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141. Niels Henrik David Bohr, (1885-1962) Danish nuclear physicist who developed the Bohr model of the atom. His received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1922, for his theory of atomic structure (Quantum Theory).

He is on record as saying that he goes into the Upanishads to ask questions. 

(source: From article - Indian Conquests of the Mind - By Saibal Gupta.
The Statesman.org)  

142John Archibald Wheeler, (1911 - ) physicist, the first American involved in the theoretical development of the atomic bomb. He also originated a novel approach to the unified field theory

He has worked with such famous physicists as: Einstein, Thorne, Oppenheimer, Bohr, etc. 

Professor Emeritus at Princeton and Texas universities, studied with Niels Bohr, was named winner of the 1997 Wolf Prize in Physics, for developing the modern "black hole" theory.  Has taught students include scientists like Richard Feynman, now occupies the chair that was held by Einstein. 

Wheeler wrote: “I like to think that someone will trace how the deepest thinking of India made its way to Greece and from there to the philosophy of our times.”

It is curious that people like Schroedinger, Niels Bohr, Oppenheimer and John Wheeler are Upanishad scholars. 

(source: From article - Indian Conquests of the Mind - By Saibal Gupta. The Statesman.org).

“One has the feeling that the thinkers of the East knew it all, and if we could only translate their answers into our language we would have the answers to all our questions.”

 (source: Uncommon Wisdom - By Fritjof Capra p. 40).

143. Lin Yutang (1895-1976) Chinese scholar and author of the book, The Wisdom of China and India, writes:

"Hindus are natural mystics, mysticism meaning a form of religion aiming at achieving direct union with God. To achieve the union of the individual soul (atman) with the world soul (brahman) behind all things may be said to be the whole effort of the Vedic philosophy."

He further writes:

"My love and true respect for India was born when I first read the Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in the present translation in my college days. In these two masterpieces we are brought closer to the atmosphere, ideals and customs of ancient Hindu life than by a hundred volumes of commentary on the Upanishads, and through them Hindu ideals, as well as Hindu men and women, become real to us. And the fact that Hindu imagination produced such masterpieces of literature, closely rivaling Homer in antiquity and in beauty and power of portraying human passions, is definite pledge of the worth and richness of the Hindu civilization."

"The creative imagination of the Hindus has conceived no loftier and holier character than Sita; the literature of the world has not produced a higher ideal of womanly love, womanly truth, and womanly devotion."

"The contact with poets, forest saints and the best wits of the land, the glimpse into the first awakening of Ancient India's mind as it searched, at times childishly and naively, at times with a deep intuition, but at all times earnestly and passionately, for the spiritual truths and the meaning of existence - this experience must be highly stimulating to anyone, particularly because the Hindu culture is so different and therefore so much to offer." "Not until we see the richness of the Hindu mind and its essential spirituality can we understand India...." 

"India was China's teacher in religion and imaginative literature, and the world's teacher in trignometry, quandratic equations, grammar, phonetics, Arabian Nights, animal fables, chess, as well as in philosophy, and that she inspired Boccaccio, Goethe, Herder, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and probably also old Aesop." 

"India produced too much religion and China too little." A trickle of Indian religious spirit overflowed to China and inundated the whole of Eastern Asia. It would seem logical and appropriate that any one suffering from a deficiency of the religious spirit should turn to India rather than to any other country in the world." 

It is apparent that only in India is religion still a living emotion.

India is the home of fables...one must say that the Hindu mind is fabulous. The genius for creating fables seems inexhaustible in Indian literature....Ernest Rhys, in his Introduction to Fable, Aesop and Others justly remarks, "We have to admit that the beast-fable did not begin with him (Aesop), or in Greece at all. We have, in fact, to go East and to look to India and burrow in the 'tale of tales' of Hitopadesa to get an idea how old the antiquity of the fable actually is. When one remembers also that many of the stories in the Arabian Nights, including that of the famous Sindbad the Sailor, are of Hindu origin, it is not easy to accept the view that such tales are not of native Indian growth."

The Indian culture is highly creative and in fact has enriched the world literature with the droll humor that we associate with the Arabian Nights.

(source:
The Wisdom of China and India - By Lin Yutang p. 3-4 and 135 -141 and 265-7).

144. John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) was a talented poet who was influenced by Emerson and from whom he borrowed a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. To Emerson he wrote: "I will e'en keep it until I restore it to thee personally in exchange for George Fox (founder of the Society of Friends, the Quakers). "It is a wonderful book-and has greatly excited my curiosity to know more of the religious literature of the East." 
(source:
The Oriental Religions and American Thought (Nineteenth-Century Explorations), Carl T. Jackson - Greenwood Press, London, England, 1981, p. 80.)

