I found my main gardening task today really tough. Having thought I had taken up all the concrete slabs from the former kitchen garden, I discovered another path of them. They were bounded by bricks. All these have now enhanced the paving pile, leaving me wringing wet. The latest heavy blocks are those that look darkest in the photograph.
After this, I dragged myself to the Shorefield post box and back, then settled down in a chair to read. Interrupted only by a robotic telephone call trying to sell us a new boiler, I finished that Indian classic ‘The Baghavad Gita’. Described by Jackie’s former work colleague as a ‘book on the Soul, Karma, and Reincarnation’ this dramatic piece takes the form of a dialogue between Krishna and the warrior Arjuna, with Sanjaya taking the role of the classical Chorus. Originally written in ancient Sanskrit it is an interlude in the much longer epic, Mahabharata.
Now, I had a choice. I could attempt Jackie’s tome, containing the original text and copious commentary by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, or I could confine myself to my Folio Society edition with a brief introduction by Amit Chaudhuri. I settled for the latter.
Relying on the doctrine of reincarnation, the god attempts to convince the warrior that it is his duty to kill friends and relatives facing him on the battlefield because their spirits will not die and they will have rebirths. The book is, of course, about much more than this, being a guide to the achievement of inner peace. Much of it does make sense to me, but the killing theory seems to be rather too easy a justification. It beats me how that can bring about inner peace.
The scholarly edition is illustrated by sumptuous realist paintings and photographs, whilst the other is liberally strewn with more imaginative suggestions from the hand of Anna Bhushan. The double spread I have chosen from the first book relates to the doubt of Arjuna and to the reincarnation philosophy. Zooming will make the text clearer.
Jackie’s delicious chicken curry and savoury rice amply sufficed for our dinner, with which I drank Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2012. Jackie had already consumed her Hoegaarden when we relaxed in our garden as the sun went down.
Later, I began reading ‘The War of the end of the World’ by Mario Vargas Llosa.