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Sudhasindhu (12 Upanishads, D C Books)

First published in 2003 D C Books.
A work which holds its head high in the Upanishadic Heritage Prof M.Leelavathy (Mathrubhoomi weekly. October 2003 12-18) Sudhasindhu is a study of Upanishads in six parts.In the first part "Madhumathy" are Thaithareeya, Kata and Aithareya Upanishads; In the second part "Agneya" are Swethaswethara and Narayana Upanishads; In the third part "Krishnavairaja" are Mundaka and Prasna Upanishads; In the fourth part "Pragnavaisakha" are Mandukya Upanishad and its Karika; In the fifth part "Suvarnam Veda" are Kena and Chandogya; and in the sixth part "Sudhasindhu" are Isa and Brihadaranyaka. This is the order of study .With all the vast commentaries a book with more than 1200 pages which is difficult to lift up. I use the term difficult to lift up, not in the literary sense, but in the symbolic sense. Though the warning "Masmin khala khelathu" is not given, this great work is difficult to be understood by ordinary people like me. It is the result of a prolonged Thapas. Like the name this is an ocean. The ocean of the Amrithavidya. What is known is only a handful; What is unknown is upto an ocean. By revealing this, the common man's head is lowered by this good work. The author has been churning the ocean of the Upanishads for more than twentyfive years and that essence is in this pot of nectar. If someone thinks that I can drink it easily, it is only a delusion. To cognize this study also needs a prolonged Thapasya. Even though one has a desire to know, the vastness of the different fields of knowledge used in this, most of the parts will remain unapproachable by several readers. Apart from the professional field of the author Medicine and Anatomy, Physics, chemistry, Mathematics, Astronomy, Astrology, Linguistics, The philosophies of India, other Asian countries and the west, Samskrit, Pali, Tamil, English, Greek, languages – in this way, deep knowledge of different knowledge fields is needed since all these are used in the commentary. Since the ordinary readers may not have knowledge of allthese fields, I said that it would be difficult to travel along with. The value and significance of this new commentary is this vast comparative knowledge fields. A study of Upanishads which is associated with such a integration of numerous knowledge systems has never been done before. Whether by the western or Eastern scholars. The studies of Nityachaithanyayati has used modern knowledge systems and psychology. But even in them, physics, chemistry, Anatomy, Mathematics, Astronomy and linguistics are not integrated in this way and so vastly. The approach of this study is not the fanatic religious one which just argue blindly that there is nothing in modern science other than what the Upanishads have and all other systems of knowledge are derived from Veda and Upanishads. The stimulus of the creation of this work is not a blind national fervour. The fervour is that of Spirituality and Vision of wisdom. The statements that the modern scientific views were derived by Upanishads and Sankara , are not mere illogical imaginations in this book.

For example:The equation Chethana=Ghanavasthu X Varga of Chalana is E=Mc2 (Page 665);

If someone believes that, When Sath or Chaithanya or Urja(energy)is excluded from the energy field of Rasimandala (Zodiac), a different gross universe exists, then that universe is a Mithya or untruth(Jaganmithya). Rasimandala is a Thejorasi (ocean of energy)and the continuity of it with the grahanakshathra and Brahmanda(universes) was seen by Sankara.Sankara lived centuries before Einstein who found the continuity of spacetime. Yet, we insult Sankara and the Rishis of Upanishads as just religious thinkers and forget their intellect and logical scientific consciousness.

Such statements may be taken up by religious fanatics for their cause but these observations of the author has no fanaticism in it. When the Physics in Chandogya (ch 7 Khanda 8)is spoken about ,the sentence of the Upanishad that the earth is in position due to the revolving field of the winds / Vaayu is explained as the theory of magnetic attraction of earth and its atmosphere, and the theories of Quantum physics is explained in a fitting language. (page 719-721) This has proven that the intention is not finding out what one wants; But discovering what is in it. And in this attempt the author has succeeded in convincing us. The commentary of Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka (which comes to about 750 pages) she has used Biology, physics, chemistry, Astrphysics, Psychology. There is no space in a book review to explain everyting. Yet, in Chandogya ch1 khanda 12, Souva Udgeetha has to be mentioned specially. (page 507-512).The Sunaka stars(Canis Major and Minor) are being praised in the Udgeetha. Without knowing this some of the early commentators have written that it is a severe comedy. Since it was difficult to believe that it is just a parody, I have no words to explain the happiness I felt when I read Suvarna's commentary. The scientific observation is that the white dog near Syrius is the binary white dwarf. Only in 1925 an Americal astronomer said that it is a white dwarf. When Suvarna asks: Don't you feel wonder when you find out this white dwarf revolving in a sarpila(spiral) path in this Upanishad?", the early commentators who commented that it is a comedy will feel not only wonder, but something else. The name Suvarnam Veda, is meaningful for Suvarna in two ways(Dwedhaa) since she has learned Astronomy, Astrology and physics by Swadhyaya (selfstudy). The introduction to this 5th part, will reveal the vastness of the knowledge of the expanded universe of Physics which she has aquired by selfstudy. Her knowledge of Astronomy has even inflenced her to question the statements of Sankara's commentary. Sankara has said that the Hansa of Chandogya 4-7-1 is Aditya(sun). Suvarna logically argues that it is the Cygnus in the form of swan called Dhanishta star clusters (page 585). The knowledge of Niruktha gives a rarity to the commentary most of the time. Kathama is a sabda which has never been commented upon previously, as associated with quantum(page 472). The Tibetan Thanthra's Bardo is the transformation of Bharatha(Bartho-Bardo) has been explained. The Aswa of Brihadaranyaka is the Viswa(Universe)and this has been said by earlier commentators. But , I think the explanation of it associated with the Numbering of letters is not seen earlier.

