1927 | 11,233,916 words
Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....
[We shall be glad to review books in all Indian languages and in English, French and German. Books for Review should reach the office at least SIX WEEKS in advance of the day of publication of the Journal.]
Pre-Mussalman India. Vol. I. –By Prof. V. Rangacharya. M. A. (Price Rs. 5/- Printed at The Huxley Press, Madras, and published by the Author)
The present book is the first of a series of nine volumes in which the author proposes to describe the history of India from the earliest times to the Mohammedan conquest. Although much material has been accumulated during recent years by the investigations of epigraphists and scholars, no attempt has been made so far to incorporate it in a comprehensive treatise on history. Prof. Rangacharya deserves to be congratulated for attempting to provide the public with a work of this kind for performing which he is most eminently fitted.
The present volume, in which is described the history of India from the time almost of creation down to the advent of the Aryans, exhibits the author's great erudition and capacity for skillfully marshalling the facts, and lucidly expounding the views of other writers. Unlike other historians, who usually commence their works with the description of the cave men, the learned Professor begins his history with the creation not only of man but the earth which he inhabits. Although it is true, in a sense, that events connected with all spheres of human activity come within the scope of history, it is to be doubted whether they should be included in historical treatises properly so called. The present work is a compendium of various theological and anthropological theories, and one feels a genuine doubt regarding the propriety of devoting one whole volume for their consideration. However, it must be admitted that the author has done his work with great skill and ability. He devotes much space for determining the racial elements which make up the present population of India. The scholars, whose views he cites in this connection, fall into three classes. Some hold that the present Indian population consists mainly of two racial elements, Dravidian and Aryan. Others believe that it is made up of three or four elements, Kolarian, Dravidian, Mongolian and Aryan. According to some others, the people of India are homogeneous, and the distinction between the Aryan and the Dravidian is cultural and religious, and not racial. They also believe that the people of India are autochthonous, and that theories of Aryan and Dravidian migrations are false. Prof. Rangacharya is not an adherent of any one of these schools. After a careful and searching examination of the various theories, he arrives at the conclusion that in the present Indian population, two dominant racial types are seen, viz., the Kolarian and the Aryan. The majority of the population of the country, including the so-called Dravidians, belongs to the Indo-Germanic race. He points out that the term ‘Dravidian’ denoting a distinct race is of recent origin, and it has been coined by the Western savants for certain purposes; and therefore, it should not be allowed to mislead us in discussions regarding the origin of our race. Although the origin of the Aryans and the Dravidians should be ultimately traced to the Indo-Germanic people, it must be understood that they belong to distinct branches, the Nordic and the Mediterranean respectively. The Dravidians migrated to India from the shores of the Mediterranean earlier than the Aryans, and settled down in the Punjab. Later, the Aryans also migrated thither; and it is the conflict of these two peoples that is described in the Rig Veda. The views of the author on this subject are probably nearer the truth than many others, but one would like to get more evidence in support of them. Regarding the antiquity of the Indo-Aryans, Prof. Rangacharya treads a middle path. After carefully examining the position of the writers of both the extremes, he is inclined to accept the theories of Dr. Winternitz and Mr. Haraprasada Sastri.
The volume under review attempts to satisfy a real want, and Prof. Rangacharya deserves the thanks of all students of Indian history for making the attempt. We hope that the other volumes, which are soon to follow the present, will come up to the expectations raised by it.
The printing of the work appears to be careless. An enterprising firm of printers like the Huxleys ought to have bestowed greater care on the printing of a work of this description.
Buddhist Sculptures from a Stupa near Goli Village, Guntur District. –By Mr. T. N. Ramachandran, M. A., Archeological Assistant, Madras Government Museum.
