Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Possibly the world’s oldest religion going back to the Vedic period of 1500 BCE and today still the third largest with 15% of the global population and over 1 billion followers, Hinduism has complex, diverse roots and no purported founder. Though marred by an insistence on the caste system, suttee (sati), superstition, and religious fanaticism; its practical yoga teachings and techniques, emphasis on kindness, the family, patience, compassion, and liberation have proven for the most part to be a strong force for goodness through many centuries of human history.

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Quotes (61)

“He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor sorrows, nor desires and who has renounced good and evil is thus fit to become one with Brahman.”

Vyasa व्यास 1 via Bhagavad Gita (tr: Swami Parananda)
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

“The world is imprisoned in its own activity, except when ation are performed as worship of God. Therefore, you must perform every action sacramentally and be free from all attachment to result.”

Vyasa व्यास 1 via Bhagavadgita
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

“That which is the finest essence–this whole world has as its soul. Tat tvam asi — thou art that.”

Yājñavalkya 1
One of the earliest non-dual philosophers

“The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the directions of the wind. But, the goodness of a person spreads in all direction.”

Chandragupta Maurya 340 – 297 BCE
Ashoka’s grandfather, founder of the Maurya Empire

Themes: Karma Hinduism

“The key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is that Hinduism asserts ‘Atman (Soul, Self) exists’, while Buddhism teaches that there is ‘no Soul, no Self’”

Adi Shankara 788 – 820 CE via Shan Dao, et alia

Themes: Buddhism Hinduism

“Benares is to the East, Meca to the West; but explore your own heart, for there are both Rama and Allah.”

Kabīr कबीर 1399 – 1448 CE

“One night as I walked in the desert, the mountains rode on my shoulders, the sky became my heart, and the earth - my own body”

Meera 1498 – 1546 CE
(Mirabai, Meera Bai )
Inspiring poet, cultural freedom inspiration

“Both in ancient Egypt and Indostan, the whole body of the people was divided into different castes... the caste of the farmers and laborers was superior to the castes of merchants and manufacturers... Though both were extremely populous, yet, in years of moderate plenty, they were both able to export great quantities of grains”

Adam Smith 1723 – 1790 CE
''The Father of Economic Capitalism"
from Wealth of Nations

Themes: Hinduism

“Between the ethics of the Greeks and those of the Hindus, there exists a glaring antithesis—the Greek goal to lead a happy life, the Hindu to liberate and redeem from life altogether.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE via R.J. Hollingdale
from Parerga and Paralipomena, "Appendices" and "Omissions"

“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, … in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial… I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra… The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

Themes: Hinduism Water

“A Hindu is a born mystic, and the luxuriant nature of his country has made him a zealous pantheist”

Blavatsky, Helena Еле́на Петро́вна Блава́тская 1831 – 1891 CE
Co-founder of Theosophy

Themes: Hinduism

“Our most valuable and instructive materials in the history of man are all treasured up in India… In Hinduism we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
America’s most famous author

Themes: Hinduism Family

“God laughs again when two brothers divide their land with a string, saying to each other, 'This side is mine and that side is yours.' He laughs and says to Himself, 'The whole universe belongs to Me, but they say they own this portion or that portion.'”

Ramakrishna 1836 – 1886 CE

“India is the mother of religion. In her are combined science and religion in perfect harmony, and that is the Hindu religion, and it is India that shall be again the spiritual mother of the world.”

Annie Besant 1847 – 1933 CE

Themes: Hinduism

“The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare

“Will Durant has taken trouble in this book [The Case For India], trouble to know. The miserable conditions of the country he has seen with his own eyes, but, what is rare with most tourists, he has explored the history of our misfortune. Will Durant treated us with the respect due to human beings. I noticed in his book a poignant note of pain at the suffering and indignity of the people who are not his kindred, an indignant desire to be just to the defeated race. I know that the author will have small chance to reward in popularity from his readers but he, I am sure, has his noble compensation in upholding the best tradition of the West in its championship of freedom and fair play.”

Rabindranath Tagore 1861 – 1941 CE

Themes: Hinduism

“Hinduism is not a religion: it’s just a way of life… a democratic religion where everybody has a freedom to think, write , or say whatever they want.”

Sir Charles Norton Eliot 1862 – 1931 CE
Botanist, Commissioner of British East Africa, marine biologist, and Ambassador to Japan

Themes: Hinduism

“I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance… we accept all religions as true.”

Swami Vivekananda ʃami bibekanɔnd̪o 1863 – 1902 CE
"The maker of modern India"

Themes: Hinduism

“The Hindu artist was subject to no conditions of all artists he was the freest... Hindu art is the result of unchecked spiritual force, a flood held back by no restraints save those the artist chose to impose upon himself.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE
from The Greek Way

Themes: Hinduism

“If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth... Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known.”

Mahatma Gandhi 1869 – 1948 CE

Themes: Hinduism God

“For possibly the first time clearly expressed by Jainism, ancient Indian thought reached the tremendous discovery that ethics know no bounds.”

