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271. Paul Brunton (1898 -1981) was a British philosopher, mystic, traveler and author of A Hermit in the Himalayas, A Message from Arunachala and The Orient: Legacy to the West.  A Search in Secret India is one of the great classics of spiritual travel writing. With a keen eye for detail, Paul Brunton describes taking a circular journey round India: living amongst yogis, mystics and gurus, seeking the one who would give him the peace and tranquility that come with self-knowledge. His vividly told search ends at Arunachala, with Sri Ramana Maharshi. He has observed:

"We are witnessing in the West the appearance of an at present thin but slowly deepening current of interest in those very thoughts and ideas which the young men of India are today doing their best to reject as inadequate to their needs and which constitute the faith and religious traditions of their forefathers."

"For Indian culture is fruitful in the domain of psychology, philosophy, and religion, so fruitful that there are few doctrines which appeared out of original Western sources that have not already been anticipated and developed...in India. "

The Bhagavad Gita contains the mental quintessence and successful synthesis of the various systems of religion and philosophy, it offers a unique epitome of the high culture of prehistoric India. The following sentences from the Bhagavad Gita unite in making the same declaration of an unseen Reality and Unity which dwells behind nature.

“My self is the bearer of all existence.”
“All this world is pervaded by Me in My unmanifested form.” 

This doctrine is the keystone in the entire arch of the earliest Indian philosophy. 

This idea appealed to several “wise men” of our Western world - philosophers and scientists, living so many centuries later, including Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, (1809-1892) one time Poet Laureate of England sings: 

“The sun, the moon, the stars, the hills and the plains,
Are not these, O Soul, the vision of Him who reigns?
The ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see;
But if we could see and hear this vision – were it not He?”

"Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), whose Transcendentalism earned him the appellation of "the Boston Brahmin."  Reading through his writings and essays we find several passages which insists, as the Hindu texts on the subordinate character of the visible material creation."

The work of physicists like Currie, Rutherford, Fermi, Cockcroft, Chadwick, Anderson and Millikan has brought us to the practical and proven scientific principle that the inner structure of matter is reducible to a single fundamental substance, an essential and immortal energy which is the "life" of the myriad forms that make up the universe. Modern development in the laboratory will vindicate the theory of a single element underlying all the visible and different manifestations of material Nature, we shall have to grant that the assertions of the Hindu philosophers, made thousands of years ago....are but results of the insight practiced by keenly perceptive and concentrated minds."

"The ancient Hindus took their philosophic statements in the nature of a revelation from on high, as issuing forth from their seers as a result of a personal self-experience in the spiritual domain. Our Western scientists have no such experience, and if they are approaching similar conclusions, it is because they are working their way from the profoundest depths of this material world up to its farthest frontier where the ions elude them and vanish into mystery……the wisest men of the ancient East and the modern West…are beginning to arrive at precisely the same conclusions."

" This Indian doctrine declares human cognition of the entire manifold universe to be illusionary in character. The vast multitude of tangible objects and tangible creatures which we so plainly witness around us were said to be the product of the constructive imagination of the One Hidden Self. Man and his material environments were but finite dreams passing through the mind of the Infinite Dreamer. Consequently all that we know of the world is nothing more or less than a series of idea held in our consciousness. Thus we arrive at a completely idealistic metaphysics which, because of its very nature, must apparently remain for ever purely speculative and beyond the scope of the finest instruments which can be devised to prove or disprove. Nevertheless the strangeness and unfamiliarity of the doctrine fascinated the Indian mind to an amazing extent. That this early foreshadowing of modern idealistic philosophy was not merely a worthless superstition is evidenced by the fact that some brilliant minds of the West have been equally fascinated and perplexed. "

One of the greatest 19th century scientists was Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), his work, Collected Essays vol. VI, serve to show how much ancient Indian philosophy anticipated modern Western thought.

(source: Indian Philosophy and Modern Culture - By Paul Brunton p. 9 - 92 London Rider & Co. Paternoster House, E. C). For more on Paul Brunton refer to chapter on Glimpses VI).

272. William Cooke Taylor (1800-1849) author of several books including A popular history of British India, commercial intercourse with China, and the insular possessions of England in the eastern seas. He spoke glowingly of Sanskrit literature:

"It was an astounding discovery that Hindustan possessed, in spite of the changes of realms and chances of time, a language of unrivalled richness and variety; a language, the parent of all those dialects that Europe has fondly called classical - the source alike of Greek flexibility and Roman strength. A philosophy, compared with which, in point of age, the lessons of Pythagoras are but of yesterday, and in point of daring speculation Plato's boldest efforts are tame and commonplace. A poetry more purely intellectual than any of those which we had before any conception; and systems of science whose antiquity baffled all power of astronomical calculation. This literature, with all its colossal proportions, which can scarcely be described without the semblance of bombast and exaggeration claimed of course a place for itself - it stood alone, and it was able to stand alone."

"To acquire the mastery of this language is almost the labor of life; its literature seems exhaustless. The utmost stretch of imagination can scarcely comprehend its boundless mythology. Its philosophy has touched upon every metaphysical difficulty; its legislation is as varied as the castes for which it was designed."

(source: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. II (1834) - W. C. Taylor's paper on Sanskrit Literature).

