Great Minds on Hinduism
Romain Rolland (1866-1944) French Nobel laureate, professor of the history of music at the Sorbonne and thinker.
If there is one place on the face of the earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India....For more than 30 centuries, the tree of vision, with all its thousand branches and their millions of twigs, has sprung from this torrid land, the burning womb of the Gods. It renews itself tirelessly showing no signs of decay.
Let us return to our eagle's nest in the Himalayas. It is waiting for us, for it is ours, eaglets of Europe, we need not renounce any part of our real nature...whence we formerly took our flight. Religious faith in the case of the Hindus has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws, moreover the former is never made a condition for the knowledge they teach, but there are always scrupulously careful to take into consideration the possibility that by reason both the agnostic and atheist may attain truth in their own way. Such tolerance may be surprising to religious believers in the West, but it is an integral part of Vedantic belief.
The true Vedantic spirit does not start out with a system of preconceived ideas. It possesses absolute liberty and unrivalled courage among religions with regard to the facts to be observed and the diverse hypotheses it has laid down for their coordination. Never having been hampered by a priestly order, each man has been entirely free to search wherever he pleased for the spiritual explanation of the spectacle of the universe.
The greatest human ideal is the great cause of bringing together the thoughts of Europe and Asia; the great soul of India will topple our world.
The vast and tranquil metaphysics of India is unfolded; her conception of the universe, her social organization, perfect in its day and still capable of adaptation to the demands of modern times; the solution which she offers for the feminist problem, for the problems of the family, of love, of marriage; and lastly, the magnificent revelation of her art. The whole vast soul of India proclaims from end to end of its crowded and well ordered edifice the same domination of a sovereign synthesis." There is no negation. All is harmonized. All the forces of life are grouped like a forest, whose thousand waving arms are led by Nataraja, the master of the Dance. Everything has its place, every being has its function, and all take part in the divine concert, their different voices, and their very dissonances, creating, in the phrase of Heraclitus, a most beautiful harmony. Whereas in the West, cold, hard logic isolates the unusual, shutting it off from the rest of life into a definite and distinct compartment of the spirit. India, ever mindful of the natural differences in souls and in philosophies, endeavors to blend them into each other, so as to recreate in its fullest perfection the complete unity. The matching of opposites produces the true rhythm of life.
Of course, this entire fabric of Indian life stands solidly on faith, that is to say, on a slender and emotional hypothesis. But amid all the beliefs of Europe, and of Asia, that of the Indian Brahmins seems to me infinitely the most alluring. And the reason why I love the Brahmin more than the other schools of Asiatic thought is because it seems to me to contain them all. Greater than all European philosophies, it is even capable of adjusting itself to the vast hypotheses of modern science. Our Christian religions have tried in vain, when there were no other choice open to them, to adapt themselves to the progress of science. But after having allowed myself to be swept away by the powerful rhythm of Brahmin thought, along the curve or life, with its movement of alternating ascent and return, I come back to my own century, and while finding therein the immense projections of a new cosmogony, offspring of the genius of Einstein, or deriving freely from the discoveries, I yet do not feel that I enter a strange land. I yet can hear resounding still the cosmic symphony of all those planets which forever succeed each other, are extinguished and once more illumined, with their living souls, their humanities, their gods – according to the laws of the eternal To Become, the Brahmin Samsara – I hear Siva dancing, dancing in the heart of the world, in my own heart.
In the great philosophy of Brahma, such violent turns of the scale are quite unknown. It embraces vast stretches of time, cycles of human ages, whose successive lives gravitate in concentric circles, and travel ever slowly towards the center...."
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948) was an advocate and pioneer of nonviolence.
- Hinduism has proven much more open than any other religion to new ideas, scientific thought, and social experimentation. Many concepts like reincarnation, meditation, yoga and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is less clear-cut than mainstream Christianity, politically less determined than Islam, ethically less heroic than Buddhism, but it would offer something to everybody. It will appear idealistic to those who look for idealism, pragmatic to the pragmatists, spiritual to the seekers, sensual to the here-and-now generation. Hinduism, by virtue of its lack of an ideology and its reliance on intuition, will appear to be more plausible than those religions whose doctrinal positions petrified a thousand years ago.
I am a proud staunch Sanatani Hindu.
Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.
Hinduism is a relentless pursuit of Truth. "Truth is God" and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued; and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.
I believe that the civilization India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestry. Rome went; Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become westernized; of China nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation.