The results of Whittier's reading are evident in a good number of his poems like "The Oval Heart," "The Cypress Tree of Ceylon," "The Dead Feast of the Kol-Folk," and "The Khan's Devil." A particularly striking example of his use of Indian material is his well-known poem "The Brewing of Soma," which describes the preparation and use of the Vedic sacrificial drink (source: www.gosai.com )

145. Maurice Winternitz (1863-1937) famed Indologist, author of History of Indian Literature, states: 

" From the mystical doctrines of the Upanishads, one current of thought may be traced to the mysticism of Persian Sufism, to the mystic, theosophic logos doctrine of the Neo-Platonics and the Alexandrian Christian Mystics, Eckhart and Tauler, and finally to the philosophy of the great German mystic of the nineteenth century, Schopenhauer."   

(source: History of Indian Literature - By Maurice Winternitz  volume 1. p. 266).

Professor Winternitz, remarks in his Indian Literature and World Literature:

“Garbe, the greatest authority on Samkhya Philosophy in Europe, has made it very probable that Samkhya Philosophy has been of influence on the philosophical ideas of Heraklitos, Empedokles, Anxagoras, Demokritos and Epikuros…It seems to me to be proved the Pythagoras was influenced by the Indian Samkhya. Nor have I any doubt that the Gnostic and Neo-Platonic philosophies have been influenced by Indian philosophical ideas.”

(source: Manu: A Study in Hindu Social Theory - By Kewal Motwani p. 230).

“For the history of the literary treasures of ancient India, appears to us only as part and parcel of the history of man. In this sense, Indian literature is as much ours as it is yours. The ideas and thoughts of great men belong to mankind, and not to any one country or nation only.”  

(source: Some Problems of Indian Literature - By Maurice Winternitz).

146M. A. Sherring, noted missionary of the 19th century, eloquently described the antiquity of Varanasi, in the following words: 

 “When Babylon was struggling with Nineveh for supremacy, when Tyre was planting her colonies, when Athens was growing in strength, before Rome had become known, or Greece had contended with Persia, or Cyprus had added lustre to the Persian monarchy, or Nebuchadnezzar had captured Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of Judaea had been carried into captivity, she (Varanasi) had already risen to greatness, if not to glory.” 

(source: Banaras - City of Light - By Diana L. Eck p. 4-5).

147. H. Stutfield author of Mysticism and Catholicism states: 

"Especially does there seem to be a growing probability that, from the historical standpoint at any rate,
India was the birthplace of our fundamental imaginings, the cradle of contemplative religion and the nobler philosophy." 

(source:
Mysticism and Catholicism  - By H Stutfield 1925 p. 31).

148F. W. J. Schelling (1773-1854) a crucial figure in the development of German idealist and nature philosophy, Eastern ideas pervade and color much of his thinking. In his book Philosophy of Mythology, he devoted to India more than one hundred pages. He regarded Vedanta as an 'exalted idealism' and this enthusiasm for Indian thought was taken up by Arthur Schopenhauer. 

(source: An Introduction to Hinduism - By Gavin Flood p. 269).

Through out his life Schelling expressed great interest in and support for Indian studies, and in his 1802 lecture he lavished praise on the 'sacred texts of the Indians, claiming that they were superior to the Bible.

(source: Oriental Enlightenment: The encounter between Asian and Western thought - By J. J. Clarke p. 61-63).

149. Robert Southey (1774-1843), English poet, generally considered a member of the romantic movement. He was born in Bristol and educated at the University of Oxford. Southey was a good friend of poet Samuel Taylor Cole ridge. 

He had read the Bhagavad Gita in the preparation of his lurid narrative poem The Curse of Kehama  written in 1810. 

Southey's verse is among the first in English to incorporate Hindu mythology into verse, so that in The Curse of Kehama we find references:

A stream descends on Meru mountain
None hath seen its secret fountain;
It had its birth, so Sages say,
Upon the memorable day
When Parvati presumed to lay
In wanton play,
her hands, too venturous Goddess, in her mirth,
On Seeva's eyes, the light and life of Earth...
Thereat the heart of the Universe stood still...
And Ganges thence upon the world descended,
The Holy River, the Redeeming Flood.

