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Hinduism and American Literature


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Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hinduism and American Literature

Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays, lectures and poems are replete with thoughts that have their germ in Hindu thought

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Emerson called the 'Divine Self' of the Vedanta - 'the Oversoul'. In his transcendental theory the oversoul, like Brahma in Indian philosophy, is all pervading and that every human soul partakes of this oversoul. Therefore, to reach this point of trance where one can perceive the god-head within, Emerson emphasizes the necessity of revering one's own self - "Be true to thyself. Because every man has within him somewhat really divine".

Excerpt from his poem 'Brahma', too reflect the Upanishadic concept that the dark and the illumined all emanate from and merge into Brahma: "Shadow and sunlight are the same; The vanished Gods to me appear…"

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