Seventy five years old Dr. A.S. Ramanathan is a scientist by career. He retired as Deputy Director General of Meterology from the India Meteorogical Department. He has to his credit a number of research papers, published both in India and abroad.
Dr. Ramanathan is well versed in Ancient Sanskrit literature and has good knowledge of Vedic tradition. Some years back, he came across the works of Madhusudhan Ojha and his disciple Motilal shastri on Vedic literature and was deeply attracted towards them. He came to Jaipur several times and devoted lot of time to study their writings. He was so much impressed by the expositions of Ojha that he went to the extent of saying that no other scientific analysis of our culture in the past as Ojha has done. He considers Ojha as an Avatar of Veda Vyasa.
For the past few years, Dr. Ramanathan has been writing on Ojha’s works, making special stress on his contributions to the scientific understanding of Vedic Culture. According to him, Ojha was the first scholar to pave the way for organized research studies in our Ancient Sanskrit Literature.
This is the sixth publication of the author. Earlier he has published five books namely. 1. Weather Science in Ancient India. 2. What is Veda 3. Vedic Concept of Soma 4. Vedic Concept of Atman 5. Atmagatividya.
These days Dr. Ramanathan is working on “A Scientific presentation of the Advaita Concept according to Vedic Tradition”. He is also editing with introduction and notes Ojha’s commentary on Brahmasutras and his work entitled ‘Samsayataducchedavada.’
This scholarly commentary on Gita by Vidyavacaspati Madhusudhana Ojha provides an intellectual, Krsnabhaktas and Krsnapremis. It is unique in many respects and requires to be read, re- read enjoyed. A sensitive reader will identify himself with Lord Krsna and achieve Advaitasiddhi in the process.
Gita is the essence of Indian though. It is the soul of our literature. From very early times, it has domination the Indian thought process and has been the source of several of Indian Philosophies. Gita is known all over the world and is the best known scripture among Indian spiritual and religious books. Almost all languages of the world have Gita as one of their treasured publications.
Pt. Madhusudan Ojha, the most outstanding Vedic Scholar of our time, who flourished in Jaipur in the first half of this century, has written a scholarly commentary on Gita in three parts entitled Rahasya Kanda, Acarya Kanda and Mulakanda. The present book consists of a presentation of Ojha’s commentary by Dr. A.S. Ramanathan, a career scientist together with introduction and English for the benefit of scientists, scholars as well as general readers.
Dr. Ramanathan declares that Ojha is the greatest Vedic Scholar Indian has ever produced Vedic. Ojha has written practically on all aspects of all aspects of Indian though such as Vedic, Puranas, Vedanga, Gita, History Vedantasutras, Upanishads, Brahmanas and several other subjects. His son Pradyumna Ojha had published a list of 288 books written by his father. No other Acarya has done this much. He wrote as many as eleven books on Srstivijnana which comprised several theories on the origin of the universe prevalent even before the Vedas were composed.
Dr. Ramanathan has gone deep into all the available books of Ojha and has come to the conclusion that Ojha was head and shoulders above all the scholars the country could boast of. For the first time, Ojha has unfolded the real meanings of many technical words which occur in Vedic literature and has explained how the Vedas deal with the science of the origin, evolution and dissolution of the universe.
Dr. Ramanathan has planned to bring to light many of Ojha’s works though his writings in english. After working as a scientist with India Meteorological Department years, he retired as a Deputy General of that Department. He has to his credit a number of research papers published in Science journals of this country as well as other countries. After retirement he worked as a Research Fellow of Indian National Science Academy and has published several papers on Weather Science in Ancient India. For the last ten years he is devoting his whole time to the study of Ojha’s writings. He has so far written four books the logic of Vedic thought entitled. 1. What is Veda? 2. Vedic Concept of Soma 3. Vedic Conceot of Atman and 4. Atamagatividya. The present book is the fifth one in this series.
At the age of seventy five years, Dr. Ramanathan has shifted his home Srirangam to Chennai only to look after the day to day work of composing in the press at Chennai.
His introduction to this book covers more than eighty pages and in this he has tried to sum up the essence of Vedic thought with special reference to the contents of Gita. He feels he fulfilled a great mission in his life by completing this volume.
I earnestly hope that the readers of this commentary on Bhagavad Gita will get insight into this Sastra.
