Great Immortals (Spiritual Heritage of India Through The Lives of Saints and Sages)

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Item Code: NAK032
Author: T.R. Viswanathan
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9788172765125
Pages: 370
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.0 inch x 6.0 inch
Weight 630 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Earlier, spiritual awakening came to him through Satsang of holymen beginning with Kanchi Periava, Ramana Maharishi, Swami Sivananda and many more.

Handicapped by voice problem, he was graced with the art of writing which he exclusively devoted to spiritual literature.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and in particular the esteemed Sri.S. Ramakrishnanji were kind enough to publish two of his books, Santana Dharma and Religion in 2000 under Bhavan's book University banner.

As a sequel to the earlier books, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is now publishing his two books, Great immortals (Spiritual Heritage of India through the lives of Saints and Sages) and quest and Conquest (Spiritual Progress, Enlightenment and Wisdom).


About the Author

T.R. Viswanathan born in Palakkad Kerala (1925), and educated in Chennai, he joined the Government of India Secretariat, New Delhi in 1947 and served in various Ministries, beginning with Ministry of External Affairs, and ending with ministry of Steel and Mines. He retired from service in june 1983 as Deputy Secretary and Chief Vigilance Officer.

During the concluding period of service, he had opportunities to travel the length and breadth of the Himalayas, which created an everlasting spiritual thirst in him. Immediately after retirement, he availed of opportunities to do holy pilgrimages to Himalayan shrines including Kailas-Manasarovar.

He was initiated into Sri Vidya Upasana by his Guru, Swami Vimarsanandantatha Saraswati, a few days before his retirement from Government Service, which clinched his post retirement life to one of spiritual pursuits only.



This book is a sequel to my earlier one on "Vedic Philosophy and Religion" (published by Bharatiya vidya Bhavan under the Bhavan's Book University Series in 2000), in which the works of great sages, philosophers and religious leaders from ancient times has been condensed. It is their spiritual legacy which has shaped our religion known as Sanatana Dharma. In this volume is presented the life story of these very personalities who were themselves divine, and were born with a mission in life. Which they successfully completed. They established that divinity is omnipresent and eternal and belongs to all created objects and beings. All of them strived to lift making to higher levels.

From time immemorial, from the birth of human race, divinity has been accepted by everyone without question, because it is not the property of any one religion. And religions do not fight about it. Although everyone accepts it, no one knows what it is. It is at the bottom of everything in the universe. We find that answers to many questions lead to it and are accepted without supplementaries. Divinity is the property of the Absolute or the Supreme Consciousness, that all of us believe in. Therefore, individuals are worshipped as divine, pilgrimages are done to places considered divine, and water bodies like rivers, tanks, takes, springs, and wells become divine. This is because, divinity is believed to be concentrated in such persons or places. This has become a common feature of all religions. Mantras, Nama japa, Nama Sankirthan are also divine, India, in particular is considered to be a place saturated with divinity, and we find numerous holy men being looked upon as divine; places and water bodies treated as divine are numerous, belonging to all religions.

Divinity can be construed as an energy, and like the energy of gravitation, it exerts a pull and attracts, and attracts. We are watching today how strong the pull is in places like Guruvayur, Tirupati, Vaishnodevi and other such places.

Religion is only an interpretation of divinity. Each religion tries to interpret it according to the philosophy it follows. Even Buddhism does not deny it, although Buddha denied it as a creed.

The spiritual history of India is an unbroken record of legacies of saints, sages and incarnations and the traditions evolved and shaped by them. The tradition is embedded in scriptures which are held sacred. They are supported by philosophical treatises. The entire network may look complicated, but has a beautiful design behind it. It is not a static one. It has been adapted to suit the circumstances and situations. The main principles thereof are well protected and have come to be known as "Sanatana Dharma". There is unbelievable continuity in the mainframe.

The religious leaders whose lives are portrayed in this work were spiritual leaders whose lives are portrayed in this work were spiritual leaders of their times. They confined themselves to their spiritual uplift. They did not interfere in faiths other than their own; they merely made the people understand the tenets of our religion and devotees and loved all equally. Their lives were marked by tolerance, forbearance and loved all equally. Their lives were marked by tolerance, forbearance and ahimsa

According to our scriptures, the supreme Consciousness through the instrumentality of maya takes on the role of Isvara the sole divine authority. The isvara can be Rama, Krishna, Christ, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Ramana Maharishi or any other person in whom divinity is cognized.

Pure love is unselfish and without motive or expectation. This kind of love brings such lover nearer to God. The devotees who attained God had filled up every atom, every molecule of their body, their mind, their heart and their soul with such pure love. Prahlad, Radha, Mira and Chaitanya are such noble souls.

Traditions are built on some human values and they endure by the same. Values like love, non-violence, tolerance, compassion and freedom are eternal. Human race has reached the present position by the evolution and development of consciousness based on them. The holy men whose lives are portrayed in this work confined themselves to their main task based on the above mentioned values. They devoted themselves to the service of God and his devotees and loved all equally. They were aware of the difference between high objectives and their practice and that age old virtues can't be improved, but can only be lived and acted upon.




Chapter: Kulapati's Preface v
  Publisher's Note vii
  Invocation ix
  Dedication xi
  Introduction xiii
  Message of the Immortals xxv
  My Guru xxvii
Chapter: 1 The Spiritual Legacy 1
  Vedas and Upanishads  
  Epics (Ramayana & Mahabharata)  
  Darsanas (Six Systems of Philosophy)  
  New Religions  
  New Era(of Philosophers, Seers and Poets)  
Chapter: 2 Tradition takes shape 43
  Saiva Tradition  
  Vaishnava Tradition  
  Acharyas (Teachers)  
Chapter: 3 Call of the Avatars 112
  Devotees of Sri Krishna  
  Devotees of Sri Rama  
  Dasa tradition (Karnataka Saints)  
Chapter: 4 Bhakti Cult of South 149
  Masters of Divine Music  
Chapter: 5 Saints of Western India 194
Chapter: 6 Renaissance 235
  The Mystics  
Chapter: 7 Spiritual Revolution 254
  Ramakrishna Paramahamsa  
Chapter: 8 Religion and Spiritualism 285
Chapter: 9 Conclusion 341
  Index 344

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