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201.Professor Kakuzo Okakura (1862 -1913) a Japanese philosopher, art expert, curator and author of The Book of Tea and The Ideals of the East, with Special Reference to the Art of Japan says: 

"We catch a glimpse of the great river of science which never ceases to flow in India.  For India has carried and scattered the data of intellectual progress for the whole world, ever since the pre-Buddhist period when she produced the Sankhya philosophy and the atomic theory; the fifth century, when her mathematics and astronomy find their blossom in Arya Bhatta; the seventh when Brahmagupta uses his highly-developed Algebra and makes astronomical observations; the twelfth, brilliant with the glory of Bhaskaracharya, and his famous daughter, down to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries themselves with Ram Chandra the mathematician and Jagdish Chandra Bose the physicist. 

Okakura adds that in this scientific age: India had faith.

"Such a faith in its early energy and enthusiasm was the natural incentive to that great scientific age which was to produce astronomers like Aryabhatta, discovering the revolution of the earth on its own axis, and his not less illustrious successor Varamihira; who brought Hindu medicine to its height, perhaps under Susruta; and which finally gave to Arabia the knowledge with which she was later to fructify Europe. 

The religion and culture of China are undoubtedly of Hindu origin. At one time in the single province of loyang there were more than three thousand Indian monks and ten thousand Indian families to impress their national religion and art on Chinese soil.

(source: The Ideals of the East, with Special Reference to the Art of Japan - By Kakuzo Okakura ISBN 4925080261).

Asia is one,” says Okakura “The Himalayas divide only to unite."

(source: The Heritage of Asia - By Kenneth Saunders p.24 1932 Student Christian Movement Press).

202. Sir Michael Sadler (1861-1943) authority on education, wrote in 1919:

"One cannot walk through the streets of any center of population in India without meeting face after face which is eloquent of thought, of fine feeling, and of insight into the profound things of life. In a very true sense the people of India are nearer to the spiritual hearts of things than we in England are. As for brain power, there is that in India which is comparable with the best in our country."

(source: India and British Imperialism - By Gorham D. Sanderson p. 49).

203. Dr. Arthur Versluis (1959 - ) Associate Professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University, a scholar and researcher of several currents of the hermetic, gnostic, theosophic and mystic traditions and author of The Egyptian Mystery, has said: 

"It is necessary that we turn to the Vedanta....because the Upanishads provide the purest metaphysics available to us from the primordial past."

(source: The Egyptian Mystery - By Arthur Versluis  SBN 014019018X).

204. Count Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) was a Belgian writer of poetry and a wide variety of essays. He won the 1911 Nobel Prize for literature. In his book Mountain Paths, in the doctrine of Karma, he finds "the only satisfactory solution of life's injustices."

"he falls back upon the earliest and greatest of Revelations, those of the Sacred Books of India with a Cosmogony which no European conception has ever surpassed." 

(source: Mountain Paths - By Maurice Maeterlinck ISBN 1589632532).

Maeterlinck writes in his book The Great Secret pages 26-98:

"We cannot tell how the religion of the Hindus came into being. When we become aware of it, we find it already complete in its broad outlines, its main principles. Not only is it complete, but the farther back we go, the more perfect it is, the more unadulterated, the more closely related to the loftiest speculations of our modern agnosticism."

"When the world had emerged from the darkness," says the Bhagavata Puranam, "the subtle elementary principle produced the vegetable seed which first of all gave life to the plants. From the plants, life passed into the fantastic creatures which were born of the slime in the waters; then, through a series of different shapes and animals, it came to Man." They passed in succession by way of the plants, the worms, the insects, the serpents, the tortoises, cattle, and the wild animals - such is the lower stage," says Manu again, who adds, "Creatures acquired the qualities of those that preceded them, so that the farther down its position in the series, the greater its qualities.

"Have we not here the whole of Darwinian evolution confirmed by geology and foreseen at least 6,000 years ago? On the other hand, is this not the theory of Akasa which we more clumsily call the ether, the sole source of all substances, to which our science is returning? Is it true that the recent theories of Einstein deny ether, supposing that radiant energy - visible light, for example - is propagated independently through a space that is an absolute void. But the scientific ether is not precisely the Hindu Akasa which is much more subtle and immaterial being a sort of spiritual element or divine energy, space uncreated, imperishable, and infinite."

