Garland of Visions (Darsanamala of Narayana Guru)

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Item Code: IDJ787
Author: Swami Muni Narayana Prasad
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 812460391X
Pages: 335
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0" X 5.8"
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

In his most important Sanskrit work Darsanamala, Narayana Guru adopts a hitherto uncharted method of viewing the non-dual Brahman from ten different philosophical vantage points and leaving the student-seeker to intuitively perceive on one's own the one ineffable Reality. The ancient Upanisadic wisdom is thus condensed and restated by the Guru in terms comprehensible to the mind-set of the Age of Science. How brahmavidya naturally becomes the Science of all sciences (sarva-vidya-pratistha) is also implicit in the Guru's restatement of Vedantic wisdom.

The present commentary explicates how a genuine seeker could make use of the text for the realization of Brahman as the Reality that constitutes the being of himself or herself, and how each of its ten chapters lay bare a particular facet of Brahman fully resonant with the frame of reference of the chapter concerned.

Narayana Guru (1854-1928) was an enlightened seer who revisualized the ancient Vedantic wisdom. Equally conversant with Sanskrit, Malayalam and Tamil, he revealed his wisdom in his philosophical poems and hymns in these three languages. His teachings, pithy aphorisms crafted and communicated creatively for the commoner and the thinker alike, as well as his actual life became a formidable inspiring force behind a unique social reform movement, particularly with regard to caste prejudices and religious feuds and thus paved the path for a progressive Kerala society. His wisdom of universal and eternal value, is now furthered by the Narayana Gurukula Movement.


VEDANTA'S ultimate teaching is that there is one Reality alone. As there is but one single Reality, each person is inseparably one with the whole, with the one changeless Reality underlying all that is changeful. Directly realizing this oneness requires no teaching or learning; it only has to be experienced, like a wave finding its oneness with the ocean. But conveying this apparent secret to someone else, in a systematic manner, taking into account everything we know about ourselves as individuals, about the total universe, and about the one all-underlying Reality, makes a science of it. That science is what we now call Vedanta.

The most authentic source of Vedanta is the Upanisads, authored by some ancient rsis of India, who preferred their names remain unknown while their teachings remaining ever known. Narayana Guru, a rsi of the Age of Science, restored the essential content of the Upanisadic wisdom, and restated it in terms quite understandable to the mindset of the modern age. This he accomplished with as many as fifty-two original works spread out in three languages - Malayalam, Tamil and Sanskrit.

In the Darsanamala, his most important Sanskrit work, the Guru adopts a hitherto unattempted method, to systematically expound what he intends to teach. The method is that of visualizing the one and one-dual Reality - Brahman, the Absolute - that beginninglessly and endlessly assumes the form of all the worlds of endless variety, from ten different philosophical vantage points. In doing so he leaves the seeker-student to intuitively perceive or realize within oneself, or as oneself, that one Reality. These ten visions together form a garland, so to say, to be worn by the seeker on his or her own.

The Guru's three consecutive disciple-successors, strangely enough, happened to write three separate commentaries on this unique text. Nataraja Guru's commentary, in reality is more than a commentary. He re-introduces the work as forming the nucleus of a Science of sciences. Brahman being the one Absolute Reality that assumes the form of everything perceivable and conceivable in all the worlds, which form the object matter of all the sciences, a science that expounds that Brahman has, has necessarily to be the one Science that could find expression as all the sciences. Such is the perception with which Nataraja Guru, the first disciple of Narayana Guru, interpreted Darsanamala, in his An integrated Science of the Absolute. His disciple-successor, Nitya Chaitanya Yati, in his Psychology of Darsanamala, approached the text from a rather psychological point of view, that means, treating the theme of the work as a science that deals with consciousness and its functions, for Brahman in essence is pure Consciousness. The present commentary written by another disciple of Nataraja Guru and next in succession to Nitya Chaitanya Yati as the Head of Narayana Gurukula, tries to look at the text to find out how it revisualizes and condenses the core-teaching of the Upanisads in a way comprehensible to the modern mind, while fully acknowledging the tradition. These three commentaries, thus, are mutually complementary. Each supplements and derives inspirations from the previous one.

It is the mysterious Will of Brahman that makes Itself creatively unfold as all the apparent knowable objects as well as subjects, the writing and publishing of books not excluded. It may look strange that the same Will worked in this case in such a way that these three commentaries happened to be published in succession by one and the same publishing firm, namely, Messers D.K. Printworld. All of us, associated with Narayana Gurukula, are very grateful to them for bringing out these commentaries and our other publications with the quality these books deserve, thereby, bringing Narayana Guru to the attention of the world at large.

In fact, the ideas contained in this commentary are not my own. The first ever commentary on the text by Swami Vidyananda, a direct disciple of Narayana Guru, who happened to be the compelling force behind the Guru writing this text, was also of great help. Similarly, helpful was the daily discussion I had with a group of Gurukula students at our evening prayer sessions. The commentary on each verse is an outcome of such discussions, and the dictation of it was given then and there. My gratitude to these students, whose names I do not mention here, is measureless. Dr Peter Oppenheimer, a long time friend and disciple of Narayana Gurukula, took great pains to go through the entire commentary, editing it and very often giving clarity to certain points after discussing it with me.

Finally, I remember with great love, all the friends of Narayana Gurukula, who had always encouraged me in my writing career, particularly on Narayana Guru and his philosophy.

I am sure this commentary of Darsanamala will help to a great extent to look at Vedanta as brahmavidya in its broadest sense, as the Science of sciences, as the Upanisads claim themselves to be sarvavidya-pratistha (the firm foundation of all sciences). Of course, more elucidations in the future would be necessitated, and it is our sincere hope that competent followers in the future will take up this responsibility, to the full satisfaction of the inquisitive seekers of those days. It is with such a hope that this commentary is offered as an altar-flower at the feet of my direct gurus as well as all the gurus of the past, to be made use of by all those who are interested in enlightenment on the oneness of Reality, and thus the oneness of mankind.




  Preface v
  Introduction 1
1. Adhyaropa Darsanam 24
2. Apavada Darsanam 60
3. Asatya Darsanam 87
4. Maya Darsanam 118
5. Bhana Darsanam 148
6. Karma Darsanam 179
7. Jnana Darsanam 206
8. Bhakti Darsanam 237
9. Yoga Darsanam 255
10. Nirvana Darsanam 284
  Glossary 298
  Index 318

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