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The Blind Leads the Unblind  (An Old and Rare Book)
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The Blind Leads the Unblind (An Old and Rare Book)
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About the Author

SHIRI GULABRAO MAHARAJ was an outstanding personality of the late 19th century. His was a transcendent genius touched with the spark of divinity. Born in 1881, he lived for a short span of 34 years only but within that brief period of his mortal existence he rendered such glorious services to the country that they have earned him place among the immortals.

It was an age when the whole country lay prostrate before the British conquerorand gloated over its own bondage. This was a mentally that would have spelt the utter ruin of India and her soul. For India’s greatest treasure is her philosophical wisdom and its rich heritage of arts and science. This was the momentous task to which Shri Gulabrao Maharaj dedicated his entire life. It was an extremely difficult task for several reasons. The first hurdle in its way was the popular apathy towards everything Indian especially among the educated classes who had, under the western influence, come to develop a notion that the Indian scientific and philosophical thought was based on a set of dogmas and that it was not amenable to logical exposition or explanation. Hence the work of exploding this wrong notion had to be done not by dogmatic assertions but through and by means of logical reasoning to demonstrate convincingly that the Indian philosophical thought and the various arts and sciences created by the genius of ancient India had indeed a sound and irrefutable base in logic. This was the service rendered by Shri Gulabrao Maharaj to this ancient land of Shri Rama and Shri Krishna. It was nothing short of a miracle that Shri Gulabrao Maharaj could render such signal service within the extremely short life-span of 34 years, even though he had been blinded by a cruel fate in his early childhood when he was eight months old.

Another mission to which Shri Gulabrao Maharaj dedicated himself was that of reconstructing the Bhakti-cult into a Bhakti-Shastra. Until the end of the 11th century it was the popular belief that Bhakti cult was diametrically opposed to the DaVita (principle of identity of the creator and the created) Tattva of Vedanta. Shri Gulabrao Maharaj reconciled the two and supplied Bhakti with the solid foundation of Advaita.

Nor need it be thought that Shri Gulabrao Maharaj confined himself to the revival and renaissance of Indian philosophical thought. His was a versatile genius. He compared and contrasted Indian and western thinking on diverse subjects old and new, and by employing the method of samanvya or reconciliation, and by expounding the original Aryan (Indian) thought and theory within the framework of cold logic, he imparted to it a new look and revealed its universal truth.

Shri Gulabrao Maharaj was a thinker and a prolific writer and his writings range from simple folksongs like Tumdi to scholarly books like Premnikunj.

 

Foreword

Who does not know the well-known Upanishadic saying, ‘Like the blind led by the blind’, ‘andhenaiva neeyamana yathandhah’. Here however, it is the ‘blind saint’ Gulabrao Maharaj who leads the ‘eyed’ audience through the intricacies and complexities of Vedantic thought to the safe heaven of the ‘Liberated-while-living,’ the status of the ‘Jeevanmukta’. Is it necessary for me to assert that blissful condition of the human consciousness of Jeevanmuki while living on earth, is far more important and worthwhile than the promised eternal beatitude of heaven after leaving this earthly earth.

The title of the book itself is unique and arouses the curiosity of the blind poet Milton of English poetry, leads us by strokes of intuition, clear logic and references here and there to modern scientific thought , to the region of transcendence the Beyond; Gulabrao does this step by step by analyzing the human mind and its principally two-fold activities : one which is sense-bound, external and oriented in the relation of the soul with the body, external and oriented in the relation of the soul relating us to the fundamental reality of existence, call it the Supreme Spirit or God, which is at once the be-all and end-all, the here as well as the hereafter.

The discourses presented to us here awaken our insight to probe into the working of our own consciousness (I prefer the word consciousness to mind). There are two trends, one outward and downward engaging their us in the world of the senses and their cravings and compulsions, the other lifting us from off our feet to levels which ultimately take us to height of sublime splendour, the like of which we seldom come across in routine life. But this two fold journey should not lead us to believe that the natural activities of our senses are an evil and ought to be hurriedly shunned, and looked upon as inimical to progress. They are but part of the game of life, and the joys of life, such as they are, are faint reflections of the bliss of heaven to which they point. The warning which Vedanta sounds in this regard is that we should not be slaves of the senses and slacken the very nature of pure consciousness.

