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....


Contemporary Philosophy and Its Origins: By S. P. Peterfreund and T. C. Denise. Affiliated East-West Press, C. 57, Defence Colony, New Delhi-3. Pp. 326. Price: Rs. 10-50.

In this treatise-cum-textbook, the authors trace an historical continuity of philosophical thought from the earliest times to the present day. They point out that for a proper understanding and appreciation of contemporary philosophy, it is both desirable and necessary to have a ground knowledge of the philosophical thoughts that are already developed. For no matter how brilliant a philosopher may be in his originality of conception, no matter what school of thought or particular ‘ism’ comes to be associated with his name, he cannot deny his indebtedness to the intellectual climate of his time as well as to the philosophical enquiries that have preceded him. As the authors observe: “Plato did not set out to express Platonism, Locke did not set out to express Empiricism, and Peirce did not set out to express Pragmatism. Each man was impressed by a set of intellectual problems and combined old modes of thought with newly-invented modes in order to attack these philosopher lives in an intellectual vacuum: the raw materials and gross processes of thought have been made available to him.”

Keeping this historical perspective in view, the authors make a survey of the five major schools of philosophy: Realism, Idealism, Pragmatism, Existentialism and Philosophical Analysis. They trace the essential traits and framework of each school of thought, present a balanced view of the tenets and arguments of its expositors and supporters and provide lucid and objective readings from the selected works of notable philosophers like Austin, Schlick, Sartre, Lovejoy, Dewey and other contemporary thinkers. To quote from Sartre, an exponent of Existentialism, concerning an experience he had:

“I was in the park just now. The roots of the chestnut tree were sunk in the ground just under my bench. I couldn’t remember it was a root any more. The words had vanished and with them the significance of things. I was sitting, stooping forward, head bowed alone in front of this black, knotty mass. Then I had this vision. It left me breathless. Never, until these last few days, had I understood the meaning of “existence.” If anyone had asked me what existence was, I would have answered, in good faith, that it was nothing, simply an empty form which was added to external things without changing anything in their nature. And then all of a sudden, there it was, clear as day: existence had suddenly unveiled itself. It had lost the harmless look of an abstract category: it was the very paste of things...How long will this fascination last? I was the root of the chestnut tree. Or rather I was entirely conscious of its existence. Still detached from it, since I was conscious of it, yet lost in it, nothing but it. Time had stopped: a small black pool at my feet; it was impossible for something to come after that moment. I have liked to tear myself from that atrocious joy, but I did not even imagine it would be possible. I was inside; the black stump did not move, it stayed there, in my eyes, as a lump of food sticks in the windpipe. I could neither accept nor refuse it. At what cost did I raise my eyes? Did I raise them? Rather did I not obliterate myself for an instant in order to be reborn in the following instant with my head thrown and my eyes raised upward? In fact, I was not even conscious of the transformation. But suddenly it became impossible for me to think of the existence of the root. It was wiped out, I could repeat in vain…Existence is not something which lets itself be thought of from a distance: it must invade you suddenly, master you, weigh heavily on your heart like a great motionless beast...”

Written primarily for teachers and students the book makes for easy reading. A guide to further reading material at the end of each chapter thoughtfully provided by the authors is another helpful feature of the book.

Sri Sri Ramakrishna Bhagabatam: By Pandit Ramendra Sundar Bhaktitirtha. Published by Sree Kashinath Sastri Bhattacharya, 56/4 Sri Aurobindo Sarani, Calcutta-6. Price: Rs. 25.00

This work, produced by an eminent Sanskrit scholar of West Bengal, is remarkable from several points of view. This is an attempt at presenting one of the sublime-most lives known to history, that of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, in a lucid form of the classical Sanskrit, consisting of over 5000 verses. But it is not merely a biographical account of the Paramahansa, it presents his teachings too, and further, it flashes several glimpses of Swami Vivekananda’s life and personality.

Prominently recommended by a number of scholars, the verses, indeed, make soothing reading even for readers with meagre knowledge of Sanskrit. The process of perusal is further facilitated by the inclusion of the English and Bengali versions of the verses. As Swami Sireswarananda, President of the Ramakrishna Math, has rightly observed, “His attempt is a success both as a biography of a great spiritual personality and also as a means for the spread of Sanskrit language and culture.”

