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301. Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) founder of the Christian Science Movement. She published Science and Health With a Key to the Scriptures in 1875. She had imbibed some of the teachings of the New England Transcendentalists (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott and Henry D. Thoreau) who made their influence widely felt through books, magazines and newspaper articles. 

"Christian Science founded in the little town of Lyn, MA in 1815 by Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy. Yet when we read in texts of Science and Health up to the 33rd edition there are quotations from the sacred Hindu text The Bhagavad Gita, as well as allusions by Mrs. Eddy to Hindu philosophy. These were omitted in later editions, causing modern-day Christian Scientists to be unaware that their founder gleaned from Hindu philosophy." 

"There was a similarity between Advaita Vedanta Hinduism and Mrs. Eddy's view of God and the material world. She makes reference to Bhagavad Gita in page 259 of the 33rd edition.  

Swami Yogananda in his East-West magazine for the issue of May-June 1926 in his article “Christian Science and Hindu Philosophy contends that in older editions, the Christian Science Church has drawn a lot from Hindu philosophy. The current editions of Science and Health contain no Hindu references, to Hindu teachings are quite clear and distinct. Says Yogananda: 

“It may be of much interest to many Christian Scientists to learn that the great founder of their faith, Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy, was a student of the Hindu scriptures. This fact is shown by her quotations from them in her Science and Health up to the 33rd edition. We find in this edition the following excerpts from Sir Edwin Arnold’s translation of Bhagavad Gita:  

“Never the Spirit was born; the Spirit shall cease to be never;
Never the time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the Spirit forever;
Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems!”  

Again Mrs. Eddy makes reference in the same chapter to another translation of Bhagavad Gita. On page 259 of the 33rd edition , she says: 

"The ancient Hindu philosophers understood something of this Principle, when they said in their Celestial Song, according to an old prose translation: 

“The wise neither grieve for the dead nor for the living. I myself never was not,nor thous, nor all the princes of the earth; nor shall we ever hereafter cease to be. As the soul, in this mortal frame, findeth infancy, youth and old age, so in some future frame will it find the like. One who is confirmed in this belief is not disturbed by anything that may come to pass. The sensibility of the faculties giveth heat and cold, pleasure and pain, which come and go and are transient and inconstant. Beat them with patience; for the wise man, whom these disturb not, and to whom pain and pleasure are the same, is formed for immortality.” 

Both these quotations from the Bhagavad Gita, or Song Celestial, which contains the essence of the Vedas or the Hindu Bible, are to be found in Mrs. Eddy's 7th chapter on "Imposition and Demonstration." This whole chapter has been omitted  from later editions of Science and Health. That is why many Christian scientists are not aware that their great leader Mrs. Eddy was familiar with Hindu thought, and in her bigness did not hesitate to acknowledge it in print..."

"It seems clear also that Christian Science has certain historical connections with Hinduism through Mrs. Eddy's use of the Gita, through the New England Transcendentalism, and through the very indirect influence of a certain Hindu view of Phineas Parker Quimby (1802- 1866)."

Yet when we read this Christian Science Bible we find that it out-Sankara Sankara with its doctrine of cosmic illusion. 

Mrs. Eddy must have imbibed some of the teachings of the New England Transcendentalists who made their influence widely felt through books, magazines and newspaper articles. Bronson Alcott, who was one of them attended her services. Now most of the Transcendentalists, like Emerson, Alcott and Thoreau, were profoundly influenced by Hinduism, with its spiritual breath and tolerance and unity. 

(source: Hinduism Invades America - By Wendell Thomas  p. 229 - 233 published by The Beacon Press Inc. New York City 1930). For more on Wendell Thomas refer to chapter GlimpsesVI).

(Note: D P Singhal, Indian historian, has observed: "The Christian Science movement in America was possibly influenced by India. The founder of this movement, Mary Baker Eddy, in common with the Vedantins, believed that matter and suffering were unreal, and that a full realization of this fact was essential for relief from ills and pains. In Science and Health she asserts: “Christian Science explains all cause and effect as mental, not physical. It lifts the veil of mystery from Soul and body. It shows the scientific relation of man to God, disentangles the interlaced ambiguities of being, and sets free the imprisoned thought. In divine Science, the universe, including man, is spiritual, harmonious, and eternal. Science shows that what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind. The Christian Science doctrine has naturally been given a Christian framework, but the echoes of Vedanta in its literature are often striking."

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 .Part II p. 256).

302. Emile Burnof (1821-1907) author of La science des religions and Dictionnaire classique sanscrit-français and Essai sur le Veda, ou Introduction a la connaisance de l'Inde says:

The Bhagavad Gita was "probably the most beautiful book which has ever come from the hand of man."

(source: The Fragrance of India - By Louis Revel p. 163).

303. Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888) writer, philosopher, schoolteacher, visionary. Born in 1799 to an illiterate flax farmer in Wolcott, Connecticut, Amos Bronson Alcott was singular among the Transcendentalists in his unassailable optimism and the extent of his self-education. He is also the author of Orphic Sayings, Tablets, and Concord Days. Louisa May Alcott, portrayed him as the grandfather in her novel Little Women. His second daughter, Louisa Alcott, became a world-famous writer, and his youngest daughter, May, was a critically acclaimed artist. When Ralph Waldo Emerson met Amos Bronson Alcott in Boston in the late 1830's, he was so impressed with his intellect and innovative ideas that he convinced him to move to Concord and join his circle of friends.

Early in his life he was interested in the Quaker concept of "inner light" which is closer to the Hindu concept of the in-dwelling spirit in every man, the Atman or the Brahman. John T, Reid remarks: "As a young man....he was to identify the 'inner light' with Brahma."

The Bhagavad Gita impressed Alcott. He read it in 1846, during which he also read the writings of Carlyle, Coleridge, Goethe, Swedenborg and Behmen who were all idealists and mystics. On May 3, 1846, he wrote in his journal:

"In the evening I had an hour of quiet reading of the Oriental wisdom in the chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, on 'Works' and 'Performing of Works.'

On May 10, 17, and 19 the same year, he wrote in his journal:

"I read more of the Bhagavad Gita and felt how surpassingly fine were the sentiments. These, or selections from this book should be included in a Bible for Mankind. I think them superior to any of the other Oriental scriptures, the best of all reading for wise men."

"Best of books - containing a wisdom blander and far more sane than that of the Hebrews, whether in the mind of Moses or of Him of Nazareth. Were I a preacher, I would venture sometimes to take from its texts the motto and moral of my discourse. It would be healthful and invigorating to breathe some of this mountain air into the lungs of Christendom."

Alcott, was a strict vegetarian. One of his interests in the Bhagavad Gita was Gita's emphasis on Satwik food and vegetarianism. This strict vegetarianism led Alcott to establish a Utopian community called Fruitlands.  In 'Orphic Sayings' Alcott talks about immortality and divinity of the soul - as in the Gita. 

(source: Hindu Scriptures and American Transcendentalists - By Umesh Patri   p. 143).

304. Amaury de Riencourt (1918 - ) was born in Orleans, France. He received his B.A. from the Sorbonne and his M.A. from the University of Algiers. He is author of several books including The American empire and The Soul of India, he wrote:

“The boundless riches of the Hindu faith, its universal appeal, its tolerance, the profundity of Hindu philosophy and its enduring roots among the Indian people all this made India a poor soil for the sowing…”   

"there can be no doubt that the Upanishads are based on the most profound study and understanding of human nature ever achieved, one with which we twentieth century Westerners, in spite of our vast present day knowledge, have not yet fully caught up."

"The Vedas were the brilliant product of intuitive insight, not of the logical intellect. The essence of the Upanisadic teaching, to the extent that it can be coherently summarized, lies in the thesis that the Absolute is not separate from man and nature but immanent in both. The transcendent outlook of the Vedas (an outward projection of Vedic man’s unconscious) becomes an insight into the immanent nature of the Absolute: “The infinite is not beyond the finite but in the finite. Man’s goal is not so much union with the Divine (as in Atman) and the Absolute or Divine (Brahman), which is the basic principle of monism. Already, we can detect in Indian Culture an emphasis on the recovery of a latent Being, rather than the striving to Become – Becoming being unreal since the process of time has no reality whatsoever. "   

This spiritual and religious ethos of India is less vulnerable to scientific criticism than the Western creeds (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) because it is not connected with history - because spiritual symbolism of history has no meaning for it. Its emphasis on psychology rather than theology, on the inner man rather than on man's relations with the external universe, shields it from the corrosive impact of our modern world.

(source: The Soul of India – by Amaury de Riencourt p 194 and 38 - 39 and 126 - 136 and 399). India Rediscovered - By Dr. Giriraj Shah p. 29 Abhinav Publications New Delhi 1975).

"The East incorporates all that derived basically, from Indian culture: Hinduism, Buddhism and their extensions in the Southeast Asia. The complementary unity-in-diversity of that vast area springs from the fact that while Indian philosophy and wisdom is the most profound, its most perfect means of expression are to be found in Southeast Asia (Angkor, Borobudur). 

"It does matter a great deal to the West whether Christ rose bodily from the dead, multiplied bread of loaves or even existed at all; it does not matter one whit to the East whether Rama, Shiva or Buddha ever existed since their importance is neither factual or historical but purely symbolic...because in the East there is no conflict between fact and faith, since Eastern faith (sraddha) aims basically at subjective cognition rather than the objective "believing to be true" of the Westerner. The West has always attempted to impose dogmatically its various viewpoints because, imbued with Biblical, Catholic, Koranic sense of God-given historical mission and the conviction of having the monopoly of literal religious truth, it felt that it was objectively in the right - regardless of the increasing conflict, within its own cultures, between the spiritual messages (often mutually contradictory) of its "revealed" religions and scientific knowledge."

