Solace of a Death

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"In the whole world there is no study, except that of the originals, so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Oupnekhat [Latin for Upanishads].It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death!" - Arthur Schopenhauer

When a universally respected German says it out loud, it just underlines the wisdom of ancient India. We Indians have always been proud of our "culture" and "heritage". We are aware of the great past that we inherited and in a way this greatness is still very much alive, though implicitly, in our religious attitudes, and as an undercurrent, in our tolerant diversity. The real need, I solemnly feel, is to elevate this pride to a level of realization of the essence rather than just an outwardly and superficial feeling.

The vedic indians were an inspired lot - in the period between 2000 B.C to 600 B.C. (though these time periods are eternally under debate) the indian mind rose up from the annals of mediocre existence and apprehended the great truths of world and nature. The Vedic Samhitas, the oldest literary work known to man, are hymns of the personification of divinity in forces of nature. They not only symbolize a beauty of expression but also signify a transition of the human intellect - an incredible evolution of thought - that reached the pinnacle of transcendental inquiry in the Upanishads. The time of the creation of Upanishads was filled with such creative fervour that major world religions and philosophies (Greek Philosophy, Christianity, Buddhism, etc) were all born around the same time. Ancient Indian literature is a foundation to elevate the inner self and not just a ground to stand on and proclaim our greatness.

These remarkable texts of India established such irrefutable truths that its message is applicable even 2000 years hence, and they are distilled to such a subtle level that new truths will keep emerging for many more centuries to come. All works subsequent to Vedic Literature, were mere footnotes to it. Sankaracharya, Baudhayana, Madhava, Ramanuja, etc wrote commentaries on them. The epic Puranas and Itihasas are just allegorical interpretations to convey Vedic messages to the common man. Vedic Literature can be said to be the constitution for the republic of religion and life.

Its time the core concepts of our history are reborn into the Indian psyche. We are, today, a generation that knows its priorities way too well. We have the courage to flout norms and stand up for what we believe in. We are empowered enough to make smart choices. We appreciate arts, science, commerce and life in general, all in good measure. Its, now, a fertile ground for the wisdom of the ancients to awaken. There has to be a way to trigger this.. and not just in small numbers.

There has to be a way to do it! A way to percolate the philosophical messages down to the simplest mind - a way to make people stop doing ceremonies as mere rituals and look for deeper meaning. A way to convert 'religious belief' into 'critical understanding'. A way to move away from economic upheavels, communal disorders, social emergencies, towards a firm foundation of unwavering virtuous life. A way to transform our appreciation of Indian wisdom from mere solace of our lives into an immanent realization that becomes the solace of our deaths.. and many more journeys thereafter!


sumitra said...

There is no doubt about the greatness of the Vedas and the Vedic times. However, I feel that bringing those concepts back in modern times could have the following consequences:

1. Misinterpretation
2. Misrepresentation for personal gain
3. The first two causing more fear and lack of trust in the people

Perhaps for a generation of people like ours, the best way to find the truth is to look inwards. And away from texts written in a language and style we no longer fully comprehend.

Rediscovering everything that was already written, in first hand experience, is perhaps what is required today.

Anonymous said...

the concepts of our scriptures cannot be passed on to lay people as-is. Yes! It would make no sense to them. Thats why great works like Mahabharata and Ramayana were written in the first place. But sadly the interpretation of these books lost the essence and started focusing on the dramatic contexts. Also, we have some gurus and ashrams today that try to proporate the ancient indian philosophy but they are either too preoccupied with differentiating themselves (to attract more crowds) or focusing a bit too much on cash inflow (to ensure their survival). This is a lost cause again!

The need is to attract new generation to old concepts, but whats the way to do it? We need to convince people (esp. the youth) to look inwards and feel that experience first-hand, but how to initiate it and convert the youth in the first place?

I think we have identified a solution. Need to research on feasible ways to implement it.

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