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THINKING EAST Aphorisms and reflections on the past, present and future significance of Indian thought.

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Presentation on theme: "THINKING EAST Aphorisms and reflections on the past, present and future significance of Indian thought."— Presentation transcript:

1 THINKING EAST Aphorisms and reflections on the past, present and future significance of Indian thought.

2 If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choices gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India. Max Mueller

3 In India our religions will not ever take root: the primordial wisdom of sexuality will not let itself be reduced to events in Galilee. On the contrary, Indian wisdom is flowing back to Europe and will bring about a fundamental transformation in our knowledge and thinking. Arthur Schopenhauer

4 Devoid of intellectual discernment are those Europeans who want to convert and civilise the Hindus. Friedrich Nietzsche

5 … to begin with we see that Europe [can only] reproduce what in India, under the people of thinkers, had already been accomplished several thousand years ago as a commandment of thinking. Friedrich Nietzsche

6 Our purpose will surely be served when the Indian world- view becomes known. It will make us aware that we, with our entire religious and philosophical thought, are caught in a colossal one-sidedness, and that there can be found yet a quite different way of grasping things than the one which Hegel has construed as the only possible and rational way. Paul Deussen

7 We Westerners are about to arrive at the crossroads that the Indian thinkers had already reached about seven hundred years before the birth of Christ. Heinrich Zimmer

8 … the gods were never dethroned in India. They were not disintegrated and dissolved by criticism and natural science, as were the deities of the Greeks … The gods of Homer became laughable, and were … later regarded as incompatible with the more spiritual and ethical, later concepts of divinity … India, on the other hand, retained its anthropomorphic personifications … to assist the mind in its attempt to comprehend what was regarded as manifested through them … What is expressed through the personal masks was understood to transcend them, and yet the garb of the divine personae was never actually removed. By this tolerant, cherishing attitude a solution of the theological problem was attained that preserved the personal character of the divine powers for all the purposes of worship and daily life, while permitting an abstract, supreme and transcendental concept to dominate for the more lofty, supra-ritualistic stages of insight and speculation. Heinrich Zimmer

9 The strength of the Sanskrit language … accounts for the uniqueness of Indian philosophy, which, as creative thought expressive of the inner life, is unsurpassed by any other people … Rudolf Steiner

10 Indian thought, with its usual profundity and avoidance of arbitrary divisions, regards Philosophy as religious and Religion as philosophical. The "liberty-loving nations of the West" have been in the past greatly, and still are to some extent, behind India in the matter of intellectual and religious freedom. As has been finely said in India, Satyannasti para dharmah (‘There is no religion higher than Truth’) and as the Vedas have proclaimed, ‘Truth will conquer’ ( Satyam Jayate ). Sir John Woodroffe

11 Hinduism may not be called a religion in the sense other religions are known. It is much more than a religion, it is a total way of life. Hinduism has no founder. Its authority is Eternal Truth. The cumulative record of metaphysical experimentation. Behind the lush tangle of religious imagery, is a clear structure of thought. Compared to the rugged originality of the Indian traditions, the language of today's philosophers concerned with being often sound a little contrived. Hindus have always been metaphysicians at heart. It is the underlying ideas, and not the images which count. Sir John Woodroffe

12 It is not too much to say that the mind of the West with all its undoubted impulses towards the progress of humanity has never exhibited such an intense amount of intellectual force as is to be found in the religious speculations of India... These have been the cradle of all Western speculations, and wherever the European mind has risen into heights of philosophy, it has done so because the Brahmin was the pioneer. There is no intellectual problem in the West which had not its earlier discussion in the East, and there is no modern solution of that problem which will not be found anticipated in the East. Matheson

13 It is less than a hundred years since the West came to possess some knowledge of Yoga … Over several decades knowledge of yoga in the West has come to take the form either of a strict academic discipline or, on the other hand, as something that one sees rather as a religion, albeit one that never developed itself into an organised church … Carl Jung

14 On the meaning of yoga for Indians I wish to be silent, for I can make no judgement on a matter on which I have no knowledge from personal experience. As for the meaning of Yoga for the West, however, I have something to say. Carl Jung

15 The West, with its bad habits of wanting to believe, on the one hand, and educated scientific and philosophical critique on the other, falls either into the trap of belief and uncritically swallows concepts like Prana, Atman, Purusha, Samadhi etc. Scientific criticism however, already stumbles over the concepts of ‘Prana’ and ‘Purusha’. This split in Western mentality makes it impossible from the start to realise the intention of yoga. Either it is [seen as] strict religious duty or as a form of training such as memory training, breath training… etc. Carl Jung

16 I would say to you, if I may. “Study yoga yourself. You will learn an endless amount from it, but do not apply it, for we Europeans are not made in a way that we can apply these methods without preparation. An Indian Guru can explain everything to you and you can make it your own. But do you know who the guru addresses? In other words, do you know who you are and how you were made?” Carl Jung

17 The power of science and technology in Europe is so huge and undeniable that it is almost pointless to know all that has been discovered and all that can be done with it. A completely different question begins to dim here: who applies this knowledge? In whose hands lies this power? Carl Jung

18 The Westerner doesn’t know his own soul, which protests suicidally against him. Carl Jung

19 If we recall that in our time an equiform manner of [calculative] thinking is commandeering world history all over the globe, then we must be equally determined to keep in mind that this equiform thinking is only the standardised and monolithic form of that historical mould which we call Western. Martin Heidegger

