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101
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001) American born, was one of Hinduism's foremost spiritual teachers, a prolific author and publisher of Hinduism Today magazine.

He has called Hinduism, the Greatest Religion in the World. 

"Hinduism is so broad. Within it there is a place for the insane and a place for the saint...There is a place for the intelligent person and plenty of room for the fool. The beauty of Hinduism is that it does not demand of every soul perfection in this life, a necessary conclusion for those who believe in a single lifetime during which human perfection or grace must be achieved. Belief in reincarnation gives the Hindu an acceptance of every level of humanity. Some souls are simply older souls than others, but all are inherently the same, inherently immortal and of the nature of the Divine."

"Hinduism, the Eternal Way or Sanatana Dharma, has no beginning, therefore will certainly have no end. It was never created, and therefore it cannot be destroyed. It is a God-centric religion. The center of it is God. All of the other religions are prophet-centric. It is the only religion that has such breadth and depth. Hinduism contains the deities and the sanctified temples, the esoteric knowledge of inner states of consciousness, yoga and the disciplines of meditation. It possesses a gentle compassion and a genuine tolerance and appreciation for other religions. It remains undogmatic and open to inquiry. It believes in a just world in which every soul is guided by karma to the ultimate goal of Self Realization, or moksha, freedom from rebirth. It rest content in the knowledge of the divine origin of the soul. It cherishes the largest storehouse of scripture and philosophy on the Earth, and the oldest. It is endowed with a tradition of saints and sages, of realized men and women, unrivaled on the Earth. 

It is the sum of these, and more, which makes me boldly declare that Hinduism is the greatest religion in the world.

(source: Hinduism Today - March/April 2000 p. 10 -11).

102. Dr. Heinrich Zimmer (1890-1943), the great German Indologist, a man of penetrating intellect, the keenest esthetic sensibility. Zimmer came to the United States in 1940, at the height of his career, and was lecturing at Columbia University when he died in 1943. His other works in the Bollingen series include Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization and Philosophies of India. 

"We of the Occident are about to arrive at a crossroads that was reached by the thinkers of India some seven hundred years before Christ. This is the real reason, why we become both vexed and stimulated, uneasy and yet interested, when confronted with the concepts and images of Oriental wisdom." 

(source: Readings in Eastern Religious Thought - Hinduism - Edited by Allie M. Frazier vol 1. p 17).

"It is well known that our Christian Western tradition has long refused to accept the wisdom of the pagans on an equal footing with the body of revelation that it cherishes and worships as its own."  The fact that there are virtue, wisdom, and inspiration to be found even among the historical enemies of Christianity." 

(source:
Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization - by Heinrich Zimmer and Joseph Campbell p. 217-218).

"The whole edifice of Indian civilization is imbued with spiritual meaning. The close interdependence and perfect harmonization of the two serve to counteract the natural tendency of Indian philosophy to become recondite and esoteric, removed from life and the task of the education of society. In the Hindu world, the folklore and popular mythology carry the truths and teachings of the philosophers to the masses. In this symbolic form the ideas do not have to be watered down to be popularized. The vivid, perfectly appropriate pictorial script preserves the doctrines without the slightest damage to their sense."

(source: Philosophies of India - By Heinrich Zimmer  p. 26).

Regarding the Cosmic Dance of Shiva, he has said:

"His gesture wild and full of grace, precipitate the cosmic illusion; his flying arms, and legs and the swaying of his torso produce – indeed, they are – the continuous creation-destruction of the universe, death exactly balancing birth, annihilation the end of every coming-forth."

(source: The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism - By Fritjof Capra p.243).

“In one of the Puranic accounts of the deeds of Vishnu in his Boar Incarnation or Avatar, occurs a casual reference to the cyclic recurrence of the great moments of myth. The Boar, carrying on his arm the Goddess Earth whom he is in the act of rescuing from the depths of the sea, passingly remarks to her: 

“Every time I carry you this way….” 

For the Western mind, which believes in single, epoch-making, historical events (such as, for instance, the coming of Christ) this casual comment of the ageless god has a gently minimizing, annihilating effect.  

It is easy for us to forget that our strictly linear, evolutionary idea of time is something peculiar to modern man. Even the Greeks of the day of Plato and Aristotle , who were much nearer than the Hindus to our ways of thought and feeling did not share it. Indeed, St. Augustine seems to have been the first to conceive of this modern idea of time."

(source: Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization - by Heinrich Zimmer and Joseph Campbell p.18 and 152 -155).

