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....

Thousand Days with Rajaji: By Bimanesh Chatterjee. Affiliated East West publishers, New Delhi. Price: Rs. 20.

Any book on Rajaji is bound to interest a host of readers, especially in view of his great personality as well as his unbelievably alert intellect till the last. His natural keenness of observation of both peoples and problems without anything to cloud his vision, had all along been an asset in public life of this country.

Here, we have from the pen of an ardent associate of his during the hectic days of Rajaji’s Governorship of West Bengal and later his Governor-Generalship of India, some important aspects of Rajaji’s behaviour as well as his unquenchable interest in all life around. As a Military Secretary, the author, instead of being merely an official aid to him, has had the advantage of becoming almost a household member of his during his stay at the Raj Bhavan and the Rashtrapati Bhavan in succession. Rajaji had a capacity of making anyone near him to become normal and sensible of right behaviour under any circumstances. If author had many occasions to enter into conversation with Rajaji and know not only his mind but, in his turn, interpret it with a clear understanding of the inner workings of it, the entire credit may not go so much to his own perception as also due to Rajaji’s ready help to put the other at ease as well as engage him in ever so many undertakings on his behalf which could have provided opportunities for an intelligent person to draw his own inferences of his disposition and behaviour in such circumstance. Hence, even as we start perusing this volume, we begin to expect much of intellectual food from the rich sources of Rajaji’s unfailing wit and humour. The author possesses an adequate readable style and in combination with what he could jot down of Rajaji’s own words, the narrative easily whets our appetite for more of such healthy fare.

To show how meticulously Rajaji had observed the rules of right conduct and never sought any loophole for indulging his privileges in any position he had occupied, we have the following anecdote:

“You could have purchased a duty-free car” suggested a visitor “when you were the Governor-General. That would have cost you so much less”.

“Yes”, Rajaji affirmed smiling, “As the rules stood, I was entitled to custom, duty exemption, but that would not have been a correct thing for me to take advantage of. When I was retiring as Governor-General some of my friends suggested that I should ask the Government for a bigger pension; but that would have been wrong again.”

“Someone could have dropped a hint to the proper quarters” persisted the visitor, “which would have got things moving.”

“Then he would have incurred my displeasure” angrily responded Rajaji. “It is a matter of public interest and, therefore, does not permit any behind-the-scene manipulation.”

No comment is needed to bring to our notice how a public-spirited person should act while dealing with personal matters. We have to sadly reflect upon the lowering of standards by leaders in public life today, especially when faced with problems of economic stress and consequent distress of people.

This is a book to read and read again for the sheer joy of an animated understanding of a dear and lovable personality who was a friend of all.

Indian Literature Since Independence: A Symposium. Edited by Prof. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar. Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi Price: Rs. 15-00.

In March of 1973 a symposium was held under the auspices of the Sahitya Akademi, when the twenty languages of India were represented for the purpose of taking stock of the quantum of literary productions in their respective languages after the birth of Independence. The meeting was held in Bombay and papers were read by notable writers contributing their own assessments of the quality of the respective literatures. It is a matter for satisfaction also, that within a year, the papers submitted at the Symposium have been printed and made available to people interested in the results of the symposium.

Dr K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar, the Vice-President of the Akademi, has prepared a summary of the salient features of the papers in his introduction with his usual sense of proportion and adequacy of details. The articles here start chronologically with Assamese literature taking the place of honour; then follow Bengali, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu accompanied by brief notes on the contributors as also a list of names of those who have received National Awards from the Sahitya Akademi.

Many of the writers have just started referring to the previous state of the development in the literary output and then narrated the subsequent achievements since Independence. Natural for some of them in their rapid survey to have been guilty of omissions of names or authors but as one could judge from what has been done in the literature known to him, there must be the same fair amount of consideration of significant creative efforts mentioned in the course of the narration of other literatures as well. Unlike some of the major languages in which a long tradition dating from before the Christian era has been responsible for later developments, there are infant literatures like Dogri, Maithili and Manipuri which have been included here because of their recognition as the main languages of Bharat during the recent decades after the Independence.

