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Item Code: IDG572
Author: Satya Prakash Singh
Publisher: Standard Publishers
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 8187471131
Pages: 287
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8" X 5.8"
Weight 480 gm
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Book Description

About the Book:

Life and Vision of Vedic Seers is a series aiming at reconstruction lives and thought contents of prominent Vedic Seers so that they may emerge out in their individual capacities as treat contributors to the history human vision, ideation and understanding. The Series is intended to cover as many seers as possible. This is the first volume of the Series dealing with the life and attainments of Visvamitra, the seer of the sacred Gayatit Mantra. It retraces penetratively the contours of sadhana proceeding along which the great seer could get the vision of the Gayatir and predict prophetically enough the unparalleled longevity of the Indian culture and ethos under its aegis: Visvamitrasya raksati brahmedam bharatam janam.


About the Author:

Born in the year 1934 near Varanasi, Prof. Satya Prakash Singh is a product of the Banaras Hindu Univesity as also a D. Lit. of the Aligarh Muslim University. Having served the Aligarh Muslim Univesity as a Lecturer, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, he retired as Chairman of the Department of Sanskrit in 1994. He has also served as Director of the Dharam Hinduja International Centre of Indic Research, Delhi for a period of four years. Presently he is a Senior Fellow of the Maharshi Sandipani Rastriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, Ujjain as also Incharge of the Vedic Research Centre, New Delhi. By virtue of his merits as a scholar of repute he has been honoured by several awards such as the Ganganath Jha award and the Banabhatta Puraskara of the Sanskrit Academy, Uttar Pradesh, Rajaji Literary Award of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, Swami Pranavananda Best book of the Year in Psychology Award, Patna and the Vedic Scholar of Eminence award of Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, Ujjain. His works have been translated extensively in several languages of India and abroad namely Malayalam, Urdu, Arbic, Spanish and German. Besides scores of research papers having to his credit, Professor Singh has published a number of book of high merit including:
1. Sri Aurobindo and Whitehead : On the Nature of God 2. Philosophy of Dirghatamas
3. Upanisadic Symbolism
4. Vedic Symbolism
5. Sri Aurobindo, Jung and Vedic Yoga.


Life and Vision of the Vedic Seer is the result of a line of research built up after decades of study and thinking. It departs from the prevailing trend of research in the area in a twofold manner. In the first place, instead of taking all the seers together and making generalisations on their views, here it is proposed to take up each seer separately and try to make assessment of his views on whatever he has happened to express himself. This method obviously will make each Vedic seer stand on his own legs and speak for himself as is the case with the subsequent thinkers and authors. Scholars have been dissuaded from following this line of research under the impression either that the entire Veda, being a revelation of the Divine, speaks cumulatively in one voice, as has been the case with the traditional scholar- ship, or that it is a product of the priestly class engaged in a stereotyped act of performing sacrifices, as is the case with the modern scholarship initiated by Occidental Orientalists. Contrary to both these presuppositions, actual readings of the Veda show how each seer is a distinct personality having his own course of life, method of sadhana, mode of thinking and objects of aspiration as well as idiom of expression emerging from the surprising uniformity in all these respects. In view of this self-evident fact, ignoring the individuality of the seer becomes unjustified under any presupposition whatever. Working out the individuality of the seer and reconstructing his ideas on that line, have the possibility of making a large number of thinkers come down to us afresh and enrich immensely the history of human ideation and thinking. If the Western scholarship through its perseverance could make rise out of ashes of Greek history an enviable team of thinkers, the India scholarship can do the same on a much larger scale by just scrutinising statements of Vedic seers belonging to a period millennia before the Greeks themselves and forming vital roots of a living tradition so much vibrant even today. Our entire tradition directly or indirectly flows out of the Vedic seers, and yet we pay scant heed to the individualities and individual contributions to the stock of human ideation and wisdom from that hoary past. Perusal of lives of Vedic seers individually will not only add to the clarity of the sum total of the Vedic thought but will also and more significantly create the rare opportunity of understanding the epistemology of that thought.

The second point of departure taken up in this work from the usual one is making it thought-oriented rather than letting it go exclusively to the exploration of barely physical facts. The main trend followed so far in the exploration of the Veda in the modern times has been to abstract historical, cultural, sociological, geographical and kindred kinds of data from it and leave the rest as something inconsequential. The result has been that the Veda has come to be treated as a source only of this kind of data and as such having nothing else to teach except a set of blind beliefs. This obviously is a tragic reversal of priorities where the means of expression has come to occupy the central place relegating the idea expressed to the background. Setting right this order of priorities, attempt has been made here to recover the basic thought content of the seer and rearrange it in as systematic a form as possible. If the earlier scholarship has tried to reconstruct the circumstances of the seer, here attempt has been made to reconstruct his thought content itself, without ignoring, however, the circum- stances he lived in.

In -reconstructing the life-history of the seer, every care has been taken to draw material directly from the Vedic mantras themselves, particularly from those seen by the seer concerned. For further elucidation, however, the subsequent sources, such as the Brahmanas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, etc. have also been drawn upon wherever found relevant. As a result of the application of this method, the seer concerned has no more remained a mysterious being but comes before us with all the practical feasibility of his life-history. The mode of sadhana undertaken by him, as revealed in the mantras concerned, gives inkling into the psychology underlying the visions he has come across.

In reconstructing the thought-content also utmost care has been taken to make the seer understandable in his own way without superimposing on him anything from the later date. By way of comparison, however, ideas from the subsequent literature have also been adduced wherever necessary. This has been done to show the antiquity of the idea concerned as well as the constancy of the human psychology particularly in the dimension of depth. From this viewpoint, the last chapter of the work is particularly interesting, inasmuch as it bears out the coincidence of the seer's vision with modern cosmological ideas in certain respects. The coincidence discovered here calls upon scholars to review the Veda afresh from the perspective much larger than what has been used until now in modern times.