(Price Rs. 2 as.12. Printed at the Government Press, Madras, and published as a bulletin of the Madras Government Museum)
What that veteran scholar, Robert Sewell, prophesied as early as 1882 in his "Lists of Antiquarian Remains of the Madras Presidency, Vol. II," regarding the two sculptured slabs of white marble, similar to those at Amaravati, in a mound in a field near Mallavaram, Palnad Taluq, Guntur District, has proved to be very true today. While considering that the discovery might be one of great importance, he wanted that the place should be carefully watched and examined. Nearly half-a-century has elapsed since that discovery.
In 1926 Dr. G. Jouveau Dubreuil, who has contributed not a little to the Ancient History of South India and South Indian culture, and by whose profound interest in archeology the excavations at the above-said place were done, unearthed some portions of the Stupa–some sculptural slabs and friezes–from that mound. With his aid they were acquired and removed to the Madras Government Museum.
A long frieze in seven panels, illustrating mostly from the Buddha's life, from the southern side of the Stupa, two small slabs, one showing a small stupa and the other the footprints of the Buddha, and lastly a slab containing a very big representation of a seven-hooded naga are still on the site. They could not be removed to the Government Museum, as the villagers "had taken to worship Nagamayya" and the other three "were fixed on the walls of the room constructed round the naga."
The site, which yielded these important art-treasures is, according to Sewell, near Mallavaram, i.e., three miles to the east of that village and only a mile and a half south-east of Goli, another village near by; so much so these are styled as "Buddhist Sculptures from a Stupa near the village of Goli."
Three friezes, one from the west of the stupa, one from the east of the stupa and the other from the north of the stupa and six slabs–all from that place, are now preserved in the Government Museum. The sculptures on these friezes and slabs are ably described in detail in this bulletin under review by Mr. T. N. Ramachandran, M.A., Archeological Assistant, Madras Museum.
As in Amaravati and Sanchi, here in Goli also, most of the sculptures are illustrations of scenes from the Buddha's life and Jataka stories or stories of the Buddha's previous births. The temptation of the Buddha, Sujata feeding the Bodhisattva, the Sermon in the Deer Park, the Buddha's visit to Yasodhara, subjugation of the elephant Nalagiri–these are the representations from the Buddha's life that we find in Goli. We have here sculptural representations of four jatakas–the Chaddanta (Sans. Shad-danta), Vessantara (Sans. Vaisyantara), Matri-posaka (Sans. Matri-poshaka) and Sasa (Sans. Sasa) jatakas. Of all these, Vessantara jataka is the most profusely illustrated. It has eight scenes. Chaddanta is sculptured in two scenes; and Matri-posaka and Sasa jatakas in one scene each. In differentiating one theme from the other, human pairs making love and Yakshis are represented. Illustrations of Chaddanta, Vessantara and the subjugation of Nalagiri, are in a very good state of preservation; but the tempatation of Mara, and Sujata feeding the Bodhisattva, are in a damaged condition. The author's accurate identification of all the sculptures and the detailed descriptions of the various scenes indicate his keen powers of observation and study. His identification of Matri-posaka jataka, and his explanations of the presence of several women besides Sujata in "Sujata feeding the Bodhisattva" and the presence of a bird on the tree in the Vessantara jataka exhibit the instinct of a keen archeologist.
In these sculptural representations we see the village bullock-cart, ‘Kavadi,’ the water vessel, the umbrella and the fan of olden days. With the exception of the last two, all the rest are not a whit different from the same objects in vogue, at the present day in the Andhra country. Though not in the Andhra country, we can even today see such umbrellas as we find in these sculptures in the Tamil country. The study of the ornaments, head-dresses, the various modes of hair-dressing and wearing garments, will not only prove to be of immense value to the Andhra Buddhist sculptural art but give us also the clue to know the state and tastes of the society in the Andhra country, in the age of the sculptors of these scenes.