It is really worth while to peruse this volume which can supply us with a bird’s eye view of our country’s achievements in the literary sphere after Independence when achievements in science have begun to contend seriously with it.

Aspects of Shakespearian Tragedy: By S. C. Sen Gupta. Oxford University Press, Madras-2. Price Rs. 16.

The book is an appraisal of A. C. Bradley acknowledged to be a great Shakespeare critic and Shakespeare’s tragedies: Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, Hamlet and King Lear.

Due weight is given to the ‘coadunating’ capacity of Bradley’s imagination which could take an over-all view of a play without missing any detail about characters or scenes or events dispersed in all its subordinate parts. But even he was severely mauled by historical critics on charges that he was not aware of the conditions of the Elizabethan theatre, the conventions followed by dramatists and the social, political, philosophical and religious ideas of Elizabethan age, and his detailed delineation of character became the common ground for combined head-hunting of symbolists and historical critics.

Among Shakespearian tragedies Antony and Cleopatra has sex slant. Happy valiancy of this style is said to make up for the inferiority of the theme. The main features of this valiancy are broadly diction, syntax and different styles of address. The major styles referred to are categorised into Roman and Egyptian. The one is understood to be precise and scientific without over or undertones and the other, evocative. This particularisation is far-fetched when such modes of speech are common in any literary work where wit and sober thought play their roles. After all diction is a part and a part is made to explain the whole.

            Macbeth is considered a tragedy of imagination and character. This play is a standing proof that tragedy is not mere action issuing out characters. Supernatural powers affect our lives and actions. In the case of this unhappy protagonist vaulting ambition inspired by the witches undoes him. The promise or a crown transforms him into a criminal. To attribute to imagination his deeper involvement in crime is to make a mountain of a molehill. On the other hand, imagination conjuring up horrors of the macabre deed acts as a disinfectant. The nomenclature ‘Tragedy of Imagination’ does not hold water.

            Othello, according to Bradley, is ‘less symbolic.’ The question, in this connection, is not less or more symbolism. In any play or drama characters or personae are so many symbols. Every individual for that matter represents something unique and thereby stands for a symbol. Symbolism is omnipresent. No particular signification attaches to it.

The author advances the view that “feeling of separation is inextricably mingled with love. In illustration of which he quotes on page 99 a poem by Mathew Arnold and an interpretation by Tagore of Kalidasa’s Meghaduta. This concept is irrational. For instance, Savitri and Satyavan are one “continent but not two islands in the sea of life.” There is no ‘incommonicability’ in perfect love. Ideal love is identity. It is like self merging in Brahman. ‘Inaccessible Banks’ of his or her ‘Manasasarovar’ are myths. Bernard Shaw’s Candida comes in nowhere here.

Iago’s malignity is pictured as motiveless. This isunimaginable in the face of his hatred for Othello, who is suspected to have illicit amour with his wife Emilia. Or he cannot put up with others’ happimess.

In King Lear nature is given a boost. ‘Tortured universe’ is trotted out. The play is a domestic tragedy. Lear disinherits himself and ignites an Etna in him. He digs his own grave.

No doubt there is a sort of symbiosis between macrocosm and microcosm. Semantic variations of nature are made much of. The whole agony of Lear arises out of disloyal and vitiated offspring. Vices, not virtues, are limned. Exemplary human relationships as in ‘Ramayana’ are not depicted for the exaltation of the audience (but for Cordelia).

Referring to Cordelia (page 122) the author states “The sense of duty or order may arise spontaneously, but it arises after the awakening of self-regarding instincts.” This sounds incompatible. While Rama was leaving for the forests, no ‘self-regarding instincts’ vitiated his resolve. It is impulsive loyalty and filial love that steeled him to face any consequence in following his father’s word given to Kaikeyi.

Hamlet comes last and is analysed according to Indian Poetics. Dhwani is defined as ‘oblique meaning’ and Rasa, as enjoyment of a particular mental state (Bhava) induced by a Vibhava. And it is stated that this relishing is richer and more beautiful in that it has got contact with the human world and is derived from the contemplation of persons and things in real life. But such contemplation of reality shows its sordid and filthy side, and a vision of life nobler, ideal and seamless, is denied. What poetry unfolds is not revolting reality but ideal Vibhavas and ideal Bhavas. These have nothing to do with the human world, they are distanced and universalized. Their apartness lies in soothing ‘distinction’ and seeming ‘similarity’.

