The Bhagavad Gita is Hindu scripture.

The blog of Sivana East claims that Albert Einstein said:

When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.

Did Albert Einstein say this?


3 Answers 3


It's highly doubtful that that quote is authentic given Einstein's general views on traditional/organized religion:

The word God, he says, is “nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness,” and the Hebrew Bible is a collection of “honorable, but still purely primitive legends.”

So Einstein expressing awe at some other religious text (the Bhagavad-Gita) seems quite improbable. On the other hand, Einstein did have quasi-religious views, but of a somewhat different "pantheistic" kind, e.g.:

On 24 April 1929, Einstein cabled Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein in German: "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."[24] He expanded on this in answers he gave to the Japanese magazine Kaizō in 1923:

Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order. [...] This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as "pantheistic" (Spinoza).

(He elaborated on this some more in later writings/interview, but the above is enough here.)

Somewhat more clearly, in 1954 Einstein wrote:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

So I think this latter view of Einstein was "cleverly" exploited by prepending the Bhagavad-Gita mention (possibly inadvertently or deliberately by confusion with Oppenheimer though) to something (the 2nd part of the questionable statement) that does sound a bit like something that Einstein could have said, although the fact that the questionable quote doesn't have any Spinoza/pantheism/science mentions makes it quite improbable that it is authentic in any part.

  • 1
    Yes but this is exactly why I thaught it was plausible that einstain talked about gita. Spinoza and Emerson for example were influenced by vedic understanding of reality., and their philosophy influenced many scientists. To my understanding gita doesn't talk about a personal God, it is pantheistic in essence .
    – user55058
    Apr 11, 2020 at 13:20
  • Same way he einstain said God doesn't play dice. He meant Got in a poetic sort of context, same way gita does it.
    – user55058
    Apr 11, 2020 at 21:03

This blog post analyzes the quote.

Basically arguing that based on fuzzy grammatical structure, nonexistence of an exact source, and comparison in general to other Einstein quotes, the quote is probably fake.

I conclude by referring to this discussion and this clarification from Wikiquote which leaves very little room for doubt that this Gita endorsement of Einstein is an imposture and a crude fabrication of Hindu jingoists.


As you already know, the blog post you provided lacked any sort of citation and obviously was a bit suspect so I did a google books search of the quote to see if I could find a book that cited a source for the quote. Surprisingly I found a book that did, but the preview on both Google Books and Amazon did not allow me to check the actual citation, however I eventually found a preview that allowed me to view the citations and again surprisingly it was in a list of quite specific citations, however unlike the other citations listed which were full academic citations, the citation simply listed a URL and even worse a URL that returned a 404 error, so I used The Wayback Machine to find an archived version of the web article cited. When I found it I was admittedly disappointed as it was simply a list of unsourced quotes obviously of little value as a valid citation.

Bhagavad Gita on Effective Leadership by Pujan Roka in preview see quote on 107 and citation on 143 Archived source

Wikiquote's talk page has some theories on where this apocryphal quote originated and one editor suggested the quite recent date of origin as 2005. I would suspect, though I have no evidence to support it, that it originated as a merger of various paraphrased or misremembered quotes that Einstein made concerning his religious beliefs combined with a famous quote, by a physicist who was a contemporary of Einstein, Robert Oppheinheimer who famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita upon detonation of the first atomic weapon.


"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another"

Federation of American Scientists article (video)

  • 2
    Welcome to Skeptics! This appears to be a description of your failed attempt to find an answer, rather than an answer itself.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 11, 2020 at 7:08
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    I know about Oppenheimers quote, so you're saying that no source exists that would canfirm this quote
    – user55058
    Apr 11, 2020 at 8:03
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    Note: If you want me to respond, probably best to refer to me as "@Oddthinking", so I get pinged rather than "Odd Thinking guy".
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:32
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    If this answer stuck to what Wikiquote said, explaining "The best information we have is that the people who research this sort of question say this: (no published sources of it prior to 2005) and (traced the source to a Yahoo user in Pakistan. I have contacted them but have had no response)", you would have the best answer your references allow.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:37
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    Instead, you speculate "Oh, by Einstein they must have meant Oppenheimer" and "Rather than praising him, he just quoted him" which is two rather unlikely jumps and are totally unreferenced, which means you are starting a new doubtful claim, rather than addressing the one doubtful claim. This is not what this site is about.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:38

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