It is a matter for regret that we are not in a position to know exactly the date of these sculptures, as there are no inscriptions on the friezes and slabs, except one of six letters, which is by itself useless for this purpose. However, the author by making a comparative study of the styles of the sculptures and the treatment of the subjects therein, both at Goli and Amaravati, quite ingeniously determines the date of these sculptures to be third century A.D. In this connection, he cleverly presses the six-lettered inscription into his service and comparing the forms of these letters with those of the Jaggayyapeta inscriptions of the Ikshvaku dynasty, arrives at the same conclusion as before.
We have great pleasure in recommending this book to all lovers of Buddhist sculptural art and especially to the Andhras, who are fortunate enough to recover their ancient art-treasures. It is their sacred duty to take the greatest possible care to preserve such valuable monuments of ancient Andhra art, wherever and whenever discovered. We hope that these sculptures will inspire in the Andhras a genuine interest and enthusiasm in the study of the ancient Buddhist art of the Andhra country, which brought them undying name and fame.
M. SOMASEKHARA SARMA
Bhagavadgita. –A fresh study: By D. D. VADEKAR. M.A. (Poona Oriental Book Depot.)
The author of this little book is well-versed in the works of Western philosophers, and has attempted to interpret the Gita in terms of Western philosophy. He does not lay claim to strict originality, but only to freshness of treatment, and welcomes criticism "in all earnestness and humility, as the only human pathway to truth."
It is patent that the author has taken great pains in the composition of this work; he has studied all the principal earlier works on the Gita, as a norm to guide himself by, and he has established innumerable interesting parallels between Western thought and the Gita. For this reason, the book has a certain usefulness. However, on the other hand, we cannot help suspecting that he is not as much at home in Hindu metaphysics as in Western philosophy, that he is unable to think directly in terms of Sanskrit concepts, without first rendering them into their proximate or incorrect English equivalents. For instance, in page 57, he translates Apara and Para Prakriti as Nature and Spirit, and coolly identifies them with Kshara and Akshara Purusha, apparently following Telang's translation! Seeing that the Gita has come historically after the Upanishads and the Sankhya, one wonders if this is a specimen of the ‘historical method of interpretation’ advocated by the author.
The ‘mythology’ of the book as explained in Chapter IV consists of a rather superficial application of the Hegelian Dialectic. The point which the author wants to make is that the Gita is a synthesis, not simply between Pravritti and Nivritti, as the author would have us believe for the sake of bringing in the Dialectic, but between several well-marked spiritual tendencies; but this is as good as a truism, and might be more effectually said directly, as it had been said by earlier writers. To fit the head to the cap, the author is obliged to characterise the vedic thought as ‘a theologic Pluralism with a practical Hedonism’, and the Upanishadic thought as a ‘Metaphysical singularism with a Philosophical Asceticism’, both of which judgments are, at the mildest, extremely questionable.
The Metaphysics of Sri Ramanuja’s Sri Bhashya: –By K. C. Varadachari, Adyar, Madras.
This booklet represents the work done by the author as a research student in Philosophy of the University of Madras. The Visishtadvaita system of philosophy is not as well known or studied as it ought to be. Attempts like the present are very welcome for that reason. The writer seems to have a correct comprehension of the central position of the system he expounds. It is a great pity, however, that he does not aim at greater accuracy of thought and expression. It is not correct to say "to Samkara, the world is a hallucination"; nor is there any philosophical justification for "not making much of its phenomenal reality" (p. 102). The central tenets of rival systems require far more careful consideration than is evidenced in such statements. Again, the writer may have a perfectly tenable theory of his own about the creation of the Universe, that it is for the sake of kaivalya and for the lila of God (p. 16). It is a grievous error, however, to foist such a view on the Vedanta Sutras or on Ramanuja's interpretation thereof. "Lila Kaivalyam" was never meant by Badarayana to be disjoined and interpreted in this fashion. A Graduate of the University of Madras may be expected to achieve greater clearness of expression than in: "Though one has to suffer for anthropomorphism beliefs one is bound to hold, and which as Prof. Schiller says, everyone is confined to, the only alternative being to prefer a good one to a bad one" (p. 30), or in "Subtler and never gross, Paramatman and Atman are, than Prakrti, being spiritual" (p. 31). There are, however, sufficient indications of promise to make us wish that the author had devoted a little more time to the work and been in less of a hurry to seek publicity.
