Dr. H. Maheshwari was born in March 1921 in U.P. did his post-graduate studies in Philosophy at the Varanasi Hindu University, Varanasi and distinguished himself by being ‘first class first’ in 1945. He obtained his Doctorate from Agra University, Agra in 1958.
From 1946 to 1965 he served as professor of Philosophy and the Head of the Department in Degree Colleges in U.P. In 1965, he joined the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Vrindaban, as its first principle.
In 1971, he joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. He was a professor of Philosophy in Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
He was invited as the first Chairperson of Sri Aurobindo Chair of Integral Studies, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujrat, from 1995 to 1997.
As a seeker, devotee and disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother he served Them with integrity of knowledge, devotion and dynamic action throughout his life. In May 2002, he took his eternal abode in his Master’s Consciousness.
His other works*:
1. Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Sri Aurobindo (Text & Translation)
2. The Gita’s Gospel in Sri Aurobindo’s Light (A Themetic Study)
3. Sri Aravinda ke Alok Mein Gita ka Divya Sandesh (Hindi)
* Available at SABDA, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
The recent past of Indian Thought appeared to Dr. Radhakrishnan as marked by lethargy of philosophic impulse’. But Swami Rama Tirtha, one of those dynamic saints of modern Indian Renaissance, who having themselves risen to idea heights were out to inspire and wake up others, one and all, had observed all such lethargy as ‘surly breaking’. His own great contribution to the regeneration of Indian Thought may, by itself, be cited as a proof of the correctness of his observation. Philosophic awakening in India has always been marked by spiritual freshness and unlike the West, where philosophy has greatly been reduced to a handmaid of the logicians, in India it has continually returned to be an intimate and faithful thought-medium of the supra-logical saint. That philosophical study has to open itself to the influence of the spiritual wisdom of the saints, is fortunately being felt to be the need of our reorientation. Hence, the justification of this work which is practically a late reproduction of my doctoral thesis on the philosophy of Swani Rama Tirtha. Herein, again, my apology for undertaking the present study.
My apology is all more strong for the fact that the thoughts of Swami Rama Tirtha have, rather indifferently, been neglected by students of philosophy as well as the writers on contemporary Indian thought and Renaissance. Mr. Puran’s ‘Story of Swami Rama is mostly a lyrical expression of his personal impressions about the saints, and Pt. Sharga’s Swami Rama: His Life and legacy’ is a book of mainly biographical interest, itself based upon the biography written by Sri. R.S. Narayana Swami in Hindi and Urdu for the first part, and mostly a reproduction of Swami Rama Tirtha’s own writings for the Second part. This, I strongly feel, does not satisfy the demands of a sustained philosophical study, complete and systematic.
My venture in the present study is to give a constructive, comprehensive and systematic account of Swami Rama’s thoughts. Criticism and sympathy, I believe, are equally required for a constructive assessment, and comparison, with all caution against volume, is proposed just for representative elucidations.
What really necessitates a sustained study of Swami Rama Tirtha’s philosophy is also the difficulty, thereof. His thoughts are versatile, bright and inspiring, but scattered and unevenly stressed. His writings are full of illustrative parables, suggestive figures, rich and varied quotations, emphatic self-convinced assertion and buoyant exclamations, but, in his own words, ‘fragmentary, introductory and not a systematic treatment or exposition of the philosophy of Vedanta’ (G.R. VI, p. 50). The topics of his lectures greatly overlap one another, their important quickly shifting from theory to value and to practice and practice to theory, this way or that. Over and above that his reader is as if swayed by his powerful sentiments and the whole attempt at critical systematization is naturally defied. His entire philosophy is at once the metaphysics and the poetry of the soul to flood into glory the whole of man’s life. The present study is thus, almost an adventure, with thrill as well as risk, in applying philosophical system to his poetic convictions.
