Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

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Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Telugu language:సర్వేపల్లి రాధాకృష్ణ, Tamil language:சர்வேபள்ளி ராதாகிருஷ்ணன்), (September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975), was a philosopher and statesman.

One of the foremost scholars of comparative religion and philosophy, he built a bridge between Eastern and Western thought showing each to be comprehensible within the terms of the other. He introduced Western idealism into Indian philosophy and was the first scholar of importance to provide a comprehensive exegesis of India's religious and philosophical literature to English speaking peoples. His academic appointments included the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta (1921-?) and Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at Oxford University (1936-1939).

He was the first Vice President of India (1952-1962), and the second President of India (1962-1967). His birthday is celebrated in India as Teacher's Day.


[edit] Life and career

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Sarvepalli is his family name, and Radhakrishnan his given name) was born into a middle class telugu family at Tiruttani, a town in Tamil Nadu, South India, 64 km to the northwest of Madras (now known as Chennai). His mother tongue was Telugu. His early years were spent in Tiruttani, Tiruvallur and Tirupati. His primary education was in Gowdie School, Tiruvallur, and higher school education in P.M.High School, Gajulamandyam, Renigunta. He married Sivakamuamma in 1904 at age 16 in Vellore. They had five daughters and a son, Sarvepalli Gopal. He graduated with a Master's degree in Philosophy from the prestigious Madras Christian College.

In 1921, he was appointed as a philosophy professor to occupy the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta. Radhakrishnan represented the University of Calcutta at the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire in June 1926 and the International Congress of Philosophy at Harvard University in September 1926. In 1929, Radhakrishnan was invited to take the post vacated by Principal J. Estlin Carpenter in Manchester College, Oxford. This gave him the opportunity to lecture to the students of the University of Oxford on Comparative Religion. He was knighted in 1931. He was the Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1936, Radhakrishnan was named Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the University of Oxford, and was elected a Fellow of All Souls College. When India became independent in 1947, Radhakrishnan represented India at UNESCO, and was later India's first ambassador in Moscow. He was also elected to the Constituent Assembly of India.

Radhakrishnan was elected the first Vice President of India in 1952. In 1956, his wife Sivakamuamma died. They were married for over 51 years. He was elected as the second President of India (1962-1967). When he became President, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, September 5. He replied, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers' Day." His birthday has since been celebrated as Teachers' Day in India. Radhakrishnan along with Ghanshyam Das Birla and few other Social Workers in pre independence era formed Krishnarpan Charity Trust. The trust donated funds for Nuclear Research Work after World War-II. The trust is presently headed by Basant Kumar Birla & the trust started BK Birla Institute of Engineering & Technology, Pilani in year 2007 for Engineering Education in Rajsthaan in the branches Electrical, Computer, Electronics & Communication & Information Technology.

[edit] Philosophy

Radhakrishnan argued that Western philosophers, despite all claims to objectivity, were biased by theological influences of their own culture. He wrote books on Indian philosophy according to Western academic standards, and made Indian philosophy worthy of serious consideration in the West. In his book "Idealist View of Life" he has made a powerful case for the importance of intuitive thinking as opposed to purely intellectual forms of thought. He is well known for his commentaries on the Prasthana Trayi namely, the Bhagavadgita, the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra.

He was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 1938. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954, and the Order of Merit in 1963. He received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1961, and the Templeton Prize in 1975, a few months before his death. The Oxford University instituted the Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships and the Radhakrishnan Memorial Award in his memory.

[edit] Quotation

"It is not God that is worshipped but the group or authority that claims to speak in His name. Sin becomes disobedience to authority not violation of integrity."

[edit] Works

  • The secret of Leela
  • The Ethics of Vedanta and Its Metaphysical Presuppositions (1908)
  • Essentials of Psychology (1912)
  • The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (1918)
  • The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy (1920)
  • Indian Philosophy - Volume I (1923)
  • The Philosophy of the Upanishads (1924)
  • The Hindu View of Life (1926)
  • Indian Philosophy - Volume II (1927)
  • The Religion We Need (1928)
  • Kalki or the Future of Civilization (1929)
  • An Idealist View of Life (Hibbert Lectures) (1932)
  • East and West in Religion (1933)
  • The Heart of Hindustan (1936)
  • Freedom and Culture (1936)
  • Contemporary Indian Philosophy (1936)
  • Religion in Transition (1937)
  • Gautama, the Buddha (British Academy Lectures) (1938)
  • Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939)
  • Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on his Life and Work (1939)
  • India and China (1944)
  • Education, Politics and War (A collection of addresses) (1944)
  • Is this Peace? (1945)
  • Religion and Society (Kamala Lectures) (1947)
  • The Bhagavadgita (1948)
  • Great Indians (1949)
  • The Dhammapada (1950)
  • An Anthology Of Radhakrishna Writings (1952)
  • The Religion of the Spirit and World's Need: Fragments of a Confession (1952)
  • History of Philosophy in Eastern and Western (2 Vols.) (1952)
  • The Principal upaniShads (1953)
  • East and West: Some Reflections: First series in Bently Memorial Lectures (1955)
  • Recovery of Faith (1956)
  • Occasional Speeches and Writings - Vol I (1956), Vol II (1957)
  • A Source Book in Indian Philosophy (1957)
  • The brahma sutra: The Philosophy of Spiritual Life (1960)
  • The Concept of Man (1960)
  • Fellowship of Faiths: Opening address to the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard * (1961)
  • Occasional Speeches [July 1959 - May 1962] (1963)
  • President Radhakrishna's Speeches and Writings 1962-1964 (1965)
  • On Nehru (1965)
  • Religion in a Changing World (1967)
  • President Radhakrishna's Speeches and Writings 1964-1967 (1969)
  • Radhakrishna Reader: An Anthology (1969)
  • The Creative Life (1975)
  • Living with a Purpose (1977)
  • True Knowledge (1978)
  • Indian Religions (1979)
  • Towards a New World (1980)

Freedom Fighters

Alluri Seethaaraama RaajuAyyadevara Kaleswara RaoB Pattabhi Sitaramayya (Dr. Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetaramayya) • Bulusu SambamurthyBayya Narasimheswara SarmaDr.Sarvepalli RadhakrishnaDuggirala GopalakrishnayyaGadecherla Harisarvothama RaoKasinadhuni Nageswara Rao PantuluKonda Venkatappaih PantuluKopalle Hanumantha RaoMadapati Ramachandra RaoMocherla Ramachandra RaoMutnuri Krishna RaoNarumanchi SubbaraoNyapathy Subba Rao Pantulu (Andhra Bhishma) • Panapakkam AnandacharyuluPingali VenkaiahPotti Sree RamuluPritivaj Bankara CharyTanguturi Prakasam Pantulu

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