‘Vedanta Through Stories’ by Swami Sambuddhananda, who was the head of Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama,
Khar, Bombay, was published in the year 1950.
We are happy to present the reprint of this book after the gap of many years. Spiritual
disciplines are necessary for the purification of body and mind. One should study Upanisads and
ruminate on Vedantic thoughts. Self-realisation is the aim of human life. “When the mind is attached to
sense objects, it becomes impure. When it is detached from sense objects, it becomes pure.”
Meditation is the activity of the pure mind when it has been purified by japam & austerity.
There are four great Vedic dictums known as the Vedanta Mahavakyas. Realisation of the
meaning of these utterances liberates one from bondage. It is very necessary to have reflection and
meditation on the Mahavakyas of the Vedas. These Mahavakyas are:
(i) “Consciousness is Brahman” (Rigveda)
(ii) “I am Brahman” (Yajurveda)
(iii) “Thou art That” (Samaveda)
(iv) “This self is Brahman” (Atharvaveda)
In human life only, one gets a rare chance to live in the holy company and experience Vedantic truths.
The Atman (Brahman) is first to be heard of then reflected on and finally meditated upon. The Atman is
existence – knowledge – bliss absolute.
“God is the Self of the Universe, the immortal being, The Lord. He is the all-knowing,
all-pervading protector of the universe. Let us seek refuge in that effulgent Being, whose light reveals
the knowledge of the Atman.” By Self-realisation one attains Eternal Peace and Divine Bliss.
Vedanta through stories helps greatly to understand the hidden meaning of Upanisads and the
spiritual consciousness will be aroused to lead the life of practical Vedanta.
May this book help readers to mould their character for spiritual enlightenment.
It was the desire of Swami Vivekananda that the philosophy of the Vedanta should be made easily
available to the ordinary man in India and abroad. He believed that the dissemination of the ideas
underlying that philosophy among the people would have consequences of great moment, such as
diminishing the existing bigotries, prejudices, religious jealousies and unhealthy conflicts, and creating
mutual understanding and goodwill between different communities and nations.
This book is an humble attempt to popularize the principles of the Vedanta with the help of
stories, anecdotes and parables. These have been roughly grouped together in suitable categories,
including a few tales and anecdotes of a seemingly secular character which have been added for the sake
of variety and also perhaps as illustrating certain significant aspects of worldly life and behaviour.
I am extremely thankful to the Hon’ble Dr. Syama Prasad Mookherjee for his kindness in
writing a foreword to this humble effort of mine. I am greatly thankful to Mr. K. C. Sen, I. C. S.
Ex-judge, High Court, Bombay, now President, Industrial Tribunnal, for going through the typoscript of
the book, and to many other friends who were generally very helpful to me in the publication.
I shall consider myself amply rewarded if this brings any comfort, solace or message of
uplift or of right living to any of my readers.
Vedanta which literally means self-realisation or fulfilment is not merely an abstract philosophy
belonging to the realm of speculation and divorced from the actual mode of life. It has an intensely
practical side also. As one of its greatest exponents Swami Vivekananda said, the ideal of Vedanta lived
by the recluse outside the pale of society can be practiced even from hearth and home and applied to all
our daily schemes of life. Whatever may be the avocation of man, he can follow its fundamental
principle which means service of man, knowing him to be the manifestation of God. It also teaches men
to have faith in themselves and imbibe the virtues of courage and optimism as opposed to cowardice and
pessimism. Finally, Vedanta as a religion does not tolerate bigotries, narrow prejudices and religious
and the universal acceptance of all religions. I cannot do better than quote the words of Swami
Vivekananda who illustrated this characteristic of Vedanta in his inimitable way. “I accept all religions
that were in the past,” said the Swami, “and worship with them all; I worship God with every one of them,
in whatever form they worship Him. I shall go to the mosque of the Mohammedan; I shall enter the
Christian’s church and knell before the crucifix; I shall enter the Buddhistic temple where I shall take
refuge and sit down in meditation with the Hindu who is trying to see the light which enlightens the heart
of every one. Not only shall I do these but I shall keep my heart open for all that may come in the
Such is the catholicity of the Vedantic religion and naturally Swami Vivekananda laid great
stress on the dissemination of the ideas underlying it among the people. In fact, one of the objects with
which the Ramakrishna mission was founded was “to spread among the people in general Vedantic and
other religious ideas in the way in which they were elucidated in the life of Sri Ramakrishna.” One thing
which has stood in the way of such widespread dissemination of Vedanta knowledge is the lack of a
popular, yet authentic version which can be understood without difficulty by ordinary men and women.
“Vedanta Through Stories” is such a popular version. It seeks to explain and popularize the fundamental
tenets of the Vedanta with the help of anecdotes and parables collected from the Upanishads and from
the lives of saints and sages, Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, Buddha and Shankara, Ramakrishna and
Vivekananda. It is a magnificent attempt and will go a long way in spreading the message of the Vedanta
among those who have neither the leisure nor the background to go through different philosophical
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