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81
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Ramanuja (1017-1137) was, like Sankara, a great exponent of Visistadvaita Vedanta, was concerned with the same problems, and adopted the same assumptions and texts. But they came to entirely different conclusions because while Sankara was intellectual, Ramanujan was devotional. Sankara's cold and relentless logic made him identify the soul with Nirguna Brahman while Ramanuja's devotional spirit led him along the Bhakti Marga. 

Ramanjua's teachings were based on the Vaishnava mystical Tamil poems, the Upanishads, theBrahma Sutras and the Puranas. He regarded the Brahman as the Supreme Reality, free from imperfections and possessing innumerable auspicious qualities of unparalleled excellence. He is the Lord or Ishvara and the highest person or Purushottama.

" The Bhagavad-Gita  was spoken by Lord Krishna to reveal the science of devotion to God which is the essence of all spiritual knowledge."

The Supreme Lord Krishna's primary purpose for descending and incarnating is relieve the world of any demoniac and negative, undesirable influences that are opposed to spiritual development, yet simultaneously it is His  incomparable intention to be perpetually within reach of all humanity. " 

(source: Main Currents in India Culture - By S. Natarajan p. 37-39 Indo-Middle East Cultural Studies Hyderabad 1960).

82.
Serge Elisseev
- Asian scholar, author of several books, Etudes D'Orientalisme, Publiees Par Le Musee Guimet a La Memoire De Raymonde Linossier: Notes Sur Le Portrait En Extreme-Orient and Peinture Contemporaine au Japon says:

" The East is impenetrable to the West only for the man who deliberately refuses to get rid of certain ideas which, like armor, prevent him from bending  . . . The teaching of the great Indian thinkers could spiritually enrich the European soul.  In the course of its history, the European civilization has lost most of its spiritual values. It can no longer recover them though it still realizes their necessity. For the best of men cannot exist simply on the ideal of "efficiency of work" in the American way. In the condition in which the West finds itself, it is easier for us to go and search for truths in the India, than to come back to the few values we have left in the course of the development of our civilization." 

83.
Dr. Albert Schweizer
(1875-1965) humanitarian, theologian, missionary, organist, and medical doctor.

"The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by actions."

84. Richard Waterstone  ( ? ) studied Sanskrit at the University of Edinburgh, journalist, creator of BBC documentary, author, comments in his book on India: Living Wisdom

wpe2C.jpg (2760 bytes)"Shiva's dance is a symbol of the unity and rhythm of existence. The unending dynamic process of creation and destruction is expressed in the energetic posture of the god. Shiva dances in a ring of fire that refers to the life-death process of the universe."

"There is a striking resemblance between the equivalence of mass and energy symbolized by Shiva's cosmic dance and the Western theory, first expounded by Einstein, which calculates the amount of energy contained in a subatomic particle by multiplying its mass by the square of the speed of light : E=mc2. " 

"Well before 700 BC. Hindu sages were chanting neti neti (not that, not that), denying the ultimate reality of an external world in which they saw little more than illusion, and searching instead for the eternal spark of Brahman in the soul within all beings.

(source: India: Living Wisdom - By Richard Waterstone p. 134-135 and 22).

85. Roger Housden ( ? ) author of Travels Through Sacred India and a student of the spiritual traditions of India for over 20 years, concurs in his book:

"Time, for example, is intimately connected with the goddess Kali, which partly accounts for her destructive nature. Energy - in Einstein's equation, E=MC2 - is personified in India as Shakti in her various guises." 

"...The magnificent portrayal of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, when he appears to Arjuna and gives him the most profound of spiritual teaching."

"India is a vast network of sacred places. The entire country is a sacred land. The sacrality of the land of India, is what, still today, gives a sense of unity to this country of so many religions, cultures, races and factions."

"The Ganga is a living presence, a protector, a healer of ills. The Ganga is as alive as it ever was with the hopes and dreams of an entire culture. Countless flowers are strewn across her body daily; millions of lights set sail every evening upon her waters. While stories of gods and goddesses come and go with the ages, while one myth replaces or rivals another, the organic presence of Ganga continues as ever, absorbing her devotees' offerings and ashes in the same way she has done since time immemorial."