103 Irwin Babbitt (1865-1933) the Harvard literary scholar and cultural thinker, will always stand as a monument to American intellectual culture at its finest. Babbitt had a fascination with Asian religion and philosophy. He was one of the principal critics of the twentieth century and an influential teacher of  T. S. Eliot.

"East bowed low before the blast in humble deep disdain,
It let the legions thunder past, and plunged in thought again." 

104. Dr. Ananda Kentish Cooraswamy (1877-1947) the late curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, was unexcelled in his knowledge of the art of the Orient, and unmatched in his understanding of Indian culture, language, religion and philosophy. 

He wanted India to remain Indian and continue to demonstrate that a pattern of life rooted in religion and philosophy can also be elegant, graceful and fully satisfying. In India philosophy has been the key in the understanding of concrete life, not a mere intellectual exercise in abstract thought.

He is the author of ' The Dance of Shiva: Essays on Indian Art and Culture'

Praising this grand achievement of art, he writes about the image of the Nataraja:

"This conception itself is a synthesis of science, religion and art. In the night of Brahma, Nature is inert, and cannot dance till Shiva wills it. He rises from His rapture, and dancing sends through inert matter pushing waves of awakening sound, and lo! matter also dances appearing as a glory round about Him. This is poetry; but nonetheless, science. 

Whatever the origins of Siva's dance,  it became in time the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of.

“How amazing the range of thought and sympathy of those rishi-artists who conceived such a type as this, affording an image of reality, a key to the complex tissue of life, a theory of nature, note merely satisfactory to a single clique or race, not acceptable to the thinkers of a country only, but Universal in its appeal to the philosopher, the lover and the artist of all ages and all countries…” 

“Every part of such an image as this is directly expressive not of any superstition or dogma, but of evident facts. No artist of today, however great, could more exactly or more wisely create an image of that Energy which science must postulate behind all phenomena. “It is not strange that the figure of Nataraja has commanded the adoration of so many generations past; familiar with all skepticisms, expert in tracing all beliefs to primitive superstitions, explorers of the infinitely great and infinitely small, we are worshippers of Nataraja still.”

(source: The Dance of Shiva - By Dr. Ananda K Coomaraswamy p. 57- 66 and India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 .Part II p. 266).

" Hindus have grasped more firmly than others the fundamental meaning and purpose of life, and more deliberately than others organized society with a view to the attainment of the fruit of life; and this organization was designed, not for the advantage of a single class, but, to use a modern formula, to  take from each according to his capacity, and to give to each according to his needs."  " If it be asked what inner riches India brings to aid in the realization of a civilization of the world, then, from the Indian standpoint, the answer must be found in her religions and her philosophy, and her constant application of abstract theory to practical life." 

The essence of the Indian experience, rooted in " a constant intuition" of the unity and harmony of all life. Everything has its place, every being its function and all play a part in the divine concert led by Nataraja (Siva), Lord of Dancers. 

He has described the Bhagavad Gita as "a compendium of the whole Vedic doctrine to be found in the earlier Vedas, Brahmanas and Upanishads, and being therefore the basis of all later developments, it can be regarded as the focus of all Indian religion." 

(source: Readings in Vedic Literature - By Satsvarupa dasa Goswami p. 38).

"There are many gods in Hindu pantheon, but they are no more than the imaginative shadowing forth of all-compassing, all penetrating spirit."

"Hinduism emerges, not as a post-Vedic development, atheistic declension from the lofty visions of the Upanishads, but as something handed on from a prehistoric past, ever-changing and yet ever essentially itself, raised at various times by devotional ecstasy and philosophic speculation to heights beyond the grasp of thought, and yet preserving in its popular aspects the most archaic rites and animistic imagery."

(source: The Wisdom of Ananda Coomaraswamy - presented by S. Durai Raja Singam 1979 p. 97).

He detected in India “a strong national genius... since the beginning of her history.” He found Indian art and culture “a joint creation of the Dravidian and Aryan genius.” Of Buddhism, he wrote:’ “the more profound our study, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish Buddhism from Brahmanism, or to say in what respects, if any, Buddhism is really unorthodox. The outstanding distinction lies in the fact that Buddhist doctrine is propounded by an apparently historical founder. Beyond this there are only broad distinctions of emphasis.” No right-wing historian could dare put it so boldly in Indian today. 

(source: Non-saffron history unnerves reads - By Meenakshi Jain).

"Almost all that belongs to the common spiritual consciousness of Asia, the ambient in which its diversities are reconcilable, is of Indian origin in the Gupta period."

