Nancy Wilson Ross

Nancy Wilson
Ross
1902
1986

American Novelist and Authority on Eastern Religions

Author Quotes

No one but us ourselves-no one can and no one way. We ourselves must walk the path, teachers merely show the way.

No one saves us but ourselves; no one can and no one may,
we ourselves must walk the Path,
teachers merely show the way.

Down the millennia of its existence, Hinduism has made a priceless contribution to the collective religious life of mankind through the remarkable findings of her many brilliant mystics and philosophers, as set forth in a voluminous literature. Perhaps, however, her most significant contribution to the universal body of religious inquiry is the persistent, unshakable belief that union with the Divine is attainable while one is still on earth. Moreover, any man in India is at liberty to pursue salvation after his own fashion with no danger of finding himself at some point branded as heretic. Indeed, heresy in Hinduism is virtually impossible, for as the authoritative Upanishads firmly state: “Reality of One though sages call it by different names.

Hinduism – not only in philosophy and literature but also in art – has the capacity for immense conceptions, profound an subtle apprehensions, that can entice the imagination and stun the mind with their depth, range and boldness. The many masks of the many gods, their various appearances and incarnations, have been employed to suggest the infinitely possible variations of one supreme essence. In seeking to give expression to that almost inexpressible idea of a unity which admits also of polarities, a “union beyond the opposites,” Hinduism created such arresting icons as the divine two-in-one embrace of Shiva and Shakti; or Shiva alone, half male, half female, or the two-sided figure of Hari-Hara, an expression of the seemingly “opposite” creative-destructive forces of Vishnu and Shiva embodied in one being.

Hinduism has seemed singularly able to accept the dispassionate impersonality of the All in One without crying out against it in despair, rage or rebellion. Perhaps this is the genius of this paradoxical land of so many blended cultures and people

It is clear that Indian religious cosmology is sharply at variance with that inherited by Western peoples from the Semites. On the highest level, when stripped of mythological embroidery, Hinduism’s conceptions of space, time and multiple universes approximate in range and abstraction the most advanced scientific thought.

Plainly, contemporary Western science’s description of an astronomical universe of such vast magnitude that distances must be measured in terms as abstract as light-years is not new to Hinduism whose wise men, millennia ago, came up with the term kalpa to signify the inconceivable duration of the period elapsing between the beginning and end of a world system.

The Indians, whose theory of time, is not linear like ours – that is, not proceeding consecutively from past to present to future – have always been able to accept, seemingly without anxiety, the notion of an alternately expanding and contracting universe, an idea recently advanced by certain Western scientists. In Hindu cosmology, immutable Brahman, at fixed intervals, draws back into his beginningless, endless Being the whole substance of the living world. There then takes place the long “sleep” of Brahaman from which, in course of countless aeons, there is an awakening, and another universe or “dream” emerges.

Anachronistic as this labyrinthine mythology may appear to the foreign mind, many of India’s ancient theories about the universe are startlingly modern in scope and worthy of a people who are credited with the invention of the zero, as well as algebra and its application of astronomy and geometry; a people who so carefully observed the heavens that, in the opinion of Monier-Williams, they determined the moon’s synodical revolution much more correctly than the Greeks.

The sun never sets or rises. When people think the sun is setting, he only changes about after reaching the end of the day and makes night below and day to what is on the other side. Then, when people think he rises in the morning, he only shifts himself about after reaching the end of the day night, and makes day below and night to what is on the other side. In truth, he does not see at all.

It is not easy to accept the premise that one of life’s basic conditions is inescapable suffering, truth though this proves to be.

Author Picture
First Name
Nancy Wilson
Last Name
Ross
Birth Date
1902
Death Date
1986
Bio

American Novelist and Authority on Eastern Religions