S. S. S.
The Silken Tassel –by A. F. Khabardar. (Mount Road, Madras).
The knowledge of the psychology of the poet's mind is at once an advantage and a danger to the task of criticism. If one writes verses (not to call oneself a poet), and can introspect, remembering fully the process of writing, one knows the psychology; and such an one may rise to the highest levels of criticism of poetry, and may even make his art creative, in the highest sense in which Oscar Wilde talked of "creative criticism." But knowing this psychology, knowing where the fancies meet and metaphors mix, where the vowels merge and consonants clash, syllables jostle and ring in rhyme and rhythm, knowing the starting point of a poetic fancy whether enshrined in the chaste phases of a Sonnet or in many-burdened Lyric, knowing all this, one is in imminent risk of seeing too much, more than is necessary for evaluation of Art; and consequently the enchantment which distance lend's andinspires may be lost to him. Petrarch seated on Mount Venteaux, was struck with the beauty of the Alpine peaks; and within himself questioned. "when the Creation is so beautiful, how much more should the Creator be". I do not suggest that the critic like the poet or the painter should adopt a distance-enchantment method of evaluation; but it is obvious that brick by brick scaling, and plummet and plumb-line judgment, cannot make criticism a creative art. If criticism is not creative, it cannot function its point-duty to beauty and truth. It is my endeavour to do this point duty in my review of Mr. Khabardar's little book of poems, though I may be tempted to go into details, as I know the poet's psychology a little.
Mr. Khabardar is one of the most well-known Gujarati poets and is the author of about twenty books therein. The present work, I have to say at the outset, is not the translation of his Gujarati poems. He has got a distinct capacity for English poetry which the ‘Silken Tassel’ can easily establish.
In ‘The Silken Tassel’ there are thirty pieces; and anyone of them, to the true poets’ eye, even as to the true critic's, can give the sample of the author's remarkable will to verse.
Every poet has his or her own philosophy; and Mr. Khabardar indeed has his own, but it is not easy to gather it. I might take him for a Hedonist when he sings:-
"Fair is the weather, light is the boat,
Life must have its merry sweet note;
Flesh for flesh and wine for the throat;
Who could then enslave us?"
Yet, is he not a moralist and thinker when he sings in his "Riddle of Life"
"Life is virtue, life is duty,
Life is but one painful beauty;
Then in all your circled pleasure,
Keep for eye its central measure!"
Passages like the above, culled for the purpose of maintaining the critic's veiw-point, may not show the mirror of the poet's mind. But even as they stand in their culled state, they have an individuality; and if in that state they have beauty, that is sufficient to prove the poet's genius.
Problems of life and love are the themes in "The Silken Tassel," The poem "Wheels of Time," is reminiscent of Browning's "Toccatta," on account of form and Tennsyon's "Locksley Hall" on account of metre.
It begins with,
"O! My dreams come minute!
What! no more now, that is all?
Here I sit beside the sea shore,
Hark, there comes a lightning call
Through the long forgotten moments,
Where Time's changing curtains fall"
The poet's dashing mode of expression is well illustrated in this piece. Consider the following: -
"False is all the green that glitters,
On the heaving noon day sea,
False is all the red that furrows
Heaven's own blue simplicity,
Yet man roams behind this mirage
Or these sufferings cannot be"
"Radhika’s perplexity" is a sweet little lyric. Some lines gently recall Sarojini's poem, "I carry my curds to the Mathura fair." Perhaps both were inspired by the old Bengali Song. Pray listen to Mr. Khabardar:
"I carry my pots to the village well,
When the dawn has lifted her veil,
Slowly and slyly he comes behind,
Like a chittah and suddenly there I find,
His shadow before me trail.