Thus, the "Eye of Shiva" that is the eye of pure consciousness in Hinduism." "Many Greeks fell under the spell of the Hindu or Buddhist philosophers and life-styles. We know, for instance, that Pyrrho of Ellis, who founded the philosophic school of "pure scepticism" (Pyrrhonism) in Greece around 330 B.C. joined Alexander's expedition to India and was strongly influenced by the various saddhus he encountered and by that serene indifference to external circumstances for which Greek philosophers yearned but almost never achieved."

(source: The Eye of Shiva: Eastern Mysticism and Science - By Amaury de Riencourt   p. 54-68 and 80-82). 

"Out of this immense creation emerged one of the most famous and moving poems, the Bhagavad Gita, whose soaring beauty makes it one of the monuments of world literature."

"The Bhagavad Gita is both supremely realistic and extremely idealistic, certainly the most acute, penetrating depiction of human nature and true morality, however remote it may seem from our own: "give thought to nothing but the act, never to its fruits, and let not thyself be seduced by inaction. "The Bhagavad Gita emphasizes all the basic contents of the Indian world-outlook with remarkable vividness. Lord Krisna, for example, symbolizes the principle of Divine Incarnation (avatar), the supreme spirit become flesh, pouring into the world during the evil phases of the cosmic cycle in order to check evil - but in a spirit of complete detachment and indifference. The supreme thought of the Bhagavad Gita is concerned with tolerance: "Whatsoever devotee seeks to worship whatsoever divine form (rupa) with fervent faith, I, verily, make that faith of his unwavering."

"Mysticism has its place in all great religions, but never has it had such a field day as in India, where it never came into conflict with frozen dogmas or the prophetic impulse."

"Yoga – is Indian Civilization’s finest product, the ultimate perfection reached by India’s best men.  And because nothing is so difficult as to rationalize and discipline mysticism, Indian Civilization deserves full credit for having devised the best system for reaching the goal. Yoga is essentially a neutral, well-tried technique, compatible with any philosophy or religion, with Buddhism as with all forms of Vedantism. Yoga is a civilization-technique, an expansion and systematized, scientific development of the early tapas of the Arthava Veda.  Yoga doctrine is at one with Vedanta, which claims that the world is not different form (ananya) and non-independent of (avyatirika) Brahman. Becoming is the great cosmic illusion – that is the supreme expression of the Indian mind.   

The wealth of psychological insight revealed in the Upanishads and their various commentaries cannot be adequately summarized. But there can be no doubt that they are based on the most profound study and understanding of human nature ever achieved, one with which we twentieth-century Westerners, in spite of our vast present day knowledge, have not yet fully caught up.

(source: The Soul of India - By Amaury de Riencourt   p. 39 and 50 - 51and 123-129). For more by Amaury de Riencourt refer to chapter on GlimpsesX).

305. Dick Teresi ( ? ) author and coauthor of several books about science and technology, including The God Particle. He is cofounder of Omni magazine and has written for Discover, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic Monthly. 

"The big bang is the biggest-budget universe ever, with mind-boggling numbers to dazzle us – a technique pioneered by fifth-century A.D. Indian cosmologists, the first to estimate the age of the earth at more than 4 billion years. 

The cycle of creation and destruction continues forever, manifested in the Hindu deity Shiva, Lord of the Dance, who holds the dream that sounds the universe’s creation in his right hand and the flame that, billions of years later, will destroy the universe in his left. Meanwhile Brahma is but one of untold numbers of other gods dreaming their own universes. 

The 8.64 billion years that mark a full day-and-night cycle in Brahma’s life is about half the modern estimate for the age of the universe. The ancient Hindus believed that each Brahma day and each Brahma night lasted a kalpa, 4.32 billion years, with 72,000 kalpas equaling a Brahma century, 311,040 billion years in all. That the Hindus could conceive of the universe in terms of billions.

The similarities between Indian and modern cosmology do not seem accidental. Perhaps ideas of creation from nothing, or alternating cycles of creation and destruction are hardwired in the human psyche. Certainly Shiva’s percussive drumbeat suggests the sudden energetic impulse that could have propelled the big bang. And if, as some theorists have proposed, the big bang is merely the prelude to the big crunch and the universe is caught in an infinite cycle of expansion and contraction, then ancient Indian cosmology is clearly cutting edge compared to the one-directional vision of the big bang. The infinite number of Hindu universes is currently called the many world hypothesis, which is no less undocumentable nor unthinkable.   

 

Shiva: Lord of the Dance.

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

***

The Indians came closest to modern ideas of atomism, quantum physics, and other current theories. India developed very early, enduring atomist theories of matter. Possibly Greek atomistic thought was influenced by India, via the Persian civilization. The Rig-Veda, is the first Indian literature to set down ideas resembling universal natural laws. Cosmic law is connected with cosmic light, with gods, and, later, specifically with Brahman." It was the Vedic Aryans... who gave the world some of the earliest philosophical texts on the makeup of matter and the theoretical underpinnings for the chemical makeup of minerals. Sanskrit Vedas from thousands of years before Christ implied that matter could not be created, and that the universe had created itself. Reflecting this, in his Vaiseshika philosophy, Kanada (600 B. C) claimed that elements could not be destroyed. Kanada's life is somewhat a mysterious, but his name is said to mean "one who eats particle or grain" likely referring to his theory that basic particles mix together as the building blocks for all matter. Two, three, four, or more of these elements would combine, just as we conceive of atoms doing. The Greeks would not stumble on this concept for another century."

