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October 25, 2011

Comments

Namit, can't wait to hear what you've got to say.

Namit,

Remember your post on "Should you kill the Fat Man ? " I think your debate with Krishna will be along those "key" questions and relative justifications. Looking forward to your post.

Thanks Jagadish and Shreyasi. As you might imagine, taking on Krishna will not be easy, so I'm eating well and exercising more these days. :)

+1 in the list of people waiting for the post!

By extension, I think the Gita is not a worthy guide to life (or the ‘inner battlefield’)
Is there really any ancient book thats acting as a worthy guide to life? for e.g day-to-day conflicts.. have you ever heard anybody resolve issues by saying "Oh.. this is how Pandavas/Odysseus/Jesus/Muhammed did it.. I will do the same". LOL. Even if somebody says that, does a listener ever say "Oh.. yeah that totally resolves it. we cool". Oh well.. it could happen in fundamentalist circles, but we would laugh in the public square for sure.

Namit, that Chakra link you provided.. how can anyone even read that to the end? how can anybody hope to carry out a conversation with such a delusional person? Of course, its the usual inter-religious mud-flinging, and then a preemptive decrying of any secular attempt at analysis. Some of his points blow the mind.

Mahabharat not only teaches how families can face destruction over material wealth but also how brothers can turn into enemies and how an entire society gets destroyed when women are not respected
Oh.. so one woman Draupadi being disrespected is adequate for the ancient war, but thousands of women (and men) being disrespected in modern day India isnt adequate yet?
Sathya Sai Baba died at 85 solar years. If it is mapped to lunar years, it becomes “96 years”.
This guy will fit right in with the Sophists of Greece.

PS: Look forward to your write-up. I wonder if people are interested in Dr.Kamath's take
http://nirmukta.com/the-truth-about-the-bhagavad-gita-by-dr-prabhakar-kamath/

astro.nj,

Good thoughts. On your first para, I think the Gita occupies a place different from most ancient religious texts. Eminent thinkers like Nehru, Gandhi, Emerson, Thoreau, and Hesse have said glowing things about its wisdom. My sense is that even among the literati today, its cultural cachet is that of a work whose profundity is largely taken for granted. We don't laugh enough at it in the public square, do we?

Not all religious classics are created equal of course, but all classics are defined by their ability to survive criticism. I don't mean to say that there is nothing insightful in the Gita (that would be folly!), only that reasoned criticism of it is not only possible but necessary in every age, if only to better understand our own cultural roots. By and large, Indian elites haven't been confronted with the Gita's problematic aspects. Anyhow, more in due course. Thanks for the Kamath link, I'll take a look. Btw, I didn't read the Chakra link to the end. :)

astro.nj,

I find it hard to read Kamath. It all seems conspiratorial to me. In the long run the man with the words prevails not the one with the sword or plough or anvil. Control of language and knowledge is way more potent than anything else.

Jagadish,
Its a long series sure, and Re: control of language, after spending a couple of years on online forums, I have developed thicker skin so I could handle it fine :-)
His theory is based on exegesis and understanding of history. For me, too much of the Indian story is bereft of historical context and thereby difficult to assimilate/evaluate for use in modern times. The mishmash of religious notions that sit side-by-side, but are often at odds with each other begs investigation and explanation (for e.g upanishadic claim that all are equal vs the brahmanic claim of varnashrama). I think DrKamath has done a good job in detecting three separate lines of thought/movements in the Gita. Wonder what experts think of that.

Thanks for the post. It got me and my 14 yo daughter talking about the Gita.

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New Book by Namit Arora

  • The Lottery of Birth reveals Namit Arora to be one of our finest critics. In a raucous public sphere marked by blame and recrimination, these essays announce a bracing sensibility, as compassionate as it is curious, intelligent and nuanced.” —Pankaj Mishra

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Namit wins 3QD Arts & Literature Prize 2011

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