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Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

(1888 - 1975)


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

'These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands; they are not original with me. If they are not yours as much as mine, they are nothing or next to nothing', said Walt Whitman. The upaniShads deal with questions which arise when men begin to reflect seriously and attempt answers to them which are not very different, except in their approach and emphasis from what we are now inclined to accept. This does not mean that the message of upaniShads which is as true today as ever, commits us to the different hypotheses about the structure of the world and the physiology of man. We must make a distinction between the message of the upaniShads and their mythology. The latter is liable to correction by advances in science. Even this mythology becomes intelligible if we place ourselves as far as possible at the viewpoint of those who conceived it. Those parts of the upaniShads which seem to us today to be trivial, tedious and almost unmeaning, should have had value and significance at the time they were composed.
A large part of the world received its religious education from India … In spite of continuous struggle with theological baggage, India has held fast for centuries to the ideals of spirit.
A life of joy and happiness is possible only on the basis of knowledge and science.
A literary genius, it is said, resembles all, though no one resembles him.
A proper knowledge of the texts is an indispensable aid to the understanding of the upaniShads. There are parts of the upaniShads which repel us by their repetitiveness and irrelevance to our needs, philosophical and religious. But if we are to understand their ideas, we must know the atmosphere in which they worked. We must not judge ancient writings from our standards. We need not condemn our fathers for having been what they were or ourselves for being somewhat different from them. It is our task to relate them to their environment, to bridge distances of time and space and separate the transitory from the permanent.
A stone is not self any more than a self is a stone.
A study of comparative religion gives insight into the values of the various faiths, values which transcend different symbols and creeds and in transcending penetrate to the depths of the spiritual consciousness where the symbols and formulas shrink into insignificance.
Age or youth is not a matter of chronology. We are as young or as old as we teel. What we think about ourselves is what matters.
All art is the expression of experience in some medium.
All our world organizations will prove ineffective if the truth that love is stronger than hate does not inspire them.