वेदवाङ्मयाची थोरवी

If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power, and beauty that nature can bestow—in some parts a very paradise on earth—I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant—I should point to India.
And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life—again I should point to India.1 ………..Friedrich Max Müller

मॅक्सम्युल्लर ने केम्ब्रिज विद्यापीठात दिलेल्या व्याख्यानातील या एका वाक्यातूनच वेद, वेदवाङ्मय आणि पर्यायाने भारतीय संस्कृतीचा प्रभाव किती क्षितिजांवर विस्तारला होता हे लख्खपणे दिसते. केवळ तत्वज्ञानच नव्हे तर साहित्य, संगीत, कला, विज्ञान आणि तंत्रज्ञान या सर्व विद्याशाखांत मानवाने साधलेला समतोल पहायचा तर भारताकडे पहा असे तो म्हणतो. सर्वार्थाने पृथ्वीवरील स्वर्ग अशी उपमा भारतीय भूमीला तो देतो.
एक पाश्चात्य विद्वान प्राचीन भारतीय भाषा आणि वाङ्मयाची बाजू इतकी पोटतिडकीने मांडतो हे विस्मयकारक आहे. त्याहीपेक्षा ज्या अर्थी तो ही बाजू मांडतोय त्या अर्थी आपण जुनं म्हणून दुर्लक्षित केलेल्या वाङ्मय तितकं टाकाऊ नक्कीच नसणार. बरं ही भाषणं तो पुराणातल्या गोष्टी ऐकायला आलेल्या भजनी मंडळातल्या बायकांसमोर देत नाहीये. केम्ब्रिज सारख्या मान्यवर विद्यापीठाने इ.स. १८८० च्या दशकात खास आयोजित केलेल्या व्याख्यानमालेतील भाषणांत त्याने हे उद्गार काढलेत. व्याख्यान ऐकणारे श्रोते केवळ पुस्तकी प्राध्यापक नव्हते. भारतात नुकतीच स्थिरावलेली इंग्रजी सत्ता राबवणारे मंत्री, राजकारणी, प्रशासकीय अधिकारी (Civil Servants) असे भारताशी प्रत्यक्ष संबंध येणारे आणि भारतात काम करणारे इंग्लिश लोकही त्यात होते.
भाषणात अनेक विषयांचा उल्लेख मॅक्सम्युल्लर करतो. जसे भूशास्त्र? (Geology), वनस्पतीशास्त्र (Botany), प्राणीशास्त्र (Zoology), मानवंशशास्त्र (Ethnology), पुरातत्वशास्त्र (Archaeology), नाणकशास्त्र (Numismatics), न्यायशास्त्र (Jurisprudence) आणि अर्थातच तत्वज्ञान (Philosophy). या आणि अशा अऩेक विद्यांच्या अभ्यासासाठी भारत ही एक मोठी प्रयोगशाळाच आहे. केवळ अभ्यासाचा विषय म्हणून नव्हे तर अनेक मार्गदर्शक तत्वांचा उगम या भूमीत होतो म्हणून भारताकडे पहावे असे तो सांगतो. इतकेच काय पण पाश्चात्य जगताच्या ज्ञानाचा उगम मानल्या जाणाऱ्या ग्रीसमधील्या अनेक बोधकथा, दंतकथा मूळच्या भारतीय बौद्ध आणि इतर संप्रदायातील असू शकतात असा तर्क तो मांडतो.
गेल्या आठ लेखात आपण वेद आणि वेदवाङ्मयाची ओळख करून घेतली. आपण हेही पाहिलं की केवळ अध्यात्म नव्हे तर ज्ञान, विज्ञान आणि तंत्रज्ञान अशा अनेक विद्या शाखांचा विचार आणि अभ्यास प्राचीन भारतीय ऋषीमुनी करत होते हे ही वेदवाङ्मयात दिसून येते. वेदकालीन ऋषींनी मानव जीवनाशी संबंधीत जवळपास सर्व विषयांवर भाष्य केलेले आहे. यात शिकारीपासून ते शेतीपर्यंत, युद्धापासून ते वैद्यकापर्यंत आणि यज्ञापासून ते ज्योतिषापर्यंत अनेकविध विषय कौशल्याने हाताळले गेले आहेत. इतके की त्या विषयांचे सखोल ज्ञान या ऋषींना होते हे सहज कळून येते.
पण मग वैद्यक, ज्योतिष, तत्त्वज्ञान वगैरे विषयांवरील ग्रंथ पाश्चात्य संस्कृतीतही आहेतच की! आजच्या लेखात आपण इतकंच पाहणार आहोत की विज्ञान आणि तंत्रज्ञानानी समृद्ध होणाऱ्या पाश्चात्य आणि भारतीय संस्कृतीत असा काय फरक आहे की ज्यायोगे आज हजारो वर्षानंतरही जगभरातील विद्वान त्या वाङ्मयाचा अभ्यास करतात? केवळ तत्त्वज्ञानच नव्हे तर विज्ञान, तंत्रज्ञान आणि वैद्यकासारख्या अत्याधुनिक ज्ञानशाखातील संशोधकही कमी अधिक प्रमाणात वेदवाङ्मयाचा अभ्यास करतात. त्यांना मार्गदर्शक असे कोणते ज्ञान किंवा विचार वेदवाङ्मय पुरवते?
दृष्टिकोन……..
एखाद्या विषयाची पद्धतशीर हाताळणी करून त्याची वेगळी विद्याशाखा बनवणे आणि त्याचा काटेकोर अभ्यास करणे ही तर पाश्चात्यांची देणगी आहे. अगदी उदाहरण द्यायचे तर आधुनिक विज्ञानाची कोणतीही शाखा घ्या, जसे जीवशास्त्र (Biology) या विषयाची पद्धतशीर हाताळणी करून वनस्पतीशास्त्र(Botany), सूक्ष्मजीवशास्त्र(Microbiology), जनुकिय विज्ञान(Genetics) वगैरे विद्याशाखा पाश्चात्यांनी बनवल्या, त्याचे अभ्यासक्रम बनवले, पदव्या (मराठीत डिग्र्या!) निर्माण केल्या. वैद्यकातही डोक्यापासून पायापर्यंत प्रत्येक अवयवाची वेगळी शाखा बनवली. अगदी चव आणि गंध निर्माण करणारी शास्त्रेही विकसित केली गेली. वैज्ञानिक प्रगती हे ध्येय समोर ठेऊन विभागशः अनेक विद्याशाखा पाश्चात्यांनी दिल्या. अशा वैज्ञानिक प्रगतीचा मुख्य उद्देश अर्थातच मानव जातीचे कल्याण हा होता. मग तो उद्देश साधला गेला का? खरंतर नाही.
विज्ञान जितके अधिक प्रगल्भ आणि प्रगत झाले तितकेच ते संहारकही झाले. मानवजातीचे कल्याण हा मूळ उद्देश बाजूला पडला आणि मानवजात किंवा विशिष्ट मानव समुदायाला इतर समुदाय आणि जीवजंतूंपेक्षा अधिक शक्तीमान बनवणे हा स्वार्थी उद्देश प्रबळ झाला. वर्चस्वाच्या हव्यासापोटी विज्ञानाच्या शाखांची इतकी अजस्त्र वाढ झाली की प्रत्येक शाखा मानवाच्याच नव्हे संपूर्ण जीवसृष्टीच्या मुळावर उठावी इतकी संहारक होऊ लागली. आधी अण्वस्त्रे, मग रासायनिक अस्त्रे(Chemical Weapons), जैविक अस्त्रे(Biological Weapons) आणि आता तर जनुकिय तंत्रज्ञान (Genetics) यासारख्या अत्याधुनिक आयुधांनी मानवाच्या सुखापेक्षा चिंताच अधिक वाढवल्या. निसर्गाचा घटक म्हणून जन्माला आलेला मानव निसर्गावरच विजय मिळविण्याच्या अघोरी मार्गाला लागला आणि आता ते थांबवणे त्याच्या स्वतःच्याही हातात राहिले नाही. वैज्ञानिक प्रगती हा देशागणिक मानवी संस्कृतींच्या स्पर्धेचा विषय बनला. या स्पर्धेत टिकण्याची आणि जिंकण्याची इर्षा इतकी पराकोटीला गेली की मानवानेच त्याच्या आणि पर्यायाने पृथ्वीच्याही संहाराची बीजे पेरली. परीणामी आज आपण प्रदूषण(ध्वनी, वायु, पाणी आणि विचारसुद्धा), अस्त्र-शस्त्र, रोगराई, विकृत-दहशतवाद अशा अनेक समस्यांनी घेरलो गेलो आहोत.
समतोल…….
वैदिक ऋषीमुनी हे जसे तत्त्ववेत्ते होते तसेच शास्त्रवेत्तेही होते. वैज्ञानिक प्रगती वेदकाळातही होत होतीच. परंतु भारतीय शास्त्रवेत्त्यांचे मोठेपण यात आहे की त्यांनी या प्रगतीचा आणि निसर्गाचा योग्य समतोल राखणे महत्वाचे आहे हे जाणले आणि प्रत्येक शास्त्र हे विकसित होताना त्यातून निसर्ग, पर्यावरण आणि व्यापक सृष्टीशी माणसाची नाळ तुटणार नाही याची खबरदारी घेतली. त्यांनी वैद्यक विकसित केले पण औषधांनी होणारे अनुषंगिक परीणाम (Side Effects) टाळण्याचा जास्तीत जास्त प्रयत्न करूनच. औषधी विकसित केल्या पण त्या नैसर्गिक तत्त्वांशी तादात्म्य बाळगून. त्यांनी आयुर्वेद हा निरोगी आयुष्य जगण्यासाठीचे शास्त्र म्हणून विकसित केला. रोगांवर इलाज करण्याची पॅथी म्हणून नव्हे. त्यामुळे आहार(Diet), व्यायाम(Exercise), साधना (Meditation) आणि औषधी(Medicine) अशा सर्व अंगांनी समतोल साधणारी ज्ञानशाखा म्हणून आयुर्वेदाकडे पाहीले जाते. याच प्रकारे योग असो ज्योतिष असो किंवा अध्यात्म…..
प्रगती साधताना तिची दिशा आणि ध्येय हे एका सूत्रात बांधून निसर्गाच्या सर्व घटकांच्या कल्याणाचे उद्दीष्ट्य साध्य करणे ही वेदवाङ्मय आणि पर्यायाने भारतीय शास्त्रांची देणगी आहे. विद्या, कला आणि तंत्र अतिरेकी अनियंत्रित आणि संहारक न होता विकसित करण्याचे तारतम्य वेदवाङ्मयाने जगाला शिकवले.
त्यामुळेच रसायनशास्त्र (Chemistry), पदार्थविज्ञान(Physics), वैद्यक(Medicine), जीवशास्त्र(Biology), वनस्पतीशास्त्र(Botany), धातुशास्त्र (Metallurgy) असो किंवा अगदी अणुविज्ञान (Automic Science), या सर्व शास्त्रांचा भारतीय भूमीतील उगम आणि विकास हा याच तत्त्वांना अनुसरुन झाला. तुकड्या तुकड्यात वेगवेगळी शास्त्रे म्हणून विकसित न होता ती कल्याणकारक आणि सर्वसमावेशक जीवनवेद म्हणून विकसित झाली. आपल्याला वेदांसह अनेक ग्रंथात हे सर्वच विषय कमीअधीक प्रमाणात आढळतात ते यामुळेच. जीवनाशी संबंधीत असे ज्ञान असल्याने त्याचा केवळ वेगळी विद्याशाखा म्हणून अभ्यास करणे जितके गरजेचे आहे तितकेच ते ज्ञान सृष्टीचा समतोल राखण्यात किती यशस्वी ठरते हेही काटेकोरपणे अभ्यासणे गरजेचे मानले गेले. त्यामुळे शास्त्रे विकसितही झाली आणि त्यांची अनुषंगिक संहारकताही सीमीत केली गेली. वैज्ञानिक प्रगती आणि विवेकी तत्वज्ञान यांचा हा समतोल…..
आधुनिक जगात सातत्याने नवनवीन शोध लागत आहेत, तंत्रज्ञान विकसित होत आहे पण ते विवेकाने वापरण्याचे किंवा त्याचा गैरवापर टाळण्याचे शिक्षण देणारी मुल्यव्यवस्थाच अस्तीत्व हरवून बसली आहे. त्यामुळे प्रगतीच्या पायरीगणीक आपण विनाशाच्या चिंतेने अधिकाधिक ग्रासले गेलो आहोत. हा विवेक जागवणारी आणि प्रसृत करणारी तत्वप्रणाली वेदवाङ्मयाने दिली.
सर्वेSपि सुखिनः सन्तु, सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः, सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु, मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्। किंवा
……सह नौ भुनक्तु।
किंवा
..वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्। असो

