"[The Vedic Rishis] may not have yoked the lightning to their chariots, not weighed sun and star, nor materialised all the destructive forces in Nature to aid them in massacre and domination, but they had measured and fathomed all the heavens and earths within us, they had cast their plummet into the inconscient and the subconscient and the superconscient; they had read riddle of death and found the secret of immortality; they had sought for and discovered the One and known and worshipped Him in the glories of His light and purity and wisdom and power."Thus spoke Sri Aurobindo, recounting the discoveries of these sages of ancient India ho, at the dawn of ages, in sublime verses sang the hidden splendours of man and the odyssey of the soul. How can the secret of the Veda practically help us in our quest towards joy, freedom and truth, this is the question Kireet Joshi attempts to answer here. Remote from the dryness of erudite commentaries, a living and luminous exposition.
Kireet Joshi (b. 1931) studied Philosophy and Law at the Bombey University. He was selected for the I.A. S. in 1955 but in 1956 he resigned in order to devote himself at Pondicherry to the study and practice of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Educational Research at Auroville. Invited by the Government of India he Joined the Ministry of Education in 1976 as Educational Advisor and was appointed in 1983 as Special Secretary in the Ministry of Human Resource Development. He was member of the University Grants Commission from 1982 to 1988. He was also Member-Secretary of National Commission on Teachers. He is Honorary Chairman of the Value Education Centre, and former Chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research and of the Auroville Foundation. Presently, he is the President of the Mother's Institute of Research.
His works include, A Philosophy of Education for the Contemporary Youth, A Philosophy Youth, A Philosophy of the Role of the Contemporary Teacher, Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, The Veda and Indian Culture, Towards Universal Fraternity, Education for Character Development, A National Agenda for Education at Crossroads.
No domain of Indian culture is more complex and less accessible to the layman than the Vedas. Century after century, scholars have superimposed so many contradictory interpretations on these ancient text that to penetrate in this thick jungle has become. For Kireet Joshi explains here how, thanks to Sri Aurobindo's works on the Vedas, it is now possible at last to entre "the portals of Vedic knowledge" ad approach these texts in all their original purity and power.
No one is more qualified than Kireet Joshi to speak of the Vedas in the light of the Vedas in the of Sri Aurobindo's discoveries. To say that he has a deep knowledge of Sri Aurobindo's work is an understatement. Kireet Joshi has been living with Sri Aurobindo's works for more than fifty years. As for the Vedas, with which, as he says, he is familiar since childhood, they have always been the focus of his attention. In all the various posts he held in the Indian administration, he has always advocated that Veda be given the high place it deserves in education and culture, and he untiringly supported all effort made for preservation of and research on Vedic knowledge. This was an immense task, strewn with obstacles, that he ceaselessly pursued. One fervently hopes that one day the Veda (along with Sanskrit), with its treasures of spiritual knowledge and experience, will regain a living and leading role in the culture of a rejuvenated India the world so desperately needs. Towards this momentous achievement, Kireet Joshi will have contributed in a tremendous way. We reproduce here the transcription of a lecture given by Kireet Joshi in August 1999 for an audience composed of inhabitants of Auroville, the city named after Sri Aurobindo, in south India. Of course it is a very short essay for such a vast subject, but it seems to us that in its simplicity and its brevity itself, it constitutes the best possible introduction to the most ancient poems of mankind. We hope that this book will convey something of the atmosphere that Kireet Joshi established that day while speaking: speaker and listeners felt as if transported in the luminous world of the Vedic Rishis.
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