This is from the general preface to a series of books—reprints of important works of Indian history and philosophy—called Bhavan’s Book University. The volume we consulted was published in 1958, and it is comforting to realize that academics have always meant the same thing when they claim to be getting explicit. They mean that they are about to say something so vague that it eludes all attempts at argument in the same way a thick fog slips through a chain-link fence.

The objectives for which the Bhavan stands are the re-integration of the Indian culture in the light of modern knowledge and to suit our present-day needs and the resuscitation of its fundamental values, in their pristine vigour.

Let me make our goal more explicit:

We seek the dignity of man, which necessarily implies the creation of social conditions which would allow him freedom to evolve along the lines of his own temperament and capacities; we seek the harmony of individual efforts and social relations, not in any make-shift way, but within the frame-work of the Moral Order; we seek the creative art of life, by the alchemy of which human limitations are progressively transmuted, so that man may become the instrument of God, and is able to see Him in all and all in Him.

What the general editor really means is “We seek donors who are generous and trusting so that we can keep making a living rummaging in old books,” which is a worthy goal, but not likely to succeed when stated explicitly.