Indian Advaita Vedantist Philosopher, Writer and Politician, Vice President and later President of India
"We become more religious in proportion to our readiness to doubt and not our willingness to believe."
"We can see objects without the medium of the senses and discern relations spontaneously without building them up laboriously. In other words, we can discern every kind of reality directly."
"We do not want a new religion, but we need a new enlarged understanding of the old religions."
"We have spiritual facts and their interpretations by which they are communicated to others, sruti or what is heard, and sm?ti or what is remembered. ?a?karaequates them with pratyak?a or intuition and anumana or inference. It is the distinction between immediacy and thought. Intuitions abide, while interpretations change."
"We cannot attain purity, we cannot gain our goal of truth, unless we walk in the path of virtue. The Asoka's wheel represents to us the wheel of the Law, the wheel Dharma. Truth can be gained only by the pursuit of the path of Dharma, by the practice of virtue. Truth,?Satya, Dharma ?Virtue, these ought to be the controlling principles of all those who work under this Flag. It also tells us that the Dharma is something which is perpetually moving. If this country has suffered in the recent past, it is due to our resistance to change. There are ever so many challenges hurled at us and if we have not got the courage and the strength to move along with the times, we will be left behind. There are ever so many institutions which are worked into our social fabric like caste and untouchability. Unless these things are scrapped we cannot say that we either seek truth or practice virtue. This wheel which is a rotating thing, which is a perpetually revolving thing, indicates to us that there is death in stagnation."
"We have had in our country peaceful co-existence of different religion. It is not mere passive co-existence but an active fellowship, a close inter-relation of the best of different religions. Co-existence is the first step and fraternity is the goal."
"We must recognize that violence is an unfortunate breach of community, and devise other ways of establishing satisfactory relationship."
"We must respect our own dignity as rational beings and thus diminish the power of fraud. It is better to be free than be a slave, better to know than to be ignorant. It is reason that helps us to reject what is falsely taught and believed about God, that He is a detective officer or a capricious despot or a glorified schoolmaster. It is essential that we should subject religious beliefs to the scrutiny of reason."
"We today live in a society which is giving way to the inexhorable claim of a new order. We cannot stay the advance of time. If we clasp to our heart something that is past, if we cling to something that is defunct, we will be left behind."
"Wherever men love reason, shun darkness, turn over towards light, praise virtue; despise meanness, hate vulgarity, kindle sheer beauty, wherever minds are sensitive, hearts generous, spirits free, there is your country. Let us adopt that loyalty to humanity instead of a sectional devotion to one part of the human race."
"While no tradition coincides with experience, every tradition is essentially unique and valuable. While all traditions are of value, none is finally binding."
"While the triumph of mechanical inventions provides a common basis for the civilization of the future, the break-down of traditional systems of thought, belief, and practice is the necessary preparation for the building of a spiritual unity. The leaven is at work among all the peoples, especially among the youth who are unwilling to be mere clay in the hands of others, be they ever so old or wise. There is a quickened consciousness, a sense of something in adequate and unsatisfactory in the ideas and conceptions we have held and the groping after new values. Dissolution is in the air. The old forms of faith are tottering. Among the thoughtful men of every creed and country there is a note of spiritual wistfulness and expectancy."