प्रश्नोत्तररत्नमालिका एवं यक्षप्रश्र्न: Prashnottara Ratnamalika & Yaksha Prashnaha
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प्रश्नोत्तररत्नमालिका एवं यक्षप्रश्र्न: Prashnottara Ratnamalika & Yaksha Prashnaha

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Item Code: NAL354
Author: Dr. Kethu Ramachandrasekhar
Language: Sanskrit Text with Transliteration and English Translation
Edition: 2015
Pages: 64
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.0 inch X 4.5 inch
Weight 50 gm
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Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high...
Where knowledge is free...
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls...
Where words come out from the depth of truth...
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection...
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit...
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action...
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake...
This appeal by our national poet, Tagore, reflects the core Indian belief of reasoning and deliberation as foundation of a dynamic and good society.
Right from the vedic ages, our Sanatana Dharma always believed in seeking knowledge from the right preceptor, through a process of dialogue. This method of reasoning was not only to seek answers but to prove that knowledge tradition can never be stagnant. That, to develop, one needs to scrutiny, to reason, to seek. This dialectical methodology involved women too in our scriptures. Who can forget the outstanding argument between scholar-sage Yajnyavalkya and Gargi, who provided a sharpest edge to intellectual interrogation. This approach is presumably very intensely argumentative but at the same time gives rise to methodological doubts.

Right from our Upanishads, this tradition of seeking through questioning has permeated through our literature, finding echos in Mahabharata down till philosophical speculative age. Without exception, we find in most prominent Upanishads, a student seeking answers from his preceptor, raising doubts till he is satisfied. An Upanishad is named Prashna Upanishad, as it deals with the six questions posed by six disciples to sage Pippalada. Bhagavad Gita is the pinnacle to this tradition.

The dialectical reasoning apart, there were works which merely adopted the style, but struck to the question-answer mode to merely drive home pithy one liners on diverse ethical and moral principles. Prashnottararatnamalika of Adi Shankara was probably moulded on the famous Yaksha prashna section of Mahabharata.

Yaksha prashna segment consists of the dialogue between Lord Yama, who disguised himself as a Yaksha (Demi-God) and Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava. The question posed by Yaksha dealt with wide range of topics of interest of his times, political, religious, ethical and social. The answers of Yudhishthira were pithy yet powerful indicator of hard talk. The entire narrative in Mahabharata’s Vanaparva, is an interesting episode, which highlighted the justification of title, “Dharmaputra”, bestowed upon Yudhisthira.

Yudhishthira in the course of quest of his younger brothers, who had gone in search of a water source, finds all the four dead on the bank of a lake. When Yudhishthira tries to quench his thirst with the waters of the lake, an amphibious crane warns him against it. The crane cautions him not to meet with the fate of his four brothers who had ignored its warning. Yudhishthira understands the gravity of the situation and offers to abide by the bidding of the crane. The crane transforms itself into a Yaksha, and bids him to answer his questions well. At the end of the dialogue, the Yaksha offers to revive any one brother whom Yudhisthira chooses. Yudhisthira’s choice was Nakule, the son of his step mother, Madri. He reasons that since he, the son of Kunti is alive, it is only prudent that one son of his step mother too should live. The Mahabharata continues that Yama was pleased with his son’s clarity of thought and restored all the four brothers to life and blessed him profusely.

The prudential importance of this work may be understood from the fact that Adi Shankara, followed this style in his Prashnottararatnamalika, wherein he answers self-imposed questions with grace, a signature style of Shankara. In this short treatise, Shankara skips the tough philosophical positions, but rather choses to address the concerns of a common man. He calls his work a worthy ornament that adorns the neck (mouth or heart) of men of letters. In this work too, like in Yaksha Prashna, questions on morality and conduct takes precedence, and are answered from the traditional stand point.

Giri Trading Agency is proud to bring out this unique book, which is a unique combination of the archetype and a Crest Jewel amongst the dialectical treatises moulded on it along with its translation in English to help the Younger generation know the value of the dialectical tradition of our country. May the wisdom brought out in these treatises help the minds of the readers to ignite in quest of larger answers to the questions which are sure to arise in their minds. We promise to come back to you with more works to satiate your thirst and hunger for knowledge.


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