Bharat Ratna loses its meaning

Head of the German Book Trade Association

The Board of Trustees for the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade elects the Indian religious philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan to be the winner of the Peace Prize in 1961. The award ceremony will take place during the Frankfurt Book Fair on Sunday, October 22, 1961 in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt. Ernst Benz gives the laudation.

The religious philosopher and statesman Sarvepalli Radharkrishnan has given a profound interpretation of Eastern and Western essence in his literary work and thus created a path to international understanding.

As a politician, he fearlessly represented his knowledge "Peace is the crown of self-conquest, humility, conversion and devotion, and not the crown of violence and conquest" before the whole world. By awarding the Peace Prize, we honor his freedom of mind and thank him for his life's work.

We Germans, who have tried for the second time in our century to anchor free, democratic thinking in our consciousness, must always be grateful to the winners of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and will never refuse them our admiration.

Werner Dodeshöner - Greeting

Werner Dodeshöner


Everyone who produces and distributes books is given great educational and educational spiritual values. The Peace Prize of the German Book Trade was created in the awareness of the obligation that results from this. It is awarded annually to a personality who has distinguished himself through his work for peace and understanding between peoples. The decisive factor is the intellectual achievement, the work born from it, the deed out of pure conviction. The Peace Prize knows no boundaries in terms of nationality, race or denomination. Its award ceremony here in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt is the festive highlight of the great Frankfurt International Book Fair.

To all of you, ladies and gentlemen, here in the Paulskirche, on the radio and on the screens of the televisions that you are participating in this ceremony, we extend our warm greetings from the German publishers and booksellers who are united in the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. On your behalf, I may speak to you here and welcome you.

I greet the honorable Federal President and a wife, the representatives of the foreign states, the Prime Minister of the host state of Hesse, the representatives of the federal government, the federal states, the churches and the administration, the representatives of the city of Frankfurt, at their head Mr. Lord Mayor Bockelmann with whom we have a good community in the successor of the unforgotten Walter Kolb. Our special greetings go to the poets, scientists and writers as the creative workers in the world of the spirit, especially the winners of the Peace Prize, among whom I am particularly pleased to name you, dear Professor Theodor Heuss.

As this year's recipient of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, I greet you, Professor Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, with an expression of sincere admiration, and thank you for coming to us from your distant homeland.

At no time has there been so much thought of peace, so much struggle for it, so much prayer and fear for it as in ours. The events of our day have taught us how much peace, its existence or its lack, hits the heart of our lives. We keep asking ourselves whether we have done everything to create the inner peace that is the prerequisite for the outer peace that we care about. Have we made the right use of the freedom that is an attribute of peace, the freedom in which we are allowed to live? Have we earned it in the true sense of the word - deserved it? Sufficient numbers of ways have been shown to us, not least through the works of those who received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade here in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt: the works of Max Tau, Albert Schweitzer, Romano Guardini, Martin Buber, Carl J. Burckhardt, Hermann Hesse, Reinhold Schneider, Thornton Wilder, Karl Jaspers, Theodor Heuss, Victor Gollancz.

With their names stand before us their deeds and the knowledge that they have conveyed to us. We Germans, who have tried for the second time in our century to anchor free, democratic thinking in our consciousness, must always be grateful to the winners of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and will never refuse them our admiration. They belong to the inwardly free people who are firmly attached to their conscience, who come from completely different countries, but are at home in that great world of the spirit, for which there were never limits because it always represented a whole. We are also grateful to you, Your Excellency, for helping to build the house in which peace dwells, the incomparable peace of the spirit that cannot be shaken by any external force.

Like the works of those who received the Peace Prize here before you, your thoughts and insights will not only have an effect in the epoch in which they were born and created, but in all times and in all peoples. Their value is high, because ultimately it is spiritual powers that shape human life and also determine the events of our day. Verily, we have every reason to praise peace and honor those who serve it in word and deed. Because despite all the experiences we have had and despite all the lessons we have received, the fear of war reigns all over the world. It is not the mild air of peace that blows on our earth, which has become smaller, it is not the will for peace that detonates atomic bombs, makes satellites orbit our earth, that built a wall across our German homeland. This makes our task all the more important to ensure peace and to give expression to our firm will to peace again and again, to work and work to maintain and consolidate it. Love is greater than hatred, which an American statesman told us was a bad adviser. Peace is nobler than war, as testified by the works of those who received the Peace Prize here. Let us not only convey your thoughts and insights to our own compatriots. Above all, let us pass it on to those whose countries are only now becoming states. Let us always remember that by their very existence they change our old worldview decisively.