"In India, we see the beginning of theoretical speculation of the size and nature of the earth. Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun. A translation of the Rig Veda goes: " In the prescribed daily prayers to the Sun we find..the Sun is at the center of the solar system. ..The student ask, "What is the nature of the entity that holds the Earth? The teacher answers, "Rishi Vatsa holds the view that the Earth is held in space by the Sun." 

"Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center." "Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one. The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years."

(source: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science - By Dick Teresi     p. 1 - 8 and 159 and 174 -239). For more on Dick Teresi refer to chapters Hindu_Culture, GlimpsesVI and GlimpsesVII ).

306. Sir Yehudi Menuhin (1915 – 1999) Born to Russian - Jewish parents who migrated to America. One of the greatest violinists of the 20th century revered an Indian Yogi as his teacher. He was famous for his affiliation with renowned Hatha yoga teacher B K S Iyengar and legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar. The more he learned about India and Yoga, the more he loved it.  He was among the first in the West to espouse yoga and the principles of organic food

He said: “India is the primal source, the mother country.”   

He acknowledged India, Yoga, Indian music and his teacher Iyengar in three books he authored - Life Class, Unfinished Journey and Violin: Six lessons with Yehudi Menuhin.

Yoga touched every dimension of Yehudi Menuhin’s life.   

He wrote about Yoga: 

“Yoga made its contribution to my quest to understand consciously the mechanics of violin playing.” “Yoga taught me lessons it would have taken me years to learn by other means. Yoga was my compass.” He was a genius at peace - a peace, he said, that came from yoga. 


A yoga lesson with his guru, B. K. S. Iyengar.

(image source: Unfinished Journey - By Yehudi Menuhin).

***

In his book Six Lessons, he devoted an entire chapter to specific yogasanas he had learned. These practices, he asserted, "should form an important part of the practice routine of any aspiring or performing violinist."

“We in the Western world have grown to understand matter as imprisoned light, and light as liberated matter, yet this has had no influence on our spiritual thought. In practical terms it only led to the creation of the atom bomb. When I was a boy no one seemed to ask where the energies come from. Land, oil, coal, air seemed inexhaustible. Now we are realizing how our very life depends upon restoring not only our balance with nature, but also the balance within ourselves. We are depleting our reserves of spirit, health, courage and faith at an alarming rate. The quiet practice of yoga is, in its humble yet effective way, an antidote.”  

(source: Hinduism Today  -  July/August/September 2003  p. 40-41).

"The practice of yoga induces a primary sense of measure and proportion. Reduced to our own body, our first instrument, we learn to play it, drawing from it maximum resonance and harmony."

(source: Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita - By Tom McArthur p. 12-14).

"Yoga" means "union."  Its goal is union with the infinite, a goal which can be reached by any number of routes; but just as there is one ending, so there is one beginning, the asanas of Hatha Yoga, which are the precondition of every advance. It would be possible to make yoga a life's occupation, giving up more and more of one's time to its refinement. For me yoga is primarily a yardstick to inner peace. In my life yoga is an aid to well-being, permitting me to do more and to do better."

"That India should offer me at once a homeland and a new-found land with lasting power to astonish seemed only right, for it is precisely the reconciling of contradictions within an all-accepting unity that is the country's genius and its abiding appeal to me. India, I feel, has softened my Talmudical adjudications between right and wrong, upheld innocent acceptance of the lovely things of life, given me much that was new yet welcome, understandable, waiting to experienced."

He wrote about Indian music:

"Despite predisposition in India's favor, I have to acknowledge that Indian music took me by surprise. I knew neither its nature nor its richness, but here, if anywhere, I found vindication of my conviction that India was the original source."

"Its purpose is to unite one's soul and discipline one's body, to make one sensitive to the infinite within one, to unite one's breath of space, one's vibrations with the vibrations of the cosmos."

(source: Unfinished Journey - By Yehudi Menuhin   p.  250 - 268). For more on Yehudi Menuhin, refer to chapters Hindu Music and Yoga and Hindu Philosophy).

307. Sir William Wilson Hunter (1840-1900)  He was educated at Glasgow University (B.A. s86o), Paris and Bonn, acquiring a knowledge of Sanscrit, and passing first in the final examination for the Indian Civil Service in 1862. Author of  A Brief History of the Indian Peoples and editor of Imperial Gazetteer of India.

He says "The Astronomy of the Hindus has formed the subject of excessive admiration."

(source: Hindu Superiority - By Har Bilas Sarda p. 332 - 348).

"The various theories of creation, arrangement and development were each elaborated, and the views of the modern physiologists at the present day are a return with new light to the evolution theory of Kapila, whose Sankhya system is the oldest of the Darsanas."

