Sunday, June 30, 2013

From ‘A search in Secret India’ by Paul Brunton

…..Shri Shankara Acharya of Kumbakonam …… “…..Practise meditation regularly; contemplate the higher things with love in your heart ….. The best time to practice is in the hour of waking; the next best is the hour of twilight. The world is calmer at those times and will disturb your meditation less.”

….Ramana Maharishee ….. “…..It is possible to go inwards until the last thought ‘I’ gradually vanishes.”

“What is left?” I query. “Will a man then become quite unconscious, or will he become an idiot?”

“Not so! On the contrary, he will attain that consciousness which is immortal, and he will become truly wise, when he has awakened to his true self, which is the real nature of man……… When a man knows his true self for the first time, something else arises from the depths of his being and takes possession of him. That something is behind the mind; it is infinite, divine, eternal. Some people call it the kingdom of heaven, others call it the soul, still others name it Nirvana, and we Hindus call it Liberation….. When this happens a man has not really lost himself; rather, he has found himself.”

….Ramana Maharishee …..The gist of his message is:

“Pursue the enquiry ‘Who am I? relentlessly. Analyse your entire personality. Try to find out where the I-thought begins. Go on with your meditations. Keep turning your attention within. One day the wheel of thought will slow down and an intuition will mysteriously arise. Follow that intuition, let your thinking stop, and it will eventually lead you to the goal.’

From ‘The Land of the War Elephants. Travels beyond the pale: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India’ by Matthew Wilson

[on crossing the land border at Wagah from Pakistan to India] …. Janet and Victoria both told me later they felt a sudden, extraordinary, and exhilarating freedom. Rather than being surrounded by furtive figures draped from head to foot in black burkhas, none of whom ever made eye contact, even with them, the change was revolutionary. For the first time they were greeted by smiling, welcoming females, unveiled, dressed in beautifully colored saris ……

We left …. to find a pharmacy, and inside a chaotic shop that was more like a bazaar than a clinical oasis of ordered counters, we found just about every drug, herb, and restorative known to western, eastern, and holistic medicine.

“I sometimes wonder they do not cut all our heads off and say nothing about it.”

The writer was Emily Eden, the sister of Lord Auckland, Governor General of India during the period 1835-42, who lived and travelled ……in India.

She was right on target. Fifteen years after the Edens left India, a widespread revolt broke out against the British. Essentially the prime cause was the unrelenting and apparently unarrestable pace of British expansion, as India was “taken over” piecemeal, state by state.

……a determined missionary effort threatened every aspect of traditional Indian life ……new roads, railways, canals, and telegraph lines were laid out and pushed ahead regardless of land rights, regardless of the destruction of temples, villages, and houses. The surviving Indian states felt threatened as, one by one, native rulers were brought under British domination and lawful inheritance was set aside if it countered the interests of their new overlords….. One signal change, never ratified by the Indians themselves, was that they would accept only direct male line primogeniture as a valid succession. A succession to a collateral branch of the same family, or to a adopted child was ruled invalid. This was not in accordance with Hindu or Islamic law, nor indeed with English law. If there was no heir under this ruling, the British took over the State.

….The flare-up came and the insurrection was branded as mutiny, but it was more than that; it was a chaotic, unplanned reaction against total subjection under foreign domination…..

….The revolt lasted two years. It was bitterly fought with terrible atrocities on both sides: the Indians were desperate, and the re-conquering retribution of the British was quite inhuman……There was one outstanding leader on the Indian side: a young woman, Lakshmibai, the Maharani of Jhansi, was the widow of an Indian prince. She was twenty-two years old when she became involved in the events of the Mutiny, and she was killed in action the next year.

…….In contemporary British mutiny records she is vilified as the epitome of heathen evil. Damned out of hand for the part she played in 1857 and 1858, and doubled damned for her sex, which had her branded as wanton as best, nymphomaniac beyond a doubt.

…..It remains that at a critical point in the violent genesis of the British Raj out of the shattered fabric of Moghul India, a stunningly attractive young woman, barely out of her teens …..shot to meteoric stardom like a brief bright flame. She came close to altering the path of history; but for a secondary role dictated by her sex and the blind chauvinism of her less-intelligent and less-talented male peers, she might well have headed a new, reunited India.

In early 1858, realizing that a British force would soon come to take retribution against Jhansi, Lakshmibai decided to fight. She wins star status from that moment, demonstrating a tactical instinct that can be rarely achieved by book learning, a dynamism that carried everyone with her, and the courage that reinforces even the lame with iron determination. Jhansi was brought to a state of siege preparedness quickly ……Tantya Tope and Rao Saheb, asked for help, came close to disrupting the British approach to Jhansi, but their spoiling move came too late…..they failed. Lakshmibai was on her own…. The siege of Jhansi lasted seventeen days…..Lakshmibai was in the forefront of the counterattacks…….was persuaded to escape from Jhansi to live and fight another day …..

…..her escape was remarkable…… Damodar Rao was strapped to her back, she fought her way to freedom throught the besieging forces. Later, sword still in hand, she cut her way through a cavalry troop ….reached Kalpi, where she joined Rao Saheb and Tantya Tope. She had ridden 102 miles in 24 hours through rough, rock-strewn, hilly country in 115-degree-Fahrenheit heat; and she had fought hand to hand through desperate opposition for the first twenty miles of her route.

….. Jhansi was looted, torched, and nearly totally destroyed. No male over the age of sixteen years was spared, and many women and children suffered the same fate.

