Swami Rama Tirtha was one of the greatest seers, not only of India but of the whole world. He was a sage, poet, philosopher, and spiritual leader of our times. Vedanta shows the seeker the way to liberation... to Swami Rama Tirtha goes the credit for reviving Vedanta in the modern world. He revived India's spiritual heritage and called his philosophy Practical Vedanta.
Both Swami Rama Tirtha's poetry and prose embody his universal and practical philosophy. His poems and lectures on Practical Vedanta lead readers into the secret of his access to the court of the Lord of Life. How wonderfully full of real life, devotion and inspiration they are! Practical Vedanta is an inspirational book which can help lead one to fearlessness and Self-realization.
Swami Rama Tirtha was one of the greatest seers, not only of India, but of the whole world. He was a sage, poet, philosopher and spiritual leader of our times. To give an exhaustive list of his many attainments from early youth onward would be a difficult task-for his was a towering personality. Philosophy, mathematics, the Persian language, these were only a few of the subjects at his command.
As a student Swami Rama Tirtha was fond of keeping journals. Over a thousand of his letters, mostly written to his Guru while he was a student, and later to his friends and followers, are still available. They reflect his unique personality at every stage as in a mirror. Swami Rama Tirtha spoke ex tempore. He writes: "Poverty is blessed: it constructs a ladder of tear drops to the throne of God." His father felt that Rama Tirtha should be earning bread for the family, but destiny seemed to have willed otherwise.
Both as a student and as a professor, Swami Rama Tirtha placed great emphasis on the value of work. "We are abundantly reaping the fruits of the labors of others. Let us not forget that we ought to do something for others in return." He felt that we owe a heavy debt to humanity and that we ought to leave the world better than we found it. "Work with all your heart and might remembering that work is worship. Genuine work will be found to be its own reward." Work is the normal state of man. The natural way to enlightenment is the faithful use of what we have. Practice alone makes us perfect. It is not enough to know theory; man must practice the art if he wants to swim across the river.
After a few years, Rama Tirtha retired to the Himalayas to build a little sacred shrine for God in his heart. "In this network of life, evolution is simply orderly change. Some fruits stick onto the tree even after they are ripe while others fall when they are ripe." Rama Tirtha loved the Himalayan Mountains. For him, retreating into the Himalayas was necessary for Self-realization. Before he could work in the world he had to accumulate a vast store of energy. Filled with the flames of divine fire he boldly and fearlessly taught the practical Vedanta which one should practice even in the face of persecution and opposition.
The Vedas are the most ancient books in the library of man. They are considered by those who study them to be an infinite source of knowledge. The latter part of these texts are called Upanishads or sruti. The Upanishads are the finest part of the Vedas and are called Vedanta because in them Vedic wisdom reaches its culmination or anta. Vedanta shows the seeker the way to liberation and the Summum Bonum of life. To Swami Rama Tirtha goes the credit for reviving Vedanta in the modern world. He revived India's spiritual heritage and called his philosophy Practical Vedanta.
From the prime of his manhood onward he traveled from country to country lecturing in the leading universities of the world. Deep insight and spiritual inspiration were his magic wands, by whose power he roamed from the Himalayan Mountains to the east and west coasts of the United States. He did not, as many Easterners had, dismiss the West with a supercilious sneer. He respected the West for its science, its strength, freedom, justice, and activities for human rights. He did not identify himself with any caste, creed, sex, or color. He was of the cosmos. He did not believe in a God or a religion of disparity. While denouncing nationalism, he propagated the ideals of universal consciousness and became a chief proponent of practical Vedanta. His internationalism was enveloped with practical Vedanta. He believed that India has a message and a mission, special work entrusted to her by providence.
Both Swami Rama Tirtha's poetry and prose embody his universal and practical philosophy. The music of his works which fills the outer ear is but an echo of the inner harmony of humanity and the universe, which exists at the heart of things and which he has caught and made manifest by his works. In his works, Eastern literature has outgrown its character and has become fit to fraternize with world literature. Universal currents of thoughts and spirituality have flowed into modern life through his writings. His poems and lectures on practical Vedanta lead the readers into the secret of his access to the court of the Lord of Life and of his communion with Him. His writings in a spiritual vein have brought solace and healing to many a troubled soul. How wonderfully full of real life, devotion and inspiration they are!
"His body was a lake which trembled seeing the sun enter into its depths. He confounds logic by his divine ecstasy, enchants the very air around himself with his brilliant speech that was all poetry, all music . . . a truly eloquent apostle of the life of the spirit." Puran Singh
Swami Rama Tirtha said that the highest of all prayers is to remember one's own Self which is the Self of all. You have not to become pure; you are pure already. You are not to be perfect; you are that already.
Brandt Dayton, the compiler and editor of this book, undertook this task to make the book available for Western readers. A great service has been done especially for those who are prepared to listen to the music of the silence, follow it, and improve and enlighten themselves. The practical Vedanta of Swami Rama Tirtha will benefit readers philosophically, devotionally, intellectually and spiritually. It is an inspirational book which can help lead one to fearlessness and Self-realization.
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