SAKSHI is a Spiritual organization to imbibe beautiful, harmonious, creative and happy life, individually and collectively.
Primarily made up of two triangles, one pointing upward and the other pointing downward. The triangle pointing upwards indicates the aspiration of humans towards the attainment of all-around perfection or divinization. The triangle pointing downwards indicates the descending grace of the divine in helping the humans in their tasks.
At the bottom (down) is the state with very little consciousness. At the top (up) is the condition of highest consciousness.
The six vertices of the two triangles symbolise the seven worlds, the seven steps in the ladder of consciousness.
The space between the two triangles signifies the world of mahas, also known as super mind or the ‘supramental world’. The supramental world, propounded by Shree Aurobindo, is the highest level of consciousness that One can and needs to attain to experience Cosmic Oneness.
The waters represent our world with all its happiness and miseries.
The lotus represents the human being, with his/her powers blooming. The human being is powered by the supramental Sun of the mahas world, as indicated by the symbol of Sun.
(1). Symbols have a great place of significance in marriage rituals (and even other rituals). Any thing may be unseen by eye or it may be a concept or ideal that crops up in the mind. To reflect that through a visible sign or a known thing (or appropriate words) is the advantage of symbols.
A symbol throws light on a particular ideal, at least to some extent, if not fully. Symbol has some nearby or far off relationship to an ideal/concept. The moment a symbol is seen, the visualization of that ideal/concept should occur to one’s mind. The practice of many people in a society using these symbols since long would easily register an indelible impression in people’s minds. For example ghee, known as clarified butter, is also bright, hence it is a standard symbol of mental clarity; any clear thought is said to be shining.
So the act of rubbing the ghee on the forehead is a prayer for the mental clarity to manifest and increase. Some think that this act indicates friendship. Obviously friendship can only thrive in an atmosphere of mental clarity.
Here, the external form of the symbol by itself is not important. It is enough if the symbol can throw light on the cherished ideal, which it represents. Purpose of the symbol is to serve only as means to an end. When the man’s verbal capacity cannot efficiently and completely explain a particular idea, it can be featured through appropriate symbols designed with the help of creative power of mind.
Symbols have come for effective use in religion-related work, heart centered activities and the emotional world of poetry.
There is an instance in the marriage ceremony, where the bridegroom holds the feet of bride, lifts them and place them on a hard stone. (One cracks a jokes that the husband has already started holding the feet of his sweet heart.) (One may be aware of the significance of this symbolic act or may entertain the attitude of negative cynicism instead of positive appreciation.) Those who are not aware of the significance must ponder over as to why the piece of stone has been brought to marriage platform. One may guess this act as testing, whether the girl can stand erect and walk properly. To understand the symbolism, note that a stone is a symbol of something hard. Stepping on a stone is the symbol of overcoming the obstacles.
The symbolism is :
“You rise up and stand up on this stone. Be as hard as stone. Stamp upon your enemies (as you are now on this stone). Drive out the enemies to their rightful corners.”
This inner meaning is conveyed by the accompanying chant.
The whole range of such practices is to embrace both the outer activity for fun, and to draw the inner essence for guidance in life. The practice of external rituals without grasping the inner truth is just an absurdity.
Similarly thinking all these practices, as senseless, mechanical, blind heritage is also an absurdity. Considering the human sentiments and deficiencies from all angles and implications, and to fill the psychological gaps for pursuing towards future life enrichment, such symbolic rituals in the marriage ceremony are necessary.
(2). Hindu convention does not approve the idea that marriage is a mere mutual agreement of two persons or a deal. A marriage involved not only the two partners, but their respective families, sects, castes, and even their vast society of friends and well-wishers. Another important aspect is the cosmic guiding force which is controlling all the human activities externally and internally, and which remains the cause for such marriage in the cosmic law. Therefore the whole insistence that the marriage ritual be done as per the dharmic rites and holding the God as witness. The righteous and divine force further strengthens the mutual bond of love & relationship between the couple. If such a stand-point is either weakened or denied, the system of marriage would lose its sanctity and significance and becomes pale. If the institution of marriage is weakened, then it weakens even the institution of family. If the base of the family is destabilized, then the whole edifice of the society loses its strength and safety.