Commenting on the Vedic hymns Maseterlinck says:

"Is it possible to find, in our human annals, words more majestic, more full of solemn anguish, more august in tone, more devout, more terrible? Where, from the depths of an agnosticism, which thousands of years have augmented, can we point to a wider horizon? At the very outset, it surpasses all that has been said, and goes farther than we shall even dare to go. No spectacle could be more absorbing than this struggle of our forefathers of five to ten thousand years ago with the Unknowable, the unknowable nature of the causeless Cause of all Causes. But of this cause, or this God, we should never have known anything, had He remained self-absorbed, had He never manifested Himself." Thus it is, say the Laws of Manu, "that, by an alternation of awakening and repose, the immutable Being causes all this assemblage of creatures, mobile and immobile, eternally to return to life and to die."  He exhales Himself, or expels His breath, throughout the Universe, innumerable worlds are born, multiply and evolve. He Himself inhales, drawing His breath, and Matter enters into Spirit, which is but an invisible form of Matter: and the worlds disappear, without perishing, to reintegrate the Eternal cause, and emerge once more upon the awakening of Brahma - that is, thousands of millions of years later; to enter into Him so it has been and ever shall be, through all eternity, without beginning, without cessation, without end."

(source: Ancient Indian Education - By Radha Kumud Mookerji  p.17 and 49 ISBN 8120804236).

Maeterlinck in his book The Great Secret, calls The Bhagavad Gita or "Song of the Blessed" a magnificent flower of Hindu mysticism.

(source: The Great Secret - By Maurice Maeterlinck  ASIN 0806511559 p. 14).

205. John Adam Cramb (1862-1913) author of The Origins and Destiny of Imperial Britain says:

"India is not only the Italy of Asia, it is not only the land of romance of art and beauty, it is in religion, earth's central shrine. India is religion."

(source: Ancient Indian Culture At A Glance - By Swami Tattwananda p.76).

206. James Bissett Pratt (1875-1944) American author of Why Religions Die and India and its Faiths, makes these observations about Hinduism, which according to him, is the only religion which tends to survive the present crisis in the life of all religions. 

Hinduism, which he calls the "Vedic Way" is a "self perpetuating" religion. The Vedic way...the way of constant spiritual re-interpretation.. leads to life - life which is self perpetuating, self-renewing  and which for the individual and for the world may be eternal. "

Unlike other religions "not death, but development" has been the fate of Hinduism.  "that which in it was vital and true cast off the old shell and clothed itself in more suitable expression, with no break in the continuity of life and no loss in the sanctity and weight of its authority." Generalizing on the secret of longevity of the Vedic religion, Professor Pratt says: "If a religion is to live it must adapt itself to new and changing conditions; if it is to feed the spiritual life of its children, it must have the sensitivity and inventiveness that shall enable it to modify their as their needs demand." 

Another secret of the vitality of Hindu religion, is its catholicity. He says: "Mutually contradictory creeds can and do keep house together without quarrel within the wide and hospitable Hindu family." "Hindu thought....because of its ingrained conclusiveness, its tolerance, and its indifference to doctrinal divergences, stressed the essential unity of all Indian Dharmas, whether Hindu or Buddhist, and minimized differences."

(source: Why Religions Die - By James Bissett Pratt  Berkeley. University of California Press. 1940 p. 122).

"For most Westerners “histories of philosophy” begin with the Greeks and end with the Americans, and convey not the least suggestion that anyone outside of the West ever had a philosophical idea. A glance at the curricula of most our colleges and universities would seem to indicate that the one principle on which they are planned might be phrased: nothing east of Suez ! To one who has had a taste of the riches which Indian thought and Indian literature can contribute to our intellectual life and our spiritual experience, this deprivation which we Westerners inflict upon ourselves and upon our young people seems pitiful in the extreme. Indian philosophical literature, taking its rise several centuries before the time of Thales, has swept down through the ages, retaining always a characteristic point of view of its own, but developing in a great variety of fresh forms. Indian thought constitutes today the one type of living philosophy independent of our Western tradition. Neither China nor Japan possesses a living philosophical movement of its own. The tendency of nearly all the schools of Western philosophy is more and more steadily setting in the direction of naturalism, and often of a rather crude naturalism. The victories of natural science have hypnotized most of our philosophers. From such a world as Western naturalism usually offers, the thoughtful mind which craves something more than a scientific pattern of space-time evens may be glad to take refuge in the eternal insights into a spiritual realm, spread out before us in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Vedantic philosophy."  

