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

It is the intense spirituality of India, and not any great political structure or social organization that it has developed, that has enabled it to resist the ravages of time and the accidents of history.

In any concrete act of thinking the mind?s active experience is both intuitive and intellectual.

It is true that internationalism is growing. Economists warn us that war does not pay. It is bad business. Some of us are growing pacifist by policy, though not by conviction. The spirit of internationalism is but skin-deep. Except a small minority in each country who remained heroically faithful to its principles, the rest sacrificed their humanity at the altar of their country in the last war. Even the dignitaries of the Church proved themselves to be of the school of Mephistopheles, "who built God a church and laughed his word to scorn." Churches were turned into recruiting offices. The fanatic appeals of all sides to the Almighty must have confused God himself, and the frame of mind in which the onlookers were is well expressed in J. C. Squire's quatrain : ? God heard the embattled nations sing and shout

In emotional vibrancy experience is recollected not in tranquility... but in excitement.

It is true that we have the League of Nations, but it is only a mechanical frame and the soul has still to grow into its body. The spirit of ill-will and distrust is widespread. Internationalism is only an idea cherished by a few and not a part of human psychology. Ten years after the peace, the sky is not clearer than it was in August, 1914. Europe has a million more men under arms than there were before the war.

In the chessboard of life, the different pieces have powers which vary with the context and the possibilities of their combination are numerous and unpredictable. The sound player has a sense of right and feels that, if he does not follow it, he will be false to himself. In any critical situation the forward move is a creative act.

It takes centuries to make a little history; it takes centuries of history to make a tradition.

In the mystic traditions of the different religions we have a remarkable unity of spirit. Whatever religion they may profess, they are spiritual kinsmen. While the different religions in their historic forms bind us to limited groups and militate against the development of loyalty to the world community, the mystics have already stood for the fellowship ofhumanity in harmony with the spirit of the mystics of ages gone by.

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.

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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