"Christian missionaries, and Muslim invaders even more so, were naturally shocked at the profusion of ‘idols’ they found in every town and village in the country. Their distaste, however, was caused more by their own literalist manner of thinking than by any intrinsic inadequacy in the Hindu religion. The three religions of the Near East are all religions of the book. The word, which they all depend on, tends inevitably towards concretization: this is the truth, so that must be false. Once cast in stone, the truth has no freedom of movement. It becomes linear, set down for all time, and casts a shadow as dark as its words are bright. Hinduism had no founder, and no single book, foundation or organization to set uniform standards and rules. As in life, all the subtle variations of light and dark thrive there, and are indeed encouraged to do so.”

(source: Travels Through Sacred India - By Roger Housden p. 56-57, 73, and 2 -23)..

86. Vinoba Bhave, (1894-1982), the great spiritual leaders and social reformers of modern India, was a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. Founder of the Bhoodan, or land-gift, movement, seeking donations of land for redistribution to the landless, said :

"The Supreme Lord of the Gita confirms the faith of each and grants the rewards each seeks....No matter what we revere, so long as our reverence is serious, it helps progress."

"Hinduism gives its followers complete freedom. It does not insist on any particular discipline or prayer. Religion has to release us from bondage. The only imperative commandment it can have is to ask us to purify ourselves. Hinduism has emphasized the need for inner purity. Indian civilization and culture has shown a tremendous capacity for assimilation and absorption. If Hinduism becomes narrow, we shall be destroying our precious heritage. "

87.
Jacob Wilhelm Hauer (1881-1961) was born in Ditzingen, Wuerttemberg. His parents were pietists. Hauer was trained as a missionary. He taught at a mission school in India from 1907 onwards. He studied and taught Sanskrit. He wrote several books on Hinduism and Yoga. Confronted with Hinduism, he became interested in the religion and no longer regarded Christianity as the sole means of salvation.

He gave to the Bhagavad Gita, a central place in the German faith. Hauer also wrote on Yoga. His major work was Der Yoga als Heilweg ("Yoga as a means of salvation") in 1932. Hauer dedicated to C. G. Jung

He afforded the Bhagavad-Gita, a pivotal role in the spiritual life of Germany. An official interpreter of faith in Germany, Hauer described the Gita, as "a work of imperishable significance" that offers:

"gives us not only profound insights that are valid for all times and for all religious life, but it contains as well the classical presentation of one of the most significant phases of lndo-German religious history. . . .It shows us the way as regards the essential nature and basal characteristics of Indo-Germamic religion. Here Spirit is at work that belongs to our Spirit. "We are not called to solve the meaning of life but to find out the Deed demanded of us and to work and so, by action, to master the riddle of life." 

Hauer declared the central message of the Gita:

"We are not called to solve the meaning of life but to find out the Deed demanded of us and to work and so, by action, to master the riddle of life."

(source: Introductory Essay to The Bhagavad-Gita - By S. Radhakrishnan 1997, New Delhi: Harper Collins Publishers India, 1993,  p. 11).

88. W. Norman Brown professor of Sanskrit at University of Pennsylvania, author of several books, including Mahimnastava or Praise of Shiva's Greatness, Mythology of India  has stated:

" As a religion, Hinduism has set side by side in peaceful coexistence every shade of belief ranging from the most primitive sort of animism to a highly sophisticated philosophical monism, and with this has gone a corresponding range of worship of practice extending from the simplest disease spirits to the most concentrated meditation designed to produce knowledge of abstract impersonal reality." 

89. Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) freedom fighter, great Sanskrit scholar and astronomer. He was an ardent patriot and a born fighter. He has been called the Father of Indian Nationalism. He is the author of The Orion and The Artic Home in the Vedas in English and of Gita Rahasya in Marathi. He was the fearless editor of the two leading newspapers of the Deccan - the Kesari and the Mahratta. He suffered imprisonment thrice - one of them a rigorous one for twelve months in 1897 and deportation to Manadalay . 

His contribution to modern India stands on par with that of Mahatma Gandhi's.  Proclaimed to the nation, "Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!"  Wrote his famous commentary on Bhagavad-Gita, the sacred book of Hindus. 

He stressed that Gita  taught Karma (action), nothing but action. Religion or spiritual message were secondary and the need of the hour was to arise and fight. This was Lord Krishna's message to Arjuna. 

