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Pandit M.R. Jambunathan

Reproducing article from: http://www.thehindu.com/arts/history-and-culture/article3273061.ece 

M. R. Jambunathan (1896-1974) was born in a learned family of Vedic scholars of Manakkal, Tiruchirapalli District, Tamil Nadu. Jambunathan was proficient in Tamil, Sanskrit, and English. He also studied the Vedas in depth. In his high school days, he went around the villages and towns of Tamil Nadu to collect ancient scriptures. He was also interested in numismatics and collected ancient Indian coins.

Early in life, Jambunathan made it his mission to translate the four Veda Samhitas — Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas — into Tamil, so that all literate Tamils could have access to the Vedas and learn for themselves the eternal values and the spiritual thoughts enshrined in them. At various fora, he enthused scholars to translate the Vedas into the language of the region from which they hailed, so that all Indians could have access to the ancient scriptures.

Translations of the Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas were published in Jambunathan's lifetime. After almost three decades of painstaking labour, he completed the translation of the Rig Veda, the larger compendium of the Veda Samhitas. The Rig Veda translation Vol.1 was posthumously released by Raja Ramanna, who was then the director of BARC, in 1978, and Vol.II by I. G. Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, in 1980.

Jambunathan wrote many books on subjects such as the Upanishads and the Brahmanas, Yoga Asanas, Yoga Body, Cheena Vedam (Teachings of Confucius), Life of Mazzini and Duties of Man (Mazzini an Italian Patriot), in Tamil and Swami Shraddanand in English.

He served the Indian Chapter of International PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) Centre, Mumbai, for over 30 years, as its Executive Committee Member/Honorary Secretary. He participated in the All-India Conferences of PEN members and the International Conference held in Japan. He was a member of several All-India institutes and Tamil literary bodies (notably, World Academy of Sanskrit and the World Tamil Writers' Association). He was a researcher in Indology and wrote many research papers in simple language. He was hailed as a “Renaissance Man” of the 20 Century.

Jambunathan served the socially and the economically deprived sections of society in his capacity as Honorary Organiser, Depressed Classes League, Chennai, when he was pursuing his studies in Civil Engineering (1918-21). When he came to Mumbai and took up the position of Civil Engineer in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, he established with local support the first primary school in Tamil medium in 1924, for the poorest of the poor, residing in the slums of Dharavi. With the Corporation's interest in providing primary education to the poor in their mother tongue in areas where they lived, the school was eventually handed over to the Corporation. In the Diamond Jubilee year (1924-1974) of the first school, there were 45 schools in Tamil medium, a few among them leading to middle and high school levels under Municipal auspices.

His collection of ancient Indian coins related to the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and Vijayanagar periods (7-10 Century AD); the French East India Company and the British period (20 Century AD). There were a few coins of Aurangazeb, Mysore Wodeyars, Mysore Sultans and the Hyderabad Nizams. Jambunathan's collection of 138 antique coins was donated to the RBI Monetary Museum by Indira Anantharam Iyer (Jambunathan's daughter) and T. N. Anantharam Iyer (his son-in-law), former Executive Director, RBI. The coins have been displayed in the Reserve Bank of India Monetary Museum, Mumbai.

Please also visit: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/banking/article3263318.ece

His work on Rig Veda is also noted by Unesco: http://ftp.unesco.org/xtrans/a/openisis.a?a=&stxt_1=&stxt_2=&stxt_3=&sl=&l=&c=&pla=&pub=&tr=Jambunathan&e=&udc=&d=&from=&to=&tie=and

The following is the full list of literature authored by Pandit MR Jambunathan:

List of Books Authored by Pandit M.R. Jambunathan
Sr No Name of the Book Language Year
A Books Scanned and uploaded on VedicGranth.org
1 Cheena Vedam Tamil 1928
2 Trimurti Unmai Tamil 1928
3 Veer Sanyasi Shradhhanand Charitram Tamil 1931
4 The Life of Mazzini - The Duties of Man Tamil 1931
5 Katho Upanishad Tamil 1932
6 Yoga Asanas English 1933
7 Yajur Veda SathPath Brahman Stories Tamil 1933
8 Veda Chandrika (An Intro to the Vedas in Tamil) Tamil 1934
9 Yogana Asano (Translated by Raman Saas Nana Saas Shah) Gujarati 1935
10 Yoga Asanas Tamil 1938
11 The Yoga Body English 1941
12 Swami Shraddhanand English 1961
13 Short Stories from the Great Upanishads Tamil 1990
14 Katha Ratham (Short Stories with Morals) Tamil 19??
15 Rig Vedam Vol 1 Tamil 1990
16 Rig Vedam Vol 2 Tamil 1990
17 Yajur Vedam Tamil 1990
18 Sam Vedam Tamil 1990
19 Atharva Vedam Tamil 1990
20 Satyarth Prakash Tamil 1925
B Books Not Found
21 Swami Dayanand Charithram Tamil 19??
22 Roja Thattam: Sheikh Shadis Gulistan in English Tamil 19??
23 Yajurved Stories Tamil 1935-40

To know more about Pandit Jambunathan, please download and read the article "About MR Jambunathan.pdf" from given below links.

Courtesy: Mr Anantharam Iyer and Mrs. Indira Iyer (Son in law and Daughter of Pdt Jambunathan).

Steps for downloading:
1. The pdf files for Vedas are attached at the bottom of the page ==> Veda . On the right side of each attached file -there is a down arrow. Click to download.
2. To get files for other books, please write to me on virendra.agarwal@vedicgranth.org . I am required to take permission from Mr Iyer, before sharing the same.


Virendra Agarwal,
Feb 2, 2013, 10:10 AM
Virendra Agarwal,
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