The present anthology contains some of the outstanding articles published during the last one hundred years in Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India, one of the English monthlies of the Ramakrishna Order. The occasion that prompted the work is the celebration of the centenary of this journal, which was started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. Previously, in connection with the centenary, we brought out two special illustrated issues of Prabuddha Bharata—one in January '95 (with 61 articles, poems, etc., in 416 pages), marking the journal's entry into its one hundredth year, and another in January '96 (with 26 articles, poems, etc., in 168 pages), marking the completion of its one hundredth year. For both of these issues we received warm support from many eminent writers, who sent outstanding articles.
But then some of our friends wanted something more. They suggested we also bring out an anthology, and we agreed—especially because one of them, Dr. M. Sivaram-krishna, former Head of the Department of English, Osmania University, Andhra Pradesh, offered to help us in the task with able assistance from one of his colleagues, Dr. Sumita Roy, Hyderabad. But there was another reason why we accepted the proposal. The two special issues mentioned above contain articles that are, one might say, somewhat outward-looking. They are Prabuddha Bharata's present view of the world's last one hundred years, with some thoughts on the possible shape of things to come. This anthology, on the other hand, is the fruit of Prabuddha Bharata's internal exploration. It reviews some of the valuable ideas that have been entrusted to it since its inception.
Even for us, the work turned out to be an unexpected revelation. We were aware in a general way that the journal's standard has been high. And we knew that there were articles contributed by many of the great thinkers of the time—Dr. Pitirim Sorokin, C.G. Jung, Aldous Huxley, Prof. M. Hiriyanna, plus some of our monks such as Swami Shuddhananda and Swami Yatiswarananda, to name just a few. But when it came to evaluating the contents before finalizing the list of articles for the anthology, those involved in the project, especially the compiler-editors, found the work extremely rewarding—more than they had anticipated. As you will see in the following pages, many of the articles draw the reader into another milieu—a milieu that was the precursor of today's. There we discern the hopes, fears, and anxieties that moved powerful minds. And there we find the solutions they proposed and the hopes they cherished regarding humanity's future. We see a recent past through some of the clearest eyes of that period, and we also get a glimpse of the world they thought would soon emerge.
Thus we are able to compare all that with the present, understand better what is happening now, and ponder over the future. In addition to these articles, some studies in comparative culture and some biographical sketches of great religious personalities have been included. A study of this anthology is a study of life—of science, art, psychology, philosophy, etc., as the titles show. And what better study could there be? Now we are glad that the proposal came and that we got the opportunity to materialize it. We convey our grateful thanks to those friends. As this publication had to be made both accessible and interesting to all types of readers, we can appreciate the difficulty Prof. Sivaramkrishna and Swami Atmaramananda (who was editor of Prabuddha Bharata from January '94 to December '96) had in selecting the articles—for each of the past volumes has at least a dozen superb articles. The forty-four articles included here were taken from thirty .
volumes—between 1897 and 1987—and have been mini-mally edited. Since many of the authors are no longer alive and we cannot provide their biodata, we decided to exclude that item from the anthology. In the SOURCES, however, we have mentioned the year and the issue in which the articles originally appeared in Prabuddha Bharata—in case readers would like to have a look at other articles in those volumes. Rather than adding a résumé of the articles, or mentioning certain articles as being particularly noteworthy, we leave it to our readers to enjoy exploring this anthology on their own.
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