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....

Selected Thoughts of Indira Gandhi: By S. K. Dhavan. Mittal Publications, Lawrence Road, Delhi-35. Price: Rs. 200.

In many ways Smt. Indira Gandhi had been deified by people· Her indomitable courage and her extraordinary abilities to govern the country during times of much disaffection in the Congress stronghold itself – all call for certainly admiration and gratitude. Next to her father she was the Prime Minister for fifteen years; If the change to Janata rule is taken into consideration, the most against her could be said to a slight miscalculation on her otherwise careful moves in the chess board of Indian politics.

Naturally from 1966 to 1984 (when she was assassinated) her regime of swaying the crowds and assemblies of intellectuals by her utterances stood her in good stead. No subject of national importance escaped her attention and her unsparing energies took her to great heights of eloquence and thoughtfulness. Hence the author here has chosen to collect many of her thoughts, both general and for special occasions, and published them in a book of nearly 375 pages. In his valuable Introduction the author has given his reasons for such an amount of labour on his part. No doubt the work should have taken or swallowed up hard sittings and strain, especially while arranging the thoughts according to alphabetical order.

For a person of numerous addresses and capabilities of expres­sing herself to different types of audiences, the range of her mind and her effort at being clear are praiseworthy indeed. Some of her thoughts may be suited to the occasion. Others are applicable to all times and all nations, and justify certainly the publicity that is now provided them in a selection. Her obser­vations about individuals such as Jawaharlal, T. T. Krishnama­chari, Dr. Radhakrishnan, C. V. Raman and Patel do her credit for their accuracy and effectiveness. But strange omissions such as of Rajendra Prasad and Rajaji in the series do show a serious gap.

The volume is beautifully produced and with the list of contents at the beginning proves to the reader the author’s carefulness in lightening his task for quick reference.


Rabindranath Tagore: Three Riddle Plays Transcreation by Prithvindra Chakravarti. Writers’ Workshop, Calcutta-45. Price: Rs. 20.

In the voluminous writings of Tagore’s prose works entitled Rabindra Rachanavali, a volume contains some farcical plays under the title for the series as Heyalinatya. Here are three of them transcreated from the original Bengali by the author in English and thereby for the first time made aware to a wider reading public how Tagore’s genius would not remain without attempting almost all forms of literary writing.

Riddles as they are called may not be quite an accurate description, since all the three do not pose any puzzle or problem for the reader to strain his brain with. They are indeed delightful, especially more so when staged, would contribute to no small measure of laughter and amusement. The first of the pieces is named Test which is bringing out the mischief lurking in a student’s answers purposely contrary to expectations but with a malice towards the teacher in relation to his act of caning constantly his pupils. It teaches a lesson to the teacher that mere caning and corporal punishments cannot extort any real good from the adolescents. The second one treats of a person self-conscious of his having sat for the M. A. Degree examination which fact gets ignored when along with him a cat that he brings, attracts greater importance than his Master’s Degree. The third one is the publicist’s hell of a time when his vanity is sought to be satisfied by the usual trade of public fund collectors for worthy causes, trying to regale him with adulations in order to weaken his determination not to part with any donation.

On the whole the plays, attempted in the fashion of Charades, as Tagore himself puts it, provide an inlet into the master mind’s rare capacity for resorting to every kind of creativity known to the literary world.

History of Kongu: By V. Ramamurtl1y. International Society for the Investigation of Ancient Civilization. 31, Poe’s Gardenr Madras-86. Price: Rs. 75

The Kongu region is the western part of modern Tamilnad and a section of the western part of ancient Tamilnad. In the distant past, it used to form part of the Chera country, one of the three classical divisions of ancient Tamilaham. It is, therefore, a historical country.

It is the Sangam poems, of about the first three centuries of the Christian era (some scholars date it earlier), which provide information about Chera history. Nevertheless. its history has not been written in English except rarely. Mr. K. G. Sesha Iyer wrote one many decades ago and later came Dr. M. Arokiaswami Now comes the present attempt.