(source: Vedanta for Modern Man - Edited by Christopher Isherwood  p. 41 - 43).

207. William Harten Gilbert (1904 - ) author of Peoples of India has said:

"In the history of human culture the contribution of the Indian peoples in all fields has been of the greatest importance. From India we are said to have derived domestic poultry, shellac, lemons, cotton, jute, rice, sugar, indigo, the buffalo, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, sugar-cane, the games of chess, Pachisi, Polo, the Zero concept, the decimal system, the basis of certain philological concepts, a wealth of fables with moral import, an astonishing variety of artistic products, and innumerable ideas in philosophy and religion such as asceticism and monasticism."

(source: Peoples of India - By William Harten Gilbert).

208. Arun Shourie (1941- ) is a Rajya Sabha member and among India's best known commentators on current and political affairs. His writings are backed by rigorous analysis and meticulous research. Shourie has been an economist with the World Bank, a consultant in the planning commission and the editor of Indian Express. Among the many honors and awards, he has received the Magsaysay Award, the International Editor of the Year, the Dadabhai Naoroji and the Astor Award. Author of several books, including Secular Agenda, Eminent Historians, Harvesting Our Souls, Religions in Politics

Shourie writes:

"The traditions of India were rich as can be. They had attained insights of the first water...And they were inclusive. A person devoted to a tree was not traduced as an 'animist', a person devoted to a bull or an elephant, or a lion or a snake or even the lowly mouse was not laughed away. The objects of his devotion were received with reverence - they became part of a pantheon.. Nor was this artifice. The inclusiveness flowed from deep conviction, from what had been experienced at the deepest.. But no one could impede reform by an appeal to 'fundamentals', for these fundamentals made the individual's own experience the ultimate referrent. That everything should reform and transform, the tradition regarded as natural. Differences were harmonized through discourse..."

(source: Missionaries in India - By Arun Shourie 1994 - ISBN 8172232705  p. 41-43). For more on Arun Shourie refer to chapter GlimpsesVII and Conversion).

209. Prof. Brian David Josephson (1940 - ) Welsh physicist, the youngest Nobel Laureate has said: 

"The Vedanta and the Sankhya hold the key to the laws of mind and thought process which are co-related to the Quantum Field, i.e. the operation and distribution of particles at atomic and molecular levels."

"He has turned to meditation and Indian Philosophy especially the Vedanta and Smakhya philosophy to find" scientific explanations" for the laws of mind and thought processes and their correlation to the quantum field in physics, which deals with creation and destruction of particles at atomic and molecular levels. 'Indian philosophy shows the relationship between mind and matter. Mind as seen in Indian philosophy enables one to describe subjective reality or the process of decision making as a wave function in terms of quantum physics".

Samkhya and Vedanta propound the evolution of universe in it inanimate and animate aspects, more comprehensively than modern science does. Vedananta derives it from primal Divine Energy or Sakti and Samkhya from proto-Nature or Prakriti.

(source: Science and Vedanta - By H. M. Ganesh Rao and  Mera Bharat Mahan).

210. Michael Wood (1948 - ) British historian/host/writer of The Barbarian West public TV documentary. At the heart of the Western Civilization, says Wood, lies a deep streak of violence which drives them to exploit nature and mankind.  

"Usually it is said that the East is hopelessly backward and needs to catch up with the West. But, a consideration of the legacy of these great civilizations suggests, says wood, that the West has some catching up to do. It needs to learn from the East a way of cultivating its inner space, of accepting limits and desires in an increasingly finite world. "In the past 200 years one form of civilization, that of the West, has changed the balance of nature for ever. And now it is civilization itself which has become a central problem of our world."

