A warm welcome to Chitrapurebooks.com.
Our website offers a spectrum of writings (ebooks, articles, commentaries) that are iconic in the collective memory of the Chitrapur Saraswat Community and forms a corpus of heritage thought. In an age of instant word and sound bytes, we hope these will provoke and sustain reader interest over time and space, and refresh memories across communities and people.
All eBooks and articles offered here are free to download.
THAPONIDHI: Sanyuktha Karnataka Newspaper's special supplement on Shri Chitrapur Math
”A Chitrapur Saraswat Miscellany” (1938) and the “Shrimat Anandashram Ordination Jubilee Souvenir” (1941) form part of the “Chitrapur Saraswat Series”, both compiled by Sh. Hattiangdi Shankar Rau (HSR), who did sterling work in stabilizing links between the Chitrapur Math and the laity at large, with HH Anandashram Swamiji playing the lead role in the efforts. The two volumes are key narratives of community history in early 20th century, particularly between the 2 World Wars.
The third volume, ”Community and Communion” (1972) written by Sh. Kilpady Guru Dutt focuses on the philosophical aspects of the community`s life and its cross cultural links. The book carries a foreword by HH Parijnanashram Swamiji.
We thank the Kanara Saraswat Association, The All India Saraswat Foundation, and the heirs of the authors for their cooperation in adding these works to our growing online library.
Author: Shripad Subrao Talmaki
Originally published in 4 volumes by Brittanic Durbar Printing Works, Bombay/The Popular Book Depot, Bombay, 1935-1951. Later compressed into 1 volume by the Kanara Saraswat Association in 2006, Mumbai ]
Sh. K. Shanker Rao has done an invaluable service to the community by drawing on a [possibly] handwritten Kannada manuscript of HH Pandurangashram Swamiji "The History of Saraswat Brahmans, the Guru Parampara and Sri Chitrapur Math", and extracting selections pertaining to the practice of Dharma and Gayatri Upasana from the "Upadesha" given by HH Keshavashrama Swamiji II [CE 1785-1823],and rendered their free translations into English.
In his foreword, Sh. K Shanker Rao notes that "the beauty of these quotations lies in their logical reasoning, and their spread across the vast domain of our scriptures". This systematic and logical process of thinking, so characteristic in our Guruparampara, was also evinced in the discourses of HH Keshavashrama Swamiji which aimed "to continue the intellectual efforts of discouraging the practice, then extant among Sarasvatas, of following Vaisnava practices, as they were primarily Saivites, initiated by HH Shankarashrama I in the 18th century" [Hattiangdi in "Fifty Years of Bliss", 1960].
This collection was brought out by the Madras Local Sabha to mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sri Krishna and Sri Datta Jayanties in Aug 1970.
Kilpady Guru Dutt, a member of the Indian Administrative Service in Karnataka (formerly Mysore Province) held key administrative positions, ending up as Director of Public Instruction. In 1957, after the formation of linguistic states, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Karnataka Electricity Board.
A distinguished writer and public speaker, he also plunged into community activities, serving as the President of the Standing Committee, Shri Chitrapur Math
Written in mid 1950s, the book gives a sharp perspective on our community in a newly independent India, its historical and spiritual roots; the travels of HH Swamiji; thumbnail career sketches of notable aamchis, and most interesting: his views on the Saraswat psyche. We are happy to present Sh.K.Guru Dutt`s work to our readers in the hope that his torch of knowledge will be picked up, and carried further into the 21st century.
With the digitization of "Umabai Kundapur: Diamond Jubilee Souvenir" originally brought out by the Bhagini Mandal, Hubli in 1952, we mark another catalyzing step in chronicling the annals of the Chitrapur Saraswat community on this website. Freedom fighter, Congress volunteer in the Civil Disobedience Movement, activist with All India Women's Conference (the pioneering pan-India body of its kind) and a social emancipator who worked for women's welfare all her life, Smt Umabai Kundapur was a role model for her times. To use a well known phrase, "her life was her message". She lived in stirring times, and in her own way, helped create them. This book of short essays, in different languages, views her lifetime achievements through the eyes of her admiring peers, many of whom were giants of India's Freedom Movement. Today, when we all breathe the air of a "Swatantra Bharat" (with all its warts), let us recall with reverence, those who (to use another well known phrase) "gave their Todays for our Tomorrows".