I am extremely happy to present to the readers my fifth book on the Logic of Vedic Thought. It is a commentary n Bhagavad Gita written by Madhusudan Ojha in the nineteen thirties, which was not completed by him because of his sudden death in 1939. However, the first three parts completed by him give us so much enlightenment on the object that we are not very much at a disadvantage on account of its incompleteness, though we would have known many more things from him, had he completed the last part also.
Vedic religion is a positive and progressive religion. It is a religion based on scientific principles. In that sense it is an eternal religion which applies to the entire mankind. Its soul aim has all along been to discover ways and means by which human beings individually and collectively evolve into human beings of a higher order, that is, superhumans, if you choose to understand it that way. People like Vyasa, Adisankara, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Tirumular, Sadasiva Brahmendra, Sesadri Swamji, Ramana Maharsi, King Janaka, Dilipa, Raghu, Rama, Krsna, Yudhisthira, Vidura, Bhisma, Arjuna, etc did live in this sacred land of ours as superhumans and worked in their own way to elevate the human society.
With all these enviable advantages, what went wrong with us is anybody's guess. The most likely reason seems to be that there was a generation gap due to some natural calamity and we lost contact with the real teachers of this religion. After Veda Vyasa, Vedic scholarship started dwindling some two thousand years ago and has ended up to what it is today. The westerners who ruled over us during the recent past had their own share in the making of this situation. Absence of scientific thinking and extreme indifference of the scientists of the country to the study of Vedic Science also contributed its share. The result has been that we have today a generation of new scholars who have no deep knowledge of the Vedas and Brahmans but consider themselves as adepts in the exposition of Vedic culture with their superficial scholarship of the Upanishads and the Puranas, They hardly realise that Vedic thought is a single stream unless one studies the entire cross section of Vedic literature comprising Vedas, Brahmanas, Upanishads and the Puranas a correct picture of Vedic culture would not emerge. The basic concepts of our ancients and the correct meanings of passages and technical words can be understood only when we study Vedas, Brahmanas and Upanishads together with cross references.
It is in the above context, we have to judge the significance of the contribution of Madhusudan Ojha. He was a phenomenon by himself and had a unique place in the galaxy of intellectuals of the highest order that our land gave birth to. As regards his Vedic scholarship and ability to teach the essentials of Vedic religion to the really qualified student, he is next only to Veda Vyasa. He was a real Bharat Ratna in every sense of the term. While Veda Vyasa had many Maharsis of eminence to teach and effectively propagate Vedic religion among the scholar community of the country, Madhusudan Ojha had none of that calibre as his students who could catch up his creative
genius and benefit by it. The result has been that his works were totally neglected and did not reach the intellectual community of this country merely because most of them were not printed and annotated in the proper form. In fact many of them have been lost to us permanently with the result many scholars of this country have no knowledge of his writings at all.
The works of Ojha cover a very wide cross section. There is hardly any branch of Vedic thought which has not been dealt with by him. He was essentially a creative scientist of the first order. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of the entire cross section of our ancient literature and his razor sharp analytical brain, Ojha was head and shoulders above all scholars of his time in his intellectual stature. His contribution to the interpretation of Vedic thought was of a very high order unparalleled in the history of Vedic research. It will take many years for a sincere student to digest his writings.
What is the secret of Ojha's success? The reason is very simple. He succeeded in unfolding the secret of the Vedas simply because he was born as a first rate scientist in the real sense of the term, ever probing into the minds of our great Rsis to discover the basic concepts on which they built their compositions. It is Madhusudan Ojha who showed us for the first time that Vedic research is the most fascinating, exciting and at the same time most challenging field of research for any qualified and dedicated scientist. That is why, Ojha says in his Brahmasiddhanta, When once Ojha discovered a basic concept of the Vedic seers, he immediately tried to find out the ramifications of this concept as reflected in the various mantras. Some of them are possibilities only which Ojha thought will be useful for any researcher who tries to understand the true meanings of mantras.
Ojha's mind worked just like that of great scientists of the world. He discovered the meanings of the mantras just like the scientists discovered some secrets of the workings of Nature. However, his knowledge of the Vedas was much more extensive than what the scientists had. While the scientists had very good knowledge only in their own specialties and allied branches, Ojha as a real Rsi of our tradition was familiar with many branches of knowledge prevalent in Vedic times. His knowledge of Ayurveda was as sound as his knowledge of Arthasastra or Vyakarana or the Darsanas. His mind was much more creative than that of any top ranking scientist of the world. No scientist can really follow him and appreciate him unless he has a very good knowledge of our ancient literature and has the God given gift of understanding the mind of the Rises, This is what Ojha says in his Brahmasiddhanta.
