Tuesday, September 1, 2009

sublime as heat and night and a breathless ocean...

It is a very cool morning-until this weekend, we had had a stretch of heat and humidity, the dog days...Reading Emerson this morning (Plato in Representative Men) I came across this appreciation of the Vedas expressed by RWE in a letter written in 1840:

"In the sleep of the great heats there was nothing for me but to read the Vedas, the bible of the tropics, which I find I come back upon every three or four years. it is sublime as heat and night and a breathless ocean. It contains every religious sentiment, all the grand ethics which visit in turn each noble and poetic mind...It is of no use to put away the book; if I trust myself in the woods or in a boat upon the pond, nature makes a Bramin of me presently; eternal necessity, eternal compensation, unfathomable power, unbroken silence,-this is her creed. Peace, she saith to me, and purity and absolute abandonment-these penances expiate all sin and bring you to the beatitude of the Eight Gods."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I especially appreciate Emerson's connection of the Vedas with Bramins. Now what the rest of us need to do is remember the down side of that caste system when we describe that particular set of religious ideas as completely satisfying. They satisfy a privileged class. For the other castes there are other ways of being Hindu.

Just my own pet peeve about our lack of true interfaith religious education. I am thoroughly Braman myself, too.