Vanity Karma is something like a cross-cultural, comparative-religious-philosophical dialogue seeking an answer to “What is the meaning of life” by weaving back and forth between Ecclesiastes and the Bhagavad Gita, interspersed with autobiographical interludes of the author’s own quest for answers to existential questions.
I thought this would be a difficult book to get through – a bit dry. But I found the opposite (I do like philosophy, mind you). It’s extremely well written and I was drawn in by the ability of the author to keep my attention with new insights and angles of vision on the perennial wisdom of these two traditions.
This is not a book to breeze through, though. It takes up each aspect of the subject from many angles and with depth.
Edwin Bryant, Professor of Hindu Religion and Philosophy at Rutgers University, writes, “Vanity Karma comprises a remarkable set of spiritual reflections that defies literary genre categorization. This book is part spiritual autobiography with its roots in the counterculture, part exposition of Hindu devotionalism deeply grounded in classical Sanskrit sources, and part analysis of a section of the Old Testament, drawing from its associated body of text-critical academic scholarship.”
Tremper Longman III, a scholar of Ecclesiastes at Westmont College, says the author knows Ecclesiastes well. Therefore, I venture to say that Vanity Karma can offer illumination to those trying to unravel the meaning of Ecclesiastes and broaden their understanding of its implications by examining how the author brought the Bhagavad Gita to bear on a discussion of this sacred text.
It’s worth a read!
Purchase the book.