23. Bible Establishes Slavery, Vedas Preach Equality And Liberty



(i) Slaves are permanent possession to be inherited by future children

The Holy Bible not only justifies but also establishes slavery. The Biblical God admonishes and authorises his followers to buy both bondmen and bondmaids from among the heathens who stay around them. Biblical God goes one step further and incites his followers to treat the bondmen and bondmaids as a permanent possession and property to be inherited by future children ! Read the following three passages :

214. ‘44. Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.’

- Leviticus, 25/44

215. ‘45. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession.’

- Leviticus, 25/45

216. ‘46. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever  ’

- Leviticus, 25/46

The afore-mentioned three verses indicate categorically that followers of Bible do not treat non-believers (heathens, pagans) as their equal brothers, but inferior men and women fit to be permanent slaves, who can be purchased and also inherited for future children. Will the Christian members of organisation like Human Rights Commission approve of the above verses of Holy Bible ? If not, why do they not raise voice against the justification and establishment of slavery and bonded labour in Holy Bible ?

Bertrand Russell, the renowned philosopher, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950, states :

_’The Churches, as every one knows, opposed the abolition of slavery as long as they dared, and with a few well-advertised exceptions they oppose at the present day every movement towards economic justice. The Pope has officially condemned Socialism.’_142

- Bertrand Russell

(ii) Biblical judgments regarding slaves

The Holy Bible has set some judgments regarding slaves. According to these judgments, a Hebrew servant can be freed after he has served his master for six years. But during the period of six years, if his master has given him a wife, and she has born him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s property and he shall go out alone by himself. Here are the six verses :

217. ‘1. Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.’

- Exodus, 21/1

218. ‘2. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.’

- Exodus, 21/2

219. ‘3. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself, if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.’

- Exodus, 21/3

220. ‘4. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.’

- Exodus, 21/4

221. ‘5. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;’

- Exodus, 21/5

222. ‘6. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.’

- Exodus, 21/6

(iii) The New Testament also sanctions slavery

The following six verses of the New Testament not only advocate but also establish the system of slavery :

223. ‘1. Let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.’

- Timothy 1, 6/1

The readers should note the use of the words ‘under the yoke’ which are generally used for animals.

224. ‘9. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;’

- Titus, 2/9

225. ‘10. Not purloining (stealing), but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.’

- Titus, 2/10

Note the establishment of slavery in the name of ‘God, the Saviour’!

226. ‘5. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;’

- Ephesians, 6/5

227. ‘6. Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;’

- Ephesians, 6/6

Here slaves are ordainded to serve their masters with fear and trembling, considering themselves as the servants of Christ. Moreover, the above verse confirms slavery as ‘the will of God’.

228. ‘18. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward (perverse, difficult to deal with).’

- Peter 1, 2/18

The above verse of the New Testament ordains the slaves to serve with all fear not only their gentle masters, but also perverse and harsh ones - that too in the name of God, the Saviour ! With all this, will Christian missionaries boast that Christianity believes in equality of men ?

Rev. Alexander Campbell unambiguously advocates the system of slavery and bondage by saying that it is not immoral because it is confirmed by the Bible. He states :

_’There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral.’_143

- Alexander Campbell

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of America, opines :

‘In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.’

- Thomas Jefferson

The French Revolutionists rejected the Bible and abolished slavery in the colonies, while the Church reintroduced the Bible and slavery.144

Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, (1833-1899), the famous orator and statesman of U.S.A., who popularised the criticism of the Bible on the basis of a humanistic philosophy and scientific rationalism, opines candidly :

_’The real oppressor, enslaver and corrupter of the people is the Bible.’_145

- Col. Robert G. Ingersoll

The most devoted Christian King, George III, abhorred abolition of slavery. The most zealous defenders of slavery in America were Bible moralists. Abraham Lincolin’s ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ nullified ‘God’ law’ of Holy Bible.

In spite of the afore-mentioned Biblical texts which not only sanction but also confirm and establish slavery, the Christian missionaries boast that contribution of Christianity towards modern civilization in the West is of paramount importance. Ms Matilda Joslyn Gage, one of the renowned historians of America, falsifies their claim as under

_’The careful student of history will discover that Christianity has been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a great deal toward retarding it.’_146

- Matilda Joslyn Gage

Ms Matilda Joslyn Gage quotes Wendell Phillips in support of her statement. Wendell Phillips opines :

_’The liberty and civilization of the present are nothing else than the fragments of rights which the scaffold and stake have wrung from the strong hands of the usurpers.’_147