(source: The Heritage of Asia - By Kenneth Saunders p. 45 - 46).

"Hinduism is not only the oldest of the mystery religions, or rather metaphysical disciplines, of which we have a full and precise knowledge from literary sources .....but also perhaps the only one of these that has survived with an unbroken tradition and that is lived and understood at the present by millions of men..."

The Indian tradition is one of the forms of the Philosophia Perennis, and as such, embodies those universal truths, to which no one people or age can make exclusive claim. 

"....We must, however, specially mention the Bhagavad Gita as probably the most important single work ever produced in India; this book of eighteen chapters is not, as it has been sometimes called, a "sectarian " work, but one universally studied and often repeated daily from memory by millions of Indians of all persuasions; it may be described as a compendium of the whole Vedic doctrine to be found in the earlier Vedas, Brahmanas, and Upanishads, and being therefore the basis of all the later developments, it can be regarded at the focus of all Indian religion. 

(source: Hinduism and Buddhism - By Ananda Coomaraswamy p. 3 - 5). For more on Ananda Coomaraswamy refer to chapter on Hindu Art and Hindu Music).

105Robert Arnett (   )  professor, has lectured widely throughout America including the Smithsonian Institute and Harvard and Yale Universities. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio, Voice of America and various television programs. Arnett in his new book ' India Unveiled ' says:

"Hinduism is greatly misunderstood in the West. Most occidentals do not realize that Hinduism is a monotheistic belief in only one God, who as Creator is beyond time, space and physical form. The entire pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses are merely representations of different attributes of the One, Unmanifested Spirit. Hinduism created a different deity for each of God's numerous qualities to make God seem more real and approachable."

" Hinduism is a very tolerant religion. It does not have claim exclusivity of the true God for only itself.'

The Rig Veda, clearly states: "Though men call it by many names, it is really One." 

106. Pierre Simon de Laplace ( 1749-1827) French mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer, a contemporary of Napoleon.  Laplace  is best known for his nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system. 

" It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers by ten symbols, each receiving a value of position as well as an absolute value, a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit. But its very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement the more when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Appollnius, two of the greatest men produced by antiquity."

(source: The Discovery of India - By Jawaharlal Nehru Oxford University Press.1995 p. 217)

107. Ninian Smart (    )  Professor of Sociology. Born in Scotland, he taught at the Universities of London, Birmingham, and Wales for many years before moving to the University of California, Santa Barbara,

"The genius of Hinduism is to combine divergent practices and beliefs into one overall system. " 

(source: unknown).

108. Albrecht Weber (1825 - 1901) author of The History of Indian Literature, London 1878,  writes: 

“When we compare the doctrines, aims, organization of this (Pythagorean) brotherhood with Buddhistic monarchism, we are almost tempted to regards Pythagoras as the pupil of the Brahmins…Dualism, Pessimism, metempsychosis, celibacy, a common life according to the rigorous rules, frequent self-examination, meditation, devotion, prohibitions against bloody sacrifices, kindliness towards all men, truthfulness, fidelity, justice, and all these elements are common to both.”  

(source: Manu: A Study in Hindu Social Theory - By Kewal Motwani p. 23).  

109. Francesco Clemente (   ) Italian born Indophile, New York artist Clemente was born in 1952. His art was displayed at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum recently. He is the youngest artist ever to receive a full-museum retrospective at the Guggenheim. Clemente arrived in India in 1973 and 1978 made more than ten trips there, immersing himself deep in India's philosophy, religion, art and crafts. 

"The Gods who left thousands of years ago in Milan (Europe) are still in India."

"In Indian diversity there is still the memory of very refined expressions which we have lost."

110Geoffrey Moorhouse (1931 -  ) author of several books including India Britannica, and Om: an Indian Pilgrimage. He has observed:

"No other country has lived with so complicated a past so equably, assimilating everything that has happened to it, obliterating naught, so that not even the intricate histories of European states have produced such a rich pattern as that bequeathed by the Mauryas, the Ashokas, the Pahlavas, the Guptas, the Chalykyas, the Hoysalas, the Pandyas, the Cholas, the Mughals, and the British - to identify a few of the people that have shaped India's inheritance. "

"Religion,  flourishes here as it does nowhere else. Other lands may surrender themselves totally to a particular faith, but in India most creeds are deeply rooted and acknowledged fervently. Virtually the whole population practices some form of devotion: the Indian without the slightest feeling for the divine, without a spiritual dimension to his life, is exceedingly rare."

