PRAKRTI : THE INTEGRAL VISION
General Editor Kapila Vatsyayan
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Why do we feel warm in the sunlight? Why does the sun feel warm? Is it a physical phenomenon? Is it the body that feels warm? Is it nature that provides warmth? Is it only the sun that provides warmth? Or are there other elements in interaction with the body which produce the warmth?If it is the body that feels warm, then what is body? Is it matter? Is it an aggregation of five elements?” These ostensibly simple, childlike questions — asked by the distinguished scientist, the late Professor D.S. Kothari, at the very outset of an enlightening talk about three years ago — lead us to one of the mankind’s universal concerns: Prakriti: a Sanskrit equivalent of Nature, in its broadest connotations.
Ever since man’s first conscious awareness of the phenomena of nature around him, and yet more of his indispensable dependence in primal elements (bhutas/mahabhutas), Prakriti has evoked varying responses in science, philosophy, religion, arts, and in civilizations as far apart as Egyptian, Chinese, Greek and Indian — permeating expressions through the written or the oral words, generating a language of myth and symbol which communicates across cultures. Already countless myths of the origin of the universe, creation, cosmology and cosmogony have been developed on the concept of the Elements/Bhutas: earth, air, water, fire, and space (ether). Already there exists a vast body of sources and an equally extensive, highly complex history of critical discourse on the nature of primal elements and their indispensability not only to man, but to all life on earth.
Prakriti: The Integral Vision assumes an added significance today, when man is threatened by pollution: inner and outer, of his own making. Though contemporary idiom and through illustration, it revalidates the vital importance of primal elements: the very fundamentals that make human life possible on the earth — emphasizing that the maintenance, sustenance and purity of these “primary and primal” elements are not matters of intellectual discourse alone, but have to be the objectives of our life, lest death overtakes us!
Indisputably a monumental work, offered in five inter-locked volumes, Prakriti: The Intergral Vision carries insightful, at once stimulating reflections of the internationally known physicists, biologists, astronomers, chemists, geophysicists on the scientific side, and of the equally renowned scholars of humanities, holistic medicine, ancient Indian literature, Ayurveda and other disciplines — on the traditional side.