SOME GLIMPSES FROM REVIEWS OF MY BOOKS

 

The Ten Commandments of Hinduism

(New Age International, Delhi, 1994)

 

The Times of India  (Lucknow) :

The 344-page treatise is no less than a portable gateway to Hinduism … dexterously woven into simple, lucid, spontaneous and impressive English … The writer’s scientific approach is holistic, comparative and partly reflective of a Thesaurus-like bid which increases the significance of the book … Going through the book is a spiritual experience in itself.

 

Indian Review of Books  (Madras) :

… (The author) does not interpret any Hindu heritage in a sectarian way or indulge in fruitless claims of superiority.  For example, he is avowedly a follower of Sankara’s Advaita, but his account of Ramanuja is one of the most moving sections of the book. … The interpretation is true to tradition …is written from the standpoint of a true Upâsaka or devotee, whose faith being so patently sincere and broadminded, will not offend the modern temper. … This book is outstanding as an interpretation of Hindu religion by one who has the requisite faith backed by deep understanding of what Hinduism really is.  What it says cannot be faulted, except, strange to say, for its title.

 

 

Sunday Chronicle  (Hyderabad):

Professor Krishnamurthy may be the right man to explain the central concepts of Hinduism to us … An excellent book for the modern Hindu to read and cherish … Embellished with numerous examples, the book is a  veritable gold mine of Hindu lore.

 

The Hindu  (Madras) :

… (Many books on Hinduism) fail to evoke the seriousness of purpose and perfection of details that underlie Hinduism’s grandmotherly sangfroid … Here it is that any clear explanation of the Perennial Philosophy is welcome as a breath of fresh air … The author is to be congratulated for a well-documented comprehensive review of Sanatana Dharma, highlighting its peaks, illuminating the valleys and blazing trails through its forest terrain. … Trained in modern scientific methods, soaked in Indian philosophy, and interacting with young Indian minds, he (the author) has developed the knack of presenting challenging ideas with lucidity and humour. …There are many mansions of Hinduism and Prof. Krishnamurthy’s offer is to guide us through ten of the mansions … The value of this carefully planned volume is enhanced by the inclusion of detailed notes, select bibliography, glossary and index. … (The book) promises delightful and illuminating reading to Hindus and non-Hindus alike.

 

The Divine Life  (Rishikesh):

… Here is a truly encyclopedic coverage of almost every phase of Hinduism … The work is both a diversion and a pleasant entertainment … Worth possessing by every novitiate student of Hindu religion and philosophy, since it provides a fitting introduction and treats the reader to a happy sojourn through the basic features of the higher values of life in a homely and highly interesting manner.

 

Ved Bhavan News  (Delhi):

… The author has dealt with the (above) subjects in great detail, giving quotations from various Upanishads, scriptures, sayings of Saints and Savants. Each page, each sentence and every word in this book is important. … A priceless treasure that every devout Hindu should possess, read, learn and acquire knowledge on Hinduism.

 

Hindustan Times (New Delhi):

… It would be a formidable task to analyse and present such a complicated religion (as Hinduism) in a simplified yet holistic formulation after identifying the unified vision and the complimentarity of ideas reflected in the scriptural texts and the commentaries on them. Yet it is such a task that the author has undertaken in this book. … The result is a highly readable book which caters not only to the lay reader but equally to those having some acquaintance with Vedanta philosophy. … Two charts illustrate the Principles (of Hinduism) diagrammatically  and help to classify the followers of some of those tenets under different categories such as secular philosophers, orthodox theologists, rationalists, scientist-Vedantins, doubting devotees etc.  This is a very original and perspicacious presentation and the author deserves to be commended on the novelty of his approach. …  The chapters nearly span the entire gamut or ethos of Hindu religion.  … A fine book which would certainly help in a ‘fruitful and holistic understanding of the complex fabric of Hinduism’ as claimed in book’s elegant cover-fold.

 

Prof. K.S. Ramakrishna Rao,  All India Vedanta Movement, Mysore:

An authoritative introduction to the study of Hinduism in its religious, philosophical, social and ethical aspects … a useful manual for any one to know what Hinduism is, after the late Dr. S. Radhakrishnan’s book ‘Hindu view of Life’.

 

The Culture, Excitement & Relevance of Mathematics

(Wiley Eastern, New Delhi, 1990)

Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore:

An unusual book.the author embarks upon the daunting task of giving a perspective of 20th century maths. To a literate non-mathematician. … There are many things about this book one can rave about. The foremost is its lucid style … I have not heard the author lecture, but he must be a great teacher … An extensive bibliography … The author comes across as an admirer of mathematics for ever in awe of the subject … To conclude the book gives a kind of course on mathematics which I would have loved to have gone through as a student. Those who did are lucky. Those who did’nt should read this book.

Week-end News time, Hyderabad :

most interesting book … a guided tour of mathematics … simple language with fine explanations … supplements the knowledge of any mathematician while kindling the interest in others towards mathematics.

 

The Hindu, Madras:

Ambitious and laudable task of presenting interesting snapshots of 20th century mathematics to non-professional mathematicians … A rich fare  infectious enthusiasm of the author … What he has achieved in three hundred pages is more than what a teacher of maths. Can hope to communicate in a whole year … vignettes of brilliance  .there is not a moment of dull reading, thanks to the expository style enlivened by anecdotes and a refreshing sense of humour.

