PREMA NANDAKUMAR

MUNDAKOPANISHAD - Volume 1: Rs. 195; Volume 2: Rs. 260.PUBLIC TALKS - Living Intelligently, The Need for Cognitive Change: Rs. 225.PUBLIC TALKS - Discovering Love, Successful Living: Rs. 225. The above books are authored by Swami Dayananda Saraswati and published by Arsha Vidya Centre, 32/4, 'Srinidhi' Apartments, III Floor, Sir Desika Road, Mylapore, Chennai-600004.The Mundaka Upanishad says: This Self cannot be understood by talks. Nor by thinking nor scholarship. Where then has been the need for so many Darsanas, the latest being the Dayananda Darsana? It is true the Self cannot be realised by us through talks and publications but then the words act as a signpost that shows us the way to Self-knowledge. The Upanishads can be such signposts that inspire us to venture forward, across the eternal night of our own ignorance and into the everlasting day of Self-knowledge. Far removed from the Upanishadic times, we are now in need of voices that speak in a diction familiar to us. Swami Dayananda Saraswati's uncomplicated English puts the listener at ease, and this is how we are able to follow the philosophical nuances of the verses in Vedic Sanskrit with little or no strain. Since the Unknown is not unknowable (Sri Aurobindo), Dayananda's attempts to explain the Mundaka Upanishad in the light of Sankaracharya's exegesis are most welcome. A little right thinking can help us 'connect' with others. We need others as much as others need us. No man is an island!While his lectures on the Mundaka Upanishad avoid all pedantry, his Public Talks sizzle with the vibrancy of the committed leader who manages to remain inclosed in the spaces of Vedanta at the same time. What is 'intelligent living' but learning to 'relate objectively'? Then he takes off to a study of the behavioural patterns in modern life as he firmly points out the evils that have entered our everyday life. Now and then he gives the needed existentialist shock through familiar images. After placing Duryodhana's case before us, he speaks of the mother-child divide that has entered our lives. A baby of 18 months is pushed to a nursery school since "two pay packets" are a big attraction. This kind of banishment leads to neurosis in later life, and then why do we complain that our youth generation is the Kaurava princedom? When the mother wilfully blinds herself and the father is happy about it, why blame Duhshasana for disrobing Draupadi?In ancient days, the structured society engaged itself in the pursuit of excellence. Even today, if only we could achieve a cognitive change in our outlook, all manner of things shall be well. The terms, One and the Many, should be understood in their proper context. Neither need we give up worship of the Form, nor deny the Formless. You touch the whole deep ocean when you touch a silvery wave!

Need for faith

Dayananda's significant parables include the sugar cube that had a mind of its own, the two friends who bought horses and the lecturer who failed to complete his doctorate. He points out the need for pragmatism and wisdom in getting attuned to Advaita, while underlining the unshakeable faith one needs to have in the Supreme's ways. After this paean of victory from a spiritual leader, it becomes much easier to discover love, celebrate life and reach out for human unity. Our gratitude to his earnest disciple, Swami Sakshatkritananda Saraswati, for sculpting these volumes out of an enormous mass of classroom talks, textual discussions and public lectures.