The Vibhavas, Anubhavas and Vyabhicaribhavas properly compounded lead to Rasaasvaada. Contemplation of reality is a bar to realisation of unalloyed Rasa.

In Hamlet, leaving aside Dhwani, one has a picture of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts. Because the prince, despite his high-strung nature, is trapped by circumstances.

To sum up, Shakespeare’s tragedies employ catastrophe to satirise social evils and human vices, to show men “honest and of an open and free nature”. As C. S. Lewis put it Shakespeare had no philosophy of his own except it be the common man’s philosophy. In the tragedies he gives us a world not twisted by doctrines and idiosyncracies but a world of ‘free and open’ hearts struggling in the web of spiderish lagos.

–K. S.

The Classical Age of the Tamils: By M. Arokiaswami. Published by the University of Madras. Price: Rs. 7-50.

The time capsule of Sangam literature, especially literature written during the last Sangam, has much to yield of historical worth when we reconstruct the age of ancient Tamil civilisation. Dr Arokiaswami has made a careful study of the historical possibilities of Sangam literature. He does not subscribe to the over-enthusiasm of some Tamil scholars who accept every item of this literature as a historical fact. Nor does he dismiss the Sangam literature as valueless as some historians would have us do. It is this golden mean that assures us of this book’s reliability.

The Sangam literature is generally divided into three periods. It is said that the first Sangam (Scholar’s Academy) consisted of 549 members and the second had 59 members. The third Sangam had 49 members with Nakkirar, the author of Tirumurgatrupadai, as its President. The third Sangham has been established as a historical fact and it is from the literature of this period Dr Arokiaswami has traced the outlines of the classical age of the Tamils.

Quite a fair portion of the third Sangam creations have come down to us defying the ravages of time. Apart from the twin epics Shilappadikaram and Manimekalai, there are thousands of lines of poetry distributed in the various anthologies of this period like Ettutogai, Pathupattu and Pathinenkilkanakku. The Sangam poets wrote short odes as well as long poems. According to Dr Arokiaswami, the longer poems were meant to glorify their heroes and thus are over-burdened by imagination.

Theclassical age of the Tamils was blessed with a series of famous kings. Karikala, the victor of Venni and Vagaiparanthalai battles, is praised in Ahananooru. While Pattinapalai refers to his suzerainty over tribes likeAruvalar and Pothuvar, Shilappadikaram describes his victories in North India Karikala was equally successful in his pursuit of peace. A benevolent king, he established a sound system of administration. Among othergreat kings may be mentioned Perunarkilli, Pandyan Mudukudumi Peruvaluthi, Pandyan Neduncheliyan and Cheran Senguttuvan.

The king was at the head of administration and social life. Ancient Tamil royalty was kept under Control by self-forged chains of morality. Dr Arokiaswami’s survey records the wonderful qualities of these kings, “their high ideals of justice, forbearance, love of learning and the learned, esteem of family life, their keen sense of protection of the subjects, readiness to go to war and defeat the invader.” Administrators, according to them, were like a cart-driver “who should take care not to run the wheel on slippery ground lest it should lead him into trouble” (Puram 185). The king was assisted in his job by two ministerial councils called Ainperunkulu and Enperaayam. Administrative power percolated down to the village level, the royal benevolence thus covering the entire land. Economically, the classical age of the Tamils had a prosperous time. The agriculture-based economy was one of the reasons for the brilliant nature poetry found in the Sangam classics.

The poets would never allow the kings to forget the importance of agriculture for it was in the farm-fields that the prosperity of the kings was to be found. The Tamils, by this time had also progressed almost to perfection in various industries and handicrafts. Ship-building was also a growing art and the Tamils were developing trade across the seas. Sea imagery is frequent in later Sangam literature. The Tamils went to Rome and sailed on the Mediterranean. Indeed, Some Roman colonies were also set in South India to help the various trade activities.