I fill my water pots on the well,
When stealthily he comes nigh
He lays them on my head uncalled.
"Oh! Radhika, it is too high."
I turn my face, but he looks in my eyes,
And laughs and passes by!
He blocks my way with a wayward spring,
And asks of me there many a thing,
But I do not care to yield,
I walk away with a gentle push.
As the Sun is high in the sky,
I hear my name through some magical flute,
And I turn behind to spy,
My curds fall down and he looks in my face,
And laughs and passes by!"
Mr. Khabardar has unquestionably acquired the capacity to write clearly without the slightest tinge of uncertainty and immaturity usually found in poets of the Indo-English School. I find beauty and taste in many poems in this book. Felicity of style and completeness of language make one feel a sort of pre-acquaintance with almost every poem herein.
It is my faith that with fifty lines of very good poetry, one may aspire to the highest rank in literature and get it. A dozen lines of the late Bengali poet, Manamohan Ghose, (whose book was reviewed by Oscar Wilde in the Saturday Review) would make one feel that Manamohan could be classified along with the true poets of the world. So too James Elroy Flecker who wrote only a little. His "November Evenings" some critics are of opinion, and rightly, place him along with the greatest of English poets. Here too in Mr. Khabardar's case, I have judged him not from the volume of his writings, but from the few very good lines that have haunted me. Those lines may not contain sublime ideas nor high-strained figures of speech. But they have the true ring of poetry; and that perhaps is the greatest tribute to the poet’s art. Cosmic reflections, stars, moon and sun, and hills and valleys, and rivers, have all become hackneyed. Yet in the hands of the true poet, they have their inexhaustible charms. I dare say, in "The Silken Tassel", these subjects are not in the least hackneyed, nor in the least disgusting.
Before finishing my point-duty which is all that I have attempted here, let me quote a few more lines. Here is a stanza from "Sita Rama."
"Like the flying pansies wheeling
Flutter while the butterflies,
And the busy moments gather
All the fruits of toiling skies,
While the full-blown flowers are gleaming
In the noon-tide's golden dreaming
Of the hopes that ever grow;
Hark! the words there, loud and streaming
In the long street flow:
"Sita Rama! Sita Rama,
Sita Rama, Ho!"
Again, in "the Release", consider the beauty of the terseness of expression:
O! lesser world! I seek my larger love,
One breath is here–one last and winning move,
Another–where is He?"
Poetry is infinite in its scope and inexhaustible in charm and appeal. Each reader finds his favourite, according to leanings and crotchets. In "The Silken Tassel" there may be enough to suit many coloured tastes. But I have only dealt with portions that impressed me. The book apart, one word of general appreciation of the poet. The poet is more than his poetry. Mr. Khabardar is a great store-house of knowledge. Besides being a first-rate poet and scholar, he is a first-rate businessman, and an advanced astrologer.
P. NARAYANA KURUP
Seventeen Silhouettes:- By Kanu Desai, with an introduction by N.C. MEHTA, I.C.S., (published at the Kumar Press, Ahmedabad.)
We welcome this beautiful little publication of some silhouette studies from the brush of a young, promising artist of Gujerat. So far we have had only reproductions, and that too of a cheap kind, of Indian painting in colours, but this, we are inclined to think, is the first of its kind. Sketches and cartoons have been published before, but not studies in shadows cast against a monochromatic ground. We are also glad that the works of an younger artist were chosen for this purpose and we congratulate Mr. Raval of Ahmedabad on this happy publication. We know Mr. Raval to be not only an artist but an enterprising publisher and journalist. He is a silent worker, and it is interesting to see him shine through his pupils. Kanu Desai is one of the most promising of the younger generation of Indian Art students. He is a sensitive young lad with dreamy eyes and gentle expression. We see something of them reflected in these works of his. There is poetry, imagination, repose and freedom in his works. Mr. Mehta has summarised the artistic qualities of these silhouettes very ably in his short Introduction. He remarks, and rightly too, that "the one thing noticeable through all these pictures is the quality of poetry and the power of imaginative interpretation."