Sri Gulabrao Maharaj’s treatment of the subject of ‘love’ is highly original and commendable. He has quoted the experiments of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and says that even plants respond to human love, proving that the power of love permeates the universe and is the one power which maintains the organic unity of the whole of creation. One is reminded of the great treatise of Pitrim Sorokin, “The Ways and Power of Love”. One comes to the conclusion that love is the very invisible thread which holds the multitudinous universe together in its joyous and ecstatic embrace. Hate is but a negation like darkness, with no positive existence.

The blind saint often quotes from ancient works but relies abundantly on close reasoning, apt analogies and pauranic examples to prove the thesis. Since unadulterated, spontaneous, self-dependent and luminous happiness is the goal of every conscious human being, the Maharaj seeks to show them the traditional Vedantic way and the Yogic Sadhana which points to it. He is a devoted student of Dnyaneshwar, the great Maharashtrian saint of the 13th century. Sri Gulabrao often invokes the grace of his Guru and delivers the discourses in the light of his teachings. But while doing so, he offers relevant comments on other schools of thought such as Sankhya, Nyaya, and even Charvaka. Nor does he spare the modern physical scientists who rely on the atomic theory. So, Sri Gulabrao is not merely a traditional Vedantist and a Bhakta (devotee) but also a good student of several thought currents. His erudite scholarship is evident from these discourses.

Sri Gulabrao was also a prolific writer and author (130 titles) in his own right, both in Sanskrit and Marathi. It is to the advantage of the students of Vedanta and seekers after Reality that in addition to his numerous writings we have his lucid dissertations subjectwice in this book of discourses now presented by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

 

Preface

A thoughtful –man, as he ponders over the world, comprehends two aspects of existence, the visible and the invisible, and then according to his capacity, he formulates definite opinions regarding them. Them two theories have their own exponents working in different directions. The adherents of the former school are phenomenalists and those of the latter noumenalists. The former merely assume the existence of the noumenon and employ such an assumption as a base to raise their structure or the physical sciences and strive for material advancement. They have, for instance, adopted the concept of point in Mathematics and atom in Chemistry as a suitable base to build up their sciences. But the utmost progress they achieve in their field can never lead them anywhere near the assumed point to probe into its state even if they reinforce the science of Mathematics by introducing in it a number of entities, and still more numbers, or theorems as may be possible. Chemistry also does not present any better picture in this respect.

But even such frequent retardations fail to induce them to peep into the world beyond due to their cravings for material progress, and if they at all do, they do it in a very queer way. Considering the intuitional knowledge as futile as against the physical and natural sciences whatever attention they pay to the former is nothing more than a pastime. Indeed their attitude is so strange as to eliminate transcendentalism altogether.’

They assert that noumena are the product of phenomena-the former is the effect, and the latter, the cause. They continually strive to establish that the embodied soul evolves out of semen and blood. But in fact, their experiments go to prove quite the contrary which exactly the transcendentalists expound. They forget that important subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry and other physiological sciences pertain to phenomena and that their basis is assumed in terms of the invisible principles. Nay, they are aware that their investigations arise out of the effect of spirit on matter and yet they aspire to totally eradicate the non-perceivable realities; and this intention is clearly reflected in their thoughts.

As the concepts of the phenomenalists sound meaningless, they do not attract the attention of the intuitionalists who then adopt a different course. They believe that the supernal reality is of supreme value as compared to the perceivable objects which fail to give any satisfaction. So their quest is after a source which guarantees perceptual good. A particular drug, for instance, may be used with success in a case, but even the physicians are not certain that it will be effective in all the cases.

Nothing these mighty failures of the material sciences, the transcendentalists rest their Shastras on a strong, spiritual and mystical footing which never crumbles when there is a clash between the two schools, nay, the materialists are obliged to withdraw themselves due to their in capabilities and helplessness. The Western Agnostics also find themselves in similar predicament. One outstanding merit of the intuitionalists is that they are more devoted to their Shastras. As they grow into spiritual status, they go on gaining strength and fully equipped to shake the very foundation of materialism, but they do not oppose the material sciences due to their illustrational utility.

