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....
MAHAMUDRA: (The quintessence of mind and meditation) by Takpo Tashi Nam geyl translated and annotated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa (Octavo pp/Xii-488) price Rs. 325 publishers - Motila1 Banarsi Das Jawahar Nagar, Delhi - 110 007.
The composer of this sumptuous volume was a great Lama and a scholar of the kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Meditation is now universally acknowledged as a panacea for all evils that the modem society which is under heavy stress and strain is heir to. This book under review serves as a life companion and reliable guide to all serious mediators. Even modern Buddhist teachers are using this as a text, in working with their students. Hence the importance of this work, which is an English translation of the original text in Tibetan language.
This work is a Tibetan Buddhist classic on both the theory and practice of meditation in vogue in Buddhist circles. Incidentally metaphysics of Buddhism also is presented here. The author at every step enunciates a principle and quotes from all relevant texts in support of his view. Many levels of meditation are explained herein. Differentiation between stages of tranquility and insight meditation, meditation on the two kinds of selflessness, preparation for Mahamudra practice, methods for removing obstacles, aberrations, and deviations that cloud and impede the meditation, method for achieving realization and maintain it through day and night and the four yogas of Mahamudra viz. (1) meditation on the lucidity of one’s mind (2) abandoning of the view of absolute arising, dwelling or dissolving (3) understanding that external reality is without substance and (4) a deep yearning for awareness “by commanding which all Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas can obtain the great stage of yoga”.
This work is divided into two books. One is a concise elucidation of the common system of Tranquil Equipoise. Stage, of tranquility and insight are dealt with elaborately in three chapters. Book two contains an extensive elucidation of Mahamudra and physical conduct and posture, method of concentration on an object, visualisation of mental images using the breathing, not using the breathing, formless tranquility without an image, practice for insight, four stages of virtuous practice watching the nature of Mind and of appearances, perfecting efficacy of Awareness, and four yogas etc. It ends with Yoga of non-meditation, the highest goal. All the technical terms like insight, awareness co-emergence etc., are explained.
“Realization of the basic stage of mind or actual experience of realization that we ourselves might have” is known as Mahamudra. Which is the vital essence of Buddhas’s techniques “Once we know the secret of mind one will uncover the nature of all realities. By knowing the one, one will uncover the nature of all realities. By knowing the one, one will know all”. In Short innermost awareness is Mahamudra. Innermost awareness of non-discriminating kind is awareness which is the supreme emptiness of all forms”, watch your own self, for it represents intrinsic reality” “Allrealities are but mental phenomena “Sleep is not different from wakeful state. Samsara is not different from nirvana. Non-meditation stage is the best meditation. These are some of the observations. Initiation from a guru is essential. In the initial stages Asana and Pranayama etc are necessary. Bodhisattva’s characteristics described here remind us of a Sthitaprajna. Why should a meditator sit erect? Answer given is worth noting. If the body slants to the right the mind would be drawn to sensory objects; if it slants to the left the mind will be overcome with much discursive thought. If bent forward the mind will be agitated. A review like this cannot recount all the instructions given here. One thing however may be noted here. While reading this work this reviewer is at every step reminded of the similar teachings ensconced in the Upanishads, Bhagvadgita, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Yoga Vasistha, Tripura Rahasya and Yogupanishads and J. Krishnamurthy’s teachings. Mahamudra may be equated with Rajayoga and Sunya with Brahman of the Advatitins as elucidated and acknowledged by some later students of Buddhistic studies, and different with the powers of Maya etc.
Translator’s notes covering about 45 pages explain all the technical matters referred to in the text. We commend the translator for his readable and excellent translation and deep knowledge of the subject he is handling. We conclude this with the following sentences in the coloPhon of the work.” “This elegant literary composition will be, like a path to walk on or eyes to see with, for those who seek liberation”, irrespective of their beliefs and faiths. An abridged edition will be good.