Albert Schweitzer 1875 – 1965 CE

Themes: Hinduism

“he could not escape feeling the collision of the opposites, and therefore he sought out the way of life in which he would be what the Hindu terms nirdvandva, free of opposites.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Introduction to Secret of the Golden Flower

Themes: Hinduism

“Hindus grasped more firmly than others the fundamental meaning and purpose of life and more deliberately than others organized society with a view to the attainment of the fruit of life”

Ananda Coomaraswamy குமாரசுவாமி 1877 – 1947 CE
Perennial philosophy's Citizen of the World
from The Dance of Shiva (1918)

Themes: Hinduism

“The human merry-go-round sees many changes: the illusion that cost India the efforts of thousands of years to unmask the same illusion the the West has labored just as hard to maintain and strengthen.”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE
from Steppenwolf

Themes: Illusion Hinduism

“The more superficially one studies Buddhism, the more it seems to differ from the Brahmanism in which it originated; the more profound our study, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish Buddhism from Brahmanism, or to say in what respects, if any, Buddhism is really unorthodox.”

Ananda Coomaraswamy குமாரசுவாமி 1877 – 1947 CE
Perennial philosophy's Citizen of the World

Themes: Hinduism Buddhism

“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.”

Ramana Maharshi 1879 – 1950 CE

Themes: Hinduism

29. Not Doing

“It is a fair guess that neither the great Indian nor the great Jew would have found anything unacceptable in Lao Tzu's mystical uses, which have been made no more mystical by the one, no more useful by the other.”

Witter Bynner 1881 – 1968 CE
(Emanuel Morgan)
from The Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

“Hinduism will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit, and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons

Themes: 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.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Our Oriental Heritage

Themes: Hinduism

“This is a hard saying for adherents of the higher religions of the Judaic family (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but it is a truism for Hindus. The spirit of mutual good-will, esteem, and veritable love ... is the traditional spirit of the religions of the Indian family. This is one of India’s gifts to the world.”

Arnold Toynbee 1889 – 1975 CE
from A Study of History

Themes: Hinduism

“The Hindus criticize the Muslims for having spread their religion by the use of the sword. They also ridicule Christianity on the score of the Inquisition. But really, who is better and more worthy of our respect—the Muslims and Christians who attempted to thrust down the throats of unwilling persons what they regarded as necessary for their salvation, or the Hindu who would not spread the light, who would endeavor to keep others in darkness, who would not consent to share his intellectual and social inheritance with those who are ready and willing to make it a part of their own make-up? I have no hesitation in saying that if the Muslim has been cruel, the Hindu has been mean; and meanness is worse than cruelty.

B.R. Ambedkar 1891 – 1956 CE
from Annihilation of Caste

“To the 'Untouchables', Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors.”

B.R. Ambedkar 1891 – 1956 CE

Themes: Hinduism

“In the Hindu religion, one cannot have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas… He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought”

B.R. Ambedkar 1891 – 1956 CE

“The Hindus criticize the Mohammedans for having spread their religion by the use of the sword. They also ridicule Christianity on the score of the Inquisition. But really speaking, who is better and more worthy of our respect?… if the Mohammedan has been cruel, the Hindu has been mean; and meanness is worse than cruelty.”

B.R. Ambedkar 1891 – 1956 CE

“The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Hinduism

“Any confusion of castes, any assumption by one man of another man's vocation and duties of state, is always say the Hindus, a moral evil and a menace to social stability.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Perennial Philosophy

Themes: Hinduism

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent… separating yourself from the rest of mankind.”

Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986 CE
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

“But before the advent of modern psychology, it was the Hindus who had probed most into the regions of the urges of animal life, and the whole yoga doctrine is but an experiment to place under yoke or control these lower subconscious animal urges.”

Lín Yǔtáng 林語堂 1895 – 1976 CE
from On the Wisdom of America, 1950

Themes: Hinduism

“Not until we see the richness of the Hindu mind and its essential spirituality can we understand India or hope to share the freedom and equality... we are trying to create out of this morally and politically chaotic world... India was China's teacher in religion and imaginative literature, and the world's teacher in trigonometry, quadratic equations, grammar, phonetics, Arabian Nights, animal fables, chess, as well as in philosophy that inspired Goethe, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and probably also old Aesop.”

Lín Yǔtáng 林語堂 1895 – 1976 CE
from Wisdom of China and India

Themes: Hinduism

“Every existence is my existence, every consciousness if my consciousness, every sorrow is my sorrow and every joy is my joy”

Nisargadatta Maharaj 1897 – 1981 CE
Householder guru of non-duality
from I Am That

“organized religion... goes back to myths which, though they may have a kernel of truth, are untrue. Why then should the Jewish myth be true and the Indian and Egyptian myths not be true?”

Karl Popper 1902 – 1994 CE
Major Philosopher of Science

“The great realization of the Upanishads in the 9th century BCE was that all the gods, all the heavens, all the worlds, are within us.”

Joseph Campbell 1904 – 1987 CE
Great translator of ancient myth into modern symbols
from Power of Myth

Themes: Hinduism

“To believe that I could—at 23—sacrifice history and culture for 'the Absolute' was further proof that I had not understood India. My vocation was culture, not sainthood.”