‘In this way although both the schools follow different ways, they have a common means of knowledge’ i.e. the Chitta (mind). The assumption of the atom or the point is always conceptional but the phenomenalists are unable to understand the all-prevading nature of the mind. The transcendentalists also, in their search for the realities, take recourse to the mind. Their knowledge about the comprehensiveness of the mind is so perfect that even without following the empirical methods of the materialists they realize that the phenomenon is the product of the Chitta. They are fully capable to adequately repudiate the theories of the antagonistic schools. Their method of refutation may not satisfy the prejudicial minds of the opponents, yet by virtue of the infinite nominal knowledge they posses, they are not perturbed b the problems posed by the phenomenalists. Although they assert that the external world is the procuct of the Chitta, yet they are aware that the search of the Chitta must begin from the human body, because the Chitta, although imperceptible to real knowledge, can be immediately manifested only through the body. If asked “Why so”? they say, “This is God’s scheme of creation”.

Now the noumenalists may not have a more adequate answer to offer, yet the phenomenalists cannot deny it, nor can they give a more convincing explanation. As this controversy has been going on eternally, why should the materialists not abandon their dogmatic attitude? To this, they unhesitatingly answer : “This is due to the impurity of their mind”. As this transcendentalists begin their quest of the everlasting with the aid of the mind, it becomes their initial purpose to learn what makes the mind perverse and impure, what is the nature of a genuine and pure mind etc. To elucidate this aspect is my first concern. May I have, in my endeavour, the blessings of my great preceptor Shri Dnyaneshvara. I now dedicate this Preface at his fact.

 

Contents

 

 

Chapter-1 Introspection 1-9.
Chapter-2 Universal Love 10-22.
Chapter-3 Love Elevated 23-32.
Chapter-4 Thoughts On Guru-Disciple Relationship 33-42.
Chapter-5 Transcendentalism-Proof Of Its Validity 43-51.
Chapter-6 Vedanta and Transcendentalism 52-61.
Chapter-7 Transcendental Devotion 62-72.
Chapter-8 Dhyan (Meditation) 73-109.
Chapter-9 In Quest OF The Everlasting 110-126.

 

Sample Pages






The Blind Leads the Unblind (An Old and Rare Book)

Item Code:
NAO622
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Edition:
1983
Language:
English
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8.5 inch X 5.0 inch
Pages:
144
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About the Author

SHIRI GULABRAO MAHARAJ was an outstanding personality of the late 19th century. His was a transcendent genius touched with the spark of divinity. Born in 1881, he lived for a short span of 34 years only but within that brief period of his mortal existence he rendered such glorious services to the country that they have earned him place among the immortals.

It was an age when the whole country lay prostrate before the British conquerorand gloated over its own bondage. This was a mentally that would have spelt the utter ruin of India and her soul. For India’s greatest treasure is her philosophical wisdom and its rich heritage of arts and science. This was the momentous task to which Shri Gulabrao Maharaj dedicated his entire life. It was an extremely difficult task for several reasons. The first hurdle in its way was the popular apathy towards everything Indian especially among the educated classes who had, under the western influence, come to develop a notion that the Indian scientific and philosophical thought was based on a set of dogmas and that it was not amenable to logical exposition or explanation. Hence the work of exploding this wrong notion had to be done not by dogmatic assertions but through and by means of logical reasoning to demonstrate convincingly that the Indian philosophical thought and the various arts and sciences created by the genius of ancient India had indeed a sound and irrefutable base in logic. This was the service rendered by Shri Gulabrao Maharaj to this ancient land of Shri Rama and Shri Krishna. It was nothing short of a miracle that Shri Gulabrao Maharaj could render such signal service within the extremely short life-span of 34 years, even though he had been blinded by a cruel fate in his early childhood when he was eight months old.

Another mission to which Shri Gulabrao Maharaj dedicated himself was that of reconstructing the Bhakti-cult into a Bhakti-Shastra. Until the end of the 11th century it was the popular belief that Bhakti cult was diametrically opposed to the DaVita (principle of identity of the creator and the created) Tattva of Vedanta. Shri Gulabrao Maharaj reconciled the two and supplied Bhakti with the solid foundation of Advaita.

