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 hooks, 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-India
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 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 makeshift way, but within the
frame-work of the Mortal Order; we seek the creative art of life, by the alchemy of which human
limitations are progressively transmuted, so that men 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 so much as the beauty
and aspiration which such books can teach.
In this series, therefore, the literature of India, ancient and modem, will be published in n 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
Indians, C. Rajagopalachari; the second work is on a section of it, the Gita, 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 meme epic; it is a romance, telling the tale of heroic men and women and
of some who Wore divine; it is a whole literature in itself, containing a code of life, a philosophy of
social and ethical relations, and speculative thought on 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 had 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.
This book "Our Heritage" by Swami Siddhi-nathananda is a welcome addition to the Bhavan’s Book
Written with deep insight into our cultural heritage, Swami Siddhinathananda has traced the
evolutionary process of our heritage from the Vedic times. He has also, in lucid style, dealt with the
pauranic characters or avatars of the Lord and the part each one of them played in the resuscitation
of the values enshrined in our Sanatana Dharma. The various systems of philosophy, both oriental
and occidental, have been treated in great depth. True to the tradition of the monks of the
Ramakrishna Order, Swami Siddhinathananda considers Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa as an
incarnation of God. Even as Sri Rama was Vigrahvan Dharma’-‘Dharma Personified, so also was
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ‘Dharma Sthapaka’.
In the last Chapter entitled 'The Contribution of World Religions to Peace' the learned author has
vividly analysed the evolution of the various world religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — to
bring home the point how while these world religions owe their existence to individuals, undoubtedly
manifestations of the One Lord, Hinduism or more appropriately Sanatana Dharma is eternal in its
An error has crept in giving Chapter numbers in the book. We seek the indulgence of the readers for
The book is a collection of several articles and speeches made by Swamiji on various occasions
spread over many years.
Back of the Book
Swami Siddhinathananda (Pre-monastic name, S. Narayan Nair) was born on 1-4-1918 at
Kurichithanam in Kottayam Dist, Kerala. After completing his Matriculation he studies in the
Vedanta College, Bangalore, for three years.
Joining the Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama at the age of 19 as an honorary worker, Swamiji
served the various centres of the Ramakrishna order at Thiruvananthapuram, Calcutta, Madras,
Nattarampalli, Kanchipuram, Kalady, Trichur and Kozhikode. The was initiated into Bhahmacharya
in 1944 with the name of Dhruvachaitanya. Later in 1948 he was initiated into Sanyas by Srimat
Swami Virajanandaji Maharaj and was given the monastic name Siddhinathanada.
Swamiji has written nearly thirty-five books in Malayalam and six in English. The
Malayalam books include the translations of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, The Life of Swami
Vivekananda, The Bhagavata, Commentaries on Manusmriti, Viveka Chudamani, Narada Bhakti
Sutras and the Devi Mahatmyam. Three Christian Classics-The Way of a Pilgrim, The Practice of
the Presence of God and The Writings from the Philokalia-have also been translated by him into
Malayalam. Most of the Malayalam books have been published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Trichur
and three English books by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay. The Bhavan publications by
Swamiji are Our Heritage, Wealth and Wisdom of India and Devi Mahatmyam.
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