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....

Sri Aurobind,’s Humour (Correspondence Part III): By Nirodbaran. Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry. Price: Rs. 30-00.

Sri Aurobindo apparently intended complete retirement when, after the Siddhi of 24 November 1926, he entrusted to the Mother, not merely the management of the Ashram but the spiritual direction of the Sadhaks as well. But with irrepressible disciples like Amal, Dilip and presently Nirod, the Master soon found that the retirement was a more arduous involvement than ever. It was the Golden Age of Yoga instruction through letters redolent of sovereign wisdom and tender solicitude and painstaking particularity, and of divine love and divine levity and divine humour.

Nirod’s Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo covers a period of about five years (1933–’38), when the Sadhaks were a manageable number (100–200). Sri Aurobindo’s daily time-table was fantasy almost:

4 p. m. – 6-30 p. m.: afternoon correspondence, newspapers;
7 or 8.30 – 9 p. m.: evening correspondence;
9 – 10 p. m.: concentration;
10 – 12 p. m.: correspondence;
12 – 2.30 a. m.: bath, meal, rest;
2-30 – 5 or 6 a. m.: correspondence...

There were no dictaphones, no stenotypists; all was written down, often on the margin of the disciple’s letters, and as often on bits of paper. On a single day in August 1936, Sri Aurobindo wrote “one letter of 36 pages vernacular, 2 others each of 8 pages of foolscap, others less in size (4, 2, 1, etc.) but ample in number–and this is no correspondence period!”

While with his formal writings in the Arya Sri Aurobindo reached a far-flung audience, his “evening talks” with his disciples before 24 November 1926 and his correspondence after were rather more intimate, admirably tuned to the occasion and the immediate audience, yet with wide-ranging creepers of meaning that invest them with universality. But the published “talks”, having been recorded from memory (by Purani, Chidanandam or, after 1938, by Nirod), do not always carry the Aurobindonian elan. It is here that the Correspondence scores, for here the style is the man, and the man-god is Sri Aurobindo. Master and disciple are exchanging letters, but so frequently and with so few inhibitions, that for the reader of the book it is as though an endlessly fascinating conversation is in progress, and he is the privileged eavesdropper. There is doubtless some clever editorial piecing together in Sri Aurobindo’s humour, but in the Aurobindonian ambience, Nirod and his doldrums (whether real or partly dramatised), the Ashram and its problems (“Commonsense is exceedingly uncommon in this Ashram”...”What a mad Ashram”) the Yoga and its vicissitudes, Nirod’s medicare and the incidental fall-out, the escalations of wit and the eruptions of doggerel (“perfectly private”), and above all the personality of the Master and the Mother spring to life in the pages of the book, and the cackle and the laughter notwithstanding, there is a continuous spray of revelation as well.

Among the recurring characters in this theatre of verbal exchanges are the Man of Sorrows who pops in unpredictably, the Subconscient (“my King Charles’s head”) and of course the Supermind. This last with its dangling Tail is quite a popular visitant on these pages, and as for Supermind’s progeny, their name is legion: Super-Tom, Super-Dick, Super-Harry, Supramental meal, even a “sublimated supramental shout.” It is a wonder that with all this barrage of attention, Mistah Supermind didn’t completely fold up and withdraw altogether, unable to stand Nirod’s taunts and Sri Aurobindo’s felicitous levities. But the Master assures Nirod in one place that his verbal shafts, his indignations and objurgations, are merely jocular and are “not meant to bum or bite.” He is “a true Ahimsuk” really, and although he strews his letters with “damned,” “deuce” and “devils,” they are only expletive; no offence at all.

Learned critics (“Easiest thing in the world is to be a critic. Just look wise and slang the subject in grave well-timed sentences. It does not matter what you say”) have often complained about Sri Aurobindo’s difficult and involved style. Once a Union Minister asked me with some petulance, “Why doesn’t your Aurobindo write like Vivekananda? How simple he is!” But there is no damned single style in the Canon, as Sri Aurobindo himself. On the other hand, the sublimest truths are presented in the language of a child’s smiles and laughter. Certainly, “within there is a soul and above there is Grace.” What follows? Sri Aurobindo writes with a view to clearing up all possible misunderstanding:

“Naturally the soul and the Grace are the two ends, but that does not mean that there is nothing between. You seem to have misinterpreted the sentence, “There is a dawdling soul within and a sleeping Grace above. When the Grace awakes, the soul will no more dawdle, because it will be abducted’. Of course, it can happen like that, but as I put it, there is no reason why it should. Generally the soul wakes up, rubs its eyes and says, “Hallo, where is that Grace?” and begins fumbling around it and pulling at things in the hope that Grace is at the other end of the said things. Finally it pulls at something by accident and the Grace comes  toppling down full tilt from God knows where. That’s the usual style–but there are others.”