(3). Look at the position of a small plant with creeper being removed from one place and planted in a new pit at a new place. To enable them to root well and grow with mutual support, do they not require greater effort, care, protection and nourishment? Marriage is also similar. P??igraha?a (holding each others’ hands), heart-touching (touching the hearts), Sahabhojana (dining together in the same plate or leaf), Samanjana are practices with deep meanings behind them. In Samanjana act, the bride’s father applies ghee to both the bride and bridegroom for their bond and the Vedic chant prays the deities to grant them that bond. The higher and noble aspiration here is that there should be unification and integration of the couple’s body, spirit and the mind.
(4). The marriage is a seminal event in one’s life. There are possibilities of variety of expectations, fears and anxieties to arise and bother the minds. Symbolic rituals and prayers are incorporated in the marriage ceremony only to identify such evil cares and influences and drive out those forces far away, so that the couple may start the trouble free new life. A greater focus is also directed towards cognising the woman’s position in the scheme of nature, and the framework of society and other peculiar circumstances. In the back drop of this, we should understand the utterance “”Let your looks at your husband and new relatives be kind and compassionate and not fearful.”
(5). Hindu system of marriage is the one permanent and stable bond. A marriage taking place as a result of short-lived bodily sexual urge or out of the necessity to fill the temporary economic adversity or gap, may crack down any time due to even silly reasons. The dualities of happiness & sorrow are inevitable facets of life. It is the elder’s desire that the couple understand the art of enjoying, sharing and living, which enrich their friendship towards life fulfilment. Idea behind showing the star of Dhruva, Arundhati, and Vasi?h?a is only to reflect this upon.
(6). An elementary objective of marriage is to beget the progeny and sustain the continuance of human race. This is basic to animality. A natural sexual urge is enough for this work. But in Hindu convention and way of life, this aspect has been accepted; and on its foundations, other ideals also have been built and incorporated. Repeated reference to “progeny’ in the marriage prayers is justified, so also the aspect of wealth, food, cattle, age, health, property etc, and the friendship and co-operation between the two sides of relationships. It is worthy to take note that the ideals of marriage involve economic, social and cultural value systems.
(7). The role of prayers to Sun in the Vedic system of marriage is exemplary. Essence of some of the chanting is as follows:
“This bride was first possessed by the deity Soma; later by the deity Gandharva; thirdly, Agni (God) is your master and fourthly the human man. Soma gave you to Gandharva. Gandharva gave you to Agni. Agni has given you to me for obtaining progeny and wealth.”
This verse has been subjected to wrong and vile interpretations by persons who have no initiation into Hindu culture and Vedic language and those who do not have sympathy to the convention and those who are indifferent to it. Soma, Gandharva, and Agni are the divine forces. Only their benedictions and grace have led to the development of this girl. This girl is construed to be the boon, gifted to men by Gods. This has been narrated in the symbolic and poetic style in the aesthetic sense. Atri Smriti has described as follows:
“Soma is the purifying force for women. Gandharva is the force gifting melodious tone and fine speech. Agni force will make her fit to all kinds of sacrifices.”
Soma is the presiding lord for all plant life and human mind. He nourishes the body and mind of the woman first. Gandharva is the presiding lord for all music, dance and romance. He prepares the woman in these moulds out of his grace. He prepares the woman-hood to full virtue, and regulate her menstrual cycle. Marital relationship of the bride and particularly the begetting of the progeny is a sacrifice. Agni by his grace, makes her fit for participation in all sacrificial acts.
(8). The two lives (couple) who have been immature so far, and living and thinking depending upon the elder’s care without much responsibility, have been let open now by the marriage, which imposes independent and new responsibilities on the couple. Hereafter, they start their (Griha) new household (not house) and get and nourish the children and undertake five types of obligations. Viv?ha is a Samskrit word which invokes all these significant responsibilities. “Vi ‘ means “particularly’, and “V?ha’ means “carrying’ i.e. sharing responsibility. In other words, it is to undertake and administer the duties and obligations. It is also as Vudvaha, journey to higher states of consciousness. Lagna, Kaly?na, Manga?a K?rya are also used for marriage.
