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....

A TREASURY OF MAHAYANA SUTRAS: Ed. Garma C.C. Chang. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 7, Price: Rs. 210.

Mahayana, one of the two great schools of Buddhism, is followed by great numbers in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Vietnam, but its scriptures have not yet been translated into modern languages to an appreciable extent. The present, work, Maharatnakuta Sutra, is one of their five, main Sutra groups and contains 49 Sutras, out of which the team of translators working on the project have selected 22 for this Treasury which is truly encyclopaedic in its scope. In the course of the Introduction, the Editor, Dr. Chang, sums up the main features of the Mahayana teaching: “Perfection and infinity of Buddhahood, and the aspiration for and the path leading to that state ... The infinity of Buddhahood is the two-in-one of great wisdom and great compassion; the way that leads to its realization is the practice of those virtues which are in consonance with this wisdom/compassion whole”.

Zen is one of the subsidiary schools of Mahayana. “Zen is emptiness in action, the living prajnaparamita ... Without proper guid­ance and sufficient preparation, Zen can also be dangerous and futile. By misconstruing a pseudo-experience as true enlightenment, one may develop an unwarranted self-conceit.” (P. xi)

The topics covered in the Maharatnakuta Sutra are: monastic precepts (Vinaya), intuitive wisdom (prajna), good deportment, mani­festation of the Tathagata’s light, illusion (maya), ingenuity (upaya), nature of consciousness and the Pure Land practice. Here is an elaborate discussion of the concept of Emptiress in all its settings. There are repetitions but, it is pointed out, they are deliberate and designed “to take over the mind and run its course to reach the beyond”.

The selections are grouped into 8 sections and broadly the following are their contents: Maya and Miracles, stressing the superi­ority of the cultivation and perfection of wisdom and compassion; Emptiness whose contents are all-embracing and inexhaustible; Light of the Tathagatha - embodying the dynamic aspects of Buddhahood; Consciousness which “is devoid of form and substance, yet it manifests itself by feelings and conceptions .. endowed with the power of wisdom. Perception, awareness, conception and memory are all comprised in the consciousness; “Virtue and Discipline, moral codes of Buddhism; Pure Land Practice; The Land is not heaven or celestial paradise,” but “rather an ideal training ground for furthering one’s journey toward enlightenment;” General Mahayana Doctrines; Upaya, ingenuity in execution on the part of the Teacher.

It is to the credit of the scholars who have produced this edition that the interest of the reader is awakened and sharpened as he reads on. There is something living in the message. There are end-notes after each section clarifying concepts and phrases. A word glossary and a numerical glossary are added, making this volume an invaluable reference book on Buddhism. We look forward to moresuch works from the Buddhist Association of the United States. There is more than ethics in the Mahayana, there is an unmistakable breath of the spirit.

M. P. Pandit

COMMENTARIES ON “ELEMENTS OF YOGA”: By the Mother. Sri Aurobindo Book Distribution Agency. Pondicherry - 605 002 Price: Rs. 30.

By a singular good fortune, Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, Mirra Richard, was easily accessible to the aspirants in Pondicherry. She was a good teacher and raconteur and an expert commentator on Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga. The present volume contains her explanation of Sri Aurobindo’s Elements of Yoga for her “wednesday class” students. What sounds terse and occasionally even remote in Sri Aurobindo blossoms as detailed analysis in the Commentaries.

One example. When asked if a vegetarian diet helps Sadhana, Sri Aurobindo said: “It avoids some of the difficulties which the meat­-eaters have, but it is not sufficient by itself.” But the Mother’s commentary gives us the hilarious tale of the Swedish Sadhak, the scientific history of man’s appendix, the need to avoid taking extreme positions and the definite good that comes of partaking sattvik food when engaged in spiritual pursuits. In any case one must purify one’s mental and vital conditions before worrying about physical purity:

“Don’t take it as an advice not to exercise control over your desires! It isn’t that at all. But what I mean is, do not try to be an angel in the body if you are not already just a little of an angel in your mind and vital; for that would dislocate you in a different way from the usual one, but not one that is better.”

It is in this effortless manner that we learn a good deal about sincerity, faith, surrender, love, work and sex. Indeed, this is a handbook for everyone to lead an ideal life.

Dr. Prema Nandakumar

THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI: Translated by Alistair Spearer. Motilal Banarjidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Delhi - 7. Price: Rs. 195.