No one could in a more striking fashion the significance of the Paramahansa than as Sri Aurobindo has described; “…in the life of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, we see a colossal spiritual capacity, first driving straight to the divine realisation, taking, as it were, the kingdom of heaven by violence, and then seizing upon one Yogic method after another and extracting the substance out of it with an incredible rapidity, always to return to the heart of the whole matter, the realisation and possession of God by the Power of love, by the extension of inborn spirituality into various experience and by the spontaneous play of an intuitive knowledge.”

There could seldom be anything a greater thrill than to pursue the unique fact that is such a life, and what could be a more appropriate medium than Sanskrit to sing of such a mystic phenomenon? We are deeply grateful to Pandit Ramendra Sundar for his splendid endeavour,

Gandhi–The Man of the Ages: By T. L. Vasvani. Mira Publications, 10 Sadhu Vaswani Road, Poona-1. Price: Rs. 3.

This short volume, of nearly seventy-two pages, contains some of the wise words spoken by Sri Vasvaniji, who in his life was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Even as early as 1921, at the time of Gandhiji’s starting of the journal Young India, this man of prophetic vision had presaged that “Gandhi’s name will be remembered down the ages, after so many of the names of contemporaries have been forgotten.” Himself a pursuer of the path of renunciation and known for his utterly selfless existence, it is no wonder that the two saintly spirits carne together in no time.

Belonging to Karachi or the present Pakistan, he had travelled widely both in India and outside and his rich experiences in the realm of the spirit goaded him on to gaining wide respect from many a student and worshipper of the Bhagavadgita.

Here are gathered about five talks of his to gatherings at Poona where he discoursed on the Gita. At such meetings he felt the need to speak on Gandhiji and his mission on earth. In the first of his talks we have his exhortation upon fearlessness, which was Gandhiji’s constant appeal to his followers. The next talk is upon simplicity and humility, both of which were Gandhiji’s inalienable traits. Again he referred in the third talk to the famous lines Lead Kindly Light of Cardinal Newman, which happened to be the Mahatma’s favounte daily prayer song in his Ashram. The next two lectures deal with the conception of Gandhiji’s love of humanity and his conception of ‘Swaraj’ for India.

There are also included some of the early articles and other talks wherein there were references to the great humanitarian work of the Mahatma. It is worth remembering the words of this saint uttered after the passing away of Gandhiji. He said: “Where among India’s distinguished patriots is there today, one disciple of Gandhi, inspired by his love of the Rishis and saints, his reverence for the village folk, his readiness not to ‘patronise’ the untouchables but to share their ‘dirty work’ and so to bless them and be blessed?”

V. S. Srinivasa Sastri: By Sri T. N. Jagadisan. (Builders of Modern India Series) publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, New Delhi. Price Rs. 3-25.

Mr. Jagadisan has said in his preface to the book, “I came into close association in the last decade of his life;” yet he has eloquently made out the Sastri, who was to him what Johnson was to Boswell.

The humane man Sastri–the scholar-statesman, the teacher-gentleman politician, the orator-literateur has been pictured to us in the grandeur in which he moved among compeers at home and abroad shedding lustre whither he went and drawing men and women to him.

In chronicling Sastri’s life, he had all the tools and materials Sastri himself had and provided. Ex facie, it may look a ready-made job. But the task exercises an architect-builder for he has to give it the elegance in its own right.

Mr. Jagadisan compares Sastri to Taj Mahal. Today, Sastri is no more but in name, but Taj Mahal is very much in evidence attracting tourists, in countless numbers, to gaze at the mausoleum, a wonder of the world even today. They visualise the emotions and love of Shahjehan who built in memory of Mumtaj Mahal his queen, a grand piece of noble architecture. Indeed he had inscribed his love for Mumtaj Begum to last till eternity. Jagadisan is inspired by similar thoughts for Sastri and so this edifice of Sastri in a book form. He had such love and affection, regard and respect for Sastri, the man.

The arrangement of events is well conceived and topically well set. The chronicle is like an ornament set with precious gems and rare stones of Sastri that sheds no less lustre today as they did when uttered by him in life. Jagadisan has drawn these gems and stones liberally from the speeches, writings and letters of Sastri and the dovetailing, and veneering in the construction increases their effulgence.

His citing Sastri’s own words in Sastri as a man is a polish with a chamoi’s leather to brighten the lustre of the gems and stones of the jewel: “Your rules are good for the humdrum, sin-dreading type. The genius will break through them. If rules are not rigid from the start, several semi-geniuses will show themselves. That is why I am not a martinet. Not that I love order and discipline the less, but that I love freedom more.” This was the man Sastri in the truest of terms and this Boswell of a Jagadisan, to Sastri could do no more to describe Sastri’s mind than recite Johnson’s words on Burke. His stream of mind was perpetual.

