If any movement in the West was deeply influenced by the philosophy and wisdom of India it was American Transcendentalism of the nineteenth century. It emerged as a strong reactionary movement, braving the currents of British empiricism, scientific naturalism, and dialectical materialism of Europe. American Transcendentalism believed in commitment to the Truth rather than in religious dogma and theology.
Breaking away from the materialistic influence of Europe on an emerging American society, American Transcendentalists, led by Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, turned to Indian philosophic thought. However, Thoreau excelled the others in his enthusiasm for Vedic literature.
Henry David Thoreau was a multifaceted personality: writer, poet, thinker, moralist, rebel, reformer, naturalist, and ecologist. His renowned works Walden and Civil Disobedience stand out as a metaphor for high thinking, exceptional insight, and simple living. It is no wonder that Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha was greatly influenced by the writings of the ascetically inclined Thoreau.
This book is a perceptive inter-cultural study of the life and writings of Henry David Thoreau in the light of Indic tradition, presenting new findings on the hitherto unexplored aspects of the “Yogi of Walden.”