Dr. J. Glenn Friesen

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Heinrich Zimmer

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© J. Glenn Friesen
( 2005)

Heinrich Zimmer

(1890-1943)

 

The Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was one of the people who introduced C.G. Jung to the ideas of the Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi. Jung met Zimmer in the 1930’s when Zimmer was Professor of Sanskrit at Heidelberg. Zimmer attended some of the meetings at Eranos. Most importantly, Zimmer translated some of Ramana's writings into German, in a book entitled Der Weg zum Selbst [the Way to the Self]. The book was published in 1954, and Jung wrote an introduction to it. In 1946, the book came to the attention of Ramana Maharshi. Dr. B.K. Roy reviewed Zimmer's book and advised Ramana it was only a translation. See Devaraja Mudaliar: Day by Day with Bhagavan (Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramansramam, 1995), pp. 168, 285.

Jung's Introduction to Zimmer's book is included in Jung's Collected Works as "The Holy Men of India." (CW volume 9). The introduction makes it clear that Jung had read the translated ideas of Ramana. For more information on the relation between Zimmer, Ramana Maharshi and Jung, see my article "Jung, Ramana Maharshi and Eastern Meditation."

Zimmer urged Jung to visit Ramana on his trip to India. Zimmer was greatly disappointed when Jung did not do so. Zimmer himself never travelled to India.

Zimmer also wrote the following books (some were only published posthumously through his editor, Joseph Campbell).:

Maya: der indische Mythos (Berlin: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1936).

Der Weg Zum Selbst: Lehre und Leben des indischen heiligen Shri Ramana Maharshi aus Tiruvannamalei (Zurich: Rascher, 1954). C.G. Jung wrote the introduction to this book about Ramana Maharshi.

The Philosophies of India, ed. Joseph Campbell(Princeton, 1951).

The Art of Indian Asia, ed. Joseph Campbell (Princeton, 1955).

Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images of India (Princeton, 1984).

Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization (New York: Harper & Row, 1946).

The King and the Corpse: Tales of the Soul's Conquest of Evil (Princeton, 1975).

 

A good collection of articles about Zimmer can be found in Heinrich Zimmer: Coming into his own, ed. Margaret H. Case (Princeton, 1994).

 

Revised April 13/05