Nor need it be thought that Shri Gulabrao Maharaj confined himself to the revival and renaissance of Indian philosophical thought. His was a versatile genius. He compared and contrasted Indian and western thinking on diverse subjects old and new, and by employing the method of samanvya or reconciliation, and by expounding the original Aryan (Indian) thought and theory within the framework of cold logic, he imparted to it a new look and revealed its universal truth.

Shri Gulabrao Maharaj was a thinker and a prolific writer and his writings range from simple folksongs like Tumdi to scholarly books like Premnikunj.

 

Foreword

Who does not know the well-known Upanishadic saying, ‘Like the blind led by the blind’, ‘andhenaiva neeyamana yathandhah’. Here however, it is the ‘blind saint’ Gulabrao Maharaj who leads the ‘eyed’ audience through the intricacies and complexities of Vedantic thought to the safe heaven of the ‘Liberated-while-living,’ the status of the ‘Jeevanmukta’. Is it necessary for me to assert that blissful condition of the human consciousness of Jeevanmuki while living on earth, is far more important and worthwhile than the promised eternal beatitude of heaven after leaving this earthly earth.

The title of the book itself is unique and arouses the curiosity of the blind poet Milton of English poetry, leads us by strokes of intuition, clear logic and references here and there to modern scientific thought , to the region of transcendence the Beyond; Gulabrao does this step by step by analyzing the human mind and its principally two-fold activities : one which is sense-bound, external and oriented in the relation of the soul with the body, external and oriented in the relation of the soul relating us to the fundamental reality of existence, call it the Supreme Spirit or God, which is at once the be-all and end-all, the here as well as the hereafter.

The discourses presented to us here awaken our insight to probe into the working of our own consciousness (I prefer the word consciousness to mind). There are two trends, one outward and downward engaging their us in the world of the senses and their cravings and compulsions, the other lifting us from off our feet to levels which ultimately take us to height of sublime splendour, the like of which we seldom come across in routine life. But this two fold journey should not lead us to believe that the natural activities of our senses are an evil and ought to be hurriedly shunned, and looked upon as inimical to progress. They are but part of the game of life, and the joys of life, such as they are, are faint reflections of the bliss of heaven to which they point. The warning which Vedanta sounds in this regard is that we should not be slaves of the senses and slacken the very nature of pure consciousness.

Sri Gulabrao Maharaj’s treatment of the subject of ‘love’ is highly original and commendable. He has quoted the experiments of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and says that even plants respond to human love, proving that the power of love permeates the universe and is the one power which maintains the organic unity of the whole of creation. One is reminded of the great treatise of Pitrim Sorokin, “The Ways and Power of Love”. One comes to the conclusion that love is the very invisible thread which holds the multitudinous universe together in its joyous and ecstatic embrace. Hate is but a negation like darkness, with no positive existence.

The blind saint often quotes from ancient works but relies abundantly on close reasoning, apt analogies and pauranic examples to prove the thesis. Since unadulterated, spontaneous, self-dependent and luminous happiness is the goal of every conscious human being, the Maharaj seeks to show them the traditional Vedantic way and the Yogic Sadhana which points to it. He is a devoted student of Dnyaneshwar, the great Maharashtrian saint of the 13th century. Sri Gulabrao often invokes the grace of his Guru and delivers the discourses in the light of his teachings. But while doing so, he offers relevant comments on other schools of thought such as Sankhya, Nyaya, and even Charvaka. Nor does he spare the modern physical scientists who rely on the atomic theory. So, Sri Gulabrao is not merely a traditional Vedantist and a Bhakta (devotee) but also a good student of several thought currents. His erudite scholarship is evident from these discourses.

Sri Gulabrao was also a prolific writer and author (130 titles) in his own right, both in Sanskrit and Marathi. It is to the advantage of the students of Vedanta and seekers after Reality that in addition to his numerous writings we have his lucid dissertations subjectwice in this book of discourses now presented by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

 

Preface

A thoughtful –man, as he ponders over the world, comprehends two aspects of existence, the visible and the invisible, and then according to his capacity, he formulates definite opinions regarding them. Them two theories have their own exponents working in different directions. The adherents of the former school are phenomenalists and those of the latter noumenalists. The former merely assume the existence of the noumenon and employ such an assumption as a base to raise their structure or the physical sciences and strive for material advancement. They have, for instance, adopted the concept of point in Mathematics and atom in Chemistry as a suitable base to build up their sciences. But the utmost progress they achieve in their field can never lead them anywhere near the assumed point to probe into its state even if they reinforce the science of Mathematics by introducing in it a number of entities, and still more numbers, or theorems as may be possible. Chemistry also does not present any better picture in this respect.

