Death and the Rig Veda

King Dasharatha cremates Shravana and his aged Parents — Wikimedia Commons (B.N.Goswamy/ Gazal world) Ideas about some kind of afterlife are commonly found in all religions. In the Bhagavad Gītā, Krishna explains that those who resort to him do not get ‘punarjanma’ (rebirth in this world). A precursor to ‘punarjanma’ is the idea of ‘punarmṛtyu’ or ‘re-death’, found […]

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T.S. Eliot and Indian Philosophy

T.S. Eliot — Wikimedia Commons (Octave.H) It is well-known that T.S. Eliot engaged deeply with Indian philosophy in ways which significantly influenced his worldview and his poetry. In fact,Eliot was a student of the eminent Sanskrit scholar Professor Charles Rockwell Lanman at Harvard University, and in fact Eliot’s PhD supervisor there, Josiah Royce, had also earlier learnt […]

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The Setubandha of Pravarasena

Monkey Army building a stone bridge to cross sea on way to Lanka — Wikimedia Commons (Ms Sarah Welch) The Prakrit languages have a very rich and complex literary history dating back to at least the early centuries AD. As Prof. Andrew Ollett explains – “Like Sanskrit, [Prakrit] was a language of literary intellectual culture, and cut across […]

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Śakuntalā’s poem

Dushyanta and Shakuntala in a Landscape — LACMA The play Abhijnāna-Śakuntalam is one of the most well-known and frequently-performed works by the renowned Indian poet Kālidāsa. The play is based on the famous story found in the Mahābhārata about the romance of Śakuntalā and Duṣyanta. However, Kālidāsa uses his own creative imagination to add some additional twists […]

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Hymn to all gods (№2)

What follows is my own translation of Rig Veda Mandala 1 Sūkta 90. The final lines of this verse are well-known and well-loved as they feature in one of the Śānti Mantras. The repeated reference to honey (madhu) also seems to be picked up on later in the Madhu-vidyā section of the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad. The […]

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Mahabharata in the time of COVID-19

Draupadi Ka Danda — HimalayanPeak — Garhwal,India — Wikimedia Commons (AmarChandra) We frequently turn to literature to find analogies for situations that we find ourselves in, both as individuals and as communities. Literature can perhaps provide guidance or a mental model that helps us to deal with situations that may be hard to process rationally or emotionally. In the context of […]

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