273. Gertrude Emerson Sen  (   - 1982) historian and journalist and Asia specialist.  Author of several books including The Story of Early Indian Civilization. She married a Bengali - Basiswar Sen and  in her Voiceless India, she learned to love the deep-rooted Indian view of life, Indian ways of thought and Indian ideals. 

She considered Hinduism a priceless heritage of India. The vast archaic literature been handed down, and which faithfully preserves the ideas and ideals of those far-off times. It establishes the wonderful continuity and depth of Indian civilization.

"As the Indian sages pondered on the problem of good and evil, they were confronted with the apparent injustices and cruelties of the world around them, and this state of affairs was finally reconciled with their idea of Brahman by the conception of a universal ethical law applying to all life. This law as proclaimed as the law of karma. In the words of the Upanishads, "As is a man's desire so is his will, and as is his will so is his deed, and whatever deed he does that he will reap."

"India held a strange and irresistible attraction for the whole of Asia in the first millennium. People in the most primitive stage of development as well as the Chinese with a civilization as ancient and illustrious as India's own, acknowledged India as first in the supreme realm of spiritual perception. Yet the civilization of India, transplanted abroad, did not have a deadening effect of suppressing or stifling native genius, as the imposition of a foreign culture often does. On the contrary, it called out the best that others had to give. As a result of India's fertilizing influence, new and distinctive types of culture everywhere arose, and each new colony was able to create and contribute fresh treasure, to be added to the great Asiatic heritage. How Indian religions and Indian culture blossomed anew in foreign environments and endured for many centuries is a fascinating and little appreciated chapter of Indian history."


   

           Shiva and Parvati - Japan                          Goddess Saraswati - Japan

India's religious and cultural ideas lapped at the far shores of Korea and Japan.

(image source: Our Heritage and Its Significance - By S. R. Sharma).

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

***

"The Indian colonies which began to grow up all along the periphery of the motherland were essentially cultural and religious, rather than political or racial. Yet they were subject to strong Indian influences. These swept outward like tidal waves. They passed south to Sri Lanka and beyond to the remote islands of the Pacific. They inundated Burma, Malaya, Siam and Indo-China. They overwhelmed Nepal and Tibet. From Afghanistan, they passed along to central Asia and China. They lapped at the far shores of Korea and Japan. Indian religious ideas and literature, Indian conventions of art and architecture, Indian legal codes and social practices...all took root in these outer territories." "For a long time Indians seem to have held the monopoly of maritime commerce in both the southern and eastern seas of Asia. They possessed large ocean-going vessels, in which they first ventured to Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaya and gradually they extended their journeys to Java and Sumatra and then to southern China.'

(source: The Pageant of India's History - By Gertrude Emerson Sen  p. 52 - 322).

274. J. Seymour Keay ( ? ) British M. P. Banker in India and Indian Agent writing in 1883:

" It cannot be too well understood that our position in India has never been in any degree that of civilians bringing civilization to savage races. When we landed in India we found there a hoary civilization, which, during the progress of thousands of years, had fitted itself into the character and adjusted itself to the wants of highly intellectual races. The civilization was not perfunctory, but universal and all pervading - furnishing the country not only with political systems, but with social and domestic institutions of the most ramified description. The beneficent nature of these institutions as a whole may be judged from their effects on the character of the Hindu race. Perhaps there are no other people in the world who show so much in their character the advantageous effect of their own civilization. They are shrewd in business, acute in reasoning, thrifty, religious, sober, charitable, obedient to parents, reverential to old age, amiable, law-abiding, compassionate towards the helpless and patient under suffering."

(source: Hindu Swaraj or Indian Home Rule - By M. K. Gandhi p. 106).

275. Swami Rama Tirtha (1873-1906) renounced his career as a Mathematician in order to practice and preach Vedanta.

"Sanatana means Eternal. In its purest form, this religion is Sanatana, because it is based on Truth. Truth is immortal and is never annihilated. It remains the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore our true Sanatana Dharma, in its purest form, cam never be exterminated. It, however, does not follow that we should relax into inaction, in the belief that our religion is the best or that it can never be destroyed. No, no. This idle thinking is the result of our indolent minds. It is, therefore, absolutely essential for the followers of Sanatana Dharma to keep it safe from the evil and aggressive designs of the non-Hindus, who are generally ever ready to malign us."

Truth is not only Eternal but also unlimited and infinite. It is all-embracing. It is the religion for all, irrespective of their caste, creed or nationality. In fact, it is great and glaring, and never sectarian. It is liberal. Other religions have all been founded by individuals. But this Sanatana Dharma is not based on the teachings of any one single person. Much before Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Shankarcharya and others, the germs of the fundamental principles of Sanatana Dharma were present. 

Sanatana Dharma is very simple and natural because it is based on the Laws of Nature. The man whose life is molded according to these Laws, irrespective of their being physical, mental and spiritual, is in the real sense, a Sanatani. Santana Dharma is a grand and all-embracing religion. There should be no narrow mindedness in a Sanatani. He should feel His presene in the Chandala, in the thief, the lowest beings, the sinners, the foreigners and in all. He should worship God in all, especially in the hungry, the needy and the downtrodden with selfless service and liberality. This is in real sense, the true worship of and devotion to God."

