The Aranyaka is less studied subject. In fact neglected one to certain extent. It occupies certain position in the history of Vedic literature as well as in the history of Vedic philosophy. However in both of these areas it is just described as the transit period and that is all. To describe in the terms of marks or pages, it is given only 10/15 marks treatment or 8/10; ages treatment.
Normally the scholars maintain that the certain works are called Aranyaka, because they deal with particular topics such as philosophy, mystic explanations, symbolic representation of the ritual etc. i.e. the topics normally not befitting to be discussed in the warm sweet home and hence are supposed to be studied away from the public places and hence in the forest. Therefore it is the content of assumed that the Aranyaka serves a link between Brahmana and Upanisad. How the Aranyaka-s do this, needs to be explained satisfactorily.
I find one more important aspect of the Aranyaka-s, which I call the inwardization of the ritual. This is the contribution of the Aranyaka-s to the history of Indian Philosophy. I have elaborately dealt with this topic in my article. Here I would like to present a few points.
(a) The yajna we find in the Brahmana is in gross form, depending on the external material. It is Aranyaka-s that visualized macro and micro aspect of the yajna. It should be specially noted that the Atharvaveda which is on the perifery of the Srauta yajna has no Aranyaka although the Atharvaveda Samhita has philosophical hymns and number of the Upanisad-s belonging to Atharvaveda is considerably higher. To me it seems that when there is less ritual there is no scope for the Inwardization of the ritual.
(b) The Idea of Philosophizing the Yajna is the novel one that gave new dimension to the concept of the Yajna i.e. a complex of intimately interrelated things functioning smoothly and yielding good results. To perceive the yajna differently is the contribution of the Aranyaka-s on which we find the philosophy of Karmayoga.
(c) The Aranyaka with the Strenght of the Meditative power Decontextualized the yajna from the fire alter, fire, oblation, chandas of mantra and extended scope of yajna upto adhyayama dana etc. cf Brahmayajna Bhutayajna Manusyayajna act serving and devayajna. The very concept that any act serving a noble cause can be yajnaized is the contribution of the Aranyaka-s which influenced the culture and philosophy of India.
(d) It is the Aranyaka-s that have proved that it was not running away form the ritual or being fed up of the ritual or as a replacement of a ritual that the philosophy of the Upanisad developed rather it is the deep heartfelt sincere association that resulted into the contemplation that naturally turned into the development of philosophy.
(e) The Aranyaka-s have provided the models fro meditation where there are a lots of equations and several interlinking patterns e.g. katha-Aranyaka established the functional relation among a dik a deity a metre and a season. The inevitable conclusion of this thought process is the realization that there thrives one and only one principle in all the things which was verbalized by the Upanisadic Seers.
(f) Thus envisaging the yajna internally has indirectly led to the philosophy of Advaita. So I am eager to know how the mimamasaka-s and the dvaitin-s have understood this issue. Same model is used by Adi Sankaracarya int eh Manasapuja.
Well I have told what I think about the Aranyaka. I sincerely thank those scholars who have honored our request to write on topics related to Aranyaka-s I hope this work would come out with multi dimesional study of the Aranyaka-s.
Our sincere thanks are due to Ms Aditi Pandit and Ms Ketki Gokhale who very sincerely and meticulously did the type setting of this complete work. we also thank Mr. Jaydeep Jadhav for the art work of designing the beautiful cover page for our publications. We also thank Ms Vaijanti Dhole Patil and Surekha wagle of Step in Services for neat and timely printing of this work.
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