The Geeta is the universal mother. I find a solace in the Bhagavadgeeta that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there , and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies - and my life has been full of external tragedies - and if they have left no visible or indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavadgeeta.
Hinduism is a living organism liable to growth and decay subject to the laws of Nature. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. The changes in the season affect it. It has its autumn and its summer, its winter and its spring. It is, and is not, based on scriptures. It does not derive its authority from one book. Non violence has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism.
I think I have understood Hinduism correctly when I say that it is eternal, all-embracing and flexible enough to suit all situations.
I am a Hindu because it is Hinduism which makes the world worth living. I am a Hindu hence I Love not only human beings, but all living beings.
Hinduism is a living organism. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. Knowledge is limitless and so also the application of truth. Everyday we add to our knowledge of the power of Atman (soul) and we shall keep on doing so.
I am unable to identify with orthodox Christianity. I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find solace in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount....I must confess to you that when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
I have no other wish in this world but to find light and joy and peace through Hinduism.
Hinduism insists on the brotherhood of not only all mankind but of all that lives.
Hinduism is like the Ganga,, pure and unsullied at its source but taking in its course the impurities in the way. Even like the Ganga it is beneficent in its total effect. It takes a provincial form in every province, but the inner substance is retained everywhere.
On examination, I have found it to be the most tolerant of all religions known to me. Its freedom from dogma makes a forcible appeal to me inasmuch as it gives the votary the largest scope for self-expression.
Hindu Dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more treasures you find.
Hinduism is like Ganges, pure and unsullied at its source, but taking in its course the impurities in the way.
It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world's progress toward peace … Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man?
Erwin Schrödinger (1887--1961) Austrian theoretical physicist, was a professor at several universities in Europe. He was awarded the Nobel prize Quantum Mechanics, in 1933. During the Hitler era he was dismissed from his position for his opposition to the Nazi ideas and he fled to England. He was the author of Meine Weltansicht
This life of yours which you are living is not merely apiece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as "I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world."
The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrodinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on super imposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the Vedantic concept of All in One.
Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.
Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge.. It has nothing to do with individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further – when man dies his karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.
There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction....The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad.
The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West.
Dr. Carl Sagan , (1934-1996) famous astrophysicist.
The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still.
The most elegant and sublime of these is a representation of the creation of the universe at the beginning of each cosmic cycle, a motif known as the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The god, called in this manifestation Nataraja, the Dance King. In the upper right hand is a drum whose sound is the sound of creation. In the upper left hand is a tongue of flame, a reminder that the universe, now newly created, with billions of years from now will be utterly destroyed.
A millennium before Europeans were wiling to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions.
Count Hermann Keyserling (1880-1946) philosopher, author, public speaker. He is the first Western thinker to conceive and promote a planetary culture, beyond nationalism and cultural ethnocentrism, based on recognition of the equal value and validity of non-western cultures and philosophies.
Hinduism at its best has spoken the only relevant truth about the way to self-realization in the full sense of the word.
Hinduism has produced the profoundest metaphysics that we know of.
The absolute superiority of India over the West in philosophy; poetry from the Mahabharata, containing the Bhagavad-Gita, "perhaps the most beautiful work of the literature of the world".
Benares is holy. Europe, grown superficial, hardly understands such truths anymore.....I feel nearer here than I have ever done to the heart of the world; here I feel everyday as if soon, perhaps even today, I would receive the grace of supreme revelation...The atmosphere of devotion which hangs above the river is improbable in strength; stronger than in any church that I have ever visited. Every would be Christian priest would do well to sacrifice a year of his theological studies in order to spend his time on the Ganges; here he would discover what piety means.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) also known as Samuel Clemens, one of the most widely loved and celebrated American writers since his first books were released in the late 1860s.
Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speech, grandmother of legend, great grandmother of tradition. The land that all men desire to see and having seen once even by a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the globe combined.
India had the start of the whole world in the beginning of things. She had the first civilization; she had the first accumulation of material wealth; she was populous with deep thinkers and subtle intellects; she had mines, and woods, and a fruitful soul.
Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India.
"Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speach, grandmother of leagacy, great grandmother of tradition. The land that all men desire to see and having seen once even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the globe combined."
Dr. Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975) the great British historian. His massive research was published in 12 volumes between 1934 and 1961 as `A Study of History'. Author of several books, including Christianity: Among the Religions of the World and One World and India. Toynbee was a major interpreter of human civilization in the 20th century.
It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history , the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together in to a single family.
So now we turn to India. This spiritual gift, that makes a man human, is still alive in Indian souls. Go on giving the world Indian examples of it. Nothing else can do so much to help mankind to save itself from destruction.