Our Hindu marriage system prescribes mutual sacrifice for each other and both of them should serve the society in the spirit of service and sacrifice and thereby achieve welfare “here & there’ by meeting their duties & obligations. The wish that there be happiness from marriage is appropriate. Happiness in its elementary understanding is bodily happiness. Those who nourish the feeling that marriage is only for such happiness, will soon get necessarily disappointed. Self-centred and individually confined happiness are not the aims of marriage. Ritual involving the psychological preparation to couple to enable them to step in the new path of life with awareness, happiness, and responsibility is Hindu marriage.
Mere ideals are not enough. They should be able to achieve a distinction whereby they are the source of inspiration and guidance, serving as proof for emulation. Parvati-Parameshwara, Lakshmi-N?r?ya?a, Saraswati-Brahma, Shachi-Indra, S?ta-R?ma, Rukmi?i-Krish?a, Draupadi-P?ndav?s, Atri-Anus?ya, S?vitri-Satyav?n, Nala-Damayanti, Ahalya-Gautama, and other hundreds of ideal couples have stood as examples of beacon light. Remembering them daily and particularly during marriage ceremony is very essential. One of the clear symbols of marriage is the ideal couple-hood of Lord Parameswara holding his other-half of his body in female form, as his consort Parvati Devi, popularly known as Ardha N?r?shwara. Great poet Kalidasa in his hymn prays as follows:
(Raghuvamsha – 1-1)
V?garthaviva Sampruktau V?gartah Pratipattaye
Jagatah Pitarau Vande P?rvati Parameswarau
“Sound and Substance have to unite together. Eternal Mother and Eternal Father of this Universe, P?rvati and Parameshwara are united together well without separation. I am prostrating before them to grant me inspiration for incorporating appropriate sounds (v?k) and meanings in composition of poetry.
Paraspara Tapassampat Phal?yita Parasparau
Prapancha M?ta Pitarau Pr?nchau Jay?pat? Stumah
As a fruit of penance done by each one, to obtain the other, they have now become husband and wife. Prostrations to those divine eternal couple, who are the celestial parents of this great cosmic existence.
The Vedas are the most ancient treasure of literature available to mankind today. Many Indian as well as Western scholars have written explanations and commentaries on the Vedas. But, despite all those commentaries one stands at dismay, since the question as to what could be a coherent formula encompassing and unifying all the various parts of the Vedas could be, eludes a satisfactory answer. Confusions and misunderstandings are not uncommon regarding gods, animal sacrifices etc. found in the Vedas. It is unfortunate that even today there prevails a notion that the commentaries of Sayanacharya and Max Muller are the ultimate, despite the fact the spiritual world pregnant in Vedas is totally ignored in them. Acharya Ananda Tirtha, Shri Raghavendra Swamy, Swamy Dayananda Saraswati etc. have of course made attempts to provide a spiritual delineation to the Vedas. Still, it would be truism to say that these efforts have fallen very much short of obviating the influence of tradition of the popular commentaries which served more to enshroud rather than to discover the true meaning. However, as Shri Kapali Sastry has put it, these commentaries kept alive the flame of importance of the spiritual significance of the Vedas.
It is at this background that Sri Aurobindo appeared on the scene. It would be appropriate to grasp and understand the basis of Sri Aurobindo’s line of thinking before proceeding to initiate oneself to his works on the Vedas. Sri Aurobindo is one who, while immersed in Yoga had seen directly through his inner vision the gods of the vedic suktas, and who had perceived the identity and harmony that exists between these gods and the ardent spiritual endeavour of man’s inner being. He had dived deep into the secret caves of the Vedic suktas and discovered clues to elicit their inner significance. And then, based on his study and inner vision, he unequivocally declared that there lies a hidden truth in them. The strength of his insight, research and discovery led him to provide a suitable elucidation of the suktas. Applying the clues and indications he had got, to the suktas selected out of the various mandalas of Rig Veda, he showed that these are pregnant with more than one meaning. As understood commonly, the suktas have, no doubt, an external (verbal) meaning, yet, there exists in them inner, esoteric meaning. Sri Aurobindo’s special contribution consists in showing that, it is this, this inner meaning that validates the impersonal origin of the
Vedas which they are all through the tradition extolled and venerated for.