यासारख्या प्रार्थनातून साधकाच्या मनावर हे तत्त्व कायम बिंबवले गेले की प्रत्येक कार्य, प्रत्येक पाऊल हे विश्वकल्याणाच्या हेतूतून उचलायचे आहे. संपुर्ण वसुधा (पृथ्वी) हे एकच कुटुंब आहे. यातील भूतमात्रांसह आपण सर्वजण एकाच साखळीतील कड्या आहोत. एक जरी कडी कमकुवत झाली तरी ही संपूर्ण साखळी दुर्बल होणार आहे. त्यामुळे प्रगती मग ती वैज्ञानिक असो तांत्रिक असो किंवा तात्त्विक तिच्यातून ही साखळी अधिक मजबूतच झाली पाहीजे. भौतिक आणि अध्यात्मिक प्रगती, मानवी जीवन आणि निसर्ग तसेच पर्यायाने मन आणि शरीर यांचा समतोल साधला तरच ज्या सुखाच्या अपेक्षेने अधिकाधिक विकासाची ईर्षा आपण बाळगतो ते चिरंतन सुख प्राप्त होईल. हा विचार निःसंशयपणे प्राचीन भारतीय वेदवाङ्मयाने जगाला दिला.
तात्पर्य काय तर आज विकसनशील वगैरे शिक्का असलेल्या भारताने स्वतःच जगाला दिलेल्या विवेकी अभ्यासकाच्या भूमिकेत परत शिरुन आपल्याच प्राचीन वाङ्मयाचा आणि आधुनिक विद्यांचा तारतम्याने अभ्यास करणे ही काळाची गरज आहे. धर्मग्रंथ म्हणून नुसते अंधश्रद्धेने कवटाळून बसणे हे जसे चुकीचे आहे तसेच ते जुने कालबाह्य वाङ्मय म्हणून झिडकारणेही तितकेच चुकीचे आहे. कोणत्याही टोकाच्या भूमिकेपेक्षा विवेकी वृत्तीने चतुरस्त्र अभ्यास करून वेद आणि वैदिक साहित्यातून मिळणारे सर्वांगीण ज्ञान प्राप्त करण्याचा प्रयत्न करणे गरजेचे आहे.
समारोपापुर्वी मॅक्सम्युल्लरच्या भाषणातील काही उतारे जसेच्या तसे वानगीदाखल देत आहे. त्याच्या भाषांतराची गरज पडू नये कारण अर्थातच आपल्याकडे इंग्रजी मराठीपेक्षा अधिक अभ्यासली जाते!!

If you care for geology, there is work for you from the Himalayas to Ceylon.
If you are a zoologist, think of Haeckel, who is just now rushing through Indian forests and dredging in Indian seas, and to whom his stay in India is like the realization of the brightest dream of his life.
The study of Mythology has assumed an entirely new character, chiefly owing to the light that has been thrown on it by the ancient Vedic Mythology of India. But though the foundation of a true Science of Mythology has been laid, all the detail has still to be worked out, and could be worked out nowhere better than in India.
Again, if you are a student of Jurisprudence, there is a history of law to be explored in India, very different from what is known of the history of law in Greece, in Rome, and in Germany, yet both by its contrasts and by its similarities full of suggestions to the student of Comparative Jurisprudence.
You know how some of the best talent and the noblest genius of our age has been devoted to the study of the development of the outward or material world, the growth of the earth, the first appearance of living cells, their combination and differentiation, leading up to the beginning of organic life, and its steady progress from the lowest to the highest stages. Is there not an inward and intellectual world also which has to be studied in its historical development, from the first appearance of predicative and demonstrative roots, their combination and differentiation, leading up to the beginning of rational thought in its steady progress from the lowest to the highest stages? And in that study of the history of the human mind, in that study of ourselves, of our true selves, India occupies a place second to no other country. 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, primitive art or primitive science, everywhere, you have to go to India, whether you like it or not, because some of the most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India, and in India only.

तळटीप:

1. INDIA: WHAT CAN IT TEACH US? (A Course of Lectures – DELIVERED BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE BY – F. MAX MÜLLER, K.M.)