Taking the Eastern perspective of life, Wood leads us through Western history from its Greco/Roman beginnings to Sir Francis Bacon's and momentous treatise declaring science's supremacy over God. Wood says this is where the West really got off-track, into matter, away from spirit. Final frames of this uncomplimentary portrait of Western societies-and their claims of superiority over Eastern cultures-are cuts from NASA spaceships to a worship scene in Meenaskhi temple, South India, where Wood suggests real civilization has been flourishing for millennia. 

He forcefully appreciates India's spirituality and culture and
narrates: 

"History is full of empires of the sword, but India alone created an empire of the spirit."

"India was one of the earliest of the great civilizations and it defined the goals of civilized life very differently from the West. The West raised individualism, materialism, rationality, [and] masculinity as it ideals. India's great tradition insisted on non violence, renunciation, the inner life, [and] the female as pillars of civilization. And through all the triumphs and disasters of her history she hung on to that ideal, an eternal quest to identify humanity with the whole of creation, a unity in diversity ... History is full of empires of the sword but India alone created an empire of the spirit."

"Ancient India is with us today in the living tradition of the Hindu religion, the basis of Indian culture. The traditions that are honored by millions of Hindus in the present were born in the Indus Valley 5,000 years ago."

(source: India: Empire of the Spirit -  Michael Wood, quoted from program 2 of the television documentary "Legacy").

211. Gary Zukav (?)  author of The Dancing Wu Li Masters: an overview of the new physics says, 

"Hindu mythology is virtually a large scale projection into the psychological realm of microscopic scientific discoveries." "The Wu Li Masters know that physicists are doing more than 'discovering the endless diversity of nature.' They are dancing with Kali, the Divine Mother of Hindu mythology."

(source: The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An overview of the new physics  ASIN  0553249142).

212. Dr. Koenraad Elst (1959 -) Dutch historian, born in Leuven, Belgium, on 7 August 1959, into a Flemish (i.e. Dutch-speaking Belgian) Catholic family. He graduated in Philosophy, Chinese Studies and Indo-Iranian Studies at the Catholic University of Leuven. He is the author of several books including The Saffron Swastika, Decolonising The Hindu Mind - Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism and Negationism in India: Concealilng the Record of Islam 

During a stay at the Benares Hindu University, he discovered India’s communal problem and wrote his first book about the budding Ayodhya conflict. 

An strong advocate for
Hindu revivalism in the West. He writes:  

"The struggle of Hindu society is not primarily with the Muslim community. The most important opponents of Hindu society today are not the Islamic communal leaders, but the interiorized colonial rulers of India, the alienated English-educated and mostly Left-leaning elite that noisily advertises its "secularism." It is these people who impose anti-Hindu policies on Hindu society, and who keep Hinduism down and prevent it from proudly raising its head after a thousand years of oppression."

"The Hindu fight is not at all with Muslims; the fight is between Hindus anxious to renew themselves in the spirit of their civilization, and the state, Indian in name and not in spirit and the political and intellectual class trapped in the debris the British managed to bury us under before they left."

"The worst torment for Hindu society today is this mental slavery, this sense of inferiority which Leftist intellectuals, through their power positions in education and the media, and their direct influence on the public and political arena, keep on inflicting on the Hindu mind."

"Pride in being Indian means, for 99%, pride in Hinduism. So, this legitimate pride has to be nourished with broad and in-depth knowledge of Hindu culture. The two enemies of this effort are the pseudo-secularist morbidity that glorifies the destroyers of Hindu culture, and discourages its study altogether..." 

"Most Western scholars positively dislike Hinduism when it stands up to defend itself. They prefer museum Hinduism, or innocent Gandhian kind of Hinduism, and they readily buy the secularist story that an assertive Hinduism is not the “real Hinduism”. 

(source: Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society - By Koenraad Elst  p. vi - vii  and p. 83 and 356. Voice of India publication).

Elst notes that Eastern philosophy has appeal in the West these days because ‘‘of their aura of rationality and the absence of a conflict between science and religion as there is in Islam or Christianity.’