It is a great pity that no scientist of his days had enough knowledge and appreciation of ancient Sanskrit literature to be able to talk to him and understand what he talked about our ancient literature. When he gave an extempore lecture in Sanskrit in England in the year 1902 before a group of western Sanskrit scholars of those days, which even today stands out as one of the most scientific expositions of our culture, the scholars who had their own way of understanding our culture, could not really follow him because they were not familiar with that type of analysis of our culture. Even today the same situation continues. Though the country can boast of hundreds of scientist pensioners, none of them is really interested in going deep into our ancient literature. Many times they get wrong ideas of our culture through the works of western scholars and Indian interpreters who have no knowledge of Vedas and Brahmanas but who however proclaim that they are experts simply because they have studied the Upanishads. In such a situation, therefore, it is the duty of every Sanskrit knowing citizen of this country to study and propagate the works of Ojha throughout the country. Motilal Sharma, one of the principal disciples of Ojha wrote profusely in hindi on the teachings of his master. But he did not present the original Sanskrit text of Ojha's writings along with the Hindi exposition. This has resulted in the loss of many of Ojha's unpublished manuscripts for want of proper care on the part of his family members. Only a few books on Brahmavijnana were printed in some form by a few devoted scholars of his time and the rest were either lost or remain in shattered condition.
However thanks to the efforts of Karpur Chand Kulish, Founder, Editor of Rajasthan Patrika, the available manuscripts have been collected at considerable cost and every effort is being made to publish them in an orderly manner.
I came across some writings of Ojha and Motilal Sharma accidentally in a library at Delhi some years back and ever since then I have been collecting their available works, studying them and writing on them. I was also lucky in meeting Karpur Chand Kulish at Jaipur at that time and since then he has been continuously helping me to write on Ojha's contributions and publish them. After a few books in which I have tried to introduce Ojha to the readers, I have now started editing his original texts with my notes in English. The present book is the first one in this series. I hope to follow this up with many more of his contributions which in my opinion will go a long way in enabling the readers to have a scientific understanding of some aspects if not all of our glorious culture.
The text that I have chosen to present in this book has been taken from the editions of Giridhar Sharma Caturvedi published in the nineteen fifties. As the reader goes through the commentary of Ojha, he will feel choked with too much information. The reader will require considerable time to digest them and retain them in his memory. (The author regrets that for want of time and space, he is unable to present many more interesting details in his notes which would be particularly of interest to the scientists. However he
hopes that they will themselves be able to read between the lines and realise the richness of Ojha's mind.)
My sincere thanks are due to the Proprietor and Staff of Art Print, Chennai, who have done excellent work in typesetting and to Rajasthan Patrika Private Limited, Jaipur for printing and publishing the work.
We had promised in our book on Vedic Concept of Atman that we would be bringing out a series of books on the subject of Atman and one of them will be on Bhagavad Gita the most popular post Vedic text dealing with the subject of Atman. In that way our main interest in Bhagavad Gita will be to see how far this text elucidates the concept of Atman as formulated by our sages in the Vedas, Brahmans and Upanishads. This would naturally call for an in depth analysis of the text not only to find out how far it is in line with the thinking of our sages but also to understand how it gained so much popularity among the post Vedic scholars. In this process we shall be introducing to the readers perhaps the best analysis of Gita ever made by a post Vedic scholar. He is no other than Madhusudan Ojha who should by now be familiar to the readers of our series of books on the Logic of Vedic Thought. In order that the readers have proper appreciation of this most outstanding analysis of Gita, we decided to present Ojha's analysis in original to the readers and in order to facilitate easy following of the sanskrit passages by the reader, we have provided sufficient explanatory notes on the textual passages.
It is most unfortunate that Ojha's outstanding contributions to Vedic thought were never given the publicity they deserved. The only explanation we can offer for this state of affairs was that Ojha was head and shoulders above the ordinary people and therefore many scholars could not follow and appreciate his line of thinking. But it is certainly not an exaggeration when we say that for scientist’s familiar with our ancient literature, he proves to be the best guide for understanding the logic of Vedic thought. In fact, today there is a greater need to bring his writings to the limelight because many scholars and quite a few scientists have evinced keen interest in our ancient literature. An intelligent scientist can read between the lines of Ojha's writings and appreciate how great he was, as a thinker and scholar. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the entire cross section of ancient literature, his stunning analytical brain and his poetic but scientific language strike any scientist who wants to go deep into our ancient literature.