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ओळख वेदांची – भाग ८

आरण्यक या नावातून अनेक अर्थ ध्वनीत होतात. त्या सर्व अर्थांचा समुच्चय केला तर आरण्यक म्हणजे काय हे समजणे सोपे जाईल.
पहिला अर्थ – अर्थातच अरण्यात किंवा जंगलात लिहिले गेलेले ग्रंथ, असा सोपा अर्थ निघतो. ‘अरण्ये भवम् इति आरण्यकम्।‘
दुसरा अर्थ सायणाचार्यांच्या भाष्यात येतो तो म्हणजे – वेदाचा जो अंश अरण्यात पठण/मनन केला जातो त्याला आरण्यक म्हणता येईल.

आरण्याध्ययनादेतद् आरण्यकमितिर्यते। अरण्ये तदधीयीतेत्येवं वाक्यं प्रवक्ष्यते।
(तैत्तिरिय आरण्यक भाष्य श्लोक ६)

हे झाले शब्दाची फोड करणारे अर्थ. अरण्यात माणूस कशासाठी जातो? शांतता मिळविण्यासाठी, चिंतन/तप करण्यासाठी. निसर्गाच्या सहवासात माणसाला परमात्म्याचा सहवास अधिक प्रकर्षाने जाणवतो. (**जंगलातील शांततेचा अनुभव घेतलेल्यांना हे चटकन् पटावे) अर्थातच नागरी जीवन आणि मोहाचा त्याग करून तत्वचिंतनात आयुष्य घालविण्यासाठी लोक अरण्याची वाट धरतात. म्हणूनच तत्वचिंतन हा विषय सांभाळणारे कोणते वैदिक ग्रंथ त्याने वाचावेत तर आरण्यके! हा आरण्यकांचा विषय सांगणारा अर्थ आहे.
आधीच्या भागात (वाचा – ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ) आपण पाहिलेत की वेदातील मंत्रांचा यज्ञीय कर्मकांडाशी निगडीत अर्थ लावण्याचे काम ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ करतात. याच कर्मकांडांचा तात्विक अभिप्राय मांडण्याचे काम आरण्यके करतात. कर्मकांड सांगणाऱ्या ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांना पूरक असे तत्वज्ञान सांगणे आणि पुढे येणा-या उपनिषदांची नांदी करणे असे दुहेरी कार्य आरण्यके करतात. त्यामुळे आरण्यके ही वेदवाङ्मयातीला कर्मकांड आणि ज्ञानकांड यांची सांगड घालणारा दुवा आहेत. वेदवाङ्मयात आरण्यकांचे स्थान अतिशय महत्वाचे आहे. उपनिषदे जर भारतीय तत्त्वज्ञानाचा पाया मानली तर आरण्यके ही या उपनिषदांचा पाया मानायला हरकत नाही असे म्हणतात.
(**जाता जाता हे ही सांगायला हवे की भाषिकदृष्ट्या पाहिल्यास आरण्यके ही वैदिक आणि लौकिक संस्कृत भाषेतीला दुवा मानली जातात)

रचना/स्वरूप

सर्वसाधारणपणे ब्राह्मण किंवा उपनिषदांप्रमाणेच प्रत्येक वेदांशी निगडीत अशीच आरण्यकांची रचना झाली असे मानतात त्यामुळेच ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांप्रमाणेच शाखा उपशाखा व्यापून आरण्यकांची संख्याही ११३० च्या आसपास असावी असा विचार मांडला जातो. परंतू दुर्दैवाने आज उपलब्ध असणाऱ्या आरण्यकांची संख्या केवळ ७ आहे.
ऋग्वेद – ऐतरेय आरण्यक, शांखायन आरण्यक
शुक्लयजुर्वेद – माध्यंदिन बृहदारण्यक, काण्व बृहदारण्यक
(बृहदारण्यक हे वास्तविक आरण्यक आहे. परंतु त्याचा आकार, विषयव्याप्ती इ. अनेक कारणांमुळे त्याची गणना उपनिषदांमध्ये होते.)
कृष्णयजुर्वेद – तैत्तिरिय आरण्यक, मैत्रायणी आरण्यक
सामवेद – तवलाकर(तवल्कर?) (जैमिनीय) आरण्यक, छान्दोग्य आरण्यक
अथर्ववेदाची आरण्यके उपलब्ध नाहीत किंवा त्याबद्दल पुरेशी माहितीही नाही.

विषय

नवनीतं यथा दध्नो मलयाच्चंदनं यथा, आरण्यकं च वेदेभ्य ओषधिभ्योsमृतं यथा।
(साधारण अर्थ) – दह्याचे (सार) जसे लोणी, मलयवृक्षाचे (सार) जसे चंदन किंवा औषधी(वनस्पतीं)चे (सार) जसे अमृत तसे वेदांचे (सार) आरण्यकांमध्ये आहे.

महाभारतातील या श्लोकातील उक्ती योग्य की अतिशयोक्ती, यात न पडता जर अर्थ पाहिला तर आरण्यकांचा विषय आणि त्याचे महत्व दोन्ही लक्षात येते. वर सांगितल्याप्रमाणे यज्ञकर्म आणि तत्वज्ञान हे आरण्यकांचे प्रमुख विषय आहेत. यज्ञातील विधी, त्यातील वैदिक मंत्र आणि त्यांचे तत्त्वज्ञान असा एक विषय आहे. ब्राह्मण ग्रंथातील यज्ञ हे अनेक विधी, समारंभ इ. नी परीपूर्ण आणि गुंतागुंतीचे आहेत. आरण्यकातील यज्ञ मात्र अतिशय साधे व सोपे असून अरण्यवासी ऋषीमुनी किंवा सामान्य माणसालाही सहज साध्य आहेत.
सृष्टीची उत्पत्ती या विषयावर विस्तृत मंथन आरण्यकात आढळते. वेदांप्रमाणेच आरण्यकातही ‘प्राण’ याच तत्त्वाला दृष्य अदृष्य सृष्टी आणि महाभूतांचे मूळ मानले गेले आहे. ऐतरेय आरण्यकात –
स्थूल आणि सूक्ष्म सर्वकाही प्राण तत्वातून उगम पावते, अंतरीक्ष आणि वायुचेही सर्जन प्राणातूनच होते असे वर्णन आहे.

प्राणेन सृष्टावन्तरिक्षं च वायुच्क्षान्तरिक्षं वा……….। 2

मैत्रायणी संहितेत प्राण तत्वालाच सर्व तत्वांचा जनक म्हणले आहे.

त्वं ब्रह्म त्वं च वै विष्णुः, त्वं रुद्रस्त्वं प्रजापति। त्वमाग्नि वरुणो वायुः, त्वार्मन्द्रस्त्वं निशाकरः।

मनुष्यासह संपूर्ण चराचर सृष्टीच्या मुळाशी प्राण हे एकच तत्व आहे. त्यामुळेच सृष्टीतील या सर्व घटकांशी सहभावनेने राहणे हे आपले प्रमुख कर्तव्य आहे हा विचार ऐतरेय आरण्यकात येतो. केवळ माणसा माणसात नव्हे तर सृष्टीच्या प्रत्येक दृष्य अदृष्य घटकातील हे साधर्म्य लक्षात घेऊन त्यांच्यासह कृतज्ञभावनेने राहण्याचा आग्रह आरण्यके करतात. याच कर्तव्याचा विसर पडल्याने मनुष्याला आज पर्यावरण आणि निसर्गाच्या अवकृपेचा सामना करावा लागतोय. आजकाल पर्यावरण, प्रदुषण, वायु उत्सर्जन, कार्बन न्युट्रल वगैरे शब्द वापरून सर्वत्र प्रसिद्ध होत चाललेल्या चळवळी ज्या गोष्टी घसा फोडून सांगत आहेत त्याचे मूळ तत्व आरण्यकात अतिशय साध्या आणि सोप्या शब्दात उभं केलंय. आरण्यकात याच तत्वाला अनुसरुन पंचमहाभूत यज्ञाची कल्पना मांडली आहे. हे पाच यज्ञ किंवा त्याला अनुसरुन नेहमी वागले पाहिजे असे आरण्यकात आवर्जून सांगितले आहे

पंच वा एते महायज्ञः सतति प्रजायन्ते।3

हे यज्ञ म्हणजे केवळ हवन नसून वर सांगितल्याप्रमाणे चराचर सृष्टीशी बांधिलकी जपण्याचे कार्य आहे. ब्रह्मयज्ञ – ऋषींबद्दल कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करणे / कृतज्ञ राहणे
पितृयज्ञ – पूर्वज/पितरांबद्दल कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करणे / कृतज्ञ राहणे
देवयज्ञ – देवतांबद्दल यज्ञाच्या माध्यमातून कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करणे / कृतज्ञ राहणे
भूतयज्ञ – प्राणीमात्र आणि वनस्पतींबद्दल कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करणे / कृतज्ञ राहणे
अतिथियज्ञ – अभ्यागतांचा आदर करणे.