“Patanjali Yoga” is the most valuable contribution of ancient India to the world at large. The book under review is a lucid translation of the Sutras by a close disciple of Sri Mahesha Yogi. This book is perhaps the first of its kind in that it contains 60 photographs of carvings, paintings and sculptures found in temples and caves etc., dating from 500-400 B.C. to the 13th century A.C. These highly evocative photos are directly or indirectly linked with Yoga practices and meditation and the technical skill of the sculptor and the artist capture our heart. This is the unique feature of this book.

We come across many important statements regarding efficacy and relevancy of Yoga practices to the modern world.

The author’s rational and scientific explanation given to the phenomena of Siddhies - Supernormal powers cannot but convince even a sceptic but sincere student. We are advised to read the Sutras aloud. This writer asserts that each word uttered by both the bard and seer possess a tremendous and mysterious creative power.

B. Kutumba Rao

ALDOUS HUXLEY AND GEORGE ORWELL - A Comparative Study of Satire in their Novels: By Yashoda Bhat. Sterting Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi - 16. Price: Rs. 175.

Given the conditions of our life in the modern conditions, the realization that we can never approximate to any measure of ideal happiness has tended to provoke both clinicians and philosophers among creative writers to dystopia. When the intellectual atmosphere is vitiated with a sense of futility and helplessness against ever ­enlarging forces of evil, satire has come to show things in a lurid light. Satire at the hands of both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley has gone a long way farther than Ian Jack’s explanation: Satire is born of the instinct to protest; it is a protest become art. In Orwell’s (Eric Blair) fiction it has been a cry of anguish and in Huxley’s an intellectual exercise to understand reality. Together they added new dimensions to satire as a literary form.

Both Huxley (1894-1963) and Orwell (1903-1950) have contri­buted something to fiction by perceiving new dimensions in satire. The one called a “pyrrhonic aesthete” and the other a “chronicler of conscience” both have displayed dystopic vision. While Huxley blossomed into a philosopher, thanks to the intellectual legacy he received, Orwell who died young could not emerge from the slough of despond which it had been his lot to fall into.

Yashoda Bhat has clearly brought out the achievement of Huxley and pointed out with candour that Orwell was denied the time for maturation. While Orwell could not go beyond warning mankind against degenerate socialism, Huxley matured from pyrhonic aestheti­cism into perennial philosophy. Mrs. Bhat’s book has been an explo­ration into the lesser known land of satire and dystopia, a painstaking journey with maps. Worthy daughter of a worthy father, a scholar both by temperament and profession, she richly merits Professor Chaman Nahal’s assessment: “Yashoda Bhat has written a scholarly work, which will continue to be regarded as a contribution in the field of her choice.”

Dr. V.V.B. Rama Rao

A STUDY OF MAHIMA BHATIA’S VYAKTIVIVEKA: By C. Rajendra Prasad, Professor of Sanskrit, University of Calicut.

Vyaktiviveka is a classic in Sanskrit literary criticism and poetics. What Anandavardhana is for the Dhvani theory, Mahima Bhatta is for the Anumiti theory, after Sri Sankara whose works are not available now. An original thinker and an undaunted critic, Mahima Bhatta throws down the gauntlet to Anandavardhana. Even celebrated Sanskrit poets did not escape his surveillance. Though the Anumiti theory finally did not hold its ground, it indirectly added to the lustre and glory of the Dhvani theory study of Vyaktiviveka, surely sharpens the brains of students of literary criticism.

The book under review is perhaps the first dissertation in English, and it gives a critical estimate of the text Vyaktiviveka. Divided into eight chapters, the book is a detailed survey of the several aspects dealt in the text in a historical and comparative method. Influence of Shaiva Philosophy is also shown, though not elaborated. It may be pointed out that there are some who maintain that the process of inference, valid or fallacious, is there unnoticed in suggestion of a meaning and inference though not invariable does not cease to be inference. Anyhow the relationship between logic and language is a subject to be studied further. The author did justice to his job and deserves all praise.

B. KUTUMBA RAO

SANSKRIT AND ENGLISH

GANGESA’S THEORY OF TRUTH. PRAMANYA (JNAPTI) VAADA: With translation by Jitendranath Mohanty. Motilal Banarsidass, P., Ltd., Jawahar Nagar, Delhi - 7. Price: Rs. 150.

“Pramanyavada” is the second chapter of the first part viz., “Pratyaksha of Gangesas’ Tattva Chintamani.” It has again three sub­divisions. Of these “The knowledge of truth Jnapti” is the first one. This is the text under review. The text in Sanskrit in English transliteration, divided into numbered paragraphs, is followed by English translation to which the translator has added his explanatory and critical notes.

