Krishna: A Study in the Theory of Avataras

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Item Code: IDE200
Author: Bhagavan Das
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Language: English
Edition: 1990
Pages: 214
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.0" X 4.7"
Weight 160 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

Patriot, Scholar and Statesman, Dr. Bhagavan Das (1869-1958) was one of those savants and sages like Sri Aurobindo and Gandhiji whom India's struggle for freedom attracted to its ranks.

Taking the Master's degree in Mental and Moral Science from the Calcutta University at the age of eighteen Bhagavan Das entered Government service. He served as Tehsildar and Deputy Collector for eight years when the lure of national service gripped him and he resigned his post. He was one of the architects of the Central Hindu College at Banaras, which later blossomed into the internationally famous Banaras Hindu University.

It is however, as a profound thinker and author that Dr. Bhagavan Das is better known. He has written a number of books in English, Sanskrit and Hindi on philosophy, psychology and sociology. His other books in English include Science of Emotions, Science of Peace and Science of Sacred World. In collaboration with Dr. Annie Besant he translated the Bhagavad Gita into English and wrote a lucid commentary on it. Two of his books Essential Unity of All Religions and Krishna - A Study in the Theory of Avataras have been published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

When Gandhiji started the Non-Cooperation Movement, Dr. Bhagavan Das threw himself heart and soul into it and courted imprisonment during 1921-22. He had collaborated with Desh-bandhu Citta Rajan Das and Pandit Motilal Nehru in organizing the Swaraj Party. He had been a Member of the Central Legislative Assembly.

Recipient of the Doctorate of Literature from the Universities of Banaras and Allahabad, he won the signal honour that a country can give to its citizen when the President of India conferred on him the decorsation of Bharat Ratna in 1955.


It was not easy for anyone to induce my revered father Dr. Bhagavan Das to attend functions or address gatherings. To take him out of Banaras (Varanasi) his home, for' any such purpose, was all but impossible. Still, when proper persons in the proper way invited him, he agreed to go and address them on subjects that were dear to him, provided he felt that the audience would be sympathetic and under- standing, And so it was that as far back as 1919 when the Superintendent of what was then the Macdonald Hindu Boarding House, now called the Malaviya Boarding House, at Allahabad, pressingly begged him to preside over their Janmashtami festival when the Nativity of the Lord Shri Krishna is celebrated, he was induced to go. My father scarcely ever spoke ex tempore. He used to write out most carefully-and what appeared to me, rather painfully- his speeches, and then read them out to his listeners invariably giving them a regular intellectual feast. He had prepared his paper for this function as well. This was later reproduced in many journals ; and its beauty and originality so attracted the attention of large numbers of readers that a demand was made for its publication in book form. The author revised his original paper which was duly printed and published. Other editions followed, and the work received well-deserved publicity and appreciation.

I am glad that the famous Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan of Bombay are now bringing out this book in their popular BOOK UNIVERSITY SERIES. I must confess I always liked the first versions of my father's speeches and writings best. Every subsequent edition of these invariably became bigger and bigger as one succeeded another. His small speech on the '-Unity of Asiatic Thought' at a Conference in 1930, became the huge volume entitled the "Essential Unity of All Religions" as published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan last year. A short speech on SHRI KRISHNA delivered at Allahabad also, has similarly evolved into this valuable book. I have no doubt that this will attract large numbers of new readers who would, with its help, get fresh ideas on the many-sided and variegated life of Lord Shri Krishna, and enter the deeper depths of His philosophy as embodied in His teachings.

I am personally grateful to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for reproducing my father's speeches and writings in his own words, and thus giving publicity to his thoughts and aspirations which, I think, deserve to live and to be pondered over by not only his countrymen but by men and women all over the world for the well-being of humanity as a whole. Our Swaraj would be worth little if we did not make our own definite contribution to world-thought and world-endeavour ; and my father, I feel, is one of the few who can help in doing so if only we studied and understood him. I hope we shall hot fail to do so.



Kulapati's Preface v
Introduction ix
The Time and the Man 1
The Theory of Avataras 3
The Oversoul 9
Its Manifestation 13
Religion and Civilization 13
Daityas, Danavas, etc 15
Main Kinds of Great Men 18
Great Men of Thought, of Emotion, and of Action 24
Examples 28
The All-Sidedness of Krishna 33
Krishna as Man of Action, History-Maker and Righter of Wrongs 35
Krishna as Man of Emotion and Devotion-Inspirer 43
The Eugenic Value of Krishna-Worship 65
Krishna and Christ 73
The Rationale of Ideals 75
Krishna as Master of Superphysical Powers 79
Krishna as Man of Knowledge and Teacher 85
Ritualism vs Wisdom 86
Note (on Ritualistic Mysteries) 90
The Gita and the Anu-Gita 93
The High Spiritual Rationalism of the Gita 96
The Practical Devotionalism of the Gita 131
Notes (on Sects) 160
Duty, Organization, Synthesis 163
Note (on New Tendencies in Western Political Thought) 169
Raja Dharma 171
The Passing of Bhishma 173
Conclusion 180
Note (on Krishna's Teaching of Nis-trai-gunya) 182
Index (of Works referred to) 195
Index (of Sufi Arabic-Persian Words) 199

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