(source: Elst probes, discovers India for himself - newindpress.com).

"Hinduism applauds diversity and consequently accepts that people of different temperaments, circumstances and levels of understanding develop different viewpoints and different forms to express even the same view point. In that sense, it has always paid equal respect to shramanas and brahmanas, to jnana and bhakti etc. It showed samabhava to all traditions which counted as dharma. This respect was never extended to adharma practices and doctrines such as Christianity and Islam, the religions for whose benefit the slogan is used mostly."

 

The Churning of the Milky Ocean or Samudra-Manthana. For more refer to chapter on Hindu Cosmology.

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

***

"The fundamental mistake of Indian secularism is that Hinduism is put in the same category as Islam and Christianity. Islam and Christianity's intrinsic irrationality and hostility to independent critical thought warranted secularism as a kind of containment policy. By contrast, Hinduism recognizes freedom of thought and does not need to be contained by secularism. "

"Historically, Hindus have quickly recognized Islam and missionary Christianity as mleccha, barbaric predatory religions, not as instances of dharma to which any respect is due. Until Swami Dayananda Saraswati, they didn't even consider these religions as worthy of a detailed critique." 

"Christianity and Islam are wrong in their central truth claims and can immediately be discarded. Humanity has lived without these pretentious doctrines for long, and that it is a matter of mathematical certainty that it will resume doing so. The question is only how much damage they will be allowed to add to their record before expiring." "A very optimistic objection could be that Hindu society need not bother about Christianity and Islam, because the thrust of their historical aggression against Hinduism is weakening and will weaken further in the future. It has happened before; while Communists were plotting the death of Hinduism and the dismemberment of India, the Hindutva movement did very little to counter Communism, yet Communism collapsed under its own failure in its very stronghold."

(source: Bharatiya Janata Party vis-a-vis Hindu Resurgence - By Koenraad Elst p. 9-142).

"The Hindu revivalist movement perceives itself as the cultural chapter of India's decolonization. This means that it tries to free the Indians from the colonial condition at the mental and cultural level, to complete the process of political and economic decolonization. The need for "reviving" Hinduism springs from the fact that the said hostile ideologies (mostly Islam) have managed to eliminate Hinduism physically in certain geographic parts and social segments of India, and also (mostly the Western ideology) to neutralize the Hindu spirit among many nominal Hindus."

(source: Decolonising The Hindu Mind - Ideological Development of Hindu Revivalism - By Koenraad Elst Rupa & Co. January 2001 ISBN 8171675190 p. 10).

He advocates the intellectual mobilization of Hindu society. He has observed: "Consider the situation in Africa: in 1900, 50% of all Africans practiced Pagan religions; today, Christian and Islamic missionaries have reduced this number to less than 10%. This is the kind of threat Hinduism is up against. So far, the biggest success of these aggressors is at the level of thought: many Hindus have interiorized the depreciation of Hindu culture and society which their enemies have been feeding them from the relative power positions...."

(source: Negationism in India: Concealilng the Record of Islam - By Koenraad Elst Voice of India  p. 79).

"Hindu tradition is based on the experience of sages, sane men and women who observed the world and explored consciousness. Its approach is scientific: the Vedic truths are verifiable, universal and repeatable, not dependent on the views of privileged individuals (“prophets”) but apaurusheya, “impersonal”."

(source: Bharatiya Janata Party vis-a-vis Hindu Resurgence - By Koenraad Elst p. 145 -146). For more refer to Koenraad Elst site.

213. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) British statesman, parliamentary orator and political thinker, played a prominent part in all major political issues for about 30 years after 1765, and remained an important figure in the history of political theory.

In all his speeches in Parliament on India - those made in connection with his Impeachment of Warren Hastings and others - Edmund Burke invariably represented the civilization of India as high. In his speech on the East India Bill, he said:

"This multitude of men (the Indian nation) does not consist of an abject and barbarous populace, much less of gangs of savages; but of a people for ages civilized and cultivated; cultured by all the arts of polished life while we (Englishmen) were yet dwelling in the woods. There have been in (India) princes of great dignity, authority and opulence. There (in India) is to be found an ancient and venerable priesthood, the depositary of laws, learning and history, the guides of the people while living and their consolation in death. There is a nobility of great antiquity and renown; a multitude of cities not exceeded in population and trade by those of the first class in Europe; merchants and bankers who vie in capital with the banks of England; millions of ingenious manufacturers and mechanics; and millions of the most diligent tillers of the earth."

