This essay is based on the first chapter of the book Of God and Gods by Jan Assmann, titled ‘Understanding Polytheism’.
In Gītā-Bhāṣya, Śaṅkara says performance of dharmic actions without hankering after its rewards leads to sattva-śuddhi making us eligible for ātma–jñāna, otherwise śabda of Upaniṣads do have any effect on us
For readers unfamiliar with the kāvyaśāstra tradition this essay is a brief summary of its concepts and history.
The nīti lies in its very narratives and it is the rasa evoked by these narratives that makes the nīti leap out of the text and take hold of the reader.
Śūrpaṇakhā’s nose was cut off by Lakṣmaṇa as a merciful option when she made an attempt on Sītā’s life. That was the prevalent norm – in India and across the world. Had she been a man, he could have killed her.
Rescuing the Gītā from getting lost in the airy-fairy world of esoteric systems, whether jñāna or bhakti or yoga, and restoring its importance as a worldly text dealing with worldly problems for worldly people, is only the beginning.
Prologue Bharatiyas appear to have regained their familiarity with the terms pūrvapakṣa and uttarapakṣa but I don’t think many of them would be aware of what was actually involved in this process. What issues were…