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61.
Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), the greatest poet of Rumania, learnt of Indian philosophy through Schopenhauer. The Hindu approach to reality and beauty is found in his verses. 

The title of his poem "Tattwamasi," indicates his familiarity with Upanishadic thought, but the content deals with the identity of Atman and Brahman. Hindu Monoism is reflected in his poem:

      " So it is that bird and man,
        Sun and moon
        Are born and die in
Brahma
        the Sacred -
        Where all things become one." 

Eminescu's poetry also contains many erotic themes, such as Kamadeva, after the Hindu god of love, the spark of creation. That Eminescu chose an Indian symbol to express one of his intimate sentiments is held as " yet another proof of the deep and wide contact he had with the ancient literature of India."

(source: India and World Civilization  - By D. P. Singhal p. 252).

wpe2F.jpg (4389 bytes)62. Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828-1910)  the mystic literary voice of Russia , was also a herald of Indian thought. He was a champion of nonviolent protest; he was "an influential factor in the social restlessness that swept Russia before the revolution." He was a mystic who started Russia's first vegetarian society. After the Bolshevik revolution in 1971, his followers were persecuted and all vegetarian communities were closed. Tolstoy, a late-comer, was also deeply influenced by Indian religious thought. Like Wagner, his introduction to it was through Burnoff and Schopenhauer. 

He was greatly influenced by the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tamil Tirukkural and the modern Indian spiritual literature of his time. Milan Markovitch, author of Tolstoi et Gandhi, wrote that:

"there is not one of Tolstoy's works written after this period" of his life referred to in the Confessions "which is not inspired, in part, by Hindu thought . . . His was a Christianity underpinned by the great Hindu doctrines." 

He further adds that Tolstoy also "remains the most striking example, among a great many , of these who sought a cure for the western spirit in India."

(source: The Oriental Renaissance - By Raymond Schwab p. 451. and On Hinduism Reviews and Reflections - By Ram Swarup p. 105).

Tolstoy  the famous Russian author of  'War and Peace', responded to India with sensitivity. Ancient Indian literature and the writings of Swami Vivekanada made a deep impression on him. In a letter to Gandhi in 1909, he quoted from the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tamil Kural, and Vivekananda. 

His philosophy contradicted official church doctrine and was deemed heretical. Tolstoy is only one of the many Western writers and thinkers to find much of illumination within Hinduism's pages.

Tolstoy wrote, in response to his excommunication by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church: "To regard Christ as God, and to pray to him, are to my mind the greatest possible sacrilege."

He urged Indians to adopt what he called :   

"The Law of Love," and not to give up their ancient religious culture for the materialism of the West."

(source: India and World Civilization  - By D. P. Singhal p. 252 and infidels.org)..

Mr. Alexander Shifman Research scholar of Tolstoy Museum in Moscow wrote in his article entitled A Leo Tolstoy and the Indian Epics' published in several papers during Tolstoy centenary celebrations in 1963. 

"Leo Tolstoy was deeply interested in ancient Indian literature and its great epics. The themes of the Vedas were the first to attract his attention. Appreciating the profundity of the Vedas, Tolstoy gave a particular attention to those cantos which deal with the problem of ethics, a subject in which interested him deeply."

Tolstoy not only read the Vedas, but also spread their teachings in Russia. He included many of the sayings of the Vedas and Upanishads (Vedic expositions) in his collections "Range of Reading", "Thoughts of wise men" and others. It would have been an ideal time to introduce this great learning with the birth of Marxism where all dogmas were outlawed. The intellects were freer of perversion and could have been easily found acceptance by a great many young Russians.

(source: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3440/revelation.html).

63. Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron (1731-1805) was a French Orientalist. He gave up studying for the priesthood to pursue his deep interest in Eastern languages.

In India he learned Persian, Sanskrit, Zend, Avestan, and Pahlavi. He also translated the Upanishads into Latin (1804) and wrote several works on India. 

He spent seven year in India, had recorded in his moving testimony in 1778:

"Peaceful Indians,... did the rumor of your riches have to penetrate a clime in which artificial needs know no bounds? Soon, new foreigners reached your shores; inconvenient guests, everything they touched belonged to them.... 

"If the British ...neglect any longer to enrich Europe's scholars with the Sanskrit scriptures...they will bear the shame of having sacrificed honor, probity, and humanity to the vile love for gold and money, without human knowledge having derived the least lustre, the least growth from their conquests." 

(source: The Invasion That Never Was - By Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar p. 14-15). 

64Louis Francois Jacolliot (1837-1890) who worked in French India as a government official and was at one time President of the Court in Chandranagar, and he had translated numerous Vedic hymns, the Manusmriti, and the Tamil work, Kural.  

His masterpiece,
La Bible dans l'Inde, stirred a storm of controversy. 

