Fruits of Our Desiring

July 06, 2020 [books] #the-gita #reviews #academic

Book: The Fruits of Our Desiring: An Enquiry Into the Ethics of the Bhagavadgītā for Our Times
Author: Multiple

A wonderful collection of essays from some of the leading theologians and Indologists of the 90s (and now?) on the Gita and its many interpretations. That both Gandhi and his killer Godse both used Gita to develop a framework for their actions only speaks to the fact that many such interpretations are possible and continue to be made, and attests to the status of the Gita as a living text. Julius Lipner, in the introduction, makes a case against those claiming to be objective when examining the text:

... the "objective" scholar inevitably, indeed constitutionally, brings a host of "subjective" selective criteria to bear in pursuit of his or her professional work, such as one's particular academic conditioning, temperament and personal prejudices, and the current political environment in which one must function (think of the corrective and distortive effects of political correctness). These guiding and constitutive criteria of "objective" scholarship are expressions of faiths/personal commitments too, and affect the form and content of one's conclusions.

Since I have been emotionally committed to that conclusion for a while now, I endorse the sentiment wholeheartedly. Interestingly, the essay/interpretation that I thought was the weakest, "Possessing the world", is by the lone Indian in the group.