The Tamils of this bygone age set much store by family life. While they favoured love marriages, they frowned upon persons who broke up peaceful family life. Guests were welcomed with open hearts and fed properly. The Tamils believed in simple living and selfless generosity. There was no religious bigotry and all the Gods of the Hindu pantheon as well as the saints of Buddhism and Jainism were worshipped according to personal inclination. It was certaintly an age of high culture that dictated understanding in family life, ceaseless effort in economics, valour in war and universal love and tolerance in peace. Dr Aroklaswami’s researches into a great past will be of much help to us in regulating our life for the future.

Preface in the Kural: By K. C. Kamaliah. M. Seshachalam and Co., Madras-1. Price: Rs. 20.

The first four chapters of Thirukkural deal with God, Rain, Renunciation and Virtue. Apart from the fact that the Kural is a renowned book of wisdom, it has, by its uninterrupted study through the ages from early times, retained textual purity unimpaired by any interpolations.

Translations of the Kural have been many not only into many languages of the world but also by many scholars both of this country and outside. Its popularity has been on the increase with the years, and it is no exaggeration, next to the Bhagavad Gita it is, perhaps, the most widely-read and commented work throughout the scholar-world.

Here in this volume we have detailed comments of everyone of the forty verses with adequate references to not only the celebrated commentator of our land like Parimel Alagar but also to foreign scholars such as G. V. Pope, W. H. Drew, F. W. Ellis and others. Throughout, the author would persevere to make out that sage Tiruvalluvar was not indebted to any other sources as some have tried to maintain that the Arthsastra of Kautilya and Manu should have provided the necessary basic thought for his magnum opus to expand upon. Of course scholars are not quite sanguine yet that the Kural completely can be of an original source and can possibly be traced to earlier influences at least. There is a growing enthusiasm in Tamil scholars, particularly to refute all early influences from any other source for any of the classics of which they feel proud. Hence it may be futile controversy to go in for more and more investigations as to the nature or origins of great works in literature, when a sense of chauvinism too begins to assail all earnest studies in the field of comparative literature.

So far as the present author is concerned, he has only suggested in places of the originality contained in the Kural, without seriously entering into controversies that lead nowhere, especially for enjoyment of it as literature. Modern interpretations on such studies often prove somewhat difficult of common acceptance by the students of the Kural who go to it for gaining knowledge and wisdom. It so unfailingly supplies to the ordinary reader with the help of a standard commentary such as that of Parimel Alagar.

Being in English, this book is sure to attract readers from all parts of the country and the labours of the author are sure to be rewarded with appreciation for his careful and clear exposition of the great book.

The Quest for Refinement: A Study of the Novels of Henry James. By Dr N. Krishna Rao, Vagdevi, Visakhapatnam-3.

The research scholar’s topic is his donnee; the reviewer’s job is to examine what he makes of it. Dr N. Krishna Rao has chosen, on competent advice, to study the theme of refinement in Henry James’s novels, a study which earned him the doctorate of the Andhra University in 1964, and which is now published in a revised form.

The author is mainly concerned with the importance of refinement in James’s moral sensibility, an aspect which in the author’s view has received inadequate critical attention. He finds that the process of maturation of James’s principal characters involves a quest for refinement.

In the first chapter the author tries to place “the idea” of this interrelationship in the historical perspective of American literature byreferring to the nineteenth-century transcendentalists and to James’s contemporaries, Twain and Howells. The next four chapters provide analyses of sixteen major novels of James, from Roderick Hudson to The Golden Bowl. These chapters are roughly co-extensive with the well-known three periods of James’s career. The central chapters (2-5) which carry the burden of Krishna Rao’s thesis is to demonstrate his thorough knowledge of the James canon, but they suffer, unfortunately, from the weight of plot summaries which occupy nearly eighty or the one hundred and eight pages of this book. The transitions from one novel to another are, of course, marked by a few comments. James was not only a prolific writer, but a novelist’s novelist. One has to sympathise with the difficulties of an Indian doctoral candidate who has undertaken such an ambitious task. One would wish that the author had chosen fewer novels and probed them more intensively to the advantage of his main argument which is indeed a fascinating theme for critical exploration.

