Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Indian Advaita Vedantist Philosopher, Writer and Politician, Vice President and later President of India

Author Quotes

We are grown-up infants, and God is a sort of 'wet nurse' to humanity.

The vedAnta meant originally the upaniShads, though the word is now used for the system of philosophy based on the upaniShads. Literally, vedAnta means the end of the Veda, vedasya antaH, the conclusion as well as the goal of the Vedas. The upaniShads are the concluding portions of the Vedas. Chronologically they come at the end of the Vedic period. As the upaniShads contain abstruse and difficult discussions of ultimate philosophical problems, they were taught to the pupils at about the end of their course. When we have Vedic recitations as religious exercises, the end of these recitals is generally from the upaniShads. The chief reason why the upaniShads are called the end of the Veda is that they represent the central aim and meaning of the teaching of the Veda.

We become more religious in proportion to our readiness to doubt and not our willingness to believe.

The Vedas were composed by the seers when they were in a state of inspiration. He who inspires them is God.

We can see objects without the medium of the senses and discern relations spontaneously without building them up laboriously. In other words, we can discern every kind of reality directly.

The violent extermination of Buddhism in India is legendary. Buddhism grew weaker as it spread wider. The spirit of compromise which breathed in the Xllth Edict of Ashoka that there should be no praising of one's sect and decrying of other sects but on the contrary a rendering of honor to other sects for whatever cause honor may be due to them was its strength and weakness. It accommodated too much. Divinities and heavens slipped into Buddhism from other creedswith the spread of the religion.

We cannot attain purity, we cannot gain our goal of truth, unless we walk in the path of virtue. The Asoka's wheel represents to us the wheel of the Law, the wheel Dharma. Truth can be gained only by the pursuit of the path of Dharma, by the practice of virtue. Truth,?Satya, Dharma ?Virtue, these ought to be the controlling principles of all those who work under this Flag. It also tells us that the Dharma is something which is perpetually moving. If this country has suffered in the recent past, it is due to our resistance to change. There are ever so many challenges hurled at us and if we have not got the courage and the strength to move along with the times, we will be left behind. There are ever so many institutions which are worked into our social fabric like caste and untouchability. Unless these things are scrapped we cannot say that we either seek truth or practice virtue. This wheel which is a rotating thing, which is a perpetually revolving thing, indicates to us that there is death in stagnation.

The word 'upaniShad' is derived from upa (near), ni (down) and sad (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine. In the quietude of forest hermitages the upaniShad thinkers pondered on the problems of the deepest concern and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. The seers adopt a certain reticence in communicating the truth. They wish to be satisfied that their pupils are spiritually and not carnally minded.

We do not want a new religion, but we need a new enlarged understanding of the old religions.

The idea of God is an interpretation of experience.

The study of the sacred books of religions other than one's own is essential for speeding up this process. Students of Christian religion and theology, especially those who wish to make Indian Christian thought not merely 'geographically' but 'organically' Indian, should understand their great heritage which is contained in the upaniShads.

The idea of Plato that philosophers must be the rulers and directors of society is practiced in India.

The success of art is measured by the extent to which it is able to render experiences of one dimension into terms of another. Art born out of a creative contemplation which is a process of travail of the spirit is an authentic crystallization of a life process. Its? ultimate and in its essence, the poetical character is derived from the creative intuition (that is, integral intuition) which holds sound, suggestion and sense in organic solution.

The ideal which haunted the thinkers of the upaniShads, the ideal of man's ultimate beatitude, the perfection of knowledge, the vision of the Real in which the religious hunger of the mystic for divine vision and the philosopher's ceaseless quest for truth are both satisfied is still our ideal. A. N. Whitehead speaks to us of the real which stands behind and beyond and within the passing flux of this world, 'something which is real and yet waiting to be realized, something which is a remote possibility and yet the greatest of present facts, something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal and the hopeless quest.' A metaphysical curiosity for a theoretical explanation of the world as much as a passionate longing for liberation is to be found in the upaniShads. Their ideas do not only enlighten our minds but stretch our souls.

The true teachers help us to think for ourselves in the new situations which arise. We would be unworthy disciples if we do not question and criticize them. They try to widen our knowledge and help us to see clearly. The true teacher is like Krsna in the Bhagavadgita, who advises Arjuna to think for himself.

The insight does not arise if we are not familiar with the facts of the case... The successful practice of intuition requires previous study and assimilation of a multitude of facts and laws. We may take it that great intuitions arise out of a matrix of rationality.

The truths of the ??is are not evolved as the result of logical reasoning or systematic philosophy but are the products of spiritual intuition, d??ti orvision. The ??is are not so much the authors of the truths recorded in the Vedas as the seers who were able to discern the eternal truths by raising their life-spirit to the plane of universal spirit. They are the pioneer researchers in the realm of the spirit who saw more in the world than their followers. Their utterances are not based on transitory vision but on a continuous experience of resident life and power. When the Vedas are regarded as the highest authority, all that is meant is that the most exacting of all authorities is the authority of facts.

The institution of caste illustrates the spirit of comprehensive synthesis characteristic of the Hindu mind with its faith in the collaboration of races and the co-operation of cultures. Paradoxical as it may seem, the system of caste is the outcome of tolerance and trust.

The upaniShads are the foundations on which the beliefs of millions of human beings, who were not much inferior to ourselves, are based. Nothing is more sacred to man than his own history. At least as memorials of the past, the upaniShads are worth our attention.

The main function of a university is not to grant degrees and diplomas, but to develop the university spirit and advance learning. The former is impossible without corporate life, the latter without honors and post-graduate

The upaniShads are vehicles more of spiritual illumination than of systematic reflection. They reveal to us a world of rich and varied spiritual experience rather than a world of abstract philosophical categories. Their truths are verified not only by logical reason but by personal experience. Their aim is practical rather than speculative. Knowledge is a means to freedom. Philosophy, brahma-vidyA, is the pursuit of wisdom by a way of life.

The man of faith, whether he be Hindu or Buddhist, Muslim or Christian, has certainty, and yet there is a difference between the two pairs. The attitude of the cultivated Hindu and the Buddhist to other forms of worship is one of sympathy and respect, and not criticism and contempt for their own sake. This friendly understanding is not inconsistent with deep feeling and thought. Faith for the Hindu does not mean dogmatism. He does not smell heresy in those who are not entirely of his mind. It is not devotion that leads to the assertive temper, but limitation of outlook, hardness, and uncharity. While full of unquestioning belief, the Hindu is at the same time devoid of harsh judgment. It is not historically true that in the knowledge of truth there is of necessity great intolerance.

The upaniShads contain accounts of the mystic significance of the syllable aum, explanations of mystic words like tajjalAn, which are intelligible only to the initiated, and secret texts and esoteric doctrines. upaniShad became a name for a mystery, a secret, rahasyam, communicated only to the tested few.

The marginalization of intuition and the abandonment of the experimental attitude in matters of religion has lead Christianity to dogmatic stasis. It is an unfortunate legacy of the course which Christian theology has followed in Europe that faith has come to connote a mechanical adherence to authority. If we take faith in the proper sense of truth or spiritual conviction, religion is faith or intuition.

The moral hero is fighting for the reshaping of his own society on sounder lines [his] behavior might offend the sense of decorum of the cautious conventionalist.

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Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
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Indian Advaita Vedantist Philosopher, Writer and Politician, Vice President and later President of India