Sri Aurobindo’s expositions of the Vedas are not hinged on his erudition, but they are anchored on his direct perception of the heart of the Vedas through his yogic and spiritual Sadhana. In his works such as ‘Hymns to the Mystic Fire’, ‘The Secret of the Veda’, etc., he as explained the two objectives of the Vedic Rishis – They intended to preserve the psychological and spiritual message of the suktas and at the same time they kept for the vast interested majority, an option and access so as to make it convenient for them recite or listen to. But, they formulated or kept the mantras studded with esoteric imagery lest its inner meaning should be distorted or deformed at the hands of the incompetent laity. Thus, they provided the outer meaning (only) to those who were inclined to the external forms of sacrifice and worship, – which with lapse of time, served to form a platform for the Mimansakas to ascribe it solely to the ritualistic delineations. Nevertheless, Yaska, Madhavacharya, Raghavendra Swamy, and, to some extent, Bhatta Bhaskara have in their commentaries clarified that the true meaning of the Vedas is the one that is spiritual and that Yajna (sacrifice) means that inner sacrifice only. But the western scholars, even though they took up the study of the Vedas, since they rather confined their basis to Sayana Bhashya which is more recent and consisting more of the ritualistic details, fell short of access to the inner meaning.
Viewed in the background of this meaning of the Vedas, Sri Aurobindo’s elucidation and commentary stand out to be of paramount importance. Following the line of thinking and the clues of Sri Aurobindo, Sri Kapali Sastry in his Siddhanjana Bhashya and its elaborate introductory note showed that this inner significance and the esoteric meaning of the Vedas is far more important and also that the external worship should culminate in the internal Upasana.
Continuing the tradition of Sri Aurobindo and Sri Kapali Sastry, Prof. R. L. Kashyap has engaged himself in expounding the spiritual meaning of all the Mantras of all the four Vedas. He has already brought out his commentaries on Krishna Yajur Veda, Shukla Yajur Veda, Rig Veda, Atharva Veda and Sama Veda in English.
Never did the Vedas proclaim that Sannyasa is a prerequisite for Realisation. Perfection is to be sought after in every walk of life by everyone. The message of the Vedas has always been that the material life and spiritual life need not and should not be distanced from each other, on the contrary, there should be perfect harmony and collaboration between them. During the long journey of Hinduism through ages since Vedic times, vast religious literature has been developed from time to time. Yet, the spiritual message of the Vedas remains ever fresh and relevant. Not just that, we are of the firm conviction and faith that the Vedic spiritual message is not only important today but it is also inevitable for the present and future mankind.
Our institute is founded on the line of thinking of Sri Aurobindo and Sri T. V. Kapali Sastry. Moving on the same lines, it has taken up the task of publishing and publicising literature pertaining to and giving importance to the inner spiritual meaning and significance of the Vedas.
Our publications may be categorised in three parts.
- i) Small booklets
- ii) Medium size books
iii) Vedic mantras with translations.
In the small and medium size books, the usage of Sanskrit language is kept to the bare minimum so as to enable even the interested readers not acquainted with the language to grasp the contents with ease. Books have been brought out not only in Sanskrit and English but also in other languages like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi and Malayalam. Plans are under progress to cover the other Indian languages also. So far (September 2009) 138 books have been published.
‘Rig Veda Mantra Samhita’ comprising of all the suktas of all the ten Mandalas is our first publication, which is compiled by Dr. R. L. Kashyap. It is in Devanagari script, and includes the ‘Khila Suktas’ (minor suktas) also. Special effort and attention has been taken to make it free from errors in the script. The list of the mantras used on special occasions is provided in the beginning. The spiritual meaning of 108 mantras, explanation with special stress on how the vision of the Rishis of thousands of years ago is still applicable to modern life. Now, this work has been translated in Kannada also, with the title ‘Mantra Mani’.