20 Calculative thinking computes. It computes ever new, ever more promising and at the same time ever more economical possibilities. Calculative thinking races from one prospect to the next. Calculative thinking never stops, never collects itself. Calculative thinking is not meditative thinking, not thinking which meditates the meaning which reigns in everything that is. Martin Heidegger

21 Martin Heidegger has … shaken the foundations on which the Occident builds. Eugen Fink

22 It is … the office of Asia to take up the work of human evolution when Europe comes to a standstill and loses itself in a clash of vain speculations, barren experiments and helpless struggles to avoid the consequences of her own mistakes. Such a time has now come in the world’s history. Sri Aurobindo

23 … the result … will be no more Asiatic modification of Western modernism, but some great, new and original thing of the first importance to the future of human civilisation. Sri Aurobindo

24 For those now disenchanted with industrialization and scientific materialism as well as pseudo-spirituality, India's ancient spiritual heritage provides a rich alternative. Eastern philosophy, and the devotional heart of India's Vedanta in particular, can fill the empty shopping bag of our Western accomplishments. Swami B.V. Tripurai

25 It is no secret that we in the West live in a time of spiritual crisis. Western civilization has been guided by Christianity. Now it appears that this period is drawing to a close. Both religious institutions and social structures are in disarray. A great many things that were considered basic assumptions of western thought are being challenged. Stephen Cross

26 … increasing numbers of Westerners in revolt against what they have found to be the shallow, gadget-dominated, spiritually empty civilization of the West have turned to Hinduism in search of greater meaning or purpose in life. There is no doubt that the great Hindu tradition offers profound spiritual insights, as well as techniques for attaining self-realization, detachment, and even ecstasy.. Beatric Pitney Lamb

27 India indeed has a preciousness which a materialistic age is in danger of missing. Some day the fragrance of her thought will win the hearts of men. This grim chase after our own tails which marks the present age cannot continue for ever. The future contains a new human urge towards the real beauty and holiness of life. When it comes India will be searched by loving eyes and defended by knightly hands. W.J. Grant

28 ... 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 into a single family. Arnold Toynbee

29 Must not there be a different way of grasping things than the one which was launched by the Greeks, a way that needs to be fashioned yet by becoming aware of the implicit and unquestioned foundations on which they are built? … not an alternate way which can be substituted for the Greek, but rather a foundational way which can provide the Greek and Western enterprise with the foundation of a more primordial awareness and thus break its appearance of absoluteness and independence? J.L. Mehta

30 Brahman … is not conceptual knowledge of Being, though wisdom about Being ( SAT-VIDYA ), or about Brahman as Being, is part of it. Brahman is SAT (Being), the ground of all that is, including my own being which is of the nature of sheer, pure CHIT (awareness, of which “knowing” is itself a derivative mode)… J.L.Mehta

31 From the Rigveda to Aurobindo, the central Indian tradition has made the choice in favour of the primacy and priority of consciousness. J.L. Mehta

32 … the representation of private interests... abolishes all natural and spiritual distinctions by enthroning in their stead the immoral, irrational and soulless abstraction of a particular material object and a particular consciousness which is slavishly subordinated to this object. Karl Marx

33 A philosophically revived and refined Hinduism can and should serve the noble and most necessary purpose of resisting ‘The New Atheism’ and the ‘Monotheism of Money’ that dominates today’s world - along with the unquestioned assumptions of the purely technological ‘science’ that is its unquestioned religion. Only such a new Hinduism can help bring an end to the rising ocean of spiritual ignorance, ecological devastation, economic inequality and global mayhem that go with the blind worship of Technological science, The Market and the God of the Abrahamic faiths – essentially nothing but a divinisation of the ego and of limited ego-consciousness. Hinduism alone can accomplish this world-transforming aim - not through Jihad, violence or war but through the supreme principle and innate power of Awareness (Chit). Peter Wilberg

34 As Ghandi said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” That is one major reason why a new and truly global ‘Hinduism’, one freed of attachment to ethnicity, caste and gender discrimination, communalism - and the current encroachments of global capitalism and consumerism in its mother country – is so much needed. Such a Hinduism would no longer be identical with ‘India’ or the ethnic Hindu Diaspora from the Asian subcontinent. Yet it alone could offer the world an alternative to the world-destructive war that is raging between: 1.rampant secular materialism, consumerism and imperialism, 2.its religious-political prop in the form of Judaeo-Christian Zio-Nazism, and 3.reactionary feudalistic and fundamentalist Islamism. Peter Wilberg

35 The New Yoga of Awareness is a new Hindu-Tantric world-view which recognises that ‘God’ is not a Supreme Being ‘with’ awareness - a type of divine Superego. Instead God IS awareness – that pure awareness whose light is the divine Source of all beings, yet also immanent within them as their eternal and divine Self. Peter Wilberg

36 The ‘Awareness Principle’ at the heart of Hindu Tantric theosophy: - that there is and can be nothing ‘outside’ awareness. - that awareness [CHIT] is everything and that everything in turn, is an awareness. - that awareness is not the private property of any being and that it cannot – in principle - be the ‘function’ or ‘product’ of any thing or object we are aware of, including the human body or brain. - that awareness is the very condition for our experience of any self or universe, body or being whatsoever. - - that God is not a supreme being ‘with’ awareness but IS awareness, an awareness absolute and unbounded by any being. Peter Wilberg


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