India has a very rich tradition of cultural heritage, but most of it being in the garb of symbols is difficult to understand.
The Aranyakas, a class of Vedic Literature, are conspicuous for treating a part or whole of a sacrifice as a representation of some spiritual activity or as a symbol of the Sun. Samvatsara. Purusa or Brahman etc., thereby revolutionising the Brahmanic religion of sacrifice and bringing it back to its age-old right track of metaphysical spiritualism : Purusa evedam sarvam (Rv.X. 90.2) and ethics of duty for duty sake: Yajfiena Yajnamayajanta devah (R.V.I. 164.50; X.90.16).
This revolution infuses a new life into Indian Culture and makes it potent enough to serve for ever as a guiding star for the seeker of Truth.
The present work is primarily concerned in elaborating the process of the above mentioned revolution on scientific, historical and comparative lines. The author will deem herself successful in her attempt if this work succeeds in imparting an understanding of the spirit of the Aranyakas.
• The principal contents of the work are: A Critical and historical study of symbolism.
• Derivational definition and classification of the AraJ.lyakas.
• A Critical and comparative study of symbols in the Aranyakas.
• Causes of symbolic interpretations of sacrifice in the Aranyakas.
• The impact of the symbolism of the Aranyakas on the upanisads.
• Appendix-A few theories on symbolism. Bibliography.
• General index.
Born in 1951, Dr. Usha Grover received her early education in Delhi. Threafter, she obtained her B.A. (Hons.) in 1971, M.A. in 1973, M.Phil. in 1981 and Ph.D. in 1986, all degrees from Delhi University. She has following academic works to her credit:
(i) "Samkara Bhasya on the Taittriya Upanisad (M.Phil. Dissertation unpublisheded.)
(ii) Symbolism in the Aranyakas and their impact on the Upanisads:- (Ph.D. thesis published).
(iii) "Justification of Divinization of the Sun in the Taittiriya Aranyaka", - (A Research Paper published).
(iv) Scope of Dharma-Sastras in the modern times with reference to caste- system:-(A research paper presented in a seminar under print).
(v) "Symbolic and Philosophical significance of Yajnopavita"- (A Research Paper under print).
She was on teaching assignment as a lecturer in Sanskrit in Miranda House College, University of Delhi in 1986.
She was awarded the U.G.C. Research Associateship in January, 1987. Since then she is working on - :Symbolism in the Satapatha Brahmana" .
Subsequently, she plans to undertake another wider project - :Symbolism in the Puranas" in order to explain their actual contribution to Indian culture.
During my early years at the College, when I was studying the history of Sanskrit Literature, I read that a cultural uphea, val of such immense magnitude took place at the time of the Aranyakas as completely changed the outlook of the following generations of Indians.
No deep study touching the inner core of their nature barring a few stray translations and casual studies at the superficial level has been carried out. Thus a deep feeling of curiosity and an acute desire to work upon them got rooted in me right from those days. I was eager to fathom and explore the exact nature of that upheaval, its causes and impact on future Indian life.
As the opportunity of independent research opened itself to me, my long cherished desire woke up once again. I decided to work for my Ph.D. degree on the topic: "A Critical Study of the Symbolism in the Aranyakas and their Impact on the Upanisads," The Research Degree Committee of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi approved of the topic. I have devised my research work into eight chapters the outlines of which are clear from the table of contents.
I feel really proud of having worked under the supervision of Dr. Baldev Raj Sharma, who relishes in tackling the challenging problems, spares no pains in unfolding and interpreting the mystic lore enshrouded in the archaic language, outdated proverbs, unyielding parables, allegories and myths. I express my thankful gratitude for him for his kind guidance.
At this moment I cannot forget my parents who very affectionately infused in me the interest and respect for the cultural heritage of India.
I have a deep sense of respect and gratitude for my in-laws, as their loving and encouraging behaviour has obliged me a lot. I am also very grateful to my husband Mr. Lachhman Dass Grover as his loving and encouraging co-operation helped me in completing this work.
I have a deep' sense of reverence and incalculable obligations for the seers on whose works I studied. I deeply express my thanks for the Bhasyakaras, commentators, translators.
lexicographers, researchers and other scholars whose works equipped me to understand the Aranyakas in order to analyse them and to draw inferences from them.
I cannot forget the prompt help I received from the librarians and staff members of the Central Library of Delhi University. and the Rama Krishna Mission Library, New Delhi.
I am also thankful to Dr. S. K. Sharma who spent his valuable time in editing my book from language point of view. Finally I thank my printer Mr. Arora for his ready cooperation and excellent performance.
I will feel fully compensated if my this publication somehow succeeds in fulfilling the expectations of the readers in the field of the study of the Aranyakas.
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