The Essence of Ancient India

The seers of ancient India had, in their experiments and efforts at spiritual training and the conquest of the body, perfected a discovery which in its importance to the future of human knowledge dwarfs the divinations of Newton and Galileo , even the discovery of the inductive and experimental method in Science was not more momentous... – Sri Aurobindo

What is more fascinating than getting to know about your own glorious past? What is more interesting than analyzing how as a civilization have we been shaping up our own spiritual evolution? What is more beautiful than being able to get voluminous authentic , first hand researched material in a capsulated format ? Absolutely Nothing!

But you have everything in front of you with this E book titled The Beauty of Sanskrit language and texts that promises to satiate the hunger for knowledge and wisdom of someone who wants to learn about ancient India and the beauty of Sanskrit language.

Book Review 

Title of the Book: The Beauty of Sanskrit language and texts

Author's Name: Durga Prasad Dash

Format: PDF

About the Author: The Author had served his glorious years in Indian Air Force and has enriched his life with vast experiences in knowing the culture, cuisine , traditions and spiritual aspects of his motherland. He is also an blogger and takes interest in exploring spiritual aspects of life. He is passionate about yoga as well. He regularly blogs at https://durgadash.com. He has the honor of publishing Eight books ( including the current one) and you can find his books on Amazon

Narration: The style of writing is articulate, organized and in fact the author has also taken immense care to present his thoughts by following an algorithm of selecting books which has helped him sum up every chapter. The clarity of thoughts presented in the book is directly proportional to the amount of research, painstaking hard work has been undertaken by the author.

Book Cover & Title: The title is very suitable and apt and it drives the readers straight to the point exactly like a work of Non-fiction should be. The cover has been chosen carefully and perfectly blends with the content of the book. The palm leaf stacks displayed connotes the stack of wisdom that this book has within.

Content

Through this book the reader can get glimpses into each branch of the vast and intricate world of
traditional Indian Knowledge System that includes not only spiritual works but also a lot of works of non religious nature. Sanskrit, which literally means ‘refined’, is also known as Devabhasha or the language of Gods. The book explores the beauty of this ancient language and highlights the feature that makes it unique.”

The above lines greet the reader and pave way for him her /her to soak in the oceanic depth of vast knowledge of ancient India pertaining to Sanskrit language, the lifestyle of the then era, the spirituality aspects of life and so much more. The author has showcased his seasoned art of writing books in the portion of preface itself, when he guides the reader as to what lies ahead. the flow of chapters have been arranged as per the algorithmic pattern where in mostly the author has picked up a book and arranged it in an alphabetical order . Each chapter is distinct yet connected to the base of bringing in wisdom of ancient India where Sanskrit was one of the primary languages. And a civilization is know thing but what its language reflects for it captures the very identity of the prevalent societal patterns.

The first chapter is titled Amarakosha, and opens with a prayer i.e

O wise ones! Serve those who are oceans of knowledge and compassion and are pure so as to get the nectar of real wealth and eternal life.

Amarakosha is also called as Namalinganushasanam which means a treatise in which words with their genders are given. For example in the above sloka the synonyms of heaven are given as – swar, swarga, naka, tridiva, tridahsalaya, suraloka, dwau, divyau, trivistapa. Dwauand div are feminine gender, tribishtapam is the neuter gender (klibalinga), and the rest are of masculine gender.

Bhaja govindam, bhaja govindam

 Govindam bhaja mudhamate.

Samprapte sannihitekale

Nahin nahin rakshati tukkkun-karane

The next chapter opens with one of my favorite lines (cited above) and goes on to emphasize how one has to transcend logic to attain self-knowledge. The extraordinary 32 years of Adishankaracharya and his contribution towards establishing the supremacy of Adwaita Vedanta and integrated all factions of spiritual traditions of India. From emphasizing that nothing is greater asset than health in the chapter Charaka Samhita to highlighting the significance of integrating spiritual aspect for wholesome development of an individual, the author rightly establishes that the practice that prevailed then ,was far more evolved as compared to the then western society.

The most interesting of all was the mention of Dayabhaga, the earliest Legal Attempt at Women Empowerment. The author differentiates between Mitakshara School & Dayabhaga School and the later recognized the right of a widow to inherit husband’s ancestral property.

