Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Last Gita

Bhagavad Gita: 14:

The Last Puritan must have taken root in me and become part of my noetic map because I have been thinking about it especially in relation to the Bhagavad Gita. No doubt Alden Père and his interest in Oriental objets d’art has suggested this. It is easy to think of Oliver as the naturally occurring sattvic type, pure, detached, kind and given to lofty thoughts. Mario is a rajasic individual, sensual, pleasure loving, active with an aesthetic side that ameliorates his natural egotism. Jim is also one in whom the rajasic guna predominates but with a firm warrior-like cast. He uses people and marshals them to his advantage and has missed his natural role as an officer in the Navy.

Both Jim and Mario are of the world and happy in it; they know what they want, but Peter is at the end of the book foundering. In that type of natural sattva when the elasticity of youth is past a judgemental rigidity can predominate and chill their detachment. It is a type that needs to be broken and we see as a sign his invincible health crumbling. Death comes as a resolution and in the Gita’s view an epilogue followed by a new prologue, possibly a birth in a Brahmin family but not of the Boston sort.

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