Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,
Born in the town of Mymensingh in Bangladesh, Shri Anirvan (1896—1978) knew the Astadhyayi of Panini by heart and daily recited a chapter from the Gita by the time he was eleven years of age. After completing his studies, he took sannyasa and became Nirvanananda Saraswati. Later he dropped the ochre robes and changed his name to Anirvan. His first book was a Bengali translation of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine though the centre of his studies was the Vedas on which he had acquired a rare mastery. He is best known for his Veda Mimamsa which was published in three volumes.
A review of Anirvan’s Buddhi Yoga of the Gita and Other Essays authored by Swami Sandarshanananda has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.
With warm regards,
Buddhi Yoga of the Gita and Other Essays. Author: Anirvan. Number of pages: 236. Price: Rs. 300. Distributor: Overman Foundation.
Mind is quirky by nature. If untamed, it is apt to play havoc. It plays variously according to its ingrained modes and inclinations. The well-known nineteenth century American psychologist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, says: ‘Consciousness never moves along a graded plane’. His observation is corroborated by our ordinary experiences. Our outer consciousness is, actually, in a state of flux, demonstrating our subjection to its in-built tendencies.
Study of the mind is, therefore, not easy. In spite of protracted research, there is hardly any light yet by which one could plumb its depths properly. Intellect, its refined form, nevertheless, functions somewhat in a pattern. When it is at a discriminative stage it is called buddhi. There is no English equivalent to the word buddhi. Yoking buddhi to a rigorous mental process of differentiation between the Real and the unreal in the world, buddhi-yoga is performed. The result thereof is the attenuation of the mental dross and a proportionate refection of the Self within. And, consequent upon a complete obliteration of the dross is the Self-realization per se. In other words, Self-knowledge is attained when buddhi is crystal clear.
Buddhi fundamentally means a refined behaviour, so to say, of the internal instrument, mind, at the psychic as well as cosmic level. When buddhi dawns, it leads a person to the highest good. Hence, buddhi, according to the Gitā, is beyond manas. Sri Anirvan tells us that the mental limitations imposed on ‘the integral spirit can be done away with only when we can live in the higher altitudes beyond mind in the stratosphere of cosmic buddhi.
To deal with a buddhi disturbed by vital questions is always challenging. It is more so when it comes to ascertaining the mental aberrations of a spiritual aspirant. For, a spiritual aspirant is an earnest seeker of truth. He is profoundly distressed by the riddle of death and doesn’t stop short of a satisfactory answer.
The matter of the Gitā happens to be a premise where buddhi and buddhi-yoga have been handled perfectly with certitude. Arjuna is neither obsequious nor intrepid in his search. But he is full of shraddhā. He is a spiritual seeker with the necessary prerequisites such as humility and inquisitiveness. Sri Krishna is therefore serious and unreserved in his tutelage to free Arjuna’s mind immured in myopia. Arjuna’s query begins with a doubt regarding the legitimacy of killing the multitudes, along with his kin, in a battle for enjoying the world.
Sri Anirvan brings out all the delicate issues concerning buddhi and buddhi-yoga on board from the core of the Gitā to their right perspectives. He does it successfully with the help of his excellent erudition and sādhanā. His approach in this book is both analytic and synthetic. He at first makes a sincere survey of all the principal scriptures and philosophies, and then locates how buddhi is being ramified and treated by them in its different aspects.
Sri Anirvan makes its metaphysical aspect transparent to the students of philosophy in precise argument and language. He writes, ‘it has both a psychological and a cosmic aspect, the relation between the two in spiritual realization being that between a means and an end.’
The publication is an anthology of his English writings and the half of its matter contains a rich essay—‘Buddhi Yoga of the Gita’. The rest eight chapters are also quite valuable for his scholarly and insightful dispositions. Only a spiritually advanced soul like him could justly produce such pieces. His life and ideas are soaked in the elevated thoughts of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Wherever he finds opportunity in the course of these writings he makes an allusion to them and upholds their example. He is deeply moved by the reflections of Sri Aurobindo too. There is an article by him in this collection devoted to Sri Aurobindo and the mystery of death. His poems (based on the Vedic texts) available in this work carry a mystical flavour.
Sri Anirvan is highly admired and respected by many for his renunciation, scholarship and spiritual attainment. Ram Swarup elaborately presents him and his achievements in a tributary Introduction which is, undoubtedly, a fitting prelude to the writings of Sri Anirvan.