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UPANISHADS AND GREEK THINKERS ON 'ELEMENTS'

From the very dawn of the comparative studies in the philosophy area, scholars have noted close parallelism between Indian and Greek philos...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review 4 : The Lost River, On the trail of Saraswati


Is Saraswati River, prominent in Rigveda, a mythical river?

Yes, as per 19th century Indologists. But, NO, since from Archaeology disproved Aryan Invasion/Migration to India from outside, by 1970s. Michel Danino's work is rich with stuffs, to substantiate the existence of Rigvedic Saraswati, now known as, Ghaggar-Hakra river. Author brings the picture, how the change in course of rivers can bring natural calamities, and destruction of advanced civilizations. Danino portraits, when Sutlaj, once one of the tributary of Saraswati, changed its flow route westwards (because of tectonic movements), how it creates continuous flood in Indus river (Sindhu river), and dehydration & gradual death to Saraswati river, destroying both Indus and Saraswati civilizations and forced the inhabitants of latter, to switch to Gangetic plains, thus resuming the Hindu Tradition.


Danino renames ‘Indus Civilization’ to ‘Indus - Saraswati Civilization" because major percent of the Indus archaeological Sites and newly detecting ones (including Dholavira, Kalibangan and Lothal) are along the Shores of Saraswati, rather than in Indus Valley.

Author's Conclusion:-

* Reason for the Dehydration and disappearance of Saraswati River is the change in the course of Sutlej and Yamuna, due to tectonic movements, both of which were tributaries of Saraswati, in ancient times. Author provides the opinion of many geologists and methods of various scientific tests, in this part.

* Reason for collapsing Indus Valley Civilization (Harappa – Mohenjodaro) is the continuous FLOOD emerged, when Sutlej River changed its flow route from Saraswati to Indus (due to tectonic movements). Geologists located the locus, at where Sutlej joined Saraswati River and found out a wide bed (in kilometres) there, which clearly indicates that two rivers had joined in this area, in Ancient times.

* There was no destruction happened for Indus valley civilization. But they just changed their culture to Ganges Valley. Author evaluates the structure of building construction techniques and practicing of rituals at both location (Indus and Ganges Valley) and found many similarities between them.

Other major topics of this book:-

1. Building construction similarities, between Indus - Saraswati and Gangetic Civilizations.
2. Detailed maps of NW india's Paleo-channels, before and after Sutlej changes course.
3. Examination of Mohenjodaro - Harappan seals.
4. Covers Archaeological sites on the banks of Saraswati River. I.e. Dholavira, Kalibangan, Lothal., etc.
5. Disproves, so called, 'Aryan invasion/Migration Theory'.

ഈ ബുക്കിന്റെ മലയാളം പരിഭാഷ ഡിസി ബുക്സ് പ്രസിദ്ധപ്പെടുത്തിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. കൂടുതൽ വിവരങ്ങൾക്കുഇവിടെ ക്ലിക്കുക . Speech of Danino on this Subject here

Sunday, November 24, 2013

ശ്രീബുദ്ധനും വേദങ്ങളും


ബുദ്ധൻ എന്തുകൊണ്ട് വേദങ്ങളുടെ (ഋഗ്, യജുർ, സാമ, അഥർവ) പ്രാമാണികതയെ എതിർത്തു എന്ന വിഷയത്തിൽ ഒരിടത്തു സംവദിച്ചതിന്റെ രത്നച്ചുരുക്കം

സംശയം: വേദങ്ങൾ മനുഷ്യസൃഷ്ടിയാണ് (അപൗരുഷേയം അല്ല) എന്നതിൽ ഉറപ്പുണ്ടായിരുന്നതിനാലാണോ ശ്രീബുദ്ധൻ വേദങ്ങളെ എതിർത്തത്?

ഉത്തരം: അല്ല. മറിച്ച്, ശ്രീബുദ്ധൻ വേദങ്ങൾ, അവയുടെ ശുദ്ധരൂപത്തിൽ, അപൗരുഷേയങ്ങളല്ല എന്നു പറഞ്ഞിട്ടില്ല.

