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
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.
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
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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