Mircea Eliade 1907 – 1986 CE

Themes: Hinduism Culture

“Hinduism regularly blinded itself from its intense and universally accessible spirituality, inluding the principle of nonviolence, or ahimsa, to attach to the despotic rule of emperors and such societal practices as the caste system.

Lewis Thomas 1913 – 1993 CE
Gestaltist of science and art
from The Religious Case Against Belief (2008)

Themes: Hinduism

“Not only the Chinese, but the ancient Greeks and Hindus, the Finns, the Pawnee, and the Arapaho all likened the moon to a bow. Thus the Way of Heaven is like a bow.”

Du Erwei 1913 – 1987 CE
Modern Chinese scholar

Themes: Moon Hinduism

77. Stringing a Bow

“The luminosity of their world impressed the Hindus from the beginning. Not the fitting-together-ness not the hierarchy of beings or the order of nature, but the blinding splendor, the Light of the World.”

Daniel J. Boorstin 1914 – 2004 CE
American intellectual Paul Revere
from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: Hinduism

“Western religions begin with a notion that One—One God, One Book, One Son, One Church, One Nation under God—is better than many. The Hindu, dazzled by the wondrous variety of the creation, could not see it that way... the awestruck Hindus never came up with a single grand Creator-God... For so multiplex a world, the more gods the better!”

Daniel J. Boorstin 1914 – 2004 CE
American intellectual Paul Revere
from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: God Hinduism

“Buddhism and Taoism—unlike Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—are not whole cultures but critiques of culture: endearing, non-violent revolutions or 'loyal oppositions' to the cultures they live in.”

Alan Watts 1915 – 1973 CE
from Psychotherapy East and West

“The decline of Indian Buddhism was centrally due to the fact that it never offered the Indian laity a complete religion. Early Buddhism knew no ceremonies for birth and death, marriage, illness, and other critical turns of private life... Only for the community of monks did Buddhism provide a complete and well-defined way of life... But Brahmins were needed for all the ordinary crises in life, ready with their rites and sacred formulas to ward off danger or minimize the damage. This elemental fact assured the survival of Brahminism in India.”

William Hardy McNeill 1917 – 2016 CE
from The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community, 1963

Themes: Buddhism Hinduism

“Hinduism advises people to think of God as the archetype of the noblest reality they encounter in the natural world.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

Themes: God Hinduism

“Hinduism encourages people to test all four [being reflective, emotional, active, or experimental] and combine them as best suits their needs.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

Themes: Hinduism

“When I read the Upanishads, which are part of Vedanta, I found a profundity of worldview that made my Christianity seem like third grade.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

“The doctrinal differences between Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.”

Robert M. Pirsig 1928 – 2017 CE
from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“Hindus understand their most authoritative texts, the Vedas, to be hear and the literature that derives from the Vedas to be composed.”

James P. Carse 1932 – 2020 CE
Thought-proving, influential, deep thinker
from Finite and Infinite Games

Themes: Hinduism

“I maintain that Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism all hold up love as an ideal, seek to benefit humanity through spiritual practice, and strive to make their followers better people.”

Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso 1935 CE –

“From the point of view of the Madhyamaka school, these other approaches... earlier Buddhist philosophical schools, theistic Hinduism, Vedantism, Islam, Christianity, and most other religious and philosophical traditions... can be grouped together into three categories: the eternalists, the nihilists, and the atomists... atomisitic pluralism”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

“The Bhagavad Gita — if he's God, what's he doing fighting on a battlefield? we're in these bodies, which is like a kind of chariot, and we're going through this incarnation, this life, which is kind of a battlefield… unless we bring Christ or Krishna or Buddha or whichever of our spiritual guides ... we're going to crash our chariot”

George Harrison 1943 – 2001 CE
Guitar-playing philanthropist

Themes: Hinduism

“In the tenth century BCE, the priests of India devised the Brahmodya competition, which would become a model of authentic theological discourse. The idea was to push language as far as it would go, until participants became aware of the ineffable... The winner was the contestant who reduced the others to silence. In that moment of silence, the Brahman was present... The aim of good theology is to help the audience to live for a while in that silence.”

Karen Armstrong 1944 CE –
Champion of the Golden Rule and perennial philosophy
from The Case for God​

“In Hinduism—a polytheistic religion that rejects the notion that the world of the gods is finite, but is willing to recognize any new divine power capable of rendering supernatural benefits to the community of worshipers—all nature was seen as a manifestation of the divine.”

J. Rufus Fears 1945 – 2012 CE
from Books That Made History

Themes: Hinduism

“True, hundreds of millions may nevertheless go on believing in Islam, Christianity or Hinduism. But numbers alone don’t count for much in history. History is often shaped by small groups of forward-looking innovators rather than by the backward-looking masses.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow

“The Greeks did not waste any sacrifices on Fate, and Hindus built no temples to Atman... The fundamental insight of polytheism is that the supreme power governing the world is unconcerned with the mundane desires, cares, and worries of humans.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Sapiens


Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

by Vyasa

Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma

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