Uniting EAST & WEST spiritually..!!

Famous Personalities influenced By Hinduism

Aum- Symbol of Hinduism & other Dharmic religions

Aldous Huxley (English writer, novelist, philosopher) 

  • "The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity." ["Sacred Jewels of Yoga: Wisdom from India's Beloved Scriptures, Teachers, Masters, and Monk"]
  • "The Bhagavad-Gita is perhaps the most systematic scriptural statement of the Perennial Philosophy. To a world at war, a world that, because it lacks the intellectual and spiritual prerequisites to peace, can only hope to patch up some kind of precarious armed truce, it stands pointing, clearly and unmistakably, to the only road of escape from the self-imposed necessity of self-destruction." [Aldous Huxley, "Bhagavad-Gita:: The Song of God": Translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, With an Introduction by Aldous Huxley, Signet Classics, 2002, Introduction]
  • Beginning in 1939 and continuing until his death in 1963, Huxley had an extensive association with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, founded and headed by Swami Prabhavananda. Together with Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, and other followers he was initiated by the Swami and was taught meditation and spiritual practices [Roy, Sumita (2003), Aldous Huxley And Indian Thought, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd]
  • The Perennial Philosophy is expressed most succinctly in the Sanskrit formula, tat tvam asi ('That thou art'); the Atman, or immanent eternal Self, is one with Brahman, the Absolute Principle of all existence; and the last end of every human being, is to discover the fact for himself, to find out who he really is. [The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism - By Linda Johnsen p. 363]
  • "The religions whose theology is least preoccupied with events in time and most concerned with eternity, have been consistently less violent and more humane in political practice. Unlike early Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedanism (all obsessed with time) Hinduism and Buddhism have never been persecuting faiths, have preached almost no holy wars and have refrained from that proselytizing religious imperialism which has gone hand in hand with political and economic oppression of colored people." [The Perennial philosophy - By Aldous Huxley p. 194 - 204]

Alexander Hamilton (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States)

  • When we read in the valuable production of those great Oriental scholars...those of a Jones, a Wilkings, a Colebrooke, or a Halhed, - we uniformly discover in the Hindus a nation, whose polished manners are the result of a mild disposition and an extensive benevolence.

Alfred North Whitehead (English mathematician and philosopher)

  • "The vastest knowledge of today cannot transcend the buddhi of the Rishis in ancient India; and science in its most advanced stage now is closer to Vedanta than ever before."

Dr. Albert Schweitzer (Theologian,philosopher, Nobel Peace Prize (1952))

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

Annie Besant (Theosophist, First female President of INC)

  • "That the spiritual man need not be a recluse, that union with the divine Life may be achieved and maintained in the midst of worldly affairs, that the obstacles to that union lie not outside us but within us—such is the central lesson of the Bhagavad-Gītā." ["The Bhagavad Gita: The Lord's Song", The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Preface]
  • After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect , none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual that the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil in to which India's roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism who shall save it? If India's own children do not cling to her faith who shall guard it. India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one.
  • India is the mother of religion. In her are combined science and religion in perfect harmony, and that is the Hindu religion, and it is India that shall be again the spiritual mother of the world.
  • During the early life of a Nation, religion is an essential for the binding together of the individuals who make the nation. India was born, as it were, in the womb of Hinduism, and her body was for long shaped by that religion. Religion is a binding force, and India has had a longer binding together by religion than any other Nation in the world, as she is the oldest of the living Nations.

Arnold J Toynbee (British historian, philosopher)

  • It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history , the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together in to a single family.
  • So now we turn to India. This spiritual gift, that makes a man human, is still alive in Indian souls. Go on giving the world Indian examples of it. Nothing else can do so much to help mankind to save itself from destruction.
  • There may or may not be only one single absolute truth and only one single ultimate way of salvation. We do not know. But we do know that there are more approaches to truth than one, and more means of salvation than one.’’‘‘This is a hard saying for adherents of the higher religions of the Judaic family (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but it is a truism for Hindus. The spirit of mutual good-will, esteem, and veritable love ... is the traditional spirit of the religions of the Indian family. This is one of India’s gifts to the world.