The cover design is a bold and interesting piece of imaginative work. The setting sun forms the halo of the figure of the "flute-player" and the cosmos suggested by the rhythmic waves below, reveals the poetic soul of an Indian artist. "Evening shadows" is a successful rendering of a pleasing typical village scene where life is full of Arcadian simplicity and Oriental repose. "Sakuntala" is, in our opinion, the best, because the artist has caught the serene atmosphere of a Tapovana –where the flowery, tender, creeper-like Sakuntala with her deer moves about with exquisite grace. "The Spring of Life" another typical work of Mr. Desai is certainly a rare piece of imaginative sketch. "Pandu and Madri" is a clever piece, but the lotuses in the pond are poor in drawing. "Leaves and Rain" is another splendid picture wherein the artist's vigorous and masterly strokes are in evidence.
This volume makes an excellent gift-book and will be "a joy for ever"–as all real Art is. We recommend this delightful publication to all lovers of Art and we shall watch the future career of young Kanu Desai with interest.
Mirror of Indian Art:- By G. VENKATACHALAM, [The Bangalore Press, Bangalore. Price Rs. 2/-]
A book of the kind under review is what is wanted for popularising Indian Art. It does not pretend to be very scholarly nor does it deal with abstractions. It deals with a variety of phases of Indian Art-folk-art, wood-carving, Indian textiles, Rajput Painting, stage and screen, and even dress reform and colour schemes. Most of them have appeared before in various journals, and are now collected in book form for wider circulation. The book is well printed and beautifully bound. We know the author as a critic, writer, lecturer, and above all as a friend. He has come into personal touch with the Indian artists in different provinces, and by his appreciative yet discerning criticism of their works and the organisation of Art Exhibitions, he has done a great deal to rivet the attention of the public on to the Artistic Renaissance during the last two decades. We look forward to more books of the same kind from Mr. Venkatachalam.
Asiatic Nation Builders Series: - i. King Amanullah, Price Re. 1. ii. King Nadir Khan and Bacha-i-Sakko, Price As. 8. By Mr. J. Sambasiva Rao, B.A. (33, Akbar Sahib Street, Triplicane, Madras.)
The awakening of the Orient since the commencement of the twentieth century constitutes an important chapter of world history. The recent developments in China, India, Persia and Afghanistan, deserve to be studied carefully along with the biographies of the individuals responsible for the upheaval in each country. We therefore welcome this series planned by Mr. Sambasiva Rao.
The life of King Amanullah, with which the series opens, is a story of absorbing interest related with genuine enthusiasm. Mr. Sambasiva Rao has taken great pains to collect all the available material and to present a faithful picture of the Afghan Revolution and of Amanullah, the citizen-king and hero of modern Afghanistan. In the second book, the narrative is brought down to the fall of Bacha-i-Sakko an.a the accession to power of Nadir Khan. The author gives a graphic description of Nadir's triumphant march to Kabul and his attempts to reorganise the administration.
The volumes are well-worth a perusal.
The Aryan Path: - (Published Monthly by the Theosophy Co., (India) Ltd., 51 Esplanade Road, Bombay. Annual subscription Rs. 10]
We have received with pleasure the first three numbers of this brilliant Journal which seeks to interpret the cultures of the East and the West. Keeping strictly aloof from controversial politics, the Journal emphasises the need for a better understanding between nations. To this end, it invites contributions from writers allover the world who are eminently qualified to deal with literary, philosophical and economic questions of lasting interest. Disarmament, the Colour Problem, the League of Nations, the Religious Tendency in Japan, and systems of thought like Saiva Siddhanta and Buddhism, are among the topics included in the earlier numbers. A Journal like the present, with an international outlook and a touch of idealism is bound to be a great force in the world of culture. We wish our contemporary a long and useful career.