He also throws light on how Esha Upanishad helps in understanding Upanishads in a better way and there by goes into the beautiful landscape of Gita Govindam composed by the legendary poet Jayadeva whose Karmabhoomi was Odisha and his songs are part of the Jagannatha Temple rituals, though there have been controversies regarding this as well.

The author beautifully describes the way Gita Govindam has been sequencially arranged as well when he introduces the readers with below lines.

The first song in Gita Govindam is about the ten incarnations (dashavatara) of Lord Krishna. Yes, he depicts Lord Krishna as the source of the ten avatars instead of Lord Vishnu which is the standard. In dashavataar of Lord Vishnu, Krishna is the eighth avatar. In Jayadeva’s Gita Govindam, Balarama replaces Krishna as the eighth avatar. Jayadeva’s ten avatars are: Mina (Fish), Kachhapa (Tortoise), Sukara (Boar), Narahari (Narasimha), Vamana, Vrigupati (Parasurama), Raghupati (Rama), Haladhara (Balarama), Buddha, and Kalki .”

The author touches upon the core value of Yoga unlike modern commercialised version of it , he also opens for us the doors to understand the progression of Jyotisha Shasrta and the important mathematical contributions of Indian mathematicians towards this field. One of them was Pathani Samanta, born in Odisha in 19th century used pieces of bamboo and wood to measure the shadow and then extrapolate the data using complex mathematical formulae to find out the distance of the sun from earth.

I personaly applause the attempt made by the author to introduce the very famous yet alluring ancient manual by Vyatsyana, The Kamasutra. Vyatsyana was way ahead of his contemporary times and described the various forms of Kama ( pleasure). The central theme of Kamasutra is about sexual pleasure, it lays emphasis on the sixty four types of knowledge and skills (kalas) which are helpful not only in acquiring the means of pleasure but also in experiencing them. This shows how advanced and liberal were our ancestors.

From touching upon the intrinsic values inherent in the Sanskrit language to plays as famous as Mricchakatikam to touching upon the unforgettable Panchatantra, to helping the readers soak in the glory of Ritusamhara composed by Kalidas , the author has not left any stone unturned to help bring up the very gist of how language shaped the bed rock of life style prevailing in ancient India . The chapter titled Tarka Shastras and the culture of the argumentative Indian is a must read because it draws parallels with the current world . Ever wondered that even Vidya can have many forms ? Yes, there is . The below lines just give a gyst to what lies ahead in this chapter.

Veda, Vidya, Vidushi, Vidwan, Vidyarthi – all have been derived from the same root word vid which means to know. The ancient Rishis divided all types of knowledge primarily into two types – para vidya and apara vidya.

The X factors of Sanskrit amused me and I leave it to the readers to explore the magic themselves .

The concluding prayer that really touched my heart is as below :

ॐ द्यौ: शान्तिरतिररक्षँ शान्ति:,
पथ्ृवी शान्तिराप: शान्तिरोषधय: शान्ति: ।
वनस्पिय: शान्तिर्विश्वे देवा: शान्तिर्ब्िह्म शान्ति:,
सवँ शान्ति:, शान्तिरेव शान्ति:, सा मा शान्तिरेधध ॥
ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति: ॥

May there be peace in the sky
And peace in the entire ethereal space.
May there be peace on earth
And peace in water and medicines.
May there be peace in trees and creepers
And peace in Gods and Brahman.
May there be peace in everything
Peace and only peace in the entire universe.
Aum! Let there be peace in me!
Let there be peace in my environment!
Let there be peace in the forces that act on me

This book is a result of sheer hard work and passion combined ,to bring forth the ancient wisdom that if forgotten will only help in degrading us as a society. The author has put in his best and hence the outcome has been nothing but sheer enigmatic wherein the ancient India’s vast oceanic knowledge has been presented in a comprehensive packaging. A readers delight!

This book is highly recommended for seekers of knowledge and original work with respect to ancient India and the features of Sanskrit as a language.

The book is available for free download on the Blogchatter website:   The beauty of Sankrit language & texts

The book blurb is as below:

PS. This book is part of #BlogChatterEbook carnival in which my book, Heartfelt Symphonies was also launched and is available for free download as of now.

Love,

Chinmayee

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this Superb review

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an honor for me. Thank you so much.

      Like

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