Arthur Holmes (A British geologist)

  • "Long before it became a scientific aspiration to estimate the age of the earth, many elaborate systems of the world chronology had been devised by the sages of antiquity. The most remarkable of these occult time-scales is that of the ancient Hindus, whose astonishing concept of the Earth's duration has been traced back to Manusmriti, a sacred book." [Hinduism And Scientific Quest, page 20]

Arthur Schopenhauer (German philosopher)

  • He was so impressed by the philosophy of Upanishads, that he called them "the production of the highest human wisdom."
  • "Upanishads are the most satisfying and elevating reading (with the exception of the original text) which is possible in the world; it has been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death." [Clarke, John James (1997). Oriental enlightenment. Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-415-13376-0]
  • Throughout his work "The World as Will and Representation" "Tat Tvam Asi"(I am that), a Mahavakya from chandogya Upanishad appears frequently.
  • "There is no religion or philosophy so sublime and elevating as Vedanta."  [Kumbha Mela - By Jack Hebner and David Osborn p. preface - By Thomas Beaudry]
  • "According to me, the influence of Sanskrit literature on our time will not be lesser than what was in the 16th century Greece's influence on Renaissance. One day, India's wisdom will flow again on Europe and will totally transform our knowledge and thought." [The Soul of India - By Amaury de Riencourt p 274-275]
  • "From every sentence (of the Upanishads) deep, original and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high and holy and earnest spirit...."In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. They are destined sooner or later to become the faith of the people."
  • If the reader has also received the benefit of the Vedas, the access to which by means of the Upanishads is in my eyes the greatest privilege which this still young century (1818) may claim before all previous centuries, if then the reader, I say, has received his initiation in primeval Indian wisdom, and received it with an open heart, he will be prepared in the very best way for hearing what I have to tell him. It will not sound to him strange, as to many others, much less disagreeable; for I might, if it did not sound conceited, contend that every one of the detached statements which constitute the Upanishads, may be deduced as a necessary result from the fundamental thoughts which I have to enunciate, though those deductions themselves are by no means to be found there" [The World as Will and Representation Preface to the first edition, p. xiii]
  • "... how early this basic truth was recognized by the sages of India, since it appears as the fundamental tenet of the Vedânta philosophy ascribed to Vyasa, is proved by Sir William Jones in the last of his essays: 'On the Philosophy of the Asiatics' (Asiatic Researches, vol. IV, p. 164): "The fundamental tenet of the Vedânta school consisted not in denying the existence of matter, that is solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending that it has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms."" [Text in italics is from William Jones]

Bulent Ecevit (Turkish Ex prime minister)

  • when asked what had given him the courage to send Turkish troops to Cyprus . His answer was "He was fortified by the Bhagavad Gita which taught that if one were morally right, one need not hesitate to fight injustice" [In a 1974 British television interview]

Carl Jung (Swiss psychiatrist)

  • "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." 
  • Jung Believed in Pantheism, and that this journey of transformation, is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. A concept that is very Hindu [Frick, Eckhard; Lautenschlager, Bruno (2007). Auf Unendliches bezogen – Spirituelle Entdeckungen bei C. G. Jung. Munich: Koesel. p. 204.; Andrew Reid Fuller, "Psychology and Religion: Eight Points of View", 2002, p. 111]
  • The most elegant and sublime of these is a representation of the creation of the universe at the beginning of each cosmic cycle, a motif known as the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The god, called in this manifestation Nataraja, the Dance King. In the upper right hand is a drum whose sound is the sound of creation. In the upper left hand is a tongue of flame, a reminder that the universe, now newly created, with billions of years from now will be utterly destroyed.

Carl Sagan (American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist)

  • "The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, no doubt by accident [this part of the quote is often left out], to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still." [God Talks With Arjuna, page 734]
  • A millennium before Europeans were wiling to divest themselves of the Biblical idea that the world was a few thousand years old, the Mayans were thinking of millions and the Hindus billions.

