“With the translation of the Upanishads in the early 19th century they also started to attract attention from a Western audience. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was deeply impressed by the Upanishads and called it “the most profitable and elevating reading which… is possible in the world”.”

“Several scholars have recognised parallels between the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato and that of the Upanishads, including their ideas on sources of knowledge, concept of justice and path to salvation, and Plato’s allegory of the cave. Platonic psychology with its divisions of reason, spirit and appetite, also bears resemblance to the three gunas in the Indian philosophy of Samkhya.

Various mechanisms for such a transmission of knowledge have been conjectured including Pythagoras traveling as far as India; Indian philosophers visiting Athens and meeting Socrates; Plato encountering the ideas when in exile in Syracuse; or, intermediated through Persia.”

The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer read the Latin translation and praised the Upanishads in his main work, The World as Will and Representation (1819), as well as in his Parerga and Paralipomena (1851). He found his own philosophy was in accord with the Upanishads, which taught that the individual is a manifestation of the one basis of reality. For Schopenhauer, that fundamentally real underlying unity is what we know in ourselves as “will”. Schopenhauer used to keep a copy of the Latin Oupnekhet by his side and commented,

In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, it will be the solace of my death.

Schopenhauer’s philosophy influenced many famous people and introduced them to the Upanishads. One of them was the Austrian Physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who once wrote:

“There is obviously only one alternative,” he wrote, “namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads.”

“Danish physicist Niels Bohr said, “I go to the Upanishad to ask questions.””



“You just do these things that you fall in love with, and you never know what’s going to happen.”

David Lynch – Catching the Big Fish



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