Friday, June 19, 2009

Letters to Shivani

Whenever difficult terms and concepts are told in simple format they are better digested. Here is a book which tries to summarize and make us understand basic concepts of ‘Bharateey sanskriti’. Bharateey sanskriti was written by Sane Guruji in 1937. He tried to explain different facets of Indian culture. In this book, he has given different relevant examples from Vedas, puranas and worldwide history. The most beautiful part of this book is Sane Guruji relates all these concepts to day to day life and makes them relevant to time.

It has become routine to say that now a day people do not follow Indian culture. But have we ever realized the real meaning of culture? Does following an Indian culture just means to blindly follow all traditions of Ganapati and Diwali Festival or does it have a meaning beyond these traditions? Indian culture does not only have great history but also has some vision. Sane Guruji spoke about this vision. In ‘Bharateey sanskriti’ written by sane Guruji, there are 23 articles. Starting from the concept of ‘Advait’ (oneness), he has covered different edges related to culture. He has spoken about importance of knowledge, work, mental and physical health, non-violence etc. The concept of four stages and ends of life as explained in puranas is very nicely explained by him in this book. He has given different Sanskrit shlokas (along with meaning), Marathi stanzas to make them interesting and simple for common people. Language in the book is lively and contains many conversations. We feel as if the writer is talking to us and making us understand the great Indian culture.

The last article in this book is the most touching article, I feel. The title is ‘mrutyuche mahakavya’. The philosophy and the beauty in the concept of ‘death’ infact reveal the beauty of life! Bharateey sanskriti not only looks at life as an art but also at death!!

कर ले श्रिंगार चतुर अलबेली.
साजन के घर जाना होगा..

मिट्टी ओढावन मिट्टी बिछावन..
मिट्टीमें मिल जाना होगा..

नहाले घोले शीस गुंथा ले..
फिर वहांसे नही आना होगा..

Converting such beautiful yet difficult concepts in simple article form can not be an easy task. G.P.Pradhan has written 18 letters in the book ‘letters to Shivani’.He has focused on important concepts. Language is simple. Even though he has attempted to write all the articles in ‘letter form’ (as a sane Guruji had done in ‘sunder patre) they do not really have a feel of letters.

So, ‘Letters to Shivani’ is a simple book to understand few facets of Bharateey sanskriti and sane Guruji but it is not at all a replacement for the book ‘Bharateey sanskriti’ written by sane Guruji.

-Mukta Gundi

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