We are aware that people are not masters of history. This does not release us from the obligation to carefully consider the goals, ways and means of our historical work. Because we all have to take responsibility for what we do and carefully measure the steps we take with this responsibility if we are to succeed in freeing people and ourselves from the fear that is increasingly dominating us all. Fear makes you unfree. The more we do to eliminate them, the more we serve peace, the lasting peace that is the prerequisite for human salvation. Every single one is called daily in this endeavor. It is not enough to leave its maintenance and implementation to the prayer of the faithful and the action of the politicians.

Even if spirit and taste, belief, the sense of the beautiful and the good have never been so much in danger as they are today of being neglected in favor of prosperity and profit, we who witness the ceremony want our conscience to be shaken up by the names of those who were mentioned here in this place. Books have given the ideas of the Peace Prize winners their everlasting form. They are their mediators to the people of the peoples. Time and again they give all of us an impetus to reflect and to commit ourselves to the cause of freedom, the justice of peace. No matter how fondly one calls books "swords of the spirit" - for us they should be a ploughshare of peace.


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Werner Dodeshöner
Greetings from the headmaster

In the meantime, Excellency, you have not only made religious-political considerations about the pacification of human society, you have also fearlessly drawn the political conclusions from your knowledge of the philosophy of religion.

Ernst Benz - laudation on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Ernst Benz

Laudation for Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

In order to properly appreciate you, Your Excellency, it would take the gifts of all the great poets and thinkers who have contributed to the knowledge of Indian intellectual life in the course of German intellectual history. It would take the ingenious knowledge of the language of August Wilhelm von Schlegel, who held the first German chair for Sanskrit in Bonn in 1810 and claimed in his inaugural lecture that Bonn was on the German Ganges. It would take the linguistic empathy of Friedrich Rückert, who was the first to translate the Gitagowinda of Jajadewa, the Sanskrit poem that glorifies the alienation and the reawakening longing of the god Krishna for his beloved Radha and the happiness of their eventual reunion Radhakrishnan expresses. It would take the intuition of Arthur Schopenhauer, who probably contributed most strongly here from Frankfurt to bringing Indian thought into the German spiritual tradition, especially in the form of Buddhist philosophy. Schopenhauer's encounter with India took place under the sign of an almost enthusiastic joy of discovery, which was characteristic of the romantic image of India since Novalis and Schlegel. For him the Indians were "the noblest and oldest people on earth", "the people with the oldest and most widespread, that is, the most perfect religion of mankind in terms of time and space". Schopenhauer justifies this process of Indian culture with a bold anthropological theory of evolution. From the fact that the Hindus are our ancestral fathers, he deduces that "there never was a white race", "that every white person is an absentee" and that the Gypsies as an Indian tribe that have moved to the west are the transitional form between our Indian ones To represent the ancestors and the pale, pale inhabitants of our frosty north. Similar considerations can already be heard in Novalis' "Heinrich von Ofterdingen". "For India to be so warm and glorious in the middle of the globe, a cold, rigid sea, dead cliffs, fog instead of a starry sky and a long night must make both ends inhospitable."

Our sober epoch has gone beyond this exuberant joy of discovering the Indian spiritual world. More than a hundred years of intensive encounter in all areas, in which German Indology and German research on the history of religion, but also the German publishing industry play no small part, enable us today to give a more objective, but also deeper, appreciation of India and its great minds . A decisive factor in this has been the fact that since then the encounter and conflict between the Indian and the European minds have gone through a series of dramatic phases which, in today's world situation, urge new solutions.

There is hardly anyone among the present generation of scholars who is better placed to express oneself in a well-founded, informed manner on the relationship between Western and Eastern thought than you, Your Excellency and my distinguished colleague. You combine the educational elements of Asia and Europe in a unique way. According to their religious origins, they are deeply rooted in the spiritual traditions of Hinduism. You then familiarized yourself with the methods of European historical-critical research during an intensive course of study, you examined the history of Indian intellectual development for the first time and presented a comprehensive history of Indian philosophy. If you include the religions of Asia and the Christian West with the same care in the area of ​​your intellectual history research, this will express your unshakable conviction that all great cultures, right down to their political and social structures, are deeply shaped by religion The study of the great world religions provides essential information about the high cultures they have created, that the tensions and contradictions that exist between today's cultures in the East and West can only be overcome through a religious renewal, and that new ways of encounter and understanding between the great world religions must be followed.