It has been written in the currently approved scholastic fashion. If it is not a doctoral thesis, it is not very different from it. The author is nothing if not painstaking. He utilises many sources of information for his history – archaeological, inscriptional, literary, numismatic. He has succeeded in presenting a consecutive history of the region, taking into account recent discoveries and theories.

It is in the Kongu districts that the most and the largest of hoards of Roman coins, chiefly of the first emperors, have been discovered. Excavations, most of them conducted after the publication of this book, have brought to light a big pre-historic site with Roman connections in Kodumanal. Mr. Ramamurthy does not devote adequate attention to the intriguing Roman presence in the region.

But he writes with considerable authority on Kongu history in the Sangam period and under the Kalabhras. It is in these chapters that he is perhaps at his best. He then traces the history of the region till the fall of the Chola power. This history becomes rather fragmentary towards the end of this period, and recovering it is a work of scholarship.

Mr. Ramamurthy has performed a service to historical scholarship by his meticulous study of the sources of information. He is not equally gifted in presenting the results of his study, but in any case, here is a complete history of an important part of Tamilnad from pre-historic times to 1300. The later history is liable to be fragmentary and episodical, thorough the sources of information, particularly in the British period, are likely to be fuller. Mr. Ramamurthy can be expected to present a good account in the second volume.


Early History of the Vaishnava Faith and Movement in Assam: Shankaradeva and his Times. By Maheswar Neog. Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi-7. Price: Rs. 200.

This is an encyclopedic work of a high standard tracing the history of the formation of the identity of Assamese culture. In fact it gives a running account of the influences that have worked to bring about a common political, literary, religious, artistic tradition of the people inhabiting this region in the north-east of the country. The author has organised this development around the personality of Shankaradeva (15th, 16th centuries) who was the chief reformer and consolidator of the floating beliefs and practices of the peoples of diverse origin in what is Assam today. It is to his credit–and to the credit of his able successors­–that a broad Bhakti movement was initiated around the Godhead of Vishnu and on the path of eka saraniya faith. The writer rebuts the theory that this is only an offshoot of Bengal Vaishnavism. He analyses the impact of Shankaradeva and his doctrines on the growth of literature, poetry, music, art, drama and other disciplines. He devotes separate chapters to the study of the social and economic aspects of the life of the Assamese people and the extent to which they were influenced by the approach of this historical personality.

He gives a detailed account of the life and work of Shankara­deva, recalls the attacks to which he was subjected by the orthodox elements of the society. He concludes:

“The great Shankaradeva movement accelerated the pace of a renascence of literature and fine arts like music and painting. The dignity of the individual endeavour of man as a distinct religious being and not as ‘the thrall of theological despotism’ was declared. Assam discovered herself as an Integral part of the holy land of Bharatavarsha and gloried in that discovery. The holy books in Sanskrit could no longer be sealed to the common man’s view by rigid oligarchy. The use of the local language in expositions of theology and philosophy was itself a challenge to the erstwhile guardians of secret doctrines who understood the significance of the challenge. The new humanism eyed askance at the numerous blood sacrifices, including the immolation of man, and the nice sacerdotalism that was the order of the day.”

A well-merited portrait of the great humanist, unifier of values and integrator of peoples, Shankaradeva.

Conscious Immortality (Conversations with Ramana Maharshi): By Paul Brunton. Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai. Price: Rs. 15.

The conversations of Paul Brunton, the man who became famous with his book A Search for Secret India through which he introduced Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi to the world and Munagala Venkataramaiah, the diarist to whom the world is much beholden because he recorded and preserved the conversations of the Bhagavan with his innumerable devotees and visitors are issued in the form of this book. Some of these conversations appeared in print before in Talks with Ramana Maharshi and in Mountain Path.

It is interesting to know the views of the Bhagavan on matters relating to secular and spiritual life of an individual in modern times. The Bhagavan is an Advaitin pure and simple. An Advaitin does not condemn or criticise anything. While he believes that nothing in the world is absolutely real, he concedes nothing is unreal, too, from the point of view of the mundane world, Vyavaharika Jagat. The Maharshi always goes to the first principles in answering questions of the devotees. Consciousness alone exists always and nothing besides it remains. When you know that you are That, no doubts arise; you will have reached the goal of your life. But how to arrive at such a stage and know That thou art? The Maharshi answers that by killing the mind, (net curbing it) the seat of all thoughts, you stay put in the heart, the seat of consciousness.

