The book, “Self offerings", deals with the Hindu Scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagawad Gita. It discusses the Ithihasas, (epics), Ramayana and Mahabharata and Puranas in conveying the philosophy and the codes of conduct. The tenets of Hinduism, Nirgtma and Sagum Brahma and ritualistic aspect of Hinduism are included. The universality of Isvarah, the God, as said in Upanishads, states that all that is in this universe is in Oneness with Isvarah, the Lord. Understanding this reality, and living in harmony with the world, is recognizing Isvarah. Then the actions, thoughts, and words are archana (offerings) to Isvarah. These harmonious offerings of one’s actions with an understanding of the Lord, is one’s Self Offerings to y Isvarah.
Dr. Chakravarthi Sharma (aka Satswarupa Chaitanya) born in India was ordained into Priesthood by Kanchi Kamakoti Peetaadhipathi, Paramacharya Sri Chandrashekara Saraswathi, Tamil Nadu, India. He and his wife Rajani Sharma (aka Shakthi swarupa Chaitanya) are students of Pujya Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Saylorsburg. PA. Now they have taken diksha for Sanyasa. They have been teaching Hinduism to children and young adults for the past eight years. They retired from Louisiana State University Medical Centre, at New Orleans, LA.
The book Self offerings evolved over the years, out of our experience during teaching the young children in their formative years and young adults who are residing abroad.
This book was written with a view to educate our young children who have little knowledge of Sanskrit. It can also be a study manual for serious student on Hinduism. We have simplified Hinduism as a philosophy and religion for the young adults in order that they could get a bird's eye view of what it has to offer. Hinduism has shaped the minds of Hindus, to imbibe the philosophy, in day to day walk of life. If one wants to know "Indian Culture", one has to know the Vedic religion. All the elements, such as, language, dress, Lhome, food, customs, manners, music and performing arts that constitute Indian culture are connected with Hindu it religion and its philosophy. Indian culture will disappear if its constituent elements are devoid of any religious content.
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Its origin can be dated as far back as 6000 years. Hinduism is a religion interwoven with beautiful philosophy which is logical and lends itself to an in-depth analysis. Philosophic thinkers of recent times do not like to describe Hinduism as mere religion, since it brings out the great qualities of universality and free thinking, wherein, even an atheist is not precluded from being a Hindu. It is called as Sanatana Dharma (Universal or eternal laws of righteousness and duty) or the Eternal Religion. Others call it a fellowship of religions from its liberal absorption of the faith of others. Hindus are also known as people of "Brahmanical faith" or "Vedic Faith".
The Hindu philosophy wants the serious student to understand and tease out the wealth of knowledge by use of one's own discriminative thinking. It does not want people just to accept what is in Vedas and Upanishads.
This book has succinctly dealt with all the sacred books of Hinduism. It creates an understanding of Hindu Philosophy as discussed in the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Vedanta. It takes the reader through the tenets of Hinduism and the concept of Nirguna Brahma and Saguna Brahma.(the origin of the pantheon of Gods). Interwoven with the philosophy, we have included prayers and modes of prayer with appropriate Sanskrit verses with apt meanings.
Finally, this book deals with the concept of Isvarah, God. as enunciated in Hinduism.
Vedanta and Upanishads want one to understand and discover Isvarah. Hence, we have tried to take the reader through Vedic arguments for what Isvarah is and our SELF identity with it.
Finally, our offerings to Isvarah are by doing what is to be done by us at a given time. To be in harmony with the world is recognizing Isvarah. Then our actions, thoughts, and words are our offerings to Isvarah.
This book is dedicated to the students, who attended the children's classes. The classes were conducted on behalf of Sri Veera Venkata Satyanamyana Temple, New Orleans. La.
The major driving force in writing this book was the students' enthusiasm, motivation, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. We are thankful to the parents for their dedication and enthusiasm shown in educating their children.
Our deepest gratitude and admiration are for Smt. Sunita Ramaswamy (Sw.Pramananda Saraswati) and Dr. Sundar Ramaswamy (alias Swami Dheera Chaithanya) of Arsha Vidya (Gurukulam (Saylorsborg, PA) for their contributions to the Vedic Heritage Book. Some of the material has been taken out of the Vedic Heritage book with their permission. We are extremely thankful for their guidance comments and for the time they have devoted in making this book a reality.
The introductory remarks on Hinduism are taken from Hinduism an introduction written by Smt. Shakunthala Jagannathan. We are extremely indebted to her guidance through her writings. We are thankful to her for writing a valuable book on Hinduism.
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