Some of the famous intellectuals in the West and the East had the following things to say about Hinduism:
1. Henry David Thoreau:
"In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny."
"What extracts from the Vedas I have read fall on me like the light of a higher and purer luminary, which describes a loftier course through purer stratum. It rises on me like the full moon after the stars have come out, wading through some far stratum in the sky."
2. Arthur Schopenhauer:
"In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life -- it will be the solace of my death."
3. Ralph Waldo Emerson said this about the Gita:
" I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us." The famous poem "Brahma" is an example of his Vedanta ecstasy.
4. Wilhelm von Humboldt pronounced the Gita as:
"The most beautiful, perhaps the only true philosophical song existing in any known tongue ....perhaps the deepest and loftiest thing the world has to show."
5. Lord Warren Hastings, the Governor General, was very much impressed with Hindu philosophy:
"The writers of the Indian philosophies will survive, when the British dominion in India shall long have ceased to exist, and when the sources which it yielded of wealth and power are lost to remembrances."
6. Mark Twain:
" So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."
"Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speech, grandmother of legend, great grandmother of tradition. The land that all men desire to see and having seen once even by a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the globe combined."
7. Rudyard Kipling to Fundamental Christian Missionaries :
"Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle the Hindu brown for the Christian riles and the Hindu smiles and weareth the Christian down and the end of the fight is a tombstone while with the name of the late deceased and the epitaph drear , " A fool lies here who tried to hustle the east".
8. Jules Michelet, a French historian, said:
"At its starting point in India, the birthplace of races and religions, the womb of the world."
This is what he said of the Ramayana in 1864: "Whoever has done or willed too much let him drink from this deep cup a long draught of life and youth......Everything is narrow in the West - Greece is small and I stifle; Judea is dry and I pant. Let me look toward lofty Asia, and the profound East for a little while. There lies my great poem, as vast as the Indian Ocean, blessed, gilded with the sun, the book of divine harmony wherein is no dissonance. A serene peace reigns there, and in the midst of conflict an infinite sweetness, a boundless fraternity, which spreads over all living things, an ocean (without bottom or bound) of love, of pity, of clemency."
9. Will Durant would like the West to learn from India, tolerance and gentleness and love for all living things:
"Perhaps in return for conquest, arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit, and a unifying, a pacifying love for all living things."
10. Joseph Campbell:
"It is ironic that our great western civilization, which has opened to the minds of all mankind the infinite wonders of a universe of untold billions of galaxies should be saddled with the tightest little cosmological image known to mankind? The Hindus with their grandiose Kalpas and their ideas of the divine power which is beyond all human category(male or female). Not so alien to the imagery of modern science that it could not have been put to acceptable use."
"There is an important difference between the Hindu and the Western ideas. In the Biblical tradition, God creates man, but man cannot say that he is divine in the same sense that the Creator is, where as in Hinduism, all things are incarnations of that power. We are the sparks from a single fire. And we are all fire. Hinduism believes in the omnipresence of the Supreme God in every individual. There is no "fall". Man is not cut off from the divine. He requires only to bring the spontaneous activity of his mind stuff to a state of stillness and he will experience that divine principle with him."
11. Sir Monier-Williams:
"The Hindus, according to him, were Spinozists more than 2,000 years before the advent of Spinoza, and Darwinians many centuries before Darwin and Evolutionists many centuries before the doctrine of Evolution was accepted by scientists of the present age."
12. Mahatma Gandhi:
"Hinduism has made marvellous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines."
"India is to me the dearest country in the world, because I have discovered goodness in it. It has been subject to foreign rule, it is true. But the status of a slave is preferable to that of a slave holder."
13. Carl Sagan, (the late scientist), asserts that the dance of Nataraja signifies the cycle of evolution and destruction of the cosmic universe (Big Bang Theory).
"It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of."
14. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a professor of Eastern Religions at Oxford and later President of India:
"Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined but is only to be experienced. Evil and error are not ultimate. There is no Hell, for that means there is a place where God is not, and there are sins, which exceed his love. "
15. Sri Aurobindo:
" Hinduism.....gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the Godward endeavour of the human spirit. An immense many-sided and many staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, santana dharma...."
Contributed by my friend Gene Bilney, USA
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