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indian infinity

India is all about infinity - an infinity of gods and myths, beliefs and languages, races and cultures; in everything, and everywhere one looks, there is this dizzying endlessness.

In 'Travels with Herodotus' Ryszard Kapuściński described his first assignment as a journalist who didn't speak English in India, in the 1950s. A book he used to acquaint himself with Indian thought was Paul Deussen's 'Outlines of Indian Philosophy', published in 1907.

"Deussen reproaches Europeans," Kapuściński notes:

"European idleness," [Deussen] complains, "tries to escape the study of Indian philosophy" - though perhaps "despair" is the more accurate motive since, in the course of four thousand years of uninterrupted development, this philosophy has evolved into a system so immense and immeasurable as to intimidate and paralyze all but the most hardened daredevil and enthusiast. Furthermore, in Hinduism the sphere of the unfathomable is boundless, and the rich variety of what lies within it is characterized by the most bewildering, mutually contradictory, and stark contrasts, the boundaries between material things and mystical phenomena are fluid and fleeting, one becomes the other or, simply, eternally is the other; being is transformed into nothingness, disintegrates and metamorphoses into the cosmos, into a celestial omnipresence, into a divine way that disappears into the depths of bottomless nonbeing.