With a view of facilitating an enquirer of self-knowledge to comprehend the main doctrine of the Upanishads, which forms the subject of the accompanying treatise, a few explanations, are needed ; and it is hoped that they will be of much help to him.
Non-duality or the oneness of the Individual and Universal Spirit is the subject to be demonstrated, and an elaborate and critical analysis of the rival systems which look upon them as different and otherwise, have been fully discussed. That does not concern us for the present.
What we propose is to lay down a few salient points, to give a skeleton sketch, leaving the rest to our author. In the discussion of his subject he has brought in, a mass of arguments from all available sources ; the work itself is a result of a vast amount of reading, and whatever is worth knowing of the Vedas, Mimansa, Nyaya, Sankhya, Puranas &c., has been included in it.
It contains likewise a discussion of the merits of personal and impersonal forms of worship, and seeks to satisfactorily account for the apparent and seemingly anomalous dictum of the several Purans, wherein each sets up a different form of worship and particularly insisting upon it, in lieu of others. In this way, the different sects of worshippers Vishnuvite, Sivite, Ganpat, Sakta, who have hither to been taught to regard his especial Deity to be superior to the rest will find much to unlearn.
Reason, and analogy, with the proofs derived from the Shastras have been amply introduced to help the comprehension, and to erect at much labor, a neutral ground where the most inveterate bigot will cast away his rancor, and shake hands in fraternal love and harmony with one whom ha hacl hitherto looked upon as a fool and knave.
Thus then there is much to engage the attention of the reader ; caste and creed, stands not in the way of acquiring the knowledge inculcated here ; for we find no mention about it by our author. The only caste he seems to recognise is that of qualification, and any person having the necessary qualities may profitably engage himself in its study.
He will find much to interest him, much to engage his attention, much to evoke his sympathy ; the scale from his eyes will be dropped of and it is hoped, he will rouse to realise a new existence ; the clue to solve the mighty problem of existence, the end and aim of human life is here spoken out with as much fervour, as its dignity demands, and though to realise it and form the basis of turning a new life can only happen to the fewest of the few, to those who have sown the seeds of knowledge in their previous births yet it can be profitably made use of by all alike.
From The Metaphysics of The Upanishads – 1885
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