Sunday, 28 December 2014

Mithila
In one of my my previous posts I referred to the great Nyayik philosopher Udayanacharya, author of the well knowned treatise 'Nyaya Kusumanjali '.who belonged to Mithila.
Mithila, a region in northern Bihar ( partly also in Nepal ) is a land in India  where I have never been, and wish to go at least once before I die.
 This is because of the large number of outstanding philosophers, scholars, poets, etc it has produced.
 Gautam Buddha and Mahavir lived there. Apart from Udayanacharya whom I have mentioned, the great scholars it has produced include Kumaril Bhatta, Mandan Mishra, Vachaspati Mishra, Dr. Ganganath Jha, Dr. Amarnath Jha, etc. The great poet Vidyapati ( 1352-1448 ) also hailed from Mithila.
 It is said that when Adi Shankaracharya came from Kerala ( his home state ) to north India to debate with the renowned Mimansa scholar, Mandan Mishra ( disciple of the even more renowned Mimansa scholar, Kumaril Bhat ), and asked the direction to Mandan Mishra's house, he was told that Mandan Mishra's house is under a tree on whose branches the parrots are constantly asking ' What is real, and what is unreal ? ', ' How can moksha be attained ? ', etc. In other words, throughout Mithila there were great scholars, and debates were going on all the time.
 In my University, Allahabad University, where I studied from 1963-1967 there had been great scholars hailing from Mithila as the earlier Vice Chancellors. Dr. Ganganath Jha was a great scholar of Mimansa Shastra ( of which I too have been a student for long ). By translating  Kumaril Bhatt's Tantravartika and Shloka Vartika, and the Shabarbhashya, etc from Sanskrit into English, he made a great contribution, due to which I was personally benefited. As a Judge of the Allahabad High Court I would regularly go to the Dr.Ganganath Jha Library in Alfred Park in Allahabad to consult these books which helped me in interpreting several legal texts.
  I have been a scholar of Purva Mimansa, as this shastra provides principles of interpretation which are useful in interpreting statutes. Some of the greatest scholars who have developed this shastra were from Mithila. When I was a Judge of Allahabad High Court, I had prepared the manuscript of a book ' The Mimansa Rules of Interpretation ', the only book in English on the subject ( the others are all in Sanskrit ) and was seeking a publisher. At a function in Allahabad I met a Professor of Mithila University, and told him about the book. I said to him  : " Sir, you are from Mithila,the land of Raja Janak, and of some the greatest scholars of Mimansa Shastra which  India has produced. Please get this book published ". He gave a positive response, but later did nothing.
 Maithili, the language of Mithila, is one of the sweetest languages I have heard, though I cannot understand it.
 When I was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, a Tamilian lady lawyer named Maithili appeared before me. I asked her whether she knew the meaning of her name. She said no. I then told her that it means one belonging to Mithila, in Northern Bihar, the land of Raja Janak, the great philosopher king, and father of Sitaji, who was married to Lord Rama, and the land of some of the greatest scholars India has produced.
 I had some time back received an invitation to visit Mithila. I could not avail of it at that time due to some other commitments, but if the invitation still stands I would very much like to avail of it. My email id is mark_katju@yahoo.co.in

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