Guiding Light of The Month

Tell me, wilt Thou grant me the marvellous power to give birth to this dawn in expectant hearts, to awaken the consciousness of men to Thy sublime presence, and in this bare and sorrowful world awaken a little of Thy true Paradise? What happiness, what riches, what terrestrial powers can equal this wonderful gift! - The Mother

Commentaries or Bhāṣhyās on the ‘Vedās’ (contd.)

Rāghavēndra Thīrtha & Jayathīrtha – (17th Century CE):
Being the disciples of Madhvāchārya and of the same school, they have written many commentaries. They expanded the works of Madhvāchārya following the same lines of interpretation.
Rāghavēndra: Great Yogi of majestic lustre wrote many works inclusive of 6 of the 10 Prākarana Granthās, 6 Sūtra Prasthāna, Rig and Upanishad Prasthāna, 4 Gīta Prasthāna and another 20 writings.
He wrote the work Mantrārtha Manjari, following the Rig Bhāshya of Madhvācharya and amplifying the points therein. Here it is made clear that the riks are indeed to be explained with reference to Agni etc., as deities and to Vishnu as the supreme Deity dwelling in them and also in the spiritual sense. The central message from this work is, that the meaning of the riks as related to the soul (spiritual) and as related to the Gods, are to be brought together. Meaning relating to soul is the inner import and the one relating to the Gods contains in itself the sacrificial meaning. Following the direct meaning, the mantrās do have a secondary application in rituals. However, in giving the most direct meaning as related to the Gods; the mantrās refer predominantly to the Supreme Lord Vishnu himself. Thus, the three kinds of knowledge obtained from the Veda i.e, the knowledge relating to the sacrifice, to the Gods and to the self, spoken of by Yāska, are in general agreement here. In any case, the use of the mantrās in ritual is only of secondary significance.
Jayathirtha: One of the stalwarts of Tattvavāda (logical exposition) has written on Isa Upanishad, Nyāya Sudha, Vadavalli, Tattvasamkhyānatikā and another 19 writings.
Note on Advaita, Viṣhiṭādvaita and Dvaita Philosophies:
It is a fact that great spiritual realizations mentioned in the Upanishads have become the battle fields for some self-styled votaries of the above three disciplines. Even though the Brahma Sūtras were compiled to effect a reconciliation, different sections have been used by different factions in their verbal warfare. However, Sri Aurobindo finds that each of the realizations is true and the truth of any one need not and does not nullify the truth of the other. He quotes: “In liberation the individual soul realizes itself as the One (that is yet Many). It may plunge into the One and merge or hide itself in its bosom – that is the ‘laya’ of the ‘Advaita’; it may feel its oneness and, yet as part of the Many that is the One, enjoy the Divine, that is the Vishiṣhṭādvaita liberation; it may lay stress on its Many aspect and go on playing with Krishna in the eternal Brindavan, that is Dvaita liberation. Or it may, even being liberated, remain in the Lila or Manifestation or descend into it as often as it likes. The Divine is not bound by human philosophies – it is free in its play and free in its essence.”

