Vol. 2, Issue 3 (2017)
Hindu concept of fundamental unity by Emerson’s philosophy about India
Author(s): Mudasir Bashir, Abdul Rashid Teli, Asrar Amin Khan
Abstract: Emerson started to read about Indian philosophy and mythology in The Edinburgh Review between 1820 and 1825. His interest in Indian thought grew when he was a young Harvard graduate, and it continued until the end of his writing career. We see its evidence in many of his essays, poems, letters, and journal entries. For example, the concept of Brahma plays a central role in his works and ideas. He is also very much interested in the Bhagavad Gita. Some of his essays such as “Self-Reliance” deal with a theme that is very much similar to the concept of karma. Through a discussion of Brahma, the Bhagavad Gita, and the laws of karma, I explore how Emerson was deeply influenced by the Indian philosophical and religious thought. The Indian concept of Brahma had great influence on Emerson. Brahma is the god of creation, and one of the Hindu trinity-others being Visnu, the preserver and savior of the world, and Siva, the destroyer or dissolver of the world. Emerson was so influenced by the concept of Brahma that he named one of his short poems “Brahma:” If the red slayer think he slays, Or if the slain think he is slain, They know not well the subtle ways I keep, and pass, and turn again. Far or forgot to me is near; Shadow and sunlight are the same; the vanished gods to me appear; And one to me are shame and fame.