A child might understand this–the whole mechanics and logistics of Grace–though grown-ups might still whimper and grouse. And the Correspondence is full of such illuminations.

Where every page almost drips with madhu, madhu, divine honey, it is not easy to do random sampling. Here levity is the natural cloak of wisdom, and laughter is crammed with light. Thus of Nirod’s portrait: “Good heavens, what a gigantic forehead they have given you! The Himalaya and the Atlantic in one mighty brow! also, with the weird supramental light upon it!” The surname ‘Talukdar’ “sounds as if you (Nirod) were a Roman Emperor.” In Yoga, the ‘vital’ is always a disturbing influence. “A disciple of Gandhi as far as passive resistance goes–a master of non-co-operation.” By August 1935, Sri Aurobindo had “got the hang of the whole hanged thing (the supramental)–like a very Einstein I have got the mathematical formula of the whole affair (‘unintelligible as in his own case to anybody but myself.’) As for ‘M’,“he is an authority on his own ideas about my Yogic philosophy.” Sri Aurobindo’s mission is not to do “miracles to order, but to try to get in a new consciousness somewhere in the world–which is itself however to attempt a miracle.” How to read The Life Divine? Well, here’s a useful tip:

“Read an unintelligible para from the L. D., then sit in vacant meditation and see what comes from the intuitive gods. They will probably play jokes with you, but what does it matter? One learns by one’s errors and marches to success through one’s failures.”

“All this promises a bad look-out when India gets Purna Swaraj. Mahatma Gandhi is having bad qualms about Congress corruption already. What will it be when Purna Swaraj reigns all over India.”

“I don’t think even”, says SriAurobindo, and adds, “I see or I don’t see.” And when he sees so clearly, how can he fail to speak out? But his is a heart of divine compassion too, and the Grace comes “toppling down full tilt”, and the dragon is ultimately cheated after all.

The Bhagavad Gita–A Revelation: By Dilip Kumar Roy. Indian Book Company, Connaught Place, New Delhi-l. Price: Rs. 40.

In this beautifully printed and well-got-up volume, worthy of the subject, the author, himself one of the perennial seekers of Godhead through devotion and song, has given us really a fine English translation in blank verse of the Lord’s song along with an introduction containing a penetrative understanding of the great scripture. The introduction at the beginning makes it clear how the Gita will stand revealed to the seeker who can cross the most exacting of hurdles that yawns as a gulf “between the awards of the logically-minded and the perceptions of the intuitive soul.”

Dilip Kumar Roy whose command of language and verse technique have always charmed readers, herein also satisfies the eager of spiritually-minded for surpassing himself in the attainment of his goal of perfection. Though the Vedic seers, according to the author, have only sought illumination of Truth by gaining Knowledge (Jnana), he feels that Love of God has an equally assured journey towards the highest point to be reached. He seeks support
for his thesis from Sri Aurobindo thus: “This yoga of love will give you a highest potential force for spiritual largeness and unity of freedom. But it must be a love which is one with God-knowledge.” “Thereby the paths of Jnana and Bhakti have been reconciled in their summum bonum being the same. He further says: “....if one appraises Gita with a tranquil and impartial eye, one cannot possibly miss this all-too-patent fact that Krishna described the excellence of one thread after another only to weave them together ultimately into a love patch-work quilt of harmony in an utterly disharmonious and distracted world.”

There is no doubt about the author’s own slant to God-love by devotion and song. Still he has attempted to show how all the three Yogas of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti have all provided valid approaches to the same goal.

The translation marks the peak of his ability to render the Sanskrit original without robbing it of its dignity and compactness. With the Glossary of technical words employed in the text, the volume is bound to prove a richer addition to the many existing translations of the Gita.

Memoirs – Window on Gandhi and Nehru: By Shriman Narayan. Popular Prakashan, Bombay-34. Price: Rs. 40.

