Nataraja Guru single-handedly revolutionized philosophical thought in the mid-twentieth century. At a time when science had unwittingly followed Marxism into a materialist desert, he never relinquished his insight into what had been omitted. Now that scientists and philosophers everywhere are pausing in perplexity, having bumped up against the limits of their partial outlook, the Guru’s works offer to reintroduce the wisdom that can bring the desert back to life.
Stung by the horrors of the Inquisition, western science turned its back on metaphysics for hundreds of years. The extended effort to include as much as possible of the universe under the aegis of physical reality was an interesting experiment, but it has about played itself out. Ideas, memories, emotions and time, among other major categories, are metaphysical entities that have transcended every effort at being reduced to material existence. Matter itself is seen to be brimming with energy as soon as you look beneath the surface.
A counterbalancing backlash has occurred recently in which religious and other metaphysical ideas, no matter how divorced from reality, are being embraced as a welcome escape from uncompromising materialism.
For a sensible philosophy free of prejudice, which can open the road to further progress in human thought, a balance must be struck between physics and metaphysics. Each must support and verify the other. Nataraja Guru clearly establishes the basis for such an advance in this work, presenting an overarching scheme to integrate all aspects of reality under one roof.
Any meaningful philosophy must have some version of an absolute idea or value implicit in it. After presenting his own absolute system Nataraja Guru investigates several prominent strains of philosophy, including the rationalist and the materialist, to identify the absolute element hidden within each of them. Totalitarianism and absolutism are shown to be totally antithetical, the former being highly exclusionary while the latter embraces every possibility.
Dialectic thinking is at the heart of the Gum’s philosophy, leading to an absolute vision that incorporates all parts within the whole. For the serious thinker unsatisfied by modern pop philosophy, Unitive Philosophy is a uniquely rewarding book that will open up vast uncharted regions for exploration.
The leading interpreter of Narayana Gum’s wisdom from among his disciples, Nataraja Guru became one of the most penetrating philosophers of all time, uniting eastern and western outlooks within a universal and profound scheme of correlation. He was founder arid Guru of the
+ Narayana Gurukula, a loose-knit organization of wisdom schools around the globe, as well as a prolific speaker and writer. His Bhagavad Gita commentary remains one of the finest ever published.
Nataraja Guru perfectly modelled the Indian renunciate and teacher, eschewing ordinary occupations to cast himself at the mercy of Fate. Thus freed from all obligations, answering to no vested interests, he bent his mind to solving and resolving the key issues facing humanity in the modern world. The result is a fresh and unbiased look at life from a unique point of view.
Nataraja Guru, formerly Dr. P. Natarajan MA., L.T., D. Lit. (Paris), M.R.S.T. (London), was a product of modern Western education while simultaneously being a close disciple of Narayana Guru, a philosopher-saint of the East. His philosophy is thus a perfect blend of modern scientific thought and the perennial nondual mysticism of Advaitins 4nondualists). Perceiving science with the intuitive eye of a philosopher-mystic enabled him to interpret philosophy in terms understandable and agreeable to modern scientists.