(source: unknown).

"The Hindus attained a very high proficiency in arithmetic and algebra independently of any foreign influence." The romance of the composition of Lilavati - the standard Hindu text book on Arithmetic by Bhaskaracharya - is very interesting and charming. It deals not only with the basic elements of the science of arithmetic but also with questions of interest, of barter, of permutations and combinations, and of mensuration. Bhaskaracharya knew the law of gravitation. The Surya Siddhanta is based on a system of trigonometry. Professor Wallace says: "In fact it is founded on a geometrical theorem, which was not known to the geometricians of Europe before the time of Vieta, about two hundred years ago. And it employs the sine of arcs, a thing unknown to the Greeks." The 47th proposition of Book I of Euclid, which is ascribed to Pythagoras was known long ago to the Hindus and must have been learnt from them by Pythagoras."

(source: Indian Culture and the Modern Age - By Dewan Bahadur K. S. Ramaswami Sastri  Annamalai University. 1956 p. 67).

He observed:

"The grammar of Panini stands supreme among the grammars of the world, alike for its precision of statement, and for its thorough analysis of the roots of the language and of the formative principles of words. By employing an algebraic terminology it attains a sharp succinctness unrivalled in brevity, but at times enigmatical. It arranges, in logical harmony, the whole phenomena which the Sanskrit language presents, and stands forth as one of the most splendid achievements of human invention and industry. So elaborate is the structure, that doubts have arisen whether its complex rules of formation and phonetic change, its polysyllabic derivatives, its ten conjugations with their multiform aorists and long array of tenses, could ever have been the spoken language of a people."

(source: The Indian Empire - By Sir William Wilson Hunter p. 142). 

308. Tom McArthur ( ?)  author of Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita has observed:

"If all the forms of Christianity from voodoo in Haiti to Christian Science in Boston were penned up – and had for centuries been penned up – in one peninsula, however large, then the results would be much the same as the Hinduism we see today. Vishnu and Shiva are no more at odds than Calvin and the Papacy; the Hare Krishna movement and the Ramakrishna Mission are no further apart than the Pentecostalists and the Jesuits."

"Hinduism is India’s response to what the German philosopher of religion Rudolf Otto has called ‘the numinous’, that mystery all around us that fascinates and inspires awe. The universe into which we are born –thrust, thrown, whatever, weak and dependent as kittens – is only ever partly explicable, often hostile, and always awesome, whether we want to feel the awe or not.  

Hinduism demonstrates the interplay of seven factors over at least 3,000 years. Natural disasters are a constant in the collective Indian experience, part of the Wheel of Rebirth. Mountains, rivers, cities, and shrines have all been turned into focuses of supernatural powers; they are the bindus or ‘points’ where the gods meet us or this world touches the Other.  

Hinduism combines in its gigantic tapestry the threads of both fantasy and logic, where some centuries ago the Western world severed the two fairly thoroughly. In the West, rationality and fantasy live uneasily together in divided minds; in India at large, the division was never even attempted, at least not until the coming of European education."

There are no Egyptian pharaohs now, but when Cleopatra lived there were yogis, and there are yogis still. The Greek philosophers and the Roman legions are no more, the Arab-Muslim expansion has come and gone, and the European maritime empires on which the sun wasn't supposed to set have all been dismantled. Some kind of yoga was there when all that was happening, and many kinds of yoga are here now - some even being considered for use abroad starships. That is continuity and it is worth a little thought. Yoga is embedded in the literature of the Hindus as well as in their age old practices, and that literature is in turn one of the richest seams of recorded language anywhere on the planet. The sheer volume of stories, treatises, and commentaries challenges the imagination. "

(source: Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita - By Tom McArthur p. 1 - 14). For more on Tom McArthur refer to chapter Yoga and Hindu Philosophy).

309. Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) was born in 1907 in Basle, Switzerland, of German parents. He was a philosopher, poet and artist author of Language of the Self. Many of his ideas are taken from Vedanta

Schuon often expressed a deep appreciation for Advaita-Vedanta and characterized his perspective as that of the Sanatana Dharma, the "eternal religion." 

Schuon considers yoga as a spiritual exercise which results "not from a human willing, but from the nature of things," thus applying to the substance of the soul principles that are quasi-geometrical in their objectivity.

"The Vedanta appears among explicit doctrines as one of the most direct formulations possible of that which makes the very essence of our spiritual reality. (...) The Vedanta of Shankara, which is here more particularly being considered, is divine and immemorial in its origin and by no means the creation of Shankara, who was only its great and providential enunciator. (...) According to the Vedanta the contemplative must become absolutely 'Himself'; according to other perspectives, such as that of the Semitic religions, man must become absolutely 'Other' than himself --or than the 'I'-- and from the point of view of pure truth this is exactly the same thing."

(source: Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts - By Frithjof Schuon chapter 2 and Dharma, India and World Order -  By Chaturvedi Badrinath  p. 261).

 

The great temple in South India.

