About the Book:
The book offers an erudite commentary on the sacred text of Sri Visnu Sahasranama, one of the most important hymns in the great corpus of Indian literature.
Dr. Panduranga Rao, a scholar of repute, here makes a detailed study of the meaning and significance of the hymn-a garland of thousand names of the Lord of the universe glorifying his qualities in an attempt to qualify the unqualified. Devoting a separate chapter for the analysis of each of the 107 verses of the stotra, he brings out the metaphysical nuances of each name with references from various sources and mentions the texts where the names occur. He explains related concepts and terms in an effort to present a wider understanding of the subject. He also studies the context in which the sacred hymn originated. The scholarly commentary reveals how the sacred text presents a picturesque account of the Supreme reality, Highest existence and Absolute bliss through graphic language and by adopting a photographic style of its own.
The work, with a foreword by Dr. Karan Singh, will be extremely useful to all scholars of Indian tradition and literature as well as others who are interested in the recitation and understanding of Sri Visnu Sahasranama.
In our daily prayers we chant many hymns, but seldom try to understand the inner meaning and its effects. In an endeavour to unfold the petals of our scriptural lotus, we offer this book 'The Universe That Is God' explaining the divine synonyms of 'Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram'. Dr. I. Panduranga Rao an erudite scholar and devotee deserves our rich compliments and admiration. Our heartfelt gratitude is due to Dr. Karan Singh, a great philosopher, scholar par excellence and Rajarshi in true sense, for his learned forwarding note. We also thank all our colleagues and friends with whose help this publication has taken shape. We humbly present it to readers with a hope that it will help in arousing the quest to go into the depth of our scriptures.
Apart from the great Shastras in the Hindu tradition the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Epics and so on hymnology has also played a significant role in the development of India's religious and spiritual life down through the ages. Indeed, these Stotras represent a bridge between the highly sophisticated texts and the common people who worship various deities such as Shiva & Vishnu, Lakshmi & Durga, Ganesha & Hanuman, Rama & Krishna. The hymns usually contain 108 (Ashtottara) or 1000 (Sahasranama) appellations of the worshipped deity. Regular prayers are performed in many temples established in South India, and this practice flourishes down to the present day.
Indeed so important are these texts, that many great Acharyas have written commentaries upon them, mainly in Sanskrit. Sri Vishnu Sahasranama and Sri Lalita Sahasranama are among the most popular of these great hymns, the former having been recited by Bhishma while lying upon his bed of arrows after the terrible battle of Mahabharata. Adi Shankaracharya wrote erudite commentaries upon these hymns.
Dr. I. Panduranga Rao, whom I have known for many years, is an outstanding Sanskrit scholar with numerous publications to his credit in Hindi, Telugu and English. He is a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, and has in this book 'The Universe That Is God' given us an excellent commentary on the Vishnu Sahasranama, one of the most important hymns is the great corpus of Hindu literature. This hymn consists of 107 verses, and Dr. Rao has explained the significance of the thousand names of Lord Vishnu by devoting one chapter each to every verse. He has also given them separate names, so that their purport is more easily comprehensible to the general reader. Dr. Panduranga Rao has brought all his devotional equipment as well as scholastic talent to presenting what will be a widely read commentary on Sri Vishnu Sahasranama.
While congratulating the author on his achievement, I would also like to commend a comparatively new institution, JNANA PRAVAHA set up recently in the sacred city of Varanasi by Smt. Bimla Poddar and Sri Suresh Neotia. This will be their first major publication, and I am sure many more will follow in due course. Living as we are in an age of great tumult and turmoil, strengthening our spiritual awareness has become a prime necessity if we are successful to overcome the challenges that face us. In the present Kaliyuga, devotion to a personal deity and repetition of His/Her name is considered to be the simplest and most effective path of salvation. It is in this broader context that I have great pleasure in presenting this Volume The Universe That Is God by Sri I Panduranga Rao to interested readers in India and around the world.
About the Author:
Dr. Panduranga Rao, scholar and philosopher, is respected for his unique understanding of deep philosophical truths concerning God and his creation. Brought into close association with Hindu ritualistic traditions and sacred works at a very young age, he combines the inspiration and dedication of a true devotee with the intellectual genius and perseverance of a scholar to explore in his works various aspects of Hindu philosophy and religion, particularly the Ramayana.
A multi-linguist writer, he has around fifty publications to his credit.
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