Philosopher and social reformer
THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICE IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SRI SVAMI NARAYANA: Sarojini Varadappan; Copies can be had from the author, 47-A, Bhakthavatsalam Salai, Mylapore, Chennai-600004. Rs. 100.
THE BOOK under review by the well-known social worker is a study of Svami Narayana giving emphasis to social service. In the first chapter, she gives the basic principles of Indian philosophy and religions dealing with the Puranas, the Itihasas and other important aspects of Hinduism.
Then she focuses on the liberation of the soul from bondage wherein she discusses very elaborately about the Upanishads and also the philosophy of Svami Narayana under the heading Navya-Visishtadvaita.
It must be made clear here that Svami Narayana never called his philosophy Navya Visishtadvaita. The term was given to this tradition very recently. It is known as Muni Sampradaya or Uddhava Sampradaya.
Chapter II deals with the concept of service in Svami Narayana. During his time there were some unfortunate social practices such as Sati in Gujarat. He tried to convince people that nobody should commit suicide in the name of religion. He was also against the performance of animal sacrifice.
He taught his tradition without any discrimination. His main contribution is the prescription for the Sadhus not to have any desire for taste in the matter of food. In this connection, the author quotes an incident in Svami's life.
The author records an important change he had made in society by eradicating the evil practice of the Vama Margi of Sakta tradition. This work is based on the book published by Bochasan Vasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha which is an offshoot of Svami Narayana tradition about 100 years later.
We hope the author would write another book to supplement this work collecting material from Vadthal group of Svami Narayana Sampradaya to have a comprehensive idea of Svami Narayana.
K. K. A. VENKATACHARI
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