He praised the Vedas in his Sons of God, and said:

"The Hindu revelation, which proclaims the slow and gradual formation of worlds, is of all revelations the only one whose ideas are in complete harmony with modern science. " 

(source: India and World Civilization By D. P. Singhal - Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 part II p. 241 - 242).

Jacolliot feels India has given to the West much more than she is credited with when he says:

"Besides the discoverers of geometry and algebra, the constructors of human speech, the parents of philosophy, the primal expounders of religion, the adepts in psychological and physical science, how even the greatest of our biological and theologians seem dwarfed! Name of us any modern discovery, and we venture to say that Indian history need not long be searched before the prototype will be found on record. Here we are with the transit of science half accomplished, and all our Vedic ideas in process of readjustment to the theories of force correlation, natural selection, atomic polarity and evolution. And here, to mock our conceit, our apprehension, and our despair, we may read what Manu said, perhaps 10,000 years before the birth of Christ:

The first germ of life was developed by water and heat.' (Book I, sloka 8,9 )

'Water ascends towards the sky in vapors; from the sun it descends in rain, from the rains are born the plants, and from the plants, animals.'  (Book III, sloka 76) 

(source: Krishna and Christ - By Louis Jacolliot p. 15).

"Aware of the resentment I am provoking, I yet shrink not from the encounter. We are no longer burnt at the stake, as in the times of Michael Servetus, Savanarola, and of Philip II, of Spain, and free thought may be freely proclaimed in an atmosphere of freedom. 

Soil of Ancient India, cradle of humanity, hail! Hail, venerable and efficient nurse whom centuries of brutal invasions have not yet burned under the dust of oblivion! Hail, farther land of faith, of love, of poetry and of science! May we hail a revival of thy past in our West in future!   

 

State elephants

(image source: History of India - By Romesh Chunder Dutt -  edited by A V William Jackson. vol. I).

***

"I have dwelt midst the depths of your mysterious forests, seeking to comprehend the language of your lofty nature, and the evening airs that murmured midst the foliage of banyans and tamarinds whispered to my spirit these three magic words: Zeus, Jehova, Brahma."

" How glorious the epoch that then presented itself to my study and comprehension! I made tradition speak from the temple’s recess. I enquired of monuments and ruins, I questioned the Vedas whose pages count their existence by thousands of years and whence enquiring youth imbibed the science of life long before Thebes of the hundred gates or Babylon the great had traced our their foundations.”

“And then India appears to me in all the living power of her originality – I traced her progress in the expansion of her enlightenment over the world – I saw her giving her laws, her customs, her morale, her religion to Egypt, to Persia, to Greece and Rome – I saw Jaiminy and Veda Vyasa precede Socrates and Plato, and Krishna, the son of the Virgin Devajani (in Sanskrit, created by God) precede the son of the Virgin of Bethelehem. 

" Very few travelers have sought to understand India, very few have submitted to the labor necessary to a knowledge of her past splendor, looking only at the surface they have ever denied them and with an unreasoning confidence of criticism that made them the easy victims of ignorance.”

(source: La Bible dans l'Inde - By Louis Jacolliot  p 1 - 16).

He has said in his book, Bible in India: Hindoo origin of Hebrew and Christian revelation

"India of the Vedas entertained a respect for women amounting to worship; a fact which we seem little to suspect in Europe when we accuse the extreme East of having denied the dignity of woman, and of having only made her an instrument of pleasure and of passive obedience." He also said: "What! here is a civilization, which you cannot deny to be older than your own, which places the woman on a level with the man and gives her an equal place in the family and in society."

(source: India And Her People - By Swami Abhedananda - p. 253).

Regarding the branching out of the primeval human family, he confirmed his views in his book Bible in India:

"In returning to the fountainhead do we find in India all the poetic and religious traditions of ancient and modern peoples. India is the world's cradle. Thence it is that the Common Mother in sending forth her children even to the remotest West has in an unfading testimony of our original, bequeathed us the legacy of her language, her laws, her morals, her literature, her religion."

(source: Hinduism in The Space Age - By E. Vedavyas p. 87).

“In point of authenticity, the Vedas have incontestable precedence over the most ancient records. These holy books which, according to the Brahmins, contains the revealed word of God were honored in India long before Persia, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Europe, were colonized or inhabited.” 

“Of the Sastras and the Mahabharata, which profess the same doctrines, the dates are lost in the night of time. If we accept the chronology of the Brahmins, as calculated by the learned Orientalist, Halhed, they must possess, the first an antiquity of Seven and the second of four million years – a chronology which strikes point blank at all our European ideas or matter. Such things easily excite laughter, especially in France, the country of superficial spirits and of inconsiderate affirmation. We have made a little world for ourselves, dating from scarce 6,000 years, and created in 6 days, that satisfies all, and needs no thought.” 

(source: Bible in India: Hindoo origin of Hebrew and Christian revelation - By Louis Jacolliot   p  53 – 57). For more on Louis Jacolliot refer to chapter - Women in Hinduism).