Incomparable and inimitable she is, India is also our great paradigm."

(source: Om: an Indian Pilgrimage - By Geoffrey Moorhouse p. 15 -16).

 

Palace on the Lake at Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.

***

111. Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932), the son of portrait painter Cato Lowes Dickinson. He was brought up in a Christian Socialist environment and though he later rejected Christianity he saw his work in the context of its social utility. He was a pacifist during World War I, and he was later instrumental in the conception of the League of Nations.

He is the author of An Essay on the Civilizations of India, China & Japan, in an essay which seeks with justice to define the character of Indian civilization, profoundly remarks, that it is so unique that the contrast is not so much between East and West as between India and the rest of the world. Thus India stands for something which distinguishes it from all other peoples, and so she calls Herself a Karma-bhumi as opposed to the Bhoga-bhumi of all other peoples. For this She has been wonderfully preserved until today. Even now we can see the life of thousands of years ago. Standing on the Ghats at Benares or by any village well we are transported into the beautiful antique world. 

(source:
Is India Civilized -  Essays on Indian Culture - By Sir John Woodroffe   p.136 -137).

Dickinson, who was a friend of E. M. Forster, wrote in his "Essay on the Civilizations" thesis, wrote:

"The real antithesis is not between East and West, but between India and the rest of the world." Only India is different; only India un spools some other possibility fantastically. India is the odd man out of the global citizenry." Dickinson held, because religion, religion, religion everywhere had transported the land to somewhere nearly extraterrestrial. All other countries were located on planet Earth, in present time, in specific material conditions- which were so much "maya" or secondary reality in India, where what was important had migrated over the mountaintops into the clouds. 

"Indian religion has never been a system of dogma, and is not entangled in questionable history. Indian philosophy and religion have always affirmed that there is; that by meditation and discipline an internal perception is opened which is perception of truth."

"In the first place, India has never put Man in the center of the universe. In India, and wherever Indian influence has penetrated, it is, on the one hand, the tremendous forces of nature, and what lies behind them that is the object of worship and of speculation; and, on the other hand, Mind and Spirit; not the mind or spirit of the individual person, but the universal Mind or Spirit, which is in him, but which he can only have access by philosophic mediation and discipline....It is very much in harmony with the spirit of western science than with that of western religion. And this fact is exemplified not only by the religious and philosophic literature of India, but by its art."

(source: An Essay on the Civilizations of India, China and Japan - By G. Lowes Dickinson  p.11-31). 

112.
George Bernard Shaw, (1856-1950) a
vegetarian and Nobel Laureate in Literature. He was an active socialist on the executive committee of the Fabian Society along with Annie Besant. Famous British Author and Playwright, of books such as Pygmalion. 

Shaw remarked: 

 "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. "

In the face of an Indian, you can see the natural glory of life, while we have covered ourselves with an artificial clock.

"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."

(source: http://www.geocities.com/hindusoc/special/hindintr.htm).

113. W. Crooke in his book " The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India"  (Oxford University Press, 1896.  

" Among all the great religions of the world there is none more catholic, more assimilative, than the mass of beliefs which go to make up what is popularly known as Hinduism." 

(source: The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India"  Oxford University Press, 1896).  

114. Sir Charles Norton Edgcumbe Eliot (1864-1931), British diplomat and colonial administrator, a famous scholar and linguist of Oxford, observed on his book Hinduism and Buddhism - An Historical Sketch:

"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."

"Indian religions have more spirituality and a greater sense of the Infinite than our western creeds and more liberality.

They are not merely tolerant but often hold that different classes of mankind have their own rules of life and suitable beliefs and that he who follows such partial truths does no wrong to the greater and all-inclusive truths on which his circumstances do not permit him to fix his attention....and are more penetrated with the idea that civilization means a gentle and enlightened temper - an idea sadly forgotten in these days of war. "

"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."

(source: Hinduism and Buddhism - An Historical Sketch - 3 volume set p. xcviii - xcix).

"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."

(source: Hinduism - By A. C. Bouquet p. 13).

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. Thus the Taittiriya Upanishad (III. 6) says:

“Bliss is Brahman, for from bliss all these being are born, by bliss when born they live, into bliss they enter at their death.”

(source:
Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch Volume I  p. 38-78).

115. Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati Maharaj (1887-1963) the founder of The Divine Life Society, with headquarters in Rishikesh, Himalayas, began as a physician before he turned sannyasi.  

