It is a great honour and privilege to write this introduction for our late illustrious grandfather Brahmasri Ganesa Sastriar's book Veda SastraTatvam. Sri Ganesa Sastriar was born in 1880 in our ancestral village Maruvur, which is situated some 9 km west of Thiruvaiyaru, on the northern banks of river Kaveri. It is said that the great Tamil Siddhar Thirumular spent a significant part of his life in the surroundings of this beautiful lush green village offering daily worship in the nearby Siva Temple.
Our grandfather learnt Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures from the great scholars in and around the places of our village Maruvur (Thiruvaiyaru, Thanjavur and Kumbakonam). In his quest for further knowledge and truth and to clear many of his doubts and achieve a degree of perfection, he was in search of a suitable Guru. In 1900, he met in Chennai, a great and learned Pandit from Nepal, Sri Sahajananda Upadhyaya who had decided to spend some years in Chennai on his way back from a Pilgrimage to Rameswaram. My grandfather said that he was really fortunate to have met this great scholar from Nepal which gave him the golden opportunity to learn, further for five years, the true meaning of Hindu Religion and Sastras and clear many of his doubts. Sadly his great and beloved Guru Sri Sahajananda Upadhyaya passed away in July 1909 in Chennai before he could return to Nepal.
Encouraged by his learned friends, Sastriar wrote his first book in 1910, a small one at that, entitled Manastatvam. At the same time, he devoted himself to propagating what he learned through discourses and lectures in Chennai. We understand from our late father and our eldest brother that his lectures on Bhagawat Geetha were very popular. This book was written in 1913. In the 1930s he wrote two other books entitled Vetamum Manastatvamum and Brahma Vidya Rahasyam.
We believe that through these and other books, written at a later date, and his lectures, he has done yeoman service to the propagation of our great religion Hinduism. He was honoured by the conferment of the title "Maha Upadesika, Sastra Rathna" by Sri Kasi Bharatha Dharma Maha Mandala Sabha.
Veda Sastra Tatvam, was written in a mixture of Sanskrit and Tamil by our grandfather and has been very admirably translated into English by Prof. Lakshmanan Kumaraswamy, Professor of Sanskrit, D.G. Vaishnav College, Chennai. Prof. Kumaraswamy, through his devotion and meticulous work, has succeeded extremely well in bringing out the original thoughts of our grandfather's work. We are indeed very grateful to him. Thanks to his devotion and hard work the book will help reach a wider audience.
We are also greatly indebted to the authorities of the Thanjavur Saraswathi Mahal Library for allowing us to take a xerox copy of Veda Sastra Tatvam. We gratefully acknowledge their assistance in this regard.
My grandfather, Sri Ganesa Sastriar was a great devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. We, therefore, wanted to publish the English translation of Veda Sastra Tatvam with the blessings of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. With this intention we approached His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal for Srimugam from the Kanchi Matam. His Holiness very graciously provided this Srimugam. We are indeed greatly indebted to his Holiness for this Srimugam. The English version of the book starts with the Srimugam from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.
We are deeply indebted to Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj, Aadhyaksha, Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai for writing the foreward to the English Version of the Book which appears after Srimugam of Kanchi Kamkoti Peethadhipathi. We are also very delighted that the book is being released by Swami Gautamandaji Maharajji on 19th July, 2011.
While all the grand sons of Maruvur Ganesa Sastriar were keen to see an English translation, we owe a special thanks and appreciation to his great grandson, my son, Kartik Natarajan and his wife Lucy Natarajan, for their enthusiasm and efforts to go through the catalogues at the Saraswathi Mahal Library in Thanjavur to identify this great work and encouraging us to translate it into English. We also owe a special thanks to Sri N. Nagarajan, a friend with whom I had 42 years of professional association, in helping us to copy this book from the Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur.
We acknowledge with gratitude the excellent assistance given to us in designing the book by Mr. K. Manikandan, and Mr. M. K. Muralidharan for his guidance in bringing out this book in Printing.
In bringing out the English version of this great work, I believe earnestly that the essence of the great Hindu religion will reach a wider audience. I recognise that some of his beliefs in this book may not be palatable to the present generation; nonetheless I personally do not doubt that the essence and enduring eternal truths of the great Hindu religion brought out so convincingly and beautifully cannot be refuted.
We dedicate this book to the present and future generation of India with faith that Hinduism will be better and more widely understood. Knowledge of Sanskrit and Devanagari Script will help in appreciating this great work; however, with this excellent English translation, we hope it will now be accessible to a much wider audience.
It is my great fortune that my good friend Dr. S. Padmanabhan, Professor, Department of Sanskrit, University of Madras, referred my name for translating Brahma Sri Maruvur Ganesa Sastriar's Veda Sastra Tatvam written in Tamil with quotations given in Grantha characters. I also thank Sri. Natarajan and family in showing full confidence in me. It is nearly 2 1/2 years since the book was given to me for translation.
I was able to do this only because of the blessings of my great teachers like Brahma Sri V. Kalyanasundara Sastrigal, Dr. M. Narasimhachariar, Sri U. Ve. Ozhappakkam Rajagopalachariar, under whose lotus feet I had the fortune to learn the divine language Sanskrit. If my translation is cogent, simple and understandable, it is because of my Head Master Sri. Vijayaraghavachariar, who taught me the grammar of English, when I was a student of Sri Ahobila Mutt Oriental Higher Secondary School, West Mambalam, Chennai.
I have neither added nor reduced any portion of the main text written by Brahma Sri Maruvur Ganesa Sastrigal. As far as possible, I have tried to maintain the spirit of the original. As the book is intended for the English speaking public I have tried to keep the names and concepts in Roman script with diacritical marks.
I offer my sincere gratitude to my colleague Dr. Gowri Sivaraman, Associate Professor, Department of English, D.G. Vaishnav College, Chennai, for going through the entire translation and for suggesting various changes. I also express my gratitude to Sri S.P. Haran, Professor of English, Bangalore University, who also went through the translation.
|1||Srimugam from Kanchi Kamakoti Peetadhipathi||V|
|2||Introduction by Sri Krishnan Natarajan, on behalf of Sri Maruvur Ganesa Sastriar's Family||VI|
|3||Preface to the Translation by Prof. L. Kumaraswamy||X|
|Introduction and Forewards to the original Book written in Tamil and Sanskrit in 1913|
|4||Sri K. Sundararaman of Kumbakonam||XII|
|5||Hon. Sri P.S. Sivaswamy Aiyar, Member of the Executive Council of the then Governor of Madras||XX|
|6||Sri. Kuppusami Sastriar, Principal, Sanskrit Collge, Tiruvadi||XX|
|7||Sri Vidyanidhi R. Krishnamachariar, Superintendent of Sanskrit Schools, Madras||XXI|
|8||Thamiz Thatha Mahamahoupadhyayar U.V. Saminatha Aiyar||XXI|
|9||Daivamum Paurusamum - Destiny And Endeavour|
|10||Lokantaram - Other Worlds|
|11||Jivesvarau - Living Beings and God|