या यज्ञांच्या माध्यमातून भोवतालच्या परिसरासह पर्यावरणाशी एकरूप राहणे महत्वाचे आहे हे आज भयानक वास्तव म्हणून समोर आलेले ज्ञान आरण्यकांनी शेकडो वर्षांपूर्वी सांगितले आहे. सृष्टीतील प्रत्येक तत्व जसे वायु, पाणी, अग्नि आणि वनस्पती यांचे महत्व जवळपास सर्व आरण्यकांमध्ये येते. वायुचे महत्व सांगताना अशुद्ध वायुमुळे आजारपण येते हे ऐतरेय आरण्यक सांगते. इतकेच नव्हे तर यज्ञातील समिधा निवडताना भोवतालचा वायु शुद्ध करणाऱ्या औदुंबर किंवा पळसासारख्या वनस्पती वापराव्यात असे सांगून यज्ञकर्माचेही महत्व स्पष्ट करते. यज्ञकर्म आणि तत्वज्ञान याची सांगड घालून वेद आणि उत्तरवेदकालीन समाजाला संतुलित धर्म कसा असतो याचा वस्तुपाठ आरण्यके घालून देतात. म्हणूनच ज्ञानकर्मसमुच्चय या उपनिषदांच्या प्रमुख विषयाची बीजे आरण्यकात आढळतात असे म्हटले जाते.
अशाप्रकारे वेदवाङ्मय ही केवळ कोणत्याही एका धर्मासाठी किंवा विशिष्ट पंथासाठी रचलेली धार्मिक ग्रंथसंपदा नसून विश्वकल्याणाच्या उदात्त हेतून प्रेरित झालेल्या तत्कालिन ऋषीमुनीनी उभे केलेले जीवनकोश आहेत. वेदवाङ्मयाच्या महत्वाविषयी पुढील भागात……

तळटीप
१. महाभारत, शांतिपर्व ३३१-३
२. ऐतरेय आरण्यक २/१/७
३. तैत्तिरिय आरण्यक

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ओळख वेदांची – भाग ५

ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ

समग्र वेदवाङ्मयाचा परिचय करुन घेण्याच्या उपक्रमात आपण सर्वप्रथम चारही वेदांची ओळख करून घेतली. वेदांनंतर अर्थातच क्रमाने ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ, आरण्यके आणि उपनिषदांचा समावेश होतो. यातील ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांचा परिचय करून घेऊयात. (जातीने ब्राह्मण असण्याचा आणि या ग्रंथांच्या नावाचा आपापसात काही संबंध नाही हे येथे लक्षात घेतले पाहिजे.)


वेदवाङ्मयातील वेद आणि उपनिषदे ही सर्वसाधारणपणे आपल्या बोलण्यात किंवा ऐकण्यात येतात. त्यांचा थोडाफार परिचयही आपल्याला असतो. परंतु ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ हे त्यामानाने किंचित कमी परिचयाचे आणि ऐकण्यातही कमी येतात. याचे मुख्य कारण अर्थातच त्यांचे विषय आहेत. वेदांचे महत्त्व अर्थातच वेगळे सांगायला नको. उपनिषदे ही भारतीय तत्त्वज्ञानाचा पाया म्हणून प्रसिद्ध आहेतच. ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांचा विषय हा प्रामुख्याने यज्ञ आणि यज्ञप्रक्रिया यांचे विस्तृत विवेचन हा असल्याने याज्ञिकी जाणणाऱ्या, आचरणाऱ्या किंवा अभ्यासणाऱ्या लोकांव्यतिरिक्त या ग्रंथांबद्दल माहित असणारे लोक खुप कमी आढळतात. गंमतीचा भाग असा की आपल्या नैमित्तिक पूजाकर्मात किंवा निरनिराळ्या व्रतांच्या संदर्भातील पूजनांमधील अनेक विधींचे मूळ हे ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांतील यज्ञविधीच्या विवेचनात आढळते पण ते आपल्या ध्यानात येत नाही. आपण आधीच्या लेखात पाहिल्याप्रमाणे रोजच्या पठणातील अऩेक मंत्र जसे वेदातील आहेत हे आपल्याला ठाऊक नसते तसेच.

उत्तरवेदकालामध्ये यज्ञसंस्थेचे महत्त्व वाढत गेले. यज्ञसंस्थेतील प्रत्येक अंगाची सांगोपांग माहिती असणे हे अतिशय आवश्यक कार्यच झाले. यज्ञ, यज्ञातील मंत्र, त्यांची पठण पद्धती, त्या अनुषंगाने केले जाणारे विधी, विधी करण्यामागची भूमिका, त्यासाठी लागणारी साधने, विधी सिद्ध करण्याचे योग्य तंत्र यासाठी अचूक संहितांची आवश्यकता भासत गेली. ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांची रचना याच कारणाने करण्यात आली असे मानले जाते.

काही तासांच्या छोट्या यज्ञापासून ते १५ किंवा त्यापेक्षा अधिक दिवसांचे यज्ञ हे – आयोजन, शेकडो व्यक्ती, वस्तू आणि विधी यांचा बारीक सारीक गोष्टींचा विचार करून अत्यंत नियोजनबद्ध पार पाडले जात असत.कार्यक्रमाच्या रुपरेषेपासून ते उपकराणांच्या मांडणीपर्यंत प्रत्येक चरण (step) पूर्वनियोजित असे. यावरून कार्यक्रम व्यवस्थापन (Event Management) सारख्या आजकालीन शास्त्रातील तत्कालीन लोकांनी केलेली प्रगती ठळकपणे दिसून येते.

व्याख्या किंवा अर्थ –

ब्राह्मण शब्दाची उत्पत्ती किंवा अर्थ काय असावा यावर अनेक विद्वानांची भाष्ये आहेत. ब्रह्म या शब्दाच्या दोन प्रचलित अर्थांचा संदर्भ येथे घेतला जातो. ब्रह्म म्हणजे मंत्र किंवा यज्ञ. शतपथ ब्राह्मणात ‘ब्रह्म वै मन्त्रः’ असा उल्लेख आहे. याचा अर्थ वैदिक मंत्रांचे (ब्रह्म) विवेचन करतात ते ब्राह्मण असा होतो.

विषय –

आधी सांगितल्याप्रमाणे ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांमध्ये प्रामुख्याने यज्ञ आणि यज्ञ प्रयोगाची माहिती येते. याचे अर्थातच दोन भाग पडतात. एक विधी आणि दुसरा अर्थवाद. साधारणतः विधी म्हणजेच यज्ञाच्या सविस्तर प्रयोगाची माहिती तर अर्थवाद म्हणजे प्रयोगाचा उद्देश, त्यातील तंत्र, मंत्र आणि कृतीचे समर्थन करणारा युक्तिवाद किंवा माहिती. ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांचा विषय आणि त्याची विभागणी कशी आहे यावर शाबरभाष्यात स्पष्टिकरण मिळते. ऋषी शबरांच्या मते ब्राह्मणग्रंथात यज्ञविधीचा विस्तार आणि विचार दहा वेगवेगळ्या दृष्टीकोनातून केला जातो.

हेतु, निर्वचन, निंदा, प्रशंसा, संशय, विधि, परकृति, पुराकल्प, व्यवधारणकल्पना आणि उपमान.

यातील प्रमुख संकल्पना सहा आहेत त्यांची थोडक्यात माहिती पाहू

१. विधि – कोणताही यज्ञ कधी आणि कसा करावा तसेच त्याची साधने काय असावीत, यज्ञातील प्रमुख पुरोहित कोण असावेत इ. चा विचार येथे केला जाई. तैत्तिरिय संहितेत औदुंबराची फांदी वापरण्याचा उल्लेख आहे. यजमानेन सम्मिता औदुम्बरी भवति। यात ही फांदी यजमानाच्या मापाची असावी असे म्हटले आहे. यावरून यज्ञसाधनांचा किती खोलवर विचार केला जाई हे समजून येते.

२. विनियोग – विनियोग म्हणजे अर्थातच उपयोग किंवा वापर. कोणत्या मंत्राच्या विनियोगाने (वापराने/उच्चारणाने) कोणता उद्देश सफल होतो याचा विचार म्हणजे विनियोग. उदाहरणार्थ प्राण्यांच्या रोगनिवारणार्थ ‘सः नः पवस्व शं गवे’ हा मंत्र म्हटला जावा.