There was a man on a bench by the gate reading a newspaper. No one else was in sight, and no other vehicles. Our lone fellow human being had horn-rimmed glasses, and the dignity, as well as the face and look, of a Boston banker. He was stark naked. I greeted him with deference, a greeting he too, equally formally, returned. As he returned to his newspaper, I took off my shoes to climb the steep concrete path to the [Jain] temples …of Sonagir

I know of thirteen different accounts of Lakshmibai’s death. The stories run from her death under gunfire to suicide…… There is an element of embarrassment in many of the British accounts, as if the killing of a young woman in action was unintentional, regardless of her blackened reputation. Much is made of the confusion of close combat, the disguise of her man’s clothing, her short hair, and her riding in a man’s manner, astride her horse; and the fall-back line was that whoever shot her, or cut her down, probably had no idea who she was. The evasion holds no validity. Lakshmibai had held her front line for two days fighting a spirited, aggressive, and successful defensive battle, due entirely to her personal leadership. Wherever the situation was critical she was there within minutes, leading every counterattack, surrounded by her personal bodyguards and with two femal attendants who were with her constantly, riding, like her, astride their horses……. They were instantly recognizable, wherever they went, more so as Lakshmibai “fought like a tigress,” as she had been described at Kalpi.

It was at dusk on the second day of the battle for Gwalior when she met the British breakout head-on. In the hand-to-hand battle she was shot, most probably in the back…….. Lakshmibai died……Her pyre was built at the edge of a watercourse and fired that night…… Her tent was also found when the battlefield was cleared. It had in it books, a cheval glass, and an empty swing.

……Sir Hugh Rose recorded his dismissive judgement of the most remarkable woman in India, who at her death was just twenty-three years old. It ran “The bravest and the best military leader of the rebels. Trecherous, savage, cruel and licentious, though this lady proved herself, yet one cannot refuse our meed of admiration to her bravery and military qualities.”

It wasn’t all defamation, but the letters and diaries that take another line are rare. Cornet Combe of the 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry, one of the patrol who intercepted her after her escape from Jhansi, wrote, “She is a wonderful woman. Very brave and determined. It is fortunate for us that the men are not all like her.” His letter continued “The poor thing took no part whatsoever in the massacre of the European residents of Jhansi in June 1857. On the contrary, she supplied them with food for two days ….”

In contemporary comment Lakshmibai’s youth and beauty, and the silks, furnishings, and luxury of her own apartments, were used to damn her in British eyes.

…..I stopped at the central maidan to watch a troopof schoolgirls being drilled as if they were army recruits …….there was something hypnotic about the silent disciplined rhythm…. Before the display was over the crowd splintered suddenly, its collective attention caught by something behind us. There, on the other side of the street, two policemen had cornered a man in the doorway of a shop and were beating him with their lathis as if determined to thrash him to death. After taking unbelievably vicious punishment as he cowered on the doorstep, he escaped by bolting straight through the ring of spectators. Everyone around me appeared well content with both morning diversions, and went their separate ways. I walked on to catch my bus to Old Goa.

Why, I wondered, was it that the Indian Airlines Airbuses just brought into service already looked as if they were ten years old? The fuselage and wings were stained with oil, inside the cabin the bulkheads were dirty and the seats worn and torn, as indeed they are on the Golden Triangle’s high profile Delhi-Agra Shatabdi Express.

By the evening of every third day spent in India I have vowed never to return again. But the following morning, in the smoke and smell of the cooking fires, somehow my resolution vanishes and I look forward to the new day. All is forgiven, all is forgotten. I don’t know why I have this terrible, irrational, compulsion to see India, to try to understand India, to make some sense of India. It is foolish. It is impossible. India is too old, too great; too complex, too contradictory, and too diverse.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

From ‘The Teachings of Vimala Thakar’ by Christine Townend. Edited and translated by Jack Gontier

Later she was to say that she learnt from this experience that to live in isolation for long periods is not an efficacious means of practicing sadhana and does not bring real peace.

The structure of ‘me-ness’ has collapsed. The roof of ‘my-ness’ has blown away. The foundation of knowledge has been broken. The walls of principles have been shattered. The ideals of ideology have fallen apart.

There happened a marvel. In between two thoughts the beauty of sheer nothingness shone.

….the name ‘awareness’ is given to that energy which does not require a subject like the ‘I’, the ‘me’ the ego, which is not limited by any circumference or periphery of human knowledge and experience or inheritance, which is all-inclusive. It does not require the relationship of subject and object. It is an all-inclusive attentivity, nonobjective and non-subjective … So awareness is an energy qualitatively different from the energy of thought, of impulses of instincts, etc.

Vimalaji explained that there are male and female energies in the person and these reside in the sex organs and the small of the back at the base of the spinal cord. With the help of prana energy, it is possible to give them an upward push and a vertical momentum. This is the physical aspect. Kundalini travels up to the lotus in the heart and, if development is normal, from thence to the throat centre and head centres.

Vimalaji then further explained that the person who has deflected the energy of prana to the higher centres or chakras of the human body, due to purity of thought and purity of living, has a power to make that which he or she thinks become true. This is because the creative energy has reached the heart. When it reaches the throat, then whatever the person speaks becomes true, because that creative energy has made speech its abode.

When it travels up into the eyes, when it travels up to the Bhru Madyah – the point between the two brows – then the eyes become so powerful that the eyes can transfer the vitality to another human being, just through a glance.

Any technique or method that provokes or stimulates the chemistry of the body is dangerous. As techniques of awakening kundalini force – because it is a physical force – are very dangerous, even shaktipat or transmission of psychic power from teacher to student can be very dangerous. I have come across thousands of young men and women who met with nervous breakdowns because their bodies were not capable of assimilating the newly stimulated energy and its frequency………

Self-observation, observing oneself, can begin on a simple level by simply watching one’s behavior, so that one becomes aware of the way in which one functions as a personality, and one begins to see the many faults and failures and stupidities of one’s prejudiced, unconscious life. But watching your behavior is simply a first step. There is something more intense that is required. It involves sitting quietly, alone, comfortably, and simply watching your mind.