(source: Om Sanatana Dharma - By Swami Rama Tirtha p. 20-29 and p. 73).

 

Carved temple horse court.

***

276. R S Nathan ( ? )  author of Hinduism That is Sanatana Dharma, observes:

"The result is the profound Philosophy of Vedanta to which more and more men and women from all parts of the world are flocking today for light, solace and fulfillment. So in India, Philosophy is not a hobby or an escape, but an intense search for Truth after having found from experience that mundane achievements only complicate our lives and takes us farther from our real goal. In fact Rishis of yore did not make a distinction between Science on the one side, and Religion and Philosophy on the other. The Science of the Upa-Vedas and the Vedanagas, and the Philosophies are the Vedas-Vedangas, all culminating in the Vedanata – the end of the Vedas. 

"Sanatana Dharma" the most ancient of all the living religions of today, a non-prophetic religion popularly known as "Hinduism" since the last few centuries, based on all-embracing universal love, the eternal values of life and human endeavor, time-tested knowledge and wisdom, and all-comprehensive in its vision, has a permanent message enshrined in it, for the entire humanity irrespective of time, place and circumstances."

(source: Hinduism That is Sanatana Dharma - By R S Nathan preface and 36 - 46 published by Central Chinmaya Mission Trust - Bombay 1989).

277Satprem (1923 -2007) aka Bernard Enginger, a sailor and a Breton born in Paris. A member of the French Resistance. Satprem was arrested by the Gestapo when he was twenty and spent a year and half in concentration camps. Devastated he journey first to Upper Egypt, then to India, where he served in the French colonial government of Pondicherry. There he discovered Sri Aurobindo and Mother. Their Message - "Man is a transitional being" - struck a deep chord. 

His first essay was dedicated to Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness a book that has led so many to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. His book, Evolution II translated from the French by Michel Danino is dedicated to the Souls of India

"the millions souls of India
unknown to themselves
unknowing of their own Treasure
with my love infinite

In his book, Evolution II, he wondered after Man, who? But the question is: After Man, how?

(source: Evolution II - by Satprem - Translated by Michel Danino).

Satprem believed in the Hindu concept of reincarnation and asks:

"Which sadist God has decreed that we would have only one life to realize ourselves and through which colossal ignorance Islam and Christianity have decided that we shall go to Heaven or Hell, according to the deeds, bad or good, which we have committed in a single life?"

(source: Arise O'India - By Francois Gautier  p. 10-11  ISBN 81-241-0518-9  Har-Anand Publications 2000).

278. Allama Iqbal (1873-1938) Indian thinker and poet.

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 has been very aptly echoed by him in the following words:

Yunan-o-Misra Ruma sab mit gaye jahan se
Ab tak magar hai baqi namo-nishan hamara
Kuchh bat hai ki hasti mitati nahin hamari
Sadiyon raha hai dushman daur-i-zaman hamara

Ancient civilizations of Greece, Egypt and Rome have all disappeared from this world, but the elements of our civilization still continue. Although world-events have been inimical to us for centuries, there is something in our civilization which has withstood these onslaughts.

(source: The Saraswati Flows on: The Continuity of Indian Culture - By B. B. Lal. p. Chapter V p. 136). For more on B B Lal refer to chapter Quotes251-270).

Iqbal, described Lord Ram as the Imam of Hindustan.

(source: Saeed Naqvi column - indianexpress.com).

279. Ekkirala Krishnamacharya (1926-1984) author of Cradle of Indian History, physician, educationist and Kulapati (rector) of the Theosophy-related World Teacher Trust in Visakhapatnam. Fondly called by his disciples as `Master E.K'.

"There was no religion in this land, nor was any religion necessary for the Indians. The ancient Indians had a code of law for man to follow. This was framed in accordance with various truths working in natrue. The law of the existence of nature and its creation was observed in all its detail and the law for man to follow as copied in accordance with it. This was called Dharma. The term means that which bears and protects. It is that which bears and protects when we follow (it). Man is honored when he honors it. He receives protection when he protects it. It was made into a constitution called Bharata Dharma. It was the path of life commonly accepted throughout the land. Any attempt for religion is naturally limited and narrow when compared with this."

So Dharma, is nothing but living in accordance with the laws of nature. He used to say that the only qualification required to learn the `Gayatri Mantram' was the urge to learn it, and today lakhs of people all over the world, irrespective of caste, creed or religion have mastered it. He siad: "Secularism only means `not guided by religion' but not discarding religion altogether. While some countries do not feel ashamed to call themselves Christian or Islamic nations, it is only India which is giving freedom to all people to practize their own religion," 

In 1974, he toured Europe and America five times between 1972 and 1983 and propagated the message of Sanatana Dharma, spiritual astrology, Pantanjali's Yoga, Bhagavadgita and spiritual psychology.

(source: Who is a Hindu? - Koenraad Elst and An embodiment of service - The Hindu - Sept 09' 02).

280. Swami Ghanananda Saraswati ( ?)  the first African swami was initiated by Swami Krishnanand of India in 1975. He heads the Hindu Monastery of Africa in Accra, Ghana, regularly imparting spiritual guidance to devotees. He writes:

"African religions and Hinduism have certain similarities. Traditional African religions recognize the many aspects of Brahman and worship God as Prithivi, Vayu, Varuna, Agni, etc., just as in Hinduism. Only Africans who have been exposed to Hinduism can appreciate these similarities which help them to better understand African beliefs and aspirations."