There may or may not be only one single absolute truth and only one single ultimate way of salvation. We do not know. But we do know that there are more approaches to truth than one, and more means of salvation than one.''''This is a hard saying for adherents of the higher religions of the Judaic family (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but it is a truism for Hindus. The spirit of mutual good-will, esteem, and veritable love ... is the traditional spirit of the religions of the Indian family. This is one of India's gifts to the world.
At the close of this century, the world would be dominated by the West, but that in the 21st century "India will conquer her conquerors."
Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) Scientist, philosopher, bohemian, and radical. A theoretical physicist and the Supervising Scientist for the Manhattan Project, the developer of the atomic bomb. Graduating from Harvard University, he traveled to Cambridge University to study at the Cavendish Laboratory.
Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.
The general notions about human understanding… which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find [in modern physics] is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom.
The juxtaposition of Western civilization's most terrifying scientific achievement with the most dazzling description of the mystical experience given to us by the Bhagavad Gita, India's greatest literary monument.
Albert Einstein , (1879-1955) physicist. In 1905 He published his theory of Relativity.
When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.
We owe a lot to Indians who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.
The Hindu genius is a love for abstraction and, at the same time, a passion for the concrete image. At times it is rich, at others prolix. It has created the most lucid and the most instinctive art. It is abstract and realistic, sexual and intellectual, pedantic and sublime. It lives between extremes, it embraces the extremes, rooted in the earth and drawn to an invisible beyond.
Klaus L. Klostermaier professor of Religious Studies at the University of Manitoba.
Hinduism has proven much more open than any other religion to new ideas, scientific thought, and social experimentation. Many concepts like reincarnation, meditation, yoga and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is less clear-cut than mainstream Christianity, politically less determined than Islam, ethically less heroic than Buddhism, but it would offer something to everybody. It will appear idealistic to those who look for idealism, pragmatic to the pragmatists, spiritual to the seekers, sensual to the here-and-now generation. Hinduism, by virtue of its lack of an ideology and its reliance on intuition, will appear to be more plausible than those religions whose doctrinal positions petrified a thousand years ago.
George Bernard Shaw, (1856-1950) a vegetarian and Nobel Laureate in Literature.
The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creators hand.
The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it.
Sir Charles Eliot (1862-1931), British diplomat and colonial administrator, a famous scholar and linguist of Oxford.
Let me confess that I cannot share the confidence in the superiority of Europeans and their ways which is prevalent in the West. European civilization is not satisfying and Asia can still offer something more attractive to many who are far from Asiatic in spirit.
I do not think that Christianity will ever make much progress in Asia, for what is commonly known by that name is not the teaching of Christ but a rearrangement of it made in Europe and like most European institutions practical rather than thoughtful. And as for the teaching of Christ himself, the Indian finds it excellent but not ample or satisfying. There is little in it which cannot be found in some of the many scriptures of Hinduism..."
The claim of India to the attention of the world is that she, more than any other nation since history began, has devoted herself to contemplating the ultimate mysteries of existence and, in my eyes, the fact that Indian thought diverges widely from our own popular thought is a positive merit.
Hinduism has not been made, but has grown. It is a jungle, not a building. It is a living example of a great national paganism such as might have existed in Europe if Christianity had not become the state religion of the Roman Empire, if there had remained an incongruous jumble of old local superstitions, Greek philosophy, and oriental cults such as the worship of Sarapis or Mitras.
Compared to Islam and Christianity, Hinduism's doctrines are extraordinarily fluid, and multiform. India deals in images and metaphors. Restless, subtle and argumentative as Hindu thought is, it is less prone than European theology to the vice of distorting transcendental ideas by too stringent definition. It adumbrates the indescribable by metaphors and figures. It is not afraid of inconsistencies which may illustrate different aspects of the infinite, but it rarely tries to cramp the divine within the limits of a logical phrase.
The Hindu has an extraordinary power of combining dogma and free thought, uniformity, and variety. Utmost latitude of interpretation is allowed. In all ages Hindus have been passionately devoted to speculation. It is also to point out that from the Upanishads down to the writings of Tagore in the present day literature from time to time enunciates the idea that the whole universe is the manifestation of some exuberant force giving expression to itself in joyous movement.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founder of the Bangalore based Art of Living an International Foundation. He recently addressed the UN Peace Summit on Aug 28.
