“God”?

What the punctuation in the title indicates: Quotation marks: Draping the word God in quotation marks indicates that we are first concerned with the signifier, not the signified. (Compare these two sentences: I am interested in God. I am interested in “God.”) Question mark: The mark of interrogation backstopping “God” points us next to questions […]

Sense Gratification: An Essay in Pathology

In Bhagavad-gita (5.22) Krishna says this about enjoyment of the senses: ye hi samsparsha-ja bhoga duhkha-yonaya eva te “The pleasures that arise from contact between the senses and their objects are in truth the sources of all suffering.” The Sanskrit word bhoga (with the long ‘a’ of the plural) means ‘pleasures’ or ‘enjoyments’. What kinds? […]

Pointing

Sometime in the 1730’s, a young Scottish philosopher tried, and failed, to find himself. David Hume reflected upon this experience in his first book, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739). The passage is much quoted and anthologized. I encountered it frequently as an undergraduate philosophy major, for my teachers regarded it as a watershed in […]

The Divine Names: An Adventure Continued- Episode Two

A group of us gathered in the bedroom after the wedding, and as the large reels of the tape recorder slowly revolved, the room filled with the sound of “the Swami” leading the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. I sang in response, answering his call. Looking back, the chanting on that August afternoon in […]