B. K. Shastry
Written long long ago in German language by a greatest German indologist, this work is even now quite the best work on the subject. Throughout our study of this book, we feel the presence of a critical and searching mind. An introductory chapter deals with the life and philosophy of Vedic Indian. Analysis and elucidation of the contents and thoughts of the two early upanishads Brihadaranyaka and Chandogya in the second chapter are superb. A study of the semantic changes that the words Brahman, and Atman etc., underwent is highly interesting and stimulating. The “power of the sacred work”, “the sacred caste”, “ego of the self” and finally “Supreme Being” are the meanings denoted by the word Brahman in Various stages. The word “Atman” which originally denoted “breath”, conveyed the idea of universal or human self in the upanishads. Importance of knowledge was recognised even in the Brahmanas. Where in knowledge without desires was also eulogised and immortality was recognised. Deliverance as the goal of goals was also there. But the knowledge of Brahman and Atman, their unity and deliverance of Atman are the maxims of the “Upani!shads.” These observations are substantiated by relevant quotations. The second chapter deals with Katha, Maitreya and Svetasvatara Upanishads, where in for the first time there are clear references to Samkhya and Yoga doctrines and personal god. A good account of Early Buddhism given in another chapter, points out that “Buddhism rejected theism and refused to speak of substantial soul, where in there is no cogitater but cogitation only, and enforced yoga.
B. K. Sastry
In this booklet, Sri Venkata Subbayya has attempted to expound in simple and easily intelligible Telugu. the Cardinal principles of Buddhistic thought and Philosophy as contained in the ‘Dhamma Chakra Pravartana Sutta’ (in pali), the first body of Buddha’s ethics and moral preachings at Saranath, soon after his attainment of enlightenment under the “Bodhi” tree. The sanskritised title ‘Dharma Chakra Pravartana’ has been adopted by the author who has divided the book into five Chapters. 1. Teachings of the Buddha. 2. Sorrow (Samudaya Dhukhamu) 3. The cause of sorrow (Dhukha Karanamu) 4. Warding off sorrow (Dhukka Nirodhamu) and. 5. Magga - Marga (The path). This succintly reflects the thematic treatment of the subject-matter of ‘Four Noble Truths’.
The author deals with the basic Buddhistic Dharma as Preached by Siddhartha, the Enlightened One, at Saranath near Varanasi in a manner and idiom that can be easily grasped by the lay reader, without the weight of philosophical profundity or abstruse logic of the Buddhistic canon. The author maintains that the Buddha was the first rationalist and scientific thinker on matters considered unchangeably religious and revelatory, and that was the prime reason as to his rejection of all authority, and direction to his disciples to follow their conscience and discretion, whenever there was a doubt or dilemma, moral or materialistic. Shorn of the subtleties of philosophy, logic, epistemology and ethics of the doctrines of the Buddha, the subject-matter has been doled out in easy and palatable doses to the discerning readers. The stress on Buddhism’s contemporary relevance seems to be on the fact that it recognises no distinctions of Caste and emphasizes the role of reason and experiential knowledge and wisdom in the conduct of individuals striving for the ultimate reality - ‘Nirvana’.
Dr. Sanjiv Dev, an art-critic of repute, has contributed an appreciatory foreword commending the book to the Telugu public.
Pothukuchi Suryanarayana Murty
1. THEOSOPHY AND THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT. 2. TmETAN TEACHINGS 3. TRANSCENDENTAL THEOSOPHY: Articles by H. P. Blavatsky: Published as Nos. 34 to 36 in H. P. Blavatsky series by Theosophy Company (Mysore) Private Ltd. Bangalore, 560004.