The ensemble is bright and harmonious showing no patch work to pall on a reader nordesecrate the nobility of a great personality by showing (Jagadisan) himself off. No more need be said on the literary merit of the work. The collection of Sastri’s own words in the appendix is indeed educative and illuminating. Mr. Jagadisan has indeed made a novel out of Sastri’s life to make it engaging and absorbing to the reader and picturing a great character to whom success and failure were alike.

Acharya Bhikshu: By Muni Nathmul. Price: Rs. 6-50
Acharya Tulsi: By Muni Nathmul. Price: Rs. 7-50
My Religion: By Acharya Tulsi. Price: Rs. 3-25
Life And Philosophy: By Muni Nathmul. Price: Rs. 3-50
Can Intellect Comprehend Religion?: By Acharya Tulsi. Price: Rs. 2-50
Gravitation of Morality: By Muni Nathmul. Price: Rs. 2-75
You are a Torrent of Boundless Energy: By Muni Nathmul. Price: Rs. 2-50
Much in Little: By Muni Nathmul. Price: Rs. 4-00 Published by Adarsha Sahitya Sangh, Churu (Rajasthan).

It was during the last century that a protest and reform movement started in the order of Jaina monks under the lead of Acharya Bhikshu. He sought to counter the many evils that had sprung up in the organisation in decadence and laid down a simple but effective discipline which he called the Thera Pantha. The life and work of the Acharya is described in detail by Muni Nathmul. The movement is continued today under the guidance of Acharya Tulsi who has added the anuvrata movement to the scheme of reformation. The anuvrata, as the name implies, calls for change in the smallest details of one’s life, be he a monk or a householder. It is a daily discipline of mind, live and body. The emphasis is on the individual. Religion as propagated by Acharya Tulsi, admits the claims of the intellect and science to a great extent. Elements of Jaina Yoga enter into its practical bearings. In this perspective Life and Philosophy are not two separate watertight compartments; life is the field for the application of philosophy. All the departments of life are legitimate spheres of this rational philosophy of the Soul. The intellect can not fully understand the truths enunciated in religion based upon spiritual experience but it has its legitimate areas of scrutiny. Within its limits reason exercises a wholesome function in keeping out superstition and ignorance. Like the intellect, Morality too has its claim; only it must be a living standard based upon the values of the soul. Morality differs from plane to plane, from time to time. Man must know the inner bearings of the laws of Morality and apply them intelligently to situations as they arise. Man is not an automaton to be governed by text-book rules. He is a living soul endowed with boundless power to work out the weal of himself and his fellow-beings. Religion, Yoga, Ethics, Philosophy–all these are means for the development of his soul towards its perfection.

The last book, Much in Little, contains a number of stories illustrating the foibles of humanity and the means recommended for self-improvement and elevation.

A progressive and purposive literature.

Sri Narasimha Vijaya Champu of Sri Narasimha Sastri with the author’s own commentary and Stotras. Published by S. V. B. Nataraja Sastri, 28 Tennore Road, Trichinopoly. Price: Rs. 5.

Inspired by the Nilakantha Vijaya Champu of Sri Nilakantha Dikshita, the author Sri Narasimha Sastri who lived about 100 years ago, had written this Champu Kavya in Sanskrit for his own delectation. In the manner of Sri Appayya Dikshita, he had also written a commentary on his own work. Preserved in palm leaves, this family treasure has now been brought to light by the author’s grandson, Sri Nataraja Sastri, as a labour of love.

The short biography of the author provided makes interesting reading. A great scholar in all branches of Sanskrit learning, steeped in religious austerities, the author, we learn, could compose verses instantaneously. Deeply devout, he could invoke the gods through verses for rain, for stoppage of rain, for the alleviation of suffering, etc.

The present work is the familiar story of Prahlada’s ordeals and the descent of God as Man-lion to vanquish Hiranyakashipu and reestablish the Divine Law and harmony on the strife-torn earth. The Champu form, composition in prose and verse lends itself admirably to the author for handling this familiar theme. The Sanskrit is pleasing and simple and the commentary bears testimony to the vast erudition of the author.

Some devotional poems composed by the author as specific prayers are appended at the end of the book.

