Skip to main content |

Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -2
On an occasion like this I feel profoundly thankful to the Syndicate of the University of Madras and its illustrious Vice¬Chancellor, who has been at the Helm for more than quarter of a century, for having chosen me to fill the Vivekananda Chair of Comparitive Religion, Ethics and Philosophy as the first incumbent. It fills me with a sense of humility and responsibility. I am fully aware that there are great scholars and exponents of Svami Vivekananda’s universally beneficent teaching, who have made it their life-study. However, an approach to the problems of religion which is in the making towards universal upsurgence and emancipation of humanity from the narrow walls which have tended to confine it, from the point of view of Eastern insights, has been found necessary to counteract, if not to supplement, the Western approaches to them. Our Vice Chancellor is deeply imbued with piety and understanding, as well as wide knowledge and penetrative insight into such problems. I have been humble working in these fields of religion during the past few decades, and have laboured to understand and practise the methods of spirituality in order to have a glimpse of the dimensions of spirituality, both eastern and western. My approach has been threefold: primarily a spiritual awakening of the consciousness in religion and through religion; secondly, it has been synthetical in the sense that no religion is, as such, out of place in the scheme of spirituality and realisation; lastly, the goal of universal religion is spirituality which is the sense of consciousness of the One Eternal Reality integrally present in each individual, and sustaining the diversity or manyness uniquely. In India, where we have many of the world problems in miniature, and in the individual, in whom we have an image of the Ultimate, we shall meet with problems of universal concern.
Though Religion as such includes philosophy, ethics, mythology and symbolism, yet it is spirituality that brings meaning to each one of them. We understand them through spiritual awareness or Experience, lacking which they become just inane and empty forms which carry the fragrance of spirituality but are not that at all. In these lectures I shall mainly try to draw out the spiritual and universal elements of religion, and leave the other problems for the next series if I am given the opportunity to deal with them.
I am deeply obliged to the revered Dharmasikhamani K. Balasubramanya Aiyer whose encouragement has not a little made me undertake this task. He was kind enough to chalk out the general lines of my lectures. He is a vast mine of erudition and catholicity in matters pertaining to Hinduism and its traditions and I am sincerely greatful to him
My debt of gratitude to Dr. T.M.P.Mahadevan, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Advanced Research, is great and so too my obligations to Professor Dr.V.A.Devasenapathi. Both of them have helped me with their invaluable suggestions.