These major subjects have dominated your studies from the start. After studying in Madras, you worked as a professor of philosophy at various Indian universities. You became known early on in English research circles through your lectures and publications. In 1936 you were appointed Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University. This is probably the first time in the history of the European humanities that a leading exponent of Hindu philosophy has taught comparative religious history at one of the leading universities in Europe. When you returned to India, you then took on positions of responsibility in Indian university life. In view of your universal knowledge of the classical and modern intellectual currents in East and West, you were soon entrusted with major cultural and political tasks, and finally also state political tasks. For example, on behalf of the Indian government, you headed the Commission for the Reorganization of the Indian Education System; In 1946 you became head of the Indian UNESCO delegation and in that capacity you were elected President of UNESCO in 1948. Active as the Indian ambassador in Moscow from 1949, you were elected Vice President of the Indian Republic in 1952 and have since played a decisive role in India's domestic and foreign policy.

In your diverse academic and cultural-political activities in your home country India, you have had the opportunity to get to know all the problems of theoretical and practical confrontation between religions and world views there in their most pressing form. India is the classic country of pluralism of world religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam and Christianity in a great variety of churches and denominations have got used to living together there in a process of accommodation that has lasted for centuries. Nowhere as in India has a coexistence of religions developed which, on the one hand, shaped the community of their believers in such a dominant way in all areas of life, and on the other hand created a spirit of tolerance and understanding that allowed people to live together in the narrow living space the social and political bodies made possible. The need for an understanding between the major religions emerged there even more clearly than the separation of the north-western and north-eastern border provinces of India and their amalgamation to form a Muslim state of Pakistan through the bloody religious unrest that this event provoked, the previous peaceful cohabitation between Hindus and Pakistan Muslims on Indian soil were severely threatened and the task of maintaining internal religious peace confronted the people and government of India with the difficult task of deepening and more comprehensively justifying the traditional spirit of tolerance and understanding through education and enlightenment.

On the other hand, India has also experienced the conflict with the West in a particularly conflict-ridden and unmediated way, since the West opposed it primarily in the form of British colonial rule. The establishment of British rule has not only led to a direct transfer of European methods of government and administration, not only to a sudden importation of Western economic methods, it has also led to the primacy of Western scientific thought and research methods prevailing in the field of education . Precisely as a result of the positive achievements of English colonial rule in the field of Indian education through the establishment of a school and university system based on the European model, no Asian country has felt the encounter and conflict between western and eastern intellectual powers in such a profound, dramatic and revolutionary form get like India.

Your great merit, Your Excellency, is that you have tried to apply the knowledge and experience you have gained from the coexistence of a multitude of religions and cultures in the Indian environment to the much more critical and explosive relationship in the West - and both in its Christian and in its secular form - to be applied to the cultures of the East in order to enable coexistence within the human society that is pressing towards unification.

However, from the Indian point of view, the borders between West and East run differently than we are used to from today's political point of view in the West. While, according to the language we use today, the opposition between East and West is essentially understood as the opposition between the free world of Western democracies and the totalitarian communist states of the East, from your Indian point of view Bolshevism also belongs in its Russian and Chinese Shape quite to the west. Dialectical materialism and the revolutionary social theories and political methods derived from it appear in your works only as a special case of Western thought and as a direct product of it. Because of its spiritual ancestors, among whom you name the New Testament, Ricardo, Adam Smith, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Engels and Lenin in addition to Plato, from your point of view communism clearly belongs to the West. For you, the real dividing line does not run between these two hostile brothers of Western descent, but between the culture of Asia, which is based on a religiously based wisdom, and the culture of Europe and America, which is based on a rational scientific understanding of man and the universe. Your Western European readers begin to suspect something of the fact that India's political neutralism, which is so striking in the current world tensions, is determined by the religious-political situation and the peculiar religious character of Hindu thought.

In fact, the change in the world situation is nowhere more obvious than in the area of ​​encounter and discussion of the great world religions. Significantly, this change began in Europe at the moment when European culture came into contact with Asian religions and cultures. Your demand to bring about the coexistence of peoples and states through a new reflection on the common religious foundations of human personality and human community hits our epoch at a decisive stage in the change in religious consciousness.

Until the end of the 17th century, Islam was the only foreign religion with which Christianity and the Christian Church had to deal in practice. On the Christian side, however, Islam was never judged as a foreign religion, but as an apostasy from the Christian faith. Accordingly, the confrontation with Islam has developed as a struggle that only knew the alternative between total submission or total annihilation. When the Christian mission gradually became known in the 17th and 18th centuries with the high Asian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, the combative conflict with Islam that found its expression in the Crusades had at least a psychological effect Model of the discussion with all other non-Christian religions for a long time afterwards. Knowledge of non-Christian religions that lay behind the Islamic wall of the Middle East only spread very slowly in Europe and among a few scholars who knew the Asian languages ​​and characters. An effect of the knowledge of the Asian high religions on the religious consciousness of the general public was not to be expected in the 18th century, not even in the 19th century.

