The saints and sages in our Puranas have left a rich spiritual and moral legacy as to how to cultivate devotion, acquire spiritual knowledge and become true devotees of the Lord of the universe by self-sacrifice, adherence to truth, justice, equality, compassion and love towards all living beings irrespective of caste and creed and mild or wild animals.
Why should we read books like The Great Men and Women of Puranas? Because Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the great philosopher, statesman and the former president of our country has observed:
"We do not realize adequately to what extent our minds are moulded by the books we read especially in youth.
"When we read classics, our minds become dyed to their thoughts. Great books foster the psychological health of the reader. They include in us largeness of mind and normative vision. They give us moral contentment."
Details of lives of great men and women of Puranas which are scattered in the eighteen Puranas and the great Epic, the Mahabharata, are culted and knit together in these biographies.
Kolar Krishna Iyer is a retired District Audit and Accounts Officer, T. T. Devasthanams, Tirupati.
Chikkerur Dheerendra Acharya is a retired railway official.
The ancient spiritual and cultural values for which we have stood, the beliefs we have cherished and the ideas which we have held dear, are crumbling fast.
One among the numerous mistaken notions held by many of our modern youth is that the contents of ancient religious texts, and the two great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and the Puranas, reflect only the imagination of some men claiming to be wise and that the various episodes therein are of no significance or value in modern days. Far from this, every episode in our Puranas and the two great epics, is intended to kindle in us great morals, self-sacrifice for the welfare of all the living beings, devotion to parents and to God. They are aimed at spreading among us the noble ideals and tenets in our great scriptures depicted through the lives of great men and women (saints, sages, kings and others) therein. The noble lives of these great men and women have undoubtedly exercised considerable influence on the cultural and moral development of our society.
The lives of great men and women are the living eternal monuments of our culture and heritage. A study of their biographies give a fillip and inspiration for the continuity and development of our culture and heritage with eternal values in this changing society towards materialism.
The saints and sages have left a rich spiritual and moral legacy as to how to cultivate devotion, acquire spiritual knowledge and become true devotee of the Lord of the universe by self-sacrifice, adherence to truth, justice, equality, compassion and love towards all living beings, irrespective of caste, creed and mild or wild animals.
A study of the lives of great men and women in our Puranas, we hope, will to a great extent not only halt the fast crumbling of our past, spiritual, cultural and moral values which we have cherished, but also give a fillip to their continuity and development. With this view, we present these biographies.
Many of us though familiar with the names of great men and women whose biographies are presented in the following pages, are not familiar with the details of their lives, as they are scattered among the several Puranas and the two great Epics. So an effort has been made to cull the details out of the several sources (eighteen Puranas and the two Epics) and knit them together, the result of which is these biographies in the shape of a book, The Great Men and Women of Puranas.
My thanks are due to my grand-daughter S. Arpitha for her assistance in compiling the Index.
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