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 […]

Read More Death and the Rig Veda

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 […]

Read More T.S. Eliot and Indian Philosophy

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 […]

Read More The Setubandha of Pravarasena

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 […]

Read More Śakuntalā’s poem

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 […]

Read More Hymn to all gods (№2)

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 […]

Read More Mahabharata in the time of COVID-19

Bolsonaro, Modi, Bartimaeus, Hanuman

The monkey Hanuman carries a herb mountain — Wikimedia Commons Recently Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wrote a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to confirm the close collaboration between Brazil and India on fighting COVID-19. Regarding the supply of pharmaceutical raw materials for the production of hydroxychloroquine from India to Brazil, as a potential treatment for […]

Read More Bolsonaro, Modi, Bartimaeus, Hanuman

A hymn to all the gods

What follows is my own translation of Rig Veda Mandala 1 Sūkta 89 (आ नो᳚ भ॒द्राः). The opening line of this verse is a well-known and well-loved one, quoted in the Baudhāyana Gṛhya Sūtra and many other later texts. The later verses include the famous lines भ॒द्रं कर्णे᳚भिः श‍ृणुयाम देवा etc. which appear in rearranged […]

Read More A hymn to all the gods

The Iśāvāsya Upanishad

Trisul, Nanda Devi and Himalayan range from Kausani, Uttarakhand – Wikimedia Commons Pervaded by the dominion [of the Supreme] is all of this which moves in the moving world Having abandoned this, enjoy! Do not be acquisitive! For whose indeed is wealth? [Iśāvāsya Upanishad Verse 1; my own translation] This is the famous first verse […]

Read More The Iśāvāsya Upanishad

Religious Pluralism in India

Lord Shiva dancing (Chamba, India, 18th century) — Google Arts and Culture/ National Museum, New Delhi Our religious and metaphysical worldviews correspond in deep and complex ways with social and ethical orders of our societies. Religiously monotheistic societies tend to be connected with highly centralised political structures, and indeed there is strong evidence that the adoption of Christianity […]

Read More Religious Pluralism in India