Scientists explore the reality underlying all natural phenomena, and try to explain the world in terms of that reality. Mystical philosophers, on the other hand, expound this one reality, realizing their own oneness with it. These two trends of thought harmoniously merge in the philosophy
of Nataraja Guru. -
One of the basic concepts of Indian mystical philosophers is that the apparent world is comprised of names and forms nama and rupa), and they seek the one Reality behind such a world. Any exposition of such a vision necessarily has to rely on language as a medium. The linguistic exposition of the Ultimate Reality thus naturally finds expression through row facets: a name-based or word-based language and a form: ased language. The former linguistic expression is referred: o as metalanguage by Nataraja Guru, while the latter is railed protolanguage. The vision being expounded and explained attains finality only when these two linguistic facets meet in the neutral ground of the reality searched for and the resulting unity is intuitively visualized. This insight is the keynote of Nataraja Guru’s philosophical vision. -
Metalanguage being a common everyday experience that all are familiar with, its application as a linguistic device in the philosophical representation of reality should come as no surprise. Conversely, protolanguage, or picture language, is best exemplified in communication by hand gestures. Iconography is another form of it. The most popular and mathematically precise protolanguage, however, is that of the Cartesian Correlates. Nataraja Guru displays no
hesitation in employing this latter device to complement his otherwise metalinguistic philosophical exposition. -
Cartesian Correlates admit the use of two axes of reference, one vertical and the other horizontal. Nataraja Guru, in his originally devised philosophical methodology, uses the vertical axis to stand for the eternal reality that exists absolutely and changelessly through time, and the horizontal axis to represent the spatially spread out transient world of multiplicity. The nonduality of these two conceivable realms of reality is represented by the central, neutral point where the two axes meet. -
Nataraja Guru gave final shape to his philosophy in An Integrated Science of the Absolute, which is in fact thoroughgoing exploration of reality through Narayana Guru’s final work, Darsanamala (Garland of Visions). As a preliminary to it, he wrote a commentary on the Atmopadesa Satakam (One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction) of Narayana Guru. This commentary was written mainly from the Western point of view, while the task of a commentary from an Eastern point of view was left to his disciples. As an exhaustive introduction to his Atmopadesa Satakam commentary, the Guru also wrote three series of articles, namely Vedanta Revalued and Restated, The Philosophy of a Guru, and A Search for a Norm in Western Thought. -
In the first series of articles, Nataraja Guru examines the tralitional background of Vedanta, which Narayana Guru Restated and revalued in his philosophy, both met language wise and protolanguage-wise. The second series evaluates Niirnyana Guru’s philosophy, as expounded in the Atmopadesa Satakam, as the perfect philosophy of an ideal (tire belonging to the Age of Science, at the same time lighghting his original contributions. The main features of I It entire range of Western thought are brought under writing in the third series in a penetrating attempt to uncover o universal norm, which in Vedanta is served by Brahman low Absolute) or atman (the Self). The study indeed unveils Mown a norm, which is woven throughout the entire fabric of Written thought. -
The present volume is a compilation of these three series of utricles, edited by Scott Chatsworth of the Portland (Hauula, U.S.A. The One Hundred Verses of Self ruction, to which these series form an introduction, has published as a separate volume by Narayana Guru Kula. -
Science and philosophy both seek certitude. Each in its own way attempts to interpret the world in undeniable terms. -
The history of European or Western science and philosophy is of a roughly linear progression from ignorance or doubt toward more clearly defined states. By contrast, Indian thought has followed a cyclic or circular pattern. Various systems of complete visions or dishpans have existed from very early on, but over time most of those systems degenerated into agglomerations of faith, confusion or superstition. Periodically, great thinkers have been able to restore the meaning of some of those systems by restating them in terms of their own era. Such a process is known as revaluation, by which value is restored to a vision from which .ill meaning has been leached out. -
Narayana Guru was one of the great evaluators of India’s Pedantic wisdom of the twentieth century. His disciple Nat raja Guru, with an extensive grounding in both Western and Eastern science and philosophy, became his expositor, theistically applying the Guru’s wisdom to the modern ‘wowed. Where it can be seen as encompassing numerous lines thought. -
The modern mind has been weaned on wisdom presented s-.nullified and easily digested language, which is fine as it goes. Nataraja Guru is not part of that movement, it’ ever. His aim was to complete and fulfill the historical reds in philosophy, and the vision he imbibed from arayana Guru does not comfortably fit into simple It requires substantial effort on the part of the reader. Nataraja Guru leaves it up to the individual whether to appreciate what he says or not, refusing to draw attention to conclusions he considers obvious. Guru and disciple are to him equal partners in the learning process, the former striving to express truth in ever more perfect terms, while the latter works equally diligently to bring the words to life in his or her own mind.
