||[Mar. 12th, 2003|11:50 pm]
The American Caliban
I gave up on reading this book about Vedanta because it was one of those books that lies about being introductory. After all this reassurance from the author that it was a Good Introductory Book about Vedantic Thought it turns out to be no such thing, and he keeps dropping bombs like "this explains the huge controversy about the teaching of Hlaghlag'aghl with which we are all familiar" etc etc. Someone who wasn't a Vedanta scholar should have reviewed the book before publication.
So now I'm reading a history of Hinduism which is hard going but at least explanatory. I decided to stop reading it tonight when a description of one sect's beliefs ended "thus the highest name of God is 'The Darling of the Milkmaids'." and I started giggling madly. Time for beer and internetting instead of trying to understand Big Ideas.
I like beer.
2003-03-13 08:17 am (UTC)
Darling of the Milkmaids?
For some reason, I get this image in my head of Ganesha surrounded by a bunch of pornographic Swiss Miss girls, all grabbing their ample bosom and laughing, little demure droplets of milk emerging from each pink gumdrop-like nipple, and Ganesha flashing "peace" with a wink. Done Manga style, of course. On a Roppongi lamp post with a small kid underneath of it going "Guh?"
Much better then my personal mental image, although mine also had the swiss misses...
What little I know about hinduism (other than actually being one) is not to trust official histories of hinduism.
The reality is that it's a huge sprawling mess. Think Christianity in the middle ages before heresies were stamped out. Except it forks off even more easily since there is no clear central narrative; indeed one of the few core ideas is that God has an infinite number of aspects.
However, hindu "scholars" (*cough*assholes*cough), usually of the high-caste variety, are currently in an effort to reconstruct hinduism. This has really always been the case, but it's accelerated post-Indian independence. They want to nail it down, rewrite the parallel streams so they look linear, make themselves look like the final product of a historical process. Make it something that allows for excommunication, that unifies people behind their nativist political and social agendas.
This book seems pretty balanced. And it does give the image you describe, of a huge congeries of different sects all crashing into each other. That's one reason why it's so complex and hard to read.
I've had tiny beers in the form of Coronitas and enjoyed them!
Oh I just ask because of this