The introductory part of this volume is a lucid, analytical, comparative and cohesive explication of the theory of truth, Svatah Pramanya and Paatah Pramanya vaadas as expounded by Mimamsakas, Vedantins and Naiyayikas. It is a true introduction to the subject. Even a student with nodding acquaintance of Nyaya terminol­ogy can understand it. His conclusions after an examination by the Vaadas is also very balanced. The learned Professor concludes that the rival schools in so far as the problem of truth is concerned are in a way complementary to each other. Gangesa, he says, tried his best to remove ambiguity, equivocation and relativity of the words Sva and Para and make their meaning as precise as possible. He brought out a common meaning of “Svatah Pramanya”, etc.

Translation of such texts as this involving many technical terms and phraseology is indeed a hard nut to crack. The learned Professor did his job excellently.

B. K. SASTRY

SANSKRIT AND TELUGU

Tarkasamgraha of Annambhatta with Telugu commentary: By Dr. V. Ramanujacharya. Sri Jayalaxmi Publications, 3-35 Kukatpalli, Hyderabad - 500 872. Price: Rs. 35.

A basic knowledge of logic or Tarka is a sine qua non for a proper understanding of Sastras and Sahitya. “Tarka Samgraha” is recognised as the best primer of Indian logic, throughout the scholastic world. The book under review contains the text in Sanskrit in Telugu script, and a lucid and exhaustive Telugu commentary. The commen­tator has a rare gift of explaining even the most intricate and subtle subjects with ease.

Short notes added to all the textual explanations, expound the subject still more clearly with suitable examples from day to day life also: Addendums covering over fifty pages are the most valuable portion of the book. About 90 topics - technical terms, special concepts, different theories and subtle points - are explained.

In short this invincible work is not merely a good primer of logic, but also a very nice introduction to the Indian logic in general.

B. K. SASTRY.

TELUGU

Trayi: A collection of Poems: By Janamanchi Venkataramayya. Janamanchi Prachuranalu, Rajahmundry - 5. Price Rs.20.

This is a triad of poetical pieces composed by late Janamanchi Venkataramayya, a distinguished “Bhaavuka” and poet of note of yester years, whose forte was the sentiment of compassion and pathos. The first poem entitled “Nava Kusumanjali” contains paeans of praise and supplicating strains to the Lord of the Universe. The vicissitudes and variegated features of mundane life and their impact on the psyche and behaviour of men and women are delineated with understanding and sympathy. The style employed is one chastened by the austerity of classicism and enlivened by the vigour and vibrancy of modern sensibility.

The second piece “Amritakalasi” (Jar of Nectar) describes the various faces of poetic endeavour and how aspirants to good poetical writing should train themselves to make a mark. The poet stresses on the virtues and virtuosities of ancient poetry at its best as also on the elan vital of modern thinking and expression in a manner direct in appeal and abiding in its effect on the readers.
The concluding piece is a moving elegiac effusion replete with sorrow in its depth and sentimental attachment of the poet to his dead brother whose life was cut short by the icy hand of Death at an young age, setting at nought the many hopes and expectations he had about him and his achievements in life. Venkataramayya’s quintessential nature and fine heart are revealed in a touching manner.

In all these pieces, the poet focuses our attention on the ultimate triune - Satyam, Sivam and Sundaram - as the true testament of any poetry rightly so called, whether ancient or modern, expressed in whatever form, and intimates us with the subtleties of introspective thoughtfulness and the quiet and discerning expression of them to maximum effect.

Pothukuchi Suryanarayana Murthy.

RIGVEDA RAHASYALU: By Dr. K. V. Raghavacharya, Gandhi Nagar, Tenali - 522 201. Price: Rs. 36.

Dr. K.V. Raghavacharya is a prodigy of multifaceted talents and achievements in Yoga and literary fields. At his ripe old age he wrote quite a new commentary in Telugu on the three Vedas and published it in five volumes. The book under review complements them and unravels some mystic secrets and gives some new interpretations that were not touched upon in the previous volumes.

Visvakarma of the Vedas, the author contends with authority, is but the Brahman of the Upanishads, and all names like Purusha, Hiran­yagarbha, and their forms culminate in Visvakarma. This is the main thesis, and the inner chord running through all the interpretations. Adducing evidence in his favour from Vidyaranya’s Bhashya, he disillusions those that attribute partisan spirit to him. This in short is the main contribution of the learned author whereby he created a niche for himself in the temple of fame.

The book Rigveda Rahasyalu opens with the commentary on the famous Mantra “Triambakam Yajaamaha” of proven efficacy, physical and spiritual. In the portion dealing with Vishnu Mantras etc., significance of the words “Tridha, Saptadha and Trivikrama” is explained from Yoga point of view.