Hinduism is not a religion; it is just a way of life that thousands of Rishis have written about. It is such a democratic religion where everybody has the freedom to think, write or say whatever they want. We have no opposition for any other philosophy coming into us. We have no opposition for the Bible to be part of our own study. Nobody here will say, 'If you read the Bible, you will go to hell'. It is an inclusive way of looking at life, and that is what we need in the world today. We have no objection taking food from every part of the world, listening to music from every part of the world. So we need to globalize wisdom too.
Indian astronomers had calculated that life started 1 billion, 955 million, 818 thousand and 501 years ago and that 28 cycles of yugas have already happened. The ancient sages knew these facts. This is why they devised the mala (necklace) with 108 beads, which stand for the 12 constellations and the nine planets and the 108 different permutations which affect one's life." Everything is this universe is interconnected.
Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933) was an active socialist on the executive committee of the Fabian Society along with George Bernard Shaw.
After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect , none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual that the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil in to which India's roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism who shall save it? If India's own children do not cling to her faith who shall guard it. India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one.
This is the India of which I speak - the India which, as I said, is to me the Holy Land. For those who, though born for this life in a Western land and clad in a Western body, can yet look back to earlier incarnations in which they drank the milk of spiritual wisdom from the breast of their true mother - they must feel ever the magic of her immemorial past, must dwell ever under the spell of her deathless fascination; for they are bound to India by all the sacred memories of their past; and with her, too, are bound up all the radiant hopes of their future, a future which they know they will share with her who is their true mother in the soul-life.
India is the mother of religion. In her are combined science and religion in perfect harmony, and that is the Hindu religion, and it is India that shall be again the spiritual mother of the world.
During the early life of a Nation, religion is an essential for the binding together of the individuals who make the nation. India was born, as it were, in the womb of Hinduism, and her body was for long shaped by that religion. Religion is a binding force, and India has had a longer binding together by religion than any other Nation in the world, as she is the oldest of the living Nations.
Based on knowledge it need not fear any advance in knowledge; profound in spirituality, the depths of the spirit find in it deeps answering into deep, it has nothing to dread, everything to hope, from growth in intellect, from increasing sway of reason.
It was my advanced research in physics that had started me on a spiritual quest. It culminated in me accepting the non-dualism or absolute monism of Shankara as my philosophy of life and science.
You are fortunate to inherit such knowledge. I envy you. While Greece is the country of my birth, India is the country of my soul.
For me the most important thing is to spread the Hindu knowledge about the soul. This is more important than any other knowledge and is my main priority.
The key Hindu concept of dharma - the right way, the sanctioned way, which all men must follow, according to their natures - is an elastic concept. At its noblest it combines self-fulfillment and truth to the self with the ideas of action as duty, action as its own spiritual reward, man as a holy vessel. India was trampled over, fought over. You had the invasions and you had the absence of a response to them. There was an absence even of the idea of a people, of a nation defending itself. Only now are people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalizing of India. The movement is now from below. It has to be dealt with. It is not enough to abuse these youths or use that fashionable word from Europe, 'fascism', There is a big, historical development going on in India. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening....Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.
Indian intellectuals have a responsibility to the state and should start a debate on the Muslim psyche, To speak of Hindu fundamentalism, is a contradiction in terms, it does not exist. Hinduism is not this kind of religion. You know, there are no laws in Hinduism.
I think when you see so many Hindu temples of the tenth century or earlier time disfigured, defaced, you know that they were not just defaced for fun: that something terrible happened. I feel that the civilization of that closed world was mortally wounded by those invasions. And I would like people, as it were, to be more reverential towards the past, to try to understand it; to preserve it; instead of living in its ruins. The Old World is destroyed. That has to be understood. The ancient Hindu India was destroyed.
The older I get, the more Hindu I become.
When we read in the valuable production of those great Oriental scholars...those of a Jones, a Wilkings, a Colebrooke, or a Halhed, - we uniformly discover in the Hindus a nation, whose polished manners are the result of a mild disposition and an extensive benevolence.
Christopher W. B. Isherwood (1904-1986) Translator, biographer, novelist, and playwright.
I believe the Gita to be one of the major religious documents of the world. If its teachings did not seem to me to agree with those of the other gospels and scriptures, then my own system of values would be thrown into confusion, and I should feel completely bewildered. The Gita is not simply a sermon, but a philosophical treatise.
The Hindu mind represents humanity's oldest and most continuous stream of conscious intelligence on the planet. Hindu sages, seers, saints, yogis and jnanis have maintained an unbroken current of awareness linking humanity with the Divine since the dawn of history, and as carried over from earlier cycles of civilization in previous humanities unknown to our present spiritually limited culture.
