X Monograph (Contd.): Obituary: Dr A. Venkoba Rao, Dr. S.G. Mudgal

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Dr. A. Venkoba Rao


I have to inform with great regret the sad demise of Dr Venkoba Rao, one of the senior most and highly esteemed psychiatrists this country has produced. His research work in psychiatry and medicine, as well as his work in philosophy and the human predicament, have been noteworthy indeed. He was a researcher and an academician of the highest order.

It was always a great pleasure interacting with him. Both juniors and his peers will remember him with great regard and equal fondness. He never made himself difficult to approach, and was open to all positive inputs, from whatever source.

He was highly appreciative of the work done by the Mens Sana Research Foundation too. I treasure the encouraging letter he wrote to us sometime back about the Mens Sana Monograph Psychiatry, Science, Religion and Health, of which here is an excerpt:

The articles in general are of high standard and are very readable…I must tell you that your monograph makes an enjoyable and informative reading and my personal congratulations to you on your achievement.

In fact, he was encouraging towards all efforts in the field of mental health.

His wide knowledge of philosophy and Indian thought, coupled with active research interest in mainstream psychiatry, made him a unique presence in the field.

His absence will be felt for a long long time indeed.

       But I have lived, and have not lived in vain;

      My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire,

      And my frame perish even in conquering pain:

     But there is that within me which shall tire

     Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire;

     Something unearthly, which they deem not of,

      Like the remembered tone of a mute lyre…

                                                    Byron (Childe Harold)

On behalf of the Mens Sana Editorial Board, our subscribers, readers, as well as the Mensanamonographs group, I offer our deepest condolences to his bereaved family.

May his soul rest in peace.

Ajai Singh


Mens Sana Monographs, III,4-5, Nov. 2005-Feb. 2006 55




Dr. S. G. Mudgal

(11 Nov 1923-15 Aug 2005).

In the loss of Prof (Dr.) S.G. Mudgal, the world of philosophy has lost an eminent torch -bearer of the classical Indian tradition. His benign presence, stately bearing, and benevolent guidance to all his students and peers in the field was something to be experienced. Words are inadequate to describe such an experience. His anguish towards the neglect of the Indian tradition, and dismay at finding bright minds trying to stilt and distort the Indian philosophical corpus by viewing it through western methodology and approach was palpable. He was one of the finest of the committed proponents of that which was the best in ancient Indian thought. And he had no regrets proclaiming it. His knowledge of the classical western tradition was adequate for him to find the greatness therein, and find many comparative features, which fortified his abiding interest in the Indian one.

Lately he appeared in a hurry, probably realizing the end was near. In 2003 he published his 310 page book The Bhagavad Gita (Himalaya Publishing), a seminal work on the great treatise. This book is his understanding of the Bhagavad Gita, which, according to him, is theistic and realistic:

The world, according to the BG is real and not illusory, nor an illusion. The jivas are real. Bondage and attainment of Moksa are also real. Jnana and Bhakti are inclusive; ultimately it is Bhakti which leads to Mukti. Grace of Guru and God are emphasized. Bhakti continues even in the state of Moksa.

The Gita does not advocate the doctrine of Karma Sanyasa; but advocates the performance of Karma as worship, as dedication and an offering to God. Work thus done with a sense of dedication or worship, is liberating and not binding. (Back cover of the book)

Dr Mudgal had been a well known academician, erudite scholar, and an able and efficient administrator. He had been Principal of the well known Ruparel College, Mumbai, and Nowrojee Wadia College, Pune. He made a mark as Professor of Indian Philosophy and Comparative Religion. He studied all the schools of Indian Philosophy, especially the three schools of Vedanta, namely, Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita. He had a great grasp over Mahayana Buddhism too.

56 Mens Sana Monographs, III,4-5, Nov. 2005-Feb. 2006

A life immersed in Philosophy, welfare of students and society at large, and dedicated to prayer and ethical conduct. Every student who visited him came away blessed and transformed, with a desire to do good and work for society in his own way. Never ever even a trace of conceit or greed, never a blemish in an exemplary life lived according to principles of the highest moral order. It was difficult for this goodness not to rub off on all those whose life he touched.

We had numerous discussions with him for hours on end over various aspects of Philosophy. And it was a treat to listen to him expound tirelessly over a certain topic for hours, without once stopping to search for words, or even to drink a glass of water. And every time we came away feeling blessed to have met him and to work with greater dedication and commitment, irrespective of the decay of values all around.

He was one of the foremost subscribers of the Mens Sana Monographs, and was always very solicitous of its welfare.

We shall miss his kindly enquiries and his encouraging words. Just to think of him fills the mind with a great zest to persist on the right path regardless of consequences and oblivious of distractions.

He departed from us on Indian Independence Day 2005. Here are a few lines I (AS) wrote on him the very next day:


                                      Independence day 2005

                                      Independence day

                                      was special

                                      this time

                                     for another reason.


                                    An individual soul

                                   having shed its kindly light

                                   over earthlings

                                   also shed its chains

                                   broke free

                                  and soared

                                  to prostrate


                                 the feet of



On behalf of the entire Mensanamonographs family , we offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

May his soul rest in peace.

Ajai Singh , Shakuntala Singh

Mens Sana Monographs, III,4-5, Nov. 2005-Feb. 2006 57




Mens Sana Monographs [MSM]: A Mens Sana Research Foundation Publication


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