The sources of my study of Swami are his complete works published by the Rama Tirtha Publication League, Lucknow (now Swami Tirtha Pratisthana), in English, Hindi and Urdu. I tried my best to contact, personally and postally people and institutions in India as well as in America to find if anything unpublished could be available to supplement by persons like late Goswami Ganesh Datt and Prof. Hiralal Chopra that there were good many things about Swami Rama which hand not received publicity, the latter claiming to have owned and lost on t he partition of the Punjab, ‘ a heap of letters and articles of Rama’. It is told that Swami Rama himself threw away into the sea quite a lot of cyclostyled copies of his own speeches while returning from America. But there is no written material to serve as an unpublished document now. The lost being lost, I have had to base my study on whatever material is available, some of it being now out of print. The President and the Secretary of the Rama Tirtha Pratisthana, as well as Swami Hari Tirtha, the only surviving disciple of Swami Rama Tirtha have all corroborated that there is nothing from the pen of Swami Rama now left unpublished.
I am greatly thankful to the Rama Tirtha Pratisthana, Sri Mahatma Shantiprakash, the President and late Sri R.S. Sinha, the Secretary of the Pratisthana, for their cordial and unreserved permission to see and study the material available in their custody and to freely use their library. I am equally thankful to the Ramashram Library, Rishikesh, for extending to me the use of its books.
My gratitude is to Dr. B. G. Tiwari, M.A., Ph.D., D.Litt, under whose encouraging supervision I carried on this research study. But for his keen interest, sympathetic guidance and constructive suggestions my work could not have easily found its completion. I have my reverential gratitude in the remembrance of late Dr. S. K. Maitra, Head of the Department of Philosophy, Varanasi Hindu University, Varanasi, who had always shown to me an inspiring affection encouraging my philosophical studies. I express my respectful indebtedness to Dr. B. L. Atreya, Rtd. Head of the Department of Philosophy, Varanasi Hindu University, Varanasi, who was the first to enthuse me for my present undertaking and had been showing a helpful interest in all its progressive stages, giving me, most unreservedly, the advantage of his close study of Swami Rama. I am also deeply obliged to Dr. T. R. Murti, Formerly Head of the Department of Philosophy, Varanasi Hindu University, Varanasi, for some critical suggestions I received from him through his scholarly and sharp discussions on some vital issues.
I have to express a vary sincere appreciation of the noble disposition with which Shri Radhey Mohanji, of Shiva Lal Agarwala & Company, readily offered to publish this book without any prior negotiations or formalities. We only chanced to meet in a bus-travel and our casual introduction brought us closer for common moorings. It was out of his sheer love and good last to bring to light the wisdom of the saints that he showed his initiative to take up the present publication believing that it would reflect Swami Rama Tirtha.
The purpose of the present work would be served if it attracts its readers to a closer study of the philosophy of saints.
This book present a comprehensive study of Swami Rama Tirtha’s philosophy. Analysing its relevance in modern India, it elucidates the Swami’s views on Epistemology, e.g., the limitations of perception and reason and of science and philosophy, the ‘immanent God’, the ‘Ontology of the World’, the ‘Transcendence and immanence of the Self’, the ‘Goal of Life’, ‘Religion’, ‘Morality’, ‘Valuies’, ‘Sadhana,’ ‘Vedanta and Practical life’ and cognate topics.
Dr. H. Maheshwari obtained his Master’s degree in Philosophy from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 1945 and Doctorate from Agra University, Agra in 1958.
From 1946 to 1965 he served as professor of philosophy and the Head of the Department in Various Degree Colleges in U.P. in 1965, he joined the institute of Oriental Philosophy, Vrindaban, as its first principal.
In 1971, he joined Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education, Pondicherry as a professor of Philosophy.
His other work include Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Sri Aurobindo (Text & Translation); The Gita’s Gospel in Sri Aurobindo’s Light (A Themetic Study) and Sri Aravinda ke Alok mein Gita ka Divya Sandesh (Hindi)
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