The study, thus, opens a new vista to reappraisal .of the Indian thought from all aspects of life and its workings, be it religious, philosophical, psychological, sociological, cultural, historical and even scientific. In view of the Veda having been considered traditionally as the fountainhead of Indian culture in all respects, with all its liveliness even until now, novel ideas lying unnoticed so far and yet likely to be useful for the future adjustment as well as development can be resurrected from it and may be used in the service of the humanity.

This volume on Visvamitra is just a groundwork and a specimen showing the possibility of fruitful application of this method of study in regard to many other seers including, Angiras , Dadhyan, Dirghatamas, Vamadeva, Atri, Bharadvaja, Vasistha, Grtsamada, Kavasa Ailusa, Kanva, Sunahsepa, etc. Such a study on each Vedic seer separately is sure to create the groundwork for finding out eventually the common denominator of the Vedic thought emerging from the thoroughly scrutinised visions and ideas of these seers. Only that generalisation can be valid which takes proper note of all particularities.

With this end in view, it is proposed herewith to work out the lives and visions of as many seers as possible so as to place the Vedic seers individually as well as collectively in the rank and file of great thinkers of the world who have brought dignity to mankind by directing their mode of behaviour from untold ages.

I shall remain deeply indebted to all those great souls and minds who have helped me anyway in the nurture of this determination. Out of a whole lot of distinguished personalities that come to my mind at this juncture, outstanding are Swami Krishnananda of Rishikesh, Baba Sripada of Vrindavan and Professor Kireet Joshi of Delhi.

I am grateful to Shri Mukesh of the Auroville Foundation for the entire design of the present volume including the cover page and the graphics printed in it. Indeed, but for his encouragement and perseverance this volume could not have come so expeditiously and in no case so beau tifully. My thanks are due also to Smt. Nisha Saxena for typing out the entire work so neatly.

Last but not the least indebted I am to M/s Standard Publishers (India), particularly to its most enterprising Proprietor, Shri Mohindra K. Vasistha for undertaking to publish this volume in the present beautiful form.



Chapter I. Life of Visvamitra 19
1. Eminence  
2. Visvamitra as Figuring in Valmiki's Ramayana  
3. Visvamitra in the Mahabharata  
4. Symbolism of Struggle and Tapas  
5. Probable Explanation of the Duration of the Tapas  
6. Identity of the Vedic and Post-Vedic Visvamitra  
7. Visvamitra as a Rigorous Tapasvin  
8. Devotion to Indra  
9. Pedigree of Visvamitra  
10. Family of Visvamitra  
11. Age of Visvamitra  
12. Feud between Visvamitra  
13. Visvamitra and the Candala  
Chapter II. Cultural Background 63
1. Relationship between Creative work and its Environment  
2. Visvamitra's Contact with Foothills of the Himalayas  
3. Acquaintance with the Sea  
4. Reference to Vast Plain and Fertile Land  
5. Reference to Tall Fruit-Laden Trees  
6. Flora and Fauna  
7. Reference to Destructive People Coming from the West  
8. Visvamitra and the Aryan Problem  
9. Circumscription of Visvamitra's Native Place  
Chapter III. Sacrificial Background 89
1. Complementarity of Sacrifice and Tapas  
2. Sacrifice as a means to associating One self with the Cosmic Rhythm  
3. Rta, Dharma and Sacrifice  
4. Sacrifice as the Principle of Creation  
5. Sacrifice as the Path of Universal Concord  
6. Sacrifice as a Source of Plenty  
7. Sacrifice and Self-Purification  
8. Sacrifice and Vision of Mantra  
9. Vedic Seer's Role in the Spiritualisation of the Institution of Sacrifice  
Chapter IV. Sadhana and Vision of Mantra 117
1. Sadhana Versus Innate Seerhood  
2. Probable Reference to the Teacher of Visvamitra  
3. Devotion to Agni  
4. Yajna and Yoga  
5. Realisation of Agani as Self  
6. Sudhana of Identity of the Devotee with the Deity  
7. Agni and Revelation of Mantra  
8. Meaning of Mantra-Darsana and Mantra-Jagarana  
9. Seerhood of the Gayatri Mantra  
Chapter V. Vision of the Supreme Being 157
1. The primeval Word Om  
2. Elucidation of the Supreme Being through Agni  
3. Elucidation of the Superme Being through the Sun  
4. The Supreme as Symbolised by Usas  
5. The Supreme Being as brought out by the Heaven and the Earth  
6. Rta as a pointer to the Supreme Being  
7. Time and Space as a Sheath of the Supreme Being  
Chapter Vi. Cosmogonic Visions  
1. Agni  
2. Indra  
3. Heaven and Earth  
6. Dharma  
Chapter VII. Ethical Visions 219
1. Basis of Ethics  
2. Idea of Transformation of the Mortal into the Immortal and its bearing on Ethics  
3. Yoga and Yajna as Tools of Transformation  
4. Rta and Satya as Fundamentals of the Vedic Ethics  
5. Attitude towards Purusarthas  
6. Problem of Evil  
7. Sin and Purgation  
8. Law of Karma  
Chapter VIII. Scientific Visions 251
1. Expansion of Space through the Agency of Agni  
2. Velocity of Light  
3. Mobility of Earth  
4. Possibility of Scientific Vision through Intuition  
5. Visvamitra as Innovator of the Idea of Zero  
Index 275

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