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The Art of Man Making
Swami Chinmayananda
Published by Central Chinmaya Mission Trust

Reviewer - Ranjani Saigal


When one takes up the studies of the scriptures in any religion, it is not a task to be entered into lightly. Written as it is by men and women who cannot be considered as mere mortals, reading these holy books, be it the Geeta, the Koran, the Bible, the Guru Granth Saheb and others, is not a trivial pursuit. As the scientific method considered as rational in modern times, has become the foundation stone for “intellectual” thinking since the past two centuries, youngsters often approach the scriptures with skepticism. This is when one needs a guide who can bridge the gap between the analytical way of thinking and the scriptures that have served as a source of inspiration and solace for over two thousand years.

Swami Chinmayananda is certainly such a guide. In his book “The Art of Man Making” he brings forth the Geeta as not just a doctrine to be read but as a source of light and inspiration that can steer today’s youth to action. Each one of us can identify with Swami Chinmayanda’s Arjuna. He is talented, well trained and comes to the battlefield with a purpose. Yet when he sees an army much larger than his own, with warriors that include the greatest warriors in the world, like Bhishma and Drona, he comes up with a myriad of excuses to get out of the battle. Why is it cowardice to get out of this battle in which Arjuna may kill his own teacher and grandfather? What is the true meaning of bravery? What are the various Yogas and why is Karma Yoga, the path of action so important? Swamiji is able to explain all these thoughts as expounded in the Geeta in a fashion that can be understood by the modern mind.

"It is not often that the youth of a nation has to face such dire situations and terrible challenges as we have now in our country. And yet it should be recognised as a condition which no backward nation can avoid when it tries to re-write its own history.These are the pangs of the new birth; and no new birth is ever possible without its accompanying pains. Since this is a natural condition through which youth must march forward, we may profitably look back into our culture to discover available techniques we may have for reinforcing ourselves and for getting the necessary strength, stamina and daring to face the national reconstruction challenges. A very similar situation is depicted in th Mahabharata times and a message to the youth had been given by the subtle thinkers of the era to the despondent youth of those times. Arjuna represents the world of youth, and the Bhagavad Geeta given out through Arjuna thunders forth the solution to the world outside."says Swamiji.

The book is written in a very simple and easy to read fashion. It is a good collection to your library as you can certainly revisit and re-read portions of the book. Lord Krishna’s goal was to inspire Arjuna to fight for the establishment of Dharma during Mahabharata times. Swami Chinmayanada uses his book to inspire today’s youth to bring a change in today’s society and I think he succeeds in the attempt.

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Swami Chinmayananda

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