"I was searching for the truth. I went through some books on yoga and discovered that Hinduism is a very good religion. It is open minded. It teaches you about God. It also teaches you about science of the soul. Later I went to Rishikesh and stayed with Sivananda's ashram, the Divine Life Society. There I found that Hinduism is a straightforward religion that revealed the truth. 

I believe that Hinduism will grow with time among both Indians and Africans. It is now time for India and Hindu masters to turn their attention to Africa, with swamis and brahmins coming to conduct workshops, etc., and thereby give Africa a chance to remove the veil of spiritual darkness that has given Africa the name "the dark continent."

(source: Hinduism Today  -  August 1998 and July/August/September 2003 p. 63).

281. Herbert George H. G. Wells (1866 -1946) historian, a bitter critic of the Roman Catholic Church and author of several books including A Short History of the World and Crux Ansata: An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church and The Time Machine.

In Hinduism, tolerance is not simply a matter of policy but an article of faith. He say that Hindu kings actually welcomed with open arms Christian  missionaries and Muslim fakirs and Buddhist monks for a free exchange of ideas. One great Hindu king, Ashoka, in fact changed his religion to Buddhism and propagated Buddhism throughout India.

(source: Am I a Hindu - by Ed Viswanathan  p. 8).  

H. G. Wells has remarked: "The history of India for many centuries had been happier, less fierce, and more dreamlike than any other history. In these favorable conditions, they built a character - meditative and peaceful and a " nation of philosophers such as could nowhere have existed except in India."

(source: The Outline of History - By H. G. Wells  p. 855).

282 M. J. Akbar Indian journalist and editor of Asian age and author of The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict Between Islam and Christianity writes:

"Hinduism has a supernatural aspect, which involves faith in an afterlife; and a natural one, which guides the worldly behavior.

If Hinduism has a defining message, then it is humanism. There is space in its philosophy for everyone, which is one reason why India is a home to every single religion in the world. Anyone who has been persecuted anywhere else has found an undisturbed haven in India. This remained true even when men distorted the philosophy of Hinduism and introduced the inequities of caste: The attitude of Hinduism to other faiths continued to be liberal. Hinduism is synonymous with humanism. That is its essence and its great liberating quality."

(source: Of human bondage arabnews.com).

283. Andrew Harvey (1952 -  ) has devoted hi life to studying the world's mystical traditions. He is the author of several books including The Direct Path creating a journey to the divine through the world's mystical traditions.

"The Sanatana Dharma is a gallimaufry of the most extravagantly varied faiths, rituals, customs, beliefs; Hinduism has no single dogmatic authority and, until very recently in its history, no "missionary zeal" to convert others, sine it has never seen itself as the one true religion or the only hope of salvation.

"While there is no one 'exclusive' dogmatic Hindu tradition, then, there is a very definitely, a spirit of inquiry and of revelation that is so consistent with the greatest of modern Hindu mystics, Ramana Maharshi...down the Upanishads more than two thousand years before him. It is this consistency that gives the Hindu mystical tradition its timeless purity, weight, and grandeur. "

"What, then, is the core truth of the Hindu tradition? It is the truth of the mystery of a Spirit that pervades, creates, and transcends all things and of each soul's conscious identity with it beyond space and time. In the Upanishads, this all-pervading, all-creating, all-transcending Spirit is named Brahman. For the Upanishads and all the later teachings rooted in them, every human being is naturally one with Brahman in his or her Atman, his or her "soul" or "indwelling core of divine consciousness." The aim of human life and the source of liberation from all the chains of life and death is to know, from inmost experience, the Atman's identity with Brahman and to live the calm, fearless, selflessly loving life that radiates from this knowledge."

"It is its sublime ancient tolerance, that was the true proof of the wisdom and mature dignity of the Hindu tradition. While there is no one "exclusive" dogmatic Hindu tradition, then, there is very definitely, a spirit of inquiry and of revelation that is so consistent that we find one of the greatest of modern Hindu mystics, Raman Maharishi, speaking in ways and with images that echo exactly the terminology of the anonymous seers who wrote down the Upanishads more than two thousand years before him. It is this consistency that gives the Hindu mystical tradition its timeless purity, weight, and grandeur. It is as if one eternal voice is speaking in and through a myriad different voice tirelessly exploring different registers of its own majestic range, as if all the tradition's poems and meditations and philosophical texts are, in Zaehner words, "different-shaped peaks in one vast, grand, interconnected mountain chain, like the Himalayas."

"The Hindu tradition provides exquisite, firm guidance toward this attunement because it has always recognized that different temperaments take different paths into the Sacred Marriage. It has not only recognized the validity of other religions, but has also acknowledged within itself a variety of paths." No other mystical tradition has had so broad and wise and all-embracing a vision of the different aspects and faces of the path. As Robin Zaehner used to say, "If anyone feels excluded from the Hindu embrace it is by his or her own perverse choice."