Zentralblatt fur Mathematik, Germany:

The book is written for a large readership, with other specialities, with undergraduate in mathematics. … A documented and attractive lecture even for mathematicians, in spite of its very personal point of view.

Prof.KD Joshi, IIT Bombay:

The book is really exceptional … It achieves an optimum balance between such conflicting pairs of virtues as expanse versus depth or substance versus art.  The book achieves the perfect balance.

 

 

 

Sanatana Dharma Ratna-mala

(New Age International, New Delhi, 1996)

The Hindu, Madras:

An unconventional and novel series … each one of them dwelling on one particular topic from the vast spectrum of the tradition and philosophy … Some of the charts go into sophistications  that are not usually available to a layman … Some are narrations from history and mythology …  intended to be read, reflected on, thought about and discussed.

The Indian Express, Madras, New Delhi and Hyderabad

Novel presentation on the multi-dimensional aspects of Hindu spirituality through an unconventional, but yet, traditional, series of charts that reflect all the factors of Hindu heritage and religion.    The overall presentation proceeds from the grassroot levels to commendable depths with painstaking care to ensure that the ‘explorer’ does not get lost in the ‘mythological and spiritual woods’  The charts narrate with praiseworthy visual support historical and mythological vignettes crisply, briefly and without sacrificing thematic essence. The conscientious calculated and painstaking efforts put in this presentation-venture by the mathematician-scholar must be specifically appreciated   a highly commendable job.

Life Positive, New Delhi:

If you want to know more about Hinduism, but are too lazy to delve into its dusty tomes, here are useful charts for you… which convey the message in a glance .

 

 An account of the recently published book: The Clock of the Night Sky

 

This is an unusual book  The subject is: How to tell the time of night by just a look at the stars in the sky above.  The ancient people who lived in India both in the north and south used 27 formulae, in Sanskrit as well as in Tamil, by which they could tell the time of night by looking at night sky and finding which of the 27 nakshatras is on the meridian at the time.  The formulae are very cryptic.  They are not available anywhere in print. This author got them from his father who got it from an oral tradition which goes back to probably the vedic age.  For example one formula says: Krittika simhe kaayaa.  This means that when you see the star Krittika (Pleides) on the meridian at that time the constellation Leo has risen in the east by  27 minutes of time. All this is built into the formula.  The corresponding Tamil formula reads as follows: Kartigai arumin etrrari yekam.   All the 27 formulae in the two ancient languages are explained in this book with the necessary preliminaries. 

It was in the early fifties that this author lectured on this subject at Thiagarajar college, Madurai,  in Tamil under the title: How to tell the time of night with the help of the 27 naksatras?  In the audience, there were Tiru A.K. Paranthamanar, Tiru Avvai Duraiswami Pillai, Tiru Dr. Manickavasaganar, Tiru Ilakkuvanar, Tiru Sundaram Chettiar and other Tamil lovers besides colleagues and students of the college. It was one of the earliest (successful) attempts in Tamilnadu to lecture in Tamil on a strictly scientific topic at an advanced level.

 In July 96, a lecture-cum demonstration was given by this author at the Nehru Planetarium, Delhi where we had a practical proof of the near-accuracy of the formulae.

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Glimpses from the Review

in The Hindu

of The Clock of the Night Sky.

 

   What perhaps stamps the book as a scientific treatise is the author’s critical comparisons of the calculations based on the (four) different formulae … He has put his considerable knowledge and skills as professor of mathematics and researcher, along with the training imparted by his father into good use. The figures, tables and graphs are highly illustrative and serve as suitable companions to the text.  … This book is a veritable treasure to those who wish to study astronomy … It is a valuable legacy to posterity, an imprint of the systematic empirically tested study of time, an inheritance of our glorious past, which was consigned to oblivion after the advent of the mechanical time machines of the modern era.

 

Dr. V. Krishnamurthy, The Clock of the Night Sky, UBS Publishers’ Distributors Ltd., India  (1998), 104 pp + index

The purpose of the book is to show how ancient Hindu star-gazers formulated certain terse principles for establishing the time of night by locating a specific star or constellation. The author verified the accuracy of these time honored formulas (of which there are at least three different systems) himself. He author achieves his goal commendably well. Through charts and dates he enables the reader to check for himself/herself what is enunciated. The interested reader can get much enrichment and knowledge by following the prescribed rules.

The author guides the reader step by step in the northern expanse of the nocturnal sky, introduces the reader to the various constellations (in the northern hemisphere), specifying the modern scientific and ancient Hindu (Sanskrit/Tamil) names of various stars and asterisms. …….

This is not a book on the history of Hindu science, but a book about a particular science (time-reckoning by star-gazing) that was developed to a sophisticated degree by some ancient Hindu astronomers. This is one of the few books written on ancient Hindu astronomy from the modern perspective by a scholar who is familiar with current science. It is also one of the few books that could be relevant to modern Hindus whose interest is in getting to know not only their heritage, but also the real stars in the skies, not just references to them in traditional astrology and horoscopes most of whose practitioners have little direct acquaintance with the stars of whose influences they speak with impressive confidence. There is only one reference to astrology (p. 92) in the entire book.

      Books of this kind reveal to the world at large that beyond magic mongering and obscurantism, there was also some genuine science in ancient cultures.

 

http://www.rit.edu/~vvrsps/BookRevs/shortrevs.htm