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The word "Introduction", used with reference to a publication, signifies "the preliminary matter" prefixed to it. Does the present work, comprising as it does the discourses on Hindu Dharma, or more properly Veda Dharma, delivered by the greatest spiritual luminary of the century (that is the Sage of Kanchi) and translated into English by a seasoned writer, need an Introduction? For days this was the question that revolved in my mind following the request made by Sri R.G.K., that I should write an Introduction to this translation. (Sri R.G.K , a good friend of mine, was formerly Assistant Editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India.)
I felt that I was not qualified for the job of writing the Introduction. I was reminded of the short Introduction I had written to the Guru Tradition which also incorporates the discourses of the Sage of Kanchi and which is also translated by Sri R.G.K. --- this book was published in 1991. I should like to quote a sentence from it: "It is only the devotion to the sacred feet of the Great Guru of Kanchi, implanted in my heart in my boyhood days and nurtured during the past six decades and more, combined with the persistent desire of the translator (an esteemed friend), that has embolded me to pen this short piece which is but an apology for an Introduction."
As desired by the translator, I have gone through the entire typescript of Hindu Dharma and this gives me the courage to write a few lines by the way of a preliminary note.
The lectures delivered decades ago in Tamil by His Holiness the Sage of Kanchi on diverse aspects of our Dharma, on our ancient culture and our arts and on a variety of other subjects have been brought out in six volumes by Vanadi Padippakam, a well-known publishiing house of Madras. But until now adent followers of Hindu Dharma, who do not know Tamil, have not had access to these discourses given by the incomparable preceptor of our time, discourses that are as extensive and educative as they are enlightening and enchanting. Sri.R.G.K. deserves the thanks of people living outside Tamil Nadu, both in India and abroad, for throwing open to them the treasure-house of the upanyasas of the Great Acharya.
Translating any work from one language into another is an arduous task, especially if the work translated consists of the spoken word. I know for a fact that the translator of this book has toiled for months on end and tried his best to maintain fidelity to the original.
It is my earnest hope that middle-aged people and youngsters --- particularly teachers and students --- belonging to regions outside Tamil Nadu will get copies of Hindu Dharma and benefit by reading the same. I would like to make a humble request to the publishers to take such steps as would bring the book within easy reach of all especially teachers and students.
May the Divine World Mother and the Sage of Kanchi, who remains shining as the all-pervading "cit", grant long life and health to Sri R.G.K to enable him to bring out further English translations of the Great Acharya's discourses.
For a general background, please see here