Lord Shiva was good with the trident (similar to the Chinese "tiger fork"), Lord Vishnu was skilled with a projectile weapon called the chakra (similar to the Japanese shuriken) and Bhima was proficient with the mace.

coded scientific methods of offense and defense. In the past, practitioners were taught medical applications for healing, as well as meditation, using herbs and plants to treat disease, and so on. All this was part of the complete syllabus of the Indian martial arts. Any person well-versed in world history will be familiar with the ancient Indian system of medicine known as ayurveda.

Tennyson has no right to make blanket statements about the Indian political system or claimed distortions in Indian textbooks. Indian history books never mention that tea originated in India. We're taught that tea originated in China and coffee came from the Middle East. Nowhere in our books is it mentioned that the East India Company was of Indian origin. Such statements make it evident that Tennyson is poor at history.

India's contributions to the world are many. NASA scientists recently discovered, using satellite imaging, the oldest bridge—Adam's Bridge, as they call it—which linked the coast of Sri Lanka with India. It was mentioned in ancient Hindu books as the bridge built by Lord Rama with the help of Shri Hanuman, and most Indians knew of it even before NASA announced it. Last year while I was in United States, I saw a newspaper that had a story about the U.S. Navy's new catamaran-style craft; it was inspired by an ancient Indian driftwood boat called a kattumaram.

Marma chikitsa (acupressure) and suchi chikitsa (needle therapy) have been practiced in India for a long time, but the Chinese receive credit for having invented acupuncture.

Coming back to Hindus—the term denoted the people who lived on either side of the Indus River and who followed certain rituals and customs. Most of them believed in many deities or incarnations of gods. With respect to the martial arts, each deity had a distinct style. For example, Lord Shiva was good with the trident (similar to the Chinese "tiger fork"), Lord Vishnu was skilled with a projectile weapon called the chakra (similar to the Japanese shuriken), Bhima was proficient with the mace, and Arjuna was deadly with the bow and arrow.

Historically, India's boundaries extended far and wide, in many cases into Chinese territory. The Silk Road was established long before Bodhidharma

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The Indian martial arts are ritualistic, and in the salute ceremony, respects are paid to past teachers and ancestors. Japanese martial artists follow similar customs based on Shintoism.

traveled to China. Hinayana Buddhism predated Zen Buddhism by centuries but proved difficult for people to follow.

Tennyson claimed that the Chinese were superior to the Indians in the martial arts. If that was the case, why did Chinese travelers—including Fa-hsien and Hsuan-tsang—who traveled to India in search of Buddhist teachings, speak so highly of Indian warriors and their martial arts prowess? Many history books mention that the lion dance of China was inspired by India, as lions are not indigenous to China. However, ancient Hindu books mention the lion god Narasimha, and even today Asiatic lions can be found in India's forests. A National Geographic documentary about the deadliest martial arts of the world revealed how an Indian dance called theyyam reached China and subsequently gave rise to Chinese opera. Furthermore, the frescos on the walls of Shaolin Temple depict several Indian martial artists.

With respect to the spread of the martial arts to Japan, let's start with the creation myth of Okinawa. Legends tell how a Japanese warlord threw a sword into the sea and the island sprang up. In India, there's the legend of Lord Parashurama, who threw an ax into the sea, causing the land of Kerala to rise. The Indian martial arts are ritualistic, and in the salute ceremony, respects are paid to past teachers and ancestors. Japanese martial artists follow similar customs based on Shintoism.

Shoto Tanemura, in his book about ninpo and ninjutsu, mentions the Indian contributions to the martial arts. Masaaki Hatsumi, in Essence of Ninjutsu, notes the contributions Indians have made to the Japanese arts. In fact, one Japanese school of jujutsu is believed to have originated in India. In his books about ninjutsu, Stephen K. Hayes talks about vajra, mudra meditation and Tantric rituals.

Pranic healing existed in India long before Taoism spread across Asia. Tennyson claimed no records have been found regarding the origin of Bodhidharma, but that's incorrect. There have been recent discoveries in Bihar, Kanchipuram and Nepal that cast light on the Indians who spread Buddhism to China.

Continued on page 138

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