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

***

"Because of its vast complexity, Hinduism is inherently perplexing and its philosophies inherently paradoxical; indeed, this is part of their strength. They won’t tamely co-operate and fit; they tease the mind and force it to go further.

(source: Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita - By Tom McArthur  p. 38-42).

310. Madame Helena Petrova Blavatsky (1831- 1891) HPB, as she was known, was a cultured and widely traveled woman. Brilliant, fiery and witty; able to attract the attention of the highest minds, she was in the frequent company of scientists, philosophers and scholars in many fields. She wrote many books-Isis Unveiled, The Voice of Silence and Key to Theosophy. But her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, published in 1885, is her most profound book-a bible of Theosophy.

She traveled to India and entered Tibet via Kashmir and Ladakh. In the 19th century, imperialism had reached its height. Western nations were so convinced of the superiority of the white races that they had no compunction about exploiting their colonies. In this environment, Mme. Blavatsky taught the first principle of occultism-the brotherhood of all humanity, the unity of all races.

With its strong resemblances to Eastern mysticism and spirituality, Theosophy has an intertwining relationship with Hinduism-especially the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta-and also Buddhism. The establishment of the Theosophical Society in 1875 in New York proved to be a precursor and harbinger of Hinduism in the West. Mahatma Gandhi reports further that the two Theosophists who introduced him to the Bhagavad Gita also took him on one occasion to the Blavatsky Lodge and introduced him to Madame Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant.

Theosophy was Woven From and Into the Fabric of Sanatana Dharma

The small 19th century Theosophical movement impacted Hinduism in diverse ways, from India's independence from the British to the widespread acceptance of Hindu thinking in the West. The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita translations of Swami Prabhavananda with Theosophist Christopher Isherwood were singularly successful in clearly conveying Hindu thought to the West. Leadbeater's books on occult sciences, such as chakras and auras, reinforced Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Aldous Huxley's book, Doors of Perception, promoted mystical experience and also psychedelic drugs, leading directly to the explosion of interest in the East in the 60s. The Secret Doctrine is saturated with Hinduism and Sanskrit terminology, and the bulk of this was copied from Wilson’s Vishnu Purana

(source: Theosophy - By Archana Dongre - Hinduismtoday.com June 1995).

311. Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) the famous Austrian existentialist philosopher 

Regarding Shankara's commentary, once told Professor K. Satchidananda Murthy that, 'there is no metaphysics superior to that of Shankara.'

(source: Vedanta influence - vedanta.org). 

312. Paul Thieme (1905 -  ) German Indologist University of Tuebingen has observed:

"Vedas are noble documents not only of value and pride to India, but to the entire humanity because in them we see man attempting to lift himself above the earthly writing of epics."

(source: India Rediscovered - By Giriraj Shah  p. 39).

313Kewal Motwani (1899 - ) author of several books including Manu Dharma S'satra: A sociological and historical study

"Environmental, biological, ethnological, psychological and spiritual forces have gone into the making of an Indian culture of amazing virility and continuity."

"One idea runs through all the modes of thought and segments of social reality, and that is the Vision of the One, while India's history is a continuous attempt to make this Vision a living reality in the life of every man, woman and child. This enduring quest and its realization have imparted to Indian culture a continuity, universality, humanity, and spirituality that have placed it beyond the challenge of time. This Vision emphasized integration, synthesis, dharma, gathering up of the many into the one, in every phase of life of the individual, the group and the nation."

"Science was woven into philosophical thought - The study and cultivation of exact sciences in India was a part of search for truth and reality. From Vedic times onwards, investigations into the realm of the spiritual included those of the physical. The whole of the philosophical literature is replete with and based on some of the tenets of science as we understand it today. It has been an unmitigated calamity for India that it were the philologists, both eastern and western, who became the first interpreters to her ancient Sanskrit literature. India's Sanskrit literature came to be interpreted in an apologetic tone and from the standpoint of the western achievements. Some of the sublimities of the Hindu thought, far ahead of the prevailing times, were considered as oddities belonging to primitive past. The great Orientalists were philologists, not philosophers."

 

Rahu at Konark Sun temple, Orissa, India.

Science was woven into philosophical thought of India. India saw Reality as a whole; there was no partition walls in the world of the One. With this universality, humanity and sublime idealism India offered a challenge to time.

***

"India was called the Bharat Varsha, the "country that embraces all in one bond," and she was selected to become the embodiment of that immutable, eternal, law of the universe, Santana Dharma - dharma is that which "holds together" - which makes the universes run in their orbits. It was this principle of dharma, synthesis, balance, harmonious relationship between various forces and factors, between various individuals and groups, that came to be the corner-stone of her civilization." "India has been known as the moksha-bhumi and karma-bhoomi, the Land of Liberty, spiritual and temporal, gained through service of fellowmen. India was not thought of as a bhoga-bhumi, a pleasure-resort for a single life-time allowed to the mortals. India is the only country in the world where civilization has revolved round this fundamental spiritual nucleus, where the greatest concentration of intellect has centered round the basic human problem of existence..."

