The Way of the Gods

Polytheisms may well be the world’s most undervalued cultural resource. From the dawn of history until quite recently, the default religious orientation on the planet was to recognize an open-ended plurality of unique divinities that manifest in every realm of natural and social life. By hosting a plurality of Gods, polytheistic civilizations exhibit maximum diversity in maximum solidarity – each one is a multiverse. Polytheism has been at the heart of the most ancient and resilient civilizations on Earth. Yet polytheist traditions have been stigmatized and persecuted for centuries, countless of them have been eradicated and prejudice against them and the very idea of a multiplicity of Gods continue to distort how they are perceived both by outsiders and in many cases even among their participants. This book offers an overview of continuous and revived polytheistic traditions from around the world together with critical discussions of the issues affecting them and their reception, offering a basis for further study and comparison.

KRANTIDOOT #MITRAMELA

उपन्यास्मृति या उपन्यास्मरण शृंखला के रूप में, आपके समक्ष प्रस्तुत है क्रांतिदूत, भाग-3 (मित्रमेला) की एक अनसुनी दास्ताँ! अनजाने क्रांतिदूतों की यह जीवन गाथा, क्रांतिदूतों के विचारों और चरित्रों को सर्वप्रधान रखते हुए उन्हें पाठकों तक पहुंचाने का प्रयास है। क्रांतिदूत शृंखला के लेखक डॉ मनीष श्रीवास्तव का प्रयास यह है कि पाठकगण भगत सिंह को पढ़ें तो उनके तथाकथित नास्तिक या वामपंथी वाले रूप की जगह आपको केवल भगत सिंह दिखायी दें। सान्याल साहब का नाम केवल काकोरी से जोड़कर ना देखा जाए। बिस्मिल साहब आर्यसमाजी भर ही ना दिखें और अशफाक़ मात्र एक मुसलमान क्रांतिदूत की तरह सामने ना आयें। सावरकर साहब, आज़ाद साहब, सान्याल साहब, गेंदालाल जी, शांति नारायण जी, करतार सिंह, क्रांतिदूत होने के साथ एक आम इंसान भी थे। वे हँसते थे, रोते थे, मज़ाक भी करते थे, आपस में लड़ते- झगड़ते भी थे।

Krantidoot Part 2

डॉ मनीष श्रीवास्तव जी द्वारा लिखित और इंडिका के सौजन्य से क्रांतिदूत शृंखला के अंतर्गत 10 किताबों का संकलन प्रकाशित किया जाना है। भारत के सुने-अनसुने, जाने-अनजाने क्रांतिदूतों की यह जीव- गाथा आपको उनके समय में ले जाए, यही लेखक की कोशिश रही है। उसी क्रम की पहली प्रस्तुति है क्रांतिदूत #Kashi

Krantidoot Part 1

डॉ मनीष श्रीवास्तव जी द्वारा लिखित और इंडिका के सौजन्य से क्रांतिदूत शृंखला के अंतर्गत 10 किताबों का संकलन प्रकाशित किया जाना है। इस शृंखला में भारत की सशस्त्र क्रांति को एक उपन्यास्मृति या उपन्यास्मरण के रूप में तैयार किया गया है। भारत के सुने-अनसुने, जाने-अनजाने क्रांतिदूतों की यह जीव- गाथा आपको उनके समय में ले जाए, यही लेखक की कोशिश रही है। इस शृंखला को लिखने के दौरान लेखक डॉ मनीष श्रीवास्तव जी की कोशिश रही है कि पाठक भगत सिंह को पढ़े तो उनके तथाकथित नास्तिक या वामपंथी वाले रूप की जगह आपको सिर्फ भगत सिंह दिखायी दें। सान्याल साहब का नाम सिर्फ काकोरी से जुड़ कर ना रह जाए। बिस्मिल साहब आर्यसमाजी भर ही ना दिखें और अशफाक़ मात्र एक मुसलमान क्रांतिदूत की तरह सामने ना आयें।

Hatha Yoga Pradipika / ஹடயோக பிரதீபிகை

ஹடயோக-பிரதீபிகை: பதினைந்தாம் நூற்றாண்டில் யோகி சுவாத்மாராமரால் எழுதப்பட்ட இந்த நூல் தற்கால யோக பயிற்சிகளுக்கு வழிக்காட்டியாக திகழ்கிறது. இந்த நூலில் 15 ஆசனங்கள், 6 கிரியைகள் 8 விதமான பிராணாயாமங்கள், 10 முத்ரைகள், தியான வழிமுறையான  நாதானுசந்தானம் ஆகிய பயிற்சிகள் விளக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன. நூறாண்டுகளுக்குப் பின் தற்காலத் தமிழில் பிரம்மானந்தர் அவர்களின் ஜ்யோத்ஸனா உரையிலிருந்து அரிய பல குறிப்புகளுடன் இந்த நூல் மொழிபெயர்க்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

Maxims from Mahabharata

Maxims from Mahabharata, as the name suggests, is a compilation of Sanskrit Slokas sourced from the Mahabharata in Devanagari script with English transliteration and Bhavartha or gist of the maxim in English by the author. The maxims have been arranged based on the broad subject they deal with, such as dharma, faith, eternal values of life, mental health, truth etc. Each maxim is preceded by a narration of the context in the epic with a brief introduction to the characters.