This book of about 340 pages is a collection of reminiscences and reflections of the author, who has had unusual opportunities of close association with some of the greatest men of our times not only of India but of the outside world as well. The autobiographical portion of the narrative here is woven with the many incidents and activities of the prominent leaders of Indian freedom struggle such as Gandhiji, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vinobaji and others. From the early days of the author, he had been nurtured in a home where the best Indian ideals swayed the inmates around him. Later when he went to England for studies and also competing for the Indian Civil Service examination, he made it a point to meet many of the poets of England and thereby widen his mental horizon. Having been married to a daughter of Seth Jamanlal Bajaj, naturally he got an early occasion to meet Gandhiji after returning from his foreign stay. That was the occasion for his entry into the national struggle for winning Swaraj.

In six parts the author has taken us through the steady progress of his imbibing ideas and enthusiasm for the renascent urge which stimulated people in the national awakening to seriously think of the fresh orientation to be introduced in both methods of education and employment of our youth. Having learnt of the principles of Basic Education from the Mahatma, Shriman Narayan began to experiment his own ideas too in the execution of this favourite work of his. He received the appreciation of leaders like Vinobaji and Nehru, which soon proved the source for the rapid shouldering of further responsibilities by him as the General Secretary of the A. I. C. C., and later as a member of the Planning Commission. His work everywhere was to the satisfaction of everyone concerned with the improvement of the activities taken on hand. Therefore his becoming soon to be known to almost all of the elder leaders of the Congress seemed to be only a foregone natural event in his life. Having been chosen for Ambassadorship at Nepal by the then Prime Minister, his attempts to strengthen the ties between India and her neighbour State gave immense satisfaction to the Government. Further honours were waiting for him and whether he was prepared for them or not, they were showered on him. Thus he was chosen the Governor of Gujarat, without being even previously consulted upon his willingness to accept it.

In the other chapters in this book, we have very interesting accounts of his meeting with the English poets like John Drinkwater, Wilfred Gibson and Stephen Spender not to speak of literary critics like Lascelles Abercrombie. Again in his world tour which he has recorded here, we get glimpses of great personages like Albert Einstein, Prof. Harold Laski, Romain Rolland and others. On the whole it is a book where we get intimate insights into the mind and activities of Gandhiji and Nehru told without any tinge of self-importance.

Shriman Narayan has already to his credit many books in English, which have earned for him enough praise from the literary men. This one will certainly add to his feathers, especially when it enshrines impressions or a galaxy of great men of both our country and outside.

            Bhavabhuti: By V. V. Mirashi. Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road; Jawaharnagar, Delhi-7. Price: Rs, 45.

During his own lifetime Bhavabhuti had the grouse that his greatness as a playwright had not been recognized by his contemporaries and exclaimed, in one of his plays, “Time is endless and the earth vast.” But recognition came to him late in life; even royal patronage. However, even thirteen centuries after his death, a comprehensive work which will give definite conclusions about his life and works was overdue and the book under notice meets the need in an ample measure.

Mahamahopadhyaya Mirashi is one of the foremost Indologists of this country with an enviable academic record in the field of research and more than 25 books in English, Marathi and Hindi to his credit. In this encyclopaedic work on Bhavabhuti he has left no source untapped regarding the date of the playwirght, the riddle of his birthplace and his life. He has ably refuted Dr Kane’s objections against his identification of Padmapura, Bhavabhuti’s birthplace, with the village Padampur near Amgaon in the Bhandara district of Vidarbha. He has also, with equal vigour, demolished arguments advanced by some that Bhavabhuti and Umbeka, a Mimamsaka, were one and the same person,

Nearly half the book is, naturally, devoted to a critical examination of the three plays of Bhavabhuti, viz., the Mahavira Charita, Malati Madhava and Uttara Ramacharita. The author is not a blind admirer of Bhavabhuti. He analyses dispassionately both the merits and the shortcomings of his hero as a playwright. It is well-known that Bhavabhuti is not an easy dramatist to become acquainted with and even students of Sanskrit often find him a difficult writer to read and understand. The author has ultimately proved that Bhavabhuti is one of most rewarding of Sanskrit dramatists and particularly in the Uttara Ramacharita there are delights that await the reader who is prepared to overcome the difficulties of phrase and expression.

The book carries interesting appendices which compare Uttara Ramacharita with the Kundamala of Dhiranaga and discuss the views of Bhavabhuti on life and his influence on later Sanskrit dramatists.’ The author’s erudition is evident on every page of the book. The book is well got up.’