"Perhaps the supreme gift of Hinduism to the world is that its Tantric traditions have kept the truth of the splendor, majesty and power of the Bride vibrant and alive in all her unbridled fullness. Worshipping Her as Devi, Ambika, Durga, Lakshmi or Kali, the Hindu Tantric mystics have known how to adore Her both as Queen of Transcendence and Earth Mother, and love Her both in Her terrifying, life-devouring aspects and as infinitely benign and tender."

(source: Teachings of Hindu Mystics - By Andrew Harvey p. xv - xxix).

284. General Joseph Davey Cunningham (1812-1851) author of A history of the Sikhs, from the origin of the nation to the battles of the Sutlej says:

"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 Ganga 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."

(source: History of the Sikhs - By Joseph Davey Cunningham).

285H. T. Goldich ( ? ) writes: 

“No river on the surface of the globe, can compare with the Ganga in sanctity. From her source to her outflow in the Bay of Bengal, every yard of the river is sacred. To bathe in the Ganga at stated festivals is to wash away sin; to die and cremated on the river bank is to attain eternal peace. Tracing magnificent curves through the flat lowlands, the four rivers – Ganga, Jumna, Gogra and Gandaki – have for centuries combined to form an over-ruling factor in the development of Indian races.” 

Below the Rajmahal hills, the flood-discharge amounts to a million and a half cubic feet per second. Nearly every vegetable product which feeds and clothes, a people, or enables them to trade with foreign countries, is to be found in its basin. Upon its banks, in the present day, are such centers of wealth as Calcutta, Patna, Benares, Allahabad, Cawnpore – with Agra and Delhi on its affluent Jumna. “There is not a river in the world which has influenced humanity or contributed to the growth of material civilization or of social ethics, to such an extent as the Ganga. The wealth of India has been concentrated in her valley; and beneath the shade of trees, whose roots have been nourished on her waters, the profoundest doctrines of moral philosophy have been conceived to be promulgated afar for the guidance of the world.” 

(source: Imperial Gazetteer of India – The Clarendon Press. Oxford. I 22-26 and Our Heritage and Its Significance - By Shripad Rama Sharma p. 16-17).

286. Dhan Gopal Mukerji (1890 -1936) was the first South Asian immigrant to the United States to carve out a successful literary career, publishing more than twenty books Caste and Outcast was the first book on India written by an Indian that was widely read in America. As an interpreter of Indian thought and spirituality, Mukerji's influence on American literary circles was considerable. Among his long-time literary associates were the eminent critic Van Wyck Brooks and the historians Will and Ariel Durant. Mukerji's opus was an integral part of a far-flung intellectual effort in the early twentieth century that seriously studied Indian civilization and drew upon it for inspiration and direction. Those involved included such figures as T. S. Eliot, Theodore Dreiser, Eugene O'Neill, Lewis Mumford, Luther Burbank and A. J. Liebling.

The book won high critical acclaim: Saturday Evening Post reviewed it as "the most important and inspiring book that has appeared in America since the war." Its theme is the contrast between Hinduism's pervasive spirituality and tolerance and the Western world's materialism and religious dogmas. Mukerji proposes that the West should learn "repose and meditation" from India, and India should learn the value of "activity and science" from the West. In Caste and Outcast, Mukerji depicts India as a tolerant Hindu civilization. 

He illustrates Hinduism's tolerance with numerous narratives. An example: As a child, Mukerji brings home a picture of Christ given to him by his Christian teacher in the missionary school with the admonition to get rid of false Hindu gods and instead worship the only true god, Christ. Mukerji's mother places the picture of Christ next to Vishnu's and says, "God is one. We have given him many names. Why should we quarrel about names?" She burns incense and meditates before the images of Christ and Vishnu."

He talks about the role of Art in Hinduism. "According to the Shilpa Sastras, in which the symbolic art of India has been thoroughly explained, certain rules have been laid down for the guidance of artists. One of these is that the novice should not be taught the technique for the asking. He must meditate, and find within himself a vision that clamors for expression, and only then may his masters instruct him in technique. 

In India, all our art is ritualistic, especially the art of the temples and the caves. When I went to the cave temples, to Elephanta or Ellora, I found mountains hollowed out, and temples built underneath them. The columns supporting the roof resembled elephant legs, and the ceilings and the walls were gorgeously decorated with the sculptured forms of human beings and of gods. About 200 B.C, or earlier, a groups of monks went to meditate under the rocks of Ajanta. In meditation they experienced ecstasy, and having experienced it, they carved it on the wall. The story of all the gods of India is carved on these walls, and the youngest of them all is Buddha. Seven hundred years of Indian history is written out in these caves covering vastness with terrific forms. 

I shall never forget my first visit to Ellora, reached after two days tramp from the nearest town. When the sages of southern India wanted to create an image of the universe, they went to Ellora. They worked for one hundred and fifty years and used up generations of artists. They carved a mountain into galleries, and as these rose higher and higher, they gradually attained the summit, and the whole mountain was covered as the Himalayas are covered with strange life."  

The "Outcast" in the title refers primarily to Mukerji's experience in America as a newly arrived, penniless Indian student at the University of California, Berkeley, where he suffered from racial discrimination - the Indian students were routinely refused service in the campus restaurants.

(source: Caste and Outcast - By Dhan Gopal Mukerji p. 110 -120). For more on D G Mukerji refer to IndiaStar Review).

