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

Knowledge gives us power, love gives us fullness.

Hinduism as a progressive historical movement still in the making. Its adherents are not custodians of a deposit, but runners carrying a lighted torch. The weaknesses of the Hindu faith which have drawn the institution into disgrace and are today blocking the way for social advance are due to a confusion between tradition and truth. We must preserve the spirit of truth which will guide us into all truth. God does not say 'I am Tradition', but he says, 'I am Truth'. Truth is greater than its greatest teachers. We must realize that the history of the race is strewn with customs and institutions which were invaluable at first and deadly afterwards. Gross abuses which still survive require to be cut off with an unsparing hand. Hinduism insists on the upward striving, not only in the sphere of morals but in that of intellect. It is not to be regarded as either pessimistic or fatalistic. The law of karma affirms the implicit presence of the past in the present. When we unconsciously or mechanically follow the impulses of the past, we are not exercising our freedom. But we are free when our personal subject becomes the ruling center.

Increasing knowledge of science without corresponding growth of religious wisdom only increases our fear of death.

Knowledge when acquired must be thrown into logical form and we are obliged to adopt the language of logic since only logic has a communicable language.

Hinduism is? not a definite dogmatic creed, but a vast, complex, but subtly unified mass of spiritual thought and realization. Its tradition of the God ward endeavor of the human spirit has been continuously enlarging through the ages.

Indian wisdom is essential not only for the revival of the Indian nation but also for the re-education of the human race.

Logical knowledge is indirect and symbolic in its character. It helps us to handle and control the object and its workings.

Human nature is not altogether unchanging but it does remain sufficiently constant to justify the study of ancient classics. The problems of human life and destiny have not been superseded by the striking achievements of science and technology. The solutions offered, though conditioned in their modes of expression by their time and environment, have not been seriously affected by the march of scientific knowledge and criticism. The responsibility laid on man as a rational being, to integrate himself, to relate the present to the past and the future, to live in time as well as in eternity, has become acute and urgent. The upaniShads, though remote in time from us, are not remote in thought. They disclose the working of the primal impulses of the human soul which rise above the differences of race and of geographical position. At the core of all historical religions there are fundamental types of spiritual experience though they are expressed with different degrees of clarity. The upaniShads illustrate and illuminate these primary experiences.

Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers' Day.

Man is a complex, multi-dimensional being including within him different elements of matter life, consciousness, intelligence and the divine spark.

I cannot account for the fact that from the time I knew myself I have had firm faith in the reality of an unseen world behind the flux of phenomena, a world which we apprehend not with the senses but with the mind, and even when I was faced by grave difficulties, this faith has remained unshaken. A meditative frame of mind is perhaps responsible for my love of loneliness. Side by side with my outward activities, there is in me an inner life of increasing solitude in which I love to linger. Books, the vistas they unveil, and the dreams they awaken, have been from the beginning my constant and unfailing companions. I am not quite at home in the conventional social functions by which life's troubles are tempered to most of us. When I am in company, unless it be with one or two who know me well, it is with an effort that I get along. But I have an almost uncanny knack of putting myself in rapport with any individual, high or low, old or young, if the need arises. While I am essentially shy and lonely, I pass for a social and sociable man. My withdrawn nature and social timidity have given me a reputation that I am difficult to know. Again, I am said to be cold and strong-willed, while I know that I am the opposite of it. I am capable of strong and profound emotions, which I generally tend to conceal. I am nervously organized, sensitive, and high-strung.

Intuition is a distinct form of experience. Intuition is of a self-certifying character (svatassiddha). It is sufficient and complete. It is self-established (svatasiddha), self-evidencing (sv?sa?vedya), and self-luminous (svayam-prak?s?a). Intuition entails pure comprehension, entire significance, complete validity. It is both truth-filled and truth-bearing Intuition is its own cause and its own explanation. It is sovereign . Intuition is a positive feeling of calm and confidence, joy and strength. Intuition is profoundly satisfying . It is peace, power and joy.