Dr. R. L. Kashyap has given a spiritual elucidation in English, to the first 121 suktas of Rig Veda Samhita, based on the Siddhanjana Bhashya of Sri Kapali Sastry. This was published in 2001, under the title ‘Rig Veda Samhita’, in three volumes. The first volume contained the translation of suktas dedicated to Agni whereas the second to Indra. The rest of the suktas out of the above 121 were published in May 2001, which was received very well by the readers. Within two years after publication one thousand copies were sold.
In the second edition, all the 121 suktas with the translation have been brought in a single volume, with the title ‘Secrets of Rig Veda’. Now whole of the First Mandala (191 Suktas) is brought in three parts.
A happy news is that the English translation of all the ten Mandalas consisting of 10552 mantras is now completed (April 2009); and each Mandala is published in separate volumes. Mandala 5 in 2004, Mandala 10 in 2006, Mandala 3,4,6 and 7 in 2007; Mandala 2 in 2008 and 9 in 2009.
The Kannada translation of the first and second part of Mandala 1, Mandala 2, 3, 4 Mandalas, Mandala 7 and 8 are made available, and rest of the Mandalas i.e 5,6,9 and 10 are ready for publication.
These Samhita-s are also translated into Tamil and Telugu. Some volumes are already printed.
As regards to the language of translation, English was taken as the preferable choice, with a view that it would be the best one for further bringing them in Kannada and other Indian languages. The format of the books was designed in such a way as to enable readers of all categories, including those who were not acquainted with Sanskrit, to understand the meaning of the Sanskrit terms.
‘Why Read Rig Veda’, written by Dr. R. L. Kashyap in 2000, has attracted immense attention of the public. It is translated in Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi and more than 10,000 copies have been distributed.
This book, not only provides a glimpse of the vision of the Rishis as to the ways and means shown by them for the all round progress in life; but also discusses the misconceptions and misunderstandings that have crept in over passage of time, and meets them with appropriate clarifications, ‘Semantics of Rig Veda’, ‘Hymns on Creation and Death’ of Dr. Kashyap and ‘New Light on Veda’ of Sri Kapali Sastry, serve as signpost to those who intend to take up deeper study of Vedas. These medium size books cater well to the needs of those inquisitive about their inner meaning.
There is quite a widespread misconception that Rig Veda and Yajur Veda are discretely different in their content as well as in their usage and application. Yajna (sacrifice) means ‘Internal Yajna’ (Antar Yajna) only, the external sacrifice being only symbolic, which has been affirmed by Yajur Veda also. Many among the vast multitude of Riks in Yajurveda are repetitions of Rig Vedic Riks. Thus Rig Veda and Yajur Veda are not different or contradictory, but rather, they are complementary. Dr. R. L. Kashyap has, by writing commentaries to the Mantras of all the seven Kandas of Yajur Veda, clarified this aspect very lucidly.
Krishna Yajur Veda is rendered in both Sanskrit and Roman script. The speciality of this book is that it contains explanation of the meaning of each phrase, with notes, wherever necessary. In the history of commentaries on the Vedas, this work has – rightly too – the pride of place as the first attempt in showing how each mantra is helpful in awakening and developing the inner strength of man. This work has been published in four volumes (2002-2004).
The following extract from the preface of this book, by Prof. S. K. Ramachandra Rao, a noted vedic scholar, throws some light on the significance of it.
“Dr. R. L. Kashyap has published in English, the Taittiriya Samhita of Krishna Yajur Veda, with a spiritual and esoteric interpretation. It is indeed an objective and pioneering work of high importance. The main characteristic of the Samhita being chiefly pertaining to things ritualistic, it renders an attempt to provide esoteric interpretations very difficult. I am happy to see that Dr. Kashyap is far successful in this attempt. Apart from explaining the ritualistic activities of the external sacrifice, he has, further, expounded with stress what the Samhita truely implies as regards to the Antar Yajna (inner sacrifice). His task is at once arduous and novel….’’
