Sri V.Krishnaswami Iyer, Founder of the Madras Sanskrit College published the book "Aryacharitram" on 1.1.1908, a collection of forty stories from the Valmiki Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. The book contains stories of heroes and heroines who played a great part in the history of India and who in the very words of Sri V.Krishnaswami Iyer, retain a permanent hold on the national consciousness which no lapse of centuries can loosen. Sri V.Krishnaswami Iyer also has explained the necessity for the publication of the book, arising out of the convocation speech of Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India belittling the glory of our ancient culture and tradition. These stories have been collected and published to refute the provocative and unjustified criticism of the Viceroy.
The stories of heroes and martyrs, of sages and saints are the necessary fuel to the flame of national life and national enthusiasm. India has great reason to be proud of her past, for men and women have been born in the course of her long and ancient history whose feats of arms, whose love for humanity, whose ideal lives and whose splendid self-sacrifice have been unto this day a lesson to the world. We Indians have every cause to cherish them and, in the love of their greatness and their goodness to kindle in the every Indian breast a new longing national unity as a foundation on which may be built a new greatness.
The book "Aryacharitram" was published by Sri V.Krishnaswami Iyer with the hope that "it will not be long before these stories can be put in an English garb"; but, Sri V.Krishnaswami Iyer died prematurely at the age of 49 in 1911.
The thirty-ninth story of the book "Aryacaritram" is `Yakshaprasna'. This story with English translation by Padmabhushan Sri K.Balasubramania Iyer, worthy son of Sri V.Krishniswami Iyer was published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in the year 1963. The fortieth story is the well-known Ramayana. Exactly half of the remaining thirty eight stories have been rendered into English by Prof.S.Sankaranarayanan. This has also been published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in 1966. This book has seen six editions till 2011, which goes to prove the demand for our classical stories.
The remaining nineteen stories are presented here in their "English garb" by Dr. Sita Sundar Ram, Senior Research Fellow and Smt.V. Premalatha, research scholar of the Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute. They are to be congratulated for their efforts.
The Academy is indebted to Ms.K.Vidyuta, research scholar of K.S.R.Institute for computerising the text, Sri B.Ganapathy Subramanian of the Madras Sanskrit College for cover-design and lay-out and Smt. M. Srividya of K.S.R.Institute for correcting the proofs. M/s.Harish Printer are to be thanked for the neat printing and nice get-up.
These are stories no doubt, but not fairy tales. They bring out the everlasting truths and wisdom that every human being should know and follow.
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