Mahabharata is an encyclopedia of everything conceivable by a human mind. This epic touches upon nuances of human life, relationship with the creator, society, nature and with one’s own self. Several lessons of life are there to be discovered in the 18 Parvas in which it is narrated. Most valuable lessons of life are always learnt in difficult times. The protagonists in this epic face several humiliations and insults which appear to be difficult to overcome. In times of such despair, several truths about life are spoken to these protagonists by wise men and women. A few of such pearls of wisdom have been brought together in this book. Mental health is the biggest challenge faced by humanity. With the invasion of technology into human relations, loneliness, despair and depression are the most often spoken about topics. This book seeks to introduce readers to the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the epic, which has greater relevance in the present day. It can be a handy reference to know and understand life’s various realities and learn from the lived experience of the protagonists in this epic.

A Primer on Advaita : Based on AtmajnAnopadeshavidhi of Shankara

This booklet is based on AtmajnAnopadeshavidhi, a short treatise (prakaraNa grantha) of Shankaracharya, much respected within the Advaita tradition. It leads the reader, literally holding his/her hand, from the simple way we observe the objects in the world to the inexpressible “Consciousness principle” (brahman) that is present in all of us and everywhere without any abstruse quotes or indecipherable terminologies.

“This translation by Dr. Ramesam Vemuri has made one of the most valuable works on Advaita now accessible to the English speaking public. – Peter Francis Dziuban, author of Consciousness Is All: Now Life Is Completely New

“A must-read for all Non-Dual practitioners who want to cut through the illusion and experience the Truth directly for themselves.” – Padma Neppalli, author of Not Two: The Essence of Non-duality

“It provides an easy-to-read summary of some of the fundamental concepts of Advaita and, as such, will greatly benefit the beginning student.” – Dennis Waite, author of A-U-M: Awakening to Reality

Sringeri Vidyāśaṅkara Temple Astronomical Theater

An astronomical theater with twelve zodiac pillars having a zodiac sign carved on them is the Navaraṅga of the Vidyāśaṅkara Temple at Sringeri, a town established by Shankaracharya. The pillars are illuminated each month, causing observers to conjecture that the illumination patterns represent a calendar. Scientific studies at the temple have not been able to resolve the issue.

The present work reveals with scriptural support that the Vidyāśaṅkara temple is a Sun Temple unique in India and the world. It reveals many intriguing secrets of Sanātana Dharma (Hinduism) and its astronomy as narrated by the architecture. It shows how well Veda, Vedanta, Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa (astrology), Yoga, Vāstu Shāstra, Āgama (canons of temple culture) and Tantra (esoteric doctrines of religious practice) are harmoniously blended in the construction of the Vidyāśaṅkara temple.

The book provides captivating foundational facts like the religious purpose of the temples; how the grand temple architectures are designed to meet stated purposes; how to understand the biological basis of Hindu Astronomy, Ayurveda, Astrology, Festivals and Yoga of the Sanātana Dharma civilization and many more cultural aspects.

Motivational Verses from Sanskrit Texts

Here we have a collection of a little over hundred verses, most of which were a part of the common man's knowledge not long ago. These are from the Mahabharata, the Pancatantra, the Hitopadesa, the Subhashita-s of Bhartrihari and such other texts. Some verses teach ethical behavior and some others realistically and bluntly tell about human behavior in different situations.

Most of the present day societies are focusing more on imparting job-oriented skills to children, paying little attention to their emotional growth. The governments too are cutting back on the liberal arts which are essential for the emotional intelligence and maturity of our children. Such trends have negative manifestations which are sadly realized at a later stage in life. We realize that progress cannot be at the cost of human values and goals in life.

These verses are like the 'box of truisms' and 'words to live by', in Louis Mac Neice's words. They may not be fully understood by the kids straightaway, but they reveal their full flavor as the kids grow and face the realities and problems of life. They are like the time release capsules which release themselves slowly.

Messages from Mahabharat

Mahabharat is the fountainhead of Indian Culture. Children, youth as well as the educated public across the world can appreciate the cultural wealth of India epitomized in the all-inclusive epic Mahabharat.

