This work is a commendable effort to describe the infinite in finite terms. M.N. Krishnamani has combined his analytical mind of a lawyer with the spiritualism of a true believer, shorn of ritualism as a pragmatic rationalist to expound the true perception of the philosophy of 'Aadi Shankara'. True religion is not in rituals and dogmas but in the belief and practice of virtues, which enrich the human existence. Shankara epitomized the true purpose of human existence and this he achieved in an unusually short span of life. The author, in this work does not merely extol the virtues but also the idealistic realism of the practice of true religion. The book depicts the philosophy of Shankara as the precursor of secularism in the Indian ethos and a powerful message of national integration.
The yeoman service done by Krishnamani is to expound through the medium of Shankara, the true meaning of religion at a time when it is greatly misunderstood. Religion is very often misconstrued as a mere dogma and compartmentalised when it is truly cohesive and binds the entire humanity. The essence of the message of Shankara conveyed in this book is the basis of our creed - Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam. Shankara is illustrated as a revolutionary and reformer of society deprecating any debasing human behaviour based on caste divide, or gender bias. Shankara's preaching has great current relevance to overcome the prevalent infirmities in human behaviour.
The publication of this book is timely. Jonathan Swift had said, "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another". The message of Shankara properly internalised and faithfully practised by everyone is the answer to the prevailing malaise in the society. Krishnamani has to be congratulated and commended for his contribution to education in correct human behaviour. The equanimity of Krishnamani in any situation in the court can be traced to his practice of that which he writes.
I do hope this book will enable a better appreciation and understanding of the Indian ethos and our rich cultural heritage.
Shri Krishnamani is a busy lawyer and a devout Hindu, who has good knowledge of our scriptures. He has authored a book on Adi Shankara’s "Bhaja Govindam". This book ‘Shankara, the Revolutionary’ is another work of his. There can be no Indian who does not know Shankara. Shri Krishnamani has presented Shankara in this book with commendable arrangement of thought with analytical presentation. He has inter alia brought out the universality in the thoughts and deeds of Shankara by drawing a parallel from several great and noble religious personalities in Indian Culture. He has focussed attention on Hinduism in such a way as to demonstrate how Hinduism has absorbed even other major religions. In this context his skillful reference to Bhavishya Purana in Chapter: 17 manifests his art of interpretation. It is a coincidence that it occurs in Chapter XIV where he writes under the head ‘Debate with Mandana Mishra’. He has exihibited his own skill in debate as a lawyer. He has bestowed some rightful thought and animadverted to the alleged anecdote of Shankara’s ‘Parakaya Pravesam’. One can add one more reason to the reasons already given by Krishnamani in support of his view. For one to be all knowing it is not necessary that he himself should have experienced it physically. The perception of great men is not necessarily based on mere physical experience. Their knowledge is not acquired by the same methodology of acquisition of knowledge by ordinary mortals. I am happy that Shri Krishnamani had the courage to raise this disputation. The chapters are thoughtfully arranged maintaining flow and continuity from one chapter to the other. He starts the book with the title ‘Shankara, the Revolutionary’ and concludes the ‘book with a paragraph epitomizing as to how he was a ‘great revolutionary’. He gives a finale to the book with a sentence ‘It verily requires another Shankara to know what this Shankara had done’. There is and could be no ‘another Shankara’. He is ‘Adhvaita’.
About the Book
Several books have come on Shankara's life story. But this book is unique. Here Shankara's life is projected from a totally new angle. The correct picture of Shankara, that he was a great Revolutionary who brought about drastic changes and who fought against the odds of his time, come out as the theme o this work. The reader will be surprised to know the difficulties and agonies to which Shankara was put to by the orthodox Brahmins of his time. Inspite of this, Shankara achieved great success in changing the modes of worship, in reducing the conflicting cults and in further reducing the conflict between them in conquering over-ritualism, removing the pernicious practices, in unifying India and in revolutionizing man's approach to spirituality, that Shankara brought about marvelous changes adopting scientific and logical approach to spirituality, that too in a short span of just 32 years of Earthly sojourn is brought out clearly in this book.
The stupendous volume of work left behind by Shankara justifies the declaration in this book that "it requires another Shankara to know what this Shankara has done!"
About the Author:
Born on 26th April 1948, Maharajapuram Natarajan Krishnamani had his education in Ramakrishna Mission Boys' High School, Vaishnav College, Presidency College and Law College, Madras. Under his father's influence, he evinced interest in spirituality from his childhood. He had a brief political career between 1969-1975. He has also a trade union leader at that time. In 1975, inspired by Sri Navajata of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, he left politics and plunged into spirituality. He was enrolled as lawyer in 1971. In 1992, he was designated Senior Counsel. He was the President of DTEA running seven schools in India's capital. He is one of the founder member of Veda Parishad. He is the General Secretary of Sanaatan Sangeet Sanskrit and the Treasurer of Sardar Patel Society. He is connected with several cultural, spiritual and social organizations in Delhi. His book "Bhajagovindam" and "Godlymen and their Golden Words" published by the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan are very popular. His other books include; "Shankar-the Revolutionary", "Essence of Gita", "Aryan-Dravidian Myth", "From Doubt to Certainty", "Premopanishad", and "Sai on Himself". His three other books viz. "Authobiography of an Avatara" "Religious Freedom" and "Quintessence of Hinduism" are under print. He is also a composer with 45 poems to his credit.
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