THE Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan-that Institute of Indian Culture in
Bombay-needed a Book University, a series of books which, if read, would serve the purpose
of providing higher education. Particular emphasis, how ever, was to be put on such
literature as revealed the deeper impulsions of India. As a first step, it was decided to
bring out in English 100 books, 50 of which were to be taken in hand almost at once. Each
book was to contain from 200 to 250 pages.
It is our intention to publish the books we select, not only in
English, but also in the following Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi,
Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. This scheme, involving the publication of 900
volumes, requires ample funds and an all-India organisation. The Bhavan is exerting its
utmost to supply them.
The objectives for which the Bhavan stands are the reintegration of
Indian culture in the light of modern knowledge and to suit our present-day needs and the
resuscitation of its, fundamental values in their pristine Vigour.
Let me make our goal more explicit: -
We seek the dignity of man, which necessarily implies the
creation of social conditions which would allow him freedom to evolve along the lines of
his own temperament and capacities; we seek the harmony of individual efforts and social
relations, not in any makeshift way, but within the frame-work of the Moral Order; we seek
the creative art of life, by the alchemy of which human limitations are progressively
transmuted, so that man may become the instrument of God, and is able to see Him in all
and all in Him.
The world, we feel, is too much with us. Nothing would uplift or
inspire us so much as the beauty and aspiration which such books can teach. In this
series, therefore, the literature of India, ancient and modern, will be published in a
form easily accessible to all. Books in other literatures of the world. If they illustrate
the principles we stand for, will also be included.
This common pool of literature, it is hoped, will enable the reader,
eastern or western, to understand and appreciate cur rents of world thought, as also the
movements of the mind in India, which though they flow through different linguistic
channels, have a common urge and aspiration.
Fittingly, the Book University's first venture is the Mahabharata,
summarized by one of the greatest living Indians, C.Raja Gopala - chari ; the second work in
on a section of it, the Gita Centuries ago, it was proclaimed of the Mahabharata:
"What is not in it, is nowhere." After twenty-five centuries, we can use the
same words about it. He who knows it not knows not the heights and depths of the soul; he
misses the trial and tragedy and the beauty and grandeur of life.
The Mahabharata is not a mere epic; it is a romance, telling the tale
of heroic men and women and of some who were divine; it is a whole literature in itself,
containing a code of life; a philosophy of social and ethical relations, and speculative
thought on human problems that is hard to rival; but, above all, it has for its core the
Gita, which is, as the world is beginning to find out, the noblest of scriptures and the
grandest of sagas in which the climax is reached in the wondrous Apocalypse in the
Through such books alone the harmonies underlying true culture, I am
convinced, will one day reconcile the disorders of modern life. I thank all those who have
helped to make this new branch of the Bhavan's activity successful.