It sounds so simple but actually it is extremely difficult. Whilst carried on at the level of mind it requires constant, minute by minute effort until the breakthrough is achieved. The thoughts bubble everywhere; they come hurling from outside into the field of one’s own mind, a veritable mass of colour and vibration. As one struggles, not through violently forcing anything upon the mind, but by gently learning to identify thoughts as ‘something other’ coming from ‘outside’ there are brief moments of absence of thoughts, which gradually through practice, extend themselves.

One may need to go away for a period of weeks or months to intensely practice. Not all people are suited to do it. As Vimalaji said, ‘Some people cannot stand it.’

The body is steady, we abstain from verbal speech and close the eyes, so that the contact with the outer world is no longer there. …. You notice that though there is no voluntary effort to think, thoughts are moving. The movement of thought structure is independent of your volition. Do you see what a tremendous discovery it can be? The discovery that what I call my thoughts, my feelings, my memory, have a movement and a momentum independent of me, this discovery has a dual effect. One, the pride and vanity that ‘I think’, that these are ‘my thoughts’, that vanity disappears … [and] a humility comes about. ……The marvelous thing is, when you look at the thoughts in simplicity, not claiming them, not rejecting them, they lose their grip on you.

Though the contents of the subconscious and the unconscious may be vast, they are limited. They are not withouth beginning or end. A person who spends time in quiet observation comes to a phase when nothing more is exposed, there is nothing more to be observed. Therefore the observer also disappears.

For the mutation to take place, the silence has to crystallize. It is only when the silence crystallizes as the normal dimension of consciousness that the mutation, the quantum jump into the state of dhyanam occurs. It is not the result of any human effort.

For those who live in silence, the scars of stress and strain are healed.

[Concentration, dharana] has nothing to do whatsoever with meditation (dhyana) ….[Concentration] has an educational value, to strengthen the mind.

Concentration is a discipline. You try to focus your attention on one point which you choose. You exclude the rest of reality and the world from the focus of your attention and you concentrate it on one point. The concentration is not meditation … Concentration develops the powers of the mind. It sharpens the intellect, it enriches the memory. It gives the capacity to manifest many occult powers, many hidden powers which are latent and dormant in the psyche…….

Those who practice concentration attain …psychic powers like clairvoyance, clairaudience, reading the thoughts of other people. They imply the functioning of the I-consciousness on a very subtle plane and it is not without danger to cultivate and develop these powers.

From ‘Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi – Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 202 persons’ published by Sri Ramana Kendram, Hyderabad

Bhagavan was deeply interested in the construction of the shrine built on his mother’s samadhi. He attended every function connected with it. At night, when no one was about, he would walk round and round the construction consecrating it. That he should take such a demonstrative part in anything has a very deep significance.

Bhagavan listened like a child to passages from Shakespeare’s plays and Keats’ letters …. On Keats’ letter on ‘negative capability’ his passing comment was: “So there are Upanishads in English as in Sanskrit.”

Despite the Maharshi’s profound reverence for and frequent reference to the gods, his predominant concern was with impersonal jnana.

“ ….My hair was all matted and my body was completely covered with dust.” He added that at that time he was never aware of the passage of time. Sometimes, when he tried to stand up, his head would reel and he would lose his balance. When this happened he concluded that he must have spent many days in a state in which he had not been conscious of the world….. When asked whether he had any food in those days, he replied, “When there is no consciousness of the body, the bodily functions are also suspended.”

Bhagavan’s head would shake continuously and without the stick to support he could not walk or even stand upright. These were not symptoms of old age …. These were marks left on him by the stupendous experience of atmanubhuti in Madurai! When asked about this condition, Bhagavan remarked, “What do you think would happen to a small thatched hut inside which a big elephant is kept tied up? Would’nt it be shattered? Same is the case here!”

The Maharshi did not heal in the accepted form of the word…. I asked him if one could use spiritual power for healing. He remarked, “Yes, if you think it worthwhile,” but added, “it required a great deal of force, which might be used more profitably in other directions.”

“No, it is not repeating or meditating on ‘Who am I?’. It is to dive deep into yourself and seek the place from which the ‘I’ thought arises in you and to hold on to it firmly to the exclusion of any other thought. Continuous and persistent attempt will lead you to the Self.”

I followed Bhagavan’s instructions and started doing japa of the sun mantra. In a short time, I began to feel the effect of the japa. The severity of the heat lessened and eventually I began to experience, instead of the severe heat, a pleasing coolness. …..Later ….the effect of chanting this mantra was permanent. I can now walk in the summer on tar roads with bare feet without discomfort.

If you observe the breathing one-pointedly, such attention will lead you into kumbhaka (retention)

“What books should I read for spiritual progress?” ……. “Books? Why books?” the Maharshi queried ….. added, “Make your heart pure and you are bound to see the light!”

Q. How shall I realize God?

A. God is an unknown entity. Moreover, He is external. Whereas the Self is always with you and it is you. Why do you leave out what is intimate and go in for what is external?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

From ‘Abundant living Restless Striving. A memoir’ by Sohrab P Godrej as recounted to B K Karanjia

Never did I know distinctly
What ‘myself’ means for me
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

She looked after all of us as only a caring woman can from ‘a thousand decencies daily flow.’

There’s a new tribunal now,
Higher than God’s – the educated man’s.
- Robert Browning

Fain would I travel to some foreign shore,
Never to see my country more
So might I to myself myself restore.
- Dryden (tr. Ovid)

What [Max] Mueller had to say….. ‘India – What Can It Teach Us?’

‘If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow, in some parts a very paradise on earth – I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which will deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only but a transfigured and eternal life – again I should point to India.’

