Things of Beauty

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Item Code: IDK716
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan
Author: V.N. Bhushan
Edition: 2001
Pages: 232
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
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Book Description

The comprehension and appreciation of beauty, and the pursuit and realization of beauty, have always been regarded as among the highest primary aspirations of the human being. Ancient Indian thought equated beauty (sundaram) with truth (satyam) and goodness (shivam) –all the three forming the facets of the Divine. The fundamental concept of Beauty – whether it be in the East or in the West, whether it be that expatiated upon by Hindu philosophers or by Plato or by Shelley or by Keats – has something sacred, if not celestial, about it. Manifold are the manifestations of Beauty – through Nature, through colour, should, movement. Indeed, beauty is coeval with the world, co-extensive with time and space, pervading the seen and the unseen; it is the origin of the Universe and the vital sustainer of the world.

Beauty is not that which simply tickles our senses or yields us momentary pleasure. It is not that which merely comprises of symmetry, variety and colour. It is not a mere reconciliation of matter and sensation on the one side with intellect and spirit on the other. Nor is in a thing of intellectual content and aesthetic experience. Beauty includes all this, and at the same time is above and beyond all of the, beauty cannot be explained by any formula or illustrated by any figure; not that beauty is elusive but that it inflict on man everlasting defeat! Tennyson's pregnant utterance that Beauty, Truth and knowledge are three sister that dote upon each other, friends to man, living together under the same roof, and never can be sundered without tears – gives us some idea of beauty, whose instinct only the soul of man can touch. Considerations – whether beauty is subjective or objective, or intrinsic or extrinsic, or emotive or symbolic, or whether it is that which is psychological or useful – are all irrelevant. As W.B. Yeats said, we can see in all poor foolish things that live a day eternal beauty wandering on her way. An inflow of the Infinite within the finite, a revelation of the Absolute in the relative-Beauty is like a bell that calls us to the sanctuary of the soul!.

By common consent, literature – the noble thoughts and dreams of choice spirits and master minds – occupies a place of honour among the arts that deal with and disclose the beautiful. The literary artist is primarily a creator – a creator of beauty – out of the discords of the Universe. Loving the 'principle of beauty in all things' – the literary artist sees beyond the coloured dome of appearance-sees the beatific vision of the pure white radiance of Being. Tuning his reed to beauty, the 'beauty of all beauty' from which all-beautiful things take their quality – he moves to his utterance:

We who with songs beguile you pilgrimage
And swear that Beauty lives tho' lilies die.
We poets of the proud old lineage
Who sing to find your hearts we know not why.

From the dim dawn of history the enlightened minds of all countries and of all ages have contributed not a little to the treasure of sentential lore-which has proved to be a veritable gold mine of beauty, truth and wisdom. Whether it be the Sacred Books of the East or the Religious Texts of the West. The aphorisms of ancient writers or the apothegms of the medieval ages or the variegated thoughts of more recent times-we find in all of them an inexhaustible source of entertainment, enlightment, and inspiration. Embedded in them we find important aspect of divine goodness, of human nobility and dignity, of moral wisdom, of benevolence and virtue of political or personal prudence, and 'those truths in action which are as unchangeable, mighty, and palpable as the laws of Nature, and which will continue so to the end of the world'.

From such an invaluable tide – drift of the centuries here is presented in a manageable and purchasable form an enwrapment of fadeless splendour. Seekers of beauty and of flowers of intellect, searchers of pearls of thought, adventurers for gems of wisdom – all will find in these pages something to touch the heart or to thrill the mind, to widen knowledge or to broaden sympathy. Songs and chants, fables and parables, epigrams and maxims, stories and essays, poems and plays – are spread here as in a feast for the connoisseur as well as for the common reader. The selections in these pages contain 'record of great and benign influences that short rays of joy, of hope, of warning over the minds and thoughts of created beings, and soothed or darkened their journey along the multitudinous ways of life. 'All these constitute that body of literature which, in its largest sense, is the weaving or unwinding of those counter-threads – white or black – which guide the march or feed the courage of all those who toil amid the pitfalls where darkness frowns, towards the Delectable Mountains, where brightness reigns. 'Pagan faith, Hebrew thought, Vedic wisdom, Greek beauty, Roman grandeur, Christian Charity, Persian roses, rhetorical flourishes and poetic facilities - all these are here floating as it were on the beautiful full tide of their own undying excellence-promising, 'to bring sun-shine into our hearts and to drive moonshine out of our heads'.

May this anthology of some of the best and brightest thoughts of the choicest thinkers and writers-a bonquest of beautiful things – afford the reader many an hour of agreeable and instructive reading and help him to cultivate social virtues, pleasures of the intellect and the imagination, and the pure delight that fills the human heart with joy profound and peace perennial! Things of beauty are verily a joy forever!

About the Author

An eminent educationist, V. N. Bhushan (1909-1951) is assured of a prominent place in the galaxy of Indo-Anglian poets and writers. He took his M.A. from the Banaras Hindu University in 1933 with a first class first in English. His connections both as a student and later as a professor extended to five universities.

Well known as a brilliant story-writer and piquant playwright in Telugu, Bhushan did an amazing amount of writing in English; poems plays, stories, essays in literary criticism and anthologies gushed from his pen. The prolific quantity was more than matched by the very high quality. His poems, published in eight volumes, elicited the encomiums of such distinguished savants like Rabindranath Tagore, Mahommed Iqbal, Sarojini Naidu, John Galsworthy and Somerset Maugham.

He has more than a score of publications to his credit, chief amongst which are " The Peacock Lute". "The Moving Finger" and "The Far Ascent".

With a complex mental make-up, with an unbounded enthusiasm for creative activities, with a lofty idealism that never waxed and waned with the seasons, with stern features but a kind heart, Bhushan lived in the seclusion of the Ivory Tower, wedded to literary and cultural pursuits.

At the time of his demise, he was the Principal of the Bhavan's College at Andheri, Mumbai.


Kulapati's Preface v
Author's Preface ix
Acknowledgements xiii
1.The Assyrian story of the creation
-Rev. A.H. Sayce
2.Vedic Hymns
-Sir Monier-Williams
3.Love Stronger than death (the Story of of Savitri)
-Pratap Chandra Roy
4.Aesop's Fables
-Retold by Phoedrus
5.Greece and Rome
-P.B. Shelley
6.Anecdotes and Aphorisms
-Diogenes Laertius
7.The trial of Socrates
8.On Anger
9.Maxims of Epictetus
-T.W. Rolleston
10.Apologues and morals from the gulistan
-Sa 'di
11.Of the liberty of subjects
-Thomas Hobbes
12.What is religion?
-Swami Vivekananda
13.The realisation of beauty
-Rabindranath Tagore
14.The problem of life
-Shri Aurobindo
15.On God
-M.K. Gandhi
16.The Bhagavad-Gita
-S. Radhakrishnan
17.Ashoka, the beloved of the gods
-Jawaharlal Nehru
18.Social foundation of Indian culture
-K.M. Munshi
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