65. Novalis ( 1772-1801) was the pseudonym of the young Baron Friedrich von Hardenberg. He was a pioneer of the early German Romantics, one of Germany's greatest Romantic poets. 

Novalis wrote in his essay, "Christendom in Europe," in 1799,  that poetry, pure and colorful like a beautiful India, stood opposed to the cold and deadening mountains of philistine reason.

For him
Sanskrit was the most mysterious linguistic symbol of any human expression: Sanskrit took him back to the "original people" who had been forgotten. 

(source: India and World Civilization By D. P. Singhal - Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 part II p. 233).

66. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was also attracted by Indian thought, as it is clearly attested by numerous passages and notes referring to Indian ideas and texts found in the Beethoven papers. He was first introduced to Indian literature by the Austrian Orientalist, Hammer-Purgstal, who founded a periodical for the dissemination of Eastern knowledge in Europe as early as January 1809. 

Beethoven had a deep interest in Indian knowledge long before Indological studies began in Germany. 

The fragments of Indian religious texts that have been discovered in the Beethoven manuscripts are partly translations and partly adaptations of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. 

(source: India and World Civilization By D. P. Singhal - Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 part II p. 233).

67. Friedrich Ruckert (1788-1866), Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Erlangen from 1827 to 1841, produced, under the inspiration of August Wilhelm von Schlegel, numerous skilful translations from Sanskrit. His published translations from Indian classical poetry made Indian lyrics and poems widely popular in Germany. 

Amongst Ruckert's translations are
Nalopakhyana, the Amarusataka, the Raghuvamsa, and the Gita Govinda, which lost nothing of its beauty, color and atmosphere in Ruckert's German version. The Indian poem is such a complex work from the viewpoint of rhyme, alliteration, and allusion that Ruckert's version represents a brilliant accomplishment. Of all the German poets, it was he who best understood the character of Indian poetry.

Ruckert's translation of the Gitagovinda, Bonn 1836, is a work of art. Written in beautiful language, it comes very close to the original in spirit and form. In his Brahmanische Erzaehlungen ('Brahmin stories'), Leipzig 1836, he brought out free renderings of Hindu legends from the epics. His translation of the Savitri episode is particularly noteworthy. 

(source: German Indologists: Biographies of Scholars in Indian Studies writing in German - By Valentine Stache-Rosen. p.11-12).

68. Henrich Heine (1797-1856), a late German Romantic lyric poet, whose influence was enormous not only in Germany but in most countries of the Western world, describes the India of his imagination: 

" ...in the glass I saw the dear motherland, the blue and sacred Ganga, the eternally shining Himalayas, the gigantic forests of Banyan trees on whose wide shadowy paths quietly walk wise elephants and while pilgrims ... 

        Heine's poem,  "Auf Flugeln des Gesanges,"      

       "Am
Ganga duftet's und leuchtet's
        Und Riesenbaume bluhn,
        Und schone, stille Menschen
        Vor Lotosblumen knien. "

An English rendering of this verse would be:

At the Ganga the air is filled
with scent and light
And giant trees are flowering
And beautiful, quiet people
Kneel before lotus flowers.

This created a picture of India widely familiar in Germany.

Heine's acquaintance with Indian thought, acquired in Bonn under Schlegel and Bopp, remained important to him throughout his life. He had a particular feeling for Indian scenery, as is revealed by his verses in his famous Buch der Lieder (Book of Songs). 

He remarked: 

“The Portuguese, Dutch and English have been for a long time year after year, shipping home the treasures of India in their big vessels. We Germans have been all along been left to watch it. Germany would do likewise, but hers would be treasures of spiritual knowledge.”

(source: India and World Civilization By D. P. Singhal - Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 part II p. 234 and 327).

69.
Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), The French lyric poet known for the musical quality of his verse, wrote the French poem, "Savitri."

Verlaine became keenly interested in
Hindu mythology during his high school days. His enthusiasm was such that he said: 

"Par Indra! que c'est beau, et comme ca vous degotte la Bible, l'Evangile et toute la degueulade des Peres de l'Eglise."
       
"By Indra!  how beautiful this is and how much better than the Bible, the Gospel and all the words of the Fathers of the Church."

(source: India and World CivilizationBy D. P. Singhal  Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 part II p. 241).

70. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist, Natural Scientist. His  own enthusiasm for Shakuntala was no less exuberant than Herder's. 

He wrote in 1792:

"Wouldst thou the young year's blossoms and the fruits
                                          of its decline                                        
 And all by which the soul is charmed, enraptured.                    
                                          feasted, fed,
 Wouldst thou the earth and heaven itself in one sole name
                                                                   combine?
  I name thee,
O Sakuntala! and all at once is said. " 

Goethe expressed this admiration for Kalidasa's
Shakuntala more than once. nearly 40 years later, in 1830 when de Chenzy sent him his edition of the original with his French translation, he wrote to the Frenchman expressing his gratitude:

"The first time I came across this inexhaustible work it aroused such enthusiasm in me and so held me that I could not stop studying it. I even felt impelled to make the impossible attempt to bring it in some form to the German stage. These efforts were fruitless but they made me so thoroughly acquainted with this most valuable work, it represented such an epoch in my life, I so absorbed it, that for thirty years I did not look at either the English or the German version....It is only now that I understand the enormous impression that work made on me at an earlier age."