Those who had the opportunity of going through our earlier books would not find it very difficult to follow Ojha's writings. In fact, we have in a way prepared the reader for this purpose through our earlier books. The language is simple and easy to follow for any intelligent reader.
One of the most important statements made by Lord Krsna to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita is,'O Arjuna, I shall teach you all aspects of Jnana together with Vijnana. When once you become familiar with them there is nothing else in this world which remains to be known.' Readers who have gone through our book on Vedic concept of Atman will recall that it is Prajapati who is everything in this Visva and if we understand him in all his aspects we have nothing else remaining to be learnt. As we have already said, this Prajapati has two forms. One is called Anirukta, not definable and another is Nirukta i.e. having form which is definable. Since Anirukta Prajapati is beyond description, we have nothing to do with him. It is Nirukta Prajapati who is called Sodasi Prajapati who is everything for us. He has two facets viz jnana and Kriya. His original form was only pure jnana and through Kriya, he has manifested himself to us in the form of this Visva which is nothing but the exhibit of his Vijnana aspects and with his Jnana form he has also percolated into every aspect of this Visva. Put in another way Jnana essentially refers to understanding the Atman or Brahman and Vijnana refers to understanding of the various manifestations of Brahman which constitute everything we see in universe. Brahma and Karma or Jnana and Kriya constitute this Visva and therefore it is the source of jnana and Vijnana for us. In other words, Atma Jnana and Karma Vijnana, 'Paravidya and Aparavidya' are the two aspects Vidya and Lord Krsna promises to teach these two to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita.
In the language of science, the above statements would mean that Jnana refers to understanding the origin of universe and Vijnana refers to the understanding the evolution and structure of the universe in all its aspects. Keeping in mind that Jnana and Vijnana concern both the individual and the universe, we may say that Krsna promises teach Arjuna everything that one should know about oneself and the entire surroundings. In fact the Vedas and our satraps deal with Jnana and Vijnana in some way or other.
The Unified Theory of Vedic Seers
Just like scientists of our times are interested in developing a Unified Theory, our sages were also interested discovering formulae or Sutras which would describe at one stroke the whole universe, its origin and the process its evolution. If the universe is governed by definite laws as we believe and also our sages believed, then it should be possible to work out a complete unified theory and that is what both tried to achieve. After all, it is natural any thinking man to believe that events in the universe are connected and are explicable and therefore one should try to discover the underlying order and that is perhaps the final goal of our quest for knowledge.
The scientists being well aware of the fact that it may not be possible to describe every aspect of the unive in one go, tried a number of partial theories and later tried to combine them into one theory. Today two basic partial theories are used to describe the universe. One is the General Theory of Relativity and the other is Quant Mechanics. The General Theory of Relativity describes the force of Gravity and the large scale structure of tuniverse. Quantum Mechanics deals with phenomena on the atomic and sub-atomic scales. These two theories unfortunately are not inter-related now. One would like to have a combination of both which we may call Quantum Theory of Gravity, if at all we want to succeed in arriving at a Unified Theory.
Though the goal of both our sages and scientists was the same, the method of approach was different. We may say that our sages had a parallel science to describe the universe, to investigate its origin, understand its evolution and then its possible end. Using this science they succeeded in developing a Unified Theory of the universe, though one may brand it as a very crude theory compared to the sophisticated techniques and complicated mathematical equations which the scientists use in their theory to deal with their parameters and arrive at the final results. However there are some similarities here and there in these two theories which we shall point out as we proceed. But should remember there is no one to one relation between these theories and we can appreciate the contributions ancients much more if we recognize these two theories as two distinctly different approaches and we do not attempt to discover modem science in the Vedas.
Many people try to discover science in the Vedas. Actually what is expected of a scientist who handles the Vedic literature is to help others in the scientific understanding of the contents of Vedic literature and not the discover of science in the Vedas. Once we have a scientific understanding of the contents of Vedic literature, whatever science is there, will automatically be available to us as a byproduct. After all our sages were very shrewd observers Nature. They understood the functioning of Nature in their own way and their interpretation of the functioning Nature can certainly be called Vedic Science and it may have many features which are distinctly different from what been given to us by our scientists. When once we understand this we have no difficulty at all in handling Vedic literature.
Coming back to our subject let us pose a simple question viz; can we describe the origin and structure of the universe in a single statement? The answer seems to be, yes, certainly. If you ask for further details, I will come out with a series of statements.
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