"The Buddhists have been equally deceived with Brahmins, in the estimate they have formed of the character of the Rishis. The power attributed to these revered sages by Buddhists is scarcely inferior to that of the Arhats, which we shall have to notice at greater length by and bye. By Sinhalese authors, they are represented as being possessed of superhuman attributes. In seeking to obtain Nirvana, it is great advantage of having been a Rishi in a former birth.................. But Buddha denied that the Brahmans were then in the possession of the real Veda. He said that it was given in the time of Kasyapa (a former supreme Buddha) to certain Rishis, who, by the practise of severe austerities, had acquired the power of seeing Divine Bliss. They were Attako, Vamako, Vamadevo, Wessamitto, Yamataggi, Angiraso, Bharaddwajo, Wasetto, Kassapo and Bhagu. The Vedas that were revealed to these Rishis were subsequently altered by Brahmans, so that they are now made to defend the sacrifice of animals, and to oppose the doctrine of Buddha. It is on account of this departure from the truth, that Buddha refused to pay them any respect"

Reference: 'The Sacred books of Buddhists compared with history and modern science’ by ‘Robert Spence Hardy', Page 30-31. (Major contents are from original sources like 'Mahavagga', 'Suttanipata', etc)

മുകളിൽ ക്വോട്ട് ചെയ്തതിലെ ചില വരികൾ ഒന്നുകൂടി വായിക്കാം.

"He said that it was given in the time of Kasyapa (a former supreme Buddha) to certain Rishis, who, by the practise of severe austerities, had acquired the power of seeing Divine Bliss. They were Attako, Vamako, Vamadevo, Wessamitto, Yamataggi, Angiraso, Bharaddwajo, Wasetto, Kassapo and Bhagu"


"Acquired the power of seeing Divine Bliss" എന്നത് വ്യക്തമായും സൂചിപ്പിക്കുന്നത്, ബുദ്ധൻ വേദങ്ങൾ അപൗരുഷേയമാണെന്ന വാദത്തെ എതിർത്തിട്ടില്ല, മറിച്ചു അംഗീകരിക്കുകയാണ്, എന്നുതന്നെയാണ്.

സംശയം: പിന്നെ എന്തുകൊണ്ട് വേദങ്ങളെ എതിർത്തു?

ഉത്തരം: വേദങ്ങൾ അവയുടെ ശുദ്ധാർത്ഥത്തിൽ നിന്നു വ്യതിചലിച്ചു, ഈ വ്യതിചലനം മൃഗബലി പോലുള്ളവ പ്രവൃത്തികളുടെ ഫലസിദ്ധിയെ സാധൂകരിക്കാൻ ഉപയോഗിച്ചു എന്നീ വാദങ്ങളാലാണ് ശ്രീബുദ്ധൻ വേദങ്ങളെ എതിർക്കുന്നത്. ശ്രീബുദ്ധന്റെ സിദ്ധാന്തങ്ങളെ വേദങ്ങൾ അംഗീകരിക്കുന്നില്ല എന്നതും എതിർപ്പിനു കാരണമായി.

സംശയം: വേദങ്ങളെ എതിർത്തിരുന്ന ശ്രീബുദ്ധൻ പരലോകം അംഗീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടോ?

ഉത്തരം: ശ്രീബുദ്ധൻ പരലോകം അംഗീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്.

"Buddha following the Brahmanical theory, presents hell for wicked and rebirth for the imperfect. A heaven is also recognised. ''On the dissolution on the body after death, the well doer is reborn in some happy state in heaven" (1). Sometimes heaven and hell are looked upon as temporary states before rebirth happens"(2)

1. Maha Parinibbana Sutra. i, 24. (Cited from ‘Indian Philosophy’)
2. Indian Philosophy, S Radhakrishnan, Volume 1, page 374-5

അടിക്കുറിപ്പ്: ബുദ്ധിസത്തെ പരിചയപ്പെടാൻ പറ്റിയ ഗ്രന്ഥം പോൾ കാരസിന്റെ 'ഗോസ്‌പൽ ഓഫ് ബുദ്ധ' എന്ന പുസ്തകമാണ്. ഫ്രീയായി ഡൗൺലോഡ് ചെയ്യാൻ ഇവിടെ ക്ലിക്ക് ചെയ്യുക

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Book Review - 3 : An Advanced History of India & History of Ancient India


1) ‘An Advanced History of India’ By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar

Author is known as the Dean of Indian History. Most acclaimed work is ‘History and Culture ofIndian People’, published as a series, having 11 volumes. Majumdar set aside 25 years for this landmark work.

