derived from the Sanskrit root “dhri” signifying that it “upholds” and “sustains” humanity in all its coherence. The main theme of Dharma lies in the integration of man, nature and the universe.

The so-called Hindu dharma is nowadays nothing but full of confusions, superstitions and dogmas. To the outsiders, the Hindu religion is mainly about caste and the holy cow! In my opinion the absence of an explanation as to why the word Hindu was adopted has resulted over the years all the social ills, especially our caste system, a system degenerated from the original Varna system (division of labour). We have forgotten the values of our spiritual philosophy, the motto of The Isa Upanisads, “All in one, One in all”, in spite of vigorous teachings of the great sons of India at various times of our history, that hardly were translated into our daily life.

I did some research about the Etymological history of the word Hindu as follows:
1. Origin of the word is from the name of the river SINDHUS (Indus in English) - mention of the land Sindhus is found in Brihad-Aranyaka Upanisad (about 800 BC), First Brahmana, 13 : SINDHAVA.
2. Persians called the river Hindhus, probably thousands of years ago. King Darius used the term Hindu in 517 BC?
3. Greeks pronounced the word as INDUS - 326 BC or earlier?
4. Arabs called India AL-HIND
5. Muslim invaders called the land HINDUSTAN - 1100 AD or earlier.
6. British used the term HINDUS for all Non-Muslim, Non-Christian people in India.


It is worthwhile to mention that the official name of our country is Bharat or India in English. The name “Hindustan” very carelessly used in India today, was given by the Muslim invaders in line with the other Muslim nations, the so-called seven STANs (viz. Afganistan, etc.).


The other day when I was asked what my religion was, my reply was I belong to four religions born in the land of Mother India (Upanisads/Vedanta, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism).


Our Constitution says:




Right to Freedom of Religion

25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion-

Explanation II.- In sub-clause (b) of clause (2), the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.



So I find a fallacy when the people, who are not Buddhists, Jainas or the Sikhs say their religion is exclusively called Hindu!

I understand that in a 1966 ruling, the Supreme Court of India defined the Hindu faith as follows for legal purposes (unlike anywhere in the world):

  • Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence as the highest authority in religious and philosophic matters and acceptance with reverence of Vedas by Hindu thinkers and philosophers as the sole foundation of Hindu philosophy

  • Spirit of tolerance and willingness to understand and appreciate the opponent's point of view based on the realization that truth is many-sided

  • Acceptance of great world rhythm — vast periods of creation, maintenance and dissolution follow each other in endless succession — by all six systems of Hindu philosophy.

  • Acceptance by all systems of Hindu philosophy of the belief in rebirth and pre-existence.

  • Recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are many.

  • Realization of the truth that the numbers of Gods to be worshiped may be large, yet there are Hindus who do not believe in the worshiping of idols. Unlike other religions, or religious creeds, Hindu religion's not being tied down to any definite set of philosophic concepts, as such. 

A very interesting question arises. When someone says he/she is a Hindu, what does he/she really mean? Can they say which one of the six schools of thought (the Vaisheshika, the Nyaya, the Samkhya, the Yoga, the Mimamsa, and the Vedanta) they follow?

Our spiritual philosophy gives us the freedom of following our own mind and method to understand the Ultimate Reality, but in the absence of clarity, this only has resulted in creating lots of dogmas. We do not have any particular institution (like those of the Buddhist, Jewish, the Christian, the Islamic) to guide us.

We see a lot of naked Sadhus claiming to be the Authority on the Vedas, marching in Delhi whenever some aspects of the Vedas are alleged to be violated.

Though the word Hindu is now accepted in India and abroad, the following questions still haunt me:

1.What really happened, sociologically, philosophically, psychologically, historically that a geographical term replaced the most important words like Dharma, Vedas, Upanisads, Vedanta, etc., while the names Buddhism and Jainism survived?
2. How did SANATANA DHARMA lose its name to HINDU?
3. Is it possible that this very perplexed word HINDU has contributed to the social ills in our society?

4. Have we made a hotchpotch of our philosophy & religion and in the process made it more obscured? Have our Philosophy & Religion become a subject of Sociology?





When the Persians conquered the Indus Valley around 515 BCE, the Sanskrit name Sindhu denoting the 'Indus river' & 'the province of Sindh' became in Persian language Hindu, and the word stayed in the Persian language until the Mughal conquest in the 16th century, when the Mughals spoke of India as Hindustan and the Indians as Hindus. The British adopted the word Hindu or Hindoo in the 17th century, and started speaking of 'Hindoo religion' and eventually 'Hinduism' of the native religions of India, excluding Islam and Christianity, and in this sense also the Indian nationalist adopted the term to distinguish themselves from the Muslims.



Prof. Emeritus of Indology, Asko Parpola

Postal address: 
Institute for Asian and African Studies 
PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38 B) 
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki 

Home address: Peukaloisentie 4 D 41, FIN-00820 Helsinki 82, Finland

Tel.  +358 9 784746 (home) 
Fax +358 9 191 22094 
E-mail: Asko.Parpola@Helsinki.Fi