Swami  Sivananda said:

" Hinduism stands unrivaled in the depth and grandeur of its philosophy. Its ethical teachings are lofty, unique and sublime. It is highly flexible and adapted to every human need. It is a perfect religion by itself. It is not in need of anything from any other religion. No other religion has produced so many great saints, great patriots, great warriors, great Pativratas (chaste women devoted to their husbands). 

"The more you know of the Hindu religion, the more you will honor and love it. The more you study it, the more it will enlighten you and satisfy your heart. " 

116Juan (Joan) Mascaro (1897 - 1987) taught at Oxford University, Parameshvara College at Jaffna, the University of Barcelona, and Cambridge University. 

He was the author of The Bhagvad Gita - translated By Juan Mascaro. Penguin Classics, 1962) and he paid a rich tribute to the glory of the Sanskrit literature:

"Sanskrit literature is a great literature. We have the great songs of the Vedas, the splendor of the Upanishads, the glory of the Upanishads, the glory of the Bhagavad-Gita, the vastness (100,000 verses) of the Mahabharata, the tenderness and the heroism found in the Ramayana, the wisdom of the fables and stories of India, the scientific philosophy of Sankhya, the psychological philosophy of yoga, the poetical philosophy of Vedanta, the Laws of Manu, the grammar of Panini and other scientific writings, the lyrical poetry, and dramas of Kalidasa. Sanskrit literature, on the whole, is a romantic literature interwoven with idealism and practical wisdom, and with a passionate longing for spiritual vision." 

"Amongst the sacred books of the past, the Upanishads can be called the truth the Himalayas of the soul. Their passionate wanderings of discovery to find that sun of the spirit in us, from whom we have the light of our consciousness and the fire of our life; the greatness of their questions, and the sublime simplicity of their answers; their radiance of joy..."

(source: The Upanishads - By Juan Mascaro).

"In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna becomes the soul of man and Krishna the charioteer of the soul." 

"The greatness of the Bhagavad Gita is the greatness of the universe, but even as the wonder of the stars in heaven only reveals itself in the silence of the night, the wonder of this poem only reveals itself in the silence of the soul."

"the essence of the Bhagavad Gita is the vision of God in all things and of all things in God."

"The Gita is like a little shrine in a vast temple, a temple that is both a theatre and a fair of this world."

Self harmony, or self-control, is again and again praised in the Bhagavad Gita - All perfection in action is a form of self-control, and this sense of perfection is the essence of the Karma yoga of the Gita. The artist must have self-control in the moment of creation, and all work well done requires self-control. But the Bhagavad Gita wants us to transform our whole life into an act of creation."

(source: The Bhagvad Gita - translated By Juan Mascaro).

Mascaró, a Spanish scholar and admirer of the Upanishads, said:

"If Beethoven could give us in music the spirit of the Bhagavad Gita, what a wonderful symphony we should hear."

(source: How Vedanta Came to the West - By Swami Tathagatananda - swaveda.com).

117. Madame Alice Louis-Barthou writes:

 " I look upon the Occident (Europe) with abomination. It represents for me fog, grayness, chill, machinery, murderous science, factories with all the vices, the triumph of noise, of hustling, of ugliness...The Orient is calm, peace, beauty, color, mystery, charm, sunlight, joy, ease of life, and reverly:  I find the exact opposite of our hateful and grotesque civilization..... If I had my way, I should have a wall built between the Orient and the Occident to keep the latter from poisoning the former; I should go and live where you can see clearly and where there are no Europeans."

118Professor H. G. (Hugh George) Rawlinson (1880 - ) author of several books including India, a short cultural history, remarks that, 

"almost all the theories, religious, philosophical, and mathematical, taught by the Pythagoreans were known in India in the sixth century B.C." 

119. W. J. Grant in his book The Spirit of India says:

"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 India will be searched by loving eyes and defended by knightly hands."

"The religion of the Hindus is rich in legend and stupendous allegory. It is a religion of great dignity and beauty. Its wrestlings with reality are as courageous as any in the whole history of mankind..' Indian thought has generally been contemplative, it has seldom been enamored of the material side of life."

"In the realm of religious philosophy she has given to us the most searching  examination of the ethical law the world is ever likely to have. No Greek was more splendid in his scientific fidelity than the quiet company of Indian thinkers who made the Upanishads and traced the whole beauteous outline of the Eastern spirit."

"There are cities in India whose grace and charm are matched only by the sweetness of an immemorial religion. Nowhere else in the world have I been so exquisitely invaded by the mystic quality of life."