I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech,
Which receives tributaries from every region under heaven.
- R. W. Emerson

Man is the only animal for whom his own lie is a problem
which he has to solve.
- Erich Fromm

None who have been always free can understand the
terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom
for those who are not free.
- Pearl S. Buck

The individual who has to justify his existence by his
own efforts is in eternal bondage to himself
- Eric Hoffer

It is a wise father who knows his own child.
- William Shakespeare

I am not weary; so long as I live on earth, I intend to
conquer at least my own little foot of territory afresh every
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have
treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that,
beyond doubt, they would depict the Devil in human form.
- William R. Inge

What is of little value regard as dear;
What is dear regard as of little value.

- Cato

That is at bottom the only courage demanded of us: to
have courage for the most strange, the most singular
and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Keep a green tree in your heart and
perhaps a singing bird will come.
- Chinese proverb

… Sanskrit quotation ….

Ten wells equal to one step-well,
Ten step-wells equal to one lake,
Ten lakes equal to one son,
Ten sons equal to one tree.

Centuries later, Shivaji Maharaj showed considerable enlightenment when he laid down strict rules for the cutting of trees:

The Armada of our kingdom requires durable hardwood for their hulls, decks and masts.

Teak and other appropriate trees of our forests may be felled for this purpose after applying to His Majesty and obtaining the royal permission. If any more be required, they may be purchased from neighbouring kingdoms.

The Mango and Jackfruit trees of our kingdom also provide suitable timber for naval purposes. But they should not be touched, for it is not as if these trees can be grown in a year or two. People plant them and bestow upon them long years of care, as they would on their own children.

If such trees were to be felled, would not the people be inconsolable?

An edifice built upon anyone’s sorrow soon collapses, taking down with it the architect too. In fact, the ruler has to bear the guilt of tyranny. Also, the absence of such trees causes irreparable damage.

Hence, under no circumstances are such depredations to be allowed.

Perchance, if a very old tree has ceased to bear fruit, then it may only be taken with the consent of the owner after persuasion and payment of compensation.

Coercion shall not, under any circumstances, be pardoned.

At independence, 45 per cent of our country was covered by forests and we boasted of the second largest variety of trees and plants, second only to Brazil. Now unbelievably, it is no more than a mere 12 per cent at the most.

Irish proverb …. ‘It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.’

Sunday, June 9, 2013

From ‘For a Pagan Song. In the footsteps of the man who would be king: travels in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan’ by Jonny Bealby

…..thats India – anything can happen and usually does

As one fellow traveler put it to me: ‘It’s the only place on the planet where everything that has ever happened in the history of the world is happening every minute of every day, right under your nose.; He’s right. I mean where else could I have watched a cow casually give birth in the middle of a three-lane inner-city ring road or seen vultures swoop to pick the flesh of recently deceased humans? Where else could I have observed a camel wandering the streets under a mountain of straw while being shaved by a blind man on the pavement? And where indeed at three in the morning after a riotious midnight dinner could I have abandoned my dangerously drunk taxi driver in favour of an enormous elephant called Rubkali with ‘STOP – HORN PLEASE’ painted across her arse? Though not always pleasant, travelling here is about ten times more intense than anywhere else I’ve been; a vitality unmatcheable.

From ‘The thread of God in my life. An Autobiography with a difference’ by R.M.Lala

One of the characters in a play by George Bernard Shaw (Androcles and the Lion) is the obstinate Christian named Lavinia, who refuses to burn incense to the Roman gods; she says she would rather be thrown to the lions. ‘I think I am going to die for God,’ she says. ‘Nothing else is real enough to die for.’ And the captain of the gladiators querulously asked her, ‘What is God?’ To which Lavinia replies: ‘When we know that, Captain, we shall be gods ourselves.’

Einstein’s famous response ….. ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.’

W.Stanley Jones …. ‘When you find a faith,’ he says, ‘all your sums add up.’

Zoroastrian morality is expressed in just three words, Humat, Hukht, and Huvarsht – good thoughts, good words, and good deeds

G.K. Chesterton …. ‘Angels can fly…… because they take themselves lightly

Shakespeare …. ‘This above all to your own self be true.’

JRD Tata …. ‘To lead people you have got to lead them with affection.’

The possessions Sir Dorab Tata left for the creation of the trust included his shares, landed estates and jewellery, valued in all at one crore rupees in 1932, equivalent to about a hundred crore rupees today. They included the 245-carat Jubilee Diamond, twice as large as the Kohinoor.

Andrew Carnegie …. started two thousand public libraries across the USA and Scotland.

Jamsetji N. Tata …offered in his lifetime almost half his wealth to the creation of a postgraduate Institute of Science

A Japanese proverb says, ‘Time spent in laughing is time spent with the gods.’

JRD, when he was sixty-one, was asked by a teacher in Calcutta what his guidelines were, and he highlighted the following five priciples:

• Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without deep thought and hard work.

• One must think for oneself and never accept at their face value slogans and catch phrases to which, unfortunately, our people are too easily susceptible.

• Forever strive for excellence, or even perfection, in any task, however small, and never be satisfied with the second best.

• No success or achievement in material terms is worthwhile unless it serves the needs or interests of the country and its people and is achieved by fair and honest means.

• Good human relations not only bring great personal rewards but are essential to the success of any enterprise

‘Somewhere in the heart of a man, there’s a door, and what’s more
He can fling it wide and throw the key away.
Suddenly it’s like a sunrise on a summer day!’

Augustine …. ‘Lord make me pure – but not yet!’

The Chinese proverb …. ‘The strongest of memories is weaker than the palest of ink.’

William Blake ….
‘To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.’

To the end of his life JRD would often tell me, ‘We don’t smile enough. Sometimes when people recognize me when I am travelling by car, I smile at them. It makes them happy and it costs me nothing.’

When he was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1992 there was an open-air felicitation by Tata employees at the NCPA grounds. On that occasion JRD said, ‘And American economist says that in the next century India will be an economic super power. I don’t want India to be an economic super power. I want India to be a happy country.’