Schopenhauer was the first German who, after much effort, managed to get the figure of a seated Buddha. He had the precious black lacquered figure gilded with real gold and set up on a pedestal in his study. His Catholic maid, who had a small, flower-adorned altar in her own room, burst out laughing at the first sight of the Buddha and said: "He's sitting there like a tailor!" Schopenhauer snapped at the girl: "You rough person, so she speaks of the victoriously accomplished one! Have I ever blasphemed your Lord God! ”In the normal religious world of the maid, Buddha was a ridiculous idol, and when Schopenhauer occasionally spoke of“ We Buddhists ”he could enumerate his sympathizers all over Europe on one hand. That was the case in progressive Frankfurt around 1850.

In the meantime, in the last two decades in particular, a development has started that we can describe as a second clear-up. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the first Enlightenment took place mainly in the field of natural sciences. Now, in the 20th century, an Enlightenment has started in the field of religious studies. It is expressed outwardly, and this is where the significant contribution of the German-speaking book trade to this development lies in the fact that the results of religious studies research are made widely available to the readership of all classes, and not only in the more expensive original editions of the texts and documents of the major world religions and scientific monographs, but rather in the cheap paperback editions in which the research of the best experts in religious studies is disseminated today. It is difficult today, as I found out earlier this morning on a trial basis, to buy a New Testament in a train station kiosk, but there is hardly a train station kiosk where you can not buy a pocket volume on Zen Buddhism, a biography of Buddha or Muhammad for cheap money can. There is no doubt at all that this spread of knowledge of the plurality of world religions has brought about a fundamental change in the structure of the religious consciousness of man today.

This also corresponds to the fact that the Asian religions themselves, in connection with regaining the political independence of the Asian countries, have considered their world missionary task, which is based on their claim to universality, and have switched to a direct or indirect mission on European or American soil. Here, too, the influence on the way through mission-like organizations such as the Vedanta mission, the Ramakrishna mission, the Vivekananda mission and the various Buddhist centers is much less than the literary influence of the Asian religions, which is particularly evident in modern philosophy, Makes psychology and psychotherapy noticeable.

Finally, a completely new situation has arisen because the spiritual leaders of the non-Christian religions have in the meantime made themselves familiar with the scientific critical methods developed in Western Europe and thus for the first time a real encounter and discussion of Christianity with the non-Christian religions on the same level has become possible with the same methods.

Here you are, Your Excellency, as the real pioneer of this new development. With your works such as "Religion and Community" and "The Community of the Spirit" you have opened a new period of spiritual encounter between the great world religions and the cultures they have shaped.

The basic idea of ​​your considerations about a possible encounter of the world religions and overcoming their exclusive claim to absoluteness is the understanding of religion, which is deeply rooted in Hinduism, which in all historical religions only sees the forms, revelations, manifestations of the one, transcendent God who is different from the different peoples and societies manifested in different ways at different times and in different places. In the Baghavadgita, Krishna, the Most Exalted, says to Arjuna: “There is no end to my glorious manifestations. So look at my designs, hundreds and thousands, diverse, divine, manifold in color and shape ... See many miracles as they have never been seen before. "In the sense of the Gita, you conclude:" Let us compare one religion with the other , it turns out that the differences lie in the beliefs and customs. If we look a little deeper behind dogmas and creeds, we will see that all religions draw their strength from the same unfathomable source. ”So a world culture can only emerge, you conclude, if the religions' exclusive claims to absoluteness are overcome. You want to promote this process, you can already see this process developing everywhere. »All religions are trying to express themselves in a new language today and in doing so they are getting closer to one another. Unsustainable beliefs are less disproved than they are brushed aside, and the universal elements of unanimous religions are highlighted. This process will accelerate in the coming years, and the gradual convergence of religions will lead to a world faith. "

Now, however, the further development will hardly take place in such a way that we can anticipate its final result in the form of a finished concept of the religion of the future, which should embrace all religious forms of perception and expression in itself. Nevertheless, in today's world situation it is absolutely necessary to follow up your suggestions. You rightly say: If the great religions continue to waste their energies in a fratricidal struggle instead of seeing each other as friendly partners in the highest task of promoting the spiritual life of mankind, then moral materialism will rapidly advance nothing more in the way. «You rightly refer to the corresponding change in the relationship between the Christian churches. The fact that Christianity has spread all over the world in a plurality of churches, that all over the world Christians of different denominations must live and work together within the same political and social community, has given rise to an ecumenical movement of global proportions in which the Christian churches reflect on the possibility of understanding and cooperation and overcoming stale forms of polemics and apologetics.

