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Swami Vivekananda on India’s Caste Problem

[Editor’s Note: I don’t recall from which of his books I found this extract. It’s been sitting in my Drafts folder for 4.5 years and is eminently worth a read.] A man from the highest caste and a man from the lowest may become a monk in India and the two castes become equal. The […]

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The Guide’s trouble with the Censor Board

If you thought Bollywood’s troubles with the Censor Board are a recent phenomenon, think again. R.K. Narayan recounts, in The Writerly Life, his experience with the movie making process of The Guide. He appropriately titles that episode in his book as The ‘Misguided’ Guide. He devotes 13 pages to that episode, fine Narayan reading of […]

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Pic courtesy talentedreader.blogspot.com

Minimalist in a maximal world

[Editor’s Note: I’ve been meaning to write this post for sometime. This needs mention because this post has the rare distinction of having only a 2 week gestation period (the median post is more like 3-6 months). On a flight back from Delhi, I started writing. The battery went kaput after two paragraphs. Undeterred, I […]

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Pic courtesy uttaranchal.org.uk

How Hinduism is different from all other religions

[Editor’s Note: Swami Vivekananda opines on how Hinduism is different from all other religions. The emphasis in the excerpts are all mine. This is but a partial extract and has been languishing in my Drafts folder for a year. Thanks to the Doniger/Penguin fracas, I remembered. Here you go.] You hear claims made by every […]

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Pic courtesy vanwageningen.net

The Zoo-enslaved Panther’s Ritual Dance

I forget where I found the extract below. But it instantly transported me to the last trip to Mysore Zoo – the description couldn’t be more spot-on. The desperation of a life in captivity is perhaps conveyed best in Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “The Panther”: As the animal “paces in cramped circles, over and over,” […]

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Pic courtesy kitmantv.blogspot.com)

Solzhenitsyn and the Struggle for Russia’s Soul

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by George Friedman, Founder of Stratfor, after the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Aug 2008. I received it as part of the free Stratfor subscription. I have two Solzhenitsyn volumes in my book collection but.. they haven’t yet made it home. When I forwarded this article to my Ukrainian […]

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Swami Vivekananda on Spiritual Conquest (Part 2)

[Editor’s Prelude] This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series on Swami Vivekananda’s ideas on spiritual conquest – from a talk titled The Work Before Us delivered at the Triplicane Literary Society, Madras. In the excerpts below, he elaborates on spiritual conquest – “conquest of the world by spiritual thought is the sending out of the life-giving principles, […]

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Swami Vivekananda on Spiritual Conquest

[Editor’s Prelude] Was Swami Vivekananda the first ambassador of Hinduism to the West? The more one reads of his writings and lectures, one begin to realize that he was possibly Hinduism’s first (and most forceful) evangelist. I’ve used evangelist deliberately because it’s hardly used in the same sentence with Hinduism. In his talk at The […]

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Understanding Rama’s Sita Conundrum – view from Swami Vivekananda

Most Hindus probably learned the numerous stories in Ramayana from Amar Chitra Katha comics. If you’ve been a reasonably voracious reader in your youth, you might have also read C. Rajagopalcharya’s version which gets into Ramayana in a fair bit of detail. Recently, the controversial lawyer Ram Jethmalani and Rajya Sabha MP (suspended) observed that […]

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Swami Vivekananda (Pic courtesy jnanajyoti.com)

Backstory on John D. Rockefeller’s First Public Donation

My most inspired Kindle purchase in 2012 (for a ‘princely’ sum of $1.99) was The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Last night I learnt that John D. Rockefeller’s first meeting with Swami Vivekananda (as recorded in Madame Verdier’s journey in New Discoveries) served as a trigger to the former’s first ever donation for public good – wow! […]

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