‘Don’t hate ‘evil men’, hate the evil in men.’
- The Dalai Lama

‘Why do we wait, and coldly stint our praises,
And leave our reverent homage unexpressed
Till brave hearts lie beneath a roof of daisies
Then heap with flowers each hallowed place of rest? …
Ah! Why not give to living hearts some token
Of half the love and pride that throb through ours?’
- J. R. Miller

‘The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand,
nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship;
it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when
you discover that someone else believes in you
and is willing to trust you with a friendship.’
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

As Chairman of Air-India International and pioneer of flying, JRD’s views on aviation were respected by Nehru. However, Nehru totally kept him out of anything having to do with the economic policy of India…… JRD …..told me with sadness, ‘You know, Russi, in no other country would the government not have consulted a person like me on economic policy.’

Shakespeare ……
‘This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.’
‘Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening fades away,
The sky is filled with stars,
Invisible by day’
- Henry Longfellow

‘We give him back to Thee, dear God, who gavest him to us.
Yet as Thou did not lose him by giving,
So we have not lost him by his return.’

‘Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
We are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever
The household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effort,
Without the ghost of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near,
Just round the corner.
All is well.’
- Canon Henry Scott-Holland

From ‘Goodbye to Gandhi. Travels in the New India’ by Bernard Imhasly

….statement voiced by the German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg: ‘In the West we have built a big and beautiful ship. It has all the possible comforts, yet something is missing: it has no compass and doesn’t know where it is heading. Men like Tagore and Gandhi have found it. Why cant we install this compass in our ship, so that both may find their ultimate purpose?’

Gandhi …..The Jain concept of anekantavad was equally important to him. ‘I very much like this doctrine of many-ness of reality. It is this doctrine that has taught me to judge a Muslim from his own standpoint and a Christian from his….’

….Shiva temple of Somnath ….. the list of prohibited items put up near the entrance …… it said in Gujarati, Hindi and English,‘No mobile phones,’ and, more bizarrely: ‘No coconuts and revolvers.’

The struggle against the British had not been Gandhi’s only concern. His strategy of non-violence went hand in hand with his personal quest for truth, wherein he constantly questioned his own motives. Satyagraha, ‘holding on to truth’, was not only intended to banish the evil in the other – be it political and racist repression of religious and social discrimination – but, in the process, to cleanse the self too.

… his obsession with cleanliness and hygiene, as well as in his insistence on punctuality, he was a constant critic of his people.

Ela Bhatt …. SEWA ….. I kept hearing comments like “when men see money, something happens in their heads”. Women are certainly less corrupt. They can look into the future, I don’t know why. Perhaps it has to do with biological factors. What is certain is that they are better at planning, at saving. And since they look ahead, they have developed survival strategies, which are not based on exclusion and violence, but on non-violence and integration.’

Rajasthan … a local saying: ‘When the rains fail, only three living beings survive: the Brahmin, the goat and the camel.’ …. Udayvilas Resort ….. a 100,000 litres of water are used every day for tending to the extravagant Mughal gardens and swimming pools for each of the resort’s bungalows. This massive daily consumption puts the ecological benefits of tourism in perspective: the average Rajasthani family consumes as much water in three-and-a-half years.

Rajiv Gandhi ….. Of hundred rupees, just about fifteen reached the beneficiaries; the rest was lost in the gigantic net of corruption that had grown around the anti-poverty schemes.

Aruna Roy told me ….that India today has ‘the most liberal law in the world to disclose official information’.

Indians are talkative people, and they cant wait until they have extracted each and every personal detail from strangers

‘Kidnapping in Bihar is a sophisticated business,’ the documentary filmmaker Prakash Jha would tell me later, ‘You can hire kidnapping specialists, and the victim’s families can hire people who specialize in their release. If you are willing to pay, you can get better treatment for a victim, better food as well. And when it comes to paying the ransom, the “client” can choose from several alternatives, even credit cards!’

Gandhi had walked the sixteen kilometres from Narkatiaganj to Bhitiwarwa. In contrast to the modern ‘parachute Gandhians’, he could thus actually witness the poverty from close quarters …… We drove alongside a canal in which children, shouting happily, were splashing about. Buffaloes were standing in the water and did not seem to mind being used as diving boards or as gleaming black slides over which the children glided into the water, arms and legs up in the air. Nearby, women had begun transplanting the paddy; their bright red saris were visible from a distance. On coming closer, we heard their rhythmic singing as they pressed the plants into the water. The Arcadian beauty of the scene made me momentarily forget that this was backbreaking work and that the saris the women wore were probably the only ones they possessed.

….. Primary Health Centre (PHC) in the nearby village of Amalwa. ….the administrator ….When I inquired about the poor attendance, he said that nobody came for treatment, and he listed the reasons: the medical worker had died in 2001 and had not been replaced; the doctor had been transferred in 2003. He had not been replaced either. Only a midwife and he were still in service.

I could see with my own eyes why nobody wanted to come here. In a corner of the operating theatre was a jumble of metal rods, the leftovers of a taping table and a stretcher. And as I tried to open the medicine closet, the official rushed in to stop me, but too late – a swarm of bees came flying out. How did she manage deliveries under these conditions, I asked the nurse. She shrugged. The women just had to give birth on the floor, she said

Manipur, a state half the size of Switzerland with a third of its population, has twenty-six underground organizations to its thirty-five ethnic groups. …. In Manipur alone, with a military strength of 44,320 soldiers, there is one serviceman to every fifty-six inhabitants – almost seven times the figure of Germany.

I recalled the notorious quote by M.S. Golwalkar, Hedgewar’s successor as RSS chief, who in 1939 had written in We, or Our Nationhood Defined: ‘…. the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect Hindu religion’, or they will have to live ‘in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges ….not even citizen’s rights.’