Heart occupies central position in the teaching of Ramana. What is heart? Where is it located? Ramana speaks the language of the mystics in defining the heart, but a perusal of the con­versations throws light on what he means.

A perusal of the book will be a great help to the seekers of truth. It quells many a doubt. Hence it is a boon to all sadhakas (practitioners)


Strategy for Integrated Rural Development: By Dr. E. Nagabhusbana Rao. B. R. Publishing Corporation, 46l, Vivekanand Nagar, Delhi-52. Price: Rs. 125.

It is increasingly realised that problems of poverty and un­employment in rural areas can be solved through local level planning. Such planning should aim at optimum utilisation of natural, human and physical resources including capital. Develop­ment experience in India and abroad offers one lesson: too much dependence on one sector, agriculture or industry, is not going to provide sustained growth. The planning of a region should take into account this vital fact. Thus emerged the concept of integrated rural development. After assessing the growth potentialities and constraints of a region, an attempt should be made to co-ordinate the various schemes meant to alleviate rural poverty.

In the book under review, which is based on the author’s doctoral dissertation, an attempt has been made to assess the potentialities and problems of Nellimarla Block in Vizianagaram District of Andhra Pradesh with a view to evolving a strategy for integrated rural development. Very often, the non-availability of reliable information on the developmental potentialities of a region poses a serious problem to the planners in proposing any meaningful programme to be initiated and implemented. The main purpose of the present study is to delineate basic units for planning and to identify different levels of central places for the location of specific investments.

In the Block under study, the proportion of area under permanent pastures and grazing land constitutes 7.7 per cent of the total geographical area. The area is congenial for cattle development as the natural fodder is available to some extent. However, the area under crops like mesta and groundnut is declining in the Block. The cropping pattern should be changed in favour of remunerative crops. Of course, about 40 per cent of the cropped land is having irrigation in the study Block.

Area planning should identify various optimum places for the location of socio-economic facilities. The author has identified basic planning units and their tributary areas with a view to con­stituting viable units for implementation, monitoring and controlling the direction of developmental programmes.

In the chapter on “Planning for Agricultural Development”, the author pointed out that the study area suffers from lack of dependable sources of irrigation. The author pleads for provision of adequate agricultural inputs and also a change in cropping pattern in favour of commercial crops. He also observed that intensive developmental efforts are to be concentrated in the villages located in the lower rungs of the development hierarchy.

Integrated rural development cannot be achieved without the setting up of appropriate institutions at the block level to help the rural poor. The benefits from the existing institutions are mostly appropriated by the better-off sections. The author has not touched on this aspect of integrated rural development. Rural India requires institutions in the management of which the poor are given their due share.

The other important aspect of integrated rural development is the administrative arrangements for the success of anti-poverty programmes. The author has not examined this aspect with reference to the Block under study. Most of the anti-poverty programmes have run into rough weather in the absence of supporting services and co-ordination among various agencies serving the rural poor.

The author has made an honest attempt to present a perspective development plan for Nellimarla Block. He has presented, by using various statistical techniques, a socio economic profile of the Block under study. This work is an useful addition to the present studies on block level planning

Sri Venkateswara Leela. All His Grace: By Bulusu Venkateswarlu, Gandhi Nagar, Kakinada-4.

Primarily this is an autobiography of Sri Bulusu Venkateswarlu, a self-made man, a prolific writer, an author and publisher also of more than 120 works that won him laurels, a poet of extra-ordinary talents and an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara. Single-handed, he rendered into Telugu verse Adhyatma Ramayana, Valmiki Ramayana, Srimad Bhagavatam, Devi Bhagavatam and Maha Bharatam, besides “Lives of ancient Indian sages,” in Telugu (and English as well) in eight volumes and also dramas and several Satakas, etc.