(source: British Attitudes to India, 1784-1858 - By Bearce (Oxford 1961) p. 103 and The Curse of Kehama - By Robert Southey).

150. K. P. Mukherji ( ? ) has observed: "The essential point which Westerners and Westernized Indians have to bear in mind, is that the Hindu Culture is through through synthetic, it aims at the synthesis of the here and hereafter, the world and the other world, the appearance that is many and the reality that is one, the temporal and the eternal, the positive and the transcendental."

(source: Ancient Indian History and Culture - By Chidambara Kulkarni Orient Longman Ltd. 1974. p. 266).

151. F. W. Thomas, in The Legacy of India, says:

"What gives to the Upanishads their unique quality and unfailing human appeal is an earnest sincerity of tone, as of friends conferring upon matters of deep concern."

He wrote in his book The Mutual Influence of Mohammedans and Hindus,

 "Hinduism is one of the greatest assimilants that the world has known." "It is infinitely absorbent like the ocean." 

(source: The Discovery of India - By Jawaharlal Nehru  p. 90 and The Mutual Influence of Mohammedans and Hindus - by F W Thomas).

152.
Deepak Chopra Vedantic sage and wise-man from the East, author of several books including Ageless Body, Timeless Mind says of Hinduism: 

"I find that Vedanta, of all great traditions, does have a framework that I can come to terms with as a person who thinks that science is the most legitimate way of understanding the secrets of nature."

" I regard Vedanta as a source which inspired Hinduism." He emphasizes the Bhagavad Gita, as one of the gemstones of the Vedantic traditions. 

(source: Deepak Chopra: Vedantic Evangelist - Hinduism Today July/August 2000).

153.
Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), leading English Sculptor. After studying with Rodin in Paris, he revolted against the ornate and pretty in art, producing bold, often harsh and massive forms in stone and bronze. His best-known pieces include the Oscar Wilde Memorial (1911; Père-Lachaise, Paris), a marble Venus (1917; Yale Univ., New Haven, Conn.), and a Madonna and Child (Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, London).

Epstein
has written about
Shiva Nataraja

"Shiva dances, creating the world and destroying it, his large rhythms conjure up vast aeons of time, and his movements have a relentless magical power of incantation. Our European allegories are banal and pointless by comparison with these profound works, devoid of the trappings of symbolism, concentrating on the essential, the essentially plastic." 

(source: Let There Be Sculpture - By Sir Jacob Epstein 1942 p. 193).

154. Apollonius Tyanaeus, Greek Thinker and Traveler. 1st Century AD, said:

"In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth. but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing."

155.  Mr. Thorton, in his book History of British India, observed:

"the Hindus are indisputably entitled to rank among the most ancient of existing nations, as well as among those most early and most rapidly civilized ...ere yet the Pyramids looked down upon the Valley of the Nile.. when Greece and Italy, those cradles of modern civilization, housed only the tenants of the wilderness, India was the seat of wealth and grandeur.."


For more refer to chapter on Greater India: Suvarnabhumi and Sacred Angkor

(image source: Hinduism Today).

***


156
 
Professor Eugene Burnouf (1801-1852) in his Discourse on Sanskrit and Its Literature, given at the College of France, states:

" We will study India with its philosophy and its myths, its literature, its laws and its language. Nay it is more than India, it is a page of the origin of the world that we will attempt to decipher." 

(source: Discourse on Sanskrit and Its Literature - By Eugene Burnouf).

157. 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. He is the only non-westerner to serve on the advisory board of Yale University's School of Divinity and is author of the book - Hinduism and Christianity .

"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."

(source: Re-establish The Human Values, Globalize The Knowledge).

He explains that Hindu astrology has a very ancient lineage. Ten thousand years ago the Rig-Veda saw the earth as round and the sun was at the center and all the planets revolved around it. The West is thus committing an injustice by not giving Indian astronomy and astrology due credit. 

"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."

(source: It was all in our stars - By Francois Gautier - Indian Express October 23, 2000).

For more on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar refer to chapter on Glimpses XI.

158.
Hu Shih (1891-1962), Chinese philosopher in Republican China. He promoted vernacular literature to replace writing in the classical style. He was ambassador to the U.S. (1938-42) and chancellor of Peking University (1946-48).
Hu Shih  has commented on the peace-loving nature of Indians:

 "India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border." 