….just as Gandhi did not want to be in the city, Ambedkar did not want to be in the village. His blue suit and red tie, a copy of the Constitution in the left hand, sends out a message not only as clear as that of Gandhi’s symbols, but also clearly the opposite. The outstretched right hand points to the distance and tells Dalits: ‘Your future lies not in the village and in tradition, but in the modernity of the city, the universities and factories.’

These differences in body language and mode of dress, as depicted by their iconic statues, tell us that Ambedkar and Gandhi looked for different ways not only out of the caste system, but also out of poverty. Contact with the West and ‘industrialism’ had convinced Gandhi that the economic well-being of India’s 650,000 villages did not lie in industrialization and urbanization but in the rural subsistence economy, in which everyone had enough for his own needs, and no more, In his view, industry would in the long run not create jobs, but destroy them. Ambedkar, in contrast, also with a western education behind him, saw the village as nothing more than the ‘cesspool’ hindering all economic progress, precisely because it stifled the free development of all social groups.

Gandhi ….. ‘The test of orderliness in a country is not the number of millionaires it owns, but the absence of starvation among its masses.’

There are 1.2 million NGOs here, engaging and employing seven million people. The entire sector has a turnover of 190 billion rupees…. Yet, 75 per cent of all NGOs are one-man outfits. Hundreds of thousands of them work in isolation, without synergies or networks.

…..Tamil saying: ‘He who is born in fire, is not burnt by the sun’.

Gandhi …. ‘… he played a vital role in giving the people of this country the feeling of belonging to a national community’. …..John Stratchey….acting Viceroy had said in 1888: ‘There is not and never was an Indian or even any country of India, possessing any sort of unity, physical, political, social or religious.’ And Churchill had famously – and with a snigge – compared India to the Equator. It was precisely the opposite which Gandhi had achieved …. Millions of people have identified with him, rich and poor, Hindus and Muslims. From him they acquired a feeling of being part of a community’.

The poet Nirmal Verma had ….in a diary entry from 1986: ‘If I think of Gandhi, what is the first image that appears? Something akin to a flame: a light in the darkness, hardly occupying any space; weak, but without trembling, it rests in itself, wide awake; yet it burns, so quietly, one doesn’t even notice that it burns’.

Gandhi represents for me something of the immense diversity of India, in this potpourri of paradoxes which are compressed into this one person and this single biography: earthiness and spirituality, simplicity and elegance, steadfastness and pragmatism, tolerance and fierceness, rusticality and universality….

From ‘Midnights with the Mystic. A little guide to freedom and bliss. Sadhguru. Yogi, Mystic and Visionary’ by Cheryl Simone

There is a
Force within
That gives you life
Seek that.
- Rumi

“Every opinion you have about anything can be a limiting identity.”

A yogi is one who is unwilling to settle either for deductions or for belief systems. He wants to experience and know it. In that sense, yoga is a technology of taking a person from his individuality to his universality, to knowing and experiencing existence as himself.

….yoga works….it definitely works for everyone. Factors such as age, attitude, or karmic situations, to name a few, decide how quickly yoga works

….mystical Kedarnath…..I knew that Sadhguru was particularly fond of Kedar. …..It is a place where many saints and sages have lived, and still do.

….I asked Sadhguru why there were not more enlightened beings on the planet, he said that for most beings, the moment of enlightenment happens at the time of leaving the body.

From ‘Letters to a young poet’ by Rainer Maria Rilke (Translated by Stephen Mitchell)

….most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?

A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.

…..for ultimately, and precisely in the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone; and many things must happen, many things must go right, a whole constellation of events must be fulfilled, for one human being to successfully advise or help another.

Read as little as possible of literary criticism – such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgements their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing.

Bodily delight is a sensory experience …..what is bad is that most people misuse this learning and squander it and apply it as a stimulant on the tired places of their lives and as a distraction rather than as a way of gathering themselves for their highest moments.

… happy about your growth, in which of course you cant take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust. Avoid providing material for the drama that is always stretched tight between parents and children; it uses up much of the children’s strength and wastes the love of the elders …

….believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.

……if there is nothing you can share with other people, try to be close to Things; they will not abandon you; and the nights are still there, and the winds that move through the trees and across many lands; everything in the world of Things and animals is still filled with happening, which you can take part in; and children are still the way you were as a child, sad and happy in just the same way – and if you think of your childhood, you once again live among them, among the solitary children, and the grownups are nothing, and their dignity has no value.

Someday (and even now, especially in the countries of northern Europe, trustworthy signs are already speaking and shining), someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only of life and reality: the female human being.

The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise….

Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

From ‘Vedic Ecology. Practical Wisdom for surviving the 21st Century’ by Ranchor Prime

……the poet T. S. Eliot, “the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Indian consciousness is full of trees and forests. If you look, for example, in Greek literature, you will find only a few descriptions of trees and forests, whereas Indian literature such as Ramayana and Mahabharata is full of such description, as if people were always under the trees.

At the outset of the nineteenth century India was well-endowed with thick forest land. To meet the British Empire’s needs during the nineteenth century, the forests were gradually nationalized and the Indian Forestry Department set up to exploit them. From the beginning of the century large areas of virgin forest were felled, mainly to supply the expanding British shipbuilding industry. After the arrival of the railway in India in 1853, further vast amounts of timber were required for sleepers and for fueling locomotives. Later, when coal replaced timber as a fuel, the coalmines themselves needed large quantities of timber for their underground galleries. Exploitation continued, and even as late as the second World War, the war effort required the felling of 6,326 square miles of previously untouched Indian forest.

…..In essence, these laws took India’s forests out of the hands of local people. Villagers were denied rights to what had always been theirs. Because the basic connection between village and forest was brokem, the tradition of caring for trees, of respecting and even worshipping them, faded away.