(source: India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom - By Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland p. 325).

214. Fredrick von Schiller (1759-1805) was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's friend, who otherwise took little interest in Indian literature, was also moved to enthusiastic praise of Shakuntala, which he found in some respects un paralled in the classical literature of Greece and Rome. He published part of the Shakuntala in Thalia, and in a letter to Wilhelm von Humboldt he wrote that:

"in the whole of Greek antiquity there is no poetical representation of beautiful love which approaches Sakuntala even afar."

(source: India and World Civilization - By D. P. Singhal Pan Macmillan Limited. 1993 ASIN 0870131435 p. 230-231).

215. H. M. Hyndman (1842-1921) the eminent British publicist thus describes the important place of India in the world's history and civilization:

"Many hundreds of years before the coming of the English, the nations of India had been a collection of wealthy and highly civilized people, possessed of a great language with an elaborate code of laws and social regulations, with exquisite artistic taste in architecture and decoration, producing beautiful manufactures of all kinds, and endowed with religious ideas and philosophic and scientific conceptions which have greatly influenced the development of the most progressive races of the West. One of the noblest individual moralists who ever lived, Sankya Muni was a Hindu; the Code of Manu, dating from before the Christian era, is still an essential a study for the jurist....and there are in India, in this later age, worthy descendants of the great authors of the Vedas, of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana."

"and yet, nine-tenths of what has been written by the British about India is so expressed that we are made to believe the shameful falsehood that stability and civilized government in Hindustan began only with the rule of the British."

(source: India in Bondage: Her Right to Freedom - By Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland p. 350).

216. Ernest E. Kellett (1864-1950) author of A Short History of Religions:

"On the other hand there seems to be an increasing number of persons who have been led by natural and acquired sympathy to adopt in some form one of the Eastern religions." The new German faith is said to have for its main source of interpretation Eckhart and the Bhagavad-Gita. 

(source:
Eastern Religions & Western Thought - By S. Radhakrishnan p. 251 South Asia Books 1990ISBN 0195624564).

217. Sister Nivedita - Margaret Noble (1867-1911). Her first literary achievement was Kali the Mother, in which she expounds the conception of Kali. There are many 'educated Indians - of Christian missionaries we need not speak - who think that Kali is some blood-thirsty deity worshipped by barbarous people. to such people this book ought to be a revelation. The Web of Indian Life, may be at once said that it is the greatest in the English language upon India. It is not a travel book, but a revelation of the soul of a people. 

Sister Nivedita probed into the heart of Indian womanhood and reflected in her rhythmic and eloquent prose the natural simplicity and spiritual fervor of the women of India. Women, she contended, are the embodiment and repository of the ancient wisdom of the East. They are the inheritors of a radiant orthodoxy, unspoilt by age and undimmed by the passing fashions of the day to which men so easily succumb. 

"Hinduism would not be eternal were it not constantly growing and spreading, and taking in new areas of experience. Precisely because it has this power of self addition and re-adaptation, in greater degree than any other religion that the world has even seen, we believe it to be the one immortal faith."

(source: The Complete Works, Vol III).

In the chapter on the Bhagavad Gita, she writes: "The book is nowhere a call to leave the world, but everywhere an interpretation of common life as the path to that which lies beyond. "Better for a man is his own duty, however, badly done than the duty of another, though that be easy. "Holding gain and loss as one, prepare for battle." That the man who throws away his weapons, and permits himself to be slain, unresisting in the battle, is not the hero of religion, but a sluggard and a coward; that the true seer is he who carries his vision into action, regardless of the consequences to himself; this is the doctrine of the "Gita" repeated again and again....Not the withdrawn, but the transfigured life, radiant, with power and energy, triumphant in its selflessness, is religion. "Arise!" thunders the voice of Sri Krishna, "and be thou an apparent cause!" 

