By Abhijit Basu

Historic India - the place Vishvaamitra via Vedic austerities and Yaajnavalkya via Vedantic perception, explored the hovering degrees of human attention; the place Valmiki and Kalidasa created chic poetry; the place Rama and Yudhishthira governed with a stupendous composite of knowledge, welfare and justice because the stuff in their royal sceptres; and the place Lord Krishna spoke the wondrously common philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita - theses gemstones from the treasures of India's religious and literary history, shape the topics that hyperlink this quantity of recent essays.

While those tales were informed and retold, interpreted and re-interpreted via millennia, this fluent and stress-free narrative, offers a trip of exploration and research to discover new meanings within the historic phrases - taking a look at them in the course of the prism of a latest, liberal and humanistic world-view.

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Extra resources for Prophets, Poets & Philosopher-Kings

Sample text

Logos, on this account, is indeed a prejudice of its own (even as a "prejudice against prejudices," to use Gadamer's phrase), but with a special capacity to dislodge many other forms of hermeneutical distortion. The individual scholar or intellectual thus has the power to add to and craft this mediation-but only, I would claim, under the aegis of guiding terms and concerns that are significant to local discussions and debates. In my investigation of the reception of the Gitii by German intellectuals, for example, I have found that the intellectual community in question tended to orbit around a regular set of concepts.

Prejudices come out of the tradition and deliver themselves up to the present, which strongly inflects them with its own concerns, but the very challenge posed by the alien character of the past lights up the limited "horizon" of these concerns, especially when the past stands before us in a complicated and unfamiliar textual form. The present can only stand in a challenged and sometimes tense relation with a historical Other that is, in its essence, irretrievable. But the historical only has the capacity to offer its truths about the present by being invoked and recalled by the present.

55 In addition, even if a certain agreement on the authority of philological and technical logos is achieved, this does not render translation immune from the myths, conceptions, and styles that infuse scholarly activity. And yet, further, even with the greatest level of technical specificity, some concepts and grammatical structures simply cannot be conveyed in another language. They require explanations and annotations, and this once again introduces the interpretive, commentarial element into translation practice.

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