Back of the Book
The Jagadguru, described by Sri Daya Mata, President of the Fellowship, as "a man of God " and "a truly universal man" conveyed the message of Vedanta as revealed in the traditional scriptures of India, presenting their substance as timeless in relevance, universal in appeal and vastly comprehensive in range and sweep. The picture of India’s heritage as one of "unity in diversity" is shown to accord well with its primary accent on spirituality as distinct from creeds and practices, which are secondary. The superiority of this approach is also evident in the way in which ancient India was able to reconcile science with religion and metaphysics. "Vedic metaphysics" summarising the fundamentals of Advaita, seeks to bridge the misconceived gulf between the secular and spiritual. It combines authenticity of thought with simplicity of language.
From the Jacket
First time in the history of India, in 1958, a Sankaracarya visited west. The author, His Holiness Jagadguru Sankaracarya Sri Bharati Krsna Tirtha of Puri, went to America at the invitation of the Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, to spread the message of Vedanta. This book is a compilation of some of his discourses delivered there.
These discourses by a saint-yogi and master of ancient Indian scriptures, also well-versed in modern sciences, give the essentials of Vedanta. They combine authenticity of thought with simplicity of language. Being couched in the contemporary idiom they will be found to be particularly suited to the modern mind. Though addressed to American audiences, the discourses carry a message of eternal truth and of universal application. The steps of spiritual inquiry and the paths of God-realisation outlined in them will be of immense practical use to the readers in their quest for the supreme.
His Holiness Jagadguru Sankaracarya Sri Bharati Krsna Tirtha was the pontifical head of the Govardhana Pitha, Puri, one of the four monasteries founded by the great Sankara in the hoary past. After a brilliant academic career which involved stud of Sanskrit, Mathematics, Philosophy, History, English Literature and science subjects, he studied Vedanta from the renowned Jagadguru Sankaracarya, Sri Sivabhinava-Nrsimha-Bharati at Sringeri, and practised vigorous yogasadhana in the nearby forests where he also discovered the hidden meaning of the Ganita-sutras of the Atharva Veda. He adopted sannyasa in 1919.
His Holiness was an orator, a religious preacher, a scholar, a philosopher-yogi and a saint. He was an authority on Hindu scriptures. He also studied scriptures of other religions with the humility of a devotee, and preached the essential unity of all religions.
In 1953, His Holiness founded the World Reconstruction Association – a secular organization with the object of reconstructing the society on moral lines. He attained Mahasamadhi in 1960.
Knowledge of identity of the essence of man and the essence of universe, the nature and attributes of this Supreme Entity and the way to It’s realisation constitutes by far the greatest discovery of mankind. The Vedas epitomize the highest expression of the body of knowledge that grew out of the vision and experience of this spiritual truth. Great souls from time to time have recaptured that supreme state of bliss, treading on the various paths indicated by the ancient sages and have reflected in turn the light of their experience for the benefit of mankind.
In the nature of things, however, this light is obfuscated in more or less measure in various times and climes due to the prevailing ignorance and impurities of the social psyche, though the vast span of the cosmic evolution appears to assist ultimately in its increasing manifestation. There is, however, no dispeller of darkness other than light and for all ills that beset mankind the spiritual values contain the best cure.
The advance of science and technology in recent times brought about a revolution in man’s life and thought. For a spell it appeared as though it would bathe the mankind in elysian bliss and plenty. But, the dream did not come true. No doubt, the scientific and industrial revolution did multiply the material powers and possessions of the society as a whole but it also released in its wake too many cross—currents of cravings, strife, exploitation, misery and confounding and erosion of values. As a result, the humanity is divided today between a few people suffering from the ennui of affluence and the remaining vast majority suffering the pangs of destitution. The cycle of life has become too swift and complex. Man is whirled around by inner cravings and outer compulsions scarcely aware of any sense of identity, belonging or purpose in life.
Democracy and socialism, humanism and communitarianism, self-actualization and synergy are all correctives to the state of chaos, conflict and distress, attempted by the modern mind in the various domains of life. Being based on concepts like freedom, dignity and development of man, love and harmony, in the ultimate analysis, they are only faint echoes of the eternal spiritual quest. The spiritual values hold, thus, the key to all means and measures calculated to achieve true and lasting peace, progress, prosperity and happiness for the individual as well as society.
On the consummation of spiritual sadhana ‘all else will be added unto you’ is inspiring enough. But, what is more, even the smallest sincere endeavour in this direction has the strange alchemy- of bringing forth instantaneously immense benefic mutations in the relationships of man with himself, man with the world around, and man with the Divinity. The techniques of spiritual unfolding propounded by the Vedanta — the crest of the Vedic knowledge-bring about an integration and efflorescence of the human personality most conducive to releasing puissant forces of creativity, synthesis, peace, harmony and bliss.
Vedic metaphysics is, therefore, a treasure of eternal relevance — all the more useful to the contemporary society. And who could unravel its mysteries to the modern mind better than Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shri Bharati Krishna Tirtha delivering lectures in America? The Jagadguru commanded the rare combination of ancient spiritual wisdom and latest scientific thought. Not only had he mastered the entire Vedic lore, he was an M.A. in eight modern subjects and spoke Huently about a dozen languages (including several foreign ones). Neither was he content with mere intellectual cogitations. He had under- gone a profound and rigorous sadhana culminating in direct spiritual realisation.
The lectures reproduced in this book contain the mellowed fruits of the Jagadguru’s ripe wisdom delivered almost at the close of his earthly sojourn and they were addressed to groups that can be easily taken as representative of the most advanced modern society. Expounding though the loftiest secrets, they are couched in a language as simple and lucid as to be easily comprehensible to even the totally uninitiated.
Here is, therefore, the spiritual elixir in its pristine purity and yet with the freshest aroma. Those who chance upon it are fortunate; those who receive it with faith and reverence will be blessed, and those who drink it deep will be freed.
The World Peace Mission of His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Sankaracarya Bharati Krsna Tirtha of Govardhana Math, Puri, India by Sri Sri Daya Mata
It has been said that man cannot fully understand the principles of truth expressed in the scriptures until he sees them manifested in the life of an enlightened teacher. Such a teacher was His Holiness, Sri Jagadguru Sankaracarya of Puri.