Thus, in 2009, the entire Rig Veda Samhita consisting of 10 Mandalas and the entire Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita with all the seven Kandas, are translated into English.
All the seven Kandas of Yajur Veda are translated into Kannada, which has received a very good response.
The publication of small books, containing the knowledge and its importance, hidden in the Rig Veda and which are useful in day-to-day life, is being continued. So far, about 60 such books have been brought out in English, out of which 50 have been translated in Kannada. About 10 have been translated into Hindi, Marathi, Telugu and Tamil etc. A series of four books – viz., – Essentials of Rig Veda, Essentials of Yajur Veda, Essentials of Sama Veda and Essentials of Atharva Veda are available in English as well as in Kannada and Telugu.
Sama Veda, mostly contains the Riks of Rig Veda, of course with some alterations. It has two main parts – Purvachika and Uttararchika. Dr. Kashyap has written commentary on all Sama Veda mantras.
Atharva Veda containing about 5000 mantras, many of which are from Rig Veda, is not any way relegated to the side. One may remember that ‘Bhoosukta’, which is the most ancient records of man’s concern about environment, is involved in Atharva Veda. A book has been published in Bhoosukta, containing 56 mantras, which is also translated into Kannada. Another book, ‘The Wisdom of Atharva Veda’ which contains many suktas of this veda, is also translated.
Atharva Veda has in all 20 Kandas. We have published it in Six volumes.
SAKSHI has its own library, having available commentaries on Vedas and treatises pertaining to the Vedas, works of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Ramana Maharshi. Sri Vasishtha Ganapati Muni, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swamy Vivekananda, Sri T. V. Kapali Sastry, Sri M. P. Pandit, etc., apart from many research papers on the philosophy and yoga of Sri Aurobindo. Provision is made for those who are interested in spirituality and culture to avail of the facility of reference, in house.
Workshops on Vedic Knowledge
In order to bring the Vedic Knowledge and its application in life, to the common people at all levels, including students, house-wives, people from different professions, and all those who aspire to attain perfection in life through the Vedas, the institute is conducting workshops, at the request of various organisations. The workshops are planned for one day, half-a-day or two days duration.
Initially an overview of the Vedas will be provided, followed by the portions to be incorporated to daily life, applicable in modern life-situation. The topics covered in these workshops can be broadly described as follows:
* How to establish collaboration with divine powers.
* Way to higher levels of happiness. Development of interest in Music, Art, Sports etc. as hobbies.
* How to achieve alround development in life.
* Recitation of original mantras, with meaning.
* How to keep the body wholesome and strong.
* Healing arts.
So far, about 20 such workshops have been conducted all over the state.
Audio Cassettes and Discs
Apart from publication of books, institute has also brought out audio cassettes and discs on ‘Uma Sahasram’, ‘Rig Veda Mantras’, ‘Shanti Mantras’, ‘Rudra Mantras’ and ‘Recitation of Bhagavad Gita’ – which have attracted and are well received by the interested public. The speciality of these CD’s are that, in addition to the recitation of the mantras, the meaning and explanations are also given.
Latest addition is essentials of all four Vedas in separate CD.
Out Reach in Schools
This is a project conceived with a view to reaching out to and involving children at their early age, by arranging teaching of the Vedic Mantras, to the school children. A number of students in schools, of Bangalore City, Bangalore Rural, Gulbarga, Koppal, Vijayapura districts etc. are learning recitation of Vedic Mantras.
In addition to this, another project, ‘Gita Surabhi’, is also taken up. Students in the backward areas and rural areas are taught selected 125 shlokas of the Gita. In order to facilitate recitation, a CD is also provided along with the book.