H. H. Wilson(1786 – 1860 CE):
Horace Hayman Wilson, an English Orientalist, went out to India in 1808 as an assistant-surgeon. He became deeply interested in the ancient language and literature of India, and published the Sanskrit text with his English translation of Kalidasa's charming lyrical poem, ‘Mēghadūta’, or ‘Cloud-Messenger’. He prepared the first ‘Sanskrit-English Dictionary’ (1819) from materials compiled by native scholars, supplemented by his own researches. He was the first to make a complete translation of the Rig Veda into English, published in six volumes during the years 1850-1888 and this version was based on the commentary of Sāyana. His English translation of ‘The Vishnu Purāna’ came out in 1840 and he was also interested in Āyurveda and traditional Indian medical and surgical practices.
Max Müller - (1823-1900 CE) :
A German philologist, Sanskrit scholar, Orientalist and one of the founders of the Western academic field of Indian studies and of comparative religion. He wrote both scholarly and popular works on the subject of Indology, a discipline he introduced to the British reading public. Western scholars sought to compare the genetically related European and Asian languages in order to reconstruct the earliest form of the root-language. The Vedic language, Sanskrit, was thought to be the oldest of the Indo-European languages. Müller devoted himself to this, becoming one of the major Sanskrit scholars of his day. He believed that the earliest documents of Vedic culture should be studied in order to provide the key to the development of European religions, and of religious belief in general. To this end he sought to understand the most ancient of Vedic scriptures, the Rig-Veda.
For Müller, however, the study of the language had to relate to the study of the culture in which it had been used. He came to the view that the development of languages should be tied to that of belief-systems. At that time the Vedic scriptures were little-known in the West, though there was increasing interest in the philosophy of the Upanishads. He had to travel to London in order to look at documents held in the collection of the British East India Company. While there, he persuaded the company to allow him to undertake a critical edition of the Rig-Veda. This task he pursued over many years (1849 - 1874), which resulted in the critical edition for which he is most remembered.
He had the following to say about India: "Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language or religion or mythology or philosophy, whether it be laws or customs, arts or sciences, everywhere you have to go to India, whether you like it or not, because some of the most valuable and instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India and in India only."
Some (out of many) scholarly works of his works:
 50 volumes of ‘The Sacred Books of the East’,
 6 volumes of ‘Rig Veda’,
 ‘India, What can it Teach Us’,
 ‘Six Systems of Hindu Philosophy’
 'A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature’
Ralph T. H. Griffith (1826-1906 CE):
A scholar of Indology and B.A. of Queen's College, he was elected to the vacant Sanskrit Scholarship on Nov 24, 1849. He translated the Vedic scriptures into English. He also produced translations of other Sanskrit literature, including a verse version of the Ramayana and the Kumāra Sambhava of Kālidāsa. He held the position of principal at the Benaras (now Varanasi) College in India. His translation of the Rig Veda follows the text of Max Müller's six-volume Sanskrit edition. He published his translation as ‘The Hymns of the Rig Veda’, published in London (1889) His readings generally follow the work of Sāyaṇa. Now long out of copyright, copies of his translation of the Rigveda, Samaveda, Shukla Yajurveda, Atharvaveda and Ramāyana are available on the internet.
Notes on Occidental translators of the 19th Century:
In general, they firmly believed that the world began in around 4000 BCE and assumed that the Vedic poets belonged to a primitive civilization. By not having a connection to the Vedic spiritual tradition or its terminology, they could not appreciate the spiritual-religious views of the Vedās. They had a different view of the world, history and progress—that of Western civilization and its values—which colored their perception. They did not practice the mantrās and meditations of the Vedic tradition in order to know these at an intimate level. They were at best detached observers from the outside, or at worst hostile critics with an agenda to denigrate or eliminate the Vedic tradition that they see as wrong or obsolete according to their own values. The result was that they looked at the Rig Veda on an outer level only, not as a sophisticated system devised to develop a higher consciousness that transcends time and space but as primitive poetry or crude philosophy of unsophisticated tribes. Hence they could not accept the presence of any deep symbolism in these verses. Suppressing the symbolism could only result in an incoherent translation of the Vedic texts.
References
1. ‘ The Light of Veda – A Practical Approach ’ – by Sri T.V.Kapāli Sastry
2. ‘ A New Light on the Veda ’ – by Sri T.V.Kapāli Sastry
(Originally written in Sanskrit under the name ‘Siddhānjana – Bhūmika’, translated into English by Sri M.P.Pandit and thoroughly revised by the author himself, in 1952. Published by Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore. (SAKSI)).
3. ‘ Agni in the Rig Veda ’ - by Dr R.L.Kashyap
4. ‘ Why read the Rig Veda ’ – by Dr R.L.Kashyap
to be continued……

- Krishnamurthy (chamathu2003@yahoo.co.uk)

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