This book presents Sri Swami Tatvavidanandaji's teaching of some of the more important and popular suktas to students of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Pennsylvania, USA. Gaining an understanding of these mantras is an important step in One's scriptural study. In these pages, Swamiji illustrates the contextual nuances of these traditional hymns, while drawing attention to their universality.
Swamiji helps us appreciate how every aspect of the Universe may be seen to be a manifestation of Isvara. As he explains in the Introduction, it is not mere forces of nature that are deified and worshipped, or insentient mountains and rivers that are held sacred and venerated, but the power and presence of Isvara that is perceived in that manifestation. The unique perspective that everything serves to proclaim the presence of the Lord makes it possible for the various aspects of the Glory of the lord to be personified for worship. For instance, the Medha sukta relates to the glory of the Lord manifest in the power of the intellect the Durga Sukta praises the glory of the Infinite power of the Universal Mother, and the Sri Sukta praises the glory of the Lord in the twin aspects of beauty and wealth.
As one of the foremost teachers of Vedanta, Swami Tatvavidanandaji highlights Vedantic elements in the stories of the various gods and goddesses contained in the Puranas. For example, when he explains the hymns of the vusnu sukta the true significance of the Vamana avatara and its correlation to the vedantic view of creation become abundantly clear, and his interpretation of the verses of the Narayana Sukta Helps us understand how they reflect the most significant tenets of Vedantic philosophy. Swamiji's language as he leads us to appreciate these hymns is elegant, precise, and forceful. His description in the Sraddha Sukta of the many dimensions of Sraddha helps us see why it is truly the primary requisite in relating to the Godhead. Another feature of Swamiji's teaching is that he includes etymological derivations of important words in these Vedic mantras. The reader is thus led to a deeper appreciation of their meanings and importance.
This book also presents Swamiji's perspectives in the form of questions and answers in which he explores the core principles and many facets of Hindu Dharma. One of the more interesting questions Swamiji deals with is the reason for the apparent multitude of gods and goddesses in the Hindu pantheon which is commonly misunderstood as Hindu polytheism. His analysis of the belief systems and practices of this Sanatana Dharma offers many fresh insights and serves to highlight its uniqueness as a progressive and inclusive way of life.
Swamiji has devoted considerable time to examine and revise this manuscript, which is based on transcripts of his lectures. He has also meticulously transliterated the texts of all the hymns and provided precise word for word meanings. This teaching is indispensible to every spiritual seeker, whether new to Vedanta or one looking for further spiritual guidance.
Swamiji's firm emphasis on the true nature of the Reality and insistence on the importance of gaining the knowledge of the self is both meaningful and instructive. This book will therefore prove to be especially valuable to those who are seriously engaged in the pursuit of Self Knowledge. On behapf of all of swamiji's students, and as his students ourselves, we offer our humble gratitude to him for having made this important teaching available to readers everywhere.
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