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Suresvara's Vartika on Udgitha Brahmana (An Old and Rare Book)

Suresvara's Vartika on Udgitha Brahmana (An Old and Rare Book)
Item Code: NAB443
Author: Edited and Trans By. K.P. Jog & Shoun Hino
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: Sanskrit Text With English Translation
Edition: 1991
ISBN: 8120808673
Pages: 198
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8" X 5.8"

About the Book:

The Udgitha Brahmana forms a natural sequel to the Asva and Asvamedha Brahmana and marks a distinct effort of the seer of the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad towards explaining the nature of Reality which underlies, or permeats through, all ritual activity. It deals with an important Upasana, viz. the Udgitha Upasana which, it asserts, is not like other Upasanas that could be called, in common parlance, worship of certain concrete forms of deities or object and could produce certain transitory results. The Udgitha Upasana, looking apparently as some activity, leads the Upasaka 'worshipper' to unity or oneness with the Udgitha which is nothing else than the Brahman. Suresvara clarifies this thought in a lucid manner and shows how this Brahmana can significantly find a place in the train of the Upanisadic seers' thought - from ritual to philosophy.

About the Author:

Dr. K.P. Jog (M.A., Ph.D., Bombay) is a renowned Vedic scholar. He has retired as Professor of Vedic Sanskrit and General Editor of Sanskrit Dictionary Project of Deccan College of Pune. A National Lecturer in Sanskrit for the Year 1984-85, he is now Director of Mm. P.V. Kane Research of the Asiatic Society of Bombay. He has edited Jayantasvamin's Vimalodayamala, a Grhya text of Asvalayana School; translated into Marathi (prose) the Meghaduta, the Virataparvam and edited Lokamanya Tilak's notes on the Brahmasutra (for Kesari Publication: Samagra Tilak). He has contributed many articles on Vedic, Vedantic, poetical and literary topics.

Dr. Shoun Hino is Associate Professor of Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Gifu, Japan. He did his M.A. in Indian Philosophy under the guidance of both late Prof. H. Kitagawa and Prof. M. Yachikawa at the University of Nagoya in 1975. He worked for his Ph.D. under the guidance of Prof. K.P. Jog at the University of Poona. His Ph.D. dissertation entitled Suresvara's Vartika on Yajnavalkya-Maitreyl Dialogue was published in 1982. Meanwhile he has published three books in Japanese (in collaboration) on Buddhism and Hinduism and contributed research papers in Japanese and English in leading journals of Japan and India. Besides Suresvara's Philosophy, he takes interest in Hindu Samskara and Comparative Religion.



We present here our translation of Suresvara's Vartika on BU 1.3, called Udgitha Brahmana; this is in continuation of the Vartika on BU 1.1 and 2. We have, as before, derived great help from Anandagiri's Sastraprakasika(SP) and Anandapurna's Nyayakalpalatika (NKL).

Also we must not fail to mention the significant guidance of Pandit Sri Srinivasa Sastri of Pune in understanding some obscure verses from the text of the Vartika. But for his guidance, our translation would have presented many more errors (than what have appeared herein despite our efforts to avert them). We shall ever remain grateful to the Sastri and we shall be deriving his guiding help in our future work also-we are sure that it will be available ever.

It is only our pleasant duty to express our appreciation of the help given by Dr. Mrs. Lalita Deodhar of Deccan College, Pune, in tracing, for us, a number of quotations in the Vartika and the notes based on SP and NKL.