- Wendell Phillips


(i) All men are equal

The philosophy of Holy Vedas revolves round fraternity and equality. None is superior to another. None is master, none is slave. All men have equal rights on the earth. Nature treats all alike, whether he is brown or black, high or low, prince or pauper. Lord has prescribed the same mode of birth and death for all men of the earth. All souls are equally alike

samaanaa =dyaaina va: |
a Pgvaod 10o191o4

Let our hearts be
In equality and unity.
- Rig Veda 10/191/4

(ii) Live and let live

Vedic religion (Hindu religion) is based on the golden principle of ‘live and let live’. Exploitation in any form is strictly prohibited in Vedic religion. Supreme Being dwells in the hearts of all men. Then why to enslave a fellow-being, who has the same equal right to live with dignity and liberty ? Holy Vedas admonish us to live and let others live :

jaIvaa sqa jaIvyaasaM
a Aqava-vaod 19o69o1

You may live
And let me also live.
- Atharva Veda 19/69/1

Prof. Max Muller admires and appreciates Vedas in the following words :

‘Vedas will continue to be admired and appreciated as long as the oceans and the mountains exist on the earth.’

- Prof Max Muller

(iii) Slavery is pain, liberty is pleasure

No other suffering on the earth is so painful as slavery. All troubles and tribulations, tortures and turmoils appear insignificant in comparison to agonies of bondage. No other joy in the world is so great as liberty. It is the root of real delight and source of genuine joy. He who is deprived of liberty is the most wretched man on the earth. Freedom is a blessing, where as slavery is a curse. Freedom is life, where as slavery is death. Freedom is rapture, where as slavery is torture.

Shri Manu, the first law-giver of the world, says

sava-M parvaSaM du:KaM sava-maatmavaSaM sauKama\ |
etad\ ivaVata\ samaasaona laXaNaM sauKadu:Kayaao: ||
a manau

Slavery is pain,
Freedom is pleasure,
In short, this is the definition
Of pain and pleasure.
- Manu

(iv) Crush the man who enslaves us

Holy Vedas precept and preach universal brotherhood. All human beings on the earth are brothers having one and the same father, God Almighty who treats all alike. Hence all are entitled to equal rights and privileges. But if some persons, on account of their selfish motive and malicious mentality, try to encroach upon the liberty of others, they are not to be treated as brothers. They are to be dealt with as encroachers, assaulters and enemies. Vedas authorise us to crush the man who tries to subjugate us, because protection of liberty then becomes unavoidable necessity.

yaao naao Agnao#iBadasatyainta dUro padIYT sa: |
AsmaakximadUQao Bava ||
a Pgvaod 1o79o11

O effulgent Lord,
May the person who enslaves us
Be crushed under feet
Whether he is near or far;
Mayest Thou be with us
For our progress and prosperity.
- Rig Veda 1/79/11

Holy Vedas admonish us that he, who snatches the basic right of liberty and wishes to make us servile, should not be allowed at all to exercise his power, whether he is alien or our own kith and kin:

yaao na [nd`aiBadasaita sanaaiBaya-Eca inaYTya: |
Ava tasya balaM itar mahIva VOrQa tmanaa
naBantaamanyakoxYaaM jyaakxa AiQa Qanvasau ||
a Pgvaod 10o133o5

O resplendent Lord,
Destroy the power of the man
Who wants to enslave us
Whether he is alien or akin,
No matter, if his strength
Is as vast as the sky;
Break the ropes
Fastened unto his bows.
- Rig Veda 10/133/5


‘The root cause of our downfall is our mental weakness. The first and foremost task we have to perform is to annihilate this mental weakness.’

- Dr. K.B. Hedgewar

‘A wrong interpretation of ‘non-violence’ has deprived the national mind of the power of discrimination. We have begun to look upon strength as ‘violence’ and to glorify our weakness   The world is not prepared to listen to the philosophy, however sublime, of the weak.’

- Guruji M.S. Golwalkar

‘I would prefer Hitler to the Democracy that was cowardly and yielding to every aggressor.’

- Veer Savarkar

‘I shall see that my one soldier will defeat one lac enemies, then alone I shall get myself called Gobind Singh.’

- Guru Gobind Singh


Footnotes: 142 Bertrand Russell : ‘Why I am not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion’, seventh edition, London, 1996, p. 28

143 Charles Smith : ‘Bible In The Balance’, first published in Europe, reprinted by Hindu Writers’ Forum, New Delhi, p. 11

144 Ibid.

145 (i) Col. Robert G. Ingersoll : ‘Ingersoll’s Lectures and Essays’, published by Watts and Co., London

(ii) Charles Smith : ‘Bible in the Balance’, first published in Europe, reprinted by Hindu Writers’ Forum, New Delhi, cover page no. 2

146 Matilda Joslyn Gage : ‘Woman, Church and State’, New York, 1893, reprinted by Voice of India, New Delhi, 1997, p. 539

147 Ibid.