BOOK REVIEW

Demystifying Vedanta

SUDHAKSHINA RANGASWAMI

LIVING VERSUS GETTING ON; FREEDOM FROM HELPLESSNESS; MOMENTS WITH ONESELF (1-9) — Insights; Action and Reaction; The Fundamental Problem; The Problem is You the Solution is You; The Purpose of Prayer; Vedanta 24x7;Freedom; Crisis Management; Surrender and Freedom: Swami Dayananda Saraswati; Arsha Vidya Centre Research Publication; 32/4, ‘Sri Nidhi’ Apts, IIIrd Floor, Sir Desika Road, Mylapore, Chennai-600004. Rs. 42 each.



Swami Dayananda Saraswati is a name to reckon with among contemporary spiritual leaders and he is well known as an exponent of Vedanta internationally. He has deemed it his mission to disseminate Vedanta both by formal training in traditional Ashram ambience and retreats, and also through public talks. His immense appeal across generations is due to his extraordinary ability to convey the abstract philosophical concepts in the modern idiom with clarity and subtle humour.

Even those who attend his public talks out of curiosity become spellbound by his lectures and find it a transforming experience to pursue Vedantic study seriously. In precept and practice he personifies the timeless spirit of Vedanta to the preservation of which he has tirelessly travelled the length and breadth of the country, and across continents.

On compassion

Over the decades a wealth of material has resulted from his lectures, which has been archived by the members of the institutions he has founded. These 11 booklets are the outcome of the effort of Arsha Vidya Research and Publication Centre established with the purpose of making this wisdom accessible in book form. Living Versus Getting On is the gist of his lectures on compassion and caring rendered during a retreat conducted at a time when his movement for “Seva” (service) had gained momentum. In this he explains the crucial role of compassion for one’s self- and spiritual growth and affirms that “to live is to be a contributor, and only a compassionate person can really contribute.”

Intelligent living

In Freedom From Helplessness, the third volume in his Public Talk Series, Dayananda Saraswati shows through convincing logic that “intelligent living is to seek help from a real source of help before letting helplessness overwhelms one” as helplessness, if not despair, is unavoidable with all the hidden variables of worldly life.

The rest nine are titles in the Moments with Oneself series, which probe ideas and concepts to reveal their meaning and relevance to life situations. Vedanta 24x7, for instance, is a very simple yet profound analysis of what Vedanta is all about to enable even the beginner to take steps towards making it intrinsic to his day-to-day life with the understanding that spiritual growth cannot be divorced from his worldly life. He wraps up this discussion on the note that “in the vision of the Veda, self-growth is the aim that will lead you to self-discovery,” and that the discovery that the “I” is changeless is the very essence of the Vedic vision.

These handy digests demystify Vedanta for one embarking on the voyage of self-discovery, and will be useful also to advanced seekers to get insight into how Vedanta must be applied to life.



Recommended for you