The Cultural Heritage of India, sponsored by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, is at once a symbol of the renaissance of Hindu thought and ideals and a treasure-house of ancient lore. The whole range of Indian civilization and the variegated products of Hindu culture have been reviewed in its several volumes dealing with the religions, philosophies, literature, and the arts and sciences of India from the twilight past to the present day.
The admitted achievements of India in the directions of assimilation, adaptation, and synthesis of diverse, and even conflicting, points of view, will be illustrated by the movements recorded in these volumes. The religious, artistic, and philosophical developments in India demonstrate India's consistent striving towards samavaya, that is reconciliation and concord. Cultural patterns have, of course, been modified from time to time, but different environments, diversified racial contributions, and innumerable local and historical traditions have not basically affected the continuity of Indian culture during six thousand years or more.
Volume II of this literary lour-de-force comprises studies in the Itihasas, Puranas, Dharma and other Sastras. This volume will be specially significant in the light of present-day Indian conditions and would be invaluable for a proper solution of the problem of national integration, which is now exercising the minds of Indian leaders. The conviction of the immanence of the Supreme Being in every all mate entity, leading to a realization of the dignity of each individual is the message taught by this volume and should be of crucial importance for creating those bonds of love and service, which are indispensable for today and tomorrow. From another point of view, the contributions contained in this volume would be of import, as they would put in proper perspective the values emphasized in modern civilization. India, while not disparaging economic advancement or social utility, has always stressed the importance of human personality against all challenges to it. Neither stark individualism nor collectivization can solve the problems confronting humanity today, and this lesson is specially conveyed by the Itihasas and the Puranas.
The Amarakosa, describing the main characteristics of the Puranas, specially points out that the commands of the Vedas are like those of a master (Prabhu Samhita) whereas the teachings of the Itihasas and Puranas may be compared with the advice and counsel of friends ( Suhrt Samhita).
The Epic Age during which the Ramayana and the Mahabharata received their final shape was a period of racial and ideological conflict; and, historically speaking, this period produced the two great Epics as well as the Manu Dharma-Sastra, the Codes of Yajnavalkya, Narada, and Parasara and the earlier Puranas.
Back of the Book
The first historic work of the combined intelligence of all India giving a complete and connected story of her culture and civilization. It is a monument of Indian co-operative research in history, philosophy, religion, fine arts, exact sciences, economics, politics literature, and sociology.
This is the first and it Present the only systematic, and so far as it goes, authoritative encyclopaedia of Indian culture. The printing and the get-up are simply superb.- The Philosophical Quarterly, India.
One of the most notable enterprises of its kind yet attempted in any Asiatic country reached fruition in India recently with the publication of three volumes in which a survey is made of the whole field of Indian religion, history, and culture.- The Straits Times, Singapore, S.S.
The cultural Heritage of India is a monumental compendium of the treasures of Indian thought of centuries.- Romain Rolland.
The volumes are a contribution of the highest value to all students of Indian thought.- Professor A.B. Keith, Edinburgh.
I feel positive that the publication of these volumes will prove to be of great service not only to India, but also to the rest of the world, where ignorance of India and Indian culture has been a very great obstacle to the due appreciation of the part played by India and Indians in the civilization and progress of the world.- General J.B.M. Hertzog, sometime Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa.
A work that is encyclopaedic in scope
. The vigour with which India is asserting her individuality and cultural importance points towards a renaissance that will enrich not only India, but the rest of the world as well.- The New York Times, New York.
We get from this encyclopaedic book the impression of a people who at their best display the most exquisite refinement of feeling, the subtlest grace, the nicest delicacy
. And it may happen that it will be to India, as well as to Palestine, that we shall have to look for the spirit which will unite men in building a Kingdom of God Upon earth.- The Times Literary Supplement, London.
From the Jacket
This volume, devoted to the study of the Itihasas, the Puranas, and the Dharma and other Sastras, in of particular significance to modern India. One of the major problems facing the country today is the need to resuscitate and reinterpret those national ideals which, for the most part lying dormant, may even now be clearly discerned as the life - force which, through countless centuries, has maintained the continuity of India's culture.
Those Ideals are treasured in the books dealt with in this volume. The two great epics, the Bhagavad-Gita , the Puranas, and the Dharma and other Sastras all speak to us of the divine nature of man, and of the interdependence in one great spiritual unity of everything that exists. Here these great ideas come to us not, for the most part, in narrative, or exemplified in characters portrayed in moving drama.
It is hoped that this volume will play some part in the realization of the present- day need to grasp afresh those ancient national ideals, that they may once more become the basis of India's social life and foundation of national unity. As India takes her stand upon her own national ideals and her sense of nationality is thus established, those same ideals they are universal truths, will also become a guiding light to the whole world in its complex journey through the maze of modern civilization>
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