Sir Charles Eliot (1862-1931), British diplomat

  • I do not think that Christianity will ever make much progress in Asia, for what is commonly known by that name is not the teaching of Christ but a rearrangement of it made in Europe and like most European institutions practical rather than thoughtful. And as for the teaching of Christ himself, the Indian finds it excellent but not ample or satisfying. There is little in it which cannot be found in some of the many scriptures of Hinduism..."
  • Hinduism has not been made, but has grown. It is a jungle, not a building.
  • Compared to Islam and Christianity, Hinduism’s doctrines are extraordinarily fluid, and multiform. India deals in images and metaphors. Restless, subtle and argumentative as Hindu thought is, it is less prone than European theology to the vice of distorting transcendental ideas by too stringent definition. It adumbrates the indescribable by metaphors and figures. It is not afraid of inconsistencies which may illustrate different aspects of the infinite, but it rarely tries to cramp the divine within the limits of a logical phrase.
  • The Hindu has an extraordinary power of combining dogma and free thought, uniformity, and variety. Utmost latitude of interpretation is allowed. In all ages Hindus have been passionately devoted to speculation. It is also to point out that from the Upanishads down to the writings of Tagore in the present day literature from time to time enunciates the idea that the whole universe is the manifestation of some exuberant force giving expression to itself in joyous movement.
  • The claim of India to the attention of the world is that she, more than any other nation since history began, has devoted herself to contemplating the ultimate mysteries of existence and, in my eyes, the fact that Indian thought diverges widely from our own popular thought is a positive merit. [Philosophy and the Self: East and West]

Christopher Isherwood

  • I believe the Gita to be one of the major religious documents of the world. If its teachings did not seem to me to agree with those of the other gospels and scriptures, then my own system of values would be thrown into confusion, and I should feel completely bewildered. The Gita is not simply a sermon, but a philosophical treatise. [Vedanta for the Western World (1943), p. 358]
  • Isherwood translated Gita to English

Erwin Schrödinger (Austrian physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics (1933))

  • "Most of my ideas & theories are heavily influenced by Vedanta"
  • "This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins [wise men or priests in the Vedic tradition] express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as "I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world." [Schrödinger,"Meine Weltansicht"]
  • "The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. This is entirely consistent with the Vedanta concept of All in One."
  • "The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West."[Erwin Schrödinger, What is Life?, p. 129, Cambridge University Press]
  • "There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction… The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad." (Mein Leben, Meine Weltansicht [My Life, My World View] (1961), Chapter 4)
  • In his biography on Schrödinger, Moore wrote: “His system – or that of the Upanishads – is delightful and consistent: the self and the world are one and they are all… He rejected traditional western religious beliefs (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) not on the basis of any reasoned argument, nor even with an expression of emotional antipathy, for he loved to use religious expressions and metaphors, but simply by saying that they are naive. Vedanta and gnosticism are beliefs likely to appeal to a mathematical physicist, a brilliant only child, tempted on occasion by intellectual pride. Such factors may help to explain why Schrödinger became a believer in Vedanta, but they do not detract from the importance of his belief as a foundation for his life and work. It would be simplistic to suggest that there is a direct causal link between his religious beliefs and his discoveries in theoretical physics, yet the unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of the universe as a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles, During the next few years, Schrödinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on superimposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the vedantic concept of the All in One.” (Schrödinger: Life and Thought (Meine Weltansicht), p. 173)
  • In Schrödinger’s famous essay on determinism and free will, he expressed very clearly the sense that consciousness is a unity, arguing that this “insight is not new…From the early great Upanishads the recognition Atman = Brahman (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent, the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.”
  • According to Moore on page 125 of his biographical work, A Life of Erwin Schrödinger, Schrödinger found “Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves… The stages of human development are to strive for Possession (Artha), Knowledge (Dharma), Ability (Kama), Being (Moksha)… Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge. It has nothing to do with individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further – when man dies his karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.”