No. of books published: 219 (April 2016)
I. Sanskrit and English : 75
- Overviews of Vedas : 4
- Veda Samhita Texts: Devanagari Script : 2
- Text, Translation and Notes : 28
- Expository Books with very little Sanskrit : 11
- Compact Books : 30
II. Kannada / ಕನ್ನಡ : 92
- ನಾಲ್ಕು ವೇದಗಳ ಪರಿಚಯ : 4
- ಸಂಹಿತೆಗಳ ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣ ಅನುವಾದ : 20
- ದೇವತೆಗಳು, ಮಂತ್ರಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ವಿವರಣೆ : 30
- ತಂತ್ರ , ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿತ್ವ ವಿಕಾಸ , ಆರೋಗ್ಯ , ಜೀವನ ಚರಿತ್ರೆ : 38
III. Publications in various Indian Languages : 52
- Tamil : 13
- Telugu : 16
- Malayalam : 4
- Marathi : 10
- Hindi : 9
Mobile Educational Unit
This is a mobile unit for propagating the Vedic Literature and Vedic teaching. The vehicle visits various places all over the state, creating awareness about the Vedas in the common people. Wherever various programmes or workshops are arranged by different organisations, the ‘Veda Vahini’ will be sent there, at their request.
‘Veda Vahini’ is equipped with one more vehicle, specially meant for reaching the books and other publications to the doors of the readers. Those who wish to avail of this facility may contact the phone no. 90088 33886.
Formal classes and Long Distance learning from SAKSHI
Every Tuesday classes are conducted to impart secret knowledge in the Veda by Dr. R. L. Kashyap from 6.30 a.m. to 7.30 a.m
Every Wednesday and Thursday the classes are conducted on Chanting of Veda Mantra-s by Vidvan Chidrupa Sharma from 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m.
SAKSHI or Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture is a Charitable Trust set up with twin objectives. The first one is the preservation of the knowledge in the four Veda-s by publishing the complete texts in Devanagari and other Indian language scripts such as Kannada and also their complete translation in English and Indian languages. The second aim is develop strategies for the widespread dissemination of the knowledge contained in the Veda-s, so that the knowledge could be utilised at all stages of development by all persons, both at the individual level and at the level of society. Considering the popularity of the books on the topic of individual personality development, we want to point out that the Veda presents such knowledge with great width and depth. We list below the various activities with a brief description.
(1). Compact books : SAKSHI has published several books of moderate size, say a 100 pages, on various aspects of the Veda relevant to most of us in our everyday life. These books contain essays with the relevant Veda mantra-s. These books are very popular with our readers. The most important of them are the five books: Essentials of Rig Veda, Essentials of Yajur Veda, Essentials of Sama Veda, Essentials of Atharva Veda, and the Essentials of Upanishads.
(2). Books in Indian languages : Most Hindu-s have either great reverence for Veda or indifference. But very few have the strong hostility portrayed in some sections of the press in English. Even ten years ago, English was regarded as the language of the opinion- makers. It is not well known that such a condition is no longer true. Now the tariff or the advertisement rate in a Kannada newspaper is greater than that of the English Newspapers. In other words, persons who were reading the English newspapers are now shifting towards the Indian language Newspaper. Number of Kannada newspapers readers is also increasing.
So we are publishing both the compact books and the detailed translations of the four Veda-s in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi and other languages. The series of four’Essentials’ books have been translated into several languages. As a consequence, the total sales of all the books in all languages published by us is about twenty five thousand per year, indicating the popularity of Veda and also of Sakshi books. These books have been sold primarily to individuals.Note that the parents of the children were unaware of the Veda-s or their benefits. Thus the benefits claimed by the students were well received because of the Veda chanting and study alone.
(3). At the end of the season we had gathered all the students, made groups from each school to chant and gave the prizes to the best. Some of them felt it was the first time they were on the stage.Some schools are continuing the program both in Bangalore, and in Northern Karnataka. We give them the books freely.
(4). Another byproduct of the experiment is that all the students including the so called dalits felt happy to participate in Veda chanting. Some even asked us,’ Can we join the program’? We told them that Veda itself says that Veda is for all.