Aldous Huxley - A study of his novels: By K. Bhaskara Rama Murthy. Asia Publishing House, Ltd., Bombay-I. Price: Rs. 36.
Dr K. Bhaskara Rama Murthy’s book is the result of a very prolonged and deep study of the novels of Aldous Huxley. In six chapters of his book he attempts to analyse and sum up the achievements of this great tour de force of the twentieth century. He has made an admirable attempt at analyzing the novels individually and also thematically, but he has unfortunately not been able to moderate his desire for quotations from the originals, which are sometimes of unusual length. At times it becomes difficult to say where one quotation ends and the other begins. In the Course of the book there are a few interesting observations he makes. He tries to draw a relationship between the date of publication and the age of the main character. By means of a chart he tries to come to the conclusion that the time between the publication of one novel and another is approximately the same as the difference in age between one main character and another. Huxley’s characters are representatives of his own personality. Special mention must be made about the comparative study of Lawrence and Huxley. It is interesting to note the way in which the author has compared two such dissimilar characters and highlighted the various points of similarity. The last chapter of the book more or less reiterates what has already been said in the first chapter. Nothing new or original has been said about Huxley. The book is however a commendable piece of work.

Achieving order from disorder: By Walter S. Field. Philosophical Library, New York. Price: 6 Dollars.

Walter S. Field had studied Engineering, Science, Economics, and Philosophy. This ‘pilgrimage of studies,’ extending over a period of many years, gave him ‘an outlook basically epistemological, semantical and mathematical,’ which led him to know “How and What can Man Know.’ 

Field describes and discusses this “Genesis of How We Know.” The argument in the book is punctuated into four parts. In Part I, he starts with an analysis of man’s biological structure and instincts, and narrates how he depends on senses and how through ‘qualitative perceiving’ and ‘quantitative conceiving’ he derives concepts. In Part II, he takes up ‘Language’ and ‘Language thinking,’ and analyzes the six levels of abstraction from ‘visible entity’ to the hallucinary-miraculous non-formable level. Part III is an exposition of the process of ‘Thinking.’ Through symbolization and language man thinks and abstracts from the concepts. The author amply illustrates man’s unique method of abstracting through relative terms – ‘relativity’ and ‘universals’, ‘classification’ and ‘analogizing’, ‘feed’ and ‘metaphor.’ In Part IV, he projects the process of ‘Knowing’, and describes man’s qualitative development through knowing, heritage, and advancement. Through thinking, man ‘rationalizes from cause to effect that controls his actions.’
Thus the author concerns himself with man and humanity; and man is the theme of his book. As the author believes, this thesis is ‘basic and fundamental to all’; and it may help others achieve ‘more rational decisions’. Avoiding carefully ubiquitous and sesquipedalian terminology and quotations, the author purposely renders the expression simple and direct, and makes it easily intelligible which is the chief merit of the book. The book affords an interesting and rewarding study.
–Dr K. V. S. MURTI

Key to Vedic Symbolism: Compiled by M. P. Pandit. Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry-2. Price: Rs. 10.

According to Yaska the famous Nirukta writer, Vedas admit of three kinds of interpretation. Sayana in his Bhashya gave us the ritualistic meaning only. The esoteric meaning known to the sages was transmitted orally to the initiated only. It was Sri Aurobindo who revealed this symbolic meaning in his writings and shed new light on the Vedic studies. Sri M. P. Pandit compiled from the writings of Sri Aurobindo the symbolic inner meanings of different words in Vedas, arranged them in order and got the compilation published for the first time in 1967. This is the second edition of the same book.

According to the Pandit “The outer sacrifice represented in these esoteric terms an inner sacrifice of self-giving and communion with gods.” “Thus Agni outwardly is the physical principle of Fire, but inwardly the God of the psychic godward flame, force will Tapas; Surya outwardly the solar light, inwardly the God of the illuminating revelatory knowledge; Soma outwardly the moon and the Soma wine or nectarious moon planet, inwardly the God of the spiritual ecstacy–Ananda.” None but a Maharshi can unveil the hidden symbolic meaning. Sri Aurobindo did it. Sri Pandit has brought that knowledge to the door of every seeker. Symbolic meanings of more than 225 words are explained herein. Meanings of Adiiti, Angirasas, Aryan, Brahman, Dasyu, Gods, Gradation of worlds, knowledge and ignorance, Man and woman, Mantra, Purusha Sukta, Sacrifice, Soma and World-system are very enlightening. Translations of about 90 important Riks in English are given. Students of Veda desiring to know the symbolic meaning thereof must read this book carefully.

