The Ramakrishna mission established this Institute of Culture in 1938 in fulfillment of one of the projects to commemorate the Birth Centenary of Sri Ramakrishna (1936). At the same time the institute was vested with the entire rights of The Cultural Heritage of India. This publication is thus one of the major responsibilities of the Institute; it also serves to fulfil a primary aim of the Institute, which is to promote the study, interpretation, and dissemination of the cultural heritage of India.
The first edition of The Cultural Heritage of India, in three volumes and about 2,000 pages, the work of one hundred distinguished Indian scholars, was published in 1937 by the Sri Ramakrishna Birth Centenary Publication Committee as a Birth Centenary memorial. This work Presented for the first time a panorama of the cultural history of India, and it was immediately acclaimed as a remarkable contribution to the cultural literature of the world. This edition was sold out within a few years, and the work had long been out of print, when considering the question of the second edition, it was felt that, instead of reprinting the work in its original form, advantage should be taken of the opportunity to enlarge the scope of the work. It was decided to make it more comprehensive, more authoritative, and adequately representative of different aspects of Indian thought, and, at the same time, thoroughly to revise the old articles to bring them up to date.
According to the new scheme drawn up on this basis, the number of volumes has been increased. The plan of arrangement has been improved by grouping the topics in such a way that each volume may be fairly complete and fulfil the requirements of those interested, with separate pagination, bibliography, and index. Since due regard will be paid to historicity and critical treatment, it is hoped that this work will provide a useful guide to the study of the complex pattern of India's cultural history.
The distinguished band of scholars who have co-operated so ably in this task have done their work as a labour of love in a spirit of service to scholarship and world understanding. Equally essential to the success of the undertaking was the assistance of Government of India who made a generous grant towards the cost of publication. Without this dual co-operation, it would have been impossible to set out on a venture of this magnitude; and to the contributors as well as to the Government of India the Institute therefore expresses its deepest gratitude.
Back of the Book
The first historic work of the combined intelligence of all India giving a complete and connected story of her culture and civilization. It is a monument of Indian co-operative research in history, philosophy, religion, fine arts, exact sciences, economics, politics literature, and sociology.
This is the first and it Present the only systematic, and so far as it goes, authoritative encyclopaedia of Indian culture. The printing and the get-up are simply superb.- The Philosophical Quarterly, India.
One of the most notable enterprises of its kind yet attempted in any Asiatic country reached fruition in India recently with the publication of three volumes in which a survey is made of the whole field of Indian religion, history, and culture.- The Straits Times, Singapore, S.S.
The cultural Heritage of India is a monumental compendium of the treasures of Indian thought of centuries.- Romain Rolland.
The volumes are a contribution of the highest value to all students of Indian thought.- Professor A.B. Keith, Edinburgh.
I feel positive that the publication of these volumes will prove to be of great service not only to India, but also to the rest of the world, where ignorance of India and Indian culture has been a very great obstacle to the due appreciation of the part played by India and Indians in the civilization and progress of the world.- General J.B.M. Hertzog, sometime Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.
A work that is encyclopaedic in scope?. The vigour with which India is asserting her individuality and cultural importance points towards a renaissance that will enrich not only India, but the rest of the world as well.- The New York Times, New York.
We get from this encyclopaedic book the impression of a people who at their best display the most exquisite refinement of feeling, the subtlest grace, the nicest delicacy?. And it may happen that it will be to India, as well as to Palestine, that we shall have to look for the spirit which will unite men in building a Kingdom of God Upon earth.- The Times Literary Supplement, London.
From the Jacket
INDIA'S CULTURAL heritage is one of the most ancient, extensive, and varied among all those which make up the cultural heritage of mankind. Throughout the ages many races and peoples contributed to India's culture. Some came into contact with her only temporarily; others settled permanently within her evolved was synthesis on the basis of eternal values.
DELVING DEEPLY into the past, the present volume describes the geographical, ethnic and linguistic background of Indian culture, and the prehistoric Indus valley civilization which flourished over 4,000 years ago. It then surveys the Vedic civilization which laid the grand spiritual foundation of India's culture and philosophical thought. It shows how the subsequent Jaina and Buddhist movements took the accumulated spiritual wealth and spread it among the people, Buddhism even spreading it abroad.
THUS THIS volume clearly shows that in these early phases of India's history two ideals took shape which were to be foundation of the whole structure of Indian culture : the spiritual nature of man, and the acceptance of all cultures as valid expressions of eternal values.
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