T.V. Kapali Sastri was a Vedic Scholar who had his early training under the renowned Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni. His scholarship and spiritual sadhana endeared him to Ramana Maharshi. From 1916 onwards he was drawn to Sri Aurobindo's yoga and settled down in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Interpreting the philosophy of Ramana Maharshi and Sri Aurobindo became a lifelong vocation for him. Teacher, translator, exegetist, essayist and poet, Kapali Sastri was a philosopher attuned to Tantra.
The present monograph, the first full-length study of Kapali Sastri, is an introduction to his multifaceted writings. His Sanskrit commentary on the first Astaka of the Rgveda was inspired by the intuitive interpretation of the Vedic hymns by Sri Aurobindo; in his luminous analysis of the Upanisads, we watch how his great body of work is a natural continuation of the Vedic corpus; in the same manner, his study of Tantra shows how the Tantrik deities are descendants of Vedic divinities; his Sanskrit commentaries on Ganapati Muni's Umasahasram and other contemporary Tantric-philosophical classics are of vital importance of an understanding of the foundations of Indian culture as well as their unimpeded flow down the centuries.
Kapali Sastri's services to literature, religion and spirituality have been presented here with perceptive care against the philosophical background of Ganapati Muni, Ramana Maharshi and Sri Aurobindo.
About the Author:
Prema Nandakumar is a close student of classical and modern Tamil Literature and her publications include A Study of Savitri, Dante and Sri Aurobindo.
About the Series:
The Philosophical concepts and categories associated with Sankhya, Vaisesika, carvaka, Jaina, and Bauddha systems are as old as the Vedas. However, the formulation of different systems must have taken place later on. Unfortunately, we do not know about the historical development of these ideas prior to the systematic presentation of them in the form of sutras (aphorisms) which serve as the basic text for each of these schools. Because of the brevity of the sutras, it is difficult to understand the sutra-work without the help of a commentary. Then came the commentaries and sub-commentaries of various kinds on the texts, all of them being interconnected starting from the basic sutra text. Texts, both expository and polemical, were written defending the basic doctrines of each system and also criticizing the views of other systems; and these texts are also commentaries.
A commentary is much more than an exegesis. It is also creative while doing the work of interpretation. The text taken up for interpretation has a context or horizon of its own; the interpreter, too, has a horizon of his/her own. The interaction between the two horizons is a basic element in every kind of interpretation. This interaction between the two horizons, which goes on whenever a text is explained, "enriches" the text and makes it both purportful and purposive. So a commentary is as much original as the text it is commenting on. Indian philosophy was built and developed, strengthened and shaped by the commentarial tradition.
Contemporary Indian philosophy, academic as well as non-academic, have enriched the tradition in several ways. Like classical commentators, they are "builders" of Indian philosophy in the two areas of pure and applied philosophy. The monographs in this series called "Builders of Indian Philosophy" are intended to elucidate and highlight their contribution to Indian Philosophy.
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