(5). Audio recording of the Vedic chants and the lectures: There is a heavy demand for the chants and books on CD’s (compact disks). The commercial recording is expensive and not amenable to the timings of the persons who chant. A young volunteer preoccupied with computers, made a detailed study about setting up the technical equipment for the audio studio using the info available on the Internet and submitted a plan costing Rs.2 lakhs. We took the risk. Our trustee RVJ worked to create the two physical rooms needed for the studio. RVJ and this volunteer bought the equipment from a store in Chennai and installed them. The studio is a great success, getting praise even from experts in the area of audio recording.
(6). Website and online ordering of books : I started the work on the website about 15 years ago. Because of the continual changes in persons, the website had limits. But it has 1000 pages of material, both in English and the Devanagari script. In 2010, our friend T.V. Shankar took an active interest. Now Vishnuprasad Jahagirdar and others continually update it. Now one can order our books online. SAKSHI books can also be ordered from Amazon.in, flipcart.com, exotica.com. Since the payment of money is across continents is easy, we are getting many international orders for our books and CD’s from all over the globe. Work is in progress for making e-books of our Veda translations so that a person can hear the chant, read the text in the script of his/her choice, and read the translation in the language of his/her choice.
(7). Outreach work : We sell our books in the book exhibitions held all over Karnataka, may be 15 or 20 per year. We have several Centres in Karnataka doing the chanting and teaching work. Our Outreach work all over Karnataka, especially in its Northern districts has been greatly helped by the mobile education unit, known as Veda Vahini sponsored by the Essar Group and the TVS Group. The unit displays our books and casettes, provides facility for hearing the chant of mantra-s and answers to the questions of interested persons. It makes its presence felt even
in small villages on the occasion of the main festivals. Persons who had no idea of Veda are getting exposed to it, and are buying our Kannada and Marathi books. These mini exhibitions have made the name SAKSHI familiar to many persons. These persons buy our books when they visit Bangalore on their business trips. Our bimonthly Newsletter also keep our patrons informed about our new books.
SAKSHI has tie up with organizations with similar goals in countries such as Slovenia, Venezuela, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, UK, USA, Chile and others.
(8). Auro Veda : This is a Centre for conducting the study and experiments on the harmony between man and nature envisaged in the famous’Hymn to Earth’ in the Atharva Veda. The land of 10 acres is situated near Edumadu Village on the Kanakapura road, 30 Kms. from our SAKSHI place.
In an area of about 2 acres,’Panchavati’ is developed in which,’Peeple tree’ or Bodhi tree (Ashwattha), Banian tree (Ala), Amalaka, Bilva, Ashoka are grown in a specified manner. Walking around these trees is said to rejuvenate both mind and body. Panchavati was set up under the guidance of Prof. S.K.R. and Sri Yellappa Reddy.
Natural and low cost cultivation, rain harvesting, rearing up of native cow-breeds, utilization of Solar power, low-cost housing etc. are already practiced and promoted here.
When this activity was first taken up in 2003, not even a blade of grass was growing in this area. Now it is lush with green vegetation comprising of thousands of trees and vines of various varieties. Provision of water is made for the cattle of the village. Class-rooms with furniture are built for the village children, and text books and stationery material is provided every year.
Ongoing Project: We are conducting experiments on how a farmer with a family of four can lead a respectable life with one cow and one acre of land.
(9). Recognition and Support : The Karnataka Samskrit University in Karnataka has recognised SAKSHI as one of its Research Institutes. Now SAKSHI can guide students pursuing doctorate degrees. To cater to the needs of research students SAKSHI is equipped with the essential facilities expected by the University.
Several organisations, individuals and Institutes are supporting the activities of SAKSHI. They are mainly sponsoring SAKSHI publications, and audio presentations. Many individuals are offering donations towards Veda Nidhi.
Government of Karnataka has sanctioned grants towards publication of Kannada books and for conducting workshops, seminars and disseminating Veda Knowledge through various activities planned by SAKSHI.
The main force behind all these activities is our Managing Trustee Dr. R.V. Jahagirdar. My mission and vision of serving and educating the community is getting manifested with these activities and experiments.
-Dr. R. L. Kashyap.