The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan—that Institute of Indian Culture in Bombay-——needed a Book University,
a series of books which, if read, would serve the purpose of providing higher education.
Particular emphasis, however, was to be put on such literature as revealed the deeper impulsions
of India. As a first step it was decided to bring out in English 100 books, 50 of which were to be
taken• in hand almost at once.
It is our intention to publish the books we select, not only in English, but also in the following
Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati. Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
This scheme, involving the publication of 900 volumes, requires ample funds and an all-India
organization. The Bhavan is exerting its utmost to supply them.
The objectives for which the Bhavan stands are the reintegration of Indian culture in the light
of modern knowledge and to suit our present-day needs- and the resuscitation of its fundamental
values. in their pristine vigour.
Let me make our goal more explicit: We seek the dignity of man, which necessarily implies the
creation of social conditions which would allow him freedom to evolve along the lines of his own
temperament and capacities; we seek the harmony of individual efforts and social relations, not
in any makeshift way, but within the framework of the Moral Order we seek the creative art of
life, by the alchemy of which human limitations are progressively trans- muted, so that man may
become the instrument of God and is able to see Him in all and all in Him.
The world we feel, is too much with us. Nothing would uplift or inspire us so much as the beauty
and aspiration which such books can teach. In this series therefore, the literature of India
ancient and modern, will be published in a form easily accessible to all. Books in other
literatures of the world if they illustrate the principles we stand for will also be included.
This common pool of literature it is hoped will enable the reader eastern or westem to under-
stand and appreciate currents of world thought as also the movements of the mind in India which
though they flow through different linguistic channels, have a common urge and aspiration.
Fittingly the Book University’s first venture is the Mahabhara, summarized by one of the greatest
living Indians, C. Rajagopalachari: the second work is on a section of it the Gita by H.V.
Divatia. an eminent jurist and a student of t philosophy. ’Centuries ago, it was proclaimed of the
Mahabhara: "What is not in it, is nowhere." After twenty-five centuries, we can use the same words
about it. He who knows it not, knows not the heights and depths of the soul: he misses the trials
and tragedy and the beauty and grandeur life.
The Mahabhara is not a mere epic; it is a romance, telling the tale of heroic men and women and of
some who were divine; it is a whole literature in itself. containing a code of life, a philosophy
of social and ethical relations, and speculative thought on human problems that is hard to rival;
but above all, it has for its core the Gita, which is, as the world is beginning to find out, the
noblest of scriptures and the grandest of sagas in which the climax is reached in the wondrous
Apocalypse in the Eleventh Canto.
Through such books alone the harmonies underlying true culture, I am convinced. Will one day
reconcile the disorders of modem life.
I thank all those who have helped to make this new branch of the Bhavan’s activity successful.
This book is a new and revised edition of "What is Hinduism" which was written by me in 1939,
when, as the Principal of the Pachaippa’s College, Madras, I tried to introduce religious
instruction in that institution, and which has been reprinted several times. The Vivekananda
College, Madras, is still using the original edition as a text book in some of its classes for
imparting religious instruction. And it has been recently translated into Portuguese and published
by the Livraria `Freitas Bastos S.A., Brazil, South America.
In the present revised edition some chapters have been enlarged and some abridged and some
alterations made here and there in accordance with my present knowledge of the subject.
I and glad that the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has agreed -to publish this edition and include it in
their Book University Series. I hope, therefore, it will have a wider circulation.
I am very thankful to my grandson Sri K. Madhuchandas for patiently reading out the whole book to
me and taking down all the necessary additions and alterations and preparing it for the press
Back of the book
Born in 1883, Prof. D.S. Sharma, scholar and educationist, had his education in the Madras
Christian College, from which he graduated in 1904. Subsequently, he took his M.A. degree in
English Language and Literature in 1909. Starting life in Government service at the Kumbakonam
College, he went over to the Presidency College, Madras, in 1913, where he remained on the English
staff for twenty two years. After a short spell of service as Principal of the Government Arts
College, Ra- jahmundry, he retired from Government service in 1938. After retirement, he served as
Principal in two private Colleges in a Madras — Pachaiappa’s College and Vivekananda College. He
retired from the latter in 1949.
He has a number of books to his credit. Notable among them are: From Literature to Religion (An
Autobiography), Hindism Through the Ages, The Upanishads — An Anthology, l Pearls of Wisdom,
Renascent Hinduism, all published by the Bhavan.
Among his other books, mention may be made of The Tales and Teachings of Hindism, A Primer of
Hinduism, Lectures and Essays on the Gita, The Hindu Standpoint, Lalita Sahasranama, Gandhi
Sutras, The Father of the Nation, The Prince of Ayodhya, etc. Prof. Sharma passed away in 1970 at
the ripe age of 87.
Children’s Books (51)
Brahma Sutras (85)
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