Some Indo-European thoughts on time

Our day-to-day experience of time passing can be highly non-linear and subjective, as we move from giving rapid presentations to enjoying lazy Sunday afternoons.  Science too has studied how our brains have the ability to slow down and speed up our perception of time.  In this way, our lived experience of the flow of time diverges sharply from the scientific description of this experience.

Read More Some Indo-European thoughts on time

Trysts by night in art and poetry

The painting above, by one of the great Indian artists of the late eighteenth century, Nainsukh, depicts such a scene.  Our paramour sneaks away from her home by night to a spot in the forest where she has arranged to meet her lover during the night, and she must be back before anyone awakes and misses her in the morning.

Read More Trysts by night in art and poetry

Love, death and Sanskrit literature

In romantic literature across the world, we frequently read about lovers who would die rather than be apart.  In the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, Pyramus kills himself, believing Thisbe to be dead.  When Thisbe finds the dead body of Pyramus, she also kills herself.  Romeo and Juliet, based on this story, and many other tales of world literature, follow a similar pattern.

Read More Love, death and Sanskrit literature

On craft-worker gods and heroes

For ancient as well as modern people, God has been conceived of in a bewildering variety of ways.  At one extreme, we see a wholly abstract and ineffable power, such as the Advaitic conception of Brahman, and on the other hand, we find an anthropomorphic god such as Krishna in the Mahābhārata, who is faced by the same moral dilemmas and limitations on his ability to act as the rest of us.

Read More On craft-worker gods and heroes

T.S. Eliot, the Vedas and the Concept of Time

The concept of time seems to have been a preoccupation for many leading figures of this generation across a variety of fields, stimulated perhaps in part by the linking of hitherto distant regions through railway and telegraphy during the nineteenth century, and likely also by the impact of Einstein’s work.  Such figures might include Henri Bergson, Martin Heidegger, Marcel Proust, Salvador Dali and many others.

Read More T.S. Eliot, the Vedas and the Concept of Time

On the vision of God

A pivotal point in many sacred narratives is the encounter between the human and the divine, often in terms of a theophany, that is, a visible manifestation of a deity.  Early in the Book of Exodus, we read about Moses’ first encounter with God in the burning bush.

Read More On the vision of God

Devī and the Buffalo Demon – Part Two

In the first part of the story, we saw how the buffalo-demon Mahiśāsura behaved in an extremely arrogant and conceited way due to the boon granted by Brahma that he could not be killed by any male god, demon or human, thinking himself invincible because of this. He made fun of the idea that any woman could be strong enough to challenge him and even taunted Indra about his supposed lack of manly courage.

Read More Devī and the Buffalo Demon – Part Two

The Buffalo Demon – Part One

Another interesting story concerns the buffalo demon Mahiśāsura who was granted a boon that he would not be killed by man or by gods. This story is told in the Devī Māhātmya, from which I will draw below, as well as in the Devī Bhāgavatam, and in many other literary texts and folk stories too.

Read More The Buffalo Demon – Part One