(source: Letters from Goethe - By Marianne Von Herzfeld and c. Melvil Sym. (trans). p. 514). 

No wonder he modeled the prologue of his Faust (1797) on the prologue to Sakuntala. The jester in the prologue of Faust is reminiscent of one of the vidusaka in the Indian drama, a parallel first noticed by Heinrich Heine. Goethe friend Schiller, was moved to enthusiastic praise of Sakuntala, he wrote, "in the whole world of Greek antiquity there is no poetical representation of beautiful love which approaches even afar."

He also admired other Indian poems such as Jayadeva's Gita Govinda and Kalidasa's Meghduta (Cloud Messenger) which he read in Wilson's English translation in 1817 and welcomed as "a great treasure." 

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal  Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993. Pg 230).


Shakuntala painting 

***

The Sakuntala furor has lasted till almost today. One of the noblest "overtures" in European music is the Sakuntala overture of the Hungarian composer Carl Goldmark (1830-1915).

(source: Creative India - By Benoy Kumar Sarkar published Motilal Banarsi Dass, Lahore 1937. p. 110).

71. Louis Revel - French author of The Fragrance of India : landmarks for the world of tomorrow and Les Routes Ardentes de L'Inde. He went a long step further when he remarked that if Greek culture had influenced Western civilization, the ancient Greeks themselves were the "sons of Hindu thought.

"If Greek culture has influenced Western civilization, we must not forget that, in spite of the inestimable benefits of Greece to India, the ancient Greeks themselves were also sons of Hindu thought. As has already been mentioned, Pythagoras went to India in order to draw from the very source the principles which constituted the foundation of his doctrine and which in its turn influenced Plato, Socrates and even Aristotle to a certain degree. Apollonius of Tyanae, Plotin, did they not follow in the footprints of their predecessors, in directing themselves towards far-off India? China, Persia, Islam – the three-fourths of Asia – these civilizations which had already been influenced by the missions of Asoka, were they not attracted by India’s wisdom? That is the reason why ancient India is our Mother. In the measure that we Westerners make our intellectual and spiritual genealogy reach back to India shall we learn to love her and to consider in its true light her wisdom, the patrimony of every man."

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993. Pg 241 and The Fragrance of India : landmarks for the world of tomorrow - By Louis Revel p 232- 238 Kitabistan Allahabad 1946).

He has dedicated his book The Fragrance of India : landmarks for the world of tomorrow to the Great rishis of India:

“These pages are a humble offering,
To the Great rishis of India,
Those wise men who loved the people,
lived for the people,
and who taught the brotherhood of peoples.

The soul of the world is in danger. It is a banal truth to write but, nevertheless, it ought to be ceaselessly repeated. When we seek in the buried centuries for vestiges of these columns of glory, a name, among others, emerges: INDIA. 

It is a fact, whether we wish to accept it or not, that India is the Mother of all of us. She has given us everything: religion, philosophy, science, art. All that has been truly great, noble, and generous, throughout the ages has come from India. At this moment when a hurricane of violence and hate is raging across the world, and will rage still more through the world of the future, making the very frame-work of our civilization crack, at this moment when intellectual and moral values are being trampled upon by the hordes of egotism, brutality, and lying, let us go together, towards India from whom we can learn so much.

Ramayana is one of the greatest epic poems of the world and that, correctly understood, it leads us, scholars tell us to an understanding of the evolution of humanity:

 

     

Hanuman and the Vanara rejoicing at the restoration of Sita

(image source: The Fragrance of India : landmarks for the world of tomorrow - By Louis Revel).

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

***

The Ramayana shows us also, in the story of Rama and Sita, the ideal of human love, love which is inspired by the noblest of ideas. The Illiad and Odyssey have touched many Western hearts; nevertheless, those epic poems which contain so much truths, when translated into our modern languages, fail unfortunately, to influence intimately the lives of people. In India, on the other hand, there is scarcely a Hindu family or dwelling where the divinity of Rama and of Krishna are not adored; where the chastity of Sita or of Draupadi is not extolled; or where the courage of Hanuman – the monkey god who aided Rama to vanquish his enemies – is not a subject of conversation. These heroes for Hindus, are living personages, as are those of the Gospel for Christians, modeling, kneading India’s thought, even in our modern times of upheavals and violence, and it is they, these heroes, who preserve perhaps, or who help to preserve the glory of ancient Aryavarta in the India of today. 

