Thursday 18 April 2024

The Birth Of The Ramayana - 1

Before the introduction of English in India, by sahitya or literature was commonly meant the poetical compositions of great poets. As the Indian languages came into contact with English, the prose works in various languages grew in bulk and importance, and in course of time, all knowledge gained through the written word came to be considered as sāhitya. How far is this justified? There are various claimants to the title of sahitya, such as vaidika sahitya, laukika sahitya, padya sāhitya, gadya sahitya, and so on. Are they all entitled to be called so? What is sāhītya? It is sahita-bhāva, together-ness. Together- ness implies the simultaneous presence of two things in one and the same thing. Now, what are these two things that are present simultaneously in sähitya and are bound together? The most well-known and the only thing that does not stand in need of anybody else's certification is one's own self or the jiva. And who is the iiva's companion? True friendship is possible only between equals. Who is iiva's equal and friend? God. And where do they meet? In the heart of every being (sarvabhūtānām hrddeśe Gitā, XVIII. 61). The Chandogya Upanisad (VIII. iii. 3) says that the hrdayam (heart) is so called because the Lord or the Atman dwells there (hrdi ayam iti). So sahitya means the meeting of the jiva and God.
A person who understands and appreciates sahitya is called a sahrdaya. Because the heart is the nidus, the dwelling-place of the swans of golden plumage, the soul and the Over-soul. What does a man attain from the enjoyment of sahitya? Tanmayată, atonement' with 'That', that is, with Brahman. 'Tat' (That) is a pronoun which stands for Brahman, according to the Gita (XVII. 23): Om tat sad iti nirdeśo Brahmanas-trividhah smrtah. But it should not be a complete merger; for, then, there will be none to enjoy. Brahman is Sat-cit-ananda. Of this triad, the jiva, the 'Sat', realizes his 'cit' aspect through 'ananda'. Then he becomes 'at one' with Brahman, and that 'atonement' is sahitya par excellence.

- by Swami Siddhinathananda (courtesy : Prabuddha Bharat 1965 Oct)

To be continued ...

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सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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