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Rta, The Cosmic Order

by: Madhu Khanna

The articles trace the genesis of the concept of dharma in the Rgvedic concept of cosmic order or rta and relate other aspects of socio-cultural-religious life to the construction of order and its underlying vision. Comparing notions of order in Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese and Islamic speculative thought, they explain the relevance of understanding the concept of rta in the present day.

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ISBN: 9788124602522
Year Of Publication: 2004
Edition: 1st
Pages : x, 326
Bibliographic Details : 34 B/w figures; 21 Coloured photographs; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 29 cm.
Weight: 1350

Overview

In the Rig Veda there is a remarkable insight on the notion of Rita or Cosmic Order, the inflexible law of universal order and harmony whereby all disorders and chaos is restored to equilibrium. Rita is, in essence, the ordering principle of nature which gives to everything from the vast galaxies, down to the nucleus of an atom, their nature and course. In the Vedic vision, this law of cosmic order is conceived to be manifesting at three levels: on the cosmic plane Rita governs the course of nature; on the socio-ethical level, Rita imparts justice; and on the religio-spiritual level, Rita mirrored the ritual performances of the sacrificial ritual (yajna). Rita contributes to the maintenance of balance between the micro and macro levels of existence. The articles, presentations at a seminar, trace the genesis of the concept of dharma in rita and relate other aspects of socio-cultural-religious life like food and eating customs, cultural communication and religious narratives to the construction of order and its underlying vision. They importantly examine the elements and relationships that create the cognition of order in temporal and spatial expressions of the arts. In this book, a panel of distinguished Indian and foreign scholars interpret this multifaceted theme of Rita from a wide range of perspectives. Comparing notions of order in Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese and Islamic speculative thought and with references to ancient Indian Hindu writings and modern science. Combining sound scholarship with a penetrating insight, these essays are a fine example of integrated studies. They give alternative viewpoints on the unity underlying this ancient concept as well as, its relevance in the modern age.

Contents

Foreword
— G.C.Tripathi
Introduction
— Madhu Khanna
Part I
??RIta: Notions of Cosmic Order
1. Rita-Satyam: Modern Relevance
— Swami Jitatmananda
2. Rita in Veda
— Vidya Niwas Misra
3. Asa (Rita) in the Avesta and the Iranian Society
— Satkari Mukhopadhyay
4. Rita, Yajna and Dharma
— Ravi Ravindra
5. The Organisation of Structure in the Universe
— Varun Sahni
6. Order is Central in Life Processes and Biorythms to Reproduction
— G.P. Talwar
7. Concept of Order in Science of Islamic Culture Area
— A. Rahman
Part II
??RIta: social and Cultural dimensions
8. The Cosmic and Social Order of Eating: The Vedic Metaphysics and Ethics of Food
— Arindam Chakrabarti
9. Dharma and Truth in the Mahabharata
— Chaturvedi Badrinath
10. Religious Narratives and the Construction of Order
— Aditya Malik
11. Dynamics of Cultural Communication — Rita and the Anthropology of Experience
— S.C. Malik
12. Order: The Old and the New
— B.N. Saraswati
13. Gadhi’s Vision of Rita
— Ramjee Singh
14. Social and Political Order in Chinese Tradition and Future Development
— Tan Chung
Part III
??RIta: Manifestation in the Arts
15. The Geometries of Self Organising System: From Chaos to Pilgrimage
— John M. Malville
16. Order & Plenitude: Creativity and Aesthetic Experience
— K.D. Tripathi
17. Reflection of Cosmic Order in Buddhist Stupa
— M.C. Joshi
18. Meditative Architectonics and Borobudur
— Lokesh Chandra
19. Mainfestation of Order in Art — The Iconic Scheme at Khajuraho
— Devangana Desai
20. Srishti and Samhara: Dinergic Order in the Symbolism of the Shricakra
— Madhu Khanna
21. Rita: The Ordering Principle in the Cosmos and in Art
— Chandra Rajan
22. Levels of Existence
— Keshav Malik
23. Order & Chaos in Indian Music
— Prem Lata Sharma
24. Rita Samgita
— R. Satyanarayan
The Contributors
Index

Meet the Author
avatar-author
Dr. Madhu Khanna earned her PhD in Religious Studies with a specialization in Tantra from Oxford University. Author of several books and academic papers, she has researched and organised several cross-cultural interdisceplanary exhibitions at the IGNCA including the one on the theme Rita-Ritu Cosmic Order and Cycle of Seasons. At present she is Associate Professor, at the IGNCA.
Books of Madhu Khanna