Francois Voltaire (French Rationalist/ Philosopher)

  • "The Vedas was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East." ["A Critical Study of the Contribution of the Arya Samaj to Indian Education", p. 68]
  • "I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, - astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc... It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry...But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins' science not been long established in Europe" [Voltaire, Lettres sur l'origine des sciences et sur celle des peuples de l'Asie (first published Paris, 1777), letter of 15 December 1775.]
  • Believed reincarnation is a plausible idea.
  • He believed that Christianity derived from Hinduism. He wrote to and assured Fredrick the Great of Prussia that "our holy Christian religion is solely based upon the ancient religion of Brahma." [On Hinduism Reviews and Reflections - By Ram Swarup p. 101-102]

Queen Fredricka of Greece

  • It was my advanced research in physics that had started me on a spiritual quest. It culminated in me accepting the non-dualism or absolute monism of Shankara as my philosophy of life and science.
  • You are fortunate to inherit such knowledge. I envy you. While Greece is the country of my birth, India is the country of my soul.

Fritjof Capra (American physicist)

  • Modern physics has thus revealed that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction. The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another’’.For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomenon. Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our times, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. [A Tribute to Hinduism, page 298]

George Bernard Shaw (Nobel Prize in Literature 1925)

  • The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it.
  • The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creators hand.

Helena Blavatsky (Co-founder of Theosophical society)

  • Theosophical society shares a view that has a lot in common with Hindu view. Symbol of theosophical society had Devanagari "Aum" along with "Swastika".
  • She believed in Reincarnation and had a pentheistic view of God, which is essentially Hindu [Godwin 1994, p. 328; Hanegraaff 2013, p. 135; Goodrick-Clarke 2008, p. 225]
  • She taught that humans composed of three separate parts "Physical body", "Astral fluid body" and "divine spark". It has the resemblence to "Gross Body", "Astral body" Causal body" of Hindu philosophy [Bevir 1994, p. 755]
  • “Bhagavad-gita (Sk.). Lit., “the Lord’s Song”. A portion of the Mahabharata, the great epic poem of India. It contains a dialogue wherein Krishna – the “Charioteer” – and Arjuna, his Chela, have a discussion upon the highest spiritual philosophy. The work is pre-eminently occult or esoteric.” [The Theosophical Glossary, p. 56]

Henry David Thoreau (An American author/philosopher)

  • "Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of the sectarianism. It is of ages, climes, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I am at it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night."["Explore Hinduism", P. 21]
  • "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." [Commentaries on the Vedas, The Upanishads & the Bhagavad Gita - By Sri Chinmoy Aum Publications. 1996. p 26]
  • "I would say to the readers of the Scriptures, if they wish for a good book, read the Bhagvat-Geeta .... translated by Charles Wilkins. It deserves to be read with reverence even by Yankees...."Besides the Bhagvat-Geeta, our Shakespeare seems sometimes youthfully green... Ex oriente lux may still be the motto of scholars, for the Western world has not yet derived from the East all the light it is destined to derive thence."
  • "I cannot read a sentence in the book of the Hindoos without being elevated as upon the table-land of the Ghauts." [India in the American Mind - By B. G. Gokhale p.22-27]
  • "In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat-Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions" [Henry David Thoreau, in Walden (1854), Ch. XVI : The Pond in Winter]
  • "The Hindoos are most serenely and thoughtfully religious than the Hebrews. They have perhaps a purer, more independent and impersonal knowledge of God. Their religious books describes the first inquisitive and contemplative access to God" [wrote in 1853]
  • "The calmness and gentleness with which the Hindoo philosophers approach and discourse on forbidden themes is admirable."
  • Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement in the USA, of which he was a part of was influenced by Indian religions, Especially the teachings of Upanishads

Hermann Graf Keyserling (German philosopher)

  • Hermann Graf Keyserling, German Philosopher regarded Bhagavad-Gita as "Perhaps the most beautiful work of the literature of the world." ["The Huston Smith Reader", p. 122]
  • Hinduism at its best has spoken the only relevant truth about the way to self-realization in the full sense of the word. [The Huston Smith Reader, p. 122]
  • Hinduism has produced the profoundest metaphysics that we know of. [The Huston Smith Reader]
  • The absolute superiority of India over the West in philosophy; poetry from the Mahabharata, containing the Bhagavad-Gita, “perhaps the most beautiful work of the literature of the world". [The Huston Smith Reader]
  • Benares is holy. Europe, grown superficial, hardly understands such truths anymore.....I feel nearer here than I have ever done to the heart of the world; here I feel everyday as if soon, perhaps even today, I would receive the grace of supreme revelation...The atmosphere of devotion which hangs above the river is improbable in strength; stronger than in any church that I have ever visited. Every would be Christian priest would do well to sacrifice a year of his theological studies in order to spend his time on the Ganges; here he would discover what piety means

