The Author, Shri S. Narayana Rao, was born at Satyavaram Village, Mandal, Dist. Mahabubnagar, A.P., on 8th, Nov. 1928, A.D. He was the second son of Sri S. Raghavender Rao, He lost his parents in his childhood only. he passed his H.S.C. Exam., in 1947. After police action he passed his inter in 1949 and B.A. in 1951. He passed his M.A. with Sociology in 1957 and M.A. Urdu in 1961 and B.Ed. in 1968, from the Osmania-University, Hyderabad. for 17 years, he worked as Head Master in Z.P. Scholls and for 17 years, he worked as Lecturer and Head of the Department, in different Degree Colleges. Finally, he retired from service in Nov. 1986.
"He is well accustomed with Telugu, English, Hindi, Urdu and Kannada language and has a thorough knowledge of them. he is married to the eldest daughter of Late Sri Pallerla Hanumanth Rao, Deputy Minister and M.P. of A.P. His masterpiece in Urdu, "Ramayana for the Modern World" was published in 1980 with the TTD aid. it brought to him great honours and prizes from different Sahitya Academies. The Govt. of India awarded to him a special prize on this. Great persons, scholars and poets praised this book very much. In 1987, his second book 'Sublime Thoughts on Srimad Maha Bhagawatham" in English was published with the TTD aid. Here, he has acquainted the readers with some of the sublime eternal truths and morals drawn from this great treasure-house of such truths. it was really a great and useful attempt to understand this great work to some extent. Being a college teacher for 17 years, he has got rich experience and the required capacity to cull out the best and present them to the readers in a fitting manner and he has done quite well here. In 1988, his book "Miracles of Saint Vijaya Dasa" in English was published by the TTD aid. IT was a masterly treatise on the Haridasa movement and the saint. A very good and accurate translation of many songs of Haridasa from Kannada to English has been given here by the author and quoted in this book properly. His desire and plan to publish such other books on other eminent Haridasas will certainly be fulfilled by the God. Eminent scholars and dignitaries have appreciated it. His interest and scholarship in the Haridasa literature is very deep and praiseworthy. It is a very good example of Samskara. He has immense love and devotion and interest in Dwaita Philosophy. In 1989, he has himself published with great devotion, a short biography and Miracles of his guruji. Late Shri A. Venkat Ramaniah Garu who was a great Sadaka and eminent founder of Sri Chamundeswari Devi's Temple at Chitkul, in Medak Dist. In 1990, his book "A SHort biography of Sri Dattatreya Swami, in Telugu, was published with the TTD aid. It includes the "Guru Geeta Saramu" also and is very useful for the devotees for their daily recitation. In 1991, his another masterpiece book "Essentials of the Bhagawatham" in English, is being published by himself. He has culled out its essential truths and teachings in excellent manner. He has very earnestly taken up to the study of Madhwa philosophy and the Bhagawatham. His earnest devotion, spirit of industry, has carned him great scholarshop in Puranic literatrue. this work is really commendable. it is of high standard. it is really praiseworthy. He has published a few Dharmic books, which have brought to him great name, fame, popularity, praise from high dignitaries and numerous prizes. The TTD., the Govt. of India, the different literary academies have already honoured him by prizes and certificates on his different religious books. Some eminent Books are to be published by him soon. I wish the author all the success in his scholarly endeavour and let many more works come through his pen and enrich the world."
I am happy to introduce yet another book by my friend, Sri S. Narayan Rao this time on “Sublime Thoughts on Sri Mahabharatham”.
Mahabharata is a great epic composed by God Himself in the name of Sri Vedavyasa who is also called Badaraayana, Krishna-Dwaipaayana and Vasishta Krishna, Satyavati sootha, etc. It is an unfailing and perennial source of spiritual strength. The epic has moulded the characters and civilization of our sacred land-Bharatavarsh. It is our noblest heritage. It has strengthened our soul. It is well said that everything is found in this epic. That which is not found in it, cannot be found anywhere else. It is called “Panchama Veda”.
Mahabharata teaches us the implications of Dharma and its application to our lives in different stages. We find in it the various doctrines of Dharma. We find in it mentioned important spiritual classics like the great Bhagavad Gita, Vidura Neethi, Yaksha Prasna, Sanat-Sujaateeya, etc. the message of the vedas and Upanishads is elaborated with illustrations in the form of anecdotes in the Mahabharata. It is a great work of rules relating to character building and is rightly called an eternal guide to mankind. One can find for himself solutions for all his problems, worldly as well as spiritual. God in the human form (Sri Krishna) has demonstrated to the world how to uphold virtue in this great epic.