The Hindu mind has a vision of eternity and infinity. It is aware of the vast cycles of creation and destruction that govern the many universes and innumerable creatures within them.
After gradual research; I have come to the conclusion that long before all heavenly books, God had revealed to the Hindus, through the Rishis of yore, of whom Brahma was the Chief, His four books of knowledge, the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda.The Quran itself made veiled references to the Upanishads as the first heavenly book and the fountainhead of the ocean of monotheism.
Klaus L. Klostermaier, Professer Religious Studies at the University of Manitoba.
Sylvain Levi (1863-1935) French scholar, Orientalist who wrote on Eastern religion, literature, and history.
From Persia to the Chinese Sea, 'from the icy regions of Siberia to the islands of Java and Borneo, from Oceania to Socotra, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales and her civilization.
She has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim in universal history the rank that ignorance has refused her for a long time and to hold her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity.
Solange Lemaitre author of several books, including Le Mystère de la mort dans les religions d'Asie and Râmakrishna et la vitalité de l'hindouism
The civilization of India, at root purely religious, is only now becoming known in Europe; and as the mystery surrounding it is unveiled it emerges as one of the highest achievement in the history of mankind. By the very breadth of the outlook it affords on to the destiny of man the Vedic religion offers in abundance the spiritual experience that has inspired the Indian people since the dawn of their history. The vocation of India is to proclaim to the world the efficacy of religious experience.
Stephen Cross, in his book on Hinduism, pg 1, says,
It is no secret that we in the West live in a time of spiritual crisis. Western civilization has been guided by Christianity. Now it appears that this period is drawing to a close. Both religious institutions and social structures are in disarray. A great many things that were considered basic assumptions of western thought are being challenged. The reality of the external world, the soul, the linear nature of time.
India indeed has a preciousness which a materialistic age is in danger of missing. Some day the fragrance of her thought will win the hearts of men. This grim chase after our own tails which marks the present age cannot continue for ever. The future contains a new human urge towards the real beauty and holiness of life. When it comes Hinduism will be searched by loving eyes and defended by knightly hands.
In the family of religions, Hinduism is the wise old all-knowing mother. Its sacred books, the Vedas, claim, 'Truth is one, but sages call it by different names.' If only Islam, and all the rest of the monotheistic 'book' religions, had learned that lesson, all the horror of history's religious wars could have been avoided. Which other religion has its God say, as Krishna does in the Bhagavad Gita, 'All paths lead to me.'
If only the Church had the sense to allow so many different and seemingly contradictory approaches to God, how much saner its history would have been!
It was the sublime ancient tolerance of Hinduism that he often stressed, that was the true proof of the wisdom and mature dignity of the Hindu tradition.
India is the only country which has known God and if anyone wants to know God he must know India.
The great civilization of the Indian subcontinent, has had its roots deep in antiquity, some seven to eight thousand years ago, and its flowering in the third millennium B.C. still lives on. In contrast, when we look round the world we are surprised by the fact that the Egyptian and Mesopotamia civilizations that flourished alongside this Indic Civilization have all disappeared, leaving hardly any trace behind. Why? The Indian psyche has indeed been pondering over this great cultural phenomenon of 'livingness', and this quest.
What is that 'something', some inherent strength? Doubtless it lies in the liberal character of the Indian civilization, which allows for cross-fertilization with other cultures, without losing its own identity. Even time (kala), the great devourer, has stood testimony to the fact that the deep foundations of Indian culture could not be shaken either by internal upheavals, however great may have been their magnitude.... " the soul of India lives on!"
Mathematical science was so perfect and astronomical observations so complete that the paths of the sun and the moon were accurately measured. The philosophy of the learned few was perhaps for the first time, firmly allied with the theology of the believing many, and Brahmanism laid down as articles of faith the unity of God, the creation of the world, the immortality of the soul, and the responsibility of man. The remote dwellers upon the Ganges distinctly made known that future life about which Moses is silent or obscure, and that unity and Omnipotence of the Creator which were unknown to the polytheism of the Greek and Roman multitude, and to the dualism of Mithraic legislators, while Vyasa perhaps surpassed Plato in keeping the people tremblingly alive to the punishment which awaited evil deeds."
Long before it became a scientific aspiration to estimate the age of the earth, many elaborate systems of the world chronology had been devised by the sages of antiquity. The most remarkable of these occult time-scales is that of the ancient Hindus, whose astonishing concept of the Earth's duration has been traced back to Manusmriti, a sacred book.
