Poorvaamnaaya Puri Peethaadheeshwar Shreemajjagadguru Shankaraachaarya Swami Nishchalanand Saraswati ji Mahabhaag had the desire to republish the original book 'Sanatana Dharma' (in English) authored by the 143rd Shreemajjagadguru Shankaraachaarya of Poorvaamnaaya Shree Govardhan matha, Puri, Swanaamadhanya Swami Bharti Krishna Teerthji Maharaj. He also desired to publish its Hindi translation.
In the mean time, by the grace of god, Smt. Usha Maharotra ji and Smt. Bharti Seth ji, the wife and daughter of late Shree Vishweshwar Nath Maharotra ji a devotee of the author and resident of Patna, contacted the Govardhan Matha and informed that late Maharotra ji had translated the book 'Sanatana Dharma' in Hindi and had also informed that he expressed his desire during his lifetime that this book be published by Shree Govardhan matha.
By the inspiration of Poojyapaada (One whose feet are worth worshiping) Shree Ashok Singh ji of Patna got the book composed and handed it over to Usha ji. Usha ji and Bharti ji presented the composed book to Shreecharan during his Patna visit and expressed their desire to get the book published at the earliest. Smt. Bharti further wished that the book be published during the lifetime of her mother.
Poojyapaada studied the composed book. He liked the translation of the book but at the same time it was felt necessary to get the fresh copy free from all the errors. The original work is in English. Poojyapaada gave proper form to this book. Accordingly the compositor of the matha Shree Devabrat Rath ji started the work. Poojyapaada himself went through the composed book several times to correct the proof and got the book published.
Poojyapaada has added editorial chapter and' editorial comments according to the context wherever found fit. He also added the synopsis of each chapter of the original book as well as a chapter on 24 characteristics of Sanatana Dharma.
The book is very useful on philosophical, scientific and practical level. The translator Late Shree Vishweshwar Nath Maharotraji, his wife and daughter are worthy of praise in every day.
Smt, Usha Mehorotra ji and her daughter Smt. Bharti Seth ji have presented a noble example by handing over the religious books of Late Shree Vishweshwar Nath Maharotra ji to the library of Govardhan matha in accordance with his wish.
Stirring and critical are the times during which our lives have been in cast in the history of the world in general and of India in particular. We are. called upon to face a tremendous conflict between two cultures, two civilizations, two outlooks, two frames of mind and two modes of thought. One of these is the ancient and eternal culture of India, known as Sanatana Dhanna, and the other is what goes by the name of modem culture and civilization. Generally the two are viewed in mutual opposition and the tendency is to look down upon the former and uphold the latter.
People speak of the time-spirit and say that the time-spirit is against Sanatana Dharma. But the time-spirit is what we
make. It is not the time-spirit that makes us. The moment we make the time-spirit to rule over us, we have become inert matter and we are not entitled to call ourselves thinking rational human being, not even living beings of any type whatsoever. Take a flood for example. What are the objects which you see floating down the stream? Trees which have been uprooted from the banks, carcasses of animals, and all dead things are carried down in the flood. You will not find a single living beast floating down the current mechanically and automatically so long as there is life in it. You will find the beasts struggling against the current. We are human beings proud of our superiority and intelligence, of our education and culture. If we float down the current, that means we have ceased to be living beings. We are worse than beasts. It is only when beasts die that they float down the current and not until then.
It is our duty rational beings to consider the pros and cons arrive at conclusions which will benefit ourselves and humanity,
and act accordingly. Let me remove a general misunderstanding. Sanatana Dharma does not impose blind faith on anyone. It does not shut out inquiry. On the other hand, it stimulates inquiry absolutely free from prejudice and prepossessions. The charge that our ancients did not have the scientific spirit of inquiry, but were moved by blind faith, is a libel on the Indian mind and temperament. The spirit of inquiry is not merely per-mitted, or merely encouraged; it is enjoined, even with regard to the highest sciences..
And there is another point. Even the greatest and the wisest among us will have to learn from those who have previous, not merely with regard to spiritual matters, but even with regard to most secular things as tailoring, cooking etc. which we have to learn by actual direct personal experience.
Learning from those who know already is sravana.
After this learning, investigation, inquiry, is enjoined next.
Take up all the things which can possibly arise by way of doubts and difficulties and every such doubt and difficulty removed. That is manana.
Nididhyasana comes next. What we have learned from the Master's lips and understood without intellect is to be carried into practice. So the Sanatana Dharma way is to learn a thing correctly from the Guru, and after careful investigations, assert it as being the correct doctrine on being convinced of its truth. Thus the idea that Sanatana Dharma is against the spirit of inquiry is wrong.
A second charge against Sanatana Dharma is that it is something static and not dynamic and that Hinduism stands in the way of progress. People are asked why India which was so great politically, economically and in other ways in the ancient past has now declined. It is said that religion in general and Sanatana Dharma in particular are enemies of all progress. But this is a wrong impression.
If there is anything dynamic in the world, it is Sanatana Dharma. Let us first understand what Dharma means. It is a medium or instrument, or a number of instruments, by which we are uplifted. Contrary to the common wrong notion about it, Dharma is that by which we are prevented from falling down, from degrading ourselves. We are uplifted by it, not in one direction only, but all round. It includes all branches of learning, every department of knowledge. Every kind of knowledge helps us to raise our level from its present position to a higher one, and that is Dharma. Our scriptures deal with all branches of secular knowledge and finally with the highest kind of knowledge, that dealing with moksha, release from all bondage.
Our idea of Dharma is connected with dharma, uplift, and the uplift going from stage to stage upon the rungs of the spiritual and temporal ladder, leading us at last to a stage of absolute emancipation from all bondage.
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