In a similar vein, many articles digitized this time from vintage KSAs mark our community`s contribution to the ferment of nationalism that swept India beginning the 1930s. The feeling of Change, as the country moves into the early decades of 20th century, is palpable in these articles, and they are better read than described.
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" ...It is she who is responsible for the awakening amongst women in Karnatak and in making them take to constructive work for the liberation of the country.
Her work, therefore, ought to be on record which can be a mirror for posterity..."
38 more Articles from the Archives of the The Saraswat Quarterly and The Kanara Saraswat Magazine.
Written in 1965 this is the first (and to date perhaps the only) biography of PP Pandurangashram Swamiji in the English language.
His patient and purposive planning in the field of Cooperation bore fruit for the community - Cooperative housing, banking, social organizations like the Kanara Saraswat Association - they all laid solid foundations for community wellbeing. The Housing scheme was in fact the first of its kind in India and Asia. The KSA which began as a ”meeting place for no higher purpose than card playing and having social talk over a cup of tea” grew over the years to become an achievement in cooperative endeavour for promoting social, physical, economicand general well being of our community, a tribute to selfless work by Talmaki and his contemporaries, later ably followed up by his successors. He multi tasked in an age when that word was unknown. His leadership inspired many inside, and outside, the community, and his work became an exemplar, in an age when national and international communications were slow or absent, and when India`s fate was in the hands of colonial masters. This alone could have given him name and fame, but he was not content, and worked virtually till his last day on earth.
We salute this illustrious and unique member of our community, and hope that converting his book to the ebook form will assist future generations of aamchis keep his memory alive in our midst. We thank the governing committee of the KSA, particularly the President, Sh.Raja Pandit, and the Secy., Sh.SS Murdeshwar for their speedy assistance in facilitating our mission.
This is how the author envisioned yet another of his “pocketbooks”. And reading it, you will discover that it is indeed so. Nevertheless, its scope is profound, and was one of HH Anandashram Swamiji`s favourite subjects. It is but fitting that Swamiji`s views on Gayatri are also included. Speaking in 1947, He said ’our young men of today will be responsible for the future welfare of the community. To equip yourself properly for this task, you need to develop both your body and your mind…………meditating on the Supreme Lord and reciting the Gayatri mantra will ensure both worldly success and spiritual progress.”
...One is one’s own friend; and one is one’s own enemy.
...Therefore, one should strive for advancement, and should not lapse into evil.
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
"There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all."
"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them"
Dr. Frank Conlon's "A Caste in A Changing World: The Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmans c1700-1935" is the piece de resistance of serious writing on the history of Chitrapur Saraswats, and evolution of social and religious developments within this community since late medieval times to the 20th century. Dr. Conlon is Professor Emeritus of History, South Asian Studies at University of Washington, Seattle; This publication was part of his doctoral thesis.
Dr. Conlon's overview of the Chitrapur Saraswats gives us, and the wider world outside, a mirror to the progression of a microscopic community from humble rural settings to the major metropolises of India; the role of the spiritual centre - Sri Chitrapur Math, and its leaders - in binding and keeping the group together; the rise of social leaders and organisations in the community that helped it metamorphose, literally, from a "cocoon to a butterfly." To bring it into contemporary context, we have a companion interview with Dr. Conlon.
