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Legends in the Rig Vedic Brahmanas and Their Subsequent Development in the Ramayana & Mahabharata

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Item Code: NAX884
Author: Sanjiban Sengupta
Publisher: Sanskrit Book Depot
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9789381795729
Pages: 256
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 420 gm
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Book Description
The Vedic literature is represented by four classes of literary compositions which include the Samhitas, the Brahmans, the Aranyakas and the Upanishads, The Brahmans, preceded by the Samhitas and followed by the Aranyakas, have been dominated by sacrificial details and ritualistic niceties, which make them dry, barren and insipid. However, the religion and philosophy in theses texts have a distinct flavor of their own, which becomes palpable in the plethora of legends and narratives occupying an important position revolving around the multitude of rituals and their accessories. The methodology of the Brahmans especially the Rigvedic Brahmans is marked by a distinct quality which is not traceable in other works of the same genre. The myths and legends which we come across in the above two Brahmans have their prototypes in the two great epics viz. the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, It is indeed heartening to note that Dr. Sanjiban Sengupta, has been successful to a great extent in developing the epic concept of various narratives and to present to the bar of the academic world the intellect and wisdom of the Vedic seers on the diverse fabric of ritualistic niceties in Indian religion and philosophy. Dr. Sengupta deserves accolades in articulating the development of these stories in the light of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, with particular reference to Sri Aurobindo's line of interpretation.

The monograph embodies the doctoral thesis submitted by Dr. Sengupta in support of his candidature for admission to the PhD. (Arts) degree of the Jadavpur University. The present work rechristened 'Legends in the Rigvedic Brahmans and their subsequent development in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata' throws new light on the core content of the Brahmanical legends and at the same time traces the gradual development of the stories in the-two great epics. Divided into three chapters, the treatise makes an attempt in dealing with the salient traits of some well- known narratives in the Brahmans, comparing and contrasting them with those of the same furnished in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Chapter-I in the form of an introduction makes an effort in discussing the position of the Brahmans, especially the Rigvedic Brahmans in the field of Vedic religion and philosophy. In the chapter-Il, the corpus of certain important stories like Mahidas Aitareya, Nabhanedistha, Kavasa, Dighajihvi and Vaivasvata Manu has been laid down and an excellent analytical treatment of the above stories in their social, moral, cultural, religious and ritualistic backgrounds has indeed added a new feather to the author's cap. Over and above, author's excellence lies in the deft handling with the concept of Sri Aurobindo's esoteric views in deciphering the exact nature of the myths and legends presented in the Brahmans.

I congratulate the author for his remarkable contribution towards the interpretation of umpteen legends as expounded and developed in the Brahmans as well as the two great epics. I am confident the book will be well received by critical readers, both in the East and the West.

One of the elements of the old Vedic education is knowledge of significant legendary tradition turned to creative tales. And such legendary tales are expressive of some seeds of spiritual and religious and ethical and ideal meaning and thus formative of the mind of the people. They function as architects and sculptors of life, creative exponents, fashioners of significant forms of the national culture. A lofty philosophic idea runs through them. And the whole ancient culture of India is embodied in them with a great force of living presentation. Thus we come to know that with a large and vital view of religion and society the Brahmanical legends as well as the later epic legends playa very formidable role in the -Itihasa: of the ancients of this land of ours.

In the legends, especially in the Brahmanical ones the multiple records of experiences in Arks or Mantras have been developed in meaningful tales. They touch upon the life of man at several points of their convergence. According to these legends the universe is a cosmos governed by a Law of Truth.

The Brahmanical legends depict human life as a constant flow to the divinities. Man has all along been engaged in a prolong struggle for the outbreak of the Divine Light. He has to open himself to the reign of Truth, out of the Night of Ignorance. Such a Light does not appear all on a sudden. Man has to create favorable conditions by rejecting falsehood which not only opposes the Truth but also resists its advance. He has also to wage a prolong war against the hostile Asuric forces or the agents of darkness that combat the hosts of Light. As the inner forces like ego-ridden sense-bound desires, passions and inclinations also move man away from Truth, the only way out is to invoke Agni, the flame of aspiration and the force of Divine Will to consume the roots of falsehood with his flames. Agni is the Divine Flame that constantly urges man forward and carries his offerings to his destination to receive the pregnant as well as generating touch of Higher Consciousness. With the opening of the successive layers of man's consciousness to the Light of Knowledge many of his latent faculties are awakened and formed and set into activity by the appropriate presiding Powers or gods. Gods act as the executives and take charge of the various functioning of the universal energies of the Supreme One. They appear before us as divine functionaries. Gods of the legends are not deified Nature-elements. They are essentially divine Powers that lead the seeker to the key of unlocking the Light of knowledge.

These gods again grow towards perfection in the ultimate Godhead by receiving their respecting shares in the offering of the sacrifice. In fact, gods are themselves born of Truth, grow in Truth and live in Truth. Even gods have to observe the Transcendental Law of the Truth. In the Brahmanical legends all these things have been spectacularly illustrated.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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