Every civilization which is not based on the culture of the spirit is doomed to perish in brutality and blood. Oh! Rama and Sita, noble human heroes, you who give the example of a sublime spiritual ideal, in your atmosphere of peace and infinite tenderness there reigns a hope, the hope of the regeneration of humanity through the understanding of these ancient symbols and by their realization in the inner lives of men. 

(source: The Fragrance of India : landmarks for the world of tomorrow - By Louis Revel p 83-86 Kitabistan Allahabad 1946). 

"The Bhagavad Gita is par excellence the Book of Democracy; that is what gives it its peculiar radiance. It is not necessary to be a great scholar on the subject to perceive this. It unites all men in the same Principle which “resides in all hearts.” If Krishna makes no distinction between races, castes, sects, he also shows us how men, nations, can sink in the typhoon of unchained passions. The message of the Gita is a universal call to Democracy, liberty for the peoples, liberty for each individual. The great affirmation of the Bhagavad Gita is that every individual, whatever he may be, rich or poor, can and must raise himself on life’s path and that he has a right to his emancipation, social, intellectual, and spiritual."

“Even if thou were the greatest of all sinners, thou shalt be able to cross over all sins in the bark of spiritual knowledge.” (BG iv).

….in the temple of Somanthpur, the stone figure looms out from the shadows. A ray of light rests on the face of Krishna. Above the wind of the plains swirling under the vaults, it seems to me that the flute of Shri Krishna sings melodies on this day of fete, the glory of life, the dawn of a new world, in the eternal verses: 

“Know, son of Pritha, that I am the pure fragrance of the earth, sound in the air; in the fire, its splendor; life in all beings; continence in ascetics.

Oh! Govinda. The Friend! May we find, we also, the resting-place, the refuge, the friend who guides and inspires our life!

(source: The Fragrance of India: landmarks for the world of tomorrow - By Louis Revel p.158 -167 Kitabistan Allahabad 1946).

 72. Herman Hesse (1877-1962) German poet and novelist, awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946, found in Indian thought an answer to his yearning for deliverance from "ego" and from the tyrannical dictates of temporality. Indian thought offered the most radical possibility of undoing the curse of individuation, of annihilating the "idiotic one-after-the-other" by the postulation of the eternal simultaneity of nirvana.

The positive attitude of the
Bhagavad Gita also appealed to Hesse.

"The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of  life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion." 

Hesse claimed that Yoga had an invaluable effect upon him as a means of improving his powers of concentration. Yoga and Maya are the background to the events portrayed in The Glass Beads Game.

 He visited India in 1911 and the study of ancient Hindu texts affected Hesse deeply and had great influence on his works. The threefold sequence of sensual love, wisdom, and self-denial experienced by the poet
Bhartrihari is interpreted by Hesse as the result of humble and wise humanity. In the Journey to the Orient, Hesse says about India:

"It is not only a country and something geographical, but the home and the youth of the soul, the everywhere and nowhere, the oneness of all times." 

It is significant that Hesse, although a Christian, repeatedly substituted the upanishadic tat tvamasi, literally "love your neighbor for he is yourself. In Siddhartha which is subtitled "Indic Poetic Work (1922) he tried to reconcile Christian and Indian piety. There are many parallels in Siddhartha and Bhagavad Gita.

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal  Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993. Pg 240).

73. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) the great German Philosopher, poet, classical philologist, who became one of the most provocative and influential thinkers of the 19th century. He was deeply influenced by Schopenhauer in his youth. Deeply disillusioned by his native faith Christianity, he called it the immortal blemish of mankind. One of the great European philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche's beliefs were best expressed in his Thus Spake Zarathustra, in which his teachings are put into the mouth of the wandering prophet Zarathustra.

He was very appreciative of the Upanishads and, indeed, contemptuous of those Europeans who, devoid of intellectual discernment, wanted to convert and "civilize" the Brahmans.

When Paul Deussen told him his plan of translating ancient Hindu texts and expounding their wisdom, he expressed great enthusiasm saying that Indian philosophy was the one parallel to their own European philosophy. 

He found in the
Manusmriti one of the source of his own philosophy of superman. The Laws of Manu have been hailed by Friedrich Nietzsche, as ' a work which is spirited and superior by comparision." 

(source: Advanced History of India - By Nilakanta Sastri and G. Srinivasachari p. 10). 

Nietzsche so highly esteemed the Hindu text that he declared all other ethical codes to be imitations and even caricatures of this.

(source: India and World Civilization  - By D. P. Singhal p. 237-238). 

"One draws a breath of relief when coming out of the Christian sick-house and dungeon atmosphere into this healthier, higher wider world. How paltry the 'New Testament' is compared with Manu, how ill it smells! One sees immediately that it has a real philosophy behind it, in it, not merely an ill-smelling Jewish acidity compounded of rabbinisim and superstition.......All the things upon which Christianity vents its abysmal vulgarity, procreation, for example, woman, marriage, are here treated seriously, with reverence, with love and trust." 

