The learned author begins this unique book by asking a question: What is Man? Or What Constitutes Man? A fundamental question, indeed, which has been agitating the minds of inquisitive thinkers and philosophers since time immemorial. And in order to find out a congent and convincing answer to this question he goes deep into the subject and analyses the nature and destiny of man. Are all men alike? And are they striving for the same ultimate goal? If so, why this difference between man and man? Nothing can be more preposterous than to imagine that a Homer or a Valmiki can have the same goal as a John Doe or a Richard Roe; that a Nero or a Tamerlane will have the same goal and ultimate end as a Jesus, a Budha or a Chaitanya and that an Arjuna or an Alexander would be classed with a coward who would not hesitate to save his skin at the expense of his country. If on the other hand there is any diversity in the ultimate end how can we hold that the essential nature in them all is the same? Thinkers have not been able to come to a unanimity of opinion regarding these questions of perennial interest. Before answering them the author asserts that for a proper perception of these recondite questions we must not lose sight of the fact that man does not constitute the whole of creation and that there would be no appreciable gap in it even though he were swept away from its bosom. Infinite are the forms of being manifested in this world, so it is only proper that we should devote some consideration to them before we proceed to our enquiries as to man? Then the author begins with the Universe (Kosmos) by saying that it is characteristic of human mind to seek for the origin and cause of all things. All things are being constantly transmitted from one state to another. Just as earth is transformed into a pot, gold into ornaments, cotton into cloth and vapour into rain so are the material elements transformed into human body. Change is the law of creation and then he describes manifestation and creation. The universe cannot remain in the self-same condition for ever; the plains become hills and hills become plains; forests are converted into deserts and deserts into forests: lands give place to water and water to lands; great cities are converted into desolute wastes and wild unfrequented tracts are converted into flourishing business centres. The author raises the religious and metaphysical questions regarding the existence of soul and God, knowledge and faith, duty and freedom, different stages in the march of civilisation, belief and atheism, position of sexes, marriage and morals, temporal and religious duties (Dharma) the attributes of a truly rational and purposeful life which all bear the stamp of originality. Describing the underlying unity of world religions he quotes ancient sages of India who said, Verily as the different rivers and water courses wend their way through different courses and climes into the one ocean so do the different religions point to one goal who is God Himself. From all standards, this volume belongs to the genre of books which are soul-elevating and full of lofty ideals and as such it can be classed as indispensable acuisition for any library-public or private and for personal bookshelves of all cultured men and women all over the world.
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