Monday, December 9, 2019


"It was fit that I should live on rice mainly, who loved so well

the philosophy of India."

(source: Philosophy of Hinduism - An Introduction - By T. C. Galav Universal Science-Religion. ISBN: 0964237709 p 18).

In his Transcendental thoughts, the world at large conglomerate into one big divine family. He finds beside his Walden pond "the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganga reading the Vedas…" their buckets "grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganga".

Thoreau, the Concord sage, said, "The Vedanta teaches how by 'forsaking religious rites' the votary may obtain purification of mind." And "One sentence of the Gita, is worth the State of Massachusetts many times over"

(source: The Bhagavad Gita: A Scripture for the Future Translation and Commentary - By Sachindra K. Majumdar Asian Humanities Press. 1991. p 5.)

"The reader is nowhere raised into and sustained in a bigger, purer or rarer region of thought than in the Bhagavad-Gita. The Gita's sanity and sublimity have impressed the minds of even soldiers and merchants."

He also admitted that, "The religion and philosophy of the Hebrews are those of a wilder and ruder tribe, wanting the civility and intellectual refinements and subtlety of Vedic culture." Thoreau's reading of literature on India and the Vedas was extensive: he took them seriously.

(source: The Secret Teachings of the Vedas. The Eastern Answers to the Mysteries of Life - By Stephen Knapp volume one. p 22).

Like Emerson, the Concord sage, Thoreau, was also deeply imbued with the sublime teachings of Vedanta.

(source: India And Her People - By Swami Abhedananda p.235-236).

He was particularly attracted by the yogic elements in the Manu Smriti. Thoreau embarked on his Walden experiment in the spirit of Indian asceticism. In a letter written to H. G. O Blake in 1849, he remarked:

"Free in this world as the birds in the air, disengaged from every kind of chains, those who have practiced the Yoga gather in Brahmin the certain fruit of their works. Depend upon it, rude and careless as I am, I would fain practice the yoga faithfully. This Yogi, absorbed in contemplation, contributes in his degree to creation; he breathes a divine perfume, he heard wonderful things. Divine forms traverse him without tearing him and he goes, he acts as animating original matter. To some extent, and at rare intervals, even I am a Yogi.

(source: Oriental Enlightenment: The encounter between Asian and Western thought - By J. J. Clarke p. 86-87 and Hindu Scriptures and American Transcendentalists - By Umesh Patri p 98 -240). For more on Thoreau refer to chapter GlimpsesVI).

Along with Emerson, he published essays on Hindu scriptures in a journal called The Dial.

Thoreau paid ardent homage to the Gita and the philosophy of India in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:

"Most books belong to the house and streets only, . . . .But this . . . . addresses what is deepest and most abiding in man. . . . Its truth speaks freshly to our experience. [the sentences of Manu] are a piece with depth and serenity and I am sure they will have a place and significance as long as there is a sky to test them by."

(source: How Vedanta Came to the West - By Swami Tathagatananda -

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