But even such frequent retardations fail to induce them to peep into the world beyond due to their cravings for material progress, and if they at all do, they do it in a very queer way. Considering the intuitional knowledge as futile as against the physical and natural sciences whatever attention they pay to the former is nothing more than a pastime. Indeed their attitude is so strange as to eliminate transcendentalism altogether.’

They assert that noumena are the product of phenomena-the former is the effect, and the latter, the cause. They continually strive to establish that the embodied soul evolves out of semen and blood. But in fact, their experiments go to prove quite the contrary which exactly the transcendentalists expound. They forget that important subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry and other physiological sciences pertain to phenomena and that their basis is assumed in terms of the invisible principles. Nay, they are aware that their investigations arise out of the effect of spirit on matter and yet they aspire to totally eradicate the non-perceivable realities; and this intention is clearly reflected in their thoughts.

As the concepts of the phenomenalists sound meaningless, they do not attract the attention of the intuitionalists who then adopt a different course. They believe that the supernal reality is of supreme value as compared to the perceivable objects which fail to give any satisfaction. So their quest is after a source which guarantees perceptual good. A particular drug, for instance, may be used with success in a case, but even the physicians are not certain that it will be effective in all the cases.

Nothing these mighty failures of the material sciences, the transcendentalists rest their Shastras on a strong, spiritual and mystical footing which never crumbles when there is a clash between the two schools, nay, the materialists are obliged to withdraw themselves due to their in capabilities and helplessness. The Western Agnostics also find themselves in similar predicament. One outstanding merit of the intuitionalists is that they are more devoted to their Shastras. As they grow into spiritual status, they go on gaining strength and fully equipped to shake the very foundation of materialism, but they do not oppose the material sciences due to their illustrational utility.

‘In this way although both the schools follow different ways, they have a common means of knowledge’ i.e. the Chitta (mind). The assumption of the atom or the point is always conceptional but the phenomenalists are unable to understand the all-prevading nature of the mind. The transcendentalists also, in their search for the realities, take recourse to the mind. Their knowledge about the comprehensiveness of the mind is so perfect that even without following the empirical methods of the materialists they realize that the phenomenon is the product of the Chitta. They are fully capable to adequately repudiate the theories of the antagonistic schools. Their method of refutation may not satisfy the prejudicial minds of the opponents, yet by virtue of the infinite nominal knowledge they posses, they are not perturbed b the problems posed by the phenomenalists. Although they assert that the external world is the procuct of the Chitta, yet they are aware that the search of the Chitta must begin from the human body, because the Chitta, although imperceptible to real knowledge, can be immediately manifested only through the body. If asked “Why so”? they say, “This is God’s scheme of creation”.

Now the noumenalists may not have a more adequate answer to offer, yet the phenomenalists cannot deny it, nor can they give a more convincing explanation. As this controversy has been going on eternally, why should the materialists not abandon their dogmatic attitude? To this, they unhesitatingly answer : “This is due to the impurity of their mind”. As this transcendentalists begin their quest of the everlasting with the aid of the mind, it becomes their initial purpose to learn what makes the mind perverse and impure, what is the nature of a genuine and pure mind etc. To elucidate this aspect is my first concern. May I have, in my endeavour, the blessings of my great preceptor Shri Dnyaneshvara. I now dedicate this Preface at his fact.

 

Contents

 

 

Chapter-1 Introspection 1-9.
Chapter-2 Universal Love 10-22.
Chapter-3 Love Elevated 23-32.
Chapter-4 Thoughts On Guru-Disciple Relationship 33-42.
Chapter-5 Transcendentalism-Proof Of Its Validity 43-51.
Chapter-6 Vedanta and Transcendentalism 52-61.
Chapter-7 Transcendental Devotion 62-72.
Chapter-8 Dhyan (Meditation) 73-109.
Chapter-9 In Quest OF The Everlasting 110-126.

 

Sample Pages






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