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India’s gift to the world

Editor,

What is needed most in a world in turmoil and divided along religious lines especially like ours is today? That would be unifying principles that go beyond religions and teach acceptance of all paths that lead to the ultimate goal of knowledge of Divine Reality, or God. India has generated these great teachings from ancient times. The Vedanta philosophy in particular as set down in the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita speak uncompromisingly of that permanent reality we’re all seeking (consciously or not) in this impermanent world. In Vedanta that Reality is called “Brahman” and is defined as eternal, immortal, unchanging, indivisible, beyond the pairs of opposites and, according to mystics from every tradition, can be directly experienced by us. Moreover, the purpose of life is to realize our identity with that Divine Reality. With technology fostering a global consciousness and change in our worldview, there is a new found sense of interconnectedness. Is it a coincidence that the Vedantic scriptures of India, which speak of the oneness of all life, are now available to us across the globe? It appears that humanity on a larger scale than ever before is ready to hear these crucial ideas that were once the secret teachings of the forest-dwelling sages of early India. Fritjof Capra’s famous ‘The Tao of Physics’ is a successful attempt to validate the ancient wisdom. He says ‘The two foundations of twentieth-century physics – Quantum theory and Relativity theory both force us to see the world very much in the way a Indian sees it.’ The eminent thinker Arthur Schopenhauer exclaimed ‘Upanishads have been the solace of my life; they will be the solace of my death. They are the product of highest wisdom.’ The Vedantic principles speak of the unity of all existence, and that each religion is a path to God. These basic truths are becoming more and more part of our thinking and permeate the works of many modern spiritual writers and thinkers such as Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz and Deepak Chopra. In America the influence of Indian thought came early in our history as seen in the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain whose writings on civil disobedience inspired such influential leaders as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., derived much from the Bhagavad Gita. Thoreau in his masterpiece Walden writes ‘In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta … and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.’ What’s ironic is that many of us here in the West are accepting and living by the principles espoused in the great spiritual texts of India, whereas many in India, especially the youth, are looking to Western values and standards without appreciating the treasure trove of knowledge that is so much a part of their heritage. Great Minds on India by Salil Gewali is a remedy to this lack of recognition and appreciation. It provides an extensive compilation of what many prominent, world-renowned individuals have said about India’s contribution to science and spirituality, as illustrated in the above quotations. As the publisher and editor of Children of Immortal Bliss by Paul Hourihan, which is an introduction to the Vedanta philosophy, my hope and the author’s hope and prayer are that the ideas, insights, and promising message of these marvellous scriptures of India will inspire and encourage us to personally test the validity of these universal truths. Salil Gewali’s work puts a spotlight on the importance of these teachings, which are imperative for our future existence in these crucial times. His book is a most worthwhile gift to all of us. But chiefly it it’s for the people of India so that they may realize the importance of the role of India and Indians from early times, and which continues even today with its scientists, sages and also the Indian diaspora.

Yours etc.,

Anna Hourihan, Redding,

California,

USA-96049

 

Resurrecting the Congress party

Editor, History and statistics show that a ‘dying party’ can resurrect itself. The Congress party has been suffering from a leadership crisis, with Rahul Gandhi widely seen as a failure, indifferent and incompetent. Launching Priyanka is the party’s last and desperate gamble. Priyanka is the most meritorious in her generation of Gandhis. Priyanka’s arrival will no doubt eclipse Rahul Gandhi, and possibly give the Congress party an image makeover. Priyanka Gandhi could then take the mantle of the party and lead the battle from the front in a long-drawn political fight. Widely seen as the Congress party’s trump card, Priyanka Gandhi is the only option for Congress to make her party’s face in the Uttar Pradesh elections. In politics, ultimately public perception matters.

Yours etc.,
Vinod C. Dixit

S. M. Road

Ahmedabad

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