This book is for youngsters high school and up. For younger ages, see by the same author: The Swami and the Children, a fictional explanation of the Hindu culture narrated as a gripping story.
In the 4,000-plus years of the Hindu culture, humankind’s knowledge has advanced. Today’s high school student has more knowledge than all the founding sages of the Hindu culture combined.
For the culture to be accepted by the young, it must make rational sense to their knowledge. The Hindu culture does make rational sense to the modern young—if the culture is explained the way it was originally founded or, rather, discovered.
The Hindu culture was not founded but discovered. It was discovered by the same process by which our young learn science: observe nature, explain, test the explanation, and if the test fails, repeat the cycle. The young understand this process well, and will, therefore, understand the Hindu culture well because this is precisely the process that the sages of the Hindu culture followed.
What the sages sought was immortality, and that remains the paramount objective of the Hindu culture, but instead of beseeching unknown gods for immortality, as the rest of the world was doing and still does, the sages did something novel: they observed nature. The sages reasoned that If immortality was possible, nature must have created something immortal. If they could find it, perhaps they could emulate it and themselves become immortal.
The sages defined immortality as a state of no change—a state without a beginning, without an end, no birth, no death. They called the state Brahman (pronounced Bruhm-aa, n nasal). Atmaan and Om are the other two names for it.
Everywhere the sages looked, however, they found that the universe suffers ceaseless change. Today’s high school student, knowing the atom, would conclude this nature of the material universe in a minute. The sages took centuries.
When they didn’t find something that never changed, the sages then observed nature for something that changes but can be controlled and made unchanging. That brought them to the mind, the consciousness—the only creation without atoms and hence possible to make unchanging. The rest of the Hindu culture is the discovery of methods to make the mind unchanging and merge in Brahman. The book describes Patanjali's Yoga, the most popular of the methods for achieving Brahman.
Instead of teaching our young how the Hindu culture was discovered, we teach our young deity worship. The fact is that first came the culture. Our many deities came later. For example, Rama and Krishna were practitioners of a culture that already existed. The culture as originally founded has no deities. "Which is that one God? He is Brahman. They call him tyat (that)." (Brhad-arnyaka Upanisad)
The discovery of the Hindu culture is recorded in the original texts of the culture, the Vedas and their ancillaries such as the Upanisads. The texts are vast. The Rg Veda Samhita, one of the four Vedas, alone has 10,589 verses or mantras, and the process of discovery is scattered throughout the vast texts.
This book extracts the discovery of the culture from the vast texts and in short, to the point, simple yet captivating language, with extensive quotes from the original texts, narrates the Hindu culture for the modern young.
There is no finer legacy that a Hindu parent can bequeath to our children. This book is a must gift from every Hindu parent to his or her child.