287. Haven O'More, a scholar at the University of Chicago and author of several books, including Butoh : Dance of the Dark Soul and Sacrificial Bone Inscriptions, has written:

"Greater than any mountain, the Mahabharata sits supreme...."

(source: Nostradamus and Beyond: Visions of Yuga-Sandhi - By N S Rajaram p. 41).

288.Yann Martel (1963 - ) a Canadian who won this year's Booker Prize for Life of Pi thinks:

''Hinduism -- is a very open religion. It can lend itself to so much,'' 

Martel claims he has always loved India. ''India is all lives in one place, India is all emotions in one place. It's an extra - ordinary, dazzling place, it's all the wonder and horror of life.''

According to him, India stokes the fires of creativity. ''There are stories that can be told only in India. There are things that are possible in India that are not possible anywhere else.'' ''It's a country that dazzles me because it is all of life. I truly think that in some ways, India is the richest place on earth.''

(source: India is the richest place on earth: Booker winner- sify.com).

289. Sir Henry James Summer Maine (1822-1888) His first work, Ancient Law was his most famous. He was (1862-69) legal member of the viceroy's council in India, where he planned the codification of Indian law.

This eminent Jurist has shown that the old Brehon laws of Ireland are derived from Vedic laws of India.

(source: The Vision of India - By Sisirkumar Mitra p. 208).

Sir Henry Maine, a former Vice Chancellor of Calcutta university and an advisor to the Viceroy echoed the sentiment of many Englishmen when he said: "A nation has been born out of Sanskrit." 

(source: http://members.tripod.com/~ramkumaram/article3.html).

290. E. M.  Plunkett ( ? ) writes in his book Ancient Calendars and Constellations

"The opinion of the Greek writers at the beginning of the Christian era may be quoted as showing the high  estimation  in  which  Indian  astronomy  was  held.  In  the  Life  of Appollonius of Tyana, the Greek  philosopher and astrologer, written by Philostratus about 210  CE, the wisdom and learning  of Appollonius are set high above his contemporaries  because he had studied astronomy and astrology with the sages of India."

(source: Antiquity of Indian Astrology).  

291. James Prinsep (1799-1840) an employee of the East India Company, deciphered the Brahmi script in 1883 and author of Essays on Indian antiquities, historic, numismatic, and palaeæographic of the late James Prinsep, is recorded to have observed that:

 "Greek was nothing more than Sanskrit turned topsy-turvy." 

"The fact, however, that he (Pythagoras) derived his doctrines from an Indian source is very generally admitted. Under the name of Mythraic, the faith of Buddha had also a wide extension."

(source: Hindu Superiority - By Har Bilas Sarda p. 280 - 281).

292. William Enfield (1741-1797) ) was an influential dissenting theologian and tutor at Warrington Academy. His History is a translation of Johann Jakob Brucker's "Historia Critica Philosophiae (first published in six volumes in 1742--67), the most significant and scholarly history of philosophy of the pre-Kantian era. He has written:

"We find that it (India) was visited for the purpose of acquiring knowledge by Pythagoras, Anaxarchus, Pyrrho, and others who afterwards became eminent philosophers in Greece."

(source: History of Philosophy - By William Enfield Vol. I p. 65).

293. Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881) Scottish-born English historian and essayist who was leading figure in the Victorian era.

He was a historian, novelist and essayist who exerted a huge influence over the Victorian age. His major works are the satirical novel Sartor Resartus  (1833-4) The French Revolution (1837) and the lecture-series On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841).

The Vedantic note in Carlyle's writings is too well known to require mention. And the Gita was the only book he chose to present to Ralph Waldo Emerson when the latter met him for the first time. 

(source: The Vision of India - By Sisirkumar Mitra p. 204).

Thomas Carlyle, in Sartor Resartus exclaims: 

“Detached, separated! I say that there is no such separation, nothing hitherto was ever stranded, cast aside; ….The withered leaf is not dead and lost, there are Forces in it and around it, though working in inverse order, else how could it rot?…Rightly viewed no meanest object is insignificant: all objects are as windows, through which the philosophies eye look into infinitude itself.” 

In the last lines he rises to passionate heights in his assertion of the same theory which fascinated the first Hindu thinkers.

(source: Indian Philosophy and Modern Culture - By Paul Brunton p. 33 - 35 London Rider & Co. Paternoster House, E. C).

294. Sardar Kavalam Madhava Panikkar (1896-1963) Indian scholar, journalist, historian from Kerala, administrator, diplomat, Minister in Patiala Bikaner and Ambassador to China, Egypt and France. Cambridge historian Arthur Hassall (1853 - 1930) wrote that in his “long career as tutor of history at Christ Church ” he had “never had a more brilliant student”.

Author of several books, including Asia and Western Dominance, India Through the ages and India and the Indian Ocean.  

He has succinctly summed up the basic tenets of Hinduism, which show that the Divine for the Hindu is a family phenomenon and not a distant Truth.

