Triveni Journal

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....


The Eternal Truths of Life: Arthur Robson. (Published by the Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India, 1952.)

Half a century ago the teachings of Theosophy expounded by the brilliant orator and student of Universal Religion, Dr. Annie Besant, captivated the attention of intellectual humanity. There was then a freshness of appeal about her advocacy of the teachings about Karma, Reincarnation, Life after Death, and the Path to Perfection, which took modern thought by storm. This author has covered the same ground, basing himself on the teachings contained in the Mahatma Letters to Mr. A. P. Sinnet. Three or four chapters from Dr. Besant’s masterpiece “The Ancient Wisdom”, or Sri C. Jinarajadasa’s “First Principles of Theosophy” give the same information, more elegantly presented and powerfully written.

To students of the teachings of theosophy the present publication will serve as a refresher of the same old valuable truths culled by the Theosophical literature from the occult traditions common to Hinduism, Buddhism and Gnostic Christianity. The major part of the book deals with the doctrine of Karma. The distinction of the Self into the primal expansionist self, the secondary server self, and the final detacher self and its correlation to the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, and the reinterpretation of the Problem of Karma in the light of this analysis make interesting reading. The Path to Perfection and the qualities needed to be developed are correlated to the Buddhist ‘iddhipadas’. The Life of the Jiva in the Kama-loka and Devachan and the conditions preceding re-entry into the physical world are graphically portrayed. The author has devoted commendable industry and assiduous application to the study of this fascinating subject.

Where he tries to be original, the effort is far from happy. Especially, his attempt to interpret Dharma as poise and Dharma-Chakra as poise-cycle, one cannot help feeling, is too far-fetched and achieves originality at the expense of the obvious interpretation. To the ordinary general reader not gifted with the aptitude to pursue these recondite niceties, the book may not make interesting reading; but it is a valuable effort at re-stating well-worn theosophical teachings in a connected pattern and of perennial importance to the living of the higher life.

The printing and get-up are of the usual high standard of Publishers.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda: Vol. VIII: Mayavati Memorial Edition. (The Advaita Ashrama, Almora. Price Rs. 6)

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, preached so eloquently by his chosen disciple Swami Vivekananda, is not only a charter of the Hindu faith, most acceptable to all the various sects of Hinduism and its different schools of philosophic thought and religious practices, but also a gospel to the world at large, most universal in its appeal and therefore with the greatest chance of becoming the universal religion of the future.

The most impressive and convincing exposition of the gospel is naturally to be found in the life and utterances of Swami Vivekananda and particularly in his attempts to win and sustain the allegiance of earnest seekers of truth and the way to peace, to this universal religion and its propagation.

The present volume containing, as it does, many as yet un-published letters and addresses and notes of class talks in America reverentially preserved and now offered for publication by the innumerable, devoted disciples of the Swami in America and Europe, reveals at once the prodigious energy, infinite patience, minute attention to detail and lofty idealism and tremendous personal magnetism of the great Swami. The readers cannot be expected to enthuse over the hope expressed by the Editor in the Preface, that this is likely to be the last volume of the series.

Bhavan’s Book University Publications, Bombay. (General Editors: K.M. Munshi and N. Chandrasekhara Aiyer)

In the words of the General Editors the primary object of Bharatiya Siksha which the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and its associate institutions and organisations are designed to promote, is the interpretation of Bharatiya Vidya, and it can only be attained through the study of forces; motives, ideals, forms and art of creative life energy through which it has expressed itself in different ages as a continuous process.

The object of the Book University in particular, they declare, is to produce books in uniform get-up and at a cheap price covering the best literature in the world and in particular the literature which stands for India and the fundamentals for which Indian culture stands. They propose to publish as a first step hundred books in English, each of about 200 to 250 pages and priced at Rs. 1-12-0.

It is also their intention, it seems, to publish these and other books in eight other Indian languages so that this common post of literature will enable the readers to appreciate the world currents as also the currents in our own Indian literature, which, though differing in languages, have a common technique and urge.

The Bhavan stands for the reintegration of Indian culture in the light of modern needs and a resuscitation of its fundamental values. The aims and ideals as well as the methods and programme for realising the same will naturally appeal to the readers of Triveni and others of like outlook, who can all be expected to appreciate the endeavours of the Bhavan and look forward eagerly to its publications from time to time.