Sri Vishnu SahasranamaA Study: By Dr H. J. Achar, Karur, P.O., Tamil Nadu. Price: Rs. 12.

This is not just another commentary on the Vishnu Sahasranama, but a very searching, critical and exhaustive study of it. Bhaskara Raya’s slighting remarks that this Sahasranama is full of tautology and unmeaning indeclinables, are for the first time found here rebutted. The author proves that this Sahasranama is a continuous stream of thought arranged in proper sequence, one word being chained to the other, explaining, completing or complementing the other!” The word  for instance, is explanatory for the word  He is called Vasudeva because he resides in everything. Punarukti in this Stotra, the author observes, is not a blemish but its beauty. The word  for example, at one place by virtue of the meanings of the contiguous words denotes His invincibility in war of words, while at another place it indicates His unconquerableness in war of weapons.  an indeclinable coming after the name  indicates His continuous process of evolution.

This Sahasranama leads the devotee from the amorphous “Viswam” (the first name) to the shapely “Viswamurtih”(7l7th name). The word stands for the whole Sahasranama which again is found in a tabloid form in the first 24 names. Last sixteen names form an exclusive unit for repetitive recitation. The significance and import of each name and its relationship with other names are thoroughly dealt with. A few of the author’s experiences of the efficacy of some names in this Stotra are narrated.

Text in Devanagari script, a mini-guide that gives the meanings in English of all the names in the Stotra, and 16 selected Mantras with their indications render the book very useful to all its votaries. A serious but richly rewarding study, this book deserves to be possessed, used and preserved as a treasure trove.

Guide to the Upanishads: Compiled by M. P. Pandit. Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry-2. Price: Rs. 10.

This is compiled by the author from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. Most of the things that are to be known by an entrant into the Upanishadic lore, the meanings and exact concepts conveyed by some words like Cit Sakti, Karma and Chaitya Purusha, some topics like God Realisation, intuitive poetry and character of the Upanishads, immortality, and imagery of the Upanishads, etc., are all discussed here in a concise and clear manner. The main teachings of some Upanishads like Isha, Kena and Chandogya are also presented. Translations of some important Upanishadic passages are given. What are the Seven Steps? (P. 116) The answer is not found here. Regarding rebirth the author has the following observation. “There are numerous important passages in almost all the Upanishads positively affirming rebirth, and, in any case, the Upanishads admit the survival of the personality after death and its passage into other worlds. If there is survival in other worlds and also a final destiny of liberation into Brahman for souls embodied here, rebirth imposes itself.”

At least one passage should have been quoted here. A study of this valuable book will be of great help to students of the Upanishads.

Existentialism and Creativity: By Mitchell Bedford. Philosophical Library, New York. Price: $ 12-50.

The substantial scholarly volume under review is a thorough examination of the philosophies of naturalism as explained in Dewey’s Reconstruction in Philosophy and Nagel’s Logic without Metaphysics. The criticism leads the author to the Existentialist’s positions of Marcel and Jaspers. The central theme of the book is the clear analysis of the deep metaphysics and world view of the great paleantologist Teilhard de Chardin. The evolutionary philosophy of Chardin has attracted the Western World and influenced the contemporary thought.

The author of the book institutes a profound and insightful comparison and contrast between the different existentialists’ concepts in the philosophies of Sartre, Puber and Jaspers. There is the notable omission of the other two great existentialists: Heidegger and Tilich. The existentialist’s outlook stands for decision and commitment and action, in which man truly expresses himself. Essence comes before existence in man’s life. Man’s will is more ultimate. Man must assert his authentic existence and free himself from all types of psychological conditioning. The theistic variety of existentialism is more akin to Vedanta and is helpful to us all in the art of living. The book is a substantial contribution to the study and in the exposition of the Existentialist Philosophy.

Philosophy of the Third World: By Heydar Reghaby. Lewis Pub. Inc. Berkeley, California. Price: 2-50 dollars.

An interesting book resulting from a symposium conducted in California on the theme of the Third World. It was attended by several hundreds of delegates from all races, from all quarters of the world. But what, in the first place, is the third world? Certainly not just those countries who are opposed to Communism or Capitalism. “The third world is a combination of those oppressed cultural identities which are finding themselves in a revolutionary process of self-restoration while recreating the whole concept of humanity at a level far beyond the polluted horizons of the Western civilisation.”