Hermann Hesse (Poet/Novelist, Nobel Prize in Literature (1946))

  • "The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion." ["Indic Visions: In An Age of Science", p. 162]

Huston Smith (religious studies scholar)

  • Smith studied and practiced Vedanta under Swami Satprakashananda
  • "The invisible excludes nothing, the invisible that excludes nothing is the infinite – the soul of India is the infinite."
  • "India includes so much because her soul being infinite excludes nothing.” It goes without saying that the universe that India saw emerging from the infinite was stupendous.”"

Jean-Sylvain Baily (French astronomer, mathematician)

  • "The movement of stars which was calculated by Hindus 4,500 years ago, does not differ even by a minute from the tables which we are using today. The Hindu systems of astronomy are much more ancient than those of the Egyptians - even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge." [World as Seen Under the Lens of a Scientist, page 460]

Leo Tolstoy (Russian writer)

  • In his cook "A Confession" Tolstoy states "God is Life", suggesting his belief in God is more Eastern, a monistic/ panentheisticapproach to God.
  • Leo Tolstoy was inspired by the ascetics of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian traditions. He lived last days of his life free from attchment to money, wife, children.
  • He wrote a letter to Tarak Nath Das titled "A Letter To a Hindu" in support of a non-violent Indian freedom movement against the Britishes. He quotes extensively from teachings of Krishna, Thirukkural, Vedas, Works of Vivekananda

Maurice Maeterlinck (poet/essayist, Nobel Prize in Literature (1911))

  • 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. [India: Culture and Society, page xxxiv]

Max Muller (Indologist)

  • "In the Rig-Veda we shall have before us more real antiquity than in all the inscriptions of Egypt or Ninevah....the Veda is the oldest book in existence"
  • "If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed the choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solution of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant-I should point to India" [Vedic Humanism: Path to Peace - Page 73]
  • "Whatever may be the date of the Vedic hymns, whether 1500 B.C.E. or 15,000 B.C.E., they have their own unique place and stand by themselves in the literature of the world. They tell us something of the early growth of the human mind of which we find no trace anywhere else." ["The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy"]

Niels Bohr (Physicist,Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922)

  • I go into the Upanishads to ask questions. ["God Is Not One" By Stephen Prothero, Page No. 144]

Octavio Paz (Mexican Poet,diplomat; Nobel Prize in Literature 1990)

  • 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.

Philip Glass (Composer)

  • In his Opera named "SatyaGraha" he uses the text, from the Bhagavad Gita, and is sung in the original Sanskrit.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (An American author/philosopher)

  • "I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-gita. It was the first of books’ 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 rage and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us." [Philosophy of Hinduism - An Introduction - By T. C. Galav Universal Science-Religion. p 65; Hinduism - By Linda Johnsen p 42]
  • "The Bhagavad-Gita is an empire of thought and in its philosophical teachings Krishna has all the attributes of the full-fledged montheistic deity and at the same time the attributes of the Upanisadic absolute."
  • Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement in the USA, of which he was a part of was influenced by Indian religions, Especially the teachings of Upanishads.
  •  "A grander legend than Western literature is contained in the story of Nachiketas." (Journals IX, 58. A. Christy, The Orient in American Transcendentalism, p. 161)
  • "The Indian teaching, through its clouds of legends, has yet a simple and grand religion, like a queenly countenance seen through a rich veil. It teaches to speak truth, love others, and to dispose trifles. The East is grand - and makes Europe appear the land of trifles" [India in the American Mind - By B. G. Gokhale p. 120-21]

Robert Charles Zaehner (British academic)

  • In the family of religions, Hinduism is the wise old all-knowing mother. Its sacred books, the Vedas, claim, 'Truth is one, but sages call it by different names.' If only Islam, and all the rest of the monotheistic 'book' religions, had learned that lesson, all the horror of history's religious wars could have been avoided. Which other religion has its God say, as Krishna does in the Bhagavad Gita, 'All paths lead to me.'
  • It was the sublime ancient tolerance of Hinduism that he often stressed, that was the true proof of the wisdom and mature dignity of the Hindu tradition.