Critical comments and evaluations, scant as they are, are somewhat obscured by the author’s style. One example: “James was at the same time dramatising the dangers of over-refinement too, for excessive refinement prevents the maturation of the human personality attenuating its strategies of will into the reflexes of presumptuous sinfulness” (p. 2). The author’s preference for sound occasionally shows as alliteration: “Marriage to the regenerate refined self, is not a refracting medium, but a responsive means of ‘self-radiation’ ” (p. 47).

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lectures 1967-1972. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay. Price: Rs. 12.

The Nehru memorial lectures constitute truly memorable occasions and the volume under review contains the first six lectures.

Prof. S. Chandrasekhar, the internationally celebrated astro-physicist, gives us a fascinating survey of ‘Astronomy in Science and Human Culture.’ He makes some interesting comparisons between Babylonian, Greek and Hindu astronomy. He says that the trigonometric methods of the Greeks influenced the ancient North Indian system of astronomy-for instance, one cannot doubt the essentially Greek character of the Surya Siddhanta whereas the arithmetical methods of the Babylonians can be perceived in the South
Indian system. As he says, “It is the dualism of Tamil and Sanskrit sources that will provide for us, eventually, a deeper insight into the structure of Indian astronomy.” Equally fascinating are Buckminister Fuller’s perspective of planetary planning and Noam Chomsky’s analysis of science and ideology projected in the wider ground of modern thought. Yet another fascinating survey is Dr Herman Goetz’s account of Indian art.

Prof. Jan Tinbergen defines socialism as “the institutionalization of solidarity among human beings” and “the recognition that in the last resort, the community is responsible for the welfare of its members.” Tinbergen’s economic thinking is of the experimental variety–not surprising, considering his early ground as a physicist. Prof. P. M. S. Blackett highlights the necessity of considering “the whole chain of activities, research, development, design, production, marketing and sales and post-sales service, as a single whole.” And Prof. Blackett winds up his lecture with a quotation from Nehru which gives us an idea of his enthusiasm for science: “It is an inherent obligation of a great country like India, with its tradition of scholarship and original thinking and its great cultural heritage, to participate fully in the march of science, which is probably mankind’s greatest enterprise today.” The Volume provides an excellent intellectual feast and richly deserves a place in every library.

The Duality of Physical Truth and Cause: By John Davis. Philosophical Library, New York. Price: 6 Dollars.

The volume under review seeks to present a world-view acceptable to theology and science. In pursuing this end, it compromises with neither. The author convicts the theological view as having failed, because its supernatural concept of God fails to be objectively demonstrable and verifiable in experience. The author is also critical of the scientific approach, and describes it as a failure. The failure is attributed to the frustrations of man. The author seeks to remedy the defects of the two approaches and erects philosophy of “Natural physical Needs, and develops a physical world-view wherein the basic needs are connected with a physical agency and the regulative properties thereof.” The work as a whole differs from traditional philosophy. It is a bold attempt at the construction of an elaborate metaphysics that seeks to reconcile human needs and scientific findings. The considerable therapeutic value of the work lies in the simple intellectual realisation that dualistic thinking destroys our last self-centered refuge. (p. 94)

Stories and Sketches: By Saros Cowasjee. Writers Workshop, Lake Gardens, Calcutta-45.

This is a Greenbird Book. It comprises nine (short) stories and five sketches by Dr Saros Cowasjee (Assistant Professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada; and Managing Editor of Wascana Review).The various stories and sketches published bythe author in native and foreign journals are reprinted together in this volume.