Sister Nivedita talked about the task before India. "We must create a history of India in living terms. Up to the present that history, as written by the English, practically begins with Warren Hastings, and crams in certain unavoidable preliminaries, which cover a few thousands of years...The history of India has yet to be written for the first time. It has to be humanized, emotionalized, made the trumpet-voice and evangel of the race that inhabit India."

(source: Eminent Orientalists: Indian European American - Asian Educational Services. ISBN 8120606973 p. 257-276).

"Beauty of place," writes Sister Nivedita, "translates itself to the Indian consciousness as God's cry to the soul. Had Niagara been situated on the Ganga, it is odd to think how different would have been its valuation by humanity. Instead of fashionable picnics and railway pleasure-trips, the yearly or monthly incursion of worshipping crowds; instead of hotels, temples; instead of ostentatious excess, austerity; instead of the desire to harness its mighty forces to the chariot of human utility, the unrestrained longing to throw away the body, and realize at once the ecstatic madness of Supreme Union. Could contrast be greater?"

(source: The Web of Indian Life - By Sister Nivedita Ramakrishna-Vivekananda. London, 1904. p. 262).

Sister Nivedita realised that India's unrivalled, integrating culture that had spread from the Himalayas in the North to Kanyakumari in the South was due to this closeness with the ancient epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, a closeness that had been attacked and almost severed by Colonial style of education: "These two great works form together the outstanding educational agencies of Indian life. All over the country, in every province, especially during the winter session, audiences of Hindus and Mohammedans gather round the Brahmin storyteller at nightfall, and listen to his rendering of the ancient tales. The Mohammedans of Bengal have their own version of the Mahabharata."

This is why she would never call Indian women as ever having been illiterate. They had imbibed the best in the Indian tradition and strove to bring up their children as a Rama or Krishna, Arjuna or Karna, Sita or Savitri.

(source: In her Bharati saw the Modern Woman of India - By Prem Nandakumar - hindu.com).

218 Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904) poet and scholar. Author of The Song Celestial, which is a translation of the Bhagavad Gita. It has great elevation of tone and majesty and dignity of style. There are many translations of the Gita but Arnold's translation has a place apart among them by its accuracy and the grave harmony of the verse. The translation is dedicated by the poet to India. 

The dedicatory verses are in Arnold's own translation: 

"So have I read this wonderful and spirit-thrilling speech,
By Krishna and Prince Arjuna held, discoursing each with each;
So have I writ its wisdom here, its hidden mystery,
For England; O our India! as dear to me as she!

He wrote in his preface:

"This famous and marvelous Sanskrit poem occurs as an episode of the Mahabharata, in the sixth - or "Bhishma" - Parva of the great Hindu epic. It enjoys immense popularity and authority in India, where it is reckoned as one of the "Five Jewels" - pancharatnani - of Devanagari literature. In plain but noble language it unfolds a philosophical system which remains to this day the prevailing Brahmanic belief blending as it does the doctrine of Kapila, Patanjali, and the Vedas."

(source: Eminent Orientalists: Indian European American - Asian Educational Services. ISBN 8120606973  p. 234 -235).

Arnold already well known for the Light of Asia, wrote in India Revisited of the rite of bathing in the Ganga, and he described with emotion the people he observed at their prayers:

"Some are old and feeble, weary with long journeys of life, emaciated by maladies, saddened from loses and troubles; and the morning air blows sharp, the river wave runs chilly. Yet there they stand, breast-deep in the cold river, with dripping cotton garments clinging to their thin or aged limbs, visibly shuddering under the shock of the water, and their lips blue and quivering, while they eagerly mutter their invocations. None of them hesitates; into the Gunga they plunge on arrival, ill or well, robust or sickly; and ladle the holy liquid up with small, dark, trembling hands, repeating the sacred names, and softly mentioning the sins they would expiate and the beloved souls they would plead for."

(source: Banaras: City of Light - By Diana L Eck  p. 15 -17).