The chapter dealing with Vaak and Artha is illuminating. Matter and spirit as expounded in the Vedas gives a thorough exposition. Exposition of the Naasadiya Sukta, Visvakarma Sukta, the progress of creation and a comparative study of these with Purusha Sukta, speaks volumes of the author’s critical acumen. All in all herein we have a critical study of Visvakarma, Brahmadvaita and Ajataveda, practical hints to Saadhakas on Yoga and meditation, and many mystic and symbolic interpretations not expounded in other commentators in such detail with authority, reason and logic.

B. Kutumba Rao

MUTNURI KRISHNA RAO - JEEVITAMU, RACHANALU (Mutnuri Krishna Rao - Life and Works): By Dr. R. Sreemannarayana Sarma. Haritasa Publications, 6-1-2/B-53, Behind Z.P., Nalgonda. Price: Rs. 80.

Mutnuri Krishna Rao was a doyen among the editors of Andhra Pradesh and was highly respected as a philosopher, a profound scholar and a staunch nationalist. The Krishna Patrika occupied a unique place under his editorship and played a very prominent role in the national struggle for independence. If Gandhiji’s Young India played a major role in shaping the youth of the country and led them to participate in the national movement, Krishna Rao’s Krishna Patrika was equally responsible in inspiring the young men in Andhra Pradesh. Further, the Krishna Patrika has done inestimable service in the country’s welfare, especially in the fields of Indian art and Telugu literature. It is said that Dr. S. Radhakrishnan got inspiration for his Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore from Krishna Rao’s dissertation about the Viswakavi.

The book under review is a doctoral thesis on the life of such a great person. The author has taken great pains in gathering the material pertaining to Krishna Rao’s life and his works. The book is divided into six chapters - Krishna Rao’s birth and early life; his part in the national struggle for independence; his capacity in conducting Krishna Patrika; his personality and individuality; his editorials; and his other writings.

Every effort has been taken by the author to furnish all details of Krishna Rao’s thought and achievement. The author has suc­ceeded, to a great extent, in presenting the multifaceted genius of Krishna Rao by quoting several incidents in Krishna Rao’s life. The book would serve to inspire the young and also as a reference book of great value, because this is the first book that has covered in detail the life and works of the greatest editor of our time.

BHAVARAJU

TELUGUVARI AADI CHARITRAMU: By T. Ramachandra Rao. For copies. Author C/o T.V.S. Prasada Rao, C/o J.R.M. (P.O) F.C.I, 5th Floor, R.T.C. Complex, Visakhapatnam. Price Rs. 32.

This is a historical poem in Telugu. Origin and spread of Andhras form the main theme of this work. Creation of the universe according to the Vedas, Puranas and astronomy correlated with the findings of modern science, and the glory of Vishnuvardhana’s kingdom are the subsidiary themes. Consisting of five Aswasas, written in classical Telugu, this poem has almost all the requisites of a good poem. Herein is a fresh contribution to Andhra history.

For the first time, perhaps, we have a Telugu Kavya with Andhranayaka Vishnu as its hero. All the main features of a good Kavya - delineation of Rasas, Alamkaras, imagination and fancy, propriety of metres and style are there. There is a message. Need of national integration, moral and spiritual values is stressed throughout. Telugu maxims and idioms are spicy. We wholeheartedly commend this work to all historians and lovers of poetry also.

B. KUTUMBA RAO

VAANA JALLU: By Smt. Achanta Sarada Devi. Published by Sahiti. 1-99/3, Lingojiguda, Saroornagar, Hyderabad - 500 035. Copies available at Y.V. Subrahmanyam, 26-13-63, Sanyasiraju Street, Gandhinagar, Vijayawada - 520003. Price Rs. 15.

“Vaana Jallu” is a collection of twenty-one short stories, in Telugu, covering a variety of the aspects of woman in her daily life. In all these stories it is a woman who is either the main character or an important person. The theme of the stories contains an under­current of the different facets of woman’s existence in the society, family and life. Each of the stories has a moral which is occasionally implicit. The human emotions, failings, desires and aspirations are depicted in simple and easily readable language. One feature which is very prominently discernible in all the stories is the absence of jealousy or hatred of anyone of the characters depicted. On the other hand, almost all the characters exude the feelings of sympathy, love, compassion, desire to be helpful to others and willingness to ignore the failings in others, and similar other noble traits.

The settings in which the stories occur are simple, easy to comprehend and appear as though they happen before one’s eyes. The style of writing and narration are simple and straight. This feature adds to their readability.

Dr. B. P. Rao

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