Authoritarian Personality: Power and Subversion in Popular Culture

Duran Duran: The Chauffeur.

Moral superiority is the preferred pose of those lacking knowledge and understanding, it seems. And today, in our neo-Victorian era, morality is all the rage. Facts, thin on the ground, are swept under the rug with the suggestion that the speaker — whether pundit, politician, or popular entertainer — is morally offended. Yet, throughout the […]

Ramakrishna: Did he Really Practice Other religions?

Ramakrishna Coexist

The central argument of the RK Mission for its non-Hindu character was that, unlike Hinduism, it upheld the ‘equal truth of all religions’ and the ‘equal respect for all religions’. The latter slogan was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi as sarva-dharma-samabhâva, a formula officially approved and upheld in the BJP’s constitution.n 1983, RK Mission spokesman Swami […]

The Spiritual Warrior and the Dharma Way

According to the Bhagavad Gita, it is on the battlefield that Krishna (Lord of the Universe) teaches the eternal truth (Sanatana Dharma), and reveals his omnipotent form, to his disciple Arjuna. Again, we are told that Krishna his brother Balarama defeated the powerful wrestlers sent, by King Kamsa of Mathura, to kill them. Early stories about the Buddha […]

Third Empire: Politics, Gnosticism and Christianity in the Modern Era

Paul Johnson, usually acute, prejudices the case against Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906) in the chapter that he devotes to the instigator of modern drama in his Intellectuals (1993), where the author of Emperor and Galilean (1873) keeps company with the likes of Karl Marx, Berthold Brecht, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, and Lillian Hellman.  Johnson […]

Was the Buddha a Hindu?

Orientalists have started treating Buddhism as a separate religion because they discovered it outside India, without any conspicuous link with India, where Buddhism was not in evidence. At first, they didn’t even know that the Buddha had been an Indian. It had at any rate gone through centuries of development unrelated to anything happening in […]

God in India: the Abrahamic and the Dharmic religions

Dr. Joris Gielen studied History, Science of Religion and Theology at the Catholic University of Leuven and also obtained the MA in Indian Philosophy and Religion at Banaras Hindu University. So, when I saw his Dutch-language book God in India (Lannoo, Tielt 2013), I thought to myself: at last, this might be someone who knows what he’s […]

Sacrifices, priestesses, and the roots of modern sport

“What is remarkable about [ancient] Greek sport,” says David Sansone in Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport, “is the seriousness with which it was taken as a  cultural and even religious phenomenon.” “Sport is, no less than burnt offerings and libations, a form of ritual sacrifice.” Though spotlighted almost exclusively in entertainment — and rarely […]

Violence and the sacred: finding inner peace in times of outer conflict

A few weeks ago I happened to be reading Vali Nasr’s The Shia Revival on the way back from a martial arts session. I’d received a pretty firm kick in the side, and was conscious of pain in that area. I don’t want to overdramatize it, the injury meant sleeping was difficult for the following […]

Neo-Paganism left and right, old and new

“The past two centuries of European history”, says Claire Berlisnki in Menace in Europe: Why the Continents Crisis is America’s, too, “can be viewed as a series of struggles to find a replacement for what Europe has lost.” For Berlinski, Europe lost Christianity. Since the USA remains Christian to a far greater degree, the assertion […]