In the wake of the founding of the Theosophical Society by Madam H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott on November 17, 1875, a spate of assaulting criticism - carping and biting in nature and intent - was hurled at it and its founders even by well-meaning scholars and men of spiritual pursuits, on account of an improper and inadequate understanding of the three principal tenets of the Society on the basis of which (so the founders aspired and worked for in their rich and variegated lives universal peace, harmony among people and a recognition of all animate creation as one, could be ushered in, eschewing all hatred and animosities prevalent in the world in the name of religion, caste, creed, community, religion and sex. The noble ideals of the founders and the incessant striving of those masters for the edification of humanity at all levels to a state of perfect being and living, following closely the tenets propounded by the great philosophies and religions of the world synthesized in the “divine wisdom” named “Theosophy” were well known to the people of the last century and the first quarter of this century. The names of distinguished Theosophists and teachers (or preachers?) like Dr. Annie Besant. Jinrajadasa, Leadbeater, Rukmini Arundale, and her husband, G. S. Arundale, and others come before our mind’s eye, impressing us with the zealous missionary work they had carried on in their times for the propagation and practice of Theosophy as universal religion and panacea for the world’s ills.
In the brochure, “Theosophy and the Theosophical Movement”, Madme Blavatsky puts forth a spirited defence, with a rare courage of conviction and invincible confidence, against the many onslaughts - meaningful and measly-mouthed as well - directed against the new creed “Theosophy”. She cogently delivers her arguments in a manner and style, characteristic of her – coolly but with devastating pertinence and disputing humility, asserting that “Theosophy” was no dogma at all, but a pragmatic and easily pursuable course of conduct and life in the human family, engendering peace, prosperity, tranquility and global harmony in all aspects.
In “Tibetan Teachings”, many esoteric axioms and spiritual speculations have been dealt with in a lucid and appealing manner by Blavatsky answering the many criticisms levelled at such teaching.
“Transcendental Theosophy” outlines the ways for world improvement or world-deliverance from the ephemeral and tossing temptations of the common folks, their weaknesses and follies, their inane pursuits and apparently pleasurable activities and their cruel aftermath, into a benign and blessed world of peace, harmony and progress conducive to universal enlightenment and welfare.
In all the three booklets we find the evolution of the message and practical philosophy of the Theosophical movement the world over delivered by Madame Blavatsky, the great occultist and co-founder of the Society, with the earnestness of a prophet and the compassion of a Buddha. Incidentally, she refutes the oft-repeated criticism that “Theosophy” is a modified form of esoteric Buddhism, and spiritedly maintains it is a distinct and comprehensive synthetic philosophy including all the basic tenets of all religions of the world.
Pothukuchi Suryanarayana Murthy
Sri Jagannadha Rau, (1887 - 1956 A.D.) a native of Inugurti in Warangal District, is proficient in six languages and learned Veda also. A poet and scholar, he authored about 26 books on various subjects. SAUDAMINI PARINAYA is a poem of Prabandha type, embellished with almost all the requirements of a classic prabandha, a study of which reminds the readers of the ancient prabandha writers, (Pompous) in language and brimming with Sanskrit compounds and alliterations of all kinds, this book holds mirror to the poet’s command and mastery of Sanskrit and Telugu languages. At the same time he is good at Vaidarbhi Riti and lucidity also wherever necessary.
Marriage of Saudaamini, daughter of king Brihaddhwaja, with Srikarishna is the main theme. Influenced by the Prabandhas of the 16th century A. D. this has Sringara as its dominant sentiment. Saudaamini is modelled on the type of Rukmini and love in separation but not in union, finds a prominent place. This work proves the poet’s proficiency in Telugu and Sanskrit at the close of the 18th century in Warangal and suburban regions under Muslim rule also. Andhras are beholden to the Kakatiya University for taking up this publication. The introduction gives all details of the author and an estimate of the Prabandha.
B. Kutumba Rao
THE VISION AND WORK OF SRI AUROINDO by K.D. Sethna (Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry - 605 002, 1992, 238 pages Rs. 125).