The air is his breath, the trees are the hairs of his body,
The oceans his waist, the hills and mountains are his bones.
The rivers are the veins of the Cosmic person, his movements
are the passing of ages.

- Srimad Bhagavatam

The incessant search for material comforts and their multiplication is an evil. I make bold to say that the Europeans will have to remodel their outlook, if they are not to perish under the weight of the comforts to which they are becoming slaves.

- M. K. Gandhi, from Young India

Gandhi said that he was not against the idea of a machine as such; after all, the human body itself is the most delicate machine. ….. “What I object to,” he said,

…is the craze for what they call labor-saving machinery. Men go on “saving labor” till thousands are without work and thrown on the open streets to die of starvation. ……Today machinery merely helps a few to ride on the backs of all.

Excerpts from Thomas Macauley’s “Education Minute”

“[No Orientalist] could deny that a single shelf of a good European library is worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia….all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgements used at preparatory schools in England. The question now before us is simply whether, when it is in our power to teach the [English] language, we shall teach languages in which….there are no books on any subject which deserve to be compared to our own ….whether, when we can patronize sound philosophy and true history, we shall countenance at the public expense medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long, and geography made up of seas of treacle and rivers of butter. The great object of the British government ought to be the promotion of English literature and science among the natives of India.”

Balbir Mathur …..he devised a list of basic conditions: the trees must give nutricious fruit; they must grow quickly and give fruit within one year; they must be easy to look after and grow in poor soil; and they must be able to fit in a confined space. To meet these conditions he came up with a shortlist of five trees: lemon, papaya, banana, drumstick and falsa.

The whole stretch of the Yamuna from Delhi to Agra, which includes Vrindavan, has now been declared unfit for drinking and bathing. This strikes at the heart of Vrindavan’s culture. Water from the Yamuna is used to bathe the deities of Krishna in the temples and is taken as a purifying drink

One should not cause urine, stool or mucus to enter water. Anything mixed with thes unholy substances, or with blood or poison, should never be thrown into water

- Manu-Smriti

The fact that Vrindavan is bounded on all sides by contaminated water – the Yamuna on one side and sewage on all others – is a deep injury to its well-being and its function as a place of purification and revitalization. ….How could this situation have come about? …..Satish Kumar points out …..that for nearly two hundred years Indians have been estranged from their own culture by English education. They have been encouraged to think in Western ways and to value the things that the West values. Their own traditional values have been marginalized. In many cases they no longer know what those values were or why they were held because those things are no longer taught.

One who is undisturbed by the flow of desires, as the ocean is unmoved by the incessant flow of rivers, finds peace.

- Bhagavad Gita

From ‘Reminiscences of Shri Sadguru Brahmachaitanya Maharaj (Gondavalekar)’

Shri Maharaj once said, ‘My guru has bestowed uoon me the knowledge of three arts. Firstly, whichever knowledge I want at a given time, occurs to me at that time spontaneously. Secondly, I can be at whichever place I want at whatever time I want. And thirdly, I can ensure deliverance precisely in one’s hour of death.’

….Someone jocularly said that she was going to have a daughter. Upon which the lady said with confidence, ‘Maharaj has uttered the words that ‘he’ is going to be very fortunate. As such I am definitely going to get a son.’ Later she safely delivered a boy. When asked as to how he knew about it, Shri Maharaj said, ‘When one can know which soul has transmigrated into the embryo, what is the difficulty in foretelling whether it will be a boy or a girl.’

Someone asked Shri Maharaj, ‘Why is it that the money given as dakshina at the time of treating someone to a meal is first wetted?’ Shri Maharaj said ……one knowingly gets a feeling of pride that one has been instrumental in giving away food, so the money is first wetted to wash off that pride. The feeling of pride of the donor would otherwise cling to the coin and be passed on to the recipient. Water is interposed so that it may not prove harmful to one who accepts the money.”

“What is the difference between the path of knowledge of God, followed by Shri Shankaracharya and the saints’ path of love for God, or devotion? …Shri Maharaj said, “Both ways lead to the same God. Which way to follow depends upon the sadhaka’s preparation and disposition. A sharp memory is required, and the intellect needs to be subtle, for persons to follow this way. But the way of devotion is a way of love. Not every one has a subtle intellect, but everyone is capable of love….. God can be attained speedily by the use of intellect, longer time is required by the practice of worship. But ordinary persons find the way of love convenient. Love for God is generated readily by namasmarana”

‘How could the food served at a shraddha ….be reaching one’s deceased relatives?’ …..if a man gratifies someone by serving him food, with the departed person in mind, and with a sincere conviction, then what is the objection to presuming that the departed soul is gratified?

‘The mental perturbation of every person that visits him becomes known to a saint. How does that happen?’ Shri Maharaj replied, “For that to happen one’s mind has to become holy and subtle.”

While residing in Ayodhya, in 1905, in the course of a casual talk, Shri Maharaj remarked that the precincts are additionally hallowed by the actual presence of Maruti.

Shri Maharaj replied, “It is of course true that saints do not interfere with the set progression of destiny….. under special circumstances saints give as an advance a part of one’s life in the next birth. They make use of this special power only if they see that the soul’s spiritual well-being will be advanced only if this is done at that particular time, not otherwise. Such situations arise rarely, and therefore such incidents are also rare”

From ‘Light from the Orient. Essays on the impact of India's sacred literature in the west’ by Swami Tathagatananda

Sanskrit is the linguistic wonder from India whose form and purity remain unspoiled. It has kept its original, unchanged structure over many centuries.

Max Muller wrote:

And in that study of the history of the human mind, in that study of ourselves, of our true selves, India occupies a place second to no other country. Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language, or religion, or mythology, or philosophy, whether it be laws or customs, primitive art or primitive science, everywhere, you have to go to India, whether you like it or not, because some of the most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India, and India only.