३. हेतु – हेतु म्हणजे अर्थातच कारण. एखादा विशिष्ट विधी करण्यासाठीचे कारण किंवा एखादे उपकरण किंवा मंत्र वापरण्यामागचा हेतू काय आहे याचा येथे विचार केला जाई.

४. अर्थवाद – अर्थवाद म्हणजे यज्ञविधीसाठी उपयुक्त गोष्टींची प्रशंसा आणि निषिद्ध किंवा त्याज्य गोष्टींची निंदा करणे. उदाहरणार्थ यज्ञात उडीद हे निषिद्ध मानले जातात म्हणून तैत्तिरिय संहितेत ‘अमेध्या वै माषा’ असा उल्लेख आहे.

५. निरुक्ति – निरुक्त या यास्काचार्यांच्या प्रसिद्ध ग्रंथाच्या संदर्भातीलच अर्थ येथे येतो. निरुक्ति म्हणजे शब्दांची व्याख्या. यज्ञादि कर्माच्या संदर्भात वापरल्या जाणा-या शब्दांचा अर्थ स्पष्ट करणे म्हणजे निरुक्ति. ब्राह्मण ग्रंथात याचा खुप खोलवर विचार झाल्याचे दिसते.

६. आख्यान – आख्यान म्हणजे खरंतर गोष्ट किंवा कथा. येथेही यज्ञविधीचा विषय रंजक पद्धतीने मांडणे म्हणजे आख्यान होय. यात यज्ञातील विधी त्यामागील उद्देश यांच्या संदर्भातील कथा येतात. अशाप्रकारे बोध करून देणाऱ्या अनेक सुंदर कथांचा संग्रह ब्राह्मण ग्रंथातून आपल्याला पहायला मिळतो. उदाहरणार्थ – स्वार्थ आणि निःस्वार्थ प्रवृत्तीवर भाष्य करणारी शुनःशेपाची कथा (ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण), अपात्री विद्यादान न करण्यासंदर्भातील दध्यंग अथर्वणाची कथा इ.

या विवेचनावरून हे ध्यानात येईल की भारतीय संस्कृतीचे प्रत्येक अंग मग ते तत्त्वज्ञान असो की यज्ञासारखे कर्मकांड, अतिशय विचारपूर्वक व सर्वसमावेशक पद्धतीने मांडले जात असे. यज्ञविधीत वापरल्या जाणा-या साध्या पळी पासून ते यज्ञाच्या अंतिम टप्प्यात केल्या जाणा-या अवभृथस्नानापर्यंत प्रत्येक विधी, मंत्र, साहित्य, वस्तू आणि व्यक्तीच्या संदर्भात या १० वेगवेगळ्या दृष्टिकोनातून विचार करून मगच त्याचा स्वीकार केला जात असे. यावरून तत्कालीन ऋषीमुनींची जीवनदृष्टी किती सखोल होती हे लक्षात येते. आजही आपण जेव्हा पूजा करतो तेव्हा संकल्पापासून ते क्षमापनापर्यंतचे सर्व विधी करतो त्या प्रत्येक कृती, कर्म आणि मंत्रामागचा विचार हा ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांची देणगी आहे.

ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांची विभागणी –

प्रत्येक वेदात आणि वेदशाखेत ब्राह्मण ग्रंथांची रचना करण्यात आली. आजही विभागशः जवळपास १८ ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ उपलब्ध आहेत ते असे

ऋग्वेद – ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण आणि शांखायन/कौषीतकि ब्राह्मण

शुक्लयजुर्वेद – शतपथ ब्राह्मण

कृष्णयजुर्वेद – तैत्तिरिय ब्राह्मण

सामवेद – सामवेदाची ताण्ड्य, षड्विंश, सामविधान, आर्षेय, देवताध्याय, उपनिषद, संहितोपनिषद, वंश, जैमिनीय अशी एकूण ९ ब्राह्मणे मानतात.

अथर्ववेद – गोपथ ब्राह्मण

वेदातील मंत्रांचे अर्थ, यज्ञातील विधी आणि प्रयोग याबरोबरच ब्राह्मण ग्रंथात भारतीय उपखंडाच्या ऐतिहासिक पार्श्वभूमीचीही माहिती मिळते. विशेषतः प्राचीन तसेच उत्तरवेदकालीन इतिहासाच्या अभ्यासकांमध्ये ऋगवेदाइतकेच शतपथ ब्राह्मण प्रसिद्ध आहे. आकाराने सर्वात मोठ्या अशा या ब्राह्मणात यज्ञविधी तर आहेतच पण त्याबरोबरच इतिहासाच्या दृष्टीने महत्वाच्या अशा कुरु, पांचाल, कोसल, विदेह या राज्यांचा तसेच जनक, दुष्यन्त, जनमेजय इ. राजांचेही उल्लेख आढळतात. एकूण काय तर वेदवाङ्मय समृद्ध करून त्याचा दैनंदिन जीवनाशी संबंध ब्राह्मण ग्रंथ जोडतात. उपनिषदांसारखे तत्त्वचिंतन करणारे ग्रंथही ब्राह्मण ग्रंथाचाच भाग म्हणून विकसित होतात. त्या उपनिषदांबद्दल पुढच्या भागात.

तळटिप
१ तैत्तिरिय संहिता ६/२/१०/३
२ ताण्ड्य ब्राह्मण

Quest – Bhagvad Gita – Part 5

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away

Indeed, a great account by Shelley, expressing vainness of the material wealth! Shelley’s sonnet ‘Ozymandias’ too signifies, what Krishna is trying to explain Arjuna.

Everything material is short lived. Monumental cities or gigantic structures! Even great kings and valiant warriors like Bhishma or Arjuna aren’t lasting forever. A material grant will shine today and expire tomorrow. The gist is instead of cultivating the temptations of the body, one should seek eternal happiness.

Undying happiness will be the product of an undying soul, hence understanding the nature of soul is key to Salvation.

What is the nature of soul….

From the 17th verse of Chapter II – Sankhya Yoga, Lord Krishna describes the nature of the soul.

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ।।२।।२०।।

The soul is never born nor dies at any time nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable, timeless and is never destroyed even when the body is.

अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ।
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति ।।२।।१७।।
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ।।२।।२२।।
नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः ।
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ।।२।।२३।।

The soul is indestructible, eternal, and omnipresent. (Verse 17) It is neither born nor deceased. It’s the body that is destroyed. When the body is destroyed, the soul enters another, the way a man shrugs off his old clothes and puts on new ones. (Verses 22, 23)

The body of a being goes through various stages of existence like birth, aging and death. The soul, however isn’t bound by these. The body may undergo wear and tear, burning, drowning or like. The soul does not have these infirmities. The body is destroyed one day; the soul is not. He only verves into another body.

Thus Lord Krishna explains Arjuna, nature of the illusory creation and the immortal soul.

The coherent Arjuna fires the next question! What about the sin of killing, even if you agree to not mourn? If it is believed that the bodies of Bhishma or Drona are mortal, isn’t it a sin to kill any of them?

From verses 31 to 39, Lord Krishna explains the importance of following one’s duty (Swa Dharmaस्वधर्म). Swa means Self and Dharma is Duty (here). Fighting for the truth and righteousness is the duty of a warrior (Kshatriyaक्षत्रिय). There is no sin in a combat if it’s for upholding greater good of the society. Let’s take a simple example. A soldier on the front, defending his country is not looked upon as a sinner. It is his duty to protect his nation. His action is hence held in the interest of the society and not demeaned as ruthless massacre.

A royal court which helplessly tolerates misbehaviour against a female member of family (Draupadi) requires re-engineering. It’s the ordained duty of a true warrior to bring proper statehood to the depraved dynasty and to a society which allowed such a shameful act to happen. It is not a sin to fight against it. In fact, it would be a sin to move away from the war in such state of affairs. Moreover, fleeing from war will create wrong ideals in the society. It is the duty of the future ruler (Arjuna) to guide the society in the right direction. Even if he has to fight for it, it is the right thing to do. It is a sin for Kshatriyas to be weakened by seeing individual kinship instead of collective interest. Lord Krishna thus pacifies Arjuna’s query on sin!

Krishna discourses origin of existence, nature of body and soul and duty (Swa Dharma) of an individual. His motive is to convince Arjuna that – Duryodhana, Dushasana or he himself are purely right or wrong perspectives. Masses keep verging knowingly or unknowingly between right and wrong ideologies. Sometimes the unjust is strong and society may run after it. Just as the army then behind Duryodhana is outnumbering Pandavas.