Dr Cowasjee is currently engaged in writing a book on Mulk Raj Anand’s fiction. And the opening story, “His Father’s Medals”, reveals the influence of Mulk Raj Anand; Ramu the scavenger-boy appears as the blue print of the portrait of Bakha in Anand’s Untouchable. “Another Train to Pakistan” affords in few suggestive terms a much more vivid picture of the India-Pakistan Partition atmosphere than Kushwant Singh’s In Train to Pakistan. “The Sentry” is a story of two brothers: Sergeant Randhir Singh of theIndian Army, on duty as sentry in the night, confronts his spying brother Kuldip Singh who joined the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose; in a moment of hesitation torn between loyalty and affection, he is shot dead by his brother. In “The General Secretary”, Vasu Dev is the Secretary of the workers’ union of a cotton mill, who finally realizes–‘Thinking of you and your children, I had almost forgotten my own’–and steps down. “Staff Only” presents the atmosphere of university staff, and resolves the quarrel between Professor Hank and his wife Judy over having a long holiday in Amsterdam.

The sketches portray the Western world in a pleasant manner. In “Sunday on a Soapbox”, Dr Cowasjee gives a delightful picture of the Sunday Hyde Park Corner of London and “the people (who) assemble there for the sake of amusement,” “A Day in Dublin” and “Dublin, Farewell” project a picture of ‘the intrinsic poverty at the core of Dublin’s superficial gaiety’. Finally we are given a picture of the fashionable French in “Boarding a French Vessel.”

The total impression afforded by these stories and sketches is indeed satisfying. Born and educated in India, Dr Cowasjee left for England to do his Ph. D. under Professor Wilson Knight on “Sean O’Casey”, visited the Continent, returned to India, and finally settled in Canada as Professor of English, which is a full cycle. The book affords a vision of the whole vista of humanity–from the untouchable scavengers up to the university professors and their desire-images. Irony and humour, tragedy and comedy, pervade the stories and sketches. The book deserves to be kept in every library for extensive reading.

Facets of Hinduism: By Diwan Bahadur N. D. Mehta. The New Order Book Co., Ahmedabad-6. Price: Rs. 18.

The learned author dived deep into the unfathomable ocean of Sanskrit literature, discovered a few precious gems and presented them to us in this volume which is a collection of essays and reviews numbering seventeen in all. The book is divided into four parts and they are entitled: (1) Hinduism and Sociology (2) Occult Concepts in Hinduism (3) Hinduism and other disciplines and (4) The Vedanta. The first essay brings to limelight the distinguishing features of Hindu eugenics. The fifth and sixth essays on Panchikarana and Evolution and concept Pranava are super excellent. The analysis of Pranava into seven elements, viz., Santa, Sakti, Bindu, Bija, M. U. A. and their relation to the seven stages of existence, Bhu Bhuvar, etc., and Sankaracharya’s key for Lava Yoga with the help of Pranava are described in the fifth essay. In addition to a historical and comparative study of the conception of Pranava as found in the Upanishads, Ontological import of “Om”, and “Om” as a means of contemplation of the Supreme Being, as a means of the knowledge of the identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Being, and as the basis of the theory of Sphota are also explained herein and these two essays deserve a keen study.

In the tenth essay dealing with the influence of Buddhism on Vedanta, the author makes a comparative study of the Karikas of Nagarjuna and Gaudapada and concludes as follows: “Similarity of Vedanta thought with Buddhistic thought lies in the denial of the Reality of the external world and in the assertion of pure idealism. But the independent ground work of the Vedanta lies in its absolute idealism. The value of this volume is much more enhanced by Prof. G. V. Subba Rao’s scholarly but lucid introduction.

The Winds of Silence: By Prithvi Singh Nahar. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Price: Rs. 6.

These are poems, songs and sonnets composed by the author, mostly on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. How the author came to write these poems is narrated in his own words: “He has many Names and Forms. “Referring to Sri Aurobindo, the Mother spoke these words to somebody. They were repeated to me, almost casually by a friend, a brother disciple, and at once they began to vibrate in my heart like the potent words of a Mantra. They stirred me to the depths. I meditated day after day on her words. Then, with a sudden unexpectedness these words in conjunction with others began to form themselves into lines of rhythmic measure and a desire arose in me to put them down in writing. In this way the first poem came to be written– ‘O Lord of many Names and Forms!’

“Then I discovered that I could write poems in English. In a flash, as it were, the first secrets of rhythm and versification, the manipulation of words of varying lengths in a foot and their subtle movement and variation, were revealed to me.”

The poems are marked by simplicity and sincerity of reeling.

