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Author: Anant Pai
Padma Shri P Narasimhayya/
Painter/Illustrator/Animator: Souren Roy
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788175081574/1871/0201/0522
This set combines 4 issues titled:
1. Adi Shankara
1. Adi Shankara
Shankara’s life may be compared to a brief and brilliant flash of lightning that lit up many areas of darkness in the life of man. He had an intellect that probed fearlessly, a mind that questioned constantly and a heart that felt deeply. Out of these God-given gifts, in thirty-two years of tireless seeking, arose a great system of philosophy, Advaita and an inspiring body of devotional literature.
Shankara raveled throughout India, preaching that the Self or Brahman is one-undivided and imperishable. The rest is Maya or Illusion. We are told of his historic debate with the sage, Mandana Mishra, when the latter withdrew defeated. Legend also tells of an even greater confrontation. Shankara, the learned Brahman, bowed to the superior wisdom of a lowly outcaste, accepting him as a Guru, He established several Maths to spread his philosophy. Then, as now, the disruptive forces of religion, race, caste and language threatened to weaken the fabric of the one nation that is India. Now, as then, the teachings of a man like Shankara, who believed in the One Undivided Self, can serve to awaken our country to a sense of unity.
Chanakya also known as Kautilya, the hero of this story is the author of the well-known Sanskrit classic Arthashastra.
Chanakya helped Chandragupta, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, in gaining the throne of the Nandas. According to many scholars, Chandragupta’s success as a king can be ascribed to Chanakya’s advice and guidance.
The story retold here is inspired by the classic Sanskrit play Mudra Rakshasam (The signet ring) written in the 9th Century A. D. by Vishakhadatta of Pataliputra which is believed to be the city of Patna today.
Be not the slaves of tradition; fear not to walk upon new paths, if these bring you nearer to God who is the Truth. So said Kabir, a great Indian mystic, teacher and poet of the fifteenth century.
Popular belief has it that Kabir was born of a Brahmin widow who cast him away near Laher Tank at Varanasi. The followers of Kabir hold that he descended from heaven and was found in a lotus in Laher Tank by a Muslim couple. Kabir has proclaimed himself in his poems to be a weaver’s son.
There are many legends woven around Kabir’s life. We have taken those which are most popularly known and accepted. Kabir’s intense dislike for religious customs, the caste system, idol worship and orthodoxy made him many enemies; he was a revolutionary saint believing in one God and in his hundred and odd years of life, he tried to bring Hindus and Muslims together in his own way.
His songs had simplicity and rhythmic charm. They contained truths which had universal appeal. They are sung, to this day, throughout the country.
The Ramayana, written in Sanskrit by Valmiki is considered to be the Adikavya, the first ever poem. Tulsidas rendered it into Hindi in the sixteenth century.
Tulsidas hailed from a poor family of Rajapur in Uttar Pradesh. He was orphaned soon after this birth and even his foster-mother died when he was barely seven years old. When he was married, he became deeply attached to his wife, Ratna. She was the first person in his life whom he could call his own.
One day not finding her at home on his return, he became extremely restless and rushed to his father-in-law’s house in the dead of the night, braving heavy rains and a storm.
But Ratna rebuked him and said, had you loved Rama as intensively as you do this bundle of flesh and bones, you would have overcome all mortal fears. This was the turning point in his life.
The story as narrated in this book is mostly based on legends.