Native Americans, the coloureds in the United States also constitute the community of the third world. The writers of the papers comprising this volume approach the subject from diverse standpoints and lay bare the problem from the angle of the sociologist, the educationist, the politician, the humanist. The third world movement, say the spirited writers, aims to invest the full dignity of manhood to the whole of humanity. It exposes the hollowness of the professions of the diplomats of either block by laying its finger on issues that are, to say the least, embarrassing to the Powers that rule.

The book is sure to be an eye-opener to many who think that the third world means just a group of undeveloped and uncommitted nations. The third world is a revolution in the making.

Approaches to the study of Religion: Edited by Harbans Singh. Published by the Registrar, Punjabi University, Patiala.

This book is a collection of papers read at the seminar held a few years ago at the Punjabi University to consider religion as an academic discipline. The idea was, no doubt, to promote a mutual awareness and sense of unity of values among the different religions of the world and many did approach the subject from this laudable standpoint. It is interesting to see scholars propounding various interpretations of the rise and growth of religions.

Prof. Harbans Singh points out:

“Several methods have been developed for the study of religion. The oldest and the most popular one has been the historical approach which endeavours to trace the origin and growth of religious ideas and institutions. In the psychological approach, attempt is made to probe the deeper layers of religious attitude and experience and to determine the role of religion in personality development and human fulfilment. In the phenomenological approach, religious rites, actions and observances are studied and compared. The anthropologist studies religion as it expresses itself socially in rites, sacrifices, worship and observances. The social scientist takes social and economic factors as determinants of religious manifestations.”

The stress in these discussions is on the social concern of religion and its future in a world which is getting more and more unified in other dimensions.

Image of India: By Helmuth Von Glasenapp. Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi-1. Price: Rs. 30.

Of all the countries in Europe that responded to the discovery of Indian thought in the eighteenth century, Germany is certainly the foremost. Even today there are more scholars in that country studying Indian subjects than elsewhere. There are more Yoga schools in Germany than in any other European country. This interest dates from the days of Kant who seriously occupied himself with India in his lectures (1756-’96). The author of the present survey traces the impact of India on the German mind from those early days up to the present. Kerder, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche are all there with their eulogistic or narrrowly condemnatory views. The author points out their shortcomings, as for instance, in the case of Hegel who “presumed to have found in unhistorical India, with its fossilisation of social classes, and with its unstable oscillation between sensual ecstasy and asceticism–a mode of existence that had remained at a lower stage of historical evolution.”

The second part contains an account of the interpretation of India by other Ideologies, e.g., Christian Theology, Marxism, Theosophy and Anthroposophy. There is also a chapter on the adherents of Indian religions in Germany, e.g., Vedanta and Buddhism. All told, the book gives an interesting analysis of the effects of the impact of the Indian mind on the philosophical outlook of German intellectuals.

Philosophy, History and the Image of Man: By N. A. Nikam. Somaiya Publications, Bombay-14. Price: Rs. 30.

Though it makes tough reading, this book contains some of the mature assessments of modern situations in the field of Philosophy, Religion, History and Humanism by the late Dr Nikam. Those who have tried to think and arrive at some conclusions on these problems would appreciate the help offered by the learned professor in these essays of dialectics, surveys and dialogues. His study of the monism of Shankara and the integral, comprehensive monism of Sri Aurobindo is stimulating. His analysis of man being the basic measure of value of the society in the Hindu outlook is convincing. “Man is the measure of all things because man is the ‘abode’ of all things. The image of man is the same as the image of the universe. To understand the universe, understand man; this is the law. And man is the bearer of all values because all values are human values, purushartha.

Guidance from Sri Aurobindo: By Nagin Doshi. Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry-2.

The book under review comprises letters from Sri Aurobindo to the author when he was in his teens and did not know much of Yoga or of Sadhana. The letters show the Master’s solicitude to the young disciple, his patience, his unfailing grace and constant help.

The questions of the author and the replies to them are all arranged topic wise in four parts and cover a very wide range. The various worlds, the various levels and layers in one’s own being, the method of Sadhana, the right attitude towards food, sex and sleep, Supramental Yoga, Descent of Supermind, the Descent of the divine–all are discussed and commented upon lucidly in simple terms. We are struck by the marvellous compassion of Sri Aurobindo who descends from his supernal heights to the level ofhis young disciple to communicate to him in intelligible terms.

