Life is motion. Life is a journey full of actions. "One should aspire to live a hundred years while performing actions", declares the famous Isha Upanishad. The main question that arises in one's mind is about what kind of journey should it be? Should it be like a rudderless ship that gets thrown about in the stormy seas of this tumultuous world or should it have a plan, a purpose and a road map?
Hindu seers had over centuries understood the marvellous dynamism of human life. They realised, long before the advent of the modern science, that parents transmit their physical and mental qualities to their offspring whilst at the same time social and environmental factors also influence the personality and character of an individual. Hindus had developed a system of 'Sanskars', a series of sacraments designed to make a person into a better person.
This book '16 Sanskars of Hindus' brings that time-tested ancient wisdom to us in a simple to understand and lucid style. The authors have presented accurately the original Sanskrit mantras with clear transliteration and meanings to take the reader through the entire journey of life: from the very moment of conception in mother's womb to the very end of life when the body is cremated. This cradle to grave road map is presented with explanations highlighting the significance of each of the 16 sacraments at various stages of life.
There is one chapter devoted to each of the 16 Sanskars. The purpose and significance along with the main prayers complete with Sanskrit mantras are presented.
This scholarly work of the authors, Dr Bhan and Dr Sinha, is to be congratulated as they have brought the knowledge of the ancient scriptures to us with admirable clarity and simplification. Their translations and interpretations are relevant to modern life. The authors are also to be praised for smashing some of the myths and misunderstandings about Hindu rites and rituals. They have emphatically stated that all Sanskars are permitted for all Hindus, men and women of all castes and creeds. They have upheld the Hindu view that every human has the right to seek spiritual enlightenment and seek a better way of life.
There are some colourful illustrations that help convey the message behind each of the Sanskars. These illustrations are hand paintings done by artists commissioned in India. They have used old traditional imagery where modern day imagery would have been better to bring home the main message of the book that these Sanskars of Hindus still remain valid and relevant in modern scientific and mechanistic life.
This book is timely and valuable addition for every Hindu home. It will help combat the vagaries of social influences and personal aberrations that can impede one's development. It provides guidance at every crucial stage of life. This book helps one to give direction to one's life. The past life is beyond us. The future life is unknown. The present life is well within our reach and efforts can be made to bring about a positive change. This book helps to show the path to develop a better life through the system of 16 Sanskars.
The book is available from Hindu Sahitya Kendra, 45-46 Loughborough Road, Leicester, LE4 5LD.