This book in the series of Life and Vision of Vedic Seers is an attempt at reconstruction of the life-history of one of the most primeval seers of the Vedic age, who is known best to the academic circle but has remained an important source of inspiration to the Indian psyche throughout its history in determining its moral courage for its sense of detachment, self- sacrifice in the cause of others and peace. This is the introduction to Dadhyan Atharvana, popularly better known as Dadhici, the same seer who is famous for having donated his back-bone to Indra for killing Vrtra, the embodiment of evils in the world, while living and meditating on the back of the river Sarasvati. He has been referred to in this capacity as many as eleven times in the Rgveda alone and has contributed five last chapters to the Yajurveda including the famous Santipatha which has received the acclaim of the United Nations also and is chanted in India as well as in countries wherever there is prevalence of the Vedic culture throughout the world on each sacred occasion. He is the seer also of the Isã Upanisad whose very first mantra has been acclaimed by Mahatma Gandhi amounting to our entire sacred literature including the Vedas, Upanisads, Bhagavadgitã and whatever follows from them. Worked out along with this background for the first time, this book is expected to serve as the best commentary on the Isä Upanisad written by anyone so far.
The book is valuable asset for scholars, students, researchers of Philosophy, Yoga, Vedic studies and Indology.
Professor Satya Prakash Singh is renowned Vedic scholar. He is a Ph.D. Of the Banaras Hindu University and D.Litt. Of the Aligarh Muslim University. A former Chairman of the Department of Sanskrit and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Aligarh Muslim University. He has been an Editorial Fellow in the Centre for Studies in Civilisations, New Delhi also Director of Dharam Hindu International Centre of Indic Research in Delhi and Director of Vedic Research Centre in New Delhi. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including Ganganath Jha Award of the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy, Rajaji Literary Award of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Swami Pranavananda Best Book of the Year Award in Psychology, Bänbhatta Puraskãra of Sanskrit Academy, Uttar Pradesh, besides President of India’s Award of Scholar of Eminence.
His publications include: 1. Sri Aurobindo and Whitehead on the Nature of God, 2. Sri Aurobindo, Jung and Vedic Yoga, 3.Upanisadic Symbolism, 4. Vedic Symbolism, 5. Life and Vision of Vedic Seer: Visvamitra, 6. Life and Vision of Vedic Seer: Dirghatamas, 7. Vedic Vision of Consciousness and Reality. 8. Yoga From Confusion to Clarity (5 Volumes), 9. History of Yoga Life; 10. Life And Vision of the Vedic Seer Kavasa Ailusa; 11. English Translation of Mahevarãnanda’s Mahãrtha-mañjari.
This is the third volume of the series devoted to reconstruction of the kind of life the Vedic seers led and the pattern of Visions they were privileged to have right in the very beginning of the literary history of the human race on this planet. The necessity of the series has arisen out of the foundational significance of the Veda in the annals of our history on the one hand and yet our extremely scanty understanding about the creators of that history and source of knowledge of that history on the other. Lacking in precise knowledge about them, we have happened long since to attribute to the Veda some sort by a Divine origin and thus have fallen in the same trap of inexplicability as most of the other co-religionists have done mostly out of the vested interest to attract blind faith towards their respective scriptures. This practice, as a matter of fact, has reached the brink of its utility and requires to be reviewed and needs to be brought to the range of verifiability historically as well as psychologically. Assessed from this angle of ideation, this series happens to be a pioneering effort in the area concerned.
This does not amount to state that no work so far has been done in regard to the lives of the seers and their visions and philosophies. In fact, in view of the importance of the Vedas in the cultural span of the country such a state of things could not afford to remain stark blank particularly with the Vedas themselves having remained the main part of syllabus here for millennia. But, unfortunately, whatever has emerged out of deliberation on Vedic themes in course of studies and teachings that way is sketchy and therefore urgently needs to be put together and duly re-organised. It also needs to fill up the gaps through material derived from the tradition as well as the mantras themselves supportive of the theme concerned if available so as to recreate a complete image of the seer with respect to his life and vision. This is what has been attempted here in this series.