In our preface to Suresvara's Vartika on Asva- and Asva-medha Brahmana (1990), we had stated that the two Brahmanas 'form a bridge as it were between the ritualistic (karmakanda) and philosophical (jnanakanda) portions of the Satapathabra-hmana' (p. vii), And that it does so has not happened as chance would have it. This happening was in keeping with the tenor of the thought of any Upanisadic seer who saw the entire life around him as a whole and did not forget the intimate relation between the continuous and natural development of the ritualistic and the philosophical activities and theories of his times. This becomes evident from the fact (as noticed by Deussen in his Sixty Upanisads of the Veda several times) that the Upanisads of the different Vedas set out to put forth their philosophical thoughts with some dilation on uktha 'prayer', yajus 'sacrificial formula' and saman 'chant (based on a Vedic prayer)'. The reason for such dilation was, of course, rooted in what later Vedantic systems have recognised as the human attempt to achieve cittasuddhi 'purification of intellect' before one attempted to acquire the knowledge of Reality. The seer of the Brhadara- nyakopanisad (BU) has therefore begun, in the Asva- and Asva- medha Brahmana (=BU 1.1-2), to explain how the horse- sacrifice, the most prominent sacrificial ritual of his times, becomes useful in one's attempt at achieving the knowledge of Reality and results into some manifestation of the same. This explanation by the seer could be considered as an allegorical interpretation of the horse-ritual.

This 'allegorical interpretation' of an actuality then leads the followers of the seer to his discussion of an allegory itself, namely one about the (age-old, intermittently continuing, and yet never-ending) fight between the gods and the demons. This allegory seeks to raise an individual's mind above the plane or level of samsara 'transmigratory world' and to the awareness of his or her oneness with the unique (advitiya) Brahman, called in the Udgitha Brahmana as Prana. There is, thus, in this Brahmana, a leap from the topic of creation or world-evolution from the unmanifest state of the Brahman, as explicitly understood in the Asva- and Asvamedha Brahmana, to the topic of worship (meditation included therein) of the Udgitha as Prana-a ritual procedure symbolising the philosophical enquiry into the nature of Reality. In other words, it leads one to viewing the principle which 'underlies the world in some empirical form.

This empirical form is that of the chanting of a Vedic prayer, called samagana. This chanting comprises five (at times seven- only a hair-splitting division) parts. It begins with the singing of the Prastotr priest; this beginning is called Upakrama and consists in the recitation of Him or (at times) Hum-this is called Hinkara; and the chanting of the introductory part-this is called Prastava-of the song. Then follows the most important part of the song; it is sung by the Udgatr priest in a tone higher than that of the Prastotr priest-this is the Udgitha. There is the concluding part of the song, sung by the Pratihartr priest- this is called Pratihara; and finally all these three priests together recite the ending part of the song, in a low tone-this is called Nidhana. In these details of the fivefold samagana, it should be noted, the Udgitha is taken in the Samavedic tradition as the most important and potent part of chanting. The Chandogy- opanisad (CU) of the Samaveda states this in the words: samna udgitho rasah 'The Udgitha is the essence of the Saman-song' e 1.1.2). This is exactly the reason why the seer of the BU identifies in his allegory Prana with the Udgitha (in the sense of the Udgatr's activity-as Suresvara has pointed out). It is thus clearly noticeable in the allegory that the seer has 'brought' his philosophical ideas or doctrines and principles 'into direct or mediate relation with the sacrifice', whose performance formed the bond of unity (bandhuta among facts and phenomena of the universe.

It is this, we should add, that has formed the seer's decisive step towards his discussion in the next Brahmana, called Purusa- vidha Brahmana (BU 1.4) wherein he asserts: atmety evopasita (section 7), thereby conveying 'whatever be the object of thought, let it be known as non-distinct from the Atman'. (Later, in BU 4.4.5, this culminates into the proposition ayam atma brahma). The words ayam atma in ayam atma brahma there refer to Prana in BU 1.3, in the form of a sacrificer, the first human sacrificer, who is also called by various names Sutra, Sutratman, Hiranya- garbha-the first manifest and yet the most minute manifest- form of the Brahman. In BU 1.3, the seer seeks to impress on one's mind the need of realising or identifying this form of the Brahman through Upasana 'worship' of Prana in the Udgitha which is the Udgatr's ritual activity in samagana.







    BUBV 1.3





BUBV 5.15

BUBV 6.1

    BUBV 3.1


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