Thus these letters are valuable guidance to all neophytes on the path of Yoga and we are grateful to the author for publishing these in a book form.

The Inner Guide: By Jay Mazo. Associated Publishers, 6, Hospital Road, Bangalore-2. Paper Rs. 12-50. Lib. Edn. Rs. 15-00

This work is analogous to “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” Three hundred and sixty-five spiritual messages dictated while the author, Jay Mazo, Was in meditation-trance are collected in this slim volume.

Even as a boy Jay Mazo was interested in the practice of Yoga through Pranayama, Mantra and Meditation whereby he thought he or anybody could reach the ultimate of manifest creation. His aspiration materialized when he came to India in 1970, after finishing his research work in history at the City University of New York.

In the course of his peregrinations he had his ‘darshan,’ of Siva Bala Yogi at Bangalore, who initiated him into the practice of meditation.

Whether it is meditation through devotion, or knowledge or Kundalini Yoga, it is the intensity of the effort of the aspirant that counts as pointed out in the book. The summum bonum of the messages, incorporated in the guide, is that through the proper exercise of meditation by means of techniques, as enumerated in Hatha and Raja Yogas, one can outgrow his ego-consciousness into cosmic consciousness and its practice by mankind reduces world problems too.

But the formidable ‘If’ is there, because it is impossible for the commonalty except for the divinely-gifted to annhilate their inborn personalities and evolve into Yogins.

Anyway, the Inner Guide lends a helping hand to sincere seekers of Truth –Omnipresent in its diverse forms and still aloof and above them but easily accessible to hisdevotees.

Nineteenth Century Studies (Essays presented to Professor Amalendu Bose): The World Press Private Ltd., Calcutta. Price: Rs. 30.

This is a volume of twenty-two essays presented to Professor Amalendu Bose on his retirement from the Calcutta University in 1973. While six of these essays discuss several aspects of some major Romantic poets, fourteen deal with important Victorian writers. One essay is concerned with what both the Romantics and the Victorians have said about the ‘Soul’. The last piece considers the media through which Indian thought had influenced nineteenth-century American literature.

Although a few major figures of the nineteenth century like Blake, Byron and Dickens were not included in this collection, it is refreshing to find that relatively unknown writers like Thomas Hood and neglected topics like Wordsworth’s view of history and Hardy’s theory of fiction are discussed by different scholars. Ramesh Chandra Sharma’s account of Shelley’s passion for freedom for all men is fascinating; K. N. Bakaya’s discussion of the development of the dramatic monologue before Browning is sound. All these essays testify to the range of interests of the Indian scholars in the nineteenth century British literature and to the sophistication of their approach to literary problems.

Kapilarahaval: By A. V. Subramania Aiyar. 47, Ramamoorthy Colony, Madras-82. Price: Rs. 7-50.

Kapilar is the author of one of the mystery poems of Tamil literature on caste system and Ahaval is a form or style similar to the blank verse in English literature. Shri A. V. Subramania Aiyar has attempted at a free English rendering of the 138 line work in the book ‘Kapilarahaval’. Though Kapilar claims the same parentage of the famous Tiruvalluvar and Avvai, his style does not seem to belong to that age. So the identity and period of Kapilar remains un-established.

Caste system and opposition to it have been co-existent since ancient times in Tamil Nadu. The main point established by Kapilar in his work is that the prime determining factor in caste is not birth but character and moral conduct. A theist and a rationalist, Kapilar refers to ancient Hindu scriptures and philosophies and quotes legends to declare his faith in words of simple beauty “There is only one community and one caste. There is only one God. Birth and death are common to all which none can arrest.” Shri Aiyar has provided interesting material to Tamilians and non-Tamilians alike on the evolution of caste system in India in general and in Tamil Nadu in particular.

Light of the Library: Edited by Velaga Venkatappaiah. Saraswati Samrajyam, Vijayawada-2. Price Rs. 10.

‘Grandhalaya Pitamaha’ ‘Padmasri’ Iyyanki Venkataramanayya, the octogenarian of Andhra Pradesh, occupies a unique place in our country, particularly of Andhra Pradesh. He rendered exemplary and meritorious service to the cause of public library movement in India for over six decades. His many-faceted public service–as a journalist, library worker, theosophist, naturopath, worker of Sarvodaya, Khadi and co-operation movements, etc., –is highly commendable. His devotion to the library movement is noteworthy.

