Creation is a puzzle, so is the existence of the created world. Human kind has been trying to unlock this riddle for thousands of years. At the 13th India conference of WAVES, scholars explored the different facets of this puzzle with erudite precision. Answers to questions like - how did life appear, how did it develop, and how is it sustained - were intellectually and philosophically argued.
Rigvedic hymns like Purusa and Nasadiya present a glimpse of Vedic findings, which are further expanded and elaborated in other Sanskrit literary and philosophical works like Puranas, and Itihasa etc. Understanding the operation of the universe was essential and foremost to the ancient people, and it remains so even to the modern day scientists and scholars of Sanskrit and philosophy. This present volume, the third publication of WAVES, comprises twenty three selected papers written in English and Sanskrit on the theme 'Creation and Existence in Indian Traditions'. Papers by well known scholars of Sanskrit Studies such as, Prof. Rama Nath Sharma, Dr. Soma Basu, Prof. Bhu Dev Sharma, Prof. Shashiprabha Kumar, Prof. Bhaskarnath Bhattacharya, Dr. Veda Vrata Aalok, and Prof. Asha Rani Tripathi certainly amplify the value to this literary effort. Most of the papers in this volume focus on the various aspects of Indian insights on creation and existence of this universe.
We hope that scholars of Vedas and Sanskrit will find these papers interesting and thought-provoking, and consequently this publication will inspire the readers for deeper research and study of Indian intellectual traditions.
Prof. Shashi Tiwari, a well-known Vedic and Sanskrit scholar is engaged in Sanskrit Studies and Vedic research for the last forty three years. Dr. Tiwari has been honored with twelve academic awards from various Academies of India including the prestigious 'Sanskrit Sahitya Seva Sammana', 2006 from Delhi Sanskrit Academy, and 'Vishista Purskar' 2007 from Uttarpradesh Sanskrit Sansthan for her contributions to Vedic and Sanskrit Studies.
Dr. Tiwari has authored twenty three published books, and has to her credit contributions to more than one hundred thirty research papers to reputed journals and edited volumes. Rgvediya Aprisukta, Suryadevta, Rgvedic Studies, Vedic Studies, Glimpses of Vedic and Ancient Indian Civilization, Sanskrit-Lokokti-Kosa, and Sanskrit Sahitya Ka Itihasa are her awarded publications.
She has participated in several International conferences in India and abroad. She has organized many events, programs and fifteen national-level conferences on themes related to Vedas and ancient literary heritage in the capacity of the General Secretary of the WAVES, India.
She has broadcasted around one hundred fifty talks on Indian cultural traditions from All India Radio. She has supervised around fifteen research scholars for the award of M.Phil./ Ph.D. degrees.
Dr. Shashi Tiwari, currently retired from the Department of Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, has also worked in the Hindu University of America, Orlando, USA as a Visiting Professor of Basic Hindu Scriptures.
It is my pleasure and privilege to present this third Volume of our WA YES publications to our esteemed readers.
As I said earlier, our Indian Mahamanisa accepts six stages of Bhavavikaras :
jayate, asti, viparinamate, vardhate, kiyate, nasyati.
The so called last one (generally translated as 'is destroyed') is nothing but 'becomes invisible' (Nasa adarsane) and in fact represents the beginning of beginning in the cyclic order of transformation.
This cyclic order of transformation of life and universe constitutes the very thrust of that Mahamanisa (yathapurvam akalpayat) where there is no absolute beginning nor absolute end.
It is quite in the fitness of things that our WAVES is deeply interested in identifying the various categories of that eternal object. This Volume too is a model of the waves of inquisitive search of 'unity in diversity and diversity in unity' of that great Indian intellectual tradition.
Thanks to Professor Shashi Tiwari, General Secretary, WAVES that this Volume is seeing the light of the day. Yojakas tatra durlabhah:
I have great pleasure in presenting this third Volume of WAVES publication comprised of a number of selected papers on the theme related to deep inquisitiveness of human mind since the beginning of civilization.
Perhaps the earliest preoccupation of great human minds has been to seek answers to some basic questions on creation of universe and the existence of life. Answers to these questions continue to baffle even today. Indian philosophical tradition, in its spirit of deep analysis, expanded these questions to find answers about creation, existence and dissolution. In fact the literary tradition went further ahead seeking answers about the purpose, sustenance and the destiny of life, in particular that of human life and birth. These questions have answers in the Vedas and in the later Vedic literature. These views about life are at the very roots of intellectual understanding of humanity and things around.
