28th May 2011
The Metaphysics of the Upanishads (Vichar Sagar) by Nischal Das #1
As many of you will know, Ramesh is a regular commentator on this blog. He seems to believe that I must first understand Hindu philosophy before I can talk sense. Leaving aside his debates with me, he wrote to me on 5 May, thus:
There is 'Veechar Sagar' originally written in Hindi by Shri Nischal Das and translated in Marathi by Sakhare Maharaj. Please refer this Marathi Version. It is a bit more scientific in approach. I do not know where Marathi Version can be downloaded.
But Hindi Version may be downloaded at http://hinduebooks.blogspot.com/2009/04/vichar-sagar-of-nischal-das-complete.html
Please do read at least the " Preface" to Marathi Version of "Veechar Sagar" by Sakhare Maharaj. It is the essence of entire Hindu Philosophy/Science.
You can safely neglect all the "spiritual elements" in the above texts and do consider only "Logical and Scientific elements only" which reveals the secret of Universe.
I declare it is entirely devoid of any "Spiritualism" and it will never be waste of time and energy to think of it.
It is the wrong implications/interpretations of the above concept which has retarded the technological development of the India on par with the west which has been happening in India since a long time.
Now I can at least test Ramesh's views on the solid touchstone of critical thinking.
This book was written in the 1830s by Nischal Das. Fortunately, the 1885 English translation of Vichar Sagar is available here in PDF format. It has been poorly scanned from the original, though, making it very hard to read the book on the computer. Further, without having access to the text in electronic form, it is difficult to annotate it, or to share insights.
I tried OCRing it, but got a huge amount of garbage in my first few attempts. Anyway, to cut the story short, after numerous attempts, I finally created a tolerable OCR'd version which I then fixed, diligently, over the past three weeks. At least 20 (I think more) hours of my time has been spent in this preliminary work.
The result is now available here as a 2MB Word document.
I encourage you to download it and go through it (if this is your first time with this book). This work clearly precedes major works on the Upanishads by Swami Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan, Rajaji, Swami Suddhananada, and others, and is therefore possibly worth a close read.
Over the next few weeks, time permitting, I'll go through this book and annotate it in colour (as I usually do).
Thereafter I'll put out my analyses of the Upanishads (based on whatever I've learnt already from about 10 books so far, numerous journal articles, and now this book) and publicly assess whether there is anything of value in the Upanishads.
(Of course, my preliminary analysis of Hindu thought is already provided in the draft manuscript, The Discovery of Freedom).
All I can tell Ramesh at the outset – my standards of analysis are THE WORLD'S HIGHEST. Nothing less than the total truth satisfies me. Hence be prepared for being heavily questioned. The analysis might take time – even months – given I have may other priorities. But I'll try to get on to it as soon as possible.
In the meanwhile, Ramesh, if you wish, you can send me a write-up that summarises your view – cogently, please – on the value of Hindu thought in India today, and I'll publish it as a guest blog post.
I'll also invite the Facebook fans of Swami Suddhananda (who teaches the Upanishads) to send in their contributions if they wish. Let's thrash it out publicly: Are the Upanishads any good?