The editors are to be warmly congratulated on the auspicious and worthy beginning of the Series with a simple version of the Mahabharata in a series of interesting stories by the distinguished and typically Indian statesman and leader Mr. C. Rajagopalachari. It is interesting to learn that some years ago the author rendered the whole of the text of the original Mahabharata of Vyasa in easy prose for Tamil children. It is now translated into English to form the first publication of the Book University of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The ripe wisdom of the author and his firm hold on the fundamental values of Indian culture and his unrivalled charm in the manner of putting across whatever he writes in the most engaging and attractive and at the same time impressive manner render the volume eminently fit for the place of honour thus assigned to it in the attempt to present to India as well as to the world a regular interpretation of Indian culture.

The second volume of the Series is no less worthy of its place in the scheme, being a study of the Bhagavadgita by H. V. Divatia, an eminent jurist and student of Indian Philosophy. The importance of the Indian classic is universally recognised, and Divatia’s knowledge of the theories of Western philosophy enables him to compare the teachings of the Gita with the conclusions arrived at by modern thinkers, and he holds the view that the discoveries of modern science only demonstrate the truth intuitively arrived at by the ancient seers of India and confirm their solutions. Hinduism, according to Divatia, is not merely a religious creed but moral and social code of life consisting of numerous and conflicting dogmas and giving rise to rival sects and schools of thought. The solutions which it has offered to the deeper problems of life on its spiritual side have been misunderstood and misinterpreted. The main aspects of the Gita which Mr. Divatia has stressed are its emphasis on inner religion, importance of work and duty, a sence of non-attachment towards the material side of life, need for disinterested, service and social sense, and development of humanitarian ideals.

These two publications constitute an excellent beginning and are sure to win for the whole Series innumerable readers in this country and abroad, who will be looking forward eagerly to the subsequent publications of the Series.

Mother India: A Monthly Cultural Review. Special Number February 1952. Price Re. 1.

‘Mother India’ seeks to spread “the vision of life born of the immense and many-sided spiritual realisation that is Sri Aurobindo”. Under the editorship of a distinguished poet and erudite scholar, the journal promises to grow from strength to strength and take its rightful place among the cultural journals of modern India, expressing in the words of the learned Editor, “the spirit of India in the most comprehensive sense of the term, the spirit of God- realisation down the ages.”

The name of the journal is also calculated to suggest a fitting tribute to the practical genius of the Mother so closely associated with the achievement of Sri Aurobindo and the moving spirit behind the Ashram at Pondicherry. The journal will serve the purpose, we hope, of heralding the International University proposed to be established at Pondicherry by the numerous admirers and disciples of the Master all over the world, as the most fitting memorial to the great soul.

One feature of the new Monthly deserves special mention, the republication serially of Sri Aurobindo’s essays on “Future Poetry” preliminary to their final publication in book form. These essays constitute the exposition by a mastermind of the evolution of the poetic tendency of humanity, through the ages. The main lines are brought out in clear relief by the contact of the modern European culture, through English literature, with the Indian mind with its distinctive culture and hoary civilisation in the ground and the prognosis of the development of poetry in future.

Most of the other articles of Sri Aurobindo on Metaphysics, Philosophy and Culture, published in the pages of the “Arya” have already been republished in book form, e.g. his “Essays on The Gita”, “The Life Divine”, and “The Synthesis of Yoga”, but somehow this particular series on “Future Poetry” has not so far received the attention and publicity which it richly deserves as a unique contribution of international significance to the evolution of a literary outlook and critical and standards for all humanity in common. This original contribution to the very abstruse subject of the philosophy of poetry, is amply illustrated by references to all the great literatures of the world and illumined by the comparative evaluation of their masterpieces. It is welcome to all students of literature and all advocates of common international standards of literary judgment and appreciation.


Saptasati-Saramu, with the commentary Bhavadeepika, by Pedakomati Vema. Edited with Introduction, purport and Telugu translation by Sri D. V. Sitaramaswami, M. A. (Published by The Andhra University, Waltair. Pages 25 plus 88. Price Rs. 3)

Gathasaptasati attributed to the King Hala, otherwise known as Satavahana, is a collection of 700 prakrit gathas or lyrics, renowned for their exuberance of amorous thoughts and sweetness of suggestive expressions, and quoted extensively by eminent Alamkarikas like Anandavardhana for illustrating the different kinds of Dhvani. A study of these mellifluous Prakrit lyrics was once considered essential for proficiency in the art of love.

Sringara or love in all its aspects, not of kings and queens but of village maidens, youths and hunters, interspersed with descriptive verses and instructive maxims, forms the main theme and sentiment of gathas which may hence be classified as pastoral lyrics. The daily life of young rural folk inspired by the immortal flame of youth and in breathless chase of amorous pleasures, with all their virtues and vices, is depicted vividly in most of these lyrics which in short are nothing but ‘pages torn from life’.

Saptasati Saramu, the book under review, is a selection by the Andhra King Pedakomati Vema, of 109 lyrics from the above collection. The King himself wrote an excellent Samskrit commentary upon these gathas, and this commentary named Bhavadeepika explains in full the primary and suggested meanings, figures of speech and the varieties of Dhvani, contained in these lyrics.

Andhras without a knowledge of Prakrit or Samskrit will forever feel grateful to the Editor for his splendid exposition of the lyrics in Telugu prose. They will read with pleasure his translation of the lyries into Telugu verses, which in addition to their graceful style and melodious language convey the spirit of the original in the best possible manner. The Editor deserves our especial commendation for his informative and scholarly Introduction.

The authorities of the Andhra University deserve praise for bringing out at least this abridged edition, though not the classic in its entirety.

This book which is of immense value to scholars acquainted with the different niceties of Samskrit literary criticism is bound to prove of interest also to men of average literary taste.

The usefulness of this book is marred only by its Telugu script and the innumerable misprints therein.

The value of this book may be considerably enhanced by (1) the use of Devanagari script for the text and commentary, (2) a translation and exposition of the lyrics in English also, and by (3) the addition of various other interpretations by other commentators.

Dhvani Saramu: with Introduction by Sri J. Madhavarama Sarma, Guntur (Pages 88. Price Rs. 1-4-0)

Anandavardhana’s Dhvanyaloka is a masterly treatise on the theory of Dhvani or suggestion. Dhvanisaramu is an abridgement of the same in the author’s own words by Sri J. Madhavarama Sarma, one of the foremost alamkarikas of our day, who by virtue of his long years of experience in teaching alamkara texts is eminently competent to do this job. He has also added his own Telugu translation to the summary of the Samskrit text, and at the end we find also an appendix in Telugu containing explanations of various technical words that we come across in the text proper, and various theories of poetry in Samskrit literary criticism. This book is of great use to those who for any reason cannot wade through the original but desire to have an idea of the main principles propounded therein.

Nakabali–A novel in Telugu by Sri V. D. Prasada Rao. (Published by Satyavateya Prachuranalu, T. Nagar, Madras. Price Rs. 2.)

This republication in book form of a novel originally published in parts as a serial in Andhra Patrika Illustrated Weekly is a commendable contribution to modern Telugu literature, as novels depicting realistically, contemporary social life in its different phases have been so few in Telugu literature.

The novel contains vivid and interesting sketches of the student life of Andhra young men in distant Benares and the various psychological situations and problems it gives rise to; and especially the psychology of adolescence in its various manifestations ofsensuality, idealism, self-consciousness and self-sacrifice, is treated with considerable insight and power. The potentialities for lofty idealism and poignant tragedy in ordinary domestic life and family
relations are also revealed with much skill.

The story deals with the University education of the hero Raghava Rao, a sensitive and self-conscious young man in whom all the hopes of a struggling middle-class family of unsophisticated members are centred, from the time he starts for Benares for his degree course, till he marries and settles down in life, reconciled to its inevitable compromises, after the intense raptures of voluptuous debauchery; insane rebellion, and hard discipline of experience under misfortune and ignominy.

The significance of the title is dramatically revealed only at the end. On the Nakabali day of the marriage ritual, when as a matter of fact no sacrifice of any kind is performed as the name might suggest to the ignorant, the young man burns away the record, and with it the memory, of the romantic, though illicit, passion of his youth for an unfortunate married woman which very nearly swept him off his feet and on to personal futility, social obloquy and domestic tragedy, but from all which he has been saved by the innate nobility and pure selflessness of the very woman who was responsible first for his moral degradation and finally for his redemption.

The powers of narration, subtle, characterisation, psychological analysis and realistic presentation of dramatic situations revealed by the novel are very creditable to the young author. Detailed and penetrating analysis of the psychology of adolescence is the main attraction of the book, though the delineation of the genuine innocence and inborn refinement of Seenu, the younger’, brother of the hero and the pictures of domestic felicity in a prosperous, well-regulated middle class family of the countryside are additional attractions of considerable charm. The influence of traditional and inherited cultural instincts in the behaviour of even immature and ill-educated minds during moments of crisis in their lives is also powerfully presented by the author. On the whole the novel is a highly commendable performance and the author bids fair to make his mark among the contemporary novelists of Andhra.

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