As the existence is perishable so are right and wrong attitudes. These are perceptions emerging out of a vacillating mindset. What looks good to you today may not be so great tomorrow. One must overcome this inconstancy of mind. Because once the mind is stable, it comprehends what is right and does it.

A gun never fires, the hand behind it fires;
hand never fires, man behind it fires;
man never fires, Mind behind it fires!

This stability of mind is the third part of Arjuna’s quest. Once his mind gains stability, he would know whether war is right or wrong and he could act accordingly. In fact, an unwavering mind would decipher all questions related to existence and lead him to eternal peace – Salvation.

There’s a story about classical vocalist Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. While traveling through the forest, he rested at a temple. There arrived a hermit. In the dusky evening, the ascetic, immersed in his own universe, begins to sing. Paluskar felt that the whole world is mesmerized listening to that song, the temple is filled with celestial light! After a while, when he came to his senses, the song is over and the light is gone. Paluskar asked the ascetic, “Will you teach me singing that has such a transcendental effect? I am ready to do anything for it. I am even ready to become a hermit.” The ascetic grinned and replies “Such singing is not the result of being a hermit. But when you attain such a proficiency in your trade, you will automatically become a hermit. “

Hermits and commoners are games of the mind. The one whose mind is stable can be a hermit even though he is a commoner and the one whose mind is not stable……

Sthita Prajna – The Unwavering ………

Prajna means intellect, Sthita means steadfast. The Unwavering one…. whose intellect is stable. One who has no duality in thought and action….. A staunch pragmatist.

The description of Sthita Prajna surfaces from verse 54 of the second chapter. Arjuna curiously seeks to know how the one with stable mind looks, behaves and reacts. Krishna describes.

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः ।
वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते ॥ २।। ५६ ॥

The one, who’s mind is undisturbed by distress, without desire for happiness, free from attachment, fear and anger, that sage is known as steadfast in consciousness.

A sage is a person who has no regrets, has no desire for happiness at all, and whose love, fear and anger have disappeared.

It’s as hard to put it into practice as it is easy to say. For..

यततो ह्यपि कौन्तेय पुरुषस्य विपश्चितः।
इन्द्रियाणि प्रमाथीनि हरन्ति प्रसभं मनः ॥२।। ६० ॥

O Arjuna the senses are so turbulent they can forcibly lead astray the mind of even a vigilant person of sound judgement.

Strong senses invariably attract the human mind into various temptations. Hence developing neutrality towards sorrow and happiness becomes difficult. A common man can understand being neutral towards sorrow but being neutral to happiness? Sounds crazy!

Unlike the Sthita Prajna,

यदा संहरते चायं कूर्मोऽङ्गानीव सर्वशः।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता॥२।। ५८ ॥

Similar to a tortoise that withdraws its limbs, when one completely withdraws the senses from the temptations, he is established in perfect knowledge.

That is why the temptations that seduce the common man do not bother him. His mind and body are engrossed in only one thought, eternal bliss… which is salvation.

In case of momentary happiness and sorrow,

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्‍चरन्‌ ।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ॥२।।६४ ॥

But the self-controlled being, while amidst objects of the senses, freed from the attachment and aversion, with senses governed by the self; attains ecstasy.

Like a droplet on a leaf maintaining its distinctness, the Sthita Prajna attains bliss despite staying amongst the sensory temptations.

Lord Krishna calls such a state ‘Brahmi’ – ultimate state, that is, the state of attaining eternal happiness.

एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति ।
स्थित्वास्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति॥२।।७२ ॥

O Arjuna, one who attains the realization of the Ultimate Truth, is never again deluded and at the moment of death, liberates from the material existence and merges into the ultimate consciousness.

Epilogue

The Sthita Prajna and his qualities are unique features of the Gita. They’ve not been mentioned anywhere else in Indian Philosophy (like Upanishadas).

A closer look at Gita reveals that Chapter II actually summarizes the entire essence of Indian School of Wisdom. The questions Arjuna is struggling with, are related not just to war but to a meaningful life. Lord Krishna unfolds the mystery within this chapter.

If we want eternal happiness, we should be able to distinguish between what is eternal and what is fleeting in existence. According to the Sankhya, the visual creation is temporary, while the soul is eternal.

We, who are part of the fleeting creation will not get eternal happiness until we free ourselves out of that delusion. To come out of the delusion is to come out of the momentary pleasure and sorrow.

To come out of happiness and sorrow is to look at both joy and sorrow with equanimity and to give them up. To gain this equilibrium, restraint is needed on the senses.

If the senses are to be controlled, then the mind must be controlled, and to control the mind, is not to suppress it but to conquer it with the intellect.

The one who acquires this intellect becomes Sthita Prajna i.e. the Unwavering.

He, whose intellect is stable, is happy because he recognizes that happiness is within and not in the matter around. Then the fruits of his deeds do not bother him. He can withstand both happiness and sorrow and can go beyond them.

Here the process and the product become one. The seeker and the sought after (happiness) become one. The person who has gone into the Brahmi – Ultimate state, breaks the confinements of material happiness and reaches inner peace – Salvation aka Nirvana.

What could better explain the bliss than John Donne’s lines!

One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Once we realize the dreamy nature of material world and awaken ourselves out of it, fear of even the death, vanishes. Pure happiness dawns, breaking barriers of existence.

Copyright sheetaluwach.com 2020 ©

Quest – Bhagvad Gita – Part 4

नासदासीन्नो सदासीत्तदानीं नासीद्रजो नो व्योमा परो यत् ।
किमावरीवः कुह कस्य शर्मन्नम्भः किमासीद्गहनं गभीरम्।। (Rigveda. 10.129)

Nasadiya Sukta (नासदीय सूक्त) ……… It is said that the description of the origin of creation given in this hymn (129) in the 10th Mandala of Rigveda, matches with the one in Big Bang Theory (not the TV serial!). It is astonishing to find resemblance between thoughts of two seekers with distinct paths. A philosopher and a scientist.

It is a wonderful fact that a scientist proves what a philosopher stated ages ago. What could be the reason? If you go a little deeper, you can see the similarities between the two. Both are intellectuals. Both embark on different paths but seek a common goal. The scientist seeks eternal happiness through material progress, while the philosopher, through spiritual progress …

The scientific progress that has been made over the years makes mankind happier but puzzles the scientist. Is man really happy after creating so many means of material happiness? The answer is definitely negative. Because if that were the case, there would be no need to build more means of happiness. The philosopher also plunges into this riddle. New tools make people happy, but only momentarily. So what are those that keep them happy forever? Is Happiness really in the tools or elsewhere?

Arjuna too falls into this dilemma. After winning the war, he will get the kingdom, he will get all the means of happiness, but he will have to suffer the pain of killing his own relatives. If he doesn’t not fight, he won’t suffer the loss of extermination, but there will be contempt for being a weakling. Essence is, there’s no happiness without a smidgen of sorrow. But he’s looking for happiness that will last forever and be free from sorrows. With a chaotic mindset, Arjuna makes somewhat uncertain decision to not fight. He then turns to Krishna and says –

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसंमूढचेताः ।
यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम्‌।। Gita 2.7।।

A chaotic mindset has weakened my ability to act. I am asking you to (please) explain what’s good for me since I am your disciple.

Now it’s Krishna’s turn to enlighten a confused but studious seeker. The theory has to be potent enough to satisfy Arjuna, a scholarly disciple.

With great skill, Krishna convinces Arjuna, why he should continue to battle. Moreover, Krishna raises the path of eternal happiness before him by unfolding concepts like the nature of existence, the importance of karma, the stability of intellect and the steadfast attitude that comes with the knowledge of all these, respectively.

Sankhya Yoga ….

It is believed that the seeds of Sankhya principle can be traced back as far as Rigveda. Sankhya ….. a theory… which fascinated thinkers from Rigvedic sages to Buddhist scholars. Principle, that finds a place in many schools of thought such as Buddhism and Jainism. References or versions of Sankhya school are found in Rigveda, Upanishadas (Shwetashvatara श्वेताश्वतर, Taittiriya तैत्तिरीय, Aitareya ऐतरेय, Brihadaranyaka बृहदारण्यक), Baudhayana’s Grihyasutra (बौधायन गृह्यसूत्र), Patanjali’s Yogasutra (पतंजली योगसूत्र) and Charaksamhita (चरकसंहीता). Links go even to Chinese translation of Parmartha1 (परमार्थ).  Sankhya… a word in itself has enough material to compose a separate thesis. But for now we will only look at Sankhya in the context of the 2nd chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

Just as the entire world of computers is made up of binary 0 and 1 so is the universe, according to Sankhya, made up of 2 eternal principles. Sankhya means number and Yoga means unification. The entire existence is formed through unification of these 2 eternal principles. Purusha (पुरुष) and Prakriti (प्रकृती). ‘Purusha (पुरुष)’ is an imperishable, everlasting, numerous element and ‘Prakriti(प्रकृती)’ is perishable, capricious element. Prakriti is classified into multiple predetermined elements (Mahabhuta) collaborating to create an assorted world. The principle of Prakriti stands for all things that are mortal, while Purusha is the indestructible soul/energy. The combination of these two creates existence. When the mortal form perishes, the soul is liberated and absorbed into another being in the Prakriti. Such is a skeletal framework of Sankhya Philosophy.