Since many people wonder why they should bother with such a taxing philosophy, let’s turn first to the Guru’s defense of it:
The question that a modern man will naturally ask about this taking refuge in such subtleties like “the meaning of meaning” for proving the reality of the Absolute would be: Why take so much trouble when the visible, demonstrable, practical world in which we live is sufficient for man for all ordinary purposes?
This would be quite germane, if bread here was all that we needed for life. Man, however, does not live by bread alone. He craves for freedom too, and as Homo sapiens he is a thinking animal. This means that he must solve problems big or small to fulfill his life’s purpose. Speculation inevitably steps into the breach.
Philosophy would be superfluous if building bridges or developing the land for gaining bread were all that man needed. Man wants to live in security, free from fear. Fear of calamities, avoidable or inevitable, comes from various sources. Doubts from within cause discontent in each person. The mystery of life itself causes alternate fear or wonder in all normal men who do not willfully live in a fool’s paradise, whether they are considered primitive or civilized, however much the latter may deny it in their pride. Wars and pestilences, famines and genocides due to fanaticisms or idolatries, need effective remedies which wisdom alone can give. Truth must make man free. (pp. 56-57)
Nataraja Guru was a master wordsmith, his speech a wrong symphony of interwoven ideas. It takes more than .i a patience to learn to follow the music of it, but the vast rain that opens up to view amply rewards the effort made. F his is that rarest of creatures: a fully formed philosophy.
Nataraja Guru scorned what he called half-baked Philosophy. He felt that most people made do with questioned beliefs that would not stand up to unbiased cutting. Such poorly understood opinions are the seedbed I unhappiness, often leading ‘to violence. He never lost sight E the idea that philosophy must bring happiness or it had value whatsoever. He felt that Vedanta properly understood produces peace and joy without limit, as should full-fledged system of thought.
One might initially be tempted to give up the inquiry akogether when confronted with Nataraja Guru’s welter of words. Unless convinced in advance of the superlative importance of their content. His insights provide access to heart of any and all matters, leading to wholesale liberation from the bondage of incomplete or partial ‘respective. To put it in a nutshell, the Guru’s philosophy eea1s a structural key to apprehending the absolute norm t any situation. His complex thought-structures are actually as integral part of his yogic wisdom discipline. As he sums in the very last chapter, “The practical or beneficial service .r which the scheme could be put by thinkers or writers is a11y the only criterion of its validity.”
Despite appearances, all (or nearly all) of Nataraja Guru’s tenses can be decoded on a careful second or third reading. ) often there is an initial sense of bafflement as the train of tight appears to have wandered out of sight. But it’s still e. clothed in the dazzling verbal cloak of many colors of e Guru’s inimitable style. By taking the time to sort out the abuses and catch the rhythm, the reader will begin to be amused rather than baffled, and will eventually find the style extremely precise and revealing. As an editor, I can attest that it is nearly impossible to change even a single word without disrupting the meaning.
Since all is provisional within maya or manifestation, Nataraja Guru is relentless in his use of conditional tenses, usually using “would be” or “might be” when the rest of us would say “is.” His reversal of clauses may initially cause consternation, but the point is to counteract the habitual linear tendency of ordinary word usage. The flow of thought is reversed, twisted and ornamented like the development of a theme in music. It’s a dynamic part of the presentation, dialectics in action. The reader must keep in mind the exhortation of the I Cling: perseverance furthers.
Like the crosshairs in a spotting scope, a structurally valid norm provides a reference to which all aspects of the situation can be referred. An accurately determined normative notion therefore allows the objective to be seen as it is, and not merely from one or another relative perspective. Lacking those crosshairs, a relativistic outlook displaces what is under consideration in the direction of the prejudice with which it is applied, and so misses the mark. Understood in this way, a normative notion of the Absolute is the most essential element in a scientifically balanced point of view.
The Absolute is the ultimate meaning contained in any system. Such meaning imparts value to all relative levels in respect to it, in the same way the trunk of a tree supports and nourishes the branches. In Chapter 6 of Philosophy of a Guru, Nataraja Guru describes the comparative value of the Absolute and the relative:
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend