Author: V Ramanathan
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172763328
It was in 1951 that the Bhavan’s founder Kulapati Dr K M Munshi, initiated the project of the Bhavan’s Book University whose primary objective was to convey to the public the varied aspects of our ancient culture through the medium of books written in English and also in the other languages. Such a venture he felt, would be beneficial to the educated middle class whose cultural roots were being subjected to slow decay by a western-oriented system of education which was becoming a fashion of the day.
These books put in proper perspective our achievements in several fields like religion, spirituality, philosophy, history, mythology and literature. Knowledge of the past is inspiring for morale and confidence if the present happens to be depressing. But we cannot always hug the past and hope to face the present tribulations and move on to the future with heads held high even thought the fundamental principles on which the past was based have been claimed to be eternal or sanatana by the rishis.
Occasionally a different perspective may be necessary for there is continuous change in the social, political and technical environments and such change has been decreed by the Lord Himself when He says in the Gita Loki Vipari Vartate. We know from the theory of Evolution that adjustment to change circumstances is necessary if an organism-biological, social or institutional-is not to become obsolescent. While the core objectives need not change the organization and methods may need change.
The book, remarkable for its length and lucidity, The scholarship is Indological, historical and sociological. Not only does the author produce concise summaries of relevant literature, he also presents his own original thoughts and insights.
-Prof T N Madan
Emeritus Professor (Sociology), University of Delhi.
The book is class. It belongs to the genre of Radhakrishnan’s Hindu View of Life and Basham’s The Wonder That Was India, Distils the wisdom of the past and opens a new approach in understanding the caste system, Brilliant, forward-looking and holistic, Recommended for reading by college level students and by all those who have to deal with India.
-Prof K V Raman, Historian and Archaeologist,
Formerly of the Madras University
The book is an much for reading as for thinking, perhaps more for thinking to evolve ways and means for a rewarding life.
-Prof K V Sarma, Formerly of the Madras University
GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The Nature and the Purpose
The Texts and Their Contents
The Thoughts and the Paths
The Teachers and The Sects
Concepts, Tenets and Beliefs
Technique and Procedures
Dharma and Ethics
The Structure or the Caste System
The Ethos and its Expressions
Strengths, Weaknesses and Vitality
Contributions, Comparisons, and Critiques
The Present Challenge and Future Prospects