Mahabharata is great and vast (Maha and Bharataa both). It is a big ocean of innumerable jewels and valuable pearls. One can lift as many pearls as he can and can never exhaust. The present author, Sri S. Narayana Rao, has scholarly picked up one hundred and twenty thoughts from this immortal source which are worthy of study. I am sure it will capture the imagination of the learned people and the youth of the country. Some of the best incidents and morals are depicted and finely narrated here very scholarly and in a lucid and clear way. For example, the magnetic charm and bewitching image of the Lord, desires lead to rebirth, God-the supreme arbiter of destiny, Virtue is man’s shield, power of chastity, charity is noblest, evil effects of jealousy, greatness of devotion, adherence to Dharma keeps us happy, do not yield to temptations, influence of attachment, sinful will be punished, God is pleased with the dutiful, philosophic truths in riddles, keep out evil thoughts, justice always triumphs, give up desires to be happy, the lure of wealth and women, Vedic utterances have eternal validity, devotion is the link between God and man, etc.
This book certainly gives an interesting reading and it is to be chewed and digested. I am glad to know that Sri Satyavaram Narayam Rao, is very much busy in his scholarly pursuits after his retirement. He has produced very good and marvelous works which are of high literary standing. I heartily congratulate him on his worthwhile endeavours and great literary achievements. May God bless him with excellent health, wealth and prosperity and long noble life. His wisdom may guide him to achieve still higher achievements. I expect from him many such books from his scholarly and illustrious pen in future also. May the Almighty’s choicest blessings be showered on him.
The modern man, under the impact of western civilization, is crazy about accumulating a variety of goods to make himself happy. Hence, earning more and more money becomes an obsession with him. But the pity is, even after acquiring them, he continues to remain dissatisfied. He does not experience a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of joy. He possesses many things but lacks the most important inward peace and quiet. His mind is always restless.
The habits, values and the life-style of the people have undergone a sea-change in the last two or three generations. Our dwellings are no longer happy homes, filled with spiritual aroma and characterized by elders associating every activity with God and the young ones imbibing that bent of mind from childhood. Those by gone days, no one partook of any thing before it was offered to the Lord. Everything was God’s Prasad. The entire family remained happy and contented. Those days, the people were not educated in the formal sense but were knowledgeable. They knew what contributed to happiness and peace. Their lives were marked by simple living and high thinking and they shared their belongings with others. But the educated modern man, highly self-centred, has not learnt how to be happy with himself and make others happy. Disappointed and dejected, he visits several places to get relief from stress and pain. All that he gets is only temporary titillation. One can get peace and happiness only when one turned to God and sought the company of the pious and virtuous. If a person repeatedly listened to the narration of the lives of exalted persons, marked by simplicity and unselfishness, he would be irresistibly attracted to them.
In 1987, I had published “Sublime Thoughts on Srimad Mahabhagawatham” in English, with the aid of the T.T. D. Many scholars and learned authors and eminent persons appreciated it very much and desired similar works on Mahabharata, Ramayana etc. from my pen. By God’s grace, I have now completed my book entitled “Sublime Thoughts on Mahabharata in English. It is the result of hard work, assiduous perseverance of three long years. I have put in great and conscientious labour in preparing this volume. If encouraged on this venture, I propose to write ‘Sublime Thoughts on Ramayana’ etc. on similar lines. I have rendered this humble service to the English-knowing public which has neither the time nor the ability to read the original text in Sanskrit. I hope, these Sublime Thoughts on Mahabharata, presented by me, would surely capture the imagination of the readers. Here, I have narrated and selected the best incidents and morals from the Mahabharata, conveyed to the modern readers in an attractive method and simple but lucid style. The language is very simple and direct. The readers will have close and intimate glimpses of the stupendous drama which was enacted in the Kurukshetra battle field, years ago. The selected incidents of the epic are portrayed here very dramatically, mixed with great moral lessons, elucidating and explaining them vividly. I have, by all means, retained the spirit of the epic. In all the anecdotes, dramatic significance is retained.
If, after reading my book, I hope, a few at least would read the epic in the original, my desire would be fulfilled. My book is just a guide into the Vast ocean called Mahabharata. This is just an humble effort, on my behalf, to acquaint the readers with some of the sublime eternal truths and morals drawn from this great treasure-house of such truths. There are ever so many of such sublime truths and dictums treasured in this work. But I have picked up only some of them and have tried to introduce them with interpretation. It is really a useful attempt to understand this great work to some extent. I have made earnest attempt to make the rendering eminently readable and enjoyable. I thank sincerely Dr. K.M. Krishna Rao, Retired Professor, Bangalore, for his valuable and worthy “foreword” readily sent painstakingly. I am also grateful to the T.T.D. Authorities for their financial assistance and encouragement.
The Mahabharat, with its 1,25,000 verses, covers a variety of doctrines hidden in the Vedas. It is not a mere string of tales. Man today feels despondent over the trend of events and often regrets why he was born. The purpose of creation is something beyond human comprehension as it is God’s play. This great epic describes elaborately the origin of the illustrious Lunar race, from which hailed Bharata, after whom this country has taken its name. vyasa, the author of the poem, is also the source from whom the chief actors of this drama sprang. A study of this monumental work will cleanse one’s heart and remove all sin.