Professor Clement Webb ……….

With its traditions of periodically repeated incarnations of the deity in the most diverse forms, its ready acceptance of any and every local divinity or founder of a sect or ascetic devotee as a manifestation of God, its tolerance of symbols and legends of all kinds, however repulsive or obscene by the side of the most exalted flights of world-renouncing mysticism, it could perhaps more easily than any othe faith develop, without loss of continuity with its past, into a universal religion which would see in every creed a form suited to some particular group or individual, of the universal aspiration after one Eternal Reality, to whose true being the infinitely various shapes in which it reveals itself to, or conceals itself from men are all alike indifferent.

Max Muller said:

….If the Vedas….were composed about 1500 B.C., and if it is a fact that considerable works continue to be written in Sanskrit even now, we have before us a stream of literary activity extending over three thousand four hundred years. With the exception of China there is nothing like this in the whole world.

Prof.Jean Lee Mee …..Precious or durable materials ….have been used by most ancient peoples in an attempt to immortalize their achievements. Not so, however, with the ancient Aryans.They turned to what may seem the most volatile and insubstantial material of all – the spoken word – and, out of this bubble of air, fashioned a monument which more than thirty, perhaps forty, centuries later stands untouched by time or the elements. For the Pyramids have been eroded by the desert wind, the marble broken by earthquakes, and the gold stolen by robbers, while the Veda remains, recited daily by an unbroken chain of generations, travelling like a great wave through the living substance of the mind.

…etymology of the term Purana is pura api navam, “ever old and ever new.”

George Grieson …..about the Tulsidas Ramayana, …..wrote: “I have never met a person who has read it in the original and who was not impressed by it as a work of great genius.”

Sir Monier-Monier Williams … “The Panini grammar reflects the wondrous capacity of the human brain, which till today no other country has been able to produce except India.”

…in the words of Sir Monier-Monier Williams, who was “ordinarily imperialistic in his attitude toward India”….but who had a true feeling for Hinduism…. wrote

….it is a remarkable characteristic of Hinduism that it neither requires not attempts to make converts. Nor is it at present by any means decreasing in numbers nor is it being driven out of the field by two such proselytysing religions as Mahomedanism [sic] and Christianity. On the contrary, it is at present rapidly increasing. And far more remarkable than this is that, it is all-receptive, all-embracing and all-comprehensive. It claims to be the one religion of humanity – of human nature, of the entire world. It cares not to oppose the progress of Christianity nor of any other religion. For it has no difficulty in including all other religions within its all embracing arms and ever widening fold. And in real fact Hinduism has something to offer which is suited to all minds. Its very strength lies in its infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity of human minds, characters and human tendencies. It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the philosophical higher classes. Its practical and concrete side suited to the man of affairs and the man of the world. Its aesthetic and ceremonial side suited to the man of poetic feeling and imagination. Its quiescent and contemplative side suited to the man of peace and the lover of seclusion.

In The Case for India Will Durant writes:

Let us remember …that India was the motherland of our race and Sanskrit is the mother of Europe’s languages; that she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community; of self government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.

Sir Monier-Monier Williams, wrote ….

The Sanskrit grammarians were the first to analyse word-forms, to recognize the difference between root and suffix, to determine the functions of suffixes, and on the whole to elaborate a grammatical system so accurate and complete as to be unparalleled in any other country.

Albrecht Friedrich Weber …wrote ….that Panini’s grammar was “superior to all similar works of other countries, by the thoroughness with which it investigates the roots of the language and the formations of its words.”

The language of the Vedas was called Samskrta (Sanskrit) or “perfected” only after Panini’s time, an acknowledgement of its high spiritual evolution. Prior to that it had been called Prakrtas, or “natural,” to indicate its more naturally evolved dialects.

A. L. Basham …. there is no doubt that Panini’s grammar is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of any ancient civilization, and the most detailed and scientific grammar composed before the 19th century in any part of the world.

Max Muller ….wrote….

Sanskrit literature …is full of human interests, full of lessons which even Greek could never teach us …Sanskrit literature allows you an insight into strata of thought deeper than any you have known before, and rich in lessons that appeal to the deepest sympathies of the human heart….

I may perhaps be able [to show] how imperfect our knowledge of universal history, our insight into the development of the human intellect, must always remain, if we narrow our horizon to the history of the Greeks and Romans, Saxons and Celts, with a dim background of Palestine, Egypt and Babylon, and leave out of sight our nearest intellectual relatives, the Aryas of India, the framers of the most wonderful language, the Sanskrit, the fellow-workers in the construction of our fundamental concepts, the fathers of the most natural of natural religions, the makers of the most transparent of mythologies, the inventors of the most subtle philosophy, and the givers of the most elaborate laws.

“If I were asked,” Muller once said, “what I considered the most important discovery of the nineteenth century with respect to the ancient history of mankind, I should answer by the following short line: Sanskrit Dyaus Pitar = Greek Zeus Pater = Latin Jupiter = Old Norse Tyr.”

Max Muller …..

If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power, and beauty that nature can bestow – in some parts a very paradise on earth – I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant – I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we, here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw that corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human, a life, not for this life only, but a transfigured and eternal life – again I should point to India.

Max Muller …..

A chosen religion is always stronger than an inherited religion.

Qadi Sa’id (1029-1070 A.D.), an Arab scientist of Cordova, Moorish Spain, wrote:

The first nation [that has cultivated the sciences] is [that of the people of] India who form a nation vast in numbers, powerful, with great dominions. All former kings and past generations have acknowledged their wisdom and admitted their pre-eminence in the various branches of knowledge …. Among all the nations, during the course of the centuries and throughout the passage of time, India was known as the mine of wisdom and the fountainhead of justice and good government, and Indians were credited with excellent intellect, exalted ideas, universal maxims, rare inventions, and wonderful talents.