An advancedHistory of India’ is a condensed version of his various history write ups. This book covers almost all about Indian History from Prehistoric period to Bangladesh War. Well researched subject. As there are 1150 pages, direct references are not added, which if included might consume another, minimum, 200 pages. Those who want references can buy ‘History and culture of Indian People series’. This book has an excellent Bibliography.

2) ‘History of Ancient India’ By Ramashankar Tripathi

This book is fully based on Epigraphic and Literary evidence. Puranic evidences are altogether omitted. Other information sources includes Greek historian’s works, Literary works of Chineese travellers., Tibetan and Sri Lankan chronicles, etc.

Covers Indian History from Pre Historic times to 1200 AD. One of the most sold book on India's Ancient History. elaborate account details are available on Alexanders campaign and his retreat.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review - 2 : ഇന്ത്യൻ ഫിലോസഫി / Indian Philosophy (2 Volumes)

I think, this isamong the best books I read, so far. Magnum opus of Sri. Sarveppalli Radhakrishnan, a statesman and philosopher. In Plato's terms, a 'Philosopher King'. In this two volumes, first published in 1921, Radhakrishnan with his in-depth scriptural knowledge and insight consult, explain and criticise the Philosophical concepts from Rgvedic-Upanishadic times to Buddhist-Jainist schools (in Volume 1, 607 pages), Nyaya-Vedanta to Saiva-Sakta (in Volume 2, 727 pages).

Obviously S.Radhakrishnan takes his stand in Advaita Vedanta and examines the pros and cons of all philosophical systems of India. His inclination to Advaita of Sankara and Sunyavada of Nagarjuna is indeed evident and he invests strenuous effort to save Sunyavada falling from Pessimism and many of his contentions toward that end are indeed convincing.

Radhakrishnan explain in much length about Nyaya system (Gautama), particularly its 'Sources of knowledge' and explains psychological sides of Perception. He considers Nyaya (Logic) system as a much valued one, rooted in rationality in many ways, though not fully, and shows that all other philosophical systems contain components of Nyaya, in much or less account. While noting the Cosmos, Vaisesikas (Kanada) presents, author argues Plurality cannot be the nature of ultimate Reality and in order to reach in a more plausible picture of Ultimate reality, we need to harmonize the different elements, rather than making it complex.

Samkhya (Kapila), the oldest philosophical school of india, is examined with much importance after Advaita Vedanta and Nyaya. Author seems to be impressed, as there are certain parallels between Samkhya and Vedanta, and feels that oldest form of Samkhya can be a theistic one and later, due to Buddhist influence, turned to atheistic mood. Critic portion says, association of Purusha with unconscious Prakruti is not intelligible and viewing both as 'one' is better. Radhakrishnan says, the god concept of Yoga (Patanjali) as a deistic and it is not fitting properly with the rest parts of system.

In Purva Mimamsa (Jaimini) section, Kumarila and Prabhakara schools are evaluated. Author explains both school’s views of Cognition and Self, and considers Kumarila as a 'Champion of Hinduism' and his texts "Slokavarttika' and 'Tantravarttika' as major works in Indian philosophical tradition. A detailed account of the 'sources of knowledge' is another good feature.

Radhakrishnan set aside 275 pages for Vedanta portion, in which almost 200 pages goes to Sankara's Advaita Vedanta and rest to Ramanuja's School. Author portrays the inadequacy of our knowledge about empirical world, shows the relative character & existence of objective world. Relinquishment of Subject - Object classification is ardently argued and unity, even not harmony, of both is advocated. Similarities and differences, Sankara share with certain western philosophers like Kant, Bradley and Bergson is also examined.

Author observes that Advaita Vedanta of Sankara lacks religiosity, as common people cannot have adequate knowledge to conceive the notion of ‘indescribable’ Brahman, and points the importance of Ramanuja’s Visistadvaita, which effectively places Personal God concept in par with Brahman of Advaita and invokes Bhakti, for the worshipper, to unite with god; Ramanuja reckons Karma and Jnana margas are connected to Bhakti.

A lucid account of the philosophies of Saiva Siddhanta, Sakta / Tantra, Madhvacharya, Nimbarka and Vallabha gives the finishing touch to book.

It took 3 - 4 months to finish these two valuable volumes and I am sure, this can stand as the substratum to my future readings in Indian philosophy.