EM Forster

Passage to India

A mosque by winning his approval let loose his imagination. The temple of another creed, Hindu, Christian, Greek, would have bored him and failed to awaken his sense of beauty. Here was Islam, his own country, more than a Faith, more than a battle cry, more, much more...Islam, an attitude towards life both exquisite and durable, where his body and his thoughts found their home. 20

The shorter and taller ladies both adjusted their saris and smiled. There was a curious uncertainty about their gestures, as if they sought for a new formula which neither East nor West could provide. 42

It was so with all his opinions. Nothing stayed, nothing passed that did not return; the circulation was ceaseless and kept him young, and he mourned his wife the more sincerely because he mourned her seldom. 55

He had known that she would pass from his hands and eyes, but had thought she would live in his mind, not realizing that the very fact that we have loved the dead increases their unreality, and that the more passionately we invoke them, the farther they recede. 56

...centuries of carnal embracement, yet man is no nearer to understanding man. 135

It's only one's own dead who matter. If for a moment the sense of communion in sorrow came to them, it passed. How, indeed, is it possible for one human being to be sorry for all the sadness that meets him on the face of the earth, for the pain that is endured not only by men, but by animals and plants and perhaps by the stones? The soul is tired in a moment, and in fear of losing the little she does understand, she retreats to the permanent lines which habit or chance have dictated, and suffers there. 240

This restfulness of gesture. It is the Peace that Passeth Understanding, after all, it is the social equivalent of Yoga. When the whirring of action ceases, it becomes visible, and reveals a civilization which the West can disturb but will never acquire. The hand stretches out forever, the lifted knee has the eternity though not the sadness of the grave. 244

Suspicion in the Oriental is a sort of malignant tumor, a mental malady, that makes him self-conscious and unfriendly suddenly; he trusts and mistrusts at the same time in a way that the Westerner cannot comprehend. It is his demon, as the Westerner's is hypocrisy. 272

God is not born yet--that will occur at midnight--but He has also been born centuries ago, nor can he ever be born, because he is the Lord of the Universe, who transcends human processes. He is, was not, is not, was. 279

There he sat, leaning against a pillar, exhausted with illness, his eyes magnified by many unshed tears. 282

All laughed exultantly at discovering that the divine sense of humor coincided with his own. "God si love!" There is fun in heaven. God can play practical jokes upon Himself, draw chairs away from beneath His own posteriors, set His own turbans on fire, and steal His own petticoats when He bathes. By sacrificing good taste, this worship achieved what Christianity has shirked: the inclusion of merriment. All spirit as well as matter must participate in salvation, and if practical jokes are banned, the circle is incomplete. 284