The West has been continuously influenced by the ancient Wisdom of India, its philosophy, its myths, its ideals of spirituality and existential communion with the infinite.
It has not been just George Harrison who made pilgrimages, either physical or spiritual or intellectual – to this ancient land and culture. Numerous westerners have looked to Mother India for inspiration, or guidance, for reassurance, or Truth.
Professor H. G. Rawlinson and others say Pythagoras was influenced by Vedic ideas and thought.
In the modern era Madame Blavatsky famously drew creative insight from India. (See Blavatsky's Theosophy.) Others who deserve mention would include Immanuel Kant, Hegel, R.W. Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Albert Schweitzer, Somerset Maugham, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Arthur Schopenhauer, Annie Besant, Paul Brunton, Thomas Merton, Nicolai Notovich, Paul Hourihan. Many westerners studied Vedic literature, especially the Bhagavad-gita.
Goethe said, "To be a traveller in this world you must know how to die and come back to life again." (See Jesus' comment, "Ye must be born again." John 3:7)
Sir Charles Eliot wrote that, "to those who take the pains to familiarize themselves with what at first seems strange, the Mahabharata is, I think, a greater poem than the Iliad." [Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, first published in 1921.]
Navindra Umanee says, "There are indeed hints that major figures from other religions such as Jesus or Buddha may have been influenced by Hindu teachings."
Mahatma Gandhi once said that Christianity is an echo of the Indian religion and Islam is the re-echo of that echo." See more on Gandhi and Jesus.
John Nicol Farquhar seemed to have been thinking similar thoughts in his comparison of the Gospel and Hinduism in his book, The Crown of Hinduism.
And consider the example of Rudolf Steiner. One source on Steiner is "A Scientist of The Invisible," (biography of Steiner) by A. P. Shepherd. (1954)
R. C. Pradhan and D. P. Chattopadhyaya both claim Wittgenstein’s philosophy to reflect Hindu world views.
Schrödinger's Wave Mechanics may have been influenced by Hindu philosophy.
Pandita Ramabai is one woman who has sought to be a bridge between the mysticism of the east and the faith and spirituality of the west. see
Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten
Jesus in India by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
The Lost Years of Jesus: The Life of Saint Issa
Young Oon Kim on Hindu-Christian connection
Does Western "orthodoxy" reject the ancient East?
"If one loves Krishna, he must love Lord Jesus also."
Jesus meditating - painting by
Swami Tadatmananda, a monk of the
Ramakrishna Order, courtesy of
The Krishna question -
Robert F. Kennedy, at the height of America's civil rights movement, spoke to his white countrymen:"But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?"
Avatar: The incarnation question -
Life Comes From Life
Seeing God in our fellow man ~ emmanuel (god among or within us)
(Recommended text: Seeing with the eyes of love ~ by Eknath Easwaran)
Western religion's theological contribution, coming from judaic sources, tended to distinquish sharply between human and divine. The monotheistic dogmas of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have warned emphatically against those who "change the truth of God into a lie, and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever."
But what about the idea of seeing the divine IN the human?
The Divine Image
Songs of Innocence
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
An to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every dime
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk, or jew;
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.
|Man is grandly related and a greater Being suckled him than his mother. In his wiser moments he may come to know this. ... Man does not put the true value upon himself because he has lost the divine sense. Therefore he runs after another man’s opinion, when he could find complete certitude more surely in the spiritual authoritative centre of his own being. ... He who looks within himself and perceives only discontent, frailty, darkness and fear, need not curl his lip in mocking doubt. Let him look deeper and longer, deeper and longer, until he presently becomes aware of faint tokens and breath-like indications which appear when the heart is still. Let him heed them well, for they will take life and grow into high thoughts that will cross the threshold of his mind like wandering angels, and these again will become the forerunners of a voice which will come later, the voice of a recondite and mysterious being who inhabits his centre, who is his own ancient self.... The divine nature reveals itself anew in every human life, but if a man walk indifferently by, then the revelation is as seed on stony ground. No one is excluded from this divine consciousness; it is man who excludes himself. ... He who has once seen his real self will never again hate another. There is no sin greater than hatred, no sorrow worse than the legacy of lands splashed with blood which it inevitably bestows, no result more certain than that it will recoil on those who send it forth. Hate will pass from the world only when man learns to see the faces of his fellows, not merely by the ordinary light of day, but by the transfiguring light of their divine possibilities.... All that is truly grand in nature and inspiringly beautiful in the arts speaks to man of himself. Where the priest has failed his people the illumined artist takes up his forgotten message and procures hints of the soul for them. Whoever can recall rare moments when beauty made him a dweller amid the eternities should, whenever the world tires him, turn memory into a spur and seek sanctuary within. Thither he should wander for a little peace, a flush of strength and a glimmer of light, confident that the moment he succeeds in touching his true selfhood he will draw infinite support and find perfect compensation. (From A Search in Secret India by Paul Brunton .)|
Sites for deeper study
Encyclopedia of Spiritualism : Portal related alternative therapy, disease, spiritual, religious, tantra, mantra, yantra, upanishad, purana and vada.
Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism : the total history of Hindu civilization; religion of Bharatvarsh (Sanatan Dharm or Hinduism) with indepth information of Hindu philosophy, culture, religion, history, and ancient scriptures.
The Knowing - Dee Finney uses her American perspective to give a vibrant updating of ancient wisdom, gleaned from a treasury of sources both east and west.
OtherGandhi and Jesus ~ a christ-like non-Christian reminds us where we ourselves fail to mimic our Lord
A dissent (contrast Jan Peter Schouten) ~ Jesus As Guru: The Image Of Christ Among Hindus And Christians In India.
The Second Coming of Christ : the Resurrection of the Christ Within You (Paramahansa Yogananda) ~ A thousand Christs sent to earth would not redeem its people unless they themselves become Christlike by purifying and expanding their individual consciousness to receive therein the second coming of the Christ Consciousness, as was manifested in Jesus.