To encourage the spread of Sanskrit learning, the publisher has come forward to give the book free of cost to bonafide Sanskrit students.

A Writer’s Study of Sankara versus the Six Preceptors of Advaita: By Swami Ramananda Tirtha. Available at Higginbothams Ltd. Madras-2.

On reading Dr. N. K. Devaraja’s book Sankara’s Theory of Knowledge, the present writer found nearly 60 statements about Sankara and Gaudapada therein to be self-contradictory. He has sought to refute them on the basis of the works of Six Preceptors of Advaita who are: “Narayana or Sadasiva whose breath is the Vedas and Upanishads; Vasishtha the author of Jnanavasishtha; Vyasa; Gaudapada; Acharya Sankara; present Acharya of the Kamakoti Pitha.”

Naturally there can be no finality to the battle of dialectics and discerning readers would prefer to be guided to basic spiritual experience which makes a difference to life rather than to logicities of the intellect which provide food only to the mind.

Studies in Indian Cultural History, Vol. III: By P. K. Gode. Published by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Poona. 1969. Price: Rs. 30.

The volume contains articles written by Dr. P. K. Gode on various aspects of social life of India. The author is a well-known orientalist and his knowledge of traditional India is as vast as it is deep.

The penetrating nature of these essays is revealed by reading any stray article in the volume. For example, in an article dealing with the antiquity of the practice of using the spectacles the author has been able to adduce concrete evidence to show that they were in use in about A. D. 1520. It is indeed amazing to know that Vyasa Raya of Hampi-Vijayanagar wore spectacles while reading a manuscript in the court of Krishna Raya. In a similar fashion, in tracing the antiquity of weaver caste, the author reveals some of the aspects or caste structure of South India. In an article on the role of the courtesan in Indian painting, he demonstrates that the art painting was associated with the courtesans even from the early centuries of Christian Era.

The scholars of the Bhandarkar Oriental Institute who are responsible for this publication deserve to be congratulated.

The Legend of Asoka by Jean Przyluski (translated by D. K. Biswas) Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta. 1967. Price: Rs. 15.

The book under review is an English translation of Jean Przyluski’s work and contains the traditional stories embodied in the Asokavadana, a Sanskrit Buddhist text written by a parthian monk in A. D. 300.

In this, the learned author examines the questions relating to the date and the probable place of its composition. By a masterly analysis of the internal evidence, he shows that it was composed in the region of Mathura in the early centuries of Christian Era. “The Age in which the Asokavadana takes its place, was in every respect one of transition from the Magathan seat of the first few centuries to the universal religion of the epoch of Kanishka (p. 16).

The Asokavadana deals with the story of the first council, the sketches of the life of patriarchs of Buddhism, the deeds of Asoka and other aspects of Buddhism. As the translator has pointed out in the preface, the Asokavadana and other stories enable the historian to understand the Buddhist age by giving him the insight into the thought-process of the Age.

India in the Ramayana Age: By Dr. S. N. Vyas. Atmaram and Sons, Delhi-6. Price Rs. 35.

Valmiki’s Ramayana the first ornate poem in Sanskrit literature is well-known for its poetic beauties, mellifluous style and ideal characters. It still has a hold on the minds of millions of Indians who venerate Sri Rama and Sita as their ideals in all respects and hear the Ramayana recited and explained with ardent devotion. Some modern scholars have made critical studies of the epic and presented to the public the Dharma taught and the polity reflected therein. But to this day a critical and comprehensive study of the cultural and social aspects of the Ramayana age is not taken up by any scholar, and this volume packed with a mine of information fills up that lacuna in the field of Oriental Research. As the author believes, “this study spotlights India’s cultural eminence without making it cumbersome or incredible to rational thinking” and students of Indian culture will ever be indebted to the author for the laborious task he has undertaken upon himself, and they will certainly congratulate him for the marvellous success he has achieved in his aims in presenting this volume, a thesis approved for the degree of Doctorate.

The book is divided into twenty-five chapters which include the Social set up, Marriage and morals, Love, Woman in Home, Woman in Society, General social conduct, Education, Science, Dress and decoration, Art and aesthetics; Land of plenty, Town planning. The Golden Age and the impact are some of the topics dealt with. All these chapters are informative and can be read with much profit and pleasure. A map of India in the Ramayana age, glossary of Sanskrit words, Appendix A, identifying the names of places in the Ramayana, and 126 illustrations add to the usefulness of the book. We heartily commend this book to all students of Indian culture and to all libraries.