Robert Kanigel (American biographer and science writer)

  • The genius of Hinduism, then, was that it left room for everyone. It was a profoundly tolerant religion. It denied no other faiths. It set out no single path. It prescribed no one canon of worship and belief. It embraced everything and everyone. Whatever your personality there was a god or goddess, an incarnation, a figure, a deity, with which to identify, from which to draw comfort, to rouse you to a higher or deeper spirituality. There were gods for every purpose, to suit any frame of mind, any mood, any psyche, any stage or station of life. In taking on different forms, God became formless; in different names, nameless. [The Man Who Knew Infinity : A Life of the Genius Ramanujan (1991), p. 35]

Robert Oppenheimer (Theoretical physicist, (head of lab that invented first atom Bomb (Manhattan Project))

  • "The Bhagavad Gita... is the most beautiful philosophical song existing in any known tongue." ["Sacred Jewels of Yoga: Wisdom from India's Beloved Scriptures, Teachers, Masters, and Monks"]
  • Oppenheimer learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad-gita in the original.
  • Robert Oppenheimer, in an interview about the Trinity nuclear explosion, first broadcast as part of the television documentary The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965), produced by Fred Freed, NBC White Paper; Oppenheimer quotes from the 1944 Vivekananda-Isherwood translation of the Gita (ch. XI verse 32). The line is spoken to Arjuna by Krishna, "I have become Time, the destroyer of worlds."
  • "Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries"
  • The general notions about human understanding… which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find [in modern physics] is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom.
  • The juxtaposition of Western civilization's most terrifying scientific achievement with the most dazzling description of the mystical experience given to us by the Bhagavad Gita, India's greatest literary monument.

Romain Rolland (French dramatist, novelist; Nobel Prize in Literature 1915)

  • Religious faith in the case of the Hindus has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws, moreover the former is never made a condition for the knowledge they teach, but there are always scrupulously careful to take into consideration the possibility that by reason both the agnostic and atheist may attain truth in their own way. Such tolerance may be surprising to religious believers in the West, but it is an integral part of Vedantic belief. [The life of Vivekananda and the universal gospel. 5th ed, page 229]
  • "The true Vedantic spirit does not start out with a system of preconceived ideas. It possesses absolute liberty and unrivalled courage among religions with regard to the facts to be observed and the diverse hypotheses it has laid down for their coordination. Never having been hampered by a priestly order, each man has been entirely free to search wherever he pleased for the spiritual explanation of the spectacle of the universe." [Life of Vivekananda.]
  • "If there is one place on the face of the earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India....For more than 30 centuries, the tree of vision, with all its thousand branches and their millions of twigs, has sprung from this torrid land, the burning womb of the Gods. It renews itself tirelessly showing no signs of decay." [Life of Ramakrishna.]
  • He wrote a book named "Prophets of the new India" on the saints of India.

Rudolph Steiner (Philosopher, Social reformer)

  • "In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-Gita with full understanding it is necessary to attune our soul to it."
  • Steiner proposed that an understanding of reincarnation and karma was necessary to understand psychology. In an extensive series of lectures from February to September 1924, Steiner presented further research on successive reincarnations of various individualities and described the techniques he used for karma research [Rudolf Steiner, Reincarnation and Karma: Concepts Compelled by the Modern Scientific Point of view, in Lucifer Gnosis 1903]

Sir John Woodroffe (British Orientalist)

  • "Ages before Lamarck and Darwin it was held in India that man has passed through 84 lakhs (8,400,000) of birth as plants, animals, as an "inferior species of man" and then as the ancestor of the developed type existing to-day. The theory was not, like modern doctrine of evolution, based wholly on observation and a scientific enquiry into fact but was a rather (as some other matters) an act of brilliant intuition in which observation may also have had some part." [A Tribute to Hinduism, page 246]
  • "To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it." [A Tribute to Hinduism, page 246]
  • He wrote about Yoga, Tantra, Vedas and Vedānta extensively. His most famous work "The Serpent Power" is a work on Kundalini energy

Sunita Williams (An American astronaut)

