Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
The influence which Wilkins had on Blake is intimated by a reference Blake made to a picture (now lost) which he included in his exhibition of 1809. We can assume that Blake read Wilkins translation of the 'Geeta' and absorbed from it insights into Eastern religious thought and practice. He was open to receiving truth from multiple sources and integrating fresh ideas into the encompassing myth through which he transmitted his vision.
Northrop Frye on page 110 of Fearful Symmetry comments on the relationship of the Bible to other religious writings:
"However, while 'The Old & New Testaments are the Great Code of Art,' to regard them as forming a peculiar or exclusive Word of God is a sectarian error, the same one that the Jews made which proved such a disaster to them. All myths and rituals hint darkly and allegorically at the same visions that we find in the Bible, which is why they have such a strong resemblance to Christian myths and rituals...There are many great visions outside the range of the Bible, such as the Icelandic Eddas and the Bhagavadgita, almost equally faithful to the central form of the Word of God, and the Bible no less than Classical legends comes from older and more authentic sources."
Laocoon, (E 274)
"The Old & New Testaments are the Great Code of Art"
Descriptive Catalog, (E 548) "NUMBER X. The Bramins.--A Drawing. The subject is, Mr. Wilkin, translating the Geeta; an ideal design, suggested by the first publication of that part of the Hindoo Scriptures, translated by Mr. Wilkin. I understand that my Costume is incorrect, but in this I plead the authority of the ancients, who often deviated from the Habits, to preserve the Manners, as in the instance of Laocoon, who, though a priest, is represented naked." Descriptive Catalogue, (E 551) INDEX TO THE CATALOGUE. NUMBER. I. The Spiritual Form of Nelson Leviathan PAGE 1 II. The Spiritual Form of Pitt guiding Behemoth 2 III. The Canterbury Pilgrims, from Chaucer 7 IV. The Bard, from Gray 35 V. The Ancient Britons 39 VI. A Subject from Shakspeare 51 VII. The Goats 52 VIII. The Spiritual Preceptor ib. IX. Satan calling up his Legions, from Milton 54 X. The Bramins--A Drawing 59 XI. The Body of Abel found by Adam and Eve, Cain fleeing away--A Drawing 60 XII. Soldiers casting Lots for Christ's Garment--A Drawing ib. XIII. Jacob's Ladder--A Drawing ib. XIV. Angels hovering over the Body of Jesus in the Sepulchre--A Drawing ib. XV. Ruth--A Drawing 61 XVI. The Penance of Jane Shore--A Drawing 65" Descriptive Catalogue, (E 544) "Poetry as it exists now on earth, in the various remains of ancient authors, Music as it exists in old tunes or melodies, Painting and Sculpture as it exists in the remains of Antiquity and in the works of more modern genius, is Inspiration, and cannot be surpassed; it is perfect and eternal. Milton, Shakspeare, Michael Angelo, Rafael, the finest specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting, and Architecture, Gothic, Grecian, Hindoo and Egyptian, are the extent of the human mind. The human mind cannot go beyond the gift of God, the Holy Ghost. To suppose that Art can go beyond the finest specimens of Art that are now in the world, is not knowing what Art is; it is being blind to the gifts of the spirit."
Bhagvat-geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon
Translated by Charles Wilkins, 1785
From Translator's Preface
"It seems as if the principal design of these dialogues was to unite all the prevailing modes of worship of those days; and, by setting up the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead, in opposition to idolatrous sacrifices, and the worship of images, to undermine the tenets inculcated by the Feds; for although the author dared not make a direct attack, either upon the prevailing prejudices of the people, or the divine authority of those ancient books; yet, by offering eternal happiness to such as worship Brahm, the Almighty, whilst he declares the reward of such as follow other Gods shall be but a temporary enjoyment of an inferior heaven, for a period measured by the extent of their virtues, his design was to bring about the downfall of Polytheism; or, at least, to induce men to believe God present in every image before which they bent, and the object of all their ceremonies and sacrifices."
Quotes from The Bhagavad Gita: “He is the source of light in all luminous objects. He is beyond the darkness of matter and is unmanifested. He is knowledge, He is the object of knowledge, and He is the goal of knowledge. He is situated in everyone's heart.” ~~~ “The man who sees me in everything and everything within me will not be lost to me, nor will I ever be lost to him. He who is rooted in oneness realizes that I am in every being; wherever he goes, he remains in me. When he sees all being as equal in suffering or in joy because they are like himself, that man has grown perfect in yoga.” ~~~ “The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. There was never a time when you and I and all the kings gathered here have not existed and nor will there be a time when we will cease to exist.”