Sri Sri Miscellany: Edited by K. V. Ramana Reddy. Copies can be had from Visalandhra Publishing House, Vijayawada–2. Price: Rs. 5.

Sri Sri is a name to conjure with among writers of modern Telugu poetry. He holds a unique place among the progressive poets of Andhra. This Miscellany was brought out on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday with the intention of offering a sample of the poet’s work to non-Telugu readers. To poesy: A Rhapsody, and Forward March represent Sri Sri at his best as an inspired and inspiring bard of Man. His English renderings reveal the poet’s mastery of the language as well as his keen awareness of the changing trends of Western poets. As one who keeps the windows of his mind open and lets in diverse influences to permeate his poetic sensibility, Sri Sri stands as a refreshing example of a poet whose spirit is universal in its sweep and thoroughly modern in tone as well as temper. He envisages a rosy future for all mankind and breathes a serener ether and rarer atmosphere like all great visionaries who discard the sordid world broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls. He is the harbinger of a glorious dawn on the horizon of life, and unfurls the banner of insurrection hurling defiance at all that impedes the downtrodden man’s onward march. As one who has added new dimension and infused new dynamism to modern Telugu poetry, Sri Sri stands unrivalled. The Miscellany under review offers some of the finest specimens of his vintage.

Modern Telugu Short-stones–An Anthology: Translated by V. Patanjali and A. Muralidhar. Jaico Publishing House, Bombay. Price: Rs. 4.

The attempt to offer to non-Telugu readers through the medium of English translation some of the masterpieces of modern Telugu short-story is quite commendable. Of all the literary forms the short-story in Telugu has attained a high level of development in technique as well as content. As an emotional snap-shot of life, the short-story achieves intensity and unified impact for which we look in vain in a novel that revels in its wide scope and broad sweep. A compressed novel cannot be called a short-story just as an expanded short-story can never become a novel. This distinction will always be borne in mind by a practitioner of the art of short-story writing who has a keen sense of form and who realises that it almost grazes the lyric in emotional incandescence and the drama in its concrete delineation. Masters of modern Telugu short-story whose works are given a fair representation in this volume have understood the specialty of this literary form and have scored many triumphs. However we feel that the inclusion of the finest stories of Veluri Sivarama Sastry, Sripada Subrahmanya Sastry, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Karunakumara and Munimanikyam would have made the anthology more representative and comprehensive. No anthology can dispense with Gurajada Apparao’s “Diddubaatu” and its omission is conspicuous.

The Telugu translation is tolerably good as far as it goes but it could have been better with greater hold over the spoken idiom in English.

So the World Goes: By J. M. Ganguli. East and West Publishers, 10 Park Side Road, Culcutta-26. Price: Rs. 20.

This novel is an intensely moving document of human exultations and agonies. Its plot is well-knit and carefully executed. The characters come alive with a scintillating charm. Theystrut and fret their hour upon the stage and then they are heard no more. “However I may weep and wail and cry, and however you may want to comfort me the world goes its way caring neither for me nor for you and carrying all souls good or bad as you may call them with it,” exclaims one of the characters in the novel. Though it is born out of the crucible of suffering, the realisation is chastening and comforting. The clash between the individual will and the inexorable stream of tendency has been perceptively presented by Mr. Ganguli in this novel.

Reflections and Recollections: By J. M. Ganguli. East and West Publishers, 10, Park Side Road, Calcutta.26. Price: Rs. 25.

The latest publication from the pen of the well-known philosopher and scholar Sri Jatindra Mohan Ganguli is a rambling collection of essays, letters and reprints covering such a wide range of subjects like the Quantum Theory in Life, Free-will and predestination, Atheism, survival of the fittest, the place of love in life, etc. Ganguli would like to be an iconoclast and a free thinker owing allegiance to the universal community alone but despite his protestations, there is something of the Vedic mystic in him. Some of his observations bring to mind the authors of the Upanishads: “What is that mysterious essence in me, which forms no part of the body and which does not contact it, even though without it the body I so much love is an untouchable carcass?” (page 22) ”I am thankful to God for keeping me blind to the future. If every night when I went to sleep, He wiped off my memory of the day gone by, I could move light without the painful load of the regrets, pains and sorrows of the past.” (page 105)

Some of these essays had appeared in the Aryan Path over a period of years. There are also letters from the author to his American admirers. His reflections touch the innermost chord in the heart of the reader and demand acceptable solutions to many eternal questions in philosophy and metaphysics. All this he does, not in the spirit of a Messiah come down to earth to unfold a gospel, but with the profound realisation that probably like the sand grain on a mighty revolving stonewheel imagining that it is able to change and regulate its own activities, our vanity and presumption had been making us relate events and happenings to our will (page 80). The book is a rewarding cultural and spiritual experience.