In a similar way, the coexistence of the Christian churches with the non-Christian religions has changed dramatically as a result of the political and economic developments of the last few decades, especially as a result of the establishment of independent states in Asia and Africa. While the mission congregations have so far been directly dependent on the missionary churches in Europe and America and have largely adopted the lifestyle of the missionary countries, these congregations in the new Asian and African states are now found as minorities in an environment of different faiths. At the same time, however, due to their upbringing and education, their members are involved in a particularly responsible manner in the development work in the politics, administration and education of their countries and states as responsible citizens.

It is also becoming increasingly clear that not only the Christian religion but also the other religions have their peculiar social ethics and political ethics, that religion is consciously or unconsciously a practical political factor of the first order for others too. The political and social world of the Southeast Asian states is just as much shaped by the socio-ethical ideas of Buddhism as Islam is a determining political and social factor in the Arab and African world. One cannot ignore or despise the religion of the other if one bears the same responsibility with him and has to work on the same life tasks: this applies equally to the citizens of a single country as to the citizens of our world.

Finally, the huge regrouping of the population in connection with the political and economic developments of the last few decades have also contributed to spreading the pluralism of religions around the world. Everything urges that new forms of encounter be found between the world religions, which enable peaceful coexistence.

Attempts of this kind have already been made in many countries by responsible personalities of all religions. Some of these attempts are still in their initial enthusiastic state, in which one believes that an emotional identification with like-minded people from the other camps can overcome the existing contradictions. Incidentally, this is how Christian ecumenism began.

You, Your Excellency, have now given the signal for the beginning of a new phase in this development. The task will no longer consist of individual enthusiastic representatives of the individual religions assuring each other of their mutual agreement in a small circle, but rather that in broader circles of the various religions a will of understanding and cooperation will spread, and that the spiritual prerequisites for this through self-denial work be created. Understanding the other religion is a task that requires a great deal of expertise, careful critical study, a high degree of academic honesty, and self-criticism. It will not only be a matter of determining inner points of contact between the religions as starting points for an understanding, but also of looking critically at the differences, since nothing is more disappointing than a hasty identification which, on closer inspection, turns out to be an illusion.

From here a critical revision of the traditional judgments and prejudices of the individual religions about the others and a critical examination of the justification and justification of the absoluteness claims of the individual can ensue. One must be clear, however, that it takes great patience to overcome religious prejudices which can easily take on the character of collective idiosyncrasies. But all these efforts are in vain if we do not bear in mind - to use a phrase from you - that "the commandment to love one's neighbor is itself part of the truth which must be upheld under all circumstances." Your tireless efforts to realize this new task are your share in peace among religions.

In the meantime, Excellency, you have not only made religious-political considerations about the pacification of human society, you have also fearlessly drawn the political conclusions from your knowledge of the philosophy of religion. Finally, I would like to highlight two such cases, which are directly related to our own history, as examples and symbols.

I am thinking first of your book India and China, which is probably the only one of your books that has remained completely unknown and untranslated in Germany. This book contains the lectures and lectures that you gave during your visit to China in 1944 at the invitation of the Minister of Culture of the Tschang Kai Tscheck government and which mostly deal with the religious and cultural relations between India and China, especially Buddhism. But on May 15, 1944, at a moment when the war in Europe and Asia was raging its murderous final battle, you spoke in Tschunking on the subject of "War and World Security" and gave your Chinese listeners a truly prophetic picture of the tasks that the victorious Allies would be faced after the defeat of the Axis Powers, which was already to be expected with certainty. Your thoughts were, of course, above all on the role of Asia in the future reorganization of the world after the war, but you also touched on the responsible tasks of shaping peace in Europe.

In this connection you urgently warned the Allies against putting into effect the plans, which were already ventured at the time following the Conference of Casablanca, of the total surrender of the Axis Powers, the partition of Germany and the mass resettlement from the eastern German territories to be separated. There you also gave the most impressive formulation of your understanding of the nature and responsibility of peace: Peace is the crown of self-sacrifice, humility, repentance and surrender, and not of violence and conquest - Peace is the crown of self-conquest, of humility, of Repentance and devotion, and not the crown of violence and conquest ”. You have cited two religious thinkers as key witnesses for the validity of this knowledge: one is Mahatma Gandhi, the other is Jakob Boehme. In distant Tschunking you quoted the word that stands on the base of the Jakob Boehme monument in Görlitz, Silesia, in English: "love and humility is our sword" - "Love and humility is our sword." I don't know how many of your Chinese listeners at the time knew who Jakob Boehme was.It must have been all the more impressive for them to hear from the mouth of a Hindu at this moment when the war propaganda all over the world was preaching hatred that “the great but little-known Christian Jakob Boehme in one City, which today lies at the center of the European theater of war ”, established this message, which alone can form the basis of real peace in a human society that is pressing towards unity. We want to thank you for that today.