The Radical Thinkers: By Rhoda P. Le Coco. Publishers: California Institute of Asian Studies, San Francisco, Calif. Price: Rs. 20.

The book begins with a fascinating prologue, the interview of the author with Jung and ends with an equally fascinating epilogue where she describes her Darshan of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In between, the pages carry a comparative study of the philosophies of Sri Aurobindo and the German thinker Heidegger. Both share one central concern: man’s search for being and the revelation of that being in this world. Both see mankind at some major cross road and so they speak with so much urgency. Both return to the Ancients to reinterpret and retranslate the knowledge that has been handed down to humanity before they could move ahead on a new knowledge and consciousness, Heidegger talks of freedom as a central necessity for man’s life task “a participation in the revealment of what-is-as-such.” The author says that Sri Aurobindo is even more radical in his thinking. For him freedom is integration, wholeness, an evolutionary development which harmonizes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual human being. The Supramental is only the immediate goal; it brings new freedom and leads to more. The author concludes that Sri Aurobindo does appear to have a more optimistic trend of thought on the whole, than Heidegger.

Quintessence of Srividyaa: The Mahaamanustava of Sri T. V. Kapali Sastriar with introduction, translation and notes by S. Shankaranarayanan. Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry-2. Price: Rs. 6.

Mahaamanustava or the praise of the great Mantra known as Panchadasi, is a poem of 32 verses in mellifluous Sanskrit. It describes in brief the efficacy and greatness of that Mantra and the Goddess that it represents. Methods of contemplation are also suggested herein. These verses are translated into and commented upon in English. The introduction justifies the title of the book , in that it beautifully sums up the quintessence of Srividyaa in a short compass of 26 pages. The goal of the Saadhana of Srividya, it is stated hereint “is self-realisation. The deity adored is the Divine Mother, Aditi of the Vedas. The Tantra conceives the Supreme as Effulgence Prakaasa. When it is self-moved to manifest something of itself there is a deliberation Vimarsa on itself. This deliberation which is the precursor of all manifestation is the Supreme Goddess.....” The Mantra, it is stated is the deity itself. “The devotee contemplates on the Light Spiritual emanating from the feet of the Mother, the Light that courses around him and has its play descending from high above his head.”

This slender but informative volume is a very good introduction to the study and practice of Srividya.

Rippled Shadow: By Keshav Mallik. Surge Publications, 13 Babur Lane, New Delhi. Price: Rs. 7-50.

It is a collection of nearly three hundred poems byKeshav Mallik who has established a reputation among the modern Indo-Anglian poets. Many of the poems are extremely interesting because of the variety of theme and treatment. We find an element of crispness and terseness of expression. He has the rare knack of expressing a lot in a few well-chosen words. His command over English language is remarkable. The tone of his poems is marked by deep sincerity. Several of the pieces included in the volume bear testimony to his gift of phrase and image. As remarked by the renowned critic David Daiches, these poems represent a notable achievement.

The Big Five of India in Sufism: By W. D. Begg, Begg Building. Todpara, Ajmer. Price: Rs. 26-00.

Despite the confusing presentation by the author, there is good material in this book on five leading saints in Sufi religion in India. There are biographical accounts of five illustrious successors of the Holy Saint of Ajmer: Hazarat Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki of Delhi, Fariduddin Masood of Pak Patan, Allauudin Ali Ahmed of Kalyar, Nizamuddin Aulia of Delhi and Naseruddin Mahmod of Delhi. In the course of his narration, Mr. Begg throws abundant light on the traditions of Sufi philosophy and practice. It is interesting to note that among the legends associated with some of these mystics, there are some which have a strong resemblance to legends in the Hindu epics. For instance, the meeting of Baba Farid with a woman-saint (P. 68) who castigated him for his anger against the poor sparrows, is almost identical with the story of the angry Sannyasin and the dutiful housewife in the Mahabharata.

The book suffers by lack of proper editing.


Bharateeya Tattvasastramu–Part. 1: By Nirvikalpananda Swami. Sadhana Grandha Mandali, Tenali. (A. P.) Price: Rs. 20.