219. Acharya Jiwatram Bhagwandas Kriplani (1888 -) Noted Gandhian, and Eminent National Leader. When speaking as the President of the Congress in India, he said:

" I am a Hindu and am proud of the fact. But this is because Hinduism for me has stood for tolerance, for truth and for non-violence....

(source: Indian Controversies - By Arun Shourie  South Asia Books ASIN 8190019929  p. 173).

220Guy Sorman (1944 -  ) French intellectual, writer, economist and a professor of political science at Paris University, visiting scholar at Hoover Institution at Stanford and the leader of new liberalism in France. He has observed India with a keen eye, a great deal of intelligence and genuine affection. He has written:

"Temporal notions in Europe were overturned by an India rooted in eternity. The Bible had been the yardstick for measuring time, but the infinitely vast time cycles of India suggested that the world was much older than anything the Bible spoke of. It seem as if the Indian mind was better prepared for the chronological mutations of Darwinian evolution and astrophysics." 

 He has commented on the wise division of life in India: "Here is a philosophy far removed from the grotesque refusal to grow old in the West, where wisdom has been replaced by cosmetic surgery and psychiatric help." 

"The Indian tradition, on the other hand, is that men submit to nature and form part of it, there nature preserves its sacredness, lost in the West since the Industrial Revolution." 
He further states that the idea of feminism and ecology came from the 1968 movement, from the meeting between India and the West.  He says: "There is hardly anything in European thought to predispose the West to reject virility, the respect for authority, the mastery over nature.  India too has a warrior (khastriya) tradition of virility as exemplified in the Mahabharata, only it is secondary. First, comes the veneration of thousands of goddesses - for the Indians, India is above all Mother India. India's femininity and sexual ambiguity, is the very antithesis of Western virility. For example, when the British scaled earth's highest peak, the exploit was widely hailed as the "conquest of the Everest." It was not realized and is often not realized still, that the word "conquest" was totally out of place in the context of the peak which is considered an object of reverence by many.

"The Brahmins attached to knowledge and learning is what has helped the Indian civilization endure and allowed the arts to flourish. If comparisons have to be made, it may be said that the endurance of the Brahmins in India has kept her elite intact, whereas in neighboring China the anti-intellectualism of communist peasants has completely wiped out the intelligentsia of that country. The Brahmins kept knowledge and art alive in India, preserving not only their savant but also their popular forms. The Brahmin elite is perhaps egoistical and domineering, nonetheless it has preserved a sense of dignity and beauty that has disappeared from China where all that remains is vulgarity and crass ignorance."

 

Lord Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.

***

"The more decentralized, diversified and ritualized a religion is the better it can withstand the onslaught of rationalist thought. Hinduism, derives its strength from the fact that it is not a single unified religion but the sum total of thousands of local faiths. Every village has its own cult, rooted in the local culture without any universalist pretensions."

"India is a marvelous example of the art of living together at a time when Westerners are apprehensive about the future of their society."

"You cannot be a Hindu fundamentalist. It does not mean anything...The concept of fundamentalism does not exist in Hinduism." No one man embodies the spirit of universalism, it runs through the whole of India and there is a place for all religious groups and communities. The spiritual message of India is her capacity to let so many divergent practices coexist. The Enlightenment philosophers seemed to have grasped this profound originality...This the real message of India."

He says, "India has a strong cultural image in the west; unfortunately, it is not being commercially exploited." This should sink into the heads of those of us who are happy to be third-rate imitators of the US. 

Sorman asserts that India is not a rogue state when he talks of the nuclear option. But there seem to be some Indians who are not so sure of their own country. He points out that "Nobody knows what is right. Each civilization...has its sense of the right. No one can impose his perception of right over others."

"Each Indian looks for God in his own way and worships one or several of the millions of deities who are the supposed reincarnation or expression of God, a Spirit or a Force. This has never led to a religious war. There have been communal clashes, but India has never had to face religious wars or crusades save those that were thrust on it from outside. The multiple revelation of the East has proved to be in many ways more advantageous than the single revelation of the West."

(source: The Genius of India - By Guy Sorman  (Le Genie de l'Inde) Macmillan India Ltd. 2001. ISBN 0333 93600 0 p.195 , 122).

 

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