Most directly, however, Your Excellency, concerns us with your words of peace, which you uttered in the most difficult hour of Indian history on the occasion of the separation of large parts of the northern provinces of India and the establishment of an independent state of Pakistan. In your 1944 work, Religion and Society, you sketched an idealistic picture of the future of India and the future development of mankind, and you firmly committed yourself to the ideals of Gandhi: 'The world of tomorrow will and must be a society based on non-violence and you described the development of human society as a development of three stages, the first stage, on which the law of the jungle reigns and we encounter violence and selfishness, the second stage, there law and jurisdiction with courts and prisons and police are maintained and the third stage, where we profess non-violence and selflessness, where love and law have become one.

The idealistic hope of this book seemed completely refuted by the bloody events of 1947. And yet you maintained your ideal even in the new situation. You added an afterword to your gang in 1947. In this epilogue you have found the courage to apply your constructive peace idea to the new, unforeseen situation in India. There you expressed insights that are directly related to our own painful situation in today's divided Germany. Let me return my thanks to you in your own words:

“If our hearts are filled with pain, we must start our country on its way to progress. The old Indian state no longer exists. But the historical Indian national body lives on, indifferent as it is conflicted with itself. Political divisions do not last forever. Cultural and spiritual ties are more permanent. We must nurture them carefully and with awe. In a slow process of education, with patient reflection and with the understanding that the causes which led to the division are in fact already out of date, we must develop unity. Fiery speeches and resolutions will not do it. The language of anger leads nowhere. Patience and the will to communicate are the order of the day. The present circumstances are an appeal to our ability and wisdom. The greatest calamity will come when power triumphs over skill. We did not reach the promised land. We have to work to pave the way. It is long and steep, full of hardship and suffering. The people will eventually get there. Some of us won't see it again, but we can foresee it. "


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Today all parts of the human race are in contact with one another. If we want to live in peace, we cannot stop halfway to further unification.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan - Acceptance speech

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Acceptance speech

I thank the head and the members of the board of directors of the German Stock Exchange Association for your kind suggestion to choose me for the 1961 Peace Prize. It is a real honor for me to be counted among those who have dedicated their lives and writings to the service of peace, and I particularly deserve that. If my writings and other works have given the world something of value, it may be because I believe deeply in human nature and in the free spirit of man. This award for someone who does not belong to the traditional culture of Europe and America shows their international character.

Professor Dr. Benz was extremely generous in appreciating my work. He referred to the excellent contributions that German Indologists, German researchers, and German publishers have made to the study of Indian thought. We owe you a deep debt of thanks. As a person who has devoted his life to the study of philosophy and religion, I believe I have a keen sense for the metaphysical nuances and mystical subtleties of your classical thinkers and your contemplative prophets.

Professor Benz was referring to a statement I made in New Delhi in 1947. I can say that these words can be applied to the current situation in Germany. Politics as a whole may not exist, but history as a whole lives regardless of how far the mind is absent, whether separate from itself, or unconsciously of its own existence. The road to the goal may be long and arduous, it may be full of hardship and suffering, but it will eventually be achieved.

At a time when new ways of arranging human life are beginning to assert themselves, writers are called on who feel an obligation to human welfare to approach the new ideals constructively and to devote themselves to their presentation with enthusiasm and devotion .

This building has been the symbol of German liberal endeavors since the first united parliament, which met here in 1848. It is a reminder for us to see clearly the need for moral and spiritual values ​​in this difficult hour in human history.

In material terms, the conditions in which we live have changed more radically in a few decades than in centuries of the past. The magnitude and rapidity of these changes imply a radical break with previous conditions. The rapid unification of the world that is now taking place through modern methods of communication and communications is the most effective and far-reaching that we have known so far. Leaders of civilizations and prophets of religions dreamed of one world, but their ideal could not be fulfilled in their time. Today all parts of the human race are in contact with one another. If we want to live in peace, we cannot stop halfway to further unification.

The matter has become urgent as we use nuclear power to manufacture military weapons. Any nuclear war can only end in a wild orgy of destruction. We have two alternatives to choose from: destroy ourselves or learn to live as members of a single family.

If the human race is to survive, we must subordinate national pride to international thinking. A nation has its place in the international order, but when it puts its own interests above those of the human community it becomes dangerous. History was full of conflict - Persia and Greece, Carthage and Rome, Christianity and Islam, the Axis and the Allied Powers. Today we have strained relations between the large groups led by the United States and the Soviet Union. It is necessary that these dissolve not in passive, armed coexistence, but in active, peaceful cooperation in order to develop a human society based on a commonality of ideals and goals. Persuasion and cooperation have become moral imperatives.

