[INDOLOGY] bhagwa dvaj

patrick mccartney psdmccartney at gmail.com
Mon Aug 7 08:13:19 UTC 2017

Dear Nagaraj,

It's a good question. Please let me try and explain.

I'm an anthropologist, primarily, who is interested in the politics of
imagination and the commodification of desire. I am using a dialogic
utopian method to explore what the world *could be* for various groups.
With that in mind, my remit is to suspend judgement and disbelief, and *try*
to privilege the emic perspective.

I focus on the global wellness industry, of which yoga and ayurveda are a
part. More specifically, I analyse the marketing rhetoric of the global
yoga industry. I do this to understand many things, however, one thing in
particular that I am increasingly interested in is the tacit links, via the
Sanskrit episteme, between the ethno-nationalism of the Indian state and
the desires of global yoga practitioners, which are overwhelmingly to apply
yoga, as a technology, to help re-enchant disenchanted worlds. It is
through the cultural capital of yoga and prestige of Sanskrit that hindutva
ideology is normalised and legitimised.

There are many ways in which global yoga practitioners come to unwittingly
support the banal nationalism of hindutva. Two principal ways are through
the soft hindutva of various yoga gurus,
and the fantasies of people like David Frawley, Stephen Knapp and PN Oak.
This hindutva-inspired world view permeates to deep layers of global yoga.
Furthermore, the logic of the guru-disciple relationship relies on the
cultivation of affect. People are taught how to feel, and not to think
critically. This further creates opportunities for hindutva logic to be
infused into the guru's rhetoric, normalised, and consumed by the global
yoga practitioner.

Of course, all nations are metaphysical entities, and exist within social
imaginary landscapes. Are you suggesting that we should ignore the
fantasies of hindutvavādins as mere pie in the sky machinations, and not
take them seriously? Or should we, instead, see them as earnest
post-colonial, counter-hegemonic assertions against the privilege of
Eurocentric perspectives?  While it seems unlikely that as Praveen Togadia
and others assert, that the world will become Hindu/Vedic by 2030-ish, and
that Sanskrit will replace English, these post-colonial assertions mean
something to the people saying them, especially when they are found not
only in the echo chambers of Hindu supremacists, but also within the global
imagination of yoga practitioners.

Therefore, how do these seemingly disparate worlds intersect? This is
particularly pertinent given that a seeming majority of global yoga
practitioners consider the legitimate yogic disposition to be apolitical,
which is another way in which the theo-politics of hindutva gains
popularity, simply because people do not want to think about yoga AND
politics, or that yoga might be involved in larger political operations.

My fieldwork amongst global yoga practitioners leads me to assert that
there are many who eagerly await a Vedic-inspired utopian ramrajya, but do
not, however, really understand the implications, as what we are more or
less discussing is the aspiration to create a global Vedic caliphate, which
is what Ramdev asserts is the only answer to stopping ISIS. These aren't
fringe fantasies, as the key note speakers who attended this conference
<http://www.vedicindiafoundation.org/speakers.html> attest.

Therefore, in a nutshell, this is why I give credence to such fantasies.



On Aug 7, 2017 3:25 PM, "Nagaraj Paturi" <nagarajpaturi at gmail.com> wrote:

> Patrick,
> Why do you give credence to all such fantasies and spend serious research
> time to work on them?
> All beliefs that someone, some religion, some nation, some ideology can
> rule the whole world are fantasies.
> ""The Bhagwa flag has existed and guided the Vedic society right from its
> origin. It has inspired and has been honored by the Vedic Saints and
> heroes. In ancient times, the warriors used to put on saffron robes and go
> to the battlefield. If they are victorious, they will rule and if
> vanquished, they might die on the battlefield and thus go to heaven--such
> was the motivating force for the heroes.""
> is a fantasy about the past.
> On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 9:38 AM, patrick mccartney via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Dear Friends,
>> I'm conducting a geneological study of the *bhagwa dvaj *flag, and would
>> appreciate any assistance in this matter.
>> I'm reading about the significance of the flag. As I'm sure many of you
>> are aware, it is the flag of choice for the RSS. They consider it their
>> 'guru', and have only recently hoisted the tricolour flag at their Nagpur
>> headquarters, after several decades of saying they never would. However, it
>> also happens to sit upon just about every Hindu temple I've ever seen. I'm
>> curious, then, if this could mean that every temple/ashram supports the
>> RSS, or that the RSS has simply co-opted the flag, and interpolated their
>> own political imagination onto the symbology inherent in the flag.
>> Either way, it is conveniently confusing, as it happens to also represent
>> sanātana dharma, which is equated with Hinduism. But, then, I would argue
>> that sanātana dharmic ideology rests at the core of the hindutva project.
>> Therefore, I'm quite confused about the semiotic entanglement of this one
>> sign, and its multiple semantic valencies.
>> I ask these questions because I figure that, if I have trouble
>> disambiguating these things, what is the chance of success for the recently
>> minted 200-hr yoga teacher graduate, or casual yoga practitioner?
>> I'm writing
>> <http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/yoga-practitioners-and-the-unspoken-global-aspirations-of-indian-ethno-nationalism-patrick-mccartney/> these
>> days about the entanglement of global yoga practitioners and their
>> potentially unwitting, tacit support of hindutva ideology. As an example,
>> Stephen Knapp, a prominent ISKCON-wallah, and head of the VFA (vedic
>> friends association), whom some of you might be familiar with,
>> controversially suggests the following:
>> <http://www.stephen-knapp.com/basic_points_about_vedic_culture_hinduism.htm>
>> "The Bhagwa flag has existed and guided the Vedic society right from its
>> origin. It has inspired and has been honored by the Vedic Saints and
>> heroes. In ancient times, the warriors used to put on saffron robes and go
>> to the battlefield. If they are victorious, they will rule and if
>> vanquished, they might die on the battlefield and thus go to heaven--such
>> was the motivating force for the heroes."
>> I find this appeal to a (martial) tradition somewhat perplexing. Aside
>> from what a lot of Knapp says, this is possibly less controversial;
>> however, for the uncritical mind, who is expected to unquestionably accept
>> the truth claims of certain gurus, this type of triction (truth+fiction),
>> is a prime example of how global yoga practitioners potentially come to
>> unknowingly support a hindutva world view, which, as Ramdev explains,
>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG7k42cg2W8> seeks to create a hindutva
>> alternative to an ISIS caliphate. This, by the way, is his solution. By
>> creating a global, Vedic theocratic state we can apparently stop a global
>> Salafist caliphate from succeeding...
>> Knapp has not responded to my question regarding the textual, historical
>> or archaeological source of his claims. I'm wondering, then, if anyone is
>> able to point me towards the earliest mention, perhaps, of the bhagwa dvaj,
>> anywhere, in a primary, or secondary, text.
>> Thank you.
>> All the best,
>> Patrick McCartney, PhD
>> Fellow
>> School of Culture, History & Language
>> College of the Asia-Pacific
>> The Australian National University
>> Canberra, Australia, 0200
>> Skype - psdmccartney
>> Phone + Whatsapp:  +61 414 954 748 <0414%20954%20748>
>> Twitter - @psdmccartney
>> *bodhapūrvam calema* ;-)
>> academia <https://anu-au.academia.edu/patrickmccartney>
>>    -
>> Linkedin
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>> Edanz
>> <https://www.edanzediting.com/expert/anthropology/patrick-mccartney>
>> Conversation
>> <https://theconversation.com/profiles/patrick-mccartney-phd-136054>
>> YogaTrade
>> <https://yogatrade.com/resume/dr-dts7idm-anthropologist-phd-shanti-mandir-authenticity-economy-and-emotion-in-a-yoga-ashram-visiting-fellow-australian-national-university/>
>> Modern Yoga Research <http://www.modernyogaresearch.org/events/>
>> #yogabodyANU2016 symposium <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X80KxW2bb0w>
>> <http://chl.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/658/yoga-and-body-past-and-present-symposium?#tab>
>> Yoga Fundamentalism - Part 1
>> <http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/yoga-practitioners-and-the-unspoken-global-aspirations-of-indian-ethno-nationalism-patrick-mccartney/>
>> <http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/is-the-global-prestige-of-sanskrit-aiding-and-abetting-hindu-nationalists-and-supremacists-patrick-mccartney_/>
>> Yoga Fundamentalism - Part 2
>> <http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/is-the-global-prestige-of-sanskrit-aiding-and-abetting-hindu-nationalists-and-supremacists-patrick-mccartney_/>
>> <http://oicd.net/ge/index.php/politics-beyond-yoga-mat-yoga-fundamentalism-vedic-way-life/>
>> Politics beyond the yoga mat
>> <http://oicd.net/ge/index.php/politics-beyond-yoga-mat-yoga-fundamentalism-vedic-way-life/>
>> The Sanitising Power of Spoken Sanskrit
>> <https://www.academia.edu/6274287/The_sanitising_power_of_spoken_Sanskrit>
>> Imagining Sanskrit Land
>> <https://www.academia.edu/32694583/IMAGINING_SANSKRIT_LAND_ARENA_MAGAZINE_ARTICLE>
>> Ep1 - Imagining Sanskrit Land <https://youtu.be/jMi7tkPBbJ4>
>> Ep 2 - Total-am <https://youtu.be/7tAp8m9RHPU>
>> Ep 3 - Jalam ≠ Chillum <https://youtu.be/cLZeuCT_mwQ>
>> Ep 4 - It's Time to get Married
>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B3un7aHEAc>
>> A Day in our Ashram
>> <https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ek+din+hamaare+ashram+mein>
>> OzHarvest <https://youtu.be/r1E-XWWBmvw>
>> Stop animation short film of Shakuntala
>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVqBD_2P4Pg>
>> Forced to Clean Human Waste <http://youtu.be/y3XfjbwqC_g>
>> One of my favourite song
>> <http://trinityroots.bandcamp.com/track/all-we-be>s
>> The Philosophy of Cycling
>> <http://elibrary.com.ng/UploadFiles/file0_2221.pdf>
>> Plato's Cave
>> <http://www.openculture.com/2011/07/orson_welles_narrates_platos_cave_allegory.html>
>> Endangered Languages MOOC
>> <https://www.edx.org/course/language-revival-securing-future-adelaidex-lang101x>
>> Blackfella-Whitefella <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_DHwp5vYBI>
>> Triction <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=triction>
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> --
> Nagaraj Paturi
> Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.
> BoS, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune, Maharashtra
> BoS, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Veliyanad, Kerala
> Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies
> FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,
> (Pune, Maharashtra, INDIA )

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