He says:

"The Hindu believe in one God, conceived as the universal soul or Paramatma, the absolute and eternal, beyond the categories of thought and expression, and embracing the entire universe. The text - there is only One, the learned speak of it in many ways. Though the Paramatma is impersonal or without qualities in itself in relation to the world expressed in terms of the relative, it is personal and man's mind conceives it as having qualities and form. This leads to the doctrine of Ishta Devata, or God, as conceived according to one's preference, as father, mother, guru, lover or even friend. The One Supreme thus assumes for the devotee the qualities and form in which he likes to worship. Many who worship the Supreme as Krishna think of him as a playful child, others as the great guru. In the same way, God is conceived by others as the Divine Mother. It is this doctrine of Ishta Devata, the freedom given to every one to worship God with the attributes of his own choice, never however forgetting that the Supreme has no qualities, that has led to the misconception that Hinduism is polytheistic. In a sense, it is true that there can be as many forms of Godhead in Hinduism as there are believers, for each one can conceive God only as the limitations of his own mind permit him."

(source: Hinduism: Its Contribution to Science and Civilization- By Prabhakar Machwe  p. 114-115).

295. Joseph Needham (1900-1995) is famous mainly for the formidable magnitude and scholarship of his work on science in China. He  impressed by the achievements of India in the field of knowledge and learning. 

He comments on the Indian fascination with perpetual motion, 'to seek the ultimate origin or predisposition of the Indian conviction in the profoundly Hindu world view of endless cyclical change, kalpa and mahakalpas succeeding one another in self-sufficient and unwearying round. For Hindus as well as Taoists, the universe itself was a perpetual motion machine."

(source: The Speaking Tree: A Study of Indian Culture and Society - By Richard Lannoy p. 292).

In his lecture to the students of Cambridge University in 1963 he gave full compliments to India's intellectual heritage. He said, 'it is good to remember, therefore, that our own pious founders were not the only men, and that Christendom was not the only culture, to set on foot great and noble institutions of learning where successive generations of students assembled to get the benefits of education and research. When the men of Alexander the Great came to Taxila in India in the fourth century BC they found a university the like of which had not then been seen in Greece… and was still existing when the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien went there about AD 400.

(source: infinityfoundation.com).

"....Indian culture in all probability excelled in systematic thought about Nature (as for example in the Samkhya atomic theories of Kshana, bhutadim paramanu,etc.), including also biological speculations...When the balance comes to be made up, it will be found I believe, that Indian scientific history holds as many brilliant surprises....."

(source: Homo Faber: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West 1500-1972 - by Claude Alphonso Alvares p. 69 - 70).  

296. Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana Dasa) ( ? ) American born author of several books including The Secret Teachings of the Vedas : The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life and Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence

He has observed the following about the total freedom in Hinduism:

"One of the unique things about Vedic philosophy is that within the many texts it contains, it deals with all varieties of viewpoints, from impersonalistic atheism, outright materialism, to loving devotion to God. And you have room to discover and realize the knowledge at your own rate, whether it be many months, many years, or even lifetimes. In other words, you may at first be an impersonalist persuasion and believe that the Supreme is only a great unembodied force. Or you might believe that God is a person. Or you may worship Durga, Ganesh, Shiva, Vishnu or Krishna, and still be considered on the Vedic path, though on different parts of the path. But this is the sort of freedom and opportunity you have in the Vedic philosophy for your growth and development. However, we find that in other religions, such as Christianity and Islam, if you question or doubt the local scriptures or authorities, or argue different points of view, or look for answers from another religion, your faith will be questioned, you may be called a heretic, and you may even be excommunicated from the Church, which is supposed to equate with eternal damnation. This is obviously a very closed minded discipline to work in compared to the freedom of Vedic system. After all, what kind of God would make a system in which you have only one life to live and only one chance to discover how to attain Him, and then follow all the scriptural demands and requirements or face eternal damnation? 

"In fact, history shows that the three traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have, in their monotheistic theology developed patterns and traits of prejudice, intolerance, violence and war against all other religions and cultures. In fact, the history of these three religions show that they have spread primarily because of political intolerance for other religions, militant zeal, and through fear of persecution, rather than by spiritual purity. Hinduism, on the other hand, has not spread on the basis of fear, whether that fear be of political persecution or fear of a wrathful God. "

"The Vedic philosophy contains the oldest spiritual texts of any religion in the world, and its more advanced concepts can be difficult for event the greatest scholars of the West to fathom." 

(source: The Universal Path to Enlightenment - By Stephen Kanpp preface vi-viii and 4).

"The Vedas are not new to the Western world. There have been seekers, writers, poets, philosophers, and people of all levels who have appreciated the depth, inspiration, and insight of Vedic thought for many years."

(source: The Secret Teachings of the Vedas - By Stephen Knapp p. 31 and http://www.stephen-knapp.com/).

297. Shri Jagmohan  ( ? ) Union Minister of Tourism and Culture of India has recently observed:

"The hallmark of India has been the power of its mind. It was this power of mind which found expression in its pre-eminent philosophy, religion, culture and way of life. 

One of the finest pieces of evidence which shows how powerful and insightful was once the Indian mind was its clear and correct understanding of the pattern of human existence on this planet and beyond. It perceived the “non-dual reality” that lies behind the smoke-screen of “surface duality” and realized that the universe was an organic web in which every item of life and nature was inextricably enmeshed with every other item. It also understood that this web was permeated with a cosmic force of which man and nature are the constituents as well as the contributors. 

