Sources of Our Cultural Heritage

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About the Book

India is one of the most ancient civilizations. India is a land of many creeds, the cradle of mankind, the motherland of language, the mother of history, the grandmother of epics and the great grandmother of traditions. Our cultural heritage is ancient, vast, rich and blissful and its sources are-four Vedas, 18 Puraanas, 108 Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata consisting of about one lakh verses, the Agamas of the Jains, the Tripitikas of the Buddhists, the Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikh brothers and the holy words of the pious saints of different regions. As the time has passed, lack of knowledge about the same has failed to create self pride and esteem for these. Also, unfortunately, during the last few centuries, due to external attacks on the country, particularly those by the British, India has lost its capacity of guiding the world. The newly educated generation of this country today is totally unaware of the culture, traditions, philosophy and life values of this country.

Sources of Our Cultural Heritage will open the eyes of the people, trying to distance themselves from Hinduism. This book will let them know the great commonalities. It gives valuable knowledge and information about our vast and enriched cultural heritage in a very simple and lucid language.

About the Author

Suresh Soni Born at the Chuda village of the Surendranagar district in Gujarat in 1950, Shri Suresh Soni belongs to a very simple family. At the tender age of sixteen, he engaged himself in various social activities. At the time of the declaration of 'Emergency' in India, he had to bear the brunt of the admonition by the government due to his patriotism and devotion for his motherland. During this period, he was in Indore jail.

Though Shri Soni is a student of political science, yet science is the subject of his interest. He has made his mark by being an expert orator on issues related to science as well as philosophy. His famous published works include books such as India's Glorious Scientific Tradition, Gurutva Yani Hindutva, Bharat: Ateet, Vartmaan Aur Bhavishya and Hamari Sanskritik Vi chardhara Ke Mool Srot

Preface

I consider it my proud privilege that the senior publicist and the present executive member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shri Sureshji Soni, has entrusted upon me the responsibility of writing the preface of this brief sized but ideologically great work. I have not the least doubt that I am completely incompetent for this task. There are many volunteers in the Sangh, who are competent and possess a deep knowledge in the subject, but they have taken a vow of anonymity towards the loftier end of the evolution of their `self. It would have been better had any one amongst them written the 'preface' of this book. However, affection plays a crucial role in this regard. I have dared to undertake this responsibility out of extreme affection for Soniji, even as I am aware of my limited knowledge.

There are two verses (shlokas) in our unifying literary sources:

Caturveda: Puranani Sarvopanisadastatha.

Ramayanam Bharatam Ca Gita Saddarsanani Ca.

Jainagamastripitaka Gurugrantha: Satam Gira:

Esa Jnananidhi: Srestha: Sraddheyo Hrdi Sarvada.

These two verses form the subject-matter of Soniji's wonderful book. These two verses form the under-currents of the roots of our very ancient cultural life forces. These verses address these sources as the treasure-trove of knowledge Chian nidhi) and it has been advised that everyone must always carry them in their hearts. But the question is-how can such a vast repository of knowledge be accommodated in one's limited intellect? Consider the sources: Four Vedas, 18 Puraanas, 108 Upanishads, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata consisting of about one lakh verses, the Agamas of the Jains, the Tripittika of the Buddhists the Guru Granth Sahib of the Sikh brothers and the holy words of the pious saints of different regions. Even the beginning syllables of each of these books were to be compiled, they would form several scriptures. However, Soniji's skill lies in summarising this huge repertoire of knowledge in about 160 pages, as if infinity has been contained in a point. This spectacular achievement could not have been possible without a deep knowledge of the subject-matter. Soniji is rigorously rich in this esoteric knowledge and has introduced the root sources of the scriptures in a very simple and familiar style. I maintain that this book is a boon to the young and inquisitive learners, who must be read by all so as to strengthen the ties with their best ancient traditions.

Besides introducing the original knowledge base, Soniji has also discussed the misunderstandings, especially rooted in the minds of English-educated people. It is true that the western scholars have scruitinised the Hindu scriptures scientifically and written commentaries on them. This tradition had been almost non-existent for almost a thousand year. I will not discuss the possible historical reasons for the same here. With the exception of Sayanacharya, no commentary was written in that millennium on the Vedic treatises. Older commentaries could possibly be there, but we have no information about them. The reason was a mighty storm of Islam originating from Arab which aimed at destroying the entire repository of knowledge in the East. It, indeed, wiped out a substantial ancient knowledge.

**Contents and Sample Pages**