Now let’s look into Gita … Krishna splits his rationale in three parts based on the Sankhya principle.

  • Reality of existence
  • Balancing Perspectives, practising equanimity.
  • Portrayal of the Unwavering (स्थितप्रज्ञ) – Practitioner of equanimity

Krishna handles this like a skilled counsellor. He emphatically states that it is indecent for a valiant Arjuna to behave cowardly. He is already mourning on an intended destruction while he does not even have knowledge of creation.

अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे। गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ।।Gita 2.11।।

You are not only mourning for the unavoidable but also upholding an argument in its favour! The learned neither lament for those who are dead nor for the living.

The body is made up of – perishable elements Prakriti, and the soul (Aatman -आत्मन्) is immortal –  Purusha. It is certain that the body will perish whether or not you destroy it. What does this mean? This means it is irrational to grieve and argue about the inevitable. No matter how hard you try, no one will live beyond their existential boundary. Even you, me or monarchs around us won’t be living forever.

न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः । न चैव न भविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ।।Gita 2.12।।

Never at any time did I not exist, nor you, nor all these rulers (e.g. Kauravas) and certainly never shall we cease to exist in the future.

Then why and how much to mourn? The death of the one who is born is inevitable. This is the law of creation.

Krishna explains to Arjuna that it is pointless to grieve for the departed or even the living! Whatever born is destroyed. It yields and perishes. That is seen momentarily of course by the subject of external senses.

After all, the body of an enemy, relative or anyone else is mortal. Sooner or later it will be destroyed. So there is nothing wrong with Arjuna destroying it when an inevitable war is raging.

This is the first half of Sankhya doctrine in which the perishable principle of Prakriti is manifested. This is true not only about the body, but also about the fact that every element of creation that is perceived through the external senses is mortal. What are the external senses? Eyes, ears, nose, skin…. This means that, what can be seen by the eyes, heard by the ears, smells coming from the nose and touch felt by the skin are all short-lived.

Prakriti is a finite and mutable principle hence it can’t alone serve the human quest of eternal happiness. On the other hand, Purusha/Soul is an indestructible and everlasting principle that binds us and the creator together. Knowledge of Purusha leads to the knowledge of the creator i.e. to the door of eternal happiness.

How does Krishna describe the nature of Soul and further moves to the remaining parts of his explanation…? in the next part …

Footnote:

  1. Parmartha परमार्थ – A 10th Century Buddhist monk. Born in Ujjain in CE 499, Parmartha converted and spread Buddhism in Cambodia initially and then in southern China. He is known for his Chinese translations of many Buddhist texts like Abhidharmakosh (अभिधर्मकोष) and Suvarnaprabhasasutra (सुवर्णप्रभाससुत्र). Parmartha also translated the Sankhya doctrine of Panchshikha and Ishwar Krishna. He died in CE 569 in China.

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Quest – Bhagvad Gita – Part 3

Perspective …. Arjuna Vishada Yoga!

Perspective ……….. Perspective of an individual exercises profound effect on his expression. This is evident in the case of artists. The foundation of a creation rests on how an artist looks at the subject. If an artist’s approach to a subject, thought or an event is different, then the artistic expression that emerges from it can also be dramatically different.

Christopher Marlow generates a horrific picture of man’s lust of power and fame in ‘Doctor Faustus’, a tragic play based on a concept of a mortal possessing heavenly powers. The same concept is depicted in a hilarious comedy ‘Bruce Almighty’…  what differs is approach… Perspective of the artist towards a concept.

Arjuna Vishada… The same is true about the first chapter in Gita. Since this chapter has been consistently presented in the form of Arjuna’s lament, most of the readers find it melodramatic and Arjuna, an emotional fool! The solicitous side of Arjuna doesn’t surface unless we change our perspective… Conscience.

Conscience … the intellect to know the difference between right and wrong.

Conscience …. the patience that makes you think about the consequences before taking any step.

Conscience …. the difference between Arjuna and other warriors who had inhuman and destructive powers and were eager for war…

Numerous great warriors during the Mahabharata war were equipped with infinite power and divine weapons. Majority of them were eager to practice those weapons. But how many of them were mindful of the immeasurable damage these divine weapons could bring? Most of them were marching impatiently burning with selfishness or vengeance.

Perspective…….. ‘Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’. Sheer Aggression or Vengeance as an approach to victory causes extermination!!

How much more should the conscience of a hero who has the power to destroy millions of families be awakened? Arjuna manifests this conscience. The restraint appears through Arjuna Vishada.

He does not dare take up arms unless he’s convinced of the inevitability of war and destruction. Not because he is weak or faint-hearted, but because he is confident of his destructive power. He is aware of the all-encompassing effects of genocide…

Arjuna stands out in this chapter not only as a mighty warrior but also as a mature, prolific and prudent leader. He is sure that if he has to be the future ruler, he has to take every step thoughtfully. Since the society will set him as a role-model and will follow his footsteps. That is why he inspects the horrible consequences of war from different perspectives and roles. Effects on all factors such as an individual, family, society, religion, economics, politics, values…

Knowing all this, he wants a satisfactory answer as to why is he waging war? Because as a prudent person and a future ruler, he has to take the moral responsibility of this war and justify it to the next generations. That is why he is anxious to take up arms without getting fully convinced.

Attitude … Inquisitiveness ….

Apart from presenting the ferocity of war and Arjuna’s maturity, there can still be a feature in Chapter 1. Which appears in the subsequent chapters as well. Curiosity …. desire for knowledge ….

There is a story in the Mahabharata. It is said that Drona used to play a trick while teaching archery to the Kauravs and Pandavas. In the morning, he would send each student with a container to fetch water. Since the vessel given to Ashwatthama had wider mouth, he used to come back earlier than others. Then Dronacharya used to teach him some distinct tricks till other disciples arrived. Only Arjuna comprehends this clue and manages to reach with Ashvatthama to become the beneficiary of this special class. Later he was also chosen to perform penance and travel to obtain divine weapons. Moreover, the fact that Arjuna was closest to Lord Krishna amongst the Pandava siblings clearly indicates that Arjuna was not only a mighty warrior but also a curious scholar.

That’s why mere Yudhisthira’s word or Krishna’s order isn’t enough for him. He knowingly turns down such appeals. His conscience keeps alarming that an annihilation demands much more substantial and comprehensive purpose than just vengeance.

Hence before taking any step he seeks multifarious enlightenment from Krishna. He wants to understand inevitability of war from different perspectives.

Arjuna, a curious seeker and a true worshiper of knowledge was the reason why a divine being like Krishna detailed the knowledge in 17 Chapters. Greater the seeker’s curiosity, greater the scope of knowledge! Therefore, attainment like Gita resulted out of the curiosity of a seeker like Arjuna.

And of course, if it was not for Arjuna Vishada, would Krishna have recited Gita? And would we have received it so easily?!

Therefore, the knowledge in the 17 chapters of Gita is a gift of Arjuna Vishada.

What is this gift … Sankhya Yoga …. in the next part …

Read this post in Marathi https://wp.me/pGdGC-2e

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Quest – Bhagvad Gita – Part 2

Questions … Arjuna .. then .. even today!

I am sure most of us have seen a movie called ‘Kung Fu Panda’ (All parts of course!) Master Shifu, the Kung Fu tutor, takes us through wonderful insights into human behaviour. After blaming almost everyone for his failure to build an unbeatable Supreme Warrior, he finally realizes that the biggest fault rested within him and not amongst any external factor. With painstaking efforts he wins over self-doubt and creates a Dragon Warrior out of a novice! The recognition of actual problem dawns upon him at the end – lack of Inner Peace!

From the Stone Age to the present day, man has made great progress with the strength of his unwavering intelligence. Created a number of tools of material convenience. Overcame many difficulties. But some questions still remain unanswered, even today.