Where the ‘supernal Aurobindonian touch is found, letters become literature. Nay, even more. Letters become guidelines for the ideal way of life. K.D. Sethna who has spent half a century in the Aurobindonian ambience, touches his pen and leaves a trail of golden lotuses. A Physical confrontation and some Spiritual Issues’ is a casual letter written to a person who had to face physical intimidation with unperturbable calm. Was he, then, a coward for such inaction? Not so, says Sethna, gently and firmly in his letter in the manner of Isabella in Measure for Measure:
“O, it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength! But
it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.”
So Sethna assures his correspondent that real spiritual strength should be like that of the bull. Never on the offensive:
“A lion is a beast of prey, seeking to be on the offensive. A bull is a beast of burden, brave but preferring to be on the defensive. A lion is always independent, a bull usually looks up to a master.
“All difficulties in that realm can be insuperable: if this were not so, there would be a universal consensus of philosophers instead of Aristotle at loggerheads with Plato, Kant going hammer-and-tongs at the Schoolmen as well as the Empiricists. Bertrand Russel spitting fire at Bergson.”
Unfortunately “endless argumentation” cannot lead us to truth. Only “a deep instinct which wants harmony and integration” can help a system gain universal acceptance. Sethna then makes the very important affirmation that Sri Aurobindo is not arguing out a philosophy. In fact, the Mahayogi denied he was a philosopher: “his is an integral yoga, and his philosophising is a statement in mental terms of what he has realised.”
The idea of divine incarnation is no figment of man’s imagination. The Avatar is but “the most centrally creative of the descending splendours:” and the world of human affairs in which the Avatar appears is very real. The archetypal truth of the Divine must be “ever pressing for manifestation.” And if one man receives the afflatus, why can’t the entire human family be raised to a higher consciousness by such a descent?
“The descent will mean an embodied existence of divine order in every respect and no longer of an order and that is flawed by the human and the mortal. Yes, in every respect there must be Godhead and immortality; even our physical stuff must be entirely transformed! A new apocalypse is here beyond the visions of the past-divinisation has, in Sri Aurobindo’s vocabulary, a novel significance - and yet we feel that the unprecedented is most logical. Anything short of the Aurobindonian divinising leaves Nature without sufficient justification of her being: as an emanation of the Divine she must be capable of divinisation in every inch of her when her whole principle is a progressive evolution.”
And how about the incarnation of evil forces? Since man has still not given up cherishing blindness and lust, these all-pervading evil vibrations unite to take the form of Hitler and his ilk:
“But man’s love of the base and the torturesome becomes not just one part of his nature but almost his whole being when the asura, with his attendant Rakshasa and Pishacha, so clutches human nature that it becomes one with that occult and rigid reality. Then we have an incarnation of adverse forces, the dark deities, and they shape out a collectivity, a nation, a State with the purpose of goose-stepping on the world and smashing the entire fabric of civilisation.”
However, once we identify the rot and defy it, the Divine Grace never fails to guard the good, the true and the aspirant soul of man.
Other letters of Sethna clarify several doubts regarding the ‘life divine’ advanced by Sri Aurobindo, the object of philanthropy, the phenomenon of mysticism and the reality of the Supermind. Personal reminiscences, critiques of “the Mind of Light” and French culture, and reviews of significant publications make Sri Sethna’s book a pervasive delight for the scholar and an excellent guide to the travellers of the via mystica.
A well known man of letters and incessant literary activist Sri kapilavayi Lingamurthy has earned the gratitude of Telugu readers by bringing out this rare work with a detailed introduction for the first time. Savitri Charitra written by Chennakrishna Kavi of 18th Century is a rare composition in Desi metre, Suvvala. Suvvi is a native metre used by women in their on-the spot composition while they pound grains. Prosodians believe that Suvvi is similar to Taruvoja of Desi metre.
The story of Savitri as a symbol, a force and a legend has occupied a pivotal place in vedic and puranic literature and Indian vernaculars. Though the present work has nothing special to offer in the deliniation of the legend, characterization, aesthetics and philosophy, it certainly deserves the attention of researchers in linguistics and prosody as a rare specimen of Suvviprabhanda.