The book under review contains felicitations to Sri Venkataramanayya by eminent persons, and essays which deal with his research work in the various fields of the library movement. The volume impresses the younger generation and inspires them to emulate the great social worker.


Kanyasulka Nataka kala: By Sri Sardesai Tirumala Rao, Anantapur. For copies: J. S. Bhimasena Rao, Kamalanagar, Anantapur. Price: Rs. 15.

Kanyasulkam is an avant garde of its kind in the dramatic literature in Telugu, the celebrated author of which, Gurazada Venkata Appa Rao, did yeoman service to the Telugu muse by portraying on a broad canvas of thematic setting a cross-section of the society contemporaneous to him with a reformist outlook there-by offering a message with humanist touch. The play has already become popular on account of study and presentation and much has been said about it in praise and curiously enough otherwise also, but a regular critique in book form on the work was very much wanting and long awaited until Sri Ramana Reddy’s ‘Mahodayam’ appeared on the scene. The present critique by Sri Tirumala Rao is quite welcome for the simple reason that it is more systematic in its approaches to the core and surroundings of the subject and accomplished with better critical care and research acumen.

Sri Tirumala Rao has already shot himself into limelight in the literary circles in the Telugu country with his successful performance as a critic of the eminent Sivabharatam, a modern classic in Telugu. He proved himself in the task to be a gifted critic endowed with a literary taste and insight, learning and genius, outlook and understanding of his own. He seems to have made the realms of the oriental and the occidental criticism the dominions of his scholarship long and set himself to the present task with much equipment behind.

The plan and presentation of the book is quite commendable which is divided into seven chapters dealing with seven major aspects of the Kanyasulkam. The dramatic structure and setting of the play are explained in the first one. In the next chapter the position of the hero and heroine is discussed at length. The next two chapters deal with the characters of Girisam and Madhuravani, the protagonists of the play and reveal to us the secret of their souls. The fifth deals with the very purpose of the being of the play, namely the social reform in its entirety and multifaced nature. The critic rightly observes that Kanyasulkam remains for all time as a marvel of art even if some of the social problems of its concern became outmoded or outdated today. The sixth chapter deals with the life-force of the play, that is, Humour, in almost all its facets quite in a vivacious vein of expression. The last chapter of this critique which deals with the message of Humanity that Kanyasulkam offers to us is really a contribution by itself.

The author should have devoted at least one more chapter exclusively for the study of the linguistic peculiarities and niceties of the medium of the play, particularly in the context of which Kanyasulkam can certainly be proud of itself as far as the Telugu tongue lives and thrives. But on the whole, Sri Tirumala Rao deserves compliments for his masterly performance in the domain of literary criticism in Telugu.

Ritambhara: By Dr K. Suprasannacharya. Sahiti Bandhu Brindam, Warangal. Price: Rs. 5.

In this selection of free-verse we find many pieces of high merit from the gifted pen of Suprasanna, one of the scholarly university poets from Warangal. It is indeed free-verse with a difference. Dignity of tone, elevation of purpose, erudition without ostentation, lift these poems far above the ordinary run of political clap-trap which masquerades as free-verse in Telugu. Avataaram, Shivadhanus, Kalyaana Varsha may be cited as specimens of the distinctive quality of Suprasanna’s poetry which seeks for a vision beyond all division and gropes towards the light behind all delight. This slender volume of poems commands attention by virtue of its merits which lie hidden behind the apparent simplicity.

Telugulo Kotta Velugulu: By Dr Tumati Donappa. Andhra University, Waltair. Price: Rs. 5.

This collection of 20 Radio talks by Dr Donappa deals with classical and folk-literatures, their growth and evolution. Thoroughness and sincerity shine through these studies lending them a tone of authenticity. Dr Donappa speaks well with courage of conviction on the topics chosen by him. The topics are of interest to all lovers of Telugu language and literature who share the view that grammar is neither prescriptive nor proscriptive, but merely descriptive. The stream of Telugu literature is never stagnant. It is always on the move seeking ever-widening horizons. Professor Donappa is one of those who can trace the course of literary history being, “aware of the past, alive to the present and unafraid of the future.” His talks are quite interesting besides being informative and educative, a rare blend indeed.

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