  • She holds the record for longest spacewalk time for a woman. When she was heading out on her expedition as a member of the International Space Station (ISS), she carried a Ganesha idol and a copy of the Bhagvad Gita with her in the space. In her words: "Those are spiritual things to reflect upon yourself, life, the world around you and see things the other way. I thought it was quite appropriate." [From an interview after her successful return, while touring in India]

T. S Eliot (Poet,playwright- Nobel Prize in Literature (1948))

  • TS Elliot was influenced by the Gita & Indian philosophy while he was studying Sanskrit in Harvard from 1911-1914 , In his poem "The Dry Salvages" he writes -"You who came to port, and you whose bodies Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea, Or whatever event, this is your real destination." So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna On the field of battle. Not fare well, But fare forward, voyagers."
  • Cleo McNelly Kearns notes in her biography that Eliot was deeply influenced by Indic traditions notable the Upanishads. From the Sanskrit ending of The Waste Land to the 'What Krishna meant' section of Four Quartets shows how much Indic religions and more specifically Hinduism made up his philosophical basic for his thought process [T. S. Eliot and Indic Traditions: A Study in Poetry and Belief". www.academia.edu.]
  • "The Waste Land" a long poem by T. S. Eliot ends with the last line "Shantih shantih shantih"

Vecente Avelino

  • "India is the only country which has known God and if anyone wants to know God he must know India." [as quoted in A Tribute to Hinduism : Thoughts and Wisdom Spanning Continents and Time about India and Her Culture (2008), p. 196]

Lord Warren Hastings (The first governor general of British India)

  • "I hesitate not to pronounce the Gita a performance of great originality, of sublimity of conception, reasoning and diction almost unequalled; and a single exception, amongst all the known religions of mankind." [As cited in "India Discovered" - By John Keay p 25]
  • "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." [Philosophy of Hinduism - An Introduction - By T. C. Galav Universal Science-Religion. p 19]

Werner Heisenberg (German theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics (1932))

  • Fritjof Capra, when interviewed by Renee Weber in the book The Holographic Paradigm (page 217–218), stated that Schrödinger, in speaking about Heisenberg, has said: “I had several discussions with Heisenberg. I lived in England then [circa 1972], and I visited him several times in Munich and showed him the whole manuscript chapter by chapter. He was very interested and very open, and he told me something that I think is not known publicly because he never published it. He said that he was well aware of these parallels. While he was working on quantum theory he went to India to lecture and was a guest of Tagore. He talked a lot with Tagore about Indian philosophy. Heisenberg told me that these talks had helped him a lot with his work in physics, because they showed him that all these new ideas in quantum physics were in fact not all that crazy. He realized there was, in fact, a whole culture that subscribed to very similar ideas. Heisenberg said that this was a great help for him. Niels Bohr had a similar experience when he went to China.”
  • "Quantum theory will not look ridiculous to people who have read Vedanta" alternative "After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense." [Pride of India (2006) by Samskrita Bharati. p. 56]

Wilhelm von Humboldt (Philosopher,founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin)

  • On Bhagavad Gita: "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." [George Anastaplo (2002). But Not Philosophy: Seven Introductions to Non-Western Thought. Lexington. p. 85.]

W. B. Yeats (poet, Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923)

  • "If I had not made magic my constant study I could not have written a single word of my Blake book, nor would The Countess Kathleen ever have come to exist. The mystical life is the centre of all that I do and all that I think and all that I write."
  • "Yeats's mystical inclinations, informed by Hindu Theosophical beliefs and the occult, provided much of the basis of his late poetry" observes the author in "Transforming the center, eroding the margins." [Lorenz, Dagmar C. G. "Transforming the center, eroding the margins." University of Rochester Press, 2004. 282.]
  • He believed in cyclical theories of life (Reincarnation) and that we wore bodies which are just physical masks.

Will Durant(American writer, historian, and philosopher)

  • 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.

Sir William Jones (Anglo-Welsh philologist)

  • "The fundamental tenet of the Vedânta school consisted not in denying the existence of matter, that is solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending that it has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms." ["On the Philosophy of the Asiatics" (Asiatic Researches, vol. IV, p. 164)]

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