There is a crying need for authentic works on Philosophy in lucid Telugu. This book meets that demand. All the six systems of Philosophy are expounded herein. Under the head of Vedanta, all the nine schools of thought, those of Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa, Vallabhacharya, Nimbarka, Baladeva, Bhatta Bhaskara, Vijnana Bhikshu and Srikantha are found elucidated. Under each head again a short sketch of the life of the exponent of that thought, his works and commentaries thereupon, the four Anubandhas, Pramanas accepted, the means for realisation and the nature of bondage and liberation, and other relevant items are all described. Views of Western philosophers are brought in for comparison. Features that distinguish one thought from the other are pointed out. Relevant, most useful and important texts in Sanskrit are quoted. Brevity, perspecuity and analysis are found throughout. Telugu-knowing students cannot but be much beholden to Swami, the author, and the publishers.

Jateeya Geetaalu: Edited by Gurazada Raghava Sarma. Published by the Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi, Hyderabad-4. Price: Rs. 12.

At the clarion call of Mahatma Gandhi hundreds of thousands of patriots–lawyers, doctors, professors, literateurs and even common middle class people–were carried away and participated in the national struggle for independence. They made tremendous sacrifices. The movement did not belong to a particular region of country. The whole nation with one voice protested against the British tyranny. In this mass movement the Andhras played a notable role.

The volume under review is an anthology of songs and verses composed by eminent poets of the Telugu language which have thrilled and inspired thousands in the region. Among those the place of honour is to be given to the late, lamented Garimella Satyanarayana who is considered to be the counterpart of the great poet Bharati of Tamil Nadu. It is a great pity that such a national bard is forgotten after the country attained independence. The Andhras would do well to take steps to perpetuate the memory of the great poet.

The editor of these songs, Gurazada Raghava Sarma, who actually participated in the movement and underwent the rigours of prison life, also contributed his share of songs during the struggle. He is therefore eminently qualified to do the Job. He worked on this project of collection of songs for over three decades and brought out a magnificent volume. The credit of such a collection, perhaps the first of its kind among the Indian languages, goes to him. The Andhra pradesh Sahitya Akademi deserves compliments for bringing out the volume.

“An Anthology of National Songs” would have been a more appropriate title for the book. An index would have enhanced the utility of the book.

Sahityopanyasamulu–Vol. 9: Published by A. P. Sahitya Akademi, Kala Bhavan, Hyderabad, Price: 1-00.

“Viswadata, Desoddharaka, Kalaprapoorna” Kasinathuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu has been an illustrious figure of the Telugu Renaissance. This slender but beautiful volume is the collection of the three lectures delivered by Sri Nori Narasimha Sastry, Sri Krovvidi Lingaraju and Sri Arudra in connection with the centenary celebrations of the above scholar-patriot. Sri Nageswara Rao’s humanism, patriotism, and his services to literature and arts form the themes of these lectures respectively. Well-conceived and lucidly written these lectures bring out the soulful, undying and eternal personality of Sri Nageswara Rao. It will be very nice indeed if the academic bodies could make use of such lectures as study material at the appropriate levels if only for their edification, liveliness, force and perspecuity.

Sahiryopanyasamulu - Vol. 10: Published by A. P. Sahitya Akademi, Kala Bhavan, Hyderabad-4. Price: Rs. 1-50

Chellapilla Venkata Sastri and Divakarla Tirupati Sastri jointly known as Tirupati Venkata Kavulu, have been uncrown monarchs of Telugu literary field for neatly half a century. They have played a memorable part in the Telugu Renaissance and have been greatly responsible for popularisation of poetry and Avadhanapaddhati. Lectures delivered on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of these literary giants are collected in this volume. When we know that these lectures were delivered by Chellapilla Durgeswara Sastry, Dr Divakarla Venkatavadhani (two lectures) Dr Pingali Lakshmikantam, Sarva Venkata Seshaiah and Kavisamrat Viswanatha Satyanarayana–there is no further need to emphasise the value of the biographical and literary aspect of these scholar-poets. Authentic and lively, these stimulating lectures make good reading for the lovers of literature and form excellent study material to the student.

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