Folk Tales of Bihar: By P. C. Roy Chaudhury. Published by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Price: Rs. 8.

Almost every land has its own heritages and folk literature is one among them. According to some authorities like T. Benfey (who published Panchatantra in 1859), the source and storehouse for the folk tales of other nations is India. Yet, in India, there does not seem to be any organised effort at collecting and collating the folk literatures of the various ages and regions of India. True, folk tales amuse and entertain children mostly and the great majority of such stories are but feats of imagination and make-believe. But imagination is a mental exercise in its own right. Besides, each, story has a moral, and a discourge in virtue is best inculcated through absorbing tales.

While folk tales mirror the ethos of a particular region and a particular age, they have a habit of crossing the barriers of time and space. Panchatantra is famous in lands other than India also. Cinderilla or Snow White are known throughout the world.

The folk tales in the volume under review are divided into two parts. The first one gives some stories prevalent and popular in the districts of north and south Bihar, while the second part contains a few tales “intimately associated with certain famous places in Bihar as well as some tribal folk tales.” Altogether, there are some 78 short-stories. Some of them deal with human intrigues and counter-intrigues (e. g., “The Two Cheats” and “The Potter and the Raja”), others are concerned mainly with animals (e.g., “The Jackal and the Dog” and “The Jackal and the Kite”) and still others have both humans and animals as “actors” (e.g., “The Wise Monkey” and “Lita and his Animals”).

The language is simple, the stories are short, although there are few forgivable lapses on the printer’s part. But, considering the size of the volume, the price is rather high.

Everyman’s United Nations: Published by the Office of Public Information, New York.

The distinction of this excellent handbook of the United Nations lies in the manner of treatment of the subject. For this subject can lend itself to platitudes. And this book not only provides valuable insights into how the United Nations has developed during its first twenty years, but also has something fresh to say on the great problems of the twentieth century ranging from the population explosion to the exploration of space.

The polemics of a bipolar world have obscured a great Spur, in international co-operation since the inception of the United Nations. For while there are political disputes concerning problems Such as Berlin, Vietnam and Cuba, the United States cooperates with the Soviet Union in cultural exchange programmes, in allocating radio frequencies, in forecasting weather, in fighting disease, in exploring the oceans and in so many other technical ways. Here it is well to remember the work ofthe specialized organisations of the United Nations–the World Bank, the FAO, the UNESCO, the ILO, the IAEA, etc.

The future of the United Nations is entwined with the forces of the mid-twentieth century. However, the contradictions of the United Nations are only too apparent. For instance, the Latin American and Arab States have nearly fifty per cent of all the votes of the United Nations, even though they constitute a fraction of the total world population. Again the attitude displayed by the delegates (including the Indian delegates) in dealing with some of the vital issues of our time has not unfairly exposed them to the charge of being neutral in favour of some particular bloc. The present malaise is something more than a political crisis. It is not a question of one group trying to mediate between the two super-powers; the most important issue is the preservation of liberty. And it is to be hoped that in the years to come, the United Nations would make an effective contribution to the gradual fulfilment of what Cicero called humanitas.

Jain Culture: By Mohan Lal Mehta. Published by P. V. Research Institute, Varanasi-5. Price: Rs. 10

The volume under review is an excellent critical account of not only Jaina metaphysics and religion, but also its culture. It is published to mark the 2500th Nirvana anniversary of Lord Mahavira the last of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras.

The book is divided into nine chapters, and the first two give us a clear account of enormous range of Jain religious literature and the antiquity and history of Jainism. Chapter III is a clear account of the Jain conception of Reality as many-sided and subsequent chapters deal about the nature of knowledge, Jaina doctrine of relativism (syad vaada), Karma and transmigration. Chapter VIII on Jain conduct is concise and highly informing. The concluding chapter deals elaborately about art and architecture, the Jain temples, caves in Ellora and the statue of Gomatesvara and other aspects. The volume is a valuable book on Jainism.

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