Incidentally, a certain sort of pattern has now appeared behind the choice of seers for my deliberation on them one after the other. Thus first one of the seers who has happened to be deliberated on in this series is Visvãmitra, the seer or author of the sacred Gayatri mantra proposing to one and all to meditate on the supernal light of consciousness so as to get transported to the state of being across the flux of life in the world of mortality. It is an earnest invitation for purification and elevation of consciousness, known as cit. As distinct from it, the central point emerging from the second volume of the series is the oneness of the Reality envisioned by the seer of it, namely, Dirghatamas, intuiting the oneness of the supernal essence from within the intense darkness of ignorance of diversity, division and difference. It is only through such an exclusive meditation on the illumination of consciousness that one may reach the state of oneness of the reality behind the entire world of diversity obtaining on all levels of reality, physical, intellectual and spiritual.
Having, thus, covered cit, consciousness, and sat existence, in the respective two volumes as their main propositions, one has incidentally happened to deliberate on seer Dadhyan Atharvana in the present one coming to complete the triad of sat-cit-ãnanda, that saccidãnanda, by contributing the element of ãnanda, bliss, to it. Dadhyañ Atharvana, as would be obvious from the volume, is the harbinger of what is known as madhu-vidyã, that is, the secret of harmony and the consequent experience of delight. Homogeneity in the midst of entropy is the oasis in the desert of life. All sciences, semi-sciences and arts aim at reaching it and scarcely do manage to reach. By virtue of his tapas Dadhyan discovered the formula of it in the model of the honey-bee’s formula of mixing of juices of all and sundry flowers, fruits and vegetations in such a ratio as to get transformed into such a stuff as honey with all its unique sweetness from within their original sourness, bitterness and what not. The lesson derivable for the human in this regard lies in taking their heads as the honey-comb while their senses as honey-bees which during the major part of day and night remain flying outside and coming in with iotas of sensation and submitting it to the mind.
If the mind were to mix up all those droplets in a certain proportion, known to the honeybee, it is sure to remain always dipped in the joy of honey forgetting all bitterness of life whatever. It is for the sake of learning of this secret of the balance of life and dissemination of it to the whole humanity that Dadhyan took the risk of getting beheaded once and ate his bones and sinews to Indra to serve as the weapon be used in the elimination of Vrtra, the embodiment of evil in the world the second time, that the life of Dadhyañ happens to be dedicated.
In this way, he has become the archetype of renunciation and sel1- sacrifice of matchless height standing above all other renunicate personalities of the world such as the cases of the kind in the history of the world including the Buddha, Mahavira, Socrates, Christ and Gandhi. Acquiring the madhuvidya at the cost of strenuous tapas, breaking the lock of prohibition in allowing it to be leaked out at the expense of the head and finally donating his bones and sinews to Indra even while alive, to serve as a weapon for elimination of evil from the world as embodied by Vrtra, have no parallel anywhere during the entire history of man on this earth.
All this is not a matter of mere make - belief having happened just incidentally but has certain degree of rationale behind it suggesting to the possibility of it in the life of an individual if so willing. The way to it lies in the potentiality of yoga as indicated by Patañjali in his Yoga-Sutra as against the usual practice of putting such accomplishments under the blanket term of marvels by virtue of being the son of God and hence possessed of extraordinary capabilities. As against such make- beliefs, it is quite possible for a real yogin, as elucidated by Dadhyañ, to purify his personality to the extent, as to make it not only cleansed of ills but also make even one’s bones to be eliminative of evils.
Along with all these assets of Dadhyañ, what is still more important to take note of his antiquity predating even such Vedic seers as Bhrgu, Gotama Rãhugana, Priyamedha, Kanva, Parucchepa Kanva and many more as is evident from their references to him Flourishing of such a seer of so remarkable spiritual height gained methodically through a certain very well explicable device appears before us in total defiance of the contentions of the theory of evolution seeking to totally falsify records of the kind, as has been done through the concoction of the theory of Aryan Invasion in regard to the origin of the Vedic culture including characterization of the Vedic mantras as something like the shepherd song. It is from amidst those so-called ‘shepherd songs’, that we find here such literary and philosophical creations as the Isopanisad of Dadhyañ Atharvana himself which in view, of Mahatma Gandhi appears to outbalance the entire scriptural stuff of not only the Vedic culture but that of many other traditions also.
