Samkara’s Concept of Creation is the dissertation of late Prof. A.C. Swain at Harvard University, U.S.A. in the year 1957.
It was prepared under the able guidance and supervision of the then Professor H.H. Ingalls. Starting with Rgveda this philosophical problem receives an exhaustive treatment and nothing unsupported by original texts is presented in this book.
Samkara's non-dual philosophy propounds the doctrine-"Brahma satyarh jagan mithya. " By calling the universe anrta or mithya Samkara means that this universe is changeable, not that it does not exist. This "unreal" universe has always a certain existence. Samkara never denies the existence of the many, the changing and the non-intelligent universe, the contents of our day to day activity. No doubt Samkara speaks of the world as bereft of any essence. He has pictured the world as full of evils, misery and trouble. It is impure. His designation of the world as samsara-pasa, samsara-samudra and samsara-samudra bandhana is significant. In the severest terms he depicts the misery of the world in Katha.Up.Bh.6.1. But, in spite of strong condemnation of the world as nihsara or asara, he has not denied its existence. .... His aim is directed towards the goal of salvation. In order to render more vivid liberation, the realisation of the Supreme Self, the world must be presented as bereft of essence or worth. Only in this sense it can be called unreal"(pp. 180-181). Thus, with deeper philosophical thoughts expressed in simple and understandable language this work offers a pleasurable reading.
Prof. Dr. Siddheswar Jena retired from Government service as the Principal of N.C. Autonomous College, Jajpur, Odisha. At present he has joined P. G. Department of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar as Sastra Cudamani Scholar and is actively engaged in research. The following is the list of his research publications till the date :
1. The Narasimha Purina - A Study (1987)
2. The Narasimha Purina - Text with English Translation & Notes ( 1987)
3. Textual Correlation of Narasimha Purana with other Puranas and Sanskrit Texts - (1997)
4. A Study of Selected Puranic Legends - (2003)
5. The Laghu-Harita-Smrti - Text with English Translation & Notes (2004)
6. Contributions to Sanskrit Criticism -Collection of papers of Prof. A.C. Swain (2007) -Edited
7. Anyapadesa-Sataka - Text with English Translation and Notes (2011) – Edited
Besides, Dr. Jena is a critic and poet in Odia literature. His essays and poems have been published in different Odia-journals. Already five collections of short-poems meant for children have appeared in the book-form. They are :
1. Tikitara (The Little Star) – 1991
2. Tiki Tiki Ame Bhauni Bhai - ( We the Tiny Little Brothers & Sisters)- 2004
3. Bana Raijare Bahaghara ( Wedlock in the Woods) - 2004
4. Pahada Talara Cadhei - ( A Bird in the Low-lying Hill) - 2007
5. Sagara Bukura Dheu - ( Waves in the Mid-ocean) – 2008
6. Lili boli Yeun Tiki Jhiati ( Lili, the Tiny Little Girl)- In the press
Professor Anam Charan Swain passed away on 23rd October 2007 at the age of 82 years. After Professor Prahlad Pradhan he was the Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit for long twelve years in the Post-Graduate Department of Sanskrit, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. A profound scholar of Sanskrit he produced 15 Ph.D students under his meticulous guidance and supervision. He was also recipient of President's Certificate of Honour in the year 2002.
Starting his career as a young Lecturer-in-Sanskrit under Orissa Government, Dr. Swain had been to U.S.A. in 1953 to carry on his research under Professor H.H. Ingalls at Harvard University. He pursued his research on a philosophical problem entitled " A Study of Samkara's Concept of Creation" and got the Ph.D degree in 1957 as the first research student of Prof. Ingalls. Coming back to India he joined Utkal University as Reader-in-Sanskrit in 1958 and was promoted to the post of Professor in 1973.
It is a pity that his research work " A Study of Samkara's Concept of Creation" remained unpublished during his life time. I do not know why he didn't take steps for its publication when he was in a high position and enjoyed power. As he was bred and brought up in different family tradition, the family that followed Mahima-dharrna and believed in sunyavada, sunya being the absolute brahman, perhaps this tradition prevented him from earning a name in the literary world. Even all his research papers did not appear in the form of a book till 2007. In the year 2005 I proposed to him to bring out a collection of his papers and he gave the nod. This collection of papers namely the "Contributions to Sanskrit Criticism" was published by Bharatiya Kala Prakashan in 2007 and was widely appreciated by the scholarly world. In this collection his two more papers that he prepared towards the last days of his life have been inadvertently left out and we are trying our best to include the same in near future.
Dr Swain always preferred to write in sweet and simple language. Though a man of Sanskrit, his style of writing in English is unique. His presentation of facts is excellent. He was in the habit of simplifying things and presenting the mysterious ideas of Sanskrit language and literature in an easy and understandable language. With least exaggeration I may say that he was a gifted person so far as Sanskrit Criticism is concerned.
Now it is a matter of great delight that after his demise his dissertation prepared at Harvard University is going to be published due to the sincere desire of his children. Dr. Radhey Shyam Shukla, Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi has readily agreed to publish this work and he deserves all thanks for it. Lastly I do hope that like his "Contributions to Sanskrit Criticism" this dissertation "Samkara's Concept of Creation" will be much appreciated by the Sanskrit scholars as well as the general readers.
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