Grand Unification

Among the holy grails of theoretical physics is a Theory of Everything- something that will unify all forces and give a satisfactory explanation for why things are the way they are. In string theory, one of the most important discoveries in the past decade has been that of duality... which in that context means that two theories of apparently different types are really identical in the major respects.

Indian philosophy has, for centuries now, grappled with concepts that are, on the face of it, similar. Dvaita, dualism, and its philosophical converse, Advaita- the oneness of all beings.

Samata Books in Chennai was started by the Gandhian, V Sadanand, in 1977. They have a very eclectic set of titles that includes The Complete Works of Adi Shankara, for one, and the Valmiki Ramayana that was first translated by Gaspare Gorresio, Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Turin. for another. This edition- unavailable for several decades and little known in India, was published in ten volumes with Italian translation, Introduction and Notes in the 1850's. Samata's edition is in 8 volumes. Other gems abound on the site... Adi Sankara's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, for instance, in a translation by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri. Or Paul Carus' Gospel of The Buddha that was first published in 1894.

The Advaita Ashrama in Kolkata is the publishing wing of the Ramakrishna Math. "In Advaita philosophy, the whole universe is all one in the Self which is called Brahman. That Self when it appears behind the universe is called God. The same Self when it appears behind this little universe, the body, is the soul. This very soul, therefore, is the Self in man. There is only one Purusha, the Brahman of the Vedanta; God and man, analysed, are one in It. The universe is you yourself, the unbroken you; you are throughout the universe. " They publish a large number of books, too numerous to mention here, and among those are serious discourses on the connections of religion and more quantitative approaches such as cognition. And philosophy, and history.

A particular treasure is The Culture Heritage of India, in a 6-volume series. The first volume describes the geographical, ethnic, and linguistic background of Indian culture, and the prehistoric Indus valley civilization which flourished over 4,000 years ago. Romain Rolland called it "a monumental compendium of the treasures of Indian thought of centuries", while the New York Times termed it "a work that is encyclopedic in scope. . . The vigor with which India is asserting her individuality and cultural importance points towards a renaissance that will enrich not only India, but the rest of the world as well." And "we get from the encyclopedic book the impression of a people who at their best display the most exquisite refinement of feeling, the subtlest grace, the nicest delicacy . . . And it may happen that it will be to India, as well as to Palestine, that we shall have to look for the spirit which will unite men in building a Kingdom of God upon earth" from the Times Literary Supplement.

Other volumes deal with Itihasas, Puranas, Dharma and other Sastra, Philosophies, Science and Technology, The Arts, and so on... Listed in our Culture section.

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