Even then, unfortunately, there may be very few people who would hardly be cognizant of the seerhood of this Upanisad. It is Dadhyan Atharvana himself who has the credit of having seen this Upanisad along with all the four other chapters of the Yajurveda Samhitã preceding it which include the well known Santi-pãtha and the formula of universal friendliness and harmony. World scripture, indeed, abounds in prayers hut perhaps no one of them is as broad in its expanse as the one authored by Dadhyan. As distinct from most of them, Dadhyan’s prayer has happened to be addressed not to any god or goddess but to the Peace itself and that also without any craving for anything else but for sheer peace. Moreover, that peace is expected to dawn on the seer only after having covered all else existing anywhere and in whatsoever form. The prayer one makes is, indeed, the index, of his heart. From the all-encompassing range of Dadhyañ’s Sãnti-patha is easily understandable the largeness of his inner being breaking all boundaries of limitation and thus merging into the infinity having done away with all constrictions of individuality. It is by virtue of this kind of spiritual sadhanã that he has come to visualize the fact that be who is able to see himself within all and conversely all things within himself rises above all confusions, doubts and queries leaving nothing to create doubt or suspense anymore in his mind.
The way to his elevation to this height, as emerging from a thorough study of his mantras, is also straight and clear. Instead of being anyway strange and miraculous, it lies in exclusive dedication to the Divine particularly in the form of Indra not, however, as supposedly disfigured by the Purãnas but as envisioned in his pristine purity by seer Garga Bhäradvãja in his famous mantra compiled at Rgveda VI.47.18 recounting him essentially as the Supreme Being assuming all forms in the world, negative as well as positive for the sake of the joy of self -realisation. It is by falling in line of this que of sadhanã, contemplation and deliberation that the Vedanta has come to formulate its view of joy as the purpose of creation and the Supreme Being under the denomination of Brahman as the material as well as the efficient cause of the creation. Viewed from this perspective, Vrtra and his war against Indra, do no more remain extraneous to the essential Being of Indra as well as his transformation from the evil into the devotee of Visnu as made out in the Bhagavata no more a confusion between the good and the bad. It is the limitation of the viewpoint which creates division, contradiction and strife in the midst of the homogeneity and harmony of the Reality which Dadhyañ has suggested to be removable through the realisation of the oneness between the two modes of manifestation, i.e.. The individual and the universal .
It is by virtue of his yogic siddhi including unparalleled self- sacrifice made to eliminate sin and suffering from the world and replace it by friendliness peace, and delight that Dadhyan has left behind him in the form of the Isopanisad; a scripture par excellence which would serve as an eternal companion of mankind on the path of righteousness self-expansion and self -realisation. Besides Mahatma Gandhiji’s commendation of it, its excellence as a unique piece of scripture is understandable from the fact that it, as it were, appears to be a prototype of the Bhagavad-gita on account of its invincible theism, bringing to the fore the imperative of action without craving for fruits of the action and the possibility of seeing all within oneself and oneself within all besides many other points of philosophical understanding as well as practical utility.
I hope, a close study of this volume would be helpful in a better understanding of the Isopanisad as it has happened to offer a veritable and comprehensive commentary on it by way of a thorough review of the life-history of its author, removal of various stumbling blocks in its text, addition of a comparative outlook on the views of classical, commentrators it such as Acarya Sañkara and Vedãntadesika and above all through a linguistically exact and Philosophically raningfu1 translation of the mantras of it, each one of it is profound as to have required mostly a complete chapter 1 itself alone.
At the end I feel obliged to express my gratitude to all previous writers on this Upanisad whose insights and failings have motivated me to go into the relevant points by way of confirmation or contravention in course of giving this shape to the volume. I shall also be failing to respond properly to the call of my conscience if I do not unfold the sense of obligation to my most intimate companions, namely Swami Maheshvarananda (Yogi Mukesh) and Shri Mahendra Vashishtha in the honorous task of publication of it.
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