About the Author :
Shri S. Balakrishnan (b. 03-.04.1911) had a brilliant academic career in the disciplines of Mathematics and Law, obtaining the First Rank in the then Madras Presidency in the University Examinations, securing many Gold Medals and Prizes. He entered public service and rose up to occupy top positions in Government and in important assignments during more than five decades of service, having received national and international recognition as an eminent jurist. He was conferred the National Award of Padma Shri in 1975 for distinguished public service. He is one of the many who believe that the ills of modern society are due largely to the steep decline in moral values among individuals arising from the excessive craze for and the blind pursuit of worldly pleasures, power and prestige, losing sight of the higher purposes of human life. The only means of arresting this decline ad elevating every individual is to revive interest, particularly among the young, in the precious heritage of spiritual wisdom contained in our classical literature. The author's ambition is to contribute his mite, however insignificant, for securing the object by bringing out handy books in simple English on the subject for the busy modern men and women and for the young. This book is an effort in the direction. His other books include one on the Bhagavad Gita, one on The Vedas and one on Adhyatma Ramayanam.
The common refrain in all scriptures including the Vedas the Upanishads the Itihasas and the Puranas is that Bhakti or devotion to God almighty is the best and the easiest means for invoking the Grace of God not only for material benefits like success in endeavors or relief from distress but also for spiritual enlightenment and perfection. The reason is that such Grace is the sure response from God for sincere bhakti. The Bagavad Gita gives special prominence to Bhakti as the best of all Yogas and explains that a Bhakta is one who even while engaged in worldly activities sees God worships him dedicates all his actions to him and finally surrenders to Him. In all these the mind plays a vital role. As the human mind is almost always engaged and engrossed in pursuing worldly objectives such as for acquiring more and yet more of wealth power of fame the main task for one who aspires to be a Bhakta is to divert the mind from such pursuits to be a possible and make it dwell on God. Eminent Saints and scholars have through their works endeavored to secure this for the common man and the most outstanding among such works are those of Adi Sankarachariar the well known philosopher whose contribution to Bhakti literature is equally well known. He has composed numerous hymns and other literature which not only explain the meaning of Bhakti but also help one to train the mind to think of God and meditate on him. One of the masterpieces among these is his Sivanandalahari a garland of verses of exquisite beauty and grandeour. In this little book an effort has been made to explain the importance of Bhakti in Hindu religion as revealed by Sankara with a brief commentary on Sivanandalahari.
This work is with great humility dedicated to Lord Maheswara by whose grace the author was enabled to become his instrument for bringing it out.
The author is grateful to the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for the publication of this book and to Shri S. Ramakrishnan for his very valuable help in this regard.
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