The present age is marked by the growth of rank materialism, which is subversive of true happiness. People have begun to regard God and religion as superfluous and openly indulge in all sorts of blasphemy. The doctrines of rebirth and life after death are being held as figments of the brain. Talks of Self-Realization, cultivation of other-worldliness and practice of devotion, etc., are declared as useless and nothing but impediments to the progress of the nation or community. Material advancement is recognized as the summum bonum of human existence. Gratification of the senses is looked upon as the highest form of bliss.
Practically the whole field of literature is being flooded with books intended to advance the material interests of humanity, novels and romantic stories and erotic poems couched in flowery language and tending to promote a vulgar taste. In such an age books of an ontological nature dealing with devotion, dispassion and disinterested action are little calculated to satisfy the general public.
Nevertheless, my experience of the past fifteen years leads me to believe that even this furious storm of unbelief raging all-round in the world has not been able to shake the solid foundations of the grand edifice of spirituality raised on his sacred land of Bharatavarsa by the sages and seers of old, and it s vey unlikely that they would ever be shaken. In the spiritual environment of India genuine seekers of truth and aspirants of a devout temperament are still to be found, even though their number has dwindled. Under such circumstances it would not be unreasonable to hope that this philosophical treatise written in a lucid and homely style will be read with wide interest and people will derive special benefit from it.
The writer of this small volume has a very high place in my estimation. Such exalted souls are rarely to be found in the spiritual world. The divine sage Narada says in his ‘Aphorisms on Bhakti’:-
‘Exalted souls are not so easy to find; they cannot be recognized as such, even if found; and once found, they are sure to benefit those who come in contact with them.’
To my mind, the author of this treatise is one such exalted soul as have been little understood or recognized by the world. And there is little wonder that such a person should not be recognized. A simple and unsophisticated soul, who from his general talk may be easily taken to be uneducated and uncultured, and who lives like an ordinary householder carrying on business transactions, can be hardly recognized as a spiritually advanced soul. It may, however, be submitted in this connection that whatever has been stated above represents my own personal estimate of the writer. It is not my intention to force this view on the mind of the readers, nor does the author himself seek to do so Nay, whatever I have written about him here was not only written without his permission but was not even shown to him before it was sent to the pass. Had I sought his permission in this behalf, I am sure he would never have granted it.
The present compilation is a collection of a number of his articles originally written for the Hindi ‘Kalyan’ and subsequently translated and published from time to time in the ‘Kalyana-Kalpataru’. In rendering the articles utmost care has been taken to keep intact the spirit of the original: nevertheless it cannot be definitely said how far it has been preserved. For the articles are interspersed at places with ideas. So abstruse as to make it exceedingly difficult for the translator to reproduce them correctly in a foreign language like the English. Under such circumstances it should not be wondered at if some minor deviations, though unwittingly made, are discovered here and there from the spirit of the original.
With these few words of introduction I recommend this volume to the English-reading public in the hope that they will read it with interest and assimilate whatever they find useful in it. On behalf of the translators I tender my sincerest apologies for the many shortcomings of the translation. Similarly, on behalf of the publisher, I humbly apologize for any misprints that may have inadvertently crept in the volume.
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