I thank Mr Gewali from core of my heart for providing me an opportunity to have a glimpse of the book titled “What is India ?”.It’s indeed a great experience to have a look at the views of some of the great minds,who in unambiguous manner came to endorse the unique contribution of Indian Rishis (sages),thinkers and scholars born on this divine land from time to time.It’s no secret that in modern India the rise of so called secular brigade has made it near impossible task for the present youth to have access to the true image of India’s glorious past.
Worse,any attempt to have a look into the past is ridiculed by the progressive intellectuals as an attempt of saffronisation of education.Against this backdrop,it’s indeed laudable that author decided to bring in open the contributions of great Indian minds via the words of enlightened souls from the Western world.The youths of our times whose minds have been programmed to view the contributions from the Western world as ultimate will be forced to reshape their brainwaves after intercepting the pearls of wisdom scattered in the pages of this wonderful book penned by Mr.Gewali.
It’s high time that we come to acknowledge the contributions of our sages.At this juncture,I wish to quote the words of Radhakrishnan,which will let my readers to know why it’s so essential to be in league with the wisdom of Indian sages.It will let you know why it’s so essential to take as much steps as possible to resurrect the glory of past.I pity the intellectuals who believe that if we started looking into past we are bound to return to cave ages.I need to tell such bogus thinkers that the nation which forgot to honour the great relics of past ,sooner or later,became a forgotten past ! Radhakrishnan says :”From the beginning of her history India has adored and idealized ,not soldiers and statesman,not men of science and leaders of industry ,not even poets ands philosophers ,who influence the world by their deeds or by their words,but those rarer and most chastened spirits,whose greatness lies in what they are not what they do;men who have stamped infinity on the thought and life of the country,men who have added to the invisible force of goodness in the world.To a world given over to the pursuits of power and pleasure ,wealth and glory ,they declare the reality of the unseen world and the call of the spiritual life.Their self-possession and self command ,their strange deep wisdom ,their exquisite courtesy,their humility and gentleness of soul ,their abounding humanity ,proclaim that the destiny of man is to know himself and thereby further the universal life of which he is an integrated element.” ( Eastern Religions And Western Thought by S.Radhakrishnan ,P.35)
I am sure the book which is primarily the compilation of intellectual giants from across the globe like T.S.Eliot, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Julius R.Oppenheimer,Erwin Schroedinger,Voltaire, Mark Twain, Emerson , Arthur Schopenhauer, Yeats,Alan Watts,Thoreau, Romain Rolland,Abdul Kalam, Paul William Roberts and Brian Dav id Josephson ,to name few, would allow young minds to reshape their perspective.They are,at present,bit ashamed in acknowledging the contributions of our sages in open and bold manner.Though the compilation of the quotes has been done in excellent way,the author seems to have lost his concentration while editing his own writings.I hope the next edition of the book will take care of editing blunders which I notice in some of the articles appearing in the preset edition.
These candid declarations on the part of these great minds would shatter the reluctance shown on the part of Gen-Next to embrace the wisdom found in Vedas and other Indian scriptures.Recently,I came to be aware of progressive souls making mockery of the Indian civilization saying that we have tendency to overrate our achievements and as a result we are all the time lost in self-glorification.When I contrast the myopic observation of that soul with the revelations present in the Gewali’s book I must say let’s become aware of the glorious legacy instead of giving to sense of rejection caused by the onslaught of progressive literature.The term “progressive literature” makes me laugh as one hardly finds anything progressive while reading books falling in this genre.
I must congratulate the author for successful culmination of herculean task whereby he managed to bring at one place thought of leading Western thinkers pertaining to contributions of Indian geniuses in various spheres like science,literature and philosophy.The book is a conscious reader’s delight;a prize possession of any soul who wishes to be aware of the contributions of ancient India when wisdom of sages ruled the roost.
I am presenting some of the great quotes that have found place in the book.
I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc. It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry…But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins’ science not been long established in Europe.
The juxtaposition of Western civilization’s most terrifying scientific achievement with the most dazzling description of the mystical experience given to us by the Bhagavad Gita, India’s greatest literary monumentThe juxtaposition of Western civilization’s most terrifying scientific achievement with the most dazzling description of the mystical experience given to us by the Bhagavad Gita, India’s greatest literary monument.
“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made”.
Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys.
A book review by Arvind K.Pandey.The book titled “What Is India” is penned by Salil Gewali.
The premature death of young promising person always shocks us. It makes us slip into a depressive mood. It also makes us philosophical, making us aware of transitory nature of the earthly happenings. Though the feeling of detachment does not stay with us for long, it still manages to evoke sensitivity that makes us face to face with reality of our vain pursuits.
I am talking about death of Sandeep Banerji, an ex journalist, who died recently when his motorcycle rammed into railing of the Curzon bridge at Phaphamau with full force. His body remained on the bridge in the mutilated state for quite a long time until the police was informed who carried it to the mortuary room. Later, the members of Allahabad Press Club paid customary tribute to the departed. I don’t know is that sufficient enough to calm the pain of his family comprising of her wife, old mother and two year old daughter?
I am really taken aback by the way life comes to deal with bright faces. Two more such deaths flash across in my mind. My one of the aunties who lived in New Delhi had always been my source of inspiration. She had been living there all alone with her daughter for past many years. One day I heard she is no more. A lady who for the most of the time was caught in the struggles of life passed away silently. No news. A good soul passed away but the world around us remained alive to the glamour of life! Similarly, I always admired father of one of the close friends. I never entered in conversation with him but whenever I met him the love and affection in his eyes always made me drawn towards him. One day while taking an early morning walk, I met my friend sitting in pensive mood at one corner of the Khusraubagh. He came to inform me that his father is no more. I don’t know why tears hit my eyes and I remained sad for many days. Such is human life. Good souls pass away and we the survivors remain engaged in petty concerns as if they are life-and-death issues.
Coming back to my friend Sandeep Banerji, I met him a decade ago. I was then involved in contributing articles to national newspapers. A chance meeting with him led to increased friendship with him. That time he was working as crime correspondent in The Times Of India. I used to give my articles to him for publication in the weekend supplement of The Times Of India. I wrote on issues which were not of his taste but then he ensured that they managed to see the light of publication!! From him I came to know how thankless the job of crime correspondent or, for that matter,any correspondent really is. Barring few of them, they are the most exploited lot. Even the most known brands in field of news world are unprofessional in heeding to the monetary needs of the scribes. If that’s the state of people working in top brands, one can easily imagine the plight of stringers working in Hindi newspapers. However, I always found Sandeep smiling amidst the ups and downs of this profession.
Ironically, I was about to meet him in coming days after a long gap. I would have never postponed my meeting had I been aware of the cruel turn of events. I pray for this departed soul. May Lord rest his soul in eternal piece. I shall always remember you Sandeep.
“If man were immortal he could be perfectly sure of seeing the day when everything in which he had trusted should betray his trust, and, in short, of coming eventually to hopeless misery.He would break down, at last, as every good fortune, as every dynasty, as every civilization does. In place of this we have death.” (Charles Sanders Peirce)