From The Jacket
The Present Volume bears ample testimony to the great hospitality of the Indian mind in encouraging and inviting different points of view and different lines of approach to the great quest for the Ultimate Reality. It sketches the more important sects and living religions which India accepts as diverse expressions of religion itself.
Hinduism in its various ramifications derived from a common stock is an exceedingly interesting and instructive subject to pursue. It is not at all a single religion with a creed to which everybody must subscribe, although each individual cult offers its allegiance to the Vedas and the Upanisads as the source and origin of Indian religion and religious experience. Hinduism is thus a federation of different kinds of approach to the Reality behind life. That is the unique character of Hinduism, and that character is unfolded in the pages of this volume.
The Cultural Heritage Of India
Volume I: The Early Phases
Volume II: Itihasas, Puranas, Dharma And Other Sastras
Volume III: The Philosophies
Volume IV: The Religions
Volume V: Languages And Literatures
Volume VI: Science And Literatures
Volume VI: Science And Technology
The First volume, with an Introduction by Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Includes contributions by thirty one scholars about early Indian life and culture. It traces the growth of the two great Indian ideals-unity in diversity and divinity of man (pp. lxiv+652 & 9 illustrations).
The Second volume, with an Introduction by Dr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar and Contributions from thirty-eight scholars, reaffirms India's ideals and shows how they bind together diverse races into a common pattern (pp. xxviii + 738).
The Third volume, with an Introduction by Dr Surendranath Dasgupta and contributions from thirty-five scholars, presents Indian philosophy in its different aspects. Again a thread of unity is discernible among the (pp. xxi + 695 & illustrations).
The Fifth volume carries an Introduction by Dr. K. M. Munshi and contributions from fifty other scholars. It deals with the literary heritage of India right from the Vedic times. The volume elaborately brings out the basic unity of Indian culture and civilization through the fusion of Sanskrit and Sanskritic languages with the Dravidian, Austri, and Sino-Tibetan languages (pp. xxv + 839)
The sixth volume, with an Introduction by Dr Raja Ramanna and contributions from twenty-nine other distinguished scientists, presents a connected account of India's achievements in science and technology (pp. xx + 550 & 25 Illustrations).
The Ramakrishana Mission established this institute of Culture in 1938 in fulfilment of one of the projects to commemorate the Birth Centenary of Sri Ramakrishna (1936). At the same time the Institute was vested with the entire rights of The Cultural Heritage of India. This publication is thus one of the major responsibilities of the Institute; it also verces to fulfil a primary aim of the Institute, which is to promote the study, interpretation, and dissemination of the cultural heritage of India.
The first edition of The Cultural Heritage of India, in three volumes and about 2,000 pages in all, the work of one hundred distinguished Indian scholars, was published in 1937 by the Sri Ramakrishna Birth Centenary Publication Committee as a Birth Centenary memorial. This work presented for the first time a panorama of the cultural history of India, and it was immediately acclaimed as a remarkable contribution to the cultural literature of the world. This edition was sold out within a few years, and the work had long been out of print. When considering the question of a second edition, it was felt that, instead of reprinting the work in its original form, advantage should be taken of the opportunity to enlarge the scope of the work, making it more comprehensive, more authoritative, and adequately representative of different aspects of Indian thought, and, at the same time, thoroughly to revise the old articles to bring them up to date.
According to a new scheme drawn up on this basis, the number of volumes has been increased. The plan of arrangement has been improved by grouping the topics in such a way that each volume may be fairly complete and fulfil the requirement of those interested in any particular branch of learning. Each volume will be self-contained, with separate pagination, bibliography, and index, and will be introduced by an outstanding authority. Since due regard will be paid to historicity and critical treatment, it is hoped that this work will provide a useful guide to the study of the complex pattern of India's cultural history.
In keeping with the ancient Indian tradition of imparting instruction to students without remuneration, the distinguished band of scholars, who have co-operated so ably in this task, have done their work as a labour of love in a spirit of service to scholarship and world understanding. Equally essential to the success of the undertaking was the assistance of the government of India who made a generous grant towards the cost of publication. Without this dual co-operation, it would have been impossible to set out on a venture of this magnitude; and to the contributors as well as to the Government of India the Institute therefore expresses its deepest gratitude.
In presenting this fourth volume of the second edition of The Cultural Heritage of India, following the publication of Volume III in 1953, it is perhaps necessary to explain how it happened that these two volumes were the first to be published. In the first edition of this work, there were a fairly large number of representative articles on philosophy and religion, the two subjects, which, under the new scheme have been assigned to Volumes III and IV. This these two volumes acquired an advantage over the others, which required a much greater proportion of fresh material, and it was therefore thought expedient to publish them first.
The onerous task of editing these two volumes was assigned to the capable hands of the late Professor Haridas Bhattacharyya, M. A., B. L., P. R. S., Darsanasagara, who was formerly Head of the Department of Philosophy at the Dacca University, and later Honorary University Professor of Indian Philosophy and religion at the College of Indology, Banaras Hindu University. When he passed away in January this year, he had completed his editing of the present volume. The Institute is deeply indebted to him for the way in which he gave unsparingly of his time and energy in tackling the many difficulties inherent in a work of this nature. Over many years he stood as a true friend to the Institute, always willing to serve its cause. He is now greatly missed, and the fact that he did not live to see this volume in print tinges with sadness the Institute's pleasure in sending it out into the world. The Institute also records its sense of deep sorrow at the passing away of Dr. P. C. Bagchi, one of the new contributors to this volume.
This volume contains forty-five articles, twenty-two of which appeared in the first edition of this work. Most of these have been revised by the authors themselves for the present edition.
Help has been received from many sources in the preparation of this volume. To Dr. Bhagavan Das, that great savant who has been honoured by the President of India with the highest Indian Order of Bharataratna as a token of respect in which he is widely held for his high ideals, special thanks are due for finding time, in spite of failing health, to write the Introduction to this volume. Thanks are also due to Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, M. A., D. Lit., for kindly writing the Preface. Professor Jnanendra Chandra Datta. M. A., undertook the arduous task of preparing the Index, as he had done for Volume III. Mr. J. A. O' Brien, Regional Representative of the British Council, Calcutta, carefully went through most of the articles from the point of view of language. A few articles were seen by Mr. R. Y. Copland, M. A. and Miss A. G. Stock, Professor of English at the University of Calcutta. To all these friends the Institute offers sincere thanks for their generous assistance.
Religion has been the basis of India's though and life and the guiding principle of her civilization through the ages. She has steadfastly held on to this principle against the varied vicissitudes of her history. The freedom of the soul has been for her the summum bonum of life; and the divinity of man and oneness of existence, her eternal message. May India's spiritual wisdom help the world in discovering the spirit which will unite men in building a Kingdom of God upon earth.
This is the first and at 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 Time Literary Supplement, London.
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