Are humans really satisfied with so much material progress? If so, why is it that there is a constant search for new comforts? Each individual is struggling to be happy and satisfied. But to our surprise each one’s happiness, each one’s satisfaction lies in different things. So what exactly is happiness? Just getting what you demand is not happiness, because the list of demands never ends. We are constantly sourcing/demanding something or the other. We are sad if we don’t get it, we are sad if we get it later than expected. If we get it on time we are happy for the moment but….. we want something else tomorrow!! The list just never ends.

The question haunting human mind for ages is.. What exactly is happiness and sorrow? How do we find the key to unending happiness? A way to satisfied mind without any regrets…….. Inner Peace!!

Majority of readers study Gita in anticipation of an instant remedy. They don’t make a conscious effort to assimilate the knowledge in it. Cracking code of mankind’s oldest puzzle can’t be as easy as a Sudoku riddle in a newspaper where the solution is published the next day!! Just as everyone’s happiness and sorrows are different, their queries are different too and so is the key to fathom remedies.

Here surfaces the real greatness of Gita. It is a book that brings together solutions to the problems of human beings with different temperaments, intellects and situations. For ages Gita provides solutions to mankind based on each one’s intellect, passion and efforts. With a thoughtfully bound, step by step series of 18 chapters Gita opens the door to a meaningful life.

The first chapter of the Gita ……….‘Arjuna Vishada Yoga’. The subject of each chapter is evident from its name. Vishada literally means lamenting, here it denotes reflection of self and surrounding. We’ll call it Predicament of Arjuna.

The total number of verses is 47. This chapter falls into two parts. First part describes the as is situation on the battlefield. It begins with a rollcall. Taking names of the top Generals1 in the Kaurava and the Pandava troops, the descriptions of their conch shells, and Arjuna’s observation of the army. Arjuna’s melancholy begins from verse 28 onward ….

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to position his chariot between the two armies. He wants to observe the armies on both sides. He scans the Kaurava troops carefully. To his horror Arjuna sees thousands of elephants, horses, chariots and soldiers. Against him are standing his beloved elders like Bhishma & Shalya, sagacious teachers like Drona & Kripa, cousins like Duryodhana & Vikarna and a whole lot of the extended family. All primed to kill each other….

Seeing his own people in the army on both sides, Arjuna’s mind is ravished with thoughts.

Is this genocide really inevitable? Does winning kingdom justify slaying our own brothers? Is this going to bring satisfaction/happiness for us Pandavas?

If this is following my designated Self, occupational and religious duties then what does denouncing them mean? Is avoiding violence here unrighteous? What is the meaning of happiness if it comes through extermination of our own clan? If there is a sin in killing, then how can this crusade lead to satisfaction?

From 28 onwards for 20 verses, Arjuna describes the terrible consequences of war. The gist comes in below 3 verses:-

निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानी केशव ।न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे ।।१-३१।।

निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याज्जनार्दन । पापमेवाश्रयेदस्मान्हत्वैतानाततायिनः ।।१-३६।।

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन । नरकेऽनियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम ।।१-४४।।

Slaying one’s kinsmen will only lead to evil. The value system will be degraded, the clan will disappear and we will get hell.

One after the other, Arjuna presents Krishna with the disastrous aftereffects of this war. Eighteen Akshauhini2 army used to destroy their own clan. Would such a massacre really bring happiness? Isn’t it better to not fight at all? He believes he’s committing an awful sin. He feels that happiness even momentary, if achieved after the war is not worth.

Arjuna, caught in the chaotic battle of many such questions, puts down the bow. He tells Krishna, “I am so confused that it is impossible for me to wield a weapon….” The first chapter ends.

Arjuna Vishada … This first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is of vital importance. One would naturally think that there is nothing special about this chapter when viewed from a philosophical point of view. This chapter deals with military census and Arjuna’s grief or fear. So does its greatness only rest on it being the first chapter of the Gita? Of course not.

What is the significance of Arjuna Vishada Yoga ………. in the next part

Footnotes: –

  1. The names of the following Knights appear in the first chapter …
  • Yuyudhana: – Brother of Satyaki. Present on all the 18 days of the war.
  • Dhrishtaketu: – King of Chedi kingdom
  • Chekitan: – Warrior king from the clan of Vrushni Yadava. Killed by Duryodhana in the war
  • Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja: – Warrior brothers from
  • Draupadeya (Sons of Draupadi) :- Shrutasoma, Shrutakarma, Shatanika and Shrutasena
  • Vikarna: – Good natured brother from 100 Kaurava siblings
  • Soumadatti: – Son of SomadattaBhurishrava

Apart from this, of course, famous Generals like Dronacharya, Bhishma, Virata, Drupada, Bhima, Arjuna, King of Kashi, Purujit, Kuntibhoja, Shaibya, Abhimanyu, Karna, Ashwatthama, are also mentioned.

  1. Akshauhini:– The total number of troops in the Mahabharata war was 18 Akshauhini. The Kauravas had 11 and the Pandavas had 7 Akshauhini. There were multiple ascending dimensions for counting troops – Patti, Senamukha, Gulma, Gana, Vahini, Prutana, Chamu, Anikini and Akshauhini. One Akshauhini is about 218,700 troops and the 18 Akshauhini totals to approximately 3,936,600.

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Quest – Bhagvad Gita – Part 1

Welcome Friends!

On this forum we are going to discuss knowledge, philosophy and culture. Sounds a bit too comprehensive isn’t it? But it helps. When your subject matter covers almost everything; you tend to avoid futile discussions like why something is or isn’t a topic being discussed here, you’d rather focus on the discussion!!

Alright then let’s begin. World over, amongst the forums of philosophical discussions Gita has always been a hot cake. Since childhood we have been hearing about this book in various contexts. As a child, some (Indians especially) may have memorized at least one of these chapters (often by force!). We move ahead with our life but the curiosity persists. Very few rarely try and pursue the book. Surprisingly Gita keeps knocking our door along the way, through trainings, TV serials, management presentations, online content, etc. The book keeps coming back to us rekindling our curiosity.

We know about Gita as a book of wisdom that solves most common but unusual questions the mankind faces. Gita crosses our path every now and then but does not grip our attention. Perhaps because philosophy and the Sanskrit language are the two seemingly dry and often avoided mediums.

Our first article is about this BHAGAVAD GITA.

First of all, let us learn some basic facts about Gita.

Gita is built in the form of verses. The total number of verses is 700 enunciated by 4 talking personas.

Dhritarashtra – Father of the Kauravas and Emperor of Hastinapura. He is blind by birth. The only verse he owns in the Gita is the first verse of the book.  He ignites the engine like a child seeking a story from his Grandpa…..! He simply asks a question ‘O Sanjaya, what is going on at Kurukshetra, the battlefield of Kurus’ and the Gita begins. The character of Dhritarashtra ends here.

Sanjaya – The charioteer of Dhritarashtra and the temporary war correspondent during that time. He delivers live commentary on Kurukshetra war for Dhritarashtra. He has 41 verses in the Gita.

Arjuna – The archer brother amongst the Pandavas. He has 84 verses to his name in the Gita. Majority of these appear in the first chapter.

Lord Krishna –  Almighty! Who preaches Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield. The highest number of verses in the Gita i.e. 574 verses are, of course delivered by Lord Krishna. He’s the orator rather author of the Philosophy.

The Gita is divided into a total of 18 chapters. The name of each of these is suffixed as ‘Yog‘. i.e. Arjuna Vishada Yoga, Sankhya Yoga, Karma Yoga etc. Every Yoga is prefixed by the main topic of that chapter. For example, the name of the 14th chapter is ‘Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga‘. It, as the name suggests has the characteristics of ‘the three qualities’ and their symptoms.

Volumes of content is published every day across multiple media platforms, pushing back the old ones into oblivion. Assuming a bunch of 10 verses printed on each page, making a total of 70 pages; I mean, Gita is as short as a kids story book! Then what is it about the Gita that keeps going for thousands of years? What is in it that keeps appealing to generations of mankind? The answer is pretty simple.

In fact, the answer lies in the question itself. What has been the rarest and most valued gift to mankind amongst all species? An inquisitive and curious mind! Since the beginning of civilization or rather the beginning of the beginning itself, human being has always been on a quest. A quest about Life. A quest about existence, emotions, purpose and everything about these that is unfathomable or unknown. The questions Arjuna had before the war began is what shadows the human mind even today despite achieving so much of material progress. Gita provides answers……solutions….to the eternal queries of mankind. What are these queries……. What did Arjuna seek?

Questions …………. Arjunavishada ……………. in the next part.

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