The Quarterly Journal of the Music Academy, Madras: (Vol. I No.1)
The Journal of the Music Academy is a welcome addition to Indian periodical literature. It is devoted to topics pertaining to the Art of Music and is calculated to serve as "he most useful medium of expression for the best minds engaged in the study and practice of Music." In the present age which is full of indications of the throes of a rebirth, all our cultural heritages from the old world have got to be reweighed and revalued, preparatory to a progressive reconstruction. Music has been for long stiffly lingering in the traditional coves and is the last of the heritages of our past to submit itself to be ushered into the broad daylight of modern journalistic criticism. The articles which have appeared in the first issue of this pioneering Journal indicate the programme of work which lies before the servants of Music who are to take part in the remodeling of the Art for the purpose of inaugurating its great future in this country. Apart from the few articles which, in a speculative vein, propose to theorise on the difficult questions of the origin and the history of Music in India in prehistoric times, there are a good number of instructive and learned discourses on technical topics connected with Music which have already prepared the ground for laying the foundation of the Renaissance Temple of Music. The diversity between the Karnatic and the Hindustani Music and the variance between the practice obtaining today among the experts in the field and the theories preserved in the ancient texts, are among the many problems the solution of which will be a service to this ancient Art. We wish the Journal all success in its noble endeavour. The publication of the authoritative ancient works on Music in the Journal has been very properly conceived by the learned Editors as an invaluable auxiliary to the great task of standardising the science of Music and placing it on a permanent basis. This issue gives us a portion of the Sangita Sudha purporting to have been written by Rughunatha Naik of Tanjore who was a disciple of the illustrious Govinda Dikshita.
Our only regret is that the Editors should have published advertisements even on the cover pages. This might mean a little more money, but imports ugliness into an otherwise beautiful Journal.
Mayura: - Part I. By Mr. Devudu Narasimha Sastri, M.A., Bangalore.
This is the first part of a beautiful historical romance. The author has indeed set out to tell the most fascinating ‘lies’ as he himself has said in the preface. But these ‘lies’ are grafted not only on the fundamental truth of life, but also on historical truth. The restoration of the Kadamba dynasty of Karnatak at Vaijayanti –the modern Banavasi–forms the main theme of the book.
The story is stirring and full of new interest at every moment. It makes a peculiar appeal to the dreaming of youth. We vividly see how one born to be great attains to greatness; how fate endeavors, and companionship conspires to make ‘Mayura’ one of the greatest kings. Mayura has all the gaiety and confidence of a favourite child of Fortune. The mysterious people that crowd upon him from all quarters of the forest, –his guru, minister, general and soldiers–are also beautifully drawn. On the other side are portrayed the Pallava king and his court, his princess and his princes. The heir-apparent is quite a lovable youth.
The author's philosophy also makes its mark. It is inextricably woven into the texture of the plot. The moving appeal that the heir-apparent makes to Mayura to shake off his ill feelings and the Pravachanas of the guru are all finely brought in. The guru's remark on the omnipresence of Fate, which by itself is nothing, unless that Fate be shaped into action by its recipient, is indeed striking by its appropriateness.
But the author has lavished his highest art on the setting of this romance. The work will live even if it were only for the interest it will create, if it happens to be filmed. The alternate appearance of night and rugged mountain scenery alongside of urban magnificence, moves us to genuine admiration and delight.
Bhasa Katha Sara, Vols. I and II: - By Y. Mahalinga Sastri, B.A., B.L. Published by R. Subramanya Valihyar, Bookseller, Kalpathi, Palghat. (Price 8 As. each)
One recalls vividly the sensation which came over the world of Sanskritists some fifteen years ago, when Ganapathy Sastriar discovered the lost dramas attributed to Bhasa. They were found to possess high literary and histrionic merit, and have since then easily taken a permanent place in classical Sanskrit literature. However the controversy about their authorship may be decided in the future, these dramas will always retain their hold on the affection of Sanskrit-readers, by their freshness, their charm and chastity of style, and their original handling of classical themes.
