Each month for the past sixteen years we have filled this space with our musings and meanderings, our opinions, our praises of what is right about Hinduism and critiques of what could be better. This month we step aside to let our readers hear other voices. Thanks to Sampath Bhoopalam, founder-president of World Hindu Foundation,Oak Brook, Illinois, for helping assemble this quotable collection.
Precious or durable materials-gold, silver, bronze, marble, onyx, or granite-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, traveling like a great wave through the living substance of the mind.
Prof. Jean Lee Mee
There is a mighty law of life, a great principle of human evolution, a body of spiritual knowledge and experience of which India has always been destined to be guardian, exemplar and missionary. This is the Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Religion. Hinduism is the one religion which impresses on mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all the possible means by which man can approach God.
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.
Henry David Thoreau
Spiritual life is the true genius of India. Those who make the greatest appeal to the Indian mind are not the military conquerors, not the rich merchants or the great diplomats, but the holy sages, the rishis who embody spirituality at its finest and purest. India's pride is that almost in every generations and in every part of the country, from the time of her recorded history, she has produced those holy men who embody for her all that the country holds most dear and sacred.
In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life; it will be the solace of my death.
India's spirituality is undoubtedly the most versatile in the world. Nowhere on earth has the impulse toward transcendence found more consistent and creative expression than on the Indian peninsula.
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 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. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we here in Europe, we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thought 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.
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either.
Sir William Jones
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 a purer stratum-free from particulars, simple, universal.
Henry David Thoreau
In religion and culture, India is the only millionaire! There is only one India! The land of dreams and romance. The one land all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.
The Rig-Veda, the first of the Vedas, is probably the earliest book that humanity possesses. In it we find the first outpourings of the human mind, the glow of poetry, the rapture at nature's loveliness and mystery.
Among all the great religions of the world there is none more catholic, more assimilative, than the mass of beliefs which go to make up what is popularly known as Hinduism.
India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages; she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the 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.