Natural Philosophy

In Conversation with Ravi Khanna, philosopher and tree lover. ‘People who have wild ideas about how to run this Earth, ought to start with a small garden.’ This is a quote I came across in the brochure for a rose garden, in the Qutab farmland area, 35 years ago. Today, all this pristine and accessible land is home to motels, banquet halls and unauthorised village sprawls. The traffic snarls extend for miles and the air is as foul as it is in the rest of the city. Traffic is definitely a problem in Delhi. Any thoughts on that? It is unfortunate that so little thought has gone into the planning of Delhi. The reason for the chaos in Delhi is a lack of vision. Another problem is corruption, with the assignation of projects being dependent less on the needs of the city and more on which civic work will be the most lucrative for those who want their pockets lined. For example, the BRT bus corridor is a complete failure while the Ring Road planned by Nehru is so beautiful and useful for the city even now. Not only is the BRT corridor unlikely to ease the suffering of the […]

A Devoted Disciple

R K Mishraji was a prolific writer and his works encompass decades of his experiences. His knowledge was not limited to the long and pivotal journalistic career but he also devoted a large part of his time to the study of the Vedas in Sanskrit under the guidance of Late Pandit Motilal Shastriji of Jaipur. He thus inherited the Vedic scholarship started by the Late Pandit Madhusudan Ojha, the Guru of Motilal Shastriji, in the early 1900s and handed down to Shri Motilal Shastriji and from him to Shri R K Mishraji. This was a study into the “insights” or the vijnana-bhashya or “scientific explanations”of the various Brahmanas & Upanishads of the Vedas. This tradition is unique both in its content and style. These “scientific treatise” have detailed explanation of the meaning and significance of each mantra of the Principal Upanishads with cross-referencing amongst other Vedic texts. These lectures of Motilal Shastriji had attracted the attention of the Late Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of independent India who encouraged the publication and was the chief patron of large number of Shastriji’s books. On the transition of Shastriji in 1960, at the early age of 52 years, R K Mishraji […]

“O Shiva”! – What is your Reality?

yasyaaonmaoYainamaoYaaByaaM jagat: p`layaaodyaaO . tM Sai>caËivaBavap`BavaM SaMkrM stuma: ..1.. yasya ]nmaoYa inamaoYaaByaaM jagat: p`laya ]dyaaO. tM Sai>caË ivaBava p`BavaM SaMkrM stuma: ..1.. We laud that Shankara by whose mere opening and shutting of the eye-lids there is the appearance and dissolution of the world and who is the source of the glorious powers of the collective whole of the shaktis in various forms. (1st Shloka) Spanda-kaarikaas, ‘The Divine Creative Pulsation’ by Jaidev Singh From time to time, our land has given rise to enlightened souls called Avatars. These rare persons have often taken birth in turbulent times of external invasions or internal decrepitude. They have all led exemplary existences and one such embodiment was Vasugupta, the main exponent of the Shiva- sutras. These sutras or ‘condensed mantras’ were first revealed, in the late 8th century A.D., by Shiva directly to Vasugupta on mount Mahadeva in the Kashmir Himalayas. Later expounded by one of his students Abhinavagupta, this philosophy came to be known as Kashmir Shaivism and is an integral part of the Agamas literature in Hindu thought. The Spanda-kaarikaas are a commentary on the Shiva- sutras whose authorship is credited to Kallatta, a chief disciple. Spanda literally means a ‘throb’, […]


As I switched off the television in my study and rendered the popular K-serial back into the electromagnetic ether, I wondered to myself – was this what the Vedic rishis alluded to by the word māyā . Just as I was able to turn off the sound and light interplay with a little pressure on my remote, I thought to myself – is this what’s going to happen to my five senses some day – but then where is the remote and who has the finger on the button, my button? That this world is ephemeral I believe, but that it is all an illusion I do not accept – there must be more to this māyānvī universe, or should I say multiverse in Ken Wilber’s terminology. With such heavy thoughts I first illumined my desk and then turned to various scholars for help. Māyā is derived from the root √mā in Sanskrit that literally means to measure, to form, to limit . According to the Hindu philosophy all that we observe through our senses falls into this realm of measurability and determination, giving rise to the multiplicity of creation. The oldest of the Vedas the Rig Veda gives Lord Indra […]