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  took upon himself to carry this work forward in English and more modern western scientific terms. The untimely passing away of Shastriji had left a vast cache of unpublished manuscripts and it fell on R K Mishraji’s shoulders to have them preserved for posterity. Between Ojhaji and Shastriji they had more than 233 books and over 80,000 pages of writings on the Vedas. In his turn R K Mishraji published four volumes in English detailing a large number of the hereto not understood Vedic concepts and meanings in the light of contemporary Science and Metaphysics. These volumes are : Before the Beginning and After the End: Rediscovering Ancient Insights, The Cosmic Matrix: In the Light of the Vedas,  The Realm of Supraphysics – Mind, Matter, Energy and The Ultimate Dialogue.

Before the Beginning and After the End: Rediscovering Ancient Insights was published aptly on Guru Punima 28th July, 1999. On this day of the Full Moon, it being summer in India, the Sun is the closest to us and consequently the energy of the high-tide waves in the ocean is at its annual peak. This book, and the subsequent Volumes, have all been dedicated to Pandit Motilal Shastriji.

In the introduction of this volume Mishraji lays the very foundation of this work and the Volumes to follow. He gives the evolution of Western science from Newton to the 20th century break-through of Relativity & Quantum Mechanics and brings up the wave-particle duality. This scientific dilemma was further evident when fundamental particle researchers were lead to “energy resonances” in their particle accelerators that were identified as a veritable zoo of atomic particles. Mishraji sums up in the words of Thomas Kuhn, the author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions –“scientists cannot make any further headway, even given adequate resources”; Kuhn “saw that reality is ultimately unknowable and that any attempt to describe it obscures as much it illuminates”. This made prominent western scientists look towards ‘Eastern Mysticism’ to solve their problems of language and concepts. Mishraji extracts from Sir James Means (The Mysterious Vision) and Erwin Schrödinger (The Mystic Vision) – “The reason given by the physicists for using the language of mysticism is that there is nothing in our ordinary language to which the events they observe in the particle accelerator may correspond. It is true, for example, that there is nothing in our language to correspond to the principle of complementarity: how can something be a wave and a particle at the same time?” This was the advent of Metaphysics in the west and a sudden interest and openness to the philosophy of the east.

Mishraji next lays the foundation of the Vedas and how these works encapsulate both Vidya and Vigyan. And how, both these are translated as ‘science’ by eminent western scholars and ‘Indologists’. In fact, he points out “some plainly ridiculous misinterpretations were handed down as translations of the original Sanskrit texts, all of which resulted in grave misunderstanding of the Vedas and caused confusion…” although on the other hand he also credits them-“We must also express our gratitude to a large number of western scholars who have continued to study the Vedas… But for the fact that commentaries, translations and other publications in the English language have been made available, the generations of Indians groomed in the colonial education system would have no opportunity to become acquainted with this ancient wisdom”. Therefore, Mishraji has taken upon himself the onerous task, in all these Volumes, to correct these misinterpretations wherever possible and to come up with improved English language versions. For example, he explains, that ‘Vi’ as a prefix denotes ‘movement’ and therefore ‘Vigyan’ is the ‘jnana’ or knowledge of all the external vibrations of the Universe. On the other hand ‘Vidya’ is the information of the ‘Divya’ region that is beyond the visible but can be accessed only by the ‘brightness’ of the mind or ‘mana’. Thus, whereas, Vigyan deals with external knowledge and its measurement Vidya “deals with the factors, principles and processes which lie behind natural phenomena” i.e. it is internal, interpretive and non-measurable.

Another very important contribution that Mishraji has made through these Volumes is to eradicate the deliberate distortions of those translators “serving the interests of British colonialism and, secondly, lending support to the proselytizing activities of Christian missionaries”. He explains at the outset of his first Volume how “Max Müller made three assertions: 1. The Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed around 1200 BC; 2. The Rig Veda is a work of the Aryans; and 3. The Aryans were a foreign race of people who invaded India and subjugated the indigenous people. Overwhelming evidence is now available to the effect that each of these propositions is utterly untenable. However, so deep has their impact been, and so strong the support they received from entrenched vested interests, that these falsehoods hold sway even today”.