"From the ancient past to the present day, this spiritual quest of the One has received India's continued homage. There have been alternating periods of quiet and intense philosophical activity, but the search has continued. The lights have flickered, but never faded, so that even today, attempts are made to penetrate the esoteric sublimity of India's sacred teachings."

"In India, religion became scientific and philosophical; science received religious sanction and philosophic support, and philosophy became religious, with a practical bearing on the problems of daily life. Here lies the secret of India's uniqueness and greatness. India saw Reality as a whole; there was no partition walls in the world of the One. With this universality, humanity and sublime idealism India offered a challenge to time."

(source: India: A synthesis of cultures – By Kewal Motwani   p. 9 - 46 and 71- 75).

314. Sir William Wedderburn Bart (1838 - 1918) He left for India in 1860 and began official duty at Dharwar as an Assistant Collector. He was appointed Acting Judicial Commissioner in Sind and Judge of the Sadar Court in 1874. In 1882 he became the District and Sessions Judge of Poona. At the time of his retirement in 1887, he was the Chief Secretary to the Government of Bombay. As a Liberal, William. Wedderburn believed in the principle of self-government.

"The Indian village has thus for centuries remained a bulwark against political disorder, and the home of the simple domestic and social virtues. No wonder, therefore, that philosophers and historians have always dwelt lovingly on this ancient institution which is the natural social unit and the best type of rural life: self-contained, industrious, peace-loving, conservative in the best sense of the word...I think you will agree with me that there is much that is both picturesque and attractive in this glimpse of social and domestic life in an Indian village. It is a harmless and happy form of human existence. Moreover, it is not without good practical outcome."

(source: Hindu Swaraj or Indian Home Rule - By M. K. Gandhi p.110).

315. Robert Earnest Hume (1877-1948) was the only American Sanskritist native to India (he was born in Bombay) and taught in India as well as at Oxford. His correct appreciation of the Upanishads as the first written evidence of a philosophical system in India resulted in the publication of his Thirteen Principal Upanishads in 1921. It has been reprinted many times since then. With skillful imperative he included his estimation of the Upanishads in a lengthy introduction:

"In the long history of man's endeavor to grasp the fundamental truths of being, the metaphysical treatises known as the Upanishads hold an honored place . . . they are replete with sublime conceptions and with intuitions of universal truth. . . . The Upanishads undoubtedly have great historical and comparative value, but they are also of great present-day importance. It is evident that the monism of the Upanishads has exerted and will continue to exert an influence on the monism of the West; for it contains certain elements, which penetrate deeply into the truths which every philosopher must reach in a thoroughly grounded explanation of experience." 

(source: The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, vii ff,) 

"The earnestness of the search for the Truth is one of the more delightful and commendable features of the Upanishads," Hume wrote in a footnote to that work. (Op.cit., 301n)

Hume's second revised edition of The Thirteen Principal Upanishads was published in 1931. A favorable, authoritative review by R. D. Ranade gave prominence to Hume's work. This edition included an appendix with a list of recurrent and parallel passages in the major Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. The list, prepared by Hume's co-author George C. O. Haas, was printed earlier in the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

(source:source: The Thirteen Principal Upanishads - By R. E. Hume  p. 36 and  http://www.vedanta-newyork.org/articles/vedanta_influence_2.htm and  http://www.swaveda.com/articles.php?action=show&id=48 ).

316. G. Le Bon ( ? ) commenting on Hindu philosophers:

"Their philosophical daring remains unequalled to this day; indeed, one has to admit that, 2,000 years ago, India had begun pondering on the great issues which have been raised in the West only in within the last century, and that, in doing so, it did not shrink from the most drastic solution."

(source: The World of Ancient India - By G. Le Bon p. 100).

317. James Young (1782-1848) officer, Bengal Horse Artillery, and twice sheriff of Calcutta Secretary, Savon Mechanics Institutes 

"Those races (the Indian viewed from a moral aspect) are perhaps the most remarkable people in the world. They breathe an atmosphere of moral purity, which cannot but excite admiration, and this is especially the case with the pioneer classes, who, notwithstanding the privations of their humble, lot, appear to be happy and contented. Domestic felicity appears to be the rule among the Natives, and this is the more strange  when the customs of marriage are taken into account, parents arranging all such matters. Many Indian households afford examples of the married state in its highest degree of perfection. 

This may be due to the teachings of the Shastras...."

(source: Hindu Swaraj or Indian Home Rule - By M. K. Gandhi p. 108 - 1-09).

318. Abraham Kaplan (1918 - ) American professor of philosophy, has commented that the Upanishads are: 

"remarkable in literary quality as well as in content."

(source: The New World of Philosophy - By Abraham Kaplan New York: Vintage Books, 1961 p. 203).