If the current situation is not to end in chaos, we must strive to build a world far better than the one that has ever existed before. It's up to us to choose. We should not believe that everything is determined by the purely physical chain of events. If we reject human freedom and believe that we will be swept away in the vortex of events and that this river will wash us into chaos, then that will happen and we will be responsible for it. If we look at the follies, crimes, and massacres of history, we find that they were possible because people suppressed the voice of their consciences, sought protection under the law of the state, and surrendered their freedom to the masses. Some leaders of religions and nations killed public opinion and controlled it through mass propaganda until their followers ceased to feel responsible for their actions. They became bundles of prejudice and hostility, narrow-minded allegiances and mental confusion. This unnatural shaking off of human responsibility is very clearly found in the epigram: “It was not Adam's fault; it wasn't Eva's fault; it wasn't the snake's fault; the apple was to blame «.

Once again, as so often in history, in times of great danger there are ways of escaping. Perhaps slowly, step by step, imperceptibly, regardless of what the spiritual rebirth of man spends on it. Thinking people suffer from disorder, they suffer from a heavy burden of guilt. You feel deeply humiliated. You start to doubt yourself and your worth. Their confidence is shaken when they realize that we, human beings, who claim to be civilized, committed incredible atrocities in the last war, and even now do so in some parts of the world. They feel that their hopes have been dashed and their self-confidence has been shaken. They are concerned that our leaders may lose their heads again and destroy us by misusing nuclear power. They are angry at the apparent cynicism, hypocrisy and aimlessness of a generation they have no sympathy for. They protest against the meanness and meanness of life. Yet they live in hope. It is a fundamental human requirement to be dissatisfied with things as they are, to ask for something better than what is.

Its great thinkers understand the present situation, the spiritual danger of the human personality, which becomes a tooth in the social machine and thus loses its substance, its freedom, its individual character. They try to maintain freedom and individuality. There is a mysterious layer in our ego that is not touched by external processes, an element that enables us to endure agony and to withstand pressure. Man is not an automaton that reacts to external stimuli with predictable responses. It has a dimension of depth. He lives on the surface when he is satisfied with outward appearances. But there is a purer joy which resides in the very depths of his being and which he becomes conscious in all of his majesty when he renounces his selfish desires and outward possessions - a joy that even death cannot disturb.

We are making history today. Through the choices we make, we can change the flow of events. We can only do this if we maintain an individual conscience. We have to strip the nation-state of the aura of the absolute and put the individual conscience back in its central place. We must stop seeing people of other nations as strangers or enemies, but treat them like human beings of our own kind. We must get excited about returning to the principles of individual freedom and friendship with the world.

This is not a time for anger, but for humility, for worry, for effort, for renewal of the spirit.

What helps us to become masters of ourselves is religion, but unfortunately it has reached a low point. Their successes are obvious, but the masses of people in many countries are alienated from their real spirit. A sharp distinction must be made between philosophical understanding and liberation from the tyranny of desires. An Orthodox Christian was asked what he thought would happen to him if he died, and he replied, "I believe I will enter a state of eternal bliss, but I wish you would not talk about such depressing things." Intellectual perception is different from emotional apprehension. In the depths of his nature, man longs for a comprehensive awareness of the reality in which he lives and moves. Above the worries, confusions and disappointments that besiege man, the spiritual power shines in the world, which, as in all things of creation, dwells in the soul of man. This spiritual power illuminates his path to real life. The aim of all creeds is to awaken the individual's awareness of the kingdom of light within himself.

To see the light, to be born again in the spirit, is the high mission to which we are all called. If religion is understood as inner change and self-purification, its triumphs will be decisive. It will shine with new strength and a new power will emanate from it. If by religion we mean personal encounter with the Supreme, then we will also be humble in describing the nature of the real. In the spirit of the Upanishads and Buddhas, Goethe says: “God becomes a phrase for them, especially the clergy who use him daily in their mouths, a mere name, whereby they think nothing at all. But if they were permeated by his greatness, they would fall silent and refuse to call him for admiration. ”Every religion has its priests, philosophers and prophets. She lives through her gifted ones, the saints, the seers and prophets. William Penn tells us, “The humble, meek, grateful, righteous, pious, and devoted souls are of the same religion everywhere. When death has taken off the mask, they will know each other, in spite of the different garments they wear here and which distinguish them from one another here.