"Christianity has been up till now mankind's greatest misfortune." Nietzsche angrily denounced Christianity as a "slave morality," created by the weak as a means of checking the strong."

(source: The Twilight of the Idols - By Friedrich Nietzsche (1889) p. 57. The Antichrist - By Friedrich Nietzsche p. 176).

"One breathes more freely, after stepping out of the Christian atmosphere of hospitals and poisons into this more salubrious, loftier and more spacious world. "

In Nietzsche's estimation Manu is also better because more frank teacher of political science than the philosophers, insincere as they are, of the Western world.

(source: Creative India - By Benoy Kumar Sarkar p. 112-115).

Nietzsche himself had read the Vedas, which he admired profoundly, could quote from the Laws of Manu and thought that "Buddhism and Brahmanism are a hundred times deeper and more objective than Christianity." 

(source: Arise O' India! - By Francois Gautier ISBN 81-241-0518-9 Har-Anand Publication p. 25).

74. Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) born in Bucharest, Romania and was educated as a philosopher lectured in the Ecole des Hautes-Etudes of the Sorbonne. He is author of Yoga: Immortality and Freedom

"Yoga, as a 'science' of achieving this transformation of finite man into the infinite One, has to be recognized as something intrinsically Indian or, as 'a specific dimension of the Indian mind." 

"Yoga constitutes a characteristic dimension of the Indian mind, to such a point that whatever Indian religion and culture have made their way, we also find a more or less pure form of Yoga. In India, Yoga was adopted and valorized by all religious movements, whether Hinduist or 'heretical.' The various Christian or syncretistic Yogas of modern India constitutes another proof  that Indian religious experience finds the yogic methods of "meditation" and "concentration" a necessity. 

"Yoga had to meet all the deepest needs of the Indian soul. In the universal history of mysticism, Yoga occupies a place of its own, and one that is difficult to define. It represents a living fossil, a modality of archaic spirituality that has survived nowhere else. Yoga takes over and continues the immemorial symbolism of initiation; in other words, it finds its place in a universal tradition of the religious history of mankind." "From the Upanishads onward, India has been seriously preoccupied with but one great problem - the structure of the human condition. With a rigor unknown elsewhere, India has applied itself to analyzing the various conditionings of the human being."

"The conquest of this absolute freedom, or perfect spontaneity, is the goal of all Indian philosophies and mystical techniques; but it is above all through Yoga, through one of the many forms of Yoga, that India has held that it can be assured."

"Yoga is present everywhere - no less in the oral tradition of India than in the Sanskrit and vernacular literature....To such a degree is this true that Yoga has ended by becoming a characteristic dimension of Indian spirituality."

(source:  Yoga: Immortality and Freedom - by Mircea Eliade p. xvi - xx and 101 and 359-364).

Commenting on history which has no metaphysical significance for either Hinduism or Buddhism, he states that:

"Profane time must be abolished, at least symbolically, so that man forgets his "historical situation". The highest human ideal is the jivamukta - one who is liberated from Time. Man, according to the Indian view, 'must, at all costs, find in his world a road that issues upon a tran-historical and atemporal plane.'

(source: The Speaking Tree: A Study of Indian Culture and Society - By Richard Lannoy p. 292). For more on Mircea Eliade refer to chapter on Yoga and Hindu Philosophy).

75. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886) the surreal Hindu Bengali Saint spent a lifetime seeking spiritual enlightenment, beginning in his childhood with a mystical encounter he experienced at the age of six. A temple priest at Dakshinesvar and a mystical devotee of Kali, became a source of religious renewal for a large number of Bengalis who met him during his lifetime. 

Mahatma Gandhi said: "The story of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's life is a story of religion in practice. His life enables us to see God face to face." 

Romain Rolland wrote "Ramakrishna was a rare combination of individuality and universality, personality and impersonality. His word and example have been echoed in the hearts of Western men and women. His soul animates modern India." His influence was felt throughout the social life of Bengal, where he passed his life in continuation of the bhakti tradition so deeply rooted in that region. ...Among the crowds that went to see Sri Ramakrishna were Keshub Chunder Sen.

He experimented with the truths of Vedanta. He attained God-realization through four different religions (Tantrism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity), each time meeting the same Absolute God--which prompted him to declare that all religions lead to the same God.

Ramakrishna said,

" In Hinduism, there can be as many spiritual paths as there are spiritual aspirants & similarly there can really be as many Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, emotions & social background of the devotees." 

" The Eternal Religion, the religion of the rishis, has been in existence from time immemorial and will exist eternally. There exists in this Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) all forms of worship -- worship of God with form and worship of the impersonal Deity as well. It contains all paths--the path of knowledge, the path of devotion and so on. Other forms of religion, the modern cults, will remain for a few days and then disappear."

(source: - unknown).

He was addressed as Master by his disciples. Once one of his disciples asked him: "Do you believe in God, sir?" "Yes," the Master replied. "Can you prove it, sir?" "Yes," "How?" "Because I see Him just as I see you here, and rather more intensely." The Master said: "So long as God seems to be outside and far away, so long there is ignorance. But where God is realized within, that is true knowledge."

"In the kingdom of God, reason, intellect and learning are of no avail. There the dumb speaks, the blind sees, and deaf hears."

Years of aspiration, meditation and adoration in silence ripened into Ramakrishna's realization of the Divine Mother. The great disciple of Ramakrishna was Swami Vivekananda whose message has inspired, influenced and transformed thousands of lives around the world. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda started the renaissance of Hinduism at this time.

(source: Great Indian Saints - By Pranab Bandyopadhyaya  p. 277 - 285).

76. Abraham Seidenberg an American historian of mathematics, has said:

" Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek geometries derive from the mathematics recorded in the Sulbasutras.

(source: The Invasion That Never Was - By Michel Danino and Sujata Nahar p. 79).

 77. Severus Sebokbt, Bishop of Kenneserin, a Syrain astronomer wrote the following in A.D. 662:

"I shall now speak of the knowledge of the Hindus...of their subtle discoveries even more ingenious than those of the Greeks and Babylonians - of their rational system of mathematics or of their method of calculation which no word can praise strongly enough  - I mean the system using the nine symbols. If these things were known by the people who think that they alone have mastered the sciences because they speak Greek, they would perhaps be convinced that every folk, not only Greeks, but men of a different tongues, know something as well as they." 

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

78. Barend Van Nooten author of Rig Veda, a metrically restored text with an introduction and notes, and The Mahabharata; Attributed to Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa, writes:

"Borrowings by western scholars in the sphere of literature and philosophy are obvious and well-known. There are near virtual; copies of plots, characters, episodes, situations and time duration from the Mahabharata in Homer and Virgil." 

(source: Philosophy of Hinduism - An Introduction - By T. C. Galav p. 18). 

79. Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) studied Indic traditions, taught summer institutes on yoga philosophy and kundalini in Zurich for a few years. A student of Sigmund Freud, psychiatrist,  interpreted Hinduism in terms of his psychological system, and pointed out the great significance of Indian thought for the modern West:

 "We do not yet realize that while we are turning upside down the material world of the East with our technical proficiency, the East with its psychic proficiency, is throwing our spiritual world into confusion. We have never yet hit upon the thought that while we are overpowering the Orient from without, it may be fastening its hold upon us from within." 

Jung found out in 1909 that myth and dream were linked, but it had been well known in India forever. It is implicit in the syllable OM, or A-U-M according to Mandukya Upanishad. 

(source: A Joseph Campbell Companion - Selected and edited by Diane K. Osborn  p. 122)

No system of thought or body control is more widely known today than Yoga. "When a religious method recommends itself as 'scientific', it can be certain of its public in the West. Yoga fulfills this expectation. "Quite apart from the charm of the new and the fascination of the half-understood, there is good cause for Yoga to have many adherents. It offers the possibility of controllable experience and thus satisfies the scientific need for 'facts'; and, besides this, by reason of its breadth and depth, its venerable age, its doctrine and method which include every phase of life, it promises undreamed of possibilities."

(source: Let's regain our lost soul - By Nani A Palkhivala - Tapovan Prasad - Chinmaya Mission vol. 39 #2 February 2001p 29-30).

Jung says: "The Christian West considers man to be wholly dependent  upon the grace of God, or at least upon the Church as the exclusive and divinely sanctioned earthly instrument of man's redemption. The East (India), however, insists that man is the sole cause of his higher development, for it believes in "self- liberation."

"While we are overpowering the Orient from without, it may be fastening its hold upon us from within." 

(source:
In Search Of The Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India - By Georg Feurerstein, Subhash Kak & David Frawley p. 267).

"The idea that man is like unto an inverted tree seems to have been current in by gone ages. The link with Vedic conceptions is provided by Plato in his Timaeus in which it states..." behold we are not an earthly but a heavenly plant." 

What is of special interest to us is the surprising affinity between Jung’s conclusions and Hindu thought. He himself was aware of it. He thought that it was no mere accident that soon after the French Revolution the Frenchman Anquetil du Perron brought to Europe a translation of the Upanishads “which gave the Western world its first deep insight into the baffling mind of the East.”

He says, “To the historian this is mere chance without any factors of cause and effect. But in view of my medical experience I cannot take it as an accident…In the crowds that poured into the Notre Dame, bent on destruction, dark and nameless forces were at work that swept the individual off his feet; these forces worked also upon Anquetil du Perron and provoked an answer which has come down in history. For he brought the Eastern mind to the West, and its influence upon us we cannot measure. Let us beware of under-estimating it!”  He had a great respect for the Eastern civilizations which had discovered and learnt to use the resources of the subliminal mind. In his own words, “Great and enduring civilizations like those of the Hindus and the Chinese were built upon this foundation and developed from it a discipline of self-knowledge which they brought to a high pitch of refinement both in philosophy and practice.” 

As the Upanishad describes it, the Self is that which being known all else becomes known. 

(source: Hindu Culture - By K. Guru Dutt - With a foreword by Sir C.Ramaswami Aiyar p. 227-228).

He admired Hinduism. He said if Rama can cry in the forest when he lost Sita and if still Rama could be an altar of worship, that is why Hindu society is a sane society. He said the Hindu society legitimised sorrow, while other religions do not do that.

(source: 'There is reverse discrimination against Hindus' - T R Jawahar - newstodaynet.com).

Jung says: “We have not yet clearly grasped the fact that Western Theosophy is an amateurish imitation of the East.” Our studies of sexual life, originating in Vienna and England, are matched or surpassed by Hindu teachings on the subject, Oriental texts ten centuries introduce us to philosophical relativism."

(source: The Wisdom of China and India - By Lin Yutang p. 118).

Jung in Psychological Types examines Indian Philosophy from a psychological perspective in glowing terms. His theories have some intuitively and aesthetically resonant qualities. Simple but precise and partially derived from Indian Thought:  

"If the attainment of the middle path consisted in a mere surrender to instinct, as the bewailers of “naturalism” suppose, the profoundest philosophical speculation that the human mind has ever known would have no raison d’être. But, as we study the philosophy of the Upanishads, the impression grows on us that the attainment of this path is not exactly the simplest of tasks. Our Western superciliousness in the face of these Indian insights is a mark of our barbarian nature, which has not the remotest inkling of their extraordinary depth and astonishing psychological accuracy. We are still so uneducated that we actually need laws from without, and a task-master or Father above, to show us what is good and the right thing to do. And because we are still such barbarians, any trust in human nature seems to us a dangerous and unethical naturalism. Why is this? Because under the barbarian’s thin veneer of culture the wild beast lurks in readiness, amply justifying his fear. But the beast is not tamed by locking it up in cage. There is no morality without freedom. When the barbarian lets loose the beast within him, that is not freedom but bondage. Barbarism must first be vanquished before freedom can be won. This happens, in principle, when the basic root and driving force of morality are felt by the individual as constituents of his own nature and not as external restrictions. How else is man to attain this realization but through the conflicts of opposites?"  

(source: Psychological Types – By C G Jung   p.  213 – Routledge 1971 Reprinted 1999. This quote has been contributed to this site by a visitor).

80.
Walt Whitman (1813-1892), who championed American intellectual independence, was amongst those who came under the influence of the American Transcendentalists. He wrote his famous poem Leaves Of Grass in 1855. The continuing success of of his Leaves of Grass led to the publication of its fifth edition which included his poem entitled Passage to India

According to some Whitman is claimed to have read ancient Hindu poems before writing his Leaves of Grass. There is a reference to Brahma and the following verse in his Salut Au Monde:

"I hear the Hindoo teaching his favorite pupil he loves, wars, adages, transmitted safely to this day from poets who wrote three thousand years ago."

(source: India in the American Mind - By B. G. Gokhale p.29).

Whitman turned to the East in his anxiety to escape from the complexities of civilization and the bewilderments of a baffled intellectualism. 

In "Passage to India" he wrote:

Passage O Soul to India!
Passage, immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins!
Away O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers - haul out - shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovel'd here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken'd and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth -steer for the deep waters only,
Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O brave soul!
O farther farther, sail!
O daring joy, but safe! are they not all the seas to God?
O farther, farther, farther, sail!

O Thou transcendent,
Nameless, the fibre and the breath,
Light of the light, shedding forth universe, thou centre of them...
Athwart the shapeless vastness of space,
How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if out of myself,
I could not launch, to those, superior universes?

(source: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self - By Stephen Cope p. 17 and
Hinduism - By Linda Johnsen p. 367).

Whitman had poetically expressed a philosophy which some had said was similar to Krishana's teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. The relationship of Walt Whitman to Vedic thought is considerably complex.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once described Whitman's Leaves of Grass as a blending of Gita and the New York Tribune Herald. In his reminiscing essay, "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads" (1889) Whitman claims to have read "the ancient Hindu poems" and there is enough evidence to show that in 1875 he had received a copy of the Gita as a Christmas present from and English friend, Thomas Dixon. 

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) English poet, indicated parallels between Whitman's Leaves of Grass and the Upanishads.

(source:
The Soul of India - By Satyavrata R Patel   p. 74).

Leaves of Grass


bsusan.gif (979 bytes)
The nest of languages, the bequeather of poems
The race of old
Florid with blood, pensive, rapt with musings, hot with passion,
Sultry with perfume,
with ample and flowering garments,
With sunburnt visage,
with intense soul and glittering eyes
The Race of Brahma Comes!
 

 

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