He explained: "The most practical teaching of the Gita, and one for which it is of abiding interest and value to the men of the world with whom life is a series of struggles, is not to give way to any morbid sentimentality when duty demands sternness and the boldness to face terrible things." 

(source: The Soul of India- By Amaury de Riencourt p. 301).

"The Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is one of the most brilliant and pure gems of our ancient sacred books. It would be difficult to find a simpler work in Sanskrit literature ore even in all the literature of the world than the Gita, which explains to us in an unambiguous and succinct manner the deep, and sacred principles of the sacred science of the SELF (Atman), after imparting to us the knowledge of the human body and the cosmos, and on the authority of those principles acquaints every human being with the most perfect and complete condition of the Self...."

(source: Gita Rahasya - By B. G. Tilak p. 1).

90. Leopold von Schroeder (1851-1920) German Indologist. In 1884, Schroeder published Pythagoras und die Inder, Eine Untersuchung ueber Herkunft und Anstammung Pythagoreischer Ideen - Pythagoras and the Indians. An examination of the origin and derivation of the ideas of Pythagoras. 

He says:

"The Indians are the nation of romanticists of antiquity. The Germans are the romantics of modern times. Sentimentality and feelings for Nature are common to both German and Indian poetry. He concludes that all the romantic minds of the West turn towards India because of the deep-rooted similarity between romanticism in Europe." 

"Nearly all the philosophical and mathematical doctrines attributed to Pythagoras are derived from India."

(Off all the European nations Germany's response to India was most enthusiastic and open hearted).

(source: German Indologists – By Valentina Stache-Rosen p. 117 – 118).

91.
Jagdish Chandra Bose (1858-1937), a pioneer of modern Indian science, combined ancient Indian introspective methods with modern experimental methods to demonstrate "the universal livingness of matter" or the "omnipresence of Life in Matter."

Modern science thus endorsed the
ancient Upanishadic truth that the entire universe is born of a life-force and is quivering with a touch of animation. His work represents the triumph of spirituality over extreme materialism.

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993. p. 266).

92. Kenneth Walker ( ? )  a famous British surgeon, has devoted a good deal of time and writing to the study of Indian thought and literature in search of an answer:

The eminent English thinker, presiding over the Sri Ramakrishna birthday anniversary meeting in London in March, 1949, said:

"If the two great nations, India and England, cannot be united by political chords, the ties of spiritual and intellectual co-operation will certainly prove a stronger bond of union. India, the greatest spiritual force of the world, even maintains today those fountain sources of eternal life, which are the only hope of the spiritual resurrection of humanity."

(source: The Vision of India - By Sisirkumar Mitra   p. 209 -210).

"From the point of view of science, we see man as an elaborate piece of mechanism, his actions determined by his central nervous system and his environment. From philosophy we  learn that his capacity for knowledge is strictly limited, so that by means of his sense organs alone he can never know reality. This is confirmed by Hindu philosophy, but a new idea is added. Man, as he is can see no more and do no more, but by right effort and right method, he can gain powers, understand more and achieve more." 

 

India, the greatest spiritual force of the world, even maintains today those fountain sources of eternal life, which are the only hope of the spiritual resurrection of humanity."

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

***

93. Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925), Austrian architect, highly interested in the alignment between science and nature, matter and spirit, he developed an anthropomorphic architecture for his own Anthroposophical Society. A scholar who had edited the works of German dramatist/poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

" In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-Gita with full understanding it is necessary  to attune our soul to it." 

 "What we read in the Vedas, those archives of Hindu wisdom, gives us only a faint idea of the sublime doctrines of the ancient teachers, and even so these are not in their original form. Only the gaze of the clairvoyant, directed upon the mysteries of the past, many reveal the unuttered wisdom which lies hidden behind these writings."

(source: Ancient Indian Education - By Radha Kumud Mookerji p. 17).

94. William Butler Yeats (1856-1939) Irish poet and a 1923 Nobel Laureate in Literature. 

Yeats found Indian ideas of philosophy, art, and religion inspiring and stimulating to such a great extent that a vital part of his career became his assimilating them as well as reproducing them through his own art. Yeats reacted to India with insight, admiration, sympathy and affection. He also met and developed friendships with three Indians, Mohini Chatterji, Rabindranath Tagore, and Shri Purohit Swami (1882 - 1941) at three different stages of his career.