"She is grave and old and stupendous. Her accents are for the calm and gracious. Her temples are laden with symbolism....and internal beauties. It is true, that India is royal...India has been royal at heart from her very foundations of her memory." 

"Our sublimest delusion is that India is backward. This predicates, of course, that we are progressive. If backwardness and progress depend on the rate at which one can gobble up vanities perhaps India does not need our aid.....India's devotion to being good rather than being clever comes nearer the heart of a true civilization. Cleverness dies on the tongue like a social pleasantry, goodness echoes round the universe in an un extinguishable reality. We in the West are too busy to see that science without soul is like words without meaning."

"India's greatness is in her humility; her weakness is her strength. She is both wiser and more effective than the West, for she does not declare that reform is not a new shirt on Sunday morning but a clean heart at the Throne of Grace. Justice without spirit of justice is as much of an achievement as a river without its water."

(source: The Spirit of India -  By W. J. Grant London published by B. T. Batsford Ltd. 1933 preface and p. vi - 58).

120. Dr. A. L. Basham, one of the leading authority of ancient Indian culture and author of The Wonder That Was India

"Our over-all impression is that no other part of the ancient world were the relations of man and man, and of man and the state, so fair and humane. In no other early civilization were slaves so few in number, and in no other ancient law book are their rights so well protected as in the Arthashastra....

In all her history of warfare, Hindu India has few tales to tell of cities put to the sword or of the massacre of noncombatants...To us the most striking feature of ancient Indian civilization is its humanity....Our second general impression of ancient India is that her people enjoyed life, passionately delighting both in the things of the senses and the things of the spirit...India was a cheerful land, whose people, each finding a niche in a complex and slowly evolving social system, reached a higher level of kindliness and gentleness in their mutual relations than any other nation of antiquity. For this, as well as for her great achievements in religion, literature, art, science and mathematics, one European student at least would record his admiration of her ancient culture."

(source: India: A World in Transition - By Beatrice Pitney Lamb p. 33).

"India was cheerful land, whose people, each finding a niche in a complex and slowly evolving social system, reached a higher level of kindliness and gentleness in their mutual relationships than any other nation of antiquity."

(source: The Wonder That Was India - By A L Basham   p. 8 - 9).

"The procession of the equinoxes was known, and calculated with some accuracy by medieval astronomers, as were the lengths of the year, the lunar month, and other astronomical constants. These calculations were reliable for most practical purposes, and in many cases more accurate than those of the Greco-Roman world. Eclipses were forecast with accuracy and their true cause understood." 

These were achieved without the help of a telescope. Accurate measurement was made possible by the decimal system of numerals, invented by the Indians. 

It is certain that the Vedic Indians knew something of astronomy and that it had a high utilitarian value for them as it did for all peoples of antiquity. The Vedic priests had to make careful calculations of times for their rituals and sacrifices, and also had to determine the time of sowing and harvest. Moreover, astronomical periods played an important role in Vedic thought for they were considered to be successive parts of the ever returning cosmic cycle. 

The Rig Veda lists a number of stars and mentions twelve divisions of the sun's yearly path (rashis) and also 360 divisions of the circle. Thus, the year of 360 days is divided into twelve months. The sun's annual course was described as a wheel with twelve spokes, which correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac. 

The theory of the great cycles of the universe and the ages of the world is of older origin than either Greek or Babylonian speculations about the "great year," the period within which all the stars make a round number of complete revolutions. But there is remarkably close numerical concordance in these theories. The Indian concept of the great year (mahayuga) developed from the idea of a lunisolar period of five years, combined with the four ages of the world (yugas) which were thought to be of unequal perfection and duration, succeeding one another and lasting in the ration of 4:3:2:1. 

The last, the Kaliyuga, was one-tenth of the mahayga or 432,000 years. This figure was calculated not only from rough estimates of planetary and stellar cycles, but also from the 10,800 stanzas of the Rig Veda, consisting of 432,000 syllables. The classical astronomers calculated the great period as one of 4,320,000 years, the basic element of which was a number of sidereal solar years, 1,080,000 a multiple of 10,800. According to Berossus, the Babylonian great year was a period of 432,000 years, comprising 120 "saroi" of 3,600 years apiece. 

The Rig Veda talks about the annual motion of the earth. The diurnal motion is described in the Yajur Veda. The Aiteriya Brahmana explains that "the sun neither sets nor rises, that when the earth, owing to the rotation on its axis is lighted up, it is called day" and so on. 

(source:
Haug's Aitreya Brahmana  - Volume II. p. 242).

 


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