These two booklets of Mr. Mahalinga Sastri are a welcome attempt to re-tell, in simple prose, the tales of Bhasa's dramas, for the benefit of younger students of Sanskrit. They are akin to Lamb's "Tales from Shakespeare," not only in their object, but also in the fact that they attempt to preserve the flavour of the original, by retaining Bhasa's characteristic expressions, and here and there his slokas. We hope that these books will meet with the appreciation which they deserve, and will find their way into Sanskrit schools and the translation classes of colleges.
Jivanasmruti: - A biography of the late Desiraju Peda Bapayya Garu, by Kamaraju Hanumantha Bao [Olcott Gardens, Rajahmundry. Price, Re. 1.]
It is difficult to peruse a book like the one under review without emotion. Bapayya was cut off even before he was thirty, but the love and admiration he evoked amongst his contemporaries was extraordinary. Even at this distance of over two decades since he passed away, people speak of him with bated breath and with tears in their eyes. He was among the earliest adherents of the late Viresalingam Pantulu, and a passionate rebel against the tyranny of social conventions. He was practically an outcaste during the later years, but like a hero he held fast to his convictions to the end. Scholar and patriot, reformer and servant of God, Bapayya left the impress of his noble personality on Andbradesa. There were two other Andhras worthy of ranking with him, and who like him created a profound impression on those who were privileged to come into touch with them. We refer, of course, to the late Kopalle Hanumantha Rao of the Andhra Jatheeya Kalasala, and Digumarti Hanumantha Rao of the Pallipadu Ashram. It is a pity no biographies of these have been published.
The author was intimately associated with Bapayya almost from his boyhood. He writes with commendable enthusiasm and as one that is performing a sacred task. The style is simple and flowing. We wish some more letters of the illustrious deceased had been interspersed in the biography, but, as usually happens in India, Bapayya's friends did not preserve all his letters. The art of biography-writing is yet in its infancy amongst Andhras, but we trust that this splendid book will stimulate similar efforts. We wish to add that every Andhra ought to read the book and commune with the lofty spirit of Bapayya.
Nelavanka: - By Avantsa Venkata Ranga Rao, B. A. [Vizianagaram. Price, As 8.]
A small collection of verses contributed by the author to various Telugu periodicals like Bharati, Jayanti and Sujata. We have come across similar collections by young Andhra writers which are, nearly always, valuable for the promise they indicate than for actual performance. This is undoubtedly an era of literary revival in Andhra, and we have abundant evidence of the inner urge for self-expression.
Mr. Ranga Rao has a talent for verse, but neither in style nor in sentiment, does he touch the higher levels of true poetry. Mere descriptive verse as in Muttaiduvalu, or a laboured and long-drawn simile like Gali Golladu, belong to the journey-man work of literature. Then again, the classification of trees according to their castes in Vriksha Varnamulu indicates ‘fancy’ but no imagination, and the lines "Her Hair" are a feeble imitation of Sri Krishna Sastri's magnificent poem Ame Kanulalo.
There are few lines that haunt our imagination or linger in our memory. But, after all, the author is young and at the beginning of his literary career. He has in him the makings of a poet and we hope he will blossom into one ere long.
The Indian Constitution Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru.
Renascent India K. S. Venkataramani.
The Eurasian Problem Kenneth E. Wallace.
Imprisonment Lt. Colonel F.A. Barker.
Philosophy of Art D. Raghuttama Acharya.
Purandardas Raja Rao.
Prachina Sanghika Paristitulu.
Bauddha Jataka Kathalu K. Rangachari, M. A., B. L
Andhra Vangmaya Suchika.
Andhra Bharata Vimarsana K. Ramakrishnaiva, M.A
Panikesvara Mahatmyam R. Seshagiri Rao. B. A.