We welcome 2017 with this fascinating heritage calendar-cum-census, whose existence crossed 120 years in 2016, having been issued in 1896 by the Chitrapur Club (predecessor to the Kanara Saraswat Association, Mumbai) with the blessings of HH Pandurangashram Swamiji. The Panchanga, issued in consultation with the Math, gathered many types of information under one cover, and was the brain child of Shri Shamrao Vithal Kaikini, (President of the Chitrapur Club) who convinced Pandurangashram Swamiji of the utility of such a compendium for the community. The publication not only included information on matters spiritual and astrological, but also enumerated the numbers in the community, their education levels, thumbnail sketches of saints/poets in the community, auspicious dates that year, and also railway information and guidelines to pilgrimage centres.
His hopes for the community, and for younger readers in particular, is that "they will gain a more nuanced connection with their heritage, and they will perceive that in each year, each decade, each century, things were never easier [for our predecessors] and will never be. Three centuries of socio-cultural change within a small community also offer significant insights into broader issues of change in India"
The facilitators are elated that the Ebook "avatar" of the book is being offered in 2016, which is also the 50th anniversary of the author's commencing work on his thesis. These readings come to you with Lord Ganesha`s blessings on Chaturthi Day
A tribute to the outstanding contributions of two eminent members of the community
”Both Ishvara and Krishna are Pashupatis—herdsman and Lords of the Animals.....my child, believe me, the souls of all living beings are the ‘cattle’ of these Herdsmen.”
The Directory of Musicians and Dancers, features over 400 thumbnail sketches of the careers of musicians and dancers in the community. It has been painstakingly compiled by (the late) Pt. Gourang Kodical, Vidushi Lalit J. Rao, both noted and gifted musicians, and the latter`s husband, N. Jayavanth Rao, a commentator and connoisseur of music. The community is indebted to them for creating a database on which the future can build. We convey our appreciation to them, and to the Managing Committee of the KSA for permission to publish the e-version.
To mark the Centenary (1915-2015) of the Peetharohana of HH Anandashram Swamiji as the ninth representative of a distinguished Guruparampara centred at the Shri Chitrapur Math, 8 Ebooks were released on this website.
HH Anandashram Swamiji graced the peetha for 51 years (1915-1966)
Copyright Ⓒ 2014-2017 Jaishankar Bondal & Shantish Nayel. All rights reserved
Brought out by the Karnataka Press in Durmukhi Samvatsara, Shalivahana Shaka 1818 [Christian Year 1896-97] and priced at 4 Annas, the plan was to publish the Panchanga annually. However, the plague that broke out in the following years in Bombay Presidency scattered the community and scuttled these plans. When the idea revived a decade or so later, the personalities and the milieu (and hence the framework) had changed. Thus, this Panchanga remains a one of its kind document, the very first attempt made in the community at data management on a modern template, and a reference compendium for all members.
Chitrapurebooks.com is privileged to bring out the digital version of this heritage publication of the Chitrapur Saraswats so that we can glimpse the long range vision of our generational predecessors in creating a path that has been well trodden in the following century, the latest census having been released in 2016.
In preparing of this digital title, we have received signal support from Wg. Cdr. [Retd.] Nayel Devrao Mohan, VSM, who has rendered faithfully and accurately the text into The English language, parallel to the original Kannada text, to make it relevant to non- Kannada knowing readership. His has been an absolute labour of love, and we gratefully acknowledge our debt to him, as we do to Sh. Ramcharan Hattiangdi, who alerted us to the existence of this priceless text in his family library.
Added along with the Panchanga, are 13 articles in our Aamchi Lore Page, excerpted from vintage KSAs.
Pandurangashram Swamiji was the eighth in the line of succession in a distinguished lineage (Guruparampara) of spiritual leaders at Shri Chitrapur Math, Shirali (North Karnataka). He assumed leadership of the community at a critical juncture in British India (1860s) when the Industrial Revolution touched the country, as did the camera, the railway, telegraph lines, the textile industry and English education - all of which changed socio economic perspectives, and impacted the tiny Chitrapur Saraswat community as they migrated from rural confines to urban centres. In these times of rapid change, Panduragashram Swamiji was a spiritual and social anchor for a record 52 years.
