Letter to Editor Volume 2, No.4

On the Concept of Pradakshana

On the Concept of Pradakshana

Dear Sir / Madam,
I came across your esteemed quarterly journal through a friend recently. I find your effort impressive and the cause inspiring. There are indeed many concepts we have inherited from our ancestors, which tend to be classified as “spiritualism” by western scholars and thought of as “religious ritual” by many educated Indians but which, on closer examination, turn out to have profound philosophical content of contemporary relevance. One such concept is that of pradakhana, or pradakshanam as we say south of the Vindhyas.

You have to go all around the diety in order to get a proper darshan. This I have heard from my grandmother when I used to accompany her to the village temple as a little boy. Only recently did I start appreciating the profundity of this apparently simple thought. What is darshan? It is revelation of the essence – of God, or of the Truth. The essence reveals itself to the beholder through the myriad phenomena, which we are able to see, hear about, feel or smell, and share with one another by giving voice to what is in our brain. Whether the essence is something in this world or in the other world is a different matter.

Pradakshana as a concept has wide applicability. Like the six blind men who touched different parts of the elephant had different sensations, feelings and thoughts. The man who touched its tail thought the elephant was a small thin things, the one who stroked its trunk thought it was a thick and long object, and so on. When they shared these thoughts with one another, they began experiencing the revelation of the truth as to what kind of animal it is. When you are trying to get at the truth, make sure you have seen it from all angles possible. Listen to all points of view before arriving at any conclusion. So you have to go all around a thing before you can acquire a real appreciation of what it is. This is just a thought I felt like sharing with you, and would be happy if you find it suitable for inclusion in Ghadar Jari Hai.

Yours sincerely,
K. Venkataraman
Tamil Nadu.

Dear Editor,
Thanks for bringing to us a very interesting conversation with Dr R. S. Bisht in the September 2008 issue of GJH. He has raised some very interesting issues regarding Vedas and their possible connection with the Harappan culture. It is true that some organizations like RSS, VHP have been claiming that Rig Veda is indigenous and that there was no Aryan invasion and it possibly had some connection with Harappa as well. I abhor the communal politics of hate of these organizations, however, it should also be noted that many of the ideas drilled into our minds from school days: Aryans came from Caucasus, Sanskrit is an Indo-European language, Aryans destroyed Harappan culture etc also came from colonial administrators and scholars. These very same gentlemen were also propagating that Indians were uncivilised, lazy, pagans, who needed to be enlightened with European culture. In other words, Indians are incapable of high culture without the instrument of a foreign invasion either by the Aryans or the British! Hence these traditional theories too need to be taken with a handful of salt. We need platforms like your magazine, which try to investigate without favour or prejudice into our past.

Let us not be burdened with the certainty of the ignorant, but be prepared to look around with the tentativeness of the wise. While I am thankful to Dr. Bisht for his thought provoking views, I would also like to hear another point of view from a scholar in an equally dispassionate manner.

Congratulations and keep up the good work.
K. S. Anand


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