Pandit Motilal Shastri

Pandit Madhusudan Ojhaji had many students but only one who learnt "at his feet" in a manner according to the tradition of rishis (sages), which involved rigorous discipline. This was Pandit Motilal Shastri. Shortly before he passed away, Pandit Madhusudan Ojhaji told his disciple: "I regret that I could not see the flowering of my literature during my lifetime, because I still have lot of work to do. I am entrusting this responsibility to you."

Young Motilal honoured his guru's last request by devoting the remainder of his life to expanding and elaborating upon Ojhaji's historic contributions.

Pandit Motilal was born in 1908. He received his education in Sanskrit and displayed an extraordinary talent for learning from childhood. At the age of 12, he passed the Prathama examination from Kashi (also known as Benares and Varanasi) , a pre-eminent centre for Sanskrit learning in the country. He continued his studies at the Maharaja Sanskrit College of Jaipur.

At a conference in Varanasi, the young Motilal Shastri heard Pandit Madhusudan Ojhaji speak on the Vedic sciences and thus had the first exposure to the great scholar. The young man made a firm resolve to become a disciple of Ojha ji and pursue studies in Vedic science on his return to Jaipur. This marked his second birth, as a student of Veda Shastras (Vedic science). Under the tutelage of Ojha ji, he began a rigorous study of the Vedas which continued till his last breath. It also ensured the continuation of a new tradition of dissemination of knowledge of Vedic science, which Pandit Madhusudan Ojha had rekindled after it had sunk into oblivion for several centuries.

Ojhaji's writings are mostly in the form of aphorisms and the subjects covered therein are intricate and complex. This makes it difficult for even accomplished Sanskrit scholars to fully decipher and comprehend his writings. Therefore, Shastriji opted to write in Hindi, although it is not an easy task to explain the meaning of the Vedas in Hindi. Shastriji invented his own unique adaptation of Hindi to explain Vedic science to the lay readers, and he wrote about 80,000 handwritten pages on Vedic themes. Thus he not only made a great contribution to the exposition of the Vedas but also to the evolution of Hindi itself, vesting remarkable richness to the great language.

In Jaipur, the main centre of his activities, Shastriji established an ashram in 1943 to continue his work. During the latter phase of his life, he devoted himself to self-study, writing, preserving and publishing his work. It was during this phase that Pandit Rishi Kumar Mishra had the great fortune of coming in contact with him which sparked a life-long passion for exploring the unprecedented richness of the Vedic wisdom.

Pandit Motilal Shastri passed away at the age of 52.

Works by Pandit Motilal Shastri

Upasana Rahasya

In this volume, which is part of Pandit Motilal Shastri’s commentaries on Bhagavad Gita, the concept of upasana or worship has been explained. He has defined four main forms of worship and eight characteristics of worship. He has also presented the scientific character of `dasha vidya` in this volume besides strong evidence in support of idol worship. Shastriji has laid emphasis on love or devotion as the essential ingredient of worship. He has explained five stages of love—respect, maternal love, romance, desire and lust.

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Vyakhyanapanchakam

This is the collection of five lectures given by Pandit Motilal Shastri at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, in 1956.  Shastriji was invited by the first President of independent India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, to present his profound views on the Vedas and other sacred texts.

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Aithihasikoadhyaya

Aithihasikoadhyaya is part of Pandit Motilal Shastri's Gitavijnana-bhashya. In this compact volume, Shastriji has described the epic battle between the Kauravas and Pandavas in a vivid explanation of the word, Kurukshetra.

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Vedic Concept Of Man And Universe--Five Lectures Of Pandit Motilal Shastri

This is the collection of five lectures given by Pandit Motilal Shastri at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, in 1956.  Shastriji was invited by the first President of independent India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, to present his profound views on the Vedas and other sacred texts. 

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Three Thousand Years Of Indian Decadence

This is an introduction to the vedic literature and fundamental viewpoints of Pandit Motilal Shastri.            

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Veda Vijnana And Other Essays

Pandit Motilal Shastri translated many works on Veda vijnana of his guru, Pandit Madhusudan OJha.  He went beyond mere transliteration of the works and embellished it with his own understanding of the complex subject in Hindi.              

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Veda Ka Svarup Vichar

This is the collection of talks on Veda which Pandit Motilal Shastri gave on the All India Radio in 1953. In these talks, Shastriji has explained how the scientific meaning of the Veda was lost over the years and the Veda became merely a collection of volumes. He has argued how fundamental elements like fire, air, and sun were the true essence of the Veda and not the volume of mantras.  

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Vaidik Vijnanonmesh-Essays And Commentaries Of Pandit Motilal Shastri

These are the collected works of  Pandit Motilal Shastri's articles. These articles were written by Shastriji during and after his travels across the country. These articles were written in different publications. His son, Pradyuman Kumar, collected all the articles and published them in one volume.

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Bharatiya Drishti Se Vijnana Shabd Ka Samanvaya

These is the compendium of Pandit Motilal Shastri's talks delivered on the All India Radio, Jaipur, in 1953. In these talks, Shastriji has explained the scientific aspect of the Veda. He has presented the true scope and meaning of the Veda. Reading of these talks offers a new insight into the very concept of ``vijnana` (science). 

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Vijnanachitravali--I & II

Vinjana-chitravali ( illustrated science of Veda)  is a collection of illustrations and charts drawn by Pandit Madhusudan Ojha and Pandit Motilal Shastri in their many works. This volume is edited by Shastriji. These illustrations and drawings have been drawn from Shatapatha Brahmana, Gitavijnana-bhashya, Ishopanishath, Sradhvijnana and other works.  

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Shvetakranti Ka Mahan Sandesh

For the last several centuries, there has been a steady decline in India's cultural and moral standing. This should be of serious concern to us all. Because of the international commitments which India has, the country has become a battleground of several ideas and ideologies.

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Indian Culture

In this volume, Pandit Motilal Shastri has given the `Indian`viewpoint on culture. This is in response to noted Hindi writer, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's essay, `Four chapters on culture`. Shastriji argued that Dinkar's essay was greatly influenced by the western culture.

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Indian Hindu Man And His Sentimentalism

This is a fairly voluminous work on Indian philosophy.  Pandit Motilal Shastri has drawn extensively from the Vedas and puranas to present new dimensions of Indian philosophy.  

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Shatpatha Brahmana

Shatpatha Brahmana has 100 chapters. This volume contains a comprehensive explanation of Yajurveda. Yajurveda, in conventional terms, is one of the four Vedas. In terms of tatva or essence, it is Yajurveda. There are two words in it--yath and ju. These refer to prana (life-force), vayu (air), gathi (movement) and vak (speech). Shastriji's elucidation of Shatpath Brahmana in Hindi offers insight into various aspects of Yajurveda.   

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