This deep perception, this great realization and this subtle understanding of the Indian mind so impressed the renowned American poet and philosopher, Emerson, that he wrote a beautiful poem, titled “Brahma”, in which he gave expression to the concept of non-duality. Clearly, what the Indian mind discovered, centuries earlier, by virtue of its perceptive power and its higher level of consciousness, was discovered by the modern science only recently. The profundity of the concepts of the universe being an organic web, as evolved by the Indian mind, in the heydays of its power, can best be brought  

The Indian mind was the earliest to grasp the significance of maintaining the ecological balance. From time immemorial, our sages and saints have been propagating: “The Earth is our Mother and we are its Children.” One of the earliest Vedic hymns, composed over 4,000 years ago, gave the message of what is now termed as sustainable development: “Whatever I dig of you, O Earth,\ May you of that have quick replenishment!\ O Purifying One, may my thrust never\ Reach right unto your vital points, your heart!” 

(source: Power of the Indian mind: our heritage & asset - by Jagmohan - tribuneindia.com - editorial Sunday February 23 2003).  

298. L S S O'Malley ( ?)  author of Popular Hinduism writes about Hindu Literature as giving help to a sense of moral value and to maintain a healthy ethical standard. The two great epics, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, are a means of moral education for millions, teaching moral lessons in concrete terms and illustrating in the lives of heroes and heroines such virtues as truth, love, fidelity, courage and calm resignation. 

"Besides giving examples of noble lives, the literature of the Hindus is full of lines announcing moral truths and inculcating virtue. In the Ramayana Rama, who is himself a pattern of loyal truthfulness, declares: "Truth is lord in the world; virtue always rests on truth. 

The Mahabharata has been described as an encyclopedia of moral teaching, the nature of which may perhaps be judged from a few extracts. "The sum of true righteousness is to treat others as you yourself would be treated. Do nothing to your neighbor that you would not have your neighbor do to you hereafter." "It is the constant duty of the good to injure no one by thought, word or deed, to give to others and to be kind to all." "High minded men delight in doing good without thought of their own interest. when they confer a benefit on others, they do not count on favors in return." "Fasts, ablutions and austerities are all in vain unless the soul is pure." "Overcome the wicked by goodness."

' The complexity of Hinduism is so great, the forms which it assumes so protean, that it defies precise definition. It is a composite religion made up of many conflicting elements.... It allows the greatest possible freedom of thought as apart from practice, as is admitted by Hindu scholars."

Hinduism has a highly spiritual side and contains many sublime conceptions."

(source: Popular Hinduism - L S S O'Malley p. 81- 86).

299. Sir James Mackintosh (1765-1832) British writer and Philosopher. He was trained as a physician, but after settling in London he became a writer and lawyer. He served as recorder of Bombay (1804-6) and judge in Bombay vice-admiralty court (1806-12). He called:

"the theory (propounded by Vedanta) refined, abstruse, ingenious and beautiful."

(source: Hindu Superiority - By Har Bilas Sarda p. 297).

300. Gustav Holst (1874 - 1934) composer of S¯avitri ; The dream-city, Choral hymns from the Rig Veda and S¯avitri; an episode from the Mah¯abharata, Op. 25  He was Vaughan Williams’ greatest friends. Despite his German name, Holst was born in Cheltenham in 1874. Holst’s music as exploring ‘mystical regions’

Conventional religion did not interest Holst, and he felt himself drawn towards Hinduism. He believed in the concept of Dharma and the idea of life after death, and this eastern influence also led to his love of astrology. Holst’s beliefs are revealed in a letter to a friend : -

‘…everything in this world – is just one big miracle. Or rather, the universe itself is one.’

He conceived as well a passion for Wagner, whose style looms large in Hoist's apprentice works, and an interest in Hindu philosophy and literature. The most notable of many works springing from Holst's preoccupation with Hinduism was the chamber opera Savitri dating from 1908, based on an episode from the epic poem Mahabharata: its economy and intensity are exemplified in the arresting and dramatic opening, where Death sings, offstage and unaccompanied. 

This English composer composed operas about Sita and Savitri and other works based on Hindu themes. It was in 1895 that Holst first became interested in Hindu philosophy and Sanskrit literature. His immediate impulse was to set some hymns from the Rig Veda, the most important of the Hindu scriptures, to music. Finding the English translations he discovered were hopelessly stilted, Holst decided to learn Sanskrit so that he could translate the words to his own satisfaction. in doing so, he opened an entirely new world for himself.

Holst began work in an opera, Sita, in 1899. It is based in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He worked on it, on and off, until 1906. Although it was never performed in his lifetime, he learned a great deal from it . In 1903 he also wrote a symphonic poem titled Indra, which was a vivid portrait of the god, Indra, and his battle with the drought.

At home in England again, a reinvigorated Holst began working on another Indian opera which he called, Savitri. This was a much smaller work only lasting a little over thirty minutes. The music was written for three soloists, a small hidden chorus, and a chamber orchestra. During this time, Gustav was at the height of his interest in setting Sanskrit texts. From 1908 to 1912, he wrote four sets of hymns from the Rig Veda, the Vedic Hymns for voice and piano, and the large scale choral work called The Cloud Messenger.

(source: http://hem.passagen.se/alkerstj/worldofclassicalmusic/early20th/gustav_holst.html and http://wso.williams.edu/~ktaylor/gholst/). For more refer to chapter on Hindu Music).

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