In 50+ ZOOM sessions, our author Murti Yerrapragada, covered narrating the entire 18-parva epic to his grandchildren, starting from Adi Parvam and ending in the Swargarohana Parvam. This included many stories, sub-stories, as well as a full account of the 18-day war and beyond.

For each session, the course material was carefully prepared by consulting the epic texts, more specifically the Telugu MahaBharatam written by the Kavitrayam: Nannayabhat, Tikkana Somayaji and Yerrapragada. It is known that the Telugu Bharatam runs close to the original, doing full justice to Vyasa’s original creation, story-wise as well as message-wise.

Thereby a book took shape in black and white. The 625-page book is now published as “MESSAGES FROM MAHABHARAT”

Discovering Devi

“What if I could imbibe my life with the clarity of thought, precision, control and simultaneous surrender that I am able to wield as a performer? Wouldn’t life change inexplicably for the better?

I wanted to work with a friend who could perhaps capture moments that I am completely unaware of during the performative experience. In 2020, Anup and Vivian joined me on tour and captured our journey during a series of Shivaratri performances.  We created two books that describe this journey from two different perspectives: the performer’s perspective and the viewer’s perspective. Finding Shiva is written from the performer’s perspective while Discovering Devi conveys the viewer’s perspective through a selection of photographs.

I refrain from saying ‘experiencer of dance’, as the one dancing and the audience both experience the dance, therefore this phrase does not distinguish one from the other.”

Finding Shiva

“After high school, I was not sure about whether I should pursue dance or a technical subject. Awaiting clarity, I spent many months considering my options.

While I was in the midst of this confusion, someone asked me, “What brings you closer to yourself?” I didn’t respond immediately, but in my mind the answer was clear. “Dance brings me closer to myself,” I thought. It was such an odd question, yet strangely it influenced a life decision. How can one be closer to or farther from oneself?

I knew that dance would begin to reveal something to me at some point in time, but I wasn’t sure of what this thing would be. The act of dancing holds something within it that I wanted to discover. What if I could imbibe my life with the clarity of thought, precision, control and simultaneous surrender that I am able to wield as a performer? Wouldn’t life change inexplicably for the better?

The applause bursts like rain clattering
From a cloud too heavy to hold,
My elation bathes me as sweat trickles
Down my forehead a moment before
It stings my eye to remind me to see,
They applaud the dance, not me.
If I were to fall prey, my dance entwined
With only moments of applause to remind
Of my days of yore. No never not.
Dance is me and yet not at all...”

Communicating Across Boundaries: The Indian Way

India is a multifaceted, multicultural nation with a rich tradition of ethnic, religious, linguistic, social and cultural mores, beliefs and practices. What has allowed for such a rich diversity of people and what have been the challenges to effective communication between and among these groups? India is also Bharat, and where does the twain meet between the imagined and the real India and the imagined and the real Bharat?

This book offers insights into understanding how we deal with difference, how we perceive one another and what we do about religious, caste and regional conflicts using the lens of “communication studies”. It can be read by both intelligent and lay readers as well as students of communication, culture and other social sciences.

A Primer of Spirituality

This book arose from questions raised in various classroom lectures, face-to-face meetings and social media conversations by the author with fellow travellers on the spiritual path. The author seeks to clear the haze around the knowledge and understanding of Sanatana dharma, and clear the cobwebs around its vedantic aspects.

The subject matter has been broken into four parts. The first part, Part A takes up general questions. Part B is confined to Hindu religion and its fundamental tenets, observances, practices, mantras, temples, gods and worship. The third part, Part C, full of Vedanta, is what sets the style and title of this book, by taking up questions, mostly on spiritual sAdhanA, many of which tend to be almost a Purva-paksha argument (an opposing logic) type. Part D is a small synopsis of the Advaita of the Upanishads, as brought out by Acharya Shankara and is intended to give a background perspective to the rest of the book.

What Does it Mean to be an Indian?

Why ask this question today? After all, a lot is written about India, her culture, her past, her society, the psychology and sociology of individuals and groups. Why is that not enough? It is because what we have learnt so far is either false or fragmentary. If Indian culture is not a slightly inferior, slightly idiosyncratic variant of Western culture, as the received view has it for a very long time, what else is it? Research into culture and cultural differences gives novel and surprising answers. Written for an intelligent but lay public, this book shares the results of 40 years of scientific investigations in the research programme Comparative Science of Cultures. It transcends the political distinction between ‘the right’ and ‘the left’ by looking deeper into ideas on human beings, society, culture, experience, the past, impact of colonialism etc. Today, the question ‘What does it mean to be ‘Indian’?’ is both important and difficult to answer. Is there something ‘Indian’ about this culture that goes beyond the differences between Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or Jains? What does it überhaupt mean to belong to Indian culture?