When the Hindu calculation of the present age of the earth and the expanding universe could make Professor Holmes so astonished, the precision with which the Hindu calculation regarding the age of the entire Universe was made would make any man spellbound.
Count Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) was a Belgian writer of poetry, a wide variety of essays.
He won the 1911 Nobel Prize for literature. In his book Mountain Paths, says he falls back upon the earliest and greatest of Revelations, those of the Sacred Books of India with a Cosmogony which no European conception has ever surpassed
Huston Smith born in China to Methodist missionaries, a philosopher, most eloquent writer, world-famous religion scholar who practices Hatha Yoga.
The invisible excludes nothing, the invisible that excludes nothing is the infinite – the soul of India is the infinite.
Philosophers tell us that the Indians were the first ones to conceive of a true infinite from which nothing is excluded. The West shied away from this notion. The West likes form, boundaries that distinguish and demarcate. The trouble is that boundaries also imprison – they restrict and confine.
India saw this clearly and turned her face to that which has no boundary or whatever.India anchored her soul in the infinite seeing the things of the world as masks of the infinite assumes – there can be no end to these masks, of course. If they express a true infinity. And It is here that India's mind boggling variety links up to her infinite soul.
India includes so much because her soul being infinite excludes nothing." It goes without saying that the universe that India saw emerging from the infinite was stupendous."
While the West was still thinking, perhaps, of 6,000 years old universe – India was already envisioning ages and eons and galaxies as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. The Universe so vast that modern astronomy slips into its folds without a ripple."
To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it.
It is, indeed, a remarkable circumstance that when Western civilization discovers Relativity it applies it to the manufacture of atom-bombs, whereas this Oriental civilization applies it to the development of new states of consciousness.
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.-- Walden
What extracts from the Vedas I have read fall on me like the light of a higher and purer luminary, which describes a loftier course through purer stratum. It rises on me like the full moon after the stars have come out, wading through some far stratum in the sky.
Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climes and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I am at it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night.
The Vedas contain a sensible account of God.The veneration in which the Vedas are held is itself a remarkable feat. Their code embraced the whole moral life of the Hindus and in such a case there is no other truth than sincerity. Truth is such by reference to the heart of man within, not to any standard without.
The Hindus are most serenely and thoughtfully religious than the Hebrews. They have perhaps a purer, more independent and impersonal knowledge of God. Their religious books describes the first inquisitive and contemplative access to God.
One sentence of the Bhagavad Gita, is worth the State of Massachusetts many times over.
Most books belong to the house and streets only, . . . .But this(Bhagavad Gita) . . . . addresses what is deepest and most abiding in man. . . . Its truth speaks freshly to our experience. [the sentences of Manu] are a piece with depth and serenity and I am sure they will have a place and significance as long as there is a sky to test them by.
Will Durant (1885-1981) American historian.
It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such questionable gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all our numerals and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of her spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future.
Perhaps in return for conquest, arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit, and a unifying, a pacifying love for all living things.
India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all. Nothing should more deeply shame the modern student than the recency and inadequacy of his acquaintance with India....This is the India that patient scholarship is now opening up like a new intellectual continent to that Western mind which only yesterday thought civilization an exclusive Western thing.
"As flowing rivers disappear in the sea, losing their name and form, thus a wise man, freed from name and form, goes to the divine person who is beyond all." Such a theory of life and death will not please Western man, whose religion is as permeated with individualism as are his political and economic institutions. But it has satisfied the philosophical Hindu mind with astonishing continuity.
Even in Europe and America, this wistful theosophy has won millions upon millions of followers, from lonely women and tired men to Schopenhauer and Emerson.
I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.
It is sublime as night and a breathless ocean. It contains every religious sentiment, all the grand ethics which visit in turn each noble poetic mind....
The Indian teaching, through its clouds of legends, has yet a simple and grand religion, like a queenly countenance seen through a rich veil. It teaches to speak truth, love others, and to dispose trifles. The East is grand - and makes Europe appear the land of trifles. ...all is soul and the soul is Vishnu .
All science is transcendental or else passes away. Botany is now acquiring the right theory - the avatars of Brahman will presently be the text-books of natural history.
By Girilal Jain
"Many Hindu intellectuals are just not able to comprehend the fact that there is no human aspiration or experience which lies outside the range of Hinduism; it provides for even demon-Gods. In contrast, all religions are in the nature of sects, though they cannot be so defined because of their insistence on their separateness and, indeed, hostility to Hinduism "