"Never before had China seen a religion so rich in imagery, so beautiful and captivating in ritualism and so bold in cosmological and metaphysical speculations. Like a poor beggar suddenly halting before a magnificent storehouse of precious stones of dazzling brilliancy and splendor, China was overwhelmed, baffled and overjoyed. She begged and borrowed freely from this munificent giver. The first borrowings were chiefly from the religious life of India, in which China's indebtedness to India can never be fully told." 

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal  p. 338).

159Professor Vere Gordon Childe (1892 -1957) one of archeology's few very great synthesizers writes:

 "It would be absurd to suggest that any two tribes living, say, in Greece and India, and speaking quite unconnected dialects, on reaching the same level of development should have hit upon such similar words for "father," "fall," and "five" and inflected them in such similar ways as the
Vedic Indians and the Homeric Greeks did in fact do. 

The primitive culture must be the stage of development reached by several peoples while living sufficiently close together to communicate." 

(source: The European Inheritance 1: 84).

160. Frederich von Schlegel (1772-1829), German philosopher, critic, and writer, the most prominent founder of German Romanticism. Educated in law, he turned to writing. His brother, August Wilhelm von Schlegel, was a scholar and poet. With his brother, August Wilhelm, he published the Athenaeum, the principal organ of the romantic school. He was so impressed with Indic spirituality that he declared:

" When one considers the sublime disposition underlying the truly universal education  (of traditional India)...then what is or has been called religion in Europe seems to us to be scarcely deserving of that name. And one feels compelled to advise those who wish to witness religion to travel to India for that purpose...."

(source: In Search of The Cradle of Civilization: : New Light on Ancient India - By Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak & David Frawley p. 276).

“The Indians possessed a knowledge of the true God, conceived and expressed in noble, clear and grand language…Even the loftiest philosophy of the Europeans, the idealization of reason, as set forth by the Greeks, appears in comparison with the abundant light and vigor of oriental idealism, like a feeble spark in the full flood of the noonday sun.” 

(source: Hinduism Invades America - By Wendell Thomas p. 239 published by The Beacon Press Inc. New York City 1930).

Schlegel study of Sanskrit and of Indian civilization, On the Language and Wisdom of India (1808), was outstanding.

He said that, " There is no language in the world, even Greek, which has the clarity and the philosophical precision of Sanskrit," adding that:

" India is not only at the origin of everything she is superior in everything, intellectually, religiously or politically and even the Greek heritage seems pale in comparison."  

(source: Arise, O India - By Francois Gautier ISBN 81-241-0518-9 Har-Anand Publications 2000. p. 25 ).

He wrote to his friend and comrade, the poet Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853):  "Here is the actual source of all languages, all the thoughts and poems of the human spirit; everything, everything without exception comes from India." 

(source: On Hinduism Reviews and Reflections - By Ram Swarup p. 105 and The Aryan Hoax: That Dupes The Indians - By Paramesh Choudhary p. 109).

Schelegel speaks of the noble, clear and severely grand accents of Indian thought. He wrote in his book, Indian Languages, Literature and Philosophy, p. 471: 

"The divine origin of man, as taught by Vedanta, is continually inculcated, to stimulate his efforts to return, to animate him in the struggle, and incite him to consider a reunion and reincorporation with Divinity as the one primary object of every action and reaction. Even the loftiest philosophy of the European, the idealism of reason as it is set forth by the Greek philosophers, appears in comparison with the abundant light and vigor of Oriental idealism like a feeble Promethean spark in the full flood of heavenly glory of the noonday sun, faltering and feeble and ever ready to be extinguished."

(source: India And Her People - By Swami Abhedananda - p.23-24).

Schegel spoke for his generation when he wrote that:

"In India lay the real source of all tongues, of all thoughts and utterances of the human mind. Everything - yes, everything without exception - has it origin in India." and "The primary source of all intellectual development - in a word the whole human culture - is unquestionably to be found in the traditions of the East." 

(source: Oriental Enlightenment: The encounter between Asian and Western thought - By J. J. Clarke p.65).

"India is pre-eminently distinguished for the many traits of original grandeur of thought and of the wonderful remains of immediate knowledge."

"The doctrine of the transmigration of souls was indigenous to India and was brought into Greece by Pythagoras."

"Even the loftiest philosophy of the Europeans, the idealism of reason, as is set forth by Greek philosophers, appears in comparison with the abundant light and vigor of Oriental idealism like a feeble promethean spark in the full flood of heavenly glory of the noonday sun - faltering and feeble and ever ready to be extinguished."

(source: Lectures on the history of literature: ancient and modern p. 126  and Hindu Superiority - By Har Bilas Sarda p. 276 - 280).

 

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