He described his first meeting with a Hindu philosopher at Dublin:

"It was my first meeting with a philosophy that confirmed my vague speculations and seemed at once logical and boundless. "

In his
"Meru" written in 1935 - Meru is the central mountain of the world in Hindu Mythology - Yeats contrasts the peaceful life of the mystic, despite the hardships of nature, with the transitory cycles of creation and destruction exemplified in the world of man.

Egypt and Greece, good-bye, and good-bye, Rome!
Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,
Caverned in night under the drifted snow,
Or where that snow and winter's dreadful blast
Beat down upon their naked bodies, know
That day bring round the night, that before dawn
His glory and his monuments are gone.


Yeats was keenly interested in Yoga system and Tantra.

(source:
India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal   Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993. p. 262 - 263 and W B Yeats and Indian Tradition - By Sankaran Ravindran. p. 2- 3).

95. Stephen P. Huyler ( ? )  art historian, cultural anthropologist, curator at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler gallery, in his book Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion defines Hinduism:

" Hinduism is a religion of individuality'. Both good and evil are believed to be of God, and the purpose of most rituals is to maintain a balance between such opposites: creation and destruction, light and dark, masculine and feminine.  All Hindus believe that the Absolute is the pure blend of opposites, neither masculine nor feminine. For the Hindu, as every aspect of existence has a purpose, human meaning involves a fundamental sense of duty and of conscientious accountability. All individuals are considered part of the greater whole, which functions well only when each person fulfills his or her obligations. The focus and means of worship are many, but the process has a common thread. It acknowledges one of the fundamental principles of Hinduism. God is a universal force, indivisible and yet infinitely divisible, the one and the many, the perfect mixture of all facets of existence." 

"
Hinduism is a religion of strength, vitality, innovation, and balance."

"For the average Hindu, the Divine is personal and approachable. God is universal force, indivisible, and yet infinitely divisible, the one and the many, the perfect mixture of all facets of existence."

"Many Hindu texts state that the Absolute, Brahman, is pure sound."

"Hinduism is often said to be a religion of millions of Gods, and it is indeed a religion of diversity. But it is essential to understand that underlying all is the belief in the unity in one great God: the Absolute, often known as Brahman. Some Hindus believe that this Absolute is formless, a supreme cosmic force that cannot be completely known by humankind. Hindu philosophers state that existence as we know it is an illusion. The universe is relative, ever changing, whereas its source, the Absolute, is the only permanent thing, never changing. To truly reach the Divine we must divest ourselves of all physical attachments and open our minds and spirit to the great void."

(source: Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion - By Stephen P Huyler p. 28 -56 ).

96.
Roger Garaudy ( ? ) a Muslim philosopher says:

"The
Bhagavad-Gita is a rich message, directed toward the human being, showing him the path for his actions, in order to establish a divine society on earth." 

(source: unknown).

97.
C. Rajagopalachari (1878-1972) popularly known as "Rajaji" was a great patriot. He
was a scholar, a statesman, and a linguist.  A contemporary of Mohandas Gandhi, he was also free India’s first Governor General.  Perhaps his most signal accomplishment was his thoughtful rendition of the Mahabharata and Ramayana in English, making the stories and wisdom contained in those classics available to a new generation of English educated Indians. In his book Ramayana, Rajaji captures for us the pathos and beauty of Valmiki's magic in an inimitable manner. 

He spoke eloquently of the
Upanishads.

"The spacious imagination, the majestic sweep of thought, and the almost reckless spirit of exploration with which, urged by the compelling thirst for truth, the Upanishad teachers and pupils dig into the "open secret" of the universe, make this most ancient of the world's holy books still the most modern and most satisfying." 

(source: The Discovery of India - By Jawaharlal Nehru Oxford University Press. 1995. pg 90).

"The Mahabharata has moulded the character and civilization of one of the most numerous of the world's people. How? By its gospel of dharma, which like a golden thread runs through all the complex movements in the epic; by its lesson that hatred breed hatred, that covetousness and violence lead inevitably to ruin, that the only conquest is in the battle against one's lower nature."

