JOHN ADAMS TO THOMAS JEFFERSON

Text from a Christmas Letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, December 25, 1813 and Adams’ translation of a passage from the Bhagavat Gita:

“Pythagoras passed twenty years in his travels in India … He ought to have told us that in India he conversed with the Brahmins [Hindu priests] and read the Shastra [Hindu scripture], five thousand years old, written in the language of the sacred Sonsosistas [Sanskrit] with the elegance and sentiments of Plato. Where is to be found a theology more orthodox or a philosophy more profound, than in the introduction to the Shastra [Bhagavat Gita]? … “God is one creator of all universal sphere, without beginning, without end. God governs all the creation by his eternal designs. Search not the essence and the nature of the eternal, who is one; your research will be vain presumptions. It is enough that, day by day, and night by night, you adore his power, his wisdom and his goodness, in his works. The eternal willed in the fullness of time, to communicate of his essence and of his splendor to beings capable of perceiving it. They as yet existed not. The eternal willed and they were. He created Birma, Vitsnou, and Siv.” These doctrines, sublime, if ever there were any sublime, Pythagoras learned in India”






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