Dr. D. Ramanatha Sastri
ATMA DARSANAM by Dr. V.A. Kumaraswamy, Price Rs. 60/- for copies Smt. V. Krishnaveni 187 A East Nehru Nagar, Secunderabad - 500 026 A.P.
This valuable work underreview which is a study of “Mitaakshara” a mini commentary or vritti on Brahmansutras, written by Annambhatta of Tarkasangraha “fame, a native of Andhra Region, a polymaths well versed in four sastras and vedic phonetics, and an author of 15 works in Sanskrit is a most welcome addition to the existing literature in Sanskrit on Advaita Philosophy. Three cheers to the author of this work, a thesis for a PHD degree, who for the first time brought this commentary into limelight, made a deep and critical study of that, and floodlighted the scholarship that is of Annambhatta. This is not a mere study but an elucidative commentary also on the Vritti which according to Annambhatta himself takes into cognisance the view of both Vivarna and Bhamati schools. We have herein a thorough exposition of the first four sutras. The significance of each word with its root and suffixes in the sutras is fully discussed and relevant Mimansa Nyayas are expounded. What do the words Atman and Sravana mean? What is meant by Atma Darshana? Are Hiranyagarbha and Chaturmukha identical? What is a Jivanmukta, what is the import of the word “Drastavyaha” in the Upanishadic sentence? Many such questions are answered with scriptural authority. Sravana means “Vichara” or discussion. “Atmadarsana” means a knowledge or understanding that Atman or a self is the dearest of all, and this is the first step in the ladder leading to salvation, Sravana can be a means of immediate perception or “aparoksha Jnana” also, “Manas” is an Indriya. These are some of the findings of the author recorded herein.
It may also be noted here that the author does not hesitate to contradict Annambhatta, and the author of Vedanta Paribhasha also in some places. Comparative study of Hari Dikshita’s Vrithi and Mitakshara Vrithi, is instituted in a chapter. Most salient features in Annambhatta’s commentary are also detailed. Above all an authentic biography of Annambhatta both historical and literary is of high value. Subject matter throughout is presented in a cahechetical or “Samsaya” “Akshepa” and “Siddhanta” method. A patient reading of the text pays rich dividends to both the students and scholars of Advaitaphilosophy.
Jiddu Krishna Murthy 1895-1986 was one of the great thinkers of this century. He was a Theosophist, and was presented to the world by Annie Besant. It was Annie Besant who assumed the responsibility for the education of krishna Murthy and his younger brother Nityananda. The younger brother was bright in his studies, while Krishna Murthy was ward in studies and was slow to learn. The two brothers were very close to one another. The death of the younger brother was a rude shock to Krishna Murthy, from which he recovered with difficulty, and prepared himself to face the society. Krishna Murthy lost his mother in his tenth year (1905) but was so much attached to her that he used to feel her aura around him very often and for many years in his later life. During his early childhood his mother used to relate to the young boy the distinguished work of Annie Besant in the form of stories. He was thus attracted to Annie Besant and later on to the Theosophical Society. In fact she was his ‘mother” till her death in 1933.
Krishna Murthy was averse to people deeming themselves his “disciples” and never considered himself, “leader”: he never preached anything, and he told his audience not to even take down notes whenever he spoke. He impressed upon them not to accept any statement as gospel truth, but only after meditating upon anything and after being satisfied and convinced about it. However, as it always happens, people who have high esteem for Krishna Murthy considered his statements as gospel truths and noted down his ideas and thoughts and brought them out in print for the benefit of posterity.
The two books contain brief sketches of the life of Jiddu Krishna Murthy, his statements and thoughts as recorded on a variety of topics and issues. They enable the reader to have an insight into the person and his thoughts.
Dr. B. P. Rao
‘When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps small stock of it within’.
Man is turned outwards by his senses, and so loses contact with himself. He has lost his way. His soul has become immersed in outer things, in power and passions. It must turn round to find the right direction and discover the meaning and reality it has lost.
-The Katha Upanishad