319. Anant Sadashiv Altekar ( ? ) author of several books including Education in Ancient India and Sources of Hindu dharma in its socio-religious aspects, wrote:

"Hindu religion, philosophy and social structure are nothing but the records of a glorious and instructive struggle of the human mind to free itself from limitations that become meaning less in the course of time, and to attain to more and more glorious heights that are revealed by man's ever expanding vision. There is no doubt that Hinduism will become once more a great world force, the moment this consciousness becomes a part and parcel of the modern Hindu mind and begins to mold and influence its activities in the different spheres of life."

(source: Hinduism: A Static Structure or a Dynamic force? - By A S Altekar p. 425).

320. Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad (1891-1953) British philosopher, author, teacher, and radio personality. He was one of Britain's most colorful and controversial intellectual figures of the 1940s. He became head of the department of philosophy at Birbeck College, Univ. of London, in 1930. As a rationalist, he was a successful lecturer and writer. Author of several books including Guide to Philosophy and The Story of Indian Civilization

"Hinduism developed from the very first a wide tolerance, Hindus do not proselytize, they do not lay exclusive claims to salvation, and they do not believe that God will be pleased by wholesome slaughter of those of his creatures whose beliefs are mistaken. As a result, Hinduism has been less degraded than the most religions by the anomaly of creed wars."

The civilization of the East are very old; their roots stretch back into the past to a time when Europe was still a cockpit of fighting savages."

(source: India Rediscovered - By Dr. Giriraj Shah p. 23 -24 Abhinav Publications New Delhi 1975 and Counter Attacks From the East - By C E M Joad p. 23-24 Hindu Kitabs Ltd. Bombay1933).

Regarding the Upanishads, he observed: 

"The thought of the Upanishads is bold and free, and their general conclusion is that mystical experience is the pathway to reality."

He made the following observation regarding Hindu philosophy:

"Perhaps the most outstanding achievement of Indian civilization is Indian philosophy, or rather Indian philosophy and Indian religion. Indian philosophy is quite unlike that of any other people; it is distinguished by three characteristics.  

The first is continuity. Indian thinkers have been enquiring into the nature and meaning of the universe more or less continuously for a period of some three thousand years.  

The second is unanimity. Broadly speaking, all Indian thinkers have concurred in holding that the universe in its real nature is in an important sense a unity, and that this unity is spiritual. Now that universe, as it appears, is certainly not a unity but a heterogeneous diversity. It contains, that is to say – it apparently is – a collection of an enormous number of people and things. Hence, there must be a distinction between the universe as it really is and the universe as it appears, a distinction which may be expressed by saying that the universe is a reality which manifests itself in diversity, just as the leit motify or underlying theme of a piece of music manifest itself in the diversity of individual notes which all express the same musical idea. Now, it is broadly true that all Indian thinkers have concurred in making this distinction.  

Thirdly, and here we come to the link between philosophy and religion – Indian philosophy has never been confined to the activity of the intellect. Formally, no doubt, it is a search for truth; but philosophy in India does more than search for truth; it also seeks and prescribes a way of life. In fact, in the last resort it is a way of life, a way of life as well as a way of believing. This practical effect of Indian philosophy follows inevitably from the doctrines of Indian philosophers.   

 

Arthanari Shiva.

***

For the Westerner, a religion is a body of doctrine consisting of certain affirmations about the nature of the universe and about God, the creator of the universe, divinely revealed to the mind of the believer, and therefore, absolutely and eternally true. From the assurance that the doctrines of any particular religion are absolutely and eternally true, it follows that the doctrines of any other religion, is so far as they differ from them, cannot be true. Hence, the persecution and intolerance which have so continuously accompanied the practice of religion in the West are in a large part the offspring of the persecutors’ conviction of the absolute truth of the beliefs in the interests of which he has persecuted, and of the wickedness of the contrary beliefs which he has sought to stamp out. Now in Indian philosophy, while teaching that reality is spiritual and is one, was not prepared to make a detailed and dogmatic specification of the nature of “the One”. In the absence of detailed and dogmatic specification, men were at liberty to conceive it very much as they pleased. Thus, the doctrines of Hinduism were never reduced to a set of formal creeds and Hindu religion has always been willing to receive new experiences and to incorporate new knowledge. "

"Indian history has been distinguished throughout by a tendency towards toleration. Other peoples' faith have been preserved, other people's customs respected; and not only preserved and respected, but assimilated. Such toleration is a very rare thing in the history of mankind, as rare as it is invaluable. Throughout the whole course of Indian history, the characteristic Indian endeavor has been to look for the common element in apparently different things, the single reality that underlies the apparently many appearances. It is interesting then, to note this same insistence upon unity, the same endeavor to unite many into one as exhibited by the very early lawgivers and administrators of India. At the very beginning of Indian history, we find men trying to reconcile the conflicting ideas held by different people with regard to the right way of living together in society and the right way of conceiving God." "Whatever the reason, it is a fact that India's special gift to mankind has been the ability and willingness of Indians to effect a synthesis of many different elements both of thoughts and peoples, to create in short, unity out of diversity." "They are cosmopolitan in outlook, tolerant in behavior, and open minded in thought."

(source: The Story of Indian Civilization - By C. E. M. Joad  p. 5 - 26 and 45).

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