The influence of the Bhagavad-Gita has not been limited to a single period in history or a single place in the world; it has not been bound to a single school of philosophy or a single sect of people. It transcends all boundaries and distinctions. Here is a collection of ten quotations about the Gita:
“I hesitate not to pronounce the Geeta a performance of great originality, of a sublimity of conception, reasoning, and diction almost unequalled; and a single exception, amongst all the known religions of mankind.”1
Warren Hastings (1754-1826)
First Governor-General of British India
“I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavat Geeta. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”2
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
American transcendentalist philosopher
“…probably the most beautiful book which has ever come from the hand of man.”3
Émile-Louis Burnouf (1821-1907)
“Among the priceless teachings that may be found in the great Hindu poem of the Mahabharata, there is none so rare and priceless as this, ‘The Lord’s Song’.”4
Annie Besant (1847-1933)
“In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-Gita with full understanding, it is necessary to attune our soul to it.”5
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
“…a magnificent flower of Hindu mysticism.”6
Count Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
“...the Bhagavad-Gita, perhaps the most beautiful work of the literature of the world.”7
Count Hermann Keyserling (1880-1946)
“The Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.”8
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
“The greatness of the Bhagavad Gita is the greatness of the universe, but even as the wonder of the stars in heaven only reveals itself in the silence of the night, the wonder of this poem only reveals itself in the silence of the soul.”9
Prof. Juan Mascaró (1897-1987)
“The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. It brings to the West a salutary reminder that our highly activistic and one-sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self-destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness.”10
Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
American social critic
1 Keay, John. India Discovered.
2 Galav, T. C. Philosophy of Hinduism - An Introduction.
3 Revel, Louis. The Fragrance of India.
4 Besant, Annie. The Bhagavad Gītā: The Lord’s Song. London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1895
5 Mookerji, Radha Kumud. Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1990
6 Maeterlinck, Maurice. The Great Secret.
7 Durant, Will. The Case for India. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930
8 Prabhavananda, Swami & Isherwood, Christopher. The Song of God: Bhagavad Gita. New York: Mentor Books, 1951
9 Mascaró, Juan. The Bhagavad Gita. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1962
10 Merton, Thomas. Thoughts on the East.