Man is not a detached spectator of progress immanent in human history, but an active agent remolding the world nearer to his ideals. Every age is much what we choose to make it. The trouble with our civilization is that in our anxiety to pursue the things of time, we are neglecting the things that are not of time, the enduring and the eternal. The significance of man?s life is not exhausted by his service of the earthly kingdom. The whole complex range of human life becomes shallow, aimless, and unsatisfying if it is not shot through with a sense of the eternal. We must build all relationships on a basis of understanding fellowship, remembering the controlling principle that life on earth is meaningless apart from its eternal background. Growth of civilization is marked by an increase of genuineness, sincerity, and unselfishness. The only effective way of altering society is the hard and slow one of changing individuals. If we put first things first through patient effort and struggle, we will win power over circumstances and mold them. Only a humanity that strives after ethical and spiritual ideals can use the great triumphs of scientific knowledge for the true ends of civilization.

I think, decisions of my life have been taken under a sort of plan, and prepare, and yet when the choice is made, I have a feeling that an invisible hand has been guiding me for purposes other than my own. I do not, however, pretend that I enjoy the special care of providence. Such a feeling, if it means more than the simple truth that the Supreme has an individual interest in and a delicate care for human beings, that its love is individual, immediate, and intimate, is an irrational prejudice. While I attribute the little success I have achieved to this luck or guidance, I do not want to shift the blame for my failures to ill luck or circumstances. My achievements are not entirely my own, but my mistakes are in large part due to my own folly or weakness.

Intuition must be not only translated into positive and creative action but shared with others. There is a sense of urgency, if not inevitability, about this. One cannot afford to be absolutely silent and the saints love because they cannot help it.

Man, as he is, is incomplete, ignorant, unregenerate, and he wishes to complete himself, to get beyond his present imperfections; and he tries to achieve completeness of being? And if we are able to attain that kind of perfectness of being, completeness of being, we try to use that wisdom for the purpose of creating a better life in this world.

If a durable peace and stable world are to be built out of the wreckage of this war, we must have a positive conception of the values for which we stand. The fate of the humane race depends on its moral strength, and moral power consists here as elsewhere in renunciation and self-limitation.

Intuitions are convictions arising out of a fullness of life in a spontaneous way, more akin to sense than to imagination or intellect and more inevitable than either.

Mankind is still in the making and every religion is attempting to reformulate its faith in accordance with modern thought and criticism.

If experience is the soul of religion, expression is the body through which it fulfills its destiny. We have the spiritual facts and their interpretations by which they are communicated to others. It is the distinction between immediacy and thought. Intuitions abide, while interpretations change.

It is essential to awaken in one's pupils a feeling of need for a silent hour, a time of pure refreshment for heart and spirit, for self-communion, which will help them to collect their thoughts, reassemble their personalities and find themselves. In that silence we hear the still voices of the soul with its plaintive cry of the prisoner for freedom, of the wanderer from home, the cry of the finite for the infinite. Religion is what we do with ourselves when we are alone. In every one of us is a secret shrine where no one could intrude, to which we must retire as often as possible and discover what our true self is as distinct from the appearance we present to the world outside.

If philosophy of religion is to become scientific, it must become empirical and found itself on religious experience. The Hindu philosophy of religion starts from and returns to an experimental basis. Hindu thinker readily admits of other points of view than his own and considers them to be just as worthy of attention.

It is for philosophy of religion to find out whether the convictions of the religious seers fit in with the tested laws and principles of the universe.

If religions are to heal humanity?s divisions, if they are to bring peoples nearer one another, they must take themselves seriously, forget their partisan strife, affirm that religion is a matter of spirit and not form and its loyalty is to the whole world and not simply to the members of any one community. Such a view of religion will help us to develop the quality of tolerance.

It is not easy to know the difference between good men and bad. Ideas may be theoretically divided into good and bad, but not men and women, for each of us contains, in himself or herself, in varying degrees, the good and the bad, the high and the low, the true and the false. Besides, society has queer notions about right and wrong. Unorthodox personal relationships are wrong, while acts involving whole nations in war are right. Cruelty, treachery, and exploitation are condoned, while loving the wrong person not wisely but too well is condemned, though the latter is only a misfortune, not a crime. It is easier to make saints out of libertines than out of prudes and Pharisees. The infinite pathos of life calls for infinite understanding.

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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