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Hindu Scriptures - Hymns from the Rigveda, Five Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita Nicol Macnicol

Hindu Scriptures - Hymns from the Rigveda, Five Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita

Nicol Macnicol

Published October 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781408631393
Paperback
316 pages
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 About the Book 

HINDU SCRIPTURES - Hymns from the Pigveda Five Upanishads The Bhagavadgi - 1938 - FOREWORD - THAT Religion, though not infrequently administered as opiate to the people, did not always originate as such, is often ignored by thinkers whoseMoreHINDU SCRIPTURES - Hymns from the Pigveda Five Upanishads The Bhagavadgi - 1938 - FOREWORD - THAT Religion, though not infrequently administered as opiate to the people, did not always originate as such, is often ignored by thinkers whose intellectual bias inclines them to purely economic interpretations of social phenomena. A publication therefore which is likely to provide an insight into the inspk tion and development of one of the oldest of the living rehgions, should be welcomed by all intelligent and impartial readers. Perhaps the most significant thing that strikes the reader as he goes through some of the Vedic Hymns collected here is that they read, not like so many commandments, enjoined by priests or prophets, which in the European mind are identified with Oriental religions, including Christianity, but as a poetic testament of a peoples collective reaction to the wonder and awe of existence. A people of vigorous and unsophisticated imagination awakened at the very dawn of civilization to a sense of the inexhaustible mystery that is implicit in Life. It was a simple faith of theirs that attributed divinity to every element and force of Nature, but it was a brave and joyous one, in which fear of the gods was balanced by trust in them, in which the sense of mystery only gave enchantment to life, without weighing it down with bafflement-the faith of a race unburdened with intellectual brooding on the conflicting diversity of the objective universe, though now and again illumined by such flashes of intuitive experience as Truth is one though the wise call it by various names Rigveda I, 164,46. It is this brooding on the meaning of existence that chiefly distinguishes the spiritof the Hymns fromthat oftheupanishads. The same wonder and poetry are there, but deepened and widened by the calm of meditation. Keener spiritual longing shifts the emphasis from the wonder of the outside universe to the significance of the self within. The quest for Reality rebukes the emotional exuberance of the early poet, and compels him inwards to explore the infinite depths of the Soul in which the central principle of creation is reflected. The early authors were childlike in their reaction, fascinated by what they beheld and naively seeking to adjust to it their hopes and fears but as when children grow they gather an increasing awareness of their selves, the later authors sought more and more a centre of reference in their own consciousness, a subjective counterpart to the objective majesty that had so long held them enthralled in awe, an answer in their own being to the cosmic challenge of the visible universe. A transcendental spirit of enquiry challenges the old gods, and their mechanical propitiation prescribed by the sacred texts. Says NBrada I know the Rigveda, the Yajur, the Ssma-veda, with all these I know only the Mantras and the sacred books, I do not know the Self. l The eternal, the unchanging, the one without a second, is proclaimed, for fear of whom fire bums, for fear of whom the sun shines, and for fear of whom the winds, the clouds, and death perform their offices. And if this Supreme Self is unknowable and incomprehensible, it is yet realizable through self-discipline and knowledge by the Self in man, for the two are ultimately one. Thus man is delivered from the fear of the Cosmic Forces and is made part of the Divine Will. But the Upanishads, though theymeasured the highest reaches of the philosophic imagination of our people, were yet incomplete in their answer to the complex longing of the human soul...