His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati was the Sankaracharya who adorned the Sri Sarada Pitha of Sringeri in the Mysore State. It was the first seat of Advaita Philosophy established by Sri Sankara. His Holiness was a saintly personality of great spiritual eminence arid profound scholarship in the Sastras. A Brahmajnani of rare excellence, he was frequently lost in Advaitic experience in periods of Samadhi when the luminous glow in his countenance proclaimed his Brahmanubhava.
His Holiness’s discourses on Hindu Religion and Dharma, which were simple in language and lucid in exposition, were punctuated with homely illustrations, and had the power to convince the doubting and convert the sceptic. coming as he did, in the sucession of authentic tradition, his is the classical view of Hindu Dharma in its pristine purity. Some of His Holiness’s teachings, faithfully gathered in this book by one of his devoted disciples, have a special value in the context of ignorance, misunderstanding and bewilderment that assail us at the present time, both as individuals and as a society.
His Holiness, reverently adored as a jivanmukta, occupied the Sringeri Pitha for 43 years from 1912. Like a true yogi that he was, he abandoned his body at the end of his life in 1954 in the sacred waters of the Tungabhadra.
THE Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan—that Institute of Indian Culture in Bombay—needed a Book University, a series of books which, if read, would serve the purpose of providing higher education. Particular emphasis, however, was to be put on such literature as revealed the deeper impulsions of India. As a first step, it was decided to bring out in English 100 books, 50 of which were to be taken in hand almost at once. It is our intention to publish the books we select, not only in English, but also in the following Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
This scheme, involving the publication of 900 volumes, requires ample funds and an all-Indian organisation The Bhavan is exerting its utmost to supply them. The objectives for which the Bhavan stands are the reintegration of Indian culture in the light of modern knowledge and to suit our present-day needs and the resuscitation of its fundamental values in their pristine vigour.
Let me make our goal more explicit: We seek the dignity of man, which necessarily implies the creation of social conditions which would allow him freedom to evolve along the lines of his own temperament and capacities; we seek the harmony of individual efforts and social relations, not in any make-shift way, but within the frame-work of the Moral Order; we seek the creative art of life, by the alchemy of which human limitations are progressive l transmuted, so that man may become the instrument of God, and is able to see Him in all and all in Him.
The world, we feel, is too much with us. Nothing would uplift or inspire us o much as the beauty and aspiration which such books can teach. In this series, therefore, the literature of India, ancient and modern, will be published in a form easily accessible to all. Books in other literatures of the world, if they illustrate the principles we stand for, will also be included.
This common pool of literature, it is hoped, will enable the reader, eastern or western, to understand and appreciate currents of world thought, as also the movements of the mind in India, which, though they flow through different linguistic channels, have a common urge and aspiration.
Fittingly, the Book University’s first venture is the Mahabharata, summarised by one of the greatest living Indians, C. Rajagopalachari; the second work is on a section of it, the Glut, by H. V. Divatia, an eminent jurist and a student of philosophy. Centuries ago, it was proclaimed of the Mahabharata: “What is not in it, is nowhere.” After twenty-five centuries, we can use the same words about it. He who knows it not, knows not the heights and depths of the soul; he misses the trials and tragedy and the beauty and grandeur of life.
The Mahabharata is not a mere epic; it is a romance, telling the tale of heroic men and women and of some who were divine; it is a whole literature in itself, containing a code of life, a philosophy of social and ethical relations, and speculative thought only human problems that is hard to rival; but, above all it has for its core the Gita, which is, as the world is beginning to find out, the noblest of scriptures and the grandest of sagas in which the climax is reached in the wondrous Apocalypse in the Eleventh Canto.
Through such books alone the harmonies underlying true culture, I am convinced, will one day reconcile the disorders of modern life. I thank all those who have helped to make this new branch of the Bhavan’s activity successful.
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