A =1 Brahman. Sw =5 M =5 .With a diagram she proves the revolving nature of the five elements and universe made of it as wheel of samsara. The style of demonstrating and visualizing ideas with diagrams is also a special technique used in this book, not seen before in Upanishad commentaries. It has an effect of showing slides during an Audiovisual teaching session. If one wants to grasp this book word by word, analyzing and reflecting over the meanings, a minimum of days equivalent to its pages would be necessary. I am writing this not with the Thapasya of three years, but after reading it within three weeks. Therefore my attempt is only a attempt to hold ocean in my hands.

The appearance of Gargi, the Brahmavadini who made Yajnavalkya explain the AksharaBrahman, and Maithreyi who took sanyasa for attaining Brahmavidya appear in Brihadaranyaka..This Upanishad is stating the respect men had towards intellectual women, and that the women were not denied primary education or highest Education at that period. Women had recognition and education was not unapproachable to them. But during the middle ages this state became deteriorated. They became just parrots within their nests. Though Modern India has resurrected from this state, women who can make men wonder (make them without Smaya also is a meaning for Vismaya)with their own thought processes are very rare even now. Women who did studies in Veda and Upanishad, like SakunthalaRao Sasthry, have just traveled along the paths which the western and eastern ancestors have shown. But Dr Suvarna has cut a new path of analysis of her own. I think that not even a male scholar has done such a study of the Upanishad, with so much of Oushadaveerya (medicinal energy) spreading from drinking the numerous branches of knowledge, grind and crushed and boiled to a dense concentrated liquid form. Therefore when I try to offer Sthothra (praise) to this NavayugaBrahmavadini (Modern age Brahmavadini) my words cannot reach there.

Though by size short,Isavasya is considered great by its ideas. The space given for it is less in this work. The reason is not clear. But I guess that the reason may be that its contents have less related parts to modern science. In the commentary to manthra 3 and 4 such dimensions are pointed out. But since Isavasya is the base of the Nishkamakarma of Bhagavad Gita, its importance could have been expanded more. As the seed of Nishkamakarma and as a teaching against the wealth –luxury-centered lifestyles, and as a philosophy of equality of humanity, the significance and importance of first manthra second half of Isavasya should have been explained more in such a study. Is it necessary to reduce the first Manthra as that for the Sanyasin alone?

(FN .See explanation for this question)

The 9th Manthra has always made scholars in a dilemma. A new approach to get them out of it is not given in this also. Similarly "Avidyayaamrityum Theerthwaa Vidyayaamritham Asnuthe"(11th manthra) also seems incompletely explained. Since all wisdom including Veda and Upanishad are, practiced in the mundane way, are avidya and the sarvabhoothaikyabodhaanubhootividya (Aparavidya and Paravidya respectively in Mundaka) is vidya,Avidyaya mrityum teerthwa can be explained as avidya can help to remain in the memory of the nest generations. In that way mrityu can be conquered. The 17th manthra Kritham smara is pointing to this meaning. But with this crossing of Death, one do not attain eternity. Only Sarvabhoothaikyabodhanubuthi is able to give eternity. When the desire in the Experience of Vidya happen with ego, one will again fall back to darkness has been explained. In the three paths of Gnana, Bhakthy and Karma this Nishkama principle is adviced in Gita and thus Isavasya is very important. Gita thinks those who are desirous of arguing in veda, who are desirous of creation, and luxurious experiences of senses, yet doing Yagna as lesser individuals.(2. 42.44).For this Isavasya and Mundaka might had been influential.

The manthra of veda has meanings pertaining to Adhyathma, Adidaivika and Adhibhouthika. Dr Suvarna explains the Adhidaivika meanings extensively, but for the Manthra Dwa Suparna of Mundaka (Rgvedaprakarana) which has been explained as Adhidaivika by some commentators, she does not give that meaning. In the 11th manthra of 2nd khanda, she gives a explanation of travel to te starry worlds based on Gargya's astronomical studies. She explains the Indian psychological observations and the Gestalt psychology of the west in the Mandukya and Brihadaranyaka. From these seeds of philosophy, saplings were grown by later western philosophers like Jung and Laccan and these methods are not mentioned by her. She integrates the observations of Physics upto the period of Stephan Hawking. She has integrated the Advaitha of Sankara with the Grand Unification theories(page 559). She has learned deeply the philosophy of Budhism and Philosophy of Sankara to prove that Sankara was not a enemy to the Samana (Budhism) sects (page 817).

One defect in this book is the spelling mistakes seen here and there like mustard seeds in a curry. Those can be rectified in the second edition. An index also is needed for such a great book.

FN : According to Sankara the definition of a sanyasin is the one who has Dhyana and Gnana (meditation and wisdom). It is in this sense I had used that term. Therefore when we say that this part is for the sanyasin, all people with dhyana and gnaana are included. Brahmavidya is gnaana and dhyana alone. That alone is Sanyasa.