The Mahabharat was recited in the Sarpayajnam performed by Janamejaya (great grandson of the Pandavas) to wipe out the entire serpent population as a revenge for one of them having bitten his father (Pareekshit King). As the mantras were chanted, snakes flung themselves into the leaping flames. The penance was, however, stopped in time by the intervention of the sage, Asthika. The related verse, recited daily with faith, will ensure freedom from the bite of a reptile. Also, at the commencement of the story, the importance of Sandhyavandanam is highlighted in the sage Jaratkaru episode.
Centuries ago, it was proclaimed that “what is not in the Mahabharata, is nowhere “. After twenty five centuries, we can say the same thing about it even now. He, who does not know Mahabharata, knows not life, its beauty, its style its trials, its tragedy and its grandeur. It is not a mere epic. It is also a romance, a tale of heroic men, and women and of some who were divine, a whole literature, a whole code of life, a philosophy of social and ethical relations and of speculative thought, with its core of the Gita, the noblest of the scriptures and the grandest saga working upto the Apocalypse in the eleventh chapter. It is the best literature of India, ancient and modern, and should be brought into a common pool, easily accessible to all, through all the languages of India. The world, in all its sordidity, was too much around us. Nothing will lift, inspire and uplift as beauty and aspiration learnt through such books, One may tour all over India and see all things but one cannot understand India’s “way of life” unless one has read Mahabharata and Ramayana, at least, in a good translation.
Hindu tradition accepts a number of “incarnations” of the Lord. To redress imbalance between justice and injustice, to punish the wicked and protect the good, the Lord manifests Himself as a Supreme person and shows the way. Among different such incarnations of the Lord, that of Veda Vyasa is an intellectual one. The Lord in this form, classified the Vedas into four and made it available for the devotees to know the meaning. Besides this, Vyasa out of great compassion for the lay public who could not read the Vedas, wrote the great epic Mahabharata running into 1,25,000 Verses. This classical epic is a Veritable “hold all” of Indian culture.
It contains all that can be said about the four-fold aspirations of man-wealth, desires, dharma and moksha. What is not found in this epic, is not found elsewhere. What is not found anywhere is found here. “The epic is a huge electrical field with high-powered incandescent bulbs. For example, it contains the Vidura neethi, Yaksha Prasna, Sanat Sujateeyam, Bhagawad Gita. Vishnu Sahasranama, Discourses on politics and sociology and administration in the Shanti Parva. The epic is a treasure house for all who want to live a sane life.
Veda Vyasa is known by different names, like Baadaraayana and Krishna Dwaipayana. He has given us a great book of aphorisms, called the Brahma Sutras. They constitute the spiritual dictionary for understanding the Upanishads. Veda Vyasa is adored by all on the Ashadha Pournami day, today when sanyasins conduct the Vyasa Puja to mark their Chaturmasya and pay their homage to Him. It will not be an exaggeration to say that Indian philosophy and culture minus Veda Vyasa is zero.
The realities are idealized by genius and given the form that makes the drama, poetry or great prose. Since literature is closely related to life, so long as the human family is divided into nations, literature cannot escape the effects of such division. But the highest literature transcends regionalism and through it, when we are properly attuned we realise the essential oneness of the human family.
The Mahabharata is of this class. It belongs to the world and not only to India. To the people of India, indeed this epic has been an unfailing and perennial source of spiritual strength. Learnt at the mother’s knee with reverence and love it has inspired great men to heroic deeds as well as enabled the humble to face their trials with fortitude and faith.
The Mahabharata was composed many thousand years ago, but generations of gifted reciters have added to Vyasa’s original a great of accretions. All the floating literature that was thought to be worth preserving, historical, geographical, legendary, political, theological and philosophical, of nearly thirty Centuries, found a place in it. In those days, when there was no printing, interpolation in a recognized classic seemed to correspond to inclusion in the National library. Divested with these accretions, the Mahabharata is a noble poem possessing in a supreme degree the characteristic of a true epic, great and fateful movement, heroic characters and stately diction. The characters in the epic move with the vitality of real life. It is difficult to find anywhere such vivid portraiture on so ample a canvas. Bheeshma, the perfect knight, the Venerable Drona, the vain but chivalrous Karna, Duryodhana whose perverse pride is redeemed by great courage in adversity, the high-souled Pandavas with God-like strength as well as power of suffering. Draupadi, most unfortunate of queens, Kunti, the worthy mother of heroes, Gandhari, the devoted wife and sad mother of the wicked sons of Dhritarashtra-there are some of the immortal figures on that crowded but never confused canvas. Then there is great Krishna himself, most energetic of men whose divinity scintillates through a cloud of very human characteristics. His high purposefulness pervades the whole epic. One can read even a translation and feel the overwhelming power of the incomparable vastness and sublimity of the poem.
In the world of classical literature the Mahabharata is unique in many respects. As an epic. it is the greatest-seven times as great as the Odyssey combined and the grandest-animating the heart of India over two thousand years past and destined to lead humanity for thousands of years in future. It is the mightiest single endeavour of literary creation of any culture in human history. The effort to conceive the mind that conceived it is itself a liberal education and a walk through its table of contents is more than a Sabbath-day Journey.
Brahma Sutras (81)
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