In a span of 140 pages (with vintage b/w photos) the biographer profiles the Swamiji as an institution builder, religious preceptor and administrator. With extensive travels (He was the first Guru to undertake the Tristhali Yatra in the North, 1887), pravachans, writings, He gave a defining profile to the community, and set the stage for change.
“Pandurang,Pandurang” is a thought provoking read for not only those wanting to know more about this magnetic personality, but also seeking a glimpse of the socio economic milieu of the community in which He worked, and on which He left a mark.
A brief word about your Webmasters.
Jaishankar Bondal and Shantish Nayel are denizens of Delhi. Jaishankar is a former member of India`s diplomatic service with a continued passion for history and heritage. Shantish is a media professional with a leading English television News channel;
Together, they hope to arouse and sustain your curiosity about the multi faceted heritage of the Chitrapur Saraswat community.
The author, recalls the words of his grandmother (to whom the book is touchingly dedicated) ”Both Ishvara and Krishna are Pashupatis—herdsman and Lords of the Animals.....my child, believe me, the souls of all living beings are the ‘cattle’ of these Herdsmen.” The author also mentions that listening to this lore, he was struck by similarity between Ishvara and Krishna, the Pashupatis, and Christ the Good Shepherd. The book carries a perceptive and evocative foreword by HH Parijnanashram Swamiji. The black and white/ colour sketches are by the author`s wife and family.
We are deeply grateful to PP Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji for giving His gracious permission, as Principal Trustee of Shree Pandurangashram Trust, to bring out this e Book. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to the family of the Author for their ever present cooperation and encouragement.
“A simple little book, in the form of a catechism on Gayatri, devoid of clichés and cumbersome explanations ... useful to the modern man”.
A variant on the above genre is the translation by Dr Hattiangdi of a long hymn from the RgVeda, authored by a sage named Dirghatamas. In the pocketbook ”A Riddle Unravelled”, the sage emerges as an “observer of the natural world and recorder of its manifest rhythms, embodying both science and poetry” [Ranjit Hoskote in his foreword to the book] We acknowledge our debt of gratitude to our Sadguru, P.P. Sadyojat Shankarashram Swamiji for His blessings and guidance, that enabled and inspired us to put this collection together.
The pride of place among these books invariably goes to ”Fifty Years of Bliss”, edited by (late) Dr. Gopal S. Hattiangdi, published in 1965 to mark the Golden Jubilee Year of the peetharohana of HH Anandashram Swamiji. This is not only a comprehensive biography of the Swamiji, the accompanying appendices are a mine of information on the Guruparampara and the community.
Complementing this classic volume is a cross section of 7 ”pocketbooks” on wide ranging spiritual subjects---from the true meaning of Dharma to the translation of the writings of Guru Samartha Ramadasa (1608-1682), a noted poet-saint of Maharashtra, who also finds mention as a preceptor to Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha ruler of Dakhin.
“In April 1896 appeared ... The Chitrapur Panchanga, published by the Chitrapur Club under the inspiration and patronage of the late Mr. Shamrao Vithal Kaikini."
“Saraswat Families” is the result of a lifetime`s labour of love, created by a simple and dedicated man who made it his life`s mission to document the social history of our community and establish genealogical lines of all families who make it up. We are talking about Shripad Subrao Talmaki, born nearly 150 years ago and resident of Bombay, who accomplished all these tasks without a cellphone, a computer, and obviously without Google; in fact without any modern communication and workaday gadgets that we take for granted today. He toiled on with paper, pen (and his mind, of course!), gathering and analyzing data, and by sheer effort and grit, created methodology in many fields for others to follow.
Pashu-Puraan is a fascinating take on animals and birds that inhabit our folklore, and shows the close relationship between Man and Nature, a relationship that is under great threat in the 21st century tragically due to Man's predation. The relationship with Man and Animal in Pashu-Puraan is, however, very different.
Photographs from the life & times of HH Anandashram Swamiji
An Exclusive Interview with Dr Frank F Conlon, Author, "A Caste in a Changing World"
Published by: Chitrapur Club, Mumbai
Year of Publication: 1896