Even in the present day scientific world, creation and existence are still seriously pursued subjects. NASA and several other scientific agencies including our ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) are looking not only for facts about the creation of earth, but also of appearance of life on different planets. There is a deeper purpose of these scientific researches as we want to know the past and future of our existence. Modem day scientists believe that there must exist different planets at different stages of physical development and so there may be life at different stages of evolution; at some in the form it existed billions of year ago on the Earth and perhaps at some in other stages of advanced development or evolution. If sufficient information can be scientifically obtained of stages of life on other planets, then we on earth can know our past and can also see our future in this ever changing universe.
Vedic sages discovered cosmological truths not through empirical observation but through intuitive insight gained in Samadhi, by withdrawing the intellect into pure consciousness. Their knowledge was compact in all aspects. Their visualization about the process of creation and beyond is revealed in Vedic Mantras symbolically and ever so subtly. Swami Vivekananda was very fond of the great Rgvedic Sukta of creation known as the Nasadlya Sukta. On the authority of this famous Sakta, Pandit Madhusudan Ojha has propounded ten diverse doctrines regarding origin of the universe. In Brahmanas and Upanisads we find varied views and observations on these profound subjects. The curiosity to know supreme cause and process of creation is reflected in all the major Vedic texts. Later in Epics and Puranas the search continues to determine the beginning of the universe. Different systems of Indian philosophies stick on to this curiosity to answer with their own approach of contemplation. Contemporary thinkers and poets are not far behind in this intellectual quest. A Conference, therefore, on the theme 'Creation and Existence in Indian Perspective' reflects the continuity of thinking on the basic questions of life and existence, and also gives opportunity to study different ancient views all together along with the deliberations.
The thirteen India Conference of the Wider Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) was organized on the theme 'Creation and Existence in Indian Perspective' in association with the Department of Sanskrit, South Campus, University of Delhi from December 24 to 26, 2009 at Conference Rooms, Faculty of Arts, University of Delhi, South Campus, New Delhi. The Chief Guest Honorable Shri Vasant Sathe, Former Cabinet Minister, Government of India inaugurated the conference and Professor G.C. Tripathi, Head, Kalakosh, IGNCA, New Delhi graced the occasion as the keynote speaker. Conference was presided by Honorable Prof. Ram Karan Sharma, Great Sanskrit poet and President of WAVES. Prof. Mithilesh Chaturvedi, Head, Department of Sanskrit, South Campus, University of Delhi; Prof. Shiva G. Bajpai, California State University, Los Angeles, USA; Dr. Veda Pratap Vaidik, Renowned Political Analyst, New Delhi; Prof. Bhu Dev Sharma, Renowned Mathematician and Founder President, WAVES; Prof. T.R. Narasimha Rao, Center for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Louisiana, LA, USA; Professor Dipti Tripathi, Former Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi; Prof. Shashiprabha Kumar, Former Chairperson, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU, New Delhi; Prof. Bhaskarnath Bhattacharya, School of Vedic Studies, Ravindra Bharti University, Kolkota; Prof.Rama Nath Sharma, Department of Sanskrit, University of Hawaa, Hawaa, USA; Dr. Soma Basu, School of Vedic Studies, Ravindra Bharti University, Kolkota; Prof. Asha Rani Tripathi, Former Head, Sanskrit Department, NEHU, Shillong; Dr. Veda Vrata Aalok, Hillsborough, New Zealand are some eminent participants who chaired or presented papers in the conference which was divided in nine sessions.
'Creation and Existence' from 'Indian Perspective' was a timely and challenging theme that the conference undertook to explore. About one hundred and thirty scholars presented their papers on different topics related to the conference theme. Among them, fifty one papers were selected for publication. This volume, the third publication of WAVES series entitled 'Ancient Indian Literary Heritage', consists of twenty three papers written in English and Sanskrit. Rest twenty eight papers written in Hindi are placed in the fourth volume of our upcoming publications of WAVES entitles 'Bharatiya Parampara me Srsti avam Sthiti.'
I hereby express my sincere thanks to all those scholars whose contributions enriched this volume. My utmost thanks are due to Professor Ram Karan Sharma, President, WAVES and Former Vice-Chancellor, Sanskrit Universities, Darbhanga and Varanasi for accepting my request to write a momentous preface for this publication. I also wish to thank Dr. Radhey Shyam Shukla for supporting the publication of these two volumes simultaneously.
Finally, I present this volume of 'Ancient Indian Literary Heritage' to all the members and friends of WAVES with the hope that their enthusiasm for Vedic and Indian knowledge will be an inspiration to other aspirants seeking insights from ancient wisdom.
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