All this, the author acknowledges in all humility, is but the grace and sport of the Lord Venkateswara. Some epics and “Venkateswara Vijaya” were written by him at the behest of the gods. Some miracles in his life are narrated. This auto­biography illustrates how an unflinching faith in one’s Guru and ardent devotion to God can work miracles, and raise the devotee to the highest pinnacle of glory.

Another important feature of this book is, it contains the gist of epics like Adhyatma Ramayana, selected translated pieces from Mahabharata related to philosophy, and morals like Yaksha Prasna and Vidura Niti, extracts from Satakas, English translation of Purusha Sukta, Sri Sukta and Sandhyavandanarn, a very brief and chapter-wise summary of the Bhagavad Gita, etc. It is a thrilling experience and delight to read this book, and we commend it to all believers in God’s grace.


(1)IJdi Kalpavrikshamu (2) Sahityam Vimarsa: By V. Mandeswara Rao. For copies: Smt. V. Sitaratnaru, 17-1-391/35, Subrahmanya Nagar, Hyderabad-500659. Price: Rs.32 and Rs. 16 respectively.

Like the multi-beaded and multi-ocular Vedic “Purusha”, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, the poet, is multi-faceted in his writings, high and rare poetic talents and achievements. Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu is his magnum opus in poetry, and a repository of all the many-sided faculties of the poet. This book under review is a critical appreciation of that Ramayana. The author is well-­read in English, Telugu and Sanskrit literatures, with literary criticism both Eastern and Western, and gifted with the art of presentation of subject matter in a lucid and interesting manner.

This work consists of seven chapters. The first six chapters give a beautiful exposition of the poetic excellences found in the six Kaandas of the Ramayana and the seventh chapter concludes and substantiates how this Ramayana is a divine tree loaded with all fragrant flowers and luscious fruits of poetic talents.

Individual poetic merits in each Kaanda, as intended and deposit­ed by the poet, are brought to light. The claims of the poet are justified and established with suitable illustrations. Characteristic features and the poetic art that can be discerned in the narrations of sub-stories, descriptions, characterisation, figures of speech and sound, style, metres, and above all Rasas and Dhvanis and exposition of ancient Indian culture, and the poet’s devotional heart, all these are pictured to our mental vision as though in a movie in a flowery and poetic style, with mathematical precision and microscopic analysis that are the author’s own. In short, it is a model critical appreciation of the Ramayana Kalpavriksha. We wish the author will bring out many more volumes on this Ramayana and exhaust the exposition of its merits.

The second book is a good guide to literary criticism. The first part deals with the subjects ahitya and Vimarsa, literature and science, sculpture (Silpa) in poetry–classic and romantic ­and modernity in literature. At every step herein we are reminded of works of Hudson, etc., in English and Anandavardhana in Sanskrit literary criticism. The essay on classicism and Romanticism is brilliant and educative. It shows how those concepts are to be applied to Telugu literature. The second chapter consists of four critical essays on Varudhini and Kalabhashini, Niramkusopaa­khyaana of Rudrakavi, Krishnasastry’s “Dhanurdaasu” and Asirigaadu in “Kanyasulkam.” Each is a literary treat by itself. The author’s reminiscences as related to Viswanatha, Devulapalli and Sri Sri form the third chapter. We await other similar works from this author’s pen.

Viswanaatha Shaarada: By Vidvan Tatikonda Venkata Krishnayya. For copies: Smt. T. Balatripura Sundari, 118, Sri Ramulavari Sannidhi Street, Tirupati. Price: Rs. 12.

In a short compass of about 95 pages, the author presents a pen-picture of the mind, art and soul of Kavisamraat Viswanatha Satyanarayana, as reflected in and suggested by his works and his expressions therein. Almost all his works are taken up for study, the main theme and the underlying current therein, Dhvanis and other distinguishing features of each work are printed in a few lines, with suitable quotations also. That we cannot see Satyanarayana the poet from Satyanarayana the man is the main theme of this book. Selections from the poet’s works Pradyum­nodaya, Gopikagitas and Bhramaragitas etc., are delicious dishes of aesthetic bliss served to the readers.

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