(source: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism - By Linda Johnsen  p. 65).

Rajagopalachari has observed on indestructible culture of India:

 "If there is any honesty in India today, any hospitality, any chastity, any philanthropy, any tenderness to the dumb creatures, any aversion to evil, any love to do good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture."

(source: India's Priceless Heritage - By Nani A. Palkhivala 1980 p. 39).

“The Hindu doctrine of all ways trading to God with the resulting attitude of the Hindu creed towards all other religions is unique. No other creed has arrived at this all embracing fraternity of faiths, which Hinduism stand for. 

Akasat Sarvadeva Namaskarah Kesavam Prati Gachati. The quotation is from Mahabharata."

(source: TribuneIndia.com).

"The Mahabharata has molded the character and civilization of one of the most numerous of the world's people. How? By its gospel of dharma, which like a golden thread runs through all the complex movements in the epic; by its lesson that hatred breed hatred, that covetousness and violence leads inevitably to ruin, that the only real conquest is in the battle against one's lower nature."

(source: Hinduism - By Linda Johnsen p. 65).

98. Octovio Paz (1914-1998) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. He served as  Mexico's ambassador to India from 1962 until 1968. This is what he says about Hindu art in his book In Light of India:

"The Hindu genius is a love for abstraction and, at the same time, a passion for the concrete image. At times it is rich, at others prolix.  It has created the most lucid and the most instinctive art. It is abstract and realistic, sexual and intellectual, pedantic and sublime. It lives between extremes, it embraces the extremes, rooted in the earth and drawn to an invisible beyond." 

(source: In Light of India - By Octavio Paz  p. 185).

99.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, poet, social critic and author of many books, including Seeds of Contemplation, Life and Holiness, Mystics and Zen Masters.  

Merton, in his book Thoughts on the East talks about the living importance of the Bhagavad-Gita:

"It brings to the West a salutary reminder that our highly activistic and one-sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self-destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so verbiage. If, in the West, God can no longer be experienced as other than "dead", it is because of an inner split and self-alienation which have characterized the Western mind in its single-minded dedication to only the half of life: that which is exterior, objective and quantitative." 

(source: unknown).

100. J. Donald Walters  (Swami Kriyananda)  (  ? ) World renowned as a singer, composer, and lecturer, founder of the Ananda Village is perhaps the most successful intentional community in the world. In his book " The Hindu Way of Awakening: Its Revelation, Its Symbols" says:

"Hinduism, in its plethora of symbols and images, is endlessly complex and therefore endlessly misunderstood, but its true mission is both simple and universal: soul enlightenment. The way to understand this mission is to realize that it is goal-oriented, not way-oriented. In other words, its focus is the ultimate attainment, Self-realization."

For even today, thousands of years since they were were first expounded by the ancient rishis (spiritual sages), the religious teachings of India nourish what continues to be the most spiritually grounded civilization in the world."

"Ancient rishis made claims so cosmic that even modern physics seems only to be catching up with them and realizing after every scientific breakthrough, that the ancients were there long before them! Even as recently as a century ago, the West was still reeling under the impact of the discovery of geologists that the earth was formed eons ago, and not in 4004 BC. as theologians had determined. 

" India, has accomplished in the field of spirituality what, in the world of finance, the free market (as opposed to a controlled economy) has succeeded in doing: The individual seeker has been left free to explore and develop his own spiritual potentials. Other scriptures have hinted at the deeper truths of inward religion. But the priests in every religion seldom quote those passages, which they rightly see as threatening to their institutional preeminence." 

"Hinduism is the most ancient expression of Sanatan Dharma, the eternal and universal religion."

" The insights of which the Hindu teachings are based were revelation in the highest sense of the word." 

"A special charm of studying Indian philosophy today is that it is more truly Western, in the modern, scientific sense, than any system of philosophy that the West has produced. Whereas Western rationalism has broken down under the impact of scientific discoveries,
Indian thought cheerfully rides the crest of the wave, and is only pushed higher by every new scientific finding." 


(
source: The Hindu Way of Awakening: Its Revelation, Its Symbols - By Swami Kriyananda p. 12 - 86 and 150 and Crises in Modern Thought: Vol. I: The Crises of Reason - By Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) p. x).


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