Professor Benz showed how religions came together over the course of history. The West has long been aware of the three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the 19th century, knowledge of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Asian religions grew thanks to the works of many European scholars, and this influenced the religious thought of the West. He was referring to Schopenhauer's leadership role in this area. Today Christian and non-Christian religions interact like never before. Let me make it clear that I am not convinced of the need for a world faith, a selection that unites the valuable elements of all religions. Any attempt to create a religion that is not a religion in particular must be just as untenable as the attempt to speak without speaking a particular language. We recognize the various religions but recognize the unity that underlies them. We don't want to flatten diversity or impose uniformity. Diversity should not mean division, just as diversity should not mean discord. Each religion will learn to recognize the values ​​of others while maintaining its individuality. We do not believe in any favored races or chosen people or exclusive truths. Our seers offered hospitality to all creeds and proclaimed that "he alone sees who sees all living beings in himself". The various creeds are like the various fingers of the loving hand of the Most High. They address everyone and offer perfection of being for everyone.

The World Council of Churches will hold its third meeting in New Delhi next month. The members of the various non-Roman Christian denominations seek mutual understanding and cooperation. The visit of Dr. Fishers, still in his capacity as Archbishop of Canterbury, at the Vatican is a significant sign of the times, an expression of the longing for unity. The same approach can also be found with the non-Christian religions. May I quote William Penn once more: "It would be better not to belong to any church than to hate any." We become spiritual through a living union of spirit and heart, through a common sense of the ultimate mystery of Godhead Develop posture, an intellectual level that discourages racial pride and religious presumption. It is our hope that religions will develop not only passive co-existence, but active cooperation, not through violence or compromise, but through self-criticism and self-conquest.

An old Upanishad text says: “He who is the one who knows no racial differences, who stands above the innate needs of people of all colors, who sums up all things from beginning to end - may he unite us in the Wisdom that creates the good. "


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Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Acceptance speech by the award winner

+ + + At the beginning of 1961, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA are broken off. In April, a CIA-planned invasion of Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs in Cuba fails. Cuba reacts with a stronger lean towards the Soviet Union. + + + The First Secretaries of the Communist and Workers' Parties of the Warsaw Pact member states gave their unpublished approval in August to seal off the escape routes to West Berlin, as 195,828 people had left the GDR by September 1961 alone. + + +

+ + + On August 13, the GDR begins to build a wall under the pretext that it must protect itself against Western aggressions. On August 16, the border with the Federal Republic will be closed to all residents of the GDR and East Berlin. Three weeks later, East Berlin is declared the capital of the GDR. + + + The new federal government will be formed in November from the government coalition of the CDU, CSU and FDP. For the first time in the Federal Republic of Germany, a woman takes on a ministerial post: Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt becomes Federal Minister of Health. + + + The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin will be the first person to go into space on April 12th. Three weeks later, the American Alan B. Shepard flies into space. + + + The trial started in April against the former SS-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, the organizer of the genocide of European Jews, ends in December in Jerusalem with a death sentence. + + +

Biography Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was born on September 5, 1888 in Tiruttani, South India. He is studying philosophy and doing a PhD in college in his hometown. He later teaches as Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics in Madras (Chennai), Mysore, Calcutta (Kolkata) and Oxford.

Between 1931 and 1939 Radhakrishnan was one of the leading members of the International Committee on Scientific Cooperation, sponsored by the League of Nations. From 1947 to 1950 he took over the leadership of the Indian delegation at UNESCO, whose president he was later twice elected - in 1952 and 1958.

In 1949 he went to Moscow as his country's ambassador, and three years later his close friend Mahatma Gandhi became Vice President of India. Its aim is to build bridges between the spiritualism of the East and the rationalism of the West. In 1962, one year after receiving the Peace Prize, he was elected President of the Indian Republic, an office he held until 1967.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan died on April 16, 1975 at the age of 86.

1961 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
1959 Goethe badge of the city of Frankfurt am Main
1954 Order Pour le mérite for science and arts
1954 first recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian merit
1931 accolade (Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan)


My search for truth


Brahma Sutra. The Philosophy of Spiritual Life


East and West: Some Reflections


Eastern Religions and Western Thought


An idealist view of life


The Philosophy of the Upanishads


Indian Philosophy

2 volumes, 1923–1927

Ernst Benz, born on November 17, 1907 in Friedrichshagen, received his doctorate in philosophy in 1929 before starting to study theology in Berlin. In 1931 he received his habilitation in Halle. In contrast to numerous colleagues, Benz did not distance himself from the National Socialists. He became a member of the SA in 1933 and joined the NSDAP in 1937. During the Second World War he served as a divisional pastor and in 1946, after a year in captivity, took over the position of director of the Ecumenical Seminar at the University of Marburg.

Here he showed himself to be an unconventional researcher who, apart from classical church history, dealt with topics mainly related to mysticism and the Church of the East. His conservative stance was evident in his involvement in the